Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Today is the LAST DAY of this Mid-Year Campaign. This is our hour of need.
If you value independent journalism, please support Common Dreams.

TODAY is the last day to meet our goal -- Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-N.Y.) speaks at a press conference at Corona Plaza in Queens on April 14, 2020 in New York City. (Photo: Scott Heins/Getty Images)

'War Is Not a Game': AOC to File Amendment Banning US Military From Recruiting on Twitch

"It's incredibly irresponsible for the Army and the Navy to be recruiting impressionable young people and children via live streaming platforms."

Eoin Higgins

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Wednesday afternoon introduced an amendment to an omnibus House Appropriations bill that would ban the U.S. military from using video game-streaming sites like popular platform Twitch to recruit impressionable young people, including underage children. 

"It's incredibly irresponsible for the Army and the Navy to be recruiting impressionable young people and children via live streaming platforms," Ocasio-Cortez told Motherboard Wednesday. 

The draft amendment, which "prohibits the use of funds for recruiting via video gaming and e-sports platforms," may not make it to the final bill.

According to Motherboard:

The House writes one version of the budget that has to go through multiple committees before being voted on by the entire House. And that's before the Senate gets involved. The Twitch amendment could falter at any step along the way, but the fact that Ocasio-Cortez introduced the amendment at all speaks to the mounting public pressure against the military using video games and Twitch as a recruitment tool.

The military's use of esports for recruitment has caused a number of public relations nightmares for the Pentagon in recent weeks, beginning on July 8 when activist Jordan Uhl was banned from the Army ESports Twitch channel for asking "what's your favorite u.s. w4r cr1me?" in the chat bar and then linking to the Wikipedia page of U.S. war crimes. 

The military is now under fire for violating Uhl's First Amendment rights and the freedom of speech rights of at least 300 other similarly banned users.

"When the government intentionally opens a space to the public at large for expressive activity, it has created a 'public forum' under the First Amendment, and it cannot constitutionally bar speakers from that forum based on viewpoint," the Knight First Amendment Institute said in a letter to military recruiters Wednesday.

Uhl told Common Dreams Ocasio-Cortez's amendment is a step in the right direction.

"It's fantastic to see Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez introduce this amendment," said Uhl. "I'm hopeful more people understand how dangerous and predatory the military's recruiting practices are and especially by exploiting parasocial relationships on Twitch. Shutting this down is one of many necessary steps required to dismantle the military industrial complex."

Using video games to recruit young people into the war machine, said Ocasio-Cortez, is an unacceptable approach to the Pentagon's mission—as evidenced by the Marines' decision not to engage in the platform.

"War is not a game," she said, "and the Marine Corps' decision not to engage in this recruiting tool should be a clear signal to the other branches of the military to cease this practice entirely."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

TODAY is the last day of our crucial Mid-Year Campaign and we might not make it without your help.
Who funds our independent journalism? Readers like you who believe in our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. No corporate advertisers. No billionaire founder. Our non-partisan, nonprofit media model has only one source of revenue: The people who read and value this work and our mission. That's it.
And the model is simple: If everyone just gives whatever amount they can afford and think is reasonable—$3, $9, $29, or more—we can continue. If not enough do, we go dark.

All the small gifts add up to something otherwise impossible. Please join us today. Donate to Common Dreams. This is crunch time. We need you now.

Texas Supreme Court Allows Century-Old Abortion Ban to Take Effect

"Extremist politicians are on a crusade to force Texans into pregnancy and childbirth against their will, no matter how devastating the consequences."

Jake Johnson ·

'What's There to Even Discuss?' Omar Says Free, Universal School Meals Should Be Permanent

"We have an opportunity to prove that a government of the people, by the people, and for the people can still deliver big things. And we can feed tens of millions of hungry kids while we do it."

Jake Johnson ·

'Stark Betrayal': Biden Administration Floats New Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling

"This is the third time since November the Biden administration has announced new oil and gas leasing plans on the Friday before a holiday," said one climate advocate. "They're ashamed, and they should be."

Jake Johnson ·

As US Rolls Back Reproductive Rights, Sierra Leone Moves to Decriminalize Abortion

"I'm hopeful today's announcement gives activists in the U.S., and especially Black women given the shared history, a restored faith that change is possible and progress can be made."

Brett Wilkins ·

'Indefensible': Outrage as New Reporting Shines Light on Biden Deal With McConnell

The president has reportedly agreed to nominate an anti-abortion Republican to a lifetime judgeship. In exchange, McConnell has vowed to stop blocking two Biden picks for term-limited U.S. attorney posts.

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo