For the last three years, the first week of March has seen a national day of co-ordinated student action in support of accessible, democratic higher education.
The 2010 day of action came as the nation’s most active year of student protest in decades was in full swing. Building on the California protests and occupations of Fall 2009, March 4 saw more than 120 actions in thirty-three states, and drew a level of media attention that was, for its time, astonishing. A year and a half before Occupy Wall Street was launched, eleven months before the Wisconsin statehouse occupation began, #March4 was for many the first sign that something big and new was bubbling up from the campuses.
March 2, 2011 was a bit smaller than March 4, 2010, at least in part because of administrators’ success in quieting student protest in California the previous fall. But it did produce three campus occupations — again, this is well before Occupy Wall Street — including a feminist protest in Pennsylvania, a statehouse solidarity occupation in Wisconsin, and the audacious (and chilling) occupation of the ledge of a building on the Berkeley campus. A week later, high school students staged their first nationally co-ordinated day of protest in recent memory, and the momentum of the campus movement hasn’t subsided since.
So what can we expect to see tomorrow, in the first day of campus action of the OWS era? The Nation has a piece up offering a taste of what’s brewing, while the coordinating group Occupy Colleges lists 64 campuses that they expect to be acting up in one way or another. In California, March 1 is the kickoff of a planned week of action that’s slated to culminate in a state capitol occupation, and there’s a lot of other interesting stuff in the pipeline.
Tomorrow is going to be a very interesting day.
Evening Update | As I reported last week, there have been 37 campus occupations in the US and Canada so far this academic year. (That’s not protests, occupations.) It’s safe to say that number will be higher by Friday. Huffington Post also has a good overview of what’s in store (posted yesterday).
March 1 Morning Update | I’ll be liveblogging the day’s events here.