[act-ma] Meeting Saturday July 28th: Exploring a Student Walkout Against the War

Joseph G. Ramsey joseph.ramsey at tufts.edu
Wed Jul 25 10:47:54 PDT 2007

First Meeting to Explore Organizing a Student Walkout Against the War

Saturday July 28th 1pm - 4pm
33 Harrison Ave.  5th Floor, Chinatown, Boston
(Near the Chinatown T Stop on the Orange line)

Google Maps: 

Endorsed by the Greater Boston Stop the Wars Coalition and Socialist 
Contact Chris at 617-233-2050

The call for a National Student Walkout Against the War this fall has 
come out of student groups around the country.  Come discuss bringing 
the walkout to Boston.  Below is the text of the call to action written 
Youth Against War and Racism in Minneapolis.

This fall, lets mobilize for a...
National Student Antiwar Walkout

A Call to Action from Minnesota Youth Against War and Racism

With every passing day the disaster in Iraq worsens. Over 3,500 U.S.
soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi's have been killed in a war
for oil and empire.

In the November 2006 Congressional elections the American people sent a
clear antiwar message. Yet the new Democratic Congress refuses to bring
the troops home, instead giving Bush another $100 billion to implement
his escalation of the war. The situation is clear: It's up to us,
ordinary people, to build a massive antiwar movement which shakes the
foundations of this country and forces the ruling elite to end the war.

Mass direct action
Ending this war will take a variety of tactics, but we think a mass
national walkout should be the central focus of the student antiwar
movement next fall, to show that we will not allow business as usual to
continue until the government ends its brutal war in Iraq. Public
opposition to the war is huge and still growing. A genuinely national
student walkout, involving hundreds of schools and tens of thousands of
students could inspire and push forward the wider antiwar movement.

In high schools, , walkouts are acts of collective defiance and
solidarity. We urge college activists, who often have more resources and
experience, to help spread the walkout call into your community high
schools. While at some colleges walkout calls have received less of an
echo, campus protests that link up with high school walkouts can inspire
wider participation.

While many direct actions involve only a small dedicated core, walkouts
are a form of mass civil disobedience that can unite thousands of youth
in struggle. Walkouts disrupt business as usual and demand the attention
of the entire student body -- as well as the wider community and media.

Through walkouts we can help popularize the idea that ordinary people,
through collective action, can and must disrupt the war machine, which
our schools are part of. If this idea catches on among the tens of
thousands of disgruntled young soldiers in Iraq, then US military
operations there can be ground to a halt, just as they were in Vietnam.

Setting a date
Various student groups have called national walkouts before, but often
these have been called on short notice with little time to prepare a
serious mobilization, and with only a few dozen colleges and high
schools involved. As a result, the national reach and political impact
of past walkouts have been limited. That's why we want to help
jump-start serious dialogue and planning this summer about how we can
unite our whole movement behind a well prepared, nationally coordinated,
powerful action next fall.

A number of prominent individuals such as Howard Zinn and Cindy Sheehan
and key antiwar organizations, including U.S. Labor Against War and
United for Peace and Justice, are calling for Iraq Moratorium Days every
third Friday of the month starting in September and continuing through
November, if not beyond. Among other actions they are encouraging
students to organize "school closings."

While the Iraq Moratorium call to action is quite vague (see:
http://iraqmoratorium.org <http://iraqmoratorium.org/>), they have 
committed to a major grassroots
media campaign to promote decentralized local actions on those third
Fridays. Minnesota Youth Against War and Racism (YAWR) is proposing -- as
a tentative idea for discussion -- that we unify the student antiwar
movement behind a major national walkout on November 16th, the third
Friday in November.

Holding off until November 16th will give students enough time to get
organized for an all-out, serious walkout mobilization. The basis exists
to bring thousands of students into the streets in all major cities, but
that will require local groups developing major outreach initiatives,
fundraisers, and networks prepared months in advance. A November walkout
will also allow time for the idea of the Iraq Moratorium Days to gain
national momentum and media attention in September and October.

Another option under discussion is to walkout on Friday, October 26th,
which is the day before major regional antiwar protests, called by
United for Peace and Justice, are scheduled to take place. While we
prefer November 16th, if other larger student groups call for walkouts
on October 26th, Minnesota YAWR will unite with them. We hope to make a
final decision about a date by August.

Do you support this call to action?
A genuinely mass national action will increase our collective strength,
but this will only happen if local groups take creative ownership over
this initiative. We urge local and national antiwar groups who support
the idea of a national student walkout to get in touch with us.
Minnesota YAWR is calling our walkout to demand: Troops home now;
Military recruiters out of our schools; Money for education, not war.
Sign onto our call to action or issue your own call, highlighting your
own demands.

Contact MN Youth Against War and Racism
952-465-5307 * against.war at gmail.com <mailto:against.war at gmail.com> * 
www.YAWR.org <http://www.yawr.org/>

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