Letter of Support to All people fighting for Free and Emancipatory Education

[this letter is also available in German, French, Bengali, Serbian, Croatian and Italian]

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Hamburg (Germany), May 24th 2009

In Solidarity with all people who are struggling for free and emancipatory education

Hello pupils, students, trade unionists, teachers, parents and all who are fighting for free and emancipatory public Education around the world!!

We are people from more than 60 cities across Germany and we are seeing our current and upcoming protests as part of the global struggle. We are also discussing the current structures and restructuring efforts within the public education system in Germany and around the world (e.g. the Bologna process [on the European level] and tuition fees [on the local and global level]). We are fighting for free and independent (from state and commercial interests) public education for all, as well as a society, which would enable such an education system.

Right now we are preparing for a week of protest in more than 60 cities across Germany from June 15th until June 19th. Protests will include alternative workshops and seminars (16/06), demonstrations (17/06), actions of civil disobedience (18/06), as well as protests against the Bologna process (celebrating its 10th “anniversary”) in Berlin (19/06). All actions are organized and co-ordinated by local alliances, which include pupil and student representative bodies, unions, parents, teaching staff and others. We are solidarising us with your struggles in schools, universities and workplaces worldwide! We also need your support.

Please send a short message of support to: (if possible in English) before June 17th!

Only united we can win the struggle for a just and solidary world!

Bundesweites Bildungsstreikbündnis (German federal protest co-ordination assembly”)

PS: an overview of education protests this year (2009) so far can be accessed here.

PPS: to connect with groups internationally feel free to send a mail to: united.for.education[at]gmail.com

taken during the
"International Day of Action against the Commercialisation of Education"
on Nov. 5th 2008 on campus of the University of Dhaka [Bangladesh]

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Reactions recevied so far:

Students in Bangladesh are supporting your struggle!

The problems of education seem similar to east and west, “first world” and “third world” countries. The students of Bangladesh are burdened with tuition fees and other expenses like costs of books, dormitory fees etc. And The burdens are increasing exponentially. The other important thing is the little state support for the public education system. The majority of High School graduates will not get an opportunity to enter less expensive public universities.The commercialisation of the public education system is supported by the government. The most alarming thing is, that the private universities only admit students for a few profitable subjects like Business Administration or Computer Science or Electrical Engineering or Telecommunication Engineering.

The government with the help of the commercial media demoralizes the students and always tells them that education is not for free and that it is normal to pay for quality education and that education is a market product.

And they keep telling that especially higher education is not free anywhere in the world.

So the parents of students must carry all expenses and the only duty of students is to attent their lessons. No rallies and no protests are necessary, they say. The call by the global student movement and the “Bildungsstreik” in Germany inspires the students of Bangladesh and this shows the true picture student movements worldwide.

We are in Solidarity with you!
Tarek Ahmad; Dhaka [Bangladesh]

[Tarek Ahmad also translated the "letter of support" into Bengali for us. It can be accessed here. Thanks for that!]

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Support to “Bildungsstreik”

Dear colleagues!

Just like our colleagues in other Croatian towns (Zagreb, Zadar, Rijeka, Pula, Osijek and Varaždin) students from Split, also gathered around the “Independent Student Initiative for the Right to Free Education“, occupied their Faculties (University of Split) during the Global Week of Action (and furthermore) as a sign of protest against the commercialisation of education. At one point, we held four Faculties under occupation. We organized this action demanding the right to free education for all and the elimination of all tuition fees, at all levels of higher education: undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate. We heard about your struggle and we want to express our great solidarity with the international fight for emancipating and free education which you are fighting now. The educational system of today is making the students, de facto, employees of their respective faculties, even though they are the ones who are paying for their studies very costly, while their work time is “payed” with a fixed amount of ECTS points. Our free time has been violently taken away from us (our professors as well), making us uncompromising executives of the system itself.

We stand in solidarity with every movement which implements ideals of freedom and autonomy in its own fight, and on the universities.

Persist on common goal, the struggle continues!

“Independent Student Initiative for the Right to Free Education”

Split, [Croatia]

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Congratulations

Hey everyone!

I am really happy that there is a group of students/pupils (and friends…) which wants to change things at the universities/schools in Germany and fully support your protest!

Especially in Germany (unfortunately I do not know enough about the situation in other countries) the educational system is so underfunded that it hurts to see. The ironical thing is that I discussed the matter with some British scientist years before the Bologna process started and they all wondered why Germany wants to have a Bachelor/Masters anyway. They thought that the diploma is one of the great accomplishments of the German system. I hear things like this again and again.

Further, I totally agree that education should be for everyone and not only for people who can afford the fees!
Finally, why do the fees do not come back fully to the students (better education/teachers….)? There are a lot of unresolved issues it seems….

Fight on!

All the best,

Cornelya [Sweden]


Cornelya Klütsch, Ph.D.
KTH – Royal Institute of Technology
Gene Technology
Roslagstullsbacken 21
10691 Stockholm, Sweden
E.-Mail: cornelya.kluetsch[ät]biotech.kth.se

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Answer to your Call and “support list”

Dear activists,

The French union, Laic Students Trade Union (Syndicat Etudiant Unitaire et Laïque – SEUL) supports and answers positively to the “German federal protest co-ordination assembly”‘s (Bundesweites Bildungsstreik Bündnis) call. We’re struggling against the privatisation of higher education in France and we’re participating in the European Wave Collective. By the way, we were also present at the European’s mobilization at Leuven (+Louvain and Brussels) in Belgium. We’re going to spread your call and we ask you to put us on your list of supporters.

Please find our declaration about your mobilization attached. [file I + file II]

Our website [in French]: http://fseul.free.fr

With trade-union greetings,

Emeric; for the SEUL [France]

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Stop Bolonia; Education by all and for all!

Salud compañeros!

I want to wish you a very good fight and I hope you achieve your goals. Here, in Spain, we are fighting too (I know you know that). Maybe we meet soon. Maybe we, all the people, will build another education system, thinking internationally and globally.

Stay like that and keep fighting! All the power to the assembly/people!!

Nicolás Cardozo [Spain]

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You have my humble support!

I believe in the purity of your noble goals! There are many young people who are not able to get a higher education because they cannot afford it. It’s plain stupid to withhold a capable young person of becoming even more accomplished just because he’s not rich enough. Tuition fees are getting higher, making things even worse. A society’s goal is to have a lot of educated people, but contradictory they are making this very difficult. If politicians want more educated people in order to, in the end, have a greater GDP they should invest in such a project! Maybe they don’t know how it is for parents with average incomes to put their kids through college. It’s almost impossible and generates a lot of problems for such families, with their kids becoming frustrated and over-pressured because their families are suffering in order for them to get a higher education – simple mistakes become huge. Maybe it should not be free, but it should at least be calibrated in compliance to the economical powers of wide population.

All of us should live better, and our countries are suppose to exist for the people, not the other way around!
All the best! I hope you/we can accomplish something good!

Best wishes from Belgrade!

Vladimir Ilić [Serbia]

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Keep on fighting!

Hello,

it’s great to hear that the struggle goes on also in other countries. I will print your message and spread it around Turku University. Maybe your message will encourage students to demonstrate also here in Finland. Maybe you have heard, but the new university bill is suppose to be passed in the Finnish parliament around the dates when your action week will be held. We have high hopes that our demonstrations will make the parliament change the bill for the better, although not as good as we had wanted.

Regards,

Elias Laitinen [Finland]

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Solidarity for Free Education!

I support state funded education as your citizens are made aware to be responsible to respect and support citizens, the planet and the global citizens.
With warm greetings,
Dipesh Dulal, Nepal
dipesh.dulal[at]gmail.com

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Solidarity from Minneapolis (U.S. of A.)

Graduate students and workers at the University of Minnesota support German and transnational struggles for free and emancipatory public education!

Raphi Rechitsky [U.S.A.]

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Support

Support from Serbia! I support your fight!
Good luck!

Cristian Cacovan [Serbia]

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Support

Graduate Education must be the first thing that is going to change, or the change for a better world will never come. We all must unite, or unity is going to remain just a word with no meaning.

You have my thanks and support,

Perisic Aleksandar [Serbia]

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Thank you, Germany!
Hello everyone!

First of all, I’d like to apologize for my English, because I am a first-year student in English. I don’t belong to any particular group of protest, but I hope you will appreciate my support all the same. I am a French student in Lyon2 and participated in the movement against the privatisation of universities. The student movement in my university was put on a hold because we were not numerous enough, and now everybody works for their exams. So now it is only thanks to news about what happens on an international level, that I realized that the protest actually just began and it is far from ending. Even if the student movement seems to die in France right now, it still lives elsewhere. We are all involved in the same fight, we all don’t want universities to turned into firms and we reject the Bologna Process. I really hope, also if for the moment we only support Germany with letters, one day there will be a regular international student movement and that what happened in the Counter-Summit in Louvain (Belgium) will become more usual, and that eventually we will win!
So, what I wanted to say was: thank you Germany for your week of protest and keep it up!

We must not surrender!
LittleBreeze [France]

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Support

Dear Friends,

Universit
é (Aix-Marseille I), as most French Universities, has been on strike for the last 14 weeks. Now teaching has resumed but we are still demonstrating against the French laws applying the Bologna Process at French universities. Although the French government seems to have won momentarily the battle, the way continues. Nothing is totally lost yet. I fully support your strike and your struggle for free education for all.
Best wishes,
G.D. Véronique U. de Provence, Aix-en-Provence [France]

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support

Dear colleagues,

I, as a teacher and researcher in the University of Paris 8 – Saint-Denis in struggle, also support your actions against the consequences of the Bologna Process on public education.

Sincerely yours,
C. Vidal-Gomel [France]

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Greetings from University Paris XI.

Here in France, we fight against the same forces: commercialisation of knowledge, education and research.

Keep resisting !

******

Jean-Michel Guillon [France]
Laboratoire Ecologie, Systématique et Evolution

ese.u-psud.fr/bases/upresa/pages/guillon/

Refusons d’être les complices actifs d’une politique scientifique désastreuse: sauvonslarecherche.fr/spip.php?article2147

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I am with you

I would like to support your struggle against commercialization of schools and universities. They should not produce servile subordinates of corporations but human beings marked by critical thinking. University should be a realm of freedom, not of business and rat race.
Yours in solidarity,
Andrzej Obuchowski, Lublin, Poland

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Letter of Support from California

Dear Fellow Activists,

Attached is my personal letter for you to read to as many people as possible. My story is long, full of struggle, and common. I will graduate with US$66,000 in debt because education is now privatized and deregulated. I have held a small protest at my university, but for the most part have written empassioned articles in the university newspaper for free and democratic education. My last article was censored and not published by the New University newspaper editors here at the University of California, Irvine. You may know that the governor has cut more than US$115 million from the educational budget, fired over 3,000 faculty in the Los Angeles area, and is proposing more setbacks to education still.

Please visit this website for more information: campusprogress.com
or search the internet for ‘campus progress debt hits hard’.

Attached with this email is my letter to you all; to be read by anyone and everyone around the world struggling for free, single-payer college education with well-paid faculty, sound equipment, and solid infrastructure. The trend of white supremacist capitalist patriarchy (bell hooks) must be stopped, and the first place it must be stopped is inside the University.

Search the internet for my name for more information and you will see the censored article on Los Angeles Indy Media.
All of my support,

Nathan Tumazi
University of California, Irvine
International Studies major
Biological Sciences & History minor
President/Founder, The Evolutionary Biology Club at UCI
Telephone: (55) 21-8388-4636
E-mail:

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The letter:
I know what it is like to live inside a loan.
I know what it is like to be without a car, without the ability to pay for land—the rent charged in a capitalist ‘free’ market economy. I know what it is like to scream inside because the education system has locked my mouth with debt; it will not allow me to talk about debt; about poverty. Poverty and the University are not supposed to be synonymous, but they are; they are synonymous. I know the feeling of waking up in the middle of the night, terrified and alone, silenced, but ready to cry for help in an empty house. I know what it is like to be isolated, to live in constant agony and approved pain; to live with a sunrise as bright and clear as hot apple red and piercing orange flames, and be in pain; not able to enjoy any of it because my stomach pressures me, reminds me that it needs nourishment. I am weak and feckless, or at least I feel so. My body aches and my head pounds like a wave, angry and chagrinned that it has to stop at the shore. Where is the help? Where is the financial aid—the real financial aid? Not the kind at the financial aid office, but the kind that declares education a right; the kind that says knowledge belongs to everyone who can absorb it, produce it, and share it with others; the kind of aid that declares, outright and trenchantly, that a student is not a perfunctory piece of equipment for the enrichment of the almighty power-elite, but a deserving self. What happens at the financial aid office? What kind of people work there? Where do they receive their instructions from?
Most of the people are simply people cast into a system of perpetuating dominance and subordination, much like slaves that become promoted to the house rather than the field.
The faculties at most universities are not treated much better. The equipment is broken and beyond repair, much like the sentiment of rebellion and solid revolution. The tenacity to stake a claim in the politics of educational consciousness is lost within the halls of hate—the Congress and committess on education at the local, state, and national levels. The student is all but forgotten, so the student enters the financial aid office. My heart is pounding, I am emberassed that I may appear nervous, this makes me more nervous yet. My heart beats faster. What happens at the financial aid office? What kind of people work here? Where do they received their instructions from?
Only one side of my headphones works. I cannot even afford to spend the money on a pair that works for both ears. If I want to escape into the escalating solitude of Bach or Beethoven, Sarah Brightman or Andrea Boccelli, I cannot. Their genius has become my downfall—the downfall of the university which has annihilated all equality. Inside this office a lot happens: decisions are made, lives are changed, dreams are permitted or pounced on and eaten like a slightly-slower than normal gazelle being chased by a slightly-faster-than-normal cheetah. Fears are silenced inside these walls. Dreams are churned and molded like fresh clay until they are no longer recognizable. One must conform or refuse one’s dreams of knowledge. The people within this system seem distracted. They appear furious at the trivial and apathetic at the grandiose. I am terrified. Who else, I wonder, is feeling this way? The line continues to grow like a snake shedding its skin, hoping to flee into better scaling. Why is this help not garaunteed? Why is this help not a right? None of this is a guarantee because the instructions for financial aid come from postmodern slave-traders. They do not beat or injure; they do not interbreed or rape; they do not slap or punch or kick or shout at; they do not have to. They simple own the land, the people in the office, and the dreams. They own the goals and successes, hopes and failures, imaginations and sentiments. They own the equipment, the grass, the water-fountains, the trees and the research labs; the journals and books and pens and pencils. They own, beyond all this, the access to futures; the access to the right to a social achievement, or a long-waited for personal goal. They do not need to be brutal with their fists, the CEOs of Bank of America, Citibank, Wells Fargo, Sallie Mae, My Rich Uncle, the governor of California, the senators and congresspeople and others, only need to have a foot; and this foot must be able to crush one’s waning hope, like a comet crushes a butterfly at the moment of transmutation. Their gain is our loss. The workers in between are caught in a stuggle for power, and the student—this postmodern indentured servant—must give up all hopes of individuality; of becoming the materiality of something other than a corporate expenditure. Stocks are for sale. Students are not.
Again and again I hold in the cry for help, because the halls of help have become the halls of hate. Hatred of the student, hatred of the worker, hatred of the shrinking middle and the exploding population of the poor, destitute, marginalized. These are real individuals because the system we are in is real. The system of ‘free’ market capitalism, merged with the notion of “normalidade de branco” or “normalidad de blanco” and phallocentrism has futher isolated mass populations of real lives into destitution.
This is not an abstraction or dive into existential crisis beyond the fixing of a growing student movement for justice and equality. Jj presents like a candle in a cave of hyroglihpics, to us, to students and workers and faculty everywhere now in “American” global capitalism and the prison-military-industrial-complex, the example to shine onto the rest of the silent suffering. Just as hyroglihpics tell a story without speaking, our mere presence tells a story of subordination and signification; without us, there is no market, and without a market, there is no CEO or politician to do the dominating.
Nathan Tumazi [U.S. of A.]
June 2, 2009

Schlagworte: education, international, solidarity, struggle

2 Kommentare zu „Letter of Support to All people fighting for Free and Emancipatory Education“

  1. Jan sagt:

    “this letter is also available in German, French, Bengali, Serbian, Croatian and Italian” – some languages don’t work: “Fehler 404 – Nicht gefunden”

  2. Mo sagt:

    Thanks for pointing that out, Jan.
    The links are fixed now.