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human right V antimilitarist action

Andreas Speck and Bart Horeman discuss conscientious objection: is it simply a human right, or does it represent an antimilitarist action? Andreas: When I became a total objector in Germany in the mid-80s, I saw my objection as an act of civil disobedience against militarism, or, more specifically, against the system of military slavery called conscription. My refusal to serve was aimed towards abolishing conscription and I saw it as a small but important contribution to demilitarise peoples minds.

"Reality is realised in our time through the ideal, only through the ideal."

In this experimental article on visions-based on the writings of anarchist Gustav Landauer and the lyrics of 1970s German rock band Ton Steine Scherben - Andreas Speck argues that while visions should guide us, provide us with energy, and stimulate our imaginations, they shouldn't turn us into slaves to our ideals.
"Reality is realised in our time through the ideal, only through the ideal."

# Andreas Speck

Visions - a difficult topic during times of war and of increased militarisation and marginalisation of peace activists, but perhaps then, even more important.

Civilian Peace Service – Why should we play the state’s game?

A critique of the concept for a Civilian Peace Service UK

“Is there a need to develop a UK Civilian Peace Service along the lines of the other European countries”, ask Tim Wallis and Mareike Junge from Peaceworkers UK1. My answer is a simple “No!” and I could leave it here. But because a major part of the mainstream peace movement is in favour of a Civilian Peace Service, I want to argue strongly not to waste time, energy and resources for aims that shouldn’t be ours. We urgently need these energies to (re)build a strong and antimilitarist peace movement.

From Protest to Resistance

While we are writing this, Britain - where we, WRI workers, are living - and the US are dropping bombs on Afghanistan - ?the first weeks of the "war on terrorism". At the same time on Oxford Street - a couple of kilometres from the WRI office - mainstream Britain goes shopping; life goes on as normal as possible, although protective clothing and gas masks are sold out, in fear of anthrax attacks. Who cares about the bombs dropped thousands of kilometres away, in order to save Western civilisation from terrorism?

Empowerment world-wide

In February 2001, a little later than originally planned, 70 people from 20 countries on five continents met for a week at the Gandhi Labour Foundation in Puri on the Gulf of Bengal, in order to exchange experiences of empowerment, to raise questions, and to search for new answers1.

Empowerment: International Dimensions

Although international cooperation among political movements is as old as the movements themselves, it has become more important in times of economic globalization. Since the UN Earth Summit in Rio in 1992, solidarity has entered official discourse in discussion of an international "civil society." Rather than add to that discussion and the growing NGO-ization of popular movements, I want to examine the experience of one movement--War Resisters' International (WRI)--with international cooperation through the lens of empowerment. As an international network of pacifist and nonviolent organizations, WRI focuses on the grassroots level and works to achieve change at the leadership level by indirect means.

Collective identities: trap or tool for empowerment?

Collective identities — „we" as queers, as whatever group you like — are often perceived as empowering, as providing a sense of belonging. On the other hand through their very existence, collective identities produce new boundaries of „in" and „out", and new norms of behaviour that limit peoples’ freedom to be and to do. Not only can identity be disempowering, but it can also threaten peoples’ lives, as nationalist and homophobic attacks show. Maybe I’m stating the obvious here. I consider none of all the collective identities normally discussed (be they ethnic, gender, or nation-based) as „natural"; all of them are social constructions. This doesn’t mean they don’t exist, or that they don’t have an influence on our lives, but it means that we have an active role too in our collective identities, in stabilising or de-constructing them. As I am a gay man, I will mainly write from this perspective. However, I’m convinced similar processes are at work in the construction of other collective identities, and therefore my thoughts are not limited to issues of gay identities.

Practical peace policy through civil intervention in everyday life

(Forum 3, AG 8)


Andreas Speck, Patchwork, Oldenburg (Oldb.)

Impulsreferat auf dem Osnabrücker Friedenskongreß 1998


Zivile Intervention im Alltag als eine Form der Friedenspolitik, der Begriff ist so weit gefaßt, daß er eigentlich schon gar nicht mehr faßbar ist. Darunter fallen individuelle Handlungen, die unter dem Stichwort "Zivilcourage" zusammengefaßt werden – also z.B. individuelles und beherztes Eingreifen bei rassistischen oder sexistischen Übergriffen, z.B. im Bus oder in der U-Bahn –, auf der anderen Seite aber auch im lokalen Alltag eingebettete Aktionen von handelnden Gruppen wie z.B. die Unterstützung von Flüchtlingen, der Aufbau von Netzwerken zur Unterstützung von Illegalisierten, aber auch demonstrative Aktionen wie z.B. tägliche oder wöchentliche Mahnwachen, Boykottaktionen, "giroblau", das Einkaufen mit Wertgutscheinen für Flüchtlinge etc...

A Movement Action Plan for Turkey

These pages are an assessment of the seminar "A Movement Action Plan for Turkey". The seminar took place in Sigacik near Izmir from April 4 to 8, 1998 and was the first of its kind in Turkey. Copies of this documentation are available from Patchwork.


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by Dr. Radut