Countering the Militarisation of Youth

In this project we seek to identify and challenge the many ways in which young people around the world are encouraged to accept the military and military values as normal, and worthy of their uncritical support. Militarisation is a process which goes far beyond overt recruitment. It includes the presence and influence of the armed forces in education, public military events such as parades, and military-themed video games.

Following our international conference on Countering the Militarisation of Youth in Darmstadt, Germany, in June 2012, we published a book based on themes explored at the conference: Sowing Seeds: The Militarisation of Youth and How to Counter It is available to purchase here in English, and available to read for free here. The German and Spanish editions are due to be published in autumn 2014.

In June 2013, we supported groups and individuals who took action as part of the first ever International Day of Action for Military-Free Education and Research, followed in 25 - 31 October 2014 by the first week of action for Military-Free Education and Research. Read a report here.

In August 2014 we launched a website specifically on the topic of youth militarisation. It's a place where you can add your own resources - to share documentation on how young people come into contact with the military, and how to challenge the militarisation of young people around the world. Find it here: http://www.antimili-youth.net

You can donate to support this work here: CMOY Donate

News from WRI's work on countering the militarisation of youth

31 May 2016
English

Would you like to take action against the militarisation of youth with many others across the world?

War Resisters' International is organising the 3rd International Week of Action Against the Militarisation of Youth from 14 to 20 November this year. The week is a concerted effort of antimilitarist actions across the world to raise awareness of, and challenge, the ways young people are militarised, and to give voice to alternatives.

If you would like to join the activists all around the world taking action against the militarisation of youth, contact us via cmoy@wri-irg.org

Read more here.

13 Apr 2016
English

A new report from ACOOC addresses recruitment to the military in Colombia, focusing on the phenomenon of arbitrary detention - usually undertaken through batidas (raids). Though batidas are banned, this report shows that, in practice, they are still common.

The report has been produced by the Acción colectiva de objetores y objetoras de conciencia (ACOOC: Conscientious Objectors' Collective Action) based on information collected in conjunction with other organisations and groups in the Proceso Distrital de Objeción de Conciencia.

In January, the Colombian Constitutional Court ruled that the army should release Cristian Andrés Cortés Calderón. Cristian had been recruited last August, whilst he was still in his final year of high school. Students are allowed to postone military service, but Cristian was nonetheless called up. In court, Cristian's father said that Cristian also works at night in a supermarket to financially support his family. The court ordered that he be released from the military within 48 hours.

The Court however also ruled that Cristian would still be liable for conscription when his studies end.

Sources: corteconstitucional, Sentencia T-004/16, 19 January 2016; Caracol Radio, Ejército no puede reclutar a estudiantes de bachillerato así sean mayores de edad, 23 February 2016.

29 Feb 2016
English

Activists from Peace Action Wellington (PAW) organised two days of nonviolent direct actions against the annual Weapons Conference held in New Zealand (NZ) last November. Following their peaceful protests, dozens were arrested and taken to court. 26 activists returned to court on 18 February to defend their right to peaceful demonstration. As an outcome, 25 protesters are still facing charges and were remanded to appear again on 11th March.

25 Feb 2016
English

Originally published on WRI's antimili-youth.net website

Activists from Peace Action Wellington (PAW) organised two days of nonviolent direct actions against the annual Weapons Conference held in New Zealand (NZ) last November. Following their peaceful protests, 27 activists - 26 of whom keep fighting charges - were arrested and taken to court. On 18 February they are standing trial again, defending their right to peaceful demonstration for peace and justice.

Sending our solidarity messages to the activists in Wellington, we reached Valerie Morse from PAW and asked her about their campaign Stop the Weapons Conference as well as many other questions on militarism and the antimilitarist movement in New Zealand.

30 Nov 2015
English

Joves d'Esquerra Verda activists in front of the Department of Education of Catalonia in Bacelona, 20.11.2015Joves d'Esquerra Verda activists in front of the Department of Education of Catalonia in Bacelona, 20.11.2015The 2nd International Week of Action Against the Militarisation of Youth was held between 14-20 November with many activists taking actions and organising events across the world.  The week followed the first ever week of action took place last year and a day of action held in 2013.

29 Oct 2015
English

An international Week of Action Against the Militarisation of Youth will be held for the second time between 14-20 November this year. Many activists from all around the world will take part in the week through their own autonomous actions and events from their own countries and cities. Examples include activists protesting against army recruitment at a job fair in Frankfurt and rallying against military campaigning for the young in Mainz (Germany); online campaigns in Finland and Catalonia; anti-recruitment workshops and performances in the USA; as well as a radio show dedicated to youth demilitarisation in Guam. There's still time to plan your own actions! Join us this November and stand against the militarisation of youth with many others all around the world. Your voice, your nonviolent actions and events will contribute to our growing international movement! Contact us via cmoy@wri-irg.org or www.facebook.com/antimiliyouth for further information.

Read more here.

15 Oct 2015
English

By Prof. Mary Elizabeth King, first published on Waging Nonviolence

One of the most extraordinary nonviolent, transnational movements of the modern age was the women’s suffrage movement of the first two decades of the 20th century. New Zealand first extended the franchise in the late 19th century—after two decades of organizing efforts. As the new century began, women’s suffrage movements gained strength in China, Iran, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Russia, Sri Lanka (then Ceylon), and Vietnam. Another 20 years and women were enfranchised in countries around the world, from Uruguay to Austria, the Netherlands to Turkey, and Germany to the United States. Few if any of those leading the campaigns for the ballot for women would have identified their approach as one of nonviolent action, nor would they have known its philosophical underpinnings or strategic wisdom. Like most who have turned to civil resistance, they did so because it was a direct method not reliant on representatives or agencies and a practical way to oppose an intolerable situation.

15 Oct 2015
English

By Lesley Pruitt*

Another world is not only possible…She is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.

Arundhati Roy

Why it is that girls tend to be the most often marginalized actors when it comes to participation in peace processes? Research shows that they tend to be forgotten both in youth programs, which are often dominated by boys, and women’s programs, which are usually dominated by older women. Although UNSC Resolution 1325 clearly outlines a role for women and girls, implementation strategies have tended to focus on older women, who have also more frequently used the Resolution in their organizing and advocacy.  Just as participation by both men and women are needed to ensure sustainable peace, the experiences and needs of girls and boys are also essential to take into account.

14 Oct 2015
English

Institutionally the military is one of the last “bastions” of male dominance. The idea of strength and virtue is still attached to the male body and the male soldier. As the German army (Bundeswehr) tries to find new ways of recruitment in the post-conscription-era of today, gender politics become a major fact to recruitment efforts.

14 Oct 2015
English

By Elisa Haf

There’s a certain kind of sexy that militarism has always enjoyed, or supposed sexy anyway: women love a man in uniform, right? He’s got a big gun, so.

14 Oct 2015
English

By Toshio Meronek, first published on Waging Nonviolence.

 

14 Oct 2015
English

The Faq statement on the demilitarisation of Nicosia, Cyprus. Faq is a feminist anarchoqueer group based in Cyprus.

30 Sep 2015
English

Join us this November and take action against the militarisation of youth!Join us this November and take action against the militarisation of youth!

War Resisters' International is organizing the 2nd International Week of Action Against the Militarisation of Youth this year from 14-20 November. The week is a call for nonviolent actions across the world to raise awareness of, and challenge, the ways young people are militarized, and to give voice to alternatives.

Last year saw the first ever international Week of Action whose main focus was education and research. Many groups in various countries including Canada, Germany, South Korea, the state of Spain, the USA, Israel and the UK took action to call for an end to the military's role in education and research. This year we are expanding our theme from education to all other public spaces where we see military engagement with young people.

We invite all groups and individuals willing to take action as part of this week and contact us via cmoy@wri-irg.org.

Read more...

28 Aug 2015
English

Would you like to take action against the militarisation of youth? You can join War Resisters' International's week of action from 14-20 November (as an individual or as a group).

19 Jan 2015
English

Andrew Dey (top) and Semih SapmazAndrew Dey (top) and Semih SapmazThere will be many changes in the WRI office this year. Firstly, we say goodbye to Javier Gárate after ten years working in the office. There will be a chance to say goodbye and thank you to Javier next month! Taking over from Javier as WRI's Nonviolence Programme Worker in mid-February will be Andrew Dey.

Also for the first time, thanks to support from the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, we are able to appoint a part-time staff person dedicated to the Countering the Militarisation of Youth Programme, which up until now has been part of the Right to Refuse to Kill Programme. Semih Sapmaz will be starting 2 days/week in the WRI office from February. We will be fundraising to ensure this role continues beyond the one year we have already funded.

18 Nov 2014
English

The first ever international week of action for military-free education and research was held between 25-31 October 2014. This follows on from a day of action last year. Antimilitarists across the world took action to raise awareness, and challenge, the role the military has in education and research in educational institutions. This role gives them access to young people - to lay the groundwork for recruitment later in life, and to promote military values.

Demilitarize McGill students disrupt space militarisation eventDemilitarize McGill students disrupt space militarisation eventDifferent groups used the week of action in different ways. Some challenged military presence in schools through direct action, some publicly debated the presence of the military in education, others showed films, wrote articles, and campaigned on social media.

10 Nov 2014
English

Applications have reopened for the positions of Nonviolence Programme Worker and Countering the Militarisation of Youth Programme Worker.

Information for both positions can be found on our website:

We look forward to receiving applications from people committed to nonviolence, with fundraising skills (or willingness to learn) and experience of nonviolent campaigning. Applicants should have knowledge of English and another language, and be willing to travel. All applicants should feel able to sign the WRI declaration: 'War is a crime against humanity. I am therefore determined not to support any kind of war, and to strive for the removal of all causes of war'. Full job descriptions and application forms can be found on the respective adverts.

The closing date for applications for both roles is 23 November, midnight (UTC).

Please share the job adverts with your contacts, and write to info@wri-irg.org with any questions.

29 Oct 2014
English

This week we've seen a military space conference disrupted at a University in Canada, a rally, lectures and info stalls in Germany, a film screening and fourm in Seoul, publications on youth militarisation, a vigil in London, and many other activities, all part of the International Week of Action for Military-Free Education and Research. Find a list here. Please share news of the week on social media by using #milifreeedu. For the week of action, WRI and other organisations have issued this call to action: War is not the answer: resist youth militarisation!

Read more...

 

25 Oct 2014
English

During this, the International Week of Action for Military-Free Education and Research, WRI and other organisations have issued this call to action: War is not the answer: resist youth militarisation!

From the moment we are born, children and young people all over the world are exposed to the military and military values around them. They are taught that armed force and violence can solve problems.

We call this the militarisation of youth.

In some countries, this militarisation is visible and obvious: young people (mainly, though not exclusively, young men) are forced to join the military through conscription. This might include forced recruitment, or recruitment of children.

08 Oct 2014
English

Would you like to take action for military-free education and research?

You can join War Resisters' International's week of action from 25 - 31 October (as an individual or as a group). Find out more here.

Here are some ideas for actions:

08 Oct 2014
English

Back to the Contents of the book

I as Director of the Vocational Training Centre for former Child Soldiers implemented programmes for UNICEF including how to get children who were caught up in the war back into the mainstream of life – to get them back into school or vocational activities...Reduce or eliminate all sort of inequalities and violence will be reduced. If there is no violence, there would be no need for child soldiers... - Domino Frank Suleiman, Liberia

01 Oct 2014
English

Militaries across the world gain access to young people through education systems.

It gives them an extraordinary chance to shape every generation's perception of military violence and lay the groundwork for future recruitment.

25 - 31 October sees the first international week of action for military-free education and research: a concerted effort of antimilitarist action across the world to raise awareness and challenge of the role the military have in education, and to give voice to alternatives.

17 Sep 2014
English

Militaries across the world gain access to young people through education systems. It gives them an extraordinary chance to shape every generation's perception of military violence, and lay the groundwork for future recruitment. From 25 - 31 October, join our international week of action for military-free education and research!

28 Aug 2014
English

In April UN human rights chief Navi Pillay said that more than 9,000 child soldiers have been fighting in South Sudan's civil war, recruited by both the army and rebel forces. These numbers account for These reports are based on observations of children with armed groups, children wearing military uniforms and carrying weapons, and children undergoing military training.

22 Aug 2014
English

Main forms of militarization of youth in different countries - participants sharing from their context:

The United Kingdom:

  • Armed Forces Day - local towns organize events for the military inviting the public to them

  • Schools are encouraged to invite soldiers (including even inviting helicopters that land in the school courtyards to excite the children).

  • Cadet programs in schools from the age of 12 - this is all funded by the armed forces, and includes weapons trainings.

  • Military stalls in fairs and festivals

  • Long term military contract that bind people who sign them at a young age

  • Use of the centennial of WWI to bring up nostalgia and heroisation of war, as well as nostalgia to the national unity of war time.

19 Aug 2014
English

One of the most effective ways to prepare for war is to prepare the minds and bodies of young people to take part in it.

War Resisters' International's Countering the Militarisation of Youth project has launched antimili-youth.net - a great resource for anyone who wants to find out more about how young people are taught to regard armed violence, and the military and its values, as positive and uncontroversial. It is the first international site giving an overview of these issues.

It allows groups and individuals to easily upload their own information on the strategies used in different contexts to militarise young people, as well as reports on their work to disrupt these processes.

28 Jun 2014
English

Letter to The Times (see all signatories below)

On this day 100 years ago, Archduke Ferdinand of Austria and his wife were assassinated in Sarajevo in an action that led to the First World War. Unchecked militarism in Europe was also a major factor. 

Today is also Armed Forces Day, one of the clearest indications of the re-militarisation of British society. Established in 2009 to increase public support for the forces, there are over 200 public events, many billed as 'family fun days'. This week also saw Uniform to Work Day promoting the reserve forces and 'Camo Day' in schools. 

Behind this PR offensive is a raft of policy that is embedding 'public support' for the military within our civilian institutions - from the promotion of 'military ethos' in schools, to the Armed Forces Community Covenant and Corporate Covenant that aim to enlist every local authority and major business to support the armed forces and aid recruitment. 

Over 453 UK service personnel have died in Afghanistan; 34 were just 18 or 19 years old. Thousands more have to cope with long-term physical and mental problems. With so many military casualties - not to mention uncounted numbers of civilians deaths - and new security threats that waging war has created, surely it is time to reflect on the longer-term impact of our military culture and to ask what steps we might take to prevent war itself. 

24 Apr 2014
English

A big thank you to everyone who helped finance o(Credit - Michael Schulze von Glaßer)(Credit - Michael Schulze von Glaßer)ur work Countering the Miltiarisation of Youth.

Our crowdfunding campaign has raised over £1200 to help us in the next stage of our work.

Read our book on the issue of youth militairsation, Sowing Seeds: The Militarisation of Youth and How to Counter It online here.

Watch our video to learn more about the issue here.

22 Apr 2014
English

Is it enough to challenge war when it's upon us? (Credit - Michael Schulze von Glaßer)(Credit - Michael Schulze von Glaßer)

Or do we need to ask, “How do we 'learn war' in the first place?”

This is the question War Resisters' International's new project – Countering the Militarisation of Youth – is asking.

Please donate to help us reach our target of £1,200. And if you have friends or networks you could share this with, please do.

Watch our video to learn more about the issue here

19 Mar 2014
English

Is it enough to challenge war when it's upon us? (Credit - Michael Schulze von Glaßer)(Credit - Michael Schulze von Glaßer)

Or do we need to ask, “How do we 'learn war' in the first place?”

This is the question War Resisters' International's new project – Countering the Militarisation of Youth – is asking.

Please donate to help us reach our target of £1,200. And if you have friends or networks you could share this with, please do.

Watch our video to learn more about the issue here

18 Mar 2014
English

Today we are launching our campaign to crowdfund for the next stage of our work countering the militarisation of youth! Crowdfunding allows lots of people to give small amounts of money to make a project possible. In the last two years, WRI has led a conference on challenging youth militarisation, published a book (read it here) and faciliated the first International Day of Action for Military-Free Education and Research. We are now asking for your support this important project into its next stage: building an online space for activists to share resources, and supporting an international week of action for Military-Free Education and Research.

07 Aug 2013
English

Sowing Seeds: The Militarisation of Youth and How to Counter ItSowing Seeds: The Militarisation of Youth and How to Counter ItEdited by Owen Everett

Around the world children, adolescents, and young adults encounter the military and military values in a variety of ways, from visits to schools by military personnel, to video games and the presence of the military and its symbols in public places. Young people are encouraged to see the military as necessary and valuable; something to be supportive of, not to question.

Through articles, images, survey data and interviews, Sowing Seeds: The Militarisation of Youth and How to Counter It documents the seeds of war that are planted in the minds of young people in many different countries. However, it also explores the seeds of resistance to this militarisation that are being sown resiliently and creatively by numerous people. We hope the book will help to disseminate these latter seeds. It is not just a book for peace and antimilitarist activists: it is a book for parents and grandparents, teachers, youth workers, and young people themselves. 

Download the pull book as a pdf here.

06 Aug 2013
English

Summary

Thank you for joining War Resisters International and the New Tactics community for an online conversation on tactics for combating the militarisation of education, public spaces, vulnerable communities, entertainment and culture, from June 10 to 14, 2013.

Governments and other military actors around the world target youth and other vulnerable communities for military recruitment and service. Simultaneously, the militarisation of public spheres such as space and culture promote the acceptance of the prioritising of military capability and approaches. In response, human rights organizations and other campaigners have developed innovative ways of combating increasing militarisation.

26 Jul 2013
English

Back to the Contents of the book

WRI's Countering the Militarisation of Youth project - http://wri-irg.org/programmes/militarisationofyouth (our forthcoming website of short articles, visual, audio, and other resources documenting the militarisation of youth around the world and sharing ideas on how to challenge it, will be linked to from here)

Countering the Militarisation of Youth 2012 conference Reader - http://wri-irg.org/militarisationofyouth/DarmstadtReader

26 Jul 2013
English

Back to the Contents of the book

Sergeiy Sandler: Sergeiy is a conscientious objector to military service, a long-time activist in the Israeli feminist antimilitarist movement New Profile, and a member of the International Council of the War Resisters' International.

David Gee: David has written and co-written various research reports on ethical issues arising from military recruitment: ‘Informed Choice? Armed forces recruitment practice in the United Kingdom’ (2008), ‘Army recruiters visit London's poorest schools most often’ (2010), and ‘One Step Forward: The case for ending the recruitment of minors by the British armed forces’ (2013), and ‘Youngest recruits face greatest risks in Afghansitan’ (forthcoming). In 2010 he co-founded ForcesWatch. At WRI's Countering the Militarisation of Youth Conference, he was one of those interviewed.

26 Jul 2013
English

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Cattis Laska and Hanns Molander

Militarism is not just a war, an army or a fighter jet. Militarism is a system, a logic and a set of norms that perpetuates and recreates our societies and our daily lives. Queer analysis of power is a political tool that can help us to challenge these norms, and thus, to also challenge militarism.

26 Jul 2013
English

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based on a piece by Cecil Arndt

In different countries, war and militarisation take on very different meanings and have different effects, depending not only on the presence or absence of direct acts of war but also on country's political, economic, and social circumstances, and its history and traditions. As these factors define not only to the types, levels, and effects of militarisation but also the ways in which it can be effectively resisted, the scope of this article is inevitably limited; it can only provide a Western, European, largely German perspective on the use of direct action to oppose the militarisation of youth, although it explores possibilities in other countries nonetheless.

Militarisation, in whatever form it takes, must be understood as always being directed at young people. The militarisation of youth relies not only on their direct recruitment into the armed forces, but on the widely growing intrusion of the military into the lives and minds of people of all ages. This intrusion influences individual daily routines, preferences and choices, as well as general perceptions. The common theme is the normalising of war and the military.

26 Jul 2013
English

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Kai-Uwe Dosch, Sarah Roßa and Lena Sachs (amalgamated by Michael Schulze von Glasser)

The militarisation of the education system in Germany

In Germany, hardly a week goes by without coming across ‘Germany's heroes’ in uniform. They grin from billboards, television screens, student magazines, and booklets on trains, advertising a ‘career with a future’. The slogans ‘In the line of duty for freedom’ or ‘We. Serve. Germany.’ appear to be the mantras of a new militarisation: one that wishes to bring the population to a martial ‘peace course’.

In schools, the German Armed Forces give lessons and impose their influence on the training and development of teachers. Military service counsellors are invited to schools to advertise the career possibilities in the armed forces, or to build their advertising playgrounds in the schoolyard (the so-called ‘career meeting places’). The armed forces even have a say on the content of the school curriculum; they increasingly install youth officers in the schools: young, well-educated and rhetorically-trained soldiers who act the part for political education. The cooperation between schools and the armed forces, which has existed since the forces' foundation in 1955, reached a new height in 2008 and subsequently with the finalised ‘cooperation agreements’ in eight of Germany's sixteen federal states between the armed forces and the responsible Ministry of Education. This new involvement is hidden under the guise of political education, but serves as recruitment and the legitimisation of the policy to militarise security.

26 Jul 2013
English

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Kelly Dougherty

As long as there have been wars and the military, soldiers around the world have resisted, deserted, and refused combat duty for both moral and political reasons, and civilians have supported them. From the formation of the St. Patrick’s Battalion made up of soldiers who deserted the U.S. Army to join forces with the Mexicans during the Mexican-American War, to the Bonus Army in the 1930’s where thousands of U.S. veterans marched and occupied Washington DC demanding back-pay for their service in World War I, to the huge GI[1] resistance movement during the Vietnam war, the United States has a rich and varied legacy of military members refusing to be used by their government to further political and economic agendas. GIs are the work force that make war and military occupation possible and, as such, have a critical role to play as leaders in the struggle to end war and militarism.

25 Jul 2013
English

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The image of masculinity...the model men that go to war, that compete. - Jorge Veléz, Colombia

The Ministry of Women, for example, was created in 2006 and since then one of the main goals that the Minister for Women has proposed is to provide two million female members to the militia. She has already set in motion a first stage where she promised 150,000... - Rafael Uzcategui, Venezuela

25 Jul 2013
English

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Of the thirty-two countries surveyed, there is only an active attempt to recruit LGBT people in four. Eight countries don’t allow LGBT people to enlist at all, although of those, Kenya is the only one where homosexuality is actually illegal. In Turkey men can be exempted from military service if they can 'prove' (including by providing photos or video footage of them having sex with men) that they are homosexual. But in the majority of countries, sexuality is simply not a recruitment criterion.

25 Jul 2013
English

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Emma Sangster

The armed forces are increasingly being provided with access to young people within the UK education system – mainly at secondary and further education level but also within universities and even primary schools. In addition to armed forces presentations and other visits to schools and colleges which have been going on for many years, there is a new push to make 'military ethos and skills' a part of school life.

25 Jul 2013
English

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Serdar M. Değirmencioğlu

Militarism has a long history in Turkey. It is therefore surprising that there are very few studies in the Social Sciences and in Education on how the militarisation of young people has operated. With a few exceptions, social scientists have remained silent when it comes to questioning the military and the way militarism has been instilled in young people, one generation after another.

Militarism after the Ottoman Empire

25 Jul 2013
English

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Jonna Schürkes

Persuading the German people that German soldiers - many of them young - should go to war is not an easy endeavour. Every militarist tries to do so and each one has a different explanation for people’s reluctance. The president of Germany, Joachim Gauck, sees it as denial by those who prefer not to acknowledge the fact that German soldiers are still getting killed and injured in combat. He laments how people are not ready to sacrifice themselves for society because of their egoism, saying '“[these people] all too easily forget that a functional democracy also requires effort, attention, bravery and sometimes even the utmost that a man can offer: his life, his own life!”' He also complains about people who come to the wrong conclusions through their knowledge of German history: '“...'Count us out' as a pure reflex is not an appropriate stance if we are to take our past seriously”'.[1]

25 Jul 2013
English

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Public discourse

They are constantly selling the idea that Venezuela is going to be invaded by the United States and in the face of this external threat...there is a permanent feeling of being on the verge of war or armed conflict...They always say that the United State wants Venezuela’s oil, however our president Chávez negotiated with transnational energy companies for 30 to 40 years. This means that that argument is invalid... - Rafael Uzcategui, Venezuela

25 Jul 2013
English

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Public discourse

In many countries (twenty of the thirty-two), celebrities are used to promote the military. By contrast in Kenya, the military is almost secretive (although the Maroon Commandos, a band, are very popular). The military in half of the countries have a website aimed specifically at young people. Although Switzerland doesn't, its military does sponsor youth websites.

19 Jul 2013
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Michael Schulze von Glaßer

US troops march into Iran in 2014, the Russian army occupies half of Europe in 2016, and the USA is conquered by North Korea in 2027 – today’s video games tell controversial stories which reach an audience of millions. Here is an overview of military video games and the search for alternatives.

19 Jul 2013
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Ruti Kantor and Diana Dolev

Background

19 Jul 2013
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David Gee

Ask a teacher what her purpose is and how she goes about it, and you can expect a simple answer: she supports young people to grow by teaching them things. We know why we need bakers, too; they feed people by baking us bread. So what are soldiers[2] for?

18 Jul 2013
English

The first International day of action For Military-Free Education and Research was organized by War Resisters International on June 14th 2013. Activists in India, Germany, South Africa, the State of Spain, Chile, Congo, the USA and Israel, called for a separation of the military from education.The Recruited ClassroomThe Recruited Classroom

11 Jul 2013
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27 Jun 2013
English

WRI's work on Countering the Militarisation of Youth is also a key part of the Right to Refuse to Kill programme, a natural extension to our work on counter-recruitment and conscientious objection. This work has had a really exciting time recently.

19 Jun 2013
English

Around the world children, adolescents, and young adults encounter the military and military values in a variety of ways, from visits to schools by military personnels, to video games and the presence of the military and its symbols in public places. Young people are encouraged to see the military as necessary and valuable; something to be supportive of, not to question.

14 Jun 2013
English

Day of action logoDay of action logo

Today, 14 June 2013, groups and organisations in at least eleven different countries – Germany, India, Israel, Nigeria, state of Spain, Chile, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the UK, South Africa, Sweden, and the USA – are taking action to highlight and oppose the militarisation of education and research.

12 Jun 2013
English

Here you can find and download the data from a survey conducted as part of the research for the compilation of 'Sowing Seeds: The Militarisation Of Youth And How To Counter It'.

The survey was conducted between over 2012/2013, with at least two respondents from each country.

Data available:

10 Jun 2013
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New Tactics in Human RightsNew Tactics in Human RightsJoin members of the WRI network and the New Tactics community for an online conversation on tactics for combating the militarisation of education, public spaces, vulnerable communities, entertainment and culture. www.newtactics.org/conversation/tactics-combating-militarisation

22 May 2013
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Friday 14 June 2013 will be an International Day of Action For Military-Free Education and Research.

18 Apr 2013
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Oskar CastroOskar CastroInternational war in the 21st century is less about conscription, and more about 'smart' technology and highly trained mobile forces. In the past, war resisters tried to make conscription unworkable – and they sometimes succeeded. Now, War Resisters' International carries on the struggle against preparations for war and against changing forms of militarism throughout the world, because one aspect of war has not changed: it continues to indiscriminately wreak death and destruction.

28 Mar 2013
English

Militarisation in the UK generally

'Militarisation' means the ways in which the presence and approaches of the military (typically state armed forces and Defence Ministries) are normalised in a society. Military solutions are prioritised, and the military is privileged in various ways.

A society has to be militarised for a government to justify the development and maintenance of nuclear weapons to its citizens; militarisation creates a culture of acceptance. It popularises military euphemisms such as 'Defence', 'Security', and – particularly relevant to nuclear weapons – 'deterrant', and makes it hard to for those challenging these to be seen as credible.

08 Feb 2013
English

The peace activists also displayed a banner with the words 'Make Bundeswehr events a disaster!'The peace activists also displayed a banner with the words 'Make Bundeswehr events a disaster!'

30 Nov 2012
English

In September 2012 an antimilitarist action week took place in Germany – an evaluation

The idea of the action week arose from a small group during the 'PAXX (Peace) Action Conference' - an open meeting of antimilitarists – in March 2012 in Mannheim, and was originally related to the sector 'Bundeswehr (the German army) in schools'. Because of the high interest and the request of initiatives of the civil clause movement, the topic was shortly afterwards completed with the sector 'Military and armament research in colleges'. All the proposals were taken up and from September 24 to 29 the action week 'Für militärfreie Bildung und Forschung' (For Military-Free Education and Research) took place. The coordination of the action week, i.e. organisation and dispatch of a nationwide leaflet and maintenance of the action webpage was concentrated in the state of Baden-Württemberg and was taken over by the campaign 'Schulfrei für die Bundeswehr Baden-Württemberg' (No school for the Bundeswehr Baden-Württemberg).

11 Jul 2012
English

Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 8, paragraph 1, of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict

Concluding observations: Australia

CRC/C/OPAC/AUS/CO/1
11 July 2012

(...)

Prevention

Direct participation

28 Jun 2012
English

The international study conference on Countering the Militarisation of Youth, which took place from 8-10 June 2012 in Darmstadt, Germany, was a great success. With the conference we made an important step towards more cooperation and exchange among groups working on militarisation of youth in a range of topical areas and countries. For the conference, we brought together 65 participants from 14 countries and four continents, which in itself has been a great achievement. Our discussions enriched our understanding of militarisation, and helped to inspire us how to resist this militarisation.

01 Jun 2012
English

The issue of child soldiers is back on the global agenda, thanks to two major recent developments. In March, Thomas Lubanga became the first person to be convicted by the International Criminal Court. He was found guilty of forcibly recruiting child soldiers to his Union of Congolese Patriots, known as 'the army of children'. The second, most visible development, was the massive popularity growth of web-based film KONY2012.

01 Jun 2012
English

In this article we will explain how we understand in what ways politics about gender, sexuality and war are related to each other. We will also tell you about some actions Ofog (anti-militarist network) did against the Swedish Armed Forces participation in the last Pride festival (August 2011).

01 Jun 2012
English

The US military maintains an Orwellian database containing intimate details on 30 million youth between the ages of 16 and 25, providing local recruiters with personal information to use in a psychological campaign to lure youth within their designated regions. Before meeting, recruiters know what's in Johnny's head, if Johnny has a girlfriend, and what she thinks of his decision regarding enlistment. We'll examine how they do it.

01 Jun 2012
English

The debate about the “militarisation of research and teaching” is relatively new in Germany, and happens against the background of the restructuring of the German Bundeswehr from an alleged “defence army” to an “army in deployment”. This restructuring and the extent to which it affects the entire German population, are usually underestimated. While the defence army was, by design, relatively evenly distributed over Germany’s territory, at present, several military bases are being closed or merged, and military capabilities are concentrated at some locations.

01 Jun 2012
English

The UK armed forces visit thousands of schools each year. They offer school presentation teams, ‘careers advisors’, lessons plans, away days and more.

29 May 2012
English

As part of the work against the militarisation of education, since 2011, several schools in Germany have opposed cooperation with the German Bundeswehr and do not allow visits by Bundeswehr representatives to the school.

Robert-Blum-Gymnasium, Berlin: The school conference of the Robert-Blum-Gymnasium decided on Thursday, 24 March 2011, with a vote of 7 to 1 to adopt a proposal for making it a military-free school. The proposal was worded as follows:

Robert-Blum-Gymnasium – School without military

28 May 2012
English

– A new area of work for War Resisters' International

In Europe, and to some degree on a global level, there are presently two trends which both contribute to an increase in the militarisation of youth. The first trend is the end (or, more exactly, the suspension) of conscription in most European countries since the 1990s. In 2011, Germany, one of the last major military and economic powers in Europe which still maintained conscription, suspended conscription. The second trend is one of an increasing “normalisation of war”. Since the war in the Balkans, but even more so since 9/11 and the announcement of the “war on terror”, the political use of military force has increased – war is no longer seen as a failure of politics, but as one of the tools of politics. This led to a radical restructuring of military forces, oriented towards mobility and military intervention. But it also brought with it new justifications for the use of military force: first “humanitarian intervention” (Yugoslavia, Somalia), then the “war on terror” (Afghanistan, Iraq) and the “responsibility to protect” (Libya). Both trends reinforce each other, and one outcome is the increased militarisation of youth from an early age on.

28 May 2012
English

Rafael Uzcátegui

In 1998 lieutenant colonel Hugo Chávez won the presidency of Venezuela, after staging a coup d’etat in 1992. For the first time in Venezuela’s democratic period (which began in 1958), a member of the Armed Forces was elected head of state. One of the consequences was that a new phase of progressive militarisation had begun in the country, initiated with a constitutional reform in 1999, which granted members of the Armed Forces the right to vote, in addition to other political rights, such as the right to be elected to public office in a public vote. Today, soldiers occupy different offices, such as ministers, governors, and mayors. Although there is a coalition of political parties that supports president Chávez, the Gran Polo Patriótico, there is a lot of evidence that shows that, in fact, the Armed Forces are Hugo Chávez's political organisation of trust to exercise political power.

25 May 2012
English

Registration extended until 3 June 2012

23 May 2012
English

On 27 April the Defence Review Committee appointed by the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans published its Defence Review draft report. The last time South Africa undertook a Defence Review was in the late 1990s and it was in the context of a new democratic dispensation. However, those civil society organizations who participated in the 1996-98 review were disappointed and felt compromised by the final outcome.

23 May 2012
English

The most recent manifestations of the conflict in Colombia date back to 1948, when the presidential candidate Jorge Eliecer Gaitán was assassinated, cutting off the possibility that socialist-leaning ideas might have a place of decision and power in the Colombian state.

21 May 2012
English

When examining militarisation and young people in this country, we must necessarily look back and take into account the hundreds of years of militarism in the area's history: land occupations and violence by European colonists, construction of the 'national heroes' to motivate patriotism, legislation of obligatory military training, exponential military spending versus the social spending diet, introduction of of military training in civilian schools, and mutation of the armed forces according to the dominant economic model.

17 May 2012
English

The German Bundeswehr in the struggle for the hearts and minds of the German people

Small and ready to fight. In spite of a general reduction in personnel, the German Bundeswehr (Armed Forces) should in the future be more fit for action: 10,000 German soldiers should be able to be deployed abroad at any time, instead of the current 7,000 . But since the suspension of conscription, the German Armed Forces have to meet their recruitment needs entirely by persuading the civilian population to join in: 170,000 (career soldiers, soldiers on contract, reservists), plus 5,000 (soldiers recruited for voluntary military service), plus X (less than 10,000 additional soldiers recruited for voluntary military service) – equal less than 185,000 soldiers. This calculation was presented by German Minister of Defence Thomas de Maizière (Christian Democrats) in a policy speech in Berlin on 18 June 2011. Presently, it does not seem to be a problem for the German Bundeswehr to find 5,000 new recruits every year. But it is less clear whether they can meet the more ambitious target of 15,000 new recruits annually, because conscription was only suspended in summer 2011 and up to now not all the figures on new recruits (and drop-outs) of the last quarters are available.

17 May 2012
English

Article 1

States Parties shall take all feasible measures to ensure that members of their armed forces who have not attained the age of 18 years do not take a direct part in hostilities.

Article 2

States Parties shall ensure that persons who have not attained the age of 18 years are not compulsorily recruited into their armed forces.

Explanation

by Lothar Krappmann (member, Committee on the Rights of the Child)

17 May 2012
English

“A true Israeli doesn't dodge draft!” [1] – this slogan stands at the centre of a large-scale publicity campaign in Israel. The campaign was not run by the Israeli military, and it was not aiming to add more soldiers to the dwindling ranks of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF). Israel has (at least de jure) universal conscription, for both men and women. But this slogan did express, and strengthen, how most Israelis understand the role of military service in the life of an Israeli – a true Israeli.

15 May 2012
English

Darmstadt, Germany, 8-10 June 2012

Registration extended until 3 June 2012

08 May 2012
English

Talk by Andreas Speck, staff at War Resisters' International, at the launch of Cynthia Cockburn's book ‘Antimilitarism: Political and Gender Dynamics of Peace Movements’ at Housmans Bookshop, 21 April 2012

First of all I want to thank Cynthia for giving me the opportunity to say something today, although I haven't read the whole book yet.

20 Apr 2012
English

You are receiving this email because you have previously shown an interest either in attending or supporting our study conference on "Countering the Militarisation of Youth".

With just seven weeks until we all meet in Germany for the conference things are starting to take shape. We have started to confirm our team of speakers, facilitators and translators, book tickets and in the last few days switched our 'Registration of Interest' forms into 'Registration Forms'!

17 Apr 2012
English

International Study Conference, Darmstadt, Germany 8-10 June, 2012

War Resisters' International is organising an international study conference on countering the militarisation of youth, in cooperation with German partner organisations and supported by the German teachers union (GEW). The conference will not just look at military recruitment and counter-recruitment actions, but will take a much broader view on the militarisation of youth, the creation of a culture and value system favourable to recruitment.

16 Mar 2012
English

International seminar, Darmstadt, Germany, 8-10 June 2012

Organised by War Resisters' International, in co-operation with Deutsche Friedensgesellschaft – Vereinigte Kriegsdienstgegner/innen (DFG-VK) and Bertha-von-Suttner Foundation

You are receiving this email because you have previously shown an interest either in attending or supporting the Countering the Militarisation of Youth Conference. With this email, we are sending you some news and updates.

Conference updates

16 Mar 2012
English

This programme is not final. But it gives an overview of the topics that will be discussed at the conference from 8-10 June 2012. Please contact us on militarisationofyouth@wri-irg.org with any comments or suggestions.

Friday, 8 June 2012

6:00pm: Dinner
7:00pm: Begin of the study conference.
Facilitation: Andreas Speck, War Resisters' International, and Monty Schädel, DFG-VK, Germany
Welcome and introductions

7.30pm: Plenary

08 Mar 2012
English

Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 8, paragraph 1, of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict

Concluding observations: Azerbaijan

(...)

IV. Prevention

Voluntary recruitment

02 Mar 2012
English

Glasgow recruiting officeGlasgow recruiting officeThree women painted the windows of the Army recruiting office in Glasgow yesterday, 1st March, in protest at the dishonest propaganda used to persuade young people to join up.

27 Feb 2012
English

Dear Press Representatives,

We, conscientious objectors and antimilitarists of Turkey who oppose compulsory military service based on various motivations as beliefs, political and conscientious convictions held a meeting in Istanbul on 25-26 February 2012 with the participation of representatives from the Quaker United Nations Office, Amnesty International, the War Resisters’ International and Connection e.V.

22 Feb 2012
English

My name is Maxwell Zachs and I am one of the lucky few who were picked to be a Quaker Peaceworker 2011-2012. In the current economic climate I can't tell you enough how lucky I feel to have a full time job for 12 months before I start my masters degree in September. Let alone a job where I get to learn so much and tackle such interesting topics.

21 Feb 2012
English

Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 8 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict

Concluding observations: Thailand

(...)

Military schools

15. The Committee is concerned that at undergraduate level, where the minimum age for attendance is 16 years and over, the curriculum includes military subjects, such as weapons handling, land, naval and air logistics, military disciplines, and international laws.

16. The Committee recommends that the State party:

03 Nov 2011
English

Chile reformed its military service seven years ago, to focus recruitment for military service on volunteers. Ever since, Chile's armed forces were able to fill their ranks entirely with volunteers, although generally a process of conscription was started in October to select potential conscripts as a backup. In October 2008, 70,461 youth were chosen in the "sorteo general" (recruitment lottery) and had to report to the recruitment authorities, but in the end nobody was called up for military service against his will. This was repeated in the following years.

28 Oct 2011
English

International Conference Germany 2012

Darmstadt, 8-10 June 2012

War Resisters International are looking for individuals and organisations to collaborate on and contribute to its 2012 conference 'Countering the Militarisation of Youth'. One of the aims of the project is to create a snap shot of the ways in which youth are being increasingly militarised, to that end we would welcome hearing from you about developments in your area.

24 Mar 2011
English

• Serdar M. Değirmencioğlu

Schools provide fertile ground for militarism: there is a captive audience, a comprehensive mandate, a hierarchical structure, and a clear power differential between students and professionals. Schools can easily be turned into paramilitary institutions.

24 Mar 2011
English

• Oskar Castro

24 Mar 2011
English

Recruitment and publicity of the Germany military in schools

• Michael Schulze von Glaßer

24 Mar 2011
English

• Laura Pollecut

Conscription propped up the apartheid government. Without its regular intake of white youth, the apartheid regime could not have stayed in power as long as it did. The movement against conscription gained ground in the 1980s and was one of the contributing factors to the then government’s decision to enter negotiations. Finally after the first democratic elections in 1994, conscription became a thing of the past when South Africa introduced a voluntary professional army.

24 Mar 2011
English

• David Gee

24 Mar 2011
English

• Rafael Uzcátegui

24 Mar 2011
English

By Sergeiy Sandler, assisted by Shir Givoni and Bar Rose, New Profile.

On 1 December 2009, hundreds of Israeli high school headteachers gathered for a special conference on “preparation for meaningful service in the Israel Defence Forces”, with the Chief of Staff of the Israeli military as the keynote speaker. Also present were Israel’s Minister of Education and many senior officials from the Ministries of Education and Defence and senior military officers.[1]

24 Mar 2011
English

Against the militarisation of education

UK Armed Forces at the Charles Darwin SchoolUK Armed Forces at the Charles Darwin School

On 1 August 1914, it was too late for pacifist propaganda, it was too late for militarist propaganda – in fact the militarists then only harvested what they have sown 200 years before. We have to sow." [1] This is what German pacifist Kurt Tucholsky wrote in an article titled “On effective pacifism”, published in 1927. More than 80 years later, the militarists are still sowing. The presence of the military in schools is only the most outrageous example of the sowing and planting of militarist values into the minds of children and soon-to-be soldiers, or supporters of militarism and war. It is the most outrageous, because on the one hand schools should be about learning positive values and knowledge, and not about propaganda, and on the other hand children are most vulnerable to propaganda and indoctrination.

24 Mar 2011
English

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.

12 May 2010
Spanish

A las once y media de la mañana de hoy miércoles 12 de mayo, una docena de personas accedieron al lugar donde se celebra la Feria Juvenil de Empleo “Educ@emplea”, que como cada año tiene lugar en el recinto de la Institución Ferial Alicantina (IFA) de Torrellano. Ante la atónita mirada de los miles de jóvenes y profesores presentes, y ataviados con batas blancas y mascarillas, procedieron a rodear el stand en el que el ejército español se hace a sí mismo propaganda y se ofrece como siniestra salida laboral para jóvenes que terminan sus estudios.

06 Mar 2010
English

Resolution of the GEW National Executive dated 5/6 March 2010

In recent years the Bundeswehr- Armed Forces have been striving for more influence in schools. There have been many incidents where exhibitions of weapons and information events took place in schoolyards and gyms.

18 Jan 2010
English

The British Regular Army visits schools as a major part of its recruitment programme and a third of new soldier recruits are aged under 18. These recruits may face serious personal risk and challenging moral dilemmas, yet their terms of service can prevent them from leaving the army for up to six years. Given that minors are less able than adults to make free, informed and responsible decisions about enlisting, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and the House of Commons/Lords Joint Committee on Human Rights have recommended raising the minimum age of recruitment to 18.

01 Nov 2009
English

This manual focuses on building the GI resistance movement, and doing so requires an understanding of how veterans are directly impacted by war and militarism. Civilian organizers need this awareness in order to to build relationships and organize effectively in the military community. Below we explore veterans’ experiences with the military.

Military Culture and Structure

01 May 2009
English

editorial by Ariel Attack, originally written for the Queers Against Obama blog, March 9, 2009. Some edits made.
Taken from: Bash Back Denver: Be one of those queers you've heard about: undermine the army's ability to fight! Queer Counter-Recruitment, May 2009

17 Oct 2008
English

CRC/C/OPAC/GBR/CO/1

Concluding observations:
UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN AND NORTHERN IRELAND

Voluntary recruitment

12. The Committee notes that, according to the State party’s declaration under article 3 made upon ratification, the minimum age for voluntary recruitment is 16 years and regrets the fact that the State party indicates that there are no plans to change this.

25 Mar 2008
English

Resolution at NUT conference, 2008

War

Conference reaffirms existing Union policies which:

1. Call for the immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq.
2. Oppose military action or intervention in Iran.

The Global Campaign for Education have reported that over half of the children out of school are now living in countries where there are wars taking place. Conference notes with particular concern the huge refugee crisis within and beyond Iraq’s borders, one consequence of which is the impossibility of education for most learners of all ages.