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Die 68er. Warum wir Jungen sie nicht mehr brauchen PDF Print E-mail

Stiftung für die Rechte zukünftiger Generationen (1998)
Die 68er. Warum wir Jungen sie nicht mehr brauchen.

Oberursel: Eigenverlag.  318 pages, ISBN 3-933056-65-9, Price: 10 €

die_68erThe Generation of 68: Why we young people do not need them anymore To mark the thirtieth anniversary of the '68 revolt, the FRFG created a debate on how young people view the generation of 1968, especially concerning present political problems.
Many observers of the political scene today believe that the ’68 generation has now successfully completed what it then called its “march through the institutions,” as they now hold (at least in West Germany) the majority of professorships and dominate public opinion. For many young people interested in politics today, the ’68 generation occupies the place of their spiritual parents and predecessors. But more and more people are wondering if the young generation wants to take and transfer the values of the ’68 generation directly, or if they have and pursue their own ideas. With many contributions from the young generation, FRFG discusses what in their eyes the ’68 generation has done right and what could be criticized, either then or now. In doing so they address the issues of today at least as strongly as historical ones.  

The (then) youngest SPD Representative in the Bundestag, Hans Martin Bury, fears a “Clash of Generations” and supports more chances for young people in political parties and a reform of the retirement, tax and education systems: in short, a new generational contract. Even stronger than Bury, his colleague in the Bundestag, the (then) youngest Representative for the Alliance 90/Greens, Matthias Berninger, contributes an article that should incite mach discussion, as seldom has such a young author so vehemently reminded his political and spiritual forerunners that today’s problems cannot be solved with yesterday’s recipes. Berninger’s analysis is elaborated on by Mathias Wagner, who documents generational conflict from within the Green party. Michael Kauch—of the same generation, but a different party—discusses the future of the working world in the age of globalization and supports lifelong learning. Maja Schmidt, like Kauch also a member of the Liberal party, identifies what must be changed in the educational system.

Many other issues are also addressed with the relationships between then and now in mind: feminism, immigration issues, the culture of open political discussion, issues of childrearing, student strikes, the ideals of the ’68 generation, and the commentary on all this by the renowned political scientist Claus Leggewie, from the ’68 point of view, among others.

It was decisive in this project that the Foundation wanted to give a forum to young people who had something to say on the issue, regardless of their political background. Even when the book cannot claim to be representative of the young generation, it can be said that it contains at some point at least the prevailing mood of most young people today. All of the contributions that were submitted to the Foundation were published, so that not everything represents the view of the Foundation for the Rights of Future Generations, or even most of the contributions.  

With this diversity of thought, overlaps happily only seldom occur. When one theme is mentioned in many contributions, for instance globalization, it is usually addressed from different perspectives. But the young authors seem to have more to agree on than to fight over. The feelings of generational belonging seem at least so strong as those of party belonging, which should come as a surprise to older readers. With this book the up to this point silent younger generation—referred to as the ’89 or recently as the ’98 generation—has its say, hopefully one example in a growing political discussion.