★ ISM - UK
sent to the global mailing list of the International Student Movement platform on November 21st:
Liberation of the Faculty of Arts in Ljubljana
~ Call for Support ~
A group of students, professors and assistants will attempt to liberate the Slovenian higher-education sphere from the clench of austerity measures on the 23rd of November. They will try to do so by occupying the local Faculty of Arts and opening a democratic space for discussion and alternative praxis. Some of the measures or processes, which have been detected as problematic by the movement, have been present for long, others are still to shake academic life in the near future. We can label most of them as damaging for either the quality, accessibility or the democratic charge of the learning and research process.
Some of the problems that have been articulated during preparation, might be specific to the Faculty of Arts, but the general goal is to contextualize them in relation to structural pressures that have consequences, which exceed the educational sphere by far. The increasing load of superficial work that students endure may be seen in relation to the “social” need to produce a cheaper and more productive/useful labor force. The increasing quantity of advertising on faculties and the requirement to get your message approved by bureaucrats in order for it to be hung, can be interpreted as the result of the pressure on the factories of knowledge to save money. This also goes for precarious status of assistant research workers and support staff. The pressure for fees can be regarded as part of an ideological shift that leads to the understanding of education as a personal investment, instead as a given right or common good.
The mobilization for the occupation of The Faculty of Arts sprung from the 15O movement, which is still successfully filling the space in front of Ljubljana stock exchange with democratic discussion and colorful events of all kinds. Beside itself constituting a new form of the political, it has launched some important points of debate in the mainstream public sphere – the media started using the term “financial violence”. We can see all this as a result of a long process – at least two years – of ever appearing and sinking initiatives on the margin.
On Wednesday we intend to mobilize a wide diapason of professors, students and other faculty workers and open up new political (directly democratic) space/body, which will try to gather a large range of dissatisfaction and synthesize it in the form of a new curriculum and decision making process.
At this time much is unclear. Even the pre-written demands that have evolved through the agitation and preparation meetings can and will probably change. The whole thing could last a day or a week. There could be 50 or 500 people. The administration could attempt to repress the whole thing or to join in the common fight. In the end – the bologna reform was implemented in Slovenia in a very weird manner. Many of those in charge thought it was shit, but they still accepted it as a given fact. One of the fiercest critics of the bologna reform is the former Rector of the University of Ljubljana under which it was implemented.
All in all there is not much to be lost and a lot to be gained. We call for your support and solidarity. In the end, if we want to fight for true change in the sea of capitalism and neoliberal ideology, we will have to fight for it globally. Ours can only be a small victory.
PS.: You'll find a photo from one of the mobilization events (a teach-in last week) in the attachment.