This is the second in a series of Reader Rants – be sure to go on to the accompanying article and its video.
San Diego High School Students Are Standing Up to JROTC But Without the Larger Peace Movement’s Support
by Rick Jahnkow
Over the last 9 months local high school students, supported by a few teachers, parents and community groups, have been waging a valiant campaign against rifle ranges in San Diego schools and the tracking of students into military training programs that serve as recruitment tools for the Pentagon (i.e., JROTC).
They’ve leafleted, created a PowerPoint presentation, demanded meetings with principals, demonstrated nonviolently, walked out of school, spoken to the media, and testified at school board meetings. Some of their parents have taken off work to testify in their support. (See photos at
In response, they’ve been publicly attacked by one principal and San Diego’s JROTC program coordinator. They’ve been falsely accused of lying and being manipulated by adults. Their right to leaflet was interfered with at Mission Bay HS, where the principal also leaked to a reporter some confidential medical information on one of the student protesters (see this recent San Diego Reader article: .
These students held another protest and presented testimony at the last school board meeting, June 10. In advance, an appeal was circulated to the SDCPJ list and others asking individuals to come to the board meeting and show their support; yet, out of the thousand-plus members of the larger peace community in San Diego who were sent the appeal, only ONE showed up (besides the handful who have been consistently supporting these youths). Yes, it was 3 pm on a workday–but only ONE could make it?
Almost all of these students are youth of color, mostly Latino, who would like to go to college. But they come from non-affluent, working-class families and are the prime targets of military recruiters. Organizing resistance to militarism in their schools is not easy for them, yet it is a development that is critical to any strategy to stop current and future U.S. wars of aggression.
It really should be obvious to everyone how important it is for the peace movement to embrace these students and actively support their activism–but, apparently, it isn’t. So I highly recommend reading the article that’s linked below. The author, Roberto Lovato, has written for The Nation, Utne Reader and various other key publications.
Issues You Won’t Hear about During the Campaign: The Pentagon’s Lust for Young Latino Bodies
by Roberto Lovato / June 12, 2008
Here’s an issue we can safely assume the candidates will conveniently ignore: the massive recruitment efforts of the U.S. Pentagon. This video doc by Jorge Mariscal and my friends at Project Yano details the machinations of the U.S. war machine in its efforts to not just survive to fight another day, but to simply survive.
As I’ve said previously, given the vastness of the U.S. military presence abroad, we can expect the Pentagon’s multi-billion (yes BILLION) dollar effort to recruit young bodies to intensify at home. Because of the rapid decline in the number of young blacks and women opting out of military service, the Pentagon has taken an unprecedented and very expensive interest in young Latinos.
So, if you want to destroy the Empire, you can do so non-violently by supporting anti-military recruitment efforts like those of Project Yano, the AFSC and a growing galaxy of organizations doing their part to bring down Sauron’s tower by bringing down the number of our kids doing Sauron’s bidding.
[For the rest of this article and the video, go here.]