3. All states shall reduce their militaries and not plan war for “national security.”

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Rapporteur: Metta Spencer

This is the key plank in the whole platform. It is also the hardest. We may not succeed with this one, friends, but if we do, the other 24 planks will come more easily, for militarism is the linchpin of the system —the problem that holds the five other threats in place. War and weapons not only kill people directly, but by exacerbating global warming, famine, pandemics, radiation exposure, and (probably next) cyberattacks.

War is hard to eliminate, though — not because anyone actually likes it but because people don’t know how to do without it. A few wars are fought over trivial matters, but most of them occur because a conflict is immensely important and neither side can think of other ways to settle it. So, we must propose some other ways to handle conflicts.

But first let’s consider the meaning of this plank. Notice that it calls upon “states” to reduce their militaries – but what about non-state militaries? ISIS, Al Qaeda, Al Shabab, the Taliban, Boko Haram, ETA and FARC, for examples, are not owned by states, and elsewhere there are still a few warlords and oligarchs with their own armies.

And United Nations Peacekeepers are also military. To get rid of war and weapons, we must probably eliminate (or anyway vastly reduce) all kinds of militaries except peacekeepers, who are supposed to be like a global constabulary. We will need more, not fewer, peacekeepers, as substitutes for the armed forces of national governments and rebels.

The value of an organization depends on its mission, so the question is whether military units are mandated to defend and protect people or to attack and destroy them. Nowadays, most armed forces are for war-fighting, but every city has a police force to protect its citizens. Our ancestor, the caveguy, stood guard at the cave entrance with a spear, lest a saber-tooth tiger arrive unexpectedly. That was for security. But even then, caveguy perhaps also belonged to a warrior gang that raided other settlements for booty. That was not for security. Lives were short in those days, partly because the police force and peacekeepers hadn’t been invented yet to protect citizens.

Basic civility requires us to honor “those brave men and women who risk their lives to defend our country,” though in fact many wars are not defensive in nature. And logically, for every military action that is truly defensive, there must be at least one — the opponent’s — that is offensive. Too often, it is impossible to know which side deserves the glory and which side the shame. Triumphant warriors can now all claim to be heroes, for if ever there was a clear distinction between protective military actions and aggressive attacks, that clarity has long been blurred.

This indistinctness has arisen from the increasing acceptability of two principles. The first is preventive war—military action against an adversary while he is presumably preparing to attack. If self-defence is justifiable, then it is not irrational to consider a pre-emptive strike moral too. But we know where that idea leads.

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Arctic Peace and Security Policy Issues

The history of the circumpolar nations has been one of cooperation, of necessity in the harsh polar environment, and for the mutual benefit of all. As the Arctic opens to greatly enlarged economic and governance activity, there is significant risk that competition and confrontation will occur, and that the presently non-militarized Arctic could change dramatically, in a non-beneficial manner. To this end, it is important that the Arctic should be free of nuclear weapons, and that positive actions by the non-nuclear-weapon circumpolar states should commence in the immediate future. Canada, with its vast territories and extensive coastline is in a key position to draft its Arctic Policy to include its aspiration for a nuclear-weapon-free Arctic, and to take an international leadership role.

 In this context, it is very important to recall the 1983 Declaration of the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) on a Nuclear Free Arctic. Re-Issue of an updated Declaration by the ICC could have a powerful impact on the international community and influence progress toward a nuclear-weapon-free Arctic. Canadian Pugwash, together with its international contacts, has significant expertise in current political status of nuclear weapons and would gladly offer assistance in producing updated wording of the Declaration.

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“Five reasons to say no to spending $19 billion on war planes”

By: Brent Patterson

The Canadian government intends to sign a $19 billion contract in 2022 with one of three transnational corporations bidding to manufacture 88 fighter jets for the Royal Canadian Air Force. Here are five reasons to say no to that planned purchase:

1- We can’t afford the fighter jets. On July 8, Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced that he expects a $343.2 billion deficit for the 2020-21 fiscal year due to the spending related to the pandemic. This is a dramatic increase from the $19 billion deficit in 2016 when the Trudeau government announced the bidding process for new fighter jets.

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Hurting Military Friends’ Feelings

Some of my friends with military backgrounds are deeply offended by the video that we posted this week. It is a recording of our monthly town hall, and we discussed the new proposal to defund the military. You can talk about defunding the police now, but you must nut speak of defunding the military, lest you hurt their feelings. Pride and honor mean too much to them.

But surely everyone can see that all those weapons we have purchased have not given us any security. A tiny virus can kill millions, so we should.be spending on health, education, and climate change. How can anyone take offense because i propose that? The world spends $1.9 trillion per year on militarism. That is ridiculous. Sorry, pal. We are friends but I cannot softpedal that reality to make you feel good about your job.

How Much Shall we Cut Military Expenditures?

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Notice that the Platform for Survival does not say how much we are supposed to reduce the size of the military. I was in the audience at the forum when we discussed that and I heard the proposal originally was 80 percent. We were told that such a high number would be considered unreasonable or even laughable. But I think it is a good number. Reduce all the military systems in the world by 80 percent and we’d be on our way to a real solution to other global problems.

And yes, it will be hard to do. But I’d like us to pick a target number, please. Lately Bernie Sanders has proposed a ten percent reduction. Okay, that’s a starting point. Who will raise the bid?

Would that be good for bad for the economy?

Were they referring to just the military itself – or the number of businesses, industries, etc. which have the military as significant economic partners? What type of extent would reducing the (US?) military that much have on the global economy?

Rank Countries for their Demilitarizing

Good point. Maybe we should assign scores to countries based on how much they have reduced their military spending and converted it to the development of negative emission technologies — e.g. forest planting or carbon capture and conversion to fuel.

And on the other hand, there’s Costa Rica!. Wow. One of the world’s happiest countries. Here’s how:


Costa Rica’s the Best!

Right. The woman who chaired the Ban Treaty conference is from Costa Rica. So is Oscar Arias, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work against the Central American crisis. And there is a peace university located there.

Stop the Arms Trade, Save Yemen

On September 17, Canada formally joined the global Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) as the 105th state party to do so, nearly five years after this landmark multilateral treaty entered into force. We applaud this welcome step. But there will be no standing ovation.

Not while Canadian arms exports to Saudi Arabia continue, already 11 months after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that they would be reviewed. And let’s not forget the backdrop to this review: the brutal assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi

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It May Only Take 3.5% of the Population to Topple a Dictator — With Civil Resistance

(From The Guardian)

Many people across the United States are despondent about [Trump] – and the threat to democracy his rise could represent. But they shouldn’t be. At no time in recorded history have people been more equipped to effectively resist injustice using civil resistance.

Today, those seeking knowledge about the theory and practice of civil resistance can find a wealth of information at their fingertips. In virtually any language, one can find training manuals, strategy-building tools, facilitation guides and documentation about successes and mistakes of past nonviolent campaigns.

Material is available in many formats, including graphic novels, e-classes, films and documentaries, scholarly books, novels, websites, research monographs, research inventories, and children’s books. And of course, the world is full of experienced activists with wisdom to share.

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Meet Satan

The “Satan 2” nuclear rocket is aptly named. Maybe the worst weapon ever.

Last edited 15 days ago by Cameron