Building Education for the Commons
There are three student struggles we would like to draw attention to plus the riots that have irrupted in Frankfurt over the past week.
There is no doubt that war has been waged against the neoliberal regimes that have siege universities and even countries world-wide. This war has only just started and the fronts have materialized along different but interrelated geographies.
First there is the front between Greek democratically elected left-government, Syriza and the Troika (European Commission (EC), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the European Central Bank (ECB). This front is growing in Spain, Italy, Portugal, and Ireland and there are signs of growing popular resistance solidarity groups within central Europe as seen in the recent Frankfurt riots. These riots irrupted around the opening of the 1.3 billion dollar headquarters of the European Central Bank.
The second front has been fomenting for several years but has recently materialized in Amsterdam and London. In Amsterdam as the Guardian reported, “Students and staff call for a ‘new university’ movement with greater democratisation of higher education and transparency of finances.” The Dutch protesters are the inspiration of the recent occupation of an administrative building at the London School of Economics and the recent protests.
The third front is a strike at York University. This strike is about supporting Graduate Teaching Assistance whose paltry funding has effectively turned TAs into slave laborers.
In addition to these three different but closely related fronts there is another one that may well be in the process of forming in California over a isolated protest at the University of California Board of Regents meeting a few days ago. During that meeting the police were called in and formed a very symbolic wall that separated the exceedingly wealthy members of the board of Regents (many of whom have made their fortunes in hedge funds and the banking industry) from the general public demanding justice via affordable education. This picture is a tall-tale sign of how the education industry, once owned by the public, are using public resources such as the police to protect the interest of the elite 1% so they can continue extracting profits from public education.
What can be said about these three different fronts that together form the battlefield in a war against the dehumanizing regime of neoliberalism? First, this war is global. There are many more struggles happening in Mexico, and South America which have been ongoing for years. Second, in a collective way, we can say that there is a sustained and growing consciousness that action needs to happen for a chance that people can determined their own future (and not Wall-Street, or the Banking industry that has infiltrated politics, education, and dangerous trend of privatizing the public sector such as water, parks, libraries, schools, health-care).
GCAS is an independent, non-profit school that has formed in order to return education back to the people. Our courses, certificate and diploma programs aim at educating and training participants in how to struggle for democracy and justice in our time. Philosophy is put into action. Join us and help us change the world.