quinta-feira, outubro 20, 2011

Outstanding student loans to top $1 trillion [@USA]

Americans now have more student debt than they owe on their credit cards. U.S. students took out more than $100 billion in loans last year, a figure that will push the total amount of outstanding student debt above the $1-trillion mark this year for the first time ever.
Those were among the most depressing figures in a rather depressing new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which USA Today dives into. To put the $1-trillion figure into some perspective, that total means that Americans now owe more in student loans than they do on their credit cards.

Even when adjusting for inflation, students are borrowing at roughly twice what they did a decade ago, and total outstanding debt has doubled in the past five years alone, the data shows. Full-time undergrads borrowed an average of $4,953 in 2010, a 63-percent jump from the previous decade even when inflation is factored in.

USA Today spoke to several student loan experts and observers, none of whom sugarcoated what the numbers mean. "Students who borrow too much end up delaying life-cycle events such as buying a car, buying a home, getting married [and] have children", said Mark Kantrowitz, a publisher of FinAid.org. Nick Pardini, a finance grad student at Villanova who blogs on the topic, went one better: "It's going to create a generation of wage slavery".

segunda-feira, abril 25, 2011

Meeting of the Balkans students

Last weekend, the city of Skopje hosted a daring meeting which included students from different universities from around the Balkans. Responding to the call of “Sloboden Indeks” (hosts of this meeting) activists from different groups including “Sindikat Obrazovanja ASI” (Belgrade), ”Studentski Glas” (Sofia), “n’Solidaritet” (Prishtina) and “Nezavisna Studentska Iniciativa” (Belgrade) have come together to discuss the problems which their struggle faces in their native countries. Higher education, one of the greatest victims in the process of aggressive implementation of neo-liberal trends in Balkan, has collapsed due to reforms where “knowledge and education is distributed as any other product”.

International Student Movement – Balkan Meeting is a meeting between Balkan student movements that fight for free and emancipatory education that is endangered by the Bologna Process, diminishing autonomy of the university to state and economic powers and high fees among other things. This is the first serious attempt towards coordination between the groups, which means coordination in actions, information sharing and most important working under the same ideology in full solidarity with one another. “The important goal of the meeting was to create a unified platform which all the individuals and groups who identify with, can join in the struggle”.

“Balkan Student” (network’s official name from now on) sees today’s universities as a mere “factories” of producing cheap technical labor force with no knowledge and critical thinking whatsoever. The future actions will fight these occurrences and will propagate the idea of the publicly funded and autonomous free university that is free from any political and economical influences, with the students and professors organized on the principles of direct democracy.

The first Balkan Student meeting was held from 16th to 18th of April 2011 and it was supposed to end with a public discussion on the subject of “student self-organizing” at the University “Sv. Kiril i Metodij” in Skopje. The student network has announced its next meeting in Belgrade at the beginning of the next academic year and actions that are soon to follow.

sexta-feira, abril 22, 2011

Liberation Without Borders Tour: 13th of May

From Rebel Universities to the Tunisian Uprising
Last 11th-13th of February, during the transnational meeting in Paris promoted and participated by hundreds of activists, groups and networks that are struggling against precarization, austerity policies and cuts to education, Tunisian activists proposed a great meeting in Tunisia. The project immediately became a central issue in the construction of the Knowledge Liberation Front, because a new Europe begins from the Maghreb revolution. The 13th of May we will leave the European universities in struggle to transgress European borders and unite our conflicts with the uprisings on the other shore of the Mediterranean Sea, because they are our uprisings.

The activists in Tunis who have been organizing the meeting since mid February are extremely clear about its content: let’s not call this initiative a caravan because we have no need for help or simple solidarity, concepts that often hide traces of colonial charity, and because we are perfectly able to do the revolution without teachers. Moreover, they have added over the last weeks, what we see arriving labeled as “humanitarian” from the other shore of the Mediterranean are bombs and war. Instead, we need your struggles to unite the two shores of the Mediterranean through conflict and social transformation, to oust all tyrants – from Ben Ali to the tyrants of the financial capitalism.

This is the reason why activists, students and precarious workers of the Knowledge Liberation Front will go to Tunisia since the 13th of May: to learn. We will go to Tunisia to understand and to do militant inquiry, because the insurgent composition – highly educated young people and unemployed or precarious workers impoverished by the crisis, a system that produces corruption, women reclaiming and acting out their liberty, people who want to live and move without borders – has common characteristics with the European movements revolting against austerity and the cuts to education and welfare. We will go to Tunisia to bring our experiences and discuss, starting from the transnational common days of action against banks and the financial capitalism of the 24th-25th-26th of March. We will go to Tunisia to build relations and not to follow media events. We will go to Tunisia to organize together against a war run against the women and men who are rebelling in the North Africa: it is not against Gaddafi, who has always been a faithful ally of the Western powers in the war against migrants, but against the revolution. We will go to Tunisia to fight, together, against European borders and for the free circulation of people and knowledge. We will go to Tunisia to make Tunisia our university. Without aesthetics of revolt or the ambiguous veils of humanitarian causes and supposed solidarity, we want to learn what it means today, in Europe, to do as has been done in Tunisia.

The 13th of May we take only the first step: we want to build up a process and carry out concrete projects and, together with Tunisian activists, call for another great initiative in the next few months. For this reason, we will go to Tunisia cooperating with a delegation of activists involved in the NoBorder network, to claim freedom without borders. Because the real “caravan” will be towards Europe: following the migrants’ practices of liberty and the teachings of the Tunisian uprising, we want to liberate ourselves from all the tyrants.

sexta-feira, abril 08, 2011

Toronto Univ. students protest Munk donation

About 100 University of Toronto students and a handful of professors staged a noisy demonstration Thursday to protest a donation from philanthropist Peter Munk they fear could lead to corporate meddling in campus research.
They were joined briefly by American intellectual Noam Chomsky who had been speaking at Hart House on the growing privatization of universities. Chomsky addressed the crowd outside stately Simcoe Hall where the Governing Council was conducting business. He repeated concerns over the growing corporate influence on universities, and called for free tuition as a way to open the door for students of all economic backgrounds.

The protesters were opposing Munk’s $35 million gift last year for a new school of global affairs, which they claimed is tainted by allegations that Munk’s international gold mining operations are guilty of pollution and human rights violations.

They managed to work their way to outside the council chambers where they pounded on drums and chanted “Munk’s a skunk” in an attempt to disrupt the meeting.

“We don’t want Munk’s money affiliated with the university and we fear it could push a right-wing agenda and shut down academic freedom,” warned first-year student Juan Carlos Jimenez of the Anti-Corporatization Working Group, a subgroup of the U of T General Assembly coalition. “His mines in South America and Tanzania have been accused of human rights abuses and environmental violations — will it really fund research that would investigate these charges?” said Jimenez.

The donation by Munk, chairman of Barrick Gold, is to create the Munk School of Global Affairs, a professional school born out of the Munk Centre for International Studies, a think tank that does not grant degrees. Munk’s gift came with a $25-million boost from the provincial government. One of the first degrees will be a two-year Master of Global Affairs, to be housed in a heritage building being renovated at Bloor St. and Devonshire Place.

quarta-feira, abril 06, 2011

Administrate This! 19th of April @ Nottingham

On April the 18th -20th the Association of University Administrators will be meeting in Nottingham to discuss the future of Higher Education in the UK. As the government’s plans to lift the cap on tuition fees to £9.000 is exploited by a cartel of administrations to monopolise high-end university education, the minister for universities, David Willetts, keynote speaker at the AUA conference, reassures us that the cuts in funding and the raises in fees will be ‘progressive’. The same ‘Honourable Gentleman’ tries to divide us by blaming women’s struggle for equality for the problems that big business and career politicians have created for working-class men. In order to defend and advance the cause of education in this country over business managers and privilege, and to show that we won’t be divided by patriarchal logic, we invite you to the following:
Meet at the Lakeside Arts Centre, University Of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD at 12:00 on the 19th of April.

We will march on the conference to challenge David Willetts’ destructive policies and patriarchal logic, and those who enable the savage cuts and fees he promotes. There will be a feminist bloc.

Bring placards, banners, and the noise. Speakers from anti-cuts campaigns across the country and Women Against Cuts TBA.
As a response to a conference which charges at minimum £99 for one day’s access, we will be hosting a free camp at a location (to be disclosed nearer the time) near the conference in Nottingham. Join us in camping over- bring a tent and camping equipment with you!

The camp will last from the 19th-20th and hold workshops and discussions with activists and academics on the topics including: Anti-Oppression; Gender and The Cuts; Zombie Universities; Protest Tactics, Strategies, and Direct Action; Capitalism and Beyond; There will also be food, a kids space, music, performance, and art!

At the AUA conference, Willetts will speak to an audience of Vice-Chancellors, Registrars and other administrative staff and encourage them to support his policies. These are the same staff who blithely cut departments, intimidate lower-paid academic staff, and exploit support workers in the name of the cuts. Yet vice-chancellors and management refuse to take a cut in salary, despite earning well over £150,000 a year. It is not a question of whether one or many wolves tear apart education, whether the government or the university administrations promote cuts and commercialization, it is a matter of us building alternatives and taking action.


See you there,
Nottingham Students against Fees and Cuts

terça-feira, abril 05, 2011

Juventud SIN Futuro . ES

Nosotras y nosotros, la juventud sin futuro, nos dirigimos a la opinión pública para mostrar nuestro desacuerdo con la política de recortes sociales del Gobierno, y la consecuencia más grave y con mayor impacto en el futuro que estas medidas representan: la juventud más preparada de nuestra historia vivirá peor que sus padres.

La agresión contra el colectivo juvenil en un escenario de crisis capitalista, con una tasa de paro juvenil del 40%, la más alta de la UE, se materializa principalmente en tres medidas:
  • La Reforma laboral, que aumenta la temporalidad de nuestros contratos, la flexibilidad laboral y supone la desaparición de la negociación colectiva, convirtiéndonos en trabajadores precarios/as de por vida
  • La Reforma del sistema de pensiones, que retrasa la edad de jubilación y reduce la cuantía de nuestras futuras pensiones y nos dificulta aún más encontrar un trabajo digno. Todo ello nos plantea un horizonte sin futuro
  • La mercantilización de la Educación pública, que apuesta por la rentabilidad privada, y no por la formación y el conocimiento. Una universidad de élite para una minoría y fábrica de precarios para una mayoría, con medidas que se concretan en una nueva selectividad que pone trabas al acceso a la universidad y en la degradación de la formación profesional.
Somos las y los jóvenes a quienes las élites económicas y las políticas de nuestros gobiernos nos quieren convertir en la generación sin formación ni trabajo ni pensión digna. Aquellos que, además, no tendremos casa en nuestra vida, desde que los especuladores hicieron del derecho a la vivienda un negocio con el que enriquecerse; un modelo de crecimiento económico que ha fracasado y ha generado esta crisis. Hemos tomado conciencia de que las medidas de salida a la crisis económica se han realizado a través de una constante socialización de las pérdidas.

Frente a la salida de la crisis por la derecha, nosotras y nosotros, la generación precaria, señalamos a los culpables y reivindicamos ser escuchados.

Queremos recuperar nuestra capacidad para ser actores de un motor de cambio, combatiendo un país de precariedad, desempleo y privatización de nuestra educación. Somos además conscientes de que la movilización y la lucha tienen sentido, pero sobre todo de que son necesarias. Italia, Francia, Grecia o Islandia nos enseñan que la movilización es indispensable. El mundo árabe nos demuestra que la victoria es posible.

Por eso llamamos a un ciclo de movilizaciones que recuperen la voz de la juventud en la calle, y lo hacemos extensivo a la sociedad civil. Nosotras no nos fiamos, sabemos que esto sólo lo solucionamos sin los que causaron esta crisis. Instamos a emprender la movilización colectiva, a reivindicar nuestro derecho a disentir, a reconstruir nuestro futuro.

Los abajo firmantes, estudiantes y miembros de la comunidad educativa, jóvenes trabajadoras y jóvenes trabajadores, movimientos sociales, profesionales de la ciencia, la técnica; mundo de la cultura y de las artes dan respaldo con su firma a este llamamiento a la movilización.

«Nos habéis quitado demasiado, ahora lo queremos todo»

segunda-feira, abril 04, 2011

The Occupation Cookbook or the Model of the Occupation of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb (Croatia)

Excerpt from Marc Bousquet, "Introduction":

The Occupation Cookbook is a "manual" that describes the organization of the student occupation of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences that took place in the spring of 2009 and lasted for 35 days. It was written for two reasons: to record what happened, and to present the particular organization of this action in such a way that it may be of use to other activists and members of various collectives if they decide to undertake a similar action.

What does it mean to "occupy" a school? A school occupation is not, as the corporate media like to portray it, a hostile takeover. A school occupation is an action by those who are already its inhabitants - students, faculty, and staff - and those for whom the school exists. (Which is to say for a public institution, the public itself.) The actions termed "occupations" of a public institution, then, are really re-occupations, a renovation and reopening to the public of a space long captured and stolen by the private interests of wealth and privilege. The goal of this renovation and reopening is to inhabit school spaces as fully as possible, to make them truly habitable - to make the school a place fit for living.
The Occupation Cookbook

quinta-feira, março 31, 2011

Montreal police use stun grenades to disperse students following tuition protest

What started as a peaceful downtown protest by more than 2,000 Quebec students against higher tuition fees turned ugly Thursday just as the demonstration started winding down.
Montreal riot police had to move in and use stun grenades and pepper spray to disperse a rowdy group of students after scuffling with them outside a government building.

Five people were arrested on a variety of charges ranging from assaulting or threatening police officers and mischief. Four of them were released late Thursday night after making promises to appear in court. One man is due in court Friday to face charges of mischief and breaking earlier court-imposed conditions.

Tuition to rise $325 per year

The demonstration coincided with a one-day strike by thousands of Cegep and university students. Students in the province have promised to fight the government's proposal to raise university tuition fees by $325 a year for five years, beginning in 2012.

The planned increases would bring tuition for Quebec students to $3,793 in 2016-17, up from the current $2,168. That would still leave the province 30 per cent below the 2010 Canadian average.

Students are worried the higher tuition fees will further complicate efforts to fund their education. "Our demands today are really simple," said spokesman Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois. "We want the Charest government to back off from its intention to raise tuition fees. We are totally against this drastic measure that is really an historical attack to the right to education and to the accessibility of post-secondary education. Today in Quebec we have one of the lowest tuition fees in Canada, and I think we should be proud of this, not ashamed of this."

Nick, a 60-year-old teacher who watched the protest before police moved in, called the Quebec tuition fee increases a compromise and described them as "pretty reasonable. But obviously it's going to cause some students at the bottom end of the scale to find it difficult to make the necessary funding," he added.

"If we were really to bring it (fees) up to the level that other provinces charge, it would probably cause more than just a riot." Students say that they will next protest at a Quebec Liberal Party meeting on Sunday in Boucherville. They say that a student strike in either the Spring or Autumn remains a possibility.

segunda-feira, março 28, 2011

Chinese students screened for 'radical thoughts' and 'independent lifestyles'

Scheme at Peking University in Beijing angers undergraduates and prompts comparison with Cultural Revolution.
One of China's most prestigious universities has announced plans to screen all students and identify those with "radical thoughts" or "independent lifestyles", provoking angry reactions from undergraduates and comparisons to the Cultural Revolution.

Administrators at Peking University say their focus is on helping those with academic problems. But the institution's announcement identifies nine other categories of "target students" – including people with internet addiction, psychological fragility, illness and poverty, plus those prone to radical thinking and independent or "eccentric" lifestyles.

It adds: "The objective of the consultation programme is to help individual students achieve an all-around and healthy development." It says officials should respect students' individual differences but they must "address ideological problems and practical issues" and help to guide them.

Zha Jing, deputy director of the office of student affairs, insisted the university was not trying to punish or control students but to "create an environment for healthy growth".

Zha said: "We've noticed ... some students having radical thoughts and bigoted character and encountering difficulties in interpersonal communication, social adaptiveness and their studies. They cannot analyse and handle their problems in daily life in a rational and manifold way. For example, they cannot get on well with roommates, cannot handle love setbacks in a calm way and cannot adapt to career life after graduation."

Earlier, when asked about students with "radical thoughts", he told the Beijing Evening News: "For instance, some students criticised the university just because the food price in the canteen was raised by 2 jiao [2p]."

While some students have voiced support for the university, others are furious. One student told the Beijing Evening News that the college where the scheme had been piloted was known for liberal thinking, but that the new rules would make people think it wanted to cage its students' minds.

Peking University has a similar standing to Oxford or Cambridge but, unlike those institutions, has a reformist reputation: its students played a crucial role in the 4 May movement of 1919 and the 1989 pro-democracy Tiananmen Square demonstrations.

Zhang Ming, a politics professor at Renmin University, also in Beijing, said: "For a university to see a student having radical thoughts or independent thinking as a bad thing that has to be punished, is terrible. College students are all young and energetic – it is normal for them to have differentiated, active thoughts. It is their right to be radical. If a university punishes this, the university is morally degenerating."

Xiong Bingqi, deputy director of the 21st Century education research institute in Beijing, told China Daily: "The university is somewhere to cultivate people's independent personalities and thinking, so it's totally wrong for Peking University to intervene in students' freedom to express their different opinions."

A university spokesman told the Guardian that all interviews had to be requested seven days in advance. The ministry of education has not responded to faxed queries.

The scheme has been piloted in a college at the university since November. It is due to be rolled out in May, although a statement posted on Monday.

sábado, março 26, 2011

Cut the war not our education!

On the 26th of March italian students are going to London, to block the city together with English students. UniCommon will be there with those are fighting against the rising fees and european austerity. It will not be a demo like the others: it is a european day of struggle launched in London on 30th of January, a common day after month of resistance.

We have learnt to block the city through the savage demos in Paris during the NoCPE movement of 2006, while in London students have build up book-shields like us in Rome last year. This amazing sharing of practice bring us to London on side by side to Porto Rico and Wisconsin's students and Maghreb people.

We want to go to London to say clearly to the English Government, as well as to the Italian's one, that the only cuts we like are those on army and war! Cut the war not our education!

At the same time we are organizing a huge demonstration in Rome to support "Common goods" as energy, knowledge and water, we will block the city and make actions to support UK mobilization.

Meeting point is at P.le Aldo Moro, University La Sapienza, Rome.


sexta-feira, março 25, 2011

Uniti per lo sciopero, contro la crisi e contro la guerra

Assemblea pubblica di movimento alla Sapienza presso la facoltà di Lettere, lanciata dall'appello "Uniti per lo sciopero"con la partecipazione tra gli altri di Gino Strada, Maurizio Landini, Paul Ginsborg, Rossana Rossanda.
Questo autunno centinaia di migliaia di precari, studenti, giovani, si sono ribellati contro il governo Berlusconi e le politiche di austerity. Chi non ricorda le straordinarie mobilitazioni di novembre e dicembre, i cortei selvaggi, le occupazioni dei monumenti, il Book Bloc, le pratiche, efficaci e spiazzanti, messe in campo da una mobilitazione così ampia e radicale come non se ne ricordavano da molto tempo? Non citiamo le mobilitazioni dell'autunno come semplice evocazione di quel che è stato, ma perché a partire dalla contestazione del Ddl Gelmini, all'interno delle scuole e delle università, abbiamo provato a costruire uno sguardo diverso sulla società, utile a ribaltare le retoriche governative che ci vorrebbero tutti umili, consenzienti, sfruttati e divisi.

Per tutto l'autunno abbiamo ribadito, invece, il legame profondo tra le nostre mobilitazioni a quelle degli operai della Fiat, da Pomigliano a Mirafiori, dei migranti e delle donne, di tutti quei soggetti che, con coraggio e determinazione, difendono i loro diritti e respingono il ricatto. Un legame definito non tanto e non solo dalla comune condizione che vive chi subisce un attacco, quanto dal desiderio di costruire un'alternativa di società. Un'alternativa capace di andare oltre l'antiberlusconismo, di lanciare un'offensiva contro il Modello Marchionne e il Modello Gelmini, il Bunga bunga e le politiche xenofobe. Su questi legami crediamo si debba fondare la primavera che viene.

Proseguire la lettura dell'articolo...Proprio le nostre mobilitazioni, le mobilitazione degli studenti e dei giovani precari, hanno messo in luce come il processo di dismissione dell'università pubblica sia l'ennesimo passo verso la definizione di saperi sempre più dequalificati, inservibili. A questo disastro si sta accompagnando, inesorabile, la ricaduta, sulla vita di milioni di giovani, della crisi economica, sotto la forma di una precarietà sempre più selvaggia, dell'impossibilità di accesso a qualsiasi forma di reddito, di una continua e perenne ricattabilità. Il 30% dei giovani italiani è disoccupato, una percentuale che si ingigantisce se lo sguardo viene rivolto ai neolaureati. L'illusione tecnocratica dell'università del 3+2 si è infranta sugli scogli della dura realtà: se di lavoro ce n'è poco, ce ne è ancora meno per chi ha studiato, e si trova a dover pesare sulle spalle dei propri genitori. E chi da laureato trova lavoro, solitamente fa cose che non hanno nulla a che fare con le competenze acquisite. Declassamento, blocco della mobilità, disoccupazione, nuova povertà: questo l'orizzonte che riguarda drammaticamente un'intera generazione, da Londra a Roma.

È lo stesso orizzonte, occorre ricordarlo, che ha incendiato la Tunisia e l'Egitto. Migliaia di giovani neo-diplomati o neo-laureati, poveri e privi di futuro, hanno deciso di ribellarsi, contro un potere corrotto e parassitario. La grande rivoluzione democratica che ha investito l'altra sponda del Mediterraneo, parla di problemi non troppo dissimili da quelli che abbiamo cominciato ad affrontare con forza nelle piazze italiane in autunno. Una stessa logica informa la dismissione dell'università pubblica e la corruzione politica, il blocco democratico e la precarietà. Lottare per un'altra università significa, inevitabilmente, lottare per una nuova democrazia, lottare per un nuova democrazia significa imporre nuovi diritti sociali e redistribuzione della ricchezza.

Per questi motivi, per saldare la questione sociale e quella democratica, nell'arco di tutto l'autunno abbiamo chiesto a più riprese alla CGIL la convocazione di uno sciopero generale, momento indispensabile per mettere in connessione tutti conflitti, da quelli sulla formazione a quelli sul lavoro, dalla rivendicazione del reddito alla difesa dei beni comuni. Uno spazio, quello dello sciopero generale, in grado di potenziare, se adeguatamente sfruttato, le capacità di ciascuno e produrre un'orizzonte comune di proposta politica. Per questo ci sentiamo di accogliere appieno l'appello apparso sulle colonne del manifesto (sabato 12 marzo) dal titolo Uniti per lo sciopero e di rilanciare, ospitando l'assemblea del 25 marzo all'Università la Sapienza, presso l'aula 1 di Lettere, a partire dalle ore 16. Perché pensiamo che lo sciopero generale possa essere una grande occasione per far crescere le mobilitazioni per i diritti, rilanciare le lotte di tutti ‒non come semplice sommatoria, bensì come moltiplicazione di energie e specificità capace di intercettare la grande domanda di nuova democrazia che attraversa il Paese ‒, per continuare ad immaginare e costruire il nostro futuro!

quinta-feira, março 24, 2011

The Hague (NL): Stop the cuts in education!

In defiance of the 20,000 students who protested at the Malieveld last January, the government is pushing through its planned budgets cuts that will gravely impact education. Whole disciplines will disappear, professors will be laid off, higher education will be cut by 370 million, and the MBO by 170 million. Post-graduate studies will be financially out of reach for many, scholarships and free public transport will be abolished for Masters students, and ‘delayed’ students will be fined 3000 euro each year.

The consequences are clear: shorter, lower quality education for a higher price. Now is the time to put a stop to these plans. Education is so much more then an “investment in yourself”.

It’s a right!

Preventing budget cuts on education does NOT mean that social security, housing, art and integration courses should have to bear the extra burden. There is enough money, It is simply indefensible that social security is being cut across the board, even though the economy is recovering. Meanwhile, top incomes are ever increasing, bailed-out banks are barely taxed and billions are being spent on unpopular military projects. It’s time to get the message across. Demand quality education, for youtself and your fellow students.

quarta-feira, março 23, 2011

Common Knowledge Against Financial Capitalism

Call for Rise Up!
24th-25th-26th of March, 2011
We, the student and precarious workers of Europe and all around the world met in Paris over the weekend of the 11th-13th of February, 2011 to discuss and organize a common network based on our common struggles. Our name is Knowledge Liberation Front, and we're your crisis!

In fact, over the last few years our movement has assumed Europe as the space of conflicts against the corporatization of the university and precariousness. This meeting in Paris and the revolutionary movements across the Mediterranean allow us to take an important step towards a new Europe against austerity, starting from the revolts in Maghreb.

We are a generation who lives precariousness as a permanent condition: the university is no longer an elevator of upward social mobility but rather a factory of precariousness. Nor is the university a closed community: our struggles for a new welfare, against precarity and for the free circulation of knowledge and people don’t stop at its gates.

Our common network is based on our struggles against the Bologna Process and against the education cuts Europe is using as a response to the crisis.
Since the state and private interests collaborate in the corporatization process of the university, our struggles don’t have the aim of defending the status quo. Governments bail out banks and cut education. We want to make our own university – a university that lives in our experiences of autonomous education, alternative research and free schools. It is a free university, run by students, precarious workers and migrants, a university without borders.

We have created and improved our common claims: free access to the university against increasing fees and costs of education, new welfare and common rights against debt and the financialization of our lives, and for an education based on cooperation against competition and hierarchies.

So we, Knowledge Liberation Front, call for common and transnational days of action on the 24th-25th-26th of March, 2011: against banks, debt system and austerity measures, for free education and free circulation of people and knowledge.

Make actions, make autonomy, make our university: make capitalism history!

Join the Knowledge Liberation Front: Fighting and cooperating, this is our Common!

terça-feira, março 22, 2011

Student debt is a work issue, and an issue for workers because…

Schoolwork is work; it is the source of an enormous amount of new knowledge, wealth and social creativity, supposedly benefiting ‘society’ but in reality providing a source of capital accumulation (extracting profit from labour). Being asked to pay for education is in fact paying twice, once with work, and once with money (or debt). In both these actions students’ relationships to capital are reproduced: they are simultaneously producer and consumer, and are therefore doubly bound. To view the work that students do on their courses as without value is a mistake; they are producing something very valuable to their society: themselves as more productive workers and more predictable consumers.

Students compete for multiple jobs (often precariously) to repay or attempt to avoid loans. Debt, or a body of indebted students, has a downwardly competitive impact on labour markets, wage demands, and labour rights.

Skills accreditation – HND, Degree, etc – is posed as indispensable for obtaining employment. The decision to take on debt cannot be treated as an individual choice. Paying for one’s education is a toll imposed on workers in exchange for the possibility, not even the certainty, of employment. In this sense, it is a collective wage-cut. It shifts the costs of socially necessary education on to the workers themselves, forcing workers to take on more of the cost of their reproduction (their ability to reproduce themselves as ‘wage-workers’), at a time when tremendous transnational competition exists in the labour market.

Debt enforces ‘work-discipline’: representing a way of mortgaging many workers’ and their families’ futures, constraining decisions of which jobs and wages they can seek, and undermining their ability to resist exploitation and/or to fight for better conditions.

Student debt is part of a growing debt market. Debt in general is constructed to humiliate and isolate the debtor yet is clearly a struggle that involves subjects other than students. Accepting student debt is, for all those who work, accepting defeat.

Student debt, like all debt, acts as a mechanism of social control. Debt is a form of education that trains the indentured.

terça-feira, março 15, 2011

1.200 Parents and Students Rally Against Governor Cuomo’s $1.5 Billion in Education Cuts

1200 parents and students from across the state were joined by elected officials, clergy, teachers and community organizations in a rally against the proposal by Governor Cuomo to enact $1.5 billion in cuts to schools combined with $4.6 billion in tax cuts for wealthy New Yorkers. The rally, at the Albany Armory, was followed by a march to the Capitol and Legislative Office Building and lobby visits with legislators. Governor Cuomo’s cuts are the largest ever proposed in the history of New York State, the tax cuts for the state’s highest income earners are supported by the Senate Republican Majority as well as the Governor. Polls show that three-quarters of New Yorkers oppose the education cuts and two-thirds of New Yorkers oppose tax cuts for high income earners. If the cuts are enacted, schools across the state will need to get rid of thousands of teachers, guidance counselors and librarians, cut arts, sports, music, college and career prep courses and basic educational services.

domingo, março 06, 2011

12 mil universitários recorreram a empréstimos

Desde 2007, 12 mil alunos universitários recorreram a empréstimos bancários dos nove bancos que oferecem este serviço. Em três anos, dois dos maiores bancos emprestaram 128,5 milhões de euros.
Os cortes nas bolsas de acção social são um dos motivos que levam os estudantes universitários a recorrer a empréstimos bancários, para não terem de desistir dos cursos.

O «DN» apurou que a Caixa Geral de Depósitos já ajudou 8.200 alunos e o Santander financiou os estudos de 3.400 universitários, representando 83% do mercado nacional destes empréstimos, num total de 128,5 milhões de euros emprestados.

Este sistema de empréstimos, criado em 2007, é uma parceria de vários bancos com o Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Ensino Superior.

quinta-feira, março 03, 2011

The Wisconsin Idea

They have filled Madison's Capitol Square and spilled down State Street, a sea of Wisconsin Badger red.

They have jammed the Capitol rotunda, remaining around the clock, dozing on hard marble floors in sleeping bags, testifying before the Assembly, and transforming the beautiful Capitol building into a house of the people.

They have let it be known that they consider the right to a union essential to democracy and that they reject Republican Gov. Scott Walker's plan to end collective bargaining for local, county, and state public employees on all issues apart from wages—including pensions, health insurance, and working conditions.

They are still at it, numbering in the tens of thousands, with 70,000 participating in the largest two demonstrations to date. Sons, daughters, husbands, wives, friends, neighbors, students: Wisconsin's public has turned out en masse on behalf of the state's public workers.

What significance do these Wisconsin developments hold?

First, as the largest American labor action in the new century, the activity in Wisconsin is setting an example for a rebirth of labor sentiment after decades of setbacks. A spontaneous outpouring of community opinion, the Wisconsin upsurge recalls the epoch when unions were not stigmatized as special interests but widely understood to express the interests of ordinary people.

Second, this is the first time in the Great Recession that a nationwide protest movement has materialized that does not reflect the agenda of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh. Not only has the Wisconsin movement emerged spontaneously, from below, in contrast to Fox News's relentless touting of the Tea Parties, but it also represents a rebellion directly opposed to the agenda that tipped the national conversation far to the right in the early years of the Obama administration. This is another kind of populism.

Read the full text...What accounts for so stunning a development? A unique confluence: the crystalline clarity with which the issue of labor rights has been posed in Wisconsin, the stirring international context of democratic revolution, and a strong sense that the proposed change would eviscerate Wisconsin tradition.

In a shrewd move, the two leading Wisconsin public employees' unions, in deference to a climate of fiscal discipline, pledged to accept every pay and benefit cut the governor proposed. That left one disputed point and one only: the right to bargain collectively.

To strip most public workers of bargaining rights, as Walker desires, would constitute the most significant rollback of labor protection in the United States in decades. One might think such a prospect would create a sour mood. But the Wisconsin throngs have exhibited only buoyant Midwestern conviction in the pleasant surprise of finding one's instincts confirmed by a sudden torrent of humanity. They have politely picked up their own trash. They have laughed and chatted with the police.

It is no accident that the democratic uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt were the immediate backdrop to the immense show of support for workers' rights in Madison. This international example recalls 1848, the year Wisconsin's first state constitution was adopted, when Europe's republican-democratic "springtime of peoples" inspired the first women's-rights convention at Seneca Falls, N.Y. The Mideast's balm to Midwestern spirits has been a source of sustenance and humor. "Mubarak for Governor," read one euphoric sign.

The crowds in red, as in the old Bangles song, are walking like an Egyptian. But they are also engaging in something we haven't seen on this scale in a very long time: a dignified outpouring of a whole American community on behalf of labor. The events of late February are a striking example of what the English labor historian E.P. Thompson called "customs in common," the web of shared traditions whose violation can propel people into the streets.

Custom in this case is the Wisconsin Idea, a notion that sometimes refers to the relationship between university and state but has a richer and more resonant history tracing to the state's pioneering Progressive tradition. Its personification was the Republican Robert M. La Follette, who served as congressman, governor, and senator between the 1880s and 1920s. Through direct primaries, voter recall, civil-service standards, corporate taxation, regulation, and expert policy counsel from university scholars (rather than, say, corporate lobbyists)—a set of reforms together known as the Wisconsin Idea—La Follette sought to deal with what he called "the problems of vast financial power in private hands" on behalf of "the common man­—the worker, the farmer."

It has been a very long time since a Republican senator from Wisconsin has said, as did La Follette, "The only salvation for the Republican Party lies in purging itself wholly from the influence of financial interests." But Madison is a capital city filled with public employees who take pride in the knowledge that Wisconsin was, in 1959, the first state to recognize public workers' collective-bargaining rights. The Wisconsin Idea—a classroom staple of the very schoolteachers whose labor rights are now threatened—has been given new life by the multitudes chanting, "This is what democracy looks like."

Those who have been peopling ("occupying" is not quite the right word) the Wisconsin Capitol represent a remarkable diversity of professions and callings: corrections officers, graduate teaching assistants, letter carriers, carpenters, steelworkers, and students. This array cuts against the teaching of Selig Perlman, an eminent labor scholar who taught at the University of Wisconsin in the 1920s, who held that American workers were only capable of "job consciousness," not class consciousness. Perlman would be surprised to see the firefighters marching in uniform, bagpipes playing—even though Walker exempted them, along with most police officers, from the bill's worst provisions.

In an equally arresting development, many school-board and county officials, although they might have been expected to welcome the prospect of weakened unions, have warned that the governor's proposed dismantling of labor rights might mean a return to the disruption of basic services from strikes, as happened often in the era before collective bargaining.

The recent weeks of action haven't seen strikes, exactly, but they have been propelled by a mass exodus from work. When Madison teachers called a "sick out," a judge declined to issue an injunction against them on the basis that they were not violating their contractual obligation not to strike because they made no demands upon the school district and were instead protesting before the state government. Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, promised when visiting Madison that on whatever day the measure is signed into law, "We will be in the streets."

Whether the bill can be stopped remains to be seen. It has already passed the GOP-controlled Assembly. Meanwhile, all of Wisconsin's 14 Democratic state senators have fled across state lines to Illinois, preventing a quorum and halting legislative action to bide time so as to persuade three out of the 19 Republican state senators to vote against the measure.

Wisconsin's GOP, however, is no longer La Follette's. The Progressive temper, once stiffened by competition with Milwaukee's Socialists, was interrupted by the ascendance of Sen. Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin and, much later, the New Right. Moderate Republicans still exist in Wisconsin, but independent-minded legislators will be threatened with hard-right primary opposition if they strike a compromise.

Quite apart from the legislation's fate, it remains to be seen whether the GOP will have overreached in its aggressive push against labor rights.

Wisconsin is a red state only in the Badger sense. The state went Democratic in the last three presidential elections. Its governor, Senate, and Assembly were Democratic-controlled until 2010, when all three branches of state government shifted to Republican in the context of hard times and heavy spending. In the same election, the maverick liberal Sen. Russ Feingold was unseated by ultraconservative Ron Johnson. But the 2010 results in Wisconsin, as elsewhere, were not an endorsement of Republican ideology so much as a referendum on the economy. Governor Walker, who promised hundreds of thousands of new jobs, made no mention of any attack on collective-bargaining rights, often valued by conservative white working-class voters.

Conservative commentators like Amity Shlaes suggest that long-term advantages accrue to politicians who confront public workers, as proved by Calvin Coolidge, who took on Boston's striking police as Massachusetts governor in 1919, and Ronald Reagan, who destroyed the federal air-traffic controllers' union in 1981.

But this is a story line very different from Coolidge's or Reagan's. Polls indicate that Wisconsin's governor is increasingly unpopular in the wake of the legislative standoff and demonstrations. It was Walker's provocative bill, not a strike, that initiated the crisis. Will the right's claim to populism continue to persuade Midwestern working-class voters after the present spate of proposals to dismantle public workers' collective-bargaining rights?

Already there are signs that in some states, such as Ohio, the GOP has felt it necessary to backpedal from the most severe elements of its offensive against public workers. Meanwhile, Wisconsin protesters have retained their Midwestern whimsy, resolve, and optimism. "Walker is a Weasel, not a Badger," read one sign. Another: "I skipped school today so I can learn about tomorrow."

Wisconsin's public workers and their allies are advancing a reconfigured Wisconsin Idea: that the already precarious middle class should not be destroyed and that labor rights are essential to democracy.

Will the nation reciprocate, as it once did in the Progressive Era?

sexta-feira, fevereiro 25, 2011

North Rhine-Westphalia (DE): Tuition Fees Abolished!!

In the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia (Germany) tuition fees were abolished again today, after being introduced in 2006!

That reduces the number of federal states with tuition fees in Germany to eight (out of 16 in total), out of which general tuition fees are still charged in four states and tuition fees for students who study longer than expected in all eight.

In 2005 the federal constitutional court rules that the introduction of tuition fees is legal. In 2006 many states across the country began to use that verdict and made students pay (usually around €500 per semester + administration charges of between €50 and €250). Massive protests took place against the fees since 2006. Railway, city-centers and highways were blocked, ministries, classrooms and lecture halls occupied.Thousands were attacked and detained within 12 month in 2006/07 alone.

Together with North Rhine-Westphalia general tuition fees were abolished again in four federal states (Bremen, Saarland, North Rhine-Westphalia and Hesse).

Of course this doesn't fundamentally change the education system. But at least it gets us closer to one of the three main pillars of the International Joint Statement: Access to education for all!

Here is an overview of protests during the summer 2009 in Germany.

quarta-feira, fevereiro 23, 2011

Aber is occupied again!

After a very successful rally and march at the university Aber Students Against Cuts have occupied A12 lecture theatre (Hugh Owen).

The march saw approximately seven hundred students, lecturers and people of Aberystwyth marching from campus to the Old College, where we occupied the building to make our voices heard to the senior management.

We are committed to not disturbing lectures or the open day that is happening tomorrow, and look forward to the contributions from students and lecturers to the debate on education.

We want to remind senior management of the commitment they have to education and to us.

A full statement of our demands and reasons for occupation will follow tomorrow - right now it's nearing midnight and we've had a full day. We're settling down to do some work and watch films.

Come down and visit us, even if you just fancy a cup of coffee!

segunda-feira, fevereiro 21, 2011

Para uma Nova Europa: a Universidade luta contra a Austeridade (declaração comum do Encontro)

Nós, os estudantes e trabalhadores precários da Europa, Tunísia, Japão, Estados Unidos, Canadá, México, Chile, Peru e Argentina, reunimo-nos em Paris no fim-de-semana de 11 a 13 de Fevereiro de 2011 para discutir e organizar uma rede comum baseada nas nossas lutas comuns. Estudantes do Maghreb e da Gâmbia tentaram comparecer mas a França recusou-lhes a entrada. Reivindicamos a livre circulação de pessoas tal como a livre circulação das lutas.

De facto, nos últimos anos o nosso movimento assumiu a Europa como o espaço de conflitos contra a corporização da universidade e precariedade. Este encontro em Paris e os movimentos revolucionários ao longo do Mediterrâneo permitem-nos tomar um importante passo tanto em direcção a uma nova Europa contra a austeridade como às revoltas no Maghreb.

Somos uma geração que vive a precariedade como uma condição permanente: a universidade já não é um elevador de mobilidade social ascendente mas sim uma fábrica de precariedade. Nem a universidade é uma comunidade fechada: as nossas lutas pelo bem-estar, trabalho e a livre circulação de conhecimento e pessoas não param à sua porta.

A nossa necessidade por uma rede comum é baseada nas nossas lutas contra o Processo de Bolonha e contra os cortes na educação que a Europa está a usar como resposta à crise.

Sendo que o Estado e os interesses privados colaboram no processo de corporização da universidade, as nossas lutas não têm o objectivo de defender o status quo. Os Governos pagam a fiança dos bancos e cortam na educação. Queremos fazer a nossa própria universidade – a universidade que vive nas nossas experiências de educação autónoma, pesquisa alternativa e escolas livres. É uma universidade gratuita, conduzida por estudantes, trabalhadores precários e migrantes, a universidade sem fronteiras.

Este fim-de-semana partilhámos e discutimos diferentes linguagens e práticas comuns de conflito: manifestações, ocupações e greves metropolitanas. Criámos e melhorámos as nossas reivindicações comuns: acesso gratuito à universidade contra os aumentos de propinas e custos de educação, nova acção social e direitos comuns contra a dívida e a financeirização das nossas vidas, e por uma educação baseada na cooperação contra a competição e hierarquias.

Com base nesta declaração comum:
  • Apelamos a dias de acção comum e transnacional nos dias 24, 25 e 26 de Março de 2011: contra os bancos, sistema de dívida e medidas de austeridade, para a educação gratuita e a livre circulação de pessoas e conhecimento;
  • Criaremos um diário comum de lutas e um meio autónomo de comunicação;
  • Promoveremos uma grande caravana e encontro na Tunísia porque as lutas do Maghreb são as lutas que estamos a lutar aqui;
  • Encontrar-nos-emos novamente em Londres em Junho;
  • Faremos parte da contra-cimeira dos G8 em Dijon em Maio.
A lutar e a cooperar, este é o nosso Comunal de Paris!

quinta-feira, fevereiro 10, 2011

Occupation of University building in Utrecht: out of protest to education cuts in the Netherlands

In the morning of February 9th students occupied a building of the Utrecht University in the Netherlands out of protest to cuts proposed by the new right-wing government. The government is implementing austerity measures across society, using the financial crisis a pretext to hollow out social spending. Like in other countries around Europe and the world, education is no exception to this rule.

The proposed cuts to education include:
  • a 3.000 Euro fine and no right to free public transport for students who have more than one year delay in their Bachelor or Masters programme, regardless of the reason;
  • no more study-financing for Masters students;
  • cuts to higher education institutions resulting in the estimated loss of 4.000 jobs.
The occupiers want to send a clear message to the government and to society in general, “Education is a right not a privilege”, and we will not stand by while our right to education is being hollowed out. We also stand in solidarity with our fellow students and knowledge workers in other countries who are struggling for similar goals.

We're sending delegates to the Paris meeting, so see you there.

Student Action Comittee Utrecht

quinta-feira, fevereiro 03, 2011

University funds slashed by almost £1bn

Universities express alarm as budgets for teaching and research are cut back.
England's universities were told today they will have their budgets slashed by nearly £1bn over the next academic year.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce), which funds universities on behalf of the government, said £940m would be stripped from universities' budgets for teaching, research, buildings and other areas, a 9.5% cut.

Universities said they were alarmed and feared they would be in for "a rough ride".

In a letter to vice-chancellors, the funding council said budgets would be cut to £6.5bn for the next academic year (2011-12). Hefce said it recognised finances were tight and that the settlement was challenging.

The teaching budget will be reduced by £180m to £4.3bn – a 4% cut in cash terms.

The research grant will be cut by £17.4m to £1.6bn – a 1.1% reduction. Future grants will be concentrated on departments with higher quality ratings for their work – mainly the bigger, more prestigious universities, the funding council said.

Funding for raising the proportion of students from the poorest homes at university will be frozen at £144m. There will be no increase in funds to help keep students on courses if they are at risk of dropping out.

Grants for capital projects, such as new buildings, have been cut by 58% in cash terms to £223m. Last academic year, universities received £532m for building works.

Universities were also told that they will have an in-year (2010-11) cut for the first time: they will now receive £190m less than they had planned for this academic year.

A one-off fund to create 20,000 extra university places is being stopped – a reduction of a further £255m.

The cuts come as universities face unprecedented demand for places. Last month, the universities and colleges admission service (Ucas) said nearly 600,000 university hopefuls – an all-time record – had applied for a place on a degree course beginning in 2011. Applications have risen by 5.1% compared with this time last year, and 583,501 candidates are chasing a place this autumn. Ucas said this was the highest number since it started collecting data in 1964.

Ministers have said that the government will continue to fund an extra 10,000 places in 2011, as they did last year, but this will be withdrawn by 2012.

Universities will continue to face fines if they exceed the cap on places in 2011-12, creating an incentive for universities to keep tight control of their numbers. The fine will be £3,750 for each student from the UK or the European Union recruited above their permitted limit.

Click here to read the full article...Sir Alan Langlands, Hefce's chief executive, said the funding council was trying to help universities make a "smooth transition" before they could charge higher fees in 2012. Universities will be able to charge up to £9,000 a year – almost triple the current level. Many institutions had anticipated the challenges ahead before they could increase their fees and "many have already taken difficult decisions to reduce their costs", he said.

He recognised the financial settlement was challenging and wanted to "minimise uncertainty in a difficult transitional year".

David Willetts, the universities minister, said he had asked for the teaching budget to be protected as far as possible.

"Higher education, like other areas of public spending, has had to take its share of savings," he said.

In December, MPs voted to raise fees from £3,375 this autumn to a maximum of £9,000 a year. Willetts said he expected this to bring an increase in income of 10% by 2014-15.

"It is essential that universities move quickly to prepare for the different environment in which they will operate in future years, striving to meet the aspirations of students for high quality teaching. As well as benefiting from investment in student support, the higher education sector will continue to benefit from sustained ring-fenced investment in science and research," he said.

Paul Marshall, director of the 1994 Group which represents small, research-intensive universities, said the cuts would mean "a rough ride for the UK economy".

"In his spending review statement last year, the chancellor referred to universities as the jewel in the UK's economic crown, but the sweeping funding cuts confirmed in today's letter show that universities will need to work harder than ever to make their contribution."

Gareth Thomas, Labour's shadow universities minister said: "This year is the first of a hugely difficult three years for universities as 80% of the university teaching funds are axed [over that period], with some universities set to lose all their public funding.

"The decision to cut so much from university teaching budgets, the massive cut to capital funding and then to load the cost on to the next generation of students by trebling tuition fees is unfair, unnecessary and unsustainable."

Universities are expected to receive their individual budgets next month.

domingo, janeiro 30, 2011

Petition Against the reduction of funding for adjunct faculty in public Greek Universities

Background (Preamble): On December 2010, the Greek Ministry of Education announced a 15-20% reduction in funds for adjunct lecturers and professors teaching at public Greek Universities. The announcement came four months into the Fall 2010 semester, when at the time, adjunct faculty had already been teaching without a signed contract and without having been paid at all for the semester! As a result, either adjunct faculty salaries have to be drastically reduced to reflect the pay cuts, or a large number of them have to be laid off for the Spring 2011 semester, thus reducing the number of courses offered for students. At the same time, the Greek Ministry of Education delays the appointment of elected tenured-track faculty for about 2 years and refuses to open new permanent academic positions to cover for the lost adjunct faculty positions. All this puts Greek Universities under tremendous stress and many Departments will not be able to function properly; this is especially true for smaller regional Universities, whose teaching and research activities depend upon adjunct teaching staff.

The reduction of funding for adjunct faculty is part of a broader attack on public Higher Education that includes pressure on Universities to start charging students with tuition, to accept business-style academic management, to seek funding from private corporations, to reduce the total number of Departments and Schools and to eliminate tenure for assistant professors. As a result, hundreds of adjunct lecturers and professors, many of them with many years of academic and research experience, are facing massive lay-offs.

We protest against the reduction of funding for adjunct faculty in public Greek Universities and we demand from the Greek government:
  • to immediately provide Greek Universities with all the necessary funding for adjunct teaching staff;
  • to immediately appoint all elected University faculty;
  • to put an end to the expansion of precarious academic employment;
  • to open new academic positions, thus allowing Greek Universities to achieve academic excellence.
To sign the petition go to http://www.gopetition.com/petition/41910.html.

segunda-feira, janeiro 24, 2011

Reunião Internacional de Movimentos e Colectivos Estudantis: em Paris, 11-13 de Fevereiro de 2011

De Londres a Viena, de Roma a Paris, de Atenas a Lisboa, surge uma nova Europa. Os estudantes, os precários, os cidadãos e os imigrantes, as massas lutam pelas suas vidas e seu futuro nas frentes de batalha da crise. Lutam para reconquistarem os seus direitos e a riqueza que produzem juntos todos os dias. Revoltam-se contra as medidas de austeridade que explora o nosso presente e nos rouba o futuro. Expressam a sua fúria contra a arrogância do poder.

Depois do consenso colectivo conseguido nas reunões do “Bologna Burns” em Viena, Londres, Paris e Bologna o ano passado, e este ano no encontro “Commoniversity”, em Barcelona, Edu-Factory e a Rede de Educação Autónoma unem-se para convocar uma reunião europeia de quem participa nesta luta comum, com o propósito de criar uma poderosa rede europeia das lutas dentro e fora das universidades. Um espaço trans-nacional para discutir e desenvolver nossa capacidade política colectiva, para lançar um contra-ataque às políticas que afectam a universidade e o bem-estar social e para construir um futuro para tod@s.

Em conferências e workshops, painéis e assembleias, vamos propor uma discussão em torno das questões-chave da universidade, produção de conhecimento autónomo, redes de activismo, organização política trans-nacional e o comum.

Agora é o momento para nos levantarmos, juntos, colectivamente e individualmente, para recuperar nossas vidas e construir uma nova Europa, baseada nos direitos e na liberdade. Chegou o momento para reivindicarmos o que é nosso: tudo.

sexta-feira, janeiro 21, 2011

Student protests in Netherlands

Today Friday January 21 there was a first national student protest in The Hague to protest the reforms on higher education by the new government (Christian/Corporate with support from neo-racist Wilders party). First there was a boring manifestation on the 'designed protest' zone Malieveld with some 15.000 students. Even the sub-minister for education was invited to speak to the crowd. Hew as pelted with fruit and disappeared again as the crowd started to become unruly (a big explosion in the back of the crowd was a sign to move into town). The official student organizations had delivered 400 'guards' who acted in cooperation with the police to maintain 'order'. Droves of people then started to walk into town center, without any central organization, but with some smaller 'book bloc'-groups.

Meanwhile police unsuccessfully tried to force people to walk back to the (central) station to take the train. After some time and for unknown reasons they riot cops and even on horses and with dogs attacked the students trying to go home. Meanwhile 'downtown' the situation became tense in front of the Binnenhof (government buildings) and at the building of the ministry of Education. At both places riot cops defended the buildings and attacked the demonstrators.

At the Binnenhof police couldn't sweep the Plein square because their vans with riot cops couldn't reach the place because they were being blocked by a sit-down-blockade, so they had to beat those up first. After that they chased all the students from the square, with horses and cars. There was a bit of throwing back, but not much. The official student organizations have declared to feel sorry for the 'violence' and to be on the side of the police. Many students understand now that they will have to organize separately from them and from below. As happens so often with repressing protest the demonstrators lernt a thorough lesson about the functioning of the state.

segunda-feira, janeiro 17, 2011

University of Birmingham occupation

Why are we in occupation?
We are in occupation because the university are placing many jobs under threat, causing unnecessary stress to staff and causing long lasting damage to the development of the university Birmingham. Staff Job losses are already affecting the student experience, job losses at sociology essentially reduced students degrees to what they could gather out of the library, theology cuts reduced the number of staff departmentally to 20. Right now research fellows in the School of Education have been formally placed at risk of redundancy after a review that as unfair, inaccurate and rushed, find out more about this case on our blog see (web link). We demand that the university makes a pledge to not make any unnecessary cuts, to run all reviews, with an external advisor, take into account staff/student criticism, give staff fair opportunities for input and take all decisions to democratic bodies like the senate.
For the education staff we believe this entire process must be restarted, this time done fairly and the staff in the education department given an apology, for the needless stress caused them by the manner of the review. We demand the university does everything in it is power to keep fees down and pledges to make sure that education remains a resource that all can access. We demand that plans to cut scholarship budgets in College of Engineering and Physical Sciences are reversed. We demand that the university is open with it cuts to Geography, biosciences, environmental sciences, the medical school, European Languages, Ancient and Medieval Studies, Theology and Religion and African Studies International Development Department that it has outlined in the sustainable excellence plan We demand that the university criticizes the Browne review as a socially regressive plan and that David Eastwood apologises for his role in encouraging cuts and fees.