Tuesday, 15 April 2014

A Day to Protest Military Spending

Yesterday (14 April 2014) was the Global Day of Action Against Military Spending (GDAMS).

Over 100 organizations around the world have been involved in this vision. This is a wake up call to all of us to convert the yearly $1.7 trillion worldwide on the military into spending that meets our human needs of good health, free education for all, adequate housing, enriched cultural facilities, clean environment, good governance (with Departments of Peace) — the works.

In Canada, Steven Staples (of Rideau Institute and Ceasefire) has urged us to send a letter to the Canadian Finance Minister Joe Oliver with a message, such as the following.

Dear Minister Oliver,

Today I join with people all over the world seeking a reduction of military spending. I urge you to commit to reducing military spending to pre-September 11, 2001 levels, freeing up $2.5 billion every year to support our social programs.

In committing ourselves to a world without wars, let's remember some of the strong resources that we have to make this change not only possible, but inevitable:
  • War is 'the slavery of our times' (Lev N. Tolstoy, 1900), an idea that resonates with the notion of 'the kingdom of God is within you'. Like slavery, war needs to be gotten rid of. Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr shared this path.
  • 'War is a racket' (Major General Smedley Butler, 1935). 'It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.'
  • War is 'learned behaviour' that can be unlearnt (Seville Statement on Violence, 1989). Reason must thrump fear.
  • 'Nonkilling society is possible' (Glenn D. Paige, Center for Global Nonkilling, 2002). 'At least 95% of humans have not killed.'
  • 'Thou shalt not kill' is a commandment that is shared with Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Humanism, Mennonites, Quakers, and many others. In all societies, murder is disapproved.
  • My ancestors, Spirit Wrestlers/Doukhobors, burnt their guns in Tsarist Russia in 1895 because they showed reverence for life from the spirit of Love/Beauty/God within.
  • Cooperation is better than conflict.
  • Hope is better than fear.
GDAMS as a model for a world without war requires creativity. It challenges us to take money out of the military and funnel it into various human needs based on a culture of peace and nonkilling. This is a call for humanity. Let's get on with it my friends of Planet Earth.

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