I first encountered Lori Grinker’s remarkable work as a photographer in her book Afterwar: Veterans from a World in Conflict, where a century of war is represented by and through portraits of individuals and their haunting stories of war.
A Dec. 11 New York Times report highlighted how thousands of public high school students in majority poor, Black and Brown districts are funneled into the U.S. military’s Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program. Students are automatically enrolled and forced to participate as an explicit requirement without parental consent. Some high schools have saved money by using JROTC, which is ostensibly a feeder system for children to ultimately enlist in the military, as an alternative to hiring physical education or health teachers. (NY Times, Dec. 11)
In the drizzling rain, I yank up the military recruitment sign and throw it into the tall grasses on the side of the road. If anyone asks, I didn’t “destroy” government property. I merely relocated it. Think of me like a windstorm. A peace-loving, nonviolent windstorm countering military recruitment.
The one nation on Earth that has not ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the leading hold-out on basic human rights treaties in general, and the wealthy nation that imposes the biggest hurdles on young people seeking an education has a reason that’s seldom talked about for making college expensive and keeping the chains of student debt wrapped tightly around millions of ankles — and it’s a reason related to the militarized spreading of the Rules Based Order.
Some are inclined to recognize that Trumpies are dwelling in an alternative universe in which neither climate collapse nor nuclear apocalypse is a concern but terrifying wild hoards of Muslim Hondurans are skipping and dancing into the Fatherland armed with gang symbols, deadly rocks, and socialistic tendencies.
Chris Hedges’ latest book, The Greatest Evil Is War, is a terrific title and even better text. It doesn’t actually argue a case for war being a greater evil than other evils, but it sure does present evidence that war is tremendously evil. And I think in this moment of nuclear weapons threats, we can consider the case pre-established.
I saw “Top Gun: Maverick” yesterday. It was absolutely horrible. The film sets a new standard for state-orchestrated, pro-military, mass indoctrination. Goebbels, chief propagandist for Hitler’s Nazi Party, would be in awe of the shiny death plane and the spotlights and the movie star in his tuxedo.
This week on Talk World Radio we’re talking about refusing military “service.” Our guest Charles Lenchner is a veteran peace activist, organizer, and political campaigner. Born in the United States, he grew up in Israel where he became an anti-occupation activist at a young age. In 1987, he was drafted into the Israeli Army and subsequently refused orders and spent time in military prison. More recently he was a co-founder of People for Bernie Sanders and today is part of the RootsAction team that publishes ProgressiveHub. I also work for RootsAction.
Most U.S. states still have excuses when asked to make voter registration automatic, but in various states — including here in Virginia — draft registration is automatic even for 15-year-olds who want a learner’s permit to drive a car. (This is still only for males, as Congress did not, in the end, extend draft registration to females, at least until next year — once in a while Democrats’ obeisance to Republicans works out well.) The application for the learner’s permit in Virginia, for which you must be 15-and-a-half-years-old, says: Continue reading →