Today, March 20th, across Canada students are mobilizing. They are joining together to walkout, strike and rally as part of the Red Spring, rising up to defiantly unite to defend work class student interests and fight a capitalist education system built for profit at the expense of the working class. We have five core points of unity which we are joining together in action to defend and propose, not as a quick fix to capitalist education to make it slightly more tolerable, but as a new vision of an education system which is progressive, revolutionary, and liberatory.
We say let us have an education system which realizes:
1. Education in the service of the people, not profit!
Education must serve the interests of the people, not corporations and profit. Everyone needs to have access to post-secondary education. Research has to be done for the benefit of all, not the benefit of capitalists and their wars. A democratic and scientific education must replace the imperialist, settler-colonial and patriarchal curriculum. Education needs to prepare us to struggle for justice and liberation, not simply prepare us to be exploited on the job.
2. Guaranteed paid internships for all students
Interns are workers and must be paid equally for the same work as other workers in their field. Over 300,000 interns across the country do not get proper pay. The times when employers could exploit intern workers without pay must end now!
3. Abolition of tuition fees at all levels of education! Cancellation of all outstanding student debt!
Banks and the government keep using students as cash-cows while tuition fees and debt become unbearable for most of us. We will not be held hostage to the scam of having to give an arm and a leg for a basic necessity such as education!
4. Barrier-free access to post-secondary education for all Indigenous people and an anti-colonial aspect to all programs!
Canada, as a settler-colonial state, is built on stolen land and the genocide of Indigenous nations. All Indigenous people must have barrier-free access to post-secondary education. We support the creation of independent faculties, colleges and universities controlled by the Indigenous people. The education system needs to foster the cultures and languages of Indigenous people within it and include mandatory anti-colonial components in all programs.
5. Democratic control of post-secondary institutions!
Universities and colleges should be run by the people they serve, not by unelected boards of governors and administrators filled with representatives of the big banks and large corporations. We demand the abolition of boards of governors. Instead, schools must be run by committees elected at a general assembly composed of students, faculty, support staff, and members of the community.
The fight of today, the organizing of the last two months, the Red Spring campaign is only one step in the path. What we demonstrate is that simply lobbying is not enough. We can ask all we want instead we need to build a movement which can realize the education system we need. Working class students face an education system that tries to make us obedient subordinates, future workers who will toil for someone else’s profit. But we must continue to defiantly build our own movement, not one that requests but demands a better future and one that can gain the power to make it a reality.
We need not one day of actions, not one day of strikes, but unlimited general student strikes as part of a broader revolutionary front against capitalism, imperialism, and settler-colonialism. That can only come by joining together to organize as we have today and continuing the work we have started. In 2012, 2015 and this year again the students across Quebec are striking. We must learn from their success and failures and build toward similar general strikes from coast to coast.
To accomplish these tasks we need to understand what is necessary, that is a militant, politicized working class student movement. A movement that breaks from old bad habits of reformism and begging for a set at the table to ask for concessions and instead fights to win. This is the movement that we aim to build around us as the Revolutionary Student Movement.
The work does not stop today. In the coming week many local Revolutionary Student Movement sections will be having meetings to continue to organize and to learn from our successes. Join us, whether you were out today or not we cannot let up.
No barriers to education!
MER-RSM Coordinating Committee