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.
However, in October 2011, the military announced that only 14,127 persons had so far volunteered for military service, compared to 20,431 the year before. The military plans to recruit 11,340 soldiers by spring 2012, and according to the recruitment department they would need 2.5 times the number of volunteers.
With a seemingly endless war on terrorism gnawing away at the possibility for a lasting peace many activists in the United Sates are finding that they are drawn to a form of activism that deals with the relationship that young people have to militarism. The work is called, counter military recruitment or counter-recruitment for short, and it primary focus is to demilitarise a nation by attempting to first demilitarise the minds of its youth.
The Universities Network is an informal collective of groups and individuals at universities across the UK - students and staff in higher education who are campaigning to break ties between their institution and arms companies. By linking campaigns across the country we can be inspired by each other, share successes and plan more effectively by pooling resources.
A recently circulated academic paper from a U.S. Army War College research fellow demonstrates that organizations like Courage to Resist are having a substantive effect on the military’s ability to recruit and retain soldiers.
Counter-recruitment and school demilitarization work in the U.S. has gone through several cycles of expansion and contraction during the last few decades. The first expansion was during the early 1980s when it was supported by a small number of national organizations, such as the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), War Resisters League, Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors (CCCO) and National Lawyers Guild. Most grassroots activities at the time were carried out by chapters of these organizations and a number of independent community peace groups (including COMD and, eventually, Project YANO).
It’s not necessary to go to Washington for a protest to significantly engage key issues related to the War on Terrorism. Try going to a local coffee shop or any other public place where you can strike up a conversation with youth or young adults about the choices and paths that the young people in your community see in front of them.
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. READ MORE