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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL #225 - Universities Students Solidarity, a star is born (fr) [machine translation]

Date Mon, 25 Mar 2013 13:18:22 +0200


25, 26 and 27 January was held the founding congress of a new student union struggle, Solidarity students, bringing South Student, Student Union Federation (ESF) and local non-federated unions. Back on a busy weekend, the culmination of a long history.
The unification of control student unionism was figure sea serpent, always discussed, but never completed. Since late January, it's done. A new organization after South Student, the ESF and local union was born. Name: Solidarity students, union struggles. It all began in the early 2000s. The reunification of UNEF in 2001, does not collect the entire student unionism. Since 1995, there are unions in the South among students, who have joined forces in 1999 in South Student. The new Unef aligned its positions with those of the former UNEF-ID (Independent and Democratic): co-management, centralized bureaucracy.

Sections of the old UNEF called "SE" (Solidarity student) refuse to abandon their roots in the struggles and create the ESF. The common South Student and ESF?

Ten years of division

The option of unionism struggle without giving up the concrete and daily aid of Students considers that the most profitable strategy is that of self-organized struggles. Soon the two unions work together. They remain divided. In a very few unionized (around 1% of students are), this is a glaring weakness. FSE launches the end of 2005 the first call for unification. This makes sense with the movement against the 2006 law known as "equal opportunities", including the First Employment Contract (CPE). At the heart of this massive movement, most activists and South ESF Student defend the same principles: self-organizing struggles primacy of general meetings and decision-making bodies such as coordination of movement, desire to go with the majority of students and students towards a radicalization of the actions and claims, convergence with employee-es.

What then prevents a merger? Questions of principle, vocabulary, culture association, which does not always translate into practice, broadly similar. For several years, several meetings were held, which lead to nothing concrete, so it is better to know.

Three days of debate

Two meetings were held in 2008. But the process is mostly revived in November 2009 at the Sixth Congress of South Student. It then changes the method: do not major national meetings to dissect the principles, but work together with joint campaigns and training times, to identify from where the divergences and convergences real. In June 2011, trade unions and sections of the two organizations propose to take stock: schedule a conference merger, in a limited time. They gradually convince a majority of activists and militants. It is therefore a lengthy process mandated What completed the 80-es representing 26 unions across France, from South Student, the ESF, local unions such as the Union Interprofessional education workers (FTIR) Regional Institute of Social Work (IRTS) of Rennes, or the Multicultural Association of Students of Besançon. They used these three days to lay the foundations of a new organization firmly focused on the struggles.

Its operation is one of the points that made the debate more. Struggle unionism is built against pyramidal organizations and centralists. Some argued for a so flexible structure. Simple self-managed real federation or network? The discussions led to the establishment of a federal secretariat and working groups and committees. They get to work as soon as possible on the central topics such as students and foreign students, doctoral students and doctoral students currently struggle against precariousness in higher education and research, and analysis of the new law that the government is preparing for this sector. The new organization is structured as a federation to ensure coordination and at the same time the autonomy of trade unions on the ground.

In the universities and beyond

In a difficult struggles reflux after several defeats, this new organization gives a new impetus and will face significant challenges anchor a union practice field in universities, but also expand its areas of intervention. The question of the scope of unionization was another central debate. Considering the Students as Workers in training students Solidarity wants out of the preserve of universities to organize all of these, whether in university institutes of technology, IRTS, institutes training in nursing schools, job training and so on. A large task to be carried out in conjunction with unions Solidarity sectors concerned. Because the new organization has largely validated joining Solidarity, marking a commitment to interprofessional practice unionism. His first public appearance was also made on the occasion of the Paris demonstration boxes fight on January 29.

There will be hard pressed to defend the interests of students and students against the attacks of the state and the employers against education. The new law taking shape for higher education, in line with previous reforms, and agreements on competitiveness of the labor market will be central to the work of the new organization.

An organization to build

Solidarity students adopted a charter expressing its fundamental positions, which should enable all students and students who are identified to join. Will practice unionism social transformation aimed at a radical change in society is reaffirmed. Solidarity students is also attached to all emancipatory struggles as feminism, racism or ecology. But if the new organization is not starting from scratch and can rely on the experience of its activists and militants and logistics ESF and former South student, he still has a lot to do in terms of structuring internal development claims. In the meantime, Solidarity Students must be in its natural place: on the ground and in the daily struggles.

Aurélien (AL Paris-Sud), Benjamin (AL Nantes) and Julie (AL Paris North East)
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