A Question About the Student Protests.

I have a question to ask regarding current student protests against the genocide in Gaza. Police in the USA is cracking down on them violently, as is usually the case. There have been a lot of student protests throughout history all around the world. I am of course not familiar with too many of them, but two from my own country were most remarkable. One such protest in 1939 led to a violent crackdown led by the Nazi secret police Gestapo and extrajudicial executions of a number of students and it is today the reason for November 17 being International Student’s Day The other was in 1989, the violent crackdown was led by the Communists secret police StB and it has sparked the Velvet Revolution.

In those two instances a pattern arises, one that is not difficult to spot. That leads to my question:

Was there at any time and any place in history an instance of violent smackdown on student protests where the judgment of history was on the side of the police and not on the side of the students?

From the top of my head, I do not know about such an occurrence.


  1. moarscienceplz says

    Wellll …
    I think you have propped up a bit of a strawman, Charly. People who join police forces tend to be conservative, so they are not likely to be violent towards conservative protesters. The Charlottesville tiki torch rally was not violently suppressed because it was a bunch of conservatives doing it. Same with the protests against integrating schools in the ’60s and the anti-bussing protests in the ’70s. Also, each new generation tends to be more progressive than its predecessors, so liberal protests tend to be looked back on more favorably than conservative ones do (if that is an acceptable definition of the “Judgement of History”).
    I suppose one could formulate a “law” of human nature that protests in favor of progressive goals are quite likely to face violent backlash, but that is not a difficult conclusion to draw.

  2. amts says

    Not that I can recall -- unless the history is written with that slant in mind .i.e. the official Chinese version on the Tienanmen Square crackdown…

  3. Pierce R. Butler says

    Throughout the middle ages university towns such as Oxford, Paris and Bologna were incredibly dangerous places to live. Medieval students, it seems, often engaged in violent clashes with the townsmen and with one another. … Frequently in both contemporary source material and secondary literature student violence is portrayed as the actions of a drunken, violent minority who, as a result of clerical privileges bestowed upon students, did not fear temporal justice.

  4. says

    There were dramatic student protests in France in the 1960s, and I was a toddler stuck in the middle of them. I think the historical perspective would say something like that there was a time of unrest, resulting from the injustice of the republic’s involvement in Algeria and Vietnam, which was eventually suppressed but also did its part to encourage the government to get out of Algeria. Like with the contemporaneous student riots in the US, many of the rioters were absorbed into the capitalist system and eventually the movement lost momentum.

    In the US was COINTELPRO and in France, it was the CRS riot police with submachine guns and clubs, coupled with a failed right-wing putsch, that muddied the waters enough to make everyone step back from the brink.

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