Students protest the partial privatization of Colombian

education in Bogotá, April 7. Are there lessons for Occupy

Wall St. and the rest of the global Occupy movement in the

strategies of Colombian students?



Semana, Colombia

Indignation Spreads Far and Wide, but Lack of Clarity Dogs 'Occupy'


"Colombian students, in 45 days of peaceful protest, have taught a lesson in applied political science not only to their generational colleagues around the planet, but to rickety political parties and incompetent leaders far and wide."


By Rafael Ballén


Translated By María Celeste Chantre Fortes Alves


November 21, 2011


Colombia - Semana - Original Article (Spanish)

An Occupy San Francisco demonstrator outside the Federal Reserve Bank in San Francisco: Can the Occupy movement learn a few things about getting things done on the ground.

NTN NEWS 24 VIDEO [COLOMBIA]: Colombian students protest the partial privatization of educational funding, Sept. 8, 00:01:09RealVideo

From time to time, people become indignant. Everyone has their own way of dealing with it when patience runs out: screaming, stealing or killing to steal, crying or committing suicide. People who are more sensible cross arms and give voice to the collective thoughts of their societies. They create a collective soul and together, dream of more lasting strategic changes in the search for a better world - and a more decent life. November 30, 1999 was one of those afternoons: Over 25,000 demonstrators took the streets of the U.S. city of Seattle and with the support of unions and environmentalists rallied at the site of the World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference, which was being launched by finance ministers from the 135 WTO member states. In Washington D.C. four and a half months later, on April 16th 2000, 6,000 people demonstrated at the IMF's semi-annual meeting with the World Bank. And then, nine months later in January 2001, the indignation was against the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Just as the indignant ones in Davos were rejecting the outrageous ravages of the global market, this evolution gave rise to the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre (Brazil).    



Twelve and a half years after Seattle, on May 15, 2011 in La Puerta del Sol in Madrid, the indignant ones reappeared. Since then, the outrage has spread throughout Europe and from north to south, has arrived in the Americas. But this time, the countries of the south are providing a lesson in conceptual and methodological clarity to those in the north.


And yet the indignant ones in Europe and the United States lack clarity about what they want or where their demonstrations should lead. “The hundreds of protesters who have camped for weeks in a public park near Wall Street can't agree about what precisely they are upset about or even the current state of affairs,” Adriana La Rotta wrote for El Tiempo on November 13 from New York. In contrast, in Chile and Colombia, students know why they are angry and where there indignation should be directed: in the defense of a free, high quality public education.


Students have written a thousand and one epics: in Europe in the spring of 1968; in the United States to opposition to the Vietnam War; in Tiananmen Square against Chinese authoritarianism. Now, in a dialectical exchange between a paltry minority of privileged people who have it all, and the vast majority of the excluded, students in Europe, the United States, Latin America and around the world are again taking sides to campaign for justice.




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La Jornada, Mexico: Jobs' Career Showed How Capitalism was Meant to Work
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Estadao, Brazil: To Shorten Crisis, U.S., E.U. Should Look to Latin America
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Mainichi Shimbun, Japan: U.S. Must Prevent Another 'Made in U.S.' Disaster
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Die Zeit, Germany: U.S. Risks 'Plunging World' Into New Financial Crisis
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But Colombian students, in 45 days of peaceful protest, have taught a lesson in applied political science not only to their generational colleagues around the planet, but to rickety political parties and incompetent leaders far and wide. It is left to us to learn from their organizational methods, conceptual consistency and perseverance. Our angry young people are graduates of enlightened strategy.


We will have to ask them to manage our erratic judicial reform, the recovery of land for peasant farmers and the peace process. And as for the rest, we need to advise them to regain their old Spartican powers of protest and learn from the heroes of the Paris Commune. History will show them how to lead the collective soul of the community.



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