Dear Students of UBC,
The Revolutionary Student Movement (MER-RSM) sends you revolutionary greetings! We stand with you in solidarity in your recent struggles against tuition fees and against all barriers to post-secondary education. We support your opposition to the unaffordable housing policy and tuition hikes upon international students that have been imposed upon you by your University’s administration. Over the course of the last semester we were excited to follow the news coming from UBC, and were happy to see that the numerous actions you planned (including a Teach-In, a General Assembly, and a protest) were successful.
We would like to particularly commend your courage in choosing to mobilize outside of your student association. More often than not outside of Quebec, it seems, student associations hinder struggles by channelling student efforts through the formal mechanisms and governing bodies set up by university administrations and governments. Student associations may lobby, and they may campaign for increased representation on governance bodies, but most do little else. As we, and surely you also have seen, these processes are seldom effective. These “official” channels and “respectable” actions often distract proletarian and revolutionary students from directing their anger at university administrations, and serve as a means by which student union careerists can pad their resumes –all at the expense of developing a strong student movement that isn’t afraid to fight. This is a lesson that we’ve unfortunately had to learn in our own contexts; it’s exciting to see others coming to the same conclusions.
We were especially impressed by your ability to use your mobilization to attain quorum in your Student Association’s annual general meeting, the first time this has been done in forty years. You were then able to use the general assembly to pass motions that were binding upon your student representatives, forcing them to oppose the tuition hikes. Insofar as we have also been working on winning and democratizing general assemblies on our campuses, we appreciate the commitment that such an accomplishment requires. We believe that your efforts prove the necessity of further democratizing student unions across Canada to more effectively fight for the interests of working-class students.
We want to wish you continued success in building a strong culture of militancy at UBC. And, we wish you luck in your struggle against the corporate university and the overreaching desire for capitalism to commodify and exploit everything of value within our communities.
For us, your mobilization points to the way forward for the student movement in the rest of Canada. As you are likely aware, this spring, students in Quebec are going to strike against austerity. The Spring 2015 movement is shaping up to be even bigger than the Maple Spring in 2012. And yet, the existing student organizations in the rest of Canada have been largely silent, and have not begun any serious mobilization. Basing ourselves on our experience, as well as your experiences at UBC, the RSM decided at its most recent congress to organize a pan-Canadian day of action on March 24 against austerity and in solidarity with the Spring 2015 movement. We will no longer let the inactivity of the existing student organizations serve as an excuse for the inactivity of students in the rest of Canada; now, more than ever, we believe that the conditions exist to build a real, fighting student movement. We wish to extend an invitation to you to help organize this day of action with us.
Mouvement Étudiant Révolutionnaire – Revolutionary Student Movement