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Schools Out! Stop the Commercialisation of Education

category international | education | feature author Wednesday February 18, 2009 13:06author by Mark C - ASTI + CCFE (Pers. Caps.) Report this post to the editors

featured image
Canadian Students Protesting, Nov. 5th.

The loose network of struggling groups from around the world calling itself the International Students Movement has called for a Global Week of Action 2009 this coming April (20/04 - 29/04).

Last November, students from many countries across the world took part in the world's first coordinated action against the commercialisation of education and the (re)introduction of fees. The show of strength and solidarity was organised by the ISM, the International Students Movement (for free and emancipatory education), a loose collection of individuals and groups (not just students) with a common aim evident in the group's title.

November 5th saw actions take place in Ireland, Liberia, Greece, Germany, Croatia, Bangladesh, Canada, United States, Austria, Argentina, and many more. For a full report on the day, click here.

This year, ISM has decided to go for the big one and is coordinating a week of actions. This will begin on April 20th and last for nine days (it's going to be a long week!). The concept for the Global Week of Action 2009 will be similar to the one for the international day of action. It is up to each group how they want to express their protest and for how many days within that week. So far, groups in countries on every continent have signed up for actions during the week - Europe (Germany), Asia (Bangladesh), North America (Canada), Australia (Australia), Africa (Egypt), South America (Argentina), with many more to come.

One very interesting idea to have sprung up so far is the creation of a global flashmob. Groups around the world will mobilize for a flashmob at some prominent place (on April 22nd) in their region. Each flashmob will be filmed and the ISM will put a video together with all the flashmobs showing similar scenes around the world.

Other ideas that have been mooted include college occupations, teach-ins in public places, marches, information stalls - anything that gets the message out.

There are, of course, things that still need to be done, such as:
• forward the Call for the Global Week of Action to other groups around the world!! (please let as many struggling groups (students, teachers, pupils, parents, workers) as possible know about this week of action); a group for the "Global Week of Action 2009" was set-up on Facebook [invite "friends" and members of other groups]; this will only be successful, if we work on it together);
• promote awareness regarding the global perspective of the problem among societies around the world;
• expand networks on a local and global level (you are welcome to make use of the forums on the ISM site for that).

For further information see the website of the ISM or join the Facebook group.

Below is a slideshow of the actions from around the world on November 5th. Let's make the week a much bigger display.

Related Link: http://www.emancipating-education-for-all.org/content/global-week-action-2009
author by ISN - International Students Movementpublication date Sun May 03, 2009 08:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The following is an attempt to list most of the actions, events and protests as part of the "Reclaim your Education - Global Week of Action" [20 - 29/04] around the world. I expect more reports to be coming in within the next few days. So far groups in 46 cities in 15 countries on 4 continents sent in reports about their protests and actions.


~ 20/04/2009 ~

Heidelberg (Germany)

d e m o n s t r a t i o n

More than 500 students and pupils kicked off the Global Week of Action with a demonstration through the old town of Heidelberg followed by a general assembly on campus.

They called for a ban on tuition fees, free access to education for all and democratic participating procedures within all decision making processes at all level within university.

The problems of the students were also linked with the problems of workers, unemployed and pensioners.

A lot of pamphlets were distributed and people informed about the Global Week of Action. At some touristy places speeches were also held in English to inform tourists about the purpose of the demonstration.

Source: de.Indymedia.org

Mnster (Germany)

Activists began the week by setting up a sound system on campus and distributing flyers on the whole campus informing about the Global Week of Action. Later that day street theater was performed to raise awareness.

Programm for the full week: bildungsstreik-muenster.de (in German)

Source: de.Indymedia.Org

Hamburg (Germany)

l o c a l W e e k o f A c t i o n

As part of the Global Week of Action activists in Hamburg arranged a local week of action at their faculty for pedagogics, sports and psychology. The slogan of the week is "think global, act local". That particular faculty was especially hard hit by recent budget cuts. Their budget was reduced by 11%. Since today alternative seminars are taking place broaching the issue of "public education as a public good", as well as teaching poster printing skills in workshops, as well as discussing anti-pedagogical approaches. Various activists were recruited for the "campus army", who are now visiting seminars wearing white masks and asking all students to be obedient, consume the content they are being taught without questioning it and most importantly not to join the protests. Some seminars were spontaneously held in public spaces. One was attended by 50 students and deemed illegal by the police. Consquently the professors details were recorded and 6 students received a complaint + a banner was confiscated.

There is a soup kitchen on campus for each day of the week of action providing delicious vegan and vegetarian meals.

Media report: taz.de

Source: de.Indymedia.org

Tampere (Finland)

The day began with lowering a banner from the rooftop of the university, followed by a welcoming speech and everyone entering the university. There were several dozen participants. Societal songs were sung inside the university. Actions executed by the student movement in Tampere and elsewhere in Finland were presented. There was a discussion on which themes the student movement should grab in the future, both inside and outside universities. Students' monetary situation and basic security matters were also discussed, as well as the administration of spaces at university and general societal situation. After the opening of Global Action Week documentaries were shown as a basis for discussion. The chosen documentaries were "The Potentiality of Storming Heaven", "Money as Debt" and "Good Copy/Bad Copy".

"University belongs to Everyone" in Finnish

Source: E-Mail

Zagreb (Croatia)

o c c u p a t i o n

The Independent Student Initiative for the Right to Free Education has organized a peaceful occupation of the Faculty of Philosophy. The occupation has been initiated as a mean to promote their demand for free education for all. They have stopped classes and exams, and have organized various lectures, discussion and movie screenings instead of normal classes. They'll be translating some of their press releases in English and German, to make the information about the occupation available to others outside the region. Right now, their materials are only available in Croatian, at this web page: slobodnifilozofski.bloger.hr

Video, unfortunately only in Croatian, is available here.

An article in English can be accessed here.

The action seems to get a lot of media coverage in Croatia.

The occupation still continues!

"One World One Struggle, Education is not for Sale"
in Croatian

Salzburg, Innsbruck, Linz, Bregenz, St. Plten, Klagenfurt, Burgenland (Austria)

d e m o n s t r a t i o n s

A day of action took place in various cities across Austria for better conditions and more financial assistance for the public education system. "Bail out Education - not Banks" was the main slogan. The government is threatening to cut the budget.

Salzburg: Almost 3,000 students and pupils gathered there, also protesting against the "Bologna process". Students were calling for international solidarity among the different movements struggling against the commercialization of education around the world and demanded free education for all. (More info & pictures: at.indymedia.org [in German])

Innsbruck: 1,200 students protested here.

Graz: According to media reports 500 pupils joined the demonstration.

Bregenz: Apparently 500 people also joined the demonstration here.

Linz: 400 people took to the streets here.

St. Plten: Hundreds joined a rally to protest for better education policies.

Klagenfurt: Around 150 pupils gathered here to protest.

Burgenland: As part of the day of action a media gimmick was arranged.

Source (with video): Salzburg.Com and at.indymedia.org (both in German)

Sabadell (Catalunya; Spain)

o c c u p a t i o n

In addition to actions held by current university students regarding the implementation of the Bologna Process in Catalonia, groups of college students, those facing a future crippled by the privatising reforms, are mobilising. This week, a campaign of college occupations is occurring in the Catalan territories, organised by student assemblies. Around 100 students from four colleges in Sabadell (near Barcelona) passed the night in l'Escola Industrial college in the centre of the city. They slept in the patio because the headteacher wouldn't let them in the building, and thus avoided eviction. The occupation was organised with different events scheduled over its three day duration. The purpose of the action was to make the teaching institution an informative space, since information regarding the educational reforms is being blocked from those affected.

Source: interuni-bcn.blogspot.com

~ 21/04/2009 ~

Tampere (Finland)

The student movement served free soup and provided information in front of a university building as part of a boycott on Sodexo (there is a Sodexo restaurant in the building). A reporter from a prime Finnish newspaper documented the action, as well as several other medias. On-going reading circles at the university presented themselves, and there were public discussions on selected texts by Bourdieu, Gramsci and on a pamphlet called "Wissensarbeit Macht Frei".

In the evening a Finnish movie called "Vihre leski" [Green widow] was shown. The movie is about the anxiety and alienation caused by suburbanity.

Source: E-Mail

Casablanca (Morocco)

Projections and displays on public education at the University of Casablanca.

Source: E-Mail

Zagreb and Zadar (Croatia)

o c c u p a t i o n s (update)

The Independent Student Initiative for the Right to Free Education is continuing the peaceful occupation of the Faculty of Philosophy in Zagreb which started on Monday at noon. The students have stopped classes and exams, and instead are holding an alternative educational program. Instead of the normal classes, students were able to attend discussions and lectures on similar student protests that were held in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina; neoliberalism, Croatian transition and economic democracy; consumerism; anarchism and education, and so on. Mark Kramer from Harvard University held a lecture on Cold War. Movie screenings were also held: "Czech Dream", "Money as Debt" and "Beyond Elections: Redifining Democracy in Americas" were among the movies that were shown.

The official web page with information on the occupation is available in Croatian here. There is also a press release translated in English and German which can be read here. Some photos taken during the first day of the occupation can be seen here.

A report in English (and photos) about the protest in Zagreb is available at Javno.com.

On Tuesday, students from the University of Zadar decided to occupy their University also. They too have stopped normal classes and exams, and are holding alternative educational program instead. They have joined their colleagues in Zagreb in protesting against the commercialization of education and demanding free education for all, as well as greater involvement of students in the reforms of the educational system.

So far there is no definitive information whether similar actions will be taken at other universities in the country, but some students from other universities have expressed interest in organizing some sort of protest.



I (Mo) also received the information from an activist in Zadar, that things are going great so far and their protests are also being supported by some professors and the provost. Workshops on various issues (from democracy and neoliberalism to scholarships and anarchism).

A recent article on the protests in Croatian can be read here.

Some pictures can be accessed here.

Mnster (Germany)

After a film screening ("Summer of resistance"; about the German student movement against tuition fees in 2006/07) students set up a camping site in front of the castle calling it "Protest Camp". Many interested people dropped by discussed various topics and prepared things for the upcoming national week of action in June (bildungsstreik2009.de; in German).

Source: Bildungsstreik-Muenster.de

~ 22/04/2009 ~

Tampere (Finland)

o c c u p a t i o n

"The university action group of Tampere, Finland, has occupied the university of Tampere for the night. This is the first time that this university has been occupied for decades. We are protesting the coming university law that will enact the Bologna Process in Finnish universities, as well as the current policies of our university - the space of universities does not belong to us, it belongs to the corporations, and we wish to change that.

Solidarity to student movements all across Europe and the world, especially our comrades occupying the university in Zagreb!"

Source: E-Mail

Copenhagen (Denmark)

o c c u p a t i o n + " g l o b a l f l a s h m o b "

"The students have succesfully occupied the central administration of Copenhagen University!! Furthermore we did the flashmob with extraordinary energi :-) [with 200 students]!!! and we are now in the process of putting it together! what about the rest of the flashmobs??? any update??

We used the flashmob as a means to enter the administration buildings, with massive press representation!!!!! We are currently in most of the big newspapers, and have launched our own portal.

From where we publish the newest initiatives and our concrete propositions for a new university reform! I will post link for both relevant media and for our own portal soon!!

Unite worldwide!



"Regarding our occupation of the Copenhagen University, we have recieved massive media-coverage. We are working on extensive documentation, but for now we have uploaded some picture + a short description on archive.org. The info can be found searching for: University of Copenhagen - Occupied! or directly at: http://www.archive.org/details/UniversityOfCopenhagen-Occupied Furthermore we post some links for the different media, including our own: Hippocampus - the independent university magazine from University of Roskilde. Here we are currently publishing the newest activities concerning the occupation! Allthough it's all in danish - it'll hopefully give you an idea of how we work to document the happenings! Some of it will be translated om english! :-)! Good Luck!

Unite Worldwide -RyE-Denmark


Modkraft.dk: A leftwing net-magazine

Politiken (I + II): The biggest Daily newspaper in Denmark!

Thats it for now!

We have also uploaded some pictures on Flickr."

"CU (Copenhagen University) liberated"

Source: Entries by GYLDENKERNE85 (I + II)

Vermont (U.S. of A.)

S i t - i n + a r r e s t s

"In a bold, last ditch attempt to halt these budget cuts and layoffs at the University of Vermont (UVM) once and for all members of Students Stand Up! occupied the president's wing of the Waterman Building and sat-in in the hallway outside of it. Negotiations were started with the administration, but Fogel (the university's president) abruptly left before the negotiations even had a chance to start saying that they would not agree to any of it. Those students sitting in the president's wing were than promptly arrested on their own campus. Now those 100+ students, staff and faculty who have stayed occupied the hallways of Waterman have been told that if they don't leave their administration building by 10pm they will be arrested.


Regular updates can be accessed here.

Source: facebook + video

- 2nd report -

S i t - i n + a r r e s t s

33 UVM students were arrested in the President's Wing of the Waterman building protesting budget cuts, layoffs, tuition hikes, administrative mismanagement, and rising student to teacher ratios. This protest came on the heels of many actions against the cuts including a walk-out last week that gathered as many as 2000 students, faculty, and staff. Seven students locked down at 3:00pm in the President's Suite out side of his office and requested negations on the 13 demands issued prior to last week's walk-out. President Daniel Fogel spoke to the occupiers for around 20 minutes, at which point the students wished to discuss amongst themselves on how to proceed. During this time, Fogel scurried away to a dinner party--But not before ordering those locked down to be arrested. Meanwhile, between 70 to 100 protesters had gathered in the hall outside the President's Suite prepared to sit in for as long as the administration refused negotiations. They effectively rejected all demands and began to arrest the student occupiers; but at this time the police covered the large window leading into the hallway with sheets and UPS packages in order to prevent those sitting in solidarity from witnessing and documenting the arrests.(We managed to find a hole in the sheets to capture the moment though!) After being cited and released on the spot, they rejoined the some 100 people sitting on the other side of the doors where they were greeted with massive applause. The sit-inners decided unanimously to occupy the halls overnight and risk arrest. But before this could happen we wanted to recruit the entire campus community to come and become an immovable occupying force before the 10pm trespassing deadline. Sadly, when some of us returned from gathering hundreds of students, the President had ordered the building closed for the night and police were posted at every door, refusing anyone entrance. "President's orders." 27 students locked inside were willing to risk arrest and the others prepared to leave when the police came to deliver the ultimatum. They tried to wait us out but close to 400 people had converged outside the doors of the building rallying and chanting as news crews broadcasted live. The officers proceeded to arrest 27 people linking arms and even dragged one of the previous occupiers back into the arrest zone where he was cited for a second time. He was attempting to leave with the non-arrestable supporters. All except the unfortunate fellow mentioned above were processed and released to cheering crowds at 11:30 that night. The student who was wrongfully arrested was taken to jail where he was released at 2:30am on $250 bail. All of the arrestees were cited for criminal trespassing and banned from the building (which also houses classes) for 30 days amidst review sessions and finals. We also now have security guards posted at every entrance. Although the action didn't go as planned, we showed a massive display of impromptu force and numbers as well as garnering many folks outside who would have been comfortable risking arrest had they joined their friends in time. The administration's decision to arrest 33 of our peers is cowardly and offensive and highlights the incompetence of our University's leader. Therefore we have issued a press release to local media officially calling for Fogel's resignation. The faculty union, United Academics (UA), has joined us in that call as well as demanding that all charges be dropped. There is a Student Gov't meeting on Tuesday where we expect a vote of no confidence in the president to be passed and are encouraging the Faculty Senate to do the same. We are hesitant to plan another direct action during finals that could involve more police confrontation but we are trying to spread the news of this absurdity as widely as possible as well as stand in solidarity with those participating in the Global Week of Action Against the Commercialization of Education. That being said, we thought this may be of interest to SDSers and the national student community in general. Any show of support would be greatly appreciated and we hope to be another catalyst for the campus movement that is brewing overseas and at home. We will continue to call for Fogel's resignation along with our revised and refined list of demands. They are: 1. The immediate resignation of president Fogel. 2. The reversal of proposed layoffs and non-reappointments. 3. Make a substantial reduction in the administrative salary pool to save as many jobs as possible. 3. Create a democratic decision-making process whereby students, staff andfaculty play a decisive role in the selection of a new president and the negotiations of future budget decisions. We move our presence tomorrow to admitted students day where we will eat a protest oatmeal breakfast outside of the welcoming assembly and hand out literature on the budget cuts to future UVMers and their parents. What will come after that, we aren't quite sure, but with any luck it will involve the resignation of Fogel and the restoration of teachers and academic programs that make this school the fine institution that it is.

Website: uvmssft.blogspot.com

More details: vtflatlander.blogspot.com

Facebook: I + II

New York (U.S. of A.)

Dozens of students protest against tuition hikes at New York University (NYU).

Source: facebook + pictures

Marburg (Germany)

" g l o b a l f l a s h m o b "

We also had our "global flashmob" today. Considering that nobody inside our group ever joined a flashmob, not to mention organized one, I believe it went pretty well :P All together maybe 50 people participated.

(pictures and clips are coming up)

After the flashmob an open meeting was arranged where activists and "newcomers" chatted about the education system and how it is being effected by the commercialization process (Bologna process).

Source: Eye-witness ;)

Oldenburg (Germany)

" g l o b a l f l a s h m o b "

"In Oldenburg about 100 pupils joined the Global Flashmob! All went well (somehow it did, dont ask how=P), we had a lot of media coverage. Pictures and films really look impressive!

But as the provincial media seems to work with both eyes closed, the broader backround of the action and the global movement was simply ignored in the newspaper article( like so often)...

Greetings of solidarity to all activist world-wide!!

Oldenburg, Germany"

Source: Entry by KOSAKE


Related Link: http://www.emancipating-education-for-all.org/node/134
author by Mark C - ASTI (Pers. Caps.)publication date Sat Apr 18, 2009 08:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You can find a list of actions taking place during the Global Week of Action here:


It's a pity no groups in Ireland are (to my knowledge) organising for this.

Related Link: http://www.emancipating-education-for-all.org/content/global-week-action-2009
author by Mark C - Contact.iepublication date Wed Feb 25, 2009 20:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Some resources for the Global Week of Action have been added to the site for people to use.


Related Link: http://www.emancipating-education-for-all.org/content/materials-global-week-action
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