When AWL student activists visited striking workers and students in France earlier this month, everyone wanted to know why there was so little fightback in Britain. Even Le Monde, the French equivalent of the Guardian, had a cartoon with an English worker saying "Time for a cup of tea", while his French counterpart says "Time for a molotov cocktail".
The upsurge of student struggles around the 10 November demo has shifted the picture on our side of the channel radically.
At the height of the French pensions struggle, we protested outside the French embassy in London. Now we learn that French students and workers are protesting outside the British embassy in Paris! (On 18 November, organised by the student section of the syndicalist CNT union - see here).
Here is part of their statement:
On the 11th of November students in Manchester occupied parts of the campus to fight against privatisation of their university. Staff and students of Goldsmiths college have also publicly expressed solidarity with the occupiers of Millbank, stating that "the real violence...is not broken windows but the destructive effect of budget cuts and privatisation.
The European context of privatisation of education
In recent years, in Greece, Germany, Italy and more recently in Dublin students have launched struggles against the European policy of privatisation of higher education and the introduction of competition. Education, in becoming a "market", is subjected to the same economic rules as a business: budget cuts, tuition fee rises to increase profitability, restructuring and lay-offs and increased use of casual workers.
The CNT education union and its Higher education section expresses its solidarity with the struggle of students and staff in British universities. Their struggle is our struggle. Against the Europe-wide privatisation of universities, casualisation of staff, and against the repression of protest movements, "Solidarity with the National Campaign against Fees and Cuts".
Long live international solidarity!