Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Student agitation has been going on since Mariastella Gelmini presented "her" reform, more aptly known as "Tremonti's School Cut." It has built in intensity since the beginning of October.

In short, each school or faculty set up its own website(s) that simply networked into a complex intercommunicative system, now known as l'Onda, the Wave. Students could join emailing lists by signing up at their faculty or school. The students- as well as teachers and deans- quickly set down basic guidelines for action that would allow the maximum of activity without unequivocally breaking the laws. Schools would allow for spaces and time lots for self-governing student activity that would not compromise classes. All loopholes and ambiguities in the law were exploited to the maximum so as foil any pretext by authorities to intervene.

This network, l'Onda, which continues to grow in vitality, is responsible for this "new way" of protesting which consists of apparently spontaneous happenings decentralized throughout the territory. It's very much like a living organism that has no head or tail, nor can be dismembered or decapitated. Excuse the crude language but the metaphor is apt. Every segment is the head and the body. So it all appears very spontaneous and improvised but to the contrary is highly organized. The movement causes disorientation because it appears to be far greater than what it is. But at the same time it is light and quick. The city of Rome has been chaotic for the past ten days because the students make themselves strongly present everywhere without totally occupying the territory. In fact, most people enjoy the chaos and goad on the students. Anti-student comments are very rare.

Most of the initiatives testify to the brilliance of the student organizers, such as public classes in major historical squares or even slums. The classes are so fascinating that many people stop what they routinely do just to listen and participate in the lessons. These educational events act as content-rich disruptive events in the average citizen's daily life. They have helped immensely in winning over much of the population to the students' protest and totally isolating the government in its boob tube castle.

All attempts by government propaganda to  smear the movement have been ineffectual since the students have been very quick at turning government snippets upside down or turning them into a counter-slogan. To this the students add recurrent taunts against government figures, a leitmotif of insults, usually associated with that age-group, but which becomes a strong tool.  

It is in this frustrating context that the government has sought to raise the level of conflict as hoped by Cossiga, the editorialists of the Berlusconi press, and sundry sycophants. In Piazza Navona and Bologna the government found grist for their attempt to criminalize the movement.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Fri Oct 31st, 2008 at 07:48:30 PM EST
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