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Peace movement building

20729397_863822157110079_7936783295654074107_nPeace movement building by Chris White For discussion 2017

Perpetual war is ever pressing.
Can Australians be more active building an effective peace movement against US Pentagon wars and for an independent foreign policy?

I urge actions raising the peace question, enhancing solidarity networks, strengthening anti-war alliances and networking and advocating armed neutrality.
I remember first being active against the Vietnam War in 1967. I know today’s world is very different and war/peace more complex. I make suggestions from my recent experiences. Please add yours.

1. In our community groups and unions argue for policies against war and get agreement to push for peace.

Social justice, health, workplace, pensioners, transport and educational campaigns raise budget priorities against war expenditure eg. less spending on the F35 fighter and more for these people’s needs.

Inside unions and at workplaces develop activists who can win support for a peace focus and follow up with solidarity activity.

I have been involved with US Labor against War USLAW. Please subscribe to their emails. .
See my report on USLAW National Washington Conference 2016 where a new young peace leadership was evident.
This is a model for unionists who practice “peace is union business”. Australian unions can develop a National anti-war organisation with delegates from all unions.

One focus is debating peace with unionists in our defence manufacturing industries and arguing for conversion to new manufacturing.

The “Fair” Work Act repression of strikes means it is unlawful for employees to strike to attend peace rallies and political protests against war. We can campaign for the right to strike. fullstop.

On this blog, I cite Don Sutherland and my argument for the right to strike, no penalties on any political strike.

Picasso Peace dove

Picasso Peace dove

We can raise more sharply in environmental organisations reasons why we must fight for peace.
“War is an environmental nightmare that continues to poison people and the planet long after the fighting ends. The Pentagon is the largest consumer of fossil fuels and emitter of CO2 gases in the world. Wars are fought for oil and other energy resources.

The U.S. drive for global hegemony is intimately bound up with its aim to control energy resources. Budget priorities on health and education and global warming cut because of increased defence funding.” Read further USLAW.
Greenpeace’s NO WAR on the Sydney Opera House was iconic..

2. We can participate in our Independent and Peaceful Australia Network IPAN and recruit new groups and Improve our networking amongst diverse activists.
See the IPAN ad. KEEP AUSTRALIA OUT OF US WARS in the Saturday Review. Please sign

Professor Richard Tanter is one critical analyst. I organised a public peace meeting in Darwin with him and Malcom Fraser 2017 Tanter ‘Trump chaos to our north? Where do we stand at the end of US hegemony in Asia?’

Although the anti-war movement covers many conflicts, we have to be particularly opposed to war with China – see

See John Pilger’s film “The Coming War with China.Can_you_save_the_climate_and_keep_waging_war
Read here Pilger on the threat of nuclear war with North Korea
We oppose any so-called US “limited” nuclear war on North Korea as disastrous for the Korean Peninsular and leading to war with China. US troops have to be phased out.

The IPAN 2017 National Conference in Melbourne 8th -10th September.
peace trust

IPAN is linking with peace representatives from US, Japan, Okinawa, Guam, Pacific Is, Phillipines, New Zealand and South Korea. We need to link world wide with others – including Chinese against war.

On International peace networking and solidarity I have just read “A Global Security System: An Alternative to War” published by World Beyond War see There are many similar.
Waging Peace on War: Canberra. WACA Peace Convergence

The US missiles e.g. aimed at North Korea and China and drone attacks go through our US bases and we have to give notice of their closure.

I follow Space4Peace campaigning

Networking to raise peace issues in ALP branches is important.

ALP activists can urge in foreign affairs policy committees for an independent and peaceful foreign policy. Recent Keating comments are taken up and Penny Wong moving for independent position.

A new ALP government can have a Minister for Peace and a Peace Department with resources for peace, civic education and infrastructure spending for nuclear fall-out shelters in the NT and WA.

We can rework international relations based on principles. Here is a post on history of Chinese 5 Principles of Peace.

We can debate: how can Australia move to armed neutrality for this century?

2. We can assist building anti-war alliances with political impact. Political lobbying on Turnbull to reverse war-mongering is urgent as is pressure for Australia to sign up to the Nuclear Ban treaty.

Existing actions can be supported. To name one. ICAN‘s National Day of Action June 16 celebrated moves at the UN to agree a treaty to ban nuclear weapons. However the rallies were small. The March to Ban the Bomb exposes Australia’s boycott of this historic process and displays the diversity and high level of public support for a ban nationwide.
The ICAN alliance of Australian Manufacturing Worker’s Union, Campaign for International Cooperation and Disarmament, Friends of the Earth Australia, Hunter Peace Group, Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN), Just Peace Queensland, Medical Association for Prevention of War, People for Nuclear Disarmament, Public Health Association of Australia, Quaker Peace and Legislation Committee, Union of Australian Women, Unions ACT, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Australia.
We can build stronger alliances on anti-war questions.

3. We can be more engaged with DFAT, debating policy and making critical submissions and promoting alternatives.

We support those retired Defence leaders arging for more Australian independence away from slavishness or interoperability to the US war activities.

We can debate with serving ADF members to query their war mongering political leaders.

In the US I met Iraq Veterans against War

We have to make our Intelligence agencies accountable.

We can press for public scutiny of the war against the right-wing politics of the war on terror.

4. We can start a public debate: how does Australia move to armed neutrality?

At the IPAN Conference 2016 and 2017 Professor Richard Tanter raised armed neutrality as Government foreign policy and there was a good discussion.

He asked people to read David Martin ‘Armed Neutrality. Australia’s Alternative’ published in August 1984 “Peace Dossier 10”.
David Martin’s paper can be found at: David-Martin.pdf
At that time, in the ALP left and socialist groups, armed neutrality was a legitimate policy position.

We can argue for armed neutrality for today’s challenges.

IPAN anti-war groups you can join include:
Medical Association for the Prevention of War MAPWA has many activities;
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom;anti US bases groups; those attending Pine Gap 2016 and analysis of why we have to close Pine Gap and IPAN policies [Close Pine Gap];
socialist organisations and;
the Greens, with Senator Scott Ludlam very active img_2467;
left unionists – Unions ACT, Electrical Trades Union (Qld) TU; Maritime Union of Australia (Qld); NTEU (National Tertiary Education Union);
img_2521Basewatch NT;
PeacetrustGraham Smith Peace Trust;
university researchers
Waging Peace on War: Canberra. WACA Peace Convergence
Just Peace Queensland for International Cooperation and Disarmament

Direct actions against the military-industrial complex are on-going:
Peace pilgrims lament face jail
see David Bradbury’s film “Waging Peace”;
actions by WACA and e.g. Shut Down Elbit Systems; Friends of the Earth;
Peace Bus; Renegade Anarchists; Disarm; Pax Christi (National); Australia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends; Lismore Rembering and Healing; Newcastle Peace Group; Australian Anti-Bases Campaign Coalition; Pax Christi NSW;
Marrickville peace Group;
Progressive Labor Party (NSW);
SEARCH Foundation;
Ngara Institute; Alice Springs Peace Action Think-Tank (ASPATT);
Basewatch; Ecumenical Social Justice Group Western Suburbs;

Year for Peace Sandgate ; Union of Australian Women;
Australian Non-violence Projects; St Marys in Exile; Qld Quakers;
Just Peace Qld;
Graham Smith Peace Foundation; Spirit of Eureka, SA; Quaker Peace & Justice Committee TASMANIA; War Resisters International (Hobart); Pace Bene, Australia; Australian Western Sahara Association;
Unitarians Victoria;
Spirit of Eureka – VIC;
Quakers WA; Ban Uranium Mining Permanently (BUMP);
People for Nuclear Disarmament WA; WA Anti-Nuclear Alliance (WANFA); Footprints for Peace WA; Mayors for Peace (WA); Anti-Nuclear Alliance of WA.
Radio 3CR is a good supporter for peace programmes.
Australians for War Powers Reform

The above paper was prepared for SEARCH International Solidarity, Peace and Security Working Group discussion and now published.

SEARCH Framework Statement
Space for Peacejpg
The International Solidarity, Peace and Security Working Group developed and adopted the following framework statement for its work. All SEARCH members are welcome to join the working group and take part in its discussions and activities.
1. Purpose & scope
To develop policy, promote campaigns, and support comrades working in the international solidarity, peace and security elds. Speci c aims include:
To support ongoing and emerging international solidarity activities with which SEARCH and its members are involved, recognizing these may change from time to time in response to changing political developments. These have included the solidarity relationship with FRETILIN in Timor Leste, the Zimbabwe Information Centre, West Papua, the Philippines Australia Union Link and associated
human rights networks, the Australian Supporters of Democracy in Iran, the Sydney Peace & Justice Coalition, Australian Fair Trade & Investment Network, and the Independent Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN).

IPAN Peace conference

IPAN Peace conference

To promote an independent Australian foreign policy that works for the peaceful resolutions of conflict and opposes unjust interventionist wars, military responses to conflict, and foreign military bases.
To support refugees and people fleeing conflict.
To support people and communities who are struggling to determine their own futures, and to promote the right of all peoples to self- determination.
To develop a progressive approach to defence, security and terrorism rather than vacating this space to advocates of xenophobia, racism, scapegoating, nationalist jingoism and fear-mongering, militarist and community-disempowering responses to real or apparent threats, and opportunistic authoritarian responses to increase police and security agency powers that threaten hard-won liberties and rights.
Deepening understanding of global power relations in a framework of a modern socialist alternative to capitalist globalisation, imperialism and colonialism.

2. Rationale
There is powerful competition between the main centres of capitalist power for economic and political dominance in the global economy, mostly re ecting corporate interests but also national interests as perceived by ruling classes and establishments. The longstanding powers of the United States, Europe and Japan compete with each other, but are now challenged also by China, India and Russia and other emergent powers. Huge numbers of workers, small farmers and communities are suffering as this competition amid crisis continues to unfold.

Picasso Peace dove

Picasso Peace dove

They are also major victims of, and campaigners against, the ecological disasters caused by the long-term impact of industrial capitalism including climate change, abuse of human rights, and a growing gap between rich and poor within and between nations. People’s movements that arise in response to these economic, social, ecological and national crises are the focus for our international solidarity work.
IPAN Peace conference

IPAN Peace conference

There is a pressing need for coherent progressive policy in the fields of security, defence and international human rights, as the so-called “war on terror” leads to curbs in civil liberties and a perpetual climate of fear, distrust and xenophobia, resulting in increasing powers of security agencies, monitoring of innocent citizens and invasion of privacy, threats to civil liberties for Australians, and breaches of human rights for refugees seeking support and safety.
Photo from Waging Peace on War: Canberra. WACA Peace Convergence copy
There is an arms race and tilt for power in the Asia-Pacific region as the US asserts its domination against the rise of China. This is leading to great tensions and threats of war and con ict, as well as a massive diversion of resources to armaments and technologies that serve the interests of the military-industrial complex, including warmongers and arms traders. There is a real danger that Australia will be dragged into regional con icts due to a lack of independent foreign and defence policies.

The policy debate is usually dominated by militaristic and conservative thinking that exaggerates threats and distorts the Australian budget towards military spending rather than focussing on and funding measures to deal with greater threats to security such as family, sexual and criminal violence, homelessness, loss of safe environments, the human rights of Aboriginal and indigenous communities and refugees, and economic insecurity. There is a pressing need for socialist and progressive perspectives to impact the policy debate about what a secure Australia and global community might look like, including what if any legitimate role there might be for military or civilian defence and-or the alternatives.
3. Membership
The working group will involve and be open to any SEARCH members interested in working in policy and campaigns regarding:
International solidarity with left and progressive movements in the Asia-Paci c region and elsewhere, including Timor Leste, West Papua, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam, the Middle East, Latin America, Southern Africa, the US and North America, and elsewhere.
Citizen rights and civil liberties, especially resisting increased police and security agency powers.
Reframing defence and security around real threats, protection of national sovereignty, and defence of citizens that promotes peaceful resolution of conflict and opposes violence, increased militarization, foreign military bases, and war as a solution to con icts and international di erences.

INSIDE Search Bulletin
» From neoliberal fundamentalism to Trade justice – Patricia Ranald [p. 2]
» Doc Evatt’s international legacy – Andrew Mack [p. 4]
» Standing up to nuclear bullies – Margaret Beavis [p. 9]
» Israel and Australia – Stuart Rees [p. 10]
» Philippines: Duterte and the generals [p. 11]
» Industrial slaughter and global manufacturing – John Smith [p. 13]
» A world adrift in a sea of turbulence – Joseph Camilleri [p. 15]
» Timor-Leste after the elections – Peter Murphy [p. 18]
» Building the peace movement – Chris White [p. 20]

The working group’s discussions and events will also be open to SEARCH supporters and allies where appropriate.

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