Students, Workers and the Class Struggle

auckland university student protestThe history of capitalism is the history of revolt. Throughout the 19th, 20th and now the 21st centuries the capitalist system has been wracked by crises during which the normal functioning of the system is halted, leaving millions of ordinary people with no option other than to rise up. Workers of course, are a wellspring of resistance to the capitalist system and will be central actors in its overthrow. But revolt against the system comes at the same time from innumerous directions. The struggles of students and youth are one such source of revolt, one that has in many times and places made an important contribution the wider struggle against the whole capitalist system.
It’s evident today of course, that students are not innately radical. But radicalism seldom begins all at once. More usually it begins to coalesce around more immediate interests. Hundreds joined protests at Auckland University in 1965 to demand government action on university building programs, bursaries and student residences. Students at Otago began by challenging draconian university regulations that prohibited mixed flatting in 1967. Actions on welfare issues continued to be a theme throughout the high points of student radicalism during the late 60s and 70s, as students campaigned against ‘slumlords’ and defended academic freedom from the incursions of the SIS. [Read more...]

“Restructuring”: Job Losses at Elam School of Fine Arts

Nick and Graeme sharing a moment[Thanks to Natasha Ovely for submitting this guest post.]

 

Somewhere alongside the white wall studios slapped with half-hearted painterly expressions and littered with lewd, lazy structures, lie a set of workshops brimming with activity that beckon the golden years of art-making. These technical workshops are fast paced and at times chaotic environments that few people can reign in, let alone command. Graeme Brett and Nick Waterson are among the few men who are capable of such a feat and are the pillars of the old establishment that is Elam School of Fine Arts. They are synonymous with its history and withstanding reputation as one of Auckland’s finest art schools. Now after years of dedication they, along with technicians from other art departments at the University of Auckland, stand to face the possibility of exile into a desert-like job market according to “The National Institute of Creative Arts and Industries- Technical Staffing Review Consultation Document”. [Read more...]

Too much pressure: exam stress worse than ever

A young man in his early twenties fell to his death from the 6th floor of the University of Auckland OGGB business building during the exam period recently. Not long after it had happened, news about the death spread throughout the student body at the university along with other shocking stories of two other deaths which occurred in the past two weeks.

 

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Students and the Education Factory

This is a must read pamphlet for any activist interested in student politics today. It covers a range of topics related to tertiary education like why we should campaign for free education and the role of the University in modern capitalism.

Most importantly the pamphlet is a history of the student movement in the 1990s and early 2000s. This was when there was a massive student movement in Aotearoa/New Zealand that involved mass protest and occupations. While our rulers would rather us forget this movement because it stopped the worst of the attacks on students. It won interest free student loans and caps on course fees, two concessions that mean education is far cheaper today than what it could have been.

[Read more...]

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