Alba Kör's NO to NATO in Hungary
With a national referendum on joining NATO due to take place mid-November in Hungary, the
government and the armed forces have intensified their propaganda efforts. WRI's affiliate in Hungary, Alba Kör, has been among the few dissenting voices to be heard in the country. After chaining themselves in front of a "NATO-Express" media train last year, Alba activists jumped on board a second NATO promotion train last March and made the front pages with pictures of their "Miss NO NATO." The culmination of their efforts will be the organisation of an international conference against NATO and NATO expansion titled A World Without NATO, to be held 31 October - 2 November, in Budapest.
This conference, largely funded by the American Friends Service Committee, is meant to be academic and scientific in nature, in order to lend "expert" credibility to the No to NATO arguments of peace activists. In addition to setting up an analytical framework for the discussion, they intend to develop concrete models of alternative security to produce a scientific document of use to other anti-NATO activists.
About 70 participants are expected, roughly half from abroad. While activists and observers will take part, the organisers are emphasising the importance of scientific and academic contribution. Specifically, organisers are seeking experts in the following fields: Ecology; Social Psychology; History; Economy; Politics; Military, Geopolitics, Security Politics; Alternative Pacifism.
The participation fee is US$60. Contact the organisers if you need financial assistance.
WRL's NO to the Pentagon
A Day Without the Pentagon -- 24 October
The War Resisters League (WRL) is calling for a national day of action to protest the ways in which the Pentagon manipulates, distorts, and destroys youth, economy and culture.
People are being asked to focus on what would be possible if the U.S. abolished the military altogether. Specifically, they are being asked to identify symbols of the Pentagon in their communities (e.g., military base, recruiting station, military contractor, etc.) and then to use them as a focus for organising against military spending. Other ideas include organising a gun turn-in, or a forum on ROTC at a local school.
A year later (October 19, 1998), WRL will organise an action at the Pentagon itself in an effort to non-violently halt the business of war. This action will serve as the culmination of WRL's 75th Anniversary Conference.
For more information and an organiser's kit, contact Chris Ney at the WRL office (address below).
International Youth Peace Week:
A Call To Action - 28 November - 6 December
Last year, fifty organisations and countless individuals participated in the first annual International YouthPeace Week. The participants, based primarily in the U.S., campaigned against everything from war toys and military recruitment to an unjust juvenile justice system which included the death penalty.
"This year," says Malkia M'Buzi Moore, War Resisters League's YouthPeace Coordinator, "we want to make the week of November 28 to December 6 a noteworthy international event. We will build a larger coalition of youth activists and adults who work for peace and justice on the behalf of youth. We want people around the world to be made aware the resonant power of nonviolent youth action."
Malkia M'Buzi Moore, YouthPeace/War Resisters League, 339 Lafayette St., New York, NY 10012, USA (tel +1 212 228-0450 --or from within the U.S. 1-800-WRL-YOUTH; fax +228 6193; email email@example.com).
Report from Recent WRI Affiliate: Omega Forum
Omega Forum, Sweden affiliated with WRI in 1995. Here is an excerpt of their latest report:
Omega Forum for civil disobedience and nonviolence is a working co-operative and living community of four in Hammarkullen, Sweden. Founded in 1989, it supports nonviolent action groups resisting oppression in general and weapons production in particular. Though their focus has largely been the Ploughshares movement, they have trained and worked with many others in their local area, including priests, teachers, and students. They also help produce the magazine "Hope & Resistance."
Omega Forum's main areas of involvement are research, training (especially in conflict resolution), actions, and gatherings. They have worked with other organisations to form local and national teams studying nonviolence and civil disobedience. The teams consist of lay and professional researchers with backgrounds in theology, sociology, law, international relations, and politics. Topics are varied, and
several papers are due to be published next year.
Omega Forum was involved in the first international Ploughshares gathering in Kiel, Germany, and has helped organise a week-long New Year's gathering for nonviolent activists in Sweden.
In addition to working closely with a Swedish Ploughshares group, they supported the Ploughshares "Seeds of Hope" members who stood trial in Liverpool, England. Omega Forum has also helped set up networks of organisations in Sweden working against weapons export.