~ Introduction ~ Student Resistance: The Fourth “R”
According to the author…
“ Student resistance is a continually occurring, vital, and global social phenomenon.” p. 3
“ At crisis moments, students are at the center of extremely powerful sociological, political, and physical forces for which they are generally unprepared.” p. 4
In school, students are traditionally taught the “three ‘R’s”
R eading, W r iting and A r ithmetic
The author maintains that a fourth “R” is also taught, this being R esistance
Riotus Interruptus?: Early Defiance and Medieval Violence
European Universities were begun for higher education, but also so that the universities could have legal and economic power over the towns in which they resided.
Universities benefited the towns’ economies as well, because the students needed goods and services that the town provided.
If unsatisfied their treatment in the town, the students would threaten to move the university out of town. Faced with this threat to their economy, the town would comply with the university's wishes, and the university would receive more legal and economic power over the town.
Often, “town-and-gown” struggles would occur, where students and townies attacked each other violently, often over something as small as an insult to a tavern’s wine. The king almost always reacted in favor of the universities, giving them more power, and punishing the townies.
The Student Body Inflamed
During the Renaissance universities blossomed.
Most student activism centered around political and religious debates such as the Protestant-Catholic struggle and the Reformation, as well as the Calvinist movement of discipline reform. There was not yet student radicalism present.
During the Enlightenment, public schools were opened, so that by 1714 everyone from the poor to the elite could receive an education.
Students in Germany were the first to demonstrate radicalism. Burschenshaften developed all over the separate German states, with a goal to unify Germany. Assassinations and riots were used in an attempt to reach their goals. Most of these rebellions failed, but it demonstrated that students had political power.
In Poland, the students joined in a failed attempt to overthrow Russia.
In France, students rebelled against the monarchy.
In America, students protested slavery.
The Modernization of Student Power and Rise of the Student Leader
Students throughout continued to rebel both violently and through the spread of ideas, though many conflicts of this time were small, weak, and of little political importance.
In Germany, students failed in achieving a Grossdeutschland, or unified Germany, but they learned that “if they could mobilize small groups effectively, they could muster massive blocks of organized power that could unite with groups of workers to topple governments.”
In Vienna, Students managed to overthrow the government, but could not manage to successfully run the government for an extended period of time.
Smaller student groups with specific interests formed, which then became part of larger associations, and eventually large networks of student groups.
Student resistance had been active in China for centuries, with moderate success. Student activism now spread Turkey, India, and the United States.
In Russia, student resistance was new, but developed quickly. Strict regulations outlawed resistance groups, but the oppression only encouraged students to rebel. Student groups were responsible for many assassinations and violent rebellions, but on the whole accomplished little.
Success, Sabers, and Sacrifice, 1900-1919
All over the world, but especially in Europe, organization was the theme. As a weapon of resistance, terrorism was becoming more common, but for the most part, student resistance of this time was not political or overly violent.
In Russia, the same patterns of suppression and revolt continued to occur. In 1905, after a violent struggle, new freedoms were given to the students. However, just when things were looking up, their new rights were taken away.
In Bosnia, students were angry at the annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina to Austria-Hungary, and formed terrorist groups such as the Black Hand. Gavrilo Princip, a member of this group, was responsible for the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, an act blamed on Serbia, which resulted in WWI.
In China, Japan now controlled the government and trade. Students’ anger at this new situation inspired the May Fourth Movement, a series of protests on and after May 4 th . As a result, China agreed to defy Japan.
In Latin America, most student activism involved educational reform within the universities. This was very successful in Argentina, where all student demands were met. As a result, most of Latin America adopted Argentina’s reforms.
Reform and Terrorism in the 1920s and 1930s
Inspired by Argentina's success, students in Venezuela demonstrated against the Venezuelan President, Juan Vincente Gómez. They had no success at the time, but his successor gave them what they wanted.
In China, the two main political parties, the Chinese Communist Party, led by Mao Zedong, and the Guomindang both recruited students, though students tended to support the Guomindang. Using the students backfired, however, when they could no longer be controlled, and defied the Guomindang.
Anti-Imperialism was at the heart of many struggles worldwide. China and Korea tried to defy Japan, Indonesia wanted to get rid of the Dutch, and India and Burma hoped to sent the British packing.
In Germany, student groups became branches of the Nazi party, where student power could be rallied in support of Nazi agenda. Some groups attempted to stop this fascism but there was not enough support in this are to have significant effect.
England experienced an alarming new student movement: pacifism.
The United States had its fair share of student activism, though most was non-violent and unlike many parts of the world, there was no call for revolution.
Student Militancy and Warfare, 1940-1959
During WWII many universities closed, and most usual activism halted.
German activism was shut down during the war, and was slow to rebuild after.
Many French students left school to join the Resistance. During the war protest was prohibited. After the war, French students had a new cause: free Algeria.
In Hungary, students started a revolution that laborers, merchants, and the army supported. It was at first successful, but was shut down by the Soviets.
Japanese students, many members of the student group Zengakuren, demonstrated against the unconstitutional U.S.-Japan Security Treaty.
In China, students protested the struggle between the Mao’s Communist Party and the Guomindang. They favored Mao, who took control with their help.
India experienced non-violent resistance under Gandhi's influence, but after independence was achieved, there was no cause and little resistance.
Most American activism centered around anti-socialism and anti-communism.
Latin American activism was plentiful and violent, and often lead to reform or revolution.
Student Resistance in the 1960s
South Korea student protests against Syngman Rhee’s rigged reelection, lead to a revolution supported by both the public and the military. The subsequent new republic, however, was taken over by the military.
In Japan, students opposed U.S. imperialism in Southeast Asia and protested violently when Prime Minister Sato Eisaku appeared to be supporting the U.S.
In China, Mao created the Red Guard, a military group of students whose a sole purpose was to purge the country of anyone who opposed Mao or Communism.
In Indonesia, an anti-communist group called the Action Command of Indonesia formed. President Sukarno opposed this group, which sparked a revolution that lead to the takeover of the country by Suharto, a student-backed military leader.
In India, there was violent action for making Hindi the national language, and for university reform. Both causes were successful.
In Germany student resistance was extremely violent, but police response was just as bad. Students wanted Germany to go to Vietnam.
Student Resistance in the 1960s (Cont…)
In the Netherlands most protests were entertaining and good-humored, but were very suppressed, much to the public’s disappointment.
Czech students marched against suppression, but were shut down by the police. They did manage to gain some support, but were crushed by the Soviet military.
Turkey’s Prime Minister Adnan Menderes attempted to purge all opposition to his repressive regime, and student protest led to military takeover of the county.
Mostly minor resistance occurred in South Africa, the Congo, and in Algeria. In Sudan university protests became so large that Ibrahim Abboud stepped down.
In the United Stated non-violent protests for civil rights were held all over the south. A Berkley in California, students protested for free speech, which they succeeded in getting. The largest protests, however, were anti-draft and anti-Vietnam, the latter of which occurred in Washington D.C. where thousands of students marched on the Pentagon. These demonstrations were mostly peaceful, at least on the part of the students.
In Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Peru, and Venezuela, Latin American students increasingly turned to violence in their resistance, but were mostly unsuccessful.
1968 and 1969: Student Power, Part 1
Students in France protested for educational reforms, but the protests turned violent, and the public joined the oppressed students in a series of riots. Charles de Gaulle's government was pushed to the brink, but managed to pull together and stop the rioting.
In Ireland Catholics held demonstrations against the Protestant domination, but these originally peaceful demonstrations turned violent when Protestants showed up and attacked the Catholics. The struggle eventually died out after months of rioting.
British students marched against Vietnam, and staged other small-scale university protests.
In Germany student resistance was dying, but extreme terrorists acted.
In Italy students joined workers in protests against the laborers’ exploitation. They aided the workers successfully for a while, but eventually the workers took over on their own.
African students demonstrated for university reform.
In Pakistan students protests forced the president to step abandon his office.
1968 and 1969: Student Power, Part 2
Japanese students protested and took over the universities for educational reform, but what reform they got gave the university government more power to stop student protests.
Overly violent police in Mexico city inspired many protests leading up to a protest at the Plaza of Three Cultures, a peaceful demonstration that was fired upon by police and government troops. Despite the massive protests, very few of the students’ demands were met.
In the United States, activism thrived. Much activism was anti-Vietnam, or pro-civil rights. At Columbia University in NYC, students protested the building of a new gymnasium which encroached on a public park. Their goals were eventually met after some negotiation. Other such protests occurred at Berkley
Students met to demonstrate in Chicago during the Democratic Convention, and relatively peaceful demonstrations were brutally shut down by police. The protests only succeeded in weakening support for the Democrats, and Richard Nixon subsequently elected.
An extremely large anti-Vietnam protest took place in Washington D.C., with over a ¼ million students attending.
The 1970s: Campus Killings and Student Fury
In Germany, most student resistance fell apart, but terrorism reigned. What student resistance remained focused on university and social reform.
American students were still protesting Vietnam, as well as voting rights. Woman and Native Americans also advocated for their rights.
In Mexico protests for social and political reforms continued, though with less violence.
Students in Japan turned increasingly to hijacking and kidnapping, but these acts were extremely unpopular and gained little support.
A protest swelled at Tiananmen Square, which was attacked by police forces. Deng Xiaoping came into power after Mao’s death, and the protest quieted.
South Korean students protested Park Chung Hee’s reelection with chaotic violent demonstrations.
Student efforts in Rhodesia lead to independence in 1980 when it became the Republic of Zimbabwe.
Iranian students protested the U.S. presence in Iran
Revolution in a Postmodern World, 1980-1989
Chilean students protested for the usual: university reform, and were relatively successful.
Mexico’s education system had gotten very lax, but attempts to reform the schools by government officials were widely protested by students, and the universities were left alone.
Much U.S. activism centered around rectifying the apartheid system in Africa by asking universities to divest any money related to South Africa, and were successful.
In Pakistan violent resistance between students led to the suppression of all resistance.
In Palestine, Israelis fought Palestinians, attempting to suppress them, but eventually turned to democracy in the 1990s.
In South Korea student protesting for democracy were attacked by police, and refused to back down when the military came. Many were killed.
In 1989 in China a large student protest took place Tiananmen Square. The public supported the students, but the protest was violently shut down and hundreds were killed. Most of the dead were not students but rather workers who blocked the troops’ way.
Student Unrest on the Eve of a New Millennium
In Brazil students were outraged when reports of the president’s corruption emerged. They protested for his impeachment, and were successful without violence. Other parts of Latin America experienced more violent activism.
After years of protest Mexico finally managed to instate reform in its university.
There was a rebirth of activism in the United States, protesting such things as the Gulf War, racism, sweatshops, and defending their right to drink alcohol.
Europe experienced overcrowding in its universities, and students protested the subsequent reforms that were attempting to solve the problem.
Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland westernized their universities and their culture. In Yugoslavia, students wanted reform, and protested against the president. He did not give in, but violence caused public support to go to the students and a new president was elected the next year.
Student resistance continued the former Soviet Union, the Middle East, Africa, India, South Korea, and Indonesia.
After the Tiananman Square violence, China’s resistance was shattered.
~ Epilogue ~ Whither Student Resistance
The author concludes…
“… acts of student resistance throw social, economic, and political powers into relief.”
“… resistance performs an important function in all societies…”