Comment

3 December 2001 Roberta Bacic and Andreas Speck

The staff of War Resisters' International provide their analysis of where we go from here.

While we are writing this, Britain - where we WRI workers live - and the US are dropping bombs on Afghanistan: it is the first weeks of the “war on terrorism”.

At the same time on Oxford Street - a couple of kilometres from the WRI office - mainstream Britain goes shopping; life goes on as normally as possible, although protective clothing and gas masks are sold-out, in response to fears of anthrax attacks. Who cares about the bombs dropped thousands of kilometres away in order to…

3 December 2001 Ferda Ulker and Coskun Usterci

Coskun Usterci and Ferda Ulker reflect on the War Resisters' International annual Council meeting and antimilitarist seminar and workshops which took place in Turkey in September.

The War Resisters' meeting may have had two parts - Council and seminar - but most of the themes discussed throughout the week were common to both: anti-militarism, conscientious objection, nonviolence, women in the anti-militarist movement, feminism, and the gay and lesbian movement.

The Council meeting of the War Resisters' International (WRI), which takes place in a different country each year, lasted for three days, followed by four days of seminars and workshops which took place…

3 December 2001 Coskun Usterci

I was attending a Council meeting of the War Resisters' International (WRI) for the first time and I thought, as many participants did, that the council meeting would be an opportunity to discuss our views, particularly in light of the threat of war.

But the discussions about this during the council meeting were short, due to a lack of time, and I was disappointed that it was mostly financial and administrative issues that were discussed. While this was how I felt then, I realised…

3 December 2001 Geov Parrish

How should the international peace movement respond to this war? Geov Parrish offers both a critique of the tactics being widely employed by activists worldwide, poses some difficult questions, and suggests a few answers.

The overt military phase of the War on Terrorism has begun. And so, too, have the demonstrations, both in the Islamic world and through the cities of the Western democracies - including the US. Past polls have shown an overwhelming majority of the world opposed to US military retaliation for the atrocities of 11 September - 80 to 90 percent in much of Europe and Latin America. But in the US, the “peace movement” faces a number of challenges in making its case against this, the first military…

3 December 2001 Marwan Darweish

On 28 September 2001 the Palestinians commemorated the first anniversary of the second Intifada with more people killed and injured adding to the already hundreds of deaths and the thousands injured during this year.

The characteristic of this Intifada in contrast with previous Palestinian confrontations with the Israeli occupation is the extraordinarily high number of civilian casualties within both the Palestinian and Israeli societies. This was due to an excessive use of…

3 December 2001 Naeem Sadiq

In this view from the South, Naeem Sadiq examines the events of 11 September - and beyond - in relation to the long-term Indo-Pakistani political tensions.

For an otherwise sane and normal world to so readily surrender its options, imagination, discretion and rationality - all in a single day - is a very disturbing realisation for the ordinary members of this human community.

You are either with us or with the terrorists - these are the only options, dead or alive are the only possibilities, war till victory is the only conclusion, and seeking revenge the only rationality. There is no space for dialogue. Simply take positions, join…

3 September 2001 Starhawk

In recent months, Genoa, Gothenburg and Quebec have seen mass protest against globalisation—timed to coincide with the formal meetings of the G8, EU and the Americas trade talks. We reprint a discussion article written after the Quebec protests by US-based activist and author Starhawk, which presents ideas for moving the eternal violence/nonviolence debate forward into new territory.

I had a hard time coming back from Quebec City. I know because, almost two months later, I still have the map in my backpack. In part it was exhaustion, tear gas residue, and the sense of having been through a battle in a war most of my neighbours are totally unaware of. But deeper than that is my sense that something was unleashed in that battle that can't be put back: that underlying the chaos, the confusion, the real differences among us and the danger we were in, was something so tender…

3 September 2001 Ippy D

Carlo Giuliani was a young man killed by another young man: a conscript policeman who was travelling in a vehicle which was being attacked by protesters during the G8 protests in Genoa. In so many ways his death was inevitable – not the death of him personally, but of one or more protesters taking part in mass and chaotic action against the dominant political and economic institutions, set against the repressive and violent response of the forces of “law and order”.

This is not to ignore or condone the sometimes random and violent actions of some activists and police infiltrators. The expressions on the faces of the police who witnessed Carlo Giuliani's death should remind us of their intrinsic humanity, and that no-one should be on the receiving end of a rock, a petrol bomb, or a fist. However, this “violent 'anarchist' thuggery” – as it has been described – shouldn't divert us from the massive, overwhelming violence that millions of people experience…

3 September 2001 Matt Meyer

In a special report for PN, Matt Meyer looks at the hopes for peace in Eritrea, ten years after liberation from Ethiopian control.

Brighter than New Year's Eve, the fireworks of midnight 23 May, that lit up the southern shores of the Red Sea, signified freedom from colonial subjugation and from war. In Africa's newest country of Eritrea – celebrating ten years of liberation from Ethiopian control, eight years of full independence since the referendum that affirmed the widespread desire for nationhood, and less than six months since the ceasefire in a bloody three-year border conflict – the mood is one of cautious…

3 September 2001 Julia Kraft and Andreas Speck

Following on from Peace News 2439 on noviolence and social empowerment (NVSE), Andreas Speck and Julia Kraft report on the War Resisters' International NVSE conference, which took place earlier this year in Puri, India.

In February 2001, a little later than originally planned, 70 people from 20 countries on five continents met for a week at the Gandhi Labour Foundation in Puri on the Gulf of Bengal, in order to exchange experiences of empowerment, to raise questions, and to search for new answers1.

The venue was well-chosen. The Gandhi Labour Foundation, an educational centre of the Gandhian union movement, lies at the edge of a place of pilgrimage – Puri – and only a few minutes walk from the…

1 September 2001

Children are the future, right? So why have we constructed a world which requires children to: live short, difficult lives and to die in poverty; to be recruited into our militaries and to engage in conflict; to be raped, tortured and mutilated?

Is it just another perverse display of the self-destructive “human condition” or are there structural requirements which demand “power-over” children and which can—in theory at least—be dismantled? This issue of Peace News takes a look at the experience of children in relation to war and peace. Not just a catalogue of trauma and misery—child soldiers, child labourers, child victims—but also a presentation of children as survivors, as (small) people who are constructing peace in their own…

3 June 2001 John LaForge

Writing from prison with an update on the experiences of US activists, John La Forge continues the debate on the law and nuclear weapons.

Last June two nuclear weapons abolitionists sawed down three of the 4,000 poles that hold antenna lines for the US Navy's Project ELF (extremely low frequency) submarine transmitter (PN 2440).

Bonnie Urfer and Michael Sprong are not alone in believing that their action was lawful, which is why the two so boldly accepted responsibility for the damage – unlike vandals or thieves. Convicted in February 2001, they were sentenced in Madison in May.

Crime prevention

The…

3 June 2001 Franco Perna

Franco Perna reports on the initiatives of the Quaker Peace Centre and recent political and social events affecting the "new" South Africa.

An article in the Quaker weekly, The Friend, led me to travel to South Africa with the prime motivation to volunteer and become acquainted with post-Apartheid peace-related initiatives in general, and with the work of the Quaker Peace Centre (QPC) in particular. An email exchange and phone call were enough to book a cheap one-month ticket. In retrospect, I wished I had gone for longer.

On arrival I found a friendly welcome, a pleasant climate and easy going people all around. During…

1 June 2001 Cynthia Cockburn

A gender issue of Peace News ... mmm. Could be a big yawn. Are they trotting out those banale "sex differences" again? Are they using the "g" word to avoid the "f" word? Neither. This issue is feminist, it's about power, it affirms the value of women-only organising and, as you'll see, it features men, masculinity and the pros and cons of partnership. In this guest editorial Cynthia Cockburn puts forward the case for a gendered analysis of war and violence and discusses the articles in this issue.

War and militarism are highly gendered phenomena—they are difficult if not impossible to understand without reference to gender.

In the first place, national leaders who want to shape our ideas so that we favour fighting a war often address us in gendered terms. They appeal to the nation's manhood to stiffen its spine, recall its heroic past and protect its women-and-children. They represent warriors as manly; draft resisters as wimps and sissies. The technologies of war fighting…

3 March 2001 Ippy D

Nonviolent revolution? Perhaps not, but certainly one of the biggest nonviolent grassroots movements to contribute to radical political change. Ippy met the OTPOR activists from Serbia.

Personal responsibility is the key to the OTPOR movement in Serbia a movement which has been credited with contributing to the fall of Milosevic. With up to 80,000 activists, a wide variety of tactics and a belief in nonviolence, OTPOR has continued to keep the pressure up on the new incumbents. Since Kostunica took office he has been warned that only the removal of corrupt power-bases in the police, military and government will be enough to stave off future mass action.

At the end…

3 March 2001 Adam Keller and Beate Zilversmidt

With the election in Israel of the hardline former General, Ariel Sharon, Beate Zilversmidt and Adam Keller provide post-election analysis of what went wrong for Barak and what the future may hold for the peace process.

So, these most miserable elections ended as expected. What would have seemed an implausible nightmare but a few months ago is now a sober reality: Ariel Sharon has been elected Prime Minister of Israel.

Still, this result is not so much the victory of a notorious hard-liner as it is the defeat of the failing incumbent. Barak, the man who spoke peace but went to war, was not so much defeated by the opposition as by himself. As no leader of the right could possibly have done, it was…

3 March 2001 David McReynolds

Former US Presidential candidate David McReynolds gives us his assessment of what to expect from Bush: the next generation.

Where will the election of Bush the younger take the US in the next four years? The election was, as readers know, remarkable. In my lifetime I've seen nothing like it. There is little doubt in objective observers that Al Gore not only won the popular vote but would also have won the Florida vote if it had not been for the Supreme Courts stunning decision to end the vote count. (The Supreme Court, in ruling 5 to 4, made Bush the first President elected by a single vote.)

There was a…

3 March 2001 Jan Van Criekinge

On 16 January 2001, president Laurent-Désiré Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo was assassinated by one of his bodyguards. Was it just the action of one individual taking revenge? Or was it another step in the Central African power game, in which DR Congo is, more than ever, the keystone in the first African World War? Jan Van Criekinge reports.

Since October 1996, the war, in what was then still called Zaire under the dictatorship of Mobutu Sese Seko, was not just a regional conflict, neither an ethnic struggle. From the beginning of the uprising of the loose AFDL coalition, led by the unknown Laurent-Désiré Kabila, a veteran rebel fighter and gold smuggler from the days of the struggle after independence from Belgium in the early sixties, the real power behind it came from Rwanda and Uganda.

In the…

3 March 2001 Bruce Gagnon

The US and its allies plan to dominate space militarily and ensure the primacy of western economic and social values. Bruce Gagnon urges us to work to prevent a new arms race now, before it is too late.

What is our vision for the heavens? On a beautiful starry night do you look up to the moon and the stars and feel the connection to the ages? Can you imagine military bases on the moon and constellations of space-based lasers orbiting our planet? Can you envision the new military space plane, the successor to the shuttle, dropping off new space-based weapons systems and then returning to earth?

We are at a defining moment in history as the US leads the rest of the world into this…

1 March 2001 Ippy D

When we made the decision to put this issue of Peace News together we did so because we knew that many of the issues being tackled by the so-called new breed of anti-globalisation activists are directly and undeniably linked with militarism. But that in many ways the international peace movement has been quite slow and ineffective at making those links visible. This issue of Peace News is one attempt to further expose and highlight those links.

We spent time attempting to pin down exactly what we would focus on, and in the end rejected creating an issue which focuses on globalisation however topical. Instead, while acknowledging the context provided by the ease with which capital, goods and services have been enabled to flow around the world, we decided that what we were really doing was creating an issue which would look at the economies of militarism.

To this end, PN 2442 has tried to focus on four distinct areas:

The…