Students’ assemblies of the Occupied Universities of Athens

Posted on September 16, 2011




People, men and women, workers, Greeks and immigrants,


The deepest darkness has covered our society. An unprecedented attack is launched against our rights that have been established after long struggles. Employment, education, health care and all public goods are entering a new medieval era. This new medieval era is imposed by the iron fist of the PASOK-government and the international mafia of the E.U. – IMF with the help of their domestic allies – the parties of N.D. (cc. conservatives) and LAOS (cc. extreme right).


In the high-schools (the ones that have not been shut down during the summer large scale merges…), our younger siblings begin their school year without textbooks and with extreme shortages in teachers.


Our parents live under the constant fear of a lay-off regardless of being civil servants or private sector workers. After the drastic cuts in salaries and the repeated introduction of new taxes that they have faced, they are unable to make ends meet and thus are witnessing a dramatic rise of their private debts to the banks.


Most of our peers remain unemployed for years, while the luckiest ones find only casual jobs with salaries of €400-500 per month. The government and the ‘Troika’ (cc. EU-ECB-IMF) want the youth and the popular classes and salaried strata to be employed for €492 (cc. which constitutes the new minimum salary) under flexible contracts and without anysocial insurance. They want every family to have only one working individual member…


People, men and women, workers, Greeks and immigrants,


For three weeks now, students from Universities and Polytechnics are holding assemblies and have started a struggle against the new education law and the policies of the government as a whole. More than 300 departments all over the country are now occupied. Thousands of students have marched during protests organized across the country, while the academic and administrative staff of Higher Education institutions have been engaged in strike actions. The austerity policies of the ‘memorandum’ (cc. agreement of the Greek government with the EU, the ECB and the IMF) and the systematic abolition of social welfare could not leave Higher Education untouched. The new ‘market-oriented’ University of the memorandum is a university with fewer students, with no provisions, a university that receives less financial support from the state and where oppression is paramount. The free-market principles will be dominant in the way the university operates. To repress our struggle but also to terrorize the whole society, the government abolished the University Asylum (cc. law establishing the free expression of ideas and actions in the University and forbidding the access of the policy in the University). It is a remarkable event in itself as even the military junta in 1974 asked the permission of the University authorities to enter the Polytechnic school of Athens. The authorities then refused and they instead chose to resign!


The new education law aims at producing the ‘modern’ worker. This worker will be cheap, flexible, easily retrained, submissive and without any thinking of collective action. This is a worker that will be easily exploited by the employer. These reactionary policies of the government force a generation that is more educated than any other in the past and lives in a society that is wealthier that it ever was to become the first generation that will live much worse than the previous ones.


The well-paid journalists of the media are either notoriously silent about the students’ movement or systematically embark upon a campaign defamed it. This is a well-known practice of the media towards all societal struggles that have taken place the last years and towards anybody who dares to question the government policies. The same happened with the struggles of the civil servants, the taxi drivers, the workers of ΔΕΙ (cc. public electricity company), the teachers, and the ‘Take the Square’ protesters. Their aim is to persuade the Greek people that everybody is co-responsible for the crisis, that we are lazy and that ‘we ate everything together’ (cc. statement of the vice-PM meaning that everybody is responsible for the state of the public finances)


Brothers and sisters, dear parents, dear neighbors, dear colleagues,


You know us. We are part of this society as every one of you.

We are not requesting any privileged treatment, we are not a guild, we are not interested for a career, we do not care only for ourselves as the media want to present. We do not care about associating ourselves and networking with the government or the university bureaucracy.


We are fighting  to ensure the right of young people independently of whether they have studied at the university or not to be able to live in dignity by working in a one job (cc. too many Greeks have to work in two or even three jobs in order to make means meet ends).


We are fighting  to ensure equal and free access to public goods, education, health care, pension because all these are rights and not market-traded goods.


We are fighting to ensure that workers are not compensated with starvation-salaries and they do not lose their jobs at the will of employers. We are struggling to ensure that everything that governments, employers and businessmen have stolen  from us is returned to us.


We are fighting because in an era during which the development of the means of production has reached such a high potential, it is inconceivable to live in misery instead of dignity. We are fighting because it is inconceivable to see next to us people that are lacking housing and food, people that search every day in the garbage bins for food or queue at charity meal centers.



Friends and fellow protesters,


We know that they will try to divide us as they have been trying for years by implementing their strategies of ‘divide et impera’ (civil servants against workers in the private sector, Greeks against immigrants).


We know that they will try to repress our struggle using the riot police and their paramilitary organizations.


However, we know, as you do, that if high-school students, teachers and all workers join the higher-education students, if the people will stand next to us and we fight together, united, we will manage to topple this barbaric government, their memorandums and their anti-popular policies in their totality that are supported only by a handful of big businessmen, big-shot journalists and the security force.


We cannot live our lives as they plan. We are not submitting ourselves to this inhuman future that they are planning for all of us. We are not retreating from our demands.


We have a single choice: the joined struggle with all working people for a different education, a different life in a different society


Let’s go forward with a pan-educational and pan-societal uprising.


Let’s go forward with occupations-strikes-demonstration everywhere until the final victory


The darkness will pass

They may spit the waters

They may burn the lines

They may shoot the sparrows

They may behead the sweet lily

They may shred the song

and fling it to the swamp

But this darkness will pass

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