Content related to WRI's centennial


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The War Resisters' International network was formed in 1921 at a meeting of pacifists, who gathered in a town called Bilthoven, in the Netherlands, from 23rd to 25th March. The original founders were conscientious objectors and war refusers from Britain, the Netherlands, Germany and Austria, and together they agreed to begin forming a network they originally named "Paco" (which means "Peace" in Esperanto). They formulated a statement which read:

War is a crime against humanity. We therefore are determined not to support any kind of war and to strive for the removal of all causes of war.

Our network has remained committed to that statement since our founding. Since that meeting our network has grown and changed to include pacifist and antimilitarist organisations all over the world.

Over 100 people stood on a stage holding banners at a conference
The WRI network gathered in Bogota, Colombia

Throughout 2021 we are holding a number of events to mark the centennial and begin to ask what the coming years hold for our network.

One of the many elements that has allowed us to sustain our resistance is the support of people around the world giving regular, small donations - we rely on this support and couldn't function without it.

Click here to find out how you can support WRI



Broken Rifles, 23-25th March

To highlight our founding date, we're encouraging WRI supporters to share Broken Rifle's across social media. There are already lots of versions and designs of the Broken Rifle - logos, banners, badges, posters etc - and there's lots of opportunity to make new ones as well. We'd love to see individuals and affiliates share beautiful, creative versions of the Broken Rifle on their social media profiles, using the hashtag #WRI100 and tagging the WRI profiles

Conflict Textiles exhibition

An English Arpillera by Linda Adams
Centenary 2021 War Resisters' International / Internacional de Resistentes a la Guerra, English arpillera, Linda Adams, 2021, Photo Pamela Hayes Conflict Textiles collection

Roberta Bacic - a previous WRI staff member who now works on the Conflict Textiles project - has curated, with with assistance from Breege Doherty, online exhibition of arpilleras that will be hosted on the WRI website. Arpilleras (pronounced ‘ar-pee-air-ahs’) are appliquéd tapestries that originated in Chile and have since been used by women across the world to explore themes of war, conflict, nonviolence, and protest  - those of us who attended WRI's 2014 gathering in Cape Town for the SMALL Actions BIG Movements: the Continuum of Nonviolence conference will remember the exhibition there!

Roberta is putting together an exhibition specifically to mark WRI's 100th, and has also commissioned a piece specifically to mark the centennial.

Last year WRI staff member Andrew Metheven interviewed Michael Randle, who was Chairperson of WRI from 1966 to 1973. The interview explored WRI's resistance to the Vietnam War, the organisational culture, and the impact of the organisation.

During the 100 years since WRI's foundation, many activists and groups have worked together and inside WRI's network, as executive and council members, affiliates, close allies and so on. On this occasion, we wanted to highlight the experiences of some of the previous staff members, who for several years worked at the WRI office, organising events, meetings and different actions, creating friendships, alliances and good memories. These are their testimonies!

Today is our 100th anniversary! Our international network of pacifist and antimilitarists was formed on 23-25 March 1921 at a meeting in Bilthoven, the Netherlands. Since then we have grown into a global network of war resisters with over 90 affiliated groups across 40 countries committed to our founding declaration:

"War is a crime against humanity. I am therefore determined not to support any kind of war, and to strive for the removal of all causes of war."

We are excited to be preparing for WRI’s 100th anniversary! As part of it, we are working on a number of events and activities (online for now) to mark this important date.  But just as important are plans to hold a number of autonomous local events throughout the year. Here are a number of ways you can get involved and celebrate WRI's centenary with your autonomous local events.

The WRI Women's Working Group was formally established in 1985 at WRI Triennial Conference in India. From that moment on, a very important work continued, to which several anti-militarist and / or feminist women from WRI's network joined. The women's working group had an impact worth remembering, highlighting and continuing. This piece gathers the reflections of some of the women who were an active part of the working group, sharing their experiences and the impact they consider the group had on both WRI, and on their activism and personal life. Also, you can find at the end of this story a timeline assembled by Joanne Sheehan with help from Ellen, Dorie, Cynthia Cockburn, her files and memory, that briefly summarises WWG trajectory.

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