Student Activism: A Renaissance?

In my view, those struggles which attract the most and the weirdest opposition are the struggles destined to become critical moments in history. Take the #NeverAgain movement.

Thursday’s Slate Magazine has an article by Rebecca Onion tracing the history and success of student activism in the United States. Of course, many attempts to change the status quo fail. What is it that sets apart the struggles that are destined to win? It seems to me that those struggles attracting inordinate amounts of resistance from the ‘adult’ world are the ones worth watching. I still remember the comment made by one of our esteemed Lecturers, as two of us prepared a sign for the 1970 Brisbane Anti-Vietnam War protest. She said “I thought you were sensible”.  Apologies for repeating myself, but her comment is an example of ‘adults’ minimizing, dismissing, containing, and attempting to destroy the moral authority of genuine protest.

Many of the changes we saw in the 20th century originated with student protest.

slate picture

February 22nd 2018. Slate Magazine photo of children participating in a civil rights demonstration in 1963. They are waiting for a police van to take them to jail in Birmingham, Alabama. Photo Source: Rebecca Onion: “They Were Assumed to Be Puppets of Martin Luther King Jr.” 

Kids may indeed not be “fully rational actors” as a right wing analyst claims, along with comments suggesting that students are professional protesters, or have been brainwashed by bleeding heart liberals.

But here’s the thing: kids can make change happen, even when, especially when, adults fail.









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