What can we expect from the discontent brewing in the universities?
Yesterday, a PhD in History posted on her twitter account: "How can you recommend someone to devote half their life to research if at 31 years of age I earn 800 euros and have gone back to live with my family?" The message quickly gained thousands of supporters because it conveyed a a general mood that abounds in universities. Yet another generation of students has been let down. But what exactly are they denouncing? Where is this denunciation pointing to? Are they looking forward or backwards?
Spanish university and para-university student movements
And it was not very different either in origin or in effect in 1956, when the "anti-Franco" university movement began. From there, the "elders" of the Transition - Enrique Múgica, Javier Pradera, Ramón Tamames, Ruíz Gallardón - would come out. The mobilizations of "penenes" in the 70s - roughly equivalent to the precarious "researchers" of today - would produce "the young" ministers of the PSOE Narcís Serra, Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba and Javier Solana.
It would be this generation of politicians, the generation of the " youth employment plans" and the industrial reconversion, who would massify the universities and would propitiate the appearance of dozens of new campuses distributed all over Spain. Like Primo and Franco before them, they understood that the "promise" of a job as a cadre or a bureaucrat after university would work better than ever under the new "social pact" with the peripheral petty bourgeoisie, which materialized in the emergence and multiplication of peripheral political apparatuses and regional bureaucracies.
However, the famous "democratization" of the University was always extremely relative. In 2015, only 26% of university degrees were obtained by young working class students. And that is taking into account the degrees - new and old - that were designed from the outset to train workers rather than cadres (Teaching, Nursing, etc.).
What can we expect from the University... and its surroundings?
Proletarianized students in Lyon: "Precariousness kills"
Why doesn't the press (barely) mention French students? These were not at all artistic or expressive mobilizations. They spoke of generic human needs - food, hygiene, work - that are brought into line with a class perspective, that are in direct conflict with the nation and that they want to see satisfied directly and immediately. And furthermore "They do not represent the totality of the student body". Obviously, these mobilizations are born out of the 30% of students who work to support themselves and endure one precarious job after another, living in shared apartments where one room costs half the minimum wage. Those with scholarships barely receive more than 300 euros, which barely covers the cost of food.
"[Not all students are the same", 27/11/2019
class|existence of classes