The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

March 5—Thousands of High School Students Walk Out

Mar 17, 2003

On March 5, tens of thousands of students from several hundred high schools throughout the country, walked out of school to protest the build-up of the U.S. war against Iraq. These protests were loosely organized and spontaneous, as students from different schools found out about the protest on the internet, or local anti-war groups or through their teachers.

Many school districts, such as in Los Angeles and Chicago, either tried to stop the walk-outs, or penalize students who made it out. In Los Angeles, administrators barred the school doors, had the schools surrounded by police, and ticketed anyone who made it out for truancy. At Whitney Young High School in Chicago, administrators suspended 20 students for two weeks for walking out of school.

The reaction of these officials shows their fear that a new generation will not passively accept whatever fate the government has in store for them, that a new generation will play a role in determining its own future.

The protests may not yet be massive. But officials understand perfectly well that they could very quickly grow and have a big impact.

As in all wars, it is the young, those aged 18, 19 and 20, who make up the bulk of the fighting forces, especially the youth from the working class. Many have family and friends who have already been called up or are already serving in the Middle East region. Moreover, many of those in high school today could very well be in uniform and at war tomorrow.

The students who protested this war ignored all those hypocrites who tell them that they are too young to really understand it. They understand it all to well! That’s why they protested.