Youth Movement In The 1960s

Submitted By erch10
Words: 1778
Pages: 8

The 1960’s is categorized as a decade were social movements occurred all over the world. The time was counter-revolution started and people rebelled against old traditions and questioning the government. This was no different in Mexico were a corrupt government was in power for 70 years until 2000. Mexico 68 was a student movement that was influenced by the freedom of speech movement in the US and the anti-war movement against the Vietnam War. Like many places around the world, there was a great amount of student movement occurring, protesting their governments. Like some of the student movements in the United States at that time, this movement ended in direct clash between student and government. But in this movement it ended in a massacre of the students by the government. This student movement was short lived compared to other social movements, but it has now become an important part of Mexican history, and has influenced other social movements in the future, including one last year.

This student movement did not start like the other student movements in the US. You have to look at Mexican history to understand why the movement started. Like the baby boomers in the US led the student movements in Mexico it was the sons and daughters of people who were in the Mexican Revolution of 1910. The Mexican Revolution was something that was supposed to bring reforms to Mexico and end a dictatorship that lasted 35 years. The end of the revolution did not bring the promised reforms but instead brought into power PRI or Institutional Revolutionary Party that lasted for 70 years. It had little opposition, and it was there mainly just to keep order, without there being too much change. During the 1960’s Mexico was experiencing great economic stability and growth. This saw a growing middle class and more people going to university. Even though there was a growing middle class there was still a great inequality between the poor and the rich, with a lot of repression against indigenous people and the lower class. Even though the middle class economic benefits, there was little political representation, as democracy virtually did no exist. The Mexican government at the time was selling out to foreign interest and running the country as a business, with little interest in the middle and lower class. Most of the students that led the movement came from the middle class. The influences of a student movement came from student movements that were happening in France, Japan, were students were fighting the government. Unlike in Europe or the US, before 1968, Mexican students were more conservative and student organizations were not very radical protest, until it took a sharp turn. The Mexican government was aware of all the social movements that were happening in Europe and US and were afraid the same could happen there. The government became repressive and against any sort of social movement so it would not get out of hand. The student movement started when there was a fight between two preparatory schools during a football match, which led to a riot in July 22 1968. In order to squash the riot, the government sent riot police and police army. The police was overly violent and aggressive even using a bazooka to bring down a door, and killing one of the students. This led to protest being set up around the city, protesting violence used by police. This started a snowball of student protest for the next couple of months, which was the fear that the Mexican government had before. The students eventually started to protest the repression and the lack of democracy that there was within the government. The protest were first being set up by student unions from National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) which were the biggest universities in the city. The two universities started organizing themselves and they formed the student organization called Consejo Nacional de Huelga or Strike Committee.