15 May - International Conscientious Objectors Day
Focus on US resisters and GIs
From May 11th to 16th, an international group of conscientious objectors will gather in New York City and Washington, DC for Operation Refuse War, a week of conferences, demonstrations, and actions in celebration of International Conscientious Objectors Day, May 15th. With no end in sight to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a sharp drop in the number of new military recruits, and deep dissatisfaction within the military, the need to popularize conscientious objection and to support conscientious objectors has never been stronger.
Since the 1980s, May 15th has been celebrated as International Conscientious Objectors' Day. Each year, activities are held in a country where conscientious objectors are facing persecution or harassment. Previous locations have included the Balkans in 2002, Israel in 2003, Chile in 2004, and Greece in 2005. In addition, a similar gathering of conscientious objectors has been held each year in Washington, DC to forward the rights of conscientious objectors in the United States.
This week of action will highlight the difficulties that current conscientious objectors face as well as help build relationships and connections between the various communities within the anti-war movement. The focus of the events will be on supporting contemporary American conscientious objectors and their families, as well as examining the current potential of conscientious objection (in its various forms) as a strategy for building an anti-war movement. In addition, Operation Refuse War will bring together international and American conscientious objectors to share their experiences and ideas. The week will end with a trip for some to speak to individual members of Congress and others to join a demonstration that connects the opposition of this war with the opposition of other wars.
Part of this weekend will include a meeting of the conscientious objectors with the GI Rights Hotline and members of the Military Law Task Force of the National Lawyers Guild. In addition, the Hotline and Guild members will spend time on their own working to better their response to the ever-increasing demand for help from the members of the military who seek to resist the war.
Sponsoring organizations include
- the War Resisters League;
- War Resisters' International;
- American Friends Service Committee Youth and Militarism Program;
- the Center on Conscience & War;
- the Washington Peace Center;
- the National Youth and Student Peace Coalition; and
- Student Peace Action Network (SPAN).
Globalising Nonviolence, 23-27 July 2006, Germany
- Are you interested in both nonviolence and globalisation?
- Are you campaigning against war?
- Are you involved in nonviolent direct action or curious to learn more?
The War Resisters' International conference Globalising Nonviolence will be a great opportunity to meet activists from all over the world, to get to know what makes them tick, and to see how you can help each make another world possible. Around the world, a movement of movements is converging. This movement seeks to counterpose the perspective and values of people's power to those of global financial institutions, transnational corporations or governments. This is a movement of globalisation from below.
WRI believes that this movement of movements has a major role to play in this globalisation from below. Hence the theme of our upcoming international conference - Globalising Nonviolence.
Conference discussions will:
- Analyse the contemporary situation of economic, cultural and political globalisation. How are capitalist globalisation and militarism related?
- Develop strategies for nonviolent resistance towards the unjust aspects of globalisation. How do we create nonviolent social change?
- Bring together people from the globalisation critical movement and WRI's network of pacifists and anti-militarists for mutual exchange of ideas on nonviolent opportunities for resistance.
- Strengthen networks and create new links between activists from all over the world.
More information at www.globalisingnonviolence.org