We are students and precarious knowledge-workers who have decided to leave their country, who participate in cultural exchange projects, who are searching for work and hope. We are part of a new generation of migrants in a Europe that claims to be a land of rights but that treats us like merchandise.
Without any social support, trapped between the precariousness of production and social relations, we are the living proof of Europe’s failure to provide welfare and knowledge, of neo-liberal policies that have dismantled and privatized our public patrimony, ideologically auctioning it off for “competitive growth”. We live in a Europe subjugated to the interests of banks and businesses where GATS and the Bolkestein directive have undermined the very idea of European citizenship, depriving it of any real meaning, spreading precariousness and poverty.
We are a generation victim to the idea of productivism, overspecialization and social selection disguised as meritocracy. Victims of universities and schools that resemble run-down prisons, developing concepts and formulas that are deaf to the innovation and needs of what really counts: the students.
Knowledge is reduced to a mere merchandise to be exchanged through the ECTS credits. This is the direct result of the Bologna Process and the Lisbon Treaty, aimed at deskilling knowledge, increasing the cost of education and differentiating entry between “normal” universities and institutes of “excellence”.
Italy has decided to dismantle the right to education and the public education system, investing in private education through the practice of favoritism and the logic of discrimination. The obvious goal is restoring a gerontocracic society with sharp social divides.
An Italy that, instead of focusing on public research, has clipped its wings, increasing the number of researchers without grants, blocking recruitment and closing courses of study.
We are the generation of Europe united by the crisis and austerity measures: after having profited our dreams and lives, the system is becoming evermore repressive.
We are, once again, the people they want to pay for their mistakes, the people that are supposed to make more sacrifices.
We are those who are watching the rapid dismantling of the welfare state: essential rights such as housing, education, health and retirement are becoming just another business for banks and private entrepreneurs.
And while most of the population is denied a dignified existence, the ones who caused the crisis are still getting richer and richer with the complicity of governments.
We come from an Italy raped by the Mafia; the racist Italy that rejects human rights in exchange for money and personal favors and that ghettoizes different cultures in the squalid housing projects.
We come from the country with separate classes, Italians and immigrants. A country with fascist aggressions, a country in where women are portrayed as sex objects on public television, who study only to suffer the consequences of precariousness and a total lack of social services.
We are those who have fought for years in our Italian cities for a better world and when we express our dissent, the only answer we get is deaf state repression. A state that is allowing a thousand-year heritage to collapse to the ground.
But we also belong to a better country, of resistance to oppression. A country trying to build places of participation and democracy, a country that doesn’t give up and that is reappropriating its common goods, occupying university rooftops, schools, research centers. Taking back the symbolic places of culture and heritage. That same country that is rebelling and refusing to wait for a solution, choosing to make one itself. Women and men, students who resist the mafia, discrimination, the expropriation of their rights. People who build better society day by day. A inclusive, plural, antifascist, antiracist, antisexist society, inventing new forms of sociality. Against fundamentalism, in order keep the hope of change alive, opening opportunities for participation and self-management, building sites of citizenship and making our creativity a gift to the community and not a marketing tool.
We are students who are full of dreams, hopes, strength and we are joining the struggle of Italian students, demanding the immediate withdrawal of funding cuts in education and research, that erode our future.
We claim a country that invests in public education of quality for all, that gives opportunities for participation and collective construction, not the Gelmini model and business models that have been imposed from above for the last 30 years. A country that invests in social support for all and not in wars and repressive policies.
We are joining the struggle of men and women, students and temporary workers, who are struggling against the crisis, from Portugal, England, Greece and elsewhere, aimed at defending our common future, and stable working conditions against precariousness.
We call on all networks, associations and individuals to launch a European awareness campaign and mobilizations on the 14th of December as a European day of mobilization and conflict.
On December 10th a general assembly will be held in Paris, not only among Italian students and researchers, but all those who want to start a European debate on a participative solution for the crisis, which is not only an economic crisis, but apolitical and cultural one too. The goal is to socialize the same social conditions that have no national boundaries and that represent the irreconcilable contradiction of European neoliberalism and capitalism.
Students and precarious knowledge-workers from Paris