DISSIDENT YOUTH: THE DYNAMICS OF PROTEST

Created: 12/1/1964

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Dissident Youth: The Dynamics of Protest

I. Youthful dissidencehenomenon of our a. It is shaped everywhere by local conditions, but ithikthtfV'm* there .hp strikingin the morecountries. Aa the lesser developed countries progress on the economic scale and as their student populations grow, it is likely to become even more commonplace.

measure of dissidence is traceableage-old conflict between generationspsychiatric problems on the part ofof the participants.

robably most of

1. It stems from the, astounding growth of student populations in tho lastoears.

a. Many of the new generation ofLatin American, and Asianare from lower or lower-middle class families; they have first-hand knowledge of the socio-economic ilia

of the day. They expect at the least that the instruction they receive will prove functional* All too often it is not: curricula geared to jw 1 lites do not meet the requirements of mass education

2* It derives from the conditions of stu-/ dent life in much of the world,in the metropolitan universities ofoefully outmoded andfacilities, poor housing and the failure of communication between administrative authorities, faculty members and students, 3. Finally, it is attributable to skillful leadership and growing cynicism, a. This cynicism, particularly inis the consequence of the failure of political parties and other institutions to accommodate themselves to the economic advances and social changes which have taken place since World War II, to the

absence of compelling ideological issues in an era of relativeand the diminution everywhere of the moral authority of the family, the church,,the state.

example, thein Italy and Germany,in most Westernlonger are issue-oriented orto the constituenciesto represent. oungerfinds goverriment controlled

eneration which cameears ago and remains committed more to preserving power than tosociety.

dissidents find support forview of society in thea handful of neo-Harxistin Mao-Tse-tung*smass movementsnd in theexample provided by tworevolutionaries/-Fidel Castro

and Ernesto "Che" Guevara. to Guevara, whosesteadily* is revealingdissidents have very few_

II, The interplay of emotions, ideologies, and atti-'tudes which constitute the motive force behind protest is infinitely complex.

who would lead the dissidentsand exploit issues which promisefollowing.

Naturally, some issues prove morethan others andreater response.

Naturally, too, these issues change or are replaced by broader demands as pro* test evolvesonfrontation ensues--as at Columbia or the Sorbonne.

single issues can impel largedemonstrate, but US involvement inis most evocative, especially ifeal or alleged USor to an unpopular action bygovernment.

The Vietnamese conflict is the first major war in the lifetime of most of the student dissidents who are prone to be highly critical of "great power politics.

The radical German students, for example, criticize us for our role in Vietnam at the same time that they demonstrate against the Kiesinger government because of its advocacy of the so-calledlaws. Arab students charge us with complicityZionist conspiracy" aimed at establishing Israeli hegemony

in the Middle East. The university is the locus of protest because, first of all, it is the institution which most closely affects the lives of the protesters* In the wordstatement issued9roup of young American radicals: "We areof this generation, bred in at least modest comfort, housed in universities, lookingto the world we are toare the social forces that exist or must exist if we are to be successful? And what role have

we ourselves to playocial force?" (Port Huron Statement)

of the dissidents believe thatis highly centralized and thatinstitutions are closelyand able to blunt inost formsprotest. But they alsosociety abhors the kind of noisy,demonstration which impedes theof any one of its parts.

they think that bythe university they can forceits will to listen to their

C# Sociologists and psychologists call thewhereby students are drawn toin protesteradicalization. There is little agreement over the dynamicsand less evidence that any great numberradicalized once the exhilaration of combat is past. ewdo find that their outlook has been altered.

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IV* Protest begins with minor confrontations between university authoritiesmall but determined group of dissenters whose complaints have grown out of some aspect of university life (notdramatic)*

A. The authorities fai) to respond [in some

countries real authority is reserved toministries and the nominal university leaders are little more than figureheads; in other cases, they merelynd the dissidents become increasingly vocal and aggressive and may engage in "dresssuch as attempts to mar faculty convocations. This was the scenario at Nanterre, outside Paris, and at the Free University of Berlin.

An unplanned, spontaneousperhaps the arrest off campus of aa dramatic rallying point and picket lines or sit-ins are organized.

The dissidents, under pressure from all sides, seek to legitimize their stance by demanding more and more; thereluctantly dribble out piecemeal

concessions which feed the popular view that the militants now have seized the initiative.

The militants/ in turn, press theto the point that they balk.

Reconciliation becomes impossible and the authorities resort to force. ause celebre results. ecision by the administration at Columbia to proceed with the constructionuch disputed gymnasium, for example, was transformed by the effects of police intervention into an assault on the very structure of^h* university.

Student demonstrations are expressive, rather than directed.

A. They are intended to dramatize an issue,than to obtain the relief of agrievance. The demonstration, itself, becomes the focal point. It is intended to capture public notice.

1. This view of the efficacy of the tactics of confrontation can be traced to the

experiences of the young people whoin the Civil Rights Movement in the United States at the beginning of this decade.

Those young people attracted publicand because of public opinion were able to overturn antiquated social customs or local statutes not sanctioned by the Constitution.

In doing so, they won the approbation of many observers and their tactics were studied closely by young people elsewhere.

Today's dissidents sense that latentfor their position exists amongstudents and that it can be galvanized in much the same way thatin the Civil Rights Movement won support.

B. For this reason, the dissidents welcome the intrusion of the news media.

1. It is moot whether television or newsreel coveragetudent outbreak can spark similar demonstrations elsewhere. It does

seem likely, however, that by theiron violence, police intervention, etc, the media probably add to theand the durationisturbance. 2* They also evoke the sympathy of other students.

VI. Because of the revolution in communications, the

ease of travel, and the evolution of societyregardless of nationality, today's students share many values in common.

A* They commiinicate effectively with each other without regard to any institutional framework or national boundries. Language barriers are almost non-existent, D. Their common outlook is likely to influence the demands they make on government, VII, In the last nine months, student dissidents have 'closed down universities inountries,in several instances in bringing about changes in government policy.

A* the most violent demonstrations have taken place in West Germany and France. In France by far the vast majority of those

who took part in last May's violence sought to coerce an educationalhich has not changed appreciably since Napoleon's time, into enteringh Century. elative few sought to topple what theycorrupt" and "dehumanizing" government and cultivated an alliance with young industrial workers whom they sensed were chafing under onerous trade union and management direction. In the Federalmall band ofchiefly at the Free University in Berlin, has been able to disrupt educational routine and bring down civil authorities by exploiting the mistrust which many younghave for their elders' political judgment and its mistrust of government by coalition.

B. Student political activismong history in the Far East. In Japan, for example, the students have been accomodated in theprocess and functionuasi-legitimate opposition. They operate under popularlyground rules. In Indonesia, students fought the Japanese occupation in wartime and

were in the vanguard of the struggle forfrom the Dutch. Theyiercely nationalistic bulwark of Sukarno'sto turn against Sukarno with the support of the army when his complicity in the attemptedcoup became known.

If education is necessary in most places forit is doubly so in Africaegree means lifetime tenure in the civil African students see little chance for employment inof which still is owned by foreign stockholders and controlled by Europeanhave less interest in employment which would take them away from what pass for urban areas. They prefer to remain in the cities and press for "prestige" jobs in government.

Until recently, Latin American students wereoice in running the universities by customyear-old Argentine law which was adhered to throughout the area. They were cultivated and exploited by government and opposition leaders alike and figured in the downfallcore of governments. Lately,

SECRET

however, most Latin American governments have begun to deprive the universities of legal autonomy and to employ force to put downdemonstrations. In several countries the outcome is in doubt* In Mexico, fortrong, stable one-party government facesstudent opposition fueled byover the capital's dictation ofto local political office and itsover every segment of national life. In Brazil,restive students are not likely to bring down thetheir demonstrations may result in hardline military elementsthe government to adopt harshlymeasures. VIII. There is no convincing evidence of Communist con-

trol,student dissidents.

A. The most vocal of the dissidents everywhere are wary of being caught up in organizations controlled byy itsr by either the Chinese or Cubans* And they are scathingly critical of "neanderthal" local Communist leaderships whose aspirations toward

parliamentary participation they denounce.

In Italy and Franco, student riots have cost

the Communists electoral strength. B. Moscow can take little comfort from any of

this, even if it exacts fleeting advantage

from whatever confusion the dissidents cause

the United States and its allies. IX. In the long run, the Communists will have to deal with their own young people who are increasingly alienated by the oppressive features of Soviet life.

is ample evidence that Soviet youthwith tho political regimeof working effectively through itfinding any alternative,/and that theyoutside therewarding personal relationships, etc.

and Yugoslav youth already havethe Gomulka and Titothey live up to the promise of aand that marginally qualified partyrelinquish managerial andto university-trained specialists who

are capable of administering expanding economies. C* Finally* we should mention China and Mao Tse-tung's Red Guard, Superficially* there are striking parallels between the Red Guards and the student militants elsewhere. In actual fact, the Guards were brought into existence and are protected by the highest levels of the Chinese regime. Exceptrief period, the Guards have been kept alive by Mao and the radical clique about him despite the damage they have caused to the economy and to orderly administration of the state. Their targets have been chosen by Mao and his extremist In short, the regime uses the Red Guards to strike down or intimidate officials itunreliable. The childrenenerally affluentWest orless concerned with matters of economic livelihood/or the challenge ofevolutionary state on the ruins of autocratic rule than were their parents and some, at least, are deeply engrossed in the search for some newer means of arriving at moral values. For the moment.

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they seem to have settledeaffirmation of the dignity of the individual. Most commentators agree that Society's values are in flux; if this is so, restless youth are symptomaticeeper current than their numbers alone suggest.

THE STUDENT EXPLOSION

PERCENT INCREASE OVERSTUDENTS

FRANCE

INDIA

turkevmm

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JAPAN

GERMANY

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.

ITALY

ESCALATING TACTICS AND TECHNIQUES OF YOUTHFUL ACTIVISTS

yip*;

1

Sen Francisco Slaw

Berlin

Sproul Han

burn and destroy

olice or troop*

"body wort" on opposition or

police

bfttk ins

vandalize or destroy files; L_ sabotage; damage by peint.{Either as pan of iSt-in or by "hit and run'T

besiege offices; hold persons as hostages

resist erreit

go limp

arrested go quietly

plantay uniil victory or arrest

plan to ditpurse ai fixed liaie or on request

- sit-ins

march ins. etc (unauthorised! block intersections, streets

rallies, etc- (contrary to rules or laws)

harassment of opponents or administrators

boycott or "strike" sttnd-ins; mill ins picket lines

march ins. parades {authorized, with pe.'mKsJ

rallies, mass meetings, leach-ins

etc (authorized] dialogues and negotiations

petitions

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