As a journalist and researcher, I’ve spent the last several years investigating the expanding network of links between public education and the U.S. military. With my colleague Scott Harding, I’ve also been researching the grassroots response to this phenomenon: the counter-recruitment movement.
“If something happens with Russia,” said one cadet to his classmate at Fishburne Military School, “I’m pretty sure all of us are a little bit, you know, maybe not excited but ready. Because that’s what we want to do.”
Another cadet chimed in, saying, “For our whole lives … since I was a little kid, that’s all I ever wanted to do.”
Harold McCoo, however, was less sanguine about the prospects of the battlefield and his schoolmates’ eagerness to enter war. “I don’t want to see them on one of those plaques that we have over in the foyer for former Fishburne cadets who have passed away,” he said.
Photo: Dr. Sonia Santiago, founder and director of Madres Contra la Guerra/Mothers Against the War. (Photo: Jovanni Reyes)
Members of Iraq Veterans Against the War, along with allies from various peace and justice organizations, congregated at the Woodbine Ecological Center in Sadalia, Colorado last month to attend the 2014 IVAW National Convention and commemorate the 10th anniversary of the post-9/11-era anti-war veteran led movement. Ironically, this date fell on the week after the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War—a war that devastated Europe and was supposed to end all wars—and coincidentally at a time when the Obama Administration authorized another round of aerial attacks on the people of Iraq. This brought ill memories of the last war on the people of Iraq by U.S. forces, leaving many of the combat veterans attending with mixed feelings, self-reflection and, for some, sentiments of despair.
Photo:The 2013 Caiman MRAP acquired by the San Diego Unified School District Police Department with decals rendered by an artist. San Diego Unified School District
Update, Sept. 18, 10:54 a.m.: Following complaints, the Los Angeles Unified School District Police Department announced Tuesday it will return three grenade launchers but keep an anti-mine armored vehicle and 61 M-16s it acquired through a Department of Defense program. The surplus automatic M-16 rifles were converted to semi-automatic, the department said.
Keep the military's base of operations out our education system
As the school year begins, parents and guardians across the [U.S.] are getting to know new teachers, bus routes, routines and worrying increasingly about violence and bullying as we send our children into the semi-unknown. It’s a busy, nervous time of year.
Parents of school-aged children in Syria and Iraq have other worries. An August 2014 United Nations Human Rights Council report states that both state and non-state armed groups in the region have been recruiting children for combat and non-combat support roles in violent conflict, [including] ISIS.
Under the Obama administration there have been more than two million deportations to date, an average of 1,100 people every day, which is a higher rate than that for any other president in the history of the United States. More than 100,000 of those have come from California. Deportations have been facilitated in California via the implementation of the Secure Communities policy in 2009, which established the sharing of the fingerprint database between local law enforcement and federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.
The proposed immigration reform bill’s halt and continued deportations have sparked community organizers and activists nationwide to mobilize and stage several nonviolent civil disobedience actions calling for the stopping of all deportations and the shutdown of ICE.
The calls started when I was a junior in high school — always in the evening, always after The Simpsons and always with an older gentleman on the other end of the line.
“Charles, there's someone who wants to speak you,” my mother would yell from the kitchen.
She showed no concern as she handed me the phone, no alarm in her eyes over all the calls she was getting from strange middle-aged men looking to chat up her vulnerable teenage son.
That's because these creepers called themselves “colonels” and “sergeants,” which lent authority to their predation. These men were military recruiters — and the bed they wanted to get me in was housed in some barracks.
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