Students permanent workshop

Domingo 20 de septiembre de 2009 por Antoine

The economic crisis that we are facing today is not a financial one, generated by the establishment’s misconduct. It’s a capitalist structural crisis that deals with the whole political, economic and social system.

In the face of the liquidation of banks and building societies, with hundreds of thousands of job cuts, western countries have all applied the same political strategies, that is rescuing banks and big firms by nibbling away at public funds, thus attacking a welfare state, which has already been weakned by Reagan’s policies during the ’80s. School and higher education systems in every european country are not immune to these neoliberal policies. Infact, during the last ten years, the Bologna agreement has dismantled public education step by step, and this aggression has become even more violent in this period of crisis. Although this project had alrealdy been planned by the european establishment for fourty years or so, only now has university become functional to the capitalist economic system. Indeed, universities must be subject to the research of profits, as proven by the ongoing privatisations and the increasing competition among universities, which both reproduce the competitive dynamics of private market.

In the past, reforms mainly dealt with the limiting of access to degrees, in fields such as medicine, architecture, dentistry,..., moreover they limited the possibility to customize students’ study plans, affecting the attitude towards students’ evaluation that has become increasingly quantitative-oriented. Today universities become similar to a firm or a business. Consequently this aggression extends to members of the accademic staff, for they also are experiencing job and pay cuts.

Students across Europe have answered to these reforms through mass demonstrations and mobilizations. Movements have achieved best results whenever strategies of self-organization at a national level have been undertaken. In some cases we can even speak of partial victories. For instance the french movement against CPE in 2006, although it was not mainly composed by students, by relaying on a system of national coordination and an alliance with workers, has gained the withdraw of the law.

Thus self-organization should pass through the building of students’ base-structures, which, during a phase of movement, facilitate the creation of stable relations with different subjects. It is only in this way that students will become able to speak in one voice, as well as coordinate actions which can improve the comunication of istances that are both inside the movement and part of the relationships with other social and institutional subjects. This kind of organization and self-organization, together with social alliances with other mobilitated subjects, allows the movement to gain major strength. Alliances with other social subjects that have been affected by european neoliberal policies should be conceived as a necessary alliance to aviod paying the crisis ourselves.

Prospective students’ precariousness is the key to make this alliance work: university has become a factory of precarious workers and "Intellectual" job market has become similar to manual labour market. Despite the customizing of study plans, once students seek to find a job, they will most probably have to make do with a generic job, that doesn’t correspond to the university degree achieved.

This proletarization of mental labour leads us to the idea that common vindications have become increasingly necessary. From this perspective it is crucial to build a class and anticapitalist struggle. Capitalist system patterns the entire socio-economical foundation, therefore our answer must be an internationalist and anticapitalist struggle that involves all social sectors. Only a revolutionary perspective will make another univesity possible, another world possible!


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