Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


'Every high school an anti-war high school'

'Every high school an anti-war high school'

Lauren Carol Harris, Sydney

Green Left Weekly

The September 5 student strike against US President George Bush’s visit, initiated by Resistance, has triggered a wave of anti-war activism on high schools across Sydney. Students from more than 20 high schools, including Mosman High, Pennant Hills High and North Sydney Girls High, have pledged to walk out of classes to protest Australia’s involvement in the Iraq war, to call for genuine action against climate change and to defend the right to protest.

Students from North Sydney Girls High have organised a contingent from their school to attend the student strike. Year 9 student Jaya Keany said that she started organising “a group of people together from our school to go on strike” last week, because she agrees “with the demands of the strike, like stopping the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and doing something about climate change”. For her, the impetus to protest was heightened by the climate of intimidation that has been created by the corporate media, police and NSW Labor government: “I’m also angry about the fear campaign, and the possible infringement of our right to protest. We’re meant to live in a democracy.”

Jaya is organising students to meet at a nearby park before travelling together to the main student convergence at 1pm at Belmore Park. Intimidation by the school principal hasn’t stifled the students’ plans. “We’ve made some flyers, and we’re handing them out at school. We’ve just been wandering around at lunch and trying to talk to people, because we’re not allowed to have any formal meetings. We’ve been talking to people on the bus and outside of classes, and telling people to go to the walkout website.”

Their idea is to incorporate activism into normal school life and promote a climate of political discussion by “asking other students what they think about APEC and what its doing to Sydney in terms of inhibiting our right to protest. Also, we’re going to paint a banner [to lead our contingent at the strike]. We figure that even if we can’t hold a formal meeting, we can paint the banner in playground and people will group around and start discussing the issues.”

So far, the response from students to the September 5 strike so far has been “pretty positive”. “Some students have raised some issues about the war, but we haven’t had much opposition. Most students have either said that they want to voice their disagreement to the war on Iraq and to Bush and they’ll be attending the strike, or that they want to come and are supportive of the cause, but their parents won’t let them come.”

Jaya thinks that, even though “some people are quite scared about the police, the water cannon and what could go wrong, and are unsure about what [from media reports] is true and what is fearmongering”, there will be a strong turnout from her school to the walkout and that there is potential for more ongoing political activity on her school after September 5. “I think it would be good if we could continue organising on our school after the strike. I don’t know how we’ll get around the administration, but I’ll try, because the response of students has been so good.”

Resistance member and strike organiser Simon Cunich said that this example of self-organisation puts to rest the idea that young people are being “coerced” into activism. “Young people are among the most concerned about the ongoing occupation of Iraq and the lack of action to stop global warming. A lot of untapped progressive sentiment exists — we want to turn this sentiment into activity. Every high school should be an anti-war high school, every university, an anti-war campus.” He emphasised that political activity will continue on schools after September 5. “The student strike has helped build a network of high school activists and build huge youth contingents in the upcoming ‘Walk against Warming’ demonstrations.”

If you are interested in bringing the anti-war movement onto your school, contact your nearest Resistance Centre for a high school activism kit (see addresses on page 2). For more information about the student strike visit or]


© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Gordon Campbell: On The Media Collusion With National’s Attack Lines

For most of the past week, any consumer of this country’s management of Covid-19 would think New Zealand was actually Brazil, or Texas. The media language has been full of claims of “botches” at the border, and laxness and inexcusable errors ... More>>

Gregor Thompson: Don’t Be Too Pessimistic About New Zealand’s Future.

With the first hurdle hopped our Government will be turning its attention to trying to soften the economic damage this pandemic has on our little archipelago. More>>

Eric Zuesse: U.S. Empire: Biden And Kerry Gave Orders To Ukraine’s President

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at Strategic Culture On May 19th, an implicit international political warning was issued, but it wasn’t issued between countries; it was issued between allied versus opposed factions within each of two countries: U.S. and Ukraine. ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Budget Cockups In The Time Of Coronavirus: Reporting Errors And Australia’s JobKeeper Scheme

Hell has, in its raging fires, ringside seats for those who like their spreadsheets. The seating, already peopled by those from human resources, white collar criminals and accountants, becomes toastier for those who make errors with those spreadsheets. ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Altars Of Hypocrisy: George Floyd, Protest And Black Face

Be wary what you protest about. The modern moral constabulary are out, and they are assisted by their Silicon Valley friends in the Social Media club. Should you dare take a stand on anything, especially in a dramatic way, you will be found out ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Welcome Deaths: Coronavirus And The Open Plan Office

For anybody familiar with that gruesome manifestation of the modern work place, namely the open plan office, the advent of coronavirus might be something of a relief. The prospects for infection in such spaces is simply too great. You are at risk from ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Why Thinking Makes It So: Donald Trump’s Obamagate Fixation

The “gate” suffix has been wearing thin since the break-in scandal that gave it its birth. Since Watergate, virtually anything dubious and suggestive, and much more besides, is suffixed. Which brings us to the issue of President Donald Trump’s ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Brutal Choices: Anders Tegnell And Sweden’s Herd Immunity Goal

If the title of epidemiological czar were to be created, its first occupant would have to be Sweden’s Anders Tegnell. He has held sway in the face of sceptics and concern that his “herd immunity” approach to COVID-19 is a dangerous, and breathtakingly ... More>>