What is militarism, how does it influence American society, economics, politics and culture? These are some of the questions we will be exploring as a study group on militarism. Vermont Action for Peace has been examining militarism in all it varied forms and manifestations for several years. As our understanding deepened, we began to see the influence of militarism in almost every aspect of our common life: in fashion, education, domestic policy (“wars” on social problems like poverty, crime, drugs), foreign policy (real wars instead of diplomacy), our national budget, and even the language we use. We have come to see militarism as an ideology.
The study group is intended to explore with others how militarism has become such a powerful ideology in the USA, its roots and how it has become so pervasive. We will be reading parts of an intriguing book about militarism in cinema, The Hollywood War Machine, by Carl Boggs and Tom Pollard. The authors have generously given us permission to copy entire chapters to share with study group participants. At each meeting, we expect to discuss a portion of the book and its implications for related areas of study (e.g., the relationship between militarism and racism, poverty, environmental degradation, etc.) We also hope to watch pertinent film clips.
The study group will meet five Sunday afternoons, from 3:00 to 5:00 PM, beginning on January 14. We will meet at the Plainfield Friends Meeting House, in Plainfield, Vermont, on Jan. 14 & 28, Feb. 11 & 25, and March 11. The study group is free and open to anyone willing to commit their time and become active participants as we explore together this pervasive but almost invisible force in our nation. Space is limited, please register early, contact Paul at garlicmountain@gmail.com.
Paul Erlbaum, Dorie Wilsnak, Eric Bachman and Joseph Gainza have been active in peace organizing for many years. We will facilitate the study group and encourage active sharing of ideas, feelings, experiences and insights.

-Joseph Gainza

Founder of Vermont Action for Peace (and PJC member)