National Youth and Student Peace Coalition
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 4th 2003
National Student Strike tomorrow!
300 US schools expected to organize walkouts
See the updated list of campuses at: www.nyspc.net.strikelist.html
California List below
The "National Student Strike for Books Not Bombs," will take place tomorrow, March 5th on campuses across the US and the world. Tens of thousands thousands of US students will stop participating in business as usual for some part of the day to demonstrate to the world that the campuses do not accept the Bush vision of endless war decreased opportunity.
"We're not going to sit around while we watch ouselves get priced out of education," said Ben Waxman, a 17-year old student from Philadelphia. "We're going to resist."
As of Sunday evening, 230 high school and college campuses have pledged their support for this day of national student resistance, with new school registrations continuing to pour in each minute. Organizers expect 300 campuses organizing a local strike or walkout.
Local participants are planning a diverse array of tactics including teach-oins, sit-ins, rallies, banner-drops, puppet shows, snowball fights, and of course, strikes and walkouts as they call for their campuses and government to serve education instead of war.
Students will walk out of classes all over New York City during the morning, and a final convergence point will be a massive rally at Hunter College at 2:30 pm. Philadelphia, Chicago, and Los Angeles schools will also hold city-wide student rallies.
At many convergence points, youth and students will take a "vote" to stop the war and iincrease fundig for education. The ballots will be counted and sent to congressional representatives to underscore the message. "We're excerising our electoral power while taking direct action," said Waxman.
Resources for press, including an updated list campuses and local organizer's contact info are available on the NYSPC's website at: www.nyspc.net/presspg.html See the New York Time's weekend story on the strike at: www.nyspc.net/nyt3-1.html
The "National Student Strike" event is coordinated
by the National Youth and Student Peace Coalition (NYSPC). The call for a
student strike has been taken up by students in Canada, Spain, Australia,
the UK, France, Switzerland.
Beverly Hills High Beverly Hills CA USA
Cal Arts San Fernando CA USA
Cal-St.-Sacremento Campus Peace Action Sacremento CA USA Ali Tabatabai
Chapman University Orange County Student Alliance Orange CA USA Troy Pickard
Chico State Chico CA USA
Clairemont High School San Diego CA USA Alexis Peppard
Claremont McKenna College Claremont Colleges Student Peace Coalition Claremont CA USA Marisol Enyart
Crossroads School Los Angeles CA USA Adrienne Lever 213-280-7285
De Anza College Women's Solidarity Movement Cupertino CA USA Jessie Lucero 650-323-4498
Deer Valley High School Antioch CA USA Craig Shane 510-754-0452
Drew College Preparatory High School San Francisco CA USA Amir Sberlo
Fairfax High School Los Angeles CA USA
Fullerton Union High School Fulerton CA USA Catlin Orr 714-392-5731
Harvey Mudd College Claremont Colleges Student Peace Coalition Claremont CA USA Keara Duggan
Laces High School Los Angeles CA USA
Los Gatos High School Los Angeles CA USA Catlin Powers 408-656-8603
Mills College Oakland CA USA Alexis 510-636 7157
Mira Costa College Oceanside Valencia CA USA Alberto Camona 760-940-1584
Occidental College Los Angeles CA USA Gabriela Armada
Pitzer College Claremont Colleges Student Peace Coalition Claremont CA USA Keara Duggan
Pomona College Claremont Colleges Student Peace Coalition Claremont CA USA Caitlin Dwyer 909-607-6310
Rancho Beuna Vista High School Vista CA USA Elyse Stephens 760-809-5229
San Benito High School Hollister CA USA Mason Dungy 801-636-3936
San Fernando High School Los Angeles CA USA Gabriela Armada
San Francisco State Univety San Francisco CA USA Peter Mueller 415-282-3172
San Jose State University Students For Justice, Muslim Student Associaiton San Jose CA USA Adam
Santa Paula High School Santa Paula CA USA Angelica
Scripps College Claremont Colleges Student Peace Coalition Claremont CA USA Keara Duggan
Sierra College Associated Students of Sierra College Grass Valley CA USA Michi Valleries 530-346-2368
St. Mary's College Moraga CA USA Daniela Simunovic 559-281-5772
Stanford University Stanford Labor Action Coalition, Young Communist League Palo Alto CA USA Clara Webb 650-387-5503
Tennyson High School Hayward CA USA Rachelle Santa Cruz
Torrey Pines High School SPAN San Diego CA USA Kate Amos 858-342-4823
UC-Berkeley Berkeley Stop the War Coalition Berkeley CA USA Amanda Crater 510-666-1228
UC-Irvine Students Against War Irvine CA USA Melissa Rodriguez 949-370-9894
UC-Santa Barbara Student Coalition for Peace Santa Barbara CA USA
We had a meeting of more than 25 students and youth from high schools and colleges around LA and outside of LA as well. What follows is a brief summation of the discussion and comments of folks at the meeting.
Some of the schools in attendance: Fairfax HS, Burroughs HS, LACES HS, Cal Arts, UCLA, Mount Sac College, Pitzer, San Fernando Valley HS, Mission College,Youth Student Network of the October 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, Santa Monica City College, Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade, NION student organizers, etc
We started off with introductions and an 'ice-breaker." We had each person say their name and what was the coolest thing they had seen in the anti war movement so far. Here is a short list:
the die-ins in the nion contingents, tens of thousands of people on October 6th, graffiti against the war, youth from LA going to Palestine, the last big demo in SF-'more people than I had ever seen in my life!", the walk out at Montebello High school when the kids climbed the fence, the walk-out at Fairfax High School, the walk out at Laces HS, the New York student Walk out on Nov 20th .
Why Should We Organize City Wide Walk-Outs Now?
We went around to each person and had them say why we should raise the level of resistance and organize these citywide walk-outs now.
It's insane what they are talking about-I feel like I can't just sit there and not do something about it. If we don't do some mass resistance-how far are they going to go with this? Now is the time to get some 'ganas'.
They're going in there for real. They're serious about destroying Baghdad and all these innocent people who got nothing to do with this. If we don't do this now then Iraq will disappear and pretty soon half of the world will be gone.
The gov't has gone too far and our gov't is shoving the constitution down our throats- I just want some truth from our government. But how can you expect truth from a government that gets up in front of the world during the State of the Union and 9 out of 10 points he makes are lies? What else can we expect from a gov't that sole an election?
I imagine what they are going to do to the Iraqi people. I imagine someone's home in rubble, destroyed. Imagine all your friends were dead. Children. And they expect to do this with the entire world. The Philippines, Nepal.
The polls already show the majority of people are against the war-but they don't even care. More important than why we should stop this now is how we are going to stop this.
I'm Iraqi and they killed a bunch of us when they put him into power and now they want to kill even more when they take him out of power. Education. Spread knowledge to people who are misinformed-need speakers, etc., pamphlets.
It's an important time to be alive. An important time in the history of the world. Something has to be done. Not just for us but for the world. My family came here escaping what they US was doing to our country. Now here we have to live in fear. There's nowhere left to go.
I have a little sister-can't help thinking this is who they are killing-who they've been killing. If they can't help themselves then we have to.
We live in the most powerful country in the world. We have a special responsibility. In the words of Jose Marti
It's our birthright not to get puppeted by the government. We can kick them in the gut.
This is the last 2 weeks in the lives of many of the people of Iraq potentially. We've been given a situation that we might not like to see but here we are. The people of Iraq do not want to hear that this war is inevitable. They want to hear us say we are going to put everything we can on the line including our bodies. They [principals, administrators] tell you [the students] that you're not gonna have a future [if you walk-out]. Well, I'm not gonna have a future if I allow them to invade countries and destroy the planet. How will it look when our children look back and say the US was invading 25 countries and they ask why you didn't do anything?
[This war] is like George Bush's plan to cut down the trees before they burn down.
My goal is to influence people the way I have been influenced.
Susan Sarandon said, "I don't want to live in the new Rome." I don't want to be a good German. Let's not repeat history.
Not just rise up for the people of the world but with the people of the world.
Kids are getting attacked and threatened for speaking out. What is the motivation for them to continue?
We are 2 weeks before this war starts-this national moratorium will be an important step in that direction. This war is only inevitable if we roll over.
At Roosevelt kids are 5 times as likely to be approached by an army recruiter as a college recruiter.
The motivation for any schools to walk out is knowing that other schools are walking out. That it's not local-it's hundreds of thousands if not millions who will be doing this nation wide.
We have gotten all kids of press from the walk outs. TV stations were out there, we were written up in the LA Times, on the radio. One of the goals is for people to find out what is going on and this is a great way of doing it. Even kids who walk out just for the hell of it end up learning more about the war and why we need to stop it.
I remember there was hundreds of walk outs during the Prop 187 battle. That was the fight to stop this legislation that would make it illegal for the kids of immigrants to get education or healthcare, making teachers into INS agents. There were these walk-outs and they [the school administrations] came back at people with suspensions, etc. People felt bad. Like they didn't accomplish anything because they didn't do the walk outs perfectly or something. We kept going, though, because this guy kept telling us, "What does this mean to the people?" Well, what does this [these walk-outs now] mean to the people of Iraq? The Vice Principal of my school tried to make me feel guilty that I had put myself in danger for hopping the fence-that this would go down on my permanent record-but it's not true. What you [the students who organized these walk outs now] did was righteous. Even the people who didn't really know anything about the reason for the walk out, I saw them sitting on the ground outside during the walk out reading the flyers so it affected everyone.
They back off when they see the students have back up. They have the back up of a whole movement. They called the organizer of the walk out of Montebello HS into the principal's office. The principal had her crying cause he was standing over her telling her. "Admit what you did was wrong! Admit it!" She refused. He had papers on his desk to expel her and the translator wasn't even telling the girl's mother this. I [nion organizer] got there and told the translator to tell the mother what the principal was really saying. I told the principal what he did was wrong. It was illegal to chained doors of the school shut.
The kids had a constitutional right to walk out and he had kids assaulted by the police on his property. What did have to say about that? He grabbed the student organizer so hard during the walk out that he left a bruise on her arm. I told him the girl had the bruise documents and that he should be the one apologizing to her! He backed up. And stammered and said he was sorry. He moved the expulsion papers off his desk and got the girl a pass to go back to class. That shows we can back these kids up!
HOW DID YOU ORGANIZE THESE WALK OUTS?
I was walking through campus and a girl handed me a nion flyer. I saw the information about the day of resistance and the walk outs and decided that nion was doing enough to get the word out. I went to the website and got the number and called up and got more flyers. I gave a short speech to a student assembly. Teachers I knew let me give announcements in their classes. I made sure that everyone I came in contact with for those two days either got a piece of paper from me [a flyer] or a lecture about what we needed to do. A friend of mine snuck onto the school sound system and made an announcement about the walk out as well. I showed up on the day with 1500 pieces of material-flyers, posters, etc. I did a couple of quick announcements in a few more classes. I left class early before the time of the walk out and waited. 1,000 kids walked out. It was amazing.
Burroughs High School Student
I got a flyer from a nion organizer. She handed it to me and said Jan 27th is national day of resistance. You should organize something on your campus. I took a stack of the flyers and started handing them out to my friends. I gave one to one of my teachers and she said, "You should have a walk out." After that I got together with my friends and told them we were really go to do this. We passed out the fliers and made some announcements. On that day I thought maybe 50 kids would come out. I walked out of class and saw all these bright stickers. I knew the nion organizer had shown up. 200 students ended up walking out.
LACES High School Student.
I was inspired by the walk out at Burbank and Fairfax. We made a flyer with the reason why people should walk out. Made announcements about in classes and past out the flyers. The principal came behind me and made announcements to every class that there might be repercussions if we walked out. He told me he thought it was fine that I do it but was kind of not helping at the same time. He was in Manzanar as a kid, a Japanese interment camp fought against the Vietnam War. At the time of the walk out 200 of us walked out and we walked for about 3 miles up and and back to the campus. I asked the principal if he was going to suspend us for doing it and he said he was too proud of us to think about that now.
San Fernando High School former student
I am not a student there anymore, but I got one of the NION walk out flyers and decided to take them up to my old school. I stood outside with my friends and started handing them out. At first I thought nothing is going to happen cause the kids didn't seem that enthusiastic. I handed one to this one student who told me he was getting signatures on a petition to stop the war. I asked him to take a stack of flyers inside the school. He took a big old stack. I think he must have been the one who got it organized. 200 kids ended up walking out.
Montebello HS told by the nion organizer that was there.
A student there got the flyer from Libros Revolution Bookstore. He friend her volunteers there hooked her up with us. She came by and got more flyers from us and posters. She told us that she was worried cause the principal had threatened the students who participated and said the police would be waiting for them. Also they told the security guards to hassle any kid in the hallways who were got talking about the walk out. When the day came the principal chained all the doors of the school shut. The kids decided to run out to the football field. They stood there chanting anti war slogans. Then one kid climbed the big ole fence that surrounded the field. He got up there with a placard and was shouting and holding it up. Then kids started climbing the fence. Then they found a door that wasn't locked and the rest of them rushed it until they got outside. The chanted and had signs that said honk if you are against the war and passers by were honking their horns. We had some nion organizers out there and a legal observer but the cops still arrested one the nion organizers and confiscated the bullhorn.
There was a sense of solidarity and accomplishment from the kids out there.
Definitely fierce determination.
What should we do now?
Get the word out! We are going make flyers with educational info and the info about the walk outs for the national moratorium to stop the war on Iraq ASAP.
We made plans to have regular meetings and invite more kids from more different high schools to the next meeting where they can meet other organizers and get loaded up on supplies.
We are going to get folks on the national conference calls that are happening weekly so that kids who go to different schools and feel isolated can find out that there are kids all over the country doing the same thing.
Starting talking about plans for convergence spots around LA and greater LA (the valley, north Hollywood, Pasadena, all of over) where there central intersections or locations where a few schools can meet up. For instance, the intersection of Olympic and San Vicente in LA is equidistant from Fairfax HS, LA High School, Hollywood High School and LACES.
We are going to start getting to the principals and administrations of all the schools and let them know there is a movement backing these kids up and they need to back off and keep their hands off of them.
Get out to as many schools, and events as possible. A big one is the big demo this weekend on the 15th. We are gonna have a crew out there whose only responsibility is to get contact info from students that are out there from all over so we can hook them into the Nat'l Moratorium WALK OUTS!
and the breaking news is:
Hungry for "feeder" marches??? standby for March 5, the day of the National Moratorium against the war on Iraq, called by Not in Our Name, and the National Students Strike, called by a national students' coalition. NION, the students, and United for Peace & Justice in 3 separate meetings Monday evening expect to be marching towards Wash Sq Park late March 5 afternoon. Make your arrangements with National Lawyers Guild, and stand by for more info ~~~ arun 718-561-6055