The student struggle must continue
Karl Marx wrote something key in the preface to a contribution to the Critique of Political Economy. Marx wrote the following about the idea of consciousness: “It is not consciousness of men that determines their existence, but, on the contrary, their existence shapes and define their consciousness”.
What this means is that people derive consciousness out of the context of their prevailing material conditions. In other words, depending on where they fall in the prevailing power relations, they’re thrown into dialectical contradiction between those who dominate power and whose collective interests depends on maintaining the status quo, and those who are subjugated by power and whose future for a better possibility of existence depends on the complete overthrow of the status quo.
In the Namibian context, the student populace of Namibia through the days of the captured student organisation (Nanso), was lost and in a hopeless place, directionless and without any prospects. This was until radical and militant alternatives student bodies from across all corner of Namibia were established. The Student Union of Namibia (SUN), NASA and the LPM Student Command. It was from that conviction and undisturbed reality that a lineage of radical and militant young men and women birthed a movement with a leftist ideology aimed at seeking social justice for students and to fight for free quality education in post independent Namibia.
During the month of September 2019, many student leaders and members left the captured NANSO and joined hands with the council of student’s leaders from various institutions of higher learning to reaffirm the generational commitment to the students struggles and it was then that the Students Union of Namibia was launched, which brought joy and jubilation to the students. The formation of the union brought assurance to students that our fight for their representation will remain genuine to the benefit of the Namibian student populace.
Above the organisation capture by politicians and the subsequent chaos and disunity in wake of Nanso, we also trace our origin not just to the birth of the student struggle but even beyond. We draw our being from the eternal dejection of the poor, the working class and the oppressed Namibian masses. indeed, today that guiding principles of the union remain at the core of this mass based student’s body and almost two years into existence, SUN still remains at the forefront of advocating and seeking solutions to issues affecting students.
History informs us that two conflicted classes have always engaged in the dialectical struggle to progress society forward and our struggle was formed on an ideological basis and ideology remains the basis for the waging of our revolution in the past two years.
The pattern has been consistent and our outlook remains radical and militant. Those of us that were treated as subjects of the dominating logic of power organised ourselves as a group and waged a fight against the dominating groups at different epochs. The pens of history have recorded and as a person, I’m proud to have been part of a generation of conscious students and youth to have taken a decision to organise and form the revolutionary student movement, the Students Union of Namibia. As president, I have laid a firm foundation for many generations to come and as the founding leadership we made our contribution and therefore played our part.
Although, it is said (Henry David Thoreau) that “All men recognise the right of revolution, that is, the right to refuse allegiance to, and to resist, the government, when its tyranny or its inefficiency are great and unendurable,” it is so disturbing to hear names of few elements who were supposed to be grown politically but are still clamouring for power in the students politics space.
The founding leadership of SUN will convene an elective National Student Assembly (NSA) this year to hand over power and leave the union to younger fighters who must emerge from those zones of students struggles and as veterans of the union. Our role now would just be to mentor them politically and provide ideological and strategic leadership to the incoming leadership.
In conclusion, let the spirit of consciousness and the student struggle continue and the new crop of student leaders must draw inspiration from the words of Oscar Wilde, who said that, “Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is man’s original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made through disobedience and through rebellion”.
* Simon Kanepolo Amunime, is the president of the Student Union of Namibia (SUN) and an activist of the Affirmative Repositioning Movement