Books not bombs: young people against the war


Emma Clancy

Building the March 17-20 "Troops out" global weekend of protest against the occupation of Iraq will be a big focus for Resistance activists during the university orientation weeks. Having initiated the Books not Bombs movement in 2003, Resistance has continued to be active in the anti-war movement and is now throwing its weight behind the invasion anniversary protests.

In Canberra, Resistance members are also preparing a "welcome" for British PM Tony Blair, who is due to address a joint sitting of parliament in late March. Amy McDonell, an activist in the ACT Network Opposing War (ACTNOW) told Green Left Weekly that the protest has been called for 10.30am outside Parliament House the day Blair addresses parliament. "We want young people in particular to come out and tell this warmonger what we think of his lies about Iraq's supposed WMDs, about the occupying troops 'bringing democracy' and, now, the new round of lies about Iran's nuclear program."

"We are disgusted by the British troops' torture of unarmed Iraqi civilians, including teenagers", McDonell said. "Building the anti-war protests is a way of showing our solidarity with the young people of Iraq suffering under occupation." Students from Sydney and Wollongong are organising buses to join the anti-Blair protest.

In Adelaide, Resistance high-school and campus activists are organising an anti-war speak-out on March 20. As Adelaide Resistance organiser Emma Murphy put it, "We have the misfortune of having Alexander Downer's office here, so what better location to protest against the government's Iraq policy?" Murphy added, "Howard said that the troops would leave at the end of May, but he seems to have changed his mind. We, like most Australians, want the troops to leave, and not be sent anywhere else."

Resistance will be initiating anti-war speak-outs during the Sydney University (SU) orientation week, when the Australian Defence Force (ADF) will be targeting new students for recruitment. Campus anti-war activists are taking their lead from students in the United States, who are campaigning against military recruitment on campus, often with a lot of success.

SU global solidarity officer and Resistance organiser Simon Cunich told GLW: "The Howard government should be pouring millions into public education — to provide young people with knowledge and skills for life — instead of funding an unpopular war in which young people are sent off to kill and die for the profits of a handful of multinationals."

From Green Left Weekly, February 22, 2006.

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