On Tuesday October 24th and Wednesday October 25th, SSC will lead a two-day labour action, “Teaching and Learning Against Social Abandonment,” calling on workers across the country to refuse academic business as usual, and instead organize and participate in popular education workshops, teach-ins, and protest actions. Recognizing important differences in the labour conditions of various faculty and student academic workers, librarians, administrative, service and maintenance workers, SSC is calling for collective action redirecting our teaching and learning toward one another and the wellbeing of the communities within which we live and work.
Since 2020, SSC has organized annual labour actions featuring a series of online presentations addressing the state sanctioned violence of colonial-capitalism. The struggle continues. As a new academic year begins, neoliberal governments, institutions and corporations continue the blatant pursuit of capital accumulation through market deregularization, financialization, extractivism, and militarism, and most recently — pandemic disaster racial capitalism — all happening at once and at the expense of Land, people, and more than human life. Global capitalism is killing us; removing public social supports and abandoning people with disabilities, the immune-compromised, Black, Indigenous, racialized, poor, homeless and others who are disenfranchised, and targeting those who resist criminalization and death. The increasing financialization of housing and other basic needs has already situated Vancouver, Toronto and Hamilton as the most unlivable cities in North America. Despite widespread calls for abolition in 2020, the carceral state continues to expand prisons and police budgets alike budgets alike. Poor people--especially Indigenous peoples, Black people, racialized refugees, queer, trans, and two-spirit people, drug users, and people living with mental illness--have been deemed most disposable.
Radical students, scholars and activists have long known and argued that universities and colleges are deeply involved in the acceleration of global capitalism and the increasingly entrenched organized abandonment of those made most vulnerable by capitalist relations (Gilmore, 2011, 2015). As academic workers, we too are implicated and accountable. As scholars, activists, artists, organizers, students and workers, we cannot pretend that all is well and that we are not living through a global social, political, and economic crisis fuelled by racial capitalism, imperialism and settler colonialism.
In the coming weeks, we will continue reaching out to colleagues and comrades about organizing virtual teach-ins, local in-person and online actions/activities/protests for the two-day labour action on October 24 and 25th. Please check the SSC website regularly for updates: ENDORSE OUR UPCOMING LABOUR ACTION.
Watch our celebration of Labour Day 2023 and our announcement of this action on our SSC YouTube Channel on Monday, September 4th and featured a discussion, music, and poetry led by university workers, activists, artists and students, including Dionne Brand, Naomi Klein, Christina Sharpe Harsha Walia, Percy lezard, Rinaldo Walcott, Minsook Lee, Fred Hahn of CUPE, Syed Hussan of Migrant Workers Alliance for Change, David Simao of CUPE Ontario University Workers Coordinating Committee, Metro Workers, TVO workers, El Jones, Kpass drummers and many more.
SSC Demands of Canadian Post-Secondary Institutions:
The following demands are seen by Scholar Strike Canada organizers of the October 2023 labour action as central to the collective work as scholars and activists working at colleges and universities in Canada. In asserting these ten demands we invite others to discuss, modify and expand on them by developing your own as appropriate and useful to your local and institutional contexts. We also ask that you share them with us so we can post them on the SSC website.
1. No punitive actions are to be taken against anyone participating in Teaching and Learning Against Social Abandonment on October 24 - 25, 2023.
2. End labour exploitation and employment precarity for faculty and staff working in colleges and universities. SSC rejects the increasing use of precarious labour and mistreatment of contract faculty in academia. We demand greater job security for academic workers and greater stability for our students.
3. End tuition gouging of international students! Provide admission packages that include guaranteed adequate housing for all incoming international students.
4. Provide additional housing stipends for all post-secondary students attending institutions in the least affordable cities in the country—Vancouver, the Greater Toronto Area, Hamilton, Ottawa, and Montreal.
5. Freeze tuition fees for all post-secondary students studying in Canada for the next five years.
6. Accelerate timelines for ending all direct and indirect investments in fossil fuel companies. Discontinue partnerships with banks that continue to fund fossil fuels including Royal Bank of Canada (the world’s largest financier of fossil fuel projects), Scotiabank, Toronto Dominion, Bank of Montreal, and CIBC.
7. Divest from prison expansion projects and discontinue partnerships with all companies directly involved in prison expansion, including EllisDon in Ontario. Endorse a nationwide moratorium on prison expansion.
8. Commit to achieving police-free schools throughout Canada by 2025:
· Defund and dismantle all campus police forces.
· Discontinue all partnerships with municipal and provincial police forces and with the RCMP, CSIS, and CBSA.
· Fund the development of sustainable, non-carceral community safety programs on post-secondary campuses.
· Act in support for and defense of antifascist and activist scholars teaching, organizing, and conducting research in opposition to the ongoing rise of the political far-right and right-wing extremism.
· Ban groups promoting anti-Indigenous, antiblack, Islamophobic, white supremacist, homophobic and/or anti-trans ideas from hosting events on post-secondary campuses or post-secondary internet accounts.
9. Act in support for and defense of antifascist and activist scholars teaching, organizing, and conducting research in opposition to the ongoing rise of the political far-right and right-wing extremism.
10. Issue statements outlining institutional commitments to maintaining and furthering Black Studies, Indigenous Studies, and Women’s, Gender, Sexuality and Queer Studies in Canadian post-secondary institutions.
Ban groups promoting anti-Indigenous, antiblack, Islamophobic, white supremacist, homophobic and/or anti-trans ideas from hosting events on post-secondary campuses or post-secondary internet accounts.
For inquiries and media, please contact Scholar Strike Canada at firstname.lastname@example.org