Saturday, May 12, 2018

France: Call of the National Student Coordination

Original in French available here
6 May 2018
We mobilized from 20 universities, gathered on the 5th and 6th of May at the Faculties on Strike at the University of Nanterre, and reiterate our determination to achieve the withdrawal of the ORE law [which increases selection processes for entrance processes from the current guaranteed entrance for anyone with a 10/20 from the Baccalaureate (BAC) exams], abandonment of the student plan and the roll back the of the government's whole antisocial policy. From the rail reform to the Asylum-Immigration Act, to the increase in the CSG [General Social Contribution - a compulsory payment which helps to fund France's pension system]and the reform of the BAC, Macron, the proud representative of the interests of employers, attacks us on all fronts.

For two weeks, despite the holidays and the arrival of the mid-year exams, thousands of students, in the street and in general assembly, pursue with determination their strike movement. Everywhere, convergence is intensifying with employees, railway workers, hospital workers and high school students, with a view to ending the ongoing pro-employer project. This particularly scares the government because it is this strategy that will allow us to win against a government that seeks to break our social gains for the benefit of a minority.

Faced with the growth of the youth and employee movement, the government is trying to break the student movement by all means, as a stakeholder in interprofessional mobilization. As if the intervention of the CRS in Nancy, Censier or Clignancourt, was not enough, Minister Vidal plays on the anguish provoked by the exams to try to break the strike. Final exams are replaced by online mid-year exams, homework assignments, or relocated to stop mobilization and avoid blockages. The government and the university presidents argue that they standing in defence of the value of the diplomas and the future of the students to justify the holding of the mid year-exams. But if the strike movement continues in the universities, it is precisely because of the desire of students to defend their conditions of study, save their future working conditions, and to ensure continued access to a degree for all.

In view of the national situation, we reaffirm our determination to continue our mobilization against the ORE law and will not allow the exams to interfere with our commitment. That's why we invite all the teaching-research academics, BIATSS (Librarians, Engineers, Administrators, Technicians, Service and Health staff) and students to take all the forms of action that seem most relevant to them. (10 améliorable (50% pass mark), partial boycott, automatic pass, etc.)

In the event that the examinations are held, we call for the holding of general assemblies at the beginning of the mid-year examinations, as done at Paris-1, to allow students to meet and decide collectively, regarding the holding or not of the examinations. These General Assemblies should thus decide on the score to be applied for all (resulting from the cancellation of the examination). They will also be a means for disrupted universities to maintain collective frameworks for discussion and decision-making as part of the strike.

We applaud and support the choice of the staff gathered in the CNU (National Council of Universities) to go on strike until the withdrawal of the law and to call for the retention of notes.

Anger at this government is expressed in many sectors: in hospitals, the SNCF, the private sector and the universities, among others. This is the response of our social camp against the all-out attacks of employers. The scale of demonstrations in early May has shown, one year after the election of Macron, that young people and employees are determined to inflict a defeat. Thus, we call to amplify the strike and the blockages underway in the universities and to descend massively in the street. We call on students to make May 9, a day of a railway strike, a national date for mobilization and local action coordinated nationally. Already, the trade unions of Education and the National Coordination of the Universities call to mobilize on May 16th, we call the students and high school students to make this date a day of strikes. We will also join the May 22 strike called by the public service, the day of publication of the first results of Parcoursup [the new website which will publish student admission into university].

In the coming weeks, many sectors will take to the streets, especially on May 14 and 15, respectively for the railway and hospital workers. We call on students, where possible, to support these strikes and join them. However, we deplore the scattering of sectoral mobilization dates that push the isolation of our respective struggles. In the face of a government that is attacking us all the time, we are stronger when we take to the streets together, at the same time. That is why we are calling on employees and high school students to join us on May 16 and 22, with the aim of spreading the renewable strike in as many sectors as possible. It is by the total blockage of the economy that this government can be bent.

In order to expand the movement, we seek to actively connect with other sectors in struggle. Thus, we will take part in the general assemblies of railway workers, the gatherings in support of the hospital workers and we will address the striking high school students who will meet for a new National School Coordination, May 26th and 27th in Paris.

We demand:
- the repeal of the ORE law, the abandonment of the Parcoursup system and the maintenance of compensation and catch-up system [a process for determining whether a student who failed to attain a passing average for a unit (due to missing a piece of assessment) can still have the unit count towards their degree].
- a massive investment by the State to meet the needs of the universities, in order to guarantee free, critical and open education for all.
- stop the prosecution of mobilized students, stop police interventions on universities.
-the CNE affirms its unwavering support to all the sectors in struggle and their demands against the anti-social measures of the Macron government: against the cuts to public services, the general precariousness of the world of work and all the racist and xenophobic laws

We warn about the rise of reactionary acts and ideologies and condemn the attacks of fascist militia in the universities, as well as the blocking of the migrants on the border by groups the of extreme right.

We are calling for a next National Student Coordination on May 19th and 20th at Toulouse 2 Le Mirail University. We are particularly interested in universities that have not yet participated in the CNE so that they send delegations to help develop the coordination of the student movement at the national level.


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Revitalising Labour attempts to reflect on efforts to rebuild the labour movement internationally, emphasising the role that left-wing political currents can play in this process. It welcomes contributions on union struggles, internal renewal processes within the labour movement and the struggle against capitalism and imperialism.

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