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For a New Europe: University Struggles Against Austerity
Paris - Saint-Denis Meeting, 11-13 February 2011

Common Statement
We, the student and precarious workers of Europe, Tunisia, Japan, the US, Canada, Mexico, Chile, Peru and Argentina, met in Paris over the weekend of the 11th-13th of February, 2011 to discuss and organize a common network based on our common struggles. Students from Maghreb and Gambia tried to come but France refused them entry. We claim the free circulation of peoples as well as the free circulation of struggles.

In fact, over the last few years our movement has assumed Europe as the space of conflicts against the corporatization of the university and precariousness. This meeting in Paris and the revolutionary movements across the Mediterranean allow us to take an important step towards a new Europe against austerity and the revolts in Maghreb.

We are a generation who lives precariousness as a permanent condition: the university is no longer an elevator of upward social mobility but rather a factory of precariousness. Nor is the university a closed community: our struggles for welfare, work and the free circulation of knowledge and people don’t stop at its gates.

Our need for a common network is based on our struggles against the Bologna Process and against the education cuts Europe is using as a response to the crisis.

The Rebellion of the Poor Comes to Grahamstown

The rebellion of the poor has been spreading from town to town, from squatter camp to squatter camp, since 2004. Last week it arrived in Grahamstown.

There is no third force, political party or communist academic behind our struggle. It is oppression at the hands of the African National Congress that has driven us into the rebellion of the poor. We are in rebellion because we are being forced to live without dignity, safety or hope.

Africa World Social Forum: 'We Don't Want Everybody to Think the Same'
Isolda Agazzi

Dakar — It is only the second time that the World Social Forum (WSF)
takes place in Africa, the first one having been held in Nairobi, Kenya,
in 2007. Since the start of the WSF in Porto Alegre, Brazil, 10 years
ago, the organisers have been building African participation.

The number of people attending the WSF has steadily gone up: from 20,000
to 150,000. In Nairobi it dropped to 70,000, which made some observers

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"RIP Don LaCoss, Historian of Arab Surrealist Movement"
Ron Sakolsky

It is with great sorrow that Fifth Estate has to report the death of our dear friend and comrade, Don LaCoss on January 31. He had been terribly sick for several months with a relentless respiratory illness that finally morphed into pneumonia. Don was the editor of the as of yet unfinished next edition of our publication and was literally at work on it the night of his death.

All of his friends and colleagues in La Crosse, Wis., where he taught and lived with his family, are in great shock as are we who knew Don to be creative and lively, humorous and scholarly. He is irreplaceable in the true meaning of the word. For those of you who knew Don personally, there will be memorials for him in Lacross and Madison next week. If you only knew him from his by-line on Fifth Estate essays, you know as a reader how sorely we will miss his always-on-the-mark writing.

His issue, with the theme of DIY, which he swore would be printed on Feb. 15, will probably be delayed a few more weeks, but it is still Don's issue, and we will complete it in the manner he intended. Below is a very short appreciation of him by his friend in the Surrealist movement, Ron Sakolsky.

All the Right Enemies: Farewell to the Utterly Unique John Ross
Frank Bardacke

John’s gone. John Ross. I doubt that we will ever see anyone remotely
like him again.

The bare bones, as he would say, are remarkable enough. Born to show
business Communists in New York City in 1938, he had minded Billie
Holliday’s dog, sold dope to Dizzy Gillespie, and vigiled at the hour
of the Rosenberg execution, all before he was sixteen years old. An
aspiring beat poet, driven by D.H. Lawrence’s images of Mexico, he
arrived at the Tarascan highlands of Michoacan at the age of twenty,
returning to the U.S. six years later in 1964, there to be thrown in
the Federal Penitentiary at San Pedro, for refusing induction into the
army.

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Yippie Activist Dana Beal Arrested in Wisconsin Pot Bust
Todd Finkelmeyer

Irvin Dana Beal, a blast from Madison's counter-culture past, is sitting in the Iowa County jail because police say the car he was riding in on Jan. 6 was pulled over with more than 180 pounds of marijuana in it.

And although few details are available, the Barneveld police chief is hinting that those involved could be linked to a national drug operation.

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Ben Ali Trembles! From Blogs to Trade Unions Bureaus, the Tunisian Revolt Explodes
Fulvio Massarelli

Dictator Ben Ali trembled! And he is still trembling if is it true that he parked a jet plane close to the presidential residence of Chartage, which should be ready for an evacuation plan. The revolt stretches its lenght, spreads itself through all the cities and bears down on the regime after 23 years from its institution. Even in Tunisia, as well as on the other side of the Mediterranean Sea, the struggling education sector is the one which is starting a process of refusal and social conflict,emerging from the crisis as social vanguard and convergence point for the many workers' struggles that have been coming one after the other - as fragmented as radical and brave - for decades now.

After december 17th when Mohamed Bouazizi, a graduate and unemployed man, set himself on fire in Sidi Bouzid in protest against the seizure of his grocery stand, Tunisia mobilized and the revolt started off. First localized in the Sidi Bouzid zone, it later did spread to all the productive hubs of the Maghrebi country, and then reached even the most peripherals towns and zones, in a weaving of solidarity and struggle that sees side by side upper-school and university students, upper-school professors, workers, unemployed, lawyers and rank-and-file trade unions' activists, unwilling to yield to the extremely violent repression carried out by the regime.

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Warhol Foundation Threatens to End Financing of Smithsonian Exhibitions

The Andy Warhol Foundation is threatening to stop its financing of Smithsonian Institution exhibitions if the institution does not restore a work of art that was removed from an exhibition after it drew attacks by the head of the Catholic League and some Republican members of Congress. The Warhol Foundation gave $100,000 to the Smithsonian for the exhibition, “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture,”
at the National Portrait Gallery, from which the work was removed.

http://tinyurl.com/26htcfa

Riots Break Out in Rome as Berlusconi Wins Vote of Confidence

The center of Rome is under siege. As the House was voting the confidence to a moribund Berlusconi government (which he won with a 2 votes margin, which means that his agony is just extended) thousands of demonstrators of the "Movements United Against the Crises" tried to reach the Parliament. As a result riots broke out in the most central streets of the city (Via del Corso, Via del Babbuino, Piazza del Popolo, etc.) which are usually one of the favorite mainlands of the global tourist industry.

University of Puerto Rico Students Resume Strikes
Rossana Rodriguez

Students from six campuses in the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) system have held a series of 48-hour strikes in the last week to oppose the imposition of an $800 fee that is scheduled to take effect at the beginning of the January 2011 semester. Students at the Río Piedras campus were among of the first to go out after they held a December 1 mass assembly and voted by an overwhelming majority to strike if the administration does not rescind the new fee by December 14. The chancellor of the Río Piedras campus used every means possible to try to stop the students from gathering, including the canceling academic recess, freezing the bank account of the student council so that it couldn't pay for the sound system, and denying students the use of a space for their meeting. But UPR students are already used to doing things the hard way, so the night before, they raised funds by approaching cars stopped at traffic lights so they could rent a sound system for the outdoor meeting that lasted five hours under the harsh rays of a sunny day at the university's athletic track.