Seattle Socialist Students Organize School Walkouts

Published On January 17, 2017 | By Emerson Johnson | Youth & Students

“Now, who here is willing to use their mind, body, and, voice to resist Trump’s presidency?” Ezgi (a member of Socialist Students) asked the crowd. A flurry of excited hands shot into the air in response. It is a week before inauguration day and Seattle Socialist Students has called a meeting to organize for a city wide student walk-out on January 20th. 30 students from 8 schools around Seattle gathered to put together a plan for what is expected to be the largest national inauguration day protest in U.S. history. The excitement in the room is palpable as students share tactics, ask questions, and discuss the best ways to build a fight back at their schools.

Socialist Students in Seattle put out a call to organize a mass walkout and the resounding response means at least 11 area high schools and 3 colleges will walk out on Inauguration Day. These protests could be the largest Seattle has seen in many years and the activity has already put the establishment on notice. Seattle Public School’s administration sent out a letter to all parents warning them that students could face repercussions for walking out. Socialist Students and Socialist City Councilmember Kshama Sawant issued a reply standing with students and their right to protest.

It is obvious that young people are using the walkouts the beginning of something much larger. When students were asked to share at the planning meeting why they were planning the walkouts, a common message rang through: young people are daring to imagine and fight for a world free of the tyranny and violence of capitalism.

Ezgi, a member of Socialist Alternative and Socialist Students feels “it is very important for young people to get involved with [their] futures and to have hope. [She wants] to be involved in empowering young people to build a future for themselves.” Evan, a student from Shorecrest High School and member of their school’s Marxist club commented that “if we utilize our youth, and organize them in a way where they feel empowered and impassioned about the cause that they’re in, we can definitely develop a Socialist movement and use the student walkouts as a way to continue a sentiment that is already starting to grow in our nation.”

Just a few months ago we saw the power of mass student movements when Sindicato de Estudiantes, a Spanish socialist student union, led a strike of over 2 million students to protest the right wing government’s agenda to dismantle Spain’s public education system. As a direct result of these massive student walk-outs, the students of Spain successfully made their demands heard and rocked conservative leadership to its core. Throughout history young people have been at the forefront of  movements and with the January 20 student walkouts we are continuing this legacy. When students take to the streets on Inauguration Day we activate not only ourselves, but our families, teachers, and communities .

The Trump administration and political establishment seek to divide us, which is why we must fight collectively to defend our communities from the destruction of corporate greed, systemic racism, and rampant sexism. By organizing student walkouts across the country we show that we are a powerful and national force. The more students who become involved, the harder it becomes for our demands to be ignored.

It is necessary that we as students stand together in a united force to protect our right to a quality education, to uphold the civil liberties of sexual and racial minorities, and to fight for a fair minimum wage for everyone – all of which are threatened by Trump’s presidency and the crisis that is capitalism. By participating in student walkouts, we show the world that we will not sit idly by as Trump and the billionaire class prepare to further militarize the police state, defund social welfare programs, destroy our environment, and deport our undocumented siblings living in the United States.

When we leave our classrooms and take to the streets, we send a clear message to the ruling elite that their attacks on our future will be met with an organized resistance.  It is imperative that we do not let a single day of Trump’s presidency go unchallenged and this starts with the occupation of Inauguration Day. Find out more about how to organize a walkout at your school here.

See you in the streets on J20!

Emerson is a student at Seattle Central College.

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