Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/289/20233
Strike And Protest Against The War
ON 15 February over 30 million people internationally demonstrated against Bush and Blair's war for oil in Iraq. Many of those protesting were school and college students who saw the demo as the first step in building the anti-war movement.
Sarah Sachs-Eldridge, London ISR
International Socialist Resistance (ISR) is helping school and college students across England and Wales to set up student-run anti-war groups and to organise walk-outs, strikes and protests as part of the international student day of action against the war and cuts in education on 5 March.
This strike day has been called as a way of building for the world-wide strikes planned for Day X - the day after war starts.
Since 15 February, ISR has been raising the idea of strikes and getting an extremely enthusiastic response. Around 50 schools and colleges have already put plans in place for the day.
Such is the readiness to get organised that in one London school where an ISR supporter distributed leaflets about the walkout to a few students at lunch time, over a hundred students followed him out the gates to the chippie thinking that he was leading the walkout!
Many young people are furious that Blair is continuing with this war despite the clear opposition that exists. They are disgusted by the determination to prosecute this war that Bush and his fellow warmongers have shown.
Many school and college students around the country have no alternative way of voicing their anger at the prospect of war. They don't feel represented by the UN and have no faith in its ability to stop this war and improve the lives of the Iraqi people.
That is why the plans to take strike action and get organised have been taken up so enthusiastically. We're serious about making our point heard and appeal to teachers, lecturers and other school and college staff to join and support students in strike and protest action.
See Also Socialist Party youth pages
UNTIL LAST week ISR was building successfully for action on Friday 7 March, to give students time to build for the strikes after half term.
ISR had raised the date at the Stop the War Coalition's steering committee meeting and so were disappointed when, late last week, we heard that Student Stop the War Coalition had called another date for strike action on 5 March.
However, ISR felt that, in the interest of unity and to avoid confusion, it was important to co-ordinate with the 5 March action. So we're asking local groups and Youth Against the War committees to move their plans to 5 March if possible.
We hope this won't cause too many problems but if mid-term breaks make it impossible for local areas to change, then we should continue with 7 March.
Internationally school and student strikes are taking place almost daily following the 15 February demonstrations along with building for international mass action on the day war starts.
We feel that it is important to have as much national co-ordination as possible but understand that in some areas too much has already been done to publicise the 7 March date. Where that is the case groups should continue with their plans.
Most important is that the maximum number of school and college students participate in action against the war. On 5 March, strikes, walk-outs and protests in schools, colleges and universities will coincide with the NUS day of action on education, including a lobby of parliament against tuition fees.
In The Socialist 28 February 2003: