EU Students | 28.12.2001 16:02
EU studentprotests: newsletter number 7
EU-wide Student- and Pupilprotests
From December 10 until December 14.
Newsletter Number 7
28. December 2001
In this newsletter we give you an overview about the student- and pupilactions that took place during the protestweek. Not all the actions are listed but it`s enough to get a feeling about the scale of the actions. You can also read an article about how the actions went and future actions (Salamanca, Spain)and the build-up of an European network...
In Germany there where strikes at the universities in Berlin, Halle and Augsburg. The FU ("Free University")in Berlin wich was occupied, was evicted twice by the German police and a lot of students are charged with "disturbance of domestic peace" and some students are also charged because the police claim that they where insulted (More information on our website and in German http://www.astafu.de ). The strike started at 11.12.2001 and ended at Monday 18.12.2001. A day of action at the FU Berlin is scheduled for January 16. Several actions took place in berlin and there where 3 demonstrations. In the city of Halle there was a strike from December 11 until December 14. There was an occupation for four days as well. On Friday December 14 there was a demonstration of 1500 puils and students in Halle. In the city of Augsburg students started a strike at December 12 and their strike will continue until christmas. In the city of Bochum students blocked the university entrance symbolicly by a wall of cartons and they disrubted a senatmeeting. On December 11 there was a demonstration of about 300 - 400 students and pupils in the citycenter of Bochum. At december 20 there will be a warning-strike at the university of Bochum. There where also protests in Bremen, Munic, Cologn, Wiesbaden, Cottbus, Potsdam, Frankfurt, Munster, Kassel and Tübingen. At a lot of universities and schools there where alternative hearings and lessons about the GATS-treaty.
In Greece there where protests at the university of Athens, Thessaloniki and Patras. In Patras there was astrike from Wednesday 12.12.2001 untill Monday 17.12.2001. At least 4 university buildings where occupied during this time. In Thessaloniki there where occupations of university-buildings and the Theatreschool was being occupied. At December 14th there was a demonstration in Thessaloniki. In Athens some universitybuildings where occupied as well. We have information that there where strikes at 15 schools and univerities in Greece.
In Spain more than 140.000 students where on strike at 12.12.2001. There where a lot of demonstrations in several spanish cities with tens of thousands students participating. In Spain students are mobilising for the Salamaca summit in March 2002 (See our website - Adress below)
In Italy there where studentdemonstrations in Milano, Trieste and brescia. At december 20 about 100.000 students and pupils demonstrated against the privatisation of education in Rom.
In Brussels the ULB (French speaking university of Brussels)was on strike between december 1o and December 14. Lots of other schools and universities in Belgium where on strike at December 13 and December 14. There where many alternative lessons and hearings about the Bologna-process and the GATS-treaty.
At december 13 hundreds of students marched in a studentblock at the workersunion demonstration in brussels.
At the Södra Latin school in Stockholm there was an alternative hearing/meeting about GATS and a new union was founded. In Luleå and Hässleholm there where manifestations.
In Denmark there where 3 demonstrations (in Aarhus, Copenhagen and Odenske). The danish students are also preparing for actions during the EU summit in Copenhagen at December 2002.
In montpellier students changed the names of the university buildings in "Bill Gates building", Nike university etc. During the whole week there where actions in Montpellier and other cities like for instance Caen.
In Austria there was an action at the university of Innsbruck
In the Netherlands students of the university of Utrecht removed all advertising fom the university and put their own text about the commercialisation of education on the billboards.
In Zurich students blocked the entrance of the university with a sitdown action.
December 14: Demonstration in Brussels.
At December 14 more than 25.000 people demonstrated in Brussels who where marching in several blocks. Communists, anarchists, ATTAC and also several studentblocks. Several? Yes several... There was ablock of German and Danish students, a block with Greec students, a block with French students etc. The demonstration was loud and in the block where i was, the students where very loud to: "Education not for sale - people not profit!". It was a shame that the police had ordered policemen in front of the demo who told locals to go of the streets because a very dangerous demo was coming... Because of this and because the original demoroute was forbidden we marched through streets who where almost empty. At the end the demo was surrounded by policeforces at "tout le taxi" . Thousands of people where not allowed to leave and so the police changed "Tout le Taxi" for a few hours into a prison. A few stones where throwen... Two of us where about half an hour before the police surrounded "Tout Le Taxi" on the street and you could already see that something would happen. The Belgium police suddenly started to push people back in full robocop riot gear although nothing happened at this time, so there was no need for this police action. This was about 200 - 300 meters away from "Tout le Taxi". A lot of this people just wanted to go home. Personally i became the feeling that they needed a few pictures for the media of black blockers throwing rocks etc (So the coverage wouldn`t be about our goals but instead about riots). But to conclude this short reoprt: the demo gave me a lot of energy and i will continue... and a lot of people that i have spoken had the same feeling.
How it went and problems by the organisation
In the evening the pressconference couldn`t take place because the people of the mediagroup where among the thousands that where held at "Tout le Taxi" by the police. Bu we made it to the international student meeting. At the meeting we installed a working group who will write a platformtext (More about the meeting with students from Austria, Belgium, UK, Netherlands, Germany, Greece and France at our website - Adress below)
In our view it was a succesful week of protests with a lot of actions in various EU countries and it gave a lot os students and pupils new energy. We are not at the end, we are at the beginning of a long and hard battle against the EU governments, transnational corporations and their instruments like the EU and the WTO (World Trade Organisation) who are still working at tretia like GATS in order to commercialise education even more. It was an important and good step to internationalize our resistance and to make it more political (Although it`s not completly new: some other groups did this before). And there are more groups who are sharing this view with us.
The Asta Munic (Studentrepresentatives of the Munic university, Germany) wrote at the beginning of December: "Different like during the students protests in 1997/1998 the present protests have a political note. The demands where reduced (they mean 1997/1998) to : "We want better education in better organised education institutions", today the society system is being made responsible for the missery: "Education is not a product", "Against privatisation", "Education, not war" are the slogans where worker unions and the anti-globalisation movement could indentify with as well. This could give everything a totaly new quality".
We ( the international students- and pupils movement) are still with relativly small numbers but we are growing rapidly. We are receiving still lots of new mail from new groups and we can also achieve a lot by creative actions in order to give the resistance at schools and universities new energy.
But we also have to improve a lot. It was a hell of a job to organise the international network and all the practical work was being done by ony a few people. A lot of students and pupils where ofcourse activly involved and made extra hours at their local school or university, but we need a network wich is functioning better so every-one has an overview about what is happening elswhere.
The discussion about a future call for action is starting now in the working group of the network and it will be in a kind of platformtext as well. We hope that it will make our future calls better. We want to discuss this all with the various groups at the universities and schools in the different countries in spring 2002 and than vote about it during the Sevilla-summit in June 2002. The working goup should also discuss koordination, organisation, "who is doing what" by protests in the future so the things below will go better in the future.
The mediagroup must be better organised in the future. A lot of information about the protests didn`t arrive at all or very late. There was also not enough communication inside the mediagroup. These are not "who is to blame" accusations, i was a member of the mediagroup myself and know that we didn`t had enough time to prepare ourselves. We have to discuss a lot about this in the working group.
The organisation of a students block in Salamanca (March 2002) and Sevilla (June 2002) must and will be better organised. In Spain we have more possibilities because local studentgroups are part of the organisation of the protests. In Salamanca the Asamblea de salamanca contra la LOU and the Observatorio Global de Salamanca are organising 3 days of protest from March 17-19 2002 and a countersummit about education and culture during the meeting of the ministers of culture. In Brussels we where with only 4 people to organise the studentblock and it was far to much work for us. It is the most important reason that a lot of people didn`t find the studentblock. But the informationtelephone wich was anounced at the mailinglist and our website wasn`t used very good as well. Only people from D14 (Brussels) and students from bochum (Germany) used it and they found the studentblock at the demonstration.
Protests in the future
A lot of students made it very clear that they want to continue the protests. The Danish studentunion "National Organisation of Pedagogical Social Education Students" want to prepare protests during the EU summit in Copenhagen (December 2002) and we already wrote something about the upcoming protests in Salamanca and Sevilla. In Italy there where protests at December 20 against the privatisation of education and in the German city of Augsburg there was an extention of the strike untill christmas. In the German city of Bochum there was a warning strike at the university at deecmber 20 and in berlin students are mobilising for a day of action at January 16. We think it would be good if we continue to act at a local and international level. Beside the propsals from Spain and Denmark where we would like to see a decentral week of protests with demonstrations, strikes and lots of creative actions across Europe, i would peronnaly suggest an extra international day of protest to show that we won`t allow that our agenda is dictated by ministerial meetings. We can and will protest anytime and everywhere we want to.
We have a lot to do, let`s start working!
We= the 4 people who prepared the studentblock for brussels
I= a student from Dortmund (Germany)
Website about the upcoming protests in Salamanca (Spain):