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After two years, protesters claim victory

Darius Mirshahi | Interrobang | Opinion | February 9th, 2009



Editorial opinions or comments expressed in this online edition of Interrobang newspaper reflect the views of the writer and are not those of the Interrobang or the Fanshawe Student Union. The Interrobang is published weekly by the Fanshawe Student Union at 1001 Fanshawe College Blvd., P.O. Box 7005, London, Ontario, N5Y 5R6 and distributed through the Fanshawe College community. Letters to the editor are welcome. All letters are subject to editing and should be emailed. All letters must be accompanied by contact information. Letters can also be submitted online by clicking here.
After an unrelenting and uncompromising two-year campaign against militarization on our campus, we've dealt a major blow to the war machine on campus. That's right; the military will NOT be participating in this year's Career Fair, and they haven't had a visible presence on campus at all this year.

In the past two years the military has attempted to prey on students, but Fanshawe's halls have been a demilitarized zone so far this year, and it's not because they aren't looking for recruits anymore. They need recruits now more than ever. They aren't coming to Fanshawe though. This is because there is visible, direct and confrontational resistance to their presence here.

Once again, direct action gets the goods. If our club had gone through the appropriate channels' to voice our concerns we would have been brushed aside or sucked into useless bureaucratic paper work. We definitely would not be celebrating this victory had we not taken the direct approach. This is a very important lesson we all need to learn as we decide what kinds of tactics we should use in our struggles.

Instead of playing their game, a fixed game in which they hold all the cards, we decided to use our own power as students to change the game. If we had used the lobbying approach of ‘working within the system' we would have been acknowledging our lack of self-determination and our ultimate powerlessness, which is exactly what authority figures want us to do whether they be cops, politicians, or college administrators.

By deciding to bypass these oppressive, hierarchical, and disabling power structures, we flipped the script and forced the college to play the only card they could, which was violence. The fact that they had their own students arrested two years in a row was a giant display of their weakness and our effectiveness. The charges all got dropped and the arrests ultimately brought the issue to the forefront of college politics for two years straight.

These creative actions of civil disobedience did more than shake things up at Fanshawe. They got positive mainstream media attention across the city and news of them spread internationally. Our club received letters of support from groups and individuals across the continent, strengthening our support networks.

The military isn't participating in this year's Career Fair, because the college doesn't want to have to deal with us. They don't want to have to use violence against their students this year to stop them from effectively voicing their opinions. They don't want confrontation, but they will continue being confronted. We will challenge the corporatization of this school, and the commodification of our education. We will challenge the police state presence of ‘special constables', and the overpaid administrators that hire them. We will challenge how this entire institution is run in a direct and confrontational way. And rest assured, if the military ever does show up again, they will be confronted once again. Expect resistance.
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