Streams

Open Phones: Student Protest

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Today’s the 40th anniversary of the student uprising at Columbia University and we want to hear from anyone who protested at Columbia in the spring of 68…. and any college students today. Is there a generation gap in how you work for change?

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Comments [11]

hjs from 11211

young people today like all Staters just are not prepared to make a single sacrifice for anything.

Apr. 23 2008 05:03 PM
Gene

Re: #3:

People forget that _not_ all young in the sixties were progressive. Quite the contrary. Even among college students, remember, no protests at U Miss. Lots of right wing powers were extremely strong in the 60s, John Birch Society, Phyllis Schafly, etc.

If you want to criticize young 60s progressives, you could blame them for not being as rich and politically focused/smart/well-funded as the right, which in many ways (not all) truly triumphed.

Apr. 23 2008 11:48 AM
World's Toughest Milkman from the_C_train

I guess everyone's forgetting the big protest against Gilchrist and the Minutemen project where the hyper liberal Columbia students so ardently concerned with civil rights, political correctness and free speech, attacked and removed the speaker...all the while they sat in awe of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The internet is just a tool to be used for activism. Just as it was touted that it would be the end of "brick and mortar" stores and it wasn't neither is it "activism" in itself. Something like that silent rave the other day is a perfect example of it's power, could a protest be orgainzed in the same manner?

Apr. 23 2008 11:21 AM
James from brooklyn

Kids are scared out of their wits by the process of getting into college. This fear carries over into grad school and getting your first job. (in new york the process starts with kindergarten).

Today, there is at the same time less anonymity and more anonymity.

With regards to your criminal record and any mischief you get up to, there is less anonymity because all the databases are accessible.

More anonymity on the internet. When you get frustrated by living in the "well behaved box" the internet provides the perfect anonymous and safe place to vent political bile. But unfortunately it won't go anywhere.

Apr. 23 2008 11:14 AM
Denice from CUNY City College

I am a college student and I would not attribute the comparative lack of student protest to a generation gap. We [college students] have had a chance to read about what happened to protesters in the 60s, we've read about COINTELPRO and we know how scary our government is. I think that we recognize there being more to loose for our generation then there was for our parent's generation because we've seen and read about the extent to which the police can and will militarize in the face of protest (I'm thinking of the 2004 Republican Nat'l Convention, which was my first visit to NYC). Also, the forms of protest that were popular in the 1950s, 60s and 70s (marches and sit in and the like) are a little played out in 2008 and just don't seem as effective as they once were.

Here's the equation as I see it:

City under the constant surveillance of scary cops + ineffective methods of protest = Students staying in class hoping to go into a career that will allow them to work for change in a constructive way that won't get them arrested or killed

Apr. 23 2008 11:11 AM
Mike from NYC

I'm in my 50s and a part-time MA student at Columbia. I remember the protests of the 1960s. I think today's students are simply more aware of how little was fundamentally changed as a result of the loud and in your face activism of the 1960s. They are just as concerned and act in more concrete ways to effect change. I'm also sick of the so-called radicals from the late '60s who compare themselves to the students of today. They are the same blowhards their parents were. (Think: America's Greatest Generation, except celebrating their protests instead of winning WWII).

Apr. 23 2008 11:07 AM
Born in DC from NYC

WOULD YOU PLEASE BE FAIR AND IDENTIFY THE GENDER AND ETHNIC MAKEUP OF THE COLUMBIA STUDENT BODY IN 1968, AS WELL AS THE OTHER IVY LEAGUE CAMPUSES? I WAS A STUDENT AT A WOMAN'S COLLEGE AND REMEMBER ONLY TOO WELL WHO WAS BEHIND STUDENT RIOTS. OUR CAMPUS RIOTS WERE ORCHESTRATED BY OTHERS.

MY CHILDREN TODAY ATTEND IVY SCHOOLS WHICH NOW ARE SIGNIFICANTLY MORE DIVERSE. AS WELL AS CONTAINING WHAT I WOULD TERM A MORE GLOBAL STUDENT BODY. STUDENTS ARE ALLOWED TO VOTE AT 18 NOT 21.

THERE IS NO PREPONDERANT STUDENT GROUP FACING IMMEDIATE DRAFT UPON GRADUATION.

PERHAPS, FUTURE HISTORIANS WILL LOOK AT THIS PERIOD WITH A MORE DETACHED POINT OF VIEW.

Apr. 23 2008 11:05 AM
Gene

It's the draft, it's the draft, it's the draft.

The administration has dis-invested citizens from its wars, just as it seeks to INvest the populace in free-market issues (by, for example, having Social Security accounts put in the stock market, so people will be invested in and concerned about any regulations or lawsuits that might hurt business, ie, their portfolios.)

That said, as an ex-Berkely grad and Vietnam war protestor, when Columbia erupted, I remember thinking they did seem overly self-righteous and holy, whereas I was going, "Geez, what took them so long?"

Apr. 23 2008 11:03 AM
Jon P. from Hewitt, NJ

Lets see, the people who protested in 1968 are arguably our current political and business leaders. Their progress since 1968L We currently have a never ending war just like Vietnam, we have more pollution then ever and Big business all but owns this country. They have become more greedy and reckless then the “establishment they protested against. I’d have to say all college student protests 1968 were an excuse to get out of class…

Apr. 23 2008 11:00 AM
KC from Manhattan

I'm glad to see the internet myth get smacked down. Who cares if you can put it on the internet? The idea that you automatically reach millions of people is ridiculous. You reach whoever wants to agree with you. It's not part of the solution, so it must be part of the...

Apr. 23 2008 10:57 AM
Chas from Flemington

Brian, bring back the draft, include women this time, and you'll see double the activism of the Vietnam era.

Apr. 23 2008 10:56 AM

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