Germany

Syria is going through the deadliest conflict that the 21st century has witnessed so far, with half a million people killed, over a million injured, and more than 12 million displaced. Millions of Syrians escaped from war and sought asylum in other countries. In this CO-Update, we are sharing the stories of two of those who could escape from conscription in Syria, and are currently based in Germany.

In early July, following years of campaigning from anti-nuclear activists, the United Nations formally adopted a treaty that categorically prohibits nuclear weapons. Read more from the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. This news was met with joy amongst those staying at the Coulport Disarmament camp – run by Trident Ploughshares – who undertook ten days of direct action at the nuclear weapons depot on Loch Long.

In May 2017, US vendors of weapons made by German company Heckler and Koch received a letter purporting to be from Martin Obermann, the company's head of Transatlantic Sales, informing them of a mass recall of the weapons. The letter read,

The European Court of Justice: Having published its preliminary ruling, what is the next move?

by Rudi Friedrich

On February 26, 2015, the European Court of Justice (ECJ), having been asked by the Munich Administrative Court (Verwaltungsgericht) to submit a decision on U.S. AWOL soldier André Shepherd’s request for asylum, published its preliminary ruling. As many media observers now believe that Mr Shepherd’s prospects of being granted asylum status are very remote, Rudi Friedrich from Connection e.V. has now summarized his initial thoughts on whether pessimism is indeed justified and what ramifications the court's preliminary ruling will have. (ed.)

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.

Different 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.

Press Statement by the spokesperson of the campaign Action outcry - Stop the arms trade!

The campaign "Action outcry - Stop the arms trade" criticized the decision made by the Federal Government, to upgrade the weapons of Kurdish fighters in northern Iraq with German war weapons. The campaign spokesmen Jürgen Grässlin and Paul Russmann spoke emphatically of "the disastrous consequences of the pending arms transfers".

"German arms supplies to the Kurdish peshmerga are false and fatal in their effect. Whoever supplies weapons to a war party, is adding fuel to the fire of war" said Jürgen Grässlin, national spokesman of the German Peace Society - United War Resisters (DFG-VK) and for the campaign 'Action outcry - Stop the arms trade"!


Hiroshima Remembrance Day , August 6 2014, 11 am. The blockade at the Lutzerather Gate of the Büchel nuclear base was cleared at about 6.30 am this morning to allow vehicles entry to the nuclear weapons base. Of the 12 activists blockading the gate, one could not be immediately removed because he had locked himself to the gate with a bike lock around his neck. The police had to lift him and open the gate with him still attached. After attempts to break the lock, the police were forced to cut the gate itself in order to remove the protester. He and two other activists without ID were arrested and taken to Cochen police station, one of them is under-age. All the other blockaders were let go after their personal details were recorded.

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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.

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