2˚ Global Day of Action on Military Spending


On April 17, 2012, people all over the world will join together for the second Global Day of Action on Military Spending. We urge you to join us.

The current economic crisis has put pressure on the world’s governments to reduce spending on critical human needs: confronting climate change, battling deadly diseases, achieving the Millennium Development Goals. But apart from a few courageous exceptions, national governments continue to waste enormous resources on the military. Figures from the 2011 Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) annual report show that the world’s governments are spending more than ever on the military: $1,630 billion per year – and rising. If spent differently, this money would go a long way to resolving the real challenges facing our planet.

In June 2012 the world’s leaders and thousands of civil society activists will meet in Rio de Janeiro for the Rio+20 Earth Summit to chart a transition to a sustainable, green society with jobs and opportunities for all. Our Global Day, happening just two months before Rio, is an ideal chance to remind the world that we can’t achieve this goal without freeing up the money and brainpower wasted on military activities. The United States spends almost 50% of the global total. But the addiction to military spending is nevertheless a worldwide problem, since:

  • The US is a trend-setter and other countries play follow-the-leader.
  • U.S. arms exports are increasing and there’s no shortage of customers.
  • In many countries the percentage of government spending devoted to the military is even higher than in the US, even if the absolute sums are much lower.

That’s why, in this era of the Occupy movement and the Arab Spring, we must go global with our demands.

The Date : TUESDAY April 17, 2012

On April 17, SIPRI will announce the military spending figures for 2011. Our GDAMS actions in capital cities and other locations around the world will offer the mass media photo opportunities and local stories about military spending. Local organisers can schedule their action on or near the Global Day. This is the second Global Day. Last year’s event, held on April 12, 2011, was a big success, with nearly 100 actions in 37 countries. In 2012, activists will organize many types of events, from protests at military bases to teach-ins. Each location will devise its own approach. But all the events will highlight the latest figure for global military spending, which will likely approach $1.7 trillion. Our campaign could be built around slogans such as: What would you do with $1.7 trillion? When our countries are broke, should we spend Trillions for War or Trillions for Peace? Make Jobs not War! etc. GDAMS is coordinated by the International Peace Bureau (Geneva) and the Institute for Policy Studies (Washington DC). We are putting together a larger international committee of activists this year to help us in this task.

Reporting is important – both to get the collective message out very widely, and to inspire each other to do new and bolder actions. In addition to written accounts of the work, we urge people to take photos and videos of their actions and send the best ones for posting at the GDAMS website.

Let’s make it bigger!

To succeed in shifting military spending to human needs, we need to lift this issue up much higher in the political debates of the coming year. We need to draw in not thousands, but millions of people who refuse to accept the status quo. And we need to encourage influential voices to speak out. As we reach out to wider constituencies from labor to youth, we will multiply our impact.

Together we can do it ! Please get in touch (send to both addresses) with your ideas and action plans.


Colin Archer, International Peace Bureau

John Feffer, Institute for Policy Studies


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