Militarism and the Young: Youth Gathering at the Disarmament Congress in Berlin

“In many ways the world we live in is unjust and inhumane, especially towards young people. Our social model is established on unlimited economic growth, the extensive use of natural resources, the predominance of capital, domination structures, patriarchy, competition, violence, confrontation, conflict and war. Capitalism and militarism reinforce themselves, destroying the livelihoods of all beings.” That’s how the draft of the Declaration for Demilitarization and Youth begins, which was developed in the preparation meetings for the Youth Gathering of the Disarmament Congress that starts in Berlin end of September 2016.

(Photo: Bart. Flickr/Creative Commons)

Integrating Educational Perspectives into the International Peace Bureau World Congress 2016

The Global Campaign for Peace Education is collaborating with the International Institute on Peace Education (IIPE) and partnering with the International Peace Bureau (IPB) to develop a special peace education strand on military and social spending at the IPB World Congress 2016. The theme for the Congress is ““Disarm! For a Climate of Peace – Creating an Action Agenda.” The aim of the IPB World Congress 2016 is to bring the issue of military spending, often seen as technical question, into the broad public debate and to strengthen our global community of activism regarding disarmament and demilitarization. Solutions to the enormous global challenges of hunger, jobs, and climate change can be significantly enhanced by real disarmament steps – steps that need to be clearly formulated and put into political reality.

IIPE & GCPE’s participation is intended to integrate educational perspectives, including formal and non-formal, public and community-based learning strategies, into the policy & citizen action recommendations generated at the Congress. IIPE & GCPE are also encouraging educators to participate in the Congress to learn from the experience and perspectives of activist and policy-maker counterparts.

U.S. Army Officer in Afghanistan 2006. (Photo: The U.S. Army / Flickr)

Speaking to High Schoolers About the Truth of War Helped Me Deal with My Trauma from Being a Soldier

Rory Fanning, a military veteran, speaks to high schoolers about the truth of war. If a teenager is going to sign up to kill and die for a cause or even the promise of a better life, then the least he or she should know is the good, the bad and the ugly about the job. Fanning also notes that in a world without a draft, JROTC’s school-to-military pipeline is a lifeline for Washington’s permanent war across the Greater Middle East and parts of Africa. Its unending conflicts are only possible because kids like those he’s talked to in the few classrooms he’s visited continue to volunteer. The politicians and the school boards, time and again, claim their school systems are broke. No money for books, teacher’s salaries and pensions, healthy lunches. And yet, in 2015, the U.S. government spent $598 billion on the military, more than half of its total discretionary budget, and nearly 10 times what it spent on education.

Talk Nation Radio: Seth Kershner on the Campaign to Demilitarize U.S. Schools

Seth Kershner is a writer and researcher whose work has appeared in such outlets as In These Times, Sojourners, and Rethinking Schools. He is the co-author (with Scott Harding) of “Counter-Recruitment and the Campaign to Demilitarize Public Schools”. This is the first book to analyze the grassroots counter-recruitment movement which has been around for more than four decades. He has recently been using the Freedom of Information Act to gain a better understanding of the extent of militarism in U.S. schools, obtaining hundreds of pages of documents in the process. Last fall he and Scott Harding shared some of these findings in an op-ed for Education Week.

While some young recruits yawn and struggle to follow during a "class" on the peace process, older FARC rebels listen more closely and take notes (AFP Photo/Luis Acosta)

In jungle camps, Colombia rebels take peace lessons

In their secret jungle camps, Colombia’s Marxist rebels used to learn how to fight. Now their leaders are trying to teach them how not to. They still carry the rifles and machetes they have used for half a century in their war against the Colombian government. But now troops of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) are sitting down for classes on how life will be once they lay down their weapons.
Thousands of miles away at talks hosted by Cuba, their commanders are negotiating a peace accord they hope to sign with Bogota in March. Meanwhile, here in the jungle, FARC soldier Tomas, 37, is acting as an instructor, explaining to his fellow recruits what is at stake.

How to Counter Recruitment and De-Militarize Schools

U.S. military recruiters are teaching in public school classrooms, making presentations at school career days, coordinating with JROTC units in high schools and middle schools and generally pursuing what they call “total market penetration” and “school ownership.” But counter-recruiters all over the United States are making their own presentations in schools, distributing their own information, picketing recruiting stations, and working through courts and legislatures to reduce military access to students and to prevent military testing or the sharing of test results with the military without students’ permission. This struggle for hearts and minds has had major successes and could spread if more follow the counter-recruiters’ example.

Military recruitment efforts, whether societal or sponsored directly by the US military, reach children as young as preschool, priming them to think of war and soldiering as cool and exciting, without any discussion of the trauma and death they bring. (Image: Jared Rodriguez / Truthout)

Why Is My Kindergartner Being Groomed for the Military at School?

This article by Sarah Grey, published on Truthout, argues that military recruitment efforts, whether societal or sponsored directly by the US military, reach children as young as preschool, priming them to think of war and soldiering as cool and exciting, without any discussion of the trauma and death they bring.

Eighty-six-year-old Fumiko Shimabukuro devotes herself to resisting a police officer forcibly removing her from the front of Camp Schwab’s gate on the morning of October 29 in Henoko, Nago City (Photo: Ryukyu Shimpo)

Civil Resistance to Militarization: A Glimpse of Okinawa’s Nonviolent, Courageous and Tenacious Struggle for a Democratic Security Policy

This report, by Betty Reardon, is written in support of base reduction and withdrawal and in solidarity with the courageous people of Okinawa in their nonviolent resistance to the militarization that reduces their security and detracts from the quality of their daily lives. The Okinawa experience provides an educationally fruitful case for learning some of the vivid particularities of local civil society actions as a realm in which to exercise global citizenship. Similar actions are undertaken in other locations of long-term US military presence. Study of the international anti-base movement could illuminate the destructive consequences of the current militarized global security system to the well-being of host communities, undermining the human security of local populations. Further, and more important to the normative and ethical dimensions of peace education, these civil society actions are vivid examples of the refusal of base communities to accept the powerlessness that security policy makers assume when they make the decisions that ignore the will and welfare of the citizens most affected.

Refusing to Choose Between Martin and Malcolm: Ferguson, Black Lives Matter, and a New Nonviolent Revolution

(Matt Meyer, Natalie Jeffers & David Ragland) 2015 was not only a year of fear, brutality and injustice, it was a year of sustained resistance that honoured not only a strong national Black radical politics of organising, but also helped cultivate a new and thriving, nonviolent international movement for Black Liberation. As we enter 2016, the Movement for Black Lives must navigate itself in uncharted territory and hazardous spaces, but is accompanied by a vigourous knowledge of self, a thriving and committed community of activists and organizers who are cognizant of the need for guiding principles and the creation of a Black Radical national policy platform. Liberation educator Paulo Freire noted that “violence is the tool of the master,” and feminist poet Audre Lorde reminded us that “You cannot dismantle the Master’s House with the Master’s Tools” So, let us reimagine new ways to build a society where Black people can live freely and dream, and let’s find, as Barbara Deming implored, “equilibrium” in our revolutionary process.

Changing Militarized Societies through Gender-Sensitive Peace Education

This paper by Loreta Navarro-Castro, presented at the conference on “Gender and Militarism” co-organized by the Women Peacemakers Program (The Netherlands) and Center for Peace Education of Miriam College, 7-8 December 2015, conceptualizes peace education as education that transforms mindsets, attitudes and values as well as behaviors that bring about and/or exacerbate violent conflicts. Hence, it is education that promotes nonviolence and the nonviolent resolution of conflicts from the personal to national to global levels as well as promotes human and ecological well-being, which includes just structures and relationships at various levels. This view of peace education springs from an understanding of peace as both the absence of violence and the presence of justice. Because of this holistic focus on transforming mindsets, values and behaviors, peace education is understood as education toward a culture of peace.

British army cadets at Sandhurst. The Ministry of Defence spends an estimated £26m each year on combined cadet force units. (Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Children have no place in the British army

As the UK armed forces continue with their policy of targeting visits disproportionately to schools in deprived areas and children from low-income families, the Department of Education ignores the UN’s recommendations that some form of peace education should be part of the curriculum in UK state schools, and supports initiatives encouraging a military ethos.

How Our Naive Understanding of Violence Helps ISIS

(Original article: Paul K. Chappell, Counterpunch.org, Dec. 10, 2015) At West Point I learned that technology forces warfare to evolve. The reason soldiers today no longer ride horses into battle, use bows and arrows, and wield spears, is because of the gun. The reason people no longer fight in trenches, as they did during World […]

COP21Paris: #DisarmForOurPlanet

A few figures you may not know about military pollution

A few figures: With 500,000 buildings and infrastructures around the world, including 500 large-scale military bases, the Pentagon was marked the world’s largest energy consumer in 2013. Every year it is reported that the British Ministry of Defence is responsible for 70% of all the carbon dioxide emitted by the UK The army is the […]

#DisarmForOurPlanet

Save our Planet: Disarm!

How could we save the planet?  Here’s a way to do it suggested by the International Peace Bureau. Retiring the cold war era B-1 bomber would create a savings of $3.7 billion over five years. That would be enough to retrofit approximately 4.6 million homes to achieve 20% greater energy efficiency. Help us spread the […]

If we want to fund climate change, we must first redirect military spending.

Only 10% of Military Spending Could Fill the Green Climate Fund

With only 10% of global military spending we could easily fill up the green climate fund.   If we want to fund climate change, we must first redirect military spending. We can’t do this without you. The International Peace Bureau needs your support on their campaign! ‪#‎DisarmForOurPlanet‬ ‪#‎COP21‬                     […]

Facts you didn't know about the link between the military and the environment #cop21 #DisarmForOurPlanet

Links Between the Military and the Environment

Facts you didn’t know about the link between the military and the environment.  #cop21 #DisarmForOurPlanet.  For more information visit the International Peace Bureau.                                                                 […]

Talk Nation Radio: Johan Galtung on ISIS and Alternative to War

(TalkNationRadio.org, Nov. 24, 2015) Johan Galtung is the founder of the discipline of peace studies. He founded the International Peace Research Institute in Oslo in 1959 and the Journal of Peace Research in 1964, and has helped found dozens of peace centers. He has taught peace studies at universities all over the world, and mediated […]

The most militarized universities in America (where they are).

The Most Militarized Universities in America: A VICE News Investigation

(Original article: William M. Arkin and Alexa O’Brien, Vice News, Nov. 6, 2015) An information and intelligence shift has emerged in America’s national security state over the last two decades, and that change has been reflected in the country’s educational institutions as they have become increasingly tied to the military, intelligence, and law enforcement worlds. This is why […]