alt-uniEs

“Liberating action necessarily involves a moment of perception and volition. This action both precedes and follows that moment, to which it first acts as a prologue and which it subsequently serves to effect and continue within history. The action of domination, however, does not necessarily imply this dimension; for the structure of domination is maintained by its own mechanical and unconscious functionality” –José Luiz Fiori, in Paolo Friere, The Pedagogy of the Oppressed, 33.

In support of the student strike against the privatization of the university, and in solidarity with their demand for accessible education, we undertake to bring education into the public sphere and onto the street through a détournement of our existing classes in support of the student action. This alt-uniEs is governed by three simple propositions: ALTERNATIVE (a challenge to the neoliberal constitution of the university as a commodity or service), UNIVERSITY (a commitment to theory as a methodology of resistance) and UNIeS (a commitment to unity, democratic access, plurality). We understand education as a creative practice that might occur elsewhere than expected places and might lead elsewhere than expected outcomes. We have agreed to post alternative content in lieu of or alongside our scheduled classes at Concordia University, and invite students and the public to contribute statements, comments, discussions, poems, images, documents, invocations, manifestos and other forms of engagement. These alt-classes are provided by faculty in solidarity with the student action, in an effort to maintain access to education for all, and to participate in building sites of unity (‘uniEs’), recognizing the radical potential of pedagogy, but extending beyond the university.

In solidarity,

Monika Kin Gagnon, Anna Kruzynski, Krista Geneviève Lynes, Liz Miller, Geneviève Rail, Kim Sawchuk and Jeremy Stolow


4 responses to “alt-uniEs

  • Geneviève Rail

    Dear colleagues, see below the letter sent by Judy Rebick:

    From: Judy Rebick, Ms
    Subject: Warning to charge students
    To: “dgraham@alcor.concordia.ca”
    Cc: “Hector”
    Received: Wednesday, March 28, 2012, 4:20 PM

    Dear Dr. Graham,

    I am writing as a concerned colleague, a feminist and a social justice activist of long standing. I have been teaching at McGill this term as the Eakin Fellow in the Study of Canada. Students at the Simon de Beauvoir Institute have asked me to write to you concerning the disciplinary procedures you have begun to implement against striking students.

    The striking students at Concordia as in the rest of Quebec are not engaged in some frivolous activity. They are attempting to protect access to post secondary education for themselves and those who come after them. Rather than vilifying or criminalizes students who are committed to this important battle, you should be supporting them. Accessible education should be goal of all of us involved in the education system. I am particularly proud that both at Concordia and McGill, the women’s studies students are among the most committed to the strike. As teachers in this field, we try and instil social responsibility in our students.

    Whatever my views about the strike itself, and I am in full support, I have decades of experience in participating and studying protests. There is no question that the threats you have issued that include asking students and staff to call security if there are students in any way blocking or disrupting the classroom is bound to end in violent confrontations. There has already been a serious confrontation with what appears to be violence on the part of campus security with the geography students.

    I ask you sincerely to back down from the confrontational stance you have adopted. Surely there is a way to negotiate solutions to blocked or disrupted classes without, as you put it, calling in the authorities.

    The increased use of campus security and police against student activists is a growing concern for me and I think an increasing challenge to democracy on campus. Please do not further escalate confrontation with the students.

    Sincerely,

    Judy Rebick
    Eakin Fellow at the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada

  • Magdalena

    I keep going back to this quote, again and again. It is in the iterative readings, I am able to try to make sense of what is happening to us, now, here.

  • Rouge Squad

    Dear alt-unies, please consider sharing the Rouge Squad Tactical Translation Team website on your blog: http://rougesquad.org/

    In solidarity, The Rouge Squad

  • Jane

    Dear alt-unies,

    I represent an artist/student collective that launched the following initiative this spring: http://www.facebook.com/events/189400881177665/

    The goal is to get as many different Quebec people and organisations, from different backgrounds, to contribute one creative page to this collective book “Pour un Printemps”.

    All contributions, amateur, pro, simple, complex, text, image etc. are welcome.

    The book will be officially launched in a public event in Montreal this May.

    Contributions can be sent via the only form on the project’s webpage: http://pourunprintemps.ca

    It would be wonderful if alt-unies would contribute a page and/or help promote the project.

    Many thanks,

    Solidarity,

    Jane

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