public space

New translation available
Submitted by Gary

Boro Kitanoski -

I was born in 1976. One of the first memories I have is the anniversary of the death of Josip Broz Tito, Yugoslavia’s long serving marshal, World War II hero and life-long president. It was 4 May 1981. Every year after his...


International Week of Action Against the Militarisation of Youth

Would you like to take action against the militarisation of youth? You can join War Resisters' International's week of action from 14 to 20 November (as an individual or as a group).

War Resisters' International is organising the 2nd International Week of Action Against the Militarisation of Youth this year from 14 to 20 November. The week is a concerted effort of antimilitarist action across the world to raise awareness of, and challenge, the ways young people are militarised, and to give voice to alternatives.


German army targets youth with war propaganda

By Franzi Vier 

When were these images last seen in Germany? Children clamber on tanks, sit in military helicopters, hold anti-tank weapons in their hand and receive orders from soldiers in uniform about their functions. The army and military equipment are shown as a seemingly acceptable part of free time and family excursions.

These images come from Germany’s armed forces day, the sixtieth anniversary of the founding of the Bundeswehr on June 13. “Believe it or not, it was 60 years waiting for this day,” states the Bundeswehr’s official homepage. But now it was finally here: “German armed forces day is being celebrated for the first time at 15 locations nationwide.”


Russia unveils new military park for children

By Rory Challands, Al Jazeera

Kids can learn to shoot, climb on tanks and learn of past military glories in the Park Patriot.

When the doors of Park Patriot open to the public next year, the families who flock here will be treated to an exciting array of activities. The youngsters will be able to fire weapons, clamber on battle tanks, and drive military equipment. Then, once they're suitably tired out, everyone can settle down to watch a reenactment of a famous Soviet battlefield victory. And of course there'll be a recruitment centre for military age boys and girls to join the armed forces. 


Britain: Attention! Army police on parade with city centre cops

Although not exclusively affecting young people, since many young people will be out on the weekends, in reality this everyday display of militarisation will affect young people disproportionately. It's another example of portraying the military as guadrians of order and control. Note the horrendous example of sexism in the last paragraph...

'The Boys in Blue have teamed up with the Red Caps to keep clubbers safe in Birmingham city centre!

Soldiers from the Royal Military Police - aka the Red Caps - can now be seen patrolling shoulder-to-shoulder with West Midlands Police in the nightlife hotspots of Broad Street and Hurst Street.

Such joint patrols are common in Garrison Towns across the UK, like Aldershot and Bulford, but with service personnel regularly heading to Birmingham for nights out the Royal Military Police investigators were keen to gain experience of policing a thriving city centre.


Making Militarism Visible: slideshow

This powerpoint presentation is a version of an exhibition, built by New Profile, which highlights the everyday militarism of Israeli society. The exhibition is also available in Arabic and French. You can download the powerpoint here.


Open Letter to Wrexham Council about Armed Forces Day

North Wales Armed Forces Day is this year being held in Wrexham. We are being asked to 'celebrate' and 'thank' our Armed Forces without any critical analysis of the recent conflicts they have been involved in. The event will be used by the military as a recruitment exercise, and much of this will be aimed at children.

Over 100 people have signed an open letter to Wrexham County Borough Council protesting its promotion, sponsorship and funding of this event and the use of a picture of a toddler in military gear to advertise it. The council has yet to respond.

Open letter to Wrexham County Borough Council

We note that Wrexham Council is sponsoring and promoting North Wales Armed Forces Day 2014 on Saturday 21 June, and are horrified that a picture of a toddler dressed in military uniform is being used to advertise the event.


LETTER FROM LONDON: British army’s adverts sell dreams of adventure

FOR a South African unused to it, it’s startling to see the number of gung-ho military recruitment advertisements flighted on British television. Targeted at youths who have grown up playing Call of Duty on their gaming consoles, the adverts make military life look like a scene from a video game.

There’s much fun to be had and skills to acquire. It’s like the Boy Scouts, but you get to play with real tanks, shoot real guns, blow stuff up, build bridges over rivers in far-flung locations. Kwaai, ek sê.

Join the Royal Marines and you could stalk and capture baddies with the sharp skills they’ll teach you.

The advert for the reserves must get a special mention. That particular message can be summed up thus: you might be a stationery salesman in a digital age, so why not ditch the daily drudgery for camouflage on the weekends and be more than a pencil pusher?


Publicity campaigns in public spaces

The German Bundeswehr in the struggle for the hearts and minds of the German people


Our lives are militarised

You may have seen some symptoms of an increasingly militarised society over the past few years. Soldiers on a train in uniform. The change in tone of Remembrance Day, from ‘never again’ to ‘support out troops.’ Michael Gove’s determination to get the military into schools so ‘every child can benefit from the values of a military ethos.'

I had been noticing the trend for months when I met with Emma Sangster from Forces Watch, a tiny NGO focused on the issue of unethical military recruitment. She confirmed that there is a conscious strategy for a more militarised society, outlined in a 2008 report by Quentin Davies MP and senior defence officials Bill Clark and Martin Sharp.


Quotes from WRI's Countering the Militarisation of Youth conference: Recruitment, and The military in public and private space


The way that I ended up joining the military was that when I was a senior in high school I intended to go to college but I didn't have any way to pay for it...I talked to an army recruiter [about an army scholarship] and he made it sound really good...Any time between signing the contract and going to basic training, you can change your mind and there won't be any consequences. Of course, the recruiters won't tell you that – they'll threaten legal consequences etc... - Kelly Dougherty, USA


Subscribe to public space