Greetings from the Sudbury chapter of the Revolutionary Student Movement (MER-RSM) to the students of Laurentian Barrie!
We stand in solidarity with you in the struggle against the University Board of Governors’ plans to shut down many of your programs in Barrie by April 2017, denying hundreds the chance to finish their education there. We are an anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist student group with a presence at LU’s Sudbury campus and a high school in town, where our work includes organizing students to fight for free, accessible and democratic education, as part of building a broader revolutionary working-class movement. We were dismayed to hear last week about the Board of Governors’ unilateral and profit-driven decision, but our hopes have been high as we followed the actions you have organized so far to reclaim your education.
We commend the initiative and militancy you have shown in pressing your demand that all Barrie students be allowed to finish the degrees they started, where they started them, until all graduate. Your recent occupation of administrative offices, your protest actions on the streets, and the action planned for April 15 in Sudbury have surely given pause to the Board of Governors that dared throw your lives in jeopardy without a second thought! Your defiant stance has even made two-faced bourgeois politicians take notice and suddenly turn warm and obliging, whereas before they never seemed to care about our daily troubles. But the fight has only begun, and we urge you to keep organizing, making links in action with faculty and other workers also affected, and upset the administration’s attempts to divide and conquer.
Many of you study at the ‘satellite’ campus in Barrie because the socio-economic constraints of life in this society have denied you access to what the Board of Governors glibly call a ‘vibrant university experience’, like what is supposedly on offer at the campus in Sudbury. But the reality for many of us here is not so different. Here too, entire departments are being eroded if not demolished to shape a more efficient factory for producing new research, skilled labour, and managers for the resource extraction industry, one of the most predatory sectors of Canadian capital. And here too many find ourselves with heavy debt, uncertain futures and no real power over fundamental decisions that affect us – and further disoriented by the liberal ideology doled out by the curriculum.
That is why your organized resistance over the past week has been a powerful rallying call for us and surely for all militant students in Ontario and beyond. But although the outpour of support so far has been very encouraging, we should consider why this solidarity has yet to really materialize in terms of larger mobilizations and actions on the ground, particularly from the official student associations that command huge resources. This absence is strongly felt at LU’s Sudbury campus, where student unions like the undergraduate Students’ General Association (SGA) have been mostly silent, compromised by their close ties to the administration and thus unable to take real measures to mobilize their members in your support.
The Laurentian Students’ Union (LSU) at Barrie is in a unique spot where their membership is up in arms and its immediate existence is threatened by the BoG’s decision anyway. Uncharacteristic of a typical students’ union, the LSU has given valuable support to the demands of the LU students at Barrie and for this they must be commended. But the SGA is under no such pressure, so while the struggle is quickly unfolding in Barrie, it has been business as usual just few hours away at the Sudbury campus.
For the RSM, this highlights the importance of maintaining political and organizational independence from the typically passive and apolitical official student associations, which in their current bureaucratic and undemocratic form tend to be obstacles to waging real struggles for our needs. That is the only way to build the kind of class-conscious student movement we need in the long run: one that isn’t afraid to fight and to win small and large victories, and at the same time is oriented toward the revolutionary transformation of existing society. Organizing in your support is an important step along that path, so that higher education can one day be free and accessible to all, a fundamentally liberating tool in the struggle against our oppressors, under democratic control in service to the oppressed and exploited in this society who need it most – and impossible to be snatched away at the whim of thieves in a boardroom.
We propose to build the #LUBarrie2019 Sudbury Mobilization Committee!
The student associations here are effectively siding with the university administration by their inaction. It is up to the students, especially those among us with the biggest stakes in resisting the Board of Governors’ continued attacks on all of us in Barrie and Sudbury, to seize the initiative and push the struggle forward. So what are we waiting for?
RSM-Sudbury calls for the formation of the #LUBarrie2019 Sudbury Mobilization Committee to open up a new front in the fight, right here on LU’s home turf. The Mobcom will be a democratic vehicle for collective struggle, not lobbyism and capitulation. It will not shy away from combativeness and political demands. It will mobilize broad sections of students and workers at the Sudbury campus for powerful actions that will help smash the administration’s anti-student agenda. And to ensure it can achieve all this, the Mobcom will maintain independence from the officially sanctioned student associations.
Launch Meeting & Action Planning
This Monday, February 29, 4-6pm
Instruction Room (30-230), J.N. Desmarais Library
Laurentian University, 935 Ramsey Lake Rd
We invite all students, faculty and service staff of LU in Sudbury who want to organize in support of the students and workers of LU in Barrie to attend the launch meeting and help shape the direction of the coming actions. Allies from the broader community are also welcome. If you want to join us but cannot attend the first meeting, or if you’re with a group that wants to endorse the Mobcom and/or send delegates, please email LU.Mobcom@gmail.com or message the Facebook page.
We also invite all Laurentian Barrie students and groups who are interested in coordinating their actions with the Mobcom to contact us without delay. We look forward to seeing many of you at the planned action on April 15 in Sudbury, for which we hope students in Sudbury can mobilize alongside yourselves.
Solidarity with Laurentian students in Barrie!
Oppose on all fronts the Board of Governors’ attacks on students!
Expand to Sudbury the struggle to defend the Barrie campus!
Join the #LUBarrie2019 Sudbury Mobilization Committee!