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The struggles for public and free education are being continued in Greece

by KNE
Tens of thousands of young students of universities keep on defending their right to free and public higher education. On Thursday 22/2/07 a massive countrywide demonstration was held in the center of Athens. Over 70% of the university departments of faculties in all over Greece are still in occupation by the students’ Unions of the universities. In the same time, to this demonstration participated also workers of Athens that had decided through their trade unions a 4 hours stop of working in order to join the mobilizations and declared first of all that the issue of education is an issue directly concerning working class and its families. During the last 9 Months (since May of 06’) tens of multishape struggling mobilizations have been held such as demonstrations, occupations, blockades of roads, campaigns of information of workers in factories by both, trade unions and students’ unions of schools and universities.

Reforms in the service of needs of capital

This struggle has been high escalated when the rightwing government of New Democracy, as a continuation of the policy of Social democrats of Pasok, made the decisive step for the total integration of privatization of public higher education in order to function like private and the legalization of the functioning of private universities. These directions that both parties have agreed and signed in E.U are implement indeed the Bologna Process that expresses the need of capital for the formation of a cheap, flexible and compromised labour stuff for the future. Capitalists want to secure and multiply their profits. That’s why they care a lot about the direction and the depth of reforms in order them to satisfy their purposes. Up to now the privatizations was being promoted with various ways.

The suppression of article 16, an article of the Greek constitution that forbids the function of private universities and the promotion of framework law of function of universities are the decisive moves for the official completement of delivery of university to the enterprises . The Framework law is being discussed these days in the parliament rapidly and the article 16 is scheduled to be suppressed in the next Parliament (after elections) . This law is promoting the legislation of managers, with a 4 years plan of enterprising action of each university, and gives the availability to every university officially from now on to exercise antagonism in searching of sponsors. Otherwise the government reduces or cuts completely the funding of universities by the state .In the same time the academic asylum, that protects the student struggles and the free academic and political thought and expression is in practice essentially being cut off. Government will have the right to call police to end occupations and struggles in order at any way to promote the plannings of capitalists for universities and education that will more efficiently for them to produce young cheap, flexible stuff with obedience to the employers.

The political confrontation

Right wing government of New Democracy during these years is making effort with the support of social democrats of Pasok –their criticism is that government doesn’t dare to bring more deep and reactive measures– to have the approve of parliament and basically of people to these directives. Extremely dangerous is also the position of leftists, Synaspismos, that despite that they are declaring that they oppose the promotion of law and the suppression of article 16, they are warm supporters of the self sufficiency of the universities. This position is deducting the right of the state to secure its public and free character of higher education, and gives the right directly to enterprises to control everything in the university, after all, officially by law. It is indicative that the leftists groups they consider as a win of the movement that Pasok withdraw during the discussion spreading all over that social democrats changed their position under the pressure of movement about the revision of article 16 .On the contrary the truth is that Social Democrats never changed their position. Indeed they use the withdraw during the discussion of the Parliament in order to avoid and delay a condemnation by the youth movement that is struggling all these months .Leftists are cultivating illusions for a party such as this of Social Democrats that signed Bologna Treaty together with the governmental party and criticize government about the rhythms of its implementation and of course not about the direction of the measures.

The perspectives of these struggles

The government is being pressed hard, to use the way of extraordinary elections in order to be approved the reconstructions and the reforms by the people. KNE is giving all its efforts for the development and the continuation of this movement, for its political orientation, for its protection by the provocateurs that during demonstrations defame the struggling movement with their provocations.

In the same time KNE in the framework of a political campaign of KKE is discussing widely with youth in organized manifestations and discussion the political positions of KKE about education, its content, and how the conquest

During all these months these struggles imposed a discussion widely in the greek society not about yes or no to the reforms but more deeper, in which direction these should follow ,the people .The verdict of students and peoples movement is clear that their needs are not these of capital . The struggle is being continued for the rights of public and free education without sponsors and privatization. Young students are being mobilized not only against these reforms but also about their doubtful future of precariousness and unemployment that they predict and feel that is coming after the graduation. The resistance of this movement all these months stress first of all that the capitalists won’t have easy task to promote. The struggle is being continued and the possibility is obvious youth to come up to the appropriate political conclusions for the need of deep changes in the level of power in order youth to obtain full rights in education, work and life.


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