The National Student Strike for Books Not Bombs, will take place March 5th on campuses across the US and the world. The strike is building a wave of campus sentiment against the Bush Administration’s war plans in Iraq. The event was originally called for and is being coordinated by the National Youth and Student Peace Coalition (NYSPC), a collection of 15 student and youth organizations whose members organizations represent large and diverse constituencies stretching across the US.
Thousands of students on over 200 campuses have pledged their support for this day of national student resistance.
On March 5th, high school and college students will demonstrate their collective opposition to the Bush Administration’s plans for a pre-emptive, unilateral war in Iraq and call for better-funded and more accessible schools. Students are also demanding that their campuses serve education instead of war by removing ROTC and JROTC and replacing them with financial aid and college preparatory programs. They call for local administrative non-compliance with and the federal repeal of the provision of the “No Child Behind Act” which forces high schools to give their students names over to military recruiters or lose federal funds.
“We demand that Bush bring our troops home now. We don’t want to see our friends die in a needless war,” said Amanda Flott, a junior at the University of Kansas.
Many students say that the latest round of tuition hikes and aid cuts across the country are a “war tax” on the poor. “Working class youth will have to fight and die while students at home are seeing their education undermined,” said Ben Waxman, a Philadelphia area high school student. “I want to go to college, not fight for global US domination.”
On Feb. 15th, the world experienced the largest outpouring of support for peace since the Vietnam era as an estimated 6 million people worldwide attended protests in over 500 cities. “Now the campuses are doing our part to stand up for a better tomorrow,” said Amanda Crater, a junior at UC-Berkeley. The worldwide peace demonstrations have significantly increased awareness of and participation in the strike.
Since the initial call to action was circulated by the NYSPC, students across the world have joined on to the Books Not Bombs strike campaign. In Austraila, Spain, Bulgaria, Canada, France, Brazil, and Scotland students will be striking in solidarity with the US students. Sarah Ahmed of the Muslim Students Association said, “its the people on the streets and on the campuses across the globe who are giving UN diplomats their credibility to resist this war.”
As a prepatory event, students will hold local press conferences early next week to announce their strikes and walkouts. An as-accurate-as-possible list of high schools and colleges participating in the strike will be posted at <www.nyspc.net> no later than Wednesday evening, Feb. 26. See <www.nyspc.net> for more details including a press kit and weblinks to NYSPC member organizations.