Struggle for free education at a crossroad
Organise a national day of action
Convene a national student assembly
WASP & Socialist Youth Movement statement
The struggle for free education is reaching a crossroads. After three weeks of successful campus shutdowns, student activists see the goal of free education as being in reach. But for the broad mass of students, including the overwhelming majority who support the idea of fee education, it seems as far away as ever in the face on police repression, government intransigence and the media onslaught against the ‘affordability’ of free education. Frustrations are rising amongst student activists as they search for the correct tactics to take the movement forward. At this crucial juncture, it is vital that the path chosen leads in the direction of ever greater unity, organisation and coordination.
The government, the police and all those opposed to free education want to push the movement into repeating the mistakes that were made last year. We condemn police repression and brutality, the militarisation of the campuses and use of private security thugs, limits on the right to protest and the other measures that are calculated by the enemies of free education to provoke a minority of students into resorting to violence and burning property out of sheer frustration. But such actions not only do nothing to take the movement forward, they drag it backwards. This is exactly what the establishment wants in order to divide students and delegitimise the protests as well as the call for free education itself. Agents provocateurs are almost certainly operating in the movement to achieve that end. Only organisation and discipline can defeat them.
There is overwhelming support for free education across society. This needs to be harnessed in a mass Free Education Movement that unites students with the organised working class, communities and school students. Building such a movement will demand planning, careful preparation and therefore discipline.
Activists in Tshwane initiated a meeting on 1 October between student activists and representatives of workers and communities. Together they founded the ‘Occupy Tshwane’ movement, committed to the struggle for free education and uniting that demand with the struggles of workers and communities for a R10,000 minimum wage, the end of outsourcing and labour broking, decent jobs for all and service delivery. We call on students everywhere to reach out to workers and communities and organise together.
- For a national day of action, including a march to Union Buildings, Parliament and other seats of government
- Organise a national student assembly with delegates from all campuses and all student movements that support free education, including campus workers and school students, to launch a mass Free Education Movement with an elected and accountable national leadership capable of giving strategic direction to the movement
- Build links with workers, communities and school students through creation of mass Occupy movements in every area