Greek Students March Against Privatisation

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Greek youth marching in Athens against the privatisation of education
Greek youth marching in Athens against the privatisation of education

TENS of thousands of students have been participating in a series of rallies and demonstrations all last week throughout Greece, protesting against the right-wing government’s intention to revise next month’s article 16 of the Greek Constitution.

This would allow the establishment of private universities and colleges, opening the door for the privatisation of the state education system.

Last Thursday, university lecturers staged a 24-hour national strike.

But the primary and secondary school teachers have been absent as their trade union leaders refused to mobilise them.

The reformist and right-wing student leaders have been united in preventing the occupation of universities as demanded by the demonstrating students.

Crucial to this has been the ‘no occupations’ stand of the Greek Communist Party’s students organisation.

The situation though has created a huge crisis within PASOK, the social-democrats, whose leaders have publicly stated their support for private universities.

PASOK students though have organised mass meetings in the Athens and Piraeus universities against their leaders.

Students’ leaders are now preparing mass mobilisations for the 9th and 10th January when the government, with the support of the main opposition party PASOK, intends to discuss the amendment to article 16 at the Vouli (Greek parliament).

The government also intends to introduce legislation scrapping the so-called ‘Academic Asylum’ rights which forbids police entering university grounds and buildings.

The teachers’ and university lecturers’ trade unions have declared a national strike for 10 January.

Meanwhile just before Christmas, some Greek trade union leaders – at Greek Telecom, banks and a fertiliser factory – have agreed to privatisations, ‘flexible’ working and mass sackings.

These betrayals have not gone through without a fight by sections of workers.

There have been protests against the trade union leaders sell-outs.