Thursday, July 23, 2009

The People are...Confused...BUT MAD!

The fact that I managed to take care of the debate tournament was doubly impressive when one takes into account the fact that there was also a general educational strike that very week in Berlin.

The causes were many and varied, and actually, I was kind of sucked into a planning meeting at Humboldt one afternoon while studying for my exam, and from what I could tell their particular demands included but weren't limited to:

getting rid of the bachelor-masters system
less expectation of student participation in lectures
getting rid of attendance requirements
no more need for permission slips

more money for the schools
...but no student fees (huh?)
no forcing students to take their exit exams
stop closing departments
being allowed to eat in the courtyards
greening of campus
extra tutors for foreign students
renewing some buildings on campus
excused absences for strikes


So a general strike was called. It didn't reach out to Spandau, but some of the teachers were going to be marching with the teacher's union, so I decided to join them a little late to be in the march, and we all know what that means!

BRING ON THE SNARKY SIGNAGE!


Without Education, I'd vote for the Republicans



Places in advanced high schools are not a raffle


1 School System, not 16 (this refers to how each state in Germany is REALLY different in their styles)


Rich parents for all!



This is Alexander von Humboldt holding a sign that says "Every human is excellent"



"All you need is love"...and presumably education



This just looked cool



"we are all relevant to the system"

The message of the day was actually rather convoluted, so not everyone was striking. At the Technical Uni only about 50 students turned out to strike, but between the 50 of them they managed to stop completely a main traffic artery of the city and cause hours of backups.

The Uni Potsdam and FU kids occupied some select buildings (mostly involved in the study of politics because those professors would be the nicest about their students running around), and that's what the big crowd set out to do as well:




video

It was very thrilling and felt like the 60s in America, before our young people decided to put on chinos and sign petitions instead of taking to the streets. I stuck around for a while actually, even took part in some student lead seminars on literature and one on history, which gave some of the grad students a chance to feel relevant (good for them!) and then I went home a little tanner and a little more angry about the American system invading the German universities (although they are all striving to be competitive with us...oops).

QUOTE OF THE DAY:


"in Stuttgart, we have 12,000 protesting!"
cheers
"In Hamburg, 18,000!"
cheers
"In Berlin...22,000!"
crowd goes crazy
"and in Munich....6,000"
groans and eye rolling ensue


Best Oddly Placed Flag:

Huh?

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