Thursday, 12 May 2005

Students a beacon of liberty

Instead of sending (hopefully) bogus foot and mouth threats and calling for taxpayers to give them more money, students in Eastern Europe have been fomenting democratic revolution - as George Bush's recent visit to Eastern Europe has highlighted:

Around Eastern Europe in the last five years, writes Jack Wheeler,
an unknown, anonymous student alliance ... has successfully overthrown autocrats in four ex-Soviet states, and now has Belarus and Russia itself in its gunsights. While its constituent student groups have names, the alliance itself has no name and no leader. Jack Wheeler talks about the group's history and constituents here. In Serbia, Otpor! - Resistance! - was formed in 1998 "and advocated relentless, well-organized, yet nonviolent street demonstrations and protests. Such a method – known as “Triple U” for Uncontrollable Urban Unrest – had been used to overthrow the Soviet colonial regimes of Eastern Europe in 1989.
It worked in Serbia as well: by October 1999, after "Otpor staged a series of mass rallies in Belgrade chanting the slogan gotov je – “He’s finished - " Milosevic was gone.

Similar successes were had by Kmara! - Enough! - in Georgia who, guided by Otpor leaders, fomented the 'Rose Revolution' that toppled Eduard Shevardnadze; by Pora! - It's Time! - in Ukraine's 'Orange Revolution,' guided this time by Kmara and Otpo activists; and by KelKel! (Revival!) in Kyrgyzstan.

As Jack Wheeler summarises,
That’s four successful democratic revolutions inside the former Soviet Empire in 4 ½ years, three in the last 18 months. With each time, these guys learn how to do it better. One technique they’ve mastered is the use of Democracy Babes. When they bat their baby blues or browns at the police and hand them a rose or orange scarf, it’s hard for the police to obey orders to beat them up or shoot them.And it doesn' t stop there. Europe's 'Last Dictatorship' of Belarus is next, targetted by Zubr.
And then there's Russia itself.
Sure enough, there’s already a student organization at Moscow University called Porá (same word in both Ukrainian and Russian, with emphasis on the first syllable in the former, the second in the latter). They’re calling for Putin’s impeachment and the creation of a true free market democracy in Russia.
No wonder Putin and Kremlin oligarchs were nervous over Bush's recent meetings in Riga, Latvia and Tbilisi, Georgia.

When George W Bush stood in Tbilisi's Freedom Square and told the the world Georgia is "a beacon of liberty" it was these people he was talkiing about. And in recent meetings he's been talking not just to the new political leaders of these new democracies, but also to their advisors from Kmara and Pora. "Freedom cannot stop at Ukraine's borders" bush told Ukraine's Pora.

"Time is closing in on the autocrats of Minsk and Moscow," concludes Wheeler.

What an inspiration. And how different to our whining, grasping student moochers here in NZ, who want everyone else to pay for them.

[Note: Jack Wheeler's article requires subscription, BUT you can e-mail yourself a trial article from the site.]


  1. Thanks for posting on this Peter, it's a very important topic.

    Many people worldwide, especially those in democratized Western-style countries, do not realize the important and necessary role students in authoritarian countries abroad play in claiming liberty for themselves. It takes a unified, nonviolent, democratic movement such as those you've mentioned.

    Students for Global Democracy, a group I started last year that now has a dozen chapters across the world, directly supports these types of student movements across claim their natural rights through actions of moral support, building connections between them and veterans, and by lobbying governments to support those pro-freedom policies.

    Libertarians everywhere believe in each individual's right to basic rights free from inept, over-reaching government. Authoritarian governments like those in the former Soviet Union and in the Middle East stand as the worst incarnations of those power-hungry behemoths.

    Join Students for Global Democracy, check out, and help support those who oppose dictatorship.

  2. There are different opinions on this subject.


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