SP '92 vs. SP '96

The organization, problems and failure of the Student Protest '92 were the topics of yesterdays' discussion in the VHA. Our guests were Olga Karvan and Vlatko Sekulovic, members of the Initiative board of the Student Protest '92. They said the protest was well organized, with a clear declaration and concrete, achievable aims. They sressed that it started at the right moment. In 1992 the idea was to apply the Prague model, that is, obstruct the activities of all public institutions until the students' demands are met. The Belgrade University went on strike hoping others would follow their example.

The main problem hampering the 1992 protest was the unfavorable political situation resulting from the war in Croatia, early clashes in Bosnia and indications that fighting might break out in Macedonia too. Raging nationalism in Serbia brought fear among the students, who were labelled as mercenaries of foreign powers. They organized only three protest marches throughout the 24-day protest, which ended in exhaustion after continuous 24-hour activities in the schools. Abstract and radical demands did not help their cause at all, which made it difficult to set realistic goals. Wide rifts among the students themselves and contradictory positions within the Main Board led to the diminishing of the protest until its final collapse on June 15.

One of the gravest errors was the failure to form an independent students' organization, instead of a union which acted only within the law school. Our guests have stressed the necessity of forming an institution which would rally the entire university and represent the interests of all students. An independent students' magazine which would deal with problems at the university and social activities should also be founded. It is of utmost importance to establish ties with students' organizations in Europe which would probably be interested in sponsoring such a magazine.

"This is neither the first nor the last protest. What we should do is form an organization with the capacity to take action when events such as banning political freedoms, rigged elections and other forms of repression occur. We should nourish things which have been born in the course of this protest", Sekulovic said.

Zorglub & Abraxas

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