tabling at Hersey HS 3/5/2019

Chatted with probably 6 - 8 students even though so many walked by; glued to their devices.

We table at Hersey only twice a year - usually in November and March. This is their policy; not ours. And as far as I can tell they are consistent. In other words the same policy applies to military recruiters. But I realize  how difficult it is to build any kind of connection with the school. At the other schools we often see the same students month after month.

I have a slideshow of all the men and women killed in service in 2017 which I played in a continuous loop. It generated some interest. I realize I need to update it. It covers all 2017 but I haven't updated for 2018. Would be good to do so. Seeing faces brings the wars home for people.

One young woman I talked to wants to be a writer. I gave her a zine. One young man wants to be a lawyer. I resisted the temptation to talk him out of it. (I know MANY very unhappy lawyers). But I pointed out different fields of law (e.g. intellectual property) that he might not have thought of. One young woman stopped by and thanked us for all we do.

I created 5 flyers of recent war-related events that have happened recently. Didn't generate a lot of interest though.


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Tabling at Elk Grove HS 2/21/19

It's been a quiet day.  I had several boys zip by for candy. One girl I'd met before came by and took a brochure.  She came back a while later for peace patches. She didn't seem interested in pursuing conversation.  But reading our literature apparently inspired her to take a stand with peace patches and safety pins . . . somewhere . . .


Tabling at Prospect HS February 5, 2019

It was a quiet day punctuated by a visit from V, who informed me that she and a few others in the school have been selected to attend a mock UN conference in Boston in a couple of weeks. Ironically, she has to represent herself as an Idaho Congressman known for his reactionary views and so has to familiarize herself with arguments she finds anathema---which is actually helpful under the heading 'know-your-enemy,' as well as a way to develop her forensic capacity (i.e., putting your opponent's position in language that is even more persuasive than he can put it in---before demolishing it completely---is an effective tactic that works well on audiences). 

What's neat about the students I've met at Prospect---and shows how they are already starting to develop effective organizing strategies on their own---is that each month they make a real effort to bring a friend or acquaintance with them to introduce me to. And each time I've taken it as an opportunity to get that person's email and send them a thank-you for showing interest in anti-war organizing. The new student's name is L.; she is also attending this Boston debate gathering with Violet. It's a bit sad they're all seniors and won't be starting a kind of tradition, but such is the way of organizing...

I promised both L and V that I would send them information about two events that I know are upcoming----first, the event that Chicago Committee Against War & Racism (CCAWR) is organizing at a Congressman's office near the anniversary of the 2003 Iraq War and, second, the anti-war conference at Loyola in April organized by Loyola students with assistance from the same group. If any of you have information about any anti-war stuff going on in the northwest suburbs, please let me know. I can be like a clearing house for these students informing them of upcoming events.


tabling at Wheeling HS January 8, 2019

We wondered why the kids were so squirrely until we found out that today was their first day back after winter break. No wonder!

We had some information on Yemen which generated a small amount of interest. The pictures of the starving children are hard to handle and I debated for a long time that they might be too much. But most of the pictures were published in the New York Times so I figured fair game.

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tabling at Wheeling HS December 11, 2018

We continued with our informal survey – asking students and staff what they think about changing the Selective Service System into some form of mandatory service which would include a military option.

It was a bit challenging to get the student’s attention to take our informal survey but we talked to about 8 or 9 people including a teacher, JROTC instructor and staff. Almost all were in favor of mandatory service even when we emphasized that it was mandatory.   index

Also talked to a student who wants to join the military after school. He was motivated by his father who was in the Polish Army until a congenital heart condition forced him out. This young man has the same condition but he said he’s been checked out by a cardiologist and he’s fine. We cautioned him about his choice; pointing out the difference between service in the Polish Army and the United States which has soldiers stationed all over the world. He thanked us for our advice.

One of the JROTC instructors stopped by. He was in the Navy for 23 years; retired and now is a JROTC instructor. He was surprised that so many students seemed favorable to the idea of mandatory service. We got the impression that he wasn’t that impressed by the students he’s encountered.


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