By Denis G. Rancourt
You have been had.
You can't see the obvious.
When the obvious is stated, you viscerally reject it, or fain being deaf.
Stated as plainly as I can manage:
You are workers in a controlled economy. The educational and service-professional sectors are integrated parts of the same system of extraction of your intellectual labour. If you withdraw your labour, the system grinds to a halt. This means you have real leverage to extract fair working conditions.
You should be salaried for your school work. The points of negotiation need to be the amount of salary, the working conditions, and your participation in governance of the institution.
Instead, you agree to sell yourselves into indebted servitude for the privilege of working. This is no different than a slave who works all his/her life in the hope of buying his/her freedom.
If you could please just see the obvious, then you could stop "demanding that the system not further increase tuition fees" and start organizing to take negotiated control of the workplace.
You also falsely believe:
- That you are stupid to the point that you need to be trained in "how to learn" and even "how to think"
- That the professor-handlers have real knowledge and that this knowledge will somehow rub-off on you if you download all the PowerPoint presentations and satisfy all the course requirements
Do not let the masters divide and conquer you. You are all working adults, irrespective of your ages, because you decide to take your place as working adults who also partake in running the school. Do not let them infantilize you. Be a child only when you, as an adult, want to be a child.
In the 1960s, tuition was peanuts and outside labour was plentiful and well paid. Today, however, you must stop the exploiters in their tracks. They have gone much too far. It's time to roll it back. You are the most exploited professional workers, and your very humanity is denied every day of the academic year.
You are denied your agency in your own development. You are denied your identity and your influence. Identity, influence, struggle, and learning go together. Allow them to divide these parts of you and you are less than what you truly want to be, and you experience less than the full human experience.
Free humans are meant to make their lives, not have lives of enforced servitude.
Please stand and fight. Now is the time. You will have allies. Exclude your enemies and make them irrelevant. Join all those who dare. Respond to intimidation with increased dedication to the struggle. Always ramp it up when they want to confine you.
Link to author's other essays about students and education.
And this LIST.