Right to Resist Tour
As the taxman raps voraciously at the door, this year the average Californian will cough up $4,406 in federal income taxes, and, according to data extrapolated by the National Priorities Project, the U.S. military will swallow about 38 cents from every hard-earned clam. Thankfully, to offset the staggering four-cent stipend for education, No Child Left Behind and the Solomon Amendment ensure that military recruiters will be hard at work in the public school system.
Recruiters’ carte-blanche access to high school and university campuses has become a contentious issue, and this week The Right to Resist Tour for Counter-Recruitment — a bombardment of music, performance art, and workshops directed at mobilizing young activists “to keep military recruiters off school campuses” — will march upon California.
The tour, part of the worldwide I Will Not Kill Campaign and organized by the Fellowship of Reconciliation, makes its descent into Santa Barbara this Tuesday, April 25, with a screening of Security Orange at UCSB, followed by Wednesday’s student-organizing workshop at Dos Pueblos, and an extravaganza at UCSB’s MultiCultural Center. Performances by slam artist April King and others will demonstrate, as organizer Nico Amador explains, “how art and music can be used as tools to bring about change.”
Of course, Santa Barbara is not the poster city for the communities most affected by military recruitment tactics. Young people “most vulnerable to recruiters’ promises of funding for education, job-training, and financial stability,” according to Amador and shown in most statistics, are low-income people of color, most them concentrated in the Midwest and South.
But Amador, a UCSB alum, laments numerous difficulties in booking high school performances for the tour. Most schools’ policies prohibit overtly political organizations from holding on-campus events, and Dos Pueblos is one of the few high school stops for the tour. So while an ideal forum for anti-recruitment might be a high school in Missouri, thankfully Santa Barbara’s schools are open to the notion that war recruiting might not go hand-in-hand with algebra.
— Aaron Belchere