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California: Anti-war Protests Escalate

By Kati Ketz

What began as a student strike to protest the war in Iraq quickly escalated on Feb. 15, as over a thousand students at the University of California-Santa Barbara took to the streets and completely shut down California Highway 217 for over two hours. After a standoff with law enforcement and the arrest of two protesters, the crowd marched back to campus and demonstrated in front of the chancellor’s office to confront university officials about the school’s involvement with the war effort.

UCSB students put out the call for the student strike against the war – “No school, no consumption, no business as usual.” Over 25 other high schools and universities held actions as well, walking out of classes, staging ‘die-ins’ and holding rallies to demand an end to the occupation.

“I didn't have much faith in this community in terms of breaking away from the apathy in order to bring, not only consciousness, but change; however, I was completely proven wrong,” said Nicole Borba, an student at UCSB who participated in the strike. “Over 1000 students at UCSB and 26 campuses across the nation took action to stop this war. We took back our voice as students and gave that voice form.”

This was the largest antiwar demonstration at USCB since the 1970s. Students there plan on organizing another student strike and rally on March 17 and other universities across the nation are taking up the call put out by Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) to mobilize against the war on March 20, the 4th anniversary of the war in Iraq.

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