On Monday 9th of March, students forced the cancellation of lectures at one of Paris's top universities. A general meeting of students, lecturers and administrators voted to take action at the Paris 4 campus of the Sorbonne university. Students and staff then used tables and chairs to barricade the entrance. This action is in protest at the French government's attempts to cut costs in state schools, which critics say will lead to over-crowding in classes and a drop in the number of courses offered.
The protest continued peacefully into the afternoon before a meeting on Tuesday evening to decide whether to extend or lift the blockade. It comes in the aftermath of a similar action on Friday 6th outside the main entrance to the university where police forces dispersed a barricade and demonstration of teachers and students protesting against cuts in the teacher training program.
These blockades are the latest in a string of demonstrations and occupations over the past months by those opposed to the neo-liberal cost-slashing refoms of French president Nicolas Sarkozy.
The initiative shown by the French youth and workers in defending their education provides a great example for the youth of Britain to follow. The Conservative party have recently announced their intention to allow every school to apply for Academy status (see here for more on what that means). This blatant privatisation of our education into the hands of anyone looking to rinse a quick profit at our expense is disgusting, but part of a Europe-wide trend. With the privatisation of education gathering pace in Italy and France, and the Conservatives set to be elected in 2010, the urgency of our situation is clear.
The future of our education obviously can't be trusted to scheming politicians. Their attempts to sell off our schools to their capitalist puppet-masters becomes clearer with each passing day. This means that organising an effective nationwide resistance to their attacks is vital.