Can’t afford higher education? Come to our public universities. We’ll slash your budget. We’ll raise your tuition. The administration will castrate student power and subject you to consumer status. Demand democracy in your country but not in your workplace and certainly not in your university. We’ve set aside space for the public, so long as they use it as we deem fit. We have ample resources to harness for student life- just make sure you are an accountable, affiliated organization, ask permission and fill out these forms in a timely manner.
Why do we allow this? It’s not a secret that university life should be more than books and tests. It’s understood that developing social skills and networks, taking on responsibility and developing autonomy are key to growing as a person and that these are four (or more) key years in anyone’s life.
I want to talk specifically about the concept of responsibility. Starting an organization, filing paperwork and coloring inside pre-established lines is not being responsible. It’s being obedient. Being responsible is having free reign and deciding what’s best to do with that reign. It’s not being guided, like sheep or show horses, over grassy knolls or hurdles. Most of all: responsibility requires the ability to fuck up. I don’t mean fuck up in an “oh, man, I should have filled out that paperwork in time” way. Those fuck ups are artificial. They’re established to prevent real fuck ups. What they actually do, though, is shield us from reality and shut down the motivation and ability to reason within the wider boundaries of existence.
While resistance can and often does have an end (restore state funding to the public education system, remove private interests from the public sector etc.), resistance in and of itself is an end. It is a transformation of thinking and being. It is developing a sense of autonomy that breaks norms and sometimes laws and allows one to become truly human. It is liberation. Resistance for the sake of resistance is obviously a bit too abstract and, to be frank, dangerous. The merits of resistance, though, remain regardless of whether or not the demands made come to fruition now, one hundred years from now or never.