Time to get back to France and to my ambition to make French academic life more visible to anglophone audiences via this blog. I have a long list of stuff I want to post soon, but this will have to do for now — Le Monde here in France just published an article with a bunch of interviews entitled “What’s left of the movement against the Law on University Autonomy?” The most interesting statement, in my view, was by a center-right student who opposed the strikers and describes his sense of being threatened by the student opposition:
“It takes a strong stomach to oppose the strikers”
Aristote Toussaint, 21 years old, master’s degree in business law at Bordeaux IV.
In student movements, when like me you’re in the opposition, you have an interest in keeping your mouth shut. Or you need to have a strong stomach! At the Nantes fac, where I was last year, I was threatened for my comments in the General Assembly [AG]. I couldn’t go to class by myself. I didn’t hide that I was a member of the UMP [Sarkozy’s center-right party], and then? I’m proud of my convictions. The strikers [bloqueurs] are disrespectful people, they call themselves defenders of democracy but they’re anything but democrats. They’re utopians, allergic to work. I’d like to think that the leaders act in the name of some real ideology, but most people are just following the movement. The ones who criticize the autonomy of universities [recently imposed by the Education Ministry] are the same ones who complain about not getting jobs when they graduate… In the end their action accomplished nothing, aside from a few weeks of vacation. For the time being, it’s rather calm in Bordeaux, and I sincerely hope that there won’t be any strikes this year. We have to be optimistic and continue to reform [the universities], whatever it costs.