Is modern Anarchism a student movement?

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LJOS
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May 16 2004 13:58
Is modern Anarchism a student movement?

Forgive my naivete- it is a beginner's forum...

As a newcomer to Anarchist ideas (having done the liberal-> Marxian-> Anarchistic move that I suspect is quite common), I've not had much contact with the actual Anarchist movement yet. In fact, the only people I've met who have been self-professed Anarchists (not having run around asking everyone their political beliefs at demos) have been fellow students. Naturally quite a lot of my acquaintances are students, fair enough, but none of those who aren't profess any such ideas.

So, the question- is this true for Anarchism is general, in Britain at least? Is it mainly the province of students? If so, does this have some embarrassing implications for a social system based on liberation of the working class, by the working class?

AlexA
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May 17 2004 09:51

Well firstly no I'd say the minority of anarchists are students (which would pretty much reflect the make-up of the population as a whole).

Although as with other political theories I would think that there's probably a slightly disproportionately large number of people who hold them are students. Of course people who you will see often at political events will more likely be students or unemployed simply because they will have more free time.

Also if you definition of working class is pretty standard for @'s and commies - i.e. the class which has to sell its labour power, sign on or steal to survive, then students fit in that category. They do have very little power over their existences (and certainly no power over others), and a big majority of students today also have to work to fund their studies.

But welcome to the boards! smile

Tom A
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May 17 2004 10:37

Isn't the majority of student "activism" centred on, at worst, the NUS and SWSS, or at best People and Planet?

However I am a student activist in the minority here wink star green black

WeTheYouth
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May 17 2004 12:36

angry NUS = poo.

I would say that anarchism is portrayed as a student movement because usually students and the youth can be the most radical in their actions and have more timne on there hands, but the truth is i think anarchism is a broad movement of dissent.

LJOS
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May 17 2004 17:09

Hmm. Interesting, and also heartening.

Without getting into a not-very-useful pigeonholing exercise: I agree that students are workers (dividing the world into workers and capitalists, broadly), but the fact that they are in higher education means that they are (as someone, think it was the Cohn-Bendits) says, often in training to become managers.

I agree with Tom A. Plenty of activists just go for protesting tuition fees and other things which directly affect them, or general anti-imperialism stuff. Not really much about changing the system here. And the Anarchists (at my uni at least) aren't organised, whereas there are Socialist party- affiliated groups and Marxist-Leninists.

Tom A
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May 17 2004 18:03
LJOS wrote:
Plenty of activists just go for protesting tuition fees and other things which directly affect them, or general anti-imperialism stuff. Not really much about changing the system here. And the Anarchists (at my uni at least) aren't organised, whereas there are Socialist party- affiliated groups and Marxist-Leninists.

Well at my uni (Keele) there is a sense that the students will only come out en masse when there are issues that affect them, such as threatended compulsory redundancies of academic staff, which was sucessfully resisted but now the reduncdancies are now taking place be stealth.

However, at Keele there is a "Collective for Social Justice", a horizontally organised group which is involved in various campaigns from anti-war, anti-sweatshops, anti-racism and fighting to ensure that students are not exploited by their university. Our collective contains people of political beilefs ranging from socially concious left-liberals to anarchists, and at the moment we have about 10 active members, plus another 60 on our mailing list (most of which are ex-students though). There is no SWSS or similar authoritain Marxist group here at Keele (the Collective was actually evolved from the ashes of the Keele SWSS group that folded back in 2000), which I suppose is a good thing because the SWP would just dominate the progressive scene if there were present on campus.

LJOS
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May 24 2004 13:20

Hmm. We have an 'anti-war' coalition and a 'free education' group. The latter is free of political bias, IMO, but the first is dominated by groups like Che-Leila. Worrying.

Time to put forward the idea of an Anarchist group on campus, perhaps?

AlexA
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May 24 2004 15:48

Are you at Sussex Uni then?

I know at least one other anarchist there, in the jews for justince for palestine.

If you interested in starting up a group - it can be really useful in Uni, because of free access to meeting rooms, resources, gig/talk venues etc. - check out our enrager.net/organise section.

Also contact the national feds - on our britain page - who'll be able to help you out. I bet norwich anarchist students'd give you a hand too - not to mention the folks at the Cowley Club smile

LJOS
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May 24 2004 15:56

Thanks for the hints; yep, I'm at Sussex. However, I think I'd better know my stuff and do a little more reading before I think about even considering starting such a group. But then again, it's got to start somewhere, hasn't it?

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Spartacus
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May 24 2004 22:29

i know a couple of people at sussex uni too, i can put you in touch with them if you like. actually, most of the anarchists i know aren't students, although i know more student anarchists now than when i was at school when i knew more anarchists who were school students. unfortunately the exact percentage of anarchists who are students is probably as alexa said disproportionately large compared to say the number of prisoners who are anarchists, but that just means we need to convince more people of the logic of anarchism. but to be honest i don't think it's generally seen as a student movement. a punk movement, maybe (also inaccurate) but mainly it's just the media that says we're all students and middle class (and also welfare scroungers and criminals, i wish they'd make their minds up!)

and i agree with you about students being in training to be managers, i think it is daft to say they're in the working class. granted some may come from working class backgrounds, but unfortunately much students activism is centred mainly on issues which only affect students or whatever the fashionable lefty cause of the day is, and tends to be bit of a holiday of rebellion before the go off to their swish jobs. anarchist groups in unis should be trying to encourage livelong resistance among them. or something like that anyway.

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JoeMaguire
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May 25 2004 12:46
GenerationTerrorist wrote:
and i agree with you about students being in training to be managers, .

angry this is probably responsible for the death of radicalism

Blacklisted
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Jul 2 2004 16:48

Hey ya,

Just a couple things, you said you wanna read more and know your stuff before starting groups but Iv personally found iv learnt most by actualy organising. although I had read a fair amount of history first i guess, but it wernt anarchism related just the old john pilger-geoge monbiot type lefty stuff. But iv learnt most about non-heirarchy by experienceing it.

reality and dreams not doctrines and ideologys mate!

Also, any people in Reading or Reading Uni etc send me a private message if your interested in organising anything here (me and a Reading uni person talking bout starting anti-G8 activity, come and help us!!)

Cheers, Stu.

LJOS
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Jul 8 2004 19:10

Good point. The question is: there are plenty of socialist and anti-capitalist groups around here, both at uni and in Brighton, some of which do espouse direct action, and would therefore be worth getting in contact with. So is a student Anarchist group really required, or would it be surplus, as long as action is being taken by people? They are often single-issue or reformist, though, and there lies the rub...

Ghost_of_the_re...
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Jul 10 2004 13:22

Our students' peace movement is gradually shifting towards an anarchistic/social justice agenda, partly thanks to the efforts of our local MP, of all people. There remains, however, a hippy element who still see the road to peace as paved with african drumming classes and halal barbecues.

There are plenty of anarchists among the student population, but those actually involved in anything worthwhile seem to be in the minority. My university in particular is always attempting to focus students' attentions on drinking at whichever bar has bribed the union most this week. Students are lazy, students are narrow minded and lacking in worldly wisdom, which is just how the government wants to keep what is possibly the cleverest demographic in the country.

If there is hope, it lies elsewhere as George Orwell would say were he to take one glance at today's student population.

Anonymous
Jul 14 2004 07:58
Ghost_of_the_revolution wrote:
Our students' peace movement is gradually shifting towards an anarchistic/social justice agenda, partly thanks to the efforts of our local MP, of all people. There remains, however, a hippy element who still see the road to peace as paved with african drumming classes and halal barbecues.

There are plenty of anarchists among the student population, but those actually involved in anything worthwhile seem to be in the minority. My university in particular is always attempting to focus students' attentions on drinking at whichever bar has bribed the union most this week. Students are lazy, students are narrow minded and lacking in worldly wisdom, which is just how the government wants to keep what is possibly the cleverest demographic in the country.

If there is hope, it lies elsewhere as George Orwell would say were he to take one glance at today's student population.

Got to agree with this, theirs no shortage of pseudo-anarchist and cyrpto-marxist ideas flying about, but getting students to actually do anything is getiing harder and harder.

All you tend to get is irritating comments about protesting not being able to stop the war on its own....(No shit sherlock!)

They've been slowly killing off student radicalism piece by piece, changing the student demographics, reducing concetrations of students from certain backgrounds, reducing the size of planned campuses, introducing more private backed capital onto campus and so on.. if theres anywhere i can think of where that is made most clear its probably the changes they made to essex uni....tho i might be biased.

Bah only one more year i guess.

john

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JoeMaguire
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Jul 14 2004 14:37

Should we be considering more Direct Action against the Business Studies department confused

Anonymous
Jul 27 2004 18:54

Nah its not just a student movment.

Its pretty much a mix of students (mixture of anarchist viewpoints), people in some sort of full time employment (usually tend a bit towards 'red' anarchism) and people who have opted out or work every now or then (usually tend towards 'green' anarchism).

I dont claim to be an expert tho, thats just what springs to my mind. People will probably say Im talkin crap and they may well be right. neutral

3rdseason
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Jul 27 2004 19:07

That last guest poster was me, just to be accountable. hahaa

..and use a cool emoticon...