Report from Greece – Students resist new laws & occupy

by Costas Todoulos, who has previously spoken at an EAN teach-in.

After 3 hot months of general strikes and square occupations, the student movement in Greek Higher Education started early this academic year:  Since August 29, Student Unions at universities organised emergency general meetings, and more than 155 are under occupation (by September 1st).

 The government, under the direction of IMF, ECB and EU tried to catch the movement off guard, by passing the new set of law in HE within August. These new laws will force students to buy textbooks and possibly introduce tuition fees in the future – although this is still constitutionally forbidden!

 The Greek government is opening up the way for private capital to fund universities, while limiting public funding and cutting both lecturers’ jobs and positions, and student facilities. Further these laws will curtail democratic participation of students and lecturers in decision-making at universities and introduce managers who will further steer universities towards the market. And most importantly, they are abandoning the hard-won right of ‘Asylum’ within universities which protects academic and political freedom, and forbids police and uniformed authority from entering and making arrests on university premises.

 Shockingly, the ‘Labour-type’ PASOK government passed these laws in parliament with the help of all right wing parties and even the fascists on August 24. This move threatens everything the movement in HE has fought for and won in the last 35 years since the fall of the Junta in 1973.  They want to take our democratic rights, victimise and terrorise the movement. During the last two successful waves of occupation (2006-07) similar laws never were implemented.

 With the recent student uprisings in the UK and Chile the Greek movement has caught fresh wind. The whole academic community inGreeceis against these laws even though exams period has started.  Lecturers’ unions are supporting action and the teachers’ unions have pledged their support to demonstrators. The PASOK youth also supports the occupations and has officially distanced itself from its party which has passed these laws.  However, it was the initiative of the radical left and grassroots activists within the universties whose proposals are backed by big majorities in the occupations.

The Students Unions have called a demonstration for today (September 1st) and further steps are being taken within the general meetings. The occupied universities are becoming centres of struggle and surely they will play a big role in this new wave of resistance this autumn.

About educationactivistnetwork
The education activist network provides national coordination for trade unionists, academics, university workers and student campaigners fighting to defend jobs and education in the UK.

4 Responses to Report from Greece – Students resist new laws & occupy

  1. kind of being there – though currently located in Finland. At lest I sent the link to students in Cork, hoping for a snowball ..

  2. Emma says:

    inspiring greece. its gonna be the hottest autumn ever. Stay alert, look after your friends and comrades — occupy everything – take bake street, life, body!

    if the kids are united, they will never be divided!

  3. kostas says:

    REAL DEMOCRACY and AGAINST POLICE VIOLENCE IN GREECE

    http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/real-democracy-and-against-police-violence-in-greece.html

    PLEASE SIGN AND FORWARD to your contacts. Greek citizens need your protection.

  4. kostas says:

    MUST SEE : Μultimedia documentary of Athens Syntagma square Media Center. Starring Pigoulinos, representing the people of P.I.G.S = Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Spain

    There is a plan to strangle financially the nations so that the rich become richer and the poor poorer. A “select” few want to control entire states. To start with, the banks set in motion in each country the plan for the extreme accumulation of debt, assisted by corrupt governments.
    Then comes the I.M.F. …

    Those who collaborated with the profiteers; those who bailed-out the banks; those getting ready to sell out the national property to the vultures that created the crisis; those who governed but failed to claim reparations for the World War II damages from Germany continuing instead -because of bribery- to buy weaponry from the “ally”; all these who undermined the public interest should be accused of high treason.
    Instead unemployment increases dramatically, poverty goes rampant, businesses close down, the public sector shrinks, social welfare –education, healthcare, pensions — are brought to nought, labour and social rights are cut down, justice disappears, equality is yet to be found, it is a struggle to maintain dignity with the cuts in wages and pensions, the country’s resources and its property go to private hands, the nation’s sovereignty is undermined, the very citizens themselves end up the property of those who rule the world.

    EVERYBODY KNEW WHAT WOULD FOLLOW. Because all those who governed contributed to the present situation.

    WELCOME TO THE FUTURE OF THE ENTIRE WORLD. It started here but it will soon come home to you too. Unless if…

    Since 25/05/11 the people in Greece have swarmed the public squares indignant, enraged, but even more determined. United against a rotten system they resist all these things that condemn them to a life without hope. They revolt against whoever endangers their freedom and wellbeing.
    They took life into their hands and they are fighting to defend the real democracy which was reborn in the squares and in the people’s assemblies.
    They are sending this message to the entire world: to drive out for good all the financial terrorists and whoever tyrannizes the people and undermines their future.

    Please forward this message to help get the word out. Family, friends and relatives must see it.

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