Five Theses on the Student Strike
I. As students, we strike at the heart of an economy that depends on an education system that exploits us, disciplines us, and profits from us.
To strike as students is to recognize ourselves as workers in the present and future economy. Our labor is necessary to produce and reproduce an educational system which is a source of profit and plunder for the 1% and a source of disciplined and exploitable labor power. A student strike is a refusal of this role at every level—from high schools to colleges and universities. So long as the employing class profits from our knowledge, we should not pay tuition and be plunged into debt in order to be employable. Instead, we should be guaranteed a wage to learn.
II. We strike to reject a system that divides us.
We strike because our desire to learn must not be used to maintain violent social divisions. We reject a system that exploits our differences and divides us along race, sexual, gender, and class lines. We are taught that education is our best means to ‘get ahead’ in life, yet, many are also left behind, devalued, discarded, or simply excluded. We reject a system that forces us into vicious competition and pits us against each other.
III. We strike against a failing system that robs us of our future.
We strike against the devaluation of our education through austerity measures, rising tuition and budget cuts. We strike against being doomed to lifelong debt, constant training and re-skilling, and against a system that saddles us with the cost of producing exploitable workers for the market. We refuse an educational system governed by the dictates of competition, individualism, and profit.
IV. We strike to affirm and create education as we want it.
We strike for an educational system that serves our collective needs and desires. We want to be decision-makers in our collective future, for knowledge to be a genuine commons and not a source of profit.
V. We strike to build our collective power and create something new.
To strike is to realize our power to determine our everyday lives. We refuse to let our bodies and our minds be held hostage to the current educational and work regimes, to collaborate quietly as the violent logic of capital bankrupts us of our present and future. We strike together to build a better world and reclaim our future.
– by Students at the CUNY Graduate Center, first published in