1 June 2001 Ruth Hiller

What about the people whose lives are turned upside down when they decide that, yes, they will support their friends or family in their objection to military service. Ruth Hiller describes her experience as a mother of a CO and as a feminist activist.

Just three years ago my son Yinnon approached me and told me that he could not serve in the military on moral grounds. He said he knew with growing certainty that pacifism was his ideal. He was sixteen years old.

The soul-searching that followed this declaration was not just my son's. It became mine as well, and that of the entire family. The process was deep and often painful. It forced us to question our core values, demanding a re-evaluation of ourselves as parents, siblings, as…

1 June 2001 Sergeiy Sandler

Drawing on his personal experience, Sergeiy Sandler examines the motivations and consequences of resisting military service as part of a masculine identity.

When Peace News asked me to write this essay, I found myself in a strange position. Here I am, a conscientious objector to military service, and a feminist, asked to write about the connection between conscientious objection and gender identity from my particular personal perspective, and not knowing where to begin. After all, strange as it may seem, I had never thought of this connection in this respect before.

I would like to begin by explaining why I never thought of my…

1 June 2001

Militarism and war have in some ways changed their nature in the last two decades. Or is it our perception of them that's changed? As women in Europe involved in groups opposing militarism and war we have found ourselves having to re-organise our resistance and re-think the alternatives we are calling for.

These thoughts prompted twenty of us to get together for a weekend workshop in Amsterdam at the end of January, an opportunity for in-depth discussion of women's current and future anti-militarist and anti-war strategies.

Some of the women at the Amsterdam workshop came from women-only groups. Some were active, as feminists, in groups with men. While some of us were more “specialised” in one kind of activism or another, women were commonly doing a bit of several kinds of things: non-…

1 March 2001 Chris Ney

This excerpt was taken from the introduction to the new US War Resisters League booklet on militarism and globalisation examines both the evolution of the dominant economic system and the roots of the contemporary struggle for economic justice.

The relationship between military violence and economic exploitation is not new nor is it limited to modern capitalist economics. The dynamic was present in the former Communist societies and it was present before industrial capitalism developed.

Many have argued that globalisation began more than five hundred years ago when the Europeans first sent their armies to the New World. The conquest of the Americas (and subsequent subjugation of Africa and Asia) produced fantastic wealth…

1 March 2001 Chris Ney

The declaration of martial law in Bolivia last year as a response to nonviolent protest against water privatisation exposes the relationship between the military and economic interests. Chris Ney talked with prominent Bolivian activist Oscar Oliveraabout the impact of World Bank privatisation programmes, the mass mobilisation of concerned citizens, and the response of the state.

As thousands of protesters filled the streets of Washington in April 2000, closing the US capital to oppose the policies of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, their peers in Bolivia were demanding the right to drinking water.

Following massive protests against the privatisation of the nations water supply, the Bolivian government had declared martial law. A leader of the Bolivian movement, Oscar Olivera, escaped the repression just in time to join the Washington…

1 March 2001 Drazen Simlesa

Since Dayton, Croatia has been developing in the typical western model: privatisations, foreign banks, Partnership for Peace, and a new liberal government. But in this post-war society there are both unresolved and new issues that threaten to polarise the population. Drazen Simlesa reports.

Several years ago the Croatian Department of Tourism led a big marketing campaign to try to attract the long dreamed about tourists who were still afraid of the instability in the region. The Department promised a small country for a great holiday. The only thing left out of the entire advertising trick is in the title of this article.

The minister who devised this tourism slogan subsequently had to step down from government due to being exposed for nepotism, after hiring his wife who…

1 March 2001 Gustavo Esteva

In this comment on grassroots responses to the election of Fox, Gustavo Esteva argues that the people will not be easily appeased.

“On the night of 2 July [2000] Mexico finally became a democracy.” This statement, in Time, expressed the view of the media pundits celebrating the outcome of the elections in Mexico as another step forward in the implementation of the neoliberal agenda.

At the grassroots, the people were also celebrating, but for very different reasons. They had no illusions about the implications of the elections. “For us,” said an indigenous leader on 3 July, “the system is like a snake;…

1 March 2001 Harry Cleaver

With the fall of the PRIafter 75 years in government there is some hope that Mexico may change its military operation in Chiapas and withdraw forces to pre- 1994 positions. In light of possible changes in military posture, combined with the new presidents, commitment to neo-liberal economic policy, Harry Cleaver argues that human rights advocates must shift their understanding of repression in such a manner as to grasp economic as well as police and military based repression.

President Foxs order for a withdrawal of military forces from Zapatista communities should not only be seen as a step in the right direction toward the reversal of the Mexican governments terrorist policies in Chiapas it must also be seen, and appreciated, as a victory for the Zapatista communities that have held out with so much courage during these long years of repression.

Whatever happens next, these current actions, that reportedly include the dismantling of military checkpoints…

1 March 2001 Janet Kilburn

The nuclear industry has always been intrinsically bound up with state militarism and in the globalised marketplace. Now some companies are happily crossing national boundaries with these most sensitive of commodities. Janet Kilburn looks at British government contracts for nuclear weapons production.

In the post-Thatcherist political landscape of British society we continue, in a truly British fashion, to maintain the notion of the level playing field, meanwhile progressing the ethos of protectionist privatisation with a ruthless and self-serving agenda.

New phrases (and concepts) such as public-private-partnership and private finance initiative are commonplace in the political language of modern Britain under Tony Blair's personal version of caring capitalism.

A cynical…

1 March 2001 Rafael Marques

Former political prisoner, Rafael Marques, argues that no matter what the revelations about the role of oil and diamonds in the Angolan war, for the majority of Angolans they will be little more than excuses used to justify the carnage. The core issue is the right of the Angolan people to live in peace.

Nowadays, the Angolan war has become silent almost perfect for both the warmongers and the outsiders who profit from the death and destruction of the country. The Angolan war does not disturb public opinion any longer. It is an old and intractable affair. It causes indifference.

In a recent interview with the Catholic-run Radio Ecclesia, the Angolan minister of defence, Kundy Paihama, dismissed the civilian death toll of a rebel attack against the capital of the Northern province of…

1 March 2001 Sian Jones

Military occupation creates new economies, andin countries devastated by war prostitution offers women an opportunity to earn a living. Sian Jones looks at the commodification of women by and for soldiers, aid workers and the traffickers.

When I was finally sold here in Brcko I was sold for DM 4,000. I heard that when you are sold once you are going to be sold many times again and you will never be able to earn the money to pay the original price. I thought that I would never be able to return home and never be able to pay the money to get me home.1

Since at least the 19th century, the military has sought to regulate the lives of prostitutes and other women working around military bases, and in so doing recreated…

1 March 2001 Terry Crawford-Browne

Following investigations by a special unit and whistle-blowing by concerned ANC MPs, a dramatic arms for oil scandal is emerging in South Africa . Terry Crawford-Browne asks what South Africas priorities really are clean water or armaments?

The Defence White Paper released in May 1996 had noted that there is no foreseeable conventional military threat to South Africa, and that the government has prioritised the daunting task of addressing poverty and the socio- economic inequalities resulting from the system of apartheid.

The South African Constitution similarly declares in Chapter 11, Section 198 (a) that: National security must reflect the resolve of South Africans, as individuals and as a nation, to live as equals,…

1 January 2001 Donna Howard

Can the international peace movement create a nonviolent peace army in the image of Gandhis ideas of shanti sena? Building on decades of small-scale nonviolent interventions and the work of peace-teams, the Global Nonviolent Peace Force are developing ideas on a grand scale. Donna Howard explains.

We agree then, that the war system has to be taken apart. Trident by Trident, military by military, resource by resource. It is we who must do it, with our hammers and bolt-cutters, our court cases and treaties, our letters and votes, our non-payment of war taxes. With these same hands and hope we must simultaneously build a viable and compassionate alternative to those killing sanctions and NATO bombs. The Global Nonviolent Peace Force proposes to do just that, by offering energetic and…

1 January 2001 Jamey Bouwmeester

In this personal reflection on his work with Christian Peacemaker Teams, Jamey Bouwmeester laments paradises lost.

Standing on the wharf, an Esgeno'petitj community member looked out at the water of Miramichi Bay, out at the buoys that mark the community's lobster traps. Sometimes I imagine what it would be like, she said and paused. Sometimes I imagine what it would be like if we could fish in peace. If we didn't always have to look over our shoulders to make sure the DFO (Department of Fisheries and Oceans) arent there. This could be a beautiful place.

In my mind I'm transported halfway across…

1 January 2001 Julia Guest

Julia Guest reports from the West Bank city of Hebron on the work of the Christian Peacemaker Team and the philosophy behind their approach to nonviolent interventions.

She's just coming home from Ramallah, she's been away, you have to let her through explained Anita, with her Christian Peacemaker Team (CPT) armband and hat, a signal of her role as interventionist. The two soldiers did not look convinced, their sole purpose, to maintain curfew. No one can go now argued the young Israeli, and as if to add reason to his statement he added Anyway they are not human, you saw on the TV. Implying the lynching in Ramallah of the Israeli Defence Force (IDF)…

1 January 2001 Kate Witham

Former peace team member Kate Witham challenges us to examine the gender dynamics of nonviolent intervention, arguing that feminist-pacifist interventions may differ because they recognise the links between masculinity, militarism, patriarchal domination and war.

Send in 1000 grandmothers, sang Holly Near, in response to Natos bombing of Yugoslavia wonderfully inspiring idea and perhaps not as bizarre as it sounds. Its certainly not a new suggestion, although as women's nonviolent interventions are seldom discussed you'd be forgiven for thinking so.

I am particularly talking about grassroots nonviolent action that either occurs or impacts across national borders, aiming to prevent violence or assist social change. Firstly I want to share…

1 January 2001 Ken Simons

Why intervene?

Why intervention? Let the Bosnians sort it out for themselves! How many times did we hear variations on that sentiment, usually but not always by people trying to justify the destruction being done by the Yugoslav and Bosnian Serb armies and the militias?

The easy pacifist answer to that challenge (I know, because I frequently made it myself) was that something had to be done, short of military intervention, or else the calculated hatred we were seeing in that small region of Europe…

1 January 2001 Luis Enrique Eguren

Using the example of Peace Brigades Internationals work in Colombia, Luis Enrique Eguren discusses the significance of the role of international observers in the protection of local people working in conflict.

Civilian third party interventions are one of the new paths currently being explored for transforming conflicts and keeping and building a sustainable peace, beyond the traditional diplomatic and strategic interventions (and also beyond their traditional objectives). But this new path goes into uncharted territory, and we still have to ask ourselves some key questions in order to gain a sense of direction and, as a result of this process, learn directly from our experiences.

One of…

1 January 2001 Maggie Helwig

Was UNAMETs mission in East Timor an example of an unusually large, unusually well-resourced nonviolent intervention? If so, it presents interesting dilemmas, and perhaps some lessons, for the nonviolent movement, argues Maggie Helwig.

On 5 May 1999, the United Nations and the governments of Indonesia and Portugal signed an agreement to hold a consultation as to public opinion, in East Timor, about Indonesia's offer of special autonomy for the territory.

The rather byzantine agreement, the result of Kofi Annan's seizing upon an impulsive remark of Indonesian President Habibie, who in an unguarded moment had said that if the Timorese didn't want autonomy he would let them just go was in fact a thinly-disguised vote…

1 January 2001 PN staff

What were the hot topics nearly fifty years ago? We travel back in time and take a peek at interventions 1950s style  

MP urges UN peace force for Arab-Israeli border

In a letter to the Manchester Guardian last week, outlining several methods whereby the United Nations might police the borders between Israel and its Arab neighbours, Henry Usborne, MP, has called for the use of a corps of 10,000 unarmed men. He advocated the use of an unarmed cosmopolitan corps of some ten thousand men under General Burns to be recruited on a voluntary basis by the UN Secretariat. This would be a UN peace force equipped only…