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.
Between June 10 to 14, 2013, War Resisters International and the New Tactics community joined together to hold an online conversation on tactics for combating the militarisation of education, public spaces, vulnerable communities, entertainment and culture.
Military out of schools — not a common theme for War Resisters' International, although obviously an important issue. As this issue of The Broken Rifle shows, the militarisation of our education system — be it for the purpose of indoctrination of youth, or for the purpose of military recruitment — is an extremely important issue.
Countering the Militarisation of Youth is the theme of this issue of The Broken Rifle, just in time for our international study conference with the same title.
As I wrote in a guest editorial in Peace News back in 2002, to work effectively, we need to know our enemy, or what our enemy is doing, With enemy I mean the military, and I consciously call the military our enemy, knowing that within most nonviolent circles we are not supposed to have enemies.
"In Europe, and to some degree on a global level, there are presently two trends which both contribute to an increased militarisation of youth. The first is the end (or, more exactly, the suspension) of conscription in most European countries. The second is an increasing “normalisation of war” stemming from the 'war on terror and the use of military force as a means of politics. Both trends reinforce each other in strengthening the militarisation of youth from an early age- something we are committed to working against.”
The project, which includes an international meeting in Germany, and a post-conference publication, hopes to bringing together activists from all over the world.
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