Students: relentless revolutionaries
Social theorists have often maintained that social revolutions generally do not begin with revolutionary intentions and that the causes and the processes of revolutions cannot be understood in ideological terms (Skocpol 1979:17). Analysts of large-scale social conflicts have argued that the collective actions of ordinary people and working classes are, by and large, conservative in nature and involve attempts to defend and preserve established rights (Calhoun 1983; Goldstone 1991b: 419–420; Hobsbawm 1973:12; Migdal 1974:248; Moore 1978: 351–352; Scott 1979:129). These analyses, which originated largely from the European historical experience, cannot be applied to students in contemporary revolutions in developing countries. Students in developing countries have been at the forefront of revolutionary struggles and have revealed a very intense interest in fundamentally transforming the social structures. They have enjoyed immense prestige and have often played a very significant role in the revolutionary process. But even scholars of revolutions in contemporary developing countries have failed to examine the significant role of students in revolutions.
As relentless revolutionaries, students have leapt to the forefront of the insurgencies in both timing and frequency of collective action in contemporary social revolutions in developing countries. Highly concentrated in colleges and universities, students possess extensive communication networks, which facilitate their collective action. Students in higher education often benefit from universities' relative autonomy - where it exists – and academic freedom, which provide them, at least theoretically, with immunity and insulation from state repression. A certain amount of such immunity also derives from the fact that, historically, students have been drawn from relatively privileged social backgrounds and often occupy relatively high-ranking positions after graduation. Together these factors enable students to mobilize rapidly during periods of insurgency. High levels of mobilization, Conflict, or repression on one campus can potentially lead to Conflicts on campuses elsewhere. Given the considerable prestige and respect that students and universities usually enjoy in so-