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Edu-Factory Planning for Paris, February 11-13, 2011

Edu-Factory Planning for Paris, February 11-13, 2011

A short update and contribution for the organization of the European meeting planned for 11-13 February in Paris:

Although it might be somewhat superfluous to underline the political importance of creating effective networks of student struggles in Europe, I'd simply like raise a few points.

First, based on Edu-Factory's experience, the possibility of gathering different student movements together for discussion, debate and organization has always proved to be a positive, constructive and stimulating way of building new relationships and connections between diverse realities. Beyond the warmth and quality in direct human interaction (never to be underestimated), the extensive common character of different movements nearly always emerges in new and sometimes unexpected forms. Small, seemingly anecdotal elements of our singular movements that are shared in these occasions can find echos in other experiences even if we didn't know that similar conditions exist elsewhere. Likewise, differences between national and cultural contexts (for example of how the Bologna Process is being applied differently in different countries) can shed light on each individual context in new ways and help provide strategies for interpreting these differences constructively and overcoming the limits and problems that we face – we learn to read our reality and other realities in new ways, we learn new languages and new translation skills.

While creating video conferencing systems to connect to other meetings could be an interesting and productive way to expand the meeting, it is technically more complicated and, for such a large meeting, difficult to organize. If there are people who would like to research and organize this option, it would be welcomed. Although we all realize that traveling is somewhat

Common projects, common strategies and common campaigns and common tools can come from these meetings. In our experience, they always usually do. For these reasons, and others, we think that it is important to try to meet together in Paris for the weekend of the 11-13 February. We have already had confirmation from numerous groups in France, Spain, Italy, Austria, Poland, England. Logistically speaking, given the short amount of time to organize this meeting and the winter break, things are still not definitively programmed. We do have large meeting spaces at our disposition at the University of Paris 8 for both Friday 11th and Saturday 12th, although we are also waiting for the confirmation of a different, more central space at the EHSS for both of these days. These discussions will probably center around university struggles, issues in knowledge production, the possibility of autonomous education and the building of transnational struggle networks across Europe and the globe. The idea is to have a discussion Friday afternoon from 17h. to 21h. and then again Saturday morning. In our experience, open collective discussions are usually the best way to give everyone the possibility to contribute although we could also form multiple smaller groups if there is the desire to do so.

If there are any groups or individuals that would like to organize a workshop or discussion, we can discuss here in the list or you can send your proposals to info@edu-factory.org with PARIS MEETING written clearly in the subject line.

Instead, on Saturday afternoon, we are trying to organize a discussion between students and precarious workers' organizations (including the important "intermittents") for Saturday afternoon about the generalization of European struggle against austerity and the crisis. This could be an important occasion for the student movement to create new ties outside of a strictly university context. Paris is also rich territory to host this discussion based on the enormous, common mobilization that started this last fall as you all have seen.

If we can confirm a meeting space for Sunday morning, we will then have a general assembly open to all social movement organizations, especially student ones, to discuss the weekend and, hopefully, to plan one or more common activities for the coming spring – a day of European mobilization is obviously the first thing that comes to mind, although there are many other possibilities.

For food and lodging, we are relying on activist networks to host anyone who wishes to come to Paris for the weekend. We already have many students and activists that are willing to host. Unfortunately, Paris doesn't offer large spaces in which to house big groups, but an efficient transportation network assures that everyone will be within 30 min of the meeting spaces. If you are planning on coming, I would also recommend Couch Surfing as they have a very large, active and hospitable community here in Paris. Both university structures also have very accommodating cafeteria structures where it is possible to have a large meal for only 3€.

If you are in Paris or have friends or contacts in Paris that can give a hand in the local organization, please feel free to put them into contact with Edu-Factory by sending an email to info@edu-factory.org with PARIS MEETING clearly written in the subject line.

At this point, it is important that those who are already planning in coming to the meeting to send an email to (guess what?!?) info@edu-factory.org with PARIS MEETING clearly written in the subject line. The number of people and the specific needs of the group should be included in the email and we will find you a collocation in Paris.

I really hope to see as many of you as possible in Paris. Have a good winter break and a good new year's.

Potentia et excedere, jason edu-factory