It's said that history repeats itself. As a matter of fact, when we think of the history of student movement, the thesis of this statement might just not be too far from the truth.
We claim that there is student activism to be found behind every historical process pushing society in a new direction. On the 17th of November 1939, thousands of Czechoslovak students in protests against the Nazi occupation were sent to concentration camps and executed. But already before, students across the world have come together in demand for democracy, peace and justice. It is commonly acknowledged that student protests have been crucial factors in fighting any kind of authoritarian regime, from the resistance of Nazism till the current struggles for freedom.
The 17th of November is the International Day of Students. This is the day when we look back at the struggles of the students in the past, commemorate the victims and try to comprehend the results of their activism. Turning towards the future, on this day we pay attention to the struggles in front of us and reach out to all students and school students to join the fight - history has taught us a lesson; there is nothing stronger than unity!
In 2009, the world is in a spirit of change. Crises of financial, environmental and social nature cause a need of priority-setting amongst decision-makers. In this context, students are in an inferior situation - there is still no formal recognition of students as a societal group with special needs and interests; there are few mechanisms in society especially designed for students. Due to this, students and school students are left in a marginalized position in troublesome times like these, dealing with increasing unemployment, financial cut-backs in their education, troubles in finding a proper housing and even physical burn-outs.
Education must ensure freedom for students and school students to develop their potentials and enable them to proactively form society. The involvement of students and school students in any decision-making concerning them is an essential pre-requisition for this. It is up to us to make this reality. As such, we as students and school students have to stand up together and make our demands heard!
Having said this we, the students and school students of Europe, call for students all around the globe to an international day of action on the 17th of November, the International Day of Students.
On 17th November 2009 we will be celebrating the 70th anniversary of the struggles of the student movement world wide. We call for demonstrations, rallies, happenings and seminars for free access to high quality education and recognition of students' rights.