National Sections of the L5I:

Austrian school students call for a European Day of Action

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The question of youth was absent from the agenda of the Florence meeting. So too were young people. This was curious because Franco Russo of RC specifically encouraged Revolution to attend and even to submit a section of youth for the Charter. Whilst Revolution representatives spoke to it, no one else did. In summing up, Franco commented on the obvious lack of young people as protagonists. Indeed.

Where was Giovani Communisti? Where the Jeunesses Communistes Revolutionnaire? This is doubly bad given the recent wave of university occupations and mass demonstrations in Italy, and the French youth rebellion. The uprising in France showed clearly why the social movements must take up the struggle for economic rights and freedoms of working class young people, facing sever oppression right across the countries of Europe.

Education is another area that is facing severe neoliberal restructuring. In many countries schools face part or full privatisations, students are being asked to pay fees for higher education while funding is cut and the quality of education dwindles.

The Austrian youth movement has proposed an international day of action on 15–16th March to coincide with the meeting of EU education ministers in Vienna. Already, Greek and Turkish groups have expressed an interest in pursuing the call. The net must be widened further. Circulate the call among trade unions, social movements, student organisations and political parties, and build mass protests, strikes and occupations on these days.

Let’s defend the right to free education in Europe together!
Appeal to the Youth Organisations, Unions and Social Movements in Europe: For An International Day of Action Against Cuts in Education in Mid March 2006

In the whole of Europe the right of free education is under attack by the powerful. For the broad majority of youth free, public education becomes ever more expansive and at the same time of worse and worse quality. Neo-liberal austerity policy makes sure that less and less teachers have to educate more and more school students. We are forced to pay fees if we want to study at the university. At the same time the governments throw out billions of Euro to support elite universities!

But resistance is growing in the schools and universities. In Austria school students in many schools have formed action committees. We have organised on 19th October a successful school student strike. 5.000 school students participated on this day in demonstrations in several cities of Austria. On 18th November another day of action against cuts in education and youth unemployment will take place.

But also in other countries young people are not longer prepared to accept cuts in education without resistance. In Italy alone more than 100.000 school and university students went on strike, occupied and demonstrated against the education misery.

On 16th and 17th March 2006 there will be a summit of the EU-minister for education in Vienna since Austria will have the EU-presidency in this period. At an assembly of several hundreds of school students on 19th October it was agreed to organise another school student strike and a protest demonstration during the EU education summit. We will show those who are responsible for education cuts that we are ready to fight back.

We call on all youth organisations, unions and social movements in Europe to organise together with us an international day of action in Vienna and the whole of Europe to protest against education cuts. Let us show the EU-minister for education that we are determined to resist!

Roman Birke (a spokesperson of the network of action committees which organised the school student strike on 19th October) supported by activists of school student action committees from the Viennese schools Hagenm¸llergasse, Schmelz, Rahlgasse, HAK 10, Karajangasse, Maturaschule Lernen 8, Maturaschule Dr. Roland and REVOLUTION and ArbeiterInnenstandpunkt