The National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth (NNOMY)
Military recruiters count on economic hardship to lure young people of color to sign up. Counter-recruiters are working hard to thwart their efforts.
Sep 6, 2022 / Aina Marzia / YES! Media - Year after year, the same foldable table is propped up near the entrance of a high school gym. People with the same uniform but different faces, all eager to tell you about a new “opportunity,” will sit idly at the table. There will be a sign in front of the table and a clipboard on top, ready to jot down any name that will take the bait being offered.
The U.S.’s “all-volunteer military” requires people, and the search for young high schoolers to fill the ranks of the armed forces is always ongoing. Further, the military tends to prioritize recruiting low-income minority kids because, as per Anthony Clark, a U.S. Air Force veteran, “Poverty is the draft.”
Racial and Socioeconomic Discrepancies in Enlistment
From embedding militarism into public schools to setting up shop inside schools, the military will seemingly go to any lengths necessary to get more boots on the ground. Programs like Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC), while not directly affiliated with recruiters, attract large enlistments from high schoolers and are introduced to students as early as freshman year. In a report by RAND Corporation in 2017, it is estimated that more than 500,000 students are enrolled in Army training programs. Further, 56% of schools with such programs offered federal reduced or free lunch options, suggesting that they serve students near or below the poverty line.
According to the Council on Foreign Relations, around 64% of enlistments are of people from household incomes below $87,000, and 19% are from household incomes below $41,691. Although the CFR classifies such people as “middle income,” many social scientists point out the increasing financial precarity of the American middle class, such as Alissa Quart’s 2018 book Squeezed: Why Our Families Can’t Afford America. Such research highlights how the middle class is shrinking, making income data unreliable when assessing economic hardship. While there is a common belief that the armed forces are an “all-volunteer military,” the data suggests that low-income students often view the military as an economic opportunity.
May 17, 2022 / Mennonite Church USA | Mennonite Central Committee / Anabaptist World - Mennonites Against Militarism — a collaboration of Mennonite Central Committee U.S. and Mennonite Church USA — is planning an initiative to counter military recruitment of U.S. youth.
Alternatives to Military Enlistment Network will connect young people with volunteer advisers who can help them find nonmilitary career, service and training opportunities.
Mennonites Against Militarism invites volunteers to complete an online survey at mennoniteusa.org that identifies areas they may engage with AMEN, including administration, web and graphic design, publicity, budgeting, fundraising and guidance/career counseling. Veterans and others who understand war and military recruitment are also encouraged to complete the form.
“This project goes beyond traditional counter-recruitment efforts by working with individual youths to find meaningful opportunities,” said Titus Peachey, retired coordinator of peace education for MCC. “In a highly militarized society, it is a practical way to embody our faith commitment to peace.”
The Following links are the current counter-recruitment pages of national peace groups as of (01/11/2023)
- American Friends Service Committee / National Site / Counter recruitment -
- Central District Conference of the Mennonite Church USA / National Site / Alternative To Military Recruitment
- Christian Peace Witness / National Site / Countering Military Recruitment
- Codepink / National Site / Counter-Recruitment -
- Courage to Resist / National Site / Military Recruiting & Counter Recruiteing -
- GI Rights Hotline / National / Before You Join Fact Sheet -
- Granny Peace Brigade / National Site / Counter-Recruiting -
- Mennonite Mission Network / National Site / Counter recruitment strategies
- Military Law Task Force of the National Lawyers Guild / National Site / Counter-Recruitment -
- Military Truth / National Site / Military Truth Resources
- National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth / National Site / Introduction to Counter Recruitment Work -
- Payday - Refusing to Kill is Not a Crime / International Site / Counter-recruitment
- Peace Action / National Site / Counter-recruitment -
- Veterans for Peace / National Site / Truth in Recruiting -
- War Resisters League / National Site / Counter Recruitment -
- World Beyond War /National Site / Opt Out of Military Recruitment -
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Article Count: 1
Opinion Article Count: 1
The NNOMY Opinion section is a new feature of our articles section. Writing on youth demilitarization issues is quite rare but we have discovered the beginning articles and notes being offered on this subject so we have decided to present them under an opinion category. The articles presented do not necessarily reflect the views of the NNOMY Steering Committee.
Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) Article Count: 1
NNOMY CAMPUS: Youth Counter-Recruitment and Demilitarization Workshops Online Article Count: 1
Activists Demilitarizing Our Public Schools
The NNOMY CAMPUS page is a resource for activists wishing to understand how to more effectively intervene in our public schools against the increasing influence of Pentagon programs to indoctrinate our youth for war. A series of webinars are being planned on different successful strategies to effect policy changes in school districts that better protect student privacy from military recruiters, to organize access to counter-recruit on campus, and to monitor the activities of military personnel on public school campuses. Topics are listed by series and subject. NNOMY webinar based workshops are a more effective method to instruct how to proceed with curbing the number of youth that make the choice to join into military service, or do so with a more informed picture of what this service will entail. This page will be updated periodically as additional webinars are conducted and new materials are produced to support these trainings. NNOMY will maintain these educational resources with the most up-to-date information and informed opinions as possible in order to keep the practice of national counter'recruitment efforts viable into the future.
Public Military Charter Schools Article Count: 1
Globalization & Militarization Article Count: 2
Military Presence in Our Schools Article Count: 10
Conservative Religious Influence Article Count: 2
The warning, given to me 25 years ago, came at the moment Pat Robertson and other radio and televangelists began speaking about a new political religion that would direct its efforts at taking control of all institutions, including mainstream denominations and the government. Its stated goal was to use the United States to create a global, Christian empire. It was hard, at the time, to take such fantastic rhetoric seriously, especially given the buffoonish quality of those who expounded it. But Adams warned us against the blindness caused by intellectual snobbery. The Nazis, he said, were not going to return with swastikas and brown shirts. Their ideological inheritors had found a mask for fascism in the pages of the Bible. - Chris Hedges (From his article: The Christian Right and the Rise of American Fascism, 2011)
Corporate Influence Article Count: 1
Young Marines Article Count: 1
Art & Cultural Activism Article Count: 1
The Militarization of U.S. Culture Article Count: 23
Though the United States of America shares with other nations in a history of modern state militarism, the past 76 years following its consolidation as a world military power after World War II has seen a shift away from previous democratic characterizations of the state. The last forty years, with the rise of the neo-conservative Reagan and Bush (2) administrations, began the abandonment of moral justifications for democracy building replaced by bellicose proclamations of the need and right to move towards a national project of global security by preemptive military force. Even with the return of eight years of the, so called, Liberal Obama administrations we saw the further erosion of long held human right protections with the suspension of habeas corpus and the increased usage of extra-judicial drone bombing killings of claimed combatants in multiple conflicts worldwide. Now with the Trump and Biden administrations, these programs have increased unbeknownst to the general public as the mainstream media silenced and normalized perpetual wars.
In the process of global military expansion, the US population has been subjected to an internal re-education to accept the role of the U.S. as consolidating its hegemonic rule internationally in the interest of liberal ideals of wealth creation and protectionism.
The average citizen has slowly come to terms with stealthily increasing campaigns of militarization domestically in media offerings; from television, movies, militarized video games, and scripted news networks to reinforce the inevitability of a re-configured society as security state. The effect has begun a transformation of how, as citizens, we understand our roles and viability as workers and families in relation to this security state. This new order has brought with it a shrinking public common and an increasing privatization of publicly held infrastructure; libraries, health clinics, schools and the expectation of diminished social benefits for the poor and middle-class. The national borders are being militarized as are our domestic police forces in the name of Homeland Security but largely in the interest of business. The rate and expansion of research and development for security industries and the government agencies that fund them, now represent the major growth sector of the U.S.economy. Additionally, as the U.S. economy continually shifts from productive capital to financial capital as the engine of growth for wealth creation and development, the corporate culture has seen its fortunes rise politically and its power over the public sector grow relatively unchallenged by a confused citizenry who are watching their social security and jobs diminishing.
How increasing cultural militarization effects our common future will likely manifest in increased public dissatisfaction with political leadership and economic strictures. Social movements within the peace community, like NNOMY, will need to expand their role of addressing the dangers of militarists predating youth for military recruitment in school to giving more visibility to the additional dangers of the role of an influential militarized media, violent entertainment and play offerings effecting our youth in formation and a general increase and influence of the military complex in all aspects of our lives. We are confronted with a demand for a greater awareness of the inter-relationships of militarism in the entire landscape of domestic U.S. society. Where once we could ignore the impacts of U.S. military adventurisms abroad, we are now faced with the transformation of our domestic comfort zone with the impacts of militarism in our day to day lives.
How this warning can be imparted in a meaningful way by a movement seeking to continue with the stated goals of counter-recruitment and public policy activism, and not loose itself in the process, will be the test for those activists, past and future, who take up the call to protect our youth from the cultural violence of militarism.
The "militarization of US culture" category will be an archive of editorials and articles about the increasing dangers we face as a people from those who are invested in the business of war. This page will serve as a resource for the NNOMY community of activists and the movement they represent moving into the future. The arguments presented in this archive will offer important realizations for those who are receptive to NNOMY's message of protecting our youth, and thus our entire society, of the abuses militarism plays upon our hopes for a sustainable and truly democratic society.
Resources Article Count: 48
The Resources section covers the following topics:
Social media Campaign Resources Article Count: 42
NNOMYpeace has organized the following resources for our own staff of activists to promote our campaigns on different social media platforms. Many are formatted for Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter feeds.
We also welcome those activists inside our network of groups doing Truth in Recruitment and Counter-recruiting activism to utilize there resources for their own social media channels.
If you are not a group associated to NNOMYpeace, and would like to utilize these resources on your own channels, we encourage your groups to integrate to NNOMY on our National Directory of Youth Demilitarization Groups to help support the national community of youth demilitarization groups to know you and the scope of your activism. You can share your information to list your group by submitting an organizational form at the following LINK.
We have distributed the following graphics by campaign. Click on the categories below to see those that support different campaign themes by NNOMY
Divest “Your Body” from the War Machine Article Count: 1
The Divest “Your Body” from the War Machine graphics are campaigning resources for social media for the Divest campaign that NNOMY is collaborating with CodePink. NNOMY focuses on asking youth to "Divest of their Bodies" from military service with the war machine. These are strictly to be utilized with counter-recruitment only and not with TIR.
Winning The Peace: A National High School Intervention Article Count: 2
These social media resources are to be utilized with the "Winning the Peace" campaign in cooperation with the palm cards developed by War Resisters League and the support website created for smart phones, "What Everyone Should Know Before Joining the Military / Lo que deberías saber entres de enrolarte en las Fuerzas Armadas (FF.AA.) ," to answer questions for youth about what military service really involves for them.
Know about Groups doing Youth Demilitarization Nationally Article Count: 1
These social media resources focus on groups nationally and regionally that take part in some form of youth demilitarization activism. That can include themes such as Truth in Recruitment or Counter-recruitment activism or participate in outreach to schools as veteral or antiwar speakers. Those using them should be cognizant of the limits that your location and context present before you decide to select the appropriate images and appeals for your use.
Misc. Social Media images Article Count: 1
The Misc. social media image resources category are designed around various appeals encompassing general counter-recruitment messages and antiwar themes. They should be utilized judiciously with attention paid to the moment and situation of which they are applied. Some of these may be themed along specific important dates in the peace calendar of on specific subject relating to militarization especially those themes that effect youth. Those found in this category are not specific to a campaign.
Social media Campaign Resources Article Count: 1
Back to School Against War & Militarism! Get the 2018-19 Back-to-school Kit for Counter-recruiting and School De-militarization Organizing from The National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth and find out how you can help keep our youth safer and send a message to school officials and your government... military recruiters should be monitored in local high school and minor-aged youth deserve a balanced narrative on military service! Act Now to activate in your child's public school against Pentagon intrusions into our community youth.
Eliminate Selective Service for Everyone Article Count: 14
The "Eliminate Selective Service for Everyone" campaign category addresses the antiquated Selective Service system and the demand for its elimination. With the issue of women now being qualified for combat duties including fighting, the issue has been brought before the congress and senate of the United States to require women to register, like men, in the years when young adults are typically drafted into the services to fight wars if the draft needs to be re-initiated in the event of a national crisis where there are not sufficient troops to meet the troop requirement.
This campaign, "Eliminate Selective Service for Everyone," asks for the elimination of this demand based on it being a violation of basic and internationally recognized human rights protocols including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Costs of War Article Count: 2
The "Costs of War" campaign category came from the Watson Institute for International Affairs website of Brown University in Providence, RI. This institute has made their research into the economic, social, political, and human costs of U.S. wars their research focus. Their mission statement explains the following:
The Costs of War Project is a team of 50 scholars, legal experts, human rights practitioners, and physicians, which began its work in 2010. We use research and a public website to facilitate debate about the costs of the post-9/11 wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the related violence in Pakistan and Syria. There are many hidden or unacknowledged costs of the United States’ decision to respond to the 9/11 attacks with military force. We aim to foster democratic discussion of these wars by providing the fullest possible account of their human, economic, and political costs, and to foster better informed public policies.
This campaign, "Costs of War," asks for the public to be aware that our post 9/11 foreign policy has an effect on the U.S.'s international relations that are increasingly coming under question domestically and internationally and how those policies align with the stated goals of the U.S. State Department and its allied governments..
Workshops Article Count: 3
NNOMY Peace produces workshops to assist groups in understanding the tactics of military recruiters in the school and the community and create community and strategies for groups envolved in youth demilitarization efforts.
Counter-recruitment Resources Article Count: 1
NNOMYpeace produces printable and viewable resources to support the practice of Truth in Recruitment and Counter-recruitment activism.
Book Reviews Article Count: 5
Project PASS Article Count: 1
NNOMY Network News Article Count: 12
News reports from the groups associated to the NNOMY Network including Social Media.
CR Reports Article Count: 5
Reports from counter-recruitment groups and activists from the field. Includes information about action reports at recruiting centers and career fairs, school tabling, and actions in relation to school boards and state legislatures.
CR in the News Article Count: 8
David Swanson Article Count: 6
David Swanson is the author of the new book, Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union, by Seven Stories Press and of the introduction to The 35 Articles of Impeachment and the Case for Prosecuting George W. Bush by Dennis Kucinich. In addition to cofounding AfterDowningStreet.org, he is the Washington director of Democrats.com and sits on the boards of a number of progressive organizations in Washington, DC.
Charlottesville Right Now: 11-10-11 David Swanson
David Swanson joins Coy to discuss Occupy Charlottesville, protesting Dick Cheney's visit to the University of Virginia, and his new book. - Listen
Jorge Mariscal Article Count: 2
Jorge Mariscal is the grandson of Mexican immigrants and the son of a U.S. Marine who fought in World War II. He served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam and currently teaches at the University of California, San Diego.
Matt Guynn Article Count: 1
Matt Guynn plays the dual role of program director and coordinator for congregational organizing for On Earth Peace, building peace and nonviolence leadership within the 1000+ congregations of the Church of the Brethren across the United States and Puerto Rico. He previously served a co-coordinator of training for Christian Peacemaker Teams, serving as an unarmed accompanier with political refugees in Chiapas, Mexico, and offering or supporting trainings in the US and Mexico.
Rick Jahnkow Article Count: 8
Pat Elder Article Count: 13
Pat Elder was a co-founder of the DC Antiwar Network (DAWN) and a member of the Steering Committee of the National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth, (NNOMY). Pat is currently involved in a national campaign with the Women's International League for Peace & Freedom project, Military Poisons, investigating on U.S. military base contamination domestically and internationally. Pat’s work has prominently appeared in NSA documents tracking domestic peace groups.
audio Pat Elder - National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth
COMMUNITY ACTION Article Count: 2
Starbase DOD Article Count: 1
National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program Article Count: 1
Civil Air Patrol (CAP) Article Count: 1
Network Actions Article Count: 5
EVENTS & CONFERENCES Article Count: 4
NNOMY periodically participates in or organizes events(e.i. conferences, rallies) with other organizations.
CR Activist Reports Article Count: 2
CR Discussion List Article Count: 1
NNOMY in the News Article Count: 6
News articles reposted about NNOMY. Includes news reports about our work with associated groups and conferences.
National CR Database Article Count: 1
GI Resistance Article Count: 1
Conscientious Objection Article Count: 1
NNOMY National Conference Article Count: 11
Materials/Training Article Count: 1
For Educators/Guidance Counselors Article Count: 2
Recruiting on College Campuses Article Count: 1
Model Programs Article Count: 1
Providing Guidance Article Count: 1
School Policies Article Count: 6
EN ESPAÑOL Article Count: 1
JROTC Article Count: 1
JAMRS Article Count: 2
Equal access Article Count: 2
Opt Out/Student lists Article Count: 2
NCLB Article Count: 5
MILITARISM & WAR Article Count: 6
FOR ENLISTED PERSONNEL Article Count: 1
FOR PARENTS Article Count: 1
CONSIDERING ENLISTING? Article Count: 2
RECRUITING IN SPECIFIC COMMUNITIES Article Count: 3
MILITARY RECRUITING TOOLS & METHODS Article Count: 5
SCHOOL BASED COUNTER RECRUITMENT Article Count: 7
Know Your Rights Article Count: 2
Delayed Entry Program/DEP Article Count: 2
GI Bill & Benefits Article Count: 1
Alternatives by State Article Count: 1
NNOMY Article Count: 12
ALTERNATIVES TO THE MILITARY Article Count: 2
Recruiter Abuses Article Count: 2
Truth in Recruiting Article Count: 1
Facts About Recruitment Article Count: 1
Facts & Figures Article Count: 1
COUNTER RECRUITING ESSENTIALS Article Count: 5
The Counter-recruitment Essentials section of the NNOMY web site covers the issues and actions spanning this type of activism. Bridging the difficult chasms between religious, veteran, educator, student, and community based activism is no small task. In this section you will find information on how to engage in CR activism in your school and community with the support of the knowledge of others who have been working to inform youth considering enlisting in the military. You will also find resources for those already in the military that are looking for some guidance on how to actively resist injustices as a soldier or how to choose a path as a conscientious objector.
Steering Committee Article Count: 1
Articles Article Count: 222
John Judge Article Count: 5
John Judge was a co-founder of the Committee for High School Options and Information on Careers, Education and Self-Improvement (CHOICES) in Washington DC, an organization engaged since 1985 in countering military recruitment in DC area high schools and educating young people about their options with regard to the military. Beginning with the war in Viet Nam, Judge was a life-long anti-war activist and tireless supporter of active-duty soldiers and veterans.
"It is our view that military enlistment puts youth, especially African American youth, at special risk, not only for combat duty, injury and fatality, but for military discipline and less than honorable discharge, which can ruin their chances for employment once they get out. There are other options available to them."
In the 1970's the Selective Service System and the paper draft became unworkable, requiring four induction orders to get one report. Boards were under siege by anti-war and anti-draft forces, resistance of many kinds was rampant. The lottery system failed to dampen the dissent, since people who knew they were going to be drafted ahead of time became all the more active. Local draft board members quit in such numbers that even I was approached, as a knowledgeable draft counselor to join the board. I refused on the grounds that I could never vote anyone 1-A or eligible to go since I opposed conscription and the war.
At this point the Pentagon decided to replace the paper draft with a poverty draft, based on economic incentive and coercion. It has been working since then to draw in between 200-400,000 enlisted members annually. Soon after, they began to recruit larger numbers of women to "do the jobs men don't want to". Currently recruitment quotas are falling short, especially in Black communities, and reluctant parents are seen as part of the problem. The hidden problem is retention, since the military would have quadrupled by this time at that rate of enlistment, but the percentage who never finish their first time of enlistment drop out at a staggering rate.
I began bringing veterans of the Vietnam War into high schools in Dayton, Ohio in the late 1960s, and have continued since then to expose young people to the realities of military life, the recruiters' false claims and the risks in combat or out. I did it first through Vietnam Veterans Against the War/Winter Soldier Organization, then Dayton Draft & Military Counseling, and since 1985 in DC through C.H.O.I.C.E.S.
The key is to address the broader issues of militarization of the schools and privacy rights for students in community forums and at meetings of the school board and city council. Good counter-recruitment also provides alternatives in the civilian sector to help the poor and people of color, who are the first targets of the poverty draft, to find ways to break into the job market, go to a trade school, join an apprenticeship program, get job skills and placement help, and find money for college without enlisting in the military.
- War Opponents Train For Visits to Area Schools And Recruitment Centers, Michelle Boorstein, Washington Post
- Counter-Recruitment and the Campaign to Demilitarize Public Schools - Scott Harding, Seth Kershner
- C.H.O.I.C.E.S., John Judge
- Interview - John Judge - U.S. Wars & Military Recruitment
- Military and your Schools
- A Celebration of the Life of John Judge May 31, 2014
- In Memory of John Judge - Washington Peace Center
- John Judge- Obituary and request for reflections - Coalition on Political Assassinations (COPA)
- The Loss of John Judge Hits Hard - David Swanson
- John Judge, Leading Change: A Transformational, Quiet Servant Leader, David Ratcliffe
Researching Pop Culture and Militarism - Selene Rivas Article Count: 7
Selene Rivas presents for the International Week of Action Against the Militarisation of Youth a series of brief articles exploring how the U.S. citizenry has been normalized to accept a permanent state of militarism through popular culture: Movies, video games and comic books. From Monday, November 20th and continuing through Sunday the 26th of November, 2017, a new segment of this series of short articles will be featured each day. Select from the articles below.
You can find out more about the Week Of Action at War Resisters' International.
Edward Hasbrouck Article Count: 3
Edward Hasbrouck grew up in Wellesley, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston. He considers myself primarily a political activist. Hasbrouck began his resistance to the violence of illegitimate authority as an elected but nonvoting student representative to the local school board and as an activist for peace, disarmament, and students' rights. His first book was a handbook for high school students on their legal rights co-authored in the summer of 1977, between high school and college, as an intern for the student service bureau of the Massachusetts Department of Education. He majored in political science at the University of Chicago until leaving school to pursue direct involvement in political activism.
Conscription of young people to fight old people's wars is one of the ultimate expressions of ageism, and for me, resistance to an ageist draft was first and foremost a component and continuation of the struggle for youth liberation. The religious and authoritarian justifications for conscription and war are remarkably similar to the religious and authoritarian rationales for violence against children and for slavery. - Edward Hasbrouck
In 1980, after a five-year hiatus, the U.S. government reinstated the requirement that all young men register for military conscription with the Selective Service System. In 1982, Hasbrouck was selected for criminal prosecution by the U.S. Department of "Justice" (specifically, by William Weld and Robert Mueller) as one of the people they considered the most vocal of the several million nonregistrants for the draft. As one of 20 nonregistrants who were prosecuted before the government abandoned the enforcement of draft registration, Hasbrouck was convicted and "served" four and a half months in a Federal Prison Camp in 1983-1984. The high-profile trials of resistance organizers proved counterproductive for the government. These trials served only to call attention to the government's inability to prosecute more than a token number of nonregistrants, and reassured nonregistrants that they were not alone in their resistance and were in no danger of prosecution unless they called attention to themselves.
- National Commission on Military Service To Release Interim Report in January, Edward Hasbrouck, Antiwar Blog, November 6, 2018
- Resistance Info
- Edward Hasbrouck on Twitter
- Books by Edward Hasbrouck on Amazon
- Podcast (35 min.): "The Future of Draft Registration in the U.S." (Courage to Resist)