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The fol­low­ing lessons of the 2015 stu­dent protests need to be learnt

Avoid racial es­sen­tial­ism and racism, and chal­lenge it when­ever it rears its head. It dele­git­imises the cause and un­der­mines the unity in ac­tion re­quired for suc­cess.

Avoid pub­lic vi­o­lence and the vi­o­la­tion of the rights of oth­ers on prin­ci­ple, and be­cause it un­der­mines pub­lic sup­port for the cause and pro­vokes a se­curo­cratic re­sponse from the state.

Recog­nise that suc­cess­ful so­cial ac­tion re­quires both pub­lic ac­tion and in­sti­tu­tional en­gage­ment. Each is nec­es­sary if pro­gres­sive out­comes are to be re­alised – and the fear of lead­er­ship co-op­tion must not lead one to avoid the lat­ter.

Recog­nise that pro­gres­sive out­comes will en­tail trade-offs. En­sure that such trade-offs are part of a pub­lic de­lib­er­a­tion, and not the pre­serve of a nar­row political and in­sti­tu­tional elite.

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