Reclaim The Bases

War Resisters' International calls for nonviolent actions at military bases on 5/6 April

War Resisters' International, the 81 year old international network of pacifist organisations with 90 affiliates in 45 countries, calls for nonviolent actions at military bases on the weekend 5/6 April under the slogan "Reclaim The Bases".

After the huge international demonstrations all over the world on 15 February - more than 10 million people took part in protests in more than 600 cities - it is important that the peace movement turns its attention to the military infrastructure that will be used for the war on Iraq. Although most of the troops which will be used for the war are already in the Middle East, the military infrastructure of the US, Britain, and other countries involved in the war will continue to play an important support role for the war: military supplies, food, munition, and soldiers still need to be flown to the Gulf, planes will take off from airbases in many countries, and the surveillance systems of the US and NATO all over the world will be used to guide the attacks on Iraq. Even if a country is not directly involved in the war, its infrastructure might be used for war, or its troops might replace troops of those countries in the war at other places, such as Afghanistan or the Balkans.
While the demonstrations on February 15th showed the strength of the peoples' global opposition to war, it is now necessary that - alongside continued demonstrations, lobbying efforts, vigils and other activities - the peace movement makes an attempt to actually disrupt the war machine.

In September 2001, War Resisters' International issued a statement, calling for conscientious objection to war, and direct nonviolent resistance to war and preparations for war. In calling for nonviolent actions to Reclaim the Bases, War Resisters' International urges the peace movement to strengthen its commitment to disrupt the war.

In the last months, a number of inspiring actions at military bases took place. Citizens weapons inspectors entered several US and British bases around the world, i.e. Volkel in the Netherlands, Fairford in Britain, among others. Anti-war activists blocked military supplies in Italy, Belgium, Britain, Germany, and the US. Blockades of military installations took place in the US, Belgium, Germany, Britain, among others. Irish activists managed to stop US Navy transport planes from using Shannon airport[1]. These activities have a direct - albeit small - impact on the war machine.

War Resisters' International therefore calls for a wide range of nonviolent actions at military bases on the first weekend of April - 5/6 April 2003. Activities can include:

  • Citizens weapons inspections. Inspect military bases in your country for weapons of mass destruction;
  • Nonviolent blockades of military bases, headquarters, recruitment offices, or weapons manufacturers;
  • Vigils and demonstrations in front of military bases;
  • And many other creative actions.
We need to Reclaim the Bases from the military, and put them under civilian control. We at least need to become sand in the wheels of the military machine.


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