In Vienna since Thursday afternoon after a spontanous protest, students took over the main auditorium of the main university. Since then, around 2000 students are occupying several parts of the main building of the university.
We, Opiskelijatoiminta in Helsinki, Finland, send our solidarity and greetings to Vienna. We have been struggling – and will have to continue to struggle – for the same reasons. Our education is not for sale!
Opiskelijatoiminta is an autonomous student collective at the University of Helsinki. During the spring semester 2009 we were the main organizing force behind the protests against the Finnish University reform. Eventually the law was passed with minor changes, and now many people working and studying in universities are worried about the consequences of the law.
Since September 2009, Opiskelijatoiminta has been protesting against the lack of affordable rental flats in Helsinki. A lot of students and other people with low and precarious income are affected by this situation. Opiskelijatoiminta has been pointing out that certain privileged social groups are benefiting from this. The housing policies of the city and the state are protecting the interests of property owners rather than working class people who need housing.
In September, Opiskelijatoiminta occupied an empty building in Helsinki to provide accommodation for homeless students. In October, Opiskelijatoiminta participated in a joint demonstration against homelessness and the price of rents, which ended up in another house occupation. Both houses got evicted, but the struggle goes on. During the autumn, we have organized protests at the university against the visits of the housing minister Jan Vapaavuori and the prime minister Matti Vanhanen. We will keep on organizing and mobilizing to reclaim the power in our everyday life – in issues such as housing, income, education.