Activists should Focus on Stopping Military Recruitment

Recently United For Peace and Justice (UFPJ) held a national assembly in St. Louis. They put too much emphasis on mass mobiziliation (another large demonstration), trying to lobby Congress to stop funding for the Iraq occupation (which doesn't have a chance), and educating the public.

Instead we should be focussing on stopping people from joining the military. I'm guessing there are hundreds or more of recruitment centers around the US. There are something like 1000 JROTC programs (high school) and several hundred ROTC ones (in colleges/universities). In addition, the military recruits even when there isn't a program.

Stopping military recruitment is the best tactic because it is decentralized and a local group can make a difference in their community - they can win an actual victory! The military is having a hard time getting recruits, because people are dying in Iraq and the economy is actually doing pretty good (4% GDP growth in 2004). Students at Seattle Community College kicked military recruiters off their campus (though they are now in trouble for doing this), and students at other campuses are doing likewise.

Parents and students are mobilizing in high schools to tell people that they don't have to give information to the military about their kids - for use in military recruitment.

There are alternatives to joining the military (not as many as one would like - but they do compare well when you figure in your odds of dying in Iraq).

In the spring of 2001, when I was at Notre Dame and a member of Pax Christi, we were debating what to do with our 300 strong ROTC program. We were opposed to the program, but realized that it would be really hard to stop it. Back then, people looked at me kind of strange, but I said that what we'd need is that "Someone would have to die." Several years later, I do not think anyone from ND ROTC has died in combat - but at least one person has been wounded. I'm still hoping that Notre Dame will end ROTC before a student dies, but I'm not counting on it.


Students and military target age youth (18-30) should engage recruiters of all branches, army, navy, marines -- and appear interested in joining. Have them come to your house. Miss the appointment and rescedule. Sound interested but tell them your Aunt Millie wants to meet them since she is the most influential person and if she says it's ok, then you can do it....then your uncle bill, then another person and so on.

The goal is to waste their time since every minute they spend on you is one less minute to recruit someone who might actually join.