The Peace Calendar Vol.1 No.11
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Roy McFarlane — December 1983
Matthew Clark — December 1983
OTTAWA — “I’m here because I believe the planet is on the brink of extinction,” said Philip Burpee, a Nova Scotian delegate to the founding convention of the Green Party of Canada, held in Ottawa, November 4th to 6th.
The three day convention, set up by organisers to discuss and decide the structure, policy and constitution of a federal Green Party, often proved chaotic and frustrating for the 181 delegates.
“It is extremely difficult to set up a meeting of a large group of people, from all over Canada, and with many different perspectives, when many haven’t had a lot of organising experience,” said Susan Berlin at the end of the three-day meeting. Berlin, from Toronto, received a round of applause for her efforts in chairing the hour and a half Friday night session on the agenda.
Although delegates were only able to decide on a loose definition of their structure (the Greens voted to create a federation of provincial and regional chapters), the issues the Green Party would take to a future general election were touched on in policy papers and discussions. Various delegates spoke of conserver economics, decentralized decision making, disarmament and environmental protection.
The relationship between the Green Party and the New Democratic Party is an issue of concern to both parties. According to Gerry Caplan, Federal Secretary of the NDP has no official stand on the Greens, but commented, “The little I know of the concept of decentralised decision-making I find naive and innocent. I have yet to see a thoughtful exposition (by the Green Party) on a conserver society.
“As for disarmament and environmental protection, on the one hand the NDP welcomes anyone who promotes these issues, as we believe in them very strongly, but I fear (the Greens) could hurt us in elections where we are strong where that percentage of the vote could lose the riding for us,” Cap/an said.
Annette Ruitenbeek, a Calgary delegate to the Green convention said she wouldn’t want to see “a Green run against a good NDP candidate, but at the same time I have a concern that the NDP does not appeal to me. I hope that (the formation of the Green Party) encourages the NDP to re-evaluate the platform they have built up over the years and decide what kind of party they are going to be. Are they a party of the left, with policies consistent with that, are they an alternative type party, Social Democrat? Right now, I don’t think they’re very different from the Liberals or the Conservatives.”
Betty Nickerson, 61, ran as a Green candidate in the August Mission-Port Moody by-election. “I wondered what I could do for my grandchildren that would matter more than that.” She said her candidacy allowed her to travel through her riding to “suggest positive solutions to the local problems people faced.”
“I was insisting that communities have the right to decide their own priorities.” Nickerson specifically mentioned two idle dams and three empty industrial parks in her riding. “I suggested we collect the estimated 750,000 million, wrecked cars, barge them up the Fraser River into one of the industrial parks, restart those idle dams, and by electrolysis, separate them back into their metal components. Then we’ll start developing industries using these things or sell the metals that accrue from that.” She said since her campaign she is still invited to speak on various subjects to local groups.
Wilhelm Knabe, one of the founding members of the West German Green Party, came to Ottawa to address the Green Party convention “because we are glad to find friends (in North America), friends who will help us deny the accusation that the Greens are anti-American. We are pro-human, and for that reason come into contact with governments who want to establish new weapons.”
Knabe referred to his observation of an underlying theme throughout the three day convention, drawing on his experience in Germany. “There will always be tension between a Green Party and a Green movement. But without a party there are certain things the movement cannot do, and without a movement, the party is nothing. A Green party without a Green movement is like a river running through a desert; eventually it will dry up and die.” he said.
Canadian Green Party members had filed an application for registration of the party with the government prior to the convention. According to Elections Canada, all that remains for official recognition of the new party is the fielding of at least 50 candidates in the next federal election.
Jon Spencer — December 1983
A conference on planning disarmament actions for 1984 will be hosted by the Toronto Disarmament Network, December 10 and 11, al the Hart House, the University of Toronto. The proposed agenda includes plenary sessions and workshop sessions on the Peace Petition Caravan; Intervention and Disarmament; Organising and Building the Movement; Labour and Disarmament; Women and Disarmament; The Arms Race and Disarmament Negotiations; and Nuclear Power and Nuclear Weapons. The Sunday morning workshops will all discuss strategies for 1984, and the Sunday afternoon plenary will be devoted to turning the weekend’s discussions into specific action proposals for the TDN.
Anyone interested in attending the conference should contact Matthew Clark, the Toronto Disarmament Network, 736 Bathurst St., Toronto, Ont., M5S 2R4, or phone xxx-xxxx.
— December 1983
Toronto’s Against Cruise Testing coalition (ACT) will be holding a “Santa Claus parade against the cruise” on December 3. The parade will appeal to the true spirit of Christmas — Peace on Earth by making a statement against nuclear weapons, especially the new breed of missiles which increases the likelihood of nuclear war.
“Christmas is a time when people around the world, regardless of their religion. dream about and hope for peace on earth,” says Angela Browning, ACT chairperson. “We feel that the most positive thing we can do at Christmas is to help make this dream a reality — to preserve the planet for future generations.”
For many people, Christmas 1983 promises to be less cheerful than other years. This month, NATO is beginning the European deployment of Pershing II and cruise ground-launched nuclear missiles. Pershing IIs will be capable of striking Soviet command and control centres within eight minutes of being launched. Because the U.S.S.R. win be unable to confirm a detected launch within the eight minutes available, many military strategists (including Robert MacNamara, former U.S. Secretary of Defense) believe that the deployment of these theatre nuclear forces in Europe will force the U.S.S.R. to adopt a launch-on-warning posture. MacNamara. views launch-on-warning as one of the most destabilising moves that can be made. This year’s Christmas marks a new stage in the Cold War.
Early 1984 is of even greater concern to the Canadian peace movement. This winter, the U.S. will begin testing the guidance system of the air-launched cruise missile. The long-range ALCM has been called one of the most dangerous and destabilising nuclear weapons ever developed, and the planned testing in Canada of the ALCM has become the main focus of protests by Canadian Disarmament supporters.
The protests have not yet accomplished their objectives, but Browning feels that it is really important for people not to be discouraged. “New people are coming into the peace movement all the time. Although we may feel that we haven’t changed the government’s policy, Trudeau’s peace initiatives can only be seen as a result of public pressure. He has recognised the need to placate the Canadian public on this issue.”
ACT’s Santa Claus parade will draw a connection between the “Peace on Earth” message and the preparations for total war. Aceording to ACT, these preparations are not limited to the installation of military hardware.
By giving war toys to our children, we encourage the militarist state of mind that leads to war. Consequently, ACT wants to “Take the toys away from the boys”; the toy guns from the children and the weapons of death from the world’s governments.
The parade begins outside the headquarters of the Liberal Party (34 King St. E.) at noon on Saturday December 3, and will end up at City Hall with a short rally and a speech by Santa Claus. Organisers are constructing only one float, but participants are encouraged to bring their own handmade floats as well.
The parade will be part of the U.S./Canada Solidarity Days, planned for December 2 and 3. Well over 100 disarmament groups in North America have endorsed the call for “a united show of opposition to any tests of cruise missiles and all preparations for nuclear war.” Other events will be held across the continent on these days. For information on what is planned in your area, contact CANDIS at xxx-xxxx. To find out more about the Santa Claus parade against the cruise, call ACT at xxx-xxxx. Remember, “peace is the best Christmas present of all.”
Nancy MacMillan — December 1983
A delegation of 15 Canadians attended the Second Vienna Dialogues in November, and spent one week in Moscow. Upon their return, some of the participants described their impressions to the press. Fiona Nelson, a trustee of the Toronto School Board, announced her hope to establish a visiting exchange arrangement for Canadian and Soviet youth.
“Only a massive public education campaign can equip people to push their governments and, through them, the negotiators for the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. to arrive at an immediate nuclear freeze and rapid verifiable nuclear weapons ban,” she said. As part of her suggestions for educational initiatives, Nelson also proposed that more international student conferences be held in the future.
Dr. Joanne Santa Barbara, who had participated in a Vienna dialogue with physicians and scientists, reported on ‘that group’s proposal for young graduating scientists to be required to take a vow, similar to the Hippocratic oath, to use their knowledge only for the benefit of humankind, and never for its destruction.
Dr. Santa Barbara and Professor Metta Spencer told reporters they had visited an independent peace group in the U.S.S.R., the Group to Establish Trust. Spencer described its work as entirely compatible with the efforts of the huge Soviet Peace Committee, which nevertheless regards all grassroots peace organisations as illegitimate. Spencer, a sociologist at the University of Toronto, pointed out that Russian culture demands a high degree of unity and orthodoxy of all organisations, as a matter of principle, and that this cultural pattern is not susceptible to change under the influence of Western pluralistic ideals.
Nevertheless, Spencer said she had urged the Soviets to bend on the particular issue of the independent peace movement, since its suppression is of such concern to Westerners and constitutes a primary obstacle for the peace movement here.
“Indeed, my main point in Vienna,” she said, “was that the Soviet Peace Committee ought to celebrate the emergence of the autonomous peace movement, and not to repress it, if only because its existence is precisely what is required to convince Western public opinion of the Soviet commitment to peace.”
As if to illustrate her point, once the journalists understood that Vuri Medvedkov agreed with the Soviet Peace Committee’s estimates of 50 million participants in last year’s official peace demonstrations, they immediately publicised these demonstrations. All previous attempts by the Soviet Peace Committee to gain Western media coverage of these huge rallies had failed, but confirmation from Medvedkov, a leading spokesperson for the Group to Establish Trust, lent decisive authenticity to their claims.
According to Spencer, the Western press ignores the official Soviet Peace Committee, and Western coverage of the Group to Establish Trust has focussed on entirely the wrong issue: the repressive conditions under which the group must function. The group itself strongly prefers that the focus be on its policies and activities. Medvedkov specifically notes, for example, that the group refrains from criticising any government, in order to avoid stimulating suspicion and hatred.
In keeping with this conciliatory approach, the Group to Establish Trust has not undertaken any assessment of Soviet military policy, but limits its activities to those promoting trust between the two blocs. It advocates such actions as cultural exchanges, expansion of civil air flights between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R., and promoting joint economic endeavours between East and West to replace jobs that will be lost when the military industrial complexes of the two sides convert to peaceful production.
anon — December 1983
“Don’t Buy Military Toys. War is No Game.” This simple message was carried to those watching this year’s Santa Claus Parade by 15 peaceful clowns — all members or friends of Women’s Action for Peace, one of the constituent groups of the Alliance for Non-violent Action (ANVA).
The 15 peace clowns were able to actually lead the parade, ensuring good viewing of the antiwar toy slogan that covered huge and colourful balloons.
The leaflets handed out to the adults at the parade explained how the goal of the military is to win the “hearts and minds of the people,” and that this is the purpose behind the sale of violence-oriented toys. These toys and video games boast of being right up to date with the latest and most sophisticated war machinery, the purpose of this machinery being to computerise the mind of the user, to sever any connection between the use of weapons on people and the fact of human suffering.
Reaction to the event was mixed. Many were pleased to see the message. However, others were angry, as though something sacred had been violated. Some yelled back at the leafletting peace clowns that they had already bought their military toys.
Though this kind of comment was disheartening, at least the notion of war-centered toys being controversial was initiated. And, as one of the clowns commented, “this was the biggest and easiest demonstration we’ve ever organised!”
The need to address the ongoing and varied forms of militarisation in our society was identified through discussions at monthly ANVA meetings. The feeling was that people who mobilise against war must also identify the daily realities of how their children are raised, what they buy and consume, and what corporations they support. The people behind the “Stop Military Toys” campaign see it as one important link between militarisation and a consumer lifestyle.
Organised efforts by Women’s Action for Peace have centred thus far around the Santa Claus Parade. However, further leafletting is planned at Eaton’s, the Bay, and especially at Simpsons, where a man dressed as G.I. Joe greets children. Of course, all of this depends on there being sufficient volunteers.
Although it is too late for a concerted campaign this year, people and groups interested in peace are invited to consider how action can be taken on an ongoing basis, especially looking toward next Christmas. It will take a very broad-based movement to prevent the military and business world from capturing the hearts and minds of our children.
For copies of leaflets and buttons from the “Stop Military Toys” campaign, or to volunteer for leafletting, please call xxx-xxxx or xxx-xxxx. You can contact the campaign c/o the Alliance for Non- Violent Action, 73 Bathurst St., Toronto M5W 2P6.
Eric Walberg — December 1983
Our new address is 736 Bathurst St., Toronto Ontario M5S 2R4. Unfortunately, we were unable to keep our old phone number, so you can .now reach us at 416 xxx-xxxx. Please make a note of these changes.
— December 1983
Efforts to limit the danger of nuclear war through arms control can obscure the fact that it is people, not weapons, who wage wars. Greater understanding and acceptance of nations whose political beliefs and social values differ from our own are essential if we want to replace the threat of nuclear destruction with peaceful co-existence.
The pursuit of such increased understanding has prompted many Canadians concerned about peace to visit the Soviet Union to meet directly with its people and their leaders. In the last year, noted political figures such as Waiter Gordon and George Ignatieff have made such trips, as have groups such as the Canadian Institute for International Affairs and Christian Initiatives for Peace.
Another such emissary of peace is the Canadian folk group Stringband, which recently returned from a one-month, 24-concert tour of the Soviet Union. The tour was the brainchild of Stringband’s founder, Bob Bossin.
The idea first crossed his mind about four years ago when he was performing in Timmins Ontario on the same stage as the “mini-Bolshoi” — in the local high school gym. A member of the Bolshoi told him that in the Soviet Union, a city the size of Timmins would automatically have a large concert hall. Now Bossin has returned from Stringband’s Soviet tour favourably impressed with the various “Palaces of Culture” they played in. He said that these halls ranged from 900 to 6,000 seats, the latter an impressive new hall in Tallinn.
Bossin sees the Stringband tour as having two purposes. First, he feels that cultural understanding between peoples is essential to break down the tensions characterising the East/West stand-off.
Secondly, Stringband represented the Canadian peace movement to its Soviet audiences. “A majority of Canadians do not agree that the best way to deal with the Soviets is along the barrel of a cruise missile,” said Bossin with conviction just prior to their departure for the Soviet Union. He told audiences on their tour that “not everybody in Canada wanted to see the new weapons in Europe.”
Moreover, Bossin came back more convinced than when he left that “the Soviets are sincere in their peace overture, both the man in the street and the government. They know what war is about. We played in Minsk, where one quarter of the population was killed in World War II.”
Bossin’s grandfather was born in Kiev, and Bossin made a point of studying Soviet history and culture before setting out. In Stringband’s closing set at the Club Isabella in August before leaving on the tour, he performed a skit where he introduced himself as a Soviet visitor — Ivan Tovarishch. It was a thoughtful and sometimes humorous view of that the world might look like’ from the average Soviet citizen’s point of view.
“Just imagine, after our revolution to imperialist armies invaded us. We fought them off and built up our country. only to have Germans destroy everything in one year. We lost 20 million lives in Nazi invasion. Thai is why we never allow hostile country on our border.”
Bossin could see pluses and minuses in the month that Stringband spent in the Soviet Union. “Culturally it’s better there in terms of preserving their rich folk heritage. In terms of how people live and how creative their lives can be, it is not as bad as it is painted here. There are all sorts of ways of slipping around and through the system.” He was delighted to find a bluegrass band in Tallinn, sponsored by the local shoe factory.
On the other hand, he voiced criticism on the subject of civil rights, in particular “the liberty to explore things artistically.” However, “the issue of peace and war transcends all others. We simply cannot afford to break off contact with a country like the Soviet Union. As we’ve closed down detente, there’s less pressure on them to slack off.”
Their reception on the whole was positive, though by no means uniform. “Minsk in Byelorussia was like playing Alberta. When we did our disarmament stuff there, they raised the roof a few inches.” As for Estonians, they seemed “almost dour.” Bossin found the Latvians to be “the most sophisticated of our audiences. “
The songs they took with them were both ribald and serious, from ‘The Log-Driver’s Waltz’ to ‘Aragon Mill.’ They even performed a Russian version of ‘Down by the Riverside.’ The badges they made up with the logo “From Canada, With Peace” in Russian were a great .success.
Bossin is preparing a lecture on Stringband’s experiences as a peace emissary in the Soviet Union, and has generously offered the group’s services to the peace movement.
— December 1983
On November 10 and 11, representatives of six Southern Ontario disarmament coalitions and groups met in Kitchener-Waterloo to share their experiences and to discuss co-ordination of regional disarmament activities. The cities represented were Kitchener-Waterloo, Hamilton, Guelph, London, Niagara and Toronto.
The conference began with a general discussion of the state of the movement in Southern Ontario. The representatives felt that, despite substantial successes, the organised peace movement is not fully meeting the needs of the broader movement for peace the many people who agree with the goals of the movement, but who do not belong to any peace group. There was also a general consensus that the peace movement must remain independent of any particular political party or alignment.
The participants generally supported the Nuclear Weapons Free Zone campaign, but they did not feel that it should become the single focus of the movement. Many participants felt that movement must address the issues of third world development and anti-intervention.
The conference discussed the possibility of a nationally co-ordinated letter writing campaign, so that our influence on particular political figures on specific issues could be sharpened.
Most of the groups represented have endorsed the Peace Petition Caravan Campaign. There was a general feeling that if this project is to succeed, the local groups must actively support it. More discussion is expected at the Toronto conference, December 10 and 11.
The participants felt that the conference was an important step towards co-ordinating regional disarmament actions. We decided to. keep in touch and to meet again in the late winter or early spring — an important time for working on the Peace Petition Caravan Campaign.
Marjorie Elston — December 1983
The Peace Calendar does not publish in January
In keeping with our policy of publishing 11 months a year, the next issue of The Peace Calendar will be our February 1984 issue.
For those who are interested, this policy was established so we can make yearly evaluations of our past performance and our requirements for further growth. Before our next issue is published, we hope to have developed our national coverage and distribution, and you can expect a bigger and better newspaper.
Our February issue will be published in mid- to late-January. For information on events planned for early January, please contact CANDIS at 736 Bathurst St., Toronto M5S 2R4, or call us at 416 xxx-xxxx.
Andrew Van Velzen — December 1983
There was hissing in the public galleries when the Tories stood up to vote against the NWFZ resolution by 63 to 38. A coalition of the NDP caucus plus 16 Liberals failed to defeat the power of the Big Blue Machine, and the premier was absent for both the debate and vote on the resolution.
The main speaker to the resolution, Richard Allen, NDP MPP for Hamilton West, said the Ontario government should set a leadership example for other provinces and states, especially after so many municipalities in Canada had endorsed nuclear-free zones for their own communities.
“We must remember that the peace movement is bilateral, not multilateral,” Alien said, using as evidence the twelve arms limitation treaties signed in the past thirty years, none of which have been broken.
“The resolution must be passed as a step to saving our children, grandchildren and ourselves,” said John Sweeney, Liberal MPP for Kitchener- Wilmot.
Richard Johnston, NDP MPP for Scarborough West, who had originally presented the resolution, was nearly in tears as he spoke. Johnston thanked all the people who had supported his resolution and said we must not be maudlin.
Johnston pointed to the recent breakdown in peace talks, where the Soviets walked out, and he stressed the necessity of NWFZ as protection from these breakdowns.
Conservative MPPs spoke of the need for more nuclear weapons and used Hitler’s Germany and “red scare” theories to back up their arguments.
Harriet Eisenkraft — December 1983
Hundreds of people commemorated Remembrance Day this year by participating in a week of resistance against war production at Litton Systems Industries in Rexdale. The week included a rally and three days of civil disobedience. It was sponsored by the Alliance for Non-Violent Action (ANVA), an alliance of groups in Ontario and Québec committed to opposing militarism and the organising of non-violent direct action campaigns. ANVA also organised !I Remembrance Day protest last year in which 62 were arrested.
The actions this year represented a dramatic increase in non-violent resistance. At least 400 people went through non-violent training sessions, and by the end of the week almost 150 people had been arrested, many more than once.
The week started on Friday, November 11, with a rally and procession at the Litton grounds that attracted 400 people despite cold and snowy weather. On Monday, November 14, 29 women were arrested in a women’s civil disobedience that attempted to make a citizen’s arrest of Litton management for its part in preparations for genocide. Over 80 people took part in the Monday action.
The week of actions continued on November 16 when about 60 people gathered in solidarity with people fighting oppression in the Third World and here in Canada. The focus was on Litton’s involvement in the construction of counter-insurgency training camps in Honduras. These camps are being used by the American military to help destabilise Nicaragua and the liberated zones in El Salvador. 34 people were arrested when they attempted to bring their concerns to the Litton management.
The week culminated on Friday November 18 when over 500 people gathered outside the management building to hear speeches and protest the production of the guidance system for the cruise missile in a “Refuse the Cruise” day of action. The high point of the day was the attempted encirclement of management which followed after a massive die-in. Eighty people were arrested as they scaled the fences toward the management building. Resistance continued in the 22nd and 23rd police divisions when those arrested refused to be released. Some protestors, who had been arrested earlier in the week and who had gone back on Friday, received stiffer bail conditions than those arrested only on Friday. All arrested refused to leave until the conditions were eventually lifted, and everybody was released late that evening.
Most of the 149 people arrested during the week were charged with trespassing. The week of actions included people from New York State, Ottawa, Montréal, Kingston, Guelph, Hamilton, London, Kitchener and Toronto.
— December 1983
On November 17, unnamed Reagan administration officials at a New York conference called Prime Minister Trudeau’s current peace proposals a “cop-out” because Canada’s financial contribulion to NATO is “insufficient.”
External Affairs Minister Allan MacEachen was quick to respond to the U.S. criticism, telling reporters it “would seem to rest on the idea that the sole way of promoting peace is through arms build-up. “
Nevertheless, in the face of criticism from the opposition Conservative Party that the Canadian government spends less than 2% of its gross national product on defense, the Liberal government felt compelled to defend Canada’s military spending and its contributions to NATO. In doing so, the government, despite the initial reaction of MacEachen, seemed to accept the logic that peace initiatives are more credible if they go hand-in-hand with military spending.
One of the national peace groups supporting Trudeau’s initiatives has a different perspective on the relationship between defence spending and the promotion of peace.
Project Ploughshares, a research and educational organisation, asks the question: “Why is military spending increasing in a world that already has an overabundance of weapons, but apparently lacks the resources to meet the most basic needs of millions of people?”
Project Ploughshares is well qualified to question the human costs of military spending, since its main concern is the relationship between militarism and underdevelopment.
Since it. was founded in 1977, Project Ploughshares has been conducting research on the Canadian military industry and Canada’s participation in the global arms race. It also acts as an educational resource body for information on Third World development.
Ernie Regehr, the group’s research director, believes Canada could play an important role in disarmament discussions. But, he adds, “Canada would have increased moral authority if it had acted more consistently and put forward clear policies on matters like cruise missile testing.”
Project Ploughshares attempts to contribute to the development of a more peace-oriented national policy’ by conducting research into and providing information on the Canadian economy and military production, as well as the economic effect of its arms sales to developing countries. This data, published in a quarterly newsletter, is sent to members, MPs and the Department of External Affairs.
The organisation is sponsored by most of the major Canadian churches, as well as several development agencies, including the Canadian University Services Overseas (CUSO) and the Development Education Centre (DEC). Project Ploughshares also receives money from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), and Regehr says 2,000 individual Ploughshare Associates throughout Canada provide a major amount of additional funding. These individuals have formed local chapters in 25 centres.
Some of the group’s church sponsors also participate in lobbying efforts before MPs in Ottawa, and Project Ploughshares acts as a support and resource agency in this area.
Michael Cooke, a Project Ploughshares board member, agrees that Trudeau’s peace crusade is “a good start.” But, he says, it must be coupled with a strong development policy, including increased aid to the Third World.
“The arms race is not only an east-west situation, but also a north-south one,” Cooke says. “There is a link between peace and justice.”
Project Ploughshares can be contacted by writing to them at Conrad Grebel College, Waterloo Ontario N2L 3G6, or by calling them at (519) xxx-xxxx.
— December 1983
What is the Christmas spirit?
A young woman in need, poor, the life within her urgent to be born ~ how many do we pass by, heedless of their needs, denying the promise they bear?
A stable. only straw and manger — strangers who understood the anxious mother and the steadfast man beside her, sojourners in their conquered land. Not to the rich and secure but to the caring, the humble and strangers, was the Christ child entrusted. But we clutch our fears and live out our hatred, branding others, like us, enemy never to be trusted. We spurn the powers of love God relied on, for megaton threats of vapourisation. The kingdom will be built to our designs, by promises of extermination ever more bound to come true, not by giving or by cherishing life, not by the response daring reconciliation. We flirt with annihilation, mesmerised by the perplexities of arms reductions, lacking the will to turn back.
A tiny baby… defenceless, a wonder to his parents, the hope in new life. Tiny lives flickering, snuffed out so often in a world still cold, not fired with the flame of love God lit on a Christmas morn. So few — least of all the rich and comfortable — see the 30 children who die every minute of poverty and starvation, while those with power feed our hatreds and fears with $1.3 million for arms in those 60 seconds. We are blind .to Christ the infant, who suffers our deafness to the cries of the children.
Angels heralding Emmanuel — God-with-us. The unseen surrounding us would hymn the joy of life and the promise of God. But we are not simple shepherds to be fooled. We are Adam, a little lower than the angels yet given the created order, in freedom made ruler. We claim our lordship through alliance, warhead, bomber, submarine, missile, killer satellite, silent stealthy gas and crippling disease. We shall be like gods, not shepherds seeing the radiance and going on our way singing alleluia, thanks be to God who gives us new life.
A star that none save the blind could miss and wise men followed to bring their treasure from afar. Unchanging brightness of God’s presence to lead us, but only if .we go in search to give all that means most to us to the one who for us became love — the way, the truth and life. But, unthinking, we would get, not give. Times are tough. We would insist on our raise, blame employers, the government, the unemployed, for not trying, while the needy — the old or handicapped, sole-support mothers and children, the unemployable and luckless (mirror of our unmerited success) — face endless cuts in their meagre necessities, and despair. We would ignore the star, enshrine the wise men in legend, forget the meaning of their response to the promise God gives in Christ.
An old man greeting the newborn Christ sees that he is the rising sun, to give light to those who live in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.
Christmas is all the hungry, the homeless, the helpless.
Christmas is hope, and homage to human vulnerability and the power of love.
Christmas is bringing to the One who would be with us our hearts, hands, minds, and things, so there may through us be healing of human hurts.
Christmas is the peace of God’s response to those who take Christ’s way of reconciliation.
Metta Spencer — December 1983
In the following article, we have summarised some of the recent developments in North American religious institutions. We have done so, not to imply that the following churches are any more pacifist than the religious organisations not represented here, but simply to demonstrate the attention that the world’s religious leaders are focussing on the issue of disarmament.
This is by no means a comprehensive list. We feel that it is important for such a list to be available, but we have neither the space nor the resources necessary to present it. There are, however, ways people can find out about the policies of other religious institutions. For more information, please contact your local Project Ploughshares office, CANDIS. or the administration of the church in question.
World Council of Churches
July and August 1983 — At its Sixth assembly, held in Vancouver, the WCC approved a Statement on Peace and Justice which included these positions and recommendations:
- Under no circumstances can nuclear war be just or justifiable, given that the devastation caused will be far out of proportion to any advantage derived.
- Nuclear war is unlikely to remain limited, as any contemplation of “limited” use of nuclear weapons should be discouraged.
- To build confidence, all present or future nuclear powers should renounce policies of “first use.”
- The concept of deterrence is to be rejected as morally unacceptable and as incapable or” safeguarding long-term peace and security.
- The production, deployment and use of nuclear weapons constitute a crime against humanity, and there should be a complete hall in production, research and development in all nations, to be enforced through a treaty.
- All nations should ratify a comprehensive test ban treaty.
- All means leading to disarmament should be welcomed, including multilateral, bilateral and unilateral initiatives.
Roman Catholic Church
November 28, 1980 — the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement urging Catholics not to buy war toys.
October 1981 — The CCCB issued a statement under the title The Neutron Bomb Enough is Enough! An excerpt:
“We therefore join our fellow bishops in the United States and the growing number of American citizens in condemning the decision of their government on the neutron bomb. We also ask members of the Catholic community and the people of Canada to oppose vigorously the build-up of nuclear arms by all nations and especially the United States and the Soviet Union. At some point we must say STOP. That time is now!”
May 3, 1983 — After a two-day meeting in Chicago, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops approved a pastoral letter titled The Challenge of Peace: God’s Promise and Our Response. The letter is over 30 pages long, and is directed both to Catholics and to non-Catholics. The following are excerpts from this letter.
“The present nuclear arms race has distracted us from the words of the prophets, has turned us from peacemaking and has focused our attention on a nuclear buildup leading to annihilation. We are called to turn back from this evil of total destruction and turn instead in prayer and penance toward God, toward our neighbor and toward the building of a peaceful world:
“ ‘I see before you life or death, a blessing or a curse. Choose life then, so that you and your descendants may live in the love on Yahweh your God…’ (Dt. 11:26).”
“Sensible and successful diplomacy, however, will demand that we avoid the trap of a form of anti-Sovietism which fails to grasp ,he central danger of a superpower rivalry in which both the United States and the Soviet Union are the players, and fails to recognize the common interest both stales have in never using nuclear weapons…. Soviet behaviour in some cases merits the adjective reprehensible, but the Soviet people and their leaders are human beings created in the image and likeness of God.”
“The evil of the proliferation of nuclear arms becomes more evident every day to all people. No one is exempt from their danger. If ridding the world of the weapons of war could be done easily, the whole human race would do so gladly tomorrow. Shall we shrink from the task because it is hard?”
“In the words of our Holy Father, we need a “moral about-face.” The whole world must summon the moral courage and technical means to say no to nuclear conflict; no to weapons of mass destruction; no to an arms race which robs the poor and the vulnerable; and no to the moral danger of a nuclear age which places before humankind indefensible choices of constant terror or surrender. Peacemaking is not an optional commitment. It is a requirement of our faith. We are called to be peacemakers, not by some movement of the moment, but by our Lord Jesus.”
Canadian Church Leaders
A statement on Canada’s Nuclear Weapons Policies was presented to Prime Minister Trudeau on December 14, 1982. The statement was presented by:
- Archbishop Henri Legare, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops; – Dr. Russel Legge, president of the Canadian Council of Churches; – Dr. Robert Binharnmer, president of the Lutheran Church (Canada); – Archbishop E.W. Scott, primate, Anglican Church of Canada; – Rev. Clarke MacDonald, Moderator of the United Church of Canada; – Dr. Wayne Smith, moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Canada.
The following is a summary of their recommendations for alternative Canadian policies.
- a comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban is essential.
- Canada should insist on a no-first-use policy within NATO, and urge all nuclear weapons states to take a similar pledge.
- Canada should refuse to test the cruise or any other nuclear weapons delivery vehicles.
- Canada should refuse to produce components for nuclear weapons systems.
- Canada should declare itself a nuclear weapons-free-zone, since it supports the U.N.‘s belief that NWFZ’s are a confidence-building measure.
- Canada should strengthen its peacekeeping capacity.
The statement also urges the Canadian government to support the principle of the Waldheim proposal to fund research and disarmament education at home as well as internationally through the World Disarmament Campaign.
In response to a specific call of the 28th General Council, the United Church prepared a policy statement on disarmament and militarisation, entitled The Search for Peace in the Eighties (August 1982). The following are some of their recommendations.
A. To the Church:
- That we wholeheartedly endorse the “Canada as a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone” campaign. of Project Ploughshares; that we commend this program to the congregations for study/action/refection; and that we increase our financial support for Project Ploughshares.
- That professors of theological ethics be encouraged in the next biennium to place a priority on peace and conflict studies.
- That the United Church encourage church involvement in exchange programs, especially with eastern bloc countries and underdeveloped countries.
- That the United Church commend to its members for moral and financial support the following organisations and areas of peace and disarmament work in which church people are already active and resources available: The “Noon-Day Prayer Vigil for Peace”; the Peace Tax Fund; the Pacific Life Community’s campaign to stop Trident; the Cruise Missile Conversion Project; the campaigns for a Nuclear-Free Pacific and for a Nuclear-Free Arctic; and the campaign for a Global Referendum.
B. To the Private Sector:
- That all private sector production for cruise missiles be phased out, and gradually convened to non-military production.
C. To the Government:
- That the United Church urge the government to enact legislation permitting redirection of taxes from war preparations to peace research, education and action programmes.
- That the United Church reaffirm its support for the Waldheim proposal (that .1 per cent of military spending go for peace research, education and action).
- That the United Church urge that the post of Ambassador for Disarmament be upgraded to full Cabinet rank.
Anglican Church of Canada
May 1981 — National Executive Council passes resolution stating that the ACC opposes the testing in Canada of the cruise missile.
4-12 June 1983 — General Synod passes resolutions:
- urging Parliament to pass Bill C-678 declaring Canada a NWFZ
- urging that the production and use of biological and chemical weapons be universally outlawed.
- judging that there is a moral obligation on all countries (including NATO nations) to forswear the first-use of nuclear weapons in any form, because of the high risk of escalation to full-scale nuclear warfare.
- urging the government of Canada to work at developing a truly effective international surveillance authority empowered by all nations
- to investigate and enforce restrictions on war preparations
- calling Anglicans to be bearers of hope and peacemakers
- declaring that the development, production or use of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons of mass destruction are contrary to the will of God and the mind of Christ.
- asking each parish and diocese to commit itself to giving peacemaking a primary place in its liturgy and program.
- directing the Program Committee to promote discussion and disseminate information on problems of violence and human conflict resolution.
September 1981 — Synod of the Diocese of Toronto resolved that it:
- supports a global freeze on the production, testing and deployment of nuclear weapons and their delivery vehicles, as a first step to mutual, balanced verifiable nuclear disarmament.
- urges local congregations to undertake nuclear disarmament education, and every effort to persuade MPs and the Canadian government to implement nuclear disarmament policies.
September 1983 — Synod of the Diocese of Toronto resolved that it urges each parish of the diocese to:
- undertake as a duty the support of its people in examining through prayer and study the nature of arms race.
- encourage their members to fulfil their democratic duty by informing electoral candidates of their concerns.
- support its Bishops in whatever initiatives they take to foster grealer understanding and trust between the people of our two neighbouring nations.
Mary Vrantsidis — December 1983
Almost every religion teaches some form of pacifism. Yet history is full of cases of religious wars. In battle chaplains on each side regularly urge soldiers forward by telling them that “God is on our side,” and by praying for victory instead of reconciliation. Some religions have been exceedingly warlike, such as Aztecs, Muslims and Christians, with their “holy wars” and crusades.
Christianity is a notable example of this dichotomy between teaching and practice. Christ is rightly called “the Prince of Peace,” for he consistently urged his followers to turn the other cheek and to love their enemies. In his “Sermon on the Mount” he gave this remarkable advice:
“You have learned how it was said: You must love your neighbour and hate your enemy. But I say this to you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
Almost all Christians in the world today (including most fundamentalists, who claim to be following Jesus’s teachings word-for-word) apparently consider this message as political nonsense and never attempt to follow it. Yet for the first several hundred years of Christianity, it was considered to be Christ’s main message, and it was followed absolutely. The early Christians were pacifists who, if it came to that, would let themselves be slaughtered or eaten by lions without resistance.
The doctrine of pacifism is not without moral ambiguity, however. Gandhi and Martin Luther King were the leaders who probably advocated following Christ’s teachings most faithfully in our own century. Yet Gandhi was troubled by the realisation that a moral person might have to use violence to stop a mad dog, for example, or a mad person who was killing people. We all can recognise that we’d want our friends to use the necessary amount of violence to stop us if we should ever happen to lose our sanity and start attacking people.
It is this basic notion — that love may sometimes seem to require violence of us that led Christianity away from its initial commitment to pacifism. Other distinct logical steps increased this divergence, though not necessarily in an orderly historical sequence.
The first landmark in the transition from pacifist to non-pacifist Christianity was the “just war” theory of St. Augustine, who taught that some wars were just and moral, while others were not. The crucial principle was this: one might engage in violence to defend peace and order and to vindicate justice. For a war to be just there must be a promise of greater order, with justice and peace as its outcome. The fighting must also be justly conducted (for instance, it must be directed against forces and not directly and deliberately against noncombatants.)
In accordance with this theory of the “just war,” a nation was considered within its rights in resisting an aggressor if it had (1) attempted without success to reconcile with the aggressor, (2) stuck to limited, just objectives in its war, and (3) used tactics and weapons that were proportional, so the injury caused was commensurate with the harm averted.
A somewhat greater departure from Christ’s ethic is seen in the principle that one may not only defend others by using force, but may defend oneself. Of course, the early proponents of this notion insisted that the means of self-defense had to be appropriate and that a Christian might never deliver the first blow.
The third logical step is the acknowledgement that a pre-emptive strike might save a lot of trouble later on. Perhaps it might not be such a bad thing to stab someone in the back to prevent him from attacking oneself or others later on. Theologians have rarely promoted this theory explicitly, but many Christians have believed in it.
Subsequent steps in the reasoning become more subtle. The principle was recognised that some kinds of oppression take place without anyone’s hands getting bloody. An oppressive landlord, for example, may starve his tenant farmers to death by charging them unfair rents. Is he any less aggressive than a robber who uses a weapon to take their money? Doesn’t justice require that both a robber and an exploitative member of the ruling class be opposed with all available weapons? Many priests and nuns in Latin America, for example, maintain today that by aiding the revolutionaries they are serving God.
Notwithstanding these logical subtleties, most people see only two options: a) to succumb without protest to a bully, or b) to resist violently against his domineering ways. Which option to choose would seem to depend on weighing the evil done by the bully against the evil likely to arise from violent resistance.
Few Christian theologians would justify the use of nuclear weapons by appealing to the “just war” theory. All weapons of mass destruction obviously cause far more harm than any bullying that might need to be resisted.
However, even if the actual use of nuclear weapons is wrong, is the threat of using them necessarily wrong? More and more Christians are convinced that it is. But some justify the principle of “deterrence” — the threat of retaliation by an overwhelming weapon against any military incursion by one’s enemies — on grounds that it can prevent war by the salutary fear it induces.
There are, however, at least two important objections to the claim that the threat of violence prevents violence. The first is practical, the second both practical and theological.
First, to threaten violence credibly, one’ must at least appear to really intend to use it. The resulting preparation for war makes its outbreak more likely — because a) we may get carried away by our own bluffing and actually behave aggressively. or b) we may react to a false alarm and thus initiate fighting by mistake, or c) we may appear so threatening to our potential enemies, that they consider it necessary to strike us first to prevent our striking them later. Preparation for war does not prevent war, but actually invites it.
The second objection to a policy of deterrence is based on the observation that, whether or not deterrence succeeds at keeping one’s enemy at bay, it surely does not turn that enemy into a friend. Violence and threats of violence just might produce victory, but what one wants is not to triumph over one’s enemy or even to ward him off, but to be reconciled with him. And whatever one does to threaten or harm others makes reconciliation more difficult, and hence endangers peace.
This fact has become very clear to most religious leaders today, and it is largely for this reason that they generally now oppose militarism. Violence, they say, begets violence. Retaliation, simply keeps a chain of violence going indefinitely. The principle of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” leaves everyone blind and toothless, and none better off for it. The only way to break the chain is simply to stop it — to refuse to retaliate with violence, even if one is injured by others.
Moreover, the Sermon on the Mount is not actually impractical. As Gandhi and Martin Luther King showed us, nonviolent protest is powerfully effective. A pacifist does not fight back but confronts an antagonist with two simultaneous messages: (a) I care about you and will not harm you, and (b) I am protesting the harm that you are doing.
Gandhi and King insisted on faithfully applying Christ’s message to love one’s enemies. Thai did not mean succumbing without protest, however; it meant confronting their evil and refusing to cooperate with it. These two religious leaders realised that society works only because people cooperatively follow certain common rules. If people refuse to do so, social organization breaks down. What has to be done to resist evil, then, is not to retaliate with violence but simply to refuse to obey bad rules. It may cost one a great deal of suffering, but it is a tactic that has one unique advantage: It leaves room for one’s antagonist to stop the wrongdoing and become one’s friend.
Protest, to Gandhi, was a duty; he claimed that morality was mostly a matter of telling the truth and that meant objecting to all oppression of oneself or others.
But at the same time, love required one to view the oppressive person as a seeker for truth too. Neither Gandhi nor Martin Luther King would ever speak of anyone as their enemy; their antagonists were also seeking truth and the struggle with them should always be carried out in a spirit of love — as an effort to assist them in finding truth and love.
Christ was assassinated. So were Gandhi and Martin Luther King. But their teachings have not been defeated. During this month, the Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded to a Catholic machinist, Lech Walesa, for organising nonviolent protests in Poland.
Christianity has come full circle. Church leaders preach nonviolence again today, having discovered along with the rest of us that when violence is carried to its ultimate extreme — nuclear annihilation — it defeats those who depend upon it. Only love has a future.
— December 1983
A documentary by Robert Richter. 27 min., colour 1982. Available in 16mm or video.
My first thought about seeing the movie Gods of Metal was here’s another anti-nuke film. What could make this one different from the rest? I had a discussion with someone in the peace movement who didn’t understand the connection between the arms race and oppression in our society. I realized that these connections are exactly what this film is about.
What takes the film one step beyond the typical anti-nuclear movie is that it constantly questions the morality of the arms race. It asks, “Is it not a sin to drop the bomb on the people of Hiroshima?” It challenges people who put their faith for the world’s survival in weapons, calling that a form of idol worship, hence the title, Gods of Metal.
In addition, Gods of Metal provides a thorough and concise overview of the relationship between the arms race and social oppression. It shows the physical, mental and spiritual costs to humans of funnelling such disproportionate amounts of money and resources into the arms race. It takes a cold hard look at the cash being poured into weapons’ production at the expense of social services. In one sequence from the. film, a Catholic priest observes that the bomb is killing us now even before one has been dropped. Interview after interview shows what Reagan’s cutbacks are doing to the poor, the children and the elderly in the States in order to beef up the military budgets. The message is clear: Choose life so your children may live.
You will have a hard time forgetting the faces of young people expressing concern for their futures. A teenaged girl doesn’t want to get married and have children because she doesn’t know if she’ll be blown up tomorrow. Youngsters read 5,400 letters to President Reagan on the White house lawn, expressing their fear and anger over having their futures taken away by the threat of nuclear war.
The hope in the film comes from the actions of some of the adults who put their lives on the line and directly challenge the arms race.
A former engineer at a Rockwell International plant making BI nuclear bombers quits his well-paying job to educate people about the destruction the plant is producing.
But it’s Molly Rush, one of the half dozen people who destroyed two nuclear warheads at the King of Prussia plant along with the Berrigan Brothers, who says it best. She believes you have to live like there is a future by confronting the arms race as directly as you can.
Overall, Gods of Metal is an excellent half hour introduction to the disarmament movement for the uninitiated, and it can bring a renewal of purpose to the already converted.
The film is available at DEC films, 427 Bloor St. W. Toronto, xxx-xxxx.
— December 1983
Directed by Lynne Littman, starring Jane Alexander and William Devane. Paramount 1983.
The Day After
Starring Jason Robards. ABC-TV film aired on November 20.
Reviewed by Jon Spencer
Hollywood is going gangbusters on the subject of nuclear war.
There’s only one problem. A realistic view of nuclear war would go something like this:
Audience takes their seats, and the lights are dimmed. Credits roll. Several blinding flashes of light. Credits roll. House lights go up, audience leaves.
This doesn’t make for a very exciting film. Documentary producers have developed a nice way of dealing with this problem. Peter Watkins’ brilliant film __The War Game_ examined the effects of a single nuclear explosion, dramatising what would happen in that blinding flash and shortly thereafter. In effect, he dramatised the scenario Dr. Helen Caldicott would later describe in the lecture upon which If You Love This Planet is based. The makers of _Dark Circle _chose to look instead at the effects of the existing arms race. These films don’t reach the mass audience “Hollywood” films reach partly because they are too realistic, and partly because they say things. Hollywood thinks it cannot.
But Hollywood shies away from the documentary approach to nuclear war. The new Hollywood releases and television films all fit into one or more of the “normal” categories: Drama, thriller, comedy, etc. Consequently, they fail as often as they succeed. Major film studios have adopted a curious way of not alienating their audience. They seem to have decided that they cannot make any “political” statements in their films. Since everybody would agree that nuclear war is bad, that is not a political issue. To avoid making a political statement, what they must do is avoid saying why the war ever happened.
Paramount’s entry, Testament, _is merely the latest attempt to struggle with nuclear extermination as the starting point for a script. Because one cannot make a full-length feature film at ground zero, the makers of _Testament chose to situate the film in the countryside, where victims would die slowly instead of being vaporised.
However, that’s almost the whole plot. We watch people die for 90 minutes, then the lights go on again. There are no survivors, but some people live longer than others, and the result is “drama.”
Testament is painful to watch, but not because it is a tremendous film. The pace of the story is much like a Dallas script, and the acting veers toward melodrama. The film merely stimulates the fear and horror every human feels about nuclear war. It doesn’t however, make the connection between the arms race and the conflagration that is its logical conclusion. It says, as if this were news, that nuclear war is bad.
The astonishing fact is. that The Day After made some of these logical connections. The media extravaganza that preceded the airing of the TV special focussed on the film’s graphic portrayal of the horrors of nuclear war. Viewers knew they would see scenes of mass murder. What they didn’t expect was the film’s portrayal of nuclear war as likely.
The scenario depicted in the film is quite plausible: The Soviet Union makes a conventional assault on Western Europe, partly due to Pershing II and cruise deployment, and NATO responds accordingly. Someone, it doesn’t matter who, escalates the conflict to the nuclear stage;. and ‘- each side begins .the countdown to Armageddon.
An army man, in trying to convince a superior officer that they can stop going by the book, delivers one of the film’s most important messages — The war is over before the missiles have even reached their targets. There is no winner in a nuclear exchange. The real war Was the arms race — the “Cold” War. The real war was fought against the eventuality of nuclear conflict. The nuclear war was the result of the Cold War, and the conventional Soviet assault was simply the trigger that pushed the arms race on to its inevitable conclusion.
This is a message “Hollywood” films have avoided giving the public until now and such a stand must be applauded.
If, however, ABC had merely aired the film, and left it at that, it would have had limited success. Instead, they chose to portray the film as the beginning of a new stage of public awareness. The film ended with a list of recommended readings, and was. followed by fairly articulate debates on the issues raised by the film and by the arms race in general. The final message was clear to all — dogmatic faith and apathy will be the causes of a nuclear conflict, and the people have a responsibility to inform themselves and to come to some educated conclusions — whatever those might be. This may be the most important message the North American people have ever heard.
— December 1983
Canada and the Nuclear Arms Race edited by Ernie Regehr and Simon Rosenblum.
Canada’s clear view
Reviewed by John Pendergrast
Outrage comes easily. The current nuclear arms buildup is destablilising, expensive, and wildly in excess of any defensive needs. It is imperative to object, and object strongly. Many books have indeed done this, with power and eloquence. Statistics have been compiled to support this outrage showing how many people will be killed by holocausts of various megatonnages, airburst or groundburst, counterforce or population-directed; how many starving people could be saved at the cost of producing one missile, how many false alarms there have been, how many natural and useful; it is almost the stock-in-trade of the peace movement.
Yet no matter how irrefutable the the arguments and statistics are, many people remain unmoved. It may well be true that the world is mad, and destruction imminent, but it is not sufficient merely to prove this on general principles and then to demand that the world change. It is not sufficient because it is perfectly possible to acknowledge that both sides possess massive overkill capacity; that a nuclear war would be unthinkable destructive; that we are all human, all in the same boat — and then to carry on as before.
Part of the problem is the large gap that usually exists between the generalized knowledge that nuclear weapons threaten the end of the .world and. the actuality of the world as people experience it. The nuclear threat is usually perceived either as something abstract, or as something “extra” not as an integral part of the social process.
It is useful to scare people, but unless . that fear is joined to an analysis of the economic and to an analysis of the economic and political situation, the ultimate effect will merely be further numbing.
Rather than turning away from the world in righteous indignation, it is important to face the present situation in all its particularity. Why is the United States pursuing its present policies, and what exactly are they? What would be the consequences if Canada actually did refuse the Cruise? These are among the many questions addressed in Canada and the Nuclear Arms Race.
Ernie Regehr and Simon Rosenblum have compiled, and in large measure written, an excellent book for cool heads. The contributors are all firmly committed to disarmament, but the tone is for the most part scrupulously objective (though Pauline Jewett is avowedly polemical, she is fair.) It is a wonderful source book, and the best book I know to give to Canadians of sound mind and good heart who are reluctant to believe that the politicians on both sides are vicious maniacs.
Canada and the Arms Race is divided into four parts. The first two parts are by far the longest, and to my mind the most valuable.
“The Race to Annihilation” analyses the present global situation, dealing with the changing nature of the arms race, the character and relative strengths of the U .S. and Soviet arsenals, the economics of the arms race, and the European disarmament movement.
“Canada’s Part in the Arms Race” deals with Canada’s direct involvement with the nuclear weapons industry and also analyses Canada’s own “peaceful” nuclear industry and its role in promoting nuclear proliferation. There is also a description of the likely consequences to Canada of a nuclear exchange between the U .S. and’ the Soviet Union.
“The Failure of Policy” contains articles by David MacDonald, Waiter Gordon, and Pauline Jewett outlining the changing course of Canadian nuclear policy since World War 11 and concludes with a minority report from the 1982 session of the House of Commons Standing Committee on External Affairs and National Defence.
“Canadian Proposals for Peace” begins with a survey of the past and present Canadian peace movement and goes on to outline proposals for a global referendum on disarmament, the establishment of an international satellite monitoring agency, and the declaration of Canada as a nuclear-weapons-free zone. Each proposal has been thoroughly researched and thought through; each seems eminently practical. They are refreshingly concrete, after the preceding chronicle of pusillanimous vagary.
Canada and the Arms Race should of course be read primarily for its content, but it is also a delight for the sheer quality of the writing, which is almost always clear and concise. I have seen nothing comparable come from the United States; perhaps Canada’s slight removal from from the centre of nuclear policy-making gives a better view.
Canada and the Nuclear Arms Race is available at bookstores or from James Lorimer & Co. for about five dollars.
— December 1983
The Peace Calendar is a monthly publication of the Canadian Disarmament Information Service (CANDIS), a non-profit, non-partisan communications and resource group serving the Canadian disarmament movement. CANDIS is sponsored by the Holy Trinity Church in Toronto and is funded by donations. The CANDIS office is located upstairs in Bathurst St. United Church (south of Bloor) and is open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday, and from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm on Saturday. Telephone — xxx-xxxx.
CANDIS — WHAT WE OFFER
1. Information on Nuclear arms and disarmament.
CANDIS gathers information from all sources On nuclear arms and disarmament, and makes that information public through its Toronto office and by telephone. CANDIS maintains a clipping file and reference library for public use, and also distributes copies of brochures, flyers, educational kits, periodicals and resource lists on nuclear disarmament. CANDIS volunteers are in the office to answer your questions. When the office is closed you can call Metta Spencer at xxx-xxxx and leave a recorded message.
2. Communication between Disarmament Groups and the Public
In order to facilitate communications between disarmament groups and the public, CANDIS maintains an annotated list of peace and disarmament organisations in Canada. To have your organisation included send a brief description (e.g. church, political, professional, etc.), a mailing address and the names and telephone numbers of at least two contact people.
For $2.00 CANDIS will add your organisation to a computerized mailing list which is available for use by disarmament and peace groups across Canada, and will send you a copy of this list for your use.
CANDIS is working to establish links with disarmament and peace groups throughout the world, and welcomes any information which will help to strengthen the international disarmament movement.
3. Liaison with the media
CANDIS maintains contacts with the television, radio and print media and acts as a .liaison between disarmament organisations and the media.
4. The Peace Calendar
Each month CANDIS publishes The Peace Calendar, a newspaper which includes an extensive listing of peace and disarmament events in Toronto, as well as a listing of major events across Canada. Listings for any month should be submitted by the 18th of the preceding month.
The Peace Calendar is distributed free at the CANDIS office and in bookstores, restaurants, libraries, schools, churches and other locations throughout Toronto and in major cities across Canada. Annual mailed subscriptions cost $10,00. Cheques should be made payable to CANDIS. Send your order, to CANDIS, 736 Bathurst St., Toronto, On., M5S 2R4.
Advertising Rates for The Peace Calendar are available from Stan Adarns at xxx-xxxx, or Jon Spencer at xxx-xxxx.
CANDIS — WHAT WE NEED
Are you a repressed researcher? A latent librarian? Our Education Committee would like to hear from you. Call CANDIS at xxx-xxxx and ask for Cathy Brown or Roberta Spence.
The Peace Calendar exists to support and build the disarmament movement across Canada. This is your paper, and your comments and suggestions are welcomed. Please send them to the Editorial Board, CANDIS, 736 Bathurst St., Toronto, On., M5S 2R4.
CANDIS, as an ongoing service to the community, requires regular sources of income. The service is supported by donations, subscriptions and advertising revenue. CANDIS must develop these funding sources in the coming weeks and months, and you can help. If you would like to participate in any way, please call Beth Richards.
CANDIS also needs your help in distributing The Peace Calendar across the nation. If you’d like to help us .make copies available in your city, please call Richard Kopycinski at 416 xxx-xxxx.
Davld Langille — December 1983
I would like to respond to the article by Beth Richards on the E.P. Thompson meeting which appeared in the September issue.
The World Assembly for Peace and Life, Against Nuclear War held in Prague. Czechoslovakia last June was certainly not a “stage show” as quoted by Mr. Thompson. As a participant with 72 other Canadians representing church. labour. women, youth, peace groups, elected civic and provincial officials of diverse views, I take exception to such a statement.
If one were to read the reports of the 11 Dialogues, 13 Special Meetings and the Final Appeal any objective person would not support such conclusions. Unfortunately, the mass media in this country failed to give due coverage to this important conference: (perhaps CANDIS as a concerned peace group could see fit to do this).
The Assembly was organised by an International and national organisations. The Assembly had 3,265 participants from 132 countries and was open to all. The only restriction was placed on European and Czechoslovakian participation because of limited space. However not one organization from any country was refused participation.
This cannot be said of Mr. Thompson’s European Nuclear Disarmament Meeting (END) in West Berlin which refused participation from peace organisations of Eastern and Western Europe.
Such actions by Mr. Thompson will only create division in the peace movement and assist the supporters of a return to the Cold War.
Canadian Peace Congress
In response to the “Millions protest deployment” article that mentioned the question of demonstrations versus lobbying ( TPC, November 1983 ), I would like to state ACT’s views on the importance of large demonstrations.
Demonstrations have a huge impact on both the public and the government leaders we are trying to affect. After the demonstration last April, Trudeau was heard to remark to U.S. vice president George Bush that “there is a slight problem — 80,000 demonstrators.” In contrast to this, lobbying is a private activity that does not have an opportunity to affect public opinion.
The testing of the cruise has now been delayed until March of 1984. We must continue with our most effective strategy; we cannot look as if we are disappearing if we want to get the testing cancelled. If the testing does go ahead, we will have to build the largest demonstration yet, shortly after the start of the tests, to show Trudeau the mistake he has made. But if the peace movement unites to stop the testing, we will be successful.
Against Cruise Testing coalition
— December 1983
Disarmament groups across the country are encouraged to send representatives to the national strategy conference planned for February 2-5 in Winnipeg. Although the conference is being organised by the Peace Petition Caravan Campaign, it will be structured to permit a wide-ranging discussion of the future directions open to the Canadian peace movement.
There has been a keen interest shown for such a conference. Activists everywhere have been wondering about how to make the peace movement more politically effective. Many groups want to ensure that disarmament is a key issue in the upcoming federal elections. This national conference will provide an opportunity to discuss how these objectives might be realised.
The agenda is now being drafted, in consultation with peace groups across Canada. Among the suggested topics are: Women’s perspectives on the peace movement; Liaison with labour; Mass actions and CD; Peace education; and Media relations. There is a particular interest in discussing how the Canadian peace movement might develop a more unified structure and a better-coordinated campaign.
Suggestions for the agenda should be sent to the Peace Petition Caravan Campaign, 600 Bank St., Ottawa, K1S 3T6. Their telephone number is (613) xxx-xxxx.
The logistical details of the conference are being organised by the Manitoba committee of the PPCC.. They can be contacted at 696 Westminster Ave., Winnipeg, R3G 1A2, or by phoning Gary Russell or Ben Parker at (204) xxx-xxxx.
- Gatherings were held across the continent following the showing of the ABC film, The Day After on TV on Sunday, Nov. 20.
The invitation for a Toronto meeting that was to be held at Bloor St. United Church said as follows, “This kind of programme can move people to action or to despair. Face-to-face support can help us and remind us that we still live in the day before. Together we can create a different scenario then than the holocaust The Day After depicted.”
Judging from the many calls coming in to the CANDIS office on the Monday after, lots of people are being moved into action.
Often, people had been thinking about it for a long time but had not got around to doing anything. Others just did not know what to do and someone else suggested a number to call.
- Be awed by the splendour of life while helping out CANDIS. Martha Warnes is holding an exhibit of photography titled “Homage to Man and Nature”. The opening is December 5 from 7-9 pm at the First Unitarian Congregation at 175 St. Clair West in Toronto. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to CANDIS. The exhibit continues till January 1. Call xxx-xxxx for info on viewing hours. For more on the show, call Martha Warnes at xxx-xxxx.
- The Peace Petition caravan campaign is gearing up. Handy cardboard copies of the petition re available form CANDIS in Toronto or from the campaign office at 600 Bank St, Ottawa; K1S 3T6, or call 613-xxx-xxxx. The petition is aimed at your individual federal member of parliament for the next election, slated for early September 1984. Help make elected representatives responsible to their electorate.
- Watch for the new novel Wardays, to be published by Holt Reinhart and Winston in April 1984. Co-authored by James Kunetka Jr, who has written on Los Alamos, and Whitney Streiber, the novel takes place in the U.S. after a nuclear war with the Soviets. It deals with how people respond as the two authors travel across the States. Many scientists are expected to endorse it and it will also be made into a movie. A Nuclear Times story calls it a chilling and effective anti-nuclear statement.
- Women in Australia have taken a stand against Pine Gap, a key U.S. satellite communications base called the “eyes and ears” of American defense. The base is so secret, even the Australian government doesn’t know what’s happening there. One of its prime functions is to pick out Soviet targets. The women held a peace camp and civil disobedience on November 11th. Pine Gap is a number one target of attack. For more info write Woman for Survival, Box 3603, Alice Springs, N. T. 5750, Australia.
- Fighting for the right to demonstrate …the 14 members of the Ontario Queen’s Pad< Peace Camp who were arrested June 30th and fined $200.00 are appealing their convictions.
In his ruling Judge Vanek stated protestors may no! hide behind the veil of the constitution, and freedom of speech and assembly don’t apply to demonstrations. He said demos are not legal but are only tolerated. The peace camp members are willing to go to Supreme Court to uphold their basic rights and freedorns. The appeal group urgently needs money to cover the $500 fee for transcripts of their trial. Plenty of free encouragement would also be appreciated.
Donations should be made payable to: Queen’s Park Peace Camp Defence Fund c/o Iler, Campbell and Associates, 136 Simcoe St, Suite 201, Toronto, Ont. M5H 3G4. For more info call Bernice or Bob Spence at 416-xxx-xxxx.
- A very merry Christmas! And incredibly happy Channuka! And a peaceful, joyous and prosperous New Year to all — from all of us at The Peace Calendar.
- SANE (Students Against Nuclear Extinction) is now in its 3rd year at Weston Collegiate. If you want to start a group in your school, you can phone John Chang at xxx-xxxx for further information.
- Youth Action for Peace (YAP) was originally founded by Ottawa high school students at Glebe C.I. Aside from a die-in, a picket of the Tory convention, and leafletting the film “Wargames.” and a few civil disobedience actions, not much was happening.
- The recent school strike, on November 11th, changed all that. In organising for the strike, YAP has gained well over 300 serious contacts, and is now operating out or its own office. Although based in the high schools, collectives are forming at U.of O., and Carleton University.
Current plans for the winter include weekly non-violence workshops, organising collectives in the schools, and aiding them in the publication of underground school papers.
We encourage other youth groups to contact us at: Youth Action for Peace. 126 York St., Suite 202, Ottawa, Ont. 613-xxx-xxxx.
- Bob Bossin is collecting ‘Home remedies’ for nuclear war — neat little ideas that mere people can effect. Also new wrinkles to old ideas, eg turning a protest letter into a protest chain letter, or passing out blank cheques with a collection bucket. Or effective little tips, arguments, jokes, whatever someone has found helpful and thins someone else will be able to use. Send remedies to Bossin at 3271 Main St, Vancouver BC V5W 3M6. Phone 604-xxx-xxxx.
- Many thanks and much appreciation to Kolya, Robin, Wax, Richard, Charles, Sandy, Martin Joseph, Steve and Wayne (?) for moving CANDIS’s printing press one dark Wednesday evening.
- In 1965, Britain’s BBC-TV refused to air Peter Watkins’ film The War Game. In 1983, The Moral Majority urged its sympthasisers to boycott corporations who advertised in ABC TV’s The Day After, in an attempt to prevent advertisers from supporting such a realistic film. Perhaps it is time we encouraged the dissemination of educational information by participating in an “anti-boycott” of those advertisers. Not because they advertised in this film, for that was in all certainty a decision based entirely on business criteria — but because they were not afraid to advertise. There is a world of difference between advocating censorship and the boycotting of companies whose business practices are unethical. If any of us feel that there should be more debates such as the ones aired following The Day After, they could write to its advertisers indicating their appreciation. The advertisers on the Global TV version of the show were Schneiders meats, Braun shavers, Canon, Gulf oil, Honda, Activision, Greyhound Canada, First Choice haircutters, Shell oil, Superchannel and Renault/AMC.