Hey sergeant, leave them kids alone

In July ForcesWatch launched the Military Out of Schools campaign. Speakers Oskar Castro, a US activist in countering military recruitment, and Ben Griffin, ex-forces and the founder of fledgling Veterans for Peace UK, discussed how young people are militarised and what can be done about it.

US counter-recruitment has developed over the last 10 years to many thousands of individuals and hundreds of organisations. The terms “truth and recruitment” or “alternatives to the military” are increasingly used and recently the National Network Opposing Militarization of Youth was formed to reflect a wider understanding of the problem as one of militarism permeating society and associating values and ideas to it which affect the choices young people make in their lives. As Oskar said, “militarism does not just show up in the classroom when the military recruiter comes, its shows up on your TV, in Hollywood, in your book, magazine, internet, football field.” Through these channels, young people are “turned on to the military in a non-critical way” which the recruiters utilise.

Ben illustrated the significant impact of his early experience of militarism “One of my first memories of my granddad was him bouncing me on his knee showing me his medals from WW2.… Read more