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Lessons from the Mass Student strike in Quebec - Ireland tour September 2013

category ireland / britain | education | news report author Monday September 16, 2013 21:12author by andrew - WSM Report this post to the editors

In 2012 the attempt by the government to Quebec to introduce a 75% fee hike was defeated by the organisation of a mass student strike that lasted over 6 months. That fee increase was part of the global process of imposing the privatisation and commodification of education. Since the victory, organisers of the strike have been being doing speaking tours to aid the process whereby "youth and students everywhere are becoming increasingly conscious of the need to organize as a means to defend education as a social right". In September this tour reaches Ireland where we need to hear how a sustained and militant student movement that can win is built.

irelandmaptourposter.jpg

There are two purposes to the tour.  Firstly so that we can learn how the successful strike was organised in Quebec and discuss whether similar methods might work here. But as importantly we want to use the organisation of the tour in order to aid in the building of a network of militant student activists across the island.  

Why is Quebec different

"In Quebec, a student strike isn’t just a bunch of rallies, marches and occupations. The strike is a complete shutdown of all courses on campus : no classes, no exams and no evaluations are to take place while the strike is on. Once the strike is voted in a general assembly and comes into effect, picket lines are erected and classrooms are emptied. Everyone, students and faculty alike, is forced to respect the strike mandate. Universities and colleges affected by the strike see their academic calendars disrupted, and since no classes or grading is allowed to happen, degrees can’t be awarded.

During the 2012 strike, most student unions held general assemblies every week to decide whether or not to stay on strike until the next assembly. While doing so, students meeting each other could also discuss the orientation and the actions of the movement. These regular and populous assemblies were fundamental in creating empowerment and a deep investment into the movement among students."  ( from http://www.studentstrike.net )

About the tour

Vanessa with be talking to a couple of hundred students who we hope want to see a militant student movementemerge in Ireland.  We hope that this will be looked back on as one important moment in the creation of a fighting student movement that won in Ireland. 

Our speaker Vanessa participated and organised at many levels of the strike in small horizontal and autonomous groups, but also as a delegate for her local student union in the most combative national student union (CLASSE). She says “as a feminist activist I was involved in the organization of many collectives projects directly linked with the strike, and as a delegate elected by my general assembly I was one of the transmitting tool necessary for the practice of direct democracy on a large scale”. “All my analysis of the experience of the strike is formed by my political ideas of feminism, class struggle and anti-hierarchy."

Tour dates
We have set up a Facebook event for each date so that if you are on Facebook you can RSVP there and help us promote the tour by asking any interested friends you have for that location.  Please do ask people in other colleges to the event in their college.

UCC CORK -  Monday Sept 23rd co-hosted by Feminist Society West Wing 9, UCC for 7pm, Monday Sept 23rd (Please RSVP to UCC event on Facebook)
NUIG Galway - 7pm, Tuesday 24 September, Kirwan Theatre NUIG (Please RSVP to NUIG event on Facebook)
UCD Dublin,  Wed 25 Sept - co-hosted by Women's Studies Programme within the School of Social Justice  Room L532, School of Social Justice, 5th Floor of the Library Building from 1-2pm on  (Please RSVP to UCD Dublin event on Facebook)
TCD Dublin - Sept 25th co-hosted by Dept of Sociology - Jonathan Swift theatre in the arts block (2041a), for 7 pm. - (Please RSVP to TCD Dublin event on Facebook)
NUI Maynooth - Thur 26th September, NUI Maynooth John Hume 5,(JH 5) 13.00 - (Please RSVP to Maynooth event on Facebook)
Magee Derry - 13.00 Fri 27 Sept, Minor Hall, Main Building, Magee Campus, University of Ulster, Derry (Please RSVP to Derry event on Facebook)
Queens Belfast -Mon 30 September co-hosted by Feminist Society 6pm to 9pm in clubroom 3&4 in Queens Student Union (Please RSVP to Belfast event on Facebook)

 

author by Andrew - WSMpublication date Mon Sep 23, 2013 18:43Report this post to the editors

As some of you will know I've been working the last while on bringing an organiser of the 2012 mass student strike to Ireland for a speaking tour. Vanessa, our speaker arrived Saturday morning and after got to the AFA Ireland solidarity with Greek anti-fascists demonstration and the Shell to Sea fundraiser in Seomra Spraoi is speaking in Cork today. She spoke after a welcome meal we had for her in Seomra last night and (although I'm biased) I really think any radical will find what she has to say about the experiences of the strike really useful. The talk was very focused on the concrete organisational challenges of co-ordinating a 6 month long strike that had 400,000 students staying out of college for up to 6 months - some of the challenges will be familiar to you, but not at that scale.

So if you were wondering whether or not to go to one of the 7 meetings over the next 7 days let me say you definetly should. And you should bring along some friends.

Details of the tour dates are above

 
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Issue #4 of the Newsletter of the Tokologo African Anarchist Collective

Ireland / Britain | Education | News Report | en

Thu 25 Dec, 17:46

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usicops.jpg imageThousands of students demonstrate in Dublin against Education cuts but USI attack their own members 00:17 Fri 18 Nov by Andrew Flood 0 comments

Over twenty thousand students demonstrated in Dublin today against the introduction of student fees and the cutting of student grants. The main demonstration organised by the Union of Students in Ireland (USI)also included a Free Education for Everyone (FEE) bloc comprised of rank & file students in disagreement with the passive lobbying tactics of the USI leadership.  USI stewards formed a line with Garda to prevent FEE rejoining the demonstration after they led a breakway protest at Fine Gael HQ. (Pic: From FEE twitterstream
USI stewards form 3 rows
to stop USI members
in FEE joining march)

standofffromabove.jpg imageIrish riot police attack students after they occupy Department of Finance in Dublin 22:44 Fri 05 Nov by Andrew, Odhran, Sam Johnny 0 comments

Riot police attacked students in Dublin Weds Nov 3rd with dogs, armoured vehicles and horses after the students protesting against government cuts occupied the Department of Finance and threw eggs at the Dail. Upwards of thirty students occupied the Department of Finance in the center of Dublin with a couple of hundred supporting them in the streets outside.

textCampaigning to Defeat College Fees in Ireland 23:46 Mon 23 Mar by J. Carax 0 comments

Free Education for Everyone held its first National Conference on Saturday, January 31st. Over forty student activists traveled from UCD, TCD, Maynooth, Galway, Limerick and Cork.

students.jpg imageResistance to re-introduction of college fees in Ireland 18:44 Tue 02 Dec by J. Carax 0 comments

On October 22nd, in the biggest show of student strength in many years in Ireland, over 15,000 third level students marched through the streets of Dublin. They were united in their opposition to the Budget’s 67% College Registration Fee increase and Minister for Education, Batt O’Keefe’s threat to bring back full college fees by September 2009

nipsa.jpg imageIreland: Classroom assistants' solidarity; union leaders' betrayal 23:56 Sat 05 Jan by x 0 comments

In early December classroom assistants in the North returned to work after a series of strike actions which had gone on since September. This action by the classroom assistants showed in stark form the two faces of the trade union movement.

On the one hand there was the tremendous bravery and solidarity shown by the workers themselves in standing up to attempts to bully and harass them back to work. On the other hand was the duplicitousness and skulduggery of some trade union bureaucrats who not alone did their best to undermine the dispute but actively worked with management and politicians to betray the workers.

logo_header.gif imageCommercialism in Irish schools 17:26 Wed 31 Jan by Gregor Kerr 0 comments

Anyone who has had a child in primary school over the past couple of years has no doubt heard of the ‘Tesco Computers for Schools’ scheme whereby in return for vouchers collected when you do your shopping, Tesco give ‘free’ computer equipment to schools. You’ve probably also heard about Tesco’s ‘Sport For Schools and Clubs’ and SuperValu’s ‘Kids in Action’ schemes. If you’ve seen the TV ads for the SuperValu version, you’ll probably associate SuperValu with healthy, happy kids.

Logo imageNew Anarchist Youth site! 21:51 Tue 23 May by ('',) 0 comments

Check it Out!

imageIrish eduction struggles: Moving from Protest to Success Feb 08 by Gregor Kerr 0 comments

The Education Cuts announced in October’s Budget have unleashed a wave of protest across the country. During the months of November and December approximately 120,000 people took to the streets of Dublin, Galway, Tullamore, Cork and Donegal to register their anger at the government’s attempts to make schoolchildren pay for the financial crisis. Cowen, Lenihan and O’Keefe have been left in no doubt about the level of popular opposition to these cutbacks. In addition thousands of 3rd level students have also taken to the streets and participated in marches, pickets and blockades to protest at the proposed re-introduction of fees.

imageAn Anarchist's perspective on the Education System in Ireland Aug 16 by Ciarán O'M 1 comments

When the Irish education system is taken into perspective, from preschool to 3rd level, each period of transition is flawed in its own way. Strong ties between the church, the state and our primary and secondary schools affect the growth and education of children from the moment they enter the schooling system to the moment they leave. "Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught."
Oscar Wilde

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