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.


Henry Giroux on the Militarization of Public Pedagogy

by Seth Kershner -

Critique is Not Enough

As a counterpoint to the current hand-wringing over public education in the U.S., it may be helpful to remember that we will spend a comparatively small amount of time during our lives as students in the classroom.  That the focus thus far has been on teachers and tests should not surprise us, however.  These are tangible, and measurable, aspects of education.  It happens to be much harder to reform – or even to keep track of – the educational force of culture. What does that force look like?  As C. Wright Mills put it in his famous BBC address, “The Cultural Apparatus,” we base our understanding of the world around us not only on schools but also on “the observation posts, the interpretation centers” and “presentation depots” of the mass media and entertainment industry (Mills 406).  “Taken as a whole,” Mills continued, “the cultural apparatus is the lens of mankind through which men see; the medium by which they interpret and report what they see” (Mills 406).  The media’s overpowering influence in our lives and the fact that we never actually confront pristine reality (only a mediated version thereof), raises the question: Could the cultural apparatus be the most influential teacher we ever have?

Sustainable Options for Youth: First Fall Visit to Austin High School

Jeff Webster and Susan Van Haitsma -

Ben and Tami at SOY tableLast week, we made our first SOY visit of the new school year to Austin High School.  Tami and I were pleased to be joined by Ben, a Marine Corps veteran and member of Iraq Veterans Against the War who recently moved to Austin.  While Ben was a student at the University of North Texas, he did organizing with Rising Tide North America, an environmental group addressing fracking and the tar sands pipeline.  It was great to have Ben with us and to be able to stretch out our table of materials so that 3 of us could interact with students.  Photos at

Here are our takes on the day:

From Ben:

Tabling with SOY was a great perspective-building experience for me.  Over 12 years ago, while I was a junior, I remember speaking with a Marine recruiter and a former classmate who had just finished boot camp at my high school, after I had already made the decision to enlist.  It was empowering to come back into that situation now as a veteran for peace and have the opportunity to share my perspective now, having seen the reality of war, with a new generation of kids growing up in a country engaged in permanent war.  War affects everyone, abroad and at home, and the economic draft is alive and well in our schools.  I was honored to have the chance to help kids find a more peaceful and rewarding path coming out of high school.  This is important work, and I hope to see it continue to grow in Austin.

Questioning the Ethics of Military Recruitment at Fordham

Nick Haggerty -

Uncle Sam may or may not be watching you while you sleep

War Memorial doors restored at Fordham UniversityI started receiving recruitment emails from a Marine captain with the clockwork regularity characteristic of the military in the beginning of my first semester at Fordham. The Marine captain was vague on most details, but he explicitly listed the benefits of enlisting in colloquial English: “There is no obligation on behalf of the student. You attend during the summer, you get paid. You’ll return to school knowing you have a job opportunity waiting at graduation (15?, 16?) if you wish to accept your commission.” I could easily picture myself without a summer job, and therefore deciding to spend a few weeks in Officer Candidates School in Quantico, Virginia seemed appealing. I did not intend to enlist in the Marines, but if they were willing to pay me to go to this training school, the idea of attending did not seem ridiculous. I never considered unsubscribing from the emails, let alone doing anything about the military’s privileged access to students.

There was no “Aha!” moment that led to my decision to do something about these recruitment emails. Maybe it was the same attitude of self-interest and self-protection I had in considering the Marine captain’s monetary offer that prompted me to wonder about how they acquired my contact information. This initial questioning of how the Marines obtained my contact information led me back to more scrutiny of the content within these emails. The more closely I read them, the more unsettled I became with the Marine captain’s promises of economic freedom and self-actualization. By the time I received the January recruitment email, it was clear to me that these emails instill fear and anxiety and exploit the vulnerabilities of me and my peers, in order to promote enlisting as a Marine. The fears, rational and irrational, of not having a job or even a purpose after graduation are real thoughts that can stoke anxiety in me and in other undergraduate students. The recruitment emails reinforce these fears of finding a job and direction in life by presenting a clear-cut solution to both problems: enlisting in the Marine Corps.

I decided to act on this issue. I wrote to both the Marine captain and the freshman Dean in late January to find out how the Marines obtained my contact information, and to make known my disapproval of the recruitment emails’ content: “If an organization, such as the Marine Corps, has the blessing of Fordham to recruit its students by directly, and repeatedly, contacting them, why are non-military public service organizations not granted this privilege as well? Would you not agree that one could find ‘pride and purpose’ through non-military public service?” I never received a response from the Marine captain. After calling and going directly to my Dean’s office, another Dean contacted me a few weeks later to address my privacy concerns. He referred me to the Solomon Amendment of 1996, which is a federal law under which Fordham is required to provide directory information to recruiters such as the Marine captain that was contacting me. The Dean did mention that I could request to be omitted from the lists provided to recruiters, but that would prevent Fordham from communicating with my parents or anyone else. At this point, I began asking my friends about how I should respond to this roadblock.

A response I sometimes hear from peers when I tell them about this situation is: If you don’t want to get emails from the Marines, just unsubscribe or tell them to stop. Why does it bother you if other students, who may be interested in enlisting, receive these emails? My problem with the Marines sending these emails to Fordham students is twofold. First, there are undoubtedly risks inherent in sharing student information to any military organization that makes a request. What limits do the Marines have on sharing student information with other military and non-military organizations? What information, besides email, is also readily available to these recruiters? Oftentimes, students do not realize that their information has been given out with their implicit permission until a recruiter contacts them. While this action is apparently legal, I believe that assuming a student’s permission to give away contact information is not an ethical practice and a violation of a reasonable expectation of privacy. Students should be able to opt-into this system, if they choose, and not be stuck with opting out when it is too late.

Second, and perhaps paramount, are the recruitment actions of the Marines themselves. Of course, it would be nice to see Fordham take a stand against facilitating military recruitment to uphold its values of men and women for others and cura personalis, but the University is obliged by the law to submit to recruiter requests for information. However, I do hold the Marines fully accountable for their messages with the lure of money to those in need. It was the monetary rewards proffered by the Marine captain that were of most interest to me, and I am as anxious as any other college student about finding a job after I graduate. This emphasis placed on the financial benefits of enlisting in the Marines—the Marine captain mentions the rewards in the first paragraph of every email—plays on the typical fears and anxieties of college students taking out loans or worried about finding a job after graduation, and unjustly targets students who are the most economically underprivileged. Combined with emotionally potent slogans and a vagueness about the responsibilities students have once they sign up, this emphasis on the financial rewards of joining form the basis for the unethical recruitment emails.

There is no easy solution to the issue of military recruitment at Fordham. The actions of both the University and the Marines are legal. However, there is an important distinction to be made between actions that are legal and actions that are moral. I believe in the basic value of following one’s moral obligation over one’s legal obligation. I hope to fulfill the moral obligation I feel to question the military recruitment practices at Fordham by raising student awareness and advocating for changing the policy of default disclosure of contact information.


2013 Back-to-school Kit for Counter-recruiting and School De-militarization Organizing

Download the 2013 Back-to-school Kit for Counter-recruiting and School Demilitarizion OrganizingAugust 31, 2013--The National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth announces today the public release of the 2013 Back-to-school Kit for Counter-recruitment and School Demilitarization Organizing. Released at the start of the fall 2013 school year, this kit is designed to provide community activists, concerned teachers, parents, and students, an up-to-date catalog of materials to counter the increasing efforts of the U.S. Department of Defense to militarize our youth in the public schools.

The 2013 Back-to-school Kit includes material organized in the categories of Counterrecruitment, Non-military Career, College and Service Alternatives, Gender and the Military, JROTC, Delayed Entry Program (DEP), and Privacy issues including Student  Opt Out and ASVAB testing.

A task force of the NNOMY steering committee, including Project on Youth and Non-Military Opportunities, Northwest Suburban Peace & Education Project, and Orange County Military Families Speak Out, organized this kit to ensure that activists have current material that can be used in schools according to equal access legal standards. Additionally, some items are specially marked to indicate if they have content that is not optimized for what the federal courts have allowed but are included in the catalog for other special purposes.

It is the hope of The National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth that concerned teachers and guidance counselors, students, parents, enlisted personnel and veterans, and community activists will use the 2013 Backto-school Kit for Counter-recruitment and School Demilitarization Organizing to do effective counter-recruiting in their local schools and to encourage youths to consider  alternatives to military service before signing a military enlistment agreement.

Find out more about HERE | Download PDF | Facebook Page

Marquette and ROTC: an unholy alliance

Daniel C. Maguire -

PROFESSOR DANIEL C. MAGUIREAt Marquette University, there are two contradictory schools of thought on war and both are — confusingly — taught to our students. One is based on the Judeo-Christian, Catholic, Jesuit moral tradition, and it is encapsulated in what is called "the Catholic just war theory." That theory puts the burden of proof on the warrior, not on the conscientious objector.

The theory states several conditions that must be met for a war to be called "justifiable." If a single condition is violated, the war is unjust and is nothing more than collective murder. As a purveyor of this Catholic "just war theory," the Jesuit John Courtney Murray said that there is no time when citizens should be more vocal than when their government is killing people in their name.

The other school of thought taught at Marquette is called the ROTC. ROTC does not accept or include in its independent curriculum the "Catholic just war theory," which defends the right of "selective conscientious objection to particular wars" for soldiers. Neither does its curriculum require course work on the biblical teaching of peace-making.

ROTC students are taught exactly what American law says, i.e., that when you swear into military service, you have surrendered your right to have moral objections to any war to which you are assigned. ROTC students are taught that the undeclared wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which claimed more than the population of Milwaukee in lost and displaced lives, are beyond the criticisms of "the Catholic just war theory."

Direct Action against Militarism

Owen Everett - Based on a piece by Cecil Arndt

N.E.A.T.In different countries, war and militarisation take on very different meanings and have different effects, depending not only on the presence or absence of direct acts of war but also on country's political, economic, and social circumstances, and its history and traditions. As these factors define not only to the types, levels, and effects of militarisation but also the ways in which it can be effectively resisted, the scope of this article is inevitably limited; it can only provide a Western, European, largely German perspective on the use of direct action to oppose the militarisation of youth, although it explores possibilities in other countries nonetheless.

Militarisation, in whatever form it takes, must be understood as always being directed at young people. The militarisation of youth relies not only on their direct recruitment into the armed forces, but on the widely growing intrusion of the military into the lives and minds of people of all ages. This intrusion influences individual daily routines, preferences and choices, as well as general perceptions. The common theme is the normalising of war and the military.

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