An update on on changes to higher education and student protests in Italy as well as the government's legal repression of them.
At the end of 2010, there was widespread protest by students and university precarious workers against the reform of the university system in Italy. This reform took place during Silvio Berlusconi’s government, and was drafted by minister Mariastella Gelmini.
The road to a PhD is a common source of frustration. It is time to acknowledge and contest this experience as the outcome of a disciplinarian process.
As a faceless PhD student in a social science-y department, I repeatedly catch myself with the strangest metaphors to describe my research experience. The latest one is of academic work as a love relationship with a RealDoll: a lifestyle requiring sustained commitment and a rich (puppetry) skill set, to spin a tapestry of memories around an elegantly irrelevant act of masturbation.
Sheffield Strikes Back, a newly formed broad left group of Sheffield students, have occupied the Arts Tower – the tallest university building in the United Kingdom.
The group, which includes activists from Sheffield Autonomous Students, Revolutionary Socialists Society, Labour Students, Socialist Students and the Living Wage campaign, walked into the lecture hall at about 7:30pm and have now claimed a major lecture theatre and the building foyer.
Tens of thousands of Greeks have participated in marches through Athens to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the student uprising against the US backed military junta. The blood stained flag that flew over the Athens Polytechnic on the night of November 17th, 1973, was carried at the front of the march in memory of those who had been murdered. “Bread, Education, Freedom” chanted the marchers, just as they had done 40 years ago. 6,000 extra police were deployed around Athens and security stepped up at the US embassy.
Both marches ended outside the US embassy, which is around 2 miles away from the National Technical University, the centre of the 1973 uprising. The uprising was brutally dealt with by the military, using tanks to across the campus, and killing scores of people, with over 1,000 people injured.
One of the marchers, 63 year old farmer, Thodoros Psarras, said that:
After years of uncertainty and two mistrials, Alfie Meadows and Zak King have been found unanimously not guilty of violent disorder on a demonstration against tuition fees and cuts to education of December 9, 2010. Alfie was beaten so badly by police on that day he needed three hours of emergency surgery after he developed bleeding on the brain.
The following is a press statement from Defend the Right to Protest, who have tirelessly supported Zak, Alfie and other victims of police violence and harassment.
“The struggle for justice for my son has finally begun” (Susan Matthews, mother of Alfie Meadows).
“FREE STANDING COLUMN” - This A5, double-sided photocopy from the student protest on November 30th 2010 was the first thing produced by the group that was later to become Deterritorial Support Group. Some of the strands of ultra-left rhetoric are clear but it has a much more tabloid tone. The drop-shadows remained. The term “Wolf-Eyed replicant” to describe Nick Clegg may have been coined by China Mieville.
Against a kind of activist-y, spectacular politics, Marianne Garneau argues that US students and workers can learn from the Quebec model how to organize our power as a class. Quebec students have kept their tuition low because they’ve historically had a vibrant, militant student movement, one that is willing to strike and directly disrupt, and not wait for the leadership of the business unions. The organizing model is to create directly democratic bodies—department-by-department assemblies—that know how to leverage our power to fuck up the business of the people who are screwing us over, whether they’re our educators or our employers.
CW: Could you say a little about how you became involved in radical organizing, particularly around universities?