From the office

en

The Broken Rifle, No 95, March 2013

Javier Gárate

Is strategy a buzzword within nonviolent social movements? I ask myself this question since at social movements meetings I repeatedly hear: “We need to be strategic” or “Why are people not interested in strategy?” In changing a certain problem, is having a clear strategy the key factor in what movements can achieve? If so, then what that makes a good strategy? And what helps groups develop such strategies? These are some questions we have been asking ourselves for many years at War Resisters' International.

International Conference, Ahmedabad, India, 22 - 25 of January 2010

There is an inescapable link between the globalisation-induced displacement, dis-employment and dispossession that are results of internal wars and ravage local, traditional and indigenous natural-resource based communities everywhere. There is a linkage between these and the monstrous international wars - whether they are fought in Afghanistan, Iraq, Congo or Somalia. The biggest challenge therefore is to build alliances that are local and global at the same time, and those that not only resist injustice but also present alternatives.

Medha Patkar

When we think of social change, we often think of protests, campaigns, and direct action. These are all vital ways to say “no!” to destructive practices and institutions.

Permaculture farmers in El Salvador

However, it's equally important that we are building concrete alternatives, where we say “yes!” to the vision of the world we want. Built on the same power analysis as our nonviolent direct action, “constructive programmes” can be powerful acts of resistance. Constructive programmes demonstrate the radical alternatives – to militarism and the causes of climate change, for example – that our world desperately needs, and puts them into practise in the here and now.

For Gandhi, a nonviolent revolution without a constructive programme was impossible; direct action and social change had to be embedded in empowered and vibrant communities that were bringing their own radical and egalitarian visions of life. Along with protest and direct action, he called for communities in India to start building the world they wanted to see, to build a new world in the shell of the old.

WRI in 2016

Placheolder image

As we approach the end of 2016, we're looking back on what WRI has been up to this year - we thought we would share some of the highlights,as we look towards a 2017 of radical action against war and it's causes!

Bram, Luis and Javier, outside court Early in the year, we were excited to hear the news that several members of WRI affiliates in Europe were found "not guilty!" in a trial that exposed the criminality of the DSEi arms fair. Javier, Bram and Luis travelled from Belgium to London in September 2015 to help blockade the entrances of the huge weapons fair alongside activists from the UK. At the end of the year, we were also relieved to hear that members of Spanish group AA-MOC had their charges dropped, following an action to disrupt a NATO training event in 2015.

In April, members of the WRI network travelled to Turkey to take part in a delegation, visiting Diyarbakir and towns effected by the curfews and armed conflict that has gripped the region. The delegation inspired a petition to the EU, and a speakers tour of European cities.

Our work this year

Read about what War Resisters' International have been up to in our annual report. News of our programmes, our campaigning work in Turkey, our publications and meetings, and a look towards the year ahead.

Follow these links to find the report in

English Français Deutsch Español

Every year, War Resisters' International holds an annual Council meeting - this is where some of the big decisions about our organisation get made, by the groups who make up the network. This year our meeting is happening online, and you can take part.

Webinars

We will have four "webinars" open to the public. These online seminars will explore some of the key work we have been doing this year, and discuss important events internationally. After input from our presenters, there will be time for questions and discussions. They will be recorded and made available online afterwards. All timings are in Coordinated Universal Time. Look that up here.

International responses to Syria, Saturday 15th October, 12.30pm UTC

Stopping the cycle of violence in Turkey, Monday 17th October, 4.00pm UTC

Constructive programmes: 'New Worlds in Old Shells', Wednesday 19th October, 12:30 UTC

Countering the militarisation of youth: examples of resistance, Friday 21st October, 4.00pm UTC

Discussion threads

As well as webinars, our meeting will include discussion threads on a platform called Loomio. If you are interested in taking part in these please email info@wri-irg.org with the subject 'WRI eCouncil participation'.

Download this report as a pdf

Put together by the WRI Executive Committee and Staff

Introduction

Another year has passed, and with it far too much death and destruction caused by wars and militarism. But people around the world continue to stand up for peace and resist the military (non)solutions, the arms race, the injustices, the unequal distributions of resources. In this annual report, you'll read about some of these struggles; conscientious objectors refusing being part of the war machine, groups around the world taking action against the militarisation of youth, peace activists coming together to learn from each other and strengthen ongoing campaigns and networks.

The report include an account of the WRI programme activities since the last Council, the work of WRI and its affiliates in the different regions of the world, the WRI internal business, WRI publications, statements and press releases, the WRI campaign to stop the violence in Turkey , WRI’s financial situation and finally an outlook for the coming year. As you will read in the report, organisations and individuals continue to find WRI to exchange experiences and knowledge, forming links between peace activists around the world and building stronger movements as we learn from each other.

Dear friends,

I am writing from World Without War in South Korea. Alongside War Resisters' International, World Without War has just hosted the “Stopping the War Business” seminar and

actions against the ADEX arms fair. It has only been two years since we launched our campaign against ADEX, but thanks to international solidarity, significant progress has already been made.

Now I'm asking you to support with your donation WRI's work as the international pacifist network that nurtures this solidarity.

I’m convinced pacifism knows no borders. International solidarity within WRI has been vital to the work of World Without War, and the work of this global network has greatly benefited and helped the work of organisations like ours.


A new book from War Resisters' International has been published this week. Written by and for activists all over the world who are campaigning against war, militarism, and all kinds of injustice, it will be of use not only to conscientious objector movements.

Conscientious Objection: A Practical Companion for Movements is full of ideas to help groups work together, deal with power dynamics, surmount the external challenges they face, and enhance the concept of conscientious objection, using it in new and innovative ways — like resistance to war profiteering, or the militarisation of youth. 

The book pays particular attention to the question of gender and the often invisible role of gender, both in the war machine and in the movements that oppose it. We believe this is the first book of its kind, we know it has lots of original content, and we hope it will become an invaluable resource in the worldwide peace movement. 

It will soon be available online, and you can purchase a copy here. Thank you to the many people who contributed to our crowdfunder, which made this book possible, and to all those who contributed to the book through writing articles and translations.

Translations into Thai and Spanish are already planned. If you would like to translate the book into your own language, please write to hannah@wri-irg.org

Buy it here.

War Resisters' International is organizing the 2nd International Week of Action Against the Militarisation of Youth this year from 14-20 November. The week is a call for nonviolent actions across the world to raise awareness of, and challenge, the ways young people are militarized, and to give voice to alternatives.

Last year saw the first ever international Week of Action whose main focus was education and research. Many groups in various countries including Canada, Germany, South Korea, the state of Spain, the USA, Israel and the UK took action to call for an end to the military's role in education and research. This year we are expanding our theme from education to all other public spaces where we see military engagement with young people.

We invite all groups and individuals willing to take action as part of this week and contact us via cmoy@wri-irg.org.

Read more...

Yesterday's attack against civilians in the southern Turkish town of Suruç killed dozens of people. Conscientious objectors Alper Sapan and Polen Ünlü  were amongst those killed. In solidarity and respect, we share news from WRI member Merve Arkun:

Two of our CO friends were murdered by a suicide bomb attack that has happened in Pirsus (Suruç, Urfa, Turkey), today.

More than 31 people travelling to Kobanê to support resistance against ISIS have died. At least 100 were heavily wounded.

Here is his Alper Sapan's CO declaration:
I am Alper Sapan. I am an anarchist who 19 years old. I am against the injustice, exploitation and oppression of the state. I am rejecting violence and the state. I am listening to the voice of my conscience and objecting the military system for a world that no borders, no wars and no nations. I will not die, I will not kill for anybody and will not be anybody's soldier.

Before militarism ends our lives let's end militarism.

Information about Polen Ünlü is still being translated into English. You can find information in Turkish here.

via Vicdani Ret Derneği (Conscientious Objection Association)

War Resisters' International (WRI) is concerned for the safety of its members and of their fellow human rights defenders in Venezuela.

On 13 May the President of the National Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, publicly shared details of the travel arrangements of WRI member Rafael Uzcátegui from the Venezuelan Programa Venezolano de Educación-Acción en Derechos Humanos (Program for Education and Action on Human Rights - PROVEA), as well as those of Carlos Correa from Espacio Público (Public Space). The information was shared in Diosdado Cabello’s weekly television show “Con el Mazo Dando”. On this programme the work of human rights defenders is regularly questioned and details of their whereabouts are shared. The president of Venezuela, Nicholas Maduro, has described NGO workers who criticise the government as 'bandits', and called for the production of a documentary to be broadcast on television exposing the 'truth' about the work of human rights organisations. 

Among other details, on “Con el Mazo Dando” Diosdado Cabello announced that Rafael Uzcátegui and Carlos Correa were travelling to Chile to meet the former coordinator of PROVEA. This information had only been shared in private online communications, so there is cause to believe these communications are being monitored by the authorities.

Sharing such information puts Rafael, Carlos, and their friends and colleagues at risk. It arms militant government sympathizers with the information they would need to intimidate or attack them.

Subscribe to From the office