Germany: high school students strike

students occupy the Humboldt university

High School students struck and marched across Germany yesterday in protest against classroom overcrowding, lack of teachers, and the pressure of examinations.

Some 100,000 participated in demonstrations across the country, walking out of classes and marching in over 40 cities. They protested for more permanent staff, smaller classes, and against a sped-up version of the school leaving exam, called the “turbo-abitur”. School students face intense exam pressure in Germany, where they are "streamed" at the age of 10 and selected to go to either a vocational or grammar school, often determining their prospects and chances in adult life. Demands that the pressure be relieved were made, and many teachers are also reported to be supporting the students' efforts.

A 10,000 strong protest march in Berlin ended with the invasion of the prestigious Humboldt University, where the conference room and terrace were occupied and draped with banners. There are reports of university staff battling with the students to defend statues of Hegel and Fichte, and of the university president Christoph Markschies barricading himself inside his office. 8,500 marched in Hanover, 8,000 in Stuttgart, and 6,000 in Hamburg.

The protests follow demonstrations by German university students in late October against the introduction of tuition fees, and student revolt in Italy, covered on Libcom here.

Posted By

Nov 14 2008 14:38


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Nov 15 2008 18:34

According to a few reports, some of the demonstrators attacked a Holocaust exhibition during their occupation of the Humboldt University.
See for example: "German kids, activists destroy anti-Nazi exhibit"

Does anyone know more about this? Who did it? Why? How the other demonstrators -- some of them waving antifascist flags (as seen in this photo) -- responded, or didn´t respond?

Nov 15 2008 21:28

I haven't read anything specific about this exibit, I had read about the place getting generally trashed. It seems a lot to extrapolate from the unsubstantiated hearsay of Markisches and a broken pane that this was an attack motivated by anti-semitism or a hatred of Israel. Its obviously quite a different matter, but I doubt that attacking statues of Hegel had much to do with a hatred of dialectics. It seems more like a bunch of kids fucking shit up tbh.

Joseph Kay
Nov 15 2008 21:32

did they turn hegel (statue) on its head? cos that would be awesome

Angelus Novus
Nov 17 2008 13:18

Ben Weinthal's a good, solid reporter. He's the correspondent in Germany for Labor Notes, so I think he's quite reliable.

The incident is pretty horrible, but I can't say I'm surprised. It's time to get over the notion that the left is immune from anti-semitism/racism/sexism and other bad things, simply by virtue of being left.

Today on the U-Bahn, I saw a news report that the head of the HU has invited people to a podiums discussion to discuss the incident.

Nov 22 2008 18:38

admin - comment deleted. That type of comment is not acceptable

Dec 22 2008 06:21

So its making the rounds that Libcom is allowing openly antisemitic comments on their website now.

Unless you think that Palestine Solidarity work and antisemitism are the same thing, i hope you remove this comment very soon.

Dec 22 2008 11:27
greengreenred wrote:
Unless you think that Palestine Solidarity work and antisemitism are the same thing, i hope you remove this comment very soon.

Can you explain what trashing a Holocaust exhibit has to do with palestine solidarity?

Dec 22 2008 22:21

the comment that was removed linked the two.

Dec 23 2008 12:02

too bad. would be hilarious to see.

Mar 27 2009 08:36