It is in Europe where War Resisters' International (WRI) was founded. It is also there and in the USA where it has its bigger number of members and supporters. Clearly this is reflected in the way it functions as also in the issues that takes on. For the same reasons the groups that identify most strongly with the international are those in Europe plus War Resisters League in the USA. Through the years WRI has worked to become - as its name says - truly international, by adding groups and having activities with groups in other regions of the world.
Many of us have seen or heard about the events on 30 September in Ecuador, a day where, quite simply, the world was turned on its head. Police officers burning tyres and throwing stones, taking over the hospital where the President had been allegedly “sequestered”.
Within the global antimilitarist movement, Latin America has had a tradition based on its own particular history. During a large part of the 20th century, the region was governed by military dictatorships. Some of those non-democratic regimes were encouraged or supported by the United States (the majority of cases) or by the Soviet Union during the period known as the Cold War.
“There can be Water without Fish and Peoples without Tyrants,
but there can’t be Fish without Water, nor Tyrants without Peoples”
Periódico Anarquista Regeneración, November 5th. 1910 California, Mexican Revolution
Most Brigades of the Colombian Army receive military aid from the USA.
In addition units of Military Intelligence in Medellín, Bogota and Villavicencio received US funding. Various military radars are operated by US personnel, in addition to those operated by the Colombian Armed Forces. Seven military bases are operated in cooperation. This military cooperation should be seen in the context of US Direct Foreign Investment for “economic development” - in short, maintaining the status quo for the elites.
The military uniform hides under its camouflage – olive green, pale kaki, dark blue or snowy white – yet another uniform deployed over the very body which sustains the warrior clothing. Over there, taking the form of skin and hairs, you will find the sexual uniform: that act of faith that turns men into men and women into women, regardless our identity, wishes or actual actions. For the military (and the various kinds of militarisms), sex is the ultimate certainty and the ultimate order.
The journey of women in the depths of left-wing political movements and mixed social organisations has had to endure a long struggle. The story of the presence of women with ideas for the transformation of the patriarchal culture, has for a long time been subjected to the achievement of “more wide and important ideals”, and arguments that these “particular” claims should wait, otherwise it would imply the division of the struggle that was forging towards “social and political revolution” which required the unity of the popular movement.
Despite an effort to appear otherwise, the countries of South America do not represent an exception to the military - industrial complex (the relationship between governments and the arms industry that favours the latter and underlies an endless arms race). Although the military – industrial complex does not manifest as brutally in South America as in the United States, the pressure of the war industry on politics is unquestionable.
It seems that we are always announcing a new attempt at co-operation between antimilitarist organisations in Latin America and the Caribbean. From time to time it is good to establish when a period ends and a new one begins, but at the same time, always trying to pretend to reinvent the wheel, or to focus our energies on trying to build something new, can burn you out and be unreal.
On 1 December, put aside at least one hour and write at least four cards to prisoners;
Get your peace group or class or meeting place to organise a card-writing session;
Set up a stall in your town centre, perform a bit of street theatre, or do whatever else it takes to attract attention and interest.
Sending cards and letters
Always send your card in an envelope;
Include a return name and address on the envelope;
Mark the dates: the WRI Council meeting 2011 will take place during the time of the action camp at the camp itself in Luleå in the north of Sweden. At present, the dates penciled in for the Council are 19-21 July 2011, followed by a seminar organised by/with ofog, and then training and action...
More information on the WRI Council meeting, and also on the seminar, will be available closer to the time. But please keep the dates free...
Please contact the WRI office for more information:
War Resisters' International
5 Caledonian Road
London N1 9DX, Britain
The Inland Revenue is threatening War Resisters' International with the seizure of assets because the pacifist organisation is withholding a proportion of income tax due to its conscientious objection to paying for war.
War Resisters' International has been withholding tax – usually about 7% of income tax, roughly the proportion of the military budget – since the tax year 2002/03. In its regular letters to the Inland Revenue, the organisation states: