From brandishing placards to 'swivelchair activism'

It has been said that students of today and recent years are no longer radical because they'd rather be drinking, going to a club, or that protesting isn't 'cool' anymore.

However, many continue to believe that students are still broadly concerned about what affects them and concerned about injustices from almost any part of the world, but seem put off by actually carrying their concerns into the open.

In other words, students have been put off traditional forms of protest and political involvement, even if discontentment continues to rumble on below the surface.

That is the that point I believe is made in The Guardian today in an article called Swivelchair activisim (Fay Schlesinger), and may, as is the theme of this blog, have parallels with the decline of organized forms of industrial protest.

For example, it is argued in the article that 'hardy student activism is far from over' and there is growing evidence that students are increasingly willing to get involved with campaigns run via social networking sites, such as Facebook.

A spokesperson for the NUS suggests there are three clear advantages of using Facebook as an organizing tool:

- it's incredibly popular amongst school students, university students and post-school and university people
- by setting up a group people can be contacted and informed when not at school or university, etc.
- the networks extend beyond those currently affected by a problem, i.e. tap into the potential of ex-students for support.

Overall, it would appear that it may be rather foolish to claim that structural conflict is largely a thing of the past now that free marketeers have colonised the high political ground, without first of all checking out what is going on in Cyberspace.

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