Tuesday, October 2, 2012


What is fascinating in Williams is his analysis of the different “readings” of 1968 which he argues conceptually and experientially regulate the event a posteriori, in which the legacy of 1968 is normalized through its discursive insertion into a Christian model of martyrdom and political sacrifice. The discourse surrounding the events of 1968 actually applies the sovereign decisionism which the movement fought against, ultimately annulling it as a political experience. (Although Rigoberta Menchu is quite different than the event of 1968, I cannot help but think of last week’s discussion on the different readings of her testimonio. when he writes the way the legacy of 1968 annuls 1968 as a political experience.) He compares 1968 in Mexico with May ‘68 in Paris, quoting Michel de Certeau’s concern that the singularity of the political experience exceeds language; the real which escapes the regulation of the symbolic order is later “reasoned into nonexistence”. One difference between 1968 Mexico and 1968 Paris is the extreme state violence which repressed and dissolved the student movement in Mexico, influencing the way in which 1968 has been interpreted.   The collapsing of the massacre at Tlatelolco and the student movement of 1968 reduces it into a narration of sacrifice and martyrdom.


  1. You highlight the fact that perhaps because of its Christianity, as opposed to its Aztec past like Paz argues, the movement ended in massacre. Very intriguing distinction.

  2. Wel I guess for me the relationship between Christianity and Mesoamerican religion is definitely in a point of contact and conflict here. I think to say this is act of martyrdom and sacrifice is to say it's a religiously violent event, maybe even a religious war. I'm not sure if that's what Paz is arguing though.

  3. You mention that the massacre at Tlatelolco has been reduced to a "narration of sacrifice and martyrdom" at the end of you post. I wonder in what ways the analysis of Williams and Paz combat that reduction or reinforce it?