Youth Reflections from April 2012 Print

En conjunto con la reunión de memoria y resistencia en la Fuerte Benning, nos congregamos en la capital de la Nación para utilizar nuestras voces y cuerpos para demandar cambio a través de hacer lobby, la acción directa, una sesión de estrategia y talleres educativos. El movimiento está experimento un turno, en que no solamente se recuerda el número incontable de las personas matadas, desaparecidas, torturadas y violadas por las manos de los graduados de la SOA. Estamos formando conexiones entre el terminar con la militarización y el cierre de la SOA; fortaleciendo un análisis de las relaciones intimas de la militarización, inmigración, y los sistemas económicos; y vinculando las luchas por la justicia en todas las Américas.

Durante la Reunión de Jovenes, se generó mucha energía através de un taller al estilo educación popular con el tema de la Cultura de Militarización (vea www.soaw.org/youth para más información). Como el Colectivo de Jovenes SOA Watch, hemos estado organizando para que las voces de lxs jóvenes salgan al frente y centro del análisis y liderazgo. A pesar del reto constante que se presente, cada vez que nos juntamos formamos nuevas relaciones, estrategias, y esfuerza colectiva para seguir combatiendo la cultura de militarización, y proponer alternativas al capitalismo y otros sistemas de opresión.

In addition to gathering at Fort Benning in memory and resistance, people converged on the Nation's capitol to use our voices and bodies to demand a change through lobbying, direct action, strategy session and educational workshops. The movement is shifting to more than just remembering the countless numbers of people who have been killed, disappeared, tortured, and raped at the hands of graduates of the SOA.  We are drawing the connections between ending militarization and closing the SOA; strengthening an analysis of how militarization, immigration and economic systems are intertwined; and linking struggles for justice across the Americas.

During the Youth Caucus, there was a lot of energy generated through a popular education style workshop on the Culture of Militarism (see www.soaw.org/youth for more information). As the SOA Watch Youth Collective, we have been organizing to get youth voices to the  front and center of analysis and leadership. While it is a constant challenge, each time we gather we build new relationships, strategies, and collective strength to continue to combat a culture of militarization and put forth alternatives to capitalism and other systems of oppression.

Aquí son algunas de las reflexiones de Abril/ Here are some of the youth reflections from April:

“Cuando asistí a los Días de Acción de SOAW, fui bienvenidx a una comunidad vibrante e inteligente de activistas. Fue muy inspirante tener la oportunidad de juntarnos como activistas viendo a las estrategias de cómo se desarrolla el movimiento más. Sobre todo porque había viajado desde Canadá para asistir al evento, me fui de la conferencia inspirada, con el sentido de que había mucho más que podía hacer para unir todas las comunidades enfrentándose con la opresión a mano de la política imperialista de los Estados Unidos. Gracias a SOAW por planificar en evento tan exitoso, y nos estamos viendo en la entrada de la Fuerte Benning este Noviembre!”/¨I was welcomed into a vibrant, intelligent activist community when I attended the SOAW Days of Action.  It was really inspiring to have a chance to gather as activists looking at strategies to develop the movement further.  Especially since I had travelled from Canada for the event, I left the conference inspired feeling there was much more I could do to unite all communities facing oppression at the hand of imperialistic US policy.  Thank you to SOAW for planning such a successful event and I will be seeing you at the gates of Fort Benning this November!” -Michiko, Kings College, London Ontario (CANADA)

"Nuestro grupo hablaron mucho sobre que podemos hacer cambios en nuetros pueblos. Como mi primer evento del SOAW, aprendí mucho sobre la organización y su trabajo. ¡Tengo ganas de ir a la protesta en Georgia el próximo noviembre! En fin, es importante recordar que si no tengamos nada más en común, ya tenemos esta organización y sus principios para reunirnos." / "Our group talked a lot about how we can make changes in our own towns. As my first SOAW event, I learned a lot about the organization and their work. I cannot wait for the protest in Georgia this November! In the end, it´s important to remember that if we have nothing more in common, we have this organization and its principles to fall on." --Emily Rowley, Juniata University, Pennsylvania

“Se implementan estas políticas imperialistas en Washington DC. Nos juntamos aquí como movimiento con la fuerza y valentía de recordar todxs lxs que ya no están con nosotrxs, pero a la vez empoderando nuestras propias voces y cuerpos para reclamar contra la injusticia y cerrar la SOA.”/“Washington, D.C  is where these imperial policies are implemented. We gather here as a movement with the strength and courage remembering those who are no longer with us, but also empowering our own voices and bodies to cry out for the injustice and to shut down the SOA.”-- Maia Rodriguez, Venezuela 


“Fue genial tener un intercambio tan enriquecedor de ideas en la conferencia y taller. Muchas veces
cuando estamos marchando y aprendiendo sobre los temas que nos importan, como temas tocados por el movimiento SOAW, no tenemos la oportunidad de conectarnos personalmente y aprender de lxs con quienes compartimos versiones comunes pero diferentes de la verdad, la convicción, y horizontes de verdad. Para mi, esta fue la mejor parte, y me siento más empoderado después de haber hecho estas conexiones y estado expuesto a los pensamientos de mis compañeros y compañeras.”/“It was great to have such a wealthy interchange of minds at the conference and workshop. Often when we are demonstrating and learning about issues we care about such specific issues addressed by the SOAW movement, we dont get the opportunity to personally connect and learn from those we share very common yet differing visions of truth, conviction, and horizons of truth. To me this was the highlight and i feel more empowered after making these connections and being exposed to the thoughts of my compañeros and companeras.” -Justin Wheatley, London Ontaria (CANADA)


Youth Caucus to End Militarization

The Culture of Militarism activity is using popular education methods to gain deeper understanding of the affects of militarism in our daily lives. By exploring what militarism is, we are able to name ways in which militarism is replicated in every aspect of our society. The hopes are that this awarenss will enhance our daily organizing agianst militarism (including things that support militarism) and connected struggles throughout the Americas.

(contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for more information or to lead a workshop in your community)

Here is what youth brainstormed during the caucus:

Economy

  • Rostow’s theory of modernization: 5 stages of growth
  • military-industrial complex (and congressional)
  • 50% of the US federal budger
  • dollar diplomacy in Latin America/interventions on behalf of corporation
  • super committee failure, military budget sequester-- republicans lose their mind
  • Super PACs
  • Crippling of organized labor and other forms of civic engagements and grassroots democracy
  • Economic draft (??)
  • continuation of Cold War era military spendning (even) in the absence of a soviet-size/ type threat
  • military monopolizes-- Lockhead, Boeing, etc.
  • Free Trade Agreements -- CAFTA includes provision …?
  • increase in taxes
  • WTO/IMF/ World Bank policies supposedly furthering development by forcing an agenda of economic liberalisation on developing countries that benefit the rich not the poor-- developing world trapped inequal system supporting rich nations

Laws and Legislation

  • anti-terrorist laws both in US and Lat Am (criminalization of social movements and protest)
  • HB 56 (Alabama) and SB1070 (arizona) Anti-immigrant laws: connections with ALEC (private) prison-industrial complex
  • No more habeus corpus
  • War on Terror is used to justify human rights abuses / disregard for human rights laws
  • NDAA
  • recent supreme court decision on strip searches in jails
  • Jello Judges
  • sons and daughters of the wealthy are never on the frontlines in war
  • Bradley Manning
  • NSA espanding
  • crackdown on whistleblowers
  • plan colombia
  • NAFTA and Free trade agreements with Colombia and Panama
  • State Dept. Budge “likes” governments with right wing dictators

Culture

  • History as told by the dominant rather than the victims
  • camouflage clothing-baby clothes
  • Intensely masculinized behavior idealised through a culture of violence (ie in film) repression of the ‘weakness’ victimization of non-male, non-heteronormative groups (homophobia in schools) 
  • brainwashing
  • imposition of cultural hegemony in the global south through globalization. expanding movie and fashion industries in the global south has lead to assimilation of “american” values such as individualism, private sector interested over collective interest and even American exceptionalism
  • hunger games
  • war idealised through Hollywood movies
  • war seen as human nature, if natural then inevitable BUT they erase knowledge of non-violent cultures and societies without war, so we cannot imagine a world based on respect, dignity and harmonious balance
  • video games, impossible mission
  • rights of passage to honor manhood and womanhood are coupled by corporate media and subverted for warfare.
  • war on terror

Education

  • college (and professional schools) money/tuition assistance for military service
  • history as a story of the victors in war  
  • language of colonialization
  • military (soldiers) participate at school at teh village. Soldier works as a teacher
  • white washing history
  • presented as a necessity/need
  • please let youth know that the military creates violent video games to recruit-- they monitor who scores high and seek them out--use them for drone warfare
  • glorification of individuals who have committed acts of genocide via holidays, naming of institutions and their presentation as heroes in history books
  • Military recruitment on campuses (advertisements on TV)
  • University science research funded by Dept. of Defense $
  • Benefits to individuals who come from low-income families and told no other option

NEXT STEPS

anti-recruitment table @school
story telling/ art form