Students rally to protest militarism

Students rally to protest militarism

UPDATED: 1/24 at 3:35 p.m.

Brandeis students are rallying “to reclaim [the country’s] resources from the war industry, reinvest in life-giving resources, and repair collaborative relationships with the earth and people around the world” as a part of the national organization, Dissenters, according to Brandeis students who gave an informational meeting on Tuesday in the Intercultural Center (ICC).

Arthi Jacob ’21 and Ellie Kleiman ’21 said that they aim to build a youth anti-militarist base, expose the moral crisis that is occurring, stigmatize war and militarism and defund war, according to the group’s PowerPoint. They said that they plan on accomplishing these goals through “direct action,” or an action that is directly disruptive. They gave an example of when they went on a subway in Chicago and sang protest songs.

“Community coalition building with people in the greater Boston area is not only important, but something we have to do,” said Jacob. “[We] don’t want this to be a bunch of privileged college students talking to people—we want this to be a community thing.”

According to their PowerPoint presentation, the U.S. spends 35 percent of the world’s total military spending, this comes out to $610 billion. The amount that military spending takes up in the federal budget is 48 percent, which is a larger percentage than what the U.S. spends on human resources.

“Winning looks like changing the national narrative around militarism and nationalism,” said Jacob.

The presentation also broke down what could be done with the money if the country was to divest from militarism; the U.S. could instead fund scholarships for university students, fund students of pell grants, fund clean energy jobs or fund infrastructure jobs, the presenters suggested from a source they cited.  

Raytheon, “a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, civil government and cybersecurity solutions” and the world’s largest producer of guided missiles is headquartered in Waltham, according to its website.

“One of the big goals of Dissenters is to change the national narrative about what it means to be involved with companies like [Raytheon], even tangentially,” said Jacob.

The group promoted coming events including “Boston: No war on Iran! U.S. Troops get out! Global day of protest” on Jan. 25 at the Massachusetts State House, “24-hour Anti-CAA Protest” on Jan. 26 at Harvard Square, “PSL Liberation Forum: War on Iran & Mass Struggle in India” on Jan. 31 at encuentro 5 and “Protest War Profiteer Raytheon at Boston University” on Feb. 5 at the Boston University Career Fair.

CORRECTIONS: A previous version of this article incorrectly transcribed a quote from Jacob. An earlier version of this article said that the group’s coming events were protests but the events that they promoted are not all organized through Dissenters and they are not all protests.

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