Early December 2018. It all started as a seemingly spontaneous explosion of student anger against the fees imposed on students for ‘re-sit exams’ in one faculty. It almost immediately brought together thousands of students from various faculties from the University of Tirana, and soon after from the University of Agriculture in Tirana. They all came together in front of the Ministry of Education. Inspired by their fellow students in Tirana, in the following days students from other universities in the major cities of Albania organized similar protests at their own universities and some even came down to join the student protest in front of the Ministry of Education.
To Macron’s dismay, the popular movements show no signs of slowing down. The Air France tussle over salaries is separate from the larger and politically more significant stand-off between Macron’s centrist, business-friendly government and the public sector trade unions fighting its reform plans. Rail unions are particularly up in arms over proposed reforms that they say would reduce job security. Students have been blocking several public universities over Macron’s plan to introduce more selective applications. There is a general atmosphere of social discontent against Macron’s reforms, including protests and strikes by civil servants, energy workers and garbage collectors. Recently, Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire admitted that, while he couldn’t produce numbers, it was clear that the strikes were impacting growth.
Students stormed the stage and held banners aloft as former US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power gave a speech at John Hopkins University. The protesters condemned her involvement in the US decision to back the war in Yemen. Power, who served as UN ambassador from 2013-2017, was speaking at the Baltimore campus on Tuesday when a group of students interrupted her speech. The protesters held up banners reading, ‘Samantha Empowers Genocide In Yemen’ and, ‘It’s still Genocide when US allies do it.’ The demonstration forced Power to briefly suspend her address. Despite calls from some in the audience to leave the stage, the eight protesters reportedly stood there silently for almost half an hour while Power renewed her speech. Addressing the demonstrators, Powers said that she would talk about Yemen in the discussion segment of the symposium and would be willing to meet with the protesters afterward.
Wednesday, March 14, was one month after the Parkland school massacre in Florida. Students from more than 3,100 schools marked the event with a National Walkout day. Estimates are more than one million students walked out of their classrooms at 10:00 am. Many students planned to walk out of class for 17 minutes — one for every person killed during the horrific mass killing. The students demanded gun law reforms to show solidarity with the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida where the attack occurred on Valentine's Day.
It is astonishingly rare for any kind of direct action to be truly spontaneous. Most of the major marches or pickets you see on the news were weeks or months in the planning and organizing, and this is no exception. Best case scenario at the time of writing is that you have three weeks to plan if you are walking out on March 14. That’s short notice, but very far from impossible. The longer time horizon of April 20 is going to allow you to potentially do more publicly facing actions, like teach-ins, or arrange for speakers. Either way, the steps you need to follow are the same, how much time you have to do them is the only difference. First, your strongest shield is numbers. The bigger the walkout, the harder it will be for administrators and teachers to retaliate against you for taking action.
In light of the outpouring of youth activism for stricter gun laws and against the militarization of schools, Teaching for Change shares these examples of young people at the forefront of social movements throughout U.S. history. We hope these can be useful in the classroom to inform and inspire this generation of activists.
By Staff of Tele Sur - Puerto Rico has US$70 billion in total debt, a 45 percent poverty rate and unemployment more than twice the U.S. average. Thousands of students from the University of Puerto Rico in Rio Piedras approved a 48-hour strike inside the university Wednesday to protest against the massive budget cuts announced by the government last Thursday. About 3,500 students gathered at 7 a.m. as a General Assembly in several amphitheaters against the US$300 million budget cuts ordered by the U.S. Financial Control Board. The vote for the strike concluded the session, with 2,788 in favor of a strike and 91 against, while the first resolution approved a better inclusion of the transgender and transsexual community in the various services provided by the university.
By Emma Whitford for Gothamist - Several hundred NYC high school and college students walked out of class at noon on Tuesday and gathered in Manhattan's Foley Square to protest President Donald Trump and his administration's policy proposals on public and higher education as well as, more broadly, "bigotry, hatred, and prejudice." The walkout coincided with the Senate confirmation of Betsy DeVos, who became the first cabinet nominee in American history to be confirmed following a tie vote. Vice President Mike Pence broke the tie, according to CBS. DeVos has been derided by charter school and public school advocates alike, for her apparent lack of basic education policy knowledge and numerous conflicts of interest.
By Allyson Gross for 350.org - New York, NY -- Within 100 hours of Donald Trump’s inauguration, in the first and largest youth-led mobilization of 2017, thousands of students across the country walked-out of class in protest of Trump and his corrupt fossil fuel billionaire cabinet. This comes just two days after nearly 3 million people mobilized in Women’s Marches around the world. Students on dozens of campuses across the country are demanding administrations resist and reject Trump’s climate denial cabinet by divesting from fossil fuels and reinvesting in solutions to the climate crisis. “In the face of Trump’s dangerous climate denial, youth are rising up,” said Greta Neubauer, Director of the Divestment Student Network.
By G. Wayne Miller for The Providence Journal - PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Several hundred Brown University students, most of them wearing black, on Wednesday afternoon staged a peaceful walkout urging school leaders to "protect" all Brown students, as organizers put it — particularly members of the Native American, black, Latino, undocumented, Muslim, LGBTQ and other communities who fear for their safety following the election of Donald Trump as president.
By Donna St. George, Perry Stein And Alejandra Matos for Washington Post - A group of hundreds of Maryland high school students walked out of class on Monday morning to protest Donald Trump’s presidential election, streaming into the school’s football field before numerous students headed out into local streets, tying up traffic. Students from Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring moved their protest along University Boulevard, heading toward other Montgomery County schools in an attempt to recruit more anti-Trump protesters.
By Stefan Christoff for Beautiful Trouble - In 2012, Québec students managed to reverse a major tuition hike and a draconian anti-protest law through direct democracy, creative tactics, and mass demonstrations involving hundreds of thousands of people. In 2012, Québec students managed to reverse a major tuition hike and a draconian anti-protest law through the practice of direct democracy, creative tactics, and mass demonstrations involving hundreds of thousands of people.
By Julia Jones for Red Flag - A group of middle and high school students in Oakland, California, recently made international news when they joined San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s silent protest against racism and police violence in the United States. The students, members of the Oakland Unified School District’s Honour Band, knelt as they played the national anthem before a professional baseball game. The year 7 and 8 students spoke to Red Flag about their decision to “take the knee”.
By Brandon J. Dixon, Hannah Natanson, and Leah S. Yared for The Harvard Crimson - Monday marked a showing of force in support for Harvard’s dining services workers as more than a hundred students and supporters flooded the lobby where negotiations between the University and HUDS’s union took place. After roughly 500 students walked out of classes and rallied in Harvard Yard, more than 100 students and supporters of Harvard’s picketing dining services workers sat in the lobby of 124 Mt. Auburn St., singing, and chanting—and, eventually, doing homework—for nearly seven hours.
By Staff of Al Jazeera - South African police have used tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades against students protesting for free education in Johannesburg. Two students were arrested and another and one staff member were injured in the violence on Tuesday at the University of the Witwatersrand, or Wits. Similar unrest has occurred since last month at other financially struggling South African universities, forcing a number, including Wits, to close.