ForcesWatch scrutinises the ethics of armed forces recruitment practices and challenges efforts to embed militarist values in civilian society.
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our new book on militarism
At a comfortable distance from warfare, our culture easily passes over its horrific reality in favour of an appealing, even romantic, spectacle of war. Yet, over the last decade, most Britons have opposed Western military ventures abroad. This book takes a fresh look at a culture of militarism in Britain, public resistance to it, and the government's increasingly prodigious efforts to regain control of the story we tell ourselves about war.
David Gee, author of our book on militarism in the UK, will be speaking at the Just Festival in Edinburgh (in partnership with Edinburgh Peace & Justice Centre) on 31 August on the militarisation of young people and whether there is 'ever a justification for recruiting children to the armed services?'
We will be giving a presentation on the military's influence in the UK education system at the Stop The Arms Fair's Conference at the Gates, ExCel Centre, London, on 10 September.
We will be speaking and running workshops at the conference on 'Militarisation in our Society' (organised by Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre in partnership with Central England Peace Committee, ForcesWatch and Quaker Peace and Social Witness) from 12-14 February 2016.
Security for the future: In search of a new vision
Here they outline their concerns about the existing model, and offer a different vision for the future, welcoming input from anyone who wishes to engage in this debate. Read more
Watch our new film - Engage: the military and young people
Why does the military have a 'youth engagement' policy and why is the government promoting 'military ethos' within education? What is the impact of military activities taking place in schools? This short film which explores these questions and gives teenagers the opportunity to voice their reaction to the military’s interest in their lives.
Watch the film trailer below:
Watch with Welsh subtitles here
Sign the petition to raise the age of recruitment
A funny short film by a young boy on The Militarization of Boys
Raise the age to join the army to 18
By William and Noah
A 4 part investigation of 'the soldier myth' - talking to soldiers about recruitment, training, fighting and coming home
The Last Ambush? Aspects of mental health in the British armed forces
This report from ForcesWatch, shows that young soldiers recruited from disadvantaged backgrounds are substantially more likely than other troops to return from war experiencing problems with their mental health, and calls for the policy of recruiting from age 16 to be reviewed. October 2013
The Citizenship Foundation's new resources focus on facilitating primary school students' critical thinking skills. Discussing the military in this rigorous way would give students a more balanced impression of armed forces life.
One way of challenging the problematic further incursion of the military in the UK education system is to start a debate about it in your local paper, and by writing to your MP, as Roger Bartrum from the Isle of Wight has done.
The government's planned 'review' of the Freedom of Information Act is likely to significantly restrict it, making it harder for organisations like ForcesWatch to shed light on important issues regarding public institutions such as the armed forces. A petition calling for the Act to be protected already has 76,480 signatures.
The number of cadet units in state schools is to increase five-fold by 2020, George Osborne announced today in the Summer Budget.
The Academies Enterprise Trust, the largest multi-sponsor of academies in the UK, has signed an Armed Forces Corporate Covenant, committing it to supporting: Military Ethos in Schools initiatives, teachers being in the Reserves, and Armed Forces Day. This represents a major shift.
A 'Character Building' series of armed forces toys licensed by the MoD is discredited by the new Veterans for Peace UK short film on some of the things that these toys don't show, and by developments in 'character education' that indicate there is no need for 'military ethos' initiatives in UK schools.