Iraq: Day X – Seattle and Ohio

The student walkout in Seattle on Thursday 20 March was a tremendous success. Students from over 30 Seattle colleges, high schools and middle schools (8 colleges and 22 high schools and middle schools) took part in the walkout. There was a North side rally of 7-800 students at the University of Washington (UW), and a South side rally of 2000 students at Seattle Central Community College (SCCC). Both rallies than marched to downtown Seattle and had a citywide student walkout rally there.


Day X. US.

Eight thousand Seattle Students walk out

The walkout received a lot of media coverage in the mainstream Seattle media (daily newspaper, radio and TV). Our members were frequently interviewed.

The Seattle branch of Socialist Alternative played the decisive role in initiating, organising and leading up these walkouts. We have been campaigning for student walkouts in Seattle since October. We had official Socialist Alternative speakers at all three walkout rallies. Our speakers talked about the example of workers going on strike against the war in other parts of the world, how workers and young people in the US are being made to pay for the war, and how capitalism is the root cause of the war.

We had a good intervention at the walkout. We are still tabulating the exact results of our intervention, but we sold at least 200 copies of the paper, collected the names of over 100 people interested in more information about Socialist Alternative, and sold a lot of literature, T-shirts, anti-war posters, etc. We also handed out several thousand leaflets advertising a public meeting we are having next week. We plan to use the meeting as a way to inspire people to join SA.

Now the main task for us is to urgently follow up our contacts and focus on recruitment.

One thousand Oberlin students walkout

The Oberlin branch of Socialist Alternative started an anti-war coalition at the beginning of this school year.  Through this coalition we organized a walkout for Day X at both Oberlin College, and at the Oberlin High School.  The walkout today, on 20 March, was an overwhelming success.  About 1,000 people attended a protest in the central square of Oberlin.  (Oberlin College only has 2,800 students, and the high school only has 300 students).  At this protest we had two official speakers from Socialist Alternative.

The vast majority of the people who walked out were college students. Some high school students attended by having their parents come and take them out of school early, but the rest of the students were unable to walkout because of the repression of the high school administration.  The high school declared a lock down, and brought in state police with police dogs to prevent the students from leaving.  The police were authorized to use force to keep the students in school.  Then the entire school was moved into the auditorium in the center of the building and locked there for three hours.  From the auditorium they could not hear our protest outside.

From the rally in the center square of Oberlin we marched to the high school and started a very militant demonstration chanting, "Walk-out" and "unlock the doors."

Ted Virdone, Oberlin, Ohio

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March 2003