AW@L demonstration poor political theatre


RE: Demonstration highlights lack of student engagement, Oct. 14

While the moral outrage experienced by AW@L and its sympathizers in the name of Alex Hundert is entirely justified, this does not excuse the poor political theatre that took place in the Concourse this past Thursday.

Without the development of new images of protest, new ways of thinking what protest is, what it seeks to accomplish, all efforts will be in vain and perhaps even more offensively, rendered cliché.

The droning polemic in the Concourse, replete with a giant-headed caricature of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Ewok prisoner, and anonymous police officer, is hardly the kind of rapprochement that would open up the university as a space to protest.

With new images of protest, hopefully with it come new ideas of the meaning of protest. The release of Hundert, if achieved because of the rhetoric of last week, will only prove the fact that protest will always be hinged to the idea of efficacy (very much a mental and political trope of liberal democracy of today) without fundamentally changing the strictures against protest to begin with.

New images of protest must resist being incorporated into the fold of dominant society as well as resisting their own calcification as a part of protest. There was nothing dynamic, revolutionary, dare I say engaging in the Concourse; as an image it failed.

This is perhaps as unjust as the undue arrest and detention of Hundert. The only thing commendable is that they have done more than I ever have regarding injustice in Canada currently.

— T.A. Pattinson

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