Antimilitarism and gender – the challenge of integration

Talk by Andreas Speck, staff at War Resisters' International, at the launch of Cynthia Cockburn's book ‘Antimilitarism: Political and Gender Dynamics of Peace Movements’ at Housmans Bookshop, 21 April 2012

First of all I want to thank Cynthia for giving me the opportunity to say something today, although I haven't read the whole book yet.

I am familiar with her research, as WRI is one of the organisations which were part of her research. I think we very much welcomed it when she approached us a few years ago, and we are thankful for the challenge this posed, and for being pushed to reflect on the challenges of integrating feminism and gender into our antimilitarist practice. When Cynthia called me earlier this week and asked me to talk today, it had a similar effect again.

Military out of schools!

Against the militarisation of education

UK Armed Forces at the Charles Darwin SchoolOn 1 August 1914, it was too late for pacifist propaganda, it was too late for militarist propaganda – in fact the militarists then only harvested what they have sown 200 years before. We have to sow." [1] This is what German pacifist Kurt Tucholsky wrote in an article titled “On effective pacifism”, published in 1927. More than 80 years later, the militarists are still sowing. The presence of the military in schools is only the most outrageous example of the sowing and planting of militarist values into the minds of children and soon-to-be soldiers, or supporters of militarism and war. It is the most outrageous, because on the one hand schools should be about learning positive values and knowledge, and not about propaganda, and on the other hand children are most vulnerable to propaganda and indoctrination.

A queer antimilitarist perspective on the repeal of 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' in the US

In December 2010, the US House of Representatives and the Senate both voted to repeal the policy of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" (DADT), introduced by then President Bill Clinton in 1993 in relation to gay and lesbian service personnell. US President Obama signed the act on 22 December 2010. Although the bill will not come into force immediately, it is already being praised as a major victory for gays and lesbians in the USA. It is presently not known if ongoing or future discharges of openly gay or bisexual service members will cease now, after Obama signed the bill, after the 60-day period following the reception of a comprehensive review, or at some later point. It is expected that the law will be fully implemented within the military structure by the end of 2011.

Militarization and masculinities

Refusing militarism is not possible without refusing hegemonic masculinity

  • Andreas Speck, War Resisters' International

Against NATO: Continuing the struggle – until the summit in Portugal (and beyond)

From 15-18 October a series of meetings took place in Berlin, to discuss the continuation of work against NATO and the war in Afghanistan after Strasbourg. A special focus was on European and international co-operation.

After Strasbourg: On dealing with violence in one's own ranks

“The more violence, the less revolution,” Bart de Ligt wrote in The Conquest of Violence in 1936. If we accept this, then there was very little revolution in Strasbourg, despite all the romantic revolutionary rhetoric from certain groupings. I put this first in order to make it clear that this is a critique from a revolutionary perspective, and not a criticism of violence from a Green or Left-Party state-reformist point of view which accepts the state's monopoly on the use of force.

A global NATO? From NATO to a “global alliance of democracies”?

Not only since the end of the Cold War NATO – the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation – has expanded considerably beyond what could be called the “Northern Atlantic” region. In fact, most of NATO's expansion has been in Eastern and South Eastern Europe. But NATO is more than just a North American and European affair. It now has global connections and partnerships, and some strategists propose to develop NATO into a “global alliance of democracies”.

Shut down NATO

Nonviolent action against NATO

Against all militarism

Why an antimilitarist perspective is important for all social movements

The World Social Forum is now 6 years old. Since its beginning in Porto Alegre in 2001, it grew, it inspired regional processes, and it changed. With the success of the World Social Forum came interest from the traditional left, and from leftist governments. Brazil's president Lula spoke at the World Social Forum, and the Venezuelan government made use of the "polycentric" forum in Caracas to promote the "Bolivarian revolution". So is the WSF embracing old-fashioned traditional left politics, and does it abandon its own principles? Does the WSF fall into the old trap of opposing one side of the political spectrum - (US) imperialism - and turning a blind eye on human rights violations and militarism when they occur on the left side of the political spectrum, according to the simple principle "the enemy of my enemy is my friend"?


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