By ERNIE GOTTA
Thousands of students in Athens, Greece, are occupying their universities and marching in the streets against police repression and fighting for greater access to higher education.
Occupying universities has become one of the main expressions of the student movement since the uprising against the military dictatorship in 1973, when 24 people were murdered by government forces between Nov. 14 and Nov. 17. The memory of this struggle is deeply rooted in today’s fight for greater autonomy on the campus, which is currently under attack from the Greek government.
The conservative New Democracy Party-led government made significant changes this past summer to university policy, which at one time allowed protesting students to gain asylum from police repression. The government claims the new policies are aimed at cracking down on crime, but students see it as an attack on their democratic rights to protest.
As three days of memorial rallies and marches are about to kick off on Nov. 14 to commemorate the events of 1973, the government has tried to apply greater pressure on the students through an attempt to lock out the occupying students from campus and replace them with police. There have been several arrests of protesting students.
The student movement in Greece today is vibrant, militant, and filled with solidarity. Anti-capitalist, Trotskyist, Stalinist, and anarchist students occupy the halls and classrooms of the university. They represent many different political tendencies, but together they hold meetings, throw parties, and build demonstrations.
It’s hard not to draw connections, for example, between the student movement in Greece and the youth-led demonstrations in Chile. Today young students and workers are leading a global fight against government repression, austerity, and climate change that is pushing the working-class struggle against capitalism to higher levels of confrontation.
Solidarity with comrades in Greece! End the police repression! Release all who were arrested!
Hear student leaders Alex and Valia speak about the occupations in their own words: https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FForarevolutionaryinternational%2Fvideos%2F2693980420683667%2F&show_text=0&width=560