International Week of Action Against the Militarisation of Youth held for the fourth time

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In 20-26 November 2017, many activists from around the world took action against the militarisation of young people in their countries, cities and towns. This was part of a global action: the International Week of Action Against the Militarisation of Youth.

Initiated by War Resisters' International, the week was held for the 4th time this year. Throughout 20-26 November, groups from South Korea, Greece, Israel to the USA and many other places, organised their autonomous actions, workshops, vigils and other events. Touching upon various issues, activists raised awareness on, and challenged, those many ways young people's minds and bodies are recruited into war and violence.

Direct actions and street protests

During the week, activists from AKL (the Union of Conscientious Objectors, Finland) organised actions in front of the military recruitment centre in Helsinki. AKL activists informed young people about their right to conscientious objection and encouraged them to refuse to attend military service. Meanwhile in Israel, activists from the Mesarvot network - a solidarity network supporting political conscientious objectors in Israel - organised a solidarity action in front of the military recruitment centre in Tel Aviv. The protest was in support of the young refuser, Matan Hellman, who declared his conscientious objection on 20th November and imprisoned multiple times.

In Greece, activists from World Without Wars and ViolenceAssociation of Conscientious ObjectorsService Civil International Hellas, and the feminist collective the Purple met in front of the Military Recruitment Office and the Military Court in Athens, read their poetry for peace as well as informing the public about the militarisation of youth in the country.

In the USA, Granny Peace Brigade activists travelled to high schools throughout New York City and informed students and parents about alternatives to the military, as well as circulating counter-recruitment resources.

In the UK, Women in Black  activists in London have organised a vigil and circulated a petition to the Prime Minister Theresa May in Central London, calling on the British Government to cease engagement of the armed forces with schools and education authorities.

Information and Debate

In the Czech Republic, NESEHNUTÍ  organised a screening of the movie “Výchova k válce” (Education for War), followed by a panel session on the militarisation of education in the country. In South Korea, activists from Peace Education Project MOMO organisined an exhibition on the nonviolent means of resolving conflict with the North, sharing material from their recent event “Peace Colleges”.

In Paraguay, activists from The Latin American and Caribbean Anti-Militarist Network (RAMALC) organised a panel on resisting youth militarisation in Latin America. This included speakers from various Latin American countries. During the week, RAMALC activists also posted on social media to raise awareness on challenging the militarisation of young people across different countries in Latin America.

In Germany, DFG-VK activists held a discussion in Auguste-Viktoria-Gymnasium (school) in Trier, and held information stalls and organised spontaneous talks inside a school in Mainz.

In Russia, the Movement of Conscientious Objectors spoke at a conference about the militarisation of Russian educational standards, as well as their experience in helping students who do not want to participate in pre-military service. The presentation is available here. In Voronezh, they co-organaised the screening of the film "The Buddha collapsed with shame", followed by a discussion.

Publications

During the week, National Network Opposing the Militarisation of Youth  from the USA published an article series, Researching Pop Culture and Militarism, authored by Selene Rivas. The series inquired the links between pop culture and the militarisation of youth in the States today. You can reach articles here: http://nnomy.org/index.php/en/resources/blog/researching-militarism-sele...

Also, as part of the week of action NESEHNUTI conducted an interview on the militarisation of education in the Czech Republic . Read it here.

As well as, events and publications, some activists supported the week via their video messages. See Tuuli Vuori's (from AKL, Finland) message here.

See Moses Monday John's (from Organisation for Nonviolence and Development, South Sudan) here.

See Martina Lanza's (from Movimento Nonviolento, Italy) message here.

See Peace Pledge Union's (UK) call for actions here.

Week of Action in 2018

The week of action will take place between 12-18 November in 2018. Its planning is in progress with the support of an international group of activists from different countries. If you'd like to take part in the week next year contact us via cmoy@wri-irg.org, follow us on social media and anti-mili-youth.net.

Geographic terms: 

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