Evaluation of IPB´s Side Events during the NPT PrepCom 2019

The 2019 Chair’s reflection on the Prepcom has set the challenge for 2020: “The 50th Anniversary of the entry into force, and the 25th Anniversary of the indefinite extension of the Treaty in 2020, require a demonstrable commitment to the Treaty by States parties. Looking beyond 2020 also requires reaffirming and implementing past commitments, and this is needed to maintain the integrity of the Treaty following the commemorations.” Continue reading “Evaluation of IPB´s Side Events during the NPT PrepCom 2019”

Douglas Roche – “The Dissent of a 90-Year-Old”

The Dissent of a 90-Year-Old

Address by Hon. Douglas Roche, O.C. Presentation of Sean MacBride Peace Prize Toronto, April 25, 2019

 

“A 90-year-old man appears before you, sighing not for the past but crying for the future. It is not my lost youth that I pine for but a lost future for my grandchildren and their children. Nuclear weapons and climate change threaten their very existence. I dissent from public policies today that will lead to their world being blown up or burned up.

Much of my public career, which started nearly a half-century ago, has been marked by dissent, and I’m not stopping my protest now. I dissent from the anti-humanitarian policies of war for peace. I dissent from the perpetuation of poverty through the greed of the rich. I dissent from the despoliation of the planet by short-sighted industrialism. Most of all, I dissent from the fabric of lies spun by the proponents of nuclear weapons who would have us believe that these heinous instruments of mass murder make us safer.

Governments go on pretending that the military doctrine of nuclear deterrence will bring security and that the half measures of a carbon tax will curb global warming. But these policies are failing. We are in a climate emergency and continued global warming threatens to make huge areas of earth uninhabitable. Likewise, a new nuclear arms race is underway and the current modernization of the 15,000 nuclear weapons held by nine states increases the chances of a nuclear war that would wreck the environment and trigger global famine.

It is not hard to predict that nuclear weapons will one day be used if they continue to proliferate among countries, to foresee rising terrorism that exploits discrimination and inhuman living conditions, to anticipate that rising temperatures and waters will forces the dislocation of millions of people who will swamp already overcrowded systems.

These threats to humanity ought to spark outrage, for they are caused by human folly.

We in Canada, this land blessed beyond belief with natural resources of land, minerals, forests and water, bear a special responsibility in building humane global policies. We used to be a world leader in implementing the broad U.N. agenda for peace. Now our silence is deafening.

It isn’t that globalization is just too much for us to figure out, that we lack the brainpower or international instruments to bring stability to the world in the midst of change. Far from it. We have immense stores of knowledge and, in the United Nations, the essential machinery to address the problems of armaments, poverty, pollution, and human rights violations. But the captains of our society — the politicians, the diplomats, the media and the corporate structures — cannot, do not, will not, all to varying degrees, lift up their vision and work together to make Canada a driver in preserving the world as a fitting habitat for all humanity.

I want a world that is human-centred and genuinely democratic, a world that builds and protects peace, equality, justice and development. I want a world in which human security as envisioned in the principles of the U.N. Charter, replaces armaments, violent conflict and wars. I want a world in which everyone lives in a clean environment with a fair distribution of the earth’s resources. and international law protects human rights.

Since governments have shown that they cannot muster the political will to build true human security, civil society must step in. In fact, it is the leading edge of civil society that is today advancing the ideas of nonviolence that are at the core of the human right to peace. In the great world transformation we are living through — moving from a culture of war to a culture of peace —the real creativity is found in civil society movements. The International Peace Bureau, the Pugwash movement, Public Response and Peace Magazine, all represented here tonight, provide us with the hope we need to go on working for peace.

I have found that, for me, personal creativity is the best way to express my dissent. The two groups that I have led, Parliamentarians for Global Action and the Middle Powers Initiative, provided outlets for me to inject energy into the political systems. Dissent can become creative when we care enough about failed public policies to do something to move forward. Out of our griefs and anxieties, we build a new basis of hope.

What I feel most is that the human journey cannot be stopped. We are often, in spite of ourselves, raising up our civilization. An alliance of civilizations lies ahead — if we can avoid blowing up or burning up the earth. The photograph of Earth taken from space by the astronauts reveals our wholeness and, street fighting notwithstanding, our unity as a human family. Our vulnerability is apparent, but so is our strength — in knowledge, technology and creativity.

I suppose I won’t see the world of my dreams. Time is running out for me. But I am not unhappy about that. I have had a marvellous life and I know how blessed I am. To have had such opportunities as a journalist, educator, Member of Parliament, ambassador and senator is a rare privilege. To have participated in the struggles of our time to advance human security has developed me as a person. To have been sustained by the love and support of my family has enriched me in countless ways.

Even though I am often in dissent at the news of the day, I am at peace with the world, and I think I have found peace within myself. This is perhaps another paradox, like the world going in two directions at the same time. Because I want peace in the world so much, I feel it, and this, in turn, makes me want to keep working for it. I could not stand up and lecture about peace or write books about it if I did not feel peace within me. The words of the prophet Isaiah guide me: “Peace, peace to the far and near, says the Lord, and I will guide them.”

Though relinquishing positions of responsibility, I’ll go on working for peace until God decides otherwise. The grandstand has no appeal for me. I’ll never quit this work. There’s too much to do.”

GCOMS Final Statement 2019

The Coordinating Team of GCOMS has published its final statement for the Global Days of Action on Military Spending 2019.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has published its new report on global military spending on Monday the 29thof April 2019 and once again we feel obliged to state our concern and outrage and call on every individual and group to take action and publicly denounce this nonsense. Continue reading “GCOMS Final Statement 2019”

Post-Conference Statement – Growing Nuclear Risks in a Changing World: New Thinking and Movement Building

Statement of Reiner Braun (IPB) and Joseph Gerson (IPB, AFSC, Campaign for Peace, Disarmament and Common Security) on the Conference “Growing Nuclear Risks in a Changing World: New Thinking and Movement Building, co-organised by the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, New York Office

Continue reading “Post-Conference Statement – Growing Nuclear Risks in a Changing World: New Thinking and Movement Building”

Understanding the New Geopolitical and Military Disorders

Presentation 04-05-2019 Conference NY

Arielle Denis

Understanding the New Geopolitical and Military Disorders, their nuclear dimensions and the Forces Driving Them

 

I shall briefly draft the global picture as I see it in this new situation, and highlight the need to articulate how human security and common security maybe create a new concept that is related and interlinked?

I will conclude by showing that abolishing nuclear weapons is to me one of our best tools to challenge the actual architecture of domination and the industrial military complex.

As you know, the right and extreme right fight the battle for cultural and political hegemony since the 80’s against fundamental rights and especially against equality, against solidarity, for securitarian ideologies and to amplify the disqualification of progressive projects. They led the offensives against workers in generalizing precariousness; against the welfare state through privatization, to protect /organise the widespread corruption of political classes and to subordinate digital technology to the logic of finance.

But this rise in power of straight and extreme right was and is not imposed without resistance. People are fighting everywhere and the confrontation is becoming more and more violent.

The hardening of contradictions and social tensions explains the emergence of extreme forms of confrontation. But, there is also another reason for the situation, it is the anxieties related to the emergence of a new world. Bolsonaro, Trump and other far-right governments are the grimacing faces of this anxiousness. Take the example of a right-wing elector of Alabama, we have the same people in Europe, he is white, middle class affected by precariousness, he looks around, what does he see?

The Indians are still there; the blacks refuse the segregation, the latinos become a majority, the women want half of the power. The world he imagined already no longer exists, and cannot exist.

So what about the new world and prefiguring the contradictions of the future?

We can identify five mutations in progress, unfinished revolutions whose first upheavals we already perceive?

  1. The revolution of women’s rights challenges millennial relationships.
  2. The revolution of the rights of peoples, the second phase of decolonization, after the independence of the states, emphasizes the liberation of peoples and questions multiple identities
  3. The ecological challenge and the awareness of finite resources and humans as a species is a deep philosophical revolution
  4. The Tech revolution: Digital renews language and writing and biotechnology question the limits of the human body.
  5. The upheaval of the planet’s population is underway, it is not a migration crisis but a world demographic revolution.

There are several upheavals under way, unfinished and uncertain revolutions. There is no reason to say that they will not be crushed, deviated or recovered. But nothing allows either to affirm it. They upset the world; they are also hopeful and already mark the future and the present.

Resistances are building everywhere, in many different forms that differ from the 80’s. The resistances define the refusals and open the tracks of the necessary and possible alternatives. Starting from the resistance, we can put them into perspective in a project. The legibility of an alternative project is emerging through refusals.

To resist you have to create. Resistance opens the field of possibilities.

The radicality of the struggles is carried by their singularity. Each fight carries overtaking. It reveals unexpected horizons at first.

We have seen this with the radicalism of women’s movements, the movements of traditional peoples and more specifically black movements of Afro-descendants, cultural movements.

The convergence of movements is not done by reducing their radicality to make them compatible. It is reflected in the invention of new approaches. For example, intersectionality in the convergence of social movements, women’s movements, Afro-descendant movements. In the same way, the generational refusal of the destruction of the world environment by the greed economy domination.

To resist is to create; to create is to resist. This approach that links resistance and creation defines the strategic approach. The strategy is defined and built in the articulation between the response to the emergency and the implementation of an alternative project. We must respond to the urgency with proposals that respond to situations immediately. But urgency is not enough to change situations; emergency actions must be articulated with alternative proposals, with a project.

Social movements and citizens are confronted with the definition of their strategy, the nature of social bases and alliances. Our societies are changing. The new is built through the old. In the carriers of transformation, the relations between movements, social classes and peoples are redefined. Class struggles remain decisive; but the social classes and the relations between the social classes change. Let us remember that during the revolution of 1789, none of the two principal classes, the peasantry and the aristocracy, prevailed; they are classes born from the process, the bourgeoisie and the working class that have emerged.

II How does this match with security issues?

The traditionnal security dilemma between sovereignty and protecting the national interest abroad is strongly back again to bridging together security and the military, to confuse the two. It derives from it a culture of security that has much difficulties to think in the collective mode. This idea of a collective security was initiated by the League of Nations (SDN), after the first world war, but the old sovereignist reflexes were not slow to reappear …

Globalization challenges the principle of sovereignty at least three times. First, by being inclusive: the entire humanity, for the first time in its history, acts on a single scene that imposes so many constraints and standards potentially common. Then, cultivating interdependence: far from being subordinated to the conditions of competition as before, my survival depends on the links that unite me to others. Finally, by promoting mobility: in a world of generalized communication, everyone sees everyone and everyone is potentially or really elsewhere. As a result of a competitive and sovereign security, we pass slowly but surely to a ‘related security’. My security now depends on the fulfillment of that of the other and the construction of the one of all …

The shock is primarily cultural, which helps to explain why resistance to such a change is so vivid. Even when we agree that security can be a common good for all humanity, the reflex is quick, when we define its boundaries, to think first of national interests endangered. We simply forget that, conversely, no particular interest can survive anymore without first meeting the conditions for minimum collective security.

Multilateralism has made progress in the very conception of this collective security escaping the laws of sovereignty and the weight of national selfishness; multilateralism only could guarantee its equitable implementation … but we know that it is never a given: multilateralism has a strong tendency to reflect the values of the most powerful and to protect the interests of the latter as a matter of priority.

Yet, the conceptual evolution of collective security made a huge step forward in1994, when the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) was able to conceive human security in a way that was both revolutionary and successful.

Human security is considered as an effort to free humanity from its fears and places people at the center of the scope. This is making significant progress, both in the extension of the very idea of security and in its emancipation of the logic of sovereignty.

Above all, it lifts a taboo: the main threat today is no longer only of a military nature but is closely related to global social issues. Human security is about food, health, environment, economic, and everything that ensure one’s security.

But such vision of security remains to be implemented – Ruling classes are not willing to sacrifice the ‘sovereign interests’ that drive them. The Security Council, as a good temple of sovereign powers, is reluctant to deal with real issues of human security and prefers to mix as usual pragmatism and bad faith.

III The new nuclear paradigma

In this upheaval environment, Nuclear weapons are strongly back on the international scene, challenging us with a renewed energy.

The 9 nuclear possessors are modernizing their arsenals, just as if Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Thales and the other N weapon manufacturer were directly voting the laws and the budgets. And just as if nuclear weapons were just products like others.

But the world is not the same that in the cold war, building on this conception of human security that puts humans at the center of the security paradigm the TPNW has been voted by 122 states in the Un in July 2017.

The TPNW tells us: NW are unacceptable in their very essence and we prohibit them before we eliminate them.

The mobilization of these 122 states against the 9 nuclear states including the 5 Security Council members is one more interesting sign of resistance.

Nuclear weapons are a week point in the architecture of domination. When the climate change issue is such a high priority in people’s mind which brings us slowly but surely to human and other living things extinction, how would nuclear weapons be acceptable?

They are only 9 countries to take the decision and the pressure of shame is building against them. The TPNW is generating a global push that includes the vast majority of governments from the South, international organizations like the Red Cross, religions, trade unions, and global civil society environment, human rights, indigenous movement, to put an end to this deadly threat of NW.

NW are a symbol of a world that is disappearing, a world where you could extract and waste resources forever, a world where mass killing and genocide has been possible, a world that was thinking itself as endless.

A world that is unsustainable.

Now, I’d like to quote part of the speech that Gretha Thunberg give to the world social economic forum, not just because it is a brave, just and inspiring speech but because also it demonstrates that what we have in mind in this room, our will to radically change things is widely shared by millions of people, noticeably by the new generation:

“Our civilization is being sacrificed for the opportunity of a very small number of people to continue making enormous amounts of money. Our biosphere is being sacrificed so that rich people in countries like mine can live in luxury. It is the sufferings of the many which pay for the luxuries of the few. The year 2078, I will celebrate my 75th birthday. If I have children maybe they will spend that day with me. Maybe they will ask me about you. Maybe they will ask why you didn’t do anything while there still was time to act.

You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes. Until you start focusing on what needs to be done rather than what is politically possible, there is no hope. We cannot solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis. We need to keep the fossil fuels in the ground, and we need to focus on equity.

And if solutions within the system are so impossible to find, maybe we should change the system itself.

We have not come here to beg world leaders to care. You have ignored us in the past and you will ignore us again. We have run out of excuses and we are running out of time. We have come here to let you know that change is coming, whether you like it or not. The real power belongs to the people. Thank you.”