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Parent Teacher Conference Night – November 5, 2014, New York City

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Granny Peace Brigade -

Parent Teacher Conference Night – November 5, 2014, New York CityTwice a year, at New York City high schools, volunteers distribute non-military informational flyers to parents and students during parent teacher conference night. Following is the report for the November 5, 2014 action.

As volunteers handed out flyers to parents and students entering high schools for a meeting with teachers, the White House was deciding to send 1500 more troops to Iraq.

The information being shared with parents includes Non-Military Options for Life After High School as well as Questions to Ask and Points to Consider Before You Enlist.

How very important this action continues to be as wars are endless and new military recruits are needed.  For the military - where best to look than in the high schools.

To respond, we're at high schools to counter military promotions and offer pro-peace alternatives.

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Reflection on My Time as Project YANO’s Student Intern

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Jesus Mendez-Carbajal -

 Jesus Mendez-CarbajalIn the past nine months as Project YANO’s 2013-2014 student intern, I have learned an immense amount of information about U.S. militarism, its far reach, and counter-recruitment. I have been directly impacted on multiple levels. I have grown mentally through the knowledge I have gained and also personally through the interactions and relationships I have built with youth, advisors, teachers, mentors, and Project YANO supporters, volunteers and board members. I have had the pleasure of working with students who look like me, engaging low-income youth of color who have stories and backgrounds similar to my own.

At the time I began the internship, I had accepted and started working as an intern for another local non-profit organization. I am very grateful to both organizations for the opportunities they have provided me and for the personal and professional growth they have facilitated both for me and in me. I am especially grateful for the fact that both were paid internships, which allowed me the freedom to do work that I enjoy, that I am passionate about, and that is not routine -- because, as I experienced first-hand while I worked at Wendy’s, repetitive work is tiresome work.

When I began, I was very excited to intern with YANO but I was also a bit nervous and scared about successfully balancing school, my second internship, and personal life. From YANO, its board members, program coordinator and volunteers, I learned lessons in non-profit organizing, basic mailing operations, and fund appeal letter writing; strengthened my facilitation, time management, and multitasking skills; and acquired an expanded interdisciplinary view of the world.

Prior to applying for the position, I learned about Project YANO and heard about meetings, workshops, and conferences through board members who also happen to be some of my very close friends. They would say things like: “Oh! Project YANO is doing this and doing that,” and “We decided to move forward with this,” and I would think to myself, “Wow, that sounds awesome! I wonder how and if I can join?” I never actually asked, so when the internship opportunity presented itself I gladly applied.

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Reflection on My Time as Project YANO’s Student Intern

The US Military’s Totally Cool Mobile Enlistment Exhibits

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Hannah K. Gold -

An artist's rendering of Army mascot GI Johnny. Photo by Michael Bühler-RoseFor decades, the US military has been using souped-up mobile exhibits to recruit prospective soldiers. In July of this year, the military deployed the latest addition to a fleetthat roves the country hoping to win the hearts and minds of American youth. The new vehicle, known as the Extreme Truck, is equipped with two 32-inch gaming stations, a 60-inch flat-screen television, several smaller TVs, and pull-up and push-up platforms. It has its own Facebook page, which, at press time, has been liked 111 times.

According to Mobile Exhibit Company commander Captain Korneliya Waters, who recently talked to Recruiter Journal, the Extreme Truck is "a symbol of independence and power." Her description reminded me of the jacket Nicolas Cage wears in Wild at Heart, which, for him, "represents a symbol of my individuality and my belief in personal freedom." Except the Extreme Truck is funded by tax dollars and designed to assist in contractually binding young people to America's wars.

Recruiting vehicles have been around in some form or another since 1936, when the government established the US Army Accessions Support Brigade, the only department of the Army dedicated exclusively to marketing (the MEC falls under its purview). Three years later, the secretary of the Army sent a team of soldiers to operate a high-profile mobile exhibit at the New York World's Fair.


An artist's rendering of Army mascot GI Johnny. Photo by Michael Bühler-Rose


The military expanded its marketing efforts dramatically in the 1970s, when it lost unfettered access to new recruits after the draft was repealed. In 1973, the year the all-volunteer force was instituted, the Army launched its first successful campaign-"Join the People Who've Joined the Army"-with the help of advertising agency N. W. Ayer & Son. In 1991, Colin Powell, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, announced plans to expand the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps-a program that instructs high school students in basic training skills-to 3,500 units in five years' time. Thanks to anti-recruitment activism, the plan slowed significantly. Today, JROTC units, which are filled with MEC vehicles and exhibits, are about to reach that goal. And as Sam Diener, a visiting professor of peace studies at Clark University, notes, "Both the ROTC and the military recruiting trucks are ways in which youth in the United States are militarized."

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For decades, the US military has been using souped-up mobile exhibits to recruit prospective soldiers. In July of this year, the military deployed the latest addition to a fleet that roves the country hoping to win the hearts and minds of American youth. The new vehicle, known as the Extreme Truck, is equipped with two 32-inch gaming stations, a 60-inch flat-screen television, several smaller TVs, and pull-up and push-up platforms. It has its own Facebook page, which, at press time, has been liked 111 times.

According to Mobile Exhibit Company commander Captain Korneliya Waters, who recently talked to Recruiter Journal, the Extreme Truck is "a symbol of independence and power." Her description reminded me of the jacket Nicolas Cage wears in Wild at Heart, which, for him, "represents a symbol of my individuality and my belief in personal freedom." Except the Extreme Truck is funded by tax dollars and designed to assist in contractually binding young people to America's wars.

Recruiting vehicles have been around in some form or another since 1936, when the government established the US Army Accessions Support Brigade, the only department of the Army dedicated exclusively to marketing (the MEC falls under its purview). Three years later, the secretary of the Army sent a team of soldiers to operate a high-profile mobile exhibit at the New York World's Fair.

The military expanded its marketing efforts dramatically in the 1970s, when it lost unfettered access to new recruits after the draft was repealed. In 1973, the year the all-volunteer force was instituted, the Army launched its first successful campaign-"Join the People Who've Joined the Army"-with the help of advertising agency N. W. Ayer & Son. In 1991, Colin Powell, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, announced plans to expand the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps-a program that instructs high school students in basic training skills-to 3,500 units in five years' time. Thanks to anti-recruitment activism, the plan slowed significantly. Today, JROTC units, which are filled with MEC vehicles and exhibits, are about to reach that goal. And as Sam Diener, a visiting professor of peace studies at Clark University, notes, "Both the ROTC and the military recruiting trucks are ways in which youth in the United States are militarized."

By 2013, MEC vehicles drove a collective 600,000 miles to more than 48 states. USAASB operations stopped at more than 1,200 high schools in 2011. "The people who advise the armed forces on marketing are the top advertisers in the profession. And the audience they are seeking are millennials," says Rick Jahnkow, an anti-recruitment activist.

The Extreme Truck, a 15,700-pound mobile recruitment vehicle that roams the country dazzling prospective soldiers. Photo courtesy of the US Army

Another mobile unit, the STEM experience truck, is plastered with pictures of young people dressed as astronauts and staring intently into microscopes, and is pitched to aspiring engineers and scientists. Once inside, the visitor encounters a depressing scenario: The year is 2032, and there's been an attack on a chemical plant in Eastern Europe. An officer then leads the visitor to a screen, where he or she can choose from a range of tactical counterinsurgency options, including the use of drones. Speaking of which, the MEC currently operates three trucks that contain aerial simulators-the most recent being a UAV, or drone, simulator.

"The STEM truck in particular is used to gain access instead of recruiting a certain kind of student. They try to get cooperation from science teachers and math teachers," Jahnkow told me.

In June 2006, the first of 50 new H3 Hummers hit the road to increase interest in recruiting events. At the time, Sergeant First Class Anthony J. Colarusso told Recruiter Journal, "The H3 is a real 'icebreaker' in itself, so it should allow recruiters the ability to attract bigger crowds, which will allow us to work our magic." In the same issue, United States Recruiting Command director Donald Bartholomew referred to the Hummers as "just another tool in our kit-admittedly a really big one-that will turn heads and get feet moving toward the sound and excitement." That would be the sound of a $9,000 entertainment system that blasts waves of rap and death metal at potential recruits.

The MEC also offers things called "Immersa-Domes," weapons simulators, and various other interactive semis, including one that has the capacity to switch from "game mode" to "classroom mode" so students can watch videos about anti-bullying campaigns and basic training in the same sitting.

Late adolescence is an impressionable age, but the military is after kids who are even younger. If you meet GI Johnny, an inflatable goofy-grinned doll dressed in Army fatigues, and you're young enough to believe you've met a real person, then you are too young to start thinking about enlisting. But that's exactly the age group the Army has gone after lately. Sergeant Laddie Matula, who helped operate GI Johnny at a rodeo in an undisclosed American town, recounted the experience positively to the Recruiter Journal back in 2007, saying, "Parents love to bring up their little kids to meet with Johnny... Teachers take pictures while their kids shake my hand. The kids love it. The little kids are very comfortable with Johnny." Just this past spring, GI Johnny started tweeting-to little fanfare.

The military is not at all coy about its intentions to make as many impressions as possible on the emerging generation of recruits. While the media knocks itself out trying to make sense of what a millennial is, the military already has its sights set on what they call "Generation Edge." In the September/October 2013 issue of Recruiter Journal, Steve Lambert contributed a short op-ed titled "Advertising Update: Know Your Audience: Generation Edge," in which he argues that although millennials are "digital disciples and highly sociable," new recruiting tactics need to be developed now to attract the next generation of cadets. Generation Edge (those born since 1995) are, in his estimation, drawn to messaging that promotes the "three R's": "resilient," "resourceful," "realistic."

Screens in the STEM experience truck display fictional news coverage of a chemical attack in the year 2032. Photo courtesy of the US Army

Some will argue that these marketing schemes pale in comparison to the kinds of career opportunities the armed forces can provide. To demolish this argument you only need to consider the ripe age at which many recruits agree to the life-altering commitment of enlisting, the fact that war is hell, and the high rates of homelessness, unemployment, mental illness, and substance abuse among veterans.

But in the case of the MEC's efforts, another question emerges: one of privacy, consent, and equitable access. Diener says that the idea of giving equal access to the military and anti-recruiting efforts "goes back to the 1980s, when we noticed that the military recruiters were having essentially free access to high schools across the country, so students were getting a very one-sided view of the military."

But the purpose of these vehicles, as stated by the military in its own publications, is to give the military a distinctly unequal edge, by parking at high schools they might not usually have access to, collecting data from students, making impressions, and, ultimately, producing leads on future recruits. USAREC Regulation 601-93, which went into effect in July 1996, outlines the uses of the support unit. The regulation explicitly states that USAREC should "schedule in the primary market whenever possible (i.e., HS and colleges). Priority should go to the hard-to-penetrate schools."

In 2011, USAASB had more than 230,000 visitors, producing approximately 88,000 leads. The leads are gathered and sorted using a system perhaps not ironically named I-ELMO, which stands for Interactive Electronic Leads Management Options. According to Jahnkow, it is commonplace for recruiters to require all students to fill out personal information before participating in the interactive war games. This information is then transmitted into I-ELMO and comes out the other end as thousands of targeted campaigns to potential recruits.

In other words, it would seem that these trucks aren't symbols of independence or power, or any other beliefs. They're well-funded marketing tools that project fantasies custom-made for teens and steer young people onto the warpath, leaving so many unexplored roads in the dust.

The History of War Resisters League (USA)

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Jessie Wallace HughanThe War Resisters League (WRL) was formed in 1923 by Jessie Wallace Hughan, a leading suffragist, socialist, and pacifist. It is a section of the London-based War Resisters' International.

In the immediate aftermath of World War I, Hughan and the WRL's early members summed up their sense of the League’s mission by declaring that if enough people stood in total opposition to war, governments would hesitate—or even be unable—to make war. Between the two world wars, the WRL supported conscientious objection, opposed conscription, and, as World War II loomed ever closer, stood for the increasingly unpopular position that war would not solve the problem of fascism. Although WRL’s analysis of strategies and tactics continues to evolve and grow, our absolute commitment to resisting all war and the causes of war has never wavered.

After the United States declared war, once again, hundreds of pacifists were imprisoned for refusing to fight. This time, however, the pacifist movement was more organized, and pacifists, along with the rest of the world, were more aware of the nonviolent struggle for India’s liberation, as led by Mohandas K. Gandhi. While still incarcerated, many of the COs turned to nonviolent resistance (primarily in the form of hunger strikes) to achieve such goals as racial integration in the federal prisons. When the war ended, many of the newly released prisoners joined WRL, bringing with them their new consciousness of, and commitment to, nonviolent direct action. Some older pacifist resisted the new ideas, but within a decade, the League was re-oriented toward “Gandhian nonviolence as the method for creating a democratic society free of war, racism, sexism, and human exploitation.”

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Boots On The Ground

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Patrick Elder and Seth Kershner -

As military recruiters gain a foothold in Christian schools, grassroots activists across the nation are sounding the alarm.

Central Catholic versus Militarization USUMMER IS THE season for high school football practice. Two years ago, the players at Central Catholic High School in Portland, Ore., got a different kind of coaching, brought in by head coach Steve Pyne. For the first time, U.S. Army recruiters would serve as volunteers to run the football team through their strength and conditioning paces-helping them prepare for the annual "Holy War" matchup against archrival Jesuit High School.

According to an article in the U.S. Army's monthly Recruiter Journal, the Army "footprint" for the big game included a Humvee parked outside the stadium and a pre-kickoffevent in which local recruiters placed "unit patch decals from various Army divisions" onto players' helmets.

Purchase access to this article on Sojourners

The Military Invasion of My High School: The role of JROTC

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Sylvia McGauley -

“Will you please write me a letter of recommendation for the Navy, Ms. McGauley? You’re my best class.” Thanh was enrolled in the recently established Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) at our high school and he, like many of my students, was enamored with the military’s alluring promises of a magic carpet ride away from poverty and uncertainty.

Air Force JROTC students from Buena Park High School, Coronado, California, 2006.  U.S. Navy photo by Hermes CrespoMy heart ripped as I listened to Thanh’s plea. I want to do what is best for my kids. I want to support and honor them in making their own informed decisions. But, given the impact of JROTC at our school, I felt very uneasy about the balance of information students like Thanh were receiving about enlistment in the U.S. military. After much discussion with Thanh, I wrote an honest letter, emphasizing his sensitive poetic nature and his commitment to fairness. The Navy eagerly welcomed him.

The sprawling campus of Reynolds High School (RHS), the second largest high school in Oregon, rests atop a ridge at the entrance to the scenic Columbia River Gorge in tiny Troutdale, 17 miles east of downtown Portland. When I first started teaching here 23 years ago, Reynolds was an almost all white, working-class, conservative, sub-rural community, culturally distinct from its larger urban neighbor. As Portland has become more gentrified, lower rents have attracted numerous low-income families—immigrant, African American, Latina/o, and white. Today, the Reynolds School District is a high-poverty, culturally diverse district with two of the poorest elementary schools in the state—perfect prey for military recruiters who win points for filling the coffers of the poverty draft.

During the Vietnam War era, much was written about JROTC’s role in teaching military training; today JROTC high school (and even middle school) programs incorporate a broader curricular agenda and are expanding rapidly. Yet, within the education community, little has been written about the implications and effects of JROTC in schools.

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DeKalb Schools Military Catch Basin

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Michael Burke -

Cross Keys High SchoolAt least one DeKalb County high school that we know of is totally ignoring the 1987 and 1988 ruling of the Searcy v. Crim case decided by the Eleventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. With every misdeed and instance of corruption in past years, by the DeKalb Board of Education (BOE), one would think  our latest superintendent, Michael Thurmond, interim though he may be, would look into what's going on at Cross Keys HS and other county high schools.

Let us all have a fair accounting of what's really going on in our county schools -- do we own these schools or does the Pentagon?  Military recruiters are being given free reign of CKHS and we're hoping the new fulltime principal, Mr. Heard, will get a firm grip on this situation and diligently work
with Mr. Thurmond, by paying heed to the current violations of the court ruling outlined above.  Our organization is certainly not picking on CKHS alone, it's more like we're focusing on this school because of its' many violations of Searcy v. Crim over the years.  At the very least, we must have
a true accounting of why a detachment of three USMC recruiters were allowed into CKHS on the school's opening day?

Since then they've been back several times and so have we.  Army recruiters are not far behind in showing a presence.  Again on Thursday, September 18, Marine recruiters were actually pulling juniors and seniors out of their classrooms to check on the students' progress -- as in how ripe were these children for induction, training and deployment a year or two from now?  Yes, high school students are all children unless they have reached adulthood, which in Georgia is eighteen.

Unfortunately, the foregoing is not the entire story.  Searcy v. Crim specifically rules that if military personnel are permitted access to the school's annual career day then other groups and prospective employers will also be allowed to set up tables and distribute literature to students.  Yet here's another Catch 22 -- according to the head CKHS guidance counselor, Tanya Henderson, there is only one career day a year -- in November!

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ADDICTED To WAR

comixADDICTED To WAR takes on the most active, powerful and destructive military in the world. It tells the history of U.S. foreign wars - from the Indian Wars to the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan - in a comic book format.

Get connected to youth counter recruitment activists all over the country. Check out DMZ: A Guide to Taking Your School Back from the Military an organizing guide for high school students interested in keeping the military out of our schools. We offer counter recruitment workshops and trainings for students, activists, and educators on a regular basis. Email wrl@warresisters.org for more information. From Ya-Ya Network & War Resisters League

Demilitarizing Life & Land

FOR Life & LandThe Fellowship of Reconciliation pursues a vision of a free and “demilitarized” world in which the Earth’s resources sustain life and promote the well-being of all people. To do so, we challenge economic exploitation, work to eradicate racism and religious intolerance, and call attention to imperialistic U.S. foreign policy. As we continue to speak truth to power, FOR engages in an ongoing interfaith dialogue to shift the collective unconscious from a fear-based military culture to a peaceful world community grounded in faith and nonviolent justice. At the start of 2011, we launched a series of projects, campaigns, and collaborations to demilitarize life and land in the Americas and the Middle East.

Know Before You Go, 'Cause There's No Reset Button

wrl_yaya_pampletKnow Before You Go, 'Cause There's No Reset Button is a collaboration with the Ya-Ya Network (Youth Activists-Youth Allies), a youth of color-led antimilitarist organization based in NYC.

Our leaflet breaks down the enlistment contract and life in the military and provides new stats about sexual assault in the military, racial disparities in becoming an officer, and stop-loss.

Written to be accessible to everyone while providing the most important info for making a fully informed choice about joining the military, this leaflet will be a staple for counter-recruiters.

See Details and Download

Available at War Resisters League

Hollywood Warfare: How the Pentagon Censors the Movies

Thinking of joining the U.S. Military to gain citizenship?

¿PENSANDO EN ALISTARTE PARA OBTENER LA CIUDADANÍA ESTADOUNIDENSE?"¿PIENSAS QUE EL ENROLARTE EN LAS FUERZAS ARMADAS TE GARANTIZA LA CIUDADANIA?"
intended for non-citizens looking to join the military for immigration benefits, to let them know what to be aware of immigration-wise before approaching a recruiter.
Print Size: 8½ x 14 (double sided)
(Designed to be printed with Spanish and English back-to-back)

Homepage: http://www.projectyano.org

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