Dublin meeting of grassroots education workers - F28

Date:

At all levels, the education system is under attack from the present government.

The savage cuts already announced at primary and second level appear to be just the first steps in what will be a sustained attack on the public sector in general and education in particular – both from the point of view of the provision of the service and the wages and working conditions of those employed in it.At third level, increased registration fees and the promised re-introduction of full fees are being accompanied by a creeping privatisation and an erosion of workers’ rights and conditions.

The adult and community sectors are both under attack and will continue to suffer as funding cutbacks continue. Pre-school education barely exists and the few community crèches and pre-schools that do exist have seen their funding and the working conditions of their staff savaged in recent times.

There have been impressive demonstrations of opposition to these education cuts and across the country many education workers and parents have been involved in helping to organise these demonstrations.

Workers Solidarity Movement members who work in education are aware that there are significant numbers of workers at all levels of the education system who subscribe to the Grassroots Gathering principle (see end). We are talking about all those who work in Education, from teachers to cleaners, from those working 40 hours to those working 2 hours a week. As a starting point we are contacting those who have been active in a wide range of campaigns in recent years, who have been involved in the organisation of and have attended some of the many Grassroots Gatherings, and/or who have been and are active in trade union organisation and activity.

We believe this is a good opportunity for such activists to come together to discuss the issues that we have in common, to talk about how we can work together to build and strengthen campaigns to defend the education system and the working conditions of education workers. We also think that by pooling our ideas and our thoughts on these campaigns we can influence them in a libertarian direction – and spread and enhance libertarian ideas and non-hierarchical ways of organising among our fellow-workers.

Coming together and sharing our organising skills and our ideas can help us to spread those ideas. As libertarians and anarchists we know that the widespread dissemination of these skills and ideas is the only way in which our world will eventually be changed for the better.

We would like to invite you to an initial meeting to begin the process of discussing how a libertarian network of education workers might be built and what it might be able to do in both the short and longer terms, both within and outside the trade union structure. We don’t have a set agenda and are interested in an open and honest discussion. The only criteria we are insisting on is that those coming to the meeting work in the education sector at some level and agree with the principles of the Grassroots Gathering. The meeting will take place in the Teachers Club which is at 35 Parnell square at 2pm on Saturday 28th February.

1st of May branch of the WSM

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Grassroots Gathering principles

The Grassroots Gathering aims towards a network which would:

- Be based on the principle that people should control their own lives and work together as equals, as part of how we work as well as what we are working towards.

- Within the network this means rejecting top-down and state-centred forms of organisation (hierarchical, authoritarian, expert-based, Leninist etc.) We need a network that’s open, decentralised, and really democratic.

- Call for solutions that involve ordinary people controlling their own lives and having the resources to do so: the abolition, not reform, of global bodies like the World Bank and WTO, and a challenge to underlying structures of power and inequality.

- Organise for the control of the workplace by those who work there.

- Call for the control of communities by the people who live there.

- Argue for a sustainable environmental, economic and social system, agreed by the people of the planet.

- Working together in ways which are accessible to ordinary people, particularly women and working-class people, rather than reproducing feelings of disempowerment and alienation within our own network.

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