NNOMY

High Energy and Commitment in Chicago Youth Activists Demand Military-Free Schools | Counterpunch | Jorge Mariscal | July 23 2009

Youth activists made up almost half the conference attendance. Groups of students traveled from California, New York, Georgia and other states, and youth volunteers from Chicago provided support at the conference site. Photo by Rick Jahnkow, Project YANOOn the weekend of July 17, over 250 activists from across the country converged on Roosevelt University in Chicago for the largest meeting ever of counter-recruitment and anti-militarism organizers.  Retirees from Florida and California, concerned parents from Ohio and Massachusetts, veterans from New Mexico and Oregon, grandmothers from Texas and North Carolina joined with youth organizations such as New York’s Ya-Yas (Youth Activists-Youth Allies) and San Diego’s Education Not Arms to consolidate a movement intent on resisting the increased militarization of U.S. public schools.

The building overlooking Lake Michigan vibrated with the positive energy of the diverse participants—people from different generations, regions, and ethnicities mixing together and exchanging stories about their struggle to demilitarize local schools.  For many senior citizens from the East Coast this was the first time they had met much less learned from Chicana high school students who live in border communities near San Diego.  For those relatively new to the counter-recruitment movement, the experience taught them more about the on-going process in which young people are increasingly subjected to military values and aggressive recruiting techniques.

Organized by the National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth (NNOMY), an alliance of over 180 organizations, the conference included workshops and caucuses on a variety of subjects ranging from the role of class and culture in counter-recruiting, women in the military, and legislative approaches to challenging militarization.

The growth of the counter-recruitment movement benefited greatly from the Bush administration’s slide into totalitarianism.  While established organizations like Project YANO of San Diego and the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) Youth and Militarism program had been working for decades to demilitarize youth, the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001 for the first time alerted many to the insidious nature of military recruiting in schools.  Many newcomers to the movement began with “opt-out” campaigns to protect students’ privacy and then moved on to the issue of military aptitude tests (ASVAB) that are often administered covertly in school districts nationwide.

Although some activists during the Bush years saw counter-recruitment solely as an antiwar tactic, the participants at the NNOMY conference understood that militarism is an issue that must be confronted with long-term strategies.  As many of them told me, it is less an issue of stopping current wars (although that is important) than it is of inhibiting the power of the military-corporate-educational complex with the goal of slowly transforming an interventionist and imperial foreign policy.

The symbolism of the conference location was especially important given that the Chicago public school district is the most heavily militarized district in the nation.  The current Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was superintendent of the city’s schools and oversaw the expansion of JROTC and military academies.  Today, Chicago has more academies and more JROTC cadets than any other city in the country.  Under Duncan’s leadership, it will more than likely become a model for the rest of the country.

As Sam Diener reported at the NNOMY conference, the National Defense Authorization Act of 2009 mandates that the military work to increase the number of schools with JROTC from the current total of about 3400 schools to 3700 schools by the year 2020 (a list of schools targeted for new units will be posted shortly on the Peacework Magazine website).

The larger context is alarming.  The decades long defunding of public education, the resultant decline of K-12 systems across the country, and the growth of the charter school movement has produced a situation in which the Pentagon is free to wade into the wreckage with an offer many parents cannot refuse.  In a classic shock doctrine maneuver, the military exerts increasing influence in public schools offering desperate parents programs that will teach their sons and daughters discipline and “leadership skills.”  As Gina Perez explained at the NNOMY meeting, working class youth with limited options, many of whom are active in their community churches, believe they can “make a difference” by joining JROTC.

Despite the Pentagon’s denials, there is no question that militarized school programs operate as covert recruiting programs. Recent studies show that about 40% of all JROTC cadets end up enlisting in the military. Activists working in Georgia recently obtained school district documents that refer to the goal of creating “African American and Hispanic children soldiers.”  What the Pentagon hopes to produce, however, is not cannon fodder as an earlier Vietnam War-era analysis might suggest but rather an educated workforce able to complete the complex tasks of a well-oiled, increasingly high tech, military.

Given the difficulty recruiters have had finding enough high school graduates to fill their quotas, especially in those Latino communities that will provide the largest group of military-age youth for the foreseeable future, it makes sense that the military would attempt to create its own pipeline.  If the public schools cannot turn out enough qualified potential recruits, the Pentagon will do it.  Neoliberalism in the United States may not mean generals in the Oval Office.  But it may mean children in military uniforms marching in formation at a school near you.

The model for this aspect of the militarist agenda is the Chicago public school system where for several years minority neighborhoods have seen the increasing encroachment of the military.  Science teacher Brian Roa, who has written about the Chicago experience, described in a recent truthout article how Mayor Daley and Superintendent Duncan oversaw the expansion of military academies.  “One day the Navy occupied one floor of our school,” Roa said at the NNOMY conference, “and before we knew it they had taken over the second and then the third floor.”

At San Diego’s Mission Bay High School, funding for college preparatory courses was decreased while the principal implemented plans for a Marine Corps JROTC complete with firing range for air rifle practice.  Latino students created the Education Not Arms coalition and successfully convinced a majority on the San Diego Board of Education to ban rifle training at eleven high schools.  Similar success stories were recounted last weekend all of which suggest that not only is militarism a high priority issue for the new century but also that youth activism is alive and well.

The fact that President Obama’s daughters attend Quaker schools while his Secretary of Education oversees the expansion of military programs for working class children is one more glaring contradiction in Obamaland.  The young people who attended the NNOMY conference are aware of the contradiction and left Chicago vowing that they will not passively stand by as their schools become centers for military indoctrination.

More information on the counter-recruitment movement is available at the NNOMY website: http://www.nnomy.org/

Jorge Mariscal is a Vietnam veteran and a member of Project YANO (San Diego). Visit his blog at: jorgemariscal.blogspot.com/

source: http://www.counterpunch.org/mariscal07232009.html

 

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NCRD Conference 2009 - Schedule

General Schedule for the Conference

Schedule

Here is the general schedule for the weekend of the conference.

UPDATED 7/10/09

Download this schedule in PDF format here.

 

FRIDAY, JULY 17
Location: AFSC, 637 S. Dearborn, 312-427-2533

Noon -> Check-in & Registration


5-7 Dinner

7-8:30 Opening Plenary: Education, Militarism and C-R
Where we've come from and where we're going...

A panel of perspectives with:
Pauline Lipman-Professor of Educational Policy Studies at the University of Illinois and education activist, Chicago
Rick Jahnkow-Project YANO and COMD, San Diego
Tyler-Zabel- Conscientious Objector status from the Illinois National Guard, rural Donovan, Illinois
Denise Ferrusquia, graduated Kelly High School, Social Justice Club, family in Afghanistan, Chicago
David Morales- Education Not Arms Coalition, Project YANO, graduated from Mission Bay HS, San Diego
Moderated by: Arlene Inouye, educator, CAMS, Los Angeles


8:30-10 Social Gathering

Presenters: Youth from Ya-Ya & Other Youth Orgs
Topic: We will start out all together and then split into youth & adult activities.

SATURDAY, JULY 18
Location: Roosevelt University,
430 S Michigan


7:30-8:30 am Breakfast

8:30-9:15 am Welcome and orientation

9:30-11:00 Workshop Session A

11:15-12:45 Workshop Session B


12:45-2:15 Lunch in caucus meetings

2:30-4:00 Workshop Session C

4:15--5:45 Workshop Session D

6:00-6:30 Announcements and Check-in

Presenters: TBD

6:30 Dinner (Not Provided)

Also, 7pm National Poetry Slam Finals

Location: Off conference site

SUNDAY, JULY 19th
Location: Roosevelt

8-9 Breakfast

9-10:30 Future Organizing/Planning

Presenters: TBA
Topic: Brief explanation of NNOMY and Sunday conference goals. Summary of ideas that came from the Sat. workshops and caucuses; primary needs and recommendations that should be addressed.

10:45-12 Break-out Groups to Discuss Next Steps

Topic: Small groups meet around specific ideas identified in previous session; begin planning follow-up activities.

12-1 :30 Conference Wrap-up Combined with Lunch

Presenters: TBD
Topic: Report-backs of any plans, new projects, next steps.

NCRD Conference 2009 - Transportation

Transportation

CTA Train

Below you can download travel directions, a map of the conference area etc.

To find or share a ride, click here.

For Chicago bus and subway maps and information click here.

 

Public Transportation in Chicago

Greyhound Bus offers a 15% discount for any student who is at least 16 years old. To get this discount, sign up for a Student Advantage Discount card at www.greyhound.com

CTA- *Chicago Transit Authority (CTA): From each airport follow signs to CTA’s trains, usually located in the basement. - CTA one way price: $2.25, one day pass - $5.75, 3 day pass - $14 and 7 day pass- $23.

Google Map - From Midway Airport to AFSC office/> – 637 S Dearborn -Friday night

Subway - Orange Line - Direction: Loop
Depart Midway -
Arrive Library stop
Walk to 637 S Dearborn St
1.Head west on W Van Buren St toward S Plymouth Ct
2.Turn left at S Dearborn St
Destination will be on the left

Google Map -From Midway Airport to Roosevelt University
– 430 S Michigan- Saturday and Sunday locations

Subway - Orange Line - Direction: Loop
Depart Midway -
Arrive Library
1.Head east on W Van Buren St toward S State St
2.Turn right at S Michigan Ave
Destination will be on the right
Walk to 430 S Michigan Ave
Roosevelt University: Chicago Campus

Google Map -From O’Hare Airport to AFSC office – 637 S Dearborn- Friday night location

Subway - Blue Line - Direction: Forest Park
Depart O'Hare
Arrive Jackson-Blue
Walk to 637 S Dearborn St
1.Head south on S Dearborn St toward W Van Buren St
Destination will be on the left

Google Map -From O’Hare Airport to Roosevelt University -430 S Michigan-Saturday and Sunday locations

Subway - Blue Line - Direction: Forest Park
Depart O'Hare
Arrive Jackson-Blue
1.Head east on W Jackson Blvd toward S Plymouth Ct
2.Turn right at S Michigan Ave
Destination will be on the right, Walk to 430 S Michigan Ave

Driving Directions

Google Map -Driving from the North or 90/94 or O’Hare Airport
Exit at 290/ Congress Pkwy stay in left lane and follow to Congress Pky.
Follow Congress east Turn right to Clark for parking
Or Right on Dearborn for AFSC office,
Or continue straight to Michigan for Roosevelt

Google Map -Driving Instructions from South or East
Take Lake Shore Drive North to Congress, Turn left onto Balbo, Right onto Michigan Left on Congress -Roosevelt is at the corner of Michigan and Congress. One block west on Congress is the HI Chicago Youth Hostel.

** It is very difficult to stop on Congress or Michigan to unload anything. They are very busy streets. Wabash St., one block to the east is easier.

Recommended Long term Parking is at the southwest corner of Clark and Polk.
To parking, follow Congress about 6 blocks turn left on Clark, follow 2 blocks to Clark and Polk, turn right on Polk to enter. Parking is one block south and west of the AFSC office. $14 per 12 hour period with in and out permitted. Credit cards accepted.

Short term Parking: There are several parking options to unload materials for Roosevelt or for the youth hostel if you turn south from Congress onto Wabash, one block west of Michigan.

 

NCRD Conference 2009 - Housing

Housing

A housing map in the Chicago area of the conference area is available HERE.

If you live in Chicago, please consider offering a home-stay to a conference participant or two. Use our HOUSING BOARD to find or offer housing, arrange to share hotel rooms etc.

You may be able to get substantially cheaper hotel rates if you book through one of the commercial travel sites like travelocity.com, orbitz.com, expedia.com, priceline.com, etc.

Below is information provided by several lodging establishments relatively near the conference:

Google Map - Hostelling International Chicago Youth Hostel -
Hostelling International Chicago24 East Congress Parkway
(312) 360-0300

Counter-recruitment Conference rate is $40.39 per night, which includes taxes and breakfast. When reserving online use the promo code: AFSC. By phone indicate you are with AFSC.
A reservation guarantees a bed and separation by gender. If a conference participant wishes to room with his/her friends, he/she must indicate this upon making a reservation.
 
Payment is due upon arrival . HI Chicago accepts cash, Visa and Mastercard.

Located in the center of the city, HI-Chicago is a 500-bed hostel offering guests safe, clean, quality accommodations near major attractions and public transportation.
The hostel is within walking distance of the Sears Tower, Navy Pier, Lake Michigan, the Art Institute, most major museums, and Michigan Avenue. Staff and volunteers lead hostellers in city tours and outings to blues and jazz clubs, major festivals, and other popular local activities.

Hostelling International is a non-profit membership based organization, promoting peace through hostelling since 1909. Non-members pay a $3 non-membership fee per night upon check-in.

• 24 hour access, 365 days a year, NO CURFEW
• 24 hour luggage storage and 24 hour security
• Great knowledgeable staff and volunteers to assist you
• FREE maps of Chicago, and discounts to museums and attractions
• FREE guided tours of the city
• Recommendations on restaurants, clubs and events
• FREE linens, towels, pillows and blankets provided for all guests
• International standards for comfort, cleanliness and security
• Lockers in your room, please bring a lock with you
• Computers with internet access in the lobby, also wi-fi in lobby, $6 per hour
• Big self-service kitchen and self-service laundry
• Fully wheelchair accessible
• NO age restrictions, all ages welcome, under 18 must be accompanied by adult

Google Map Icon - University Center
(dorm-like housing) 3 blocks from Roosevelt, 2 ½ blocks from AFSC
525 South State St.
(312)-924-8000
Rate - $78 per person
http://www.chicagosummerhousing.com

Google Map - Blake Hotel
4 blocks from Roosevelt, 1½ blocks from AFSC,
500 S Dearborn St
(312)-986-1234
http://www.hotelblake.com/
Rate - $189 -$334 per room
Group rates (10 rooms or more) – $159 per room
Transportation provided from Midway ($22) and O’Hare ($24) to hotel called “Airport Express”.

Google Map - Blackstone Hotel
2 blocks from Roosevelt, 5 blocks from AFSC
636 South Michigan Ave.
(312) 447-0955
Blackstone Hotel
Rate - $259 per room
Group rate (10 rooms or more) - $189 per room

Google Map - Palmer House
5 blocks from Roosevelt, 7 blocks from AFSC
17 East Monroe Street
312-726-7500
Palmer Houes
1 king or double bed $250 per room
Group rate (10 rooms or more) – $159 per room
We have reserved several rooms at a reduced rate. To book one of these, please contact Darlene at 312-427-2533 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Google Map - Club Quarters
7 blocks from Roosevelt, 6 blocks from AFSC
111 W Adams St, Chicago –
(312) 214-6400
http://www.clubquarters.com/
Rate - $129 – $146 per room
Group rates (at least 10 rooms)- 1 double bed - $139 or Queen for $159

 

NCRD Conference 2009 - Logistics

Conference Logistics

LogisticsCheck back here often as we will continue to add new information as it becomes available.


Meals:

Friday night dinner will be at the Chicago AFSC office located at 637 S Dearborn.

Continental breakfast and lunch will be provided on Saturday and Sunday at Roosevelt University at 430 S Michigan.

Saturday dinner will be on your own (but by Saturday night you will have met lots of folks to go out to dinner with. We will provide a list of affordable restaurants in the area (average cost $15).

There will be a social/networking event Friday evening.

Vegetarian meals are available. If you plan to eat the food offered for the vegetarians, please notify Darlene at 312-427-2533 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. so she can get a head count.

NCRD Conference 2009

National Counter-Recruitment and Demilitarization Conference Info back

Chicago, July 17-19, 2009

This page is the portal to information on the conference, including conference logistics, travel to the conference, where to stay, etc. We also will be posting the conference packet so you can download it in advance and read it on your way to the conference.

Materials will continue to be added here over the next several weeks, so check back often.

Logistics Housing Transportation
Schedule
   
Contact Informatiion:
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Phone: 312-427-2533
Mail: CRC c/o AFSC
637 Dearborn St. #3
Chicago Illinois 60605
   

Register Online: Click here

CONFERENCE DOCUMENTS:

• Conference packet items

The conference packet contents are available for download here so that you can print it out before the conference and bring it with you. Hard copy packets will also be available at the conference

• Workshops

A workshop list and presenter biographies can be downloaded here. 

Documents that will be distributed by workshop presenters will be posted as they become available: Click here to download the documents.

PLEASE NOTE: Workshop session times are in the conference schedule.

• Conference Presenters

Important notices for all conference presenters: Click here

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* Credits

Subcategories

The NNOMY Opinion section is a new feature of our articles section. Writing on youth demilitarization issues is quite rare but we have discovered the beginning articles and notes being offered on this subject so we have decided to present them under an opinion category.  The articles presented do not necessarily reflect the views of the NNOMY Steering Committee.

General David Petraeus' rocky first days as a lecturer at the City University of New York Though the United States of America shares with other nations in a history of modern state militarism, the past 65 years following its consolidation as a world military power after World War II, has seen a shift away from previous democratic characterizations of the state.  The last thirty years, with the rise of the neo-conservative Reagan and Bush administrations (2), began the abandonment of moral justifications for democracy building replaced by  bellicose proclamations of the need and right to move towards a national project of global security by preemptive military force .

In the process of global military expansion, the US population has been subjected to an internal re-education to accept the role of the U.S. as consolidating its hegemonic rule internationally in the interest of liberal ideals of wealth creation and protectionism.

The average citizen has slowly come to terms with a stealthly increasing campaign of militarization domestically in media offerings; from television, movies and scripted news networks to reinforce the inevitability of a re-configured society as security state. The effect has begun a transformation of how, as citizens, we undertand our roles and viability as workers and families in relation to this security state. This new order has brought with it a shrinking public common and an increasing privatization of publicly held infrustructure; libraries, health clinics, schools and the expectation of diminished social benefits for the poor and middle-class. The national borders are being militarized as are our domestic police forces in the name of Homeland Security but largely in the interest of business. The rate and expansion of research and development for security industries and the government agencies that fund them, now represent the major growth sector of the U.S.economy. Additionally, as the U.S. economy continually shifts from productive capital to financial capital as the engine of growth for wealth creation and development, the corporate culture has seen its fortunes rise politically and its power over the public sector grow relatively unchallenged by a confused citizenry who are watching their social security and jobs diminishing.

How increasing cultural militarization effects our common future will likely manifest in increased public dissatisfaction with political leadership and economic strictures. Social movements within the peace community, like NNOMY, will need to expand their role of addressing the dangers of  militarists predating youth for military recruitment in school to giving more visibility to the additional dangers of the role of an influential militarized media, violent entertainment and play offerings effecting our youth in formation and a general increase and influence of the military complex in all aspects of our lives. We are confronted with a demand for a greater awareness of the inter-relationships of militarism in the entire landscape of domestic U.S. society.  Where once we could ignore the impacts of U.S. military adventurisms abroad, we are now faced with the transformation of our domestic comfort zone with the impacts of militarism in our day to day lives.

How this warning can be imparted in a meaningful way by a movement seeking to continue with the stated goals of counter-recruitment and public policy activism, and not loose itself in the process, will be the test for those activists, past and future, who take up the call to protect our youth from the cultural violence of militarism.

The "militarization of US culture" category will be an archive of editorials and articles about the increasing dangers we face as a people from those who are invested in the business of war. This page will serve as a resource for the NNOMY community of activists and the movement they represent moving into the future. The arguments presented in this archive will offer important realizations for those who are receptive to NNOMY's message of protecting our youth, and thus our entire society, of the abuses militarism plays upon our hopes for a sustainable and truly democratic society.

NNOMY

 

The Resources section covers the following topics:

News reports from the groups associated to the NNOMY Network including Social Media.

Reports from counter-recruitment groups and activists from the field. Includes information about action reports at recruiting centers and career fairs, school tabling, and actions in relation to school boards and state legislatures.

David SwansonDavid Swanson is the author of the new book, Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union, by Seven Stories Press and of the introduction to The 35 Articles of Impeachment and the Case for Prosecuting George W. Bush by Dennis Kucinich. In addition to cofounding AfterDowningStreet.org, he is the Washington director of Democrats.com and sits on the boards of a number of progressive organizations in Washington, DC.


Charlottesville Right Now: 11-10-11 David Swanson
David Swanson joins Coy to discuss Occupy Charlottesville, protesting Dick Cheney's visit to the University of Virginia, and his new book. -  Listen

Jorge MariscalJorge Mariscal is the grandson of Mexican immigrants and the son of a U.S. Marine who fought in World War II. He served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam and currently teaches at the University of California, San Diego.

Matt GuynnMatt Guynn plays the dual role of program director and coordinator for congregational organizing for On Earth Peace, building peace and nonviolence leadership within the 1000+ congregations of the Church of the Brethren across the United States and Puerto Rico. He previously served a co-coordinator of training for Christian Peacemaker Teams, serving as an unarmed accompanier with political refugees in Chiapas, Mexico, and offering or supporting trainings in the US and Mexico.

Rick JahnkowRick Jahnkow works for two San Diego-based anti-militarist organizations, the Project on Youth and Non-Military Opportunities and the Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft. He can be reached at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Pat ElderPat Elder was a co-founder of the DC Antiwar Network (DAWN) and a member of the Steering Committee of the National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth, (NNOMY).  Pat is currently involved in counter-recruitment projects in a dozen jurisdictions in the DC metropolitan area.  Pat’s work has prominently appeared in NSA documents tracking domestic peace groups.

 

Documents:

audio Pat Elder - National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth

NNOMY periodically participates in or organizes events(e.i. conferences, rallies) with other organizations.

The Counter-recruitment Essentials section of the NNOMY web site covers the issues and actions spanning this type of activism. Bridging the difficult chasms between religious, veteran, educator, student, and community based activism is no small task. In this section you will find information on how to engage in CR activism in your school and community with the support of the knowledge of others who have been working to inform youth considering enlisting in the military. You will also find resources for those already in the military that are looking for some guidance on how to actively resist injustices  as a soldier or how to choose a path as a conscientious objector.

John Judge was a co-founder of the Committee for High School Options and Information on Careers, Education and Self-Improvement (CHOICES) in Washington DC, an organization engaged since 1985 in countering military recruitment in DC area high schools and educating young people about their options with regard to the military. Beginning with the war in Viet Nam, Judge was a life-long anti-war activist and tireless supporter of active-duty soldiers and veterans.

 

"It is our view that military enlistment puts youth, especially African American youth, at special risk, not only for combat duty, injury and fatality, but for military discipline and less than honorable discharge, which can ruin their chances for employment once they get out. There are other options available to them."


In the 1970's the Selective Service System and the paper draft became unworkable, requiring four induction orders to get one report. Boards  were under siege by anti-war and anti-draft forces, resistance of many kinds was rampant. The lottery system failed to dampen the dissent, since people who knew they were going to be drafted ahead of time became all the more active. Local draft board members quit in such numbers that even I was approached, as a knowledgeable draft counselor to join the board. I refused on the grounds that I could never vote anyone 1-A or eligible to go since I opposed conscription and the war.

At this point the Pentagon decided to replace the paper draft with a poverty draft, based on economic incentive and coercion. It has been working since then to draw in between 200-400,000 enlisted members annually. Soon after, they began to recruit larger numbers of women to "do the jobs men don't want to". Currently recruitment quotas are falling short, especially in Black communities, and reluctant parents are seen as part of the problem. The hidden problem is retention, since the military would have quadrupled by this time at that rate of enlistment, but the percentage who never finish their first time of enlistment drop out at a staggering rate.

I began bringing veterans of the Vietnam War into high schools in Dayton, Ohio in the late 1960s, and have continued since then to expose young people to the realities of military life, the recruiters' false claims and the risks in combat or out. I did it first through Vietnam Veterans Against the War/Winter Soldier Organization, then Dayton Draft & Military Counseling, and since 1985 in DC through C.H.O.I.C.E.S.

The key is to address the broader issues of militarization of the schools and privacy rights for students in community forums and at meetings of the school board and city council. Good counter-recruitment also provides alternatives in the civilian sector to help the poor and people of color, who are the first targets of the poverty draft, to find ways to break into the job market, go to a trade school, join an apprenticeship program, get job skills and placement help, and find money for college without enlisting in the military.

John Judge -- counselor, C.H.O.I.C.E.S.
 
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