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GREECE: half of all universities occupied! 3 weeks of struggle… and it continues!!

Greek universities are paralyzed. More than half of faculties nation wide (Universities and Colleges) are occupied by the students who refuse the privatization of Greek education system .Every day General Assemblies are organized and new faculties are added to the list. At side of the students we find also the university lecturer, primary and secondary education teachers and several trade-unions.
Greece: half of all universities and colleges are occupied by students
Greece: half of all universities and colleges are occupied by students
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attack with molotov cocktails on cops
attack with molotov cocktails on cops
attack with molotov cocktails on cops
attack with molotov cocktails on cops
- Why this explosion??

In the center of this new social explosion is the government's will (with the explicit agreement of the party of opposition, the PASOK, Socialist Party) to revise Article 16 of the Greek Constitution. This article guarantees a high quality, free and especially public education for all Greek citizens. It declares without ambiguity that only the State can provide this service and that any private person is explicitly prohibited to do it in its place or in parallel.

It is obvious that an article of this type poses a major problem in the process of privatization of education. Process, let us not forget it, directed by the U.E through the Essen, Bologna and Lisbon Agreements.

In the Greek Parliament the discussion is not likely to be tense. The PASOK and Nea Dimokratia-party in government, centre right wing-, which together count for 90% of the seats, are in agreement on the revision. It is ironic is that it was the president of the opposition to the Parliament, G. Papandreou the president of the PASOK, who introduced it. The proposal concerns the opening of the market of education.
"The revision of Article 16 is essential for the improvement of the public system of education. Thanks to the creation of non-state and non-profit organizations the public universities will be forced to rationalize and become more effective thus exceeding the phenomena of bureaucracy and stagnation. " he said in 2005. It is thanks to this "assist" on behalf of the "opposition" that the party in the government, Nea Dimokratia, can without obstacles dismount the national educational system.



- The movement is getting bigger and bigger and bigger... .

After three weeks of struggle the students do not seem tired. It started with a dozen occupied faculties and in three weeks it reached 311 occupied faculties. This has more merit if we think that the occupations are not permanent but each week, and in certain cases twice per weeks, there is a struggle in General Assemblies against the DAP (student union organization related to the party in government) which is a great force among the students.

Each week Coordinations at city level and one at national level take place. In spite of their structure being little fuzzy and questionable it is obvious that the participation increased since their beginning two weeks ago. The first national meeting had 200 students of all Greece representing their committee of occupation while in the second, one week later, there where more than 2000 students.

Since the beginning of the movement there are demonstrations organized every Wednesday. The participation in these demonstrations reflects the national tendency. On Wednesday January 24, third national event, the number of demonstrators at the national level reached 40000. In Athens there were 20000 demonstrators, in Thessaloniki 8000 to10000 and in other cities 10000.

However these figures are clearly lower than the capacity of the movement. It should not be forgotten that in the movement May-June 2006 more than 90% of faculties were occupied and that the demonstrations at the national level reached 70.000 - 80.000 demonstrators. "It is obvious that the fear of loss of the exam session or even of the whole semester and the arguments of the DAP limit the students to take part in the movement... " Declared one participant of the Coordination of the occupations of Thessaloniki.



- Students are not alone... .

However in the street the students are not alone. The trade-unions: of university professors, primary and secondary teachers, employees at the universities, public services, of the workers in the construction /industry, some of the private sectors support and take part in the mobilizations. According to voice of the left, this is also the struggle of the workers.

This is only the beginning. The vote on the revision of the Constitution will take place in Mars. Meanwhile this week of new General Assemblies were called to decide the future actions, regional Coordinations and a national one of all faculties in the struggle are already planned. As it appears even more faculties will be swallowed by the wave of discontent as new mobilizations take place this week.

To be continued...


Aris Oikonomou
e-mail:  sasgamw@hotmail.com

awesome 30.Jan.2007 13:20

theresa mitchell

Thanks for reporting this. I'm sorry the Greek students have been attacked by capitalist "privatization," but I'm inspired to see that they have the common sense to resist it utterly.

If it weren't for Indymedia ... 30.Jan.2007 14:59

Jody Paulson

I would be totally in the dark about the unrest that has been going on all over the world: Greece, Mexico, France, Argentina (a few years ago). Global media just isn't reporting this. Americans are kept totally in the dark about massive social change going on around the world. It's tremendously important -- no country opperates in a vacuum.

I used to be very active on the Global Indymedia newswire. Around 2002 "they" (whoever they are) flooded it with junk, flame wars, trolls and finally the archives (and there was a lot of valuable, interesting stuff there, esp. 9-11 research) just up and disappeared. Granted, it was quirky, strange, and almost exclusively English-speaking, but it was *so valuable* as far as getting people from all over the world in touch with each other as to what was going on. I'm still inscenced about what happened to it.

I've always loved Portland Indymedia, too. You guys are kind of like the New York Times in function ... a local IMC with enough excellence to draw a cosmopolitan readership (I've never lived in Portland, myself ... though I'm mostly from the Pacific Northwest). I just want to say I really appreciate when people post international news. There's nothing about the Greek Universities on CNN.com.

It has been going on for a while 30.Jan.2007 23:45

free human being

The unrests of the universities in Greece have been going on for a while. In the beginning of the school year (September 2006) the same situation exploded. If I remember correctly, by November there were more than 500 universities and schools taken over. It lasted for 6 weeks. The first 6 weeks of school. Even middle schools and high-schools joined in.

Two months later and we are back to the same point. Unfortunately the current right wing government in Greece along with the so called Socialist party are moving towards privatization of the Education system. It is sad because it is one of the last things that capitalism and globalization have not destroyed yet.

Sure there are problems with the education system, but it is not that bad. Sure it can be improved, but privatizing it is not the way.

It is too bad that there aren't very many, if any, politicians in Greece that are worth a dime. The political system is entirely corrupt and the hand full of politicians that are not... are just not enough to make a difference. I am really amazed at how deep the corruption has entered the political and business system in Greece.

There are even TV shows every week exposing scandals that are beyond belief. One reporter has a show twice a week exposing all kinds of scandals. I mean big time. I am not sure how he is still alive.

This is why you see such outbursts from the youth in Greece. They feel trapped and with nowhere to turn to.
Sad... very sad...

But on the positive side, these are all signs of the beginning of the end for the capitalistic way of life we have managed to trap ourselves in. It civil unrest does not happen in time, I am sure global warming will take care of the rat race that has infected our beautiful earth.

Either way, mother Earth will remain... with or without us.

links 31.Jan.2007 13:10

sarah

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INDYMEDIA ATHENS (english version): 31.Jan.2007 13:19

mike