This paper explores veteran activism and how this activism feeds into the process of demilitarisation.
This paper examines the affects of veteran activism, primarily that of those who are doing work tied to ideals of social justice, and shows that this activism is a process of demilitarization. It asks why these veterans are doing what they are doing and how they are doing it. The answers to these questions come from 22 interviews conducted with veteran activists all around the United States. Throughout these interviews three major themes tied to this demilitarization became prevalent: (1) a part of the veterans’ activism is tied to the community and camaraderie of other veterans with similar ideals and perspectives. This process works to form communities of awareness to the processes of militarization; (2) many veterans see their activism not only as a continuation of military service to the nation, but as inspired by their service, which in turn causes a demilitarizing reinscription of patriotism. This service is primarily done through social justice work that is seen as needed for the betterment of the nation that creates a critical narrative of western liberal democracy and US policy; and (3) their activism has become a form of healing, for themselves and for those affected by the violence of war, which becomes a demilitarization of the self.
Schrader, B., 2017. The affect of veteran activism. Critical Military Studies. DOI: 10.1080/23337486.2017.1334300.