"No to education on the cheap!" Students and teachers demonstrate between Montparnasse station and Ecole Militaire joining railway workers in solidarity. Paris, France, May 3, 2018. Boivin Samuel/Press Association. All rights reserved.To lecturers in the UK,
This is about the future of higher education and the vision of society it necessarily implies.
As academics and students in France, we extend our solidarity to you. To the lecturers facing uncertainty regarding their pensions, to the young academics starting their careers in conditions of utmost precarity, and to the students supporting them, we send this simple message: keep going. The strikes may be over, but the struggle is not.
In France, this spring has seen a wave of blockades ripple across universities in opposition to Macron’s proposed higher education reforms: Angers, Bordeaux-Montaigne, Lille-2, Lille-3, Lyon-2, Metz, Montpellier, Nancy, Paris-1, Paris-3, Paris-4, Paris-8, Rouen, Strasbourg, Toulouse, and beyond. The government is in the process of implementing a selective system that would put an end to the right of school-leavers to freely choose their studies.
We consider this a first step on the road to a more competitive, neoliberal model of higher education: much like what has already been implemented in the UK. This is but one strand of Macron’s authoritarian neoliberalism: we stand shoulder to shoulder with the striking workers at the SNCF and La Poste, as well as with migrants facing down a draconian new immigration law.
We are fighting not only to defend a free, public, open higher education system, but to further extend these principles. In Paris-8, a group of migrants and students began occupying a campus building in January to escape the cold weather. They are still there, and are currently negotiating enrolment with the university, a position from which the right to remain would be easier to obtain.
This is a powerful example of how a movement can begin to open and expand free, public education beyond borders. We send this message of solidarity to you in the hope of strengthening such international dimensions of the struggle for higher education.
Danielle Perrot-Corpet, Maître de conférences en littérature comparée.
Gabriel Bristow, Masters Student.
Marie Sorel, MCF littérature.
Serge Martin, Professeur en langue et littérature françaises.
Xavier Garnier, Professeur de littératures française et francophones.