For many years, it looked like obligatory military service was on the way out. But in the last five years, the picture has changed: Norway has extended conscription for women; Sweden has reintroduced conscription for all; Ukraine, Georgia, Lithuania and Kuwait have reintroduced conscription for men after short hiatuses; Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have introduced conscription for the first time. We look at why governments are turning to compulsion in filling their armies, and what this means for pacifist movements.

Aimpoint is a Swedish company, manufacturing red-dot magnifying optic sights for a wide range of military, law enforcement, and commercial hunting weapons. Aimpoint was formed in 1974 and is based in Malmo, Sweden. Militaries all over the world, including the US military and NATO member countries use the company’s sights, and they are available from suppliers on every continent.

Stop Aurora!

Throughout September, the Swedish military is taking part in the largest war games held in the country in decades. Thousands of Swedish troops and NATO countries including United States, Finland, France, Estonia, Lithuania, Norway and Denmark will participate.

Sweden is to reintroduce military conscription by 1 July, citing difficulties in filling army ranks on a voluntary basis and increased Russian military activity in the Baltics.

The defence minister the Social Democrat-Green coalition government, Peter Hultqvist, said the move was in response to a deteriorating security environment in Europe. “We are in a context where Russia has annexed Crimea,” the minister told AFP. “They are doing more exercises in our immediate vicinity.”

Hanna Sofie Utsi

Translated from the original Swedish into English by Anna Björklund

Huge machines gouge wounds in the earth, and tears run down my cheeks. The police have cleared away the local population, Sami, and activists.

My tears are of anger, sorrow, and despair, but not of hopelessness. Not in the least. The fight for Gállok and the Sami is far from over. It has only just begun.

Burghfield Lockdown: 25 European Activists Questioned under Schedule 7 Terrorism Act 2000 in Calais

25 international peace activists from Finland, Sweden, and Belgium travelling on a coach from Finland to Burghfield in Berkshire to take part in the Burghfield Lockdown blockade planned for Monday 2 March were stopped and searched under Schedule 7 Terrorism Act by British anti-terror police in Calais on 28 February 2015. The pacifists from groups including the Union of Conscientious Objectors Finland (AKL), ofog in Sweden and Agir pour la Paix in Belgium are part of a group of more than 40 European activist who will take part in the blockade of AWE Burghfield on Monday 2 March 2015, to build up pressure against the renewal of Britain’s Trident nuclear weapon system [1].

Back to the Contents of the book

Cattis Laska and Hanns Molander

Militarism is not just a war, an army or a fighter jet. Militarism is a system, a logic and a set of norms that perpetuates and recreates our societies and our daily lives. Queer analysis of power is a political tool that can help us to challenge these norms, and thus, to also challenge militarism.

The 16th of May the peace activist Martin Smedjeback will start to serve his two week sentence at the penitentiary Sörbyn, outside of Umeå in the north of Sweden. He was convicted for illegal trespass into the air force base F21 in Luleå in the northern part of Sweden. Inside he and Annika Spalde painted the air strip pink. The action was a part of the international peace camp War starts here organized by the antimilitaristic network Ofog.


January 30, 2013
Peace network Ofog, Sweden

Swedish peace campaigner Martin Smedjeback today received a prison sentence of 14 days from a provincial court in the Scandinavian country. On July 29, 2011, together with Annika Spalde, he went inside the air force base F21 in Luleå in the northern part of Sweden. Inside they painted the air strip pink. Spalde who had already before received and served a sentence of 14 days in prison for an earlier action the same week, did not get any further sentence.

Kristina Johansson & Martin Smedjeback

On 29 October 2012 two peace activists from the Swedish anti-militarist network Ofog were in the district court of Malmö. The arms company Aimpoint demanded €40,000 in damages from them.

In 2008 Ofog held a rally outside of Aimpoint's Malmö base. The two activists climbed over the fence into the arms company's grounds to show their opposition to Swedish arms exports. The police arrested them quickly and calmly on the other side of the fence. Aimpoint chose to close their production that day because of the protest, and are now demanding that the activists should pay the company’s costs for lost production and security. We believe that this is a way to intimidate activists into silence.

In this article we will explain how we understand in what ways politics about gender, sexuality and war are related to each other. We will also tell you about some actions Ofog (anti-militarist network) did against the Swedish Armed Forces participation in the last Pride festival (August 2011).

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