Solidarity from the students in Philippines with March 4 education rights protests
Fight Back News Service is circulating the following statement of solidarity from student groups in the Philippines with the participants in the March 4 day of action.
STRUGGLE FOR EDUCATION RIGHTS
RESIST STATE ABANDONMENT AND COMMERCIALIZATION OF EDUCATION
Solidarity Statement from Philippines
March 4, 2010
Various students and youth belonging to the ANAKBAYAN Philippines (Sons and Daughters of the People), League of Filipino Students and Student Christian Movement of the Philippines, together with the National Union of Students of the Philippines and College Editors Guild of the Philippines, join in solidarity with the students, youth and education sector across the United States of America in the March 4 Nationwide Day of Action to Defend Education.
The picture is clear everywhere. It is the people who bear the brunt of rescuing big capitalists in this great recession, with the increasing slash on social welfare funding including education.
In the US, the anti-students and anti-people policies like the policy of 32% tuition hike passed by the University of California Board of Regents last November 2009 deserve the strongest condemnation of the youth. Most affected also are the peoples of color and the students from working families who are still struggling with their outstanding mortgages.
Similar cases of tuition hikes have also been experienced in other states, all blaming cutbacks in government funding.
Last year students, workers and faculty in the State University of New York (SUNY) and City University of New York (CUNY) also militantly defied Governor Paterson's ill-willed proposal of $698 million education budget slash which were to directly effect a raise in tuition fee for SUNY up to $620/school year, $600 for CUNY and $400 for community colleges.
In Europe too last November, there had been massive workers-supported students strikes like the mobilization of about 250,000 all across Germany in the clamor against the introduction of tuition increases and curriculum revisions.
Students in Austria and even in Scandanavian countries decried the bail-out for the banks and held walk-outs and “university occupations” in resistance to the European Union's Bologna process which is to drive education more to serve imperialism.
Student movements in Asia Pacific especially in Indonesia, India and Korea had also agitated against the worsening condition of the youth with the state abandonment of education.
We therefore commend our fellow youth and students in New York City and throughout US for their courage to stand up inside the “belly of the beast”.
Cut-backs on state funding is abandonment of government's responsibility and an outright attack to the people's most basic right to education. It paves way to tuition and exorbitant fee increases, academic staff lay-off, cramped up rooms, and a host of other infringement as commercialized regime on education is imposed in various levels.
To delude the public, the government use as an excuse the “nominal increase” in education funding which is always lopsided and unproportional to number of new entrants. The more obsene is the use of the argument that higher education is no longer a right and therefore with the use of the “globalization mantra” everyone is urged to pay for their education. Education is a commodity with a price-tag.
In the Philippines, the myth of the “liberal education” instituted from the American direct colonialism in our country up to current regime, is unmasked as an ensuing and worsening education in crisis that is colonial, commercialized and fascist in character.
The global recession further worsened the Philippine education sector for in truth, the current Arroyo regime has been ruthlessly attacking our basic right and with all servility imposes the policies of imperialist globalization that has led to worsened commercialization of education. In the tertiary level from 2001-2008 alone, the Arroyo regime presided over the 70% increase of the national average tuition and an allotment of measly 1.8% of GDP given to the entire education budget, pathetically way below the international standard and among the lowest in the world.
What happens to the youth who cannot continue their education? They are added to the battalions of reserve labor force or unemployed or join the cheap semi-skilled work-force who are most exploited in times of capitalist crisis.
Faced with such attacks on our fundamental rights, we have no other option but to fight back. This is a lesson we have learned through decades of fearless struggle, and a lesson we will continue to uphold until we are victorious.
Once again, we Filipino youth raise our fists in solidarity with you in the continuing struggle to end the foreboding annual budget cuts and tuition increases. We must join our hands in resisting the onslaught of imperialism against our education and the youth's future.
Education is a right, not a privilege!