Why Don't American Students Strike?
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Stateside solidarity and student consciousness may be possible, but the activist culture must address the multitude of distinctly American issues.
“You cannot evict an idea whose time has come.”
This statement, put out on occupywallst.org after the encampments were shut down, is reiterated in activist circles nation-wide.
But a movement forged in the fire of pre-figurative politics, where the means are the ends, cannot just wield an idea.
An idea can be inhabited by an individual. A culture is inherently based on interactions between people. Culture is not convincing, but demonstrative. A culture is a manifencours, a manifestation, of a society that encompasses many ideas and principles, best articulated through practice.
John Dewey, the philosopher who pioneered “learning by doing,” wrote, “Education is a social process…education is not preparation for life but is life itself.” Spreading ideas helps people understand Occupy, but sharing culture helps people become Occupiers. A reorientation toward crafting a culture of accessible activism may allow students to learn by doing.
American students need to create their own organizing culture, perhaps incorporating Quebecois syndicalism but without ignoring the principles of radical horizontalism employed by Occupy to address the uniquely American inequalities engraved into our identities — or else suffer terminal fractures like movements past.
As the Occupy Student Debt Campaign takes off, and college dissidents congregate at the Student Power Convergence in August, let the project be creating an accessible activist culture to support a mass movement.