Students revolt in Austria and the linkage to Climate change

Tord Björk | Uncategorized | Sunday, December 6th, 2009

A travel report from Austria by Tord Björk

On a mobilisation tour for Copenhagen I visited Graz in Austria to give a lecture and Grüne Akademie. At the same time there was protest at the university and I was dragged along. Soon I found myself on a lorry speaking to 3 000 students. The students all over Austria were protesting against changes of the role of universities making them more market oriented. Instead of bildung, the German word for developing as a person instead of being educated for a specific role in society, universities should be reduced to mere ausbildung, education giving less or no room for personally chosen combinations of subjects and time for finishing the studies. Severe cuts in support for students has also raised support for the protests.

The struggle in Austria against market based solutions for the universities is the same as in Copenhagen against market based solutions for the climate crisis. Whatis at stake is the right to be human beings developing our own personality and a healthy planet to live upon.

It was easy to get support from the demonstrators. All over Austria students are protesting. In Vienna the university Audimax is occupied and still is! Here 40 000 demonstrated. On my way back I was only passing through Vienna for some hours and were able to meet Attac agriculturral activists and Austrian Social Forum people. But the feeling in the air in this city of oppressive imperial architecture was a sense of freedom. Mobilisation material for Copenhagen had also reached Vienna.

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