WHAT IS IN THIS KIT?
Basic material useful to educating young people and school personnel about the realities of military enistment
A National High School Intervention
Peaceful Careers Website
Peaceful Career Alternatives is an informational resource for youth with limited life options.

 

Militarization of our Schools

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

Before You Enlist (2018)

Straight talk from soldiers, veterans and their family members tells what is missing
from the sales pitches presented by recruiters and the military's marketing efforts.

 

Before You Enlist! (2018) from Telequest, Inc. on Vimeo.

  ¡Antes de alistarse! (2018)

¡Antes de alistarse! (2018) from Telequest, Inc. on Vimeo.

 
Las palabras directas de los soldados, veteranos y sus familiares dicen todo lo que falta y se oculta
en los argumentos promocionales presentados por los reclutadores y en los esfuerzos de marketing de los militares.

 

A Disturbing Meeting at the Gym

January 10, 2011

Dave Lindorff -

At the local YMCA today, I ran into a boy who was a childhood friend of my son’s. As my kid goes to a public arts high school in Philadelphia outside of our local school district, I don’t see much of his old grade-school friends any more. This boy, who used to be over at our house years ago at least once a week, recognized me right away though, and said, "Hey Mr. Lindorff, I haven’t seen you in years. How’s Jed!"

I was impressed by how he’d grown up, tall and strong looking. He was headed for the basketball court. I asked him, since both he and my son are seniors this year, where he was applying for college, and he stunned me by saying he had signed up for the Marines. "I’m going to be going in after graduation," he said proudly. "The recruiter came to school, and he convinced me it’s a good move."

I asked him what he planned to do, and he said, "Helicopter gunner! I’m really excited and proud!"

This was really shocking. This kid doesn’t own a gun. I doubt if he’s ever shot at anything except maybe a target with a .22 rifle at Boy Scout Camp, and now he’s all excited about manning a machine gun in a helicopter, where he’ll be shooting down at Afghan fighters–and inevitably at civilians, too–in a matter of months.

I really didn’t know what to say. I awkwardly told him "congratulations," because I could see he was proud of his "accomplishment" and because I didn’t want to have him cut me off as a possible confidante. Then I added, "You know of course that I’m not really in favor of what the Marines are doing?"

He smiled and said, "Yeah, I know."

"Well, good luck and stay safe," I said, again not knowing what else to say. How could I, standing in the hall there, tell him that he was simply signing on to be another expendable tool in the American Empire’s effort to subdue an impoverished people on the far side of the world who pose absolutely no threat to America? And while I don’t want to see him killing people in Afghanistan, I also want him to come home safely.

Unaware of my conflicted state of mind, and of how upset I was at his news, he ran off to play his game, at least for now still just another kid on a basketball court.

I had finished my run, so I headed for the exit to get my car and go home, when I ran into the boy’s mother and older sister, both just coming into the building. I hadn’t seen either of them in at least a year either.

They both greeted me and asked how my family was, and what my son’s college plans were. After I had caught them up, I said, a bit hesitantly, "I ran into your son. He told me he’s joining the Marines."

His mother looked upset and said, "Yes. I don’t know. We were going over colleges with him, and getting ready to work on his applications, and then he told us he wanted to enlist."

"I hear he’s going to be a helicopter gunner," I said.

The mother stiffened and looked at her daughter, a senior in college who looked surprised, too. "He said he was going to be a helicopter mechanic!" she said.

"Oops," I told them. "I guess I shouldn’t have said anything."

"No," she said. "I’m going to have to talk with him. But the trouble is, if that’s what he says he’s going to do, there’s nothing we can do to stop him."

Well, maybe, and maybe not. I’d certainly try if it were my son, starting with showing him that horrifying footage of a bloodthirsty US helicopter crew’s joke-filled slaughter of a bunch of innocent civilians in Baghdad, including two employers of Reuters. I’d also have him read the letter of apology to the Iraqi victims’ families, written by two soldiers, former Army Specialists Josh Stieber and Ethan McCord, who had appeared in that video because they came on the scene of slaughter at the end, and realized what had been done was an atrocity.

It is not too late for my son’s childhood friend. Although he has already signed on the dotted line, the GI Bill of Rights organization (www.gibillofrights.org tel: 877-447-4487) said the Delayed Entry Program is not final–kids can bow out until they get on the bus to basic training). Meanwhile, there is something we can do to stop more of this kind of thing from happening, and that is to protest the actions of Marine recruiters and recruiters from the other branches of the military in our public high schools.

The schools have been told, thanks to a law passed by Congress, that they must allow recruiters into high schools to speak with students and to try to lure them into signing up. Parents have a right to have their children’s names removed from recruiting lists so they won’t be personally invited to meet with a recruiter, or get recruiting literature sent to them, but they are still free when roaming the halls, to go see a recruiter on their own.

The only answer to this effort to suck our kids into service of the Empire as more cannon-fodder is to demand, and to provide, an alternative. Contact your local Veterans for Peace chapter (www.veteransforpeace.org) or Iraq Veterans Against War (www.IVAW.org) and urge them to send a representative to talk to the kids at your high school. If you’re a veteran, volunteer to go yourself, and tell kids why signing up is a bad idea. If you’re not a veteran, or relative of a veteran, get people with experience to go and tell what war is really about, and about why it’s not what America should be doing. (Colleague John Grant, who is with VfP, says don’t expect getting a counter-recruitment presence in your high school to be easy. Most schools only allow such speakers to go to a specific teacher’s classroom, not to an assembly session, whereas the most appropriate thing would be to have access to match whatever the recruiters are offered. That doesn’t mean VfP or IVAW activists aren’t anxious to get access, so contact them and try to get them to the kids.)

If you want a good argument, check out this little film which quotes Marine Brigadier General Smedley Butler, and is addressed to parents, and particularly mothers of young children.

Stop the propagandizing of our kids into becoming soldiers for Empire. We’ve had enough death and killing!

DAVE LINDORFF is a Philadelphia-based journalist and columnist. His latest book is “The Case for Impeachment” (St. Martin’s Press, 2006 and now available in paperback). His work can be found at www.thiscantbehappening.net. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Source: http://thiscantbehappening.net/node/381

An Interview with Clint Coppernoll - Counter-Recruitement: Preventing the Military from Getting More Youth for Their Wars

June 25-27, 2005

Keven Zeese -

The Army and National Guard have been failing to meet their recruiting goals for the last four months. Summer is typically the time they have their greatest success in recruiting and they are counting on this summer to make up for their shortcomings in the previous months. They are increasing their efforts and making more promises to get America’s youth to sign up for war. As a result those of us who oppose the war need to step up our efforts in counter-recruitment as well. Below is an interview with a counter-recruitment activist from Washington State that provides directions on how to get started and documents to assist in your efforts.

Clint Coppernoll is the father of two, a son who is a lawyer and a daughter who is an activist and student in San Francisco. He is the husband of an activist organizer and midwife, Belinda Coppernoll. He has been a peace activist and organizer since 1969 and has worked with many organizations on a range of issues including immigrant and farm workers rights, prison reform, and open access to the political system for all Americans.

Most recently his work has led him to work with a number or organizations on ‘Telling the Truth Behind the Sales Pitch’ that the counter recruiters are giving the young people of this country and their parents. One of the great outcomes of this work is his contact with young persons of Washington State and around the country. Any young people interested should contact him or Carrie Hathorn at 206-963-4873.

Zeese: Describe the counter recruitment project you are involved with.

Coppernoll: Kevin, Our counter recruitment effort is a ‘Direct Action, Direct Contact’ effort. We are a group of concerned people and organizations that have become sick and tired of the half truths and outright lies that are being told to young Americans by military recruiters. We are focusing on three areas; opt Out, Get the Truth and How to Deal with Delayed Enlistment.

Opt Out: Hidden in the No Child Left Behind Act is a provision known as section 9528 that requires public high schools to hand over private student information to military recruiters. If a school does not comply, it risks losing federal education funds. This breach of privacy gives recruiters access to addresses and phone numbers, allowing them to actively call and visit teens at home. A parent or student can present a letter to the school board or superintendent exercising the right to request that the school does not turn over the name, address, telephone listing and other school records to the Armed Services, Military Recruiters, or Military Schools. Information like exit test scores, assisted lunch programs and other information allow recruiters to target low income students and students that are being affected by the pressures of the high stakes testing for graduation. The No Child Left Behind Act has turned up an ugly card in this high stakes game of our children’s lives. The ugly card is exampled in our state as the WASL test. This is a test, like testing in most other states, that requires a student to pass an exam to graduate. After 6 years of WASL administration, we are still telling over 70% of our 4th graders, over 75% of our 7th graders and just under 70% of our 10th graders that they are sub-standard in at least one of the 4 WASL subjects. This means they would not graduate. When the children of already stressed communities are faced with this kind of threat, the drop out rate drastically raises. These communities of immigrant, color and lower economic status become a target for recruiters. The recruiters get the scores and lists of drop outs and start their Sales Pitch. The No Child Left Behind Act thus becomes a tool for the military to implement an ‘Economic Draft’ That is why students and parents must protect themselves and OPT OUTThis is how the Students and Parents “OPT OUT:” fill out a letter to OPT OUT the student or contact Carrie or I and we will send you a form that can be reprinted in English or Spanish filled out be pen for those without computer access.

Get the Truth: This involves giving the students a chance to speak with a Veteran for Peace and Get the Truth.

We give the student at least three opportunities. First, the Veterans for Peace have been great at having at least one Vet on hand at the schools for direct first contact. Secondly we try to have a general informational meeting with a Veteran for Peace the week after a school action for students and parents.

Third, we give out the GI Rights Hotline 800-394-9544 or in our area Washington Truth in Recruiting local number. The student can then speak with a veteran on the phone and Get the Truth. We also promote Career Councilors, Principals, PSTA’s and Teachers to always give an equal opportunity for a Veteran for Peace or any of the other Veterans organizations working for peace and against war to present the truth when Recruiters have access to students.

Dealing with Delayed Enlistment: Most young people enter the military through the Delayed Enlistment Program (sometimes called the Delayed Entry Program). This program allows youth to sign up with a military recruiter for one of the service branches, but receive a report date for basic training for up to a year later. When entering the Delayed Enlistment Program (DEP), youth sign an enlistment agreement and take an oath of enlistment.

It is very common for young people to change their minds after enlistment in the DEP. A young person may re-evaluate their decision. It is important to realize that up until a young person actually reports for basic training, they can be released from any military obligation.

The official way to gain release is to write a letter to the commanding officer of the recruiting station, explaining one’s decision not to report to basic training.

The young person may or may not receive an official response before the date to report for basic training. Military recruiters are instructed to be understanding of these changes in plans. Nonetheless, in some cases military recruiters may and have used intimidation or threats to persuade the young person not to withdraw their commitment to serve. However, not reporting for basic training will result in release from any further obligation. (for more information http://www.objector.org/girights/)

Zeese: What made you get involved in this effort?

Coppernoll: The Peace Movement in the United States is stagnant. It seems stuck in a loop that started in the 2004 election cycle, even though we have nearly six in ten Americans saying the United States should withdraw some or all of its troops from Iraq according to the June 2005 Gallup Poll. Yet the peace movement continues to not be able to generate the energy to do much.

Sadly, some of this, it seems to me, comes from rivalries between organizations that are still arguing over what position or standing in leadership of the movement they should have. Position doesn’t mean a damn to me. The last couple of years I’ve slept on couches and basement floors with other activist organizers, because the mission far outweighed the position.

I got involved because I had to. My mission; end the wars that the United States is waging against countries of the world, now. All who care, about stopping our government, that is supposed to be representing us, from conducting the Iraq War and all the other wars of oppression that it supports around the world, must do something direct and immediate. This project begins that.

Zeese: How does it work? What materials do you give to youth or parents?

Coppernoll: Kevin, it’s pretty straight forward. You get in contact with your local Veterans for Peace group. This can be just one individual in your small town or a neighboring town if you’re not in a big city. You then reach out to anyone you know. Ask them the questions “Do you think the military has the right to not tell our young people the whole truth? Do you think military recruiters have the right to our children’s school records?” Then you ask student or parent or any one concerned; “if they would committee just one hour of their time a week and a couple of dollars for printing some information, to hand out, for saving a young persons life?”

Then you schedule one meeting for one hours worth of business, that business will cover organizing, the time for the first hand out of information to the students. The best time is after school when students are going home. Tell the people and organizations that after the business part of the meeting is over they can have a discussion period. But you’ve told people that the meeting is set for an hour to actually plan and set a date for your action.

Plan the first action if you can for the first day of school this fall.

This is very important. The first week we want as many students and parents to sign an OPT OUT letter as possible. On September the 24th we will announce while the first national protest are going on all the OPT OUT letters that have been signed. We will then demand our legislators support the “Student Privacy Protection Act” that would turn current policy around, allowing the military to talk only to students whose parents approve of such contact. Instead of having the responsibility of opting out, Parents should be asked to opt-in. Critics charge that this will make it far harder for recruiters to discuss military careers with the nation’s high school students, so be it.

If you have a group that wants to start this summer, at events that high schools students might attend. Print out an OPT OUT letter that can be filled out by pen and does not require a computer. (See earlier example or contact us.) Have some literature that you or your group has studied to hand out. If possible have a Peace Veteran at hand to speak to the students. Have a leaflet that has the next time and place a meeting is available, and where a student and their parents can speak with a Veteran. Also have on the meeting leaflets the GI Rights Hotline 800-394-9544. You have the right to stand on a public sidewalk in front of your school and hand out this information to students or any public place.

This direct contact may be out of some peoples comfort zone. However, this is the most important part. The only way to reach these students is eyeball to eyeball. You must show them that you care enough about their lives to stand there and talk with them. If they say they don’t care if they die in war you must tell them “you care for them and that’s why your there.” You don’t tell them that they can’t join the military. This is a free country and they have the right to do as they wish. These young people are smart, once you get them past the propaganda, which they are constantly bombarded with they will make the right decision.

Just ask them would they buy something important on a slick sales pitch or would they want the truth about what they are getting into before they make a life changing decision?

The week after the school action you have the meeting you called for in your leaflet you handed out. You have a Peace Veteran there. Keep it informal, this is a time the student, their parents and the veteran should have to dialogue with each other. It is important to have a sign up sheet. Ask students if they would like to start a club on campus that talks about peace and alternatives to war?

I also want to say that many groups are doing a number of things for counter-recruitment. I think it is great what they are doing. You will notice we use leaflets from other groups around the country and we support you getting material that they print and pay for it if they request it. The material we have developed is free to use.

Zeese: What has been the result of your efforts?

Coppernoll: They have been really good. We have incorporated a street theater group that come out at our campuses. They really got a buzz going with the students. It was great to see the actors and students interact. Kevin, I get goose bumps when I think of different moments I’ve had and observed between students and activists. The young people get it. They are a lot smarter than the government thinks. The government uses Slick Sales Pitches with Trained Recruiters. We use the Truth and People Who Care about Young Peoples Lives.

We started now before the fall because this time is what the Recruiters call "Christmas in July". Students are getting out of school in a dismal economy with pressures to get a job and find away to get training or go to school. The Chicken Hawk Recruiters are circling them with lies and false promises. We also started now so we could prepare for an all-out push for OPT OUT this fall.

The first day we had an organized effort at a high school we got 18 OPT OUT letters signed. That was 18 young people that the recruiters were told to keep their hands off their records.

We now have a coalition of groups like Veterans for Peace, Washington ACORN, Stand Up Seattle, The Green Alliance (national), Youth Against War and Racism (from Franklin High School an U of W) to name a few and more are coming aboard daily. Many individuals are coming forward and showing solidarity such as parents, students, teachers, councilors, school board members, and people of the community. However this is a call for more help to people that care.

Most importantly we have parents who are coming forward to work on getting a speaker to speak to their Parent Teacher Student Association about the recruiting situation. Students that are planning to set up clubs on campus around the military and peace. We are working on a packet for social studies teacher with resources so they can have debates in classes on military recruitment.

Zeese: What is the goal of your efforts?

Coppernoll: Quite simply, to have one or more activists, on every high school side walk, in every community, that has one person who cares for our youth and peace, when school starts this fall.
Some may say that it’s a huge undertaking. However, it all can happen, when we the people, who believe in peace, decide to stop war. When we the people say, I won’t let them lie to my children any more. When we the people say, I want our next generation to build a country that is a place that cares for all the people in it and doesn’t waste life subjecting others around the world for power for the few.

Zeese: Do you have any future plans you can share?

Coppernoll: Well, we are going continue our actions here in Washington State focusing not only on the cities but also on the rural and suburban areas. We are open and available for anyone or an organization that need some help in the country to get started with direct action on the counter-recruitment and OPT OUT program. We are already contacting groups that may want to help around the country. But don’t wait to be contacted, individuals and groups that want to tell our youth the truth need to start now and contact us.

We want to see students and teachers form ‘Peace Clubs.’ We want all the many organizations and individuals working around the country on counter-recruitment to come together this summer and work with each other.

We are also working toward a coalition of organizations and peace advocates who want to work now instead of waiting for the next war.

The young people that I have come in contact with and seasoned organizer are forming to build on this action. The youth of today have been given a bad rap a lot of them care and want to do something. But they need to be organized by other youth that they fell connected with. The youth need some help with training and once they get it watch out. They have the energy to make change.


KEVIN ZEESE is Director of Democracy Rising. You can read more of his interviews and columns at http://www.DemocracyRising.US

 

U.S. Military Takes Education Hostage

Resist newsletter, May 1999

Rick Jahnkow -

Military Industrial ComplexIt used to be understood in this country that the key to securing and protecting our democratic rights was to exercise strict control over the military. One of the prerequisites for this control has always been maintaining a strong, protective buffer between civilian society and the armed forces. Clearly, this buffer has been eroded over the years, and now very few components of our society-especially government and the economy-have escaped the powerful influence of militarism.

One key institution that is currently under intense attack from the military is public education. This assault is not being accomplished using tanks and helicopter gun ships-though bringing them to campuses is, in fact, one of the Pentagon's goals-but rather by using the weapons of economic coercion and legal threats. It reflects a developing trend that could have broad, long-lasting implications for social change work but, unfortunately, has received relatively little attention from even some peace organizations that have traditionally concerned themselves with such issues (see resource listing on page seven for some of the exceptions).

The Erosion of Educational Autonomy

Ten years ago, colleges and universities were able to set their own policies on accepting ROTC units or granting armed forces recruiters access to campus facilities and students, and a number of schools exercised their right to restrict or prohibit the military's campus presence. Also, in most states college students who resisted draft registration by not signing up with the Selective Service System could still apply for and obtain state and locally funded financial aid (federal student aid has been unavailable to them since 1983).

In the last few years, this ability of educational institutions to assert their independence from the military has been severely curtailed. Former-Representative Gerald Solomon, a conservative Republican from New York who recently left Congress, led the attack by introducing federal legislation which compels schools to cooperate with Selective Service and punishes campuses when they refuse to cooperate with ROTC and military recruiters. Proposals modeled after his legislation have also been introduced and passed in some states, including laws which make draft registration resisters ineligible for state civil service jobs, state student aid and, in some cases, admission to state colleges and universities.
From a practical standpoint, the state laws are an act of overkill, since the threatened loss of just the federal funds is already enough to force the vast majority of students and schools to comply. The true significance of the state laws is to establish a higher status for the military on a local level by conveying to young people that deference must be paid to the armed forces, and failure to concede this point will result in punishment-in this case, additional economic hardship for schools and students.

As a result of Solomon's most recent efforts, post-secondary schools now stand to lose substantial funds if they try to restrict the military's campus presence. Under provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act of 1995, National Defense Authorization Act for 1996, and the Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act of 1997, schools can lose funds-including some funds used for student aid-from the departments of Defense, Transportation, Labor, Health and Human ~ Services, Education, and Related l Agencies. This loss of federal support can be triggered by any school policy or practice (regardless of implementation date) which either prohibits, or in effect, prevents, military recruitment representatives from obtaining entry to campuses, access to students on campuses or access to directory information on students, or which prevents the establishment and effective operation of a senior ROTC unit. Campuses with a "long-standing policy of pacifism based on historical religious affiliation" are still allowed to exclude military recruiters, if they wish, but the number of qualifying institutions is very small.

This change in law came about, in part, because a growing number of schools had adopted campus policies against discrimination based on sexual orientation. In line with these policies, campuses asserted their right to refuse to allow homophobic organizations access to school facilities; and since the Pentagon is the largest employer that fires people solely for being lesbian, gay or bi-sexual, many of the schools decided to ban armed forces recruiters and military programs like ROTC.

After the passage of Solomon's legislation, these schools faced the loss of significant, irreplaceable funds. Most, if not all, succumbed to the economic coercion and have been forced to accept violations of their nondiscrimination policies: ROTC cannot be banned, recruiters must be guaranteed access to the physical campus, and recruiters must be able to obtain directories of students names, addresses and phone numbers. (A few narrow exceptions are allowed, but they generally will not significantly limit the military's access to campuses and students.)

First Colleges, Now Grade Schools

Given the success of legislation forcing post-secondary schools to accept military training programs and recruiters, and the growing willingness of state legislators to pass parallel laws, it should not be surprising that the Pentagon and its supporters are now aiming their sights at grade schools. In March, military recruiters testifying before a House Armed Services Committee military personnel subcommittee complained that their efforts are being hampered by parents and teachers who view the armed forces as a "last option" for students who can't get into college or find good jobs. One recruiter said, "We have parents out there that forget what made America America. We have a lot of walls to break down."

One of the walls they want to break down is the right of citizens to protect their schools and homes from unwanted intrusions by the military. Air Force Sgt. Robert Austin, an Oklahoma City recruiter, complained that high schools will often give lists of students names to college representatives but not the armed forces. And he noted that individual school districts and principals can decide whether recruiters can go on campus. "I think that if they're federally funded, they shouldn't be able to tell us we can't come into the schools," said Austin.

At the time of the testimony, no members of the House Armed Services Committee subcommittee indicated whether they would introduce a law mandating military access to high schools, but the ranking Democrat, Rep. Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii, said, "l think that's a good idea."In fact, such a law was once introduced unsuccessfully by Solomon, and there have been similar attempts at the state level. When several California school districts banned recruiter access to student lists during the Persian Gulf War, a reactionary bill almost made it through the legislature which would have mandated military access to high school campuses and student directory information. At the last minute, it was amended to become only a statement of legislative intent without the force of law. At least one state, Ohio, succeeded in passing a law which prevents high schools from limiting recruiter access to student addresses.

Even without a federal law mandating high school access, the Pentagon has significantly expanded its presence in schools. More recruiters are now invading both secondary and lower grade schools, where they give youths the false impression that the military is their best hope for obtaining the training and college financial aid that will later give them a chance at economic security. The view students have of viable civilian alternatives is being obliterated by the overwhelming marketing resources being employed by the armed forces. In many cases recruiters are being received with open arms by school counselors and vocational advisors who feel unable to deal with the problems facing today's young people problems which, ironically, are exacerbated by the huge diversion of national resources to the military.

Another recruiting device, the Junior Reserve Officers' Corps program, actually puts the Pentagon in a position to directly rob schools of local educational funds. The military tricks a growing number of school officials into accepting this curriculum by leading them to believe that JROTC is a cost-effective way to offer students a beneficial elective. The federal government shares in the cost of JROTC, but in actuality, schools wind up paying more than they would for a regular academic class, and they are essentially subsidizing military training and indoctrination.

Grassroots opposition to the military's invasion of public education has produced some important victories by community and student organizations. Court rulings have upheld the right of counter-recruitment activists to have equal access to schools, JROTC has been defeated in a few communities, and some educational institutions have been persuaded to adopt policies which limit or restrict armed forces activities on campuses. However, some of these victories-especially at the college level- have recently been reversed by the new legislation, and others are being threatened with talk about making military access mandatory at high schools.

Implications for Social Change Activism

The military establishment understands the key role that schools play in the shaping of people's values and attitudes, and they know that the deeper they penetrate into education, the greater their influence will be on society as a whole. Their goal is not just to attract enlistees; it is also to strengthen the position of the armed forces, in general, by teaching military values to a larger segment of the population and affecting people's worldview. If allowed to continue, the result will be a more conservative political climate and, in the long term, a breakdown in the protective barriers that prevent further military encroachment on civilian rule.

All of this underscores the importance of grassroots efforts to challenge the economic coercion and other legislative attempts to impose military recruiters and programs like JROTC and ROTC on our schools. Organizing against military intrusion is a way to resist a trend which, if allowed to continue unchecked, will affect a wide range of issues in future years. When it comes to subjects like economic justice, health care, women's reproductive rights, racial equality, the environment and other concerns of progressives, social change activists will have much more difficulty organizing when more young people have been persuaded that (in the words of one JROTC textbook) "the same qualities that make a good leader in the military services are equally helpful to the civilian leader," and being a good citizen means loyalty and obedience to leaders, "whether or not you agree with them." Militarism instills a conservative attitude toward life that children then carry into the community.

It is crucial that more social change activists realize the stake we all share in this issue. If we are to stop the trend toward greater militarization of society-and, by implication, the drift toward greater conservatism-more groups and individuals will need to join the effort to resist the military's encroachment on our civilian educational system. It's an immediate problem that we cannot afford to ignore if we hope to advance the cause of progressive social change in the future.


Rick Jahnkow is active in the Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft and the Project on Youth and Non-Military Opportunities (Project YANO), both of which are based in San Diego, California and have received grants from Resist. For information, contact Project YANO, PO Box 230157. Encinitas. CA 92023.

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