I assume that when you study political science, you might naturally expect there to be a certain tendency towards political ideologies among your fellow students. I began the semester at the Freie Universität Berlin with the same idea but initially I believed to find a few scattered groups here and there, nothing too concentrated. There should be quite some diversity in terms of political believes in a student body made of 37000 souls, right?
Well, the first thing I noticed (specifically at the political science faculty but also with respect to the student government) was the left wing spirit and it was so surprisingly overwhelming that I decided to write a post about my observations considering the leftist atmosphere of my new academic home:
You know you study at a leftist university when…
1. The first workshop offered to incoming students is about how to behave during a demonstration.
2. Your professor for political theory spends several minutes recalling enthusiastically how back in the 70s (or 80s) the Trotskysts beat the hell out ofthe Maoists.
3. The café of the political science department is called “The Red Café” and is located in a building that has been seized by students decades ago during a protest.
4. The whole campus is full of red posters with the picture of Trotsky on them, in honor of 75 years since his death.
5. There is a whole week dedicated to critical approaches to uni where you are reminded of how important it is to resist authority when needed. Seriously, I would not have been surprised if during the critical campus tour, we would have passed by the grave of Rudi Dutschke. Courtesy to this funny article for giving me that idea.
6. One of the political parties running to be elected into the student government advocates for the implementation of the United Socialist States of Europe. Because who needs the European Union anyway?
7. There is ALWAYS a reason to go out into the streets and protest and the student government leaders will not hesitate to kindly remind you of your “responsibility” via E-Mail at least once a week.
8. At least one party running for student government has something along the lines of “the young communists” in their name.
9. One of the events organized by the student initiative of The Red Café (it was a party of some sort or maybe just a movie night) was called “The Red Café Fraction”. That name comes from the left wing militant group Red Army Fraction, also known as the Baader-Meinhof Group.
10. Among students, your political science institute goes by the name “Johannes Agnoli Institute for Criticism of Politics”.
I know it says 10 in the title but I do remember just another one: The study and examination regulations of your faculty “strongly encourage” you to take at least one gender focused seminar. The contents of those, so I gathered from my friend, can be so hardcore that even current feminists start thinking about whether this whole feminism thing was a good idea to begin with.