The Guardian March 5, 2003


March 5 student strike to demand "books not bombs"

Following the highly successful February 14-16 weekend of global actions 
students around the world are organising a one-day strike, including in 
Australia. Dan Margolis, writing for the communist People's Weekly 
World reports from New York.

Under the slogan "Books not bombs," thousands of students at hundreds of 
campuses across the country are planning a one-day strike on March 5 to 
demand better funding for public education and an end to the Bush 
administration's drive for war in Iraq.

The strike is shaping up to be the biggest student action since the Vietnam 
War.

"We just can't sit in our classes while our government is doing something 
that's going to affect the world for decades to come", Amanda Crater, a 
spokesperson for the coalition organising the strike, the National Youth 
and Student Peace Coalition (NYSPC), told the World.

"Every dollar spent on the [war] is a dollar that could have been spent for 
the schools. I mean, where else is that money coming from? Meanwhile, 
tuition is going up, fees are getting higher, and schools are getting 
crunched."

Students will demand that the Bush administration end its drive for 
military actions in Iraq, fund education, and re-allocate military funds to 
eliminating poverty.

Local issues such as demanding campus administrators declare opposition to 
the war, disclose and eliminate military research contracts, freeze or 
lower tuition, and transfer money for JROTC programs to college preparation 
and counselling are also part of the strike.

"The biggest question that I have is, for my security is it worth spending 
hundreds of billions of dollars on a war on Iraq? Or is it better to take 
that money and invest it in education so that I can go to college?" said 
Ben Waxman, a high school senior and member of the American Friends Service 
Committee.

"The Bush administration wants to sell to me that somehow the people of 
Iraq are some kind of threat to me while in reality the biggest threat to 
my future is my inability to be able to pay for college."

"Students are responding to the strike because we see this not just as an 
international issue, but as a domestic issue. At the same time they have 
hundreds of billions of dollars to invade and occupy Iraq, school budgets 
are being cut in public schools, tuition is being increased", said 
Adanjesus Marin, national co-coordinator of the Young Communist League USA, 
a member organisation of the coalition calling the strike.

"The money that they would spend on the war should instead go to fully fund 
our education."

In addition to the strike, students will hold mock elections.

"We will participate in a national anti-war mock election in which we show 
our electoral power against the war, and also our willingness to vote if 
candidates address our issues," said Erica Smiley, the president of the 
Black Radical Congress youth division, another NYSPC member organisation.

"We'll be sending the ballots to Congress."

The NYSPC is composed of various youth and students organisations, 
including the United States Students Association, Muslim Student 
Association of the United States and Canada, Campus Greens, United Students 
Against Sweatshops, Student Peace Action Network and Young Democratic 
Socialists.

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For more information visit http://www.nyspc.net. The author can be reached at dmargolis@pww.org

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