From the university to the streets

A question often asked is what the university has to do with the general crisis in society? Clearly all public institutions are faced with cuts to their funding. In the university this has led to calls by university managers for a re-introduction of fees as well as a host of other options devised to generate resources from the private sector.

But these are symptoms of a more general crisis. While it is important that we fight against these tendencies the most we can hope for from such reaction is that we maintain things as they are. By constantly being defensive we turn the university back into the closed institution of the past. We forget to think about what it is we are defending- is it exams, jaded teachers, boring, outdated text books, hierarchies, bureaucracy, an increasingly worthless qualification in an economy with no jobs?

While we must reject the current consensus that subordinates everything to the market we have to go beyond that rejection. What we want must be fought for beyond the existing university walls. The university is not separate from the world that sustains it. Connecting to other struggles, turning education into something living, is a way to go beyond the limited hopes of defending what we have. We have to aim higher.

On 13th of May a contingent from the Knowledge Liberation Front will travel to Tunisia to meet up with students and activists who have been part of a living struggle. This is not only a journey to build solidarity but also a journey to learn. It is a living education.

Read the draft call

Liberation Without Borders Tour: From Rebel Universities to Tunisian Uprising

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University and the ruins of the present

Reading the manifestos of the candidates for Provost (President) in Trinity College you could be forgiven for thinking that we really had reached the end of history. Nowhere in their over-inflated promises is there any hope that the university has a future beyond the market, an endless competition for funding, private finance, international students, ‘top’ academics and ‘brand recognition’. They write of hiring ‘development officers’ in New York, Beijing and London to generate funds from ‘philanthropists’ while at the same time supporting the re-introduction of fees and cuts to teaching staff. They all accept the government’s decision to cut funding for public institutions because the banks and bondholders are considered more important than free and equal education. This consensus is mounting all around us and it makes no sense.

But there is resistance.

Below is an eloquent article from friends in America who remind us that: “there is great disorder under heaven; the situation is excellent.”

Read the article