The list is too long and there is no end in sight. Throughout Europe and the globe, eruptions of protests surrounding educational institutions have definitively affirmed themselves as one of the most potent opponents of contemporary crisis economics. In less than two years, student movements have become the most incisive and transversal expression of social resistance to the reorganization and exploitation of human life. From the northern skies of foggy London to the sunbaked stones of ancient Rome, students are taking to the streets and reclaiming their lives.
Trapped between spiraling debt and an absent future with no guarantees, students are the expression of precariousness par excellence, not only in monetary terms but as a generalized condition of their very lives. Since what they produce – knowledge – is the most fundamental asset to modern production, they are subjected to the harshest measures of control and repression on a biopolitical level.
Academic rhythms resemble Taylorist prescriptions of menial tasks inside infernal bureaucratic machines more than any sort of personal or professional enrichment. Draconian austerity measures cut the future into precarious chunks of unbearable debt and de facto slavery. Sciences are chained to corporate interests while the arts and literature, language and philosophy, are luxuries for the rich few. Knowledge and innovation as well as the material conditions for life, created by the many through common cooperation, are stolen and sold back to us at the cost of our time and freedom.
However, the truth that these conditions reveal is not the hideous managerial capacity of capital, but the extraordinary power of a new society in becoming.
The desperate forces of greedy banks and corrupt governments are struggling to wield the reins of a great new angry beast: the multitude. A plural, changing, fluid and interconnected swarm of collective intelligence that refuses to be dominated. A complex interwoven network of human relationships that cross borders and boundaries, a differential language that constantly translates, transmutes, expresses and articulates the common desire for nothing less than what is ours: everything.
It is with this belief, riding a wave of passion and virtuous rage that has contaminated all major European cities, that Edu-factory, together with students, collectives and activists from across the continent and beyond, has autonomously organized a transnational Meeting in Paris over the weekend of February 11th -13th. The construction of common strategies based on real struggles rather than drawing political lines with old ideologies is what is being proposed. New political spaces where the circulation of ideas, strategies, problems and solutions can take place is how we propose to breathe life into this beautiful new beast. Together we can create a moment to share our collective intelligence and give form to the already potent expression of the multitude of social struggles burning in this new Europe.
* published in “The Paper”, Queen Mary University, London