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economic justice | education

Tuition battles, debt and union-busting: The many faces of neoliberalism

Corporate executives want students drilled for business needs, but refuse to pay taxes needed to support education. And they want students to shoulder the burden of tuition although they, and society as a whole, benefit from an educated workforce.
The eleven students who barricaded themselves inside Cooper Union's tower have ended their occupation, but their struggle resonates well beyond the New York City university. Inextricably bound up in the movement to save Cooper Union's tradition of free tuition and enable meaningful student and faculty participation in the affairs of the university is a struggle against neoliberalism.

The victorious students who endured police violence and heavy-handed legal tactics during the months of the Québec student strike earlier this year; the unsustainable student debt burying students across the United States; the union-busting offensives in Wisconsin; and the latest anti-union effort in Michigan — to name only some of the struggles from 2012 alone — should not be looked at in isolation but rather are part of a continuum of which Cooper Union is one manifestation.

Workers' struggles and students' struggles are linked, and not simply because today's students are tomorrow's workers. Education is now treated as a commodity — professors are increasingly part-time adjuncts and students are expected to hand over ever larger sums of money for tuition, and students are encouraged to think of higher education in mercenary terms, as nothing more than technical training for a job rather than (or in addition to) an opportunity to improve oneself through study. Being an employee in a capitalist enterprise is indistinguishable from oneself being reduced to a commodity — we have no choice but to sell our labor if we intend to eat and keep a roof over our heads.

All this requires atomization of society: set off at each other's throats, fiercely competing over scraps. It is solidarity that breaks this pattern.

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Entitlement Mentality 12.Dec.2012 15:38

Time to wake up

The entitlement mentality of the students of today's society is laughable. Nobody owes you a college education, if you want one pay for it. You want to improve yourself, then do it, just don't expect anyone else to pick up the tab. No free lunch for these entitlement class assholes. With right to work passed in MI it is only a matter of time until these violent communist dominated unions are a thing of the past, too. Systemic Disorder, my old chapped ass.

really? 13.Dec.2012 06:30

Jerry

Either the government will help me or I'll take what's mine. I dare you to get in my way.

Uh, Huh there Jerry 13.Dec.2012 10:29

Tom

Uh, yeah, Jerry, well just bring your punk ass on, your bluff is called.

the season of giving my ass... 14.Dec.2012 00:32

Bugs

Jesus...I just want to point out that you two are doing a beautiful job of recreating our American social constructs here. There's even misdirected class warfare resulting in violence on the table. I blame Tom, but Jerrys all sorts of out of control. Mabe life will get so difficult for him hell just blow his brains out in his basement. That'll make Tom...feel nothing.

Can you hang yourself by your bootstraps?

Merikuh, Merikuh