Germany: Mass protests in Germany the high point of a one-week education strike

Only the beginning of a powerful movement against government attacks

Students on strike

Yesterday, 17 June was a remarkable day for Germany as 250,000 people took to the streets in over 80 cities to demand a better education system. These massive demonstration was double the size of those that took place last November, when school students went on strike. The main demands were for smaller classes, 100,000 more teachers and the abolishment of tuition fees and the BA / MA system, which was established five years ago and causes much trouble and mental stress for young students.

This is the first time in decades that third-level students and school students have held joint protests.

mass protests

In Berlin, 27,000 young people marched together with university teachers and school teachers, who were called on to strike by the union for education and science workers(GEW).

In other cities, nursery nurses, who have been on strike for several weeks, joined the protests.

The protest on Wednesday was the high point of a one week education strike held from 15-19 June in many universities, which were organised by Linksjugend solid – the youth organisation of die LINKE – and other left groups and students. The situation is not yet comparable to the political movements in France, Greece and Italy. However, it can be the fist serious step towards building up such a movement and raise the consciousness of the younger generation.

During several university occupations in over ten universities and strike camps, alternative classes, discussions with professors and teachers in many more cities, students often raised the idea that this was just the first protest of many and could be used to build up structures and committees to prepare for further and better protests in the near future.

For many young people it is clear, that after the approaching general election in September, the German ruling class will try to get back the money that they gave to the bankers and that they will try to take it from young and the working people. It is clear that we have to build a strong movement to resist attacks on education and healthcare, on pensions and on social projects. Yesterday’s strike was a crucial and successful turning point for many workers and young people in Germany.

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June 2009