German students 68 to 2010: trend towards apolitical attitudes – pupil take over



Since the student years of the ’68 and ’80s a lot has changed. Up to the new university law and the Pisa reforms in the course of the Lisbon Treaty, students still had time to engage in politics or study for 2-4 semesters other subjects. There were also long-term students ( German: Langzeitstudenten/ Gammelstudenten).With the introduction of study semester linits all this was gone. Were the 60s and 70s still characterized by microphone fights, attacks on professors and seminar blasting, the students of the 80s were still politically, but to a lesser extent, especially not so militant. This generation of students I belonged to.


The students from the 90s learned as a result of the study time limits, no longer as good job prospects as the 68er only for the next exam, were increasingly apolitical, just wanted to make a career quickly, butter up and flöatter the professor and sought in the free time fun – fun society (German: Spaßgesellschaft), love parade and techno. They wanted to enjoy the peace dividend of the end of the Cold War and the nuclear war and environmental catastrophe era now and here and do not worry anymore, but celebrate free. The political sections of the student associations such as Antifa, women’s department, etc.were largely dissolved. Today’s student´s parliaments see themselves above all as a service provider and are copying lecture scripts. Not even commented scripts are there. Professors complain now that a completely streamlined and uncritical student is the dominant type, which does not want to question the professor well. Of course, there were also apolitical students in earlier times and not so rare, but by no means in this breadth.

Significantly, today’s protests in Germany are organized and driven by pupils, not students. This is all the more remarkable, since the pupils mostly have to learn by themselves in the G8 and like the students of the 90s fun generation actually only have to learn and not have to demonstrate.


Of course, what is said describes the trend. There were also some political student groups in the 90s and 2000s, such as the Linskruck, which then dissolved or sought the way into the Left Party and also some demos, such as against the German fascist Republicans, the anti-globalization movement around Attac and the social forum as well as the demo with 1 dead in Genoa and the demos against the Iraq war 2003. But that remained only straw fire and vanished in the 2000s and 2010s . Afterwards were only such marginal, unsuccessful and small movements like Occupy in the context of the financial crisis. That was it.


Even the so-called fun society has now grown up and has given up its hedonistic lifestyle in favor of bourgeois nepotism, as is well expressed in the song of Materia.


In addition, the professorships of today’s universities no longer primarily recruited from old Nazis and conservatives, but were replaced by the 68 veterans ( German nickname: Apo-Opas ) who poured their ideas into curriculum and especially with their own biography have a guilty conscience of their own protests as the youthful sins from which one should preserve the newer generation. For these ARTE TV is their nostalgia transmitter. Thus, these veterans are structurally conservative. The traditional left-wing student body was also replaced by a new left-wing student body characterized by Judith Butler’s postcolonial, gender-feminist, cultural-relativistic and Islamophile ideas and the post-modern school (the end of all grand narratives, deconstruction) and socalled Hipsters flood universities and the urban metropols and are excellently portrayed in the parody and fictional character of Malthe Torben.


The main 2 big demostrations in the 2010s did not originate from the universities, but the anti-TTIP movement with at least 350 000 participants relied on veterans of the traditional left and Attac and Friday for Future emanates from the schools, albeit supported by leftwinged green parents, teachers and scientists support and network internationally. But the universities were no longer the central focal point of social contradictions or places of debate. Perhaps this will change again when the new generation of pupils flood the universities and become first-time voters.

Über Ralf Ostner

Ralf Ostner geboren 1964 in Frankfurt am Main, 1984 Abitur in Bayern--Leitungskurse: Physik und Kunst/ Schülerzeitung. Studium der Physik (Nebenfächer: Mathematik, Chemie), Wirtschaftsgeographie (Nebenfächer: BWL, VWL) und Studium der Sinologie. 1991 Abschluss als staatlich geprüfter Übersetzer in der englischen und chinesischen Sprache am Sprachen- und Dolmetscher-Institut/München (Leiter der Chinesisch-Abteilung: Herr Zhang, ehemaliger Dolmetscher von Deng Xiaoping und Franz-Josef Strauß).Danach 5 Jahre Asienaufenthalt: China, Indien, Südostasien (u.a. in Kambodscha während des ersten Auslandseinsatzes der Bundeswehr, Interviews mit Auslandschinesen, Recherche im Karen-Guerillagebiet in Burma, Unterstützung einer UNO-Mitarbeiterin während den Aufständen in Nepal und bei UNO-Arbeit in Indien), Australien. Danach 5 Jahre als Dolmetscher, Delegationsbegleiter und Übersetzer in München. Abendstudium an der Hochschule für Politik /München (Schwerpunkt: Internationale Beziehungen). Abschluss als Diplom-Politologe (Diplomarbeit: Die deutsch-chinesischen Beziehungen 1989-2000 unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der SPD-Grünen-Regierung). Delegationsbegleitung von Hu Ping, Chefredakteur der chinesischen Dissidentenzeitung "Pekinger Frühling" (New York)und prominentester Vertreter eines chinesischen Liberalismus bei seiner Deutschlandtour (Uni München, Uni Mainz, Berlin/FU-Humboldt) bei gleichzeitigem Kontakt mit Liu Liqun (Autor des Buches "Westliches Denken transzendieren"/ heute: Deutschlandberater der chinesischen Regierung).Chefredakteur der Studentenzeitschrift UNIPOL . Projekte am Goethe-Institut und bei FOCUS TV. Seit 2000 Übersetzer (chinesisch-deutsch), Graphiker, freier Schriftsteller und Blogger.
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