The free play of the mind has been managerialised. Holding our way of life to account has yielded to accountancy. The logic of the commodity has now penetrated into the sphere of human needs and nurture, breeding pathological symptoms there. In universities, as in transnational corporations, a largely disaffected labour force confronts a finance-obsessed managerial elite (Terry Eagleton, 2009).
November 17th marked the twentieth anniversary of the popular uprising in former Czechoslovakia, when thousands of students marched through the streets of Prague on International Students’ Day. Though officially sanctioned by the government, the occasion was used by the student movement to protest against the stale orthodoxy of the Czechoslovak regime, one of the last remaining Communist outposts in Central Europe. Hours later, when news spread of the violent suppression of the demonstration by security forces, the fate of the increasingly hollow regime was effectively sealed, as the event ushered in a remarkable period of popular mobilisation and mass civil disobedience which ultimately led to the regime’s downfall. Twenty years later, with the Czech student body thoroughly depoliticised, one had to look elsewhere however to find traces of the legacy of the International Students’ Day.