The Peace Calendar Vol.2 No.11
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Metta Spencer — December 1984
Hamish Wilson — December 1984
The new Canadian government, like the previous one, has stated its advocacy of nuclear disarmament in theory, while actually voting in the United Nations against resolutions calling for a nuclear freeze. On November 20, Canada was one of only 12 countries voting against such a moratorium.
Three freeze resolutions were before the First Committee (the Disarmament Committee) on that day.
The one that most closely approximates the position advocated by the international freeze movement is sponsored this year by Indonesia, Mexico, Pakistan, Sweden and Uruguay. It was supported by 111 nations, including Australia, Ireland, and two NATO countries, Denmark and Greece. Seven nations abstained: Bahamas, China, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Spain and New Zealand. The 12 nations voting against the resolution were Belgium, Canada, France, West Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Luxemburg, Portugal, Turkey, Britain and the United States.
The resolution urges both superpowers “to proclaim, either through. simultaneous unilateral declarations or through a joint declaration, an immediate nuclear arms freeze, which would be the first step toward the comprehensive program of disarmament…”
The substance of the resolution amounts to the following four provisions:
- a Comprehensive Test Ban of nuclear weapons and of their delivery vehicles;
- the complete cessation of the manufacture of nuclear weapons and of their delivery vehicles;
- a ban on all further deployment of nuclear weapons and of their delivery vehicles; and
- the complete cessation of the production of fissionable material for weapons purposes.
The resolution further stipulates that these actions would be subject to verification procedures, such as those already agreed to in SALT I and SALT II, and in earlier negotiations on the Comprehensive Test. Ban. This freeze would have. an initial duration of five years, to be prolonged when other nuclear weapon states join it.
A recent Gallup poll showed that 85 per cent of Canadians want such a freeze. Moreover, the incomplete poll of M.P.s by the Election Priorities Project turned up 109 Tories who personally support a freeze, provided that it be balanced and not lock either side into nuclear superiority.
External Affairs Minister Joe Clark defended the govenment’s decision in the House of Commons on the grounds that the freeze initiative would be “counterproductive” since. it would create “tensions within NATO”
Canadian peace organizations quickly expressed dismay at this decision. A statement was prepared by Operation Dismantle and endorsed by a number of other groups, including Project Ploughshares, Science for Peace, the United Church Peace Network and the World Federalists, urging the government to reverse its position when the motion comes before the whole General Assembly, probably in early December. These peace groups urge others to send wires and phone calls immediately, before the final vote.
There are two objectives in stimulating a public response, according to Ploughshares officer Ernie Regehr. One is to get the vote changed. The other is to demonstrate support for those people in the new govenment who are working to change Canada’s policy toward support for actual nuclear disarmament.
Canada would not be the first country to change its vote. This year, for example, Australia has come over to supporting the freeze, stating that this shift is in response to world opinion and domestic concerns.
Stephen Hine — December 1984
TORONTO — Maintaining that “Canada and NATO could get along very well without each other,” retired Major-General Leonard Johnson recently criticized the current Canadian perceptions about our role in NATO and condemned the horrors of nuclear weaponry and militarism in a lecture on November 22 presented by University College and Science for Peace.
Because of his experience in the military, Johnson said he had realized that technology had changed the nature of war, making conventional military strategy and weapons redundant and obsolete. Nonetheless, “nuclear weapons are not capable of serving any useful purpose” in war.
Johnson, the former commandant of the National Defence College, said that any future nuclear conflict would be waged only by technicians manning computer terminals.”
However, Johnson said that “war is a product of human institutions,” an“d called for an “ideology of peace” which will recognize that our well-being is bound up with that of others.
Saying that “the arms race is a mutually-reinforcing mechanism,” Johnson condemned the preparedness for war which only increases its likelihood. To break the cycle, he called upon scientists to refrain from developing new weapons systems, and he also urged a vocal and educated public to stop career generals from making all security and defence decisions.
Johnson described NATO as “an archaic survivor from the days of nuclear monopoly,” and called for a re-evaluation of Canada’s role in that organization. He indicated that our troops in Europe are not of a defensive nature for Canada, and that other countries (such as Sweden and Switzerland) have maintained a defensive role for centuries. At the least, Johnson said, member countries “must insist on the right to dissent publicly.”
Johnson maintained that the way to effect change was through the ballot-box, and suggested that by the next election all politicians should be responding to the concerns of the peace movement. But, while admitting that solutions cannot be completely arrived at by the politicians, he suggested that “nothing will defeat the cause more than violence.” He refused to venture into the philosophy and morality of civil disobedience.
Johnson is a member of Generals for Peace, an organization of over a dozen high-ranking retired military officers from around the world.
Roy McFarlane — December 1984
TORONTO — “We live. on a terminally-ill planet and are lucky to wake up each morning.” So Dr. Helen Caldicott, a world-renowned peace activist, warned her large receptive audience at the 1984 Jacob Bronowski Memorial Lecture at the University of Toronto on Nov. 14. In a deeply moving talk, backed by hard data, Dr. Caldicott enumerated in clinical detail the perils of the escalating arms race and the folly of present nuclear strategy.
Caldicott’s address was also an impassioned call for commitment and action. Those who are alive today have one purpose in life, she said. to save the creation of which we are a part from total annihilation by nuclear weapons.
While condemning both Soviet and American policy for the present impasse, she claimed Washington had increased Cold War tensions and isolated Moscow by refusing all Soviet peace initiatives. While Nixon, whom she labelled in retrospect “a great statesman”, signed 9 arms treaties with Russia. President Reagan has signed none, has never met his Soviet counterpart and has appointed a chief arms negotiator Richard Perle who has declared publicly. he does not believe in arms control.
Caldicott stated that the US possesses 30,000 nuclear warheads and the Soviet Union, 20,000, yet even the small nuclear powers of China, France and Britain could independently destroy much of Russia.
One US Trident submarine alone has 240 warheads, each with a TNT equivalent 8 times that of the Hiroshima bomb, she pointed out. Yet the US wants 30 of the subs, a clear violation of the unratified SALT II accord. The US is also building 8,000 cruise missiles which Caldicott called highly destabilizing because they are easy to hide, hard to verify and capable of flying under Soviet radar, thereby precipitating a massive response even if only one is fired.
The Pershing II is designed to “decapitate” the Soviet leadership in 6 minutes as part of a plan to win a nuclear war, a strategy she claimed the Pentagon endorses and which she described with the objectivity of a medical practitioner.
The Pershing attack would be followed by a blanket bombing of Russia with up to 8,000 nuclear missiles, intended to obliterate the Soviets’ nuclear arsenal and all their major cities. The US would then have some left over for World War IV, NATO, Dr. Caldicott added, refuses to renounce the first use of nuclear weapons, unlike Moscow, which says, however, that it will respond with a fullscale nuclear attack even if only one NATO missile hits the Soviet Union.
“Limited nuclear war,” she claimed “is a fallacy” while “war itself is obsolete” since nothing can be gained by it. NATO strategy is designed to use some of its 6,000 tactical (battlefield) nuclear weapons to blunt a conventional Soviet attack. Yet this only guarantees a devastating nuclear response. Between them, “both sides expect to fire 19,500 nuclear warheads at each other once the connict escalates as it must; thus the world would have 30 minutes more to live,” she concluded grimly. It is hard to imagine that this outcome can be averted when 80% of US ships carry nuclear weapons, and Army and Air Force units are similarly equipped on both sides. There is no real conventional defense, Caldicott said.
The result of any nuclear war would be devastating, Dr. Caldicott asserted. One 20 megaton bomb exploding above Toronto would kill all people and destroy all buildings within a 6 mile radius, while within 20 miles the heat and wind blast would cause countless more deaths and fatal, grievous injury. The effects would be felt up to 100 miles away. With the detonation of hundreds of these weapons a fallout of contaminated dust would create a shroud blotting out the sun, causing a temperature drop to -55F and damage to the ozone layer which would result in widespread deadly skin cancer. “This is nuclear winter,” she said, and it could destroy virtually all life on earth due to radiation poisoning, extreme cold and an end to vital photosynthesis.
“The prognosis is grim,” Dr. Caldicott told a hushed and shaken audience. The high probability of computer failure — there were 255 failures last year in the US and one in 1979 that brought the world to within 13 minutes of nuclear war — combined with often unstable military personnel is scary enough. Worse, she asserted, is the fact that the world is run by two old men who do not seem in complete possession of their faculties.
In “a planet out of control” she expressed deep concern over the influence of fatalistic, fundamentalist religion on Reagan and on a large portion of the American public. On a number of occasions Reagan and others in his cabinet have claimed they believe Armageddon will occur soon and that all true believers will automatically go to heaven while Russia is destroyed. This could lead the Administration to walk willingly into war, she fears.
Caldicott described a personal interview with Reagan in which she was shocked by his simplistic notions and lack of knowledge of arms issues. yet the American people in a fit “of manic denial of reality” have re-elected him, demonstrating in the process the influence of “Big Brother TV” and the power of “a Pepsi-Cola campaign.”
Despite this grim scenario, Caldicott ended her talk on a note of qualified optimism and inspiration. “Stringent action is required,” Dr. Caldicott declared, “a total commitment” to protect the world for a generation of children who feel they will never have the chance to grow up.
Caldicott called for grief and depression to be turned into constructive anger and straightforward actions, such as the lobbying of MPs, orderly demonstrations outside nuclear arms component plants, an education campaign and pressure on Canada to leave NATO — a mutual suicide pact. “Even if we fail,” she told her silent audience, some of whom wept, “we can tell our children and God, as the missiles fly, that at least we tried.”
Caldicott concluded her talk by reading Shakespeare’s sonnet “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day,” illustrating as she did so the love for the physical world and for human creativity on which her own commitment is based.
Jennifer Kinloch — December 1984
The government of Greenland declared their country a nuclear weapons-free zone, according to a report from the Reuter wire service, published in the Ottawa Citizen.
Greenland is now the largest landmass in the world declared a NWFZ. The declaration, made in mid-November, came as a surprise to the Danish government, the report said. Denmark is responsible for the defense of their former territory, which attained self-government five years ago. There are two American air force bases in Greenland as well as three DEW lines sites.
Mariane Stienbaek, Director of the Centre for Northern Studies at McGill University, and Co-ordinator of the Communications Committee of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference (ICC) told The Peace Calendar that the declaration is a result of a series of resolutions passed by the ICC. The ICC, an international organization of Inuit, first passed a unanimous resolution in 1977 calling for nuclear weapons free zones in the North. The resolption was reaffirmed at subsequent conferences in 1980 and 1983, according to Stienbaek. Approximately 80% of the Greenland population is Inuit, and all but one of the Landsting (Parliament) is Inuit.
Stienbaek said she had no information on how the NWFZ declaration would affect the two American bases, but suggested that it meant that there could be no nuclear weapons taken there and that no planes could fly over the country carrying nuclear weapons. From the reports that she has seen, Stienbaek expects the Greenland government will now proceed to work out the details with the Danish External Affairs Department.
Eudora Pendergrast — December 1984
VANCOUVER — The Canadian conference on “Nuclear War — the Search for Solutions,” held October 19-21, was able to successfully balance the interests of the academic and those of the grassroots activist. Over 500 people attended the conference, which was sponsored by Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR).
The highlight of the proceedings was a lively exchange between Soviet commentator Sergey Plekhanov and Jane Sharp of Cornell University which clearly illustrated the differences between the superpowers. Anatol Rapoport of the University of Toronto provided a mediating voice. When the three were asked why the tensions persisted and the arms race continued, Plekhanov answered that ideological differences were the root problem. Sharp pointed to violations of human rights as the source of difficulty. Rapoport attributed our plight to the technological imperative of weapons systems.
Rear Admiral Eugene Carroll gave a rousing talk Friday evening appealing to Canadians, as the sole non-European NATO ally of the United States, to playa leadership role in the move to disarmament. He pointed to Canada’s unique opportunity to interpret the needs of Europeans to our North American neighbour. He urged Canadian rejection of cruise missile testing and continued political pressure for substantive change,
Dean Michael Pentz of Britain provided a European perspective and stressed that the nature of the nuclear weapon is that it isn’t really a weapon since it was built not to be used. The impassioned talk ended on an optimistic note as Pentz pointed out that the success of the human species has always rested on its power of foresight, its ability to project problems and discern consequences,
Both the physicians speaking at the conference, Marat Vartanian of the Soviet Union and Joanne Santa Barbara of Hamilton, Ontario, contributed reports on the psychological effects of the threat of nuclear war. While Canadian and Soviet children are more pessimistic about the chances of nuclear war than American children, they are much more optimistic about the hopes for prevention and much more realistic about the consequences of a nuclear war. Santa Barbara also emphasized the positive side of anxiety as being a healthy condition of alert to an imminent threat.
The Canadian section of the conference, “Charting the Course”, was the least noteworthy. However, among the more significant contributions were the remarks of retired Admiral Robert Falls, the first Canadian to be chair of the Military committee of NATO. Falls stated that the public has highly overrated the military role in decision-making, and he called the military the mere custodians of the weapons.
Ian Carr, outgoing president of PSR, made some contentious assertions about Canada’s role in promoting disarmament. For example, he stated that “the left are not the right people to effect social change; the centre and the right must”, He also suggested that “perhaps we must be quiet about things (the cruise) we should like to be noisy about.”
The workshops focussed on some thirteen topics, but the best attended was one entitled “Strategies for the Canadian Peace Movement”, sponsored by Vancouver’s End the Arms Race coalition, This session clearly indicated that the spirit of the conference was the search for effective political action, a general consensus was reached on the need for a national coordinating body for major disarmament campaigns.
Although there was no concluding plenary session, where resolutions could have emerged, and although the issue of the economic impact of the arms race was not addressed, the conference was quite worthwhile, as will be the published proceedings that are to be produced by PSR.
— December 1984
TORONTO — In a precedentsetting resolution adopted during its annual convention, the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) has formally committed itself to an active role in the search for nuclear disarmament and peace.
The resolution, which received virtually unanimous support, reads as follows:
Whereas the nuclear arms race is increasing the threat to the security of life on this planet; and
Whereas it is sapping great amounts of human and financial resources that can be used to overcome poverty and build socially useful jobs and products.
Therefore be it resolved that the Onrario Federation of Labour form a Peace and Disarmament Committee to work actively with affiliates to ensure rhat the views of labour are clearly advanced within the province and to encourage the education and involvement: of trade union members in this issue.
Be it further resolved that the Ontario Federation of Labour encourages its affiliates and district labour councils to form peace and disarmament committees which will be responsible for education and activities geared towards putting the necessary pressure on our governments to help move our world from the brink of war towards improved prospects of peace based on jobs and justice.
The resolution was sponsored by the Labour Council of Metropolitan Toronto (LCMT) during the convention held in Toronto, November 19-22. In a first in OFL convention history, the presentation of the resolution was preceded by a showing of the film War Without Winners.
The OFL is already on record as supporting nuclear disarmament. What makes tbe November 20 resolution significant is the clear call for organizational structures and action in support of this objective.
Anne Swarbrick, chairperson of the Peace and Disarmament Committee of the LCMT, links the Council’s sponsorship of the resolution to its active involvement in the recent Peace Petition Caravan Campaign. She also notes that adoption of the resolution could set a precedent for similar actions by other provincial labour federations, and possibly the Canadian Labour Congress at its convention in the spring of 1986.
Matthew Clark — December 1984
OTTAWA — Families Against Cruise Testing (FACT) is organizing a letter writing and petition campaign to bring to the Canadian government’s attention the opposition of parents and grandparents to the cruise missile tests.
According to organizer Deborah Friedman, FACT would like families to write to their own MPs and to Joe Clark, Minister of External Affairs, on the issue of the cruise missile, and to include pictures of their children.
Friedman explained that the reason for the pictures is simple. “The arms race jeopardizes everyone’s children,” she said.
The petition, which calls for an end to the cruise missile tests, has been circulating in Ottawa during the past year. Some of the names have already been presented to the government. The petition is now being sent out around the country.
For further information on both the petition and the letter writing campaign, write: FACT, 204 Patterson Ave., Ottawa, Ontario K1S lY6.
anon — December 1984
WATERLOO ~ The first Ontario Peace Conference met in Kitchener-Waterloo on Saturday and Sunday, November 17 and 18. The purpose of the conference was to discuss the direction of the peace movement in Ontario following the completion of the Peace Petition Caravan Campaign. Over 100 delegates attended, representing peace groups and coalitions from all over Ontario.
The conference was consultative in form, and therefore no resolutions were passed, but the participants overwhelmingly favoured the formation of a decentralized national coordinating committee.
The conference agenda consisted of a mixture of presentations, floor discussions and workshops. The Saturday morning session began with a report on the Peace Petition Caravan by Lynn Connell (of Performing Artists for Nuclear Disarmament), co-ordinator of the Caravan. Connell described her trip with the Caravan from Victoria to Ottawa, and also on the meetings in Ottawa with the three party leaders.
Participants also heard reports on a number of issues facing the peace m9vement. Rick Caton (of Operation Dismantle) talked about the nuclear freeze; Metta Spencer (of the Canadian Disarmament Information Service) addressed a variety of issues, including nuclear weapon-free zones, NATO and NORAD, the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and the Five Continent Peace Initiative; and Chris Ross (of Psychologists for Social Responsibility) spoke on implementation of a nuclear weaponfree zone campaign. I made a presentation on Networking. In addition, there were a number of brief presentations from the floor on other issues, including the cruise missile tests, Ontario Hydro’s planned sale of Tritium to the US for nuclear weapons production, and methods for strengthening international security through the United Nations.
Three workshop sessions were held, in which conference participants discussed issues, implementation of issues, and networking.. Reports from the workshops to the plenary session showed that the participants were interested in a wide variety of issues.
On Sunday morning, workshops were held on a number of specific subjects: Letter- Writing; Nonviolent Action; The Peace Calendar as a Resource; Talking to People about Nuclear War; Working with the Media; Fundraising, Small Town Organizing; the Greens; What Shall We Tell the Children?; From Non-activist to Activist; Women and Men in the Peace Movement; Strengthening the United Nations; and Mundialization.
The conference ended with a report from Bob Penner (of the Toronto Disarmament Network) on plans for a national conference some time. next year, and a floor discussion on the subject of a national co-ordinating committee.
The Ontario Peace Conference clearly demoristrated the impressive .growth and increased seriousness of the organized peace movement. This conference was roughly five times larger, both in number of participants and locations represented, than the first Southern Ontario Peace Network meeting, which was held just a-year earlier. Although a wide variety of views and strategies were represented, the participants were enthusiastically united in their commitment to work together for disarmament.
Fergus Watt — December 1984
This month’s letter writing suggestion is to send two Christmas cards, preferably the Unicef type with “Peace on Earth” imprinted in English, Russian, etc., to the leaders of the U.S.S.R. and the U.S.A. Add a short note to the card if you wish such as: “I hope disarmament is your number one priority”, “Peace will come through justice not strength” or “Peace will not come through military intervention”.
“In addition to sending these two post cards, you might write a letter to your local editor recommending the above. Also if public meetings have been planned for December ask the people attending the meeting to take 15 minutes when they arrive home to write two postcards (or provide time for letter writing during or after the meeting). Christmas cards can be addressed to: 1) President Ronald Reagan, The White House, Washington D.C., U.S.A 20500 and 2) Premier Konstantin Chernenko, The Kremlin, Moscow, U.S.S.R. Credit for this month’s letter writing suggestion goes to Barbara Halsall of Georgetown.
The NL WC would like to welcome a new member: Rimbey Organization for Universal Nuclear Disarmament (Alberta). If your group is interested in becoming part of the NL WC, please write and let me know that your group endqrses the concept and is willing to encourage peace activists in your area to write letters. Also, please send suggestions of individuals you would like to see targeted for letters.
Happy letter writing!
clo Doug Mohr
P.O. Box 43
70 King St. N.
Waterloo, Ont. N2J 3Z6
P.S. Remember — thinking about it doesn’t change anything. Please put something in the mail.
Beth Richards — December 1984
Is there life after forty? Or, more pointedly, can the United Nations fulfill the aims and purposes laid out in its charter some four decades ago?
This question was the focus of a conference held in Ottawa on October 26, and entitled The United nations at Forty: Crisis and Opportunity. Thirty-five of Canada’s leading diplomats, academics, disarmament experts and UN officials attended this day-long brainstorming session on the prospects for strengthening the world body.
The presence of Canada’s new UN Ambassador, Stephen Lewis, added a special significance to the event, which was sponsored by the United Nations Association in Canada. Many speakers used the occasion to propose specific ideas which could be incorporated in Canadian policy.
The conference was shaped by Douglas Roche, Canada’s newly appointed Disarmament Ambassador and president of the United Nations Association in Canada. The conference underlined the Conservative government’s commitment to improving the UN as a cornerstone of what Brian Mulroney has called “the central issue confronting our generatton — the prevention of nuclear war.”
The discussion began with a lengthy address from a special guest at the roundtable, UN Assistant Secretary General Robert Muller, who offered a list of suggestions for strengthening the UN’s ability to maintain peace and security. These included:
- increased communication between heads of state and between military leaders (regular consultations among military chiefs of state are written into the UN Charter but were abandoned during the cold war);
- a strengthened role for the Secretary-General, including “n information system which would alert him to impending conflict, greater scope for UN Observer teams and greater use of the. UN’s peacekeeping capabilities; and
- global education, at all levels of schooling in order to promote greater understanding of international systems and greater tolerance of people from other cultures.
Muller also remarked on the need for more balanced news coverage of the UN and its 32 organizations, so that the UN’s successes, and not just its failures, are brought to public attention.
Muller’s comments on the need for global education were echoed by other panelists. For example, Margaret Catley-Carlson, President of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA, the Canadian government’s primary aid-giving body), called for “a major campaign to emphasize the UN’s many glorious successes.” And John Sigler, Political Science Professor at Carleton University and a Director of the new Canadian Institute for International Peace and Security, suggested that Canadian communities could hold special ceremonies during the UN’s 40th anniversary to commemorate those military personnel who died while serving in UN peacekeeping missions.
Sigler also proposed a UN conference on peacekeeping. The last such conference, held in 1970, was “very successful,” he said. Furthermore, “Canada has something to say to the US on this subject.” This proposal was seconded by Dr. George Ignatieff, Chancellor of the University of Toronto and a former UN Ambassador. Ignatieff added that an I nternational Peacekeeping CoriJerence should place ISMA — an International Satellite Monitoring Agency — high on its agenda.
Ignatieff also suggested that the UN hold an International Conference on Peace and Security, a suggestion which was taken up by many of the experts present. Robert Muller suggested that such a conference, if proposed by Canada, should be a UN Continuing Conference modelled after the successful Law of the Sea Conference.
David Lee, Canada’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, said that Canada could mobilize a coalition of `friends of the UN.’ This notion was also mentioned in Joe Clark’s address to the General Assembly and is, therefore, likely to be followed up by Stephen Lewis and his UN team.
Another forceful speaker at the roundtable was Maxwell Cohen who, until recently, served as a Judge Ad Hoc of the International Court of Justice in the Gulf of Maine Boundary Dispute (between Canada and the US). Cohen noted the growing body of international law which could be used by nations to settle disputes peacefully. Yet most nations still do not submit to the authority of the World Court. At a time when so many pressing problems are multilateral, our interdependence forces a tribal retreat to a nation-state mode of thinking.” Thus we are confronted with a paradox, says Cohen, “Never has there been such a multiplicity of international law which could be used by nations to settle disputes; yet, never has there been so many intrusions and violations of international law.”
At the end of the deliberations Stephen Lewis was asked to comment on the day’s “harvest of ideas.’” Although he was unable to give direct comments on each proposal, he did offer a few general observations. He assured the panel that Canada’s new entente with the United ,States would not restrict the government’s efforts to improve the UN and other multilateral institutions. He also reported that Joe Clark has directed him to tell UN Secretary General Perez de Cuellar that Canada will work actively to increase the power of the Secretary-General’s Office. And Lewis also warmed to the idea of a UN Conference on International Security, saying “It may just be one of those initiatives that Canada could take — a sort of elixir for the UN, to give it a shot in the arm and to give the people of the world some hope.”
In holding this conference on the eve of the UN’s 40th anniversary, Canada became the first country to respond to the Secretary-General’s challenge to use the occasion to “… undertake a review and propose concrete programmes of action in order to strengthen commitment to the aims and purposes of the Organization.”
Perhaps Canada will also be a leader in transforming the present `crisis’ into an `opportunity’ to strengthen the UN.
Fergus Watt is editor of the Canadian World Federalists.
— December 1984
OTTAWA — When Douglas Roche was appointed Ambassador for Disarmament he didn’t waste any time in re-defining the function behind the title. One of his first moves was to re-vamp the Consultative Group on Arms Control and Disarmament. Invitations went out to about sixty individuals asking them to attend a conference in Ottawa on November 9 and 10.
Organized by the Canadian Centre for, Arms Control and Disarmament, the conference drew together a wide range of opinion on a numberofsubjects, including workshops on Influence with Washington and with the Soviets; Influence in NATO and on the UN; The Militarization of Space; Non-proliferation; Verification; and The Linkage between Disarmament and Development.
Under the previous ambassador, the Consultative Group had twenty members, primarily academics and specialists. This time, however, an effort was made to draw grassroots organizers and activists into the dialogue.
It was the first time that many of the participants had the opportunity to exchange views with representatives from External Affairs and the Department of National Defense. Obviously, there were differences of opinion on a number of issues including definitions of defense, security and even “reality.” Nevertheless, there was a positive air of open dialogue and a desire to continue the initiative.
On the last day of the conference, participants discussed the future role of the Consultative Group.
It was generally agreed that broad representation from the peace community is necessary if the process is to be truly consultative: In addition, peace movement representatives felt the agenda had been too cumbersome to allow sufficient time for discussion of specific issues, pertinent to Canada, such as the cruise missile testing.
The conference was organized at last minute notice and, for this reason, many participants did not see the agenda until a few days before. Prior to the next meeting of the Consultative Group, it is hoped that representatives will have the opportunity to discuss the agenda and make recommendations before it is firmly set.
Ambassador Roche made it clear that he intends to meet with peace groups as much as possible in the coming months. He cautioned that moving the bureaucracy is no easy task and stressed an “inch-by-inch” approach. Although Roche is undoubtedly sincere and committed, time will tell if the government is prepared to move forward even an inch. It has displayed a willingness to listen, however, and that is a positive sign.
Shirley Farlinger — December 1984
OTTAWA — It is still not clear if Joe Clark’s disarmament report will ever be made public. Inquiries made to the press offices of both Mr. Clark’s ministry of External Affairs and the Prime Minister’s Office revealed little.
Vivian Taylor, in the press office of the Prime Minister, said that there was no information on when it may be released. While Louise de Lafayette, in Mr. Clark’s office, said that she had no information on whether or not the report will be released, she did say that Clark indicated that it will be used when the government holds its foreign policy review.
The foreign policy review, to be conducted shortly, will involve public participation, and will look at Canada’s current policies and any changes that the present government may undertake.
Mr. Clark’s disarmament report was compiled following puhlie meetings across Canada and private talks with diplomats and others outside of Canada. The meetings were held before the recent election campaign. at the request of Brian Mulroney. It is now up to the Prime Minister to decide whether or not to release the report.
Deb Ellis — December 1984
The A-Team, soldiers of fortune living on the edge,” has all the latest military equipment: helicopters, combat attack gyrocopters with working bomb release, interceptor jet bombers, tactical vans, etc. These will help defeat “the Bad Guys they dare to challenge the A-Team.” The pilot is Howling Mad Murdock. Or as President Richard Nixon described it to Bob Haldemann “I call it the Madman Theory, Bob. I want the North Vietnamese to believe I’ve reached the point where I might do anything to stop the war.”
If you don’t want to enlist in the A-Team, you can always become a G.I. Joe. The Cobra Battle Game has 12 rockets and can “knock out the enemy base.” The Combat Jet Skystriker has 2 phoenix, 2 sidewinder and 2 sparrow missiles and an ejection seat and parachute for G.I. Joe Ace to save himself. The Cobra Command Weapon is a tank with two diabolo cannons and the Amphibious Personnel Carrier APC carries 28 soldiers, not included. To add to the realism there are flashing “laser” lights and battle sounds.
The centrepiece is the Headquarters Command Centre with heliopad, searchlights, cameras and machine guns. You have to pay the full price before you find out what the top secret weapons on the inside really are.
Exciting, isn’t it? War always is.
But this is cheaper than the real thing. Helicopters are $14.99, tanks $22.99 and the whole headquarters full of secret weapons is just $34.99. Available at The Bay.
The missiles are soft foam and just as useless as nuclear missiles in modern war. And the game is just as winnable as nuclear war, ie. in double suicide there are no winners. Yet the idea that the enemy must be destroyed before it destroys you is the illogical theory for military games large and small.
To maintain the present chronic state of war the population must be ready. After all it is their money and the sums are enormous. One MX missile costs $210 million. One B-1 bomber is $280 million, mobile single warhead missiles are cheap at $107 million, a supercarrier is $3.5 billion, a destroyer $1 billion and an F-15 aircraft is $20 million. Next year nerve gas will cost $54 million.
But the next generation, the people who will really have to pay the U.S. military deficit, will be all set to cooperate. It was fun. They started, as recommended, at age 5. They know that defence and deterrence are sound theories and that “Captain Bludd and Destro” must be destroyed, whoever and wherever they are.
The “toys” do not have to be assembled or painted. Previous military model kits at least pretended that the activity was model-building. Now the idea is to create your own battle scenes. War is a game, military exercises really are called war games, and they are given such fun names as ‘Jolly Rabbit.’ Targets are destroyed. Our Canadian soldiers, part of the RIMPAC war games last year destroyed an island in the Hawaiian group which, although uninhabitable, was a valuable archeological site. It’s easier to do this if you know everything about war games and nothing about archeology.
Conditioning is all-important. So last year the American military spent $887,000 to promote rifle practice for youth groups such as the Boy Scouts and the Y.M.C.A., and $75 million was spent in Canada on Canadian Cadet organizations.
But the game of war is ultimately a computer game. That’s why Reagan praised the use of video games as good training for the young. It’s all a question of being fast on the button. If you stopped to think about it, some relevant ideas might enter your mind. Ideas like:
- there are no winners in a nuclear war;
- a conventional war in a world of vulnerable nuclear power reactors is already a nuclear war;
- we cannot afford next year’s arms bill of one trillion dollars;
- the U.S. is in an arms race with itself as each arms producer is driven by the technological imperative to produce more efficient weapons;
- military deployment is global and is out of control;
- the chances of preventing a major accident are nil;
- nuclear technology (from uranium ore to plutonium pellets) is killing people daily in a period without war; and
- there are better ways to settle differences.
The trouble is, all these considerations require patience and intelligence. G.I. Joe has never been long on either.
War toys come in two sizes. Unfortunately boys do too.
Janina Barrett — December 1984
TORONTO — If “The Form of Photon” makes you think of a bad science-fiction movie, you wouldn’t be far wrong. Coming to us from where else — Dallas, Texas, Photon can be likened to a high-tech survival game, a live-in star wars, and another step in persuading an ignorant and apathetic populace of the power of the pistol.
For $3.50 per game (plus a $5 annual membership fee), players are divided into 2 teams of up to 10 each, then issued special space helmets and “phaser guns.” They then spend the next 6 minutes running around and shooting at each other. Instead of the forest terrain of the outdoor “survival” games, the battle-ground of Photon is “a sci-fi playing field of lights, mazes, tunnels, artificial fog machines and electronic sensors.” (Toronto Star, Aug. 21, 1984)
Photon is billed as an activity for the whole family (the ultimate Oedipal trip?) and is becoming the “bowling alleys of the 80’s.” In the States, Photon leagues have formed, battling it out on a weekly basis. Among the groups that have rented the Dallas Photon arena for their own private war are law firms, accounting offices, and Baptist and Methodist churches. Photon is open to children as young as 8 years old.
In January, 1985, Photon will open up in Rexdale, Ontario. Photon is “targetted” for other centres in Ontario as well as in Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta.
Photon must be opposed, and it must be shut down, say the organizers of the War Toys Boycott campaign. It is immoral for Photon’s owners to be making money by teaching that war is OK, fun, and something which leaves no scars. Wherever Photon opens its doors, it is the duty of the peace movement to slam them shut, and to forbid them to open again.
You can register your opposition to Photon by telephoning the head Canadian Office (416 — xxx-xxxx), or by writing a letter of protest to: Photon Canada, Ltd., 6807 Steeles, Rexdale, Ont M9V 4R9.
For further information on the Campaign Against Photon, contact the War Toys Boycott, c/o Alliance for Non-Violent Action, 9 Melbourne Ave., Toronto, Ont. M6K 1L1 xxx-xxxx. For those outside the Toronto area, please let us know if a Photon is starting up near you, so that we can co-ordinate efforts.
Anne Hume — December 1984
Those of us working in the War Toy Boycott Campaign are often asked, Why a military war toy boycott? What has that really got to do with the peace issue?
We believe that the condoning of military toys in our society prepares children to accept aggression and violence as “approved” ways of dealing with conflicts. The Hasbro-Bradley G.I. Joe toy provides an excellent example. The G.I. Joe “action” toy (not doll ~ the toy industry says dolls are for girls — boys play with “action” or “fantasy” toys) was first introduced in 1964 and then retired in the mid-seventies.
It has been said that the reason for this decision was poor sales due to a lack of popularity in the pacifist/cleaning period during and after the Vietnam war conflict. HasbroBradley denies this and credits the decision to “cost” problems as the reason it was taken off the market.
However, G.I. Joe was reintroduced into the marketplace for the first time in seven years, in 1983, and is selling phenomenally well (10-12 million figures were sold in 1983, with a projected 1984 revenue of $125 million.)
Industry spokespeople attribute the revived growth in sales to the “changed mood” in the country. Alan Hassenfeld, Executive Vice-president of Hasbro-Bradley, dubbed “the marketer many credit, or blame, for almost singlehandedly reviving the military toy category” by the trade publication Advertising Age, has said that “America changed a great deal around the time of the Iran hostage crisis. People started having feelings of patriotism. They started thinking, if we want to be free maybe we’ll have to defend ourselves and what we believe.” It was at this time, he says, that Hasbro decided to bring back G.I. Joe.
Despite the fact that these toys raise very clear political issues, the industry defends them as a reflection of society. In fact, the Christmas after the Grenadian invasion HasbroBradley “air-lifted” 35 thousand of their toys into Grenada and you can be sure one of their best sellers, G.I. Joe “the freedom fighter against terrorism” was among them.
The Alliance for Non-Violent Action (ANVA) started a boycott against military toys last spring. Since then many peace, church, women and school groups have felt it was time for a concentrated campaign against the acceptance of war toys and all of their implications. One of those groups, the Cruise Missile Conversion Project (CMCP) decided to hire a co-ordinator for the Toronto area boycott, to work under the umbrella of the ANVA campaign through this Christmas.
Unfortunately, the ANVA campaign has run out of funds. This means there is no money to get badly needed broadsheets from the printer. or to put together either organizing or press kits in any number, all of which are essential to the effectiveness of this campaign.
Nevertheless, the Toronto area campaign has been picking up momentum. It was a presence in both the Peace Petition Caravan march and the Santa Claus Parade. The same group of individuals that participated in the parade last year made an appearance again this year. Dressed as clowns and carrying balloons, they handed out leaflets urging people not to buy military toys because “war is not a game.”
The Toronto campaign has been getting tremendous press, including an article in a major daily newspaper, representation on a local TV talk show entirely devoted to the issue, and many radio interviews, some local (CFNY, Q107) and some much farther away (Kelowna, BC; Palm Springs, Florida).
For the immediate future some literature, buttons and resource materials are still available, and leafletting outside the Bay complex (Bloor & Yonge) and the Eaton’s Centre (Dundas & Yonge) is planned for every Saturday from now until Christmas.
To obtain more information or to help with the boycott campaign, please call Janina Barrett at xxx-xxxx, or the CMCP office at xxx-xxxx, or write: War Toy Boycott Campaign, c/o 730 Bathurst St.. Toronto, Ont. M5W 2P6.
Tom Joyce — December 1984
TORONTO — On an overcast November 3rd morning our delegation of thirteen Torontonians sat at a large table in the office of the Mayor of Volgograd, listening to his welcoming speech. The Mayor, Mr. V. I. Atopov, was flanked by a portrait of Lenin in inlaid wood, and a silver maquette of Mother Russia, whose famous statue crowns thc war memorial on Mamayev Hill.
Our group responded with warm thanks and the presentation of a letter of greeting and good wishes from Toronto’s Mayor Eggleton.
This moment was but one of a series of significant events during our eight-day stay in Volgograd, a city better known in the west as Stalingrad. This city was the site of a major turning point in World War II — in February 1943, the destruction of the Nazi eastern front after a 200-day siege which left the city levelled and smoking, with 40,000 civilians and nearly one million soldiers dead.
Two years of preparation had led up to this moment in the Mayor’s office and this week in Volgograd. Following the November 1982, civic election. in which 78.8% of Toronto voters had endorsed a call for efforts towards multilateral nuclear disarmament, a small group of city activists began meeting to consider ways of translating this vote into some kind of action.
After several meetings the group decided on a people-to-people overture to a Soviet city.and chose Volgograd for a number of reasons. There was a previous link with Toronto, when, in 1943, the city had collected thousands of dollars and thirty tons of clothing for the relief of Stalingrad. It was also a Soviet, rather than an Eastern bloc city, but not Moscow. Finally, this was a citv whose people understood the horrors of war, and who would have a powerful commitment never to let such carnage recur.
The idea was successfully tested on a larger group, and at a public meeting held in the fall of 1983, the Toronto/Volgograd Initiative was formally established, with a statement of purpose focussing on city-to-city links as a means of reducing global tensions.
We decided to invite one or two Volgograd citizens to Toronto to commemorate the 40th anniversary of a Toronto fund-raising and tag day for Stalingrad. A long letter describing the group and its aims and requesting two visitors was sent off in early January. 1984. The next month brought a highly successful, well-publicised visit to Toronto by retired General Alexandre Ovcharov, a hero of the battle of Stalingrad and Loudmila Kouznetsova, a chief administrator in Volgograd’s International Department of City Council (TPC, April 1984).
Lengthy discussions with Loudmila and Alexandre cleared the way for a return visit. Eight months later, despite lack of fund raising from city and federal governments, but with financial and moral support from a wide range of community groups in the city, we were in Volgograd.
It is hard to convey the warmth of our reception, from the moment when we were greeted in sunny Volgograd with bouquets of red roses from Loudmila, until our departure seven days later, when we said goodbye to some new friends.
It was clear from the start that our hosts knew we were at best a semiofficial delegation; but the red carpet was out, and both formal and informal activities — visits to schools, clinics, factories, a day-care centre, meeting with a group of people who studied and spoke English, a session with the Peace Committee, tours of the various war memorials, were charged with enthusiasm and appreciation.
We were charmed by the city — all new since the 1950s but rebuilt in 19th century style, and planned with wisdom and sensitivity — large areas of green space, comfortable boulevards, an imposing but elegant central square, our hotel on one edge, the classic Gorky theatre on another, and a promenade along the Volga banks that integrates the river with the city.
We had timed our visit to coincide with the 67 anniversary celebrations of the October Revolution, a holiday that was like a blend of Grey Cup, Thanksgiving and Remembrance Day. Our anxieties about militaristic demonstrations quickly subsided on the morning we stood with a crowd to watch half the city’s population parade by us in two great streams of about half a million people.
Certainly the soldiers led off, but they were cadets and.young recruits. There were no guns and no tanks. Jeeps followed, carrying war veterans, male and female, too frail now to walk, and behind them younger veterans marched, their medals glinting in the sun. Then came groups walking beside floats representing the city’s industry and trade union groups, school and athletic groups carrying balloons and multi-coloured banners.
We began spotting formal peace slogans, then handmade peace signs — doves, missiles broken in two, more and more of these and hordes of men, women and children, just like our peace marches only a thousandfold more. The skeptic could argue that these people were required to be there, but if it was mandatory, they were having a very good time.
Later that evening, after a gala dinner with the Mayor on his boat on the Volga, two of us sat in Loudmila’s cosy flat with her husband, her young son, Sergei, and her mother. We drank tea and watched TV coverage of the celebrations — Moscow’s Red Square, with Chernenko and cronies bundled against the chill, the whole scene bristling with military hardware. It felt surreal. Here in Loudmila’s living room after a day of joy and festivity was the familiar rendering of Soviet life — a cliche of military might clanking ominously across Red Square. This pleasant evening brought home with new force and clarity how blinkered and dangerously limited our view of the U.S.S.R. is.
Our group is home now, received by family, friends and various interested constituency groups who are excited to hear about our visit. It is sad that the discovery of such a simple truth — that the similarities between the peoples of our two cities far outweigh the differences, and that they fear war and want peace as fervently as we do — should so desperately need to be to told.
The “bottom line” question is inevitable: Yes, but what did you really achieve? It may be impossible to reach those who are convinced that we are dupes, propaganda vehicles and Commie-lovers. But we do know that the group has made close contact with some citizens of Volgograd, and has built the first span of a bridge. And we have a guarantee of continuing interaction beginning with a return delegation to Toronto in 1985.
Thirteen of us have had the experience of a lifetime, in being made so welcome by a group of people who know so clearly what really matters in life, having lived so near the edge.
We hope Torontonians will take them to their hearts as they did us. Then, who knows what might be possible!
Anne Hume is Co-Chairman, with Jim Houston, of Toronto/Volgograd.
— December 1984
NEW YORK — Members of the Cruise Missile Conversion Project recently attended the 1985 Strategy and Planning Conference of the Mobilization for Survival (MfS) in New York City. Known as “the Mobe” in movement circles, MfS is a United States multi-issue network composed of 160 affiliates with a national office in New York City.
The Coalition is based on three clear platforms of zero nuclear weapons, ban” nuclear power and meet human needs and is in the process of formalizing its anti-intervention work with-a no military intervention plank.
The coalition contains a diversity of groups, ranging from the directaction oriented Livermore Action Group in California to strong multi-issue Mobes in New York and Boston to a section of the Florida nuclear freeze group.
CMCP, because of its interest in regional networking with likeminded groups in upstate New York (and more recently, Michigan), wanted to learn first-hand how the movement is planning to organize after the re-election of Ronald Reagan. In addition, they want to support MfS’ proposals for continued organizing of weapons facilities and for international communication and cooperation among disarmament groups.
There was one day of advanced organizing workshops and network meetings (weapons facilities, feminist, direct actioh, etc). This was followed by two days of discussion and decision-making regarding Mobe’s 1985 programme priorities.
The first level priorities are to continue the campaign against first strike nuclear weapons and to strengthen and intensify efforts against US intervention in Central America. MfS plans to become a part of the rapidly forming network which is planning direct actions in the case of significant escalations in Central America.
“Second level priorities are to concentrate on the Rainbow Coalition, the April mobilization in Washington, the connections between nuclear and conventional weaponry, the 40th anniversary of the Hiroshima/Nagasaki bombings, changing US policy on the Middle East, anti-apartheid work, international dis:ussion about the Soviet Union, and building Mobe affiliates.
The Canadian Peace Congress, in a statement issued on November 8, “called on the newly-elected Prime Minister Brian Mulroney to annul the Canada-US Weapons Testing Agreement signed by the previous Liberal government.”
The statement was issued in response to the announcement that the US Government has made six new requests under the umbrella weapons-testing pact with Canada, known as the CAN US Testing and Evaluation Agreement.
“If the new government under Mulroney wants to receive support from the broad and growing peace movement — it will need to do more than speak fine words of concern for world peace.”
“Mr. Mulroney will need to show through deeds that Canada will not participate in the spiralling arms race which will cripple a recovery in our economy.” .
Because jobs are the number one priority for the new Prime Minister, the statement continued, “he should realize that monies spent for military equipment will create fewer jobs than monies on health, education, social programs or anywhere else in the economy.”