Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

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.

... We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

GOP 'Silence Speaks Volumes,' Says Ilhan Omar as Boebert's Bigotry Goes Unpunished

"Normalizing this bigotry not only endangers my life but the lives of all Muslims. Anti-Muslim bigotry has no place in Congress."

Brett Wilkins ·


Africans Should Be 'Applauded, Not Punished,' Say Advocates Amid Omicron Travel Ban

"What is going on right now is inevitable," said African Union Vaccine Delivery Alliance co-chair Dr. Ayoade Alakija. "It's a result of the world's failure to vaccinate in an equitable, urgent, and speedy manner."

Brett Wilkins ·


Biden Drilling Report Blasted as 'Shocking Capitulation to the Needs of Corporate Polluters'

"Greenlighting more fossil fuel extraction, then pretending it's OK by nudging up royalty rates, is like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic," said one campaigner.

Jessica Corbett ·


UNESCO Members Adopt First Global AI Ethics Agreement 'To Benefit Humanity'

"We're at a critical juncture in history," said Ethics in Tech founder Vahid Razavi. "We need as humans to come together and decide what is the best course of action to take with these technologies before they surpass us in their abilities."

Brett Wilkins ·


Progressive US Lawmakers Mark Black Friday With Calls to Pass the PRO Act

"The right to organize, fight for better working conditions, and fair pay must always be protected."

Jessica Corbett ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo