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The creation of the Students' Militant Front

“Counter-attack for the education, the work, the life that we deserve”

The Students' Militant Front [MAS] of Universities and Technological Institutions was created on November 6th at the University of Athens. Its creation constitutes a historic moment and great achievement of the students' movement in Greece.

The constitution of the MAS is the result of the need to confront the decay of the student movement in Greece, to reorganize it and give it a militant orientation, to fight back the Bologna and EU policies that are enforced through the laws implemented by both neoliberals and socialdemocrats, to struggle for the rights in education and work, for the students and of today and workers of tomorrow.

The situation in the Greek student movement.

Nowadays, the student movement is in decay. The Universities’ and Technological Institutions’ National Union of Students (EFEE) Central Committees are non-existent since 1996. The majority of the year-one councils do not meet at all and in some cases don’t even elect their representatives. In the recent years, in the struggles against the Bologna directives, even though students participated en masse, they did not manage to endure, to contribute in the change of the correlations of forces in the student movement and in the rising of the political consciousness of the students. They were manipulated by the dominant political forces, particularly by the socialdemocracy.

The responsibility for the decay of the student movement lies within the student organisations of PASOK (governmental party) and of the New Democracy (neo-liberals), while some leftist groups contribute to this situation. These organisations are responsible for the non-existence of the EFEE Central Committee as they have done everything in their power to prevent the EFEE Conference from happening; they deliberately address small departmental issues and on the other hand they support the realisation of the dominant policies in Higher Education. This situation suits the government, the dominant political forces, the enterprises, all those who promote the reactionary restructurings in education; it is to their interest to aim for a decayed student movement.

The restructurings have resulted in:
  • The strengthening of class barriers in education, results in the suffering of the working class family, particularly if their children study away from home. Simultaneously, every day more students are obliged to work alongside with their studies, which prevent a big part of them from graduating. It is of great significance half of the students of the Technological Institutions abandon their studies, while only 20% graduate on time
  • The content of the studies continues to be degraded, as it adapts to the needs of the capital for the production cheap labour.
  • The line of Bologna and Lisbon, having as its basic tool the “evaluation” process, intimidates the employees and turns most of the Higher Education Institutions into schools that provide students with ephemeral professional skills, which will antagonise with private colleges that collaborate with foreign Universities and the Professional Skills Institutions (private and public). At the same time the functioning of private “universities” is legalised.
  • The degree does not safeguard professional rights. The working reality is characterised by insecurity, low salaries, non-existent social security rights, intimidation and the fear of unemployment.
  • The students are taught lies, anticommunism, the distortion of reality, the acquittal of imperialism is perceived to be the truth.
  • The monopolies dictate scientific research and make it their property

The fundamental aim of the restructurings is the connection of the universities with the private enterprises in such a degree, that the enterprises will have an immediate say in the curricula (what will the students be taught, how the sciences will advance). This is promoted in order for Higher Education to be able to serve capitalism in this phase of its development. Capitalism needs to a big mass of graduates quickly and cheaply; flexible and half-educated graduates (so that they will be less demanding) and only a small scientific elite. They want research to be developed only on the grounds that it increases the profits of the capital and not for the needs of the people.

These advancements in Education are supported by all the political parties and their youth organisations that perceive the EU to be the only way, have found the student movement in decay, unable to warn the youth and the people for the real extent of the restructurings to follow. The forces of KNE and of the All-Student Collaboration Movement (the list that KNE supports in student elections) alone appealed to the students to fight against these restructurings, tried to mobilize the university students to struggle for true public and free education that will serve the people's needs and for work with full rights.

The recent cancellation of the EFEE Congress – another one in a long list of cancellations –a Congress that would establish the new EFEE Central Committees of Universities and Technological Institutions reaffirms that these forces are to blame for the decay of the student movement and cannot guarantee its re-establishment.

We do not reconcile with that situation
Counterattack and Rupture with the politics of PASOK-ND-EU in Education

It is thus obvious that a dividing line exists. On one side, lie the monopolies, the dominant political forces and their direction-recipients in the student movement. On the other side, lie the unfulfilled needs and rights of the students. The re-establishment of the student movement must be based on the orientation of the struggle.

This highlighted the need of a bottom-up approach to the student movement; the fundamental form of organization of the struggle must be the first-level student unions that proceed with a militant direction, with the Militant Committees in every school, faculty and semester. Alongside these, there is the need for the establishment of a Students Militant Front that will coordinate the action of these Committees nationwide. One of the qualitative characteristic of the MAS is that it brings together committees and unions from both Universities and Technological Institutions (two different types of institutions of Superior Education) together, thus superseding the untimely separation between the two types of institutions that was used in the past for the cultivation of pseudo-confrontations between the students, dividing their common struggle.

KNE appealed to all the students that originate from poor and working class families to create Militant Committees in every faculty all over Greece.

The foundation of MAS was preceded by the meetings of dozens of Assemblies of the Student Unions and the establishment of Militant Committees that resulted in the election of representatives for the 1st National Assembly for the foundation of MAS.

A massive and successful founding Assembly

More than 700 representatives of 110 Militant Committees and 17 Student Unions participated in the founding assembly for the establishment of the MAS; the “AULA” amphitheater of the Athens Faculty of Philosophy was full of students.

The representatives of the class forces in the Greek trade-union movement were present and saluted the creation of MAS. Moreover, the assembly received the salutations of the representative of the Progressive Movement of Cypriot Students, as well as the written salutations sent by the World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY) and the Federation of University Students of Cuba (FEU).

The first announcement of the Front highlights:

“We appeal to the students of Universities and Tech. Institutions, to the children of the working class families and we state: we and our parents will not pay for the crisis. Our parents will stop to pay the high cost of our education. The plans of the government for the further degradation of our studies will not pass. The private companies will stop intervening in the universities.

We know that we must coordinate our struggle for Education with the general struggle of the class-oriented workers and peoples movement, so that the conditions will be created that will allow for the social planning and control of the production and of the economy. Our objective is the creation of a distinctive front of struggle in the Universities and Tech. Institutions that will struggle for:

Unitary – exclusively public – free Higher Education, against the enterprising functioning of the Universities, against the founding and legalization of private pseudo-universities, alongside the professors who do not conform with the given situation today, alongside the employees of the institutions.

Alongside with PAME (All-Workers Militant Front), our ally in our struggles now and in the future. Every conception that seeks to interrupt the fundamental bond of the student movement with the class oriented workers movement is against us.

Alongside with the school students and their organized movement, their coordinative boards and councils.

Against the imperialist organizations, NATO, EU, OSCE etc. We fight for the full disengagement of our country from every imperialist organization and planning.”

The students discussed and voted for a detailed list of demands that corresponds to their modern needs.
  1. Abolition of the untimely separation into Universities and Technological Institutions.
  2. Immediate stop to the economic suffering of the poor and working families in order to educate its children.
  3. Non application of the Bologna directives.
  4. Abolition of the private universities and colleges.
  5. No place for the companies and enterprises in the universities and faculties.
  6. Every effort of corrupting the meaning and subverting the University Asylum will stop.
  7. Research to serve the interest of the people
  8. Stable and full-time employment for every graduate, with proper working rights, on the subject of their studies.
  9. Measures for the support of immigrant students

We appeal to the Councils and the Assemblies of the Student Unions, to every student, to unite with the Students' Militant Front, to take their place in the side of the class-oriented worker movement, to further strengthen the effort of the organisation of the University and Tech. Institution student movement...”

International Relations Committee


November 11, 2009


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