quarta-feira, janeiro 17, 2007

ATHENS report, 9 January 2007: «Our biggest battle for public and free Education starts now!!!»

After the first defeat of the Greek right-wing, ultra-neoliberal Government and the withdrawal of all neoliberal plans for Higher Education last Summer, the various actors of the Educational Movement (mainly the High School and University student bodies and the Educators' trade unions in all Primary, Secondary and University sectors) are now facing the second and hardest phase of the neoliberal attack.

In 10 January 2007, the Greek Parliament will start the discussion for the reformation of various articles of the Greek Constitution. Among them there is Article 16, the article that forbids the foundation of private Universities and defines the duty of the State to offer public and free Education of all levels.

It has already been stated by both the Prime Minister, Karamanlis, and the leader of the "Socialist" Party (PASOK), Papandreou, that their parties will vote positively on the reform of Article 16.

We are determined to ruin their «fiesta»! Multiple local initiatives are being formed all over the country, tens of public debates and actions are organized every day, against this very crucial step for the finalization of the academic, qualitative and financial death of the public and free University that we all knew until today. These local initiatives are united under the umbrella of the "National Initiative Against the Reformation of Article 16", which has been formed just before Christmas, through the collaboration of the three educational trade unions (DOE: Primary Education, OLME: Secondary Education, POSDEP: University Professors), the Greek Social Forum, many student bodies and the two biggest Trade Union Confederations of Greece: GSEE (private sector) and ADEDY (public sector). It's also notable that a small group of MPs of PASOK (including former ministers and the former Prime Minister) have refused to follow the decision of their party and have stated that they will vote against the reformation of Article 16. This group is also accompanied by an important number of members of the "Socialist" Student Group (PASP).

Synaspismos, Neolaia Synaspismou, the Network of Autonomous High School Student Groups (DAMAS) and the Network of Autonomous Radical Left Student Groups (DARAS) are playing a major role in this uniting process, just like we did during the first rounds of mobilizations, last Summer and Autumn.

In the General Assemblies in all Faculties this week, our students have formed a common framework with forces of the extreme left, anti-authoritarians, even members of the "Socialist" Group in some cases. This block calls for three-day or even weekly occupations of our schools, as a first big message to the Government. Unfortunately, apart from the Right-wing student Group, in most of cases, our block also has to face the members of the Communist Youth (KNE), who, even during this critical moment, choose to maintain their political isolation and propose their own sectarian documents...

In 10 January our antineoliberal «fiesta» of resistance, dignity, disobedience and solidarity will last all day: at 12.00 we'll start with a big demonstration, which will paralyze the centre of Athens. At 16.00 we'll keep up with a big concert at Syntagma Square, just a few steps away from the [Greek] Parliament. Finally, at 18.00 we'll conclude this first day of our new struggle with a symbolic surrounding of the Parliament, to show the representatives of the two neoliberal parties that we are the truliest protectors of the Greek Constitution: according to its last Article (120th), "the Greek citizens have the right and the duty to resist by every means against anyone that tries to abolish it"...

In solidarity,

Yiannis Bournous
International Affairs Responsible
of Neolaia Synaspismou

P.S. 1: More info in the next days.

P.S. 2: Please, do not hesitate to send your solidarity messages. We surely need them!

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