Archive for the ‘news’ Category

Report: Balkan Regional Meeting in Skopje April 16-18th

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

Last weekend, the city of Skopje (Rep. of Macedonia) hosted the 1st Balkan Regional Meeting which was attended by students from different universities across the Balkans. Responding to the call of “Sloboden Indeks” (hosts of this meeting) activists from different groups including “Sindikat Obrazovanja ASI” (Belgrade), “Studentski Glas” (Sofia), “n’Solidaritet” (Prishtina) and “Nezavisna Studentska Iniciativa” (Belgrade) have come together to discuss the problems which their struggle faces in their native countries.

Higher education, one of the greatest victims in the process of aggressive implementation of neo-liberal trends in the Balkan region, has collapsed due to reforms where “knowledge and education is distributed as any other product”.

The International Student Movement – Balkan Meeting was a meeting between Balkan student movements that fight for free and emancipatory education which is being endangered by the Bologna Process, diminishing autonomy of the university to state and economic powers and high fees among other things. This meeting was the first serious attempt towards a stronger coordination between the groups, which means coordination in actions, the sharing of information and most importantly working under the same ideology in full solidarity with one another. “The important goal of the meeting was to create a unified platform which all the individuals and groups who identify with, can join in the struggle”.

“Balkan Student” (network’s official name from now on) sees today’s universities as mere “factories” producing a cheap technical labor force with no knowledge and critical thinking whatsoever. The future actions will fight these occurrences and will propagate the idea of the publicly funded and autonomous free university that is free from any political and economical influences, with the students and professors organized on the principles of direct democracy.

The first Balkan Student meeting was held from 16th to 18th of April 2011 and it was supposed to end with a public discussion on the subject of “student self-organizing” at the University “Sv. Kiril i Metodij” in Skopje. The student network has announced its next meeting in Belgrade at the beginning of the next academic year and actions that are soon to follow.

Initiative against Draft Acts on Higher Education, University and Science

Sunday, January 16th, 2011

Few months ago, Croatian Ministry of Science, Education and Sports proposed new legislation concerning higher education, universities and science, which met with widespread opposition from members of the academia who viewed it as deeply flawed and harmful for Croatian science and education, as well as society in general. Now some members of the academic community are calling for a strike to express opposition to the proposed draft acts.

Initiative against Draft Acts on Higher Education, University and Science

In October 2010 the Croatian Ministry of Science, Education and Sports presented the draft acts on higher education, university and science which were met with severe opposition of the academic community. Most of the academic community, including the Faculty Council of the University of Zagreb Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, completely rejected the drafts, stating them to be beyond repair. The drafts are to introduce:

  1. further commercialization of science and higher education (e.g. their total subjugation to corporate interests which is particularly dangerous for humanities in the short term, and in the long term poses a threat to science, higher education and the whole society),
  2. curbing of the university autonomy, political control over universities and science, university splits and further privatization of public education and public scientific institutes,
  3. a completely unacceptable funding system for universities and scientific institutes based on the so-called Programme Contracts (which make the funding precarious and dependent on the outcomes of the negotiations with the Ministry for each three-year period),
  4. a pyramidal system of work positions at the universities and institutes, which will block most of the academic workers from being promoted and force young scientists to leave the country, and
  5. administrative enrolment fees instead of tuition fees, which will in effect draw additional funding directly from the pockets of students and citizens, making higher education even less accessible to widening layers of the society – which is exactly the contrary of the public needs, as well as the long standing demands of the Croatian students.

In spite of the opposition it is possible that the universities’ and institutes’ executives will give in to the government pressures and support the drafts with negligible changes.

The fundamental problems of the draft acts are not in specific regulations, but in the very intention behind them: if they are adopted, in whatever form, they will help bring down the Croatian science and higher education. Hence we have to decidedly and completely oppose them until their basic intention is changed.

How do we make the legislators hear our stance and take it into consideration? The most obvious and visible way is direct action: STRIKE of Croatian academic workers as a way of expressing disagreement with the new draft acts and the procedure of drafting and revising them.

To express solidarity and join the initiative, contact akad.solidarnost@gmail.com.
For more information, visit: https://sites.google.com/site/akadsolid/ (in Croatian)

Statement of solidarity with UK and Italian students

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Last week Croatian students expressed their solidarity with Italian and British students, placing banners on prominent public and academic sites to alert the public of the continuing student struggle against the growing commercialization and privatization of education, reduction of university autonomy and monstrous tuition fees. The banners were placed by the independent student initiatives from Osijek, Pula and Zadar as well as plenums of the Faculties of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb and Rijeka. (more…)

Photos: actions of solidarity with UK and Italian students

Sunday, December 26th, 2010

Last week, students in Croatia organized actions to express solidarity with their colleagues in UK and Italy who are protesting against tuition fee hikes and education cuts. In several Croatian cities, the students placed banners on prominent public and academic sites to alert the public of the continuing student struggle against the growing commercialization of education. (more…)

The Occupation Cookbook

Friday, December 18th, 2009

The Occupation Cookbook is a “manual” that describes the organization of the student occupation of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences that took place in the spring of 2009 and lasted for 35 days. It was written for two reasons: to record what happened, and to present the particular organization of this action in such a way that it may be of use to other activists and members of various collectives if they decide to undertake a similar action. (more…)

Occupations end in Pula and Zagreb

Friday, December 4th, 2009

Today students at the University of Pula voted to end the occupation of their university which they had started on November 23rd.

This evening, the same decision was made at the plenary session held at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. The classes will resume as normal starting tomorrow.  The next plenary session will be held on Tuesday, December 8th.

Protest in front of the Ministry of Education

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

On Monday, November 30th, the students at the Faculty of Political Sciences in Zagreb voted to end the occupation of their faculty, which they had started on November 24th. On the following day, they organized a protest (in which students of other faculties also participated) in front of the Croatian Ministry of Science, Education and Sport. Altogether, some 300 students gathered at 3pm in front of the Ministry building and joined hands forming a chain around the building. After that, they sat on the floor in front of the building blocking the exits from the building and the Ministry’s underground garage, preventing Ministry employees from leaving the building. (more…)

Current situation in Croatia

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

At today’s plenary session at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Split, the students have voted to occupy their faculty and obstruct all classes. We have received news that the students of the Academy of Applied Arts in Rijeka have also decided today to occupy their faculty. That means that, currently, the following educational institutions are under student occupation in Croatia: (more…)

Further occupations in Zagreb and Split

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

At the assembly held today at the Faculty of Political Sciences in Zagreb the students voted to occupy the Faculty and obstruct the classes. Thus they have joined their colleagues who are occupying the Unversity of Pula, the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Rijeka and the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb in fighting for free, publicly funded education for all students. Meanwhile, at the plenary session held this afternoon at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Split, the students decided that tomorrow they will occupy one of the Faculty’s lecture halls at noon, and immediately after hold a plenary session at which they will decide on the continuation of the occupation.

Students vote to occupy the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

Following occupations in Pula and Rijeka that began earlier today, at the plenary session held today at noon at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb the students voted to occupy the faculty building in the same manner as it was done in the spring, when the occupation of the faculty lasted for 35 days. That means the faculty building will be open for anyone to enter; cafeteria, bookstore and other facilities withing the building will be open; teachers will be allowed to hold consultation hours but lectures will be obstructed and instead of them students will organize their own, alternative, educational programme, consisting of movie screenings, public discussions, workshops etc.

Occupations in Pula and Rijeka and activities in other cities

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

At the plenary session of November 20th held at the University of Pula it was decided that the students will occupy the University on Monday 23rd. Since approximately 8:30am all lecture halls have been locked and the University is controlled by the students!

At the last plenary session at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Rijeka, held on November 19th, it was decided that today one lecture hall will be occupied. The plenum will be held at 6pm to decide on further actions. As we have learned, the lecture hall has been successfully occupied but the students have had a confrontation with the acting dean who has verbally abused the occupiers, threatened to throw them out and disconnected the internet connection in the lecture hall that is being occupied. He has also decided to employ security guards who are suppose to confirm the identities of the students who enter the faculty building before tonight’s plenary session! (more…)

Letter of support to the students of Austria

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

We write to you to express our full solidarity with your struggle against the commercialization and commodification of higher education in Austria. Above all, we see in it the mirror image and continuation of our own struggle – both in its goals and methods. It is one more reminder of the fundamental lesson that there are no longer merely local struggles. (more…)

An overview of this spring’s protests and a short update on the current situation

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

In Croatia, the spring of 2009 was a spring of a great student revolt. It all started on April 20 at the beginning of the international “Reclaim your education – Global week of action 2009″ when the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb was occupied. It remained occupied for another 35 days. During the height of the protest, around 20 faculties and universities in 8 Croatian cities (Zagreb, Zadar, Rijeka, Osijek, Split, Pula, Varaždin, Slavonski Brod) were occupied – all under a common international slogan “One world – one struggle. Education is not for sale”. (more…)

Letter to Alain Badiou

Saturday, October 10th, 2009

At the last plenary session held on October 6th, the students were informed that the famous French philosopher Alain Badiou, who was supposed to come to Zagreb and meet with the students on October 16th, has fallen ill and will not be able to come after all. The plenum has decided to write a letter to Mr Badiou wishing him to get well soon and expressing desire to welcome him in Zagreb some time in the future. (more…)

Note of solidarity with the students of the University of Pittsburgh

Saturday, October 10th, 2009

At the last plenary session, held October 6th, the students discussed recent events at the G-20 meeting in Pittsburgh, during which a large number of the University of Pittsburgh’s students found themselves seriously mistreated by the police, exposed to sound cannons, tear gas and arrested even though they did nothing but stood in the streets. The plenum has written a letter of support to Pittsburgh students, condemning the actions of the police. (more…)

Letter of support to protesters in California

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

Dear colleagues in California,

we, students and citizens gathered on the 46th Plenum held on September 22nd have voted unanimous support and solidarity with organised students of the University of California in your fight against budget cuts. (more…)

September 27th, 2009 – report from Tuesday’s plenary session

Sunday, September 27th, 2009

The 46th plenary session at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb was held on September 22nd.

  • Before the session began, the plenum listened to the one-hour radio drama by author Ljubo Pauzin – which he created from audio recordings of past plenary sessions – and gave him the permission to broadcast it on the Croatian Radio.
  • (more…)

International petition for free and emancipatory education

Sunday, September 27th, 2009

The International Students Movement has drawn up the international petition for free and emancipatory education. If you agree with the demand for publicly financed education, accessible to all, emancipatory in nature and free from corporate, private or government interests, sign the petition here. Read full text of the petition below. (more…)

Few photos from last week’s “5 to 12″ performance

Sunday, September 20th, 2009

As part of the Omnibus for direct democracy, which visited Zagreb last weekend, on September 11th and 12th, the students performed the “5 do 12″ (”The Eleventh Hour”) mini action at the main city square.

The “5 do 12” mini action is a performance in which participants stand in a line that extends from the clock at the main city square pretending to wait for something. They gather at 11:55 and and stand in line for 5 minutes. At the strike of noon they leave post-it notes on the clock with messages like “Free education” and “One world, one struggle” etc, and then quickly disperse. (You can watch a short video of one such mini action here.) On this occasion, the line was formed in front of the Omnibus. (more…)

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009: report from yesterday’s plenum

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

The 45th student plenum was held yesterday at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb.

The plenum was informed of several events in the past few days in which students participated:

  • On Monday several students in Split went to support the workers of the closed down factory Salonit who are protesting in front of the Commercial Court. (The workers were employed to clean up the factory from asbestos. The clean-up is not finished, but the Court declared that, according to the new law on waste management, the factory manager has an obligation to announce a public bid for the job. The Court thus concluded that the manager had the right to fire the 140 workers – even though they are probably the most qualified for cleaning up the factory because most of them worked in the factory for years or decades before it was closed down.) (more…)