From the office

Views and updates on the situation in Syria

Image: FreedomHouse2 - flic.kr/p/brPKzSImage: FreedomHouse2 - flic.kr/p/brPKzS

Pulling together views and updates on the situation in Syria from a variety of WRI-linked commentators:

Syria: Nonviolence is Still an Option

from IFOR

Tackling the big beast

Global Day of Action on Military Spending: an overview

By Colin Archer

The big monster of militarism can be challenged in many different ways. Substantial campaigning communities have grown up over the years around specific weapons systems: for example, nuclear, landmines/clusters, small arms, and more recently drones. Others are working on issues like conscription, military bases, war taxes or the arms trade. The Global Day of Action on Military Spending, GDAMS, was brought into being to focus attention on the economic aspects of the problem, notably public spending. For the International Peace Bureau (coordinating organisation) it is a part of our wider programme on Disarmament for Sustainable Development.

War Resisters' International condemns Pinar Selek's life sentence

Solidarity with Pinar SelekSolidarity with Pinar SelekStatement from 8 February 2013

War Resisters' International, an international network of pacifist and antimilitarist organisations with more than 80 affiliates in 40 countries, condemns the persecution of Pinar Selek.

On 24 January 2013, Pinar Selek, a Turkish feminist antimilitarist campaigner, was given a life sentence by an Istanbul court. The court issued an arrest warrant for Pinar, who is currently living in Strasbourg.

Scribus volunteer

ScribusScribusWe are looking for a volunteer who can help us with our publications and communications work.

Specifically, we'd like someone who is used to using the open source desktop publishing software Scribus, or other desktop publishing software.

Mali: statements and analysis

Bringing together statements and analysis on January 2013's military interventions in Mali.

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Mali: peace is not war!

Statement from WRI section Union pacifiste de France. Also available in French here.

War taxes paid under protest

PRESS RELEASE

On Thursday 17th January, War Resisters' International, a global network of pacifist organisations based in London, will pay taxes that have been withheld for five years, under protest to HM Revenue and Customs.

Since 2007, War Resisters' International has been withholding a proportion of PAYE as a form of protest against Britain's military policies - the high level of military spending, the cooperation with criminal programmes such as the "rendition" of suspects, spurious rationales for military intervention, and the development and manufacture weapons of mass destruction and drones for long-distance assassination.

Standing up to Repression

The Broken Rifle, No 94, December 2012

Fear is something that every social movement has to deal with, whether in situations of severe repression or in relatively open societies. Discussing fear under the Pinochet dictatorship, the Chilean social commentator Manuel Antonio Garretón referred to two archetypal childhood fears: the fear of the dog that bites, and the fear of the darkened room. The specific threat that we can see, assess and work out how to handle, and the generalised threat of an unknown - a room where something bad might be waiting for you. In a dictatorship or under an occupation, the presence of fear is tangible - yet there are always episodes where somehow people overcome that fear and take action. In relatively open societies, the fears may not be so obvious - yet they are there, somehow always a factor in maintaining obedience and conformity, in inhibiting people from questioning authority or sometimes simply from being who we want to be.

Bon voyage, Andreas

After 11 years in the WRI office - and a period before that in which he was WRI treasurer and principal organiser of the 2001 study conference on Nonviolence and Social Empowerment - Andreas Speck is leaving the WRI office. From 1 January onwards, he will be cycling from Buenos Aires northwards.

One of the best compliments for an anarchist - or indeed any nonviolent activist - is to describe them as a practical visionary, and Andreas has been the epitome of a practical visionary. As the main architect of WRI's Right to Refuse to Kill programme, he has worked for the rights of objectors yet keeping firmly in mind that the point of war resistance is to prevent war and build a better future. Through this programme, WRI has effectively interceded with international institutions while keeping our character as a mutual support network trying to change the world, rather than becoming yet another "NGO". All over the world - from Turkey and Egypt to Russia, South Korea and Latin America - there are objector groups who have benefited from his understanding of their context and support in making them more effective.

Solidarity: a barrier between you and fear

Dear friends,

My name is Hülya Üçpınar, I am a human rights lawyer in Turkey. I write on returning from an exchange on nonviolence training co-hosted by War Resisters' International. The event reminded me of the distinctive contribution that WRI makes to movements for peace and antimilitarism.

Fundamentally, WRI is a network -- a collective of like-minded groups, each struggling against militarism and warmongering in our own contexts. With the support of two staff in the WRI office in London, we lend each other vital solidarity and encouragement.

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