Global Day of Action on Military Spending

Today is the Global Day of Action on Military Spending (GDAMS) , as the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute released the numbers for the world’s military spending in 2013!

The Reaching Critical Will Project plan to post an analysis on their website that talks about the general trends and makes some suggestions on what could be done with the money instead.

WILPF International have also posted a blog on their website which provides a country level perspective on alternative uses for the military spend monies.

Australia’s response to this is not yet included. What would you suggest?

F35 damned as a boondoggle: at Defence HQ SpeakOut

The Global Day of Action on Military Spending (GDAMS) will be marked by an open mike SpeakOut outside Defence HQ

12.30 – 2.00 pm am Monday 14 April 2014
Blamey Square, Russell, ACT.

GDAMS coincides with the release by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) of their annual statistics on global military spending which reached $US 1.75 Trillion in 2012.

At present the Australian government spends $26.5 billion pa on the ADF. But at a time when the Abbott government is slashing spending to health, education and environment, a military White Paper is claiming more military spending is necessary.”

“From nowhere, the arbitrary figure of 2% of GDP has been hailed as essential by the military and its think tank advocates,” said SpeakOut organiser Graeme Dunstan of Peacebus.com. “This translates as an extra $8 billion a year. But the White Paper is urging even more spending – a staggering $50 billion pa.”

“And this after 12 years of a failed and costly war in Afghanistan – it cost Australia taxpayers $7.5 million!” exclaims Mr Dunstan.

“There appears to be no end to the spending aspirations of the military and the greed of its armament suppliers.”

“Time to rethink the role of the military and to employ non violent means to resolve regional conflict,” he said. “Let the lessons of the costly failures of following the US into imperial wars be learned. Non violent resolution to conflict is known to be less costly and more enduring.”

Also under fire at the GDAMS SpeakOut @ Defence HQ will be the recently confirmed $7.74 billion acquisition program of the F35 Strike Fighter by the RAAF, the most costly ADF acquisition ever.

“To ADF we will be saying loud and clear that this war plane is unnecessary and wasteful. That it is a fraudulent project designed to make shareholders in Lockheed Martin, the world’s biggest war profiteer – about $2.7 billion annually – even richer by stripping funds from health, education and environment in Australia and elsewhere,” said Mr Dunstan.

“Even promoters of the project such as Lockheed Martin’s salesman, Lieutenant General Chris Bogdan, admit the F35 has ‘reliability and maintainability’ problems.”

Some countries who initially signed up for the project such as Italy and Canada are hesitating and dropping out because of the ballooning unit costs. A Canadian government audit estimates that the “cradle-to-grave” bill to taxpayers for buying and operating 65 of the F-35 warplane will exceed $600 million per unit. Which is way in excess of the $90 million per unit presently toted as the cost to Australian taxpayers.

“This war plane is a flying lemon and a boondoggle,” concludes Mr Dunstan.

“The project has had no public assessment of its usefulness to Australian defence needs and one has to ask how much of the $US14.4 million spent annually by Lockheed Martin lobbyists is being spent buying the Abbott government,” says Mr Dunstan.

Further information
Graeme Dunstan, Peacebus.com 0407 951 688

National Women’s Alliance: Security4Women Announcement

YWCA Australia is conducting a consultation process in the lead up to the drafting of a shadow CEDAW report. A mailing list has been established for people with an interest in the CEDAW shadow report or who want to participate in the consultations. The link is here: http://eepurl.com/Prsy5. The list is being administered by Kiri Decker, the consultant preparing the report for YWCA Australia.

Please pass this link around your networks – a deep consultation is a good consultation!

 

NO DEVELOPMENT WITHOUT DISARMAMENT

Written Statement by the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom for the 58th Commission on the Status of Women (March 2014)

Militarization, and cultures of militarism, are double-edged swords against peace: with one hand, they exacerbate violence; with the other, they raid the coffers of peace.

The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) calls for a post 2015 development agenda that invests in gender equality and peace for sustainable development rather than current investments in degenerative development, inequality and violence. It is vital that we change our course to adopt an integrated approach to security that invests in equality, sustainable development and peace rather than inequality, militarism, and war. Therefore, the agenda must be deeply as well as widely inclusive of disarmament, human rights, and the women-peace-security (WPS).

WILPF members around the world call on the Commission and international community to take the following actions:
• Reduce military spending and arms production towards total and universal disarmament
• Redirect resources from military spending to achieve human security, environment sustainability, and economic justice; and
• Promote women’s full and equal participation and rights in all relevant processes.

Total and universal disarmament

Weapons are tools of war, which is used to create a culture of fear and violence. Since our founding in 1915, WILPF has called for total and universal disarmament, in particular through international agreements.

Conventional weapons, including small arms and light weapons, are used to wreak havoc and take lives. High-tech and emerging weapons technologies such as nuclear weapon and drone are used as political tools to manipulate international relations, destabilize our planet and undermine human rights. Environmental degradation and its incapacitating effect on sustainability and community health is similarly caused and exacerbated by conflict, the military industrial complex, arms production and consumption and moreover by the dangerous use and lasting effects of depleted uranium, the remnants of war and unsustainable mining.


Reduction of military spending and arms production

Military spending and militarism also raid financing and opportunities for women’s human rights, development, and peace.

In 2011, global military spending was more than US$1.7 trillion. This amount is equivalent to over 24 years of the foreign aid required to reach the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. It is also equivalent to 700 years of the United Nation’s regular budget, or to 2,928 years of UN Women.

Many countries spend money on weapons and war, or clean-up from war, while struggling to meet their objectives on socio-economic development, or their obligations to equal human rights. The reduction of weapons production and expenditure on military personnel and equipment would help free up resources for human rights based development, and provide a foundation for long term sustainable peace.

Women’s participation

Rather than investing in militarism and arms, we call on states to invest in women’s full and equal participation and rights as a foundation for peace. We call on member states to take concrete action and financing to uphold their obligations to respect, protect, and fulfil women’s equal human rights, progressively and without retrogression.

Women have paid the cost of militarization and arms proliferation for too long—economically and physically—and they must be included in developing relevant solutions. Disarmament, and a redirection of resources from military spending to gender equitable socioeconomic development, will be crucial in securing that adequate resources are directed towards realizing women’s rights to equal participation and ensuring inclusive development and peace for all.

Conclusion
There can be no development without disarmament and women’s full and equal human rights.
WILPF reaffirms our commitment to the realization of sustainable peace. We ask governments to strengthen commitments to an integrated approach that promotes people over profit and human over military security. Human security, not just military security must be the bottom line. In doing so, we can turn our swords to ploughshares and change course from investing in inequality, degenerative development and violence to equality, sustainable development and
peace

WILPF News Update ACT Branch

Updates from WILPF International

Women’s Power to Stop War

Women’s Power to Stop War is a new movement created and led by the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.

Those joining the movement, will be part of an international community of courageous activists, who believe conflicts and wars cannot be stopped without the participation of women – and that it is time that women focus on and use their power to stop war.

Its aim is not just to stop war on women, but also to stop war on all human beings, who wish to live a life of peace and freedom.

Keep checking the WILPF International website as more will be posted including blogs, videos, our Anniversary Atlas and all the details on the events of 2015.

Centenary of WILPF

In 1915, 1136 visionary women came together in The Hague, the Netherlands, to stop World War I and on April 28, they founded the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF).

In 2015, 1136 visionary women will again come together to participate in the second women’s peace and security conference of a century, uniting the global movement, ‘Women’s Power to Stop War.

The conference will take place from 27-29 April in the World Forum in The Hague. Keep an eye on this website as the Conference Programme, ticket registration pages and loads of other information will come up soon!

Join the Movement now and Sign the Pledge, Donate, and Come to The Hague in 2015

A Letter to all WILPF members from the WILPF International History group

Dear WILPF sisters in most of the corners of the world:

The WILPF Centennial 2015 is rapidly approaching and preparations are under way. All sections have been asked to work on their own history as a contribution to the large and impressive history of WILPF as a whole. The IB has established some working groups and given them specific tasks. The “History Group” is one of them. We have been given the mandate to

  • Support the Sections’ work on their story gathering
  • Coordinate and gather information from the Sections that could be used for printed

Material, exhibitions etc. at the international Triennial Congress and International

Conference (in 2015)

  • ‘Plan “Our Story” exhibition at The Hague and coordinate with the Arts and entertainment working group.

While all national sections are “branches” on the many-splendored WILPF tree we are united in the principles of our Constitution. All sections are committed to engage in common activities, but they differ in size, resources, geographic location and political environment and have to adjust their activities accordingly. Each section should write its story in the way that suits best their narrative, the highlights and – if any – the failures. If we shall be able to learn from the past, we need to look at both ends of the scale.

However, we need a common overview and a few facts for the whole organization, as a framework. For that reason we would ask all Sections to send us the following:

  • Your Section’s major historic events. This includes your founding date, at what time your Section had its largest membership, as well as any major historic highlights you want to tell us about. These stories can take any shape, form or length you would like. They can be highly personal or strictly descriptive, but please include the (most) exact date and location of the events you describe, so we can include them in our Anniversary Atlas.
  • Work you are already doing on your own history. We have heard many Sections are already engaged in discovering and celebrating their own history, but we want to know about it! Tell us if you have already done any work on your history or are planning to do so. If these include any specific events, like a lecture organised specifically on the history of your Section, please, again, include the (most) exact date and location of such events.

WILPF Questions especially for sections outside Europe

WILPF International is asking individuals, branches and sections to consider their priorities using a set of 6 Questions.  They have explained the purpose of this as follows:

Nearly 100 years ago, founders of WILPF, in 1915 drafted 20 resolutions to influence policy and decision makers.  ALL sections have an opportunity to contribute to this discussion on WILPF’s political priorities and future direction. In preparation for the 2015 WILPF Centenary, the Working Group on Political Content is given the task of identifying the political priorities for our work now and in the future.

In January 2013 the International Board meeting in Madrid commissioned Cynthia Cockburn, UK member to draft a Manifesto for 2015.  With her work, we now have a second draft based on input from, and conversations with, many WILPF members.

We need your help. The draft manifesto is a very good job combining the effort of some of our members and through interviews. However, we want to ensure input of missing perspectives, especially from the various knowledge and experience at a local level and in armed conflict areas. We want to hear from countries outside Europe and North America, if not yet included, so that these experiences can be added or made more visible.

Note I am sending out a separate email to all WILPF ACT members outlining the progress we have made to date in responding to these questions and seeking further input.

Reports of interest: Syria

 Maria Butler, PeaceWomen Programme Director reports on the Syrian Peace negotiations:

 This is a difficult time for peace advocates. How can we talk about women participating at the peace table when talk has not translated into action? How can we discuss the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda when, despite rhetoric, goodwill, ministerial support, UN mediation, advocacy, campaigns, Syrian women are not even present at the opening session of the Geneva II talks, not to mention at the infamous “table”?

Over the past few weeks, I have heard diplomats tell me, with a tone of insider arrogance, “this is not a round table; it has two sides only”. I have heard Ambassadors agree and agree and then agree again with each other that women must be part of the Geneva II process but then their States have not delivered. I have heard colleagues try to convince themselves that negotiation “observers” are actually “at the table”. Next holding a conference two weeks ahead of the Peace Talks will count as “participating”! All in all, we, as an international community of States, NGOs and UN bodies, have failed – failed to implement the WPS agenda and failed to find mechanisms to include women. Despite this collective failure, we will not resign. To the contrary, we, as WILPF for sure, will redouble our work, rethink our efforts and recommit our support to push forward women’s full, equal, and meaningful participation and rights in this peace process and others.

 Friday January 17, 2014 was indeed a historic day for Syrian women, despite now being in the shadow of the failures in Geneva. Three Syrian women civil society leaders briefed the UN Security Council in a special closed Arria Formula meeting demanding women’s meaningful inclusion in the Geneva II peace talks and ongoing transitional peace processes. “We want peace and we want to be part of it. This is the bottom-line,” said a representative of the Syrian Women’s League to the highest body on international peace and security. PeaceWomen planned and organized the women peace advocates’ trip, a side event and the historic Security Council meeting. A powerful moment came when one of Syrian women looked up at the Ambassadors of the Security Council and pleaded “Do not leave your resolutions in a drawer, they do not deserve only lip service” The three Syrian women, who risked their lives to speak truth to power, demanded passionately: 1) an independent women civil society presence at the Geneva II talks; 2) 30% women on all negotiating bodies; and 3) strong and effective gender expertise to ensure that gender is mainstreamed throughout all outcome documents and processes. Read more

Events of Interest

 21-25 April: Canberra Peace Convergence.

An extended gathering of peace activist and peace makers to reflect on the state of peace in our times, to build movement and to plan and take action for peace in this time of militarism, government lies and preparations for war.

Events will include

  • The first national meeting of IPAN on 21 April. Likely at a Canberra venue.
  • A one-day conference hosted by IPAN on 22 April covering such themes as militarism and sustainability, the cost of the US alliance, the Asian Pivot and US bases. Venue and program to be announced.
  • Movement response to the Gallipoli centenary 2015.
  • A three day, open forum retreat at Silver Wattle
  • A direct action together likely on morning of 24 April
  • Participation in the Anzac eve Peace Vigil at the Australian War Memorial 24 Apr
  • Participation in the “Lest We Forget” the Frontier Killings Anzac Day March at the Australian War Memorial.

Costs $50 or $25 concession

Register your interest in attending at ipan.australia@gmail.com

 25-27 April 2014. : WILPF Asia-Pacific regional meeting, Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand

Theme:  Militarisation in the Pacific: women, peace and security

Draft programme

Friday 25 April

  • Welcome at 12 noon, followed by lunch
  • Informal information sharing session where people will be able to speak about the situation in their country.
  • Friday evening there will be a public screening of the documentary Noho Hewa about militarisation, historical and ongoing colonisation, and its devastating effects on Kanaka Maoli, the indigenous people of Hawaii, and their land.

Saturday 26 April

  • Mixture of workshops, plenary presentations and panel discussions.
  • Public Meeting – details to be confirmed

Sunday 27 April

  • Morning session: WILPF business, in particular, the 100th birthday in 2015 and the possibility of the Asia-Pacific WILPF sections working together as a regional grouping within International WILPF.
  • We would also like to develop a project that the Asia-Pacific WILPF sections could work on together – there are likely to be ideas for that from the sessions on Friday and Saturday.

Articles of Interest

Simon Jenkins: Germany, I apologise for this sickening avalanche of first world war worship, The Guardian, Friday 31 January 2014

The festival of self-congratulation will be the British at their worst, and there are still years to endure. A tragedy for both our nations.  Highly relevant to Australia re ANSAC Centenary.

Report by Cynthia Enloe on Geneva each day of the Syrian Women’s Peace Talks in Geneva: Prelude to the Official Syrian Peace Talks. Monday, January 20, 2014

Books of Interest

Gender, Violence, and Human Security: Critical Feminist Perspectives Edited by Aili Mari Tripp, Myra Marx Ferree, Christina Ewig, Amazon Books 2013

The nature of human security is changing globally: interstate conflict and even intrastate conflict may be diminishing worldwide, yet threats to individuals and communities persist. Large-scale violence by formal and informal armed forces intersects with interpersonal and domestic forms of violence in mutually reinforcing ways. Gender, Violence, and Human Security takes a critical look at notions of human security and violence through a feminist lens, drawing on both theoretical perspectives and empirical examinations through case studies from a variety of contexts around the globe.

This fascinating volume goes beyond existing feminist international relations engagements with security studies to identify not only limitations of the human security approach, but also possible synergies between feminist and human security approaches. Noted scholars Aili Mari Tripp, Myra Marx Ferree, and Christina Ewig, along with their distinguished group of contributors, analyze specific case studies from around the globe, ranging from post-conflict security in Croatia to the relationship between state policy and gender-based crime in the United States. Shifting the focus of the term “human security” from its defensive emphasis to a more proactive notion of peace, the book ultimately calls for addressing the structural issues that give rise to violence. A hard-hitting critique of the ways in which global inequalities are often overlooked by human security theorists, Gender, Violence, and Human Security presents a much-needed intervention into the study of power relations throughout the world.

Programs of Interest

Honest History on the ABC

Starting Tuesday, 4 February, 10.05 am on 666 ABC Canberra, mobile and online: Honest History fortnightly segment opening with Professor Joan Beaumont (Broken Nation) talking about the aftermath of World War I.

Honest History is a new regular segment on 666 ABC Canberra Mornings with host Genevieve Jacobs. Shibboleths will be shafted and myths will be busted during a robust and honest history discussion.

The segment is in cooperation with Honest History and the participation of various distinguished historians.

Tune in to Mornings with Genevieve Jacobs, weekdays from 9–11am on 666 ABC Canberra. Radio. Mobile. Online.

Websites of Interest

The Honest History site promotes balanced consideration of Australian history, by making contesting, evidence-based interpretations available to students, teachers, universities, journalists and the public. We challenge the misuse of history in the service of political or other agendas.

WORLD PEACE FOUNDATION: Annual toast to peace

Readers might be interested a speech that WILPF, US President Laura Roskos’ delivered at the World Peace Foundation at their annual ‘toast to peace’

In this speech Roskos notes that

“The tagline for WILPF’s centennial is Women’s Power to Stop War. It’s a proclamation. Not a question. Women have the Power to Stop War; not just the war on women but stop war on all human beings, who wish to live a life of peace and freedom”.

Read  the speech in its entirety  at http://tinyurl.com/lgla8t3

Australia’s new Ambassador for Women and Girls

Australia’s new Global Ambassador for Women and Girls has been appointed. We wish Natasha Stott Despoja every success with this important role and look forward to a productive relationship.