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.

 

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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