To South Africa’s #FeesMustFall Movement,
As students and workers at the University of Toronto and members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 3902, we would like to congratulate you on your incredible victory over tuition fee increases. We have been following with great interest and admiration the struggles of South African students, and your victory is an inspiration to all of us who are fighting for free and accessible education and an end to the corporatization of the university sector.
As workers we also admire how you have managed to link the struggles of campus workers, outsourced by university management to highly exploitative companies, to your struggle, and the broad project of building coalitions with feminist and queer organizations. The broader project of decolonizing the university is urgently needed in our own universities, which still celebrate the legacy of settler colonialism.
The struggle for quality and affordable higher education is now taking place all over the world as governments seek to impose austerity, redirecting money away from higher education. At the same time, these governments continue to pursue policies that benefit the wealthy elite. University managers slash funding for key departments while raising their own salaries and pursue strategies that focus myopically on improving their universities’ international ratings instead of on the urgent needs of their own students and workers. The examples of Chile and Québec show us that direct action can get results. Students can win and even reverse the neoliberal endeavor to commodify higher education.
We support your struggle and believe that your values of solidarity, equality and social justice are key to the transformation not simply of higher education, but of the country as a whole.
Yours in solidarity,