★ ISM - UK
→ Send an email to the ISM Admin Collective [firstname.lastname@example.org], if we can add your group to the list of supporters for this call to action or you can contribute statistics/ resources that underline the call!
→ Make sure to subscribe to the global ISM mailing list and consider participating in the next chat meeting, if you want to connect with fellow activists around the world and get involved in the co-ordinations of the global week of action.
★ We are Students NOT Customers ★
Global Week of Action
Nov. 17th - 22nd 2014
We are calling for a Global Week of Action to reclaim education. The International Student Movement (ISM) is a platform consisting of many individuals and groups from different parts of the world. A group of students associated with the ISM came together during a series of chat meetings and decided to call for a coordinated action worldwide. We will UNITE in solidarity, because no matter where we live, we face the same struggle against profit-driven interests and their hold on education. Budget cuts, outsourcing, school closures, climbing costs of living and tuition fees among other phenomena, are all linked to an increasing commercialization and privatization of education. Uniting globally is our answer to these obstacles - fighting for emancipatory education for all.
Students across the globe are drowning in debt. These debts, supported by the individualistic notion of "investing in one's own future", must be re-paid by selling our future labor. The increasing pressure to perform is sickening; the restrictions on access to education must be resisted! Everyone should have equal access to education, regardless the socioeconomic status.
The logic of the market and corresponding nation-state requires that conformity, competitiveness and profits take priority over developing the capabilities for emancipatory thinking. Both depend on consumers, cheap labor and "consent of the governed" - not individuals living self-determined lives. Hence, this is not only a student's issue, everyone is affected! The present system educates us solely within the boundaries of what is compatible with the capitalist paradigm.
As a result, education systems primarily consist of knowledge factories which seek to reproduce the logic of the market with all its consequences. This leads to the commodification of knowledge, precariousness, and fosters the ideas of consumer culture among students.
We are all struggling against symptoms of the currently predominant economic system and will only be able to overcome it by uniting our efforts.
For more details on the aims that unite us on the global level, we refer to this international joint statement.
Let's reclaim education - worldwide.
Building a new ISM website
This chat meeting will be used to work on a new website for the International Student Movement (ISM) platform. This is particularly necessary due to the many error messages displayed on the current one (run on drupal). As agreed during previous chat meetings joomla will be used for the new website.
At this stage it probably makes sense to collect the function the new website should have and then coordinate who will install them.
The website is a vital part of the ISM infrastructure. It would be really helpful, if many people (especially those with some IT knowledge) join this chat, so we can get the new website up and running as soon as possible.
In case you can't make it to the chat meeting but have an suggestions or comments related to the new ISM website, then you can make use of this pad: pad.riseup.net/p/ism141207 !
All identifying with the struggle are invited to participate in the chat on Dec. 7, 2014 (Sunday) at 4pm UTC!
It is very easy to participate. No microphone or seperate software is needed. The chatroom can simply be opened in your web browser. Scroll down for details.
::: How to join the Chat Meeting :::
07 December (Sunday) -- 11am EDT, 4pm UTC, 5pm CEST, 9:30pm IST
(to check what time 4pm UTC is for you: worldtimeserver.com)
=> NO webcam or microphone needed - just enter the CAPTCHA!
Protest against new Law on Education
and Austerity Policies Intensifies
The following report was sent to the global ISM fb page:
Today, on October 15th, in Belgrade, a protest brought together several thousands of students, from all Serbian universities, accompanied by the worker union representatives, in the fight against the new law on education and austerity measures. The protest was initiated by a number of progressive student organizations, independent of the political opposition and government authorities. Student activities are coordinated through direct-democratic assemblies in colleges. Protests are accompanied by a series of blockades of university buildings that are currently under the control of self-organised students who carry out alternative education and a rich cultural program. Students' actions are constantly sabotaged by the media, the state-instrumentalised official student representatives (SKONUS) and are violently attacked by neo-nazi groups (Srbska akcijahttps, Croatian national front). But for now students successfully resist the attacks through unity and self-organization, and are increasingly supported by a number of left-wing workers' and citizens' organizations and trade unions, because their demands reflect the material interests of the majority of students and of the society as a whole, against the current neoliberal austerity measures, and the overall process of commodification of education and the imposition of discriminatory social and political measures.
1) 6 exam periods;
2) Fifth year to be funded from the budget;
3) Stop the reduction of the budget quota for MA;
4) To let students who enrolled in 2006, to continue to study by the statute from 2006.
1) Completely free education like the one in Germany;
2) Improvement of the quality of education and abandonment of the Bologna education system;
3) Replacement of parliamentary forms of organization in colleges by democratic forms that are inclusive and responsive to majority of students.
4) Suspension of neoliberal government austerity policy.
Some of the slogans used on the protest today were:
Knowledge is not a commodity!
Down with the bourgeois gang of thieves!
Students and workers together are strongest!
How much money for a diploma!?
Fascists didn't pass, SKONUS didn't pass, the law will not pass!
Students from all faculties unite!
Everyone to the assemblies, everyone to the protests, everyone to the blockades!
Students, not clients!
Where is no budget, there is trouble!
To explain the short-term demands:
This fall, without much media attention, the Serbian parliament adopted a bill on amendments to the Law on Higher Education. The most important innovation is the reduction of the minimum number of exam periods from 6 to 4. It means that you can try to pass your exam only 4 times during one year. Then there is Article 124 of the law, which states that students enrolled in 2010 and later, are not entitled to the fifth year of the budget. It doesn't matter If you are a "good student" or not, the state won't finance more than 4 years (it's a bit complicated, see below), and the number of available places on the budget is getting lower from year to year, while tuition is growing. Also universities have the right to charge you for many things, though you already have paid tuition fees. For example to register your exam you need to pay from 7 to 30 euros, to enroll for a year you pay from 20 to 50 euros, to transmit an exam to the next year from 100 to 350 euros, and tuition for one year is from 1000 to 3000 euros while average wage is around 390 euros. The official unemployment rate is close to 30 precent (more than 50 precent among the young population).
One academic year carries 60 ECTS. Basic academic studies last 4 years and carry a total of 240 points. Achievement of 48 points is a legal requirement for entry on the next year budget. The requirement of 48 points, which was valid for years, means that students have 12 points to be transmitted in the following year, so when these points are gathered it leaves 48 points for the fifth year. So, if a student has gained the right to enter the 4th year he/she automatically has the fifth year of the budget. The idea of the government was that there is a transition period in which the requirement for a budget increases, and programs are synchronized , so that the generation that entered in 2010 and later can give 60 points per year, which would mean no need for a fifth year of study. The plan never happened. Meanwhile 5 generations enrolled who are not eligible for the fifth year, but have all the aggravating circumstances that have so far existed.
A next protest is scheduled for October 21st.
Sept. 16th/17th, Jadavpur University:
Police Attack Student Movement on Campus - Dozens Arrested and Hospitalized
The protests by students of Jadavpur University (Calcutta, India) as well as other supporters of an independent investigation into a recent case of molestation at the Faculty of Arts took an ugly turn during the night of September 16th when the police and Rapid Action Force (RAF) attacked them, resorting to unprovoked and indiscriminate violence upon all the students present at the sit-in.
The following chronology of events was sent to the global ISM mailing list by a student activist on the ground:
- 28th August: A female student alleged she was molested by some people on campus during the night of 26th. The vice-chancellor (VC) asked her not to attend college for 15 days and invited her to a meeting to discuss the allegation two days later (Aug.28th). On this day the student movement started demanding a proper investigation into the case. The VC agreed to form a committee to investigate properly, but the committee members asked the person affected about her dress and behavior that night instead. They (two members of committee) even asked her, if she was drunk or not. A typical case of victim blaming.
- 10th September: In reaction to the procedure the student representative of the committee resigned and a sit-in was arranged to push for an independent investigation on September 10th. The protesters demanded a new committee because it was clear by now that the previous one was a smokescreen.
- 16th September: The executive council chaired by the VC held a meeting, but they sticked to their decision of not changing the committee.
- On 17th September, 2am, lights were turned off on campus and large groups of police forces along with goons (allegedly belonging to the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC)) marched to the university and began to attack the students by beating them. The police foces entered the campus due to written request by the VC. Students were tortured, 40 were admitted to hospital. Two had to be admitted to the Intensive Care Unit, because goons broke flower pots on their heads. 37 students were arrested.
At 4am students started another sit-in nearby the police station demanding the immediate release of all their friends. Finally the arrested were released on bail. At 3pm, a rally consisting of about 10,000 students from Jadavpur and nearby Calcutta, Presidency University, numerous colleges and organizations without banners rallied and marched for about 5 km.
The movement still going on.
Show your solidarity via hashtag #hokkolorob - #hokkolorob means "shout"/ "protest".
Updates are available on the fb page Students against Campus Violence!
Here are some news reports as well as sources for pictures and videos:
attack on campus
rally against the attack 12 hours later
Better late than never. Here are the recordings of most of the workshops that took place as part of the Transnational Student Congress (Oct.28 - Nov.3, 2013). We hope that you find at least some of the content interesting and useful. Unfortunately the audio quality is not always as good as it should be. In case you are interested to connect with fellow education activists on the global level, then consider to subscribe to the global mailing list of the International Student Movement (ISM) platform.