The recent actions of the administration of the American University of Cairo represent an direct assault on the student body. The sudden decision to raise tuition fees by 40% will severely affect the students, many of whom would have to chose between leaving their studies or become heavily indebted. The students have embarked on a month long struggle against the fee hikes. They are demanding their legal right to view the accounts of the non-profit university, but the university administration has refused. Instead the administration has launched a series of public attacks on the students and their organisations.
These events are not to be taken in isolation. The fee hikes are a result of a deep crisis in the Egyptian economy which is leading to spiraling inflation. The burden of this crisis is being unloaded onto the shoulders of the workers, the poor and the youth. Even the middle classes are no longer immune from the crisis of Egyptian capitalism. The al-Sisi regime came to power on the promise of solving the economic situation and providing stability. But it has achieved nothing and the decline continues. But the problem in Egypt is not about which person stands at the top of the state-apparatus. It is about the social and economic system at the base of society. It is a crisis of capitalism. The AUC struggle reveals that this system is not even able to satisfy the needs of layers which previously had a certain level of stability and welfare.
But the government is incapable of solving the economic problems because the economy only works for the profit motives of a few individuals and their periphery. Why are so many factories running below capacity, when there are plenty of people with no jobs? Why is the healthcare and education system falling apart when there are plenty of unemployed doctors, teachers and other academics? Even if AUC’ers get through their education paying higher tuition fees, many of them will graduate into a unemployment or under-employment. The struggle of AUC students is directly connected with the struggle’s of workers and youth throughout the country; for jobs, wages and a free high quality education for all.
The Marxist Student Federation condemns all attacks and slanders against the students and their organisation at AUC. We fully support their struggle of their AUC students against higher tuition fees!