Last November, I took part in a week-long language school at Oventic, Chiapas. I spent the week living and learning with two US-based comrades – Laila, a tattoo artist and socialist/feminist from Memphis, and Michael, a housing rights activist from Baltimore – alongside the wider Zapatista community of Oventic. Our ‘guides’ for the week were our neighbours – Natalio and Paloma as well as Stephanie (who was learning to be a teacher) and Efrain (a linguist, philosopher and educator all rolled in to one). These were the people we met and spoke with every day. What follows are some reflections recorded along the way.
Tom Murray looks at anarchist principles of education and argues that autonomous, co-operative learning is central to our finding new ways of challenging authority and dis- covering freer, more equal ways of being in the world.
Having recently completed a seven stop all Ireland speaking tour, Vanessa Gauthier Vela answers some questions on the nature of the 2012 Quebec student uprising. This interview is a longer version of the one that appeared in the print version of Irish Anarchist Review 8. Audio from Vanessa's talks in Ireland will also be available soon.
Following his announcement that many of his proposed cuts to teacher numbers in schools serving areas of social disadvantage (“DEIS schools”) are to be reversed, Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairi Quinn, has admitted that protests work and that he made the decision because of the huge protests faced by himself and his colleagues on the government backbenches. “[I]n relation to the area where all the pressure was coming from and all the protests was [sic] coming from …. I reflected on the impact on those schools…. and I reversed that decision,” he said.
In mid-August, Labour Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn announced both further increases to the “registration fee”, which currently stands at €2000, and the return of tuition fees, which will be payable at point-of-entry, for third level education. Coupled with the massive cuts already to the grants system, this will make it prohibitively expensive for many students to enter and complete third level education, and impose a substantial financial burden on those that do. The implications of this will be further falls in the standard of living of ordinary families and increased indebtedness for young people as they begin their adult lives. For many prospective mature students, their hopes of getting back to education will be ruined.
This is a collection of articles on Education struggles in Ireland and elsewhere over the last decade. Most have been written by anarchists and are first hand accounts of struggles the authors were involved in. We are making them available so new generations of activists could learn what worked and did not work in these earlier struggles.
Sit down protest at the Dail circa 1988, 16 students were arrested
Workers Solidarity Movement postion paper on the Student Movement as amended at Autumn 2008 National Conference
A letter accompanied a recent dole payment. It advertised a ‘networking and interview day for Irish Teachers DIRECTLY with UK schools’ (emphasis in original). The exclamation mark in the letter’s heading – ‘Teaching Opportunities in the UK!’ - illustrates neatly how readily, even enthusiastically the Irish state is prepared to export Ireland’s young people in order to preserve the status quo.
The simmering student revolt that started this spring in Amsterdam and spread to the LSE in London has now reached Dublin. Austerity has meant the acceleration of the EU neoliberal plan to turn universities into over packed and pressured factories churning out little human units optimised for industry.