★ 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.
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.
Report on the Struggle against neoliberal Reforms of Universities in Albania
First off, some information on who we are.
Per Universitetin is a movement composed of students, professors and other people who are eager and devoted to work for a free and emancipatory higher education. Our mission is to protect and to empower public education in Albania. We have seen that public universities are being damaged by the policies that intend to turn the university into a corportate entity and the student into a client. Differently from many youth groups in our country we are totally free and independent as we have not accepted funding from many actors, that is why till now we have operated on a fully volunteer basis.
There is a group of organizers who is responsible for organizing the activities of the movement, planning the strategy, coordinating the work with other agents of society (like workers, miners ect). The organizer group is composed mostly of students, but there are also several professors and some people from outside the university involved.
During the last three years we have organized student meetings, manifestations and protests against several reforms due to take place in higher education in Albania. Recently we held a student public meeting in front of the prime minister office.
We are protesting against new neo-liberal reforms, concretely trying to ...
- cut down the public funds for public universities in Albania,
- make the public funds available for private universities (which are completely uncontrolled),
- establish an administrative board in each university, which will be responsible for the policy of the university, the budget ect.
I am sending you some of the photos from our last manifestation (June 2, 2014) in front of the prime minister office. We would like to make them public so students in other countries can understand that the phenomenon of privatization of public universities is an international one.
So far we haven't experienced any form of violent repression, but I think that in the future there will be some efforts to damage our activities (we have experienced that 2 years ago during our activities with another group, protesting for the same reasons). Our activities are mostly concentrated in the capital (Tirana), but our members and activists come from all the cities in the country. Starting from October (the beginning of the new academic year) we will undertake some campaings in order to create small groups in other cities and continue with our struggle.
We hope we can create a good relationship with the international student movement.
Greetings from Albania.
Alban - representativ of the movement
July 7th, Indonesia:
Day of Action against Militarism
The following report was sent in by the student group PEMBEBASAN to inform about the day of action.
On 7th of July 2014, we held actions to express our refusal of the return of the military regime. We spread awareness, that the military regime could be a nightmare for democracy. In Indonesia, tomorrow on 9th of July there will be presidential elections. Prabowo Subianto, one of the presidential candidates, was a former general who led the army special forces (KOPASSUS).
In 1998, Prabowo Subianto kidnapped dozens of activists and 13 activists are still missing until now. Prabowo also ordered his troops to kill and imprison activists ahead of the collapse of the military dictatorship, which existed for 32 years. The majority of victims were Chinese. They were raped and brutally murdered. Prabowo's policies were very racist.
Prabowo escaped from a human rights court because the bourgeois elite did not have the courage to catch him. Now, Prabowo wants to be president, collaborating with political parties which were the main supporters of the military dictatorial regime from 1966 to 1998. Prabowo, as a former general and violator of human rights, he was also a very wealthy businessman. Other presidential candidates, in our opinion, did not dare to oppose the rise of the military power. Among those in power, there are also general human rights violators. The two presidential candidates follow capitalist policies. So, we, from the Center of Student Struggle for National Liberation (PEMBEBASAN), reject the return of the military forces with demonstrations and the distribution of fliers. Actions took place some different provinces, Middle of Sulawesi (Palu), Yogyakarta, East Java (Mojokerto) and Jakarta.
by (School) Students across Germany
A network of (school) students, the teachers' union (on the regional and local level) as well as trainees arranged rallies as well as other protest activities in different cities across Germany on Wednesday, June 25th. Basically their anger is directed against three tendencies - all of which can also be observed in many other parts of the world:
Other focuses were also the struggle against an atmosphere of increasing competition and pressure to perform as well as precarious working conditions, such as "hire-and-fire" practices at educational institutions. In recent years a reform in some federal states which cut the years until graduation for A levels by one year gave the pressure to perform for school students an additional boost. Also the increasing lack of affordable living space is a significant problem.
In the end the call to action summarizes that the struggle is for "a democratic, inclusive, civil (i.e. no research for military purposes) and critical educational landscape".
The first "Bildungsstreik" (translated: "Educational Strike") took place in 2009. The common label "Bildungsstreik" connects groups and alliances on the national level, which arrange their own activities autonomously on the local level.
Although this helps to get more people engaged, in the end it also blurs the picture on what the movement is all about. On one hand there are some who focus on revolutionary ideas, such as the abolition of grading systems and selection mechanisms, which helps to make the boundaries as well as oppressive character of the predominant system visible. On the other hand unions and groups (probably the vast majority of them) rather focus on budget cuts, class sizes, "quality of education" and some even argue that "they" are the future elite and therefore the state should have an interest to invest in their human capital; after all it's in the interest of "the nation". Consequently a clash of different analysis and therefore different targets (social and economic system vs. personalized targets, like an "evil" government, university management or other authorities) of the protest activities can be observed.
These tendencies are probably nothing new in many parts of the world with a variety of civil society. But radical criticisms and approaches to predominant social conditions are seemingly neglected in the public discourse, especially when they are transported together with an analysis, which is based on personalized targets - usually propagated by opposition parties, unions and parts of civil society. This raises the question how discussions based on radical - and therefore structural - analyses of problems that we all experience within the educational system can be encouraged more effectively.
on twitter: @bildungsstreik | #bildungsstreik14
Here is an attempt to give an overview of the activities related to the latest "Bildungsstreik":