The Student Revolt : From Berkeley to Berlin

Students started to defended their right to participate in politics and protested against the Vietnam war in 1964 because of the administration’s decision to ban all funds and propaganda for any political party or social ideals they did not agree with. This led to a small group of students to take action by writing their point of view in the Free-Speech Movement News Letters.

I am curious as to what their definition of propaganda was myself, but I want to know if you guys think banning the fundraising and propaganda was a smart decision or not?

The University is Exclusive and Bourgeois

The university has, in fact, become a sausage-machine which turns out people without any real culture, and incapable of thinking for themselves, but trained to fit into the economic system of a highly industrialized society (Cohn Bendit 27).

A modern university has two contradictory roles. To begin with, a university must churn out the trained personnel that is so essential for bureaucratic capitalism. (Cohn Bendit 41).

Throughout Cohn Bendit’s book, there is the sentiment that the university fails to prepare the working class students for a life of meaning, not chasing dollar. Obviously Cohn Bendit is toying with marxist thought, but what do you think about the justifications for university protest within the context of curriculum adaptations? I challenge you to think of both positions and try to argue the one you agree with least.

Also, here is a tik tok I found a few month ago, I really enjoyed it and I think we need the laugh.

Leaders in the Protest

While reading Fraser in the chapter of The French May, 1968. There tends to be this pattern that when students prepare to protest, not many leaders of the protest are present. This leaves the students in a disadvantage because some are still in their teens and they still do not know what to do. For example, In the night of the barricades there also was not a leader present to help them. Instead the students themselves had to make a plan to make the barricades and try to fend off the police, which is really amazing considering all the times the students and the police met, there were always casualties and people badly hurt. My question to the class would be: why is it that the leaders, when the protest are happening, are not present. Also, why do you think the government does not want France to hear that the protest are going on. In the instance when the soccer commentator got turned off. On page 212-214 “Radio reports were spot on, transmitting live news of the events all over France… A well known soccer commentator was reporting the events from one station… his voice went dead- they had cut him off”

Europeonism and Erasure of Developing Nation Struggle

As I was reading the second reading for today’s class, I was once again taken aback by the way that European protests aren’t exempt from also being a facet of empire. On page 239, the text describes how these student movements looked to the developing world for inspiration amid postcolonial struggles and revolution.” The texts proceeds to explain the ways in which Europeans centralized themselves in the protests. To me, this is in a way harmful because of the way it tokenized the struggles of the developing world, and proceeded to emphasize European empire by simply using problems caused by them as “inspiration.” I guess what I’m wondering is if these student protestors were so aware of the issues with Europe, why wouldn’t they let those in developing countries lead the way in revolution rather than take control as always,

Europeanism of 1968: “F@*! Authority”

“Fuck hierarchy, authority, this society with its cold, rational elitist logic! […] Fuck this immutable society that refuses to consider the misery, poverty, inequality, and injustices that it creates, that divides people according to their origins and skills” (Fraser 218).

I found the above quote interesting in regards to The Grand Tour of Daniel Cohn- Bendit and the Europeanism of 1968 due to the strong connection between traveling and the youth’s resistance of authority Jobs makes. At first, I found myself hesitant to accept the notion that travel could make a student/young adult automatically question authority, but then I remember what I did the first time I left home on my own, learned some things, and then came back: I was a menace with a mission. I thought the section of this small article centered on the fact that Cohn-Bendit being barred from France because he elected German citizenship to be quite interesting because it really shows the issues with nationalism (and regionalism): you are not “allowed” to challenge to system without having the proper paper work (…). In so many ways, Cohn-Bendit was French: he was born and raised there, but his paperwork did not reflect that. My question to the class is this: how are we supposed to respect authority when major issues are cast aside and/or suppressed because authority finds a technicality to skate away on?


Rebel As One

In Rethinking France’s Last Revolution we read a section that talked a lot about transnational cooperation between students. On 238 we are told when a popular German revolutionary figure named Daniel Cohn-Bendit was called an “undesirable alien” and banned from France. As a result students in the streets cried out “We are all undesirables! We are all foreigners! We are aliens!” My question is, what are the benefits of having a protest movement with strong transnational ties like the ones between Germany and France seen here?

Street Fighting Years: The Year 1968

For class on Thursday, we had to read the primary source titled “Street Fighting Years” The Year 1968″, which is an autobiography that recounts the events that occurred in 1968, specifically events that occurred in each month of that year. The month that I want to focus on for discussion was the month of February. In the month of February we were presented to the West Berlin SDS, a student movement that began in Germany. As noted in the source, the emergence of the SDS marked a turbulent time in Germany’s history. There was a sudden radical change in politics in Germany, given that students began to become more aware of the rise of fascism, which was something that the previous generation refused to acknowledge and combat. The source also discusses the issue of an active minority vs a passive minority, which is what I wanted to talk about for class today. To what extent can students actually be “active minorities? And is the SDS a fully politicized movement in Germany as it was in France?

The Student Revolt

In today’s reading , I found it really interesting on how far the student would go to make their point heard. While, I suppose they are risking getting a bad grade or even expelled, it is very interesting to see them not care because they know what they are doing is right and is needed to be done. You can also see how they progress in numbers. “On Friday, March 29th, while a considerable force of police surrounded the campus, five hundred students took part in the opening meeting” (The student revolt pg. 130) to “Tuesday, April 22nd, was a success: the administration could not prevent fifteen hundred people occupying the Bx
lecture theatre for the opening meeting..”(The student revolt pg 130). My question to the class would be, why did the students need to group in mass numbers? But, what if they did not group in large numbers, would they have succeeded?

Right to Education: A Rise to Protest

I found our reading’s focus on the Nanterre Movement to be very interesting because some of the students grievances seem very similar to ours. As a senior looking at graduate school, there is a constant “dollars and cents” thought plaguing my mind. I know that I want to go to professional school, and I am fairly confident that I could thrive in professional school. However, I probably will not be going to professional school next year because it is cost prohibitive. This is how it is for a lot of people I know.

I know it is a hot button issue in our political climate, but education should not be a financial burden. We should want an educated populous, so I am going to say it: we should taxpayer fund education. You can come for me in the comments, I am not going to budge. Education should be a right, not a privilege. (And, if you think college should be a temple of the elite, we cannot vibe.) Anyway, I digress. I found the quote, “It was interesting to see the UEC call for the efficient running of a bourgeois university in which certain ‘left’ or even ‘Marxist’ professors were afraid of a challenge to their status in that bourgeois university” (Bourges 131). I found this quote interesting because we have seen this pattern before: people who have nothing to gain that out weighs the gains of others being silent. I was wondering what you think the role of the “adult/establishment” is in social change? Can the protester and the establishment ever work together to change/dismantle/reform the “apparatus” or are people so fickle that rights must be taken from the establishment?

Students’ Place in Revolution

In another class we discussed boomers and how they were in a way defined by being anti-establishment, but this reading made me question that a bit. I do agree that with events such as the counterculture movement and protests in general, that they were upset with the establishment, but I guess my question has more to do with WHY did they become anti-establishment. On page 155, in response to police brutality in the United States towards people who oppose the Vietnam War: “yknow if you’re a nice respectable law abiding white kid, it’s very terrifying to see policemen armed to the teeth coming at you with every intention of putting you in the hospital.” This quote doesn’t read as much anti-establishment as much as it reads “hey, what are you doing I’M supposed to be a PART of the establishment.” (Of course, I am referring specifically to the predominantly white student portion of protestors for this one).