Positive alternatives to military recruitment for youth
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"Notes Toward More Powerful Organizing: Pitfalls and Potential in Counter-recruitment Organizing," by On Earth Peace staff member Matt Guynn, in the May 2008 issue of the online journal, Nonviolent Social Change.
The militarization of the schools and youth culture impacts youth and communities across the United States in dramatic ways. Lacking a draft, the U.S. government is hard-pressed to recruit the personnel it needs and as a result, military recruiters - who already often have relatively free access to schools - are using even more creative and aggressive tactics, often verging on misinformation.
Recruiters often find youth ripe for what they offer: a life of meaning and pride, discipline, and belonging. Some young people feel that there are no options besides the military available for job training or college education. While no formal draft exists, this "poverty draft" disproportionately draws from poor and working class communities and communities of color.
A vibrant movement - often called truth-in-recruitment, alternatives to militarism, counter-military-recruitment - is taking off around the country, as parents, youth, and community members get involved to reveal recruiter fraud, educate young people about their rights, and develop information and initiatives for job training and education.
People of the Christian faith have a special role to play in this effort. We are motivated by a belief in the worth and dignity of every person, and we seek to understand and unravel the spiritual dimensions of militarism, racism, and poverty. Informed by the scriptural tradition, we both resist the spirits of empire and offer vision and possibility for revitalized and thriving communities.
This website is a portal to some of the main organizing hubs of the growing truth-in-recruiting network. It is also a place to join On Earth Peace's Encountering Recruitment Network, a growing national network of mutual support and inspiration. If you want to get started organizing in your community, or you're already at work and looking for more ideas and colleagues around the country, click here.
There is a growing national effort to provide real alternatives to the military for youth and young adults. Will you join us?
Contact Matt Guynn at firstname.lastname@example.org or 503-775-1636.
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- Social Change