★ ISM - UK
Sent to the global ISM mailing list on November 16th 2013:
Dear international comrades,
I'm writing in the name of the student movement Iskra from Slovenia. The students here have found ourselves in a bad situation and we are asking for international solidarity and support.
What is happening? Our government are introducing tuition fees and commercialising public universities. In Slovenia, all education, up to the university level, has been free of charge since the end of WW II. Along with other social services it has contributed to the formation of one of the most egalitarian societies on the globe. The things are changing, of course, and similarly as (probably) in your own country, we've been constantly loosing our social rights for 20 years or so. Now they aim at education. Our student movement has started a campaign against the new Law on higher education and we've even been successful to some extend in creating a pressure on the government. The minister of education took us seriously enough to invite our representatives to a meeting yesterday. But unfortunately it was one thing that he promised behind the closed and something else that he later said for the media. So it was just propaganda for them to meet us.
How would we like you to help us? We want to enhance the pressure on the government and educate the general public on what commercialisation of education really means. Therefore we would be really grateful if you could record a 10-15 min video on the situation in your country. If your university level education is free, which is rare I believe, you could talk on how it benefits to the society, equal rights, welfare, economy... If your higher education is commercialised or even privatised, please explain everything on how commercialisation happened and what the consequences are: how it affects the students, the teaching level, the social picture of the country, what the lobbies in the background are,...
We would like to make a youtube collection of such contributions or even make a longer online video on commercialisation and privatisation of universities. I believe this will be a very helpful contribution to all the students movement around the world.
Please notify me if you are planning to record such a video (firstname.lastname@example.org)
, so that we know how many to expect. We would need the videos as soon as possible (ideally, by the end of the next week). The 29th of november is the last day of the public debate on the law and the Parliament are going to pass it (or hopefully not) afterwards. It would be best if you talked in English, if this is possible. Otherwise you can send us a written record of your video and we'll arrange for subtitles.
Thanks a lot to everyone. One world, one struggle!
Contribute to the Visualisation of the
Global Struggle for Free Education
The GLOBAL WAVE of ACTION for FREE EDUCATION [Nov.17 - 23 2013] is approaching fast.
During various global chat meetings participants came up with the idea to somehow visualise the global struggle for free education. In the end it was decided to reach out to all of you around the world and create a photo collection with your help.
It only takes 2 minutes and this is how it goes:
Step 1: Materials
Take the back of an old poster or some other bigger piece of paper and something to write with.
And also have a camera ready.
Step 2: Your message
Write a message going out to education activists around the world and incl. #1world1struggle and your location (e.g. city) somewhere on the piece of paper.
Step 3: Photo
Take a picture of the piece together with yourself or with some interesting background.
Step 4: Share it by November 23rd
Tweet the picture with #1world1struggle / share it on the wall of the global ISM fb page / send it to the global ISM mailing list: email@example.com
Btw, in case you want to subscribe to the list yourself, you can do so here: lists.riseup.net/www/info/international_students_movement
In whatever way you choose to share your picture(s), it/they will also be published on the ISM website: ism-global.net
Global Wave of Action for Free Education
Nov.17th - 23rd 2013
We are calling for a Global Wave of Action for Free 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 the state and profit-driven interests, and their hold on education. Increasing tuition fees, budget cuts, outsourcing, school closures, as well as other phenomena are linked to an increasing commercialization and privatization of education. Only by uniting globally will we be able to overcome these obstacles and enable free emancipatory education for all.
August 2013 - Chicago:
Protests against Privatization of Schools
Since Monday, August 5th, hundreds of people turned up at Palmer House in Chicago to protest against the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which held its annual meeting there between August 7th and 9th.
ALEC might sound to some like a governmental institution, but it is actually more like a lobbying organisation.
Through ALEC, behind closed doors, corporations hand state legislators the changes to the law they desire that directly benefit their bottom line. Along with legislators, corporations have membership in ALEC. Corporations sit on all nine ALEC task forces and vote with legislators to approve “model” bills. They have their own corporate governing board which meets jointly with the legislative board. (ALEC says that corporations do not vote on the board.) Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations.
Among others ALEC propagates various policies aimed at an increased commercialization of education. It also regularly generates rankings of school performances. As many of you probably know rankings are popular instruments to encourage a competition for resources among educational institutions.
According to The Guardian "139 Alec bills [were] introduced and 31 enacted this year. The legislation focused on redirecting taxpayer money from public schools to for-profit private schools.".
This video gives a pretty good overview of the current state of the ongoing struggle against the increasing privatization of schools in Chicago:
The focus of ALEC's annual meeting was not only on education. Also the drafting of new bills with its Environmental Agriculture Task Force on behalf of its members were discussed.
During the rally on August 8th police rushed into the crowd and arrested a few people while throwing them to the ground for no apparent reason:
Also at protest actions during the previous days many protesters were arrested.
Last but not least it is vital to point out that the root of the problem is not ALEC or "corporate greed" (as proclaimed by some of the protesters), but the capitalist system, which inevitably is based on competition and the drive to generate profits. The circumstance that capital gets organized in institutions like ALEC is a logical consequence of the predominant economic system.
Also in other parts of the world similar institutions already exist or take shape. In Germany for example there is the Centre for Higher Education Development (CHE), which presents itself as a non-partisan body of experts made up of the Bertelmann Foundation (Bertelsmann being a mass media corporation) as well as the German Rectors' Conference. One of the favorite activities of the CHE is - just like ALEC - to annually publish rankings of faculties and universities and from time to time propagate the re-introduction of tuition fees. Not surprisingly institutions like the CHE and ALEC also have a significant impact on how the purposes of an "education" system are perceived.
Reclaim Education - July 2013
an ISM newsletter
Reclaim Education is a newsletter done by some individuals on the ISM platform. The content and positions expressed do not represent any particular groups or the ISM as a whole.
It consists of two A4 pages and can therefore be conveniently printed onto one sheet of paper. Download the .pdf here (~ 8mb).
In case you are interested to work on future issues of Reclaim Education, then subscribe to this mailing list.