For the past two months the military has missed its recruiting goals, and as a result, the military has undertaken a variety of bizarre moves aimed at increasing student enlistment in the military. In California, the National Guard landed UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters on school grounds in order to pique interest among students at two Los Angeles area high schools. In Washington DC, the National Guard attempted to buy naming rights to the new RFK stadium, offering $6 million in order to name the stadium National Guard RFK. Finally, in Oregon, the state legislature has proposed a new law that would automatically register driver’s license applications for Selective Service.
As the military continues to face recruitment problems, the number of groups around the country engaged in anti-recruiting actions continues to grow and expand beyond its roots in the antiwar movement, incorporating increasingly diverse groups of people. While students continue to be a major force in anti-recruiting actions, such as those that have kicked recruiters off of the Bronx Community College campus and those at the University of California Santa Cruz who have done the same, counter-recruiting efforts have expanded to include high school parents and military families. In Seattle, the Garfield High School PTSA has passed a resolution opposing the presence of military recruiters in the school and has urged the school’s principal to deny access to recruiters arguing that “public schools are not a place for military recruiters.” A similar position has been taken by Debbie Roath from Slater, Missouri who has begun tabling and talking to local high school students, warning them about the realities of the military that she learned via her husband, an Army reservist who spent 15 months in Iraq.
Counter-recruitment activities are likely to increase in May as activists in Spain have called for a month of “anti-militarist resistance” targeting military bases, recruitment centers, and weapons manufacturers. Activists in Spain are planning a number of upcoming marches and direct actions to target military installations around the country and are asking activists around the world to take up the call in solidarity and organize in their own communities. As in the United States, anti-military activities have been increasing in Europe. A recent “Bombspotting” protest in Belgium targeted nuclear weapons belonging to NATO countries, resulting in the arrests of some 500 “civilian inspectors” involved in direct actions against nuclear weapons.