Latin America

Argentina: Widespread seizures of schools in Buenos Aires

September 02, 2010

We interviewed Lola, General Secretary of the Students Center of the school Normal 1, and an activist in No Pasarán. Normal 1 has been occupied since Monday, August 23. There are now 22 schools occupied by their students, in the context of the struggle of Buenos Aires high school students.

La Verdad Obrera: Tell us why the seizures have been carried out and the high school students’ plan of struggle.

Lola: The collapse of public education, that in most high schools is expressed in the terrible conditions of the buildings, or the lack of scholarships and meals, that leaves hundreds of male and female comrades without the possibility of continuing their studies, are some of the main issues that we have raising. Every winter, there is also the basic absence of heating and stoves, to be able to go study; these reveal that Macri and those who preceded him in the position, cared very little about funding public education. On the contrary, in the Legislature they are agreeing to set aside 750 million pesos to pay for the Metropolitan Police of Ciro James and Fino Palacio, at the same time they are moving forward with their repressive line in the Capital, which we are now suffering from ourselves, with the weapon of the "blacklists."

LVO: How are the negotiations going?

Lola: Today, Wednesday, August 25, under the strong pressure of more than 22 high schools occupied this week, Minister Bullrich met one representative per high school. In this meeting, a commitment was made to carry out a tour, school by school, to evaluate their condition and have another meeting on Friday, at which the renovation of the schools could be started, at the same time that all the sanctions we have been fighting against, would be lifted. Today, anyway, we will be mobilizing again, since we have little confidence in the words of the Minister and the PRO administration.

LVO: From No Pasarán, how do you think it is necessary to continue the high school students’ struggle?

Lola: We believe that the fight for public education is not only against Macri. We know very well that supporters of the Kirchners voted for 75% of [Macri’s] plans in the Legislature (like the education budget). In addition, at a national level, education is collapsing just like or worse than in the Capital, while Cristina celebrates paying the foreign debt. Therefore, we are fighting in the schools to approach this struggle independently of the bosses’ different variants that seek to use our demands to wear down Macri, in view of the 2011 elections and propose themselves as an alternative. Nor does Pino Solanas want to throw him out, because of that agreement in the name of "institutionality," and only asks him for an authorization as government chief. This strikes us as disgraceful.

We have to be clear that every conquest we win will be thanks to our struggle and organization, that should continue to grow stronger with the support of our teachers, who face hunger wages, and all working men and women, to impose the increase of the education budget on the way to throwing out Macri and his entire administration.