Anti-war school walkouts, 2003 - AYN discussions

Extracts from the Anarchist Youth Network's open email discussion with information-sharing and discussion about the walkouts of school students which occured against the Iraq war as it began in March 2003. While there was a lot of potential AYN failed to make a collective impact on them.

Submitted by libcom on January 7, 2007

J (LAY) - Wed Mar 5, 2003 2:48 pm
200 have marched to Parliament Square, including some AYNers.

Here's the BBC story:

Nice one! :D

Ed (LAY) - Wed Mar 5, 2003 7:35 pm
Booo! I just came back from the thing and it was jokes! At about 11 about 500 kids from my school & college (years 7 to 13) just walked out and kinda stood by the side of the road. After a bit we decided to take the road and blockaded it for a bit. A guy tried to run us down and there was a bit of a fight in the middle of the road and he ended up getting chased down the road.

Then we marched down to the local tube station to try and get down to Westminister (in the mean time avoiding cops, teachers etc and building barricades in the road out of bins, stuff from skips etc). When we got there we actually shut down the station (tubes didn't stop there, and people were getting turned away by British Transport Cops) and had to go to the next station (in a much nicer area and so much less security). On the way we did much of the same (blocked traffic, built barricades, egged an undercover cop who following us etc) and finally got to the station and went to Westminister.

Turned up at Westminister and found the main protest (mostly posh kids) and within about 20 minutes of our school turning up (by now a lot smaller - some kids went home, others went for other 'activities' - prolly only about 150-200 by now) the barricades were knocked down and pushed into the road and we all took the road.

Then we moved down to Downing Street and protested outside there. We had a big sit down which pissed off TSG (who were being cunts as usual, hitting a kid about 13-14 years old). Eventually, we were corralled into a pen across the road and things kinda died down (though we spent a long time taking the piss out of cops).

Tomorrow we'll see the reaction of our school (rumours of exclusions, singling people out etc were going round) but we've already set up a solidarity group to make sure everyone sticks together on this (they can't get us all).

Anyway, anti-war actions are kicking off and the youths out today were looking quite militant (a couple of kids were walking around with fat off StW placard sticks and one cop got hit on the nose). And all this before the war's even started!

Take care of yourselves. SABOTAGE THE WAR EFFORT!

J - Mon Mar 10, 2003 10:41 am
Report from Youth Against the War meeting Hmmm well a lot was just being lectured at by trots about why we should oppose the war (5 fucking hours!!!!) But there was about 20 mins to organise action n shit.

There's gonna be a website with discussion boards in a few days.

It's gonna back - and I think we should help build for this - school walk-outs on 19th March, as well as school + uni walk-outs on the day war starts. Also they have contacts with NUT reps so they can get teachers to support pupils who walk out.

Also they're gonna back Disobedience's road blockades in north london on the working day after the Arrow demo things at Parliament and on that day also I think there is gonna be a blockade of London Bridge which was organised at the meeting.

They're also backing Fairford mobilisations.

Basically totally dominated by workers' power but could be good anyway, they're not as bad as swp when it comes to this kinda things and people are really up for ACTION, so think we should def. get involved.

Oh and do people in schools + unis wanna build for these strikes, those of us not in them can help - Tuesday I'll make some posters people can put up, maybe some leaflets too?

What do people think should be on the leaflets? Why the war is bad or just details of the strike, some bits about DA or what?


R (LAY) - Mon Mar 10, 2003 10:47 am
i'm doing stuff (with others!) to organise walkouts in tower hamlets school and colleges for the day after war starts (the teachers in one school passed a eunanamous resolution to walk out!). don't really need any help - we're being funded by the tower hamlets StWC!

but what's this about walkouts on the 19th?

~r x

Ed - Mon Mar 10, 2003 3:33 pm
Yeah, I need to chat to a kid at my school (he's from Spark so he'sgot all the StW contacts etc) about what's going on. Last time everything just happened (I think all that was planned was standing outside the school with placards) but I dunno about the next time. It might just be a shite recreation of March 5th.

Anyway, I'll try and do some organising in my school and kick some shit off! Maybe if we all organised anti-war groups in our schools (if there aren't already ones) and try and encourage more direct action (this might be hard for some people coz of work constraints and shit but those who can have no excuse!).

Mobilising against this WILL be jokes and we can really make a name for ourselves if we really get involved in this.

R - Thu Mar 13, 2003 6:50 pm
to anyone who was at the youth stop the war (or whatever) meeting last sunday - what's going on??? i keep reading now about walkouts on the 19th? i really need to know what's going on - are we walking out if war starts? or on the 19th? or both?


~r x

Z (Revo) - Thu Mar 20, 2003 11:10 am

London I got to Parliament Sq. at 1pm...

3 road blocks were underway.

I ran to join one and got dragged off, then joined it from the other side. There about 2 minutes, until I was lifted by 4 officers who nearly broke my fucking arm.

After about 30 minutes the TSG started getting heavy, the scenes were horrible - school kids of about 13yrs old were crying their eyes out, police were twisting arms and throwing punches all over the place as they dragged people out of the road.

After watching about 20 kids being beaten up, I'd had enough so I jumped the barriers to try and get the cops to let go of this young boy [school uniformed, looked about 14] and they smacked me round the face, punched my mate in the face cz she was trying to pull me away from the cops, then started to drag me off. Normally I'd just lift my feet off the floor but they were holding my arms in such a way that if I'd done that, my arms would either have broken or been wrenched from their sockets. Then officer XH 410 [I think?] threw me onto the pavement and told me if I tried it again, I'd spend the night in hospital.

I'm quite bruised today.

[we managed to retrive the @ flag from Churchill - it was too expensive to make to be wasted on that arsehole, apparently ;)]

Keep on keeping on


J - Thu Mar 20, 2003 2:39 pm
School kids in Lewisham attacked by the pigs, 3 arrests and a big walk-out in the East End with multiple road blocks.

Apparently scuffles in Parliament Square too with the pigs being very aggressive, same as yesterday.

Let's get down there if we can! I'd suggest going to the meet-up C suggested if we can, 5pm @ UCL quad.

B (MAY) - Thu Mar 20, 2003 11:08 am
WAHHHHEEEEY! Today in manchester (and indeed other places!) was a incredible show of the youths power. it just proves that we have in no way lost interest in politics, we have just had enough of being ruled over by a bunch of imperialist war mongering bastards. to have such a spontanious demo/reclaim the streets protest was incredible. Nothing was organised yet spontanious road blocking and runni gthe streets happened. The socilalist and trots wanted their petty speeches but they were not given chance. once it had started it took 3 hours to contain. the police didnt have a clue what was happening and didnt control the situation, the enthusiasm from the children was fucking awsume! they blocked us in several places but not for long as thousands broke through police line, banging on busses and causing chaos, the centre of manchester was firmly blocked for several hours. then finall the swat teams arrived and proceeded to block kids before they got to albert square. there was then a stand of next to albert square where violence from the police took place. As a kids charged police horse lines 2 young girls went under horses, the bastards proceded to trample them and one girls was stamped on her legs and nearly missing her head, we dragged her out and she was unable to walk, still the police didnt help her or move the line. a few meteres away i witnesses about 20 special force cops in a line proceed to grab children and hit them in the face, as people surged forward the cops put then on the floor and brutaly hit them. people ended up with blood comming from cuts on their face. in the end pigs let people in the square and contained them for a while then let people go in dribs and drabs.

has it really come to this? police are even forcing their oppression on young children. well tony is certainly breeding a mass youth movement that sees through his fucking cover and sees what hes really about. we know politics is a fucking load of crap and we want something better.

hopefully now schools will be much more radicalised and more stuff will go on. i certainly dont want to give up till i see a change!