Military out of schools — not a common theme for War Resisters' International, although obviously an important issue. As this issue of The Broken Rifle shows, the militarisation of our education system — be it for the purpose of indoctrination of youth, or for the purpose of military recruitment — is an extremely important issue.
“On 1 August 1914, it was too late for pacifist propaganda, it was too late for militarist propaganda – in fact the militarists then only harvested what they have sown 200 years before. We have to sow."  This is what German pacifist Kurt Tucholsky wrote in an article titled “On effective pacifism”, published in 1927. More than 80 years later, the militarists are still sowing. The presence of the military in schools is only the most outrageous example of the sowing and planting of militarist values into the minds of children and soon-to-be soldiers, or supporters of militarism and war. It is the most outrageous, because on the one hand schools should be about learning positive values and knowledge, and not about propaganda, and on the other hand children are most vulnerable to propaganda and indoctrination.
By Sergeiy Sandler, assisted by Shir Givoni and Bar Rose, New Profile.
On 1 December 2009, hundreds of Israeli high school headteachers gathered for a special conference on “preparation for meaningful service in the Israel Defence Forces”, with the Chief of Staff of the Israeli military as the keynote speaker. Also present were Israel’s Minister of Education and many senior officials from the Ministries of Education and Defence and senior military officers.
Venezuela: Revolution as Spectacle analyses the Chávez regime from an antiauthoritarian Venezuelan perspective. It debunks claims made by Venezuelan and U.S. rightists that the Chávez government is dictatorial, as well as claims made by Venezuelan and US leftists that the Chávez government is revolutionary. Instead the book argues that the Chávez regime is one of a long line of Latin American populist regimes that — "revolutionary" rhetoric aside — ultimately have been subservient to the United States as well as to multinational corporations. The book concludes by explaining how Venezuela's autonomous social, labour, and environmental movements have been systematically disempowered by the Chávez regime, but that despite this they remain the basis of a truly democratic, revolutionary alternative.
Schools provide fertile ground for militarism: there is a captive audience, a comprehensive mandate, a hierarchical structure, and a clear power differential between students and professionals. Schools can easily be turned into paramilitary institutions.
Conscription propped up the apartheid government. Without its regular intake of white youth, the apartheid regime could not have stayed in power as long as it did. The movement against conscription gained ground in the 1980s and was one of the contributing factors to the then government’s decision to enter negotiations. Finally after the first democratic elections in 1994, conscription became a thing of the past when South Africa introduced a voluntary professional army.
WRI/ofog Seminar and WRI Council meeting in Luleå, Sweden
This year's WRI Council meeting will take place from 19-21 July 2011 in Luleå, in the very north of Sweden. The Council meeting itself is part of a seminar and action camp under the title "War Starts Here", organised by WRI's new Swedish affiliate ofog. The camp and seminar will begin on 22 July, and last until 29 July.
Venezuela: Revolution as Spectacle analyses the Chávez regime from an antiauthoritarian Venezuelan perspective. It debunks claims made by Venezuelan and U.S. rightists that the Chávez government is dictatorial, as well as claims made by Venezuelan and U.S. leftists that the Chávez government is revolutionary.
The Broken Rifle is the newsletter of WRI, and is published in English, Spanish, French and German. This is issue 88, March 2011.
This issue of The Broken Rifle was produced by Andreas Speck. Special thanks go to Laura Poolecut, Rafael Uzcategui, David Gee, Michael Schulze von Glaßer, Oskar Castro, Sergeiy Sandler, and many others – especially to our team of voluntary translaters.
If you want extra copies of this issue of The Broken Rifle, please contact the WRI office, or download it from our website.
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