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Militarisation of Youth

Gathering information on countering the militarisation of youth

Since the last CO Update, Gary, from the National Network Opposing the Militarisation of Youth, worked from the WRI office for three months. Gary's main work was on a website that brings together news about the militarisation of youth globally – and about what movements are doing to counter this.

If you see any news item that relate to these topics, please email them to me at We will be looking for the site to include information from all over the world, so please get in touch with your resources!

Submissions on resisting militarisation of youth wanted

The Recruited Classroom - street threatre in IsraelThe Recruited Classroom - street threatre in IsraelThe Countering the Militarisation of Youth (CMOY) website wants submissions of stories, photos, and videos about youth under pressure by their military all over the world, and what they are doing to resist it! CMOY will become a focus area of activism to counter increasing militarism in schools and society. Send submissions to Gary at Gary is working in the WRI office for three months on the CMOY project.

WRI: campaigning and networking in Colombia

Commission launch, Bogotá, 1st NovemberCommission launch, Bogotá, 1st NovemberThis is write-up of the trip made by Hannah Brock (Right to Refuse to Kill programme worker) and Igor Seke (of the Right to Refuse to Kill committee), from 28th October – 8th November 2013. We were joined by Rachel Brett, of the Quaker United Nations Office [QUNO] (and member of the Right to Refuse to Kill committee), from 30th October – 3rd November.

Army in Myanmar still recruiting children

Research from Child Soldiers International suggests that the Burmese military is still recruiting children, one year after the Myanmar government made a commitment to the United Nations to stop doing so. Whilst they did release 66 children from the military last month, many more remain. The Tatmadaw (the Myanmar Armed Forces) has continued to recruit since it signed the Joint Action Plan with the UN last year, although in lower numbers than those previously reported.

Sowing Seeds: The Militarisation of Youth and How to Counter It

Sowing Seeds: The Militarisation of Youth and How to Counter ItSowing Seeds: The Militarisation of Youth and How to Counter ItEdited by Owen Everett

Around the world children, adolescents, and young adults encounter the military and military values in a variety of ways, from visits to schools by military personnel, to video games and the presence of the military and its symbols in public places. Young people are encouraged to see the military as necessary and valuable; something to be supportive of, not to question.

Through articles, images, survey data and interviews, Sowing Seeds: The Militarisation of Youth and How to Counter It documents the seeds of war that are planted in the minds of young people in many different countries. However, it also explores the seeds of resistance to this militarisation that are being sown resiliently and creatively by numerous people. We hope the book will help to disseminate these latter seeds. It is not just a book for peace and antimilitarist activists: it is a book for parents and grandparents, teachers, youth workers, and young people themselves. 

Download the pull book as a pdf here.

Tactics for Combating Militarism


Thank you for joining War Resisters International and the New Tactics community for an online conversation on tactics for combating the militarisation of education, public spaces, vulnerable communities, entertainment and culture, from June 10 to 14, 2013.

Governments and other military actors around the world target youth and other vulnerable communities for military recruitment and service. Simultaneously, the militarisation of public spheres such as space and culture promote the acceptance of the prioritising of military capability and approaches. In response, human rights organizations and other campaigners have developed innovative ways of combating increasing militarisation.


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WRI's Countering the Militarisation of Youth project - (our forthcoming website of short articles, visual, audio, and other resources documenting the militarisation of youth around the world and sharing ideas on how to challenge it, will be linked to from here)

Countering the Militarisation of Youth 2012 conference Reader -

Notes on the contributors

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Sergeiy Sandler: Sergeiy is a conscientious objector to military service, a long-time activist in the Israeli feminist antimilitarist movement New Profile, and a member of the International Council of the War Resisters' International.

David Gee: David has written and co-written various research reports on ethical issues arising from military recruitment: ‘Informed Choice? Armed forces recruitment practice in the United Kingdom’ (2008), ‘Army recruiters visit London's poorest schools most often’ (2010), and ‘One Step Forward: The case for ending the recruitment of minors by the British armed forces’ (2013), and ‘Youngest recruits face greatest risks in Afghansitan’ (forthcoming). In 2010 he co-founded ForcesWatch. At WRI's Countering the Militarisation of Youth Conference, he was one of those interviewed.

The need for a queer perspective

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Cattis Laska and Hanns Molander

Militarism is not just a war, an army or a fighter jet. Militarism is a system, a logic and a set of norms that perpetuates and recreates our societies and our daily lives. Queer analysis of power is a political tool that can help us to challenge these norms, and thus, to also challenge militarism.

Direct Action against Militarism

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based on a piece by Cecil Arndt

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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