Iraq: Stop the war in Iraq – Spontaneous school walkouts in Britain

Socialist Party member, Steve Bush, describes a spontaneous school strike against war that took place yesterday in the town of Tiverton in Devon, England.

Day X. Britain.

Spontaneous school walk outs in Britain

This and other recent examples of spontaneous walkouts at schools in Britain and elsewhere gives an indication of the potential for mass school and workplace strikes on Day X and for the duration of a war. CWI online will provide reports of anti-war protests from CWI members around the world.

"I got a text message this morning saying, ’We’re in the Town Centre’. After some confusion it turned out to be from Martyn, our new ISR members in Tiverton, who with a group of 50 school students from Tiverton High School had walked out against the war and were protesting in Tiverton High Street. When I got down there, after literally running into town, they had banners, balloons, whistles, kazoos and were chanting through traffic cones! I immediately distributed a load of our posters, which swiftly adorned both them and the Town Centre. The students were wearing them, waving them and posting them everywhere. I also had a good chat with them all and passed around a petition board and ISR join cards – some of their placards already had the ISR logo drawn on them! The local police were very friendly towards the students. The students petitioned and got a pretty positive response

"After discussing with them and distributing the material for an hour or so, I made a brief speech about the importance of the action they were taking and pointed them to the ‘Socialist’ paper and the reports of action nationally and internationally. I pointed out that their protest was legitimate and the only form of democratic expression they had since they were unable to vote. I also pointed out to them that they should build for an even bigger action on the day war breaks out. I got a rousing reception and a lot of thanks. The copies of the Socialist I had all disappeared rapidly along with ISR and Youth Against the War join cards.

"Protests are taking off in other places as well as Tiverton! Tomorrow in Wiveliscombe practically the entire Kingsmead Community College is walking out with the practical endorsement of the Head, who has written to parents explaining that he will not stop students leaving, but once they are off the school premises he is not responsible for them."

Steve Bush, Devon.

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March 2003