University Resists Neoliberal Violence
The student movement is fighting for free university education
so that the poor will not be robbed of the chance to study and education will remain a right rather than a commodity. The central issue in this battle is whether or not knowledge
will be enslaved to capital. The movement is the largest, most important challenge to the neoliberal model in Mexico thus far
—which explains the government crackdown.
The civic rebellion against the World Trade Organization in Seattle at the end of 1999 and the civic uprising of the indigenous people of Ecuador in January 2000 are two signs of a generalized discontent with the impoverishing measures imposed by the neoliberal economic model. Mexico’s student movement takes its place alongside these protests after paralyzing Mexico’s National Autonomous University (UNAM)—which, with some 270,000 students and 70,000 teachers, is the largest university in the Americas— for nearly ten months.
On a recent trip to Switzerland, President Ernesto Zedillo expressed his disdain for those who oppose neoliberalism, calling them "globaphobic." After his return to Mexico, he ordered federal police to crack down on striking students; over a thousand were jailed in a violent police attack on February 6. Silencing all of Mexico’s "globaphobics," however, would require that he take on a good 60% of the citizenry, who have been impoverished by the economic policies he defends and are beginning to resist.
Student demands, Government intransigenceIt is worth reviewing the course of events leading up to the February 6 attack on the student movement. The movement burst forth in the spring of 1999, after university authorities attempted to impose new tuition regulations. Students saw the move as the first step towards privatizing higher education, and responded by taking over the UNAM, the public university system. They put forth a list of six demands, which included repealing the tuition regulations along with other recent regulations they felt to be prejudicial or exclusionary. Most important, they demanded that a democratic forum be established to discuss the university’s comprehensive reform.
In describing the student movement, analysts have mentioned its strong dose of radicalism and its distrust of the media and of traditional leaders, which has led, among other things, to a tendency to form very large, cumbersome committees. They have also pointed out that neither the authorities nor the parties seem able to understand it.
The strike dragged on through the summer and fall, as university authorities refused to consider the students’ petition until they relinquished control of the campus installations, while the students refused to leave until their demands were discussed by the University Council. Throughout these long months, the students’ General Strike Committee repeatedly explained that the purpose of the strike was to resolve student demands, and charged that university authorities were either refusing to negotiate or only pretending to negotiate because their true purpose was to further the neoliberal project.
Ever since the 1968 student massacre, October 2 has been a day of protests and commemorations. On that day last year, over twenty thousand people marched to the center of Mexico City. The old slogan "October 2 won’t be forgotten" remains true. In 1968, society had outgrown state authoritarianism; by 1999, that same system, which is still in place, is discredited, aimless and adrift, and the student movement is a sign of hope.
The strike committee used the October 2 events to propose yet again that a commission be established to negotiate between the authorities and the striking students. Respected members of the university faculty formed a group called University Convergence, and called for a broad, plural and inclusive agreement within the university community to preserve the university’s integrity and autonomy. It rejected any violent solution, reiterated the need for a university congress and suggested that the proposed negotiating commission attempt to reach an immediate, satisfactory agreement. The university workers’ union also called for a negotiated settlement to the conflict. Three former university rectors, however, insisted that the authorities should not cede and encouraged them to apply the rigor of the law against the striking students. Thus bolstered, the authorities again rejected the idea of holding a university congress.
By that time, it was quite clear that the government’s strategy was to wear down the movement and make the striking students appear to be the ones responsible for the lack of dialogue. Also around that time, the notion that ultra-radicals among the striking students were blocking a solution was frequently being heard. There was also evidence, however, that provocateurs on the payroll of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) had infiltrated the student movement. Other commentators noted that extremists could also be found among the authorities, which seemed almost perversely determined to remain unresponsive and inflexible as they sought to conserve the power called into question by the strike. Yet others pointed out that the issue was not a dispute between hard-liners and moderates on both sides, but rather a dispute over who should control knowledge, the source of power and wealth.
The student movement is fighting for free education, to ensure that the poor would not be stripped of the possibility to study and that education would remain a right rather than just one more commodity to be bought and sold. Business leaders seeking to reform education to make it serve their immediate needs in the fight for markets oppose them. The essential issue here is whether knowledge will be enslaved to capital. The powerful wanted to appropriate knowledge by abrogating rights, while the most conservative among them pushed for a violent solution.
A university "Babel"While these discussions were going on, things began to break down within the strike committee. Its most radical members rejected those who put forth other points of view. The leaders closed ranks and expelled the internal dissidents. The PRI used the conflict to wrest votes from the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) by publicly accused it of being behind the movement. Paradoxically, at the same time, PRI infiltrators on the strike committee and other hard-liners in the movement succeeded in discrediting the PRD by accusing it of making a deal with university and federal authorities to lift the strike.
The university’s research institutes had continued operating until mid-October, when the strike committee proposed taking over these institutes as well. A number of striking students opposed this step, but it was taken nonetheless. Soon after, representatives of six of the forty schools on the strike committee proposed a plan to make the demands more flexible. Some three thousand "moderate" students who held a march in favor of a third way to resolve the strike were accused by the strike committee of selling out.
As the strike entered its sixth month and the conflict grew more confused each day, commentators spoke of a "university Babel." The authorities, which did not want dialogue, hoped for and encouraged actions that would prompt state security forces to retake the campus. As the striking students became more radical, their intolerance fed this authoritarianism. Concern over the direction of the movement was growing not only in the academic community, but also in the general public.
A group of professors called a plebiscite on the strike and the proposed talks for the end of October. The strike committee called for a consultation instead, but did not block the plebiscite. In the plebiscite, 112 voting booths were set up and 26,662 accredited voters—60% students, 30% faculty and 10% university workers—cast their votes. A full 86% of the participants voted to lift the strike and an overwhelming 95% opted for dialogue and negotiation between the parties to resolve the conflict.
The students set up 1,513 voting booths to carry out their own consultation, open to the public. Some 472,000 people participated, of whom 94,000 said they belonged to the university community. Among the results, 76% called for the university rector to resign, 86% agreed that a university congress should be held to resolve the conflict, and 69% demanded an increased education budget. The consultation, like the plebiscite, revealed that a significant sector of the university community did not support the university authorities’ policy of confrontation.
A period of crisisThe Miguel Agustín Pro Human Rights Center commented that the movement was going through a period of crisis, and asked who was benefiting from the conflict, since the government was prolonging it and administrating it to use in the elections. Faculty members also asked why the university rector persisted in the conflict, knowing that the student demands were within the realm of possibilities.
Time was against the strike committee, which was becoming increasingly isolated by its intransigence, even though this was triggered by the authorities’ refusal to respond. An angry spirit prevailed, as people lost sight of their goals. The striking students, increasingly desperate, began to see the strike not as a means to an end, but rather as an end in itself.
Other grassroots movements nourished the student movement. Full-time activists from radical leftist urban grassroots organizations joined the striking students, but many were more interested in strengthening their own organizations through their participation than in finding a possible solution to the strike. One tactic these organizations used was to draw out the discussions until many participants gave up and left, so that the professional activists who remained were the ones who made the decisions. As a result, the direction of the student movement increasingly fell to a handful of university activists and a larger number of outside radicals. When members of these organizations moved onto campus, relations between the striking students and the university authorities became even tenser. The authorities insisted that the students separate themselves from groups outside the UNAM.
The largest anti-Liberal movementOn November 10, the university rector again requested that public security forces evict the students from campus. Once the PRI’s presidential candidate was chosen, however, President Zedillo asked the university rector to resign. While the strike committee celebrated this as a victory for the movement, it clarified that it did not resolve the main issue, which was its list of demands.
Zedillo transferred his health minister, Juan Ramon de la Fuente, into the vacant post, casting doubt on the university’s autonomy even though formal procedures were followed. At the same time, the Treasury let parliament know that there would be no more money for education. The PRD again decried the fact that a large share of the national budget is going into the bank bailout.
Pablo González Casanova, a former UNAM rector engaged in important social research on behalf of the poor, commented that the university is facing a much more serious crisis now than it did in 1968. Nonetheless, he saw possibilities of finding a solution, not only for the university but also for the whole country, if people would move beyond purely reactive attitudes. He also said that after over seven months of strike, the student movement had become the largest, most important movement to emerge in Mexico to date against neoliberalism and its impoverishing, exclusionary practices.
At that point, as though to make the government’s position on the key issues quite clear, the education ministry shamelessly proposed that the federal subsidy to public universities should be set according to the universities’ ability to increase their own income. This would virtually force the universities to charge fees. The government’s proposal threatened not only the constitutional right to education but also academic freedom and freedom of thought.
Slow, tortuous talksThe strike committee decided to pull out of the research institutes and meet with the new university rector to insist that its demands be met. It insisted that the meeting take place in public, outside the university, at a site chosen by the striking students, and that it aim to resolve the issues. The meeting, which took place at the end of November, signaled for the first time that the authorities officially recognized the strike committee as the students’ representative.
On December 10, after much give and take, the university authorities and the strike committee agreed on four points for beginning the talks. They agreed that dialogue is the only way to resolve the conflict; that the talk’s agenda would contain the six points on the students’ list of demands; that the talks would be broadcast by Radio UNAM and recorded by the university television, to be later broadcast unedited; and that once all the corresponding institutions had approved the agreements, without any modifications, the strike would end.
On December 11, some 500 striking students marched in front of the US embassy in Mexico City to support the WTO protesters in Seattle. Infiltrators were very active in this march, more so than in any previous student demonstration. Embassy buildings were damaged, dozens of people were arrested and De la Fuente called for an investigation to determine who was responsible. In response to the arrests, the striking students pulled out of the talks and demanded that the prisoners be freed, which they were in a matter of days. At that point, however, the university authorities walked out over the fact that the students’ negotiating committee included people not connected to the UNAM. The slow, tortuous process of the talks led an increasing number of students to express their desire to return to class.
At the beginning of January, strike committee representatives began to bog down the talks in an apparent effort to draw them out. University authorities responded by publicly announcing, among other things, that they would withdraw sanctions against the striking students, suspend the new tuition regulations and call for a democratic university congress with decision-making power once the strike ended. The University Council approved the proposal, moderate strikers felt it responded to the demands they had been making for months and the university union also accepted it. But the strike committee opposed the proposal, arguing that it only partially addressed the list of demands.
Youth’s understandable mistrustOnce again, the talks were at an impasse. Pablo González Casanova pointed out that the young people’s mistrust was understandable, founded on good reason. The government’s refusal to respect the San Andrés accords it signed with the Zapatistas—to give just one example—did nothing to enhance its credibility. He also felt, however, that De la Fuente’s proposal was made in the spirit of the talks. The strike committee continued to reject it, both for its form—it was not a product of the talks—and for its content, which did not cover all six points on their list of demands.
The university rector announced that he would hold a plebiscite on his proposal on January 20. The strike committee responded by carrying out another consultation two days earlier, in which they posed three questions. 1) Do you agree that the strike committee’s list of demands, which encourages and guarantees free education and the UNAM’s autonomy and democratic transformation, should be resolved now, and as a consequence end the university strike? 2) Do you agree that the university authorities and the strike committee should return to the negotiating table to find a solution to the conflict? 3) Do you agree that the proposal put forth by the government and the university authorities seeks to pit students against each other and impose a solution to the conflict by force? The striking students declared that over half a million people turned out to vote in 1,500 voting booths, and that 85% voted in favor of their petition.
The university authorities asked two questions in their plebiscite. 1) Do you support the proposal or not? 2) Do you believe that this proposal should end the strike? Of the 180,088 members of the university community who cast their votes in 918 booths, 87.3% supported the proposal and 89.2% said that the strike should end.
Time to end the strike?Although the university rector’s plebiscite was well received among many sectors of society, the strike committee called it a fraud and refused to accept it. The moderates proposed holding assemblies in each school to decide whether to return the buildings and take the next step: organize their participation in the congress. Most of the schools were showing an inclination to hand over the buildings and on January 26 some began to do so. University authorities called the federal police to prevent those wanting to continue the strike from taking the buildings over again. PRI deputies applauded this, while PRD deputies felt that the police intervention on campus was a provocation.
It is significant that the mood among striking and non-striking students on January 28 was one of cooperation rather than confrontation. Both groups rejected the use of violence and denounced the police presence as a violation of university autonomy. They agreed to hold forums and meetings to discuss whether to end the strike. But within days the tone had changed again and violence predominated. Some of the buildings handed over had been vandalized and university property destroyed, which discredited the movement. By the end of January, it appeared that the strike committee had reached the limit of its capacity to represent the movement in the conflict.
Economist Juan Castaingts wrote that what had happened in the UNAM up to that point reflected a tragedy. The education system is sorely deficient, authorities are incompetent and the population’s low income level has repercussions on education as well. The process of social exclusion, which began under Mexico’s populist regimes, has been accentuated by the neoliberal ones. Wealth has been concentrated in few hands, while the bulk of the population feels threatened and excluded. Young people are affected the most and thus it is no surprise, according to the economist, that they adopt lumpen attitudes.
On a more positive note, the leftist writer Gilly described the authorities’ recognition of the striking students’ principal demands as a great achievement and said that the authorities’ plebiscite won mainly because of exhaustion. He also noted, however, that the strike committee’s consultation did not encourage reflection but rather sought unconditional approval of its positions. The task now, he said, was to make sure that the students would not be robbed of the congress they had won.
When people tried to make the strike committee see that it had triumphed, it replied that the authorities’ concessions were merely another government ploy. This refusal to accept victory suggested to some that the young people were suffering from a culture of defeat, but they were not the only ones to interpret the plebiscite as a maneuver. Others charged that instead of finding a quick solution to the conflict, De la Fuente was prolonging it to destroy the student movement and thus be free to meet the World Bank’s demand to dismantle the UNAM. In favor of this interpretation is the fact that the plebiscite was organized as a state operation, with the mass media at its service. And the repression unleashed on February 6 would also seem to bear out this interpretation.
University is communityThe last analyses before the violence called attention to the existence of rightwing sectors in the university, including "women in white," led by the wife of the PRI’s presidential candidate, who were encouraging violent confrontations between the students and hoping to resolve the conflict by force. The analyses also criticized the strike committee for seeking student martyrs and refusing to recognize its own achievements. Luis Villoro emphasized that the university is a community of teachers and students and called on everyone to restore that community. He urged the strike committee to honor its initial spirit, when it invoked equity and democracy. University faculty, students and workers, without any exceptions, must all be allowed to express their positions and opinions without violence, he argued.
On January 27, Pablo González Casanova again asked for a response to the question of who was being served by the conflict and its absurd prolongation. He recalled that the university conflict arose at the very time that preparations for privatizing the oil sector were underway and pressure was increasing to privatize the state-owned electricity company as well. In other words, it arose as the trend towards increasing inequalities was being accentuated. The neoliberal project needs public education to prepare workers for the maquilas and seeks to undermine education’s role in society.
González Casanova also pointed out that the movement had already achieved a great deal—not least of all, the change in the UNAM authorities. Through the long months of the strike, the striking students had defended the public character of the universities and fought for the right to free, universal education. But he suggested that it was time for them to reconsider their tactics. Ignoring their own victories, they refused to continue the struggle in new ways and on new ground: through dialogue within an open university and in the university congress. Their inflexibility, he felt, was no longer strength. To obstinately keep the university closed served those who sought to privatize education and promote an elitist, excluding education model. He accused the strike committee of falling into demagogic arguments and deemed the conflict’s prolongation absurd, when what was needed was the construction of consensus through dialogue.
Violence unleashedAt the end of January, the strike committee called again for dialogue, and proposed discussing the list of demands point by point. On January 31, however, a lawyer who had once taught at the university led an armed group against striking students in the Law School. The provocateurs withdrew once the barricades were broken, hoping for a confrontation between striking and non-striking students, but the strikers negotiated rather than falling into the provocation.
Since this tactic, devised by the government, did not prosper, another repressive step was taken. Juan Ramon de la Fuente sent a group of university police to attack the students in the Preparatory School, who defended themselves with sticks and stones. Authorities next tried to involve Mexico City police so that the blood would fall on the hands of the capital’s PRD administration, but the head of the city government refused, arguing that the university campus is under federal jurisdiction. The Secretariat of Government then sent a police force established when the PRI’s current presidential candidate, Francisco Labastida, was in charge of that secretariat. The force made its debut by attacking the students and arresting 248 members of their movement.
At that point, the strike committee added one more demand to the six on their list: the freeing of their arrested companions, who were charged with crimes as serious as terrorism. The striking students warned that if they were evicted by force the movement would continue "in exile," and called on the authorities to continue the talks in accord with the December 10 agreements.
Power then gave yet another twist to the screw. Big businesspeople—many of them implicated in the FOBAPROA bank scandal—and members of the Catholic hierarchy published a full-page spread in the newspapers demanding that the government use force in UNAM. Among those who signed the ad were the owners of Televisa and Azteca Television, the country’s two leading television companies. Both had previously manipulated the news against the movement, but at this point they abandoned any simulation of impartiality to put themselves wholly at the service of repression.
For its part, the PRD declared that the students must be freed if tensions were to be eased, and denounced the government’s perverse strategy of administrating the conflict to discredit the Mexico City government authorities. By prolonging the conflict, the PRI was trying to take advantage of the fear it engendered, as in 1994.
Perverse strategyOn February 3 De la Fuente, assuming that the repression had put an end to the student movement, gave the striking students an ultimatum to "negotiate" their withdrawal from the buildings. At the same time, he accused the PRD city government of being responsible for the violence in the Preparatory School.
A group of distinguished members of the university community, including Pablo González Casanova, Luis Villoro, Alfredo López Austin, Rodríguez Araujo, Miguel Concha and Sergio Zermeño (who has done a thorough study of the 1968 student movement) signed a letter warning that the use of force to solve problems in the university would destabilize the situation, with incalculable consequences on the whole of national life. They said it was unlikely that an ultimatum would encourage an agreement, and demanded the immediate release of all imprisoned students and definitive talks to achieve a dignified end to the strike.
President Zedillo was the one who decided to use force, but the head of the National Human Rights Commission unwittingly revealed that the plan was first to make it seem that the university authorities favored dialogue and the students were the ones responsible for the violent end. By publicly announcing—a full hour before a meeting between university authorities and striking students ended—that the meeting had achieved nothing, this close associate of Zedillo’s showed that the authorities were only making a show of dialogue.
Police assaultOn Saturday, February 5, 12,000 demonstrators demanded the prisoners’ release and the university rector’s resignation. In the early hours of Sunday, February 6, as the striking students were ending one of their marathon meetings in which they decided to keep talking with the authorities, 2,600 federal police came onto campus and arrested them all.
Big business, the PRI and the fascist right applauded furiously The cardinal of Guadalajara demanded that the agitators be punished and said they had links with the Zapatistas of Chiapas and the "international left." Private enterprise, not content with the police assault, pressed the government to go after the social organizations that had supported the strike as well. They justified repression by claiming that dialogue was impossible. Like the repressive President Díaz Ordaz in his time, Zedillo boasted of ordering the repression. Several marches were organized that same day, in which hundreds of people demanded the release of the detained students. The students blamed the aggression on the PRI’s presidential candidate Labastida, President Zedillo, the secretary of government, the attorney general and the UNAM rector.
The tally came to 745 strike committee members imprisoned on February 6, in addition to the 251 students arrested five days earlier. Since 300 arrest warrants were still pending, the total would reach some 1,200. A few hours later, 138 people were released: 20 who had nothing to do with the movement, 37 university workers and 75 students under the age of 18. Two days later, 175 adults and 75 minors arrested on February 1 were still detained, along with 605 of those arrested on the 6th. They were charged with very serious crimes, such as terrorism, rioting and unlawful association to commit a crime.
The strike committee sent out messages to the people of the world, the students, nongovernmental organizations, civil society, workers, farmers and indigenous people, women fighting against all kinds of oppression, all human beings "who have the heart to embrace their brothers and sisters." The committee announced that the students would not give in and would continue the struggle "in exile." "Tell the people that we are defending the education of their children," they said. They also announced that they would not trade their demands in exchange for prisoners.
Overcoming intransigenceOn Monday, February 7, Luis Villoro titled his analysis "Days of mourning." The government had aggravated the conflict, raking across an open wound, he wrote, and discontent had broken out around the country because of the many affronts of power. He recalled that all of the proposals for resolving the conflict had coincided in guaranteeing that no student be persecuted for their participation in the strike. Most of the detained students had continued the strike out of personal conviction because they believe it to be just, and had to be distinguished from the provocateurs.
Villoro also emphasized, however, that intransigence in the service of an ideal can destroy it. He noted that the strike committee had had many opportunities to end the conflict with dignity and without being defeated, but had rejected them all. The lesson was a hard one. A movement, however just it may be, should not form a closed group and try to impose itself on others, nor should it exclude all of its possible allies. Holding up an ideal in an intransigent way, disconnected from reality, leads not to heroism but to useless desperation. He called for an end to sterile confrontation, and urged people to heal the wounds in the community and listen to others. In place of imposition, he said, make use of argumentation; in place of shouts, dialogue; in place of antagonism, consensus. The place for doing this was the future university congress, where the university would have to be reformed. Other people pointed out, however, that no congress could be held with students in jail.
They were merely buying timeMany teachers and students who had distanced themselves from the strike committee repudiated the repression and made common cause with the striking students. In another analysis, Gilly predicted that the people would defend their own. The repression had revealed the authorities’ game. They had never thought of conceding the key points and were merely buying time in order to break the movement. Just as in the San Andrés accords, it was a tactic to make a show of negotiating so they could later lash out. When the students refused to believe the government, when they accused both university rectors of lying, they were right. The rector’s plebiscite was no more than a maneuver to get a vote of confidence that he could use to bring in the police. The authorities had set traps and sabotaged the talks. Gilly said it would be a serious mistake to blame the extremists, since the federal government had shown nothing but intransigence and authoritarianism. As in 1968, the state had sent a clear message: it would allow no challenges.
Two hundred imprisoned students went on a hunger strike. They dismissed the charges against them as laughable, and reminded the government that the people’s struggles were a result of the country’s scandalous political, social and economic situation. They declared themselves prisoners of conscience, political prisoners. They also demanded the freedom of 70 students from the El Mexe teacher training college who had been imprisoned by the federal police that same week for demanding that the government respect the agreement it had made regarding their teaching posts when they finished their studies.
The struggle goes onWriters Elena Poniatowska, who chronicled the 1968 Tlatelolco student massacre, and Carlos Monsiváis repudiated the attack, criticizing the fact that one student had even been charged with being "a danger to society." They pointed out that it is virtually impossible to determine individual responsibilities in a collective movement, and that the movement itself was being treated as criminal. They also denounced the way the university conflict was being turned into a huge television spectacle.
The repression made it clear that the dialogue had been no more than a show. Those who celebrated the end of the strike do not realize that the conflict has not been resolved, but rather complicated, since thousands of activists have been now wounded.
One fact not emphasized in the press is that when the police entered the university, they did not find the arsenal of weapons that the students were accused of stockpiling. The students had been called violent, but put up no violent resistance when the police took them away.
The struggle goes on, while the real criminals, those responsible for enormous thefts against the nation like the FOBAPROA bank scandal, not only remain free but are the ones shouting most loudly to bring the weight of the law down on the students. The power of money and the partisans of a fascism that is beginning to show its face applauded the President’s actions. Zedillo is proud of what he has done; he fails to grasp that this action has more than assured his place in the annals of the country’s villains.
A new stageThe strike committee met at the Xochimilco campus of the Metropolitan Autonomous University on February 7. They announced that they would keep up the struggle and had added new points to their list of demands: the prisoners’ release, immediate removal of the federal troops from the university and the resignation of the university rector for his incongruent, repressive attitude. They reiterated their desire to resolve the conflict through negotiations, called for the capital’s universities and unions to hold a strike, invited people to repudiate the government’s actions by turning off their lights for half an hour on the evening of February 10, and began to organize a march for two days later.
The strike committee pointed out that, yet again, the authorities were the ones who had closed off all possibilities of dialogue and violated the accords signed on December 10. They had believed that by creating a climate of terror, they would put an end to the movement, but they did not succeed. The government kept insisting that the striking students were just a handful of radicals, but they were persecuting several hundred people, not a handful. Those in power thought they had lopped off the movement’s head but they were wrong, since the strike committee has no leaders, but rather a collective, horizontal leadership. This is what rattles the government.
The movement has been struck hard, but is not yet defeated. Large sectors of society have taken up its demand for free public education.
In his visit to Switzerland, Zedillo dared to call the Zapatista movement "an incident" in history. José Saramago, the Nobel Prize laureate in literature, responded that for Mexico, the "incident" was named Zedillo. The imprisoned students took up this dispute and wrote that the student movement, far from being an incident in history, "is history."
And so it may be. The police handed over the university on February 9, but the decision to repress the student movement will not be forgotten so easily. It may well give this struggle a boost that will extend its reach in ways we cannot begin to predict. The repression aggravated the conflict while helping mend internal wounds in the student movement. One way or another, it has contributed to moving this just, popular struggle to a new stage.