Military out of schools — not a common theme for War Resisters' International, although obviously an important issue. As this issue of The Broken Rifle shows, the militarisation of our education system — be it for the purpose of indoctrination of youth, or for the purpose of military recruitment — is an extremely important issue.
With this issue, War Resisters' International follows up on The Broken Rifle No 78 from May 2008 on the professionalisation of the military. The increased military presence in schools is in those states that do no longer rely on conscription for recruitment an essential recruitment and propaganda tool, as we can see in several articles in this issue of The Broken Rifle.
In the coming years, WRI's Right to Refuse to Kill programme will focus more on counter-recruitment, and resistance to military presence in schools is one important aspect of counter-recruitment work. We plan a Europe-wide seminar/conference on counter-recruitment some time in 2012, and hope to engage the European WRI network more in this work.
Clearly, this is an area where European (and other) antimilitarist movements have a lot to learn from the depth of experience in the United States, where — unfortunately — antimilitarists had to fight against the militarisation of schools, universities and other public spaces for decades, following the abolition of conscription in the 1970s. But also in other parts of the world exists a rich experience of counter-recruitment activities, and we hope it will be possible to tap into all this to strengthen counter-recruitment work in Europe (and elsewhere). There clearly is an urgent need in Europe, where with the end of conscription the military has been mainly left alone when it comes to recruitment. It is a contradiction to mobilise huge masses for anti-war protests against the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and ..., but not to counter the daily recruitment activities of the military. This issue of The Broken Rifle will hopefully provide some ideas for new activities.