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Education Crisis

Education Crisis

THE ABOLITION OF THE UNIVERSITY

CALL FOR PAPERS

The Open Library of Humanities (OLM)

CFP: The Abolition of the University: Deadline: Nov 1st, 2015

Deadline: 1st November 2015

In 1968, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o and his colleagues at the University of Nairobi called for the abolition of the English department. They attacked an enduring colonial legacy and envisioned an intellectual renaissance in Africa. In 2012, at the University of Glasgow: “Forty years after Ngũgĩ and his colleagues argued for it in Nairobi, the abolition of the Scottish Department was achieved by managerial diktat in Glasgow.” Two institutional interventions: the first driven by the desire to liberate education from epistemological and pedagogical domination; the second, by the neoliberal business model. This special edition seeks to consider the chequered history of the westernised university, to diagnose its embattled present, and to imagine its future.

In recent months, academics, non-academic staff, students and their allies across the UK, Canada, the Netherlands, Ireland, Albania, Finland, Colombia, Mexico and elsewhere, have staged protests against neoliberal reform of universities. Wendy Brown argues that the evolution of neoliberalism from a set of economic policies into mode of reason imperils not just liberal institutions but democracy itself. Education across the board is jeopardised by the corporate university model. The liberal arts face multidirectional threats, of extinction and irrelevance. Yet as Gayatri Spivak suggests, if the humanities is the ethical healthcare of society, what resources can we summon to reform, destroy, transform, or re-create the university? Or less innocently, as Bill Readings suggests, simply foster a space where academics (and students) can “work without alibis” in acknowledgement that radical possibilities are constrained by the societies in which universities are situated.

This special edition calls for a cross-disciplinary response, from the humanities and social sciences to all critical, creative and deviant positionalities. Diverse submissions are encouraged from policy reform to short stories. In particular, the edition reaches out to those who traditionally or purposefully find themselves outside the ivory towers: those not included and unassimilated.

Contributions will be considered around (but not limited to) these themes:

  • The western / imperial history of the university
  • Literary / creative representations of the university
  • Epistemologies / pedagogies of possibility
  • Western imperial humanism and the humanities
  • The co-option of postcolonial / Black / queer studies and ‘minority’ / transnational / diasporic literatures
  • Education in an age of neoliberalism / neo-colonialism
  • New models for higher education, including cooperatives, free schools etc.
  • The pedagogy of debt
  • The ‘Student As Producer’
  • Accelerationism and competition in the university
  • Activism: Strike / Occupy / Transform (In / Against / Beyond)
  • Resistance through radical poetics / humanisms

The special collection, edited by Lou Dear (University of Glasgow, l.dear.1@research.gla.ac.uk) and Martin Eve (Birkbeck, University of London, martin.eve@bbk.ac.uk), is to be published in the Open Library of Humanities (ISSN 2056-6700). The OLH is an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation-funded open-access journal with a strong emphasis on quality peer review and a prestigious academic steering board. Unlike some open-access publications, the OLH has no author-facing charges and is instead financially supported by an international consortium of libraries.

Submissions should be made online at: https://submit.openlibhums.org/ in accordance with the author guidelines and clearly marking the entry as [“The Abolition of the University,” SPECIAL COLLECTION]. Innovative submissions that do not clearly fit the submission guidelines are welcome and we encourage authors to contact the editors to discuss this. Submissions will then undergo a double-blind peer-review process. Authors will be notified of the outcome as soon as reports are received.

See: https://www.openlibhums.org/2015/05/14/cfp-the-abolition-of-the-university-deadline-nov-1st-2015/

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OPEN LIBRARY OF HUMANITIES: https://www.openlibhums.org/

 

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‘Human Herbs’ – a song by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Au-vyMtfDAs

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No Future

CENTRE FOR THE STUDY OF EDUCATION AND WORK – UPDATE 4th JULY 2011

EVENTS

2011 SUMMER INSTITUTE: MEDIA, DEMOCRACY AND THE ECONOMY

July 24-30
Smith College
Northampton, MA

Our staff of progressive economists will lead you in a vibrant learning process in which you will gain the economic basics that you need to know to make your social change work more effective. In our classes on the U.S. and the International economies, you will deepen your understanding of how the economy works-or doesn’t. You will learn about the roots of the current economic crisis and assess current strategies to fix it, and we will explore the solidarity economy-strategies for a more just and sustainable world. 

Our approach is highly participatory and we recognize that we are all teachers and learners. No economics background is necessary.

To register and for more info: http://populareconomics.org/Summer_Institute_2011.html

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CALL FOR PROPOSALS – INTERNATIONAL CITIZENSHIP CONFERENCE: CITIZENSHIP KNOWLEDGES AND EDUCATION

October 7 & 8, 2011
Faculty of Education
University of Alberta
Edmonton, AB, Canada

The Centre for Global Citizenship Education & Research (CGCER) invites proposals to participate in the CGCER International Citizenship Conference: Citizenship Knowledges and Education.  The conference aims to explore different conceptual, theoretical, and methodological understandings and practices of citizenship knowledges and citizenship education and as they influence the theory and practices of citizenship education in Canada and internationally.

Proposals for papers and posters are due: August 20, 2011.
Email: cgcer@ualberta.ca

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2012 INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF CO-OPERATIVES: CANADA2012 WEBSITE LAUNCHED  

Canada now has a new website dedicated to the 2012 International Year of Co-operatives.

The site was created jointly by the Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA), the Conseil canadien de la coopération et de la mutualité (CCCM) and the federal government’s Rural and Co-operatives Secretariat. 

The site is aimed at both the co-op sector and the broader public: its features range from basic information about the co-operative business model and co-operatives in Canada to suggestions on how both individuals and organizations can get involved in the International Year.

Read more: http://www.canada2012.coop/

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QUÉBEC SOLIDAIRE: ON THE BALLOT AND IN THE STREETS

Friday July 8
7:00 PM
Beit Zatoun
612 Markham (at Bathurst subway)
Toronto

Founded in 2006 by activists from a range of radical left and social movement organizations, Québec Solidaire has built up its public profile around a variety of social, environmental and democratic issues. The party’s member in the Quebec parliament, Amir Khadir, was recently ranked as Quebec’s most popular political personality. In the latest poll, the party rose five points to 17% of voting intentions.

QS leading activist Benoit Renaud will  speak about the experiences of the party,  introduced by a GTWA member who closely follows Québec politics.

What accounts for the relative success of QS in today’s difficult political climate? What are the party’s future prospects? What are the specific factors influencing politics in Quebec, and are there connections between QS’s growing popularity and the NDP’s breakthrough in the recent federal election? Hear BENOIT RENAUD address these and other questions, and participate in the discussion to consider lessons for anti-capitalist projects like the GTWA.

For more information, visit: http://www.workersassembly.ca

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SCARBOROUGH IS AT STAKE: WHAT ARE YOU DOING ABOUT IT?

Tuesday July 12, 2011
6:00 – 8:00 PM
Scarborough Civic Centre, Meeting Rooms 1 & 2
150 Borough Drive

Help develop a plan to advocate for social investment & improve communities across Scarborough.

Over the years, Scarborough’s poverty has become increasingly concentrated and racialized. Investment in Scarborough’s communities is a necessary part of the solution to this growing problem.

On July 12th, residents & community workers across Scarborough will come together to identify Scarborough’s most pressing issues, and develop a plan to address these issues and to advocate for social investment in Scarborough’s communities. Outcomes of this meeting will be action-oriented.
Please attend if you are willing to contribute to improving Scarborough’s communities and take stops to advocate for social investment in Scarborough.
 
Refreshments and TTC tokens provided. Child care only provided if requested in advance.

Sponsored by the Scarborough Civic Action Network. For more information on SCAN, please contact Jessica Roher by phone at (416) 321-6912 x 248 or by email at rjessica@agincourtcommunityservices.com

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NEWS & VIEWS

COULD ELECTION REFORM MAKE A DIFFERENCE?

By Harold Lavender, The Bullet

In the May Federal election, Stephen Harper won a majority government without winning a majority of the vote. Only 39.6 per cent of the population voted Conservative while 60 per cent voted against. Much discussion has focused on the election results and what to do about the Harper majority. But relatively little of this has focused on the electoral system.

Read more: http://www.socialistproject.ca/bullet/521.php#continue

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ONTARIO THROUGH THE CRYSTAL BALL

By Michael Mendelson, Caledon Institute

This paper is the text of an address delivered to Government of Ontario officials. While asked to speak about possible future trends in Ontario, Michael Mendelson focused his remarks not on familiar trends related to demography and technology but rather on events that we expect may not happen – or at least not in the form we predict. 

The paper considers three imminent threats of concern to Ontario. The first stems from the deepening Euro crisis and whether it will precipitate another global financial meltdown. The second threat is rooted in the economic policy paralysis in the US. Third, Ontario should be concerned about a potential credit collapse if the world commodities bubble begins to deflate.

Read more: http://www.caledoninst.org/Publications/PDF/955ENG.pdf

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POVERTY REDUCTION DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE

From CLEO.net

The author of an opinion piece in the Toronto Star looks at poverty reduction measures in Ontario and concludes that government commitment matched by good policy can make a big difference in people’s lives.

Read more: http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/article/1014913–poverty-reduction-does-make-a-difference

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UNIVERSITIES INCREASINGLY TURN TO CORPORATIONS FOR MUCH NEEDED CASH

By John Bonnar, rabble.ca

Thirty years ago, the Ontario government funded close to 80 per cent of the University of Toronto’s revenue stream. But for the first time this year, it will fund less than 50 per cent.

“Which fundamentally calls into question whether we (still) have public universities at all,” said Faraz Vahid Shahidi, a member of the University of Toronto General Assembly at a panel discussion last Saturday in Toronto.

With chronic underfunding in post secondary education, gaps have emerged that have been filled with soaring tuition fee hikes and private donations.

Read more: http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/johnbon/2011/06/universities-increasingly-turn-corporations-much-needed-cash

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INTERNATIONAL LABOR ORGANIZATION (ILO) ADOPTS LANDMARK CONVENTION ON RIGHTS
OF DOMESTIC WORKERS

Last month, at the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) 100th annual conference in Geneva, Switzerland, the global community took a major collective step towards achieving economic and social justice for some of the world’s most vulnerable workers with the overwhelming adoption of the ILO Decent Work for Domestic Workers Convention and accompanying recommendation. More than 80 per cent of the world’s governments, workers and employers voted in favor of the convention’s adoption.

In approximately 40 per cent of the world’s nations, the simple recognition of domestic work as work and domestic workers as deserving the same rights and protections that other workers enjoy flies in the face of exclusionary labour laws and social protection regimes.

Canada, unfortunately, is one such country.

Read more: http://nupge.ca/content/4371/ilo-adopts-landmark-convention-rights-domestic-workers?

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ABOUT CSEW (CENTRE FOR THE STUDY OF EDUCATION & WORK, OISE/UT):

Head: Peter Sawchuk
Co-ordinator: D’Arcy Martin

The Centre for the Study of Education and Work (CSEW) brings together educators from university, union, and community settings to understand and enrich the often-undervalued informal and formal learning of working people. We develop research and teaching programs at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (UofT) that strengthen feminist, anti-racist, labour movement, and working-class perspectives on learning and work.

Our major project is APCOL: Anti-Poverty Community Organizing and Learning. This five-year project (2009-2013), funded by SSHRC-CURA, brings academics and activists together in a collaborative effort to evaluate how organizations approach issues and campaigns and use popular education. For more information about this project, visit http://www.apcol.ca.

If have an event you would like to promote or news to share, send an email to csew-broadcast-oise-l@listserv.utoronto.ca Messages will be reviewed before posting.

For more information about CSEW, visit: http://www.csew.ca

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MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski

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Volumizer: http://glennrikowski.blogspot.com

Protest Against Austerity

30 JUNE – STRIKE FOR OUR FUTURE!

Today’s students are tomorrow’s pensioners…

30 June – Strike for our future!

On June 30 nearly a million workers could be on strike together, from the PCS, UCU, NUT and ATL unions. This includes teachers and education workers in schools, colleges and universities.

Workers are striking to stop changes to their pension schemes. Bosses and the government want workers to pay more and receive less. Some workers could lose tens of thousands of pounds that they have already paid in.

Young people who have already been hit by education cuts, tuition fees and the scrapping of EMA would also have to look forward to growing old in poverty. French students took action alongside workers to defend pensions last year. Their slogan was “today’s students are tomorrow’s pensioners.”

Student protests alone caused a major crisis for this government. Students and workers together can take the resistance to cuts even further.

Resources:

Facebook event for 30 June: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=227447003939150

Strike petition for students: http://educationactivistnetwork.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/30-june-petition.pdf

Strike leaflet for students: http://educationactivistnetwork.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/leaflet-may.pdf

“Strike for our future” poster: http://educationactivistnetwork.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/todays-students-tomorrows-pensioners.pdf

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Jacob

COMMON | RESISTANCE | INDEPENDENCE | EXODUS

Common is a political inquiry journal that is born during the crisis, during the global tsunami. We have set this journal as a dispositive to investigate the present time in the framework of the economic crisis that we are experiencing, looking for some directions of political action, measuring a new temporality and discovering the mutations of behaviour and imagery.

The journal forces us or, as you prefer, facilitate us to think collectively about the phase; identifying the common feature of the time we are living in, looking for a sense that enables us to understand the contingency, using it as a effective compass for the political action.

The field of education, the process of impoverishment in terms of perspective and future for the young generation, are the research fields for the debut of Common. In the epoch of cognitive capitalism, in an apparent paradox, it seems that the governance of the productive forces passes through a sort of war on knowledge. Starting from inquiring the biggest student movement in Italy and Europe since 1968, this issue is an attempt to analyze the new political anthropology within the temporality of the movement, its discontinuity and challenges.

“In the background”, “In figura” and “Lines of flight” are the three main sections that compose Common. The methodology of inquiry, the themes treated in this issue, such as institutions, self-education and common, are dispositive to strengthen our resistance, to organize our independence, to defend our exodus.

Common |Resistance |Independence |Exodus

Editorial Collective:

Marco Bascetta / Claudia Bernardi / Francesco Brancaccio / Antonio Conti/ Alberto De Nicola / Paolo Do / Serena Fredda / Fabio Gianfrancesco / Augusto Illuminati / Federico Marini / Antonio Negri / Isabella Pinto / Francesco Raparelli / Judith Revel / Tania Rispoli / Benedetto Vecchi / Giuliana Visco

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Table of contents Zero issue

Editorial:  making inquiry within the crisis

// In the background

Toni Negri: Corruption, new accumulation, refeudalization
Antonio Conti: The crisis and the general intellect
Marco Bascetta: Reactionary philosophy
Alberto De Nicola: The triumph of the brain
Carlo Vercellone: Models of welfare and social services in the systemic crisis of the cognitive capitalism

// In figura

Isabella Pinto, Tania Rispoli: Who values whom? Merit and cooperative innovation
Ugo Mattei (interviewed by Francesco Brancaccio): The university beyond public and private
Marco Baravalle: The Wave in the factory of the culture
Bartleby: Experiments of self-education
Francesco Brancaccio: Self-education as prefiguration of an institution to come
Chiara Bastianoni, Vanessa Bilancetti, Serena Fredda, Tiziano Trobia (edited by): Medium waves
Luca Cafagna, Fabio Gianfrancesco, Giuliana Visco (edited by): The shape of water
Morgan Adamson: The financialization of student life
Claudia Bernardi, Paolo Do: Europe sauvage
Alberto De Nicola, Francesco Raparelli: After the backwash

// lines of flight

Serena Fredda, Viola Mordenti: Lexicon – difference
Girolamo De Michele: Festina lente
Infosex: becoming whore

Augusto Illuminati: About tyrant, corruption and more

Common: http://www.commonrivista.org

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Money Menace

Dave Hill

STUDENTS IN REVOLT – TWO ARTICLES BY DAVE HILL

Articles by Dave Hill on the current student protests:

Hill, D. (2010) Students are Revolting: Education Cuts and Resistance, Radical Notes Journal, 3rd December, online at: http://radicalnotes.com/journal/2010/12/03/students-are-revolting-education-cuts-and-resistance/

Hill, D. (2010) Students Are Revolting: Education Cuts and Resistance, Socialist Resistance, 2nd December, online at:
http://socialistresistance.org/1135/students-are-revolting-education-cuts-and-resistance

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Higher Education

REIMAGINE THE UNIVERSITY

How could we transform the university, how could students and lecturers learn differently through more creative, critical and empowering processes, is it even possible to transform the university, or do we need to create an entirely different system?

We invite you to be a part of exploring and demonstrating an alternative educational system over three days. Be it a workshop, a lecture a discussion a film an event, we are calling… on students, lecturers and staff and others to come together and show another university is possible.

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For a long time the university has been undergoing a process of privatisation.

Universities are now run as businesses, with students as consumers and lecturers as creators of products – knowledge has become a commodity that can be bought and sold. The sole purpose of university has become to train docile workers to perform functions within a capitalist system, to contribute to the enrichment of the few rather than the collective social improvement of all.

The recent Browne Report, written by former executive of BP, takes this process to a whole new level- proposing a removal on the cap on fees which will create an even more hierarchical education system, reducing research funding and rising fees to an estimated £10,000 a year. All this results in students taking on more debt for the same education, with lecturers being forced to carry out ‘economies exercises’ and staff working longer hours and harder for less money.

It is clear that the university system is becoming bankrupt and in need of profound change, but no-one can see an alternative, a solution, a way out.

As workers and students at different places within the university system, we can see a different way forward, we don’t have all the answers, but we have many ideas and are sure there are many more out there. We are putting on a three-day event across the university to facilitate the process of re-imagining the higher education system. We would like to explore how universities can become a place where creative and critical thought is fostered, where participants teach what inspires them, learn what they are passionate about, where people share and develop their skills and knowledge in order to create a more equitable and sustainable world, not simply for jobs and profit.

To be held at University of Leeds & Leeds Metropolitican University 24th -26th November

Precise locations and workshops to be announced on our website: http://www.reallyopenuniversity.org

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‘I believe in the afterlife.

It starts tomorrow,

When I go to work’

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon, ‘Human Herbs’ at: http://www.myspace.com/coldhandsmusic (recording) and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2h7tUq0HjIk (live)

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski

The Ockress: http://www.theockress.com

Wavering on Ether: http://blog.myspace.com/glennrikowski

Rikowski Point: http://rikowskipoint.blogspot.com

Lost

SOCIAL IMMOBILITY

Patrick Ainley and Martin Allen

The chatter about social mobility from a Coalition kicking away welfare services that have kept millions from poverty disguises the fact that there has been no real upward social mobility in Britain for the past 30 years and that nowadays the only social mobility is down.

Grand announcements – like Clegg’s £5 billion premium for the most educationally disadvantaged school pupils that seeks to compensate for the LibDems’ tuition fees capitulation – have repeatedly failed to create social mobility. Even in the post-war period when substantial numbers of young people moved into occupations paying more than those of their parents, there was little ‘relative’ mobility, ie. down as well as up. Rather than challenging the inequalities of the occupational order, the upward mobility that occurred merely meant there was some more room in the middle. Via selective grammar schooling it allowed limited working-class access to expanding professional and managerial occupations sustained by full male employment and the growing welfare state.

The development of comprehensive schools and more higher education contributed to widening aspirations. But this growth was as much a consequence as a cause of limited upward mobility. This was confirmed when a decline in mobility coincided with the partial abolition of grammar schools from 1965 on. (That this was coincidental can be seen in the USA when the same period of expansion of opportunities also ended despite all-through high schools since the war).

Hopes that an expanded middle afforded opportunities to educate the working class out of existence did not materialise. At best, there was an illusion of social mobility as the formerly manually working class shrank and many occupations were redefined as ‘professional’ and therefore requiring so-called ‘skills’ attested by educational qualifications. As a result, more people – especially women – now work in expanded office and service sectors but conditions of employment for this new non-manual working middle are increasingly insecure.

Blair and Brown put their faith in the globalised economy to provide new openings for those with qualifications at the expense of those without. New Labour’s campaign to raise ‘standards’ measured by qualifications led to unprecedented exam pass rates. Consequent allegations of ‘dumbing down’ came not only from traditionalists but also from some teachers, bullied by a  growing class of ‘managers’ (the new name for deputy and assistant head teachers) to meet targets that were raised as soon as they were achieved.

The main problem with New Labour’s ‘standards agenda’ however, was not the crushing of professional autonomy as lessons were delivered from templates so that what was taught became less important than how it could be assessed. It was far more fundamental. Whereas in the past, education was unfairly accused of failing the economy by not producing workplace skills when employers didn’t want them, now the economy has definitively failed education.

Rather than globalisation resulting in endless opportunities, employment prospects for most young people are in decline. This does not mean that there are no new professional and managerial vacancies but rather that, as ICT  sweeps through offices and work is outsourced if not exported, the term ‘white-collar employment’ is becoming meaningless. The main alternative to what are reduced to para-professions at best is a life in ‘customer services’. So it isn’t surprising that McDonalds report huge increases in applications from ‘qualified’ young people.

In a situation that we refer to as ‘education without jobs’, young people have to work harder and harder simply to maintain their place in the jobs queue. Gove’s announcement of a review of ‘vocational education’ will predictably relegate the majority to apprenticeships without jobs that will replay the Youth Training Schemes of the 1980s whilst privileging academic cramming for a minority.

Education has become like running up a down-escalator where you have to run faster and faster just to stand still as the former class pyramid has gone pear-shaped. The recent ‘social mobility’ rhetoric from politicians of all Parties disguises the fact that it is fear of downward social mobility that fuels the hysteria over educational competition for academic success.

The recession has made the situation of young people worse but it is not the cause of their problems. Likewise, we cannot ‘educate ourselves out of recession’ as even some teacher union and student leaders seem to think. Of course levels of educational provision should be defended but we also need to promote employment policies. As aspiring students face mortgaging their futures in hopes of eventual ‘graduate employment’, the promise of social mobility is exposed as a sham. Education faces its own credibility crunch and rising fees could finally burst the bubble. The main argument against them is – what else are school leavers expected to do?

Patrick Ainley and Martin Allen are the authors of Lost Generation? New strategies for youth and education, (Continuum, 2010)

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Education Crisis

AFTER THE MASS EDUCATION PROTEST: CO-ORDINATING MEETING AND UNITY STATEMENT

Over 50,000 students and lecturers marched this Wednesday, making it the biggest education protest since 1985. In the context of the miners’ strike, the student revolt forced Margaret Thatcher to back down from her plans to introduce tuition fees. Now, the issue of tuition fees threatens to turn into Cameron and Clegg’s poll tax.

A very large number of students broke away from the official route of the demonstration to march on the Tory HQ in 30 Millbank. Dozens of protestors got inside the building and onto the roof while a crowd of thousands laid siege outside for several hours.

This represents a real turning point in the resistance to the coalition government’s austerity programme, bringing the spirit of the French and Greek general strikes to the UK. Now there is a real opportunity to build on Wednesday’s mobilisation with protests, student walkouts and occupations on every university and college campus.

The protests have also opened up a lively debate inside our movement about which strategies and tactics are most appropriate and effective. This is to be welcomed – tens of thousands of people are joining our struggle, bringing a wealth of different perspectives.

But we firmly reject the attempt by the right-wing press to witch-hunt protesters and activists. The real vandals are the Tory and Liberal politicians who are wrecking our education. Over 50 protestors have already been arrested, some for nothing more than entering the building. This is an attempt to scare and divide our movement at a time when we most urgently need to unite.

Coordinating meeting: where next after the demonstration?

6pm Monday 15th November, King’s College London

With speakers from the Millbank occupation and across the movement

 

We need unity – stand with the Millbank protesters!

Defence statement to sign and circulate

http://teneleventen.wordpress.com

http://www.facebook.com/pages/We-need-unity-defend-the-Millbank-protestors/128397300550227

teneleventen@googlemail.com

Newsflash: post-demo occupation at Manchester University http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/nov/11/student-protests-demand-accounts

END

‘I believe in the afterlife.

It starts tomorrow,

When I go to work’

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon, ‘Human Herbs’ at: http://www.myspace.com/coldhandsmusic (recording) and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2h7tUq0HjIk (live)

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski

The Ockress: http://www.theockress.com

Wavering on Ether: http://blog.myspace.com/glennrikowski

Rikowski Point: http://rikowskipoint.blogspot.com

The Island

THE PRIVATIZATION OF THE HUMANITIES

If you tolerate this… Lord Browne and the Privatisation of the Humanities

By Martin McQuillan

The pithily entitled ‘Independent Review of Higher Education Funding and Student Finance’ was published on Tuesday. In short, for those not parochial enough to be concerned by this, it was a committee set up by the previous Labour government, chaired by ex-BP boss John Browne (as one of the many sinecures offered to him, including Chair of the Tate Trustees, in compensation for the homophobia that chased him out of the oil industry, otherwise it would have been him and not Tony Hayward taking the rap for the Deepwater Horizon disaster) charged with considering future funding arrangements for universities and their students in England.

The headlines from the report are that 1. The current cap of £3,290 on student tuition fees should be scrapped in favour of potentially unlimited fees set by universities themselves, 2. The current teaching grant distributed to English universities should be cut by £3.2billion with a 100% reduction for the arts, humanities and social sciences. In effect Browne’s committee (which included the Chief Executive of Standard Chartered PLC, the Head of McKinsey, and two Vice-Chancellors) has at a stroke privatised the arts and humanities in England. The committee recommends that the state should no longer have any investment in these areas and that private individuals who wish to pursue such things at their own cost should pay for them.

It is hard to know where to begin with this. There are no workarounds, no accommodations to be made, no temporary crisis to be endured; this is the nuclear option, total and irreversible wipeout. Now, there is a difference between the publication of a so-called ‘Independent’ Review (Browne has now moved on to his next job advising the coalition government on Whitehall job cuts, and his review has clearly been hijacked to feed the ideological attack on the state currently being pursued by an administration that no one voted for) and how it translates into legislation through the torturous process of what Washington would call ‘the pork barrel politics’ of buying off a Lib Dem back bench revolt. However, there would seem to be little to be hoped for in this regard. What is striking here is not that higher education (and the arts, humanities and social sciences in particular) have been targeted but that they have been the first thing to be attacked and in such a spectacularly ruthless manner. The calculation must be that the news agenda will have moved on next week when everyone is more concerned by the fate of ‘useful things’ like hospitals and fire stations in the Comprehensive Spending Review. And of course, if the ConDems cannot be bothered to fund humanities teaching any more there is very little prospect that they will continue to fund humanities research. ‘The future has been cancelled’, as Graham Allen, writing in the context of Irish cuts, put it recently.

Most people will blame the Conservatives; the Conservatives will hope that most people will blame the LibDems. I do not blame either; I expect nothing else from the guardians of class privilege and their unscrupulous carpet-bagging associates. The people who are to blame for this are the Vice-Chancellors of UK universities (with one honourable exception) who have consistently pressed for an increase in tuition fees in order to maximise the return to their institutions. Tuition Fees used to be called ‘top-up fess’ because they were additional to state funding which had fallen behind the real costs of running universities. However, the short-termism of Vice-Chancellors failed to understand that as soon as fees were introduced the university sector would not only lose its place in the queue for, but its claim entirely on, the public purse. The Browne Report hits Vice-Chancellors with a sucker punch: you can have unlimited fees but you can no longer have public funding.

While science and ‘priority’ subjects will continue to receive a teaching grant the rest of us must fend for ourselves. The people who will be most affected by this is not so-called ‘teaching-focussed universities’ but those so-called ‘elite’, so-called ‘research-intensive’, so-called ‘universities’. Dear reader, I spent 10 years directing research in a Russell Group university, I know how much mediocrity there is out there, wrapped in snobbery and shrouded in utterly bogus ‘missions groups’ which allow ministers to divide and rule the sector through its own vanity. If there is no public funding and no funding council to distribute it then there will be no cap on student numbers for institutions. Humanities departments in ‘elite universities’ will only survive by piling students high and servicing them at low costs. The Browne Report does not set them free to compete with the world’s best universities, it impoverishes them and turns all of the arts, humanities and social sciences in England into teaching-focussed universities. Lets not even get started on what it means for the Art Schools and monotechnics; all advances made in funding of the humanities over the last thirteen years have been put into sharp and irrecoverable reverse.

I could make a defence of the worth of the humanities but if legislators cannot recognize their value from the outset then no words here will persuade them. Nor will I make the obvious case for the social mobility afforded by a university education—as if a Conservative-lead administration gave two figs for the education of the lower orders. However, the fundamental reason to oppose tuition fees of any kind is that those who benefited from a free higher education as a democratic right should not when in government (as a result of that free higher education) tell future generations that they must now take on mortgage-sized debts to pay for the same privilege. How this is ‘progressive and fair’, as our politicians like to say, is a mystery. One should not just resist this situation; it has to be refused utterly.

Distracted by the chimera of RAE results and QAA inspections, academics in the United Kingdom have not had the best track record in saying no to government in the last twenty years, but if this does not rouse us nothing ever will. And if it can happen in England it will without doubt be rolled out across Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Europe, and Australia. This is a culture war in which critical thought is threatened with extinction. It is time to stop writing the monograph on the footnotes of Henry James, drop the myth of ‘research’ and ‘teaching’ institutions, and do something quickly to save everything any academic worthy of the name holds dear.

http://www.thelondongraduateschool.co.uk/thoughtpiece/if-you-tolerate-this%E2%80%A6-lord-browne-and-the-privatisation-of-the-humanities/

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowidea.co.uk

Higher Education Crisis

SCRAP FEES! FIGHT CUTS!

Yesterday saw things heating up on colleges and universities across the country. The recommendation of the Browne Review to scrap the cap and rise tuition fees to £12,000 has enraged students. Spontaneous demonstrations captured the mood of students facing attack after attack on higher education. The Comprehensive Spending Review will announce plans to cut up to 80% (£3.9bn) of the annual teaching budget next week on October 20th.

At London South Bank University students blocked the road and occupied a lobby in protest against language department closure. At Leeds a protest of more than 100 students made Channel 4 news. In Birmingham, 200 students demonstrated. 150 people came to an anti-cuts meeting called at 24 hour notice at Sheffield Uni.

At every institution we should be calling demonstrations, rallies and Students’ Union general meetings to capture the mood to build the biggest possible turnout to the Education Activist Network conference on October 31st and the national UCU/NUS demonstration on November 10th.

Students in France show the way. They have now joined workers in the largest pension protests. More than 300 secondary schools were shut down yesterday. Their response to the crisis raises the question: ‘Why not here?’

At the Education Activist Network Conference backed by NUS, UCU activists and students will be raising the prospect of coordinating French-style mass action to defeat the cuts and the Browne Review and at the same time fight for an alternative vision of education. Come along!

The timetable for the conference is out now: http://educationactivistnetwork.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/timetable.pdf

The website: http://educationactivistnetwork.wordpress.com

Register for the conference:

http://educationactivistnetwork.blogspot.com/

If you want to have anything be added to the blog or have any queries please e-mail edcuationactivistnetwork@agitnet.com or mark.bergfeld@nus.org.uk If you want to put on a minibus or bring people down please get in touch with me.

In Solidarity,

Mark Bergfeld, NUS NEC on behalf of Education Activist Network Conference

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski

 

 

 

Red

Red

THE ROUGE FORUM – UPDATE 20 JULY 2009

 

A Message from Rich Gibson

Dear Friends

The Rouge Forum No Blood For Oil page is up and updated at: http://www.rougeforum.org .

Remember, nominations for the Rouge Forum Steering Committee can be made to Community Coordinator Adam Renner by August 15 (arenner@bellarmine.edu)

On the Capitalist Education for War and Inequality Front:

Obama to Schools: Change Tenure Laws or Else: The Ed Stim is Merit Pay:
http://gothamschools.org/2009/07/09/obama-official-to-new-york-change-your-tenure-law-or-else/comment-page-1/#comment-154665

UC System Demands 9% Tuition Hike and 8% Pay Cut While Class Size Booms:
http://www3.signonsandiego.com/stories/2009/jul/15/bn15uc-budget-cuts/?california

CSU Boss Wants 20% Tuition Hike: http://www.sacbee.com/topstories/story/2033136.html

Substance News carries the wrap up of the National Education Association Rep Assembly: http://www.substancenews.net

Linda Chavez, a top aide to the American Federation of Teachers’ Albert Shanker, testifies against Sotomayor:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/07/16/AR2009071603124.html

On “The Depression can only be a passing fancy” Front:

Paul Craig Roberts: “This should tell even the most dim witted patriot who “their” government represents.”
http://www.counterpunch.org/roberts07162009.html

Rolling Stone on Goldman Sachs and the Great American Bubble Machine: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/28816321/the_great_american_bubble_machine/print #

Chart on the Waves of California Jobs Lost: http://www.sacbee.com/1232/rich_media/2022115.html

Reuters: Foreclosures Hit Record High: http://www.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUSTRE56F0XK20090716

The International War of the Rich on the Poor Front:
The Bushamagogue Assassination Schemes:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeremy-scahill/the-democrats-selective-a_b_233708.html

Michael Klare’s Shocker: Iraq as the New Oil Pump
http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175095

And the Resistance (bad example/good example) Front:

So Long EFCA: Union Bosses Can Deliver—nothing: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/17/business/17union.html

UK Public Worker Strikes Rise
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aw6B8IQyUQME

The many crises grow around us apace. Unemployment and foreclosures mean an eradicated tax base, meaning more demands for cuts on education and services, increased taxation of those who have a little,  more pr to crush hope in the sense that nothing can be done, more police activity to raise funds and tamp down resistance, and more spectacles. On the war front, more war—for oil, regional control, that is, profits, using the children of the poor to fight the children of the poor on behalf of the rich in their homelands.

What stops the madness? Understanding that the core issue of our time is the relationship of rising color-coded inequality to the potential of mass class-conscious resistance. That has been the project of the Rouge Forum, connection reason to power, for more than a decade. Please join us and help lead the fight-backs that will come.

Thanks to Bob, Al, Sean, Amber, Tony, Kino, Marisol, the Dean, Candace, Sally, Sheri, Barb and Ken (yes, that is right), Donna, Brian, Adam and Gina, Koli, Jesus, Ashwana, Bill, Joe, Dariah,  the Susans, and Ann.

Good luck to us, every one

Rich Gibson

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk