FRENCH university and high school students were called on to make this Thursday, November 22, a day of strikes and demonstrations against the law for autonomy of universities.
The national student coordination organisation for action against the law met on Sunday at Tours with 200 students representing 64 universities and three university institutes of technology in attendance.
‘We call on high school students to join with us in a struggle with stoppages and blockages like that against the CPE (ie last year’s mass movement against government cheap labour laws for young workers)’, said a spokesperson.
In addition, a day of action for all sections of staff and students involved in educational struggles was proposed for the following Tuesday, November 27.
The coordination said, ‘We have to build a movement of youth and workers to turn back the government’s attacks.’
All high school students were called on to stage mass meetings to organise the strike.
The spokesperson said that the strikes will continue until the law is withdrawn.
A call was made for all students to join today’s massive one-day public service strike when over five million workers will be taking action.
Meanwhile in Athens last Saturday, tens of thousands of students and workers joined rallies and marches in every single Greek town and city in commemoration of the Athens Polytechnic students’ uprising in 1973 which led to the overthrow of the military junta.
The marches were a powerful and militant show of the strength of the students’ movement which faces the right wing government’s attempt to privatise education through the imposition of the Education Law and the revision of Article 16 of the Greek Constitution which allows only state non-fee paying colleges and universities.
In the Greek capital Athens over 30,000 school and university students along with large workers’ trade union contingents and immigrant workers’ associations, marched under pouring rain from the Polytechnic through the city centre to the US Embassy compound.
A huge Polytechnic students’ banner at the front of the march proclaimed ‘we continue until the vindication of the uprising.’
The Greek government had mobilised over 8,000 armed riot police posted along the back streets of the march’s route and at the British, French and US embassies’ buildings.
Students kept on shouting anti-government slogans throughout the march.
There were a number of slogans in support of the French workers’ and students’ struggle, in support of the Palestinian and Iraqi resistance, and against imperialist war and intervention in Afghanistan and the Balkans.
By far the most popular slogans were those against US imperialism and President Bush.
As marchers got outside the US Embassy a tremendous shout of ‘out with the nest of spies and terrorists’ shook the three lines of armed police guarding the police who made limited use of tear-gas grenades; a violent confrontation looked, for a few minutes, imminent.
But students’ stewards along the march stood firm and the police provocation was repulsed.
Hundreds of school teachers participated in the demonstrations behind a large banner which read ‘no to the education of the market.’
Dozens of conscript soldiers and navy men in full uniform demonstrated along the students’ contingents.
The Greek Trotskyists of the Revolutionary Marxist League distributed their leaflets drawing attention to the common struggle today of the French and the Greek workers, calling for a united workers and students’ front against the government’s reforms.
The leaflet pointed out the counter-revolutionary nature of Stalinism, called for a general strike to overthrow the capitalist Karamanlis government and for the formation of a socialist workers’ and small farmers’ government.