Tuesday 16 June 2009

ZSP Statement on the Educational Strike in Germany and the Bologna Process

ZSP supports the Educational Strike in Germany taking place from June 15-19 and is planning an information action on June 19 on the 10th anniversary of the Signing of the Bologna Declaration. Our support for the struggle against the commercialization of education doesn't mean though that we support the preservation of educational institutions as they exist now.

The Educational Strike in Germany is ony one of many action against changes in the financing of education and other sectors. Protestors are against changes which put profit above people and which restrict access to education, making it even more limited to the already priveleged parts of society. Introducing commerical aspects to education adjusts it to the needs of capital, but not to the needs of students.

People are also protesting against the tendency of the state to reallocate public funds meant for a wide group of society. These changes will also have a negative effect on the working conditions of teachers, doctoral candidates, professors and other scholars and educational workers. Many of them may find themselves on the edge of precarious employment a some will lose their jobs.

We support the struggles of students and teachers who do not support systematic changes which would cause the gap between the rich and poor to increase. The growing barrier betwen them will increase the structural causes of poverty and declining living conditions of many working people, including educational workers.

Many of the changes introduced throughout Europe in the field of education are concentrated arond the vision drawn by the initiators of the Bologna Process. Although we are against the assumptions of this Process, we do not believe that the Process itself is the main cause of the problems. The deeper roots of the problem are connected with capitalism and the role of education as a tool to create elites and mould individuals in accordance with the values of the class society.

We do not agree with some of the social-democratic positions which are often stated by some opponents of the commercialization of education. Among these are that "education should be run by the state" or "the university must be maintained in its current form". As in many other fields of life, it could be that maintaining the current system is better than that future which the neoliberals have prepared for us. That doesn't mean however that we are in favour of supporting the status quo. The university already is a tool for creating elites, hierarchy and conformism. The poor's access to education is often fictional. Educational institutions are a tool of social indoctrination.

For us, education is rather a constant process than an institution. Education does not have to be connected to diplomas, careers and the needs of the labour market. Our vision is education open for all - but really for all, not just for a small group of people who can afford it and for fit into the conformist model of hierarchy and marks. The model of education we want is based above all on cooperation, on sharing knowledge according to libertarian principles.

We call on all proponents of libertarian education to take part in the protests and to use the occasion to open discussion on models of education which do beyond both the neoliberal and social-democratic framework.

Union of Syndicalists (Poland)
June 15, 2009

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