imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Youth say no to war, no to military: The movement to ‘opt out’

by Pepe Lozano/People's Weekly World Saturday, Nov. 05, 2005 at 4:47 PM
pww@pww.org

CHICAGO — Youth and students here and across the country are refusing in ever greater numbers to believe the promises of U.S. military recruiters, promises like, “You can get any job you want,” and “You can try the military out for a few months and if you don’t like it you can quit.” Other favorites include, “You are guaranteed to get ,000 for college,” and “You will never see a day of combat.”

Such promises are less and less effective in the wake of rising U.S. casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan, and as word spreads on the street that such pledges aren’t what they are cracked up to be. Further, opinion polls show that increasing numbers of young people are rejecting the idea that the image of the U.S. is best defined by its military might.

Military recruiters are falling short of their goals. The Army reported that it will miss its 2005 goal of 80,000 recruits by about 6,800, or about 8.5 percent. And last week’s grim report of the 2,000th GI killed in Iraq, nearly a third of them between the ages of 20 and 22, certainly hasn’t helped the Pentagon’s enlistment drives.

National and local coalitions are being formed throughout the country to actively counter the military option for youth in high schools, colleges and communities. A not-so-well-known provision of the No Child Left Behind Act, allowing high school students and their parents to “opt out” of giving military recruiters students’ addresses and phone numbers, has become an important tool of this movement.



Opting out in Chicago

“Youth For Peace” was recently founded here as a result of direct action against military recruitment at Benito Juarez High School, a public high school located in the heart of the Mexican American Pilsen community.

A group of youth activists, including members of the Young Communist League, organized a series of “hits” at Juarez, where they waited outside after school, clipboards in hand, awaiting the final bell. When the students came out, they were greeted and informed about their rights to opt out.

Eric Casas, 17, a junior at Benito Juarez, told the PWW, “We’re immigrants! It’s not right that they can’t help us get our papers, but they can send us to war.”

One participant, Rudy Lozano Leadership Academy student Dulce Sanchez, 18, said, “I wish somebody would have opted me out. We should be informed. The military is taking advantage of youth and is targeting low-income communities.”

Speaking about the war in Iraq, she said, “We are there for the wrong reasons and more money should be used for education. Our schools are really bad.”

Mayra Ruiz, 18, another student at the academy, told the PWW after getting a stack of opt-out forms filled out by students, “It’s a good feeling.”

“I want to make a change in my community and it’s good to start with the kids that I know and grew up with,” Ruiz said. When asked what she thought about the war, she said, “It’s an unjust war with no meaning and no point. They should bring the troops home where they are truly needed.”



War budget robs schools

The invasion and occupation of Iraq has cost over 0 billion, a number that is steadily rising. At the same time the Bush administration continues to cut funding for education and is preparing the U.S. Department of Education for significant further reductions for fiscal year 2006.

When it comes to priorities, the Bush administration shows its true colors by increasing funds for military expansion and imperialist hegemony abroad. The defense budget request for FY2005 was 1.7 billion. However, after adding all other U.S. defense activities, including supplements for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, that figure climbed to a massive 2.3 billion.

Public education, on the other hand, is under attack, suffering major setbacks due to budget cuts and mass privatization initiatives implemented by the Bush administration. The No Child Left Behind Act continues to fail millions of children in K-12, and the program remains underfunded by .4 billion.

College tuition is increasing rapidly even while Pell Grant and other government assistance programs for low-income students are being cut, thanks to a .7 billion shortfall in federal education resources.

These skewed priorities are also fueling the opt-out movement. Youth and students say they want schools, not war.



How to opt out

Youth continue to oppose military recruitment by spreading the word about the legal right to opt out. Local committees, sometimes linked to national groups, are circulating personal letters and opt-out forms at schools all over the country, urging students to safeguard their personal privacy.

One such form is headlined, “Act to protect your privacy from military recruiters,” advising students to notify their schools immediately so that their names, addresses and phone numbers will not be released to military recruiters. Some school districts provide their own opt-out forms. Once a form is submitted, each school must honor the request. Failure to do so amounts to a serious violation of federal law.



Militarization of schools

Another aspect of the militarization of youth is the well-funded Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps. JROTC began in 1916 as a military readiness program geared toward recruiting youth into the military. Today JROTC is growing in inner city and rural school districts. It targets low-income, working-class communities beset by unemployment, poverty and racism.

More often than not, schools with JROTC programs are largely populated by youth of color. In Chicago, youth are being trained to chant marching cadences such as, “I used to date a high school queen, now I lug an M-16.”

The U.S. military is also making sure that “No Child Is Left Untested,” with the widespread use of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery Test (ASVAB). The Army is known to encourage high school career counselors to administer these tests as a “career exploration program,” yet in many cases this becomes a pretext for “mandatory testing” for all juniors and seniors.

Many parents and students have no clue what ASVAB stands for. The test is “specifically designed to provide recruiters with a source of pre-qualified leads identifying the best potential prospects for recruitment allowing military personnel to work smarter.”

Military recruiters also have extensive access to college campuses, where their presence has been protected under the Solomon Amendment of 1966. The amendment ties federal funding to schools’ willingness to permit recruiters on campus. Community colleges, where working-class students have more limited career opportunities, are particularly targeted by Pentagon recruiters.

In addition to these efforts, the Pentagon spent almost billion in 2003 alone targeting low-income communities with commercials, video games, personal visits, enlistment bonuses and slick brochures.



Toll heavier among Blacks, Latinos

As a consequence of widespread unemployment and limited opportunities, African Americans and Latinos are disproportionately represented in the armed forces, particularly in the lower ranks.

While African Americans constitute only 13 percent of the general U.S. population, they make up about 29 percent of the enlisted personnel of the Army, 21 percent of the Navy, 16 percent of the Marines and 18.5 percent of the Air Force. Only 8 percent are in the officer corps.

Latinos, who make up 13.5 percent of the population, are 9 percent of the Army, 10.5 percent of the Navy, 14 percent of the Marines, and 5.6 percent of the Air Force, with only 4 percent being officers. About 17.5 percent of Latinos in the armed forces are in critical combat-related positions. Of the first five soldiers who died in Iraq, three were Latino.



Military academies and ‘cadets’

Next to Florida and Texas, Illinois — and specifically Chicago — is a primary target for military recruiters. Extensive funding is given to military-run programs managing 10,000 teen “cadets” in elementary, middle and high schools. Chicago now has two military academies and a separate naval academy for high school students.

A brand new, 600-student, Senn High School Naval Academy just opened in Chicago that is jointly run by the U.S. Navy and the city. Despite vocal opposition by parents and community members, the school board gave the go-ahead for the project. Democratic Mayor Richard Daley praised such militarization, saying, “I don’t know why people are so upset about this idea of discipline and the idea of military service. I believe in military academies all over the city.”



‘Equal time’ for opting out

There have been some victories in the movement for “equal access” for a counter-recruitment platform in the schools. In the 1980s for example, peace activists won a legal victory in San Diego, Calif. (San Diego CARD v. Grossmont Union High School District), granting them the right to place ads in a school newspaper urging students to consider alternatives to military service. The court ruled that the subject of military service is “controversial and political in nature,” and that airing another viewpoint is a legitimate right.

In the 1989 case of Searcey v. Harris, an Atlanta peace group won the right to have access to career days, school bulletin boards and counselors’ offices. The court stated that the “school district could not deny school access to peace groups based on their disapproval of another group’s views.”



An ‘insurgency’ among youth

Ray Parish, a counselor with Vietnam Veterans Against the War based in Chicago, writes in the group’s newspaper, The Veteran, that “U.S. military presence is provoking insurgencies not only overseas, but also in U.S. schools,” referring to military recruitment.

Parish is active with Chicago groups opposed to the militarization of youth. Their purpose, he says, is to “counter the tactics of military recruiters in schools, to end the militarization of youth, to assist military personnel seeking conscientious-objector status, and to assist young people facing the draft.”

Oskar Castro, national coordinator of the American Friends Service Committee National Youth and Militarism Program, told the PWW that counter-recruitment activities are centered on “peace building and the prevention of war, opposing military values.” He went on to say that what is needed are “alternatives to violence through peace and justice work.”

Students and parents need to “face the truth that the military does not protect democracy,” Castro said. “Youth need to make educated and healthy decisions if joining the military, with eyes wide open, and no illusions.”



Nov. 17 actions

On Nov. 17, International Students Day, youth across the country will hold a “Not Your Soldier” day of action countering military recruitment and opposing the war in Iraq. The National Youth and Student Peace Coalition (NYSPC) and other groups are leading this day of action. The goal is to “build strategic, long term opposition to war,” setting the tone in the fight for “social and economic justice, as the key to the struggle for peace, committed to engaging youth of color as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth.”

Adam Tenney, 24, a Young Communist League activist in New York, told the World, “The YCL is working in the NYSPC, which is leading the Nov. 17 day of action. The overarching idea is to make the connection of war and the military and do local work relating the issues.” What schools need are “better options, job and college fairs,” not military recruiters, he said.

plozano@pww.org



‘Not Your Soldier’ day of action, Nov. 17



Are military recruiters invading your schools and using promises of scholarships and career opportunities to convince your friends to join the military? You are not alone! On Nov. 17, International Students Day, join youth and students from around the country in the first nationally coordinated day of action for and about young people! Not your soldier!



* Hold a demonstration or rally at your school or local recruiting station

* Organize an “alternative” recruitment fair inviting college recruiters, local unions and job recruiters

* Demand a meeting with your school administration to demand action

* Organize a concert, open mike, poetry, theater or art against military recruitment

* Hold a forum, set up a table, do sidewalk chalking or a banner drop



For more information, visit www.nyspc.net, www.afsc.org, www.youth4peace.org.

Report this post as:

Local News

Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J11 6:58AM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M31 5:20AM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 7:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 8:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 9:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 10:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 9:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 8:57PM

California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings) M02 8:31PM

Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico A29 11:47PM

Change Links May 2018 A27 8:40AM

Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed A27 5:37AM

GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE A13 12:39AM

lausd whistle blower A11 6:58AM

Website Upgrade A10 10:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 8:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 6:58PM

Change Links April 2018 A01 6:27PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Antrhopocène, le grand effondrement S19 9:53AM

Creative Destruction Hack Diamonds Windows/iOS/Android - Creative Destruction Generator S19 12:51AM

Abolir l'économie S18 11:18AM

The Dictatorship of Corporations S17 5:26PM

18 Lethal Consequences Of Hunting S17 3:13PM

Paraphysique de l'outplacement déontologue S15 6:51AM

Creative Destruction Hack Mod Generator S15 3:49AM

Shopping du bashing S14 8:42AM

After Lehman Brothers, Experts Say Global Financial Crisis Can Happen Again S13 8:28PM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen S12 9:30PM

Probabilités de fin d'humanité S12 6:49AM

Florida Area of Migrant Farmworkers Denied Right to Construct Health Clinic near NaplesCIW S11 2:57AM

Propagande de virus, virus de propagande S10 7:34AM

Steer clear of work morality! S09 12:10PM

Sweatshop Lodge Ceremony Continues in US Fed Prisons Led by Inmates S08 6:17PM

Paraphysique de l'origami S08 7:11AM

The Shortwave Report 09/07/18 Listen Globally! S06 11:23PM

August 2018 Honduras Coup update S06 12:28PM

Du réussissement putréfié S06 10:55AM

Brett Kavanaugh Filled The 5th Circuit With Execution Judges S06 6:14AM

Log S06 4:25AM

Augusta Georgia Woman Gets 5 Year Prison Sentence for Writing About Russians Crime Acts S05 8:29AM

Paraphysique de contextualité S05 8:29AM

Crisis Regulation in Global Capitalism S03 3:39PM

Ex-voto de réification S03 10:24AM

Please Oppose Warmonger, Execution and Torture Supporting Bush Operative Brett Kavanaugh A31 10:45PM

Paraphysique d'exploitation occultation A31 10:24PM

Ryan Zinke Is Charging Taxpayers For A Trophy Hunters' Council A31 2:10PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy