Greenman's Occasional Organ

Ecosocialist. Syndicalist. Critical Techno-Progressive.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Workers and Students On The March In Rome, Paris, Madrid And Berlin This Week

Students and workers have been on the march in many parts of Europe this week as governments, bosses and bureaucrats try to impose further cuts and neo-liberal "reforms".

Rail workers, including a delegation from the British Transport union the RMT protested in Paris this week against the neo-liberal attacks at EU level on public transport. Meanwhile, Air France pilots began a four day strike against proposed changes to their retirement arrangements, and Wildcat strikes continued at the Italian airline Alitalia over job losses likely to follow a proposed takeover by the Cai investor group.

Protests have continued in Italy against the Berlusconi regime's attack on students and education workers.

There have been solidarity protests organised across the continent. Workers and students in Italy are now moving into direct conflict with the far right regime and its fascist outriders.

In Spain this week there were demonstrations to commemorate the anniversary of the murder of a young antifascist, including an impressive manifestation in Madrid -

Protests by school students have also erupted in Germany.

High School students struck and marched across Germany yesterday in protest against classroom overcrowding, lack of teachers, and the pressure of examinations.

Some 100,000 participated in demonstration across the country, walking out of classes and marching in over 40 cities. They protested for more permanent staff, smaller classes, and against a sped-up version of the school leaving exam, called the “turbo-abitur”. School students face intense exam pressure in Germany, where they are "streamed" at the age of 10 and selected to go to either a vocational or grammar school, often determining their prospects and chances in adult life. Demands that the pressure be relieved were made, and many teachers are also reported to be supporting the students' efforts.

A 10,000 strong protest march in Berlin ended with the invasion of the prestigious Humboldt University, where the conference room and terrace were occupied and draped with banners. There are reports of university staff battling with the students to defend statues of Hegel and Fichte, and of the university president Christoph Markschies barricading himself inside his office. 8,500 marched in Hanover, 8,000 in Stuttgart, and 6,000 in Hamburg.

Let us hope that these are the harbingers of much needed, sustained mass resistance across the continent !

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