STUDENT STRIKE FOR BOOKS NOT BOMBS!
No school March 5th
The Bush administration is intent on plunging America into an illegitimate and pre-emptive war that will only increase danger for Americans and the world. At the same time education, healthcare, the environment, and the economy are being neglected. Its time for youth and students to take a stand for America's future!
ONE-DAY NATIONAL STUDENT STRIKE, MARCH 5TH, 2003
Books Not Bombs! Stop The War Against Iraq!
The National Youth and Student Peace Coalition
(NYSPC) calls upon students on campuses across the United
States to join us in a one-day student strike on March 5th,
2003. See for details.
As students and youth, our futures will be shaped by the actions that the Bush administration takes today. A US attack on Iraq will inevitably:
- Endanger the lives of US servicemen and women
- Increase the suffering and misery of the Iraqi people while slaughtering thousands of innocent people
- Encourage terror attacks against the US around the world and at home,
- Be used as an excuse to erode civil liberties
- Divert resources from education and social services
- Subvert historical precedent and international law
As students and youth, the future of this country, we are disturbed by the lack of attention paid to the real needs of Americans, especially education. Financial aid opportunities and family income are rapidly losing ground to the rising cost of higher education. *1
Low- income families are facing decreasing access to education. Student debt is increasing. *2 All while the US military budget steadily increases (12% from 2000 to 2002 *3).
We say NO! to this war of terror to increase American power and take control of strategic oil supplies.
JOIN US IN A STUDENT STRIKE MARCH 5TH TO DEMAND:
- End the drive for military action and sanctions that target the people of Iraq
- Fund education to ensure that everyone in the US has access to higher education - Re-allocate military funds to eliminating poverty and building peace and home and abroad
- Declare opposition to the war
- Disclose and eliminate military research contracts
- Freeze or lower tuition and fees
The Bush Administration's war on Iraq is a venture for control of the region and its oil supplies, not national security, democracy, or human rights. Our campuses provide implicit support for this through military research, recruiting, and ROTC programs. As students who value freedom, democracy, and our education we say: THERE IS AN ALTERNATIVE! The best way to improve our national security is to halt drives for illegal and immoral wars and redirect public funds from the military and arms trade to education and social services at home and humanitarian aid abroad. Take a stand with students across the nation on March 5th to build toward this collective vision.
1. College Board (as reported in the Michael A. Fletcher, Washington Post, Dec. 10, 2001, Page A01)
2. Sherschel, Particia M. USA Group Report. June, 2000. See:
3. Deen, Thalif. 'U.N. says Nations Reveal Arms Spending - but Spend More.' Inter Press Service. Oct. 7, 2002
*As of Jan. 1st, 2003, this campaign is heating up!
We need your help! In addition to organizing on your own campus, the campaign needs your help with outreach, resource development, and fundraising. See for details as they become available!
*NYSPC is a coalition made up of the following national organizations: 180/Movement for Democracy and Education, Black Radical Congress-Youth Division, Campus Greens, Muslim Students Association of the US and Canada, National Youth Advocacy Coalition, Not With Our
Money, Student Environmental Action Coalition, Student
Peace Action Network, Students United for a Responsible Global Environment, Students Transforming and Resisting Corporations, United Students Against Sweatshops,
United States Student Association, Young Communist League, Young Democratic Socialists, Young People's Socialists League.
From: Andy Burns
Why a National Student Strike?
National Youth and Student Peace Coalition
This essay attempts to cover some of the strategic reasons why American Students should strike on March 5th for Education funding and in opposition to the War on Iraq.
1. The Power of a National Strike and Strategy
For obvious reasons, local actions which address the Bush-war-on-Iraq issue operating individually, while important, do not have the power to access the attention of national media or the federal government. A nationally-coordinated student strike will have much more impact than a strike any one school does on its own. There are plans for several local student strikes. However, none of these will be able to reach the scale that the NYSPC is planning and with the reach it has. NYSPC is made up of 15 national youth and campus organizations with literally millions of members.
Our organizations' e-mail and postal mail networks are indeed massive. Many campus organizers look to our organizations for guidance and advice for creating and disseminating national strategies of various kinds for various issues we work on. A combined, national strategy put forth by each organization towards the execution of a massive show of resistance to the US war plan will give us a fighting chance of sparking something much bigger than any of us imagined.
2. The Power of Anticipation
A walkout on the day after the war is a more transient action that will come and go quickly and be merely a blip on the radar screen. The power of the March 5th date is that there is time to build for it. At the local level, it creates a buzz because organizers and participating students on campuses have to go through a campaign and debate process: writing letters in the school paper, having debates in student government, etc., discussing in their classes whether folks should strike. And nationally, NYSPC media team will have ample time to build for it in the national corporate media, thereby increasing its reach and significance. It makes it a bigger deal to a larger amount of people because of the anticipation that it creates and the decision it forces the mainstream of campus people to make.
Conversely, a seemingly spontaneous reaction (walkout, protests, sit-ins, etc.) on the day of a US bombing or invasion of Iraq is of little significance to Bush,
Inc. because frankly, 1) its going to be small, and 2) its what we always do. The typical situation is that when the US bombs start dropping, 30-50 of the same activists are out in the street because, being in the activist circle of information we're the only ones who knew about it. A concrete date gives organizers the chance to access the non-activist mainstream, many of whom are against the war, but normally wouldn't pay attention to an event that wasn't part of an organized, prepared campaign (posters, tabling, door-knocking, e-mail blitzes, phone-banking, etc). A specific date gives local/national organizers the ability to do preparatory events such as a press conference or week of lead-up actions, which also builds anticipation and shows the national corporate media how significant this action is. A strategy of building awareness and educating through anticipation will give us a much more widespread-and- thoroughly-reaching voice with which to pursue the movement's goals.
3. The Significance of the Date
It is generally assumed that some kind of US military activity will start in February, although nothing is certain. Especially so, given the semi-successful opposition that France, Germany, and Russia have put forth to the Bush war plans and knowing that the US, in order to seem internationalist, has to go back to the UN in order to receive blessing for a military. Which there is little doubt that a war will happen, there is a possibility that these countries will muster enough resistance to at least delay the US' plans.
Furthermore, if the bombing/invasion does begin in February date there is also speculation that the US may simply bomb for a while, before attacking with ground troops, possibly even waiting until this Fall to advance onto Baghdad (see: ).
For all of these possible US military plans, March will be a crucial time. The necessity, then, of a massive demonstration of US opposition to whatever the then current US activity is will still be clear and present at the point of March 5th - the strike date. It is necessary and predictable that the US citizen resistance to a war will continue to have political relevance on March 5th and on, and it is clear that we do have the capacity, energy, networking potential, and strategic/political relevance to pull off this nationally-coordinated, "hard-dated" strike if we plan well enough and organize hard enough . A massive rate of participation in the strike will show that the initial furor of protest around when the war starts was not a fluke.
4. 'Strike' or 'Walkout'?
An important question for sure. It begs the question: 'what's the difference?'
Student Walkout: A walkout is the simple act of getting students to all get up out of their seats and walk out of class at the same time. This has connotations of being mainly a high school tactic, though not entirely. Since high school students are not allowed to leave class without permission, high school walkouts make the point that the students are not as easily controlled as the administration thinks or wants. Unlike a workers' action, which is usually preceded by a mass meeting at the which the decision to down tools is made together, high school students at their present level of political organization are unable to do this. A high school or college/university strike relies on individual students deciding to get up and walk out of class on their own. Many will succumb to the pressure of parents and school authorities and stay in class/school.
Student Strike: In a strike, students refuse to attend classes and thus bring the campus to a halt. Faculty and staff can also strike. A student strike is difficult to organize, as it requires that a majority of students participate. This is typically considered a collegiate activity, though as mentioned, high schools sometimes 'strike.' A strike raises the ante in a few ways: It is perceived as being a long-term action, whereas a walkout can be seen as a one time deal. While students may 'walkout' to begin a strike, a strike means they are staying out for a while. Since the demand is aimed more at the federal government than at campus administrators, NYSPC is assuming that most students will be back in school the next day and not continue striking until military action ends. That is why we are calling for a one-day strike.
Another powerful component of a strike is the way it is perceived psychologically. It conjures up images of labor solidarity, picket lines, and mass meetings.
In many places, it is considered uncouth and even unhealthy to break strike. If the proper ground is laid for a strike, the power of inertia is on the side of the organizers, not the administration. During a well-timed and well-organized strike, its difficult to get people go back to school. A 'strike' is noted for shutting down an institution with sheer mass non-participation. A walkout is usually a smaller band of people who are causing a stir by getting up and leaving class at a certain time, similar to wearing armbands in solidarity.
Regarding the March 5th date, there is power in calling a 'strike' as opposed to a 'walkout.' If our goal is stopping a war, and if our target is Bush and Co., then a national 'strike' is much more powerful. The word itself signals an escalation of tactics from the various activist pledges, demonstrations in Washington, New York, and San Francisco, and 'walkouts' of November. Internationally, the news that 200-300 campuses are 'on strike,' will cripple Bush's credibility and the assumption he has the support of the American people. In the weeks and days before the March 5th date, NPR, the BBC and other news networks should pick it up and run with it, which will give us more publicity and increase participation.
Using the term 'strike' is more pushy and may be considered unrealistic and undoable by some, especially in some more conservative areas. NYSPC is therefore making it clear to local organizers that it wants maximum participation. On some campuses it may be possible to actually get most of the students to miss class. However, it may be that we are only able to persuade 10-30% to actually participate. Nonetheless, this is a huge number of students compared to most student actions in the past decade, and we should consider it a success. We should be realistic about our possibilities for moving the apathetic hordes that inhabit our campuses. If we only want to call the action a 'Walkout' locally then, the NYSPC strike task force will still consider the local event a part of the national action and do publicity for it as such. The national NYSPC has voted to refer to the action in all its materials as a student 'strike.'
We as a movement have more of an opportunity to call for such an action that ever. It is almost a given that the military will have invaded or at least bombed by that point. To many people, including students, this invasion is the most egregious foreign policy action the US government has ever taken. It will surely involve many American casualties, and countless Iraqi ones, not to mention a lengthy and costly occupation all unprovoked and likely without the sanction of the United Nations. It is likely to bring on echo of the 1960's era in terms of the angst around it. Once the military combat has died down and the occupation regime is installed and functional, protest potential will have dissipated. We should not pass up our chance to not only signal massive non-support, but also make our campus-based movement stronger for the long-haul.
And sorry for the cross-posting, but I want to get this to as many people as possible. I'm curious to see what'll happen.