Conference

Arts and cultural programme at WRI International Conference in Cape Town

A look back at the arts and cultural programme of the WRI conference in Cape Town, July 2014. Film thanks to Muti Films

'Resistance' - WRI's logo as a broken AK-47 public art project in Cape Town

The finished work from the airThe finished work from the air

Planned for the week of the Small Actions, Big Movements WRI conference, this installation in the middle of Cape Town's grand parade was delayed due to the inclement weather. Three months on, we're delighted to see it finally take shape! The broken AK-47 is covered in money, to highlight the corruption amongst those who profit from war.

Description from the artists: "Resistance" is a giant wheat paste public art installation; a world record spanning more than 100 meters. The image is of a broken AK -47. Resistance was born from a conversation between Ralph Ziman and (anti-arms activist) and Terry Crawford-Browne (one of the organisers of the Small Actions, Big Movements WRI conference).

Resistance was inspired by War Resisters' International - an anti-war organization founded in the wake of the First World War. War Resisters has existed for almost a century and has branches all around the world. The logo has always been a rifle, broken in half by a pair of hands.

Photos and footage thanks to the Resistance project and MUTI films.

Small Actions, Big Movements conference report

War Resisters' International held its first quadrennial International Conference in Africa 4-8 July 2014, in Cape Town's City Hall. The conference we co-hosted by the Ceasefire Campaign.

The meeting brought together 220 activists, researchers, and campaigners doing peace and nonviolence work from around the world for five days. Of the 220 participants, over half were African. The public conference followed meetings of the Pan-African Nonviolence and Peacebuilding Network and the Women Peacemakers Program. Before and afterwards WRI's Council and Assembly meetings took place. The meeting will have impacts on WRI as a network for years to come.

After Cape Town: gathering photos and reports

Desmond Tutu's makes a surprise appearance at the opening of the Small Actions, Big Movements: The Continuum of Nonviolence conference on the evening of 4th July 2014.

This page will gather text, videos and images from the Small Actions, Big Movements International Conference in Cape Town, July 2014.

War Resisters' International statement on Ukraine

War has returned to European soil, and it seems that Europeans are not capable, or not willing, to apply the lessons they try to teach in other parts of the planet. The European Union, a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, put Ukraine in an impossible position when it asked it to choose between a political pact with the EU or a close economic relationship with Russia. Ordinary people in Ukraine have some of the lowest wages in the continent, and face one of the highest levels of political and economic corruption, creating hopelessness among many of them - hence the offer from the EU seemed to many like a golden opportunity to take a first step out of the mire.

The use of violence by both sides in the later stages of the Maidan protests created a precedent, and served as a justification for the use of violence in parts of Ukraine where many people disagree with the country's new political course. Also, the presence of neo-nazis in the new official Ukrainian politics, and the rise of the paramilitary units connected with them, encouraged other Ukrainians - in areas where many feel more attracted to and connected with Russia than with the EU - to consider armed struggle a legitimate method of dealing with conflict.

Small Actions, Big Movements: the Continuum of Nonviolence

WRI International Conference, co-hosted by Ceasefire Campaign, Cape Town

This July, in an historic conference to be held in Cape Town, South Africa, War Resisters International will be convening a conference on Small Actions, Big Movements: the Continuum of Nonviolence. While we recognize that at times our demonstrations and campaigns start small, they can have wide effects when we work together.

Civil resistance and 'people power' movements: beyond regime change

South Africa in solidarity with PalestineSouth Africa in solidarity with PalestineToday it is obvious that unarmed popular movements are able to overthrow authoritarian regimes, even militarized and dictatorial regimes that have controlled countries for decades. Through mass demonstrations, civil disobedience, noncooperation, strikes and boycotts some 30 dictatorships have fallen during the last decades. We have more recently seen how entrenched authoritarian regimes have fallen within “the Arab Spring” in Egypt and Tunisia, and previously similar dramatic transitions have happened throughout Latin America, Easter Europe, Western Africa, as well as in South Africa, Iran, Indonesia, the Philippines, etc. All these examples point towards the people power or nonviolent revolution that Gandhi was instrumental in developing during the struggle in South Africa and India. However, it is also obvious today that these regime changes point towards a number of problems and challenges, some of which our theme group want to engage with.

An appeal from Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge: Please support the South Africa conference

Dear friends,

People power in South Africa – mass nonviolent direct action – helped end the scourge of apartheid and vicious, politically-sanctioned racism.

Today, twenty years since our first democratic elections, South Africa still faces many problems - including street violence, small arms, xenophobia, economic injustice – and opposition to these ills are mounting, with civil society again using creative, unarmed methods. Throughout the continent, we see increasing militarism too often supported by powerful politicians, and this year’s South African elections suggest that people all over are tired of business as usual.

It is in this context that we are welcoming War Resisters' International to Cape Town, for the first ever WRI International Conference in Africa.

We'd like your help to make this possible.

Register to join us in Cape Town!

With less than three months to go, join those (from Africa, Oceania, Europe, Asia and North America) who have already registered to join us at WRI's first International Conference in Africa, co-hosted by the Ceasefire Campaign! Registration is open until 10th May. If you need any help with the form, please just contact us at info@wri-irg.org.

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