A step towards globalising nonviolence

The 24th War Resisters' International Triennial Conference

From 23-27 July, the 24th WRI "Triennial" conference took place in Eringerfeld, Germany. Surely, participation was more global than at many recent WRI conferences, with more than 200 participants from all continents and more than 30 countries present.

However, German visa regulations prevented Samiira Jama-Ebli from Somaliland from speaking at the conference. Some other participants from Nigeria, Mali, and Senegal were not able to participate because of visa problems.

The stated aims of the conference were:

  • making nonviolence more central in the global movement of resistance to war and economic domination,
  • adapting nonviolent analysis and strategy to the threats we face today, and
  • consolidating and reviving our antimilitarist, nonviolent, global network.

It can be questioned if it was possible to achieve all these - certainly high - aims, but surely the conference was a step in that direction, and contributed to WRI's understanding of these issues.

A - timely - highlight of the conference was certainly the plenary on Israel-Palestine, with Dorothy Naor from New Profile, Israel, Sheerin Al-Ajab from Palestine, and Angie Zelter from the International Women's Peace Service.

Stellan Vinthagen provoked some discussion with his introduction to a nonviolent strategy for the global peace and justice movement - or the lack of strategy, and the gaps within nonviolent analysis.

And the discussion between Jai Sen from India, and ex-WRIChair Joanne Sheehan on the relationship between the movement for globalisation from below and the anti-war movement pointed to a variety of views on the World Social Forum, and problems within the WSF process.

It is too early to reflect on the outcomes of the conference. However, some concrete plans have been made at the conference:

  • A concerted effort for WRI to be present and visible at the World Social Forum in Kenya in January 2007, with seminars promoting nonviolence and antimilitarism. Anyone interested in joining in please contact the WRI office at info@wri-irg.org.
  • A new network/working group within WRI on military interventions, or resistance to interventions, focused on actions in Europe. Please contact Hans Lammerant from Forum voor Vredesactie if you want to get involved (hans@vredesactie.be).
  • A statement on Israel and Lebanon, available on WRI's website at http://wri-irg.org/statemnt/lebanon06-en.htm.

Andreas Speck and Javier Garate