The Peace Calendar Vol.2 No.1
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Martin Zeilig — February 1984
Joe Flexer — February 1984
Disarmament and peace groups from across Canada will be sending representatives to a national conference in Winnipeg on February 2 – 5. The conference is being organised by the Peace Petition Caravan Campaign, but is being structured so as to permit wide-ranging discussion of future directions open to the peace movement in Canada.
The history of the PPCC itself is a lesson in creativity and persistence. In January 1983, a small disarmament group on Saltspring Island in British Columbia sent out a series of proposals to a number of peace and disarmament groups across Canada. This dedicated group of activists recognised the need for a coordinated national campaign that would help stop cruise missile testing in Canada and make our country a Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone.
They realised that the future of the peace movement depended on the energies generated by community-based groups similar to their own. However, they were also feeling isolated and powerless vis-à-vis the decision-makers in Ottawa. It was at this point that the Islanders raised $12,000 to promote their views across the country.
In the months that followed, a steady grounds well of support was felt from peace groups nationwide. One person in particular, Don Erickson, a freelance journalist and broadcaster and former community college teacher, has been the main driving force in gathering support for what eventually became known as the Peace Petition Caravan Campaign.
Prominent people such as Patrick Watson, Margaret’ Laurence, Dr. Donald Bates and Ottawa Mayor Marion Dewar, and representatives of such national organisations as Operation Dismantle, Greenpeace, Voice of Women and the Assembly of First Nations are all enthusiastic members of the PPCC’s Caravan Committee. The PPCC also received a great boost when it attracted the active support of the Canadian Labour Congress.
Last August in Ottawa — home of the PPCC National Office — an initial conference was held with representatives from the abovementioned organisations (and others) in attendance. At the upcoming Winnipeg conference, most of those saine organisations and coalitions will be represented.
In the words of David. Langille, full-time paid Campaign Coordinator, the February conference “will provide a nationwide forum for peace activists to share their experiences and discuss strategies for the future, as well as to focus on organising the PPCC for its immediate tasks in 1984.”
According to Langille, and to the PPCC’s own literature, the Campaign’s objectives are:
1) to stop the testing of the cruise missile in Canada; 2) to have Canada officially declared a NWFZ; and 3) to re-direct wasteful spending on the arms race to fund human needs.
Hundreds of thousands of signatures will hopefully be collected on the petitions themselves. These will then be presented to the MPs in the various federal ridings encouraging them to support the Campaign objectives.
Other topics to be discussed in Winnipeg are such crucial themes as Civil Disobedience, Peace Education, Computers in the Peace Movement, and “What about the USSR?”
One of the performers and participants at the conference will be Vancouver musician Bob Bossin of the highly acclaimed group Stringband. Bossin recently returned from a much-publicised and successful tour of the Soviet Union.
Representatives of peace — and other — organisations interested in attending the Winnipeg conference should contact the PPCC National Office at 600 Bank St., Ottawa Ontario KIS 3T4, or phone (613) xxx-xxxx.
anon — February 1984
Preparations for the imminent launching of the Peace Petition Caravan Campaign in Metro Toronto took a qualitative step forward as a result of a January 3 meeting of representatives from organised labour and the peace movement.
The organisations represented included the Canadian Labour Congress, Ontario Federation of Labour, Labour Council of Metropolitan Toronto, Toronto Disarmament Network, United Auto Workers, NDP Anti-War Committee, International Women’s Day Committee, Cruise Missile Conversion Project, Against Cruise Testing and the Voice of Women. The meeting focussed on the organisation of a broadly-based campaign structure suited to conducting the Peace Petition Caravan Campaign on a mass basis in Toronto.
The PPCC is envisaged as a year-long program of activities designed to increase public awareness of disarmament issues and to help structure the peace movement for politically effective intervention into the next federal election.
The tone and framework of the meeting was set by the initial report from Brother Buzz Hargrove, administrative assistant to Canadian UAW director Robert White. He reported that the UAW had decided to join the TDN as a reflection of its commitment to I) the labour movement actively joining the peace movement; 2) successfully waging the PPCC on a genuinely mass basis; and 3) the active participation of the membership of the labour movement in the long term task of building a mass movement for peace and disarmament in Canada.
Specifically in regard to the PPCC, Hargrove explained that the UAW favoured for this purpose the founding in Toronto of a broad mass-based coalition structure. This coalition will be based essentially on the broadening of the TDN to include the labour movement and other forces, but will be structurally independent from the TDN.
Representatives of the TDN then presented a proposal for the construction of such a coalition. This will be a mass-oriented coalition open to every organisation committed to. the PPCC. The constituencies immediately able to join the coalition will include all TDN member organisations; the TDN itself; any and all labour organisations, such as the national and regional offices of UAW, Steelworkers, CUPE, etc., the Toronto and District Labour Council and all its affiliated locals; any and all church organisations (both the federations and individual churches); and many more.
Should it become necessary, the voting basis in this coalition would be one vote for each organisation or duly-constituted standing committee. A representative Steering Committee would be elected, which would meet at regular. times and places. Its meetings would be open (with speaking reports) to anybody working in the coalition. This is a fairly traditional peace movement structure.
Other speakers, from the labour movement and elsewhere, spoke in basic agreement with these reports. There were, of course, various nuances of position expressed hut it seems fair to say that the opinions expressed were in all important respects unanimous.
The meeting then struck a convening committee to undertake the practical tasks of organising the first and founding meeting of the new Toronto PPCC Coalition. (This meeting was subsequently organised and held on January 24. It was a great success.)
Since the January 3 meeting, the UAW has joined the TDN, and has assigned Brothers Pat Clancy, Jim O’Neil and George Ehring to participate in its work.
The Peace and Disarmament Committee of the Toronto and District Labour Council has recommended that the Council join the TDN. This will be acted upon at the upcoming February meeting of the Council and its Executive Board.
Peace activists will surely welcome the outcome and results of the January 3 meeting. These are yet more reasons for the expectation that the peace movement in this city and this country will go from strength to strength.
Robert Penner — February 1984
On December 12, Toronto City Council approved the construction of a peace memorial to be built in Nathan Phillips Square. The idea was first conceived by Rev. Massey Lombardi, O.F.M., of the Archdiocese of Toronto, and was recommended to City Council by Toronto Mayor Art Eggleton. The specific events the memorial will commemorate are Toronto’s Sesquicentennial year and visits to Toronto by Queen Elizabeth and the Pope. However, the memorial has the much larger purpose of expressing the human desire for lasting peace in a world threatened by nuclear war. As shown in this photograph of a model of the memorial, its underlying objective is to represent human society in microcosm,but with elements (such as the destroyed roof) which suggest its fragility.
— February 1984
SHEFFIELD – The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), the powerful umbreila organisation for the British disarmament movement, laid out strong plans for action in 1984 at the organisation’s annual conference in Sheffield” England, in December.
CND is showing no signs of demoralisation after the recent arrival of ground-launched cruise missiles. Instead, the organisation looks stronger and more detennined than ever. In his annual report, General Secretary Bruce Kent told over 2000 delegates from throughout Great Britain that CND had recruited more members in the few weeks following the deployment than were in the total membership of the organisation just a few years ago. He reported that CND is adding 1000 new members each week to its current membership of over 80,000. (This figure includes only the direct national membership. At least three times that number are members of local CND groups, and millions more are affiliated to CND through organisations such as unions, women’s groups and professional associations.)
Unlike the disarmament movementln most other countries, the CND has been able to unify all British peace activists into one powerful organisation. This does not mean that it is without strenuous debates or internal division. The conference featured a wide range of opinion, but it also demonstrated that CND is quite able to deal with these disagreements, remaining solidly intact and future-oriented.
The conference itself is a major event for CND. Months of preparation go into making sure the conference participants are able to make good decisions in’ such a constricted time-frame. Resolutions and amendments are circulated, discussed and revised during this period of preparation. By the time the delegates arrive at the conference, the decision-making priorities are clearly laid out and the debates are already elaborated.
The major debates of the weekend centered on the campaign strategy for 1984. The. delegates wasted no time in reaffirming that the campaign to keep the cruise missile out of England would not be jeopardised by the recent arrival of the new missiles. In fact, the tactics used by CND members would escalate as they continue to demand the remqval of the missiles.
After some debate, “it was agreed by a large majority that there would be no challenge to the women-only nature of the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp, where the first missiles had arrived. Instead, mixed-sex non-, violent protests would be held at other bases and in the surrounding area in support of the work of the camp at Greenham.
The participants also agreed to adopt a strategy to deal with the anticipated transportation of cruise missiles outside their stationing bases. In an actual war situation, the cruise missiles would leave the bases in launchers before being fired from various locations in the British countryside. CND conference participants vowed to make the testing of any such operation extremely difficult, and proposed blockades of all the major arterial roads that would be used in the expected maneuvres.
The conference also decided to emphasise the ‘no Trident’ campaign, to protest Britain’s further’ involvement with first-strike weaponry.
However, the conference did not ratify the resolution calling for the CND to adopt a call in support of a freeze on new nuclear weapons. This resolution was put forward because many members of CND are concerned that their long-established position of unilateral British disarmament is not well understood and is used by their opposition to paint them as pro-Soviet. In reality, unilateralism in CND is a belief that they should focus on their own government’s complicity in the arms race and not allow the inaction of any other government to be used as an excuse for continued weapons build-up. This in no way implies support for, or acceptance of, nuclear proliferation in any other countries. Bruce Kent repeated the oft-quoted phrase summarising the CND position: “A unilateralist is a multilateralist that means it.” Despite the, backing from .the wellrespected CND leadership, the delegates rejected the freeze proposal. Some participants objected .to calling for a freeze after new and potentially unverifiable weapons were already”, being. deployed., It was also felt that this would be a retreat from calling for a direct disarmament action in favour of a more general call for negotiations.
Another lively debate centered around the issue of NATO. Although CND is on record as opposing NATO, they haven’t made this a prominent focus for their work. There were arguments presented for both a harder and a softer line on this issue. Supporters of the latter position argued that CND should work for the reform rather than the abolition of NATO, but one delegate reflected the prevailing mood when he said “reform of NATO is a bit like expecting the Vatican to become an atheist organisation.” Delegates argued that NATO’ was nothing more than an agressive nuclear alliance, and that CND should argue strenuously for a British pull-out. Those who were afraid of alienating potential support prevailed, and a compromise resolution was passed which stated that the “CND reaffirms its opposition to all nuclear alliances” and that “Britain’s withdrawal from NATO would be a positive step in the. unravelling of both NATO and the Warsaw Pact.” It also stated that this position would be explained “through a comprehensive educational campaign… whilst emphasising the campaign against cruise and Trident.”
Although at times the debate was hot and heavy, the conference clearly demonstrated the vitality of this organisation and of the disarmament movement in Britain. A huge number of delegates from different regions, backgrounds and perspectives were able to leave Sheffield with a solid direction for 1984. In building one of the strongest national peace movements, the Campaign’ for Nuclear Disarmament will continue to be one of the leaders in the worldwide campaign for the abolition of nuclear weapons.
Roy McFarlane — February 1984
Par Jean-Guy Vaillancourt et Ronald Babin
Contrairement à une opinion fort répandue, il existe au Québec un mouvement anti-guerre qui prend forme actuellement et qui évolue assez rapidement, surtout depuis le début de 1982. Celie mobilisation implique tant les francophones que les anglophones, bien qu’elle fût plus lente à démarrer chez les francophones. Elle s’etend aussi de plus en plus dans les villes autres que Montréal.
Le nouveau mouvement antiguerre est assez different du mouvement pour la paix des années cinquante, bien qu’il soit partiellement en continuité avec lui. Durant les années soixante, on a pu assister a la naissance d’un second mouvement anti-guerre, dirige contre la guerre du Viêt-nam. Celui-ci s’est developpé surtout à partir de 1965 et il réunissait dcs gens venus dc plusieurs horizons politiques differents.
Quant au mouvement anli-guerre actuel au Québec, il s’est constitué essentiellement, depuis le début de 1982, a l’occasion de trois manifestations importantes, l’une à New York le 12 juin 1982, la deuxième a Ottawa le 30 octobre 1982 et la troisième à l’occasion de celie du 22 octobre dernier à Montréal qui a regroupé plus de 20.000 personnes en 2 manifestations gigantesques, comme on n’en avait pas vu depuis bien longtemps à Montréal.
Depuis un an, les énergies se sont orientées vers l’organisation de cette grande manifestation. du 22 octobre dernier à Montréal, qui marquait la journée internationale de solidarité pour la paix et pour la résistance à la course aux armements entre l’Ouest et l’Est, et aussi contre les essais de missiles de croisière au Canada. Autour de cet événement, tous les groupes anti-guerre se sont mobilisés, les anciens comme les nouveaux, les pro-soviétiques comme les nonalignés, les vrais pacifistes comme les partisans de la “guerre juste” dans certains cas bien précis, les anglophones comme les francophones, les Montréalais comme ceux qui oeuvrent ailleurs au Québec.
On peut dire qu’il existe, actuellement, en gros, deux grandes tendances ou tentatives de regroupement dans Ie mouvement anti-guerre québécois et qu’une troisième est en gestation. Le Conseil québécois pour la paix. avec les 145 groupes (syndicats, associations ethniques et étudiantes, de retraites de solidarité internationale, etc.) qu’il a réussi à mobiliser autour de lui pour sa marche du 22 octobre dernier constitue un premier axe, plus ancien, plus structuré et plus centré sur une position anti-americaine plutôt que sur une option de non-alignement.
Le deuxième axe du mouvement esl constitué des groupes gravitant autour du Comité du 22 octobre, qui tire lui-même son origine de la Coalition montréalaise pour le désarmement, de façon plus lintaine, de certains groupes d’écologistes, de chrétiens, d’universitaires et de militants dont plusieurs sont anglophones (Eglise unie, Anglicans, Unitariens, Benedic Labre House, Project Ploughshares, Operation Dismantle, les employés de McGill pour le desarmement, les professionels de la santé pour une responsabilité nucléaire, revue Our Generation, le Service d’information sur le désarmement, le Regroupement pour la surveillance du nucléaire, etc.) ainsi que la Voix des femmes, l’ Alliance Tournesol, l’Union des pacifistes du Québec et divers autres organismes francophones de solidarité internationale et de groupes locaux anglophones et francophones. Ces groupes privilégient le non-alignement et un type d’action souple et décentralisée sous forme de réseaux et de coalitions informels.
Quant au troisième axe du mouvement, il commence à peine a se développer mais il semble déjà en bonne voie de formation. C’est une tentative de regroupement, sur la base de coalitions informelles, des divers groupes québécois, surtout francophones qui voudraient développer un réseau plus vaste que celui de la Coalition montréalaise, bien qu’ils en fassent partie pour la plupart, réseau qui inclurait des groupes régionaux et des organismes francophones bien établis.
Ces groupes francophones ou bilinguës tendent en général à relier la question de la paix à celles de la justice et de la solidarité internationale et veulent aller chercher des syndicats et des groupes populaires et des gens sensibilisés à la paix dans les diverses régions du Québec. Comme c’est le cas pour le Comité du 22 octobre et pour la Coalition montréalaise, ils sont portés à prendre une position de non-alignement entre l’URSS et les Etats-Unis.
Il est bien difficile de prévoir si ce troisième réseau abserbera en entire ou en prtie le second ci-dessus mentionné, ou s’il se constituera effectivement en partie à côté de celui-ci. Tout dépend en somme du rôle que décideront d’y jouer les tentatives de coalitions paritelles que esistent déjà au Québec, tels la Coalition montréalaise, le Réseau québécois pour le desarmement, la Coalition québécoise étudiante pour Ie desarmement, l’ Alliance Tournesol, etc. L’effort le plus important pour la création de ce troisième réseau est en marche depuis Ie 12 avril 1983 et spécialement depuis le 10 juin 1983, lorsque des militants d’une vingtaine de groupes francophones pour la plupart mais comprenant aussi quelques groupes anglophones, se sont réunis pour la journée pour discuter de la possibilité de créer un reseau québecois très souple et plus vaste que les regroupements partiels existants. A la suite de cette rencontre du 10 juin, un comité intérimaire d’interre1ation, composé de 7 personnes provenant des principaux groupes présents, à été formé pour explorer les avantages d’un tel regroupement. Le 1er octobre 1983, ce comité d’interrelation tenait une autre rencontre des groupes et ceux-ci chargèrent le comité de produire une plateforme commune qui fut discutée, amendée et finalisée par les répresentants des groupes à une réunion générale le 10 decembre 1983. Cette plate-forme sera prochainement publiée dans le journal Le Devoir, et servira de base pour le recrutement de nouveaux groupes qui se réuniront bientôt pour discuter des actions futures du mouvement antiguerre, y compris un congrés qui devrait avoir lieu au prinlemps ‘84 si les groupes sont d’accord.
Il s’agit en l’occurence de débattre collectivement quelles actions et quelles orientations devraient poursuivre ensemble les groupes québécois. Par exemple, faut-il centrer l’attention sur la seule dénucléarisation ou sur des problèmes plus vastes de transformations économiques, politiques et sociales, s’attaquer a la production locale d’armements ou au complexe militantindustriel et technocratique, faire de l’education ou des aClions, de la mobilisation a la base ou de l’organisation et de la coordination, centrer la lutte sur l’opposition aux bases el aux essais des USA chez nous ou renvoyer dos à dos l’URSS et le USA, développer surtout les groupes régionaux ou les liens internationaux, insister sur Ie pacifisme or sur Ie neutralismc, contestcr Bagotvillc, les missiles de croisière en Alberta ou le champ fédéral de tir au Lac-St-Jean, manifester contre le fédéral, contre Andropov, ou contre Reagan, etc.
Ces options sont probablement complémentaires et non contradictoires, et il est sans doute excellcnt que les groupes se concertent de temps en temps pour se partager les tâches et réfléchir sur leurs orientations et sur leur action, car ce sont là des questions complexes.
Notre but en parlant de ces trois tendances ou réseaux est de montrer la diversité et la force croissante du mouvement a la guerre Québecois et non pas de classer les groupes et les gens dans des casiers étanches et rigides. Tout ce que nous pouvons affirmer avec ccrtitudc à l’heure actuclle, c’est qu’il existe en ce moment au Québec un très grand nombre de groupes préoccupés par la question de la guerre et du désarmement.
— February 1984
OTTAWA – The Parliament Hill Peace Camp, pitched near the steps leading to the Centre Block of Parliament,’ has been alternately praised and criticised since its founding in April of 1982. Presently three people, Stephanie Cae, Dave Savage and Jonathan Levitte, maintain the Camp. Through the winter, they have slept nightly under a snow-covered tarpaulin. To give it some comfort, two Coleman heaters were donated to them, one from Greenpeace, Vancouver, the other from Peaceworks, an Ottawa group.
Skip Hambling, one of the organisers of, the October 1982 ‘Refuse the Cruise’ rally, now an assistant to NDP Member of Parliament Simon de Jong, and a founding member of Peaceworks, described the Camp as “the single most effective effort the peace movement has made in Canada.” He said that he and other New Democratic assistants who work on the Hill give the campers full marks for their perseverance, courage, stamina and conviction.
Doug Anguish, an NDP MP whose riding will be the site of the cruise missile tests, has been the most helpful of all MPs, according to Stephanie Coe. He’s allowed them access to his phone and receives their incoTning mail through his House of Commons office.
Aside from these particular instances, the campers are unanimously disappointed with the lack of support coming from local peace groups and parliamentary aides, particularly from the NOP. “So many times we’ve been at the point of closing the Camp,” said Dave Savage.
The crux of the problem has been appearance. A number of people, supporters and detractors, point to the disheveled look the Camp had through the summer and fall. The Camp was often untidy, creating a concern, on the part of some members of local peace groups, about the image it gave of the peace movement.
Eric Nielson, during his term as acting Conservative leader prior to the PC convention, raised the issue in the Commons shortly before the visit of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. He described the Camp as an ‘eyesore.’
The campers don’t deny that the camp was untidy, but point out that the issue of cruise testing is what people should be examining. Despite the image problem, the campers feel that they have been an asset to the peace movement.
David Crenna, an assistant to Pierre Trudeau, arranged a meeting between Stephanie Cqe and the Prime Minister in late September. He acknowledged that “the Camp is a daily reminder to all Members of Parliament of the concern across the country.” According to Crenna, the meeting with Trudeau was arranged at Coe’s request. Coe, on a couple of occasions, had stopped Trudeau outside Parliament to speak with him. Crenna explained that the Prime Minister had increased his attention to the peace issue especially after the downing of the Korean airliner.
Coe recalls the meeting fondly. Karen Harrison, who was in the midst of a lengthy fast, attended it as well. (The Camp had originated as a result of an earlier fast Karen conducted.)
The meeting was held in Trudeau’s Langevin Block office. The three talked about the strategy of suffocation. Coe asked about the cruise tests. She says the Prime Minister looked away, and quietly said “Oh, the cruise.?’ He then briefly defended the tests as being part of the commitment to NATO. The meeting lasted ten minutes.
Towards the end, Trudeau said “There’s nothing I can do aboui it,” referring to the cruise tests, says Coe. He gave them no’ indication of his as yet undisclosed plans for a peace mission. After the meeting, Coe and Harrison went back to the Camp. Harrison has since ended her fast and has returned to Toronto.
Coe wonders now if their meeting affected the Prime Minister. David Crenna down plays its significance, mentioning that Trudeau meets with different people often, citing a January 16th luncheon meeting held with Dennis McDermott, president of the CLC; Norman Alcock, fOrmer president of the Canadian Peace Research Institute; and James Stark, president of Operation Dismantle, at which peace issues were discussed. Still, Coe is optimistic.. “I don’t know, I hope it did – ir helps morale.”
The Camp is now a few months away from its first amliversary. “I would like to see it continue,” says Savage. Both he and Cae have decided to leave in the spring. Cae is going to travel to Europe at the end of February. Savage is staying until the first of the cruise tests in March. Jonathan Levitte is uncertain about his own plans. “I can’t continue the Camp by myself.” Even though a meeting with the Prime Minister is a part of their history, the lack of support, moral and financial, may, soon take its toll.
Metta Spencer — February 1984
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— February 1984
OTTAWA – On January 10, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau lunched at 24 Sussex Drive with fourteen members of the Third Track Committee, a committee that supports his peace initiative. Key members of his task force who were also on hand – Geoffrey Pearson, David Crenna, Gary Smith and Peter O’Malley – met with the committee beforehand and afterward.
The committee’s organiser, Dr. Robert Laxer, remarked that Mr. Trudeau’s effort has already begun to have a beneficial effect on the tone of international discourse, and the Prime Minister agreed that the “megaphone diplomacy” seems to have stopped. A major purpose in his peace initiative has been to encourage nations to bring an appropriate level of political energy to bear on stopping the current nuclear arms race. Therefore he expressed gratification that the Stockholm conference has been elevated to an occasion for meetings between several foreign ministers.
A major theme in the lunchtime discussion was the testing of the cruise missile,’ which members of the committee deplored. The Prime Minister maintained, however, that the Soviets have expressed far less alarm about the cruise missile than about the Pershing. He added that the type of cruise missile with which Canada is involved is the least dangerous of the three types, since bombers would not launch it until they approached the North Pole. This flight would take several hours, during which time it (unlike ground or sea-launched missiles) could be recalled.
Nevertheless, he acknowledged that the new generation of missiles have no military significance. Instead, he portrayed their purpose as the demonstration of political will: Since NATO said it would deploy them if an arms control agreement is not reached, its members now feel obliged to do so. Likewise,” since the Soviet Union said it would walk out of the talks if the West deployed these missiles, it too thinks it must demonstrate its resolve by keeping its announced intentions.
While the Prime Minister’s comments seemed quite sincere, they included no surprises and no new basis for optimism. He pointed out the time constraints limiting his initiative: the Soviets may choose to wait until after the November, U.S elections before attempting any new resolution to the conflict. Since Mr. Reagan may, of course, be re-elected, the outcome may simply be a delay that the world can ill afford. Mr. Trudeau spoke of his planned visits to the United Nations and to the Soviet Union, and of his intention to report to Parliament. in a major speech afterward.
When questioned about his attitude toward the peace movement, Trudeau expressed appreciation of its constructive impact on governments. His only concern had been a worry, he said, that it might split the NATO alliance, but this has not happened. He encouraged peace activists, therefore, to continue their campaign. Accordingly, some of his guests proposed ways in which the new disarmament centre that is now being planned can support the efforts of grassroots Canadian peace organisations.
Following the session with Trudeau, the participants expressed, above all, their strong impression of the Prime Minister’s sincerity throughout the discussion. If the activists were united in their disappointment about anything, it was probably a sense that Trudeau does not use all the influence at his disposal. He seems ‘convinced that his full cooperation with NATO policy is absolutely required if he is to influence its other members. In the same vein, he and his staff seem not to believe it possible for him to lead public opinion very much here in Canada, but want to make sure that” there is already clear support for a policy before adopting it.
Some of the peace activists at the lunch expressed regret at the excessive modesty with which the visit to the United States was publicised; they noted that the scanty media coverage there was taken as an indication that Americans have no interest in Trudeau’s peace initiative.
His staff suggested that, on the contrary, his presentation was kept deliberately low-key, so, as not to offend the U.S. president in an election year by going before the nation’s TV viewers with a proposal that he may not like.
Not all of the committee members agreed that such diplomatic caution is necessary. They did agree, however, that the Prime Minister has thought deeply about the nuclear policies that concern us, and that he is keenly aware of their complex ramifications.
— February 1984
Many peace groups across Canada encourage’ their members to write letters regarding the arms race to individuals in positions of power (politicians, company presidents, religious leaders, etc.). The aim of these letters is usually to educate the recipient and/or influence him/her to work to promote disarmament.
Although these are worthwhile goals, too frequently letter-writing does not have its desired effect because peace groups are not focussed in their letter-writing efforts. For example, a peace group in Sudbury may decide to write the management of Litton, while another peace group in Edmonton is concentrating on writing letters to the Minister of Defense. Obviously the efforts of these two groups would have greater impact if they were simultaneously writing to the same individual.
At the Southern Ontario Disarmament Conference, held in Kitchener-Waterloo on November 19-20, delegates representing peace coalitions in Hamilton, Niagara, London, Guelph, Kitchener-Waterloo and Toronto unanimously agreed to adopt the same letterwriting focus each month. Further, the dele. gates agreed to try to promote, in The Peace Calendar, a coordinated letter-writing campaign across Canada. It was suggested that each issue of The Peace Calendar would feature a letter-writing suggestion, the suggestion would be picked up by peace groups across Canada, and they in turn would encourage their members to write to the suggested individual. This strategy would result in letter-writing having many times the impact it presently has.
If your peace group is interested in becoming part of what will hopefully become a nation-wide letter-writing campaign, could you please write me and let me know that your group endorses the concept and is willing to encourage peace activists in your community to write letters. Also, please send suggestions of individuals you would like to see targeted for letters.
This month’s suggestion is to write Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. As you know, he has been involved in an international ‘crusade’ for peace. However, many disarmament supporters wish that he would commit himself to a domestic policy that is “congruent” with his international efforts for peace. This month, we hope you’ll find the time to write him and let him know how you feel about these issues. No postage is required in writing the Prime Minister, and letters should be addressed to the House of Commons, Ottawa Ontario K1A OA6.
301-103 Church St.
To date, the following groups have endorsed the letter-writing campaign. We hope to be able to add the name of your group to the list.
The Canadian Disarmament Information Service (CANDIS); the Cruise Missile Conversion Project; East End Peace Action; East York Peace Committee; Educators for Nuclear Disarmament; Guelph Disarmament Group; Hamilton Disarmament Coalition; Lakeshore Committee for Disarmament; Niagara Disarmament Coalition; North York Action for Disarmament; Operation Dismantle; Parkdale for Peace; Performing Artists for Nuclear Disarmament; Ploughshares – London; Ploughshares -Sudbury; Ploughshares-Waterloo Region; Spadina Peace Group; Toronto Disarmament Network; Trinity Peace Association and the Waterloo Region Peace Network.
— February 1984
Douglas Roche’s most recent book, Politicians for Peace, chronicles the formation of Parliamentarians for World Order, a nongovernmental organisation, formed prior to the 1982 U.N. Special Session on Disarmament. Mr. Roche, . a Progressive Conservative MP representing Edmonton South, has been a strong advocate of disarmament and development. First elected to the House of Commons in 1972, he has recently, decided not to seek re-election.
Mr. Roche was interviewed at his office in the East Block of the Parliament buildings in Ottawa.
CANDIS: In Politicians for Peace you touch very briefly upon your own history prior to your involvement with PWO. Is there any particular instance which sparked your interests in the global issues of disarmament and development?
Douglas Roche: My whole life has been a process of experiencing global reality. In fact, I went into politics in 1971, because of my concern about the global reality. My years in the House of Commons have enabled me to further develop my understanding, to travel, study, international conferences, the months and months I have spent at the United Nations.
I do not think there was any one event, but a process.
CANDIS: Your position on disarmament and development issues appears to be dramatically out of line with the majority of the Progressive Conservative caucus. For instance, you have voted, on an NDP motion, against cruise missile tests in Canada. Have your positions created any problems for you within your party, or with your own constituents?
Roche: I cannot accept the ,premise of your question. My positions. on development and disarmament. are not out of character with the PC Party. I draw to your attention Brian Mulroney’s speech in Toronto in which he outlined a seven-point program for progress in disarmament, two steps of which break ground — these two steps being: Urging NATO to consider a no-first-strike policy and calling for the intermediate- and long-range missile negotiations to be combined into one set of negotiations. I support that, and it is my distinct impression that the Party overwhelmingly supports that program. So I do not accept your premise.
In development, our policy in the PC Party has been to reach 0.7% of the GNP in official development assistance by 1990. That is a commitment that the Party made in a formal resolution in 1981, and it also was ahead of the Liberal position which was to make best efforts to reach .7% by 1990. In the latest throne speech of December 1983, the Liberal Government shifted its language to make a commitment; it said it will reach .7% by 1990. The PC Party had said that before. So I think that the fullness of the Conservative positions in these two areas has not been adequately conveyed to the public, and I believe that people, often in looking at the Conservative Party, are prone to see, or exaggerate, differences of opinion that are brought into the Party which are very often resolved. And I have to tell you that Brian Mulroney is exercising his considerable skills at conciliation.
CANDIS: What are your reasons for deciding not to run in the next federal election?
Roche: Because I want to work full-time in the areas of peace, which I define as disarmament and development. I want to work internationally, and I believe that I can make a contribution to the formulation of Canadian government policy applied to the areas in which the United Nations are most active, which again are the areas on development and disarmament.
CANDIS: Much of the formation of Parliamentarians for World Order and the gathering of the signatures for the Call for Global Survival centered on’ the Special Session on Disarmament in June 1982. The First Special Session was able to produce, in the final hours, the unconditionally unanimous Final Document. But the Second UNSSOD did little more than ratify that document. What changes in the intervening four years, do you feel, caused the regression, or stagnation?
Roche: The deterioration in the international political climate. The invasion by the Soviets of Afghanistan was certainly a significant factor in the deterioration of that climate. The continuation of the arms race by the two superpowers in that four-year period, the Final Document of UNSSOD I notwithstanding, that further enlarged the difficulties. The inflammation of Central America,. the growth of terrorism, a reduction of support by the west, generally, of the U.N. In the west, and in the U.S. particularly, the growth of a hard line attitude as a reaction, by and large, against the demands of the Third World. I believe that this essentially caused the international climate to deteriorate … the lack of trust between the two superpowers. I do not believe that that’s a permanent condition. I believe that there is a realpolitik starting to take hold. And that is a recognition in the public, and I say the public of the west as well as the public of the east, that in this one world we have to get along for our mutual survival. I think that is beginning to take hold, and I think that will gradually take effect in the construction of policies that win enable us to survive into the next century. New politicians who are being born in the ’60s and ’70s will come to their maturity in a time of greater appreciation of global realities.
CANDlS: You write of the political will on the part of parliamentarians to deal with the issues of disarmament and development. Prime Minister Trudeau used the term in launching his peace initiative. Does this imply that current parliamentarians do not have the will to work on these issues, and if so is this a result of their inability or a lack of motivation?
Roche: As I move around the world, visiting many countrie! and parliaments, I observe a minority of parliamentarians everywhere who are alive to these issues, and want to have public policies constructed which are sensitive and sensible. My job in PWO is to try to mobilise these creative minorities everywhere.
I think that it became a truism at the conferences conducted by the U.N. in the 1970s on all the main subjects to end these conferences by saying “Here’s the strategy, but what we need is the poliical will to implement it.” We don’t have the political will. If there was political will today, we would have disarmament, we would have development, we would have the far more rigorous methods of protecting human rights, and we would have international institutions with some teeth in them. That political will has not been active in a major sense in elections. l’ve been through four federal elections and I can tell you that the political will does not manifest itself to make politicians respond. As a result of the crisis into which the world has been plunged in the past year or two, and brought to a head by the deployment issue, there is some hope within me, as I said a moment ago, that the construction of policies for survival may now get a higher priority. The public has a lot to do with further developments in this area. By that I mean the whole non-governmental organisations’ approach. The way they mobilised a million people to march in New York on June 12, 1982 during UNSSOD II may not have had the direct effect of making UNSSOD II a success — we have to say that UNSSOD II was a failure; it was a failure for reasons that were too late to do anything about at that time — but the continued manifestation of the public will, again, that creative minority within the public, will gradually make itself felt.
CANDIS: In the past few years the issues of nuclear weapons and disarmament have risen to the top of many people’s agendas, while development, the other major theme of your book, is not given equal priority by these people. What effect do you see the inattention to this issue may have in the near future, particularly on the relations between developing and industrialised nations?
Roche: Well, both the north and the south are today suffering as a result of a lack of policies to increase international trade, the strength of international financial institutions. When the south doesn’t have the money to — and it doesn’t as a result of its inability to find markets at prices that are compensatory — then it cannot import from the north. And that volume the north needs to export in order for it to stay healthy. So the interpenetration here of the global condition affecting north and south is obvious.
Development is taking a back seat to the disarmament issue, which is intensive. People are out mobilising and marching on the disarmament issue, and I don’t see anybody marching on the development issue. I suppose this is a factor of the human condition — marching to save our own skin on disarmament, but not many of us want to get out and march to save somebody else’s body from the ravages of poverty and malnutrition. It is a scandal that the world is spending $1.3 million a minute on arms, certainly, but it is an equally greated scandal that some 22 children die in that same minute, allover the world, all under the age of one. 22 children per minute’ under the age of one from neglect, disease, waterborne diseases, malnutrition, from starvation.
Not many people yet see the connection between disarmament and development.
CANDIS: You write very highly of Apollos Njoku, a Member of Parliament for Nigeria. As well, the Nigerian parliamentarians comprise more than one third of all African signatories to the Call for Global Survival. What effect do you think the recent coup in that country will have on your efforts in particular, and on African involvement in the disarmament process in general?
Roche: That is a factor of concern to us. We don’t know the answer to that question yet, it is too soon. We’re going to be holding an executive meeting soon at which we will be examining this kind of question. I plan to go to Africa later in the year and l’ll have to make my own judgment based on the facts as I observe them at the time.
CANDIS: In surveying the list of signatories to the Call for Global Survival, we find the majority are from western and non-aligned governments. Are you making any inroads to Warsaw Pact parliamentarians?
Roche: Well, we’re trying. Our mail-out went to parliamentarians around the world in eleven languages, and we expect progress in reaching into the east and Communist countries to be. very, very slow. This is something that is bigger than us. We are trying to make a contribution to enlarged understanding among parliamentarians, but we’re still a very young organisation. I think we are going to have to develop ourselves, and develop our own capacity to do this kind of work. We’re just not there yet.
CANDIS: What progress has been made with Parliamentarians for World Order since the completion of your book?
Roche: The centrepiece of our current work is the Middle Power Initiative on which we are working with a number of leaders of countries urging them to increase their own sphere of influence on the two superpowers to make progress in nuclear arms negotiations. We are also mustering political support in order to impress on these leaders the unique opportunity tney have to influence the course of world events through their access to the leadership of the two superpowers. We are working very hard in that area.
CANDIS: Would you say that you are optimistic or pessimistic about the future of disarmament and development?
Roche: I cannot afford to be defeatist! [transcriber’s note: incorrect quote in original print edition]
Jonathan Spencer — February 1984
OBJECTIVES: 1) to conduct and encourage educational and research activities relating to the dangers of war waged with weapons of mass destruction, especially nuclear weapons; 2) to encourage scientific activities directed towards peace, and to urge the publication and dissemination or the findings of peace research; 3) to do such things as are incidental and necessary to the attainment of the above objectives.
STRUCTURE: Science for Peace is a national organisation currently centered. in Toronto, with Chapters in British Columbia, the Waterloo Region and New Brunswick. Our purpose is 10 provide the public with factual information about the dangers and likely consequences of nuclear war, and to monitor destabilising developments in the arms race, and to offer expert advice on these issues to decision-makers.
Members include scientists (social and human as well as physical), engineers and others, who are encouraged to form local Chapters to organise educational and research activities. The Executive coordinates such activities nationally, administers the finances, and produces and distributes a news bulletin. The Board of Directors determines national policy of Science for Peace.
ACHIEVEMENTS: Education — Several Canadian universities are actively interested in developing courses and eventually programs in Peace Studies, and to this end an Inter-University Workshop on Peace Education was held at York University in November 1983: Speakers from the U.K. and the U.S.A., as well as Canada, described their own experience in building such programs, and the published Proceedings should prove invaluable to university peace educators. Seminar, lecture and film series for public education are in progress or are being organised by the individual Chapters. Seminar speakers form the basis for a speakers bureau, a resource for the local peace network, as well as a list of media contacts.
Research – The B.C. Chapter has been the most vigorous in this area. Working groups are preparing reports, along the lines of the already-published Cruise Missile Report, on the following topics:
- computer simulation of nuclear attacks on Canada;
- the CANDU power reactor and its implications for arms control;
- current developments in chemical and biological warfare;
- analysis of current and previous strategies of deterrence;
- aftermath of nuclear war and particularly the effect on the ozone layer; and
- current technology in antisubmarine warfare.
Science Tor Peace is interested in participating in the newly established arms control and verification program based in the Department of External Affairs. This program is intended to use expertise available outside as well as inside Government, and will focus initially on verification of agreements limiting chemical weapons and on monitoring underground testing of nuclear weapons.
The president of Science for Peace had the opportunity early in January 1984 to meet Prime Minister Trudeau and to discuss a memorandum on “The Clear and Present Danger of Nuclear War.” He also formally presented an appeal signed by morc than 14,000 physicists world.wide which called for a nuclear freeze.
PUBLICITY: Science for Peace publishes a BULLETIN for its members, which should appear roughly quarterly. A Science for Peace column will also appear regularly in The Peace Calendar, which is published monthly, and announcemellls of local events will also be listed in The Peace Calendar.
MEMBERSHIP: We extend an invitation to join Science for Peace to all scientists (social and human as well as physical — a definition that includes most academics), engineers and others. Membership will bring a subscription to the BULLETIN and the right to participate in Chapter activities. Membership Subscription: $25.00 (student/retired: $5.00). Make cheques out to SCIENCE FOR PEACE (registration as a charitable organisation has been applied for.) Mail to: Science for Peace, University College, University of Toronto, Toronto On. M5S 1A7.
— February 1984
As The Peace Calendar enters its second year, we realise that there is one issue which has never been discussed in these pages — Who does The Peace Calendar represent?
Despite all the favourable comments we’ve received from readers who appreciate our impartial stand, several people have complained that they don’t feel that their interests are represented in The Peace Calendar. We are partly responsible for this, because we haven’t made it sufficiently clear that we rely on reader input.
To rectify this situation, we are taking several steps to ensure that members of . the peace movement help decide what should be covered in The Peace Calendar.
- We will hold open planning sessions for each issue. From now on, we’ll announce in the event calendar the location and time of the meeting held each month to plan the next month’s issue. This will permit greater and more direct public participation.
- We will publish regular announcements soliciting suggestions from readers who are unable to attend the planning sessions.
- We will create a list of local correspondents from across Canada. Acting as ‘field agents’ for The Peace Calendar, these people will help to make TPC a truly national newspaper.
- We will be more accessible. Some of us, too involved in coordinating the ins and outs of producing a monthly newspaper, have been guilty of remaining isolated. We need to get out there and talk to people, for two reasons; to keep our fingers on the pulse of the movement, so to speak, and so people don’t feel we are strangers.
- We encourage coordinators of peace groups to remember _The Peace Calendar at all times. At your monthly meetings, always ask if there are any announcements that should go in the next month’s issue. And make a note of our production deadlines so that we receive your event information in time for publication.
To us, impartiality does not mean saying only those things upon which we can all agree. Exactly the opposite it means exposing people to a variety of interesting viewpoints, in the interest of moving the discussion forward.
It costs enormous amounts of money to publish The Peace Calendar, and it just isn’t worth it if people aren’t using the service we provide. Take advantage of it. Support it. Work with us on it. This is your paper. Happy Anniversary!
— February 1984
The Peace Calendar is a monthly publication of the Canadian Disarmament Information Service (CANDIS), a nonprofit, non-partisan communications and resource group serving the Canadian disarmament movement. CANDIS is a project of Holy Trinity Church in Toronto, and is funded by donations. The CANDIS office is located upstairs in Bathurst St. United Church (Lennox St. entrance, one block south of Bloor). The office is open to the public from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday, and from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm on Saturday. Our telephone number is 416/xxx-xxxx.
CANDIS – WHAT WE OFFER
- Information on nuclear arms and disarmament.
CANDIS gathers information from all sources on nuclear arms and disarmament, and makes that information available to the 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.
- 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, professional, political, etc.), a mailing address and the names and telephone numbers of at least two contact people.
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.
- 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.
- Each month CANDIS publishes The Peace Calendar, a newspaper which includes an extensive listing of peace and disarmament events happening across Canada. Listings are free, but groups interested in having their events listed should take responsibility for notifying CANDIS before deadline. Listings for each month must be submitted by the 18th of the previous month, at the very latest.
The Peace Calendar is distributed free of charge 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 in The Peace Calendar is an excellent .way of reaching your audience while contributing to a worthy cause. Advertising rates are available from Stan Adams at xxx-xxxx or Jon Spencer at xxx-xxxx.
Peace groups may also be interested in newsletter space in The Peace Calendar. Instead of producing and distributing their own newsletter, groups can now publish their newsletter as part of The Peace Calendar, for roughly the same cost. If your group is interested in this, please contact Jon Spencer at 416/xxx-xxxx.
CANDIS – WHAT WE NEED
CANDIS’ Education Collective is in need of volunteers who are interested in research and outreach: If you’re interested, please call Cathy Brown or Roberta Spence at xxx-xxxx.
The Peace Calendar exists to support and build the disarmament movement across Canada. This is your paper, and we use your comments and suggestions for making editorial decisions. Please write us with your ideas and comments, and send them to the Editorial Board, CANDIS, 736 Bathurst St., Toronto. M5S 2R4. Please indicate if your letter is intended for publication in the paper.
CANDIS, 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 your help would be appreciated. If you would like to participate in any way, please call Anne Hume or Roberta Spence at CANDIS.
CANDIS also needs your help in distributing The Peace Calendar in cities across the nation. If you’d like to help us make copies available in your city, please call Richard Kopycinski at 416/xxx-xxxx.
— February 1984
The Peace Calendar welcomes letters to the editor. Please be concise, as space is limited. Include your name and a telephone number where we can reach you for confirmation purposes. Address letters to The Peace Calendar, c/o CANDIS, 736 Bathurst St., Toronto, On., M5S 2R4.
Hello from Joe
I am writing to thank you for providing me with a copy of the December 1983 issue of The Peace Calendar.
As you undoubtedly know, at the request of the Leader of the Opposition, Brian Mulroney, I recently assumed responsibility for the Progressive Conservative Party in the area of arms control and disarmament.
The momentum of the arms race is gaining even more speed than it had before. People all over the world are concerned as never before about the possibility of nuclear war. It is essential to find the right formula for negotiations that can lead immediately to arms reductions that are mutual, balanced and verifiable. The safety of life on this planet requires nations to find a way, in mutual interest towards collective security.
Our Party recognises the central importance of arms control and disarmament and the well-established Canadial tradition of contributing to international understanding.
That is the general frame of reference I am bringing to my study, which will lead to a recommended policy for the Progressive Conservative Party. Naturally, it is my intention to formulate my recommendations in the broadest national interest.
Thank you again for forwarding a copy of your publication to me.
Rt. Hon. Joe Clark, P.C., M.P.
TPC is discriminatory
I am a Witch. After reading the December issue of The Peace Calendar I feel that I shouldn’t be involved in the peace movement. As a member of a minority religion, I suppose that I shouldn’t expect that religious images other than those of Christianity be respected in your pages.
There are things that Yule means to pagans and Witches, and doubtless to others as well, that have nothing to do with the image of a ‘son of the only true God,’ or a ‘Redeemer through whom all will be saved.’
Yule. is the time when the sun dies and is reborn, when out of death comes hope. The God of Death struggles with the God of Rebirth, his brother, and loses as the sun is reborn. It is the Goddess’ ascent from the Underworld, bringing wisdom. These things are powerful and important to me and they are far older than Christianity.
I wish the Christians well in this season of Death and Rebirth. I hope that they will grant to me the truth of my religion.
I’m the spokesperson for the Pagans for Peace group. I believe that there is also a Sikh peace group, that there are some Dianic Witches in the Women’s Action for Peace group, and l’ve heard rumours of a Jewish peace group. Also, some Native spiritual people have been at rallies and are somewhat active.
In the holy names of Inanna, Mari, Demeter, Pan, Damuzi and Cernunnos, I wish you all the very best. Blessed be.
for Pagans for Peace
c/o AAPA, P.O. Box 6531
Toronto, On. M5W IX4
Editors’ Note: Although it’s not our policy to respond to letters to the editor, we feel it is important that we explain the reasons for the position expressed in the December issue.
In planning the special report, we at first considered printing single paragraphs outlining the positions that various religions and churches take on The Big Question.
On investigation, we discovered that there was a glut on the market in this area. By the time we included Lutherans, Jews, Mennonites, Quakers, Muslims, Buddhists, Baptists, Presbyterians, Hindus and Episcopalians, we had decided to narrow the scope somewhat.
In all embarrassed honesty, we must admit we gave up before thinking of Pagans, Krishna-ites, Satanists, Mormons, Atheists, Greek Orthodox and the rest.
We felt that, if we were to give “equal time” to all religions, there would be four major problems:
A- It would reek of patronising tokenism to include those for whom December does not have major religious significance.
B- We would necessarily have forgotten some religious persuasion.
C-In many cases, the religion involved has no organized hierarchy determining a standardised policy on this issue. (Certainly there are Pagans for disarmament and others who aren’t.)
D- We would have run out of space. This is, after all, not a big paper.
To sum up, we went for the largest Christian churches, because Christmas is their time of year. We were glad to hear from you, however, and let this be a lesson to the other religious peace groups who haven’t yet written to us: Tell us when your time of year comes around, OK?
Prevent accidental war
We are all aware that disarmament will not happen overnight. In light of this fact, the peace movement should be proposing methods of preventing nuclear war while we tackle the lengthy process of disarmament. Accident prevention, for example, is an important problem that the movement should be addressing.
With the deployment in Europe of cruise and Pershing II missiles, the time required for the Soviets to confirm a detected launch is being eclipsed by the time required for a missile to reach its target. There is no need to go into the statistics about the number of flawed microchips, the incidences of inaccurate data programming, or the frequency with which an over-enthusiastic radar blip brings the world within minutes of extinction. Suffice it to say that the situation is extremely dangerous.
As we enter the new year we can see the two superpowers locked uncertainly in a stalemate. The secret to successful negotiations is to begin where the parties agree. An international call from the peace movements of East and West for a set of negotiations on the subject of accident avoidance may well be the crucial first step.
Not only would this reduce the risk of accidental launchings, but any success at the bargaining tables is likely to reduce tensions between the superpowers. If a small conflict were to escalate to all-out nuclear attack, it would be the result of the heightened tensions that presently exist. As tension is released, the likelihood of escalation is reduced.
It is less exciting to start somewhere than it is to dream about reaching the happy end of a long road, but an initial success in the area of accident prevention may start the ball rolling.
A. Campbell, Toronto, ON.
Official explanation dubious
Mr. Gordon Flowers (letter, TPC, December 1983) is either naive or ill-taught. In any case, he accepts the official government explanation of why the representatives of the independent peace and civil rights movement in Czechoslovakia were not allowed to participate in the proceedings of the World Assembly for Peace and Life, Against Nuclear War, held in Prague last June: it was not because of “limited space. “
If that was the only reason, why did Czech police surround the White Mountain in northern Prague, where these rejected representatives. of the Charter 77 movement met with delegates of the German Green and Social Democratic parties? Why did the police attack this assembly, tear films out of the cameras and expose. them to the sun? And why did the police disperse an independent peace and antimilitaristic demonstration of some 300 mostly young people in downtown Prague? True, these events were not reported in the Canadian media. But they were richly reported in West German and British papers.
C’mon, Mr. Flowers – do you believe what you wrote? And if you don’t, why did you write it?
Professor, University of Toronto
Matthew Clark — February 1984
In November 1983, several Canadian delegates to the Vienna Dialogues (see December TPC report) were the guests of the Soviet Peace Committee in Moscow for a few days before and after the sessions in Vienna. During our stay, we learned about many of the constructive peace efforts of .the Committee. They sponsor immense demonstrations across the country, as well as organising such innovations as East-West exchanges of children’s art.
Some of us also paid two visits to the organisers of the grassroots independent peace movement, the Group to Establish Trust Between the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R. During the eight hours of our visit, we were pleased by the Group’s positive outlook. They were very concerned, for example, that western journalists so often treat their situation within the Cold War framework as a basis for mistrusting the Soviet government, while their whole program is instead intended to generate trust.
Their insistence on remaining independent of the official Soviet Peace Committee. was apparently based less on a difference between their objectives than on their belief that the Soviet peace movement will never be considered as authentic in the West unless it allows for diversity and grass roots autonomy. As Yuri Medvedkov said, “Our aim is not to criticise the government, but to help it.”
The group also claimed that the repressive tactics that had been directed against its members were not the doing of the government’s top officials, but of lowerranking careerists who unrealistically felt th.reatened by the Group’s actions.
We were told about the hardships the Group’s members had undergone, including jailings and the loss of their academic jobs. One of several events they mentioned had taken place during the trial of Oleg Radzinsky, a member who had been sentenced to a year of jail and a long period of exile in Siberia.
According to Yuri Medvedkov, “several members of the Group had gone to stand outside the courthouse (including his wife, Olga Medvedkova). The entire group was arrested and detained to check their documents for three hours, then kidnapped by plainclothesmen and manhandled roughly, and placed into an unknown structure.”
In light of subsequent events, it is hard to accept the theory that treatment of the Group is not government policy. Olga was arrested two weeks after our interview, and charged with having assaulted two police officers on the occasion described above’. Through Helsinki Watch and the Group for Trust’s founding member, Sergei Batovrin, now exiled’ in New York City, I have learned more details about that event and its sequels.
In particular, it seems highly likely that Olga may be sent to a concentration camp for a long period, possibly up to 6 years, and other Group members who support her version of the events leading to her arrest can expect to be jailed for 6 months for “perjury. “
Olga Medvedkova’s trial date was originally set for December but has been postponed until mid-February. Naturally, it is impossible to know all the facts about this matter at such a great distance, but peace activists who have visited the Group for Trust are united in their admiration for their dedication. Everything that Olga Medvedkova stands for is consistent with the highest ideals of her society; nothing that she or other members of her group have said or done constitutes a threat to the Soviet regime.
However, during times of detente, life becomes markedly freer in the Soviet Union, and more diversity of. opinions can be expressed. Consequently, some observers were not surprised when the failure of the arms control talks brought about increased internal repression. Still, this outcome worries even those peace activists who most cordially desire friendly relations with the Soviet Union.
Prime Minister Trudeau has been briefed on the situation of the Group to Establish Trust, and may be prepared to inquire about their situation during his forthcoming trip to the Soviet Union. Readers may wish to encourage this by contacting his office. The Soviet Embassy in Ottawa will also receive messages of concern.
Eudora Pendergrast (reviewer) — February 1984
One of the issues discussed at the Strategies for 1984 Conference hosted by the Toronto Disarmament Network on December 10 and 11 was the connection between the disarmament movement and the anti-intervention movement. The discussion was given special point by the recent U.S. invasion of Grenada and the real possibility that the war in Central America will be escalated, perhaps with greater direct involvement of U.S. forces.
I think that everyone at the conference agreed that interventions, such, as the U.S. invasion of Grenada, should be opposed, and a large majority felt that the disarmament movement should be part of that opposition. However, some participants maintained that the nuclear disarmament movement should stick to its single issue. Some people would perhaps go further and argue that the Canadian movement should limit its focus to the cruise. And I suspect that in the movement generally the single issue approach is more popular than it was among the conference participants. There may also be those who are opposed to the testing of the cruise but who are not particularly sympathetic to the anti-intervention movement.
I am not an impartial reporter on this matter. I believe that the connections betwoen the two issues are real and important, and that both should be addressed by a movement concerned generally with peace.
Nuclear weapons are not an isolated madness in an otherwise healthy world. Whenever” they exist” they are part of a system — political, economic and, military. If we eliminate nuclear weapons, all other relationships within that system will change. Conversely, changing the system may aid our efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons.
A few statistics may indicate the extent of the problem. In the world today, 870 million adults cannot read or write, 500 million people have no jobs, 130 million children cannot attend primary school, 450 million people suffer from hunger or malnutrition, 12 million babies a year die before their first birthday, and 250 million peole live in urban slums or shanty-towns.
The rich nations of the world are fifty times richer than the poor nations, and people in the rich nations live, on the average, 22 years longer than people in the poor nations. In the maintenance of this system, and the failure or refusal to change it, is not an accident, it is a choice. This system is maintained by economic control; it is maintained by political repression; it is maintained by secret military operations; it is maintained by conventional war; and it is maintained by the ultimate threat – the threat of nuclear war.
Of the 125 or more conflicts which have occurred in the world since World War II, 95% have been in the developing countries. In most cases, foreign forces have been involved; and western powers have accounted for 79% of all the interventions. Out of eleven specific instances we know of when the U.S. government has considered or threatened the use of nuclear weapons, nine occurred in connection with a U.S. intervention in a Third World country. (The other two concerned Berlin.)
There are two aspects to the deadly connection between nuclear armaments and intervention. On the one hand, nuclear weapons are the extreme end of a repressive political, economic and military system. On the other hand, if nuclear war occurs, it will most likely develop out of a conventional war, a war of intervention. The process of eliminating nuclear weapons will surely take many years, and during this period, we must prevent any crisis which could lead to their use.
In addition to the very real material connection between nuclear weapons and intervention, I think there is also a moral connection. Nuclear disarmament is not merely a matter of self-interest. Although only a minority, perhaps a small minority, of those active in the disarmament movement are pacifists, still I arp sure that all of us would like to see a world where war is unnecessary, a world in peace.
Today North America and Europe live in a sort of peace; but in Southern Asia, the Middle East, Central America and Southern Africa there is no peace. We should not be a movement for peace in the north only, or for whites only. We should be a movement for peace.
Many of those who favour a single issue approach to disarmament believe that by involving other issues the movement will lose its impact. The existence of nuclear weapons, however, is deeply rooted in our entire social structure. An effective campaign should be based on ail understanding of all facets of the problem. Closely related campaigns will then reinforce each other. The movement against the war in Vietnam gained impact as it involved related issues, and I believe that the disarmament movement will gain through an alliance with the anti-intervention movement. By opposing nuclear weapons, we are removing one of the tools of intervention; by opposing intervention, we are removing a justification for the nuclear arsenal.
Some people fear that a stand against intervention will alienate some supporters of the disarmament movement. I think this concern has some point, since some who oppose cruise testing do not agree that
the issues are closely connected. The movement will surely lose support if it gets too far from its base. The ability of the movement to oppose interventions may be limited by a lack of information and understanding within the movement, but the need may be accelerated by events, if the wars in Central America and the Middle East escalate. We should anticipate events through education. Some disarmament groups may not be ready to undertake anti-intervention actions, but I hope they will debate the issue, and then take that debate to the public.
Some who favour the single issue approach argue that the disarmament movement could get lost in the anti-intervention movement. The disarmament movement of the late ’50s and early ’60s, they say, almost disappeared during the movement to end the war in Vietnam. But the disarmament movement of that time was in decline before the anti-war movement got going. If anything, the anti-war movement revived the disarmament movement, and surely it helped to prevent ap. actual nuclear war. If the specific issue of disarmament was temporarily overshadowed, it was only because the actual ongoing war became the dominant political event of the time. Many anti-war activists strongly wished that widespread opposition to the war had begun years earlier, so that the massive U.S. military commitment could have been stopped before the fact, rather than opposed after the fact. Today, the likelihood of direct and massive U.S. military intervention is quite high. Do we want to act now, or, a few years from now, wish that we had? If we allow these wars of intervention to escalate, the disarmament issue may again be overshadowed, and we may again be forced to work not for disarmament, but against a nuclear war.
Matthew Clark is a member of the Co-ordinating Committee of the Toronto Disarmament Network.
Shirley Farlinger — February 1984
Directed by Mike Nichols, screenplay by Nora Ephron and Alice Arlen. Starring Meryl Streep, Kurt Russell and Cher. A 20th Century Fox release, 1983.
Who Killed Karen Silkwood?
Howard Kohn. Summit Books (Simon & Schuster) 1981, New York. Paperpack $8.95, but can be found at selected bookstores for much less.
Karen Silkwood was a lab technician and union leader at KerrMcGee’s Cimmaron Plutonium Processing Facility in Crescent, Oklahoma. In November 1974, at the age of 28, she died in a car crash on her way to meet David Burnham, a reporter with the New York Times. The meeting had been arranged by national officials of Silkwood’s union, the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers Union (OCAW).
These same officials had encouraged Silkwood’s efforts, presumably hidden from both her union local and management, to surreptitiously gather information which would expose hazardous quality-control practices, including the retouching of photographic negatives of nuclear fuel rods, in the Kerr-McGee facility. The suggestion that Silkwood work undercover to gather this incrimJnating information was part of a larger union strategy to make health and safety issues the focal point of a campaign to prevent the demoralised Kerr-McGee employees from approving the decertification of their local, which had only recently gone through a fruitless three-month strike. Despite the fact that Silkwood had notified OCAW officials that she was ready to meet with Burnham, no more incriminating evidence than she had previously given them was found in her wrecked car.
The week before her fatal accident, Silkwood’s apartment had been found to be severely contaminated with radioactive plutonium, and an autopsy revealed that the exposure levels she had been subjected to as a Kerr-McGee employee were high enough to cause cancer.
Following the crash the OCAW, joined by the National Organization for Women, demanded a full scale inquiry into her death. However, official investigations by th Atomic Energy Commission, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the FBI, the Justice Department and Congress left Silkwood’s concerned supporters unsatisfied, and a number of critical issues unresolved. One crucial question was whether or not Silkwood had been deliberately run off the road.
At the time of Silkwood’s fatal accident local police conclude, that Silkwood,’ who was late] found to have had therapeuti( doses of methaqualone in hel bloodstream, had fallen asleep al the wheel and veered off the road. A Dallas accident investiga. tor called in by the OCAW filed a report setting out his vie\\ that circumstantial evidence at the scene of the crash indicated tha1 she was struck from behind. Later on additional investigators working with the Silkwood legal team reached the same conclusion.
In 1979, a group of dedicated activists from the anti-nuclear, environmental, civil liberties and women’s movements came together as the Karen Silkwood Fund, and with their support, the Silkwood Estate sued Kerr-McGee for $10.5 million in punitive damages.
During court proceedings, the lawyer for Kerr-McGee argued that Silkwood had deliberately contaminated herself, largely in response to pressure from OCAW officials to produce incriminating evidence against her employers. The Oklahoma jury was not convinced and found that there was enough doubt of deliberate contamination and enough evidence that Kerr-McGee was negligent in allowing the escape from its facility of the plutonium which contaminated Silkwood to grant the $10.5 million in punitive damages plus $5000 for damages to Silkwood’s apartment.
However, the $10.5 million award was appealed by KerrMcGee and overturned by a federal court on the basis that it had been granted under Oklahoma state law, and therefore represented an attempt by a state to regulate a federally licensed nuclear plant. Under the Atomic Energy Act, the appeals court ruled, only the federal government can regulate nuclear safety.
The appeals court decision was in turn appealed to the Supreme Court, and in January of this year, the appeals court ruling was reversed. However, a lawyer for Kerr-McGee has said that this decision would “most assuredly” be challenged on other grounds. The case, in other words, is far from closed.
During the 10 years since her death, the circumstances of Silkwood’s contamination, the question of whether or not she actually had any other incriminating evidence then was found with her body and the actual cause of her death have never been fully explained. This is not, however, for lack of efforts to ‘solve’ the highly politicized case.
In 1981, for example, Howard Kohn, a senior editor for Rolling Stone, published the results of his and others’ exhaustive investigations into the issue. Kohn’s book, which ultimately suggests that Silkwood was killed by the FBI and the CIA because she had discovered a plutonium smuggling ring, was entitled Who Killed Karen Silkwood?
Compelling as this question may be, it is one which the current film Silkwood, starring Meryl Streep, Kurt Russell and Cher, definitely does not answer. On the contrary, the most remarkable aspect of the film is its presentation of facts about Silkwood and events from her life which are at once touching, funny,. terrifying, and utterly convincing in the context of the lives of the characters, in the film, but which are ultimately ambivalent in terms of resolving the mystery of Silkwood’s death.
The film is equally as ambivalent in its portrayal of its main story line: Silkwood’s conversion from a sexy, rebellious troublemaker to a union activist willing to take incredible personal risks, including the alienation of many of her union friends, in order to expose the health hazards at the plutonium plant. Did she really believe that there was a ‘moral imperative’ for her actions, a phrase she first hears from the smart union lawyer in Washington and then repeats to her less-educated and more sceptical co-workers, whose jobs are on the line? Or was she primarily motivated by a self-destructive compulsion to be right at any cost? Did she really challenge the male-dominated power structure represented by her company’s management out of principle or spite, or was she simply eager to please the male-dominated union structure in Washington, where she began an affair with the young lawyer who encouraged her in her efforts to gather evidence but never seemed to be around when she needed him for emotional support? Was she the only person with enough personal courage to stand up to management’s shoddy time-saving practices, or was she, as a fellow union member says when he surprises her snooping through Kerr-McGee’s files, the wrong person to be doing what she was doing?
A number of critics have criticised the film for not taking a clearer position on Silkwood’s motivations and the cause of her death; others have called it rambling and diffuse. One critic commented that the screenplay seems to have been written by libel lawyers.
(In fact one of the films producers, Buzz Hirsch, who first became interested in making the film as early as 1974, was subpoenaed as a witness in the suit filed against Kerr-McGee, and was ordered to turn over to the company all the extensive research materials he had gathered, including an enormous collection of taped interviews with Silkwood’s family, friend’s and co-workers. When Hirsch and his co-producer Larry Cano refused to comply, the federal judge hearing the case threatened them with jail sentences for contempt of court. Eventually, and only some considerable expense in time and money, the court handed down a landmark decision granting film makers the same first-amendment protection” normally afforded only print journalists.)
On the other hand, some critics have praised the film for not setting out a black and white case and thus not encouraging the kind of moral grandstanding which characterised The China Syndrome. In his very favourable review in New York magazine, David Denby praises screenwriters Nora Ephron and Alice Arlen and director Mike Nichols for having “the good sense” not to turn Silkwood into “a symbol or an abstraction,” and for so accurately portraying the lives of her co-workers at Kerr-McGee, who get through their gruelling, tedious and stress-filled days by joking and teasing and breaking rules.
However, in focussing on the merits of taking or not taking a clearer line on Silkwood and her death, both groups of critics fail to do justice to the most overwhelming and lasting impact of the film. By telling Karen’s story in a way that leaves open all kinds of interpretations of what she did and why, and what was done to her and why, the film is able to make one absolutely unequivocal statement: plutonium is one of the most lethal substances ever let loose in the universe, and we simply do not know how to protect our world or ourselves from the terrifying and invisible threat it poses.
During the crucial meeting to vote on whether or not their local will bedecertified, a medical expert sent in by the OCAW national office addresses the crowd of workers whose anguished faces reflect both their terror of the contamination they risk every day. and their paralysing fear of losing some of the only jobs their small town has to offer. What the expert tells these people, who are living in the conflict that the nuclear industry poses only abstractly for many activists. is quite simple: plutonium causes cancer. With the inhalation of even the tiniest speck, a person is indissolubly and forever married to cancer.
As the film progresses, and the alarms registering Silkwood’s contaminations sound more and more frequently, the paranoia which this terrible realisation generates grows stronger. Death is everywhere in Silkwood’s face, which daily grows whiter and thinner, in the suspicions of her co-workers, in the countryside around the small house she shares with her boyfriend Drew and Dolly, the lesbian room-mate who loves Silkwood but settles for Angela, a bitchy, acid-tongued beautician at the local morgue. (During one of her sarcastic run-ins with Drew, Angela says she can always tell which bodies belong to people who worked at Kerr-McGee because .“they always look like they died before they died.”
When Karen, Drew and Dolly are flying back to Crescent from Los Alamos, where they have been tested for contamination, Drew looks out at the southwestern landscape below them and says, “God, I love this country.” And the beauty of this countryside is wonderfully captured in the film. Yet as the events move towards Karen’s death what we begin to see is not this shimmering beauty, but what Holsten, the fictional atomic physicist in H.G. Wells’ The World Set Free calls the “darknesses and phosphorescences beneath the fair surfaces of life.” This is the darkness that seems to overtake Silkwood at the end, and which ultimately is more terrifying then any plot or conspiracy to murder her.
The acting in the film, as everyone has said, is remarkable. The photographs of Silkwood included in Kohn’s book emphasize Meryl Streep’s uncanny success in capturing Silkwood on the screen. Kurt Russell is close to perfect as Silkwood’s boyfriend, who is at once tough and vulnerable, and who loves Silkwood, but simply cannot grapple with the demons that seem to have possessed her.
Cher’s performance as Dolly is not only very good, but is essential to the structure of the film. She is the sad and watchful observer whose eyes reflect both the intense affection and the haunting suspicions which Silkwood’s complicated, confused and courageous actions evoked in those whose lives she touched.
You can find out more about Silkwood and the dedicated group of friends, family and supporters who brought her case to the public and into the courts by reading Howard Kohn’s book. Information on the Karen Silkwood Fund and its activities can be obtained by writing to: Karen Silkwood Fund, 1324 North Capital St., Washington, D.C. 20002, Telephone (202) xxx-xxxx.
— February 1984
Cambridge Women’s Peace Collective, Pandora Press, 1984. $12.50, 306 pages.
Reviewed by Shirley Farlinger
The idea of putting together this anthology of women’s writings on peace was first proposed at a WONT (Women Oppose the Nuclear Threat) meeting in Cambridge, U.K. in March 1981. The 220 pieces were chosen by ten women called the Cambridge Women’s Peace Collective.
The title is a quote from Virginia Woolf — “As a woman I want no country. As a woman my country is the whole world.” The cover illustration is one of several in the book by Käthe Kollwitz. It is titled The Seed Corn Must Not Be Ground and depicts a universal mother shielding three small children with her peasant’s body. In a world where 40,000 infants die from malnutrition every day, the seed corn is being destroyed. More peace writing, singing and organising such as the examples given in this book are urgently needed.
The excerpts are chronological and at first it is depressing to realise that women have been plucking the same strings since the sixth century B.C. Sappho says:
“Some say cavalry and others claim infantry or a fleet of long oars
is the supreme sight on the black earth.
I say it is
the one you love…”
A contemporary American poet, Margaret Flanagan Eicher, echoes the same theme:
“They said he was a hero,
Do you think a hero in the family
is better than a living son?”
Each contribution is profiled in a few words, but readers unfamiliar with history will sometimes have difficulty placing the references in context. Is Anna Laetitia Barbould speaking of the British Empire when she writes:
“Our wars have been wars of cool calculating interest, as free from hatred as from love of mankind; the passions which stir the blood have had no share. in them. We devote a certain number of men to perish on land and sea, and the rest of us sleep sound, and, protected in our usual occupations, talk of events of war as what diversifies the flat uniformity of life. “
Pacifists looking for creative ways to wage peace would learn from Crystal Eastman’s description of how war was averted in 1916 between the U.S.A. and Mexico.
Margaret Mead takes the sociologists’ approach:
“The tie-up between proving oneself a man and proving this by a success in organised killing is due to a definition which many societies have made of manliness. “
But she concludes optimistically that “Warfare is only an Invention, not a Biological Necessity.”
Singers Holly Near and Buffy Sainte-Marie are included. Other famous names such as Green Party organiser Petra Kelly, German theologian Dorothee Soelle, Dr. Helen Caldicott, and feminists Kate Millett and Judy Chicago have not been written out. But, in keeping with the title, there are also contributors from such faraway places as Zaire, Japan and Pakistan.
Some of the excerpts leave a dead weight on the psyche. The account of the life of Teresa Strangl given by British writer Jill Tweedie is one of those. Frau Strangl happened to be married to the Kommandant of Treblinka, the largest German death camp and extermination process of 900,000 Polish Jews in World War II.
“Blinkered, devoted, worried but faithful, whenever she had the opportunity she received her man into her bed, fresh from the naked shit-stained Jews, clutching their babies, whipped into the chambers. And in so doing, she lived out to the extreme the article of our faith: Love conquers all.”
Women everywhere make love to those who make the ovens of nuclear holocaust.
For readers who simply enjoy striking prose and poetry and courageous little-known initiatives for peace, this book is an excellent choice. For peaceniks who need more material for sermons, pamphlets or factsheets, this book IS an invaluable resource.
— February 1984
Written and Directed by Robert Lower, Originally Produced by CBC Manitoba, released by the National Film Board of Canada Prairie Studio.
Reviewed by Susan Spicer
In the event of either a fullscale nuclear war, or a ‘limited strike’ between the two superpowers, the Canadian prairies would become the front lines. Cities with airports large enough to service a DC-10 would become prime targets, as would mines and power sources. So begins After the Big One, a 25-minute documentary written and directed by Bob Lower for the NFB.
After the Big One provides us with facts about the effects of a nuclear exchange on Central Canada. It also shows that, not surprisingly, our government has made very few preparations for civilian protection and rehabilitation: Information on civil defense is out-dated and inaccurate, and pamphlets signed by John Diefenbaker with titles like “Your basement fallout shelter” date back to the early 1960s.
Bill Willis of the Winnipeg office of the emergency planning commission admits in the film that he and his staff are ineffective due to a lack of funds and resources. But he also points out that there is little that can be done in any case.” His only hope is to inform people so that, if there is an attack, they will at least know what is happening.
The inevitable conclusion to be drawn from the film is that there can be no civil defense. Indeed, Dr. Ian Carr of Physicians for Social Responsibility describes in the film the medical profession’s inability to cope with the thousands of casualties that would result from a strike, and the devastation to all forms of life from radioactive fallout in the event of a strike on the missile silos of the midwestern states of Nebraska and Montana.
Despite the terrifying facts portrayed in the film, After the Big One is based on the premise that knowledge, however bleak, is power: Only through an understanding of their situation can Canadians gain the influence necessary to, end the threat of annihilation. The film is therefore informational without being sensational, allowing us to comprehend the immediacy of our peril, without succumbing to despair and helplessness. It is a further step toward establishing an informed, and therefore influential, Canadian public.
Anyone can arrange a screening at the National Film Board, 1 Lombard St., xxx-xxxx.
Over our Dead Bodies: Women against the Bomb
Edited by Dorothy Thompson.Virago Paperback.
Reviewed by Helen Cram
If you find it difficult to read about nuclear issues, disarmament, the Bomb, but also know that one of the positive things to be done at this time is to be informed, the answer for you may be found in Over our Dead Bodies.
This collection of short writings addresses many aspects of the only nuclear problem which are not often covered by the press or in government statements. They are simply-written and well-documented, with a personal but not overly-emotional tone. Their titles include: “The Effects of Nuclear Bombardments;” “Deterrence and Peace-keeping;” “Civil Defence;” “Nuclear Power and Nuclear Weapons;” “Take the Toys from the Boys;” “Building on the Positives: the USSR;” and “Building on the Positives: USA.”
These writings are unique in one very important respect: they are all written by British women who live with the realisation that nuclear power plants and U.S. Air Force bases housing cruise missiles within relatively short miles from their homes make them very vulnerable in case of war. All the articles were written primarily for the book, and together their aim is to let others know how the writers dealt with their fears, how they discovered that under the feelings of helplessness they had the power to do whatever was appropriate to their own situations. As one said, “We need to inspire others with our will to live.”
In “A voice from the Peace Camps,” Maggie Lowry, 20, says “We are here because we are afraid… afraid of the mindless commitment to destruction that these bases represent. We intend by our presence to remind ordinary people of the need to protest, to gain strength through cooperation, and to achieve the ending of the threat of nuclear war.
Myrtle Solomon, 61, has written “Alternative Defence: Nonviolent Struggle and Peace Building,” an excellent article on non-violent resistance.
The book includes charts and diagrams, a glossary, and notes on sources. Over our Dead Bodies is also attractive with good print.
The book can be borrowed from the CANDIS library at 736 Bathurst St., Toronto. It is also available in the Toronto Public Library system. If your local branch does not have it, request that they obtain it for you through Interloan. The more requests there are, the more copies will be made available!
Mariana Valverde — February 1984
- If You Love This Planet: 1982 26 min. co!. NFB. Winner of 1982 Academy A ward for Best Documentary!! A lecture given to American students by Dr. H. Caldicott, U.S. President of Physicians for Social Responsibility. The message: Disarmament cannot be postponed.
Videotapes available at CANDIS, film available at Toronto Public Libraries, the National Film Board (xxx-xxxx), CANNEC (xxx-xxxx), Dave Wright (xxx-xxxx, xxx-xxxx) and Oscar Rogers (xxx-xxxx).
- War Without Winners: 1980, 30 min. People in the street are questioned about nuclear war. The film goes on to examine the economic, medical and social ramifications of the arms race in a good popular introduction to the issue.
Film available through AVEL, 85 St. Clair St. E., xxx-xxxx. $22.50.
- In the King of Prussia: 1982, 90 min., col: A feature length film starring Martin Sheen about the trial of the Ploughshares Eight… who play themselves. It is a film about peace activism iri confrontation with a prejudiced court system.
Film available from Development Education Centre, 427 Bloor St. West, Toronto M5S 1X7 (416) xxx-xxxx.
- Dark Circle: 1982 90 minutes, colour. This film interweaves dra: matic personal and human stories with. rare, recently declassified footage of the secret world in which the hydrogen bomb is manufactured, tested and sold: Dark Circle shows the complex human costs of a nuclear economy – even in the absence of a nuclear. war. Available from the Development Education Centre, 427 Bloor St. West, Toronto M5S IX7; (416) xxx-xxxx.
- The Time Has Come: 1983, 25 minutes. American Friends Service Committee. This film shows how groups of people can get together to organise for nuclear disarmament. It is appropriate for both high school students and parent groups. Available from CFSC: xxx-xxxx.
- Nuclear Countdown: 27 minutes, 1978 United Nations. This film outlines the history of international arms agreements and points out the increasing world insecurity as world nuclear arsenals build up. Designed for non-expert audiences, it exposes the danger of the nuclear arms race, emphasising that a lasting peace cannot be based on nuclear weapons. Available from the Metro Toronto Library Board,
- The Lost Generation: 20 min., colour, produced by Japanese Citizens for UNSSOD II.
Film available from Hiroshima Nagasaki Relived, xxx-xxxx. NOfE:l6mm projectors and screens are available from the Toronto Public Libraries.
- Nuclear Madness, by Dr. Helen Caldicott. An overview of the nuclear fuel cycle and its damaging effect at each stage and what people can do” by one of the most compelling spokespeople for nuclear sanity.
Available at SCM bookstore, 333 Bloor St W, $3.65.
- What About the Russians – and Nuclear War? by Ground Zero under the direction of Roger Molander. This title represents a question too often asked in a simplistic and paranoid context. This book recognizes it as a legitimate concern and attempts to answer it through a careful analysis of Russia’s people, their historical, social, political, economic and military structure and international relations.
- Make Canada a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone, Canadian Peace Congress, this 36 page pamphlet outlines the history of the NWFZ movement and suggests ways of building the campaign across Canada.
- The Economics of Militarism, by Dan Smith and Ron Smith. Explains who profits from the arms race, its social consequences and the economic feasibility of disarmament. $11.95, available from DEC.
- “…And Then There Were None,” by Eric Frank Russell. Found in the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. Volume IIA (Ben Bova, ed.), this novella is an intriguing extrapolation of the effects of civil disobedience on another planet in the far future! The story is even more thought-provoking and entertaining than it was when it was first published in 1951.
- How Effective are Peace Movements? Bob Overy, Harvest House 1982. $2.95 paperback. Drawing on his twenty years of experience with the British peace movement, Overy provides a sympathetic and critical review of the effectiveness of a diverse range of types of peace groups.
- Communication Guidelines for World Peace Activists by Ross Smyth. This booklet contains information on effective oral presentations; handling questions and objections; letters to editors and politicians; writing articles and handling publicity.
Copies may be ordered for $2.00 from World Federalists of Canada, 46 Elgin St., Suite 32, Ottawa.
- Arms Maker, Union Buster; Litton Industries: A Corporate Profile, by Len Descoches, Tom Joyce and Murray MacAdam. Litton’s products may be what we’re rallied against, but their methods are just as deplorable. The book is a fine expose of the madness in the, method of arms making and the. meanness of union-busting, accomplished by Litton Industries on; a breathtaking global scale.
- The Cost and Consequences of Reagan’s Military Buildup. This report demonstrates how military spending has contributed to the decline and decay of the American economy, the shift’ of resources away from housing, education, civilian research, energy efficiency arid consumer goods; and how it contributes to unemployment, and the burden on state and local government. $2.50, available from lAMA, the Council on Economic Priorities, Room 1007, 1300 Connecticut Ave N.W., Washington D.C. 20036.
- Manifesto for a Peaceful World Order: A Gandhian Perspective, by Madan L. Handa. India Paramount Publishing House, 1982. Dr. Handa presents a radical pacifist critique of the peace movement and of bourgeois and marxist perspectives. This is a visionary work based on the author’s interpretation -of Gandhi. Hardcover, $12.00.
Peace and Disarmament: Resources for study. Available from the Anglican Church of Canada, xxx-xxxx.
Disarmament Campaigns c/o G. Vandenhaar, 3554 Boxdale, Apt. 3, Memphis, Tenn., 30118. U.S. $17 for 12 issues
The Nuclear Free Press c/o OPIRG, Trent University, Peterborough, On., K9J 7B8: 75 cents quarterly
— February 1984
A couple of hundred peace activists from all over Ontario converged for a weekend conference at the University of Toronto on December 10 and II, 1983. The conference, sponsored by the Toronto Disarmament Network, was designed to share information and to discuss strategies for the coming year, and it succeeded in both these aims.
The opening plenary saw short speeches by Simon Rosenblum (Project Ploughshares), Anne Adelson (TDN) and Wilson Head. All three speakers stressed the need to solidify’ the .unity that has been created in the peace movement over the past couple of years, while at the same time recognising that there will always be a variety of views and strategies. Rosenblum directed the audience’s attention to the importance of the upcoming Peace Petition Caravan Campaign, and this campaign was discussed at some length in many of the workshops.
There were workshops on general strategic questions, such as the PP“CC, and on international arms negotiations. Some workshops dealt with strengthening the links between the peace movement and other movements, primarily labour; and some workshops, such as those on women or youth, aimed at organising these constituencies both within and without the peace movement.
The discussions from the workshops were continued through lunches and coffee breaks, during which much of the information sharing was accomplished. There was also an informal dinner and party on Saturday night, where it was discovered that many of the participants had common musical as- well as political interests, as demonstrated by a lively sing-along. The conference closed with a session designed to summa rise the main points of agreement that had surfaced during the weekend, and to plan how the TDN can best pursue these aims. Chief among these was the Peace Petition Caravan Campaign, which has subsequently been taken up by the TDN as its main project for the next few months. Despite some initial reservations about the nature of the Campaign, there was consensus about our willingness to initiate the Campaign in Metro Toronto, and to make sure that local groups benefit from their participation in this nation-wide effort.
Participants also felt the need for increased outreach, fundraising and media contact. Many people mentioned the need for greater coordination nationwide, with some people suggesting that the time was ripe for a national coalition of the peace movement.
There was also a wide focus on the issue of anti-intervention, but no consensus could be reached on this issue. It was. also felt that the Canadian peace movement should pursue greater contact with the peace movements in the Warsaw Pact nations. The conference also resolved that better education and communication was needed within the peace movement, a proram that was dubbed “inreach” by Doug Mohr of the KitchenerWaterloo Peace Network.
The conference was a major step forward for the TDN. In using its resources to promote discussion of issues and to better the communications among peace groups, the goal of acting as a network came closer to its realisation. People expressed their different views on everything from Trudeau’s peace initiative to the role of feminism in the peace movement, without fear of disagreement but also with care not to get into confrontations. Hopefully the spirit that was generated at the conference will continue to flourish as the Toronto peace movement gets involved with other endeavours involving diverse groups, and especially with the launching of the PPCC in Metro Toronto.
Edited by Mary Vrantsidis
- InFocus Productions is making a documentary on Canadian military sales and arms production (nuclear and conventional). Any information regarding the manufacture and exportation of military hardware would be greatly appreciated. Contact Bruce Parkinson at 27 Salem Ave., Toronto M6H 3C2, or call 416/xxx-xxxx.
- The court case against the testing of the cruis’e is still under way. On February 14, the Supreme Court of Canada will hear the appeal of the anti-cruise groups who brought the case to court. Lawyer Lawrence Greenspon will be joined on this historic occasion by Gordon Henderson, one of Canada’s most distinguished and successful lawyers.
According to James Stark, president of Operation Dismantle, this new development raises a “very considerable cause for optimism.”
Nevertheless, the organisations, led by Operation Dismantle, are hard up for funding. If the Supreme Court rules against them, they will have to pay up to $45,000. in court costs and lawyer’s fees. The Cruise Injunction Defence Fund is presently $20,000 short of that mark. If you can afford to contribute to the Fund, please send your cheques to P.O: Box 3950, Station C, Ottawa K1Y 4J2.
- The recent Winnipeg chapter of Educators for Social Responsibility is looking for new me.mbers. For further information contact: Chris Beckman, 59 Robert Service Bay, Winnipeg, Manitoba.
- HELP! The CANDIS Library is missing 40 books, some of which were never signed out, so we can’t track down the borrowers. Please check your bookshelves for the lost books. And while you’re at it, if you have any books you’d like to donate on related peace issues … feel free.
- Regina Coalition is interested in hearing from groups in Western Canada and Western U.S. about a conference to’ take place during U.N. Disarmament Week. Please contact: Regina Coalition for Peace and Disarmament, 2628D Shooter Dr., Regina, Saskatchewan, S4V lEI, or call 306/xxx-xxxx.
- The Dove for Peace Foundation has set up a Canadian Peace Award. It’s similar to the Nobel Peace Prize and it will represent the people of Canada, not, anyone political, ethnic or religious cause. The award will be presented, starting 1985, to any person or group who most actively promotes World Peace. Kevin Doyle, Editor of Maclean’s Magazine, is the Chairman of the Selection Committee. The Foundation is raising money for the award through various fund-raising activities. Help, if you can, to make the Canadian Peace Award a reality. Contact Geoffrey Bennun, – Dove for Peace Foundation, Box 5000, Station F, Toronto; On., M4Y 2T1, 416/967-“DOVE”
- The faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster is putting on a course for doctors and health workers called “Waging Peace..the Physician’s Responsibility in a Nuclear Age.” The meeting will take place March 9th at the Delta Meadowvale Inn in Mississauga. It’s co-sponsored by Physicians for-Nuclear Responsibility. The day will include lecture and discussion. For more information contact the McMaster Faculty of Health Sciences in Hamilton, Ontario.
- Peaceworkers, learn how to speak on the issues effectively. CANDIS is offering a series of workshops on developing public speaking skills and general knowledge. Learn how to make your points clear, how to gauge your audience and how to handle hecklers. The first workshop will be held on Sunday, February 26, 2:00-4:30 pm at the CANDIS office, Bathurst St. United Church, 736 Bathurst St., call xxx-xxxx.
- Want a speaker or would like to use your talents? CANDIS is developing a Speakers List of local people. The List details topics relating to the peace and disarmament issues that are covered, a fee schedule and ability to travel outside of Toronto. Call for a speaker of register yourself, call CANDIS at xxx-xxxx.
- The 1984 edition of the Canadian Peace Listing is now available. It’s a complete and up to date list of more than 500 Canadian organisations working towards peace, disarmament and development from local to international levels. The handy 8.5 by II” size is arranged alphabetically, with addresses, phone numbers and contact names. It only costs $8 in Canada and abroad $8 U.S. (includes shipping). Make a cheque or money order payable to; Canadian Peace Listing, 5851 Durocher, Outremont, Québec, Cda., H2V 3Y5.
- If you live in the City of York, the York Peace Council is looking for your help and support. They need help with their petition asking York to be made a Nuclear Weapon Free Zone, bringing the city in line with Toronto. They sponsor film showings and lots of other peace-related activities. Please come out for more information, contact Jay San vicente at xxx-xxxx.
Additional trials from the Remembrance Week action at Litton:
- Feb. 10 – Dave Barbarash
- Feb. 15 – Len Desroches
- Feb. 17 – Dave Collins
- Feb. 22 – Tom Joyce
- Feb. 24 – Ruth McMurchy
- Feb. 24 – Peter Dundas
For further information, contact CMCP at xxx-xxxx.