Capitalism once offered free education for an elite, it now offers debt-burdened training for the masses. So if we want free education for all, we can’t look back, only forward. Capitalism has expanded access to universities the only way it knows how - by turning education into a commodity and universities into businesses. But free education requires a free society. When we talk about free education against the state drive to market, we implicitly pose the question what kind of society could do that - and what kind of movement could get us there. Perhaps the struggle itself will prove the best education.
After the massive national demonstration of today in Athens, we – the Student Unions and the Occupied Universities – declare that we will continue our struggle. In this struggle, neither the silence of the government and the ministry of education towards our demands nor the brutal attack of the police against our demonstration will intimidate us. The unprovoked assaults of the police against our demonstration, the dozens of wounded students and the unjustified arrests of demonstrators will fail to terrorize us. The junta of the socialist PASOK showed once more the way they have chosen to deal with the youth and the working people that are fighting for their rights. For us, the true dialogue on education takes place in the university halls and in the streets and not in the closed chambers of the parliament. The thousands of students that participated in this true dialogue have declared their opposition to the new educational reform. This is refuted by the academic community as a whole and by the struggling parts of the youth.
In the last period, the working people and the youth felt an unprecedented attack against every aspect of their lives. The agreement on the payment-extension of the state debt condemns the country to a long period of high unemployment, poverty and brutal exploitation. Now, we can understand very well what the government and the Troika (EU-ECB-IMF) meant when they said that until now we were “in the honey-moon of the memorandum”. The modern junta of government-EU-IMF does not hesitate to call and apply a ‘civil mobilization’ of the dock workers that were on strike and to apply the most brutal repression against any part of the society that is fighting for its rights. In this situation, we believe that the movement of the youth can spark the anger of the people and generate a massive victorious movement that will overthrow the status quo of social injustice that they are trying to establish.
Some good tips from the NUS to people with no experience doing outreach for an education project, splitting tactics up between parents, alumni, local government, and others (education staff not included because I guess they’re not “the public” in this sense).
Don’t like the “use them for our aims” tone, but the outreach tips still stand!
I personally love Cindy (saw her speak once and read her Anarchism and its Aspirations out on AK Press) so I was stoked to find out she’s been blogging her way through the Montreal strikes.
This is a great overview of how they set up their temporary autonomous “social strike” space, what could have gone better, and why they did it. We - as radicals - should do more write-ups like this. As she says:
I often think we forget to document our own histories of how we remake the world, even in little ways, or maybe especially in all these micro-experimental ways (a picket line at one school; professors coming to stand by their striking stands at another; parents forming a baby bloc at a demo; and on and on for these many months until there’s a full-fledged social movement). But I also lingered on the preparation because it illustrates that fine, magical line between what seems a given — that parking spots are for cars — and what is possible — that an official-looking orange chair can reclaim space for something far more enlivening.
I think there could be a bit more critiquing of the benefit of their location being in an ‘upscaling’ (gentrified?) area but still a great article.
Worth the read, and it’s peppered with great pictures!
You don’t need to be in school to improve your education. Check out Coursera!
One of the biggest issues that I continue to see pop up for people, especially within the young adult generation[s], is the problem of being at a loss for readily available, and seemingly ‘affordable’ educational sources, information, and courses. I recently reblogged a post with a brilliant list of 500 FREE online courses from top universities, which was pretty popular. Then I received a suggestion from a lovely follower of mine to check out Courseera, as I might be interested. So, in addition to the previous online free courses post, I present you with yet another amazing and FREE resource for personal mind expansion. Courseera offers dozens of free online courses from various universities such as Princeton, Stanford, University of Michigan, and University of Pennsylvania.
Knowledge is power. Educate yourself, explore, and expand!
UPDATE: Within the last few weeks 12 World-Class Universities[new to Coursera] have added more than 100 courses to be available for FREE on Coursera, in addition to the already spectacular selection!
Reblogging for those who might have missed it. Coursera is a great educational opportunity we all should take advantage of.
Has anyone mentioned it’s a data mine storage base and that you lose all rights to any input; papers, comments, essays, projects and the like you submit? That you ARE PAYING, just not with money?
It might be a good opportunity. It might not. But nothing is EVER free. And to see all these good things touted; brand name this (in terms of university) etc… and no one talking about the actual cost? That disturbs me.
Then again, I’m someone who doesn’t think my information should be sold to the highest bidder. Thus I did laugh at the ‘Knowledge is Power’. Your knowledge. Their power. But at least know that before you sign up, yes.
Edited: To cut out some of the propaganda. As spreading it, isn’t my personal intent.
^ Reblogging for Willow’s commentary
Y’all know I am one of the people that compulsively read tags and the ToS for contests and free* things, so this isn’t news to me, but in retrospect a post like this should come with a fair warning.
I suck at procrastination, so I enjoy somewhat structured learning, even from a free* asterisk course/web lecture. I want to acquire the knowledge in a semi-structured way. I don’t mind if a throwaway business assignment is no longer mine once I submit it. I don’t intend to be the next Walter A. Haas; I just want to “sit in” on a course and kick around an assignment to test myself. I don’t really gaf about peer review, or what happens to the work afterwards tbh.
But a lot of people do not share that attitude, and they should certainly be made aware of the shortcomings of Coursera and (imo) a lot of websites that are associated with this whole entire Unschooling/MOOC/Education Hacking phenom that seems to be gaining popularity.
I’d go so far as to say that if you’re reallllly interested in Unschooling, something like this isn’t the answer. Unschooling is supposed to be an avenue of educational reform. Coursera is -imo- recycling the exact same curricula you could get anywhere; they’re only putting it online for “free.”
Here is another article that covers more (shady - YMMV) ways that Coursera can and likely will seek to make money off of you. Including, but not limited to sending students to real world testing spaces for personalized tests, and paid human tutoring, grading or other kinds of personal support.
Reblogging for jhenne-bean’s links; more insight on Coursera. More warnings about your personal information, data mining, you as the product.
I just want to point out I wasn’t trying to *fool* anyone into thinking that this is free in the sense of losing rights to your papers etc., & these are beyond great points to bring up. I have not tried taking courses with Coursera, and made this post at the suggestion of a few people who, themselves, took courses through Coursera and were highly impressed. So I can’t personally say I found this site to be useful, but I’ve been contacted by quite a handful of people who have.
As always, everyone should background check everything you sign up for in the ways of ‘free online courses’, as is the case that many times you will not receive your papers or ‘projects’ back after submitting them. I’m glad these people took their time to research further, as well as point out the dangers of a “free” online site such as this, which I obviously overlooked as note-worthy, and am kicking myself for now. [My apologies.]
I’m definitely going to make it a point to put a fair warning from now on when making posts about such “free” resources. It was not my intention to mislead/offend anyone, just trying to spread self-educational opportunities for those looking. Obviously, I need to be a bit more critical when making posts about such “free” resources, and relay all the good AND bad effects of signing up for such sites. A huge thank you to seekingwillow & jhenne-bean for being so critical of the post, and especially for linking those articles.
thescienceofreality - I wasn’t thinking the OP (unless they were somehow connected to the program, which I didn’t look for but could have) was trying to pull anything over on anyone. It seemed to be a lot of enthusiasm for self-learning but, as Jheane said, with a structure familiar to some.
My problem was with the lack of even mild investigation of the TOS of the site and program, and the touting of ‘amazing’ revolving around certain schools as ‘Brand Name Intelligence’. It seems extremely contrary (and sly and shady) to me, to be talking about self-learning and self-intelligence and knowledge for knowledge sake on the one hand, and then waving around school brands on the other. The two do not go together. At least not currently in our society as stands.
It seemed far too easy for someone to leap into it, BECAUSE of the brand schools mentioned, and if something is mentioned on my list/dash/whatever, by a person whom I’m growing to respect (ie, Jheane) about something with which I am wary - I shall say something.
Thought it would be cool to big up some alternatives you don’t have to sign up for: