Nanterre strike leaflet

A translation of a leaflet distributed by students involved in the strike action and blockades.

Submitted by jef costello on November 10, 2007

side 1


The General Assembly (AG) at Nanterre on Thursday 8th of November broguht together over 1000 students, teachers and staff of the university. More and more universities are joining the strike.

A large majority at the AG voted for the repeal of the law on autonomy for universities and for the blockade of the university until Monday.

The following demands were agreed upon as a platform:

-repeal of the law on autonomy for universities [loi Pecresse]
-Increase of the university budget, the number of bursaries and of student housing.
-enrolment for all sans-facs (students denied enrolment or re-enrolment due to immigration status]
-student card = right to remain
-repeal of the Hortefeux law and an end to round-ups and expulsions
-dismantling of the university securtiy apparatus and an amnesty for militants
-reintegration of Naima into the university and an end to attempts to prosecute her
-an end to negotiations on the AGCS (General Agreement on Trade in Services)

In the days to come rail workers, civil servants as well workers from other sectors will mobilise. This is the moment: it is possible to force the Sarkozy government into retreat.

Come to the AG on Monday at 12 to decide the next step to take.

side 2

Why strikes and pickets? We need to reflect upon it.

Why go on strike?
Faced with pickets some will say that the blockade is affecting their 'freedom to study'. For us there is no freedom to study, there is a right to education. The right to education permits everyone to gain knowledge and to attend university. The law on autonomy questions this fundamental right. We have the right to a free education, free of economic pressures and open to all, whether they have papers or not. If a blockade takes place it isn't for the fun of it or to annoy other students, it's in the interests of everyone.

During the strike the university must continue to be a place for the exchange and spreading of knowledge but not necessarily a place where lessons are given. There will be conferences, debates, film showings, artistic activities, the organisation of which can be suggested by students and staff and not just teachers.

What am I going to do about this year's grades?
For everyone the choice to mobilise is a difficult one. For workers to mobilise means to lose their salary. For a student it means to miss lessons. For workers strike funds can make up for the money lost when salaries are withheld. With a blockade everyone is in the same boat. To stop lessons taking place creates the time necessary to organise and mobilise without risking failing a course [At Nanterre missing 20% of a course automaticall fails the student] and failing the year and losing your bursary. The striking students don't want to fail the year any more than anyone else does. The blockage, isn't it the only way to get everyone to participate in the decisions? For the rest we can study together, sharing lessons and photocopies so that everyone can be involved, whatever their level of mobilisation. Teachers can also supply copies of lessons. Moreover at the end of every movement we negotiate over the final exams, for example so that exams are only on lessons that took place.

Why mobilise six months after the election?
We live in a representative system, a political regie in which we delegate our power even though the principles of democracy require that the population controls its government directly. For us no matter what the policy the government proposes, no matter what political stripes that government wears, if we are convinced that this policy is a bad one that will lower our quality of life then we need to take the opportunity to act against it and to convince whoever it is of the need to withdraw it. To do nothing is to accept these policies and to submit to the authorities that create them. In March 1986 the Chirac government came into power. In his manifesto was a plan for a law o autonomy for universities, the "Duvaquet proposition". Six months later a widespread student movement lead to the withdrawal of the law.

How are these decisions taken?
The AG is sovereign. Based on principles of dirct democracy all are free to come and participate, to make proposals and to give their opinions. Any decision must be made after a debate so that everyone has the maximum amount of information at their disposal to form their opinion. The AG is there for organising, to host debates and to apply decisions that are taken there. Blockades, strikes, actions; none of these are done on a whim, they are voted for democratically at the AG.

Nanterre mobilisation committee.