Interview with Van Nuys High School Students
"We Can Bring Bush Down from Power"
Revolution #025, December 4, 2005, posted at revcom.us
Like at many other schools, the Van Nuys High students had to struggle through many obstacles to carry out their political action--including attempts by school officials and police to intimidate and physically stop the youth from walking out. More than 30 students at Van Nuys have been suspended for taking part in Nov. 2, and at least one student is being forcibly transferred. Revolution interviewed three Van Nuys High students who are fighting against this repression and organizing for the next big steps in the World Can't Wait movement.
Revolution: Tell us about what happened at Van Nuys on November 2.
Student A: On November 2 Van Nuys High School was put under lockdown... They locked all the doors and locked all the gates, and whoever was wandering around, they just gathered them and suspended them, arrested them, or gave them tickets. We told people to start jumping fences cause we needed to get out of there and we needed support. So people started jumping fences. And the deans and teachers started wrestling down the kids and pulling them down from the fences. The cops came also--the SWAT team came!
Student B: Yeah, they surrounded us and tried to close us in so that they could get us. So people were trying to jump the fence. There were girls that were trying to jump and they were pulling them down. One girl was trying to jump and she needed help, and I was helping her--then the dean pulled me down and I messed up my leg...
A: When they brought me into the office for a suspension, [it was] for passing out literature that advocated students to leave the premises and disrupt school activities. Students can pass out all kinds of flyers that say "Vote for me for Prom Queen." And in class they can tell us one side of the story. But when the other half tries to get out, they try to keep us silent. I asked them, "What about freedom of speech? What about equal rights?" And they just told me that we have no rights in school...
Revolution: The school and police came down on you hard. Why were you all so determined?
A: What motivated me was that there are all these people who are taking all this shit that they shouldn’t be taking. Like the government is supposed to give us rights and give people an equal opportunity to live... This regime is telling us what to do and there are lies. These lies need to stop... If things were different people would work, but there would be progress. There’s no progress. What I see is the poor getting poorer and the rich getting richer. Things shouldn't be that way. Everyone should have equal rights and I see the opposite happening right now.
There are people who say to just let [Bush] sit through his term--but I’m thinking that that’s too long. What are people waiting for? For something really wrong to happen that’s going to slap them in the face and then say "Oh, why didn’t I do something before?" No, I’m not waiting for that. I’m not waiting to say why didn’t I do something before, I’m doing it now.
Student C: Yeah, this is about our future.
A: We’re thinking about the next big step... At our school things were chaos in the beginning and there wasn’t enough organization, but now we’ve getting more organized and getting more support through talking to people and explaining the cause. Now we’re getting deeper into why we need to do this. I say need because it’s not just that we want to do this--we actually need to do this. We’re getting together different youth organizers from different schools because we need to figure out the next big step... We also need to get people together to talk because there are some kids who were uninspired by what happened [the repression] and are wondering if they did this all for nothing. But we want people to know that they didn’t do this for nothing. There will be consequences for the Bush regime if we do this.
B: I’ll be there no matter what, to be with the people and make a difference. That’s what I’m here for.
C: We have a voice. We can bring the guy down from power... If we did that it would create a very different mentality for everybody. It would create a mind-blowing mentality. People would think very differently about this world. It would change a lot.
A: People need to get involved. If it’s not us right now, then we’re next. We’re going to be ruled by the bible.