Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/286/20289
Youth against the war
Stop This War For Oil
EVERY DAY more and more young people are getting involved in the anti-war movement. International Socialist Resistance (ISR) and Socialist Party members and supporters have been helping organise school and college walkouts against the war across Britain.
Clare James - ISR national co-ordinator.
On Friday a student from Monoux sixth-form college in Walthamstow, London told us:
"I think we should avoid war at all costs. I really feel for the people in Iraq because they have been suffering for so long. Something needs to be done, but it won't be helping by bombing them.
"The government needs to listen to the people more as most people are anti-war... We are the people who will be suffering along with the people in Iraq."
Another student commented:
"I think the war is about oil, and there isn't enough awareness right now. The Socialist Party is helping a lot, and helping to build the walkouts will help build awareness too.
"Everyone needs to know it's not about Saddam Hussein - it's about oil and the government are going to spend loads of money on this war. This money could be spent on better things like the NHS and education. It's a complete waste of money and time."
- Walkout against the war leaflet - for the 7 March student strikes against the war.
- Pledge cards for walkouts
- Membership cards
- Walkout against the war posters
- ISR magazines - with statements on how to help build the anti-capitalist and anti-war movements.
- No to war on Iraq petitions
- All available from ISR
In schools and colleges where we've held stalls, leaflets have been taken quicker than we can give them out.
At Christ the King sixth form college in Lewisham, London, over ten students offered to help on next week's stall.
So many people were signing our petitions that ISR members had to keep repeating: "If you want to help organise anti-war action please put a star by your name." There were too many people at once to talk to everyone.
Every day ISR gets e-mails and letters from young people from Fife to Portsmouth asking for information on the 15 February anti-war demonstration, wanting posters for their schools and placards for the demonstration.
Many want more information on how to build a walkout, wanting to join ISR or just letting us know what they're doing in their areas.
One e-mail said
"Hi me (15) and my friend (14) have just recently become interested in what you do and would like to know more about what people my age can do, please contact me".
Another e-mail said;
"I have been politically aware from a very young age and have always attempted to make my voice heard. However I am forever being patronised and pigeon-holed as a 'rebel teenager' who puts no thought into what she is saying".
She later adds:
"I want to thank you guys for valuing my opinion. C U at Trafalgar Sq."
These are just a few of the many examples of how young people are getting involved in the ever-growing anti-war movement.
Many young people see this anti-war movement as also part of a fight for a future free from war and terror for all.
School and college strikes are being organised across the country on 7 March. In the run-up to then, we're helping to organise strikes, protests and ballots against the war on the international day of action on 14 February.
If you would like to come on the 15 February demonstration with Youth Against the War, meet in Trafalgar Square from 11am (nearest tube Charing Cross).
INTERNATIONAL SOCIALIST Resistance (ISR) is an international anti-capitalist youth organisation with groups in many different countries.
Initiated by the Socialist Party, ISR is a democratic, broad organisation fighting for a socialist alternative to capitalism.
For more details write to: ISR, PO Box 858, London, E11 1YG. Tel: 020 8558 7947.
Coventry - protest on Day X
IN COVENTRY the Youth against the War campaign set up by the ISR has lots of support.
Adam Lee, Coventry
The idea of a protest on Day X, when war breaks out, is very popular amongst the youth in particular, with hundreds of students from many local schools taking leaflets and posters to help build for action.
The ISR is mobilising young people and students prepared to take action to stop the war from taking place. After the ISR stall in Coventry, six people signed up to join the ISR in one day, and we formed Coventry Youth against the War with students present from four schools, a college and the Universities.
Germany - cardboard tanks and die-ins build mass movement
IN GERMANY CWI members in Resistance International (RI - the German equivalent of ISR) are very active in building the anti-war movement.
CWI reporters in Germany
They distribute "strike cards" in schools, collecting pledges from school students to strike on 'day X', the day that war breaks out.
Their speaking tours and debates focus on vocational, technical and apprenticeship schools, aiming to reach working-class youth and linking workers' protests with our campaign against the war threat.
We advance the type of demands we raised on picket lines during the public-sector warning strikes against cuts late last year, such as: "Money for education not for war, armaments and weapons".
RI branches are mobilising for protests against Nato's Security conference on 8-9 February in Munich. Last year, these protests were forbidden, but many people (mostly young) turned up and demonstrated anyway.
RI branches are also mobilising for Berlin's 15 February demo. The "RI/School students against the war" branch in Berlin, which has built a good position, hopes to organise many school students for the demo.
On Day X itself, we're mobilising for school student and student strikes when war against Iraq starts,. All branches will organise actions against the war on day X.
In Kassel our "School students against the war" campaign has built anti-war committees in seven different schools and relates problems such as unemployment, or the underfunding of education, to the question of war.
We have organised public meetings in some schools. In one school 50 students attended, some as young as ten or eleven years old, but all serious about plans for a school student strike.
In Berlin, our "School students against the war/RI" group (formed after the very successful school students' strike we organised against war in Afghanistan) is now mobilising for another strike on Day X. We have anti-war committees in five different schools and organised public meetings in many others.
The committees organise "die-ins" where we dress up as "dead bodies" and "die" on the streets. It's very cold in a Berlin winter, but it helps us start discussions! We also work with a huge "cardboard tank" to attract attention and make it easier to talk to people on the street.
70 people took part in an RI meeting in Stuttgart called "School Students and Students against the war". Now we have weekly meetings with 40 or more people.
Our "school tour against the war" took stalls, banners etc. to schools, going into classes to tell school students about strike actions on day X. We distributed strike cards, where people interested in strike actions could contact us.
Sweden - School students plan strikes
SCHOOL STUDENTS from eleven Stockholm schools recently planned activities for the Pupils against the War campaign.
Mattias Bernhardsson, ISR, Sweden
They discussed how to show up the war profits of Swedish shipping companies and how to build resistance in the schools.
The meeting is mobilising for Stockholm's big anti-war protest on 15 February. Socialist school students' rights group Elevkampanjen is in the coalition organising the demonstration.
On 14 February, we will organise protest meetings in schools in preparation for the school student strikes Elevkampanjen will organise on the day the war starts.
We will also occupy the offices of the Swedish Shipping Organisation which supports big business profit-making by shipping arms.
Elevkampanjen/ISR members are involved in many other class issues as well.
A school in a poor area of Gothenburg went on strike before Christmas against teachers' redundancies. The strike spread rapidly involving 1,300 pupils.
Capitalist politicians want to cut the education budget heavily. Members of Elevkampanjen/ISR and RŠttvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI) in Gothenburg plan more protests against these social spending cuts as well as against the war.
In The Socialist 7 February 2003: