Cape Town: Youth take centre stage

On March 20, across the Cape metropolis, about 8,000 mainly school pupils took to the streets in Guguletu, Langa, Athlone, Maitland and Salt River. Among them were increasing numbers of workers. The 24-hour continuous picket at the US embassy was supported by about 200 people and at this very moment there are shifts of 50 people manning it. This marks a historic phase in the anti-war movement, as it is the first time that the youth have taken centre stage in the post-apartheid struggles - and on a directly political issue at that. There are also the first signs that members of Cosatu unions are starting to come out in bigger and bigger numbers. History in South Africa has shown that when the youth start to take the stage a period of decisive struggles against the capitalists is dawning. This is just the start and we encourage all schools and workplaces to set up Anti-War Coalition structures, to adopt days on the picket at the US embassy, and to put their shoulder to the wheel in the broad anti-war resistance. In the light of the illegitimate war being waged by the US and UK forces, the political pressure is mounting on the South African government to shut down the US and UK embassies. All eyes are on the government to see if they will cancel its contracts with the US and UK militaries. Shaheed Mahomed