This issue of the Broken Rifle is based on the report of our seminar held in Oxford in July 2000; So, 'Better late than never!'- a popular expression in my country. Nontheless the subject matter is as relevant as ever now that there are all these wars. Yet again we, an anti-militaristic group, have to decide how to deal with the everlasting war machine. Every member of our network has signed the statement, ´war is a crime against humanity'- which means we must oppose and resist it. The title of the Seminar was From Kosov@ to Seattle: what role for nonviolent action?
Several speakers were unhappy with the use of the term "non-war" in the title of this session. While situations in Israel, Yugoslavia (pre-'99) and Northern Ireland were neither full-scale war nor peace, speakers felt that the term "non-war" obscured the long-term, low-intensity nature of these conflicts
The Decline In Peace Activism In Post-Repressive Situations -- Croatia
Some say that there is no need for nonviolent activism in post-conflict situations, as the primary target is gone. Sadly however, the end of a conflict does not necessarily bring an end to all other problems.
Militarism, injustice and ethnic tensions can persist long after the guns have been laid to rest. Nonviolent action is necessary precisely to stop a renewed conflict breaking out again. But how do we respond to the drop in peace activism in post-repressive situations ?
Militarism has been the traditional target for the peace movement's nonviolent action. But keeping in mind the issues discussed in WRI's 1999 Seminar, "The Changing Face of the Military", we must remain vigilant of changes. The dictionary definition of militarism includes references to:
With protests at Seattle, Prague and Genoa, a diverse movement campaigning for global justice had received more and more media coverage. A lot of this has been negative, concentrating on violent riots at these summits rather than the issues. The words "globalisation" and "anti-globalisation" tend to be bandied about, with lots of confusion about their actual meaning. We cannot win an argument if we do not even understand the terms we are using.
Engaging and fostering links with people is one of the most important aspects of nonviolent action. We are frequently perceived as engaging solely in confrontational actions with either negative or utopian demands. In speaking up against the status quo, we threaten the vested interests of the media, and as a result usually receive a bad press. We must therefore try our hardest to link directly with all the people around us, as well as with those who are already working in similar areas.
Militarism is inextricably linked in with the wider patriarchal capitalist system we live in. This analysis however allows us to build links for setting ourselves short-term goals. And while doing that it is necessary for us to keep in view and understand the place of those short-term goals within the larger picture.
This suggests a shift to include acting towards more realistic, small-scale aims and a new variation on the theme: "Think total, act local"