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Don’t Sign Your Life Away

Before or After Joining the U.S. Military - compiled by the heads-up collective - 1st Edition - Zine -  (Archived)

The zine's purpose is to both counter-recruit and support soldiers who resist. Many student anti-war groups have instinctively gravitated toward these tactics, but I thought it might be helpful to summarize them here:

Counter-Recruitment: Counter-recruitment means not only talking people out of the joining the military but also making life hard for military recruiters themselves. Actions have included demonstrations, student walkouts, handing out information in front of recruiting centers, opt-out parties (for high school students to keep the military from getting their personal information), and giving classroom presentations.

What it does:
--Stops the supply of new recruits to Iraq and Afghanistan.
--Keeps recruiters from feeling comfortable at college and community college campuses, and especially high schools. Recruiters work very hard for this kind of easy access. They are taught to woo teachers, the administration and guidance counselors into giving them the freedom to roam the halls whenever they want.

Supporting Soldiers who resist: There are a variety of ways to support the many GIs and officers who refuse to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan. Groups have held rallies, organizing anti-war veterans groups, and created GI coffeehouses
What it does:

  • short-circuits the famous "We support the troops" slogan because it draws distinctions between troops who blindly follow orders and those who refuse.
  • Makes clear the various obvious point that soldiers can make choices even when placed a in war zone
  • Can highlight the ongoing conflict in the military between enlisted men and women and their commanding officers.
  • A war cannot continue to be fought with consistently disobedient soldiers. Some have argued that the behavior of soldiers brought a quicker end to the Vietnam War (see the documentary Sir, No Sir! for more on this point) Soldiers are not completely cut off from the outside world and their ideologies are not set in stone. Soldiers can gain confidence when they hear about others like them who have who have chosen to resist.

These are only two current tactics, but both of them involve direct action. Instead of pleading for politicians to do us favors or hoping and praying for an end to war, you can use what's right in front of you to stop enlistment and sabotage the war machine. As it gets closer to election season it's important to remember that we cannot expect a single politician to do all of the work for us. Five years for Iraq and and Afghanistan has already been too long to wait.

For further information:

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