Wednesday, November 09, 2011

I'm puzzled.

I'm also unsympathetic, but I mean to keep that separate from this puzzle.

Some Arts undergraduates are "striking" tomorrow to demand the abolition of tuition.

They are also mass-emailing professors asking the professors to cancel classes in support of the strike.

But if the professors cancel classes, in what way are the students on strike? The professors are then on strike for a day. Students-- if we continue to use the labor law language that doesn't really make sense in this context anyways-- are then being subjected to a lockout. But their refusal to show up becomes irrelevant, because there's nothing to show up to.

Conceptually, wouldn't faculty compliance with this request abolish the student strike and just turn it into a faculty strike?


FLG said...

I say you walk into class, yell "ne travaillez jamais," and then announced that you are heading to Schwartzs for some smoked meat and a black cherry soda.

Sure, it doesn't speak to the principle of student versus faculty strike, but it would be awesome.

Anonymous said...

Not only is the strike itself a puzzle. It has little legitimacy among students in the Faculty of Arts. The students who were present and voted at the AUS General Assembly do not reflect the opinion of most students. In short, McGill's radical student community did a good job in mobilizing their constituency (as they. The rest of us failed to. Lesson learned.

Reasonable Militant said...

There were student strikes long before there were industrial strikes normalized by labour law. The University of Paris lost a whole year in the 14thC to a general strike.
But beyond that the "lockout" analogy doesn't work. The professors are not the students' employers. Since tuition fees are regulated by the provincial government, the students are protesting against its decision to raise them incrementally over the coming years. That's why students all across the province are going out irrespective of institution and gathering outside the Premier's office. The fact that the professors could cancel classes out of solidarity with the students does not impact that a one-day student strike is supposed to show against the suits in office who want to get re-elected next time around. Students vote, and so do their families. So the only "conceptual" problem is in making the teacher-student relationship an employer-employee one; indeed, any professorial support would simply strengthen the student strike's object of demonstrating support for their position in the face of the government.

Anonymous said...

Education is not a 'right'.