On Student Activism at CUT

There is a need to try and resolve a dominant
contradiction(partisan pettiness) that is and has been alive and evident for quite sometime now; secondly, this necessity is not an affirmation of the logic that students are indeed apolitical and abhor political activism (and this means exactly activism not some pseudo-militancy and demagoguery disguised as radicalism lacking consciousness and fostering thereof). In fact, this is but an indication that some section of the student community is indeed apolitical, and that it is however, not the real reasons for the diminishing student participation in both student activism and governance.
Essentially, when one draws a complete picture of student activism and the state it is in, which directly impacts on student governance and thus students’ wellbeing, one discovers that:

1. There is a coding (implicitly or blatantly) of
student activism as “terrorism” by the University and its officials; the tendency to “demonize” (by suppression, intimidation and indoctrination) any form political activism and agitation (this is also evident in the manner the academic stuff treatsand regards the SRC and student leaders in general).
2. There is a lack of political education and
heightening of students’ consciousness by
students’ political formations,
3. There is lack of clearly defined objectives and strategies by students.
4. There is no unity and even cohesive,
consistent solidarity within the student
community.

A space has been created deliberately and
consciously by the University, to isolate and
eventually discard political consciousness and activism as important aspects of students’ existence in and their socialization as members of the academic community and the academic project. Politics have come to mean exactly what they were under apartheid, “terrorism”, and this is affirmed by the recent court order.

Political activists within the student community have failed to grasp this reality and conceive methods and ways to overcome it, instead has resorted to badmouthing each other thus perpetuating divisions within. The student community is complacent at best and ignorant at worst, of the reality of their environment and the status quo of student activism and governance, their only voice within a University.

Student activists as leaders of the student
community, as called upon by their incumbency and standing within this community, should quicken to dialectically approach this situation and ensure that they vigorously stop the rot and overturn the state of affairs. This should start by them firstly overcoming their petty differences, and finding common ground regardless of their affiliations and personal feelings towards each other; secondly identifying and agreeing on common objectives, thirdly devising a common programme of action in achieving the set objectives and fourthly accelerating political education and fostering of consciousness; remembering as Frantz Fanon said: “…[P]olitical education means opening up the mind, awakening the mind, and introducing it to the world. It is as Cesaire said “To invent the souls of men.” To politicise the masses is not and cannot be to make a political speech. It means driving home to the masses that everything depends on them, that if we stagnate the fault is theirs, and that if we progress, they too are responsible, that there is no demiurge, no illustrious man taking responsibility for everything, but that the demiurge is the people and the magic lies in their hands alone.” I believe once some of these can be done, we can go a long way in ensuring that a University is indeed a terrain of deliberative democracy and students’ grievances can be addressed better.

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