Militarisation of Youth

Our Countering the Militarisation of Youth programme identifies and challenges 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 that 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.

As part of our programme, we bring together a network of activists already working on countering youth militarisation in their own settings, and encourage more people to take action on these issues. Our activities with this aim include:

Antimili-youth.net

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

International Week of Action Against the Militarisation of Youth

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. Since 2015, WRI has been organising the International Week of Action Against the Militarisation of Youth with the participation of various groups from across the world via their autonomous actions and events. See the reports from 2015 here, and from 2016 here.

Sowing Seeds: The Militarisation of Youth and How to Counter

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.

Gender and Countering Youth Militarisation

In 2017, thanks to the support of the Network for Social Change, we have started a new project, Gender and Countering Youth Militarisation. As part of this project, we are going to organise a number of trainings with grassroots activists from across different countries, focusing on the role of gender in our campaigns against youth militarisation. The project will also include an online resource to be out in 2018, inquiring these issues further with contributions by activists and experts in the field.

 

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.

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:

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.

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.

• 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.

• 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.

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]

Against the militarisation of education

“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.

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