Ontario Students Rise Up! Red Spring is Coming

Ontario Students Rise Up! Red Spring is Coming

Ever faithful to protecting capitalist interests, the enemies of the people in the government of Ontario have struck another blow against the interests of working class students. This time, it is by increasing the cost of education through a particularly conniving scheme: first, they leaked an announcement about a 10% tuition fee decrease for the 2019-2020 school year. They even promised that tuition fees will be frozen at this level for the following year as well. However, this is a diversion from the real news. The far more significant changes are in the structure of loans through the OSAP program. As always, when we delve deeper we find that behind every such announcement, whatever the rhetoric, the goal is for the government to structure education to train a generation of workers equipped only to take on the jobs they desire to exploit us through, and be pacified both through debt and propaganda.

What are the nuts and bolts of these changes? First, the 6-month post-graduation grace period has been eliminated, making repayment process and loan interest start immediately after graduation. This will result in students being forced into deeper debt, faster than before. It will also push more students into jobs outside of their field of study. This will lead to an increase of the class divide between working class and bourgeois students: working class students bear the brunt of student debt and will not have time to pursue work in the field of their study before they are forced to pay their loans. The second change is the altering of the way available funding is calculated, with the maximum cap put on the portion of funding offered in grants to 50%. This change hits working class students the hardest, since they are predominantly low-income. Previously, the grant-to-loan ratio was scaled to income and the number of dependents an applicant has. Now, while this is still the case, those with minimal income will be saddled with a higher debt load. Ultimately, this will push working class students who have the least ability to pay for the loans to have the greatest amount of debt. These changes should remind us that our education system is constructed to serve the interests of capitalists. These changes will entrench the class divisions amongst students and hurt those of us from the working class especially hard. None of us should be so naïve as to think that any politician today can create an education service that is in our interests. But we can fight to build one both in resisting these changes in the here and now and building a movement that can fundamentally restructure society. We can build a movement that can make revolution.

In addition to these decreases, one of the other changes is the so called “Student Choice Initiative”. The choice, of course, was made for the students by this government, without asking for our permission or opinions. The aim of this initiative is to alter the rules around ancillary fees. When realized, it will direct post-secondary education institutions to let students choose to opt-out of “non-essential” fees. This will be realized in two ways:

1. Student union or association fees will be made optional. We need to remember, that outside Quebec these organizations are not democratic, accountable or connected to serving the interests of most students. Corruption scandals and toothless actions are the order of the day for most student unions across this country. But let us be clear on this: this is an issue that working class students need to solve on our own, by organizing to rebuild our student movement in our interests. Politicians need to keep their filthy hands out of our affairs! And the same goes for school administrations, constantly working to sabotage our future.

2. Other fees and levies that predominantly serve working class students will be undermined. We can think of many examples from food banks to daycare services. These fees, while “non-essential”, primarily help working class students who are in need of assistance. What this change will functionally achieve is to further privatize the provision of services that may not be essential to the school as a whole, but are certainly essential for working class students. These meager handouts are not even enough to adequately help most people in need of assistance, but the attack on it cannot be seen as anything other than an attempt by capitalists to profit further off of the misery they create for us.

Most student groups, including those on the left that oppose this tuition increase have adopted a stance of laying all of the blame on one bad man – Doug Ford, the premier of Ontario. He is certainly a bad man, but the changes we fight against aren’t the result of one man’s actions – they are a result of the governing Conservative party’s policies. But even more so, they are the result of how the Canadian state works, on the federal, provincial and municipal levels. It is the result of it serving the ruling class of the wealthiest capitalists and their interests. We do not have universal, barrier-free and accessible post-secondary education. We do not have an education system that serves the people, we only have a system where we take on a huge debt to be able to qualify as sufficiently-trained workers for the capitalist bosses. Our education system only constantly reproduces society as we know it – a society built on oppressive and outright criminal system of capitalism, colonialism and imperialism. It does not help to bring us towards a better future, towards a different kind of world. And those who cannot afford to take on education get forced into increasingly precarious, low-paying, back-breaking labor that can barely suffice for survival.

Outrage against the actions of this government is justified. However, things will not change through expressions of moral outrage and knee-jerk reactions to every terrible measure that this government announces every few weeks. Students and workers need to organize around longer-term goals instead. We need to unite in a fight for a better world, the way we want to see it. Not just be scattered and on the defensive all the time.

This government has already launched an attack on every working class person in the province, by depriving us of the small, overdue, minimum wage increase. It has attacked us by stealing the much needed guaranteed few paid sick leave days and other basic workplace necessities. In a show of adherence to colonial oppression, it has canceled all work to include the general practices, customs and traditions of Indigenous peoples in geography, history and social studies courses in both elementary and high school curriculum. It has forced our high-schools to revert back to an outdated sex-education curriculum, reversing years of improved understanding of healthier relationships. It has deprived the Francophone communities in Ontario of the funding for their education programs. There is much harm this government has done, and much more it will do.

This is why we call on all the communities, groups and individuals harmed and outraged by all these attacks on the people to join us in taking matters into our own hands. We are calling for a one-day Strike and marches on February 15th at noon. We will organize a walk-out of classes across the province, and we are looking for every bit of solidarity and support!

We aim to increase the resistance further, and we call on all the students in Ontario to join our Red Spring Day of Action on March 20th! Students across the country will mobilize for a one-day strike to shut down the schools and make the following 5 demands:

 

  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.

  1. 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!

  1. 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!

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

 

We can fight and we will fight, but in order to win it is not enough to just push back against the harmful changes constantly being hurled at us before we can effectively organize to resist. The only way we can hope to win is by building a movement of students and workers capable of putting up a fight. This movement will grow in each and every struggle until we have realized a world where education serves the people, not profit and where the governing rules of society are not exploitation and oppression, but mutual support and solidarity among the working class. In order to achieve this, we need to end capitalism and the capitalist education system. Today, this means gathering together and striking back.

On February 15th join us across Ontario and on March 20th join us coast to coast to coast. Let us be the spark to start a prairie fire and burn down this old system, clearing the way for a new one to grow!

 

No fees, no debt, no barriers to education!

Dare to struggle – dare to win!

Coordinating Committee of the MER-RSM

For more information about getting involved, email: info@mer-rsm.ca

Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RevolutionaryStudentMovement/

 

RED SPRING IS COMING: LET’S SHUT THE SCHOOLS DOWN ON MARCH 20TH!

RED SPRING IS COMING: LET’S SHUT THE SCHOOLS DOWN ON MARCH 20TH!

As we sit in the depths of winter, the many hardships that working class students are faced with seem to have no end in sight, and only get worse as time goes by. But as spring comes to replace this difficult season, so too will the masses rise in defiance to bring about change! It’s time to turn the spring red with the fury of students! For too long we have been forced into a crushing debt, only to be pushed into a world of precarious jobs and unemployment after graduation. For too long we have been denied control over our own education and future. Nevertheless, there is a way to build a better tomorrow: we can organize, resist and fight for a better world! Governments and school administrations can no longer be allowed to keep robbing us through unbearable fees and loans with no repercussions.  We will take control and ownership over our own education, instead of being treated both as clients that need to pay or get out, and obedient subordinates to an education system created without our involvement. We will support national self-determination struggles of all Indigenous people across this part of Turtle Island against the long history of colonial oppression, which must end now. We can and will take action to make this clear. We won’t let the capitalists and their government lapdogs sabotage our future for profit anymore. We will not stop until we win!

The Revolutionary Student Movement has long been at the forefront of struggles against the evils of capitalism, colonialism, patriarchy, racism, imperialist wars, destruction of the environment and more. We are once again staging a coordinated action across the country. In the spring of 2015 we acted in solidarity with the striking Quebec students and mobilized across the country for a Red Spring, to build a wider, more combative student movement. This year, we are launching a series of coordinated actions across the country to grow our resistance further!

We call on all of our comrades, supporters, and anyone who finds this call to action to resonate with them to join us in organizing for a shutdown of every school across Canada this March 20th! At noon local time – walk out of your class and join the actions on your campus! Let us unite into a force to be reckoned with! Let us make this spring a Red Spring of combative resistance, solidarity and change!

We organize with broad, yet clear, political demands. We do not need to do the work of the government and school administrations for them in figuring out how exactly to meet these. Other student groups have been producing detailed plans and fruitlessly lobbying hundreds of politicians for decades, and we are not interested in going down this dead-end path. We are angry and we will not stop until we win.

 

Our 5 core demands are:

  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.

  1. 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!

  1. 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!

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

 

While these demands are more radical than the demands of any other progressive student group, we do not see them as end-goals in and of themselves. We believe that we need to grow the power of the masses to change the root causes of the hardships most people around us suffer from today. To us, these root causes are: capitalism, colonialism and imperialism. They shape the main aspects of the world around us. Protests and walk-outs to disrupt the usual order of things at schools is just the beginning. We are organizing towards a country-wide student strike in the coming years, because strikes are one of the most powerful tools we have in fighting for our interests. But even that is not the end goal our organizing. We don’t stop when the demands we are fighting for are met. We will continue to organize until the root-causes of most of our problems and hardships will be eliminated: when we make Revolution, united with all the revolutionary forces across society, and achieve a genuine socialist society. Only then can all of us be truly free.

This may sound like a long way from where we are all today, so where should we start? It all starts from students organizing to fight back against the rotten capitalist education system as it currently stands. Come out to organizing meetings on your campus, reach out to us if you want to organize them, spread the word – we need to rise up together, so we can win together!

No fees, no debt, no barriers to education!

Dare to struggle – dare to win!

In Struggle,
Coordinating Committee of the MER-RSM

 

For more information about getting involved, email: info@mer-rsm.ca

Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RevolutionaryStudentMovement/

Oppose the Laurentian Board of Governors’ Attacks on Students! Expand the Fight to Defend the Barrie Campus! – RSM in Solidarity with Laurentian Barrie Students

Oppose the Laurentian Board of Governors’ Attacks on Students! Expand the Fight to Defend the Barrie Campus! – RSM in Solidarity with Laurentian Barrie Students

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.

lu-barrie-sit-in
Students occupied the LU administrative offices in Barrie last week

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.

10362541_696533583764489_2396405001352725054_nLaunch 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!

York University, Rise Up! Join the #RedSpring2015 Mobilization Committee!

York University, Rise Up! Join the #RedSpring2015 Mobilization Committee!

Students of York University!
Rise-up! Mobilize Towards the Pan-Canadian Day of Action, March 24

We are calling for individual students, campus organizations and allies to join the #redspring2015 mobilization committee.

1ST MOBILIZATION COMMITTEE MEETING:
WHEN: February 11, 2014, 4-6PM
WHERE: HNES lounge at the 1st Floor

On the FIRST MEETING, we will discuss:
– Our demands
(Are these demands applicable to our context? Do we have any additional demands?)
– How to engage and outreach to the larger student population
– Our plans for March 24th

If you are interested but cannot join the meeting, email revstudentsyork@gmail.com or drop us a message on facebook.com/rsmyork or RSVP to our event page

****

Despite the demographic of the York undergraduate population to be composed mostly of working-class and racialized students, events in our campus have shown that we have no say over our how the university can work for us. Worse, Black and Brown students are racially profiled by increasing police presence in campus! Student activists have been heavily targeted by university administration for asking our university to divest from apartheid regimes! Outside, our university is actively participating in the gentrification of Jane and Finch and the displacement of its residents.

We, working-class and racialized students, understand that simply fighting for lower tuition does not guarantee the full accessibility of post-secondary education to our communities. Most of our peers drop out even before their high school graduation! And some of us who manage to attend post-secondary institutions fight tooth and nail to survive, struggling to pay tuition, rent, and bills at the same time, struggling to survive the alienation from a university built on the appropriation of Indigenous land and the appropriation of the labour of colonized people!

The Revolutionary Student Movement is calling for a pan-Canadian day of action against austerity and in solidarity with the Spring 2015 movement on March 24, 2015.We call for the creation of mobilization committees on campuses across Canada with the intent of organizing actions –strikes, demonstrations, walk-outs, etc. – on March 24.

Let’s use this opportunity to build a student movement that is not content with simply begging the government for scraps by lobbying. And let’s use this opportunity to build a student movement across Canada that is not afraid to fight, and not afraid to win.

These mobilization committees will strive to be safe and accessible to all people that wish to participate; in short, any sort of oppressive behaviour (racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, national chauvinism, etc.) will not be tolerated within these committees. The committees must strive to be anti-colonial, feminist and LGBTQ2S+ inclusive, expressed in the committees’ political leadership and in their actions.

We demand:

1. ABOLITION OF TUITION FEE AT ALL LEVELS OF EDUCATION! CANCELLATION OF ALL OUTSTANDING DEBT!
Students should no longer have to pay for education. Students who could not afford post-secondary education should no longer be punished by high-interest student loans.

2. OPEN ACCESS TO POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION FOR ALL!
Free tuition alone cannot guarantee accessibility. We demand guaranteed admission to every post-secondary institution for all students. Good quality post-secondary education should not simply be for the elite; everyone should have access to the schools and programs of their choice.

3. EDUCATION IN THE SERVICES OF THE PEOPLE, NOT PROFIT!
Education should serve the interests of people, not corporations or profit. Education should serve the interests of people, not corporations or profit. Research should be done for the benefit of all, not the benefit of private firms. We demand that a democratic and scientific education should replace the imperialist, settler colonial and patriarchal curriculum in post-secondary schools. Education should prepare us to struggle for justice and liberation, not simply prepare us to work.

4. ACCESS TO POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION FOR ALL INDIGENOUS PEOPLE AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF AN ANTI-COLONIAL ASPECT TO ALL PROGRAMS!
We recognize that Canada, as a settler colony, is built on stolen land and the genocide of Indigenous peoples. Increased funding must be made available for all indigenous people to have access to post-secondary education, as well as for the creation of indigenous colleges and universities. We demand that education preserves the cultures and languages of indigenous people within post-secondary education, and a necessary anti-colonial component to 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 filled with representatives of the big banks and large corporations. We demand the abolition of boards of governors, and their replacement with representative bodies composed of students, faculty, support staff, and members of the community. All representatives should be determined by the university’s community, and subject to recall at any time.