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School-work co-op Program: Dying as Student-Worker
The death of Lorenzo Parelli, an 18-year-old student during the school-work co-op program, has aroused indignation on the part of both democratic (i.e. bourgeois) forces and students. His name, like that of many others before him (and like that of Giuseppe Lenoci, who died very recently at the time of writing this piece), represents the symbol of youth broken by the bourgeois class, oppressed by a school organized and built solely in function of the formation of the new workforce. Not satisfied with having created this system, the capitalists (and this is an international fact) have wanted to throw away the mask of education, instituting the school-work co-op program. The advantages of this system are considerable for the bourgeois class: both for large companies, which obtain through the adaptation of students future workers less prone to insubordination, and for small companies, which instead get good savings on staff.
The school-work co-op program, indeed, an infamous example of the endless thirst for profit of the ruling class, is now one of the greatest enemies of students. It is an infernal system according to which providing 200 hours of unpaid work for each student is supposed to be somehow educational. What is more worrying, however, is the way in which students are trained to submit to a master from a young age, in often unsafe work situations and with crumbling infrastructure ( which is a common fact between students and workers). If the students have decided to protest, it is precisely because of the method followed by the bourgeois school in its systematic exploitation of the future workers. The Ministry of Education, frightened (we add, of course, in the face of claims contrary to the interests of employers), has even decided to change the name of the school-work co-op program, so as to create confusion. And while on the "independent" newspapers are wasted articles against the protesters, it makes sense to go into more detail.
The first demonstrations, which immediately led to the general mobilization of students throughout Italy, took place on January 28th and February 4th, with the goal of obtaining the abolition of the school-work co-op program (and also to remember the death of Parelli), the abolition of the second maturity test (fraudulently restored by the Ministry, regardless of the students' study time or the very short notice before the test) and more assembly rights. The demonstrations, due to the criminal intervention of police repression, resulted in dozens of injuries among students: fierce charges hit peaceful protesters to prevent them from demonstrating in the city centers. Repression, once again, hits those who fight for better conditions. In this case, absurdly, the demand would only be to allow students to study, without unpaid work.
Today, February 18, there were large demonstrations throughout the country, which once again demonstrate the combativeness of the students. It shows that the movement has no intention of stopping anytime soon. The mounting social anger of the students, after two years of teaching only to show that the school is still working, is provoking actions of increasing struggle, with student occupations of the schools and more and more frequent break-ins of police cordons. On the other hand, the baton strikes harder and harder, leading on the one hand to the dozens of injuries mentioned above, and on the other hand to the systematic clearance of occupied schools. The picture, if not of 1968, seems at least reminiscent of the student situations of those years. This puts us, necessarily, in the position of making notes of continuity with respect to the red thread of Marxist theory that has addressed the theoretical question of the analysis of those years.
MOVEMENTIST ILLUSIONS AND SCIENTIFIC CERTAINTY OF MARXISM
As is rightly said by A. Bordiga (Il Programma Comunista, n° 8/1968, Elementary Note on Students and Authentic Left Marxism), the Party does not recognize any political or historical autonomy to the Student Movement. If the old pseudo-Maoist outfit has been thrown to the winds, still nowadays we hear ridiculous notes about the possibilities of "movement autonomy" or "student revolution." Attempting to dethrone the world proletariat from its place as the only revolutionary socialist class with absurd theses on the alleged existence (!) of a student class, besides being nonsensical in regard to Marxist theory, is also a complete effective absurdity. We repeat, with the certainty of the invariance of Marxism, that capitalist society is divided into two classes, and that a "student revolution" is not possible.
The students of today, even more confused than their predecessors of 50 years ago, have no theoretical and practical compass to understand the class role they should assume in the struggle they wage against bourgeois institutions. The denial of the programmatic necessities of their own supposed movement is a current symptom of this very great confusion. The objective is not even disguised as a false political current of Marxism. Many of the students, politically, oppose the bourgeois state by falling into Stalinist degradation opportunisms or anarchist collectives. The disorder and composite form of student forces does not even allow one to tell which movements are in the direction and which are subordinate, and so on. One thing is certain: it will not be through the demonstrations organized by the associations commanded by the CIGL that the students will be able to achieve their goals, on the contrary. Not even the illusion of maximalist movementism, however, can lead young people to real results.
To the students we say, armed with our historical analysis, that they cannot think they can really win against their enemy, the bourgeois state, without a clear classist orientation. Obtaining better situations is an important fact, of course, but the problem lies with the capitalist system in its totality, which with its inevitable dynamics will never be able to guarantee students an optimal condition. Only the world proletarian revolution, socialist and classist, will be able to lead to the final resolution of the contradictions of this system.
Students! Look also at the conditions of the workers!
Students! Without class organization every struggle is useless!
Only with the world communist party and a revolutionary marxist program can the revolution of this system be completed!
International Communist Party
February, 18th 2022
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