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.

 

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...

 

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.

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.


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!

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.

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.

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.

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. 

A big thank you to everyone who helped finance o

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.

Is it enough to challenge war when it's upon us? 

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

Is it enough to challenge war when it's upon us? 

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

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