Student protest proves to be interesting experience

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Tojiah
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Apr 25 2007 21:36
Student protest proves to be interesting experience

At first I wasn't going to attend, as it sounds dull, and the politics is reactionary as fuck. But then, instead of ending the public meeting by going home, the students decided to start marching and block streets. That's when I was that things were picking up, so I joined up with them.

The slogans were pretty reactionary and dull ("No nation without education" --- yeah, like that's a bad thing now? Along with some personalized demands from the PM and the Minister of Education, and some other nonsense about how important education is for our country, blah blah blah), but there was a gathering momentum, and the cops couldn't keep it in check. Eventually people started calling for going to Ayalon, the main highway in the Tel Aviv area, so there was an advance in that direction. The cops finally managed to get some cavalry over there, but there were too many protestors, who managed to break police lines and keep on marching.

Then, at a main intersection still inside the city, very close to the highway entrance, some student leaders started calling for people to have a sit-in. But it didn't work, 'cause people just kept going to the highway! Eventually some of the protestors managed to block the highway for a few minutes, before the police finally got serious riot troops in there, and got things under control.

Now, ideologically, this whole protest, indeed, this whole struggle, is probably not going to amount to anything in the short term. But I think that some students will have been radicalized by the experience of beating the cops and blocking the highway without getting seriously hurt (I should really find that mounted cop and tell him that, despite his fears for our safety, we managed quite well, thank you very much). And the fact that people disobeyed student leaders telling them to stop, back down, not proceed into the highway, et cetera, means that there is a militancy there beyond the leaders` control.

I've been at many failed actions, and it was quite uplifting to participate in a successful mass struggle, even as a hitchhiker, even for a short time, even if the alleged goal is kind of pointless and reactionary, rather than the Revolution.

(End testimonial)

Some links:

Ynet article, most information is about the gathering before the march itself, which had a bunch of celebrities and mild leftist politicians.

Those are all the links for now. More to come when English sites become more updated.

Mike Harman
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Apr 26 2007 01:04

treeofjudas, that's really interesting. You fancy writing it up for news?

This is woeful:

Quote:
"We artists and intellectuals appeal to you because we care about the education in Israel. We want to express our support of the students' fight because, if there is no education, there is no state. We find it best to turn to you, the prime minister, and urge you to intervene immediately in order to find a solution to the crisis we are in," said the letter.

But this looks good:

Quote:
the now two-week long struggle would continue, and that the union would continue to close campuses across the country next week as well.
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Tojiah
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Apr 26 2007 05:24

I'll see how I fare after the tooth extraction this afternoon.

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Joseph Kay
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Apr 26 2007 08:15
tojiah wrote:
I'll see how I fare after the tooth extraction this afternoon.

christ, when we block roads here the worst we expect is a quick beating! FASCISTS!!!!11 wink

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Tojiah
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Apr 26 2007 14:57

I'm going to write it up for news. I'll be basing it on my experiences and of those of someone else who was there from the beginning, and less on the media coverage, which at certain points is total shit.

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Tojiah
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Apr 26 2007 17:48

Some feedback on the article?

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jef costello
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Apr 26 2007 18:01

where is the article?
If you've submitted it then it hasn't been moderated yet, I'll let you know what I think once I've seen it. Only catch and Joseph K. are online now so you might have to wait a few minutes until it goes up.

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Tojiah
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Apr 26 2007 18:18

I see it as if all's well, maybe I'm privileged due to the fact that I wrote it?
Anyway, I'll be patient.

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Tojiah
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May 3 2007 16:48

Three important (?) updates regarding the student struggle:

  1. There was another demonstration yesterday noon. Around 30 people arrested, roads blocked, tires burned, etc. (Wasn't there, so I can't give you a better account).
  2. The Minister of Education proposed a compromise, in which tuition would be lowered by about 4-5% next year, and that the conclusion of the Shohat Committee (against which the students are striking) will only be implemented the year after that.
  3. The Union of University Heads is scheduled to publish an ultimatum to the striking students tomorrow: whoever goes back to school on Sunday gets an extension on the semester and "understandings" regarding missed material, etc, also known as the carrot. Whoever continues with the strike will suffer the dire consequence of missing out on the semester (as if they were just missing classes), also known as the stick. A student union head claimed that they will not be browbeaten, and a certain professor claimed that they would strike in solidarity, but all bets are off, I suppose.

I am also sitting out a demo demanding the resignation of Olmert, Peretz and others over the Winograd Committee's conclusions, which scathingly criticise their handling of last summer's war, but I'm not sure that's relevant.

Mike Harman
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May 3 2007 16:59
tojiah wrote:
I see it as if all's well, maybe I'm privileged due to the fact that I wrote it?
Anyway, I'll be patient.

Sorry I didn't give any feedback on the article because it was great, so there seemed like nothing to say. If you're up for a it, a quick follow up with the second protest/5% offer/stick/carrot would be cool as well, and I'll try to make sure I actually post thanks this time!

With moderation - yeah you can see it because you posted it, also if you link to it anyone can see it, but it doesn't show up in lists. Sometimes we're very fast taking things out of moderation, sometimes not - either because we're all hoping someone else will do it or not online etc. etc.

Before, it was possible for all posters who regularly submit stuff to unmoderate their own posts, I think that's disappeared since upgrade but will try to put back in soonish so you don't have to wait.

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Tojiah
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May 3 2007 17:17

This time all I've got is outside news sources, and I'd much rather contribute things I've got inside info about. But I'm game.

How about something like:

Quote:
Student protest continues
A week following the previously reported protest, another student protest stepped out of line to block streets, and attempt to block the highway, this time successful for a longer period of time, though faced with tougher repression. Protest dissolved after leaders called for its dissolution, marking an increase in violence but a decrease in independence by student militants.

Following that event, the Minister of Education has suggested a compromise with student demands, in which tuition would be lowered by about 4-5% next year, and that the conclusion of the Shohat Committee (against which the students are striking) will only be implemented the year after that.The Minister of Education proposed a compromise, in which tuition would be lowered by about 4-5% next year, and that the conclusions of the Shohat Committee (against which the students are striking) will only be implemented the year after that.

Finally, The Union of University Heads is scheduled to publish an ultimatum to the striking students tomorrow, using all main media outlets: whoever goes back to school on Sunday gets an extension on the semester and "understandings" regarding missed material and classes. Whoever continues with the strike, whoever, will be considered absent.. A student union head claimed that they will not be browbeaten, and a certain professor claimed that they would strike in solidarity, but no guarantees were given by either.

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jef costello
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May 3 2007 17:25
tojiah wrote:
This time all I've got is outside news sources, and I'd much rather contribute things I've got inside info about. But I'm game.

How about something like:

Quote:
Student protest continues
A week following the previously reported protest, another student protest stepped out of line to block streets, and attempt to block the highway, this time successful for a longer period of time, though faced with tougher repression. Protest dissolved after leaders called for its dissolution, marking an increase in violence but a decrease in independence by student militants.

Following that event, the Minister of Education has suggested a compromise with student demands, in which tuition would be lowered by about 4-5% next year, and that the conclusion of the Shohat Committee (against which the students are striking) will only be implemented the year after that.The Minister of Education proposed a compromise, in which tuition would be lowered by about 4-5% next year, and that the conclusions of the Shohat Committee (against which the students are striking) will only be implemented the year after that.

Finally, The Union of University Heads is scheduled to publish an ultimatum to the striking students tomorrow, using all main media outlets: whoever goes back to school on Sunday gets an extension on the semester and "understandings" regarding missed material and classes. Whoever continues with the strike, whoever, will be considered absent.. A student union head claimed that they will not be browbeaten, and a certain professor claimed that they would strike in solidarity, but no guarantees were given by either.

looks good to me TOJ, I'd embed a link to the previous article if I were you and I had a few thoughts on the text itself.

stepped out of line - took a more militant turn as students blocked roads...
Protest dissolved after leaders called for its dissolution - The protest ended after student leaders...
second paragraph is doubled
understandings -'understanding' treatment ...
Whoever - Anyone who continues...
whoever -however
certain - prominent

Mike Harman
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May 3 2007 17:41

ToJ it looks great.

"protest" in the first paralinked to the first article, or just a link at the end. Also a photo (the one from last week with "last week's protest" as a title/alt would be fine though if nothing new/better.

Thanks for writing up again!

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Tojiah
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May 3 2007 18:31

You're welcome. By the way, the ultimatum exposes the underlying theoretical weakness of the struggle. The stick wouldn't be so threatening, nor the carrot so enticing, had the movement been challenging the content of university, rather than just focusing on tuition hikes. Right now, students want to retain the product they paid for, so eventually they'll have to relent.

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Tojiah
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May 9 2007 22:13

Blimey, after the university heads extended the ultimatum by a day, the students did not yield, and the strike is still ongoing. Turns out that there's an emerging pattern of students rebelling against their own unions to continue the strike. Also note how tarnished the word "socialist" has become in Israel:

Quote:
The struggle cannot be pigeonholed as "socialist." On the contrary, the students have no shared social platform, but are trying to determine the kind of higher education they want. They wonder what difference it will make if a billion shekels are returned to the budget if privatization policies are pursued.

So a self-managed struggle of students which starts criticising the very content of their own education is not "socialist."

Mike Harman
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May 9 2007 22:22
Quote:
So a self-managed struggle of students which starts criticising the very content of their own education is not "socialist."

I dunno, the "Socialist Students" types would probably be in the student unions over here whingeing about the mass meetings and trying to divert it. I know what you mean though.

That's a suprisingly in-depth and relatively postive article from Haaretz. A full month strike already, and demos against compromises and stuff, seems like it could go for a while? Spread maybe?

Any idea what lecturers are doing? There's all those rolling teachers' strikes at the moment isn't there, no chance of school students getting involved?

I have no idea what the structure of Israel's education system is like (middle school/high school/sixth form/FE/university etc.).

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Tojiah
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May 9 2007 22:42
Mike Harman wrote:
Any idea what lecturers are doing? There's all those rolling teachers' strikes at the moment isn't there, no chance of school students getting involved?

The lecturer unions have favoured continuing the strikes with the students this time (would be kind of hard for them to stop striking if the students failed to show up, I guess). Don't know how the internal dynamics is among them, though.

Mike Harman wrote:
I have no idea what the structure of Israel's education system is like (middle school/high school/sixth form/FE/university etc.).

Well, it's 6 years grade school, 3 years middle school, 3 years high school, "usually" a gap of 3 years military service for men, 2 for women, though people are really starting to get out of that in droves the past few years, then undergraduate school, graduate school (Master's then Ph.D, though they're going towards direct Ph.D tracts in the more scientific disciplines), and death, which is the ultimate teacher.