John LaForge -
Hansel and Gretel at the Military Recruiter
Boots On The Ground
Patrick Elder and Seth Kershner -
As military recruiters gain a foothold in Christian schools, grassroots activists across the nation are sounding the alarm.
SUMMER 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
Football, the military and one Florida high school student’s difficult choice
Kent Babb -
MONTICELLO, Fla. — The binder sat open on his adoptive mother’s lap, turned to the page where the scholarship papers lay in a transparent sleeve.
Nik Branham said nothing, holding the phone in its camouflage case close enough that his face glowed. The woman supported her 17-year-old’s plan to join the Army, but she didn’t understand it. These papers were a miracle, as she saw it, college at least partially paid for because of the hell he had survived, a chance at an education and maybe a few more years of football, the game he once loved.
“I done explained everything,” said Alice Branham, a foster parent who adopted Nik and his older sister Ambrosia six years ago, and when the process was complete the state of Florida offered the “Road to Independence” scholarship. In the time since, Alice had come to love him, to become inspired by his confidence and also frustrated by it, to refer to him as a “pit bull”: Once he sank his teeth into a decision, he wouldn’t let go.
“Nobody can change my mind,” he said, and Alice looked away.
In the South, like most parts of the United States, football and the military are cultural siblings — two powerful and venerable forces, brought together week after week for the crowds and cameras. There are anthems and flyovers, shared terminology like “formations” and “blitzes,” pride in home teams and service branches passed through the generations like precious heirlooms.
But beyond the bright lights and choreography, these grand American institutions face frequent and, often shared, criticism: that both are overgrown and unnecessarily powerful, that players and soldiers are trained for games and combat but rarely are prepared for a return to normal life, that football and military recruiters sell a glamorized version of reality — rarely mentioning the shared risks of long-term brain injuries, psychological disorders and a shortage of post-career support.
In Jefferson County, this mostly rural and increasingly poor area in the Florida Panhandle, young people are drawn to the glory, sure, but many of them see football and military service as something more fundamental: a way out. Indeed, surveys have shown Jefferson County — nearly 19 percent of the roughly 14,200 residents here live below the poverty line — as a high per-capita producer of both college football talent and military recruits. An audit of 2013 college football rosters by Mode Analytics found that about one in every 83 boys left the county to suit up for a college team. “We’re definitely a tougher breed,” said DeVondrick Nealy, a Monticello native who’s now an Iowa State running back. -
Parent Teacher Conference Night – November 5, 2014, New York City
Granny Peace Brigade -
Twice 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.
Reflection on My Time as Project YANO’s Student Intern
Jesus Mendez-Carbajal -
In 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.
The US Military’s Totally Cool Mobile Enlistment Exhibits
Hannah K. Gold -
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 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."
The History of War Resisters League (USA)
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.”
The Military Invasion of My High School: The role of JROTC
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.
My 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.
DeKalb Schools Military Catch Basin
Michael Burke -
At 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!
On My Son’s First Day of Kindergarten: OurSchoolsAreNotFailing.org organizes communities to defend their schools from NCLB
Jesse Hagopian -
Today is the first day of school in Seattle. I have never been more excited and nervous for the first day because, not only do I start teaching, but my 5-year-old starts kindergarten! My son is so thrilled for his first day of school and our family feels so fortunate to have such a wonderful public school to send him to.
Unfortunately, the irreparably flawed No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) has cast a shadow on what should be a joyous start to the year. As explained below, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan revoked the NCLB waiver for Washington state because our legislature would not tie teacher evaluations to test scores. Revoking the NCLB waiver then labeled nearly every school in the state a failure and mandated that districts notify parents that their child attends a failing school.
My son’s school is not a failure. The school where I teach is not a failure. It is the test-and-punish policy of NCLB that is failing.
The militarization of American public schools
Steve Filips and Don Barrett -
Syracuse, New York’s Fowler High School to be “reformed”
This fall, Syracuse, New York will join the still small but growing list of public schools dedicated to the training of students for military service in the United States Armed Forces.
This past April, the Syracuse Central School District (SCSD) approved the closure of Fowler High School in the city’s impoverished Westside section and its transformation into the Public Service Leadership Academy (PSLA), which will focus on training students for military service, to work in the Department of Homeland Security, or as police officers and firefighters.
There are 18 military academies as part of the public school system in the United States. Six are located in Chicago. All of these schools are associated with the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC), whose goals include indoctrinating students with “patriotism,” “responsiveness to all authority” and an increasing “respect for the role of the US Armed Forces in support of national objectives.”
Most of these schools are located in working class and low-income communities and rely upon the lack of job and college options available to students to push them into the military.
The Westside section of Syracuse is one such area. It is a poverty-stricken area of the city that has been struggling with increasing inequality in the Obama “economic recovery,” and staggering levels of poverty, particularly among children. Childhood poverty approaches 50 percent and for those in the 18-24 year age bracket—those just out of high school—the rate approaches two thirds. (See: “Syracuse, New York housing in shambles” and “Deindustrialization and unemployment in Syracuse, New York”)
Drones son una cuestión de reclutamiento militar
Seth Kershner -
En los últimos años, los activistas han luchado contra el uso de aviones no tripulados (comúnmente llamado "drones") para llevar a cabo asesinatos selectivos en la guerra contra el terror. Los activistas anti-aviones no tripulados han dirigido sus protestas en un número de diferentes objetivos. Han condenado la investigación universitaria en la tecnología de aviones no tripulados (por ejemplo, en la Universidad Johns Hopkins), llevado a cabo manifestaciones públicas de espíritu en los sitios de lanzamiento (por ejemplo, fuera de Hancock Base de la Fuerza Aérea en el norte del estado de Nueva York), y han perseguido formas más tradicionales de cabildeo político. Sin embargo, su estrategia hasta el momento no ha abordado las formas en que el público, incluidos los niños, se les enseña a aceptar acríticamente esta tecnología. En este artículo, voy a llamar la atención sobre el uso no declarada previamente de los simuladores de aviones no tripulados en camionetas de reclutamiento del Ejército y comenzar una discusión acerca de cómo resistir su marcha constante a través de América.
La flota de vehículos en el Comando de exposiciones móvil del Ejército (MEC) forman una poderosa arma en el arsenal de reclutamiento del Ejército. Una unidad de Adquisiciones del Ejército Brigada de Apoyo EE.UU., el MEC ayuda a cumplir con la misión de la brigada de "Conexión del Ejército de Estados Unidos con gente de Estados Unidos." Su trabajo consiste en normalizar la violencia del Estado, incluyendo la guerra drone, y en el año fiscal 2013, los reclutadores de conducir estos vehículos registran más de 600.000 millas que viaja a las escuelas, universidades, ferias estatales, y otros eventos en 48 estados. Lo que sigue es una breve mirada a tres vehículos de la MEC - en particular, los que ayudan a los niños a aprender a amar el Reaper.
El más antiguo de los tres vehículos, el Ejército de Aviación Aventura furgoneta, debutó en mayo de 2002. Dentro de esta convertidos de 18 ruedas, van los visitantes encontrarán Ejército carreras quioscos, junto con una pantalla de municiones y una serie de simuladores de armas diseñados para sumergir al visitante en experiencias de la vida real. Estos incluyen un Apache Flight Simulator, un Kiowa Warrior Flight Simulator, y un vehículo aéreo no tripulado (UAV) Simulator, el cual, de acuerdo a una fuente, se basa en el avión no tripulado Hunter. Mientras que el mercado de la escuela secundaria y la universidad es el objetivo principal de la furgoneta, una rápida revisión de las noticias en la Web se presentó un reporte de un niño de nueve años de edad, de probar los simuladores de la furgoneta.
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