مع دعواتي بالتوفيق لطلاب العلم في الأردن والعالم في عامهم الدراسي الجديد وفي المهمات الملقاة على عاتقهم ضد العولمة والهيمنة بالبسطار الأمريكيEmbark Now
by Michael Albert?
In the U.S. summer is winding down. Soon U.S. students will trek back toschool, including college. Would that I was one of them, not because itwould mean I was forty years younger - though that would be a nice turnof events - but because this is the first Fall semester in thirty yearsI have felt the desire to be scaling ivy walls and prowling campuscorridors. What's coming to NYU, Wisconsin, SF State, MIT, Howard, Pepperdine,Morehouse, Purdue, Loyola? What's coming to Drake, Kansas State,Rutgers, Boston University, University of Chicago, Duke, Berkeley, KentState? What's coming to Reed, Bucknell, Colombia, Vanderbilt, Austin,Evergreen, Concordia, Yale, Jackson State - and all the rest? Tumult, turmoil, tension, and resistance? Rejection and revolt? That'swhat ought to happen. It's what I hope will happen. Flash back to May 1970: Richard Nixon announced the invasion ofCambodia. Already intense campus unrest dramatically escalated. Nationalguard shot to death four students at Kent State University. Campuseserupted. Two were killed and twelve wounded at Jackson State. About2,000 students were arrested in the first half of May 1970. Campuseswere declared in a state of emergency in Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan, andSouth Carolina. At least a third of the nation's nearly 3,000 collegeshad strikes. Over 80% of all colleges and universities had protests.Approximately four million students, half the country's total, and350,000 faculty members actively participated in strikes. Buildings wereshut down. Highways were blocked. Campuses were closed. Nixon's ScrantonCommission reported that roughly three quarters of all studentssupported the strikes. Pollsters reported that within campuses aloneover a million people claimed to favor revolution and called themselvesrevolutionaries. In early 1971 the New York Times reported that four outof ten students, about three million people, thought a revolution wasneeded in the United States. This upsurge and the civil rights and thenblack power movement, the women's movement, the antiwar movement, andthe youth rebellion behind it, together threatened the very fabric ofsociety and thereby helped end a war and turn the country's mentalityinside out and upside down. Racism was under seige. Sexism was inretreat. Suburban culture was tottering. A gigantic war machine feltshackles. Even capitalism had cracks. But the desire to attain a betterworld did not last sufficiently long or grow sufficiently wide toreplace Washington's White House and Wall Street's corporations which,instead, went on producing greed and domination. Capitalism'sinstitutional persistence slowly eroded and even devoured mygeneration's aspirations for solidarity and self management. Flash forward thirty five years to next week: Imagine students back ontheir campuses. Do they discuss what courses to take? Ways to hook upwith new guys or gals? Upcoming athletic seasons? I'd be surprised ifnot, but I hope students' also focus on war and peace. I hope they focuson New Orleans, and why calamities afflict the poor so much worse thanall others. I hope they focus on why life in the world is so much lessthan it could be for the starving, the bombed, the unemployed, and forthose working at jobs that rob dignity, stifle creativity, and subjectso many souls to stupefying rule by others. I hope they even talk aboutworking at elite jobs and having no time to live, no space to be humane,and no meaning beyond the next dollar. I hope students' main topic thisFall is what they want out of life, spiritually, emotionally,intellectually, and yes, materially, and how they are going to get itconsistent with their working hard for everyone else getting it too.Imagine students asking why their curriculums produce ignorance aboutinternational relations, ignorance about market competition's violationsof solidarity, sagacity, and sustainability. Imagine students deciding enough is enough. Maybe one particular studentwho wears a funny hat and has a history of being aloof, or perhaps onewho looks straight as a commercial and was high school class most likelyto have a million friends, will write a song about masters of theuniverse - and unseating them. Maybe another student will write aboutfloods drowning people's hopes, and about a rising tide of our owncompassionate creation lifting people's prospects. Maybe another studentwill write about resurgent racism and sullying sexism, and then aboutcombative communalism and feminism and their time finally coming. Andmaybe students will hum the new tunes and sing the new lyrics - andrally, march, sit in, occupy, all while waving a big, solid fist.Imagine students not just sending out emails to their friends andallies, but entering dorms and knocking on every door, initiating longtalks, communicating carefully-collected information and debatingpatiently-constructed arguments that address not only war and poverty,but also positive prospects we prefer. Imagine students earmarking fraternity and sorority members, athletes,and scholars, for conversation, debate, incitement, and recruitment.Imagine students come to see their campuses as places that should bechurning out activists and dissent and come to see themselves as havingno higher calling than making that campus-wide dissent happen.Imagine students schooling themselves outside the narrow bounds of theircolleges, learning that there is an alternative to cutthroat competitionand teaching themselves to describe that alternative and to inspireothers with it, to refine it, and especially to formulate and implementpaths by which to attain it.Imagine students, now sharing many views and much spirit, angry and alsohopeful, sober and also laughing, sitting in dorms and dining areasforming campus organizations, or even campus chapters of a largerencompassing national community of organizations - perhaps somethingcalled students for a participatory society this time around - or evenstudents for a participatory world - and maybe even having each chapterchoose its own local name. Dave Dellinger SPS. Emma Goldman SPS. MalcolmX SPS. And for that matter, Rosa Luxembourg SPS, Emiliano Zapata SPS,Che Guevara SPS. And so on. Imagine, in short, students rising up with information, relentlessfocus, and some abandon too, becoming angry, militant, and aggressive,but keeping foremost mutual concern and outreaching compassion. Imagine all this pumping into the already nationally growing U.S.dissent against war and injustice, pumping into the neighborhoodassociations and union gatherings and church cells and GI resistance, ayouth branch willing to break the laws of the land and to push thoughtsand deeds even into revolutionary zones. Imagine students singing,dancing, marching, and law breaking up a storm.That is something the antiwar movement, the anti corporate globalizationmovement, the movement for civil rights and against racism and sexism,the movements for local rights against environmental degradation, themovements for consumer rights against corporate commercialism, and thelabor movement too, all need. We need youth.Imagine young people, with time, energy, heart, and mind, discerningthat they are being coerced by society most often to become passivevictims, sometimes to become passive agents, occasionally to becomeactive perpetrators but only as cruel and rich beneficiaries ofsociety's injustices. Imagine students seek more and other. Imagine theyhunker down for the long haul, much better equipped and much betteroriented than my generation ever was. I think, I hope, students are about to not only reject statist war andcorporate greed, but to carry that rejection into positive advocacy andanger that gives entire campuses and not small sub communities sustainedcommitment. That will be a ticket to a new world for everyone, a ticketmuch better than old style graduation into the morally decrepit worldall around us. This trip is long. But why not embark now?