This Thursday, February 15, students at UCSB plan to protest the
war in Iraq by not attending classes or work. This plan has been
met with some skepticism from students and critics, however. To the
public, this kind of strike may seem only an excuse for an
extension on the holiday weekend. But those organizing the event
list many reasons for why this is an appropriate approach and a
According to the strike mission statement, halting all
transactions and classes is more direct, has more repercussions,
and gives protesters more faith in their cause. Supporters claim
they don’t want a repeat of February 15, 2003, when a
record-breaking worldwide protest was, in their opinion, quickly
ignored and swept aside by President Bush. Four years later, they
are taking a new approach to being heard—by revolting against
“business as usual,” a phrase they feel epitomized Bush’s advice to
Americans after 9/11.
Students have been particularly active on Facebook, an online
social network that allows members to interact in forums geared to
specific college campuses. One point raised by Facebook
members belonging to a group promoting the strike questions the
morality of UCSB finances, especially since the university’s
investment portfolio allegedly includes companies like aerospace
manufacturer Lockheed Martin and military contractor Raytheon.
The possibility still remains, however, that no immediate
changes will occur, disheartening those who might already be
dissatisfied with walking protests. In response to objections from
students not endorsing the strike on the grounds that it will not
have an immediate change on the current political climate, the
activity will extend into next with a program called “Peace
Out University.” In order to keep people from forgetting the
issue, the program will have some teachers plan to have their
classes open for anyone in Anisq’Oyo Park, where their subjects
will be refocused and applied to the war. Following the daytime
education will be musical performances and possibly even a campout.
Yellow ribbons and t-shirts on campus will also help in prolonging
awareness and interest.
Thirteen other campuses, including UC Santa Cruz and UC
Berkeley, are doing planning similar events. Even San Francisco’s
Lowell High School has planned to stop school. Punk band Anti-Flag
spoke well of the planned protest on the front page of their
website. The UCSB Associated Students Legislative Council has
endorsed the strike.
UCSB’s student strike will be concentrated with a rally at
Pardall Tunnel, which connects Isla Vista to campus, at 1:00 PM.
The following week’s Peace Out University is going to be at
Anisq’Oyo’ Park February 20-23.