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Student movement, Greece, 1990–1991

Christos Boukalas

Subject History
Social Movements » Collective Behaviour

Place Southern Europe » Greece

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

Key-Topics education, resistance, revolution, student movements

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405184649.2009.01410.x


In October 1990 secondary school students in Greece mobilized against an education reform bill introduced by the governing center-right party Nea Dimokratia (New Democracy). At a time of prolonged political instability (1989–91) their movement would be the culminating event of popular struggle. Following a period of high-profile political scandals and electoral crisis (1989–90), and a wave of strikes from across the public sector resisting the center-right's privatization attempts, the students' struggle rallied popular opposition and became the most massive and prolonged gesture of resistance. The mobilization soon turned into an occupation movement, with students staying permanently in their schools, cancelling formal educational activity therein. Each occupied school determined its actions through general assemblies and appointed delegates to coordinate activities at the regional and national level. Thus, the movement was organized by a network of assemblies open to all interested students. University students soon followed suit, so that between November 1990 and January 1991 most universities and about 90 percent of schools nationwide were occupied. A multitude of local demonstrations took place daily and national marches were held weekly in Athens–the largest in Greece for decades. To achieve this, students overcame family pressures, governmental threats of having to repeat ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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