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The Students Who Should Be Revolting


WE’VE BECOME USED to the increasing intolerance of far-left students over the years, with their demands for safe spaces, trigger warnings and nasty Nazi types to be banned from speaking on campuses. Calls for non-PC lecturers to be boycotted or subjected to show trials are par for the course. We’ve also started to enjoy the added ironic spice that some lecturers being targeted are themselves signed-up members of the leftist establishment.

You’d be forgiven then for thinking that every university campus is overrun with purple-haired feminist harridans and their effete non-binary male counterparts either screaming in the faces of fascists or sobbing their outrage at the skies. The truth is fortunately otherwise, although it doesn’t garner headlines.

This was the happy truth Zoe Strimpel of The Sunday Telegraph (“Why do we assume all young people are in love with the left?” 6 October 2019) discovered when she gave a talk at a London university recently: “Many young people,” she writes, “find the authoritarianism of those who toe the Leftist PC line tiresome, stifling and intimidating,” leaving them “unimpressed by the relentless lecturing and hectoring by SJWs.” One of the consequences of this, she notes, is a boost to the youth wing of the Conservative party.

Far more students than you’d expect are not just unconvinced by the diet of Marxist-feminist nonsense they are fed in humanities courses but are quite dismissive of it.

My own experience over thirteen years of teaching confirmed this view. And it is not just about ideologically obsessed youngsters. Far more students than you’d expect are not just unconvinced by the diet of Marxist-feminist nonsense they are fed in humanities courses but are quite dismissive of it. Blather about capitalism, patriarchy and gender and the incomprehensible ramblings of Hélène Cixous and Judith Butler leaves a lot of them cold even if they dutifully regurgitate the jargon of this charlatanry in their essays.

I often thought most of their lecturers would be appalled if they knew this. They don’t, and therein lies a big problem, because until students start complaining individually and collectively to them and to management nothing will change.

I know this is difficult. Nobody wants to stand out and make a nuisance of themselves, risking the resentment of their peers and possibly the censure of their tutors. In this they need to learn from the SJW opposition. The vocal and aggressive minority who push the progressive agenda can get away with their activism because to a large extent they have the media and management on their side. But they rarely identify themselves in public unless they have some defensible position within a students’ union or organisation, and they usually act as part of a mob.

The rebels need to do likewise and gather themselves into unofficial networks, using social media to keep in touch and organise. I say unofficial because any attempt to plug into official university or union structures is likely to meet with resistance and targeting. There is no need even to meet socially on university premises. There is strength in numbers and being part of a like-minded group is important in bolstering individual courage. It is vital in taking grievances to management.

Students also should realise that the economic advantage lies with them. They are now, like it or not, consumers, and if they think they are being short changed on their education they should use their position as leverage. Universities are frightened of bad publicity, which is why they cave in after little pushing by the PC mob, but they’re more frightened of losing the money that follows each student. I have known people who have transferred courses or even university because they cannot bear the political bias at work in their chosen subjects. This disquiet should be turned into economic threats.

This situation is dramatically different from that which pertained in the past. It may not be apparent to people who graduated twenty or twenty-five years ago. Many students were often openly political but their lecturers, even if they were in ideological agreement, generally restrained themselves from using their courses as a means of transmitting the same politics. That has now changed and as a result the humanities are in a state of decay. That decay will be terminal if the majority of students continue to remain silent while their authoritarian contemporaries bully them and their tutors carry on politicising their studies. It is time for the majority to fight back.

suxcoverCurrente Calamo columnist, poet and writer Michael Blackburn lives in Lincolnshire. A Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Lincoln University (2005 – 2008), his poetry has appeared in numerous publications and anthologies over the years, including Being Alive (Bloodaxe) and Something Happens, Sometimes Here (Five Leaves Press). His most recent book is Albion Days (perennisperegrinator press). Sucks to Your Revolution is a collection of his Fortnightly columns.

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