This year the national Armed Forces Day event is being held in Falmouth, Cornwall. Many other events are being held around the country. We outline our concerns, including how the event is marketed, its promotion to young people and schools, and the inclusion of recruitment activities that allow young children to handle weapons.
The Warrior Nation podcast is a deep dive into military affairs and the relationship between defence, the armed forces and civil society in modern Britain, produced and edited by ForcesWatch.
A new report by Cymdeithas y Cymod, ForcesWatch and the Peace Pledge Union examines the issue of military recruitment in schools in Wales – an issue steeped in controversy and on which the Welsh government made a series of commitments in a report published in June 2015, following a public petition submitted in 2012. Since then, little tangible progress has been made against those commitments, yet military recruitment visits to Welsh schools have continued undiminished.
This webinar was recorded on 10 June 2020. Leading critical military studies academics discuss the role and operation of the UK military in the COVID-19 crisis and, in the light of the #BlackLivesMatter protests, how militarism intersects with racism and public control at home and abroad.
Should the armed forces encourage young people to interact with weapons and military vehicles? Our new web resource looks at why is this happening and asks if it is right and how can it be challenged?
For discussion in union or party branches and councils etc. The motion calls for oversight and regulation of military activities in schools, including for careers and curriculum purposes, and for military-themed activities or perspectives to be balanced by activities focusing on peace and human rights. It also calls for activities run by arms companies in schools to cease.
This report, written by ForcesWatch and published with the public health charity Medact, analyses the way the armed forces market their careers to adolescents and young people, creating powerful messages that which exploit developmental vulnerabilities and social inequality, risking the health and well-being of recruits. Narratives of camaraderie and self-development also serve to promote an uncontroversial and depoliticised idea of the military more widely which promote self-fulfilment in the context of conflict.
In the run up to Armed Forces Day on 30 June we provide background information on how this and other public events are part of a concerted effort to increase general support for the military amongst the public, stifle criticism and recruit young people. We list events that challenge the militarism of Armed Forces Day with messages of peace and resistance.
We have teamed up with the Peace Pledge Union to produce a White Poppy Schools Pack, which aims to explore Remembrance in a way that encourages critical thinking, and gives space for marginalised perspectives on war and peace. The learning resource can be read online here, or purchased from the Peace Pledge Union as a bigger pack including white poppies and white poppy leaflets.
This briefing summarises key elements of military involvement in education and youth activities in the UK. It covers the defence industry as well as the armed forces and Ministry of Defence. It outlines the main concerns this raises and how these concerns have been voiced so far.
This report explores how the 'Militarisation Offensive' which started in 2006 to improve public recognition and support for the armed forces failed to produce majority support for the war in Afghanistan but deepened the militarisation of British politics and society. Since 2006 the military have broken constitutional convention and made public attacks on politicians, leading to the most severe tensions in political-military relations since the Second World War.
ForcesWatch have teamed up with Quaker Peace & Social Witness to produce a resource pack to help people take action on militarism in their communities. And there is a website to go with it where you can download the pack or order a hard copy, find links to more resources etc.
In 2016 ForcesWatch and Quakers in Scotland submitted a petition to the Scottish Parliament that calls on the Scottish Government to ensure greater scrutiny, guidance, and consultation with parents/guardians on armed forces visits to schools in Scotland, in order to provide transparency and balance, and in recognition of the unique nature of armed forces careers. In 2018 the Public Petitions Committee made a number of recommendations in their report to the Scottish Government.