The stunning success of the March 5 student strike for peace, which
mobilised a whopping 30,000 mostly high school students, took even the
corporate media by surprise.
Although mixed, much of the coverage was favourable. Even the rabidly
pro-war Murdoch-owned Australian ran a headline on March 6 that
said Gutsy students repeat protest history.
Sydney protest chairperson Lauren Carroll Harris, a high school activist
in Resistance, had a 700-word piece printed in the Fairfax-owned Sydney
Morning Herald on March 7. In it, she was able to put the case of the
Describing March 5 as an the beginning of an international youth movement
against war on Iraq, Carroll Harris argued that money that will be spent
on the military would be better spent on upgrading educational facilities,
public housing and hospitals.
Calling the mood of the protests passionate, exuberant, political and
angry, she explained: The demonstrators felt ignored and that their only
choice was to vote with their feet by walking out of school and sending
the urgent message: we have a war to stop.
The demonstrations on March 5 were only the tip of the iceberg of the
mass anti-war sentiment that exists among our youth, she warned. Since
the start of the year, anti-war groups on high schools have blossomed,
and more students have started to actively campaign in their schools against
After pointing out that the protests had voted overwhelmingly to take
similar action again on March 26, Carroll Harris finished her argument
with: There is no democracy in this country until Howard submits to the
will of the majority.
From Green Left Weekly, March 12, 2003.
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