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New students’ rallies and demonstrations

Mass rallies and mobilizations of students against the new bill for the public tertiary education take place today in all major cities of Greece.

Also a 3 hours work stoppage has been declared today by the federations of teachers in primary and secondary schools, while the Supreme Confederation of the Parents of Secondary School Students also invited its members to participate in the demonstrations. Similar resolutions and announcements have been also issued by PAME and many federations and trade-unions. A new demonstration has already been announced for the 22nd of June.

The government of New Democracy party facing growing protest resorted to a manoeuvre in order to ease the students’ opposition and announced postponement of the submission of the draft law on Higher Education, saying that the draft will be put into “public dialogue” before officially submitted in autumn.

The General Secretary of the CC of KKE Aleka Papariga commenting on the governmental manoeuvre pointed out that Government backed out under the pressure of the student movement. However, she added, this development is not convincing anyone that the Government is quitting from its commitment to privatise Higher Education. Their aim is to gain time, grab people’s attention in a “dialogue” with a predetermined result and come back. Aleka Papariga stated that the demand remains, that is the draft law to be never submitted, and noted that KKE has the opinion that this struggle regards the working class, all popular strata and their movements.

Aleka Papariga stressed that the communists and other class-oriented trade-unionists have made proposals in the frame of the General Confederation of Greek Workers and to the Confederation of Public Servants to declare a 24-hours strike against the law, a proposal that however was rejected by the other forces, and concluded that a general political strike was needed, an action that might obstruct the Government to present the project of law.

Aleka Papariga said that the privatization of higher education is not only pushed forward through the decision to establish non-state Universities, "but also through the further invasion of business interests in the so-called public University Institutions." The privatisation process will be even further pushed forward also in the elementary schools through the so-called “decentralisation” process, an idea that meets the agreement of both PASOK and ND parties, and which will further sharpen class discriminations and barriers in secondary schools.

"What will happen then? State financing will be curbed and schools will base their operational costs upon their own funds, mostly coming from parents. Therefore, depending on the area, schools of superior, medium and inferior levels will be created. They are going to reflect each area’s businessmen and live up to their expectations and needs.", she added concluding that the developments in the education make all the more urgent the formation of a joint front between the working class the students of all levels.

Meanwhile, in the last week the technological institutions students joined the protests. Already 31 students’ unions that cover 115 faculties of Technological Institutions have joined the mobilizations with resolutions of their general assemblies. The university professors are also on strike.

For your information, we send you attached the Theses of KKE for Higher Education. [unofficial translation]

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