Friday, 19 October 2012
éirígí Encourages Students to Join the Resistance
Over the course of the last month tens of thousands of third level students have started the new academic year in colleges and universities across Ireland. It is an unfortunate fact that the post-education prospects for these students are as bleak as those that have faced any generation in recent decades. For too many their educational efforts will be rewarded with a choice between emigration and the dole queue.
But long before today’s students complete their courses they are dealing with the reality of post ‘Celtic Tiger’ Ireland. In both the Six and Twenty-Six Counties the ruling administrations are launching sustained attacks upon the very notion of universal education. From Cork to Belfast and Dublin to Galway students are struggling with the double blow of increasing tuition fees and decreasing student grants. If current trends are allowed to continue it is clear that third level education will once again become the exclusive preserve of the privileged and the rich.
Faced with such an appalling prospect the response of a significant section of the student body has been heartening. Through organisation like Free Education for Everyone (FEE) students across Ireland have set about organising resistance to the right-wing agenda emanating from Stormont and Leinster House. Protests and direct actions have become relatively commonplace on campuses where student militancy has been lacking for far too long.
Congratulating those students who are actively fighting for a free education system, Cathaoirleach éirígí Brian Leeson said, “The right to free education is something that was hard fought for by previous generations, not only here in Ireland but across Europe and the world. While the current system is far from perfect it is light years ahead of the type of system that the right-wing want to create. In fighting for a free education system, students are not just acting in their own self-interest; they are acting in the interests of the generations that are coming behind them. For that they are to be commended.
“The issue of educational rights must, of course, be seen in the context of the wider fight for national, social and economic rights. The fight for one set of rights cannot be separated from the fight for another set of rights. Those political forces that want to make students bear the full cost of their education are the same forces that want to privatise our health service, sell off our state assets, give away our natural resources, decimate social welfare and bring about an end to social housing. Those students that are fighting against fees today are the workers that will be fighting for decent housing and healthcare tomorrow.”
Leeson concluded by inviting students to join éirígí in the fight for a new Ireland, “éirígí’s analysis is quite simple – the only way to secure long-term educational, housing, health, national, social and economic rights is through an overall change of system; replacing the current one, which is based upon human competition, with one that is based upon human co-operation. We believe that a Thirty-Two County Irish Socialist Republic is the only political and economic model that is capable of delivering a just and equitable society.
“We are asking students across the country to come on board with éirígí, to join the fight for not just educational rights, but also for a free, independent and socialist Ireland. We recognise the potential strength of an organised student body; a militant movement of young women and young men that will not allow the state to set a limit on their futures. And we are committed to turning that potential into a reality, but for that to happen we need individual students to come forward, to join the resistance and encourage their friends to do likewise.”
If you are currently in third level education anywhere in Ireland and interested in joining, or working with, éirígí please click here. You can use the ‘Message’ box to let us know what college or university you are in and what activities you are up for. Such activities might include distributing leaflets, putting up stickers and posters, organising meetings, establishing societies, taking part in protests and direct actions, etc. Make the decision today. Join the resistance. Join éirígí.