Before You Enlist Video -
Researching Pop Culture and Militarism -
If you have been Harassed by a Military Recruiter -
War: Turning now to Mr. Ralph Waldo Emerson - Christian Science Monitor
Click through to find out
Religion and militarism -
‘A Poison in the System’: Military Sexual Assault - New York Times
Change your Mind?
Talk to a Counselor at the GI Rights Hotline
Ask that your child's information is denied to Military Recruiters
And monitor that this request is honored.
Military Recruiters and Programs Target marginalized communities for recruits...
..and the high schools in those same communities

 Militarization of our Schools

The Pentagon is taking over our poorer public schools. This is the reality for disadvantaged youth.


What we can do

Corporate/conservative alliances threaten Democracy . Progressives have an important role to play.

 Why does NNOMY matter?

Most are blind or indifferent to the problem.
A few strive to protect our democracy.


Careers in Peacemaking and Social Change

Why Am I A Peace Activist? Why Aren't You?

Written for the collection, "Why Peace?"

More than any other description, except for perhaps husband and father, I have been for the past six years a peace activist. Yet, I hesitate on the question of how to tell my personal story of experience with war. I recently visited Afghanistan briefly, in order to speak with people who have experienced war. I've spoken with many U.S. soldiers and non-U.S. victims of war. But I have no experience of war. Being in Washington, D.C., on September 11, 2001, doesn't change that; by the time a crime had been transformed into a war, the war had been moved elsewhere.

I know a Vietnam veteran who opposed that war but grew so tired of being told he wasn't qualified to do so that he joined up. When he got back, and for decades since, he's been opposing wars with the benefit of the aura of someone who knows war. I don't have that, and I certainly do not want it. I value war opposition by those who have known war, but I value other war opposition as well. And I imagine we can all spot the fatal flaw in any proposal that would have people experience wars before they could oppose them. In 2006 a congressional candidate and Iraq veteran in Ohio who was speaking on a panel with me urged military "service" on all politicians so that they could oppose militarism with greater knowledge of the military. Raise your hand if you think that would work.

So, the obvious question is probably how I became a peace activist. To my mind, however, the question has always been why anybody is not. I understand there are not a lot of job openings for professional peace activists, but there are unlimited part-time volunteer positions.

When I was a kid growing up in Northern Virginia in a family that had no one in the military and no one opposing the military, we had a guest visit. He very much wanted to see the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. So we drove him over there and showed him around. He was quite impressed. But I became physically ill. Here was a beautiful sunny town full of people enjoying life and people being trained to murder other people in large numbers. To this day I cannot imagine why I need a particular explanation for finding that unbearably revolting. I want to hear an explanation from someone who doesn't find it so.

Oh, they'll tell us, we all find war to be troubling, but being a grown up means having the stomach to do what's needed to prevent something worse.

The thing is, I never much trusted grown ups. I wasn't revolted by the idea of war for myself, while willing to let others engage in it. I refused to take it on faith that such a horror as war could be justified -- for anyone. After all, like all kids, I had been taught to work out problems with words rather than fists. I had been told that it was wrong to kill. And, like almost all people, I was viscerally inclined to resist the idea of killing anyone. If I was going to accept that in some cases it was right to kill lots and lots of people, and that it was right to always be training and building a huge war machine just in case such a situation arose, then someone was going to have to prove that claim to me.

In my experience, common wisdom was often wildly wrong. A huge industry of churches was maintained on Sundays to promote ideas that my parents took seriously, and most people took seriously, but which struck me as utter nonsense. The idea that war was peace came to seem to me so nonsensical on its face, that I'd only believe it if offered proof. Yet, all such thinking was in the back of my head. I never thought I'd work as a peace activist until the moment I found myself doing so at age 35. It took me years of traveling, studying, dropping out of architecture school, teaching English in Italy, picking up a Master's in Philosophy at the University of Virginia, and working as a reporter and a press person before I found my way.

I became an activist in my late 20s on domestic issues of criminal justice, social justice, and labor rights. I became a professional activist at age 30 when I went to work for ACORN, the association of community groups that scared so many powerful people that it was slandered in the media, defunded, and destroyed several years later, after I had moved on. I protested the first Gulf War and the build up to a 2003 war on Iraq. But I became something of a spokesperson and writer against war when I worked as press-secretary for Dennis Kucinich's presidential campaign in 2004. He made peace the number one issue in his platform. We talked about peace, trade, and healthcare -- and not much on trade or healthcare.

In 2005 I found myself working on a campaign to impeach and prosecute President George W. Bush for lying the nation into war. This meant working closely with and becoming a part of the peace movement, even while engaged in something less than peaceful: seeking to put someone on trial and imprison him. I immersed myself in online and real-world activism, organizing, educating, and protesting. I strategized, lobbied, planned, wrote, protested, went to jail, did interviews, and pressed for peace.

There are downsides and seeming hypocrisy to the peace movement. We don't always behave peacefully toward each other. We don't always share the same vision. Some groups favor peace when doing so helps a particular political party and are otherwise very accepting of war. Some honestly think particular wars are crimes but others justified. Some try to work with corrupted insiders. Some try to bring pressure from outside the halls of power. Some try, with great difficulty, to bridge some of those gaps.

But my peace movement experience overall has been incredibly positive. I've made good friends that I see a handful of times a year, on stages or in streets, and as often as not in police vans. The fulltime peace activists, most of whom have other fulltime paid employment, those who serve no particular organization, but who hold the movement together with their spirit and reliability: these are people with more great stories than any writer will ever get onto paper or computer screens. These are the people for whom, outside of my family, I am most grateful. If any of them had ever been visible in the way that military recruiters and toy soldiers are visible, perhaps I would have found my way to the peace movement sooner.

My focus or approach may evolve, but I cannot imagine ever leaving. In 2009 and 2010, I wrote two books, the second one on the question of whether any war had ever been justified. The title is a giveaway of the conclusion I reached: "War Is A Lie." And it isn't just any lie. It is the justification of the worst thing anyone has ever devised. Ending it now is no longer just a question of making the world more pleasant, but a question of survival. Weapons proliferation, blowback, economic collapse, environmental collapse, political collapse: choose your poison; war will destroy us in one or more of these manners unless we put an end to it. Why in the world would anyone not want to?

Source: David Swanson - War is a Crime

Here are some recommended links available to better inform you about careers in Peacemaking and Social Change. This is a work in progress and NNOMY will be adding new documents as they are prepared and as policies change that effect enlistment. Check back periodically.




  • Peace, Anti-War - The Alliance for Global Justice has a long history of advocacy for just peace that is  manifested in our various projects and campaigns. For instance, we actively support the peace process in Colombia, oppose US intervention in Venezuela via military and financial support for violent golpistas, emphasize the role of US Empire and militarism in climate change, and oppose the blockade of Cuba and occupation of Guantánamo. AfGJ has participated in and even co-founded some of the major anti-war coalitions and networks opposing US wars. While we don’t have an ongoing peace/anti-war committee, project or campaign, we will continue to support the movement to end wars and militarism and will periodically post relevant links, announcements and resources on this page.

  • DC Trainer's Network
    The DC Trainers’ Network monthly skillshare is a structured, interactive space where people can share skills and gain confidence in their training abilities and everybody is both a teacher and a learner. We strive to provide an inclusive practice space to experiment with different approaches for learning and teaching. This skillshare seeks to strengthen the DC activist community’s ability to meet the needs of progressive social movements.  Organized by the Washington Peace Center.
  • Highlander Center 
    Highlander serves Appalachia and the South with programs designed to build strong and successful social-change activism and community organizing led by the people who suffer most from the injustices of society. Highlander helps activists to become more effective community educators and organizers, informed about the important issues driving conditions in communities today. Highlander was founded in 1932 and has a long and powerful history, particularly in the labor and civil rights movements.

  • DART Center (Direct Action and Research Training Center)
    DART’s mission is to engage congregations in a process of building congregation-based community organizations that have the power to pursue and win justice. The DART Organizers Institute is a paid, field school created to recruit and train great community organizers, as well as strengthen DART’s mission to build power and win justice.

  • Midwest Academy 
    Midwest Academy is a leading national training institute for the progressive movement. The Academy advances the movements for social change by teaching a strategic, rigorous, results-oriented approach to social action and organization building. The Academy provides training (introductory and advanced level) and consulting, equipping organizers, leaders, and their organizations to think and act strategically to win justice for all.

  • Training for Change
    Since 1992, Training for Change has been committed to increasing capacity around the world for activist training, specializing in training for trainers. When they say activist training, they mean training that helps groups stand up more effectively for justice, peace and the environment. They deliver skills directly that people working for social change can use in their daily work. Their website also has a lot of great resources for leading your own trainings on a variety of topics.

  • Green Corps
    Green Corps’ Field School for Environmental Organizing trains college graduates to run environmental campaigns, from building a core group of activists to convincing decision-makers to pass laws, change policies and create reforms to protect our environment. It is a one-year, full-time, paid program that includes intensive classroom training, hands-on field experience running urgent environmental and public health campaigns, and career placement in positions with leading environmental groups.

  • New Organizing Institute (NOI)
    The New Organizing Institute was created by organizers who use all available new (and "seasoned") technologies to spark and coordinate activity both online and offline.  By training new online organizers and technologists, our goal is to infuse this new field with talented staff, to connect and energize a new generation of progressive activists, and to solidify long-term progressive power.
  • Rockwood Leadership Institute 
    Rockwood teaches skills and tools that help grassroots and policy reform leaders overcome organizational challenges; inspire and align individuals and organizations toward producing quality outcomes; develop collaborative skills; decrease "burn-out"; and create organizations that celebrate sustainability and diversity.

  • Washington Peace Center - If you can't find what you're looking for, get in touch with the Peace Center and we'll help you get trained in whatever you need to know.

    Where to find help for leading your own training:

    Network for Good 

    Website that offers online nonprofit fundraising trainings and a large archive of past trainings.

    Organizing for Power 
    Lisa Fithian has been organizing for 35 years between the global justice, anti-war, student, labor, and environmental movements, and has collected all her resources and knowledge here on her website. Look here for some excellent conceptual tools to think about power, strategy, and organizing for social change and liberation.

    Materials to download:

    Accessible Organizing/Facilitation - Resources for accessible organizing and movement-building

    Media Training - prep a group for interviews, press events and press releases 

    Legal Support Training - train a group on how to do legal support for direct action - a great tool to use in a training on the importance of setting up a legal support system for direct actions

    Nonviolent Direct Action Training Agenda - a 4 hour agenda that can be adjusted for your training slot

    Social Media Prep for Actions - Prep work and tips for using social media to compliment and advance your actions

    Social Media Resources - Websites, tools, resources, and helpful guides on social media for activists

Source: Washington Peace Center

Actions & Networks


Activist Resources:


Resources for Children:

Websources for Peace Education by Teaching For Peace

Funders of Peacemaking

Fellowship and Career Opportunities for Social Justice:

Organizations you should know

Source: Teaching For Peace

Articles on the web:


Revised 09/30/2021

  • Peace Magazine

  • Gold Star Families for Peace

  • Veterans Against War

  • Canadian Peace Alliance

  • The Occupation Project

  • Canadian Peacebuilding Coordinating Committee

  • Voices for Creative Nonviolence

  • Physicians for Global Survival

  • Quakers in Britan

  • Peace Brigades International

  • Mahatma Gandhi Foundation for Peace

  • Antiwar

  • International Peace Bureau

  • MoveOn

  • Peace Pledge Union

  • Peace is Possible

  • Waging Peace
  • Amnesty International

  • Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers

  • Nuclear Age Peace Foundation

  • M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence

  • Peace Action

  • The Compassionate Listening Project

  • Stop War
  • American Friends Service Committee
  • Clean Clothes Campaign
  • Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting
  • 50 Years is Enough
  • Independent Media Centre
  • Infact
  • Institute for Global Communications
  • International Rivers Network
  • Jobs With Justice
  • One World International
  • United for a Fair Economy
  • Stop the War Machine

  • Non Violent Peace Force

  • World Peace Prayer Society

  • Le Mouvement De La Paix

  • Culture of Peace

  • Sept.11 Families for a Peaceful Tomorrow

  • Conscience and Peace Tax

  • Peace Tax Seven
  • World Unity Flag Society

  • Ploughshares

  • Pax Service Civil International

  • Friends United Meeting

  • New York Quakers

  • Philadelphia Quakers

  • Peace Brigades International

  • International Peace Bureau

  • M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence

  • Pax Service Civil International

  • Salt of the Earth


Finding Alternatives

There are many reasons people consider joining the military. You may be thinking about money for college, job training or the physical challenge. You may just need to get out of the house, out of the neighborhood, out on your own. You may want to travel, serve your country, or do something meaningful with your life.

Before you consider enlistment, it is important to know of the hundreds of other options available for you.


Paying for College

The government provides financial aid to help students pay for college. There are also millions of dollars available in scholarships and grants.

FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Apply for student financial aid from the federal government, including grants, loans, & work-study. Its free. You can download FAFSA forms in English or Spanish, get help filling out the forms and track the status of your application.
Federal Student Aid Information Center 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243)

Scholarship Search Tools. There are several web tools that help you search for scholarships.

Various National Scholarships and Grants

Getting Ready For College

Free SAT/ACT Test Prep:

A Web-based Course to Help Students Prepare for College.

Job Training & Trade Schools:

Want to become a culinary artist or learn cosmetology? Maybe, you want to learn a skilled trade that will provide you with a good living. If this type of future is where you see yourself heading, but you don’t have the necessary skills, you can get job training from a variety of sources. Non-profits, community colleges, large corporations and vocational schools provide the necessary skills training to do a variety of jobs and skilled trades. Unfortunately, the unemployment rate among military veterans age 20-24 is three times higher than the national average. Before you think about the military, check out these options.

Directories and Databases

Be sure to do a background check on a school before signing up. Many of them are completely legit, but some are a rip-off. Here are some tips on how to do this.

National Opportunities>

  • Job Corps. This program gets you out of the house, and provides academic, vocational, and social skills training you need to gain independence and get quality, long-term jobs or further your education.
  • YouthBuild. Teaches young people how to build new homes for people in need, and new lives for themselves. Receive a combination of classroom academic and job skills development and on-site training in a construction trade.
  • Americorps. Jobs in all types of community programs. Provides training, work experience, stipend and scholarships.

Finding a Job

Finding a job is a lot of work. Start by checking out your local newspapers to get an idea of what is out there and what you are qualified for.

Job Search Sites:

See the World : Living/Working/Volunteering Abroad

“Traveling” with the military doesn’t exactly mean traveling. If you are lucky enough not to get sent to a war zone, you’ll spend most of your time on a US military base, oftentimes to a country that doesn’t welcome the US Army. “Traveling” with the Navy can mean 6 months confined to a ship, without ever going ashore. If this is not what you have in mind, there are many other options.

  • Peace Brigades International (Guatemala, Columbia, and Indonesia). PBI offers volunteer positions, paid job positions (which are limited) and internships.
  • Service Civil International. Has short term (2- weeks) and long term (3-12 months) opportunities that costs approximately $175 plus cost of travel. Includes food and housing.
  • VE Global Voluntarios de la Esperanza. This program offers an intensive (living with host family) and part time (mostly administrative work) program in Chile. This unpaid program last three months and will require some out of pocket expenses.
  • Operations Crossroads Africa Volunteers. Volunteer work in Africa. Program costs $3500.
  • Independent Volunteer. Volunteer database of work around the world organized by country and type of work.
  • Global Crossroad. Global Crossroad organizes volunteer and internship programs.
  • Global Volunteers. Global Volunteers organizes teams of volunteers to work in local communities and help with projects run by local leaders.

There are many useful books and websites on cheap travel. You can get them at your local library or buy them used on for very little money.

  • Finding Voluntary Work Abroad: All the Information You Need for Getting Valuable Work Experience Overseas (How-to Series) by Mark Hempshell
  • Cheap!: "How-To" Strategies and Tips for Free Flights & Cheap Travel, by Vicki Mills
  • You Can Travel Free, Robert William Kirk
  • How to Go Almost Anywhere for Almost Nothing, Maureen Hennessy
  • Encyclopedia of Cheap Travel (Updated Annually), Terrance Zepke

Challenge Yourself

There are many ways to challenge yourself physically & mentally. There are other careers that command respect. Here are some things to check out:

Serving your Country

Many young people feel that the only way they can serve their country and community is to join the military. That is not true! There are many opportunities to become a hero, build communities, and promote peace and justice without risking your life or taking another.

An excellent book of alternatives called “It’s My Life” is available FREE to youth. Websites that can give you some ideas, tips, next steps, and local, national, and international professional and volunteer opportunities:


For more information:
Ya-Ya Network*

American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)

Project YANO

War Resisters League
212-288-6193 / 212-288-0450

Central Committee for Conscience Objectors (CCCO)

New York Civil Liberties Union
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

*The Ya-Ya Network compiled this document.



 Revised 10/13/2017

Share this

FacebookTwitterStumbleuponGoogle BookmarksRedditLinkedInRSS FeedPinterestInstagramSnapchat
The National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth (NNOMY) is supported by individual contributions and a grant by the Craigslist Charitable Fund - 2023 Except where otherwise noted, content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. NNOMY websites are hosted by The Electric Embers Coop.

Gonate time or money to demilitarize our public schools



This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of issues connected with militarism and resistance. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Contact NNOMY


The National Network Opposing

the Militarization of youth
San Diego Peace Campus

3850 Westgate Place
San Diego, California 92105 U.S.A.  +1 619 798 8335
Tuesdays & Thursdays 12 Noon till 5pm PST
Skype: nnomy.demilitarization

Mobile Menu