Germany: Youth Against the war organises national day of action

The recently launched campaign Youth Against War has organised a successful day of action on February 25th. The campaign was recently launched by different school students’, students’ and appretices’ anti war committees – many of them initiated by members of SAV (Sozialistische Alternative – German affiliate of the CWI) and Resistance International (German affiliate of International Socialist Resistance, the international anti-capitalist youth organisation).

YAW already exists in 14 different cities with youth in other areas having announced that they are planning to launch it. On February 25th protests were organised in ten cities. Even before this, on Saturday 22nd, 300 young people protested against the war on Iraq at a demonstration in Aachen. In Kassel another 300 youth protested in front of the gates of an arms company – Wegmann. They called on workers to take strike action against the war and especially against the arms industry. Marching through a working class area of Kassel which has a high immigrant population, people were standing in their windows applauding the young demonstrators.

In Berlin, 200 school students marched to the US and British embassy. In their chants and speeches they made clear that their protest was not solely directed against Bush and Blair but also against the de facto support for the US army by the German government. Speakers included a representative of SAV who called for a joint struggle against war and social cuts.

In Cologne, 300 youth marched to the office of the Green Party pointing to the support of their Ministers for the SPD government’s agreement to provide logistical support for the war.

Smaller actions of 40 or more young people occured in Bremen, Hamburg and Rostock. In Bremen the YAW dressed as weapons inspectors and wanted to "inspect the town hall". The police attempted to intimidate these protestors as a result.

One example of how quickly YAW has built support in new areas is that in Bamberg, Bavaria, a school students’ warning strike is planned for February 26th.

The most successful action however was the youth strike in Stuttgart with more than 10,000 participants (see CWI Online from 25 February). An all-out one day strike was able to paralyse the schools and organise one of the largest local anti-war demonstrations in Germany over the last weeks. Speakers included Franca Groener for SAV and Bern Riexinger for the public and service sector trade union Verdi who said that workers should follow the example of the youth strike and called for a five minute stoppage on the day the war starts. For YAW this is certainly not enough. They are planning youth strikes on day X all over the country and are calling and the trade unions and workers to join in the youth demonstrations on that day and take strike actions themselves.

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February 2003