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Pablo Pérez: "In the 'woke' culture, denunciation and accusation prevail, self-criticism is not frequent".

The scientific director of the ICS and Full Professor of Contemporary History of the School of Philosophy and Letters of the University of Navarra publishes his new book, 'De Mayo del 68 a la cultura woke' (From May '68 to the woke culture).

/Pablo Pérez, director scientist of the ICS and Full Professor of Contemporary History of the School of Philosophy and Letters of the University of Navarra, with his new book.

06 | 06 | 2024

A historical journey from the Parisian student revolts of May '68 to the current protests at campus in the United States and Europe. This is the journey proposed by Pablo Perez Lopez, director scientist of the Institute for Culture and Society (ICS) of the University of Navarra and Full Professor in Contemporary History of the School of Philosophy and Letters, in his new book, De mayo del 68 a la cultura wokepublished by Palabra.

The work, which takes as its starting point the triumph of the American way of life after World War II, establishes links between the student and union revolution experienced in 1968 and the woke culture, a sort of contemporary heirs of the ways of life that began to take shape in the sixties. His proposal allows us to understand, in the light of historical facts, where movements such as the woke and the culture of cancellation come from, and invites us to a critical reflection.

"The political protest of May '68 failed initially because, when they went to the polls, they voted to keep things as they were, not an exaltation of protest. However, they introduced in the public discussion and in the customs some ways of living that managed to be legitimized. And this includes the question of sexual freedoms," explains the author, who is also a professor at Master's Degree in Christianity and Contemporary Culture. As a consequence, this scenario led "to the imposition of a policy increasingly focused on the interests of individuals and on identity". These pillars, defends Perez, connect directly with the woke movement, which he identifies with the culture of cancellation: "The first effect to which the wake-up call for protest leads is to cancel the speech that is building an unjust world".

Thus, he points out that, although "it is a culture that calls for the recognition of minorities that are being victimized in an unjust way by the dominant power", it is "a culture of denunciation and accusation of others, where self-criticism is not frequent". And he relates it to "the loss of the Christian sense of the interpretation of the world, since, in our culture, the idea that evil is everyone's responsibility and, therefore, mine, is very important".

Precisely, one of the questions core topic of this historical essay is the reflection on the concept of freedom derived from May '68 and that today, the historian stresses, is adopted by the defenders of the Woke movement: "Like all human action, freedom is limited. However, its exaltation as something unquestionable and without limits seems to be one of the aims in the contemporary world and makes very little sense".

As an example, he highlights the loss of freedom of expression in universities, especially in the United States, where the first voices of alarm sounded. "One of the first actions of the woke culture in the university campus , by the hand of professors and lecturers who had been sixties-ayochists, is to point fingers. And if you can't talk or discuss, how are we going to think?". The result, regrets the author, is "the loss of the possibility of talking about everything in an open and respectful way, and of being able to discuss issues, whatever they may be, without taking them as a question staff or annulling the contrary because of their ideas". To reverse this, he proposes to recover the idea of freedom as a question "closely linked to others" and to work on a more social and transcendent conscience.