No Fees, No Squeeze!

Capitalism is on a downward spiral of economic and political turmoil. Since corona, capitalists have ensured that their profits will be regained through whatever means necessary and have unfurled their assault on the working class. Here in Montreal, we have already been met with two bitter stings: the cost of living crisis and the housing crisis. Yet with the latest assault in the form of tuition hikes, the capitalist state intends to squeeze students for all their worth. Universities have been keen to assure us that these hikes can be covered through subsidies, but the bosses don’t receive funds like manna from heaven – such compromises will undoubtedly be met with subsequent attacks later down the line at the usual victims, such as staff and teachers. Rather than some specific attack of Franco chauvinism led by the CAQ (Coalition Avenir Québec), the tuition hikes are the latest in a combined assault on the entirety of the working class. These are the sputtering reflex of a dying system built on accumulation through exploitation which only survives for as long as the bosses can squeeze the working class without resistance. To defeat these brazen attacks students must realize these demands as members of the working class as part of organized revolutionary movement for the class. Students cannot hold to the delusion that they are merely paying customers for universities or temporarily indisposed social climbers.

Nowhere is the common interest of workers and students clearer than in the 2012 student strikes, where marches beginning in the hundreds led to a movement involving thousands. However, so long as the struggle is contained as an objection to transient policies or as the specificity of Franco-chauvinism, no such effort will ever coalesce into real political leverage for the working class. For capitalism to function, it requires educational institutions to train subsequent generations of workers for the developing needs of capital. To shut down a school or a university is therefore to throw a wrench into this process and to pose a real obstacle to the functioning of capitalist society. The refusal of future administrators, scientists, technicians, and specialists to continue along with their exploitation is therefore inherently a political attack against the capitalist state itself, but it can only advance the interest of the working class if it is grasped as a politically conscious effort by the workers themselves. Indeed, last December already offered us a recent glimpse of how workers’ struggles and student struggles can be combined, as well as the pitfalls of conventional organisations such as unions. Although Front Commun, and the teachers under FAE (Fédération Autonome de l'Enseignement), were joined by ADEESE’s (Association des étudiantes et étudiants de la Faculté des sciences de l’éducation de l’UQAM) teaching students, each gave up their fight in their own respects to win ‘concessions’ if not giving up altogether. Instead of striking together for a common goal when the moment is ripe, these organisations ended up striking when it was convenient, and were destined to be defeated in isolation.

Rather than showing the fruitlessness of these struggles, these episodes instead demonstrate the need to expand the tuition fee struggle into a struggle with teeth. Students must join their efforts with fellow workers as workers, politicising their economic hardships towards a revolutionary goal. In this very moment, hikes in tuition, the stagnation of wages and stipends, as well as rent deregulation under Bill 31 demonstrate not a temporary or isolated inconvenience, but an assault on the working class itself, and indeed the normal functioning of capitalism itself. Regardless of where the future will take us beyond the college gates, so long as capital exists, so too will it sap us until we are dry and dusted, immiserating the world over. Capitalism has already demonstrated to us that its death rattles will take the form of grotesque imperialism and an unparalleled assault on wages and basic social rights. Workers all over must direct their struggles towards the formation of a revolutionary party of the working class capable of pointing a clear political direction for the advent of communism. Fight the state, fight the universities, fight the bosses!

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Mutiny / Mutinerie

Mutiny is the bulletin of Klasbatalo. Mutinerie est le bulletin de Klasbatalo.