Freedom and the Students

Who controls the past now controls the future. Who controls the present now controls the past.

2010 – the past – and 2011 – both present and future … And what of the future? Our future?

The back end of 2010 was a harsh reminder to this country that a people under pressure will rise against their masters. Freedom has always been a matter of give and take. There is no getting away from the fact that, in life, one must sacrifice some personal freedoms in order to build a supportive community.

… But what happens when that support is removed and we are expected to remain passive?

London, December 9. When a body famed for its apathy rises against the state in numbers great enough to shake the doors of the powers that be … one can’t help but be inspired.

Students. Famous for apathy. The working class. These days famous for the same apathy. What next? Who next? The TUC has backed the students and the students have united with the TUC for their march in March. January 29 will see another student march on London. Across the nation the schools have churned out activist after activist in what is becoming a wave of politicisation amongst the youth of today.

There is a schedule and these events are scheduled to go on … and on.

Having spent time amongst those occupying and at rallies and demos organised by students – not just in London but in York and Leeds as well as Birmingham and Manchester – I feel I have to stand back now and look at this realistically. And realistically speaking, this movement is expanding, rolling along and sweeping up more and more into its body as it makes its way through the year and down towards London.

When any such body is so dedicated to the overhaul of an oppressive master it is more inclined to take setbacks in its stride than to treat them as such. It is unlikely that this will stop any time soon.

So what does it mean for “speaking for freedom” and its future in England?

Well – for a start – it means that people have been reminded that it’s all very good to speak for freedom – in this case, the freedom to study regardless of personal wealth and background – but sometimes your freedom needs to be enforced. If not enforced, enacted.

Freedom to protest.

The students cannot be defeated – they have already lost the fees vote – and yet they continue to rage against the system that is removing the freedoms of their allies and their children to yet to be. This is perhaps the meaning of a lost cause. The original cause was lost but all that has meant is that a new cause has been gained.

Activism is at a new high and the people oppressed are beginning to recall that they are shackled to a way of things. That “way” is supportive to a degree but until we have recognised that we can throw away these shackles for a time and change the world we will remain shackled to the best interests of our masters.

This is FREEDOM.

FREEDOM is OURS.

And we have to keep speaking for it – in actions and words – or it will fall away from us and eventually out of our grasp. At least, until someone stands up anew and shakes their fist at the chains of oppression.

… There is no time like the present.

To paraphrase, there is a time and a place for these things:

what better place than this; what better time than now?

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