Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/293/13998
Youth Against The War
SCHOOL AND college students have been walking out in their tens of thousands against war with Iraq. Young people are angry at the death and destruction that war is causing; at the politicians and their big business friends, such as BP Oil, Shell and Co who put profit before people.
You can join the army with parental consent at the age of 15 years and 9 months. You can work for peanuts for limited hours from the age of 13.
"The only way to stop the war is to protest and make it as hard for Tony Blair as possible.
"I walked out of my school, Greycoat Hospital on Thursday to protest. About 50 walked out in the end. If people in Iraq are old enough to be bombed, we're old enough to protest."
Grace, Paloma and Tania, school students from London
You can get a full time job from the age of 16, and are not entitled to any legal minimum wage. You can get married at the age of 16 with parental consent. You can leave school at the age of 16.
But young people are told not to take strike action against a war that is killing Iraqi civilians and troops on both sides, and that it is being paid for with money that should be invested in education, health, housing and jobs.
This is hypocrisy at its worst! We are told that we're apathetic, but when we organise to take action we are branded as 'irresponsible children' who can't think for ourselves.
Young people should have the right to strike without the fear of disciplinary action and without the intimidation and violence of the police. School students have been an inspiration to workers and young people and will not be cowed.
I HAVE been doing anti-war work in my school, Bulmershe school near Reading. On 21 March about 1,000 school students attempted to stage a walkout.
Lev Taylor, Reading
The amount of people was amazing - just about the entire school, had turned up and there were groups yelling anti-war slogans.
Unfortunately, the teachers were ready and we couldn't even get past the front gate. However, it just shows how strongly people believe about these issues and what an opening this is for us to do more work and recruit more members. I have great hopes for the anti-war movement and International Socialist Resistance/Youth Against the War.
SCHOOL AND college student strikes over the past few weeks have shown how serious young people feel about the war and all its implications.
For years young people have been accused of being apathetic and not interested in politics. But these strikes, involving hundreds of thousands of students have shown young people are far from apathetic.
Many have received huge support from parents, teachers and local communities. A number of schools received support from the teaching trade unions, such as the National Union of Teachers (NUT).
The school student demonstrations have all been extremely lively, peaceful and serious. Students have taken this strike action, not as the media, police or education authorities like to make out as 'having a day off school' or 'for a bit of fun', but to ensure that their voices are heard for once.
Billions of pounds are being spent on a war that is causing death and destruction. Meanwhile schools rarely have enough books to go round, teachers are underpaid and overworked, school buildings are in continual need of repair and university, through the introduction of fees, is becoming almost impossible for working class young people to afford.
All of these issues and more make it clear why young people want to have their say over war in Iraq and to be taken seriously.
Unfortunately, in some schools, students have faced problems taking strike action. A number of students across the country are facing detentions, suspension and in a few cases expulsions.
Although the police presence in most areas wasn't confrontational, a number of students faced police intimidation and violence. We condemn these actions and we are campaigning to defend the right to strike.
In The Socialist 28 March 2003: