Political reflections amid a Hong Kong Spring

This edition of The Corsair will look into a very organic part of campus life, and that is its political process which is an arena where both students and administrators are tested.

Our fourth issue of the semester features some new developments concerning issues that have shadowed campus politics since last spring. The District Attorney of Los Angeles has ruled that the Associated Students Election Committee violated the Brown Act during two meetings on March 27. Among the D.A.’s conclusions are that there was a lack of public written notice for the meetings and that improper actions took place during these meetings. The actions on which the D.A. ruled took place in the midst of a heated A.S. election, during which Director of Activities Matthew Nicholson was disqualified from running for A.S. President during one of the mentioned meetings. Our News Editor Rachel Gianuario, reports on the D.A.’s ruling and latest developments in this issue.

College is truly a time of learning and gaining experience. While we might spend much of our time cramming information and enduring exams, involvement in campus life provides students with important training grounds for the professional world. This is even true in the world of politics. Student government is a delicate combination of students and their mentors. They have to work together in an administrative environment as complex as any city government office. If mistakes were made, they are not of one group alone.

The lessons to be taken from the reporting you will read is that positions of responsibility will always bring immense scrutiny and as citizens we should always learn to ask questions of those in positions of power.

We are lucky to live in a society where it is still permissible to learn about the functions of democracy and critique, make mistakes and learn from the experience of practicing a democratic form of government, even on a college campus. As I write these words the streets of Hong Kong are being shaken by a popular protest movement, led primarily by students, demanding real democracy as the Chinese government refuses to allow the citizens of Hong Kong to freely elect their own leaders. The streets have been filled with waves of people in images that are beginning to stun the world.

Like their counterparts in Chile, Tunisia, and Bahrain, these fearless voices have now endured the tear gas and marching boots of the state’s security forces. While the world pays attention to the new wars now raging across the Middle East, the ripple beginning to grow in Hong Kong could be a small prophecy of what is yet to come. Could this be the next great Chinese revolution? The 1949 revolt that established the People’s Republic forever marked the 20th century, now the Chinese masses are slowly beginning to again claim their legacy. In Hong Kong, at least, they are realizing that even the luxuries and consumerist habits of modern capitalism are no substitute for genuine democracy.

Napoleon Bonaparte, more than 200 years ago, warned while taking a break from conquering Europe that, “China is a sleeping giant. Let her sleep, for when she wakes she will move the world.”