On Tuesday the 25th of November, 2014, at 13:00 a flo6x8 action took place at the Santander Bank branch located at the University Pablo de Olavide (Seville). Different groups from the University collaborated in this action, such as members of the Student Council, Seville Student Action Movement, the core group of MAE-UPO, and the Andalusian Workers Union.
While a mass of students and lecturers were waiting at the bank branch entrance, four female dancers, one singer and four members of the university community, came into the office to make a surprise song and dance action where they performed a peteneras piece and a soleá por bulerías. The aim of the action was to denounce the commercialization process underway in education, and the consequent profit of banks and businesses.
Both the withdrawal of the different state authorities and the advancement towards dismantling public university education relying on arguments of austerity and economic crisis, hide a very controversial reality: the profit of large corporations. Whilst many lecturers are made redundant, labor conditions of academics become precarious, the ratio of students per class increases, the student fees are raised, the number of scholarships are decreased,… among other niceties… these businesses colonize, parasite and subjugate what is public with the consent of the University government itself.
It is all about the privatization of the State, in this case a public university, for the benefit of lobbies and corporations as the one criticized in this case: the Santander bank, the main beneficiary of this covert privatization and one of the largest banking corporations in Europe, and one of the most aggressive in the Latin American context. The Santander has the ability to pressure the Spanish government; it is responsible for the banks bailout with state funds. It is also responsible for the cuts that our country suffers, responsible for the withdrawal of scholarships, and responsible for supporting the plans that hinder the possibility of reconciling student life with work. Students find serious difficulties in paying for their studies in any other way than using their own resources: either you are from a wealthy family or you won’t be able to study.
The ultimate goal is to impoverish our students so they can only access higher education through getting in debt for years, following the Anglo-Saxons and north-American capitalism model. Do these dynamics of impoverishing the population to push them into debt sound familiar? The Santander Bank, with the help of the central and regional government, as well as the university authorities (with their consecutive chancellor’s teams) is trying to reissue in universities the paradigm of debt that in the 90s and 2000, after freezing wages and increasing the cost of living, rushed us into the economic crisis we suffer today.
We will not give up in our actions till the University Pablo de Olavide and other public universities revoke their agreements with Banco Santander. We also demand that the precarious conditions of the professionals are amended, as well as the circumstances where students are pushed to borrow as the only alternative to access higher education are eroded.
We demand a democratic and high quality public university
The increasing numbers of contributors who are part of flo6x8 greatly appreciate external inputs of students and lecturers of the UPO, who have made this action possible. We are also grateful for the contextual information and tactical knowledge of the context, the result of the good work for democratic struggles in the university environment.
1 of December, 2014, Seville