Ireland North: School Students United Against Sectarianism

In response to the sectarian killing of 20 year-old postal worker Daniel McColgan and the sectarian attacks and threats on school students, Socialist Youth has set up School Students United Against Sectarianism.

Already the campaign has hit the streets collecting hundreds of signatures in support of the campaign. A network of school students from all schools is being compiled to organise the campaign in the schools and unite both Catholic and Protestant students against sectarian attacks and threats.

We are calling for students to follow the brilliant example set by the workers of Northern Ireland and organise for a one day school students strike against sectarianism.

School Students United Against Sectarianism is holding a launching meeting for school students to discuss mobilising students against the sectarian killings, attacks and threats. A committee of representatives form all schools needs to be set up to bring the campaign into the schools.

All school students should be entitled to go to and from school free from sectarian intimidation. Attacks from both sides must be met with mass opposition from students in both communities. The campaign also needs to link up with the trade unions and all genuine community groups to build a movement against sectarianism.

Sectarianism has risen dramatically in schools and amongst sections of young people. According to a recent survey, an estimated 66% of people now live in an area where the residents population is either 90% Protestant or 90% Catholic.

Some 68% of people aged 18 to 25 have never had a meaningful conversation with anyone of the other denomination.

Poverty breeds sectarianism

Young people in working class areas can see that none of the political parties in the Stormont Executive are creating decent jobs, providing facilities for young people nor doing anything about the scandalous levels of poverty in areas like North Belfast. Because there appears to be no alternative, the paramilitaries are able to tap into a mood of discontent and whip up sectarian hatred.

School Students United Against Sectarianism and Socialist Youth want to build that alternative which unites young people to fight for the common interests of young people. Young people should unite and fight for decent jobs, a £6 minimum wage for all, for more resources and facilites in schools, against privatisation of education through PFI, free third level education, decent facilities for youth in communities etc.

The first step is to join School Students United Against Sectarianism today and build the campaign in as many schools as possible.

A socialist alternative for youth

Socialist Youth is campaigning to build a political alternative to the sectarian parties and their capitalist policies. Socialist Youth is the new youth wing of the Socialist Party. It is open to all young people to join who wish to build a strong young socialist movement to challenge the corrupt capitalist system. Socialist Youth is a campaigning organisation, fighting on issues like against tuition fees and against low pay. None of the mainstream political parties offer anything to young people- just sectarianism, poverty and exploitation. If you are sick of sectarian politics and want to fight for a socialist future, Join Socialist Youth today!

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January 2002