Tag Archives: News

Inside the Egyptian Revolution,

25 Oct

Last night (23/10/11) the Space Project played host to Jano Charbell, journalist and anarchist activist from Cairo in Egypt. Jano spoke to an audience of about 30 in the newly decorated space, about the conditions in Egypt since the revolution began and Mubarak fell. He warned of the counter-revolutionary activities of the ruling military council in Egypt as being a threat to the energy and optimism of the millions who took part in the initial uprisings of 2011. The council has put thousands of civilians on trial, gagged the media and delayed promised elections. He also spoke, however, of the causes for optimism in Egypt where new civil society organisations, such as independent trade unions and neighbourhood assemblies continue to spring up.

For Jano the internationalism of the current wave of resistance is crucial. There is a real cross-fertilisation of struggle. Activists in Egypt are not only inspiring and inspired by other Arab popular revolts, but also inspired by the current global Occupy movement and other anti-capitalist protests. Building international links of solidarity and support is a key part of ensuring that the challenges to capitalism remain strong.

Jano’s talk is just one of the many events being organised in The Space Project. Other up and coming events include: ‘There was Struggle Before Us’: A programme of walks, talks rides and performances concerning radical history on the streets of Leeds; and in conjunction with Leeds International Film Festival, ‘Living With an Earthquake: a Week of Militant Cinema.

For a full programme of events check out: http://spaceproject.org.uk/events/month.calendar/2011/10/24/-.html.

Call for a Transnational Meeting in Tunisia

14 Sep

Call for a Transnational Meeting in Tunisia

We, students, precarious workers, unemployed, and activists of Europe and North Africa met in Tunis to share our knowledge and begin a process of common struggles. The struggles that have swept across North Africa over the last few months spoke to the entire globe because the absence of a future for the new generations was at the center of these conflicts. The front lines in these struggles were held by the new generation who is always the first to fight and the last to be listened to. In the context of the global economic crisis, there are many parallels in the reasons why we are fighting in Europe and why Ben Ali and Moubarak were toppled.

These struggles are demanding a radical change of a system based on generalized exploitation by parasitic governments of elites over the needs of the many. We are revolting against the misery of the present and to build new social relationships that are produced by processes of liberation and the reappropriation of our collective wealth. These struggles create common spaces that power constantly tries to fragment and repress.

This is why we are calling for a transnational Meeting of activists to share our struggles and to construct common strategies and campaigns. We don’t want to have a “media” event, but to construct a transnational network able to face these times of struggle and great social transformation.

We would like this Meeting to be a laboratory of reflection and common work around the following fundamental questions: migration and the free circulation of people and knowledges, precariousness, the question of debt and social services, free and accessible education for all, the construction of autonomous media and networks, the reappropriation of urban spaces, the mechanisms and the forms of social mobilization and the experimentation of new forms of organization and collective intelligence.

We propose a 3-day Meeting in Tunisia in September 2011, and invite all collectives, groups, individuals and activists who adhere to this call and who wish to construct a transnational network of struggle.

Front de Libération populaire de la Tunisie

Knowledge Liberation Front

Network Welcome to Europe and other activists of NoBorder

Soliplenumk Revolte (Gottingen)

 

Source: http://www.edu-factory.org/wp/call-for-a-transnational-meeting-in-tunisia/

Greek Public Universities in Danger

2 Aug
To the international academic community
PUBLIC Greek Universities in Danger
 In the last few years, a wave of ‘reforms’ within the European Union and throughout the world has subjected Higher Education to the logic of the market. Higher Education has increasingly been transformed from a public good and a civil right to a commodity for the wealthy. The self-government of Universities and the autonomy of academic processes are also being eroded. The processes of knowledge production and acquisition, as well as the working conditions of the academic community, are now governed by the principles of the private sector, from which Universities are obliged to seek funds.

Greece is possibly the only European Union country where attempts to implement these ‘reforms’ have so far failed. Important factors in this failure are the intense opposition of Greek society as well as the Greek Constitution, according to which Higher Education is provided exclusively by public, fully self-governed and state-funded institutions.
According to the existing institutional framework for the functioning of Universities, itself the result of academic and student struggles before and after the military dictatorship (1967-1974), universities govern themselves through bodies elected by the academic community. Although this institutional framework has contributed enormously to the development of Higher Education in Greece, insufficient funding and suffocating state control, as well as certain unlawful and unprofessional practices by the academic community, have rendered Higher Education reform necessary.
The current government has now hastily attempted a radical reform of Higher Education. On the pretext of the improvement of the ‘quality of education’ and its harmonization with ‘international academic standards’, the government is promoting the principles of ‘reciprocity’ in Higher Education. At the same time, it is drastically decreasing public funding for education (up to 50% decrease) which is already amongst the lowest in the European Union. New appointments of teaching staff will follow a ratio 1:10 to the retirement of existing staff members.  This will have devastating results in the academic teaching process as well as in the progress of scientific knowledge.
The government proposals seek to bypass the constitutional obligations of the state towards public Universities and abolish their academic character.

  • The self-government of Universities will be circumvented, with the current elected governing bodies replaced by appointed ‘Councils’ who will not be  accountable to the academic community.
  • The future of Universities located on the periphery, as well as of University departments dedicated to ‘non-commercial’ scientific fields, looks gloomy.
  • Academic staff will no longer be regarded as public functionaries. The existing national payscale is to be abolished and replaced by individualized, ‘productivity’ related payscales, while insecure employment is to become the norm for lower rank employees.
  • Higher Education will be transformed into ‘training’ and, along with research, gradually submitted to market forces.

The government proposals have been rejected by the Greek academic community. The Council of Vice-Chancellors and the Senates of almost all Universities have publicly called the government to withdraw the proposals and have suggested alternative proposals which can more effectively deal with the problems of Greek Universities. Despite this, the government proceeds with promoting its proposals, in confrontation with the entire academic community.
We appeal to our colleagues from the international academic community, who have experienced the consequences of similar reforms, to support us in our struggle to defend education as a public good. We fight, together with our British, French, Dutch, Italian, Spanish and other colleagues, for the respect of the academic tradition of the European universitas in current conditions.

We ask you to send electronically the appeal below, signed with your name and indicating your academic status and institutional affiliation, to the Initiative of Greek Academics (europeanuniversitas1@gmail.com) or  sign online at http://www.petitiononline.com/mod_perl/signed.cgi?GRUNIV

The support of the international academic community will prove invaluable for the upcoming developments not only in Greek Universities but in respect to public European Higher Education as a whole.

Initiative of Greek academics

Free Frank Fernie

1 Aug

In recent weeks a number of prison sentences have been handed out to some of those arrested during the student protests of late last year and also the ‘March for the Alternative’ demonstration of this year, of which Frank fernie is just one and Charlie Gilour perhaps the most well known. There are a number of people still going through the legal system.

As the state attacks and imprisons us it is vital that we show solidarity with those inside.

Francis Fernie a York (UK) based student was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment for fighting a cause he believed in.

Frank was involved in the student protests that took place earlier this year and when the police turned aggressive to protesters Frank decided to fight back.  Frank’s offences were minor. The most of severe of which was, “throwing two sticks at police officers”, (police officers that were protected for a full riot).

Frank should not be in prison.

It is easy to see that Frank’s sentence is disproportionate to the crimes he has commited and his background is one of lifelong kindness.

Frank’s has a campaign group fighting to quash his disproportionate sentence and to highlight and put a stop to politically motivated verdicts. For more info of how you can help visit: http://www.freefrankfernie.info/

 

Defend Education – Fight Privatisation. London 9th November 2011

27 Jul

Aaron Swartz arrested for downloading too many articles from JSTOR

22 Jul

Aaron Swartz, from MIT & online group ‘demand progress’, has been arrested for downloading too many articles from the academic database ‘JSTOR’ – a ‘crime’ some have compared to taking out too many books from the library! He faces a maximum sentence of *35 years in prison*.

Details of the story can be found here:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/jul/21/aaron-swartz-indicted-hacking-charges

A support page for Aaron is here:
http://act.demandprogress.org/sign/support_aaron/?source=fb

In an act of solidarity someone has made 18,592 scientific publications freely available along with a manifesto via this torrent:
http://thepiratebay.org/torrent/6554331/Papers_from_Philosophical_Transactions_of_the_Royal_Society__fro
Knowledge should be freely available as part of our ‘commonwealth’ – take part in some digital commoning – download and seed this torrent!

300,000 Chileans Protest for Education Reform

15 Jul
On June 30, high school and university students, along with academics and workers, held a march for education in Santiago that drew over 150,000 people in the capital, and just as many in other regions of the country.

This is the largest demonstration in Chile since the marches against Pinochet at the end of the dictatorship, more than twenty years ago. It confirms that this is a moment of intense social mobilization and anger over the precarity of the system, the high levels of student debt, the low performance of the most lucrative private universities and the constant defunding of public education. More than two hundred high schools are still occupied and the country’s most important universities find themselves totally paralyzed with many of their departments also occupied.

The movement has gone beyond the area of student demands, questioning the “democracy” of the post-dictatorship and its institutional and economic legacy in the current system. Along with the traditional forms of protesting, there has been a call for artistic activities, giving the demonstrations a carnivalesque richness. Also today, students occupied the headquarters of the most important political parties. The cry is for a true democracy and the empowerment of the multitude.

The government’s response has been the same as always, repression without an answer. The fear in the faces of the politicians and the market, however, is already beginning to show themselves.

Source: http://www.edu-factory.org/wp/huge-protests-in-chile/