And we better get ready for it.
It’s looking more and more like these recent campus protests are going to bloom into a real, widespread movement. That’s a wonderful development. We need to be proactive in defending this nascent movement, and we need to be completely honest with ourselves about the inevitable backlash and retrenchment. I actually am not too worried about the administrations at most universities; I think that many of them are realizing that the students have real power, that the students and the faculty are the university, and that they can’t ignore these demands forever. No, my real fear is state politics and state universities. I have no doubt that some state legislatures and governors will use this issue as a way to push their typical narrative about the university and call for further defunding of our public institutions. Indeed, as Dave Weigel reports, national GOP leaders are already going there. I’m very afraid that, because conservatism so dominates state politics in the US, we’re going to see a lot of these bodies come down hard on campuses with effective protests.
So if like me you’re sympathetic to these protests, I think you’ve got to start to lay the groundwork and fight for representation for these students in these bodies. If you live in Missouri and you support the protesters, you need to start calling and emailing your state legislators now. If you support the protesters, you need to start calling and emailing the (Democrat) governor now. You’ve got to make these demands. And people in other states have to be prepared for the fights that are likely ahead. Because everything I know about 21st century America tells me that the empire is going to strike back, and hard, and it will use the bodies it most strictly controls to do so.