Speck, Andreas

Andreas Speck
9 June 2014Review

OR Books, 2014; 224pp; £11. Available for purchase online through the OR books website.

Publication of this book was rushed to coincide with the Sochi winter Olympics, and it shows. It shows, because – and the editors admit this – the spectrum of experiences is limited to mostly well-off Russian gays and lesbians, mostly couples with higher education and the ability to travel abroad. The publication of the book is a response to a wave of state-sponsored homophobia in Russia, culminating in a bill banning 'propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations' - often narrowly…

1 October 2011News

Egyptian pacifist and blogger continues fast.

Pacifist blogger Maikel Nabil Sanad has been on hunger strike in an Egyptian prison since 23 August. Arrested on 28 March on charges of “insulting the military” for publishing an article exposing the role of the military during and after the revolution, he was sentenced to three years in prison on 10 April.

With his hunger strike, Maikel Nabil Sanad demands his release from prison. An appeal hearing has now been brought forward to 4 October, but his friends and supporters fear that he…

13 August 2011Feature

Conscientious objection in South Korea

In March 2003 an international conference on conscientious objection to military service, taking place in Seoul, attracted more than 400 participants over two days. The spectrum of participants was unusually broad: students, human rights lawyers, representatives from the Jehovah's Witnesses and the Seventh Day Adventist Church, and representatives from some smaller South Korean parties.

The “international” contingent was mainly limited to the resource people:conscientious objectors…

13 August 2011Feature

International Conscientious Objectors' Day 2003 focuses on solidarity with conscientious objectors in Israel, and nonviolent resistance against the Israeli occupation. Andreas Speck, WRI's CO Campaign Worker, explains why.

Since the beginning of the second intifada in September 2000, conscientious objection in Israel has developed rapidly to an unprecedented scale. This is a counter trend to the general shift to the right within Israeli society. While the electoral “peace camp” lost considerably in the recent elections, the radical refusenik movement continues to grow.

Basic facts: conscription in Israel

Israel has a very rigid conscription system, which is also quite complicated. In theory, all men…

13 August 2011Feature

In this experimental article on visions-based on the writings of anarchist Gustav Landauer and the lyrics of 1970s German rock band Ton Steine Scherben - Andreas Speck argues that while visions should guide us, provide us with energy, and stimulate our imaginations, they shouldn't turn us into slaves to our ideals.

Visions - a difficult topic during times of war and of increased militarisation and marginalisation of peace activists, but perhaps then, even more important.

In this essay I want to explore visions from a personal perspective. I will base this “experiment” on the writings of Gustav Landauer (a German anarchist who was born in 1870, and murdered in 1919, at the end of the anarchist Munich Soviet Republic), and the music and songs of Ton Steine Scherben, a (Western) German anarchist (…

13 August 2011Feature

Long-time peace activist Andreas Speck casts critical reflections on nonviolent direct action.

"A group of eight activists blockaded the entrance to AWE Aldermaston this morning at 6.45am. Using steel lock-on tubes the group have completely blocked the road. Thus stopping all construction traffic entering or leaving the site. This has caused a large tailback and the police turned all traffic away from the site.”
(“Aldermaston shut down”

13 August 2011Feature

After spending almost one year in amilitary prison, Turkish conscientious objector Mehmet Tarhan has been released, but the repression and persecution of objectors continues. Andreas Speck reports.

Good news for a change from Turkey: on 9 March, gay Turkish conscientious objector Mehmet Tarhan was unexpectedly released from the military prison in Sivas, following an order by the Military Court of Appeal in Ankara. The reasons for his release remain unclear, but one possibility is that, even if finally sentenced, Mehmet Tarhan would be unlikely to serve more time in prison than he already has (he was arrested on 6 April 2005, and has spent almost a year in prison).

Mehmet Tarhan…

13 August 2011Feature

Andreas: When I became a total objector in Germany in the mid-80s, I saw my objection as an act of civil disobedience against militarism, or, more specifically, against the system of military slavery called conscription.

My refusal to serve was aimed towards abolishing conscription and I saw it as a small but important contribution to demilitarise peoples minds. And although I certainly acted out of conscience, I never perceived my conscientious objection as a human rights…

13 August 2011Feature

After several meetings, including one at the European Social Forum in Malmö, Sweden in September last year, the International Coordination Committee No-to-NATO 2009 (ICC) was officially formed at a conference in Stuttgart, Germany over the weekend of 4-5 October 2008. We agreed four main aspects: an international demonstration in Strasbourg on 4 April, a counter-conference, civil disobedience, and a camp (called a “village” by the French).

The French groups participating in the ICC…

13 August 2011Feature

While the focus of western military deployments remains firmly on Iraq and Afghanistan, the EU is busy developing its military identity and capabilities through so-called "peacekeeping" adventures in Africa. Andreas Speck suggests some lessbenevolent motivations for these operations.

Disguised as a “humanitarian intervention” and giving “support to building democracy”, the second major EU military intervention in Congo began this June. As Peace News goes to press, 2,000 EU troops from 20 EU countries (plus Turkey) are being deployed in Congo, to safeguard the elections in the DRC. Officially, the EU mission (named EUFOR RD Congo) aims to support the 19,000 UN “peace keepers” already in the country.

The UN force (MONUC) became famous recently for…

13 August 2011Feature

During the last week of January, Venezuela played host to the World Social Forum. In parallel to the state-sponsored event, anarchist, indigenous and antimilitarist groups and networks organised and participated in the Alternative Social Forum, also held in Caracas. Andreas Speck attended - and facilitated workshops at - both: here he gives his impressions on his trip to the left-feted "socialist" state.

From 23 to 29 January the “policentric” World Social Forum (WSF) was held in Caracas in Venezuela, the country of president Hugo Chavez's “Bolivarian Revolution”. No surprise then that the WSF received organisational and financial support from Venezuelan state institutions -- almost all ministries and the Metropolitan police, plus the nationalised state oil company PDVSA -- and that Chavez addressed the forum, and used it for one of his usual anti-imperialist speeches.

However, not…

13 August 2011Feature

When, in summer 2001, War Resisters' International decided to highlight the situation in Israel and Palestine for this year's Prisoners for Peace, there was no 11 September, no “war on terrorism”. There was “just” a completely stuck peace process, and increasing violence: from both the occupying Israeli forces, and in the Palestinian response to this occupation. And there was a slowly growing movement of conscientious objectors in Israel. More than enough reasons for a Prisoners for Peace…

13 August 2011Feature

Justice for Colombia!

In early October, Colombian conscientious objector Juan Carlos Montoya Munera was forcefully recruited by the Colombian military in the city of Antioquia, and taken to the barracks of the Batallon Bombona Coronel Diaz, where he is being forced to perform military service.

During the same week the Colombian military forcefully recruited a number of youths in the cities of Medellin and Antioquia, also taking conscientious objectors. On 10 October Alejandro Piedrahita, a conscientious…

13 August 2011Feature

In 1979 Coskun Üsterci began a prison sentence, of which he served nearly 12 years. During his imprisonment he moved from belonging to a leftist political group which advocated armed struggle to becoming a strong advocate of nonviolence. Here he talks with Andreas Speck about his prison experiences and the current struggle against isolation cells.

Coskun, you were imprisoned for almost 12 years, from 1979 to 1991, when the rest of your sentence was changed to a suspended sentence. What was important for you in prison and where did you get your strength from ?

The most important source of strength was my belief in being right. But this wasn’t a blind belief. I was objecting to exploitation and human rights violations. I desired democratic and economic development in our country. These were quite simple demands, compared to…

13 August 2011Feature

Taxes for war — it's not just a case of whether to pay or not. Andreas Speck and Simon Heywood debate the merits of campaign strategies for effecting changes in the law.

A group of seven war tax resisters, 'the Peace Tax Seven' are about to commence legal action against the British government by seeking a High Court judicial review of the policy of compulsory military taxation. Some in the peace movement have argued that this approach is not only doomed to failure, but also that it could end up doing more harm than good. Eager to learn more, Peace News asked the two sides to put their case. This is what they said:

Simon Heywood: In our view…