The Peace Calendar Vol.2 No.9
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Lynn Connell — October 1984
Michael Manolson — October 1984
Two Peace Petition Caravans were simultaneously launched on Friday September 28 from Vancouver Island and Newfoundland, commencing the 7,000 km trek across Canada scheduled to arrive in Ottawa on October 20. Hundreds of thousands of Peace Petitions will be collected from over 60 towns along the eastern and western routes during the next three weeks.
The Peace Petition Caravan Campaign (PPCC) is calling for a meeting with Prime Minister Brian Mulroney when the caravans arrive in Ottawa.
Twenty-five peace groups from Vancouver Island kicked off the “west-to-east” caravan with a gala send-off celebration in Victoria on Saturday in front of the Legislative Buildings. Mayor Pollen welcomed thousands of supporters of the PPCC, some of whom had arrived that morning as part of an extravagantly decorated boat flotilla sailing across from Saltspring and the Gulf Islands. With the crowd chanting in a “count upwards,” the 50,000 petitions (bundled into packages of 1,000) were loaded into the ‘official van.’ When the van was loaded, children from across the Island released hundreds of Helium-filled balloons with paper cranes attached. A police-escorted parade of over 200 decorated vehicles then accompanied the official van to the Swartz Bay ferry terminal to bid the caravan farewell on its 4736 km journey eastward.
The official east-to-west caravan is being driven by Louise and Art Rumsey/. from Salts pring Island, where the PPCC originated last year. Their large camper trailer has recently been painted with the PPCC dove logo, and outfitted with a sound system which will “belt out peace songs along the way.” Mr. Rumsey is, war veteran who spent three years in Germany and France with the non-combatant Canadian Signal Corps. The Rumseys then believed that that war would indeed be “the war to end all wars,” but now they fear for the future of their four daughters and eight grandchildren.
“For us to do this trip is an absolute necessity. If we don’t try to do something towards nuclear disarmament, they just won’t have the same chance that we did to build their lives. We will do anything we have to do.”
St. John’s, Newfoundland, coincided their kick-off with a mid-afternoon celebration rally at the Avalon Mall on September 28. The deputy mayor of St. John’s wished the caravan good luck, and well-known folk singer Jim Payne entertained the crowd. Up to ten thousand petitions were loaded into the east-to-west official van, which will be driven by Sally and Charles Davis more than 2200 km to Ottawa.
The Davis’ have been active in the peace movement for over 30 years. Mrs. Davis, a retired librarian and grandmother of two, helped fundraise during the Spanish Civil War. Mr. Davis, a professor of aquatic ecology, at the Memorial University of Newfoundland, will take time off his work because he is determined to see this project through to the end.
Both are enthusiastic about the success of the PPCC in Newfoundland. “We are achieving here more than we ever dreamt. During this campaign we have built up a huge base, right across the province. So many people are now taking part, and with these new forces we just don’t want to lose the momentum. We’re already talking about what we can do next. “
Exciting and imaginative events have been locally organized in 68 towns across the country to welcome the two halves of the caravan. Many communities plan to meet the caravan on the outskirts of their cities with their own decorated vehicles accompanied by high school bands which will lead the procession into town.
Events vary from large to small, indoors and outdoors, and include folk singers, local politicians, puppets, pot luck socials, speakers, films, workshops, theatrical skits, clowns, jazz bands, dancing and variety shows. Each community promises a well-publicized and highly visual event complete with’ balloons and banners.
Accomodation and meals are being provided for caravan travellers at every stop along the route. Individuals wishing to join the caravan for any distance should contact the community scheduled nearest to them to advise them of their plans as soon as possible.
Participating communities with PPCC petitions off the caravan route should contact and join the town scheduled closest for their welcoming event.
Murray Thomson — October 1984
After months of petitioning across the country, Peace Petition Caravan Campaign (PPCC) groups are now turning their attention toward the final stages of the Campaign: the three-week trek that will collect all of the signed petitions, and the delivery of the petitions to Ottawa during the weekend of October 20.
The focus of these closing weeks of the Campaign will be the new federal government. The caravans will be “going to Ottawa to see Brian,” and the related scheduled events will be symbolic reminders to the new government that the Canadian peace movement intends to see that nuclear disarmament becomes a reality.
The events of these closing weeks will also enable the Canadian peace movement to show the extent of its recent growth and of the organization that was involved in the PPCC.
The events being planned for Ottawa to mark the completion of the Campaign are extensive. A rece’ption will be held on Parliament Hill with the arrival of the east and west caravans and petitions at 1:00 on Saturday, October 20. This will be followed by a 48-hour “Peace Watch” on the Hill. Throughout the vigil, groups of Campaign supporters will maintain a presence in front of the Parliament Buildings. Names of individuals from all over Canada who have signed the petition will be read continuously, and the 1minute interviews recorded during the 7000 km caravan routes will be heard.
On Monday morning, representatives from groups across the country and from the PPCC intend to meet with Brian Mulroney, John Turner and Ed Broadbent, followed by a press conference. If Parliament is in session, arrangements will be made for the petitions to be presented formally to the Speaker in the House by representatives from the Conservative, Liberal and New Democratic Parties. If Parliament is not in session, the petitions will be presented to these representatives in trust to be taken to the House at a later date.
In addition, clearly-marked peace representatives will fan out to the 282 offices of the current Members of Parliament to distribute their bundles of petitions riding by riding. It has been suggested that peace groups from across the country could deliver copies of their petitions to their local MP’s offices on Monday afternoon in ceremonies attented by the press.
Support rallies which are to take place simultaneously on Saturday, October 20 in Saint John, Toronto and Montreal will also dramatically illustrate the national nature and scope of the Campaign.
David Orfald — October 1984
On September 7-9, the “Group of 78,” a group of pre-eminent Canadians concerned with the direction of Canadian foreign policy, held a week-end conference at Stony Lake, Ontario, to consider issues related to world problems and peace.
The conference began with a tribute to the late NDP MP Andrew Brewin, a co-founder of the Group of 78. The Group was also addressed by Commonwealth Secretary-General Shridath Ramphal.
Mr. Ramphal warned that despite the optimism often expressed that we have so far avoided George Orwell’s forecasts about 1984, “our global reality in 1984 is essentially Orwellian: a hierarchical international community run by a small superpower directorate, with an ‘Inner Party’ of rich countries dedicated to permanent superiority.” That superiority, he said, is maintained “through an apparatus of economic, political, military, sometimes even cultural domination, bolstered now by increasing observation from outer space.”
The Conference produced a Statement representing a consensus in the thinking of the 83 participants, on six areas of policy. Pricipal recommendations in each area were as follows:
The arms race and Canadian defence policies – The group called for a moratorium on the testing of all space weapons, including all anti-satellite and ballistic missile defense.
It also recommended the beginning of negotiations for a mutual, verifiable freeze by the two superpowers on the testing, production and deployment of all nuclear weapons and their delivery vehicles; a moratorium, pending agreement on a nuclear freeze, on the further testing, production and-deployment of cruise missiles; an extensive review of Canada’s defense policy with full public participation as well as parliamentary study; and support for an international arms trade register and for an international satellite monitoring agency.
Collective approach to peace and security – The group urged Canada to seek a seat on the UN Security Council and an enhanced role for the UN in crisis prevention, peacekeeping and conflict resolution; and to contribute to independent initiatives such as the Palme Commission and the Five Continent Peace Initiative.
Productive interdependence — The Group agreed that “improvements in the world economic outlook demand action to reschedule and ease the burden of debt, to roll back protectionism, and to increase international liquidity.” It also urged that “one percent of Canada’s official development assistance be devoted to public participation and awareness activities in international development.”
Human rights – The Group concluded that “Canadian credibility internationally depends upon our effectiveness in protecting and enhancing human rights for all Canadians.” A major test of our performance will come, the Group’s Statement noted, “at Nairobi in July, 1985, at the end-of-decade Conference on Women, and at the Review Conference of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, to be held in Canada in May, 1985.”
The environment and the oceans – The Group called for further initiatives on environmental crises such as acid rain and the destruction of tropical forests, “issues which should be considered in such fora as the summit conference on World Conservation Strategy and the Brudtland Commission of the World Environment Toward the Year 2000.”
The Group of 78, an informal association of professors, former ambassadors, former MPs and authors, among others, came into being three years ago. The Group’s name refers to the number of prominent Canadians who participated in the preparation of a statement setting out three interrelated objectives for Canadian foreign policy in the 1980s.
These objectives were the removal of the threat of nuclear war, the strengthening of the UN and regional institutions designed to bring about peacemaking and peacekeeping, foster international cooperation, promote the growth of world law and the protection of human rights; and the mobilization of world resources to achieve a more equitable international order and end the crushing poverty which is the common lot of the majority in developing countries.
Metta Spencer — October 1984
TORONTO – Three weeks of hearings will be held this fall to examine the ethical and moral aspects of Canada’s nuclear policies.
Sponsored by the Interfaith Program for Public Awareness of Nuclear Issues, the hearings are being organized through a cooperative effort by five major religious communities in Toronto: Anglican, Baha’i, Jewish, Roman Catholic and United.
Though several of these religious groups have already been involved in nuclear power and nuclear weapons issues, there has never been a comprehensive public hearing of nuclear policies from a moral point of view. Several of the faith groups involved have joined with energy activists over the years in calling for a federal inquiry into the nuclear industry, but so far without success. For some of the participants in the Interfaith Program, this fall’s hearings will be an attempt to make up for the lack of public participation in the past.
Bruce McLeod, minister of Richmond Hill United Church and media spokesperson for the planning committee, says that “Decisions were being made on nuclear policies that had implications for ordinary people, but ordinary people had little chance to participate in their formulation.
“The hearings reflect the need to know and be a part of the discussion process,” said McLeod.
In an attempt to include a wide variety of viewpoints, the planning committee (15 people, with three representatives from each faith group) has built a strong element of balance into the process. Each hearing will be conducted by panels of five to seven people, including such prominent figures as Doris Anderson, Chaviva Hosek, James Ham and David Strangway. As criteria, panel members are to have never made public statements about the issue, and must have “demonstrated their commitment to matters of public and social responsibility. “
Because the hearings are specifically designed to look at the moral and ethical issues, all groups wishing to appear before the hearing panels will be given equal consideration. “It is the intention of these hearings to use the concepts of responsible stewardship, justice, sustainability and participation as measures of the moral acceptability of Canada’s nuclear policies and activities,” says the programme brief.
Each faith group is also developing an awareness programme to follow up on the hearings, to include both special forums and sermons.
The hearings are being divided into three areas of policy: Domestic Nuclear Issues (October 29 to November 2), Canada’s International Nuclear Trade (November 12-16), and Canada’s Involvement in Nuclear Arms (November 26-30).
A report is expected to be completed by the panelists within five months of the hearings.
Although the deadline has now passed to submit briefs for which oral presentation time is requested (September 28), briefs for which oral time is not requested will be accepted up until October 30.
Those interested in receiving a kit explaining the programme may write to Judy Langstaff, Executive Secretary, Interfaith Program for Public Awareness of Nuclear Issues, Room 321, 85 St. Clair Ave. East, Toronto On. M4T I L8. Phone 416/xxx-xxxx.
_This article was reprinted with permission from the Nuclear Free Press, Fall 1984.
Peggi Sioux — October 1984
TORONTO – On the last day of summer, a glorious warm Saturday, Toronto’s peace activists fanned out through the city with square yellow boxes and batches of peel-off stickers, aiming to collect money from passersby. “Buy a tag for peace,” we chanted. Or “Would you like to contribute to the Disarmament movement?”
For the first few minutes, it felt funny. I’d never before asked rank strangers for money, and I had to push myself past that psychological barrier. But I needn’t have worried about being considered a beggar — most people didn’t seem to pay any attention at all. Others smiled vaguely and said, “No, thanks.” A few people beamed and said, “Bless your heart dear, for working to save the world!” And one old man screamed and called me a war criminal for promoting disarmament: I’d be causing the death of 500 million people this way, he yelled. The other passersby didn’t pay much attention to him either and eventually he went away.
We had competition: in mid-afternoon a fellow in a white Terry Fox T-shirt arrived to collect money for cancer research. He seemed a bit miffed that I had taken “his” spot. Last year he had collected $100 an hour standing where I was. He settled for a place kittycorner to mine, and pretty soon a lot of people were wearing red Terry Fox stickers on their lapels when they came near me. Nobody gave twice – to cancer and to peace both. They’d point to their lapels, smile, and scoot on down the street.
I don’t think he made $100 per hour, though, and I certainly didn’t. I got one $5 bill, but most donors gave only a quarter or two. Still, I did better than average. I was handing out free copies of The Peace Calendar and holding a copy in a conspicuous way all the time. At the end of my four-hourshift I’d collected $87, which was more than double the average intake. I think it was The Peace Calendar that made the difference.
The peace groups as a whole made about $3500 that day. That’s the way we’ll get there by nickeling and diming our way to disarmament. It’s a nice way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
Diana Leis — October 1984
OTTAWA – This past Labour Day weekend, Ottawans were once again treated to a peace festival. As distinguished from Peace in the Park held two weeks earlier, the two-day Harmony One celebration focussed on personal growth as well as peace and development.
Numerous booths and displays were located throughout Major’s Hill Park, providing a wealth of information about various spiritual and personal growth groups – the Sri Chinmoy, Baha’i Faith and Institute of Applied Metaphysics included among these. Also represented were local, national and international peace organizations, including the Peace Train, a relative newcomer, which seeks to enhance East- West relations by establishing a people exchange program between North America and the nations of the Eastern bloc by the autumn of 1985. The Plenty Canada international development organization based in Lanark Ontario, and the Dandelion intentional community (one of five such communities in North America inspired by B.F. Skinner’s utopian novel Walden Two) also provided information to interested passers-by.
Artisans displayed their wares, and delicious food, including vegetarian dishes, tacos and soya bean “ice-bean” was available. A special children’s area as well as workshops and films were provided throughout the two day event.
Of course, no peace celebration would be complete without music. Local and imported musicians played continuously. In the evening, a performance by the Theatre of the Giants impressed and delighted many an adult and child, as mysterious giant fish were transformed into strange, webbed creatures.
The number of individuals who attended Harmony One was not as large as organizers expected, despite an advertizing campaign which included the distribution of posters throughout the city and the printing of 25,000 copies of Harmony News several weeks before the celebration.
Harmony News provided a comprehensive overview of local and nationally-based international peace, spiritual, ecological and development organizations, many of which were represented at Harmony One.
For copies of Harmony News, or to help the organizers reduce the $5,000 deficit which was incurred, readers can contact Harmony One Peace Celebrations at 207 Rideau St., Ottawa KIN 5X8.
Judith Meinert — October 1984
Wollaston Lake is a community of 600 people on the east side of Wollaston Lake in northeastern Saskatchewan. People here depend on the land for cash income from fishing and trapping and for food from berries, fish, waterfowl, caribou, moose, and other animals. There are few wage jobs for the Native population. Groceries and fuel are expensive, and people could not survive without the furs, food, and firewood from the bush.
Uranium mining and explorations are disrupting the lives of the 5000 people of Wollaston Lake and the ten neighbouring communities. Radioactive wastes from the Rabbit Lake uranium mine, 20 miles west of the Wollaston community, have been discharged into Wollaston Lake since 1975. Extensive explorations which have discovered at least 10 more ore bodies in this area have contaminated the environment and chased away animals. Eldorado Resources, a subsidiary of the federal crown corporation Eldorado Nuclear, is now developing the Collins Bay “B-Zone” orebody 6 miles north of Rabbit Lake. This orebody is under the water of Wollaston Lake. A dike of thin sheet steel pipes filled with earth has been constructed to con tain the lake from the open pit.
This dike will be removed after the 6 year mine operation. Radioactivity from the pit can spread to the lake by contact with the water and by travelling in the air. The ore and radioactive pit water will be hauled by truck and pumped through plastic pipes to the mill at Rabbit Lake for processing and treatment.
The wastes from processing (which remain radioactive for thousands of years) will be stored at the bottom of the old Rabbit Lake pit. No leakage proof liners will be installed, so radioactive contaminants will seep and leach into the groundwater which flows into Wollaston Lake. The water has been drained from the pit area and excavation of the open pit has begun. Mining is scheduled to begin by early 1985 at the “BZone. “
The people of Wollaston Lake opposed the opening of the Rabbit Lake mine at meetings held there with government and mining company officials in 1972 and 1977. They opposed “B-Zone” at public hearings held there and in La Ronge, Saskatchewan in 1981. In June 1984, people again voiced opposition and concern at a slidetape presentation on the dangers Jf uranium mining attended by Jver 80 residents.
Joseph Besskaystare, the Chief Jf the Lac La Hache Indian Band Jf Wollaston Lake, recalls the 1977 meeting. “Those people were talking about employing all the young people at the mine and paying royalties to the people. They were going to. make a big store here, but I told them no to the mining because of what it might do to the lake. I told them, you guys can move around but us living here, we don’t want to move just because of the mine. In about 35 years you people will be finished mining. All the workers will be gone but we will still be here. After the water is contaminated, what are we going to live on? If I said okay to the royalties the money would stop coming when the mining is finished but the water would still be contaminated. “
Another Wollaston man, Councillor Martin Josie, says, “In 1948, the first time I came here, everything was plentifulnanimals, fish, plants. Even caribou, they used to come right to Wollaston. We didn’t have as much money, but we were happy because we had a nice place to live. Now because of the white people coming (such as the Department of Northern Saskatchewan, prospectors, and mining companies), the animals are becoming scarce. Even the moose is hard to kill now. Because of the mine the animals are not fit to eat. “
Uranium is used in nuclear power plants to produce eleetricitynand also to make nuclear weapons. The uranium that was used for the bombs that killed- 200,000 people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki may well have come from Port Radium in Canada. Saskatchewan uranium, is sold to the United States, West. Germany, and France: countries that produce nuclear weapons.
Two hundred people from Wollaston Lake have signed petitions opposing the Collins Bay B-Zone Deve!opment and all uranium explorations and developments in the Wollaston Lake area. The residents are hoping that many people from outside the communities will join them’ in their protest. Copies of the petition can be obtained from: Lac La Hache Band Administration, Wollaston Lake, Saskatchewan SOJ 3CO. Phone (306) xxx-xxxx or xxx-xxxx.
Judy Fretz — October 1984
SAINT JOHN – The theme of this year’s UN Disarmament Week activities, “Peacemaking in an Interdependent World,” will be especially apt in Saint John, because several groups have joined with local Project Ploughshares groups to present a full week of activities for the public.
International Red Cross, 10 days for World Development, Saint John District Labour Council, Physicians for Social Responsibility and (possibly) CUSO have joined forces with the Saint John, Hampton and Sussex Ploughshares groups. The intention is to-demonstrate that the arms race is not only the concern of peace groups, and that military spending drains resources, research, money and human potential, and leads to the exploitation of people who have no means to fight this exploitation.
The week of activities will feature displays, slide shows, films, flip charts, books and a children’s corner, where kids will be able to make their own posters, etc. The groups will also be selling buttons, decals, bumper stickers, balloons and peace T-shirts.
Last year’s activities attracted school groups and a constant flow of people, as well as media coverage. The organizers are hoping that the response will be equally favourable this year.
To kick off Disarmament Week, the District Labour Council’of Saint John is sponsoring a rally on October 20, which will start at King Square, in the centre of town, and proceed down King Street to Loyalist Plaza at Market Square. Speakers will include Dick Martin, Executive VicePresident of the Canadian Labour Congress and President of the Manitoba Federation of Labour. Organizers are hoping to double last year’s turnout of 350 people.
The centre of activity for Disarmament Week will be in the City Hall Walkway Shops of Brunswick Square. Everybody is welcome.
Metta Spencer (interviewer) — October 1984
FORT QU’APPELLE – Balloons, kites, ribbons, painted faces, music, cance, displays of arts and crafts, and games were all part of the Arts for Peace Festival held here from August 3rd to 5th.
Advertised as a “celebration of the fruits of life when there is peace,” the festival was in fact something of a first birthday party for the Fort Qu’ Appelle Peace Group.
The group began just a year ago when an invitation was extended to the 1500 citizens of this southern Saskatchewan community to join in a candlelight proces~ion, prayer and meditation on Hiroshima Day 1983.
A group of 25 to 30 active peace workers emerged from this event. These dedicated people have spent the last 12 months studying peace issues, marching for peace, sponsoring the musical revue Under the Gun, and participating in a door-to-door canvass for the Peace Petition Caravan Campaign.
The festival-birthday celebration opened Friday evening wi1h a wellattended Modern Dance Concert cosponsored by Dance Saskatchewan Incorporated. Throughout the weekend festival goers enjoyed reading, dancing, arts and crafts displays and other celebrations of peace and life.
The festival concluded on Sunday evening with an interfaith peace service at the Fort Qu’Appelle Catholic Church.
Mary Vrantsidis — October 1984
Metta Spencer: Paula, you say you don’t believe in electoral politics. Why not?
Paula Rochman: Just look at what happened on Tuesday, all the effort that was put into the election, and look what’s happened. Now we have a Prime Minister who thinks the Russians are ahead in nuclear weapons, who’s for increased defense spending, who’s for everything we’re against. So, all that effort of focusing on electoral politics, I don’t think it was a waste, but obviously we didn’t get what we wanted.
Beth Richards: Why don’t you think it was a waste?
Paula Rochman: I don’t believe that you can tell people to just abandon electoral politics, to just ignore that whole process. I think you have to take people through it and then they will say, “What a waste of time’‘’, but I think that is something that people have to see on their own, get frustrated by it, and then realize that it’s just not worth it.
Metta Spencer: What’s your alternative?
Paula Rochman: This is something that we’re all struggling with right now. I personally have a commitment to a strategy of civil disobedience. I recognize that there are a lot of impracticalities about it, and I recognize that there are a lot of people who aren’t willing to do it, and that it is very draining on peeople’s personal lives ‘and professional lives. But personally it’s what I believe has affected the most people; it’s the most honest thing to do.
Graeme MacQueen: I certainly agree in considering civil disobedience and related tactics to be sometimes. very useful and also honest. I’m not sure about electoral politics. I was
skeptical about the Peace Petition Caravan Campaign. I think you’re right – that it didn’t work in the sense of getting a majority government which was in favour of peace, but I think sometimes electoral politics has been important to social change in the past in a curious roundabout way. To give a concrete example, suppose that Reagan gets elected and decides to go for Central America. Or if Sinclair Stevens was in External Affairs – it might make a difference. Potentially it does make a difference. I had to think about this when Ellsberg came and said he was really into the electoral thing, that he thought it would make a big difference if Mondale was in.
From one point of view I think Mondale and Reagan are interchangeable, but from another point of view I say “now wait a minute.” If I were in EI Salvador and Nicaragua right now, would I really be saying they were interchangeable? I wouldn’t because I don’t want bombs dropped on me. And so from one point of view we have to be careful because even a little bit oJ relief for people who are being blown away in the Third World, for example, something to give them a breathing space, can be worth it.
Paula Rochman: I don’t negate that. I think the problem with electoral politics is that people think that, when the election is over, they’ve done their democratic political thing now for five years.
Matthew Clark: There were a lot of people who felt, with the (Vietnam) anti-war movement, that you could chart militant anti-war activity in an inverse relationship to whether there was an election on. Whenever there was an election, the movement fell apart for six months or a year, and then it took six months or a year to get back together and to have a flurry and then there’d be another election and the bottom would drop out again. That certainly supports what you’re saying.
Beth Richards: I don’t know. I don’t understand how civil disobedience could be the alternative. I’d like to hear that elaborated. For example, when we’re talking about elections as just this one day a year when people think they’ve done their thing to make it a better society – demonstrations can have the same effect. You come out to one peace rally a year and that’s your thing for peace. Couldn’t civil disobedience be the same thing? You come out for your one or two civil disobedience actions, get arrested, spend a few days in jail, come out. and that’s your big romantic thing for peace for the year?
What I think you’re implying is needed goes deeper than civil disobedience, something like an entirely thorough educational process, a kind of personal life-change, so that individuals begin to understand the relations between the arms race and their daily lives, in terms of their pay cheques and social services, and in terms of relationships between men and women, however militarism affects that. So the alternative to electoral politics seems to be something that’s extremely long-range and thorough, a deep kind of social change that has to happen on many fronts, including electoral politics, demonstrations, civil disobedience, education in the schools, the labor movement, doing studies on economic conversion, elc., etc., etc.
Paula Rochman: I realize part of that. I disagree with your saying that people who do civil disobedience do it as just a one or two day thing, though. Most of us are middle class people. We have never been affected by the jail system. We hear stories about jails, we hear these things, but we’re basically not affected by them in our society every day. And just about everybody I know who’s gone through civil disobedience, who’s gone through the legal system here, is appalled by it. And I think that feeling doesn’t just go away two days later.
Beth Richards: So you see that as part of the thorough educational process that I’m talking about?
Paula Rochman: I just know, since I’ve participated in civil disobedience, how many people it’s affected. Just talking about it. If I say I’m going to a demonstration, I don’t find that that has any effect on people. It’s safe. I mean, you’re not chalIenging anything
People don’t care if we demonstrate. But they do get upset if you keep going back and just challenging the fundamentals of what they are doing. I mean, obviously there’s an education process, but the point is, what inspires people to educate themselves? What inspires people to hold politicians accountable?
Matthew Clark: I want to get back to the electoral question just for a second. There seems to be one situation anyway – complex and not unambiguous – in which there was an electoral movement that had some kind of impact: the electoral process leading up to the election of Lincoln. It lasted over a long time, with three political parties forming, two of them dropping away, one of them staying around. In the 1830’s there was a lot of non-electoral abolition politics, and then in the 1840’s and 1850’s it became increasingly electoral under the leadership of people who had been part of the non-electoral abolition movement. Some of them went into the electoral movement and eventually they came up with a mildly abolitionist president, which turned out to be the crisis point. I’m not saying it’s unambiguous or that it led to the political situation one might have desired, but still something was happening there.
Beth Richards: And don’t you think that-in our election – well, I’m totally cynical about the main reason why a lot of the Liberals came out in favor of the freeze. For one thing, the freeze is a safe issue, because it has nothing to do with Canada. And for another thing, having nominated Turner, who was basically the establishment right wing of the Liberal party, they were afraid that they had lost the left-Liberal votes, and peace was the safest left-Liberal issue to win back that vote. So I’m very cynical about the reasons why they supported the freeze, and I don’t attribute it to the hard work of the peace movement. But some Liberals and also a few Tory M.P.s did come out in favor of peace, and this makes them somewhat accountable. It doesn’t help that much, but it helps a little bit, and that’s how the peace movement grows. I was really happy with the results despite my cynicism.
Paula Rochman: But I think the point is, now we have to hold those people accountable. I mean, look at someone like Jim Coutts. At the (Spadina) all-candidates meeting, he endorsed the nuclear weapons free zone, but he said Litton had nothing to do with it. He went on and said there are no nuclear weapons in Canada. And then when I phoned him at his office, he had a different line – all of a sudden Litton was part of the nuclear weapons free zone, there were nuclear weapons in Canada.
Matthew Clark: Yeah, that’s because we put some pressure on him.
Bob Penner: There are different ways of evaluating tactics. I think that commonly they are evaluated in terms of how they influence people or policy immediately. That has some importance, but I really think tactics should be evaluated on how they help the movement. And so I. think the peace issue in the election campaign was successful – phenomenally successful – because of all the attention that was drawn to that issue. It’s not so much what the politicians thought. It’s what everybody else thought about it. The way change is achieved, in my understanding of history, is by the activity of large numbers of people over a long period of time. That’s what does it. I don’t think there’s any particular hierarchy of tactics. I mean, different tactics serve different purposes.
Say, you had an anti-cruise demo and that didn’t stop the cruise, is it wrong? That’s not the point. You had an anti-cruise demo and you mobilized people around that issue and you educated them. And you had an election campaign and you didn’t elect that pro-disarmament candidate to Parliament, but that was never on the agenda. Nobody thought it was. What it did do was raise the issue for public discussion for millions of people at a time when they were most apt to publicly discuss things.
Beth Richards: It’s great education.
Bob Penner: I mean, everybody’s compelled, or almost compelled, whether they participate in politics at any other time, to do It during an election. So our role is to intervene in that and say, “Here’s something we want you to discuss too.” And that was successful.
Paula Rochman: But what was discussed? There was really no connection made between the issue of peace and jobs and the economy. We have to get to the point where people see it’s the same issue. All the people were blathering away about bringing down the interest rates, which we all know is not going to happen until the Americans have decreased their military spending. But they were allowed to be separated as issues, because there’s this nice motherhood issue: Support the freeze.
Graeme MacQueen: I agree with that one. It. was quite clear the issues were separate. They would do little polls on who wants more jobs and who wants peace, and they were very distinct. And in the debates, too, they were treated as totally separate issues.
Okay, as far as I am concerned, we use elections, we use any opportunity when things are being discussed in public. We use it for sure. But we have to evaluate it by seeing, has consciousness been raised or lowered? And that’s where I have trouble on all these issues. Let’s say we win something on the freeze. We get some government or other to say, “Fine, we’ll go for the freeze.” Okay, what has happened to the consciousness of most people?, Why have they voted for that? What has been their image of the world? When I look at some of the literature on this I wonder whether it is leading them to what I think is the proper intellectual development or stunting it.
Matthew Clark: Can I ask a more specific question: What about the literature that you see? Do you suspect it stunts rather than develops?
Graeme MacQueen: Number one, it alienates the issue of peace, as we’ve been saying, from other issues. It makes no tie-ins. No tie-ins with unemployment, no tie-ins with oppression of people in our society and in the Third World, no tie-ins with military intervention. It doesn’t talk about conventional weapons and the threat there, it has no class analysis at all, it says nothing about what democracy means or the fact that there’s a relatively small elite and that about it. It never even touches any of those issues, but simply says, “Yes, folks, you’re scared of the Russians, and you have the right to be, but here’s one way to stop them, we can get them to agree on a freeze. They’ve said they’ll agree with it so for God’s sake, let’s go for it.”
I don’t think that you can be purist and say everything at once, but are you taking people even a little step in the right direction? I was reading carefully the literature put out by Operation Dismantle on the freeze, and some of it I thought was great and some of it I wasn’t so sure about. I mean, there’s no reason why the Canadian public should believe us. Why the hell should they? They’re being lied to, swindled, all the time – not only by the government, but by all sorts of little groups, right? So we come to them and say, “Hey, we’ve got the real facts on disarmament; we’ve got the real facts on peace,”
Will they believe us? I don’t think there’s any reason they should. So we’ve got to make ourselves believable. We’ve got a lot of things going against us, in terms of who we’re confronting in this whole issue. They’ve got physical violence, they’ve got media, they’ve got all sorts of things. But I think we’ve got (righteous as it may sound) the facts, morals on our side. So for God’s sake, let’s use them.
Matthew Clark: One thing has interested me in some of the discussion around P2C2 – it happens quite frequently that someone will come up to me and say, “What are you fooling around with such a completely corrupt, bourgeois style of politics for?” And they assume that my motives are completely different from what they really are. I mean, there’s nobody here who’s a gung-ho electoral politician, you know. And I don’t think in the P2C2 there are many people who are. Almost all of the people who are involved in it see it as a tool, a vehicle to get somewhere else, And I’ve been kind of disturbed. I don’t mind disagreeing; people can honestly disagree about tactics. It isn’t that they disagreed. It’s that they didn’t see what we were doing. That’s really bothered me from the very beginning. And you know you can’t get up in the middle of a campaign and say publicly, “Well, this is what we’re really doing, you know.”
Metta Spencer: Could you elaborate a little bit on what you think you are doing?
Beth Richards: Can I answer that? The people who give you those lines should just come to the meeting of a trade union local and hear how this campaign has been an incredibly effective tool in getting this educational process going which we were talking about. When I first started doing this campaign in the locals, I had no idea what kind of success it would have.
The most important way of ensuring its success in the trade unions was to make the links. Peace on its own would just fall flat on its face. It had to make the links to real life – jobs, social services, the struggles of the labour movement over the years.
I found that, with the petition, people were forced to get into a debate. If you just give them a flyer, or tell them to come out to an action at Litton, or whatever, or give them some material to read, 99 percent of the time they don’t read it. You know, who wants to? You just get too much of that sort of stuff. But a petition, where they have to sign their names/to it, they really start talking about it and the links are automatically made, Every single local meeting I’ve gone to where this question has been raised, the demands are raised. And when the demands are raised, the links are made. For example, the third demand concerns wasteful spending on the arms race. People start saying, “Well doesn’t this mean that.. workers are going to lose their jobs? We get right into the whole economic question.
Graeme MacQueen: How do you feel about the criticism that that kind of process reinforces certain unfortunate ideas people have? I’m getting back to one of the objections Paula had – that we the citizens have to petition these “leaders” in government, especially Ottawa, to please maybe let us survive for a few more years. A petition is just that. In terms content it may be good
but in terms of process, the deep stf1lctural things that it’s inducing people to be of a petitioning mind, of a voting mind.
Beth Richards: Can I just answer this in terms of the labour movement? None of the people in the peace committees in union locals has ever thought that this petition would actually make a nuclear weapons-free zone in Canada. None of them even think too much about what the M.P. is going to say when he gets it in his hand. We don’t even talk about that. All of us, when we look at October 20, the end of the campaign, we see it as the beginning of a new stage in labour’s commitment to peace. This campaign has been an educational process; I haven’t seen anybody fall under the illusion that we’re going to have a nuclear weaponsfree zone when the campaign ends.
Bob Penner: Well, I believe there are lots of people who think that. It’s not my orientation in the campaign, but I think a lot of people believe in petitions. The argument that you (Graeme) raise is a common argument and I totally disagree with it. When you say “Doesn’t this reinforce belief in this kind of tactic?” That argument means that any tactic that is not absolutely revolutionary can be evaluated that way – a demonstration, civil disobedience – anything. You can say about civil disobedience – “doesn’t CD just reinforce that this one company has so much power?” You can always say that about any tactic “Doesn’t it reinforce?” The direction of that argument is the wrong way around. It’s that people believe in those things anyway: People believe In electoral politics, people believe in petitions. What it does is go to people where they are and move them the other way. They already believe in all those things, so by their participation, they have a chance to move elsewhere. And if you look back at your own political experience, what’s radicalized you, I don’t think people will say they’ve read something which changed their mind. I think that people are educated, and that consciousness is raised, by their activity or their experience.
— October 1984
WASHINGTON DC – The day-long First National Women’s Conference to Prevent Nuclear War, held September 12 in the heart of the US Congress, featured a star-studded cast of American women. Three hundred movers and shakers from the arts, political, sports, business, science and academic worlds represented over 50 women’s groups with a combined constituency of 91 million women. Lily Tomlin, Sally Field and Billie Jean King rubbed shoulders with prominent peace women such as Dr. Helen Caldicott and Coretta Scott King.
The aim of the conference was to launch a united non-partisan women’s movement to prevent nuclear war, and to capture as much media attention and public opinion as possible. The theme of the conference was based on Eleanor Roosevelt’s call “It’s up to the women.” Admiral Gene R. LaRocque, director of the Centre for Defense Information – the sponsor of the conference, admitted that men have failed to stop the arms race. Now it is up to the women, and he believes that they can do it.
Actress and long-time antinuclear activist Joanne Woodward was the chairwoman and primary force behind the gathering of America’s most prominent women. She says the next war will be the end of us, and the only hope is for women to get involved in preventing it by becoming part of the decision-making process. Woodward feels it’s her moral duty to use her public visibility to make a statement against the arms race.
“The mood of the meeting was one of urgency,” says Montreal activist Dorothy Rosenberg, one of the few non-Americans to attend the by-invitation-only conference. Rosenberg’s role was two-fold: to gather information for the upcoming Studio “0” film Women, Peace and Power; and to network for next year’s international women’s conference on negotiating for peace, which is being organized by a coalition of Canadian women.
“We’ve seen the mess the men have made of it, and we don’t have much time to turn the situation around,” says Rosenberg. “The women were optimistic but not nai’ve. They are a very ambitious and determined group of women. Entertainers such as Sally Field and Joanne Woodward came across as very normal, approachable and concerned women. There was a terrific energy and vitality in the room. “
Canadian women have long been active in the peace movement, but, says Rosenberg, the American women at the conference “have a sense of being closer to the power. They are all successful in their own fields and they came with action in mind.”
During the course of the conference, the women signed a proclamation denouncing US foreign and military policy and the need for the arms race. They also raised $50,000 from the women in the room to start a women’s peace lobby in Washington. They also reached consensus on a three-part plan of action, with target dates:
The first goal is to defeat Reagan in the November 6 election, by conducting a mass registration drive of women voters. Second, to achieve a world-wide test ban by August 6, 1985—the 40th anniversary of the atomic attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The third goal is to hold an international women’s conference in Europe on November 6, 1985 to deliberate upon global action to reverse the arms race.
In addition to the familiar antinuclear concerns, there was “more talk of women getting involved in the negotiating process, especially via politics,” says Rosenberg. “They want to see 200 women in Congress. Bella Abzug stressed that women must become part of the negotiation process. It’s something the Canadian women have been talking about for the past year. Plans are well underway for our own international conference next spring on women’s place at peace negotiating tables.”
Rosenberg was very impressed with Mary Dent Crisp, former co-chair of ‘the Republican. National Committee. “She is a committed Republican and she is daring to criticize President Reagan publicly. She told us that 54% of the delegates of this year’s Republican convention supported the freeze, but Reagan’s radical fringe squashed it.”
During the morning session, the weekly civil defense air raid siren went off. “As a Canadian, I wondered how the Americans could tolerate such a thing. It’s getting the people ready to accept war. 1 was outraged.”
Nevertheless, Rosenberg feels the conference was a success. “It was a very stimulating group of women to be around, and they are very determined to carry out their goals.”
anon — October 1984
Women from distant parts of Canada met in Toronto in mid-September to spend three days in the second planning session for an “alternative” peace conference — one that will likely be more congenial than “male” versions that have so patently failed in Geneva, Vienna, and New York. The idea was initiated by the Voice of Women, and has won the support of 26 other women’s organizations, who are now constituted as the “Coalition of Canadian Women’s Groups.”
If their plans are fulfilled, guests from 50 nations will be invited to join 50 Canadian women at the” five-day conference in June 1985, titled “The Urgency for True Security: Women’s Alternatives for Negotiating.” In addition, up to 200 other women may be allowed to attend as observers. Mount St. Vincent University in Halifax, Nova Scotia has offered space for the meeting, and Marion Kerans is already at work organizing it from an office on that campus.
The coalition intends to select participants who are experienced in nonviolent methods of addressing inter-group conflicts. For example, they hope that participants will include some of the May Square mothers and grandmothers of Argentina. (These are the women who marched, year in and year out, wearing black arm-bands, in protest against the political oppression from which members of their families had suffered.) They will also invite women who have used nonviolent solutions in terrorist situations, in conflicts between prisoners and guards, in racial confrontations, and the like. Ideally, many of the women will also have experience in senior elected positions that require negotiating techniques and skills in representing the interests of large groups, such as trade unions; and especially international politics.
The women who are planning this conference point out that women have special aptitudes that can be put to good use in resolving conflicts. (The differences were certainly observable during the planning session, as for example when Montreal activist Dorothy Rosenberg had to depart early to attend the event that Joanne Woodward had organized in Washington. She asked for and received a “group hug.” Someone laughingly remarked that if men gave each other send-offs like this, they might be more successful in reaching agreements.)
The coalition of women claim that we are all worse off because, at present, almost all the diplomats involved in treaty negotiations are maie. The planners of the conference are under no illusion that it will be easy to create equal opportunities for women in the process of disarmament negotiation. Still, they are explicitly working toward that objective by designing the conference as something of a “showcase” to spotlight women who’ have already used creative, innovative approaches to peacemaking in many’ places around the world. In this and other ways, the coalition intends to foster women’s confidence in their own tendencies and approaches.
According to Marion Kerans, women will never be accepted as full participants in the negotiation process unless they are part of a worldwide network of support with other peace women. To weave together such a network is vitally important. To that end, the conference will work to assemble materials which can be shared with local groups of activist women. Kits will be designed to promote general understanding, for example, of how rape, pornography, economic insecurity and militarism are intertwined.
Inquiries about the conference should be directed to Marion Kerans, Room 9, Seton Annex, Mount St. Vincent University, 166 Bedford Highway, Halifax B3M 2J6.
Matthew Clark — October 1984
The United Church Peace Network is publishing its first monthly newsletter in this edition of The Peace Calendar and will continue to do so in each of the months ahead.
As Peace Coordinator for the United Church of Canada, Toronto Conference, I have found that one of the greatest obstacles to more effective peacemaking activities within our congregations has been lack of communication. Congregational peace groups in Toronto, for example, rarely hear about peace efforts in Muskoka, and groups in Muskoka would love to know what their : counterparts in Owen Sound are up to. A monthly newsletter will help us solve this communication problem.
While The Peace Calendar provides us with a-relatively inexpensive means of sharing information with those within the United Church of Canada, it also gives us an opportunity to communicate with the wider peace movement. We can learn about peacemaking activities outside the United Church Peace Network and other groups can gain a better understanding of what we are doing. For these reasons, I encourage you to subscribe to The Peace Calendar and to urge other members of your congregation to do the same. Better still, order one hundred copies each month and distribute them in your congregations! Information on bulk subscriptions is available through my office.
In this first newsletter, I want to provide a bit of background information on the United Church Peace Network and discuss my work as Peace Coordinator. Some of you may have heard all this many times before. Others, however, both inside and outside the United Church of Canada, know very little about our peacemaking efforts and it is for them that we write our first newsletter.
The United Church Peace Network was formed in February 1982, when about twenty-five congregational peace groups within the Toronto Conference got together to share ideas and concerns. The Toronto Conference is a region of the United Church of Canada that includes Toronto and extends north to Owen Sound and just south of North Bay. There are 363 congregations in the Conference.
Many members of these peace groups were finding it difficult to raise peace and justice issues in their congregations. Worship services on disarmament, for example, often resulted in silence and tension, and peace groups began to feel isolated in their own congregations. And so, the United Church Peace Network was formed as a means of supporting those congregational peace groups and coordinating their efforts.
In the months which followed, the Network membership tripled and volunteer coordinators could not keep up with the requests for assistance and information. Although the United Church of Canada policy clearly denounced the arms race and called for multilateral disarmament, no United Church staff people were dealing solely with peace issues. Clergy and laity throughout the Toronto Conference recognized the need for a full-time staff person to deal with peace and justice issues and successfully lobbied for the hiring of a peace coordinator.
My work as Peace Coordinator focuses on three key areas. I work with those persons who are already actively concerned about peace and justice issues by, for example, providing educational resources and helping them to plan workshops. I am also assisting clergy who find it difficult to minister in the nuclear age. As we all know, disarmament is a complex and controversial issue and ministers also need support and educational resources if they are to approach the subject in a responsible and effective way. Perhaps the most challenging area of my work involves reaching out to those persons who are fearful of or opposed to disarmament concepts. It is not so important that we, in the United Church of Canada, agr~e with one another. However, if we, as Christians, love one another, then we must discuss our concerns in a caring and loving way. We must have empathy if we are to create a trusting forum for dialogue.
The objective of peacemaking efforts within the United Church of Canada might best be described as “Disarm and Develop,” or “Peace through Justice,” as the World Council of Churches so aptly put it during its 1983 Assembly in Vancouver. This goal of “Disarm and Develop” is based upon the 1981 United Nations Study on Disarmament and Development. The conclusion of that study states: “The arms race and underdevelopment are not two problems. They are one. They will be solved together or neither will ever be solved.”
We will look at some theological perspectives on this policy of “Disarm and Develop” in the November newsletter. See the events calendar in this issue for a listing of United Church peace activities in your area. Please send me any information on November events by October 15. We also welcome any reflections or commentaries that you might like to share with other congregations. Reports on events, their successes or failures, might also be of use to other peace workers. By sharing ideas and information we can make out peacemaking efforts more effective. Each one of us has gifts to bring to our peace work, so let’s work together. If you are a United Church member, this is your newsletter, so please contribute!
Best wishes in your October peace efforts.
Yours in Peace,
United Church Peace Network, Eastminster United Church, 310 Danforth Ave Toronto On., M4K IN6. Phone: 416/xxx-xxxx.
David Ramsay — October 1984
Now that the federal election is over and the Peace Petition Caravan Campaign is entering its final phase, the Canadian peace movement finds itself in a period of transition. In an effort to identify some of the questions we face, I’ve been talking with a variety of peace activists, and I’d like to present here some of their ideas (and some of mine as well). These comments are intended not as final answers, but as just the beginning of a disucssion the peace movement should be conducting.
The comments of the people with whom I talked seemed to fall into six categories: (I) Evaluation of the current campaigns, (2) A national coalition, (3) Short term planning, (4) Long term planning, (5) Program, and (6) Cooptation. This categorization is to some extent arbitrary, and I don’t promise to stick to it rigidly, but it does help to put some order into a wide variety of ideas.
(1) Evaluation. The period just ending has been a new experience for the peace movment. We have attempted to organize a national campaign on a broad, grass roots basis, and we have attempted to make peace an issue in the federal elections. To what extent have we succeeded? An evaluation of our efforts seemed called for. According to Anne Adelson (of the Toronto Disarmament Network and the New Politics Discussion Group), “Only on the basis of an evaluation will we be able to plan the future course of the movement. We need to know what effect the campaign has had politically and what effect it has had on our own ability to organize. And we need to know the implications, both positive and negative, for the possiblity of a national coalition.” Adelson has offered to collect written evaluations of the P2C2; you can write to her at the Toronto Disarmament Network, 736 Bathurst St., Toronto, Ontario, M5S 2R4.
Some other opportunities for evaluation will occur during the next few months. On October 21st, the Peace Petition Caravan Campaign will hold an evaluation meeting in Ottawa, and the Southern Ontario Disarmament Network has called a provincial conference to be held in Waterloo probably in late November (at press time the date had not been definitely determined). Anyone interested should write the Waterloo Region Peace Network, Box 133, Station C, Kitchener, N2G 3W9. The Southern Ontario Network also hopes that other regions will hold conferences, so that the movement can work towards a national coalition from the bottom up.
A national conference, to be held early in the new year, seems the logical next step; a number of activists – including Andrew Yan Velzen (of the Cruise Missile Conversion Project), Don Bates (a board member of Physicians for Social Responsibility), and Gary Marchant (of End the Arms Race) – advocate a national conference, though they don’t all come from the same perspective. At the Ottawa P2C2 evaluation meeting, the Toronto Disarmament Network will ask that a committee be formed to plan a national conference.
(2) .National Co-ordinating Committee. Many peace activists now see the need for a national coalition of some sort. Don Bates says that “the more coordinated the peace movement is, the better.” He does not advocate “excessive centralization, but just occasions to talk to each other.” Gary Marchant said (in an article published in last month’s issue of The Peace Calendar, “The need for some type of national coordinating body for the Canadian peace movement has become obvious. Recent examples such as the relatively uncoordinated ‘Refuse the Cruise’ campaigns, the difficulties encountered in initiating the PPCC, the lack of a united response to the establishment of the new Peace Institute, the absence of a clearly defined election strategy, and confusion in the media and government about who speaks for the peace movement in Canada have all reduced our potential effectiveness as both a mass movement and political force. A secondary function of a national coordinating body would be to serve as a method of communication between groups across the country.”
Some activists. however, especially those from small towns and rural areas, have expressed fears that any national organization would be dominated by the urban coalitions. My impression is that the advocates of a national organization are quite sensitive to these fears; the peace movement ought to be able.to find a structure which would ensure that no region or tendency could unfairly dominate. In my opinion. a properly constituted national organization would in fact protect the interests of the smaller regions and organizations. As things now stand. for example, the media looks to spokespeople from Ottawa or Toronto or from one of the nationally-based organizations; these people are of course responsible only to their own organizations. If there were a national coordinating by other regions and organizations could playa part in selecting spokespeople and in formulating positions.
(3) Short Term Plans. Several peace activists expressed confidence in what the peace movement has been doing, and said that one thing we should do is to continue the sort of work which we already do. Don Bates pointed out that 85% of the Canadian public now favours a freeze and he added that we must “counteract the false impression that the peace movement is on the wane.” Carolyn Cowan said that, among other things. the peace movement should continue “the strategy of basic grass roots expansion and education.”
Michael Manolson (national coordinator for the Peace Petition Caravan Campaign) thinks that a new national campaign would be beneficial. Because of the P2C2, Manolson says. “a lot of groups got very excited, they had a sense of purpose to be part of a national campaign. and they were able to share resources.” He believes that a national coalition should not be a self-perpetuating bureaucracy, but should be constituted around specific campaigns.
Several other activists spoke of the advantages fo a new national campaign; I was surprised to note. how:ver, that few had any concrete ideas about what the campaign might be. Anne Adelson tentatively proposed a campaign to promote a binding referendum on cruise testing; she hopes that whatever project is agreed upon will have a strong educational component.
Don Bates also argued for a continuing emphasis on education, especially in the high schools. “University is too late. An understanding of the nature of nuclear war must be part of everyone’s growing up. It’s as fundamental as sex”
My own opinion for the short term is that the peace movement must continue with the organizational work which the P2C2 began. In every riding where the campaign was organized thousands of people have now indicated that they support disarmament. Over the next year we should determine to make another. more substantial contact with each person who signed the petition; in this way we can build our organizations and extend our educational work, so that we will be able to mobilize more effectively for whatever campaigns we undertake.
(4) Long Term Planning. According to Bob Penner (of the Toronto Disarmament Network), “Campaigns such as the Peace Petition Caravan or the anti-cruise testing campaign are very unclear to our supporters: do we expect to make Canada a nuclear weapons free lone in one year? Did we fail in not immediately stopping cruise testing? How can we continue to raise such demands year after year, not achieve them. and keep the movement from becoming demoralizedT Penner suggests that some of these problems might be solved by adopting a Ipng term campaign, “perhaps a ten-year program to make Canada a nuclear weapon-free zone” Other, shorter programs could then take a place in the context of the long term campaign. Penner notes that in 1977 the Dutch peace movement launched a ten-year campaign under the slogan, “Let’s rid the world of nuclear weapons, let it begin in the Netherlands.” and he attributes their considerable political success to this program.
Both Don Bates and Andrew Van Velzen raise an issue which must have an impact on long range planning. “How do we get the Canadian government to pursue an independant policy on nuclear weapons?” Bates asks. “Canadian policy is made in the US, and our problem is far more determined by the US elections than by the Canadian elections.” Van Velzen believes that we must “further our analysis of the global situation and Canada’s role in it … Canada has little room to manoeuvre” because of our “economic and military subservience to the US.”
A long term project proposed by Carolyn Cowan is the development of the international peace movement. Cowan suggests that we need to develop direct formal links with the peace movements of other countries. “We need to begin forming into a cohesive. international. united family. This process takes a long time. so we would be smart to begin as soon as possible.” She suggests that an International Coordinator be appointed “to establish formal connections and exchange information, so that the movements can begin to support each other in public campaigns.” Perhaps such a task would be appropriate for a national coordinating committee.
(5) Program. Some activists, particularly (but not exclusively) on the West Coast, were disappointed that the Peace Petition Caravan Campaign did not emphasizc the nuclear freeze. Since the emergence of reports showing widespread public support for the frecze and the flurry of Liberal Party interest in the issue. more people have come to believe that the freeze is an area where the peace movement can make real gains. In the.course of my discussions. I was fascinated to see several people who had been dubious about the freeze as an issue talk themselves into it. Two qualifications remain, however: some feel that we must make it clear that the freeze is only a step. not our whole program; others felt that we must not de-emphasize the demand to stop cruise testing.
Carolyn Cowan’s suggested program for the peace movement goes much further; she believes that we should “articulate the peace movement’s vision for the future. We have a common vision. We need now to start talking about it.
The framework of the vision would include positions like non-violent conflict resolution through negotiations and cooperation rather than combat and violence; a future beyond not only nuclear weapons but beyond warr itself; decentralization of power. Although I like Cowan’s ideas, I doubt that they are the common vision of the peace movment. Some peace activists feel that this vision overlooks the causes of conflict and takes refuge in vague goodwill. Those of us who are sympathetic to these ideas need to elaborate a concrete program which does not deny the harsh realities of the world as it tries to overcome them.
(6) Cooptation. Although a “very large sector of the Canadian peace movement supported and participated in the Peace Petition Caravan Campaign and the Election Priorities Project, other individuals and groups in the movement felt that these campaigns only served to legitimize political structures which are themselves part of the problem.
The danger of cooptation has been a constant issue not just in today’s Canadian peace movement, but in the politics of social change throughout history. The same arguments have occurred in the anti-Vietnam war movement, in the civil rights movement, in the women’s movement and in the labour movement. The argument persists, I believe, because both sides are right: on the one hand. we must not fall into the trap of becoming merely a loyal opposition; on the other hand, we must not fall into the trap of becoming a permanent fringe. The balancing of these two opposing truths is not a matter of theory, but of concrete action in a particular historical context.
Disagreement about cooptation is inevitable; it can also be beneficial. by keeping the movment from becoming either opportunistic or self-righteous. I suspect that the differences in the current situation are not as great as they may seem. Many of those active in the P2C2 support and have participated in civil disobedience actions, and some of those who have been critical of the P2C2 took an active part in the recent election campaign. I fear, however, that neither side gives the other enough credit for understanding the nature of the problem.
Each of the issues I have touched on is worth extensive discussion; no doubt I have somewhat distorted the opinions of those I talked to, if only through selective quotation. but I hope that this brief overview may at least begin a necessary discussion and begin to put some of the questions into some sort of context.
— October 1984
As November 11 approaches, many peace groups in Canada may be preparing to once again consider holding events on Remembrance Day to remind people of its real meaning – that men and women died to bring peace. Unfortunately some veterans see this attempt as a violation of their day and the meaning they attribute to it. Regardless of the care and sensitivity peace groups take in how they carry out their educational efforts, misunderstandings will arise among those who place a different value on Nov. 11.
We must recall that there are veterans who associate peace with Nov.11, but feel that this day is exclusively theirs to commemorate their friends’ death. We need to be sensitive to these sentiments while at the same time make people aware that war is obsolete as a method for solving differences.
In Thunder Bay, the Coalition for Peace and Nuclear Disarmament has developed an idea that we would like to share with other peace groups who struggle with this dilemma. We have chosen the last Saturday in U.N. Disarmament Week as a day to commemorate the innocent victims of war (Victims of War Day).
It is known that of the 10 million people killed in 130 conventional wars during the last 30 years, 9 million have been civilians. It is also known that, around the world, 1 ½ million dollars are spent on arms each minute, while in that same minute 30 children die from lack of food and vaccines. Clearly it is critically important to educate people about the unacceptable costs of war, both past and present.
We feel that by creating a special day to remember these victims, we can achieve some of the purposes we hoped our commcrnoration of Remembrance Day wquld achieve, while at the same time avoid need
lessly arousing negative public opion among those who view November II as inviolable. It is important to note that we see this as a commemorative service rather than a protest. We feel this will attract those who are not yet comfortable with marching, yet wish to do something to bring about disarmament.
Victims of War Day is:
- a day of remembrance on which people of every race, religion and nation recall the horror of civilian slaughter brought about by war. It is a day on which we recognize the universal nature of innocent suffering, regardless of which side that suffering is on.
- a day of hope as well as reflection where people can share their united resolve to build a better world through an affirmation of a common humanity.
- a day of education, the focus of which is on the folly of war and the need for greater cooperation and understanding between peoples.
As we remember the civilian victims of past and present wars, we keep faith with them by our resolve to ensure that their lives were not lived in’vain, and that their suffering and death has a profound meaning for us all.
This October 27, Thunder Bay Coalition for Peace and Nuclear Disarmament will be holding the inaugural commemoration of Victims of War Day. Joining us for this special occasion will be Dr. Norman Alcock, founder of the Canadian Peace Research Institute, and Philip Berrigan. We invite other peace groups to join us in making this October 27th (and subsequent last Saturdays in U.N. Disarmament Week) Victims of War Day.
Roy McFarlane (reviewer) — October 1984
Send your letters to the Editorial Board, CANDIS, 736 Bathurst St., Toronto ON, M5S 2R4.
Focus on Nuclear Weapons
The article by Derek Rasmussen on ‘emerging technology’ weapons (Peac? Calendar, September 1984) was slanted and misleading. apparently written with the intention of confusing ET weapons using chemical explosives, with nuclear explosives. in order to stir up opposition to these weapons within the peace movement. We all are against war and for motherhood. but I have not personally formed a firm opinion about the overall value of these remarkable ET developments. What we all have to oppose utterly is the use of NUCLEAR weapons.
For this demanding task one of the essentials is clarity and accurate understanding of what we are talking about.
In the first paragraph. Mr. Rasmussen compares unspecified ET weapons with “the destructive potential of 3-4 kiloton nuclear bombs.” This is silly. The usual use of the word “kiloton” is the explosive power of 1,000 tons of TNT. For immediate killing nuclear bombs are very inefficient weapons in terms of deaths per ton (of TNT equivalent). One could as well compare a few ounces of nerve gas, efficiently distributed, to a nuclear explosion. Neither high explosives nor nerve gas can logically be compared with nuclear explosives; they are completely different in all other ways except that they kill people. The ET weapon systems make more efficient use of chemical explosives than conventional bombs and shells, but they are not like nuclear weapons.
The ‘Fuel-Air Explosives’ may welL as Mr. Rasmussen says. produce very high ,ltmospheric overpressures; but again, this is no reason to compare them with nuclear explosives. which produce their overpressures by an entirely different mechanism. and with all their other effects (radiation, EMP, Oash temperature. radiocative fallout) completely different. FAE’s can at most produce a few times the explosive power per pound of weapon as can TNT. since the basic chemical results are the same. principally the very rapid conversion of carbon and hydrogen in the explosive into carbon dioxide and water. Nuclear explosives produce a million times the explosive power, per pound of ‘fuel’ converted.
Another source of confusion in his mention of uranium-cored bullets without explanation. Most peace workers and readers of The Peace Calendar think of uranium in terms of its radioactivity and react adversely on that account. A uranium core for a bullet, however, is solely to add weight – uranium has twice the density of lead – and the radioactivity of a bullet-sized piece of uranium is completely negligible. “Depleted uranium” is quite cheap, and is used to shield patients and staff from the radioactive Cobalt-60 in radiotherapy machines.
Mr. Rasmussen goes on to discuss and reject the interesting possibility that the ET type of weapon may make nuclear war less likely, but here again he blurs the distinction between the much more efficient killing power of high explosive distributed by the new weapons, and nuclear weapons themselves. It is his type of journalism, not the nature of the weapons, that blurs the distinction. They ARE non-nuclear, and it is NOT a red herring to justify them so.
The important and unique characteristic of nuclear weapons is that a small fraction of the world’s arsenal, detonated in a war lasting only a few minutes or hours, would make the northern hemisphere, and perhaps the whole world, uninhabitable. Let us keep our wits about us as we try to thwart this terrible danger.
I am disappointed that you would publish this interesting but very slanted and possibly dishonest article without thorough editorial revision.
Alan F. Phillips, M.D.
The author responds:
Dr. Phillips: Before responding to your complaints I must question two underlying assumptions of your letter. You say: “we all are against war and for motherhood ? what we all have to oppose utterly is the use of NUCLEAR weapons.”
Leaving aside motherhood (a painful process I’m glad I’ll never have to go through), I’m sure you’d agree that this “we’re-all-against-war” stuff is unadulterated crap. 95 of us joined the falsely-named “peace movement” to prevent our Buicksand bungalows from going up in a puff of radioactive smoke – not because we gave a damn about 25 million corpses of 150 conventional wars (all in the Third World) since 1945.
I fully agree that we must oppose nuclear weapons, but I don’t agree with your underlying implication that nuclear weapons are the one and only most important thing we should all oppose. Your letter and my article are being printed in something called The Peace Calendar. not The Anti-Nuclear Destruction of the Northern Hemisphere Calendar. “Peace,” according to my dictionary, is freedom from war – not just freedom from war on this continent. or freedom from nuclear. war.
But even if I did believe nuclear weapons were the “one and only” I’d still have to oppose conventional wars, because it is from these wars, mainly in the Third World, that
everyone (including Weinberger and his Pentagon cronies) believes nuclear war will start. And, as Daniel Ellsberg and others have proved, nuclear weapons have been USED by the United States at least 20 times since WW2. Just as I can use a loaded gun to extort money from you whether I pull the trigger or not, the U.S. has used nukes during interventions in the Third World – though so far without pulling the trigger.
I make this point because it is directly related to one of the four key conclusions of my article which you never address. Instead you nitpick about the varying “killing efficiencies” of different explosives starting a debate which dehumanizes all of us. My four arguments were:
- Canada is playing a key role in building these new hi-tech weapons
- these new weapons increase the likelihood of U.S. wars in the Third World
- these weapons increase the likelihood of nuclear war
- that peace activists should not support the new weapons as an “acceptable evil”,
I should also respond to your complaint that it is “silly” to compare ET weapons with 3-4 KT nuclear bombs; I strongly urge you to let NATO commander Gen. Bernard Rogers and his associates know your opinion, because the enthusiastic comparisons are theirs, not mine.
What pushed me to write the article, Dr. Phillips, was my fear that members of the peace movement, however repulsed by ET weapons would nonetheless support them as a “lesser evil” than nuclear weapons. I must admit, though, your response shocked me. You aren’t repulsed, nor do you see these weapons as any type of “evil” at all; in fact, you say that you haven’t formed an opinion about “the overall value of these remarkable ET developments.”
To help you in this regard I suggest you move to Lebanon and practice medicine there. According to Mary Kaldor, Israel tested some of the new hi-tech weapons during its invasion of Lebanon in 1982, and the effects equalled those of Lance nuclear. missiles. If Israel attacks again you will be fortunate enough to debate the “blurred distinctions” firsthand.
Finally, at various points you accuse me of producing a “slanted”. “misleading”, and “possibly dishonest” article. You are “disappointed” with The Peace Calendar, you say, for publishing the article without “thorough editorial revision”. Amnesty International has lists of many countries around the world which subject writers and the press to “thorough editorial revision”, perhaps you ought to consider moving to one of them.
US is the real threat
The decades of lies, half-truths and distortions that have gone into poisoning our relations with the Soviet Union are certainly paying off in large dividends for those who have a vested interest in their effectiveness.
That even the presumably well-meaning are ensnared is evidenced by how peace activists from the West persist in getting embroiled with so-called peace dissidents when visiting the USSR.
The fact that the dissidents are at odds with their govemmen~is apparently seen by western peace representatives as ample proof of their legitimacy, and sufficiellt reason to command our respect. Our patent eagerness to endorse them suggests we view these miniscule groups as symbolizing the true, genuine peace forces in their country.
The other side of that coin is to dismiss as “rubber stamps” for government policy the 80 million citizens whom the Soviets proudly vaunt as members of the peace movement. Little wonder authorities there become angry and objectionable.
Surely the criteria for appraising Soviet arms policy) and the validity of their “official” peace movement, are the proposals they advocate. The USSR, to cite a few examples, has consistently supported UN freeze resolutions, urges a ‘no first strike’ declaration, opposes the neutron bomb, and is against the deployment of cruise and Pershing II. The Soviet peace groups support these positions, as does the peace movement in the West.
It’s evidently difficult for some peace activists here to accept that the Soviet people genuinely support their government’s nuclear policies. But that can be readily understood if we recall that it is the US which has initiated every single new weapon in the arms race, from the atom bomb to the cruise missile. The USSR has always played catch-up in desperate efforts to achieve parity.
Details of the US lead in technology and weapons development are common knowledge in our peace movement, yet it does not deter some sincere peace workers such as Michael Rosenberg and Bert Keser (Letters, TPC, August 1984) from their view that Washington and Moscow are equally threatening to world peace.
We may legitimately criticize this or that aspect of Soviet policy, domestic and foreign, but we should not let our opinions in that area, nor our ideological differences, prevent us from objectively and honestly analyzing the Soviet stance on nuclear arms.
Toronto media critic Barrie Zwicker, in his excellent book War, Peace & the Media, emphasizes that there can be no fundamental resolution of the arms race while East-West tensions are fueled by Cold War distortions of the Soviet Union.
Clearly, attempts to develop ties with dissident “peace” groups do not contribute one iota to easing these tensions. Instead, such activity, while perhaps well-intentioned, plays into the hands of those who wish to maintain and exploit what Zwicker describes as the prevailing “grotesque stereotype” of the Soviets.
It is tempting and comfortable to equally the need for national spokespersons to deal with the media. How incredibly hierarchical! As if any person or small group of designees could possibly speak for so varied and widely scattered a peace movement as the Canadian. especially at this early stage, when many fundamental issues have not even been discussed, let alone resolved.
The creation of a national structure by the Canadian peace movement would at this point be so wildly premature as to be destructive. The extreme financial “overhead” and bureaucratic ponderousness of PPCC’s attempts at national coordination were loud and clear indications that there is no justification whatever for such phantasmal entities as “national offices” in Canada for some time to come.
It is not only structural. but political and strategic disagreements that made the Winnipeg PPCC conference last February decide quite emphatically against attempting to form a national organization out of the Caravan Campaign. It is unfortunate that a small minority of self-appointed peace movement leaders continue to struggle against this recommendation in their attempts to saddle Canada’s peace movement with a structure we neither need nor want and continue to do their utmost to wedge themselves into that saddle. Other forums, including ACTs strategy conference held at Toronto’s City Hall later that month, came to the same conclusion for the same profound reasons.
Issues which must be openly and publicly discussed before any national structure can be contemplated include:
- The need for the peace movement in both English Canada and Quebec to be clearly and publicly opposed to the warlike actions and nuclear weapons of the U.S.S.R. as well as the United States. The Canadian public cannot be expected to ignore the Soviet weapons pointed at them and their European relatives. Yet even the discussion of Soviet nuclear weapons is suppressed in organizations such as End The Arms Race. as was demonstrated by the failure of that organization to pass a resolution put forward by its main founder, Joseph Roberts, at a 1983 EAR general meeting. The defeated resolution read as follows: “The steering committee of End the Arms Race believes that both superpowers share the responsibility for the current state of affairs regarding the nuclear arms race.” Does anyone seriously believe that implicit prosovietism reflects the desires of even a fraction of Vancouver’s thousands of marchers or of Canada’s peace-loving majority in general?
- Defense of the right to protest and organize peacefully for peace and against the war-like actions of one’s own government and its alies East and West. This is an issue on which the far from “monolithic” British Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament has achieved a broad consensus, as have the even broader Europeans for Nuclear Disarmament. This is reflected in both the apportion the blame for the current nuclear impasse, At some point it may even have had some tactical merit. But if the irresponsible and hawkish Reagan regime is re-elected, we can expect a further dangerous escalation of the arms race. Accordingly, the only principled position which the peace movement can adopt is to remorselessly and fearlessly expose where the real threat lies.
No Coalition mandate
Gary Marchant’s arguments for the need for “some type of national co-ordinating body for the Canadian peace movement” are specious indeed.
He speaks of the ‘Refuse the Cruise’ campaigns being relatively uncoordinated. A central weakness in the otherwise national campaign against cruise testing was the lack of participation by Vancouver’s End the Arms Race coalition in two out of three coast-to-coast actions. This absence from actions that involved up to twenty cities and towns was primarily due to EAR’s inflexible methods of organizing.
Marchant speaks of the difficulties in launching PPCe. These difficulties arose because it was an artificial campaign thrust upon the Canadian peace movement from above – exactly what ,should never happen again!
He complains of the lack of a united response to the Peace Institute. What could be morc irrelevant to the Canadian peace movement than this last bureaucratic scrap thrown it by a waning government?
But it is Marchant’s final reason for a national structure that I find most distasteful; the need for national spokespersons to deal with the media. How incredibly hierarchical! As if any person or small group of designees could possibly speak for so varied and widely scattered a peace movement as the Canadian, especially at this early stage, when many fundamental issues have not evcn been discussed, let alone resolved.
The creation of a national structure by the Canadian peace movement would at this point be so wildly premature as to be destructive. The extreme financial “overhead” and bureaucratic ponderousness of PPCCs attempts at national coordination were loud and clear indications that there is no justificalion whatever for such phantasmal entities as “national offices” in Canada for some time to come.
It is not only structural. but political and strategic disagreements that made the Winnipeg PPCC conference last February decide quite emphatically against attempting to form a national organization out of the Caravan Campaign. It is unfortunate that a small minority of self-appointed peace movement leaders continue to struggle against this recommendation in their atte
pts to saddle Canada’s peace movement with a structure we neither need nor wantand continue to do their utmost to wedge themselves into that saddle. Other forums, including ACTs strategy conference held at Toronto’s City Hall later that month, came to the same conclusion for the same profound reasons.
Issues which must be openly and publicly discussed before any national structure can demand of their demonstrations and in their publications supporting independent peace organizations in the German Democratic Republic, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, the USSR and Turkey. It is a fundamental issue which as not even been discussed knowledgeably by most English Canadian peace organizations.
These two political questions concerning our attitude toward the Soviet Union have produced the profound split in the peace movement in Quebec and are at the centre of the continuing difficulties in Toronto.
There are equally fundamental disagreements over strategy that confront the entire movement:
- Is the main purpose of the Canadian peace movement to lobby the government or to confront it? Are we mainly interested in rhetorical resolutions and “peace initiatives” or in concrete actions? Here in Toronto we saw Trudeau turn the soil for our civic peace garden 12 hours before he let the first cruise missile fly. Shall we continue to accept such counterfeit currency, such blatant hypocrisy? Worse, shall we pass it on the the public by encouraging faith in grand and empty words both here and at Geneva? It is important to understand that the “freeze,” in most forms, is just another rhetorical call for US-Soviet negotiations. In fact, just last year, the United States Congress passed a freeze resolution one week and approved funding for the MX missile the next. The quick freeze proposal, pledging elected representatives to support unilateral initiatives against arms spending is much more promising, and very close to CND (and ACT) strategy – but it is a little late for this election.
- What role does the fight for civil and democratic rights play in our campaign? Do we attempt to challenge bylaws restricting our right to distribute leaflets, put up posters and speak to the public? Or do we simply protest in ways and means that the authorities consider non-disruptive? It comes as no surprise that those who do not support the right to protest in the USSR also feel that the peace movement should meekly obey all authorities here.
- What about nuclear power, and its production of weapons grade fissionable materials, as well as uranium mining itself? Canadian activity in these areas helped to produce the Hiroshima bomb and to make India a nuclear power. Yet it is carefully left out of the demand for even a declaration of Canada as a Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone.
- Finally, bilateralism has to be totally rejected as a strategy by the peace movement. We must oppose the concept that the destiny of the world is the property of the two superpowers that carved it up at Yalta. Our opposition to Canadian manufacturing and testing of American weapons should sensitize us to the vehement opposition of genuine peace activists in both Western and Eastern Europe to this bipolar mentality. Only the development of free, democratic societies dominated by no outside power will permanently remove Europe from its present powder keg status.
There are no shortcuts to solving these fundamental differences, and in a country the size of Canada, structural problems also become political ones. Any further attempts to impose national structures after the October 20th end of the PPCC will only fragment a fragile and superficial entity by misrepresenting and misdirecting Canada’s variegated peace efforts. We should instead encourage debate of all these important issues and a diversity of actions, coordinating actions on strategic days or weeks, as necessary.
— October 1984
By Jonathan Schell, Random House, 173 pages, ‘$15.50 (hardcover).
In The Abolition, Jonathan Schell attempts to provide the answer to our nuclear arms predicament. Unfortunately, his solution docs not bring us onto a surefooted path decisively away from annihilation. The direction that he docs offer seems to be a route that Schell may feel military planners are likely to accept; it is in accordance with their current maps. Schell’s plan for the abolition of nuclear weapons is based on the continuation of a policy of deterrence.
The book is divided in two parts. In the first he outlines the history of government policy in relation to the development of the present arsenal; as well he describes the evolution of views on disarmament. His description of the problem has nowhere near the power or vision of his earlier statement, The Fate Of The Earth; it is not as sweeping or insightful.
The second half of The Abolition, in which he details his argument for his remedy based on deterrence, is a further disappointment. One may wonder if Schell is reacting to the criticism he received for his conclusions in ‘f7le Fate ()f’ The Earth, because he argues here that world government is not entirely necessary in implementing a reversal of the arms race. Instead he suggests the unappealing process of disarmament based on the continuation of deterrence. The cornerstone of the idea is drawn from an observation first laid out in his earlier book, where he offered an intriguing solution to the problem that the human species can never ‘forget’ how to make (and use) nuclear weapons.
In The Fate Of The Earth, Schell observed that we are potentially a moment away from annihilation. He suggested that if we were to remove all the nuclear warheads from their launchers, we would then distance ourselves, in time, from annihilation by that amount of time it would take to replace those warheads. Furthermore, if we were to take apart all the nuclear weapons, that time factor separating us from annihilation would expand to the amount of time it would take to rebuild all those nuclear weapons. And so, despite our inability to ‘forget’ how to build, or rebuild, nuclear weapons, we can, through disarmament, move ourselves away from a time factor of a moment to one of months, if not years – a considerable improvement The concept is valuable in addressing the dilemma that the acquisition of our knowledge of nuclear weaponry has put us in namely that the knowledge will be with us for all time – but Schell turns the formula around and sets it as the centerpiece of his disarmament proposal.
In The Abolition Schell reintroduces the idea as a way to assure governments and military planners that they have a way out if the disarmament process breaks down.
Looking at the formula from another angle, Schell asserts that governments, once they have come to an agreement on the goal of disarmament, and begin to proceed toward it, could at any time reverse themselves, and rearm. In this instance they would be, in terms of time, only as far a way from the military security to which they are accustomed by the amount of time it would take to build again any weapons they had dismantled in the interim. Schell falters gravely when he suggests that either side would be deterrred from breaking any abolition agreement for fear of shame in the eyes of the international community. The recent military build-up offers no indication that the super powers are motivated by their moral standing when it comes to building weapons of mass destruction.
Schell admits that he takes as a starting point the current military and international political situation and suggests movement from there.
In so doing he ignores Einstein’s famous remark, which Schell himself quotes in The Abolition, that the splitting of the atom changed everything except our modes of thinking.
It is sad to say, though, that while Schell does not provide the ultimate solution, neither has anyone else.
In the West there are currently two alternatives, easily defined, and understandable from historical precedents. They are: nuclear war and communist rule. The possibility of one is the reason for accepting the other. The third option, which we commonly call disarmament, is an intangible; it has no historical precedent, and unlike the other two possiblilities, it is virtually impossible to relate to either emotionally or intellectually.
There have of course been clear proposals to begin the process of disarmament. For example, George Kennan, a former U.S. Ambassador to the U .S.S. R., has stated that both sides could cut their arsenals in half and not lose any strategic strength. Another example is the nuclear weapons freeze which is receiving growing support as the rallying call for an immediate end to the arms race. While both are decisive first steps, neither is the complete answer. One is 25,000 nuclear weapons away from disarmament, the other is 50,000 nuclear weapons away.
Schell’s The Fale Of The Earth was written at a time when a growing awareness of the problem of nuclear weapons was emerging. The numbers of people participating in peace demonstrations grew from month to month. The issue began to be dealt with by the media and by politicians. The problem, eloquently defined by Jonathan Schell, had come to the forefront of people’s thinking.
In writing The Abolition, Johnathan Schell is aware that we are now at a new stage in dealing with the threat of nuclear war. No longer can we simply say that there is a problem; we are in need of a solution. Schell, to his credit, has at least offered his.
Ruth Acker (reviewer) — October 1984
By Douglas Roche, NC Press, 152 pages, $8.95 (paperback).
“We the peoples of the United Nations. determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind ? “ - from the beginning of the preface to the Charter of the United Nations
The U.N., founded with those words in 1945, rose out of the ashes of World War II with the purpose of creating international dialogue and trust between nations. The politicians and diplomats who created the institution had just witnessed the bloodiest and most devastating war in the history of the human race; they did not want to sce such an event repeated.
Douglas Roche’s latest book, United Nations – Divided World, comes on the eve of the 40th anniversary of the U.N. His support for the world body is obvious and clearly stated. Roche recognizes the shortcomings and failures of the United Nations, but at the same time establishes an inviting and encouraging argument for the potential inherent in this institution.
The failure though, according to Roche, is attributable not so much to the institution, but to its member states, particularly the U.S. and the Soviet Union. Each has used the U.N. as a forum to criticize and deride the other, while undertaking serious negotiations outside the U.N. on a bilateral basis. Other member states as well have ignored the work of the United Nations. As one illustration of this, Roche points to the war over the Falkland Islands and the snubbing received by UN Secretary-General Perez de Cuellar as he attempted to resolve the situation peacefully.
While member states have doggedly retained-the right to deal with political disputes through military means, and UN efforts to stop the arms race have been met with unrelenting frustration, the strength of the United Nations at the moment is in the field of international development. And the accomplishments are many.
In the Third World the United Nations, through its agencies, has improved irrigation, has multiplied annual food production, has increased literacy, has aided the handicapped, and has done all this on a surprisingly small budget. According to Roche, the United Naitons operates on an annual budget of $4 billion, one-twentieth of federal government spending in Canada. The UN has only 44,000 employees, roughly equal to the civil service of Alberta.
Roche lists the international political problems that surface through the United Nations, the ideological differences that threaten the very foundation of the institution, and the pressures exerted by both the wealthy North and the impoverished South.
As the United Nations enters its fifth decade, the world is on the brink of even .greater devastation than that witnessed by the institution’s founders. Roche asserts that the potential to avert that disaster lies with the United Nations, and a ppeals to governments and peoples io mark the 40th anniversary with a renewed effort to reaffirm the principles of the Charter and the purpose of its creation.
R. V. Cupido (reviewer) — October 1984
By Peter Ustinov, Macmillan, London, Eng” 1983; Can, distributor: Gage-Macmillan; 224 pages, $27.95 (hardcover).
Peter Ustinov, born in London in 1921 of Russian and French parentage, has deep roots in both the East and the West. He is also widely known and greatly loved on all sides of the world stage as an actor, playwright and producer.
He is in a unique position to contribute to a better understanding between the West and the East. In his view the real problem is not simply one of a lack of understanding between Soviet Russia and the West, but “worse, a lack of a wish to understand.”
However, he became convined that the “public sense of morality had become more acute with the awful potential of nuclear power,” and that more and more people were ready to listen and try to understand. It was in this certainty that he began to write My Russia. He addresses himself to all who have the “generosity?to preserve an open mind.”
Ustinov believes that the lack of understanding began, not with the Russian Revolution but in the early history of Russia, where from the beginning there was prejudice against the Russians. He therefore set out to write “a detective story to the roots of a national character which often frightens and often mystifies.’ ,
The book, then; is a capsule history of Russia from her beginnings to the present day, constantly illuminated by Ustinov’s humanity, and by his insight as one who is proud to claim the heritage of both the East and the West. It is beautifully illustrated with many full-colour plates, and numerous black and white photos and other materials.
Not surprisingly, the book is a delight to read, highly informative, balanced, witty, civilized. Above all, perhaps, it is refreshing, Ustinov’s great warmth and compassion and sanity remain with the reader throughout the book.
Ustinov, in sharing his understanding of Russia, is bridging the gap and giving us added hope that the nuclear clock can be held back.
— October 1984
Compiled and edited by faculty members at the Massaehusetts Institute of Technology. Reading, Mass.; Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1984. 546 pages, $25.95 (paperback).
The threat of nuclear war – both actual and perceived – has increased dramatically in recent years, becoming the most urgent public issue of our time. Paradoxically, the horrible predicament in which we find oursleves has yielded a number of beneficial by-products. The most conspicuous of these is the meteoric rise of an international mass movment dedicated to nuclear disarmament and world peace. Another, less visible, benefit has been the enormous outpouring of literature, much of it of the highest quality, dealing with every facet of the nuclear question. As a result, the “experts” and technocrats, with their cult of secrecy and paternalistic contempt for the uninitiated, have lost their monopoly on knowledge. And in the realm of public policy, knowledge is power. For the first time, the ordinary citizen has access to information that will equip him to take an active role in the debate over nuclear weapons. Genuine democratic control over decisions relating to fundamental issues of war and peace has become feasible.
The Nuclear Almanac is the kind of book that has helped bring this new and promising state of affairs into being. This is a massive, encyclopaedic work, covering every aspect of man’s use and abuse of atomic energy. Originating as a project of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Faculty Coalition of Disarmament, it is a compilation of articles and essays by a group of eminent scientists, scholars and public figures, including the physicists Kosta Tsipis, Herbert York and Bernard Feld; Paul C. Warnke, former director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency; and the historians Henry Steele Commager and Alice Kimball Smith.
The scope of the collection is impressive. The authors address such topics as the history, design, manufacture and effects of nuclear weapons; current strategic theory and the nuclear policies, doctrines and capa bilities of the two opposing blocs; nuclear weapons proliferation and international arms control; the rise of the civilian nuclear power industry; the nature and effects of ionizing radiation; and the history of nuclear physics in the twentieth century.
Highly technical subjects are treated in considerable depth, yet presented in a lucid, straightforward style that renders them accessible to the lay reader. The Nuclear Almanac is a splendid example of popularization, managing to simplify without being simple-minded or condescending.
The text is supplemented and enhanced by many striking photographs – some of them containing almost unbearably powerful images – and exceptionally well-designed tables and diagrams. The inclusion of glossaries, footnotes, a comprehensive, cross-referenced index and short bibliographies appended to the end of each chapter facilitates the book’s use as a basic reference tool.
Those sections concerned with such topical matters as new weapons technologies, arms control and the shifting military balance will inevitably be overtaken by events in some degree. This circumstance, which affects most works in this volatile field, prevents The Nuclear Almanac from achieving the status of a definitive sourcebook.
Neither is it, as its publishers claim, truly comprehensive. In a number of chapters – e.g., those pertaining to the military-industrial complex, the nuclear power industry and the peace movement – attention is focussed on developments within the United States. This is not intended as a serious criticism. While some mention is made of parallel developments in other countries, no single work can reasonably be expected to provide an exhaustive account of so vast a subject. The authors are writing primarily for an American audience. But because the United States is the world’s foremost nuclear power, with a potentially fatal impact upon all other nations and peoples; and because the issues and dilemmas confronting American citizens and policy-makers are substantially the same as those facing all modern societies in the nuclear age, the book’s relevance transcends national boundaries.
The Nuclear Almnnnc is more than a mere compendium of dry technical facts. issues are examined critically; official government policies, past and present, are challenged and enlightened alternatives arc put forward. The contributors are not afraid to draw controversial, if rarely radical, conclusions from the facts they have marshalled – for example, with respect to Reagan’s bloated military budgets; the futility of civil defence measures; the dangerous folly of nuclear war-fighting strategies and “counterforce” nuclear weapons; the missed opportunities in the “sorry history of arms control”; the environmental and economic costs of ci.vil nuclear energy programs; the intractable problem of radioactive waste disposal. Rigorous scientific content is combined with an unambigous moral perspective.
The authors are clearly motivated by a sense of urgency. Their intention is expressed in the sub-TITLE:to confront us with the painful facts about the unleashed atom and, further, to incite us to action.
One body of experts brought us the first atomic bomb, Hiroshima and Nagasaki and, finally, a whole world wired for destruction. But, at the same time, other experts – some of them defectors from the first group – have been in the vanguard of efforts to promote peace and disarmament. One thinks of such courageous figures as Albert Einstein, Leo Szilard, George Kennan, Lord Zuckerman and Daniel Ellsberg, among many other dissenters and apostates from nuclear orthodoxy. The men and women responsible for The Nuelcnr Alumnae have made a significant contribution to an honourable tradition.
The board of the new Canadian International Institute for Peace and Security holds its first meeting on October 1. In the September issue of The Peace Calendar, we announced that 17 members had been appointed, but this was only partly correct. The fourteen Canadians were officially appointed, but not yet the three foreign members. At the October meeting, the board will probably select the executive director and name the location of the institute.
- Attention peace activists: Katie Stortroen, a staff member at the Peace Research Institute – Dundas, wants a confidential, anonymous letter from you. “Please let me know how you came to work for peace,” Ms. Stoertroen requests. “We need to know what changes people’s hearts, and one way to find out is to collect stories. We can discover what people need to know, to feel, to experience, in order to become committed to peace. There is a body of literature about attitude change, value formation and the like. Our collected stories can become even more useful if the information that we have matches up with the kind of identifying information that is used in the social sciences. So if you feel that you can, please include age, sex, family income in round numbers, education, occupation, and religious choice. Also, with which previous social concerns have you been involved? Do you live in a household with children? Do you feel that your work for peace is a development from, or an abrupt break from, your upbringing? What was your first action after you decided to work for peace? Do not identify yourself in your response. If you don’t want to write this kind of information, your “choosing peace” story is still needed – between two paragraphs and a couple of pages long. I will put all your stories together and look for patterns.” Write Kathleen Stoertroen, PRI-D, 25 Dundana Avenue, Dundas On., L9H 4E5.
- As in previous years, the United Nations will sponsor a programme for non-governmental organizations during Disarmament Week. This year’s programme will consist of a panel discussion on the topic “Disarmament Utopia or Possibility?” The event will take place in the Dag Hammarskjold Auditorium at United Nations Headquarters on Thursday, 25 October 1984, from 1:30 to 3:30 pm.
- Carl Stieren and O. John Hawkins are publishing a cartoon book, 101 Uses for a Dead Cruise. They hope artists will contact them to participate in this project. The royalties will go to benefit the peace and international development work of the Canadian Friends Service Committee. They can be reached through Friends House, 60 Lowther Ave., Toronto On., M5R 1C7, or phone 416/xxx-xxxx.
- We hear more about foreign peace camps, such as the one at Greenham Common, than about the one on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. On August 6, the campers spent their 500th day in front of Parliament. They felt a little lost after the testing of the cruise; some of the participants have left, and for a time there was a possibility that the whole camp would disband, but new recruits have come and the project will go on. The camping is very good; the place is kept neat and tidy, and the activists have polite and friendly relations with the local constabulary. They understand it would take an act of Parliament to remove them. The group has many needs. Send them leaflets and other informational material to hand out. Or go up and spend some time with them yourself. The campers would be greatly empowered by an ongoing relationship with an outside support group.
- World Peace Day on October 24 is a special day of concern for the International Peace Committee. They plan a children’s peace pageant in Montreal. Write to them at P.O. Box 433, Kemptville On., KOG IJO, for details of their World Campaign for Peace.
- The University of Alberta’s disarmament group held its first meeting early in September and attracted some 200 members. They are planning a visit by Dr. Helen Caldicott to the Butter Dome in November. Contact Jim Stoll At the U. of A. Student Union.
- A doctor in Barrie, Ontario, is taking his views on disarmament directly to his own waiting room. Dr. Brian Morris, a member of the local Physicians for Social Responsibility, hands each patient a copy of a message stating that, as a physician, it is his duty to inform his patients of the grave threat that nuclear weapons pose to their health and lives. Several other doctors in the ultra-conservative town are following suit. Dr. Morris says that response has been good so far, with no negative reactions.
- An interesting bit of info from ANVA’s War Toys Boycott Campaign? Their target is to get G.I. Joe dolls off the market. Just after the US invasion of Grenada, G.I. Joe became the No. 1 selling toy in the States. Now the boy soldier has an enemy doll, a slightly oriental-looking character named Cobra Command. According to ANVA, kids are socialized through play, and such toys teach them that the US military and its interventionist business is OK.
- On October 13, there will be a feminist-inspired action day sponsored by the Alliance for Non-Violent Action focussing on the links between pornography, rape and war. Each affinity group will be free to do as they wish as long as there is a commitment to nonviolence and N.V. training is taken prior to the action. ANV A’s role is to suggest a common theme, date and a direct method of showing the links. In the West, contact Debbi Neher, 176 47th Ave. E., Vancouver. In the East, try the ANVA office at 730 Bathurst St., Toronto, or Jim Smith at 211 Third Ave, Ottawa. If men want to participate, the emphasis will be on challenging other men on ihe issue.
- What are your ideas about the future of the peace movement in Ontario? Organizers of a province-wide disarmament network conference want your feedback. The conference will take place in late November’ or early December. For more information, write to the Waterloo Region Peace Network. Box 133, Station C, Kitchener On., N2G 3W9.
- Edmonton peaceniks have a lot to look forward to this fall. Guest speakers such as Dr. Helen Caldicott, Jim Garrison and Sergei Batovrin and films like What About the Russians? And War without Winners. Also in the works, four one-hour specials for the local community cable channel. The group behind all this activity is Edmontonians for a Non-Nuclear Future (ENNuF).
- On the international scene, in England, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament has organized a national demonstration for October 27, focussing attention on a company producing Trident submarines. The Vickers works in Barrow in Furness has the contract to build the Trident D5 submarines. CND is also gathering as much information as possible about the development of the nuclear sub. Please forward any info to CND, II Goodwin. St., London, England, N4 3HQ.