British army recruits child soldiers


This 1978 punk rock music video from England is called FAREWELL TO THE ROXY: The Tickets: [Join The Army,] Get Yourself Killed.

By Alice Summers in Britain:

British Army targets working-class schoolchildren for recruitment

7 August 2017

The British Army recently launched a recruitment campaign that specifically targets working-class youth. Blandly named “This is belonging,” the campaign identifies its main audience as economically deprived young people, including adolescents only 16 years of age.

A briefing document section titled “Target audience” spells out that the army is primarily aiming to recruit 16-24 year olds in the C2DE sociological category. The C2DE category refers to the lowest three economic groupings, which range from skilled manual workers through to unskilled labour and the unemployed. The document specifies that it is chiefly targeting those who come from families with an annual household income of less than £10,000 ($US 13,100), meaning that many of the children targeted live below the poverty line.

Although the campaign is UK-wide, the army document indicates that there are “up-weights” to cities in the North of England and in the West Midlands, such as Manchester, Sheffield and Birmingham. Urban centres such as these tend to have high rates of youth unemployment, at 22.8, 19.4 and 22.5 percent respectively, compared to a UK average of 14.4 percent (figures from August 2016).

Speaking to the World Socialist Web Site, Rachel Taylor, director of programmes at Child Soldiers International, condemned the army’s recruitment drive for targeting “the youngest and most vulnerable people for its most dangerous roles. Many children in these towns and cities have grown-up in communities with little economic capital or career opportunities and are easy targets for Army recruiters who are desperate to fill recruitment shortfalls.”

The fact that the armed forces are “preying on communities where unemployment and social deprivation is high … is a brazen, calculated policy to recruit 16- and 17-year-olds who have few options in life for dangerous infantry jobs that others do not want.”

The “This is belonging” campaign uses a series of short video clips showing staged scenes of young soldiers undergoing training or participating in mock combat situations, attempting to present the armed forces as a supportive, family environment. These videos were shown on social media, on television and in cinemas.

The army describes “This is belonging” as “a new inspirational and motivating creative campaign” to convey the message that recruits would be joining “a brotherhood and sisterhood formed of unbreakable bonds which … will accept you for you.”

Labelling these videos as “cleverly engineered propaganda which glamorises army life,” Taylor insisted that “the reality could not be more different.”

“Morale among the armed forces is plummeting. Forty percent of recruits are actively looking for other employment, while issues of bullying and abuse are commonplace, especially for the 24 percent of recruits who sign up under the age of 18.”

ForcesWatch, a non-profit organisation that scrutinises military recruitment practices, also criticised the army for targeting young people and for “appealing to the adolescent child’s need to belong.” The organisation argued that the army “have latched onto a very popular recruitment tool, powerful in particular among those who feel isolated or marginalised, or who have a sense of non-belonging and potentially low self-esteem.”

The UK is the only country in Europe, and one of only a handful in the world, that allows the recruitment of minors. The enlistment process into the armed forces can begin at 15 years and seven months, although training does not start until the child has reached 16 and these recruits cannot be deployed into active service until they reach 18 years.

According to a report by Medact, a non-profit organisation of health professionals, there are serious long-term consequences of child recruitment by the army. The study showed that these young recruits are more likely to suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, alcohol abuse and self-harm after leaving the army. Male under-20 recruits have a 64 percent higher risk of suicide than their adult civilian peers and have a higher chance of being wounded or killed during their career in the armed forces.

The report concluded that military recruitment techniques “[take] advantage of adolescent cognitive and psychological vulnerabilities” and that current child recruitment practices “do not meet the criteria for full and informed consent.”

The UK government has actively promoted army recruitment within schools, with Defence Secretary Michael Fallon announcing the creation of 150 new cadet units in schools last October. There are now more than 300 cadet units across UK schools, in which children as young as 12 are taught battle planning, weapon use and military discipline.

According to ForcesWatch, the military make thousands of visits to UK schools and colleges each year and even to primary schools and nurseries. These visits include recruitment stalls at careers fairs, curriculum and career-related activities, sessions with staff members and interviews for pre-recruitment courses at army bases, among other things.

Some schools are either sponsored by or have partnerships with the armed forces or arms industry.

ForcesWatch coordinator Emma Sangster rejected the Ministry of Defence claim that the army does not directly recruit within schools. She told the Guardian: “Recruitment is a process, it’s not a single event.” During visits to school, armed forces recruiters, “drip feed things of interest to children of school age. They sanitise what conflict involves, and also glamorise it. They focus on adventure, which young people are desperate for.”

The British state is attempting to indoctrinate and prepare the next generation of working-class youth to be cannon fodder in their imperialist wars abroad. This is confirmed by the analysis of Veterans for Peace (VFP). In its report, “The First Ambush? Effects of army training and employment,” VFP asserts that British Army policy is to “channel the youngest recruits and those from poorer backgrounds into the infantry, which uses the most coercive training methods … [and] carries the greatest risks in war…

“To ensure that recruits will follow all orders and kill their opponents in war, army training indoctrinates unconditional obedience, stimulates aggression and antagonism, overpowers a healthy person’s inhibition to killing, and dehumanises the opponent in the recruit’s imagination.”

The VFP report notes that recruitment policy is rooted in class divisions, with army recruiters “creaming off” high-achieving adults from English universities to become future officers, while “dredging” poorer areas to fill the lower ranks with working-class youth whose lives are seen by the ruling elite as more dispensable.

This recruitment drive and the militarisation of education comes in the context of the escalation of British and NATO operations in the Middle East and on Russia’s borders, with the British Army currently deployed in some capacity in over 80 countries across the world.

It is not just within Britain that the militarisation of social life is taking place. In 2011, the German Bundeswehr began recruiting in schools and universities as part of a broader drive by the Defence Ministry to recruit thousands of new soldiers. Last year, the Swedish Parliament voted to bring back conscription and French President Emmanuel Macron … included the return of the draft as an electoral promise.

More than 75 years after the outbreak of World War II, ruling elites across the world are again seeking to create powerful armies able to enforce their geostrategic and economic interests through war. A century after the Russian Revolution of 1917, the international working class is once again confronted with the necessity of building a revolutionary socialist and internationalist movement in order to prevent the descent into a catastrophic world war.

Donald Trump’s transphobia, Frank Sinatra parody song


This satiric song from Britain is called Frank Sinatrump – “The Lady is a Trans“.

It is a parody of ‘The Lady is a Tramp‘ by Frank Sinatra.

It says about itself:

27 July 2017

More from Donald Trump’s Frank Sinatra tribute act, live from Mar-a-Lago.

LYRICS:

She was a lady, but now she’s a dude
For military spending, I think it would be shrewd
If this kind of person we were to exclude
Because the lady is a trans

Zero point zero zero zero zero zero zero seven per cent
Of our annual military budget is spent
On trans medical costs, and this I resent
Because the lady is a trans

She likes to not be referred to as ‘she’
She’s gender-fluid or non-binary (or some shit like that)
But if I could, I still would grab her by the pussy
But alas, the lady is a trans

This could play well with voters in the Rust Belt
They don’t want progressives like Teddy Roosevelt
We’ve all got to go with the cards we were dealt
Don’t change what’s underneath your belt

Trump’s militarist homophobia, parody song


This 27 July 2017 parody music video from Britain about the president of the USA is called The White Gripes – Cisgender Nation Army.

It is a parody of the song Seven Nation Army by the White Stripes.

It says about it itself:

Donald Trump announces his military ban of transgender people via the medium of a White Stripes cover.

LYRICS:

I’m gonna ban the trans
Cisgender nation army is the way to go
I like to please my fans
Let’s send transgender folk to Mexico
I never served myself because my feet are as weird as my hands
But I don’t see how these guys can fight for us in foreign lands
We need the money for viagra and those marching military bands

Don’t be such a libtard
Did you know trans people are mentally ill?
If you say otherwise
Then you must be a Cultural Marxism shill
We’re all sick and tired of your identity politics
You may be willing to die for your country, but you cut off your dicks
You’re no better than those goddamn gooks or those Mexican spics

The move to expel transgender soldiers from the military is anti-democratic and oriented toward stoking up the most backward and fascistic elements. Moreover, it has ominous implications for transgender people in other aspects of society, legitimizing discrimination in jobs, education and access to services. In June, Defense Secretary James Mattis delayed by six months a decision on whether and how to accept new transgender recruits into the military. At the time, Mattis said that the delay “in no way presupposes the outcome.” Trump’s announcement appears to preclude openly transgender people from joining at all, and puts the status of currently serving transgender soldiers in jeopardy. Trump’s tweets link the anti-democratic decision to military and bogus financial considerations: here.

Donald Trump and nuclear war, Sinatra parody song


This parody music video from Britain is called Frank Sinatrump – “Nuke War, Nuke War” (live at Mar-a-Lago).

It is a parody of Frank Sinatra‘s song New York, New York.

It says about itself:

22 July 2017

Explosive stuff from Donald Trump‘s Frank Sinatra tribute act, live at Mar-a-Lago.

LYRICS:

Start spreading the news
I’m living underground
I need some other place to live
Nuke war, nuke war

Those damn North Koreans
Launched a supercalafragilistic missile
That’s got a big league range on it
Nuke war, nuke war

I want to wake up in a city that still exists
And find I’m still President, not a vapor mist

Let’s blow ‘em up first
They won’t see that coming, hehehe
I’ve got the codes and everything
Nuke war, nuke war
If we can explode them
We can explode Iran
It’s up to me, nuke war, nuke war

US President Donald Trump issued an ominous warning to Iran on Friday, declaring in a White House statement that his administration is “prepared to impose serious consequences” if Tehran fails to release detained American citizens. This provocative declaration marks a further ramping up of tensions between Washington and Iran, which the US ruling elite has long decried as a major obstacle to its unchallenged primacy over the energy-rich Middle East: here.

German police protects Hitler fans’ concert


This German 15 Juli 2017 video is about many neonazis doing the Hitler salute and shouting Sieg Heil (illegal in Germany) at a concert in Themar, while police did nothing to stop them.

By Christoph Vandreier in Germany:

German police stand by as neo-Nazis give Hitler salute at “rock against foreigners” concert

20 July 2017

One of the largest neo-Nazi gatherings in the last decade took place in the small town of Themar in the German state of Thuringia last Saturday. More than 6,000 right-wing extremists travelled from across Europe to take part in the “Rock against foreign infiltration” festival.

The right-wing extremists obviously felt emboldened by the campaign waged by the major political parties in Germany against left-wing protesters following the G20 summit in Hamburg. It was, after all, Heiko Maas, the Social Democrat Justice Minister, who issued a call for a “Rock against the left” concert.

While the police acted brutally against peaceful demonstrators at G20 and violently broke up authorised gatherings, they acted as security forces for the attendees of the neo-Nazi festival. Even when the right-wing extremists began committing widespread acts of criminality, and used the Nazi salute and “Sieg Heil” greeting [illegal in Germany], the police refused to disperse the gathering and arrest the perpetrators.

The neo-Nazis acted extremely aggressively and made no secret of their political outlook from the outset. Die Zeit reported on one attendee who arrived at the event with an open jacket revealing a T-shirt with a swastika printed on it. Other participants wore T-shirts including “National Socialist” and “I love HTLR.” This has been documented by hundreds of sources online. Journalists were threatened and spat on.

Bands who performed included Stahlgewitter, who sing about the Wehrmacht in their songs and chant “88,” a code which means “Heil Hitler” in neo-Nazi circles. The music was interrupted by speeches from representatives of the neo-Nazi NPD, Pegida, and many more right-wing extremist organisations.

There are only a few pictures from inside the grounds, which could not be seen as they were sealed off by construction barriers. Journalists reported that they could hear the singer of the right-wing extremist band “Blutzeugen” repeatedly shouting “Sieg Heil” from the stage and that similar slogans were taken up by the crowd.

One of the few short videos of the event revealed dozens of neo-Nazis performing the Nazi salute and shouting “Sieg Heil.” The video only showed a small part of the crowd, creating the impression that hundreds of Nazis raised their arms. The video was deleted shortly afterwards by its author, but had already been shared across social media.

The police initially asserted on Sunday evening that they had been unaware of these scenes. But given the absurdity of this claim, they were forced on Monday to acknowledge that they were aware that symbols in violation of the constitution, whose use is a criminal offense, were displayed. Nonetheless, the police stated that dispersing the gathering would have been disproportionate because the right to freedom of assembly had to be protected.

One week after the brutal police crackdown on peaceful anti-G20 protesters, these claims are thoroughly hypocritical. In Hamburg, a tent camp of left-wing G20 counter-demonstrators was violently broken up by the police. Several peaceful protesters were attacked with water cannon and tear gas. But when neo-Nazis gather to glorify Hitler and give the Nazi salute, which is illegal under German law, their “basic right to freedom of assembly” is enforced by the police!

In Themar, in spite of the widespread criminal action and glorification of Hitler by the 6,000 neo-Nazis, the police issued only 43 criminal charges, including for the use of symbols belonging to constitutionally outlawed organisations, threats, grievous bodily harm and breaches of the law on bearing arms.

The police effectively protected the neo-Nazi hordes. A photo widely shared on social media shows a police officer engaging in a friendly manner with one of the right-wing extremist music groups. The police insisted in a press release that the picture did not depict a handshake. But the picture speaks for itself.

In addition, Vice reported that the police discussed the G20 protests with the neo-Nazis. Two neo-Nazis approached a group of officers and one asked, “And, were you in Hamburg?” When the officers nodded, the neo-Nazi said, “Shit, wasn’t it? If only you had intervened a bit more firmly.” …

The fact that the same police officers were subsequently tasked with defending the rights of the neo-Nazis must be taken as a serious warning.