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NNOMY at the 2017 VFP Education Not Militarization Convention in Chicago

Education Not Militarization

The National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth will be participating in the 2017 Veterans For Peace National Convention in Chicago August 11th, 2017. Located at the beautiful and historic Palmer House Hotel, veterans and allies will gather to discuss "Education Not Militarization". Registration begins on Wednesday, August 9th and ends on August 13th with a benefit concert by Jackson Browne. The week will be filled with amazing workshops, discussions, community and music. 

NNOMY will be presenting a Mini Plenary workshop between 1:30 and 3:00pm in the Spire meeting room on Friday, August 11th 2017 with the theme, Education Not Militarization: The Nuts and Bolts of Pursuing Policy Changes to Counter Recruitment and Demilitarize Schools. 

In the Hancock room, at 3:15 to 4:45pm NNOMY will conduct the workshop, Education Not Militarization: Educating students and countering military recruitment inside the schools, with multiple presenters. Please be on time so we can cover all the materials and have time for questions.

Trump's Austerity Budget Increases Military Recruiters' Power to Prey on Youth

Sarah Jaffe | Originally published in Truthout - March 24, 2017

 

Rory Fanning speaks in Japan on a Veterans for Peace trip in 2016. (Photo: Yoshiaki Kawakami)Donald Trump's budget slashes social programs while inflating an already massive military budget, meaning that for many people in already underserved and underemployed communities, the military will be the closest thing to a welfare state they have.

Today we bring you a conversation with Rory Fanning, a veteran and conscientious objector, and author of the book Worth Fighting For: An Army Ranger's Journey Out of the Military and Across America. His work centers on opposing US militarism at home. He is also the coauthor, with Craig Hodges, of the new book Long Shot: The Triumphs and Struggles of an NBA Freedom Fighter. He lives in Chicago, which has become ground zero for military recruiting in the country, and often speaks at high schools there. "There are more kids signed up in Chicago JROTC and NJROTC than any other school district in the country; ten thousand kids: 50 percent Latino and 45 percent Black," he told me. We spoke about opposing Trump's military buildup, the roles that veterans and athletes can play in movements for change, and the long tradition of imperialism in the US.

Sarah Jaffe: We will circle back, certainly, to talk about military recruiting, but because we are in the wake of Donald Trump's first quasi-budget (and it has a lot of cuts to social programs in order to put all of this money into the military), I wanted to talk to you about the role the military plays in this right-wing nationalist political buildup and how people can resist that.

Rory Fanning: I think it is important first to note that this request by this budget, particularly through defense, is not unprecedented. It really only takes us back to 2011 numbers when they kind of set a cap on military spending. But Obama asked for $700 billion for defense in 2012. I think Trump is asking for $600 billion, which is an increase of $56 billion over the previous year. It is still more military spending than the next thirteen countries combined. One of the most alarming things about this budget is the number of active-duty Army troops that are going to be increased. It is going to go from 475,000 to about 540,000 at a time when there is really no existential threat to the United States. It is kind of ridiculous. I think that is just going to mean more intense recruiting in the most vulnerable communities in the US.

Rebuttal to Groups Supporting Female Draft Registration

Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft | Originally Published in Draft NOtices, January-March 2017

In July 2016, a letter in support of draft registration for women, signed by 16 organizations, was sent to the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees. The joint letter was coordinated by the national American Civil Liberties Union and was sent on ACLU letterhead. Its signers included, among others, the Service Women’s Action Network, American Association of University Women, Human Rights Watch, NAACP, National Center for Lesbian Rights, and National Organization for Women. Their goal in urging the extension of draft registration to women was very narrow: advancing the cause of gender equality.

The fact that groups like the ACLU have historically opposed military conscription in the U.S. made the letter all the more frustrating to those who have been trying for decades to end draft registration and terminate the Selective Service System. In response to the ACLU-coordinated letter, COMD and a number of other organizations wrote and sent the following statement to various signers of the ACLU-coordinated letter. Because of space limitations, this is a slightly abridged version of the statement.

The US Military, Like Ancient Rome's, Is Trying to Secure a Dying Empire

Mark Karlin | Originally published in Truthout - February 19, 2017

Recruiters from the Harrisburg Recruiting Company assisted with the Youth and Education Services (Y.E.S.) October 8, 2010, at the Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pennsylvania. (Photo: Christine June / Harrisburg US Army Recruiting Batallion)Delving into the underbelly of the US military, longtime antiwar activist Pat Elder reveals how military recruiters are assisted by the Department of Education, the film industry, the video game industry and mainstream media in order to fuel never-ending war -- using the country's most vulnerable young people as fodder. Get the book Military Recruiting in the United States by donating to Truthout now!

Military recruiting is the beast that feeds the US military empire that spans the globe. It is unacceptable that many US schools allow military recruiters extensive access to young people who will become fodder for the Pentagon's acts of war around the world, Pat Elder argues in this interview with Truthout.

Mark Karlin: Is it safe to say that like the Roman Empire, the United States military is the power that futilely tries to secure the US as an empire in its waning days of hegemony?

Pat Elder: Our military, like Rome's, secures a dying empire while accelerating its demise.

The behemoth US military is a cancer on the national body politic. It has led to financial ruin while contributing to the destruction of our cherished constitutional separation of powers. We've become a violent people, addicted to war.

America is witnessing the "grave implications" of the "economic, political and even spiritual" influence of the military-industrial complex President Eisenhower warned us about. A single F-35 fighter jet costs more than the budget of a medium-sized city's school system and the US is building 2,500 of them while the schools crumble.

Pat Elder. (Photo: Counter-Recruit)Our military is a double-edged sword. One side of the blade is the unconscionable use of force to "protect" American investments. Major General Smedley Butler framed it so eloquently: "I spent 33 years and four months in active military service, and during that period I spent most of my time as a high-class muscle man for big business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism."

Playing War: How the Military Uses Video Games

A new book unfolds how the “military-entertainment complex” entices soldiers to war and treats them when they return

 

Hamza Shaban -

According to popular discourse, video games are either the divine instrument of education’s future or the software of Satan himself, provoking young men to carry out all-too-real rampages. Much like discussions surrounding the Internet, debates on video games carry the vague, scattershot chatter that says too much about the medium (e.g. do video games cause violence?) without saying much at all about the particulars of games or gaming conventions (e.g. how can death be given more weight in first person shooters?).

As Atlantic contributor Ian Bogost argues in his book, How to Do Things with Video Games, we’ve assigned value to games as if they all contain the same logic and agenda. We assume, unfairly, that the entire medium of video games shares inherent properties more important and defining than all the different ways games are applied and played. The way out of this constrained conversation is to bore down into specifics, to tease out various technologies, and to un-generalize the medium. We get such an examination in War Play, Corey Mead’s important new study on the U.S. military’s official deployment of video games.

A professor of English at Baruch College CUNY, Mead has written a history, a book most interested in the machinations of military game development. But War Play, too, lays a solid foundation from which to launch more critical investigations—into soldier’s lives, into computerized combat, and into the most dynamic medium of our time. 

Meet the Sims … and Shoot Them

P.W. Singer -

The rise of militainment.

The country of Ghanzia is embroiled in a civil war. As a soldier in America’s Army, your job is to do everything from protect U.S. military convoys against AK-47-wielding attackers to sneak up on a mountain observatory where arms dealers are hiding out. It is a tough and dangerous tour of duty that requires dedication, focus, and a bit of luck. Fortunately, if you get hit by a bullet and bleed to death, you can reboot your computer and sign on under a new name.

America’s Army is a video game — a “tactical multiplayer first-person shooter” in gaming lingo — that was originally developed by the U.S. military to aid in its recruiting and training, but is now available for anyone to play. Among the most downloaded Internet games of all time, it is perhaps the best known of a vast array of video game-based military training programs and combat simulations whose scope and importance are rapidly changing not just the video-game marketplace, but also the way the U.S. military finds and trains its future warriors and even how the American public interfaces with the wars carried out in its name. For all the attention to the strategic debates of the post-9/11 era, a different sort of transformation has taken place over the last decade — largely escaping public scrutiny, at modest cost relative to the enormous sums spent elsewhere in the Pentagon budget, and with little planning but enormous consequences.

Bringing Truth to the Youth: The Counter-Recruitment Movement, Then and Now

Emily Yates  | Originally published in Truthout - July 16, 2016

Recruiters from the Harrisburg Recruiting Company participate in an event for high school students with Youth and Education Services at the Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pennsylvania, October 8, 2010. Military recruitment has targeted schools increasingly effectively while the counter-recruitment movement is struggling to keep up. (Photo: Christine June / US Army)"Back when we started, recruiters were just blatantly lying to the kids," said Susan Quinlan, the co-founder and volunteer coordinator of the peace and justice group, Better Alternatives for Youth–Peace (BAY-Peace). For 12 years, she's been bringing teams of youth into Oakland, California, schools to inform students about deceptive military recruiting practices. In that time, she has seen the recruitment climate in schools change drastically -- and not necessarily for the better.

"It used to be that recruiters would make promises to the kids that were patently untrue, like offering benefits that wouldn't materialize, for example, so our job was to go in and say, 'No, that's not true,'" Quinlan said. Then over the years, as the wars grew increasingly unpopular and recruitment dropped, the military beefed up the benefits and incentives to more closely match its promises. Many student activists saw that as a victory, she said, and as a result, the work lost urgency.

"The recruiters are still being dishonest," she said, "but it's become less obvious. And they haven't gone away. Now, recruitment is back up where it was before we started, and we're losing our funding."

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