CAlifornia Women's Agenda

TASK FORCE ON PEACE & ARMED CONFLICT

"The savings by disarmament will be used to provide sustainable development for all peoples."


Chair:
Madeline Duckles, WILPF - Berkeley
Email: mduckles@aol.com

CALIFORNIA VISION STATEMENT

We concur with the Platform for Action statement from the Beijing Conference, but we wish to expand upon it. The Beijing document dealt with women in time of armed conflict, the violence used against them and their treatment in areas of conflict. We want here to go further... to deal with militarism itself, its affect upon the lives of all of us, and particularly upon the lives of women and children, in countries abroad, in the United States and here in California. We stand for total and complete disarmament under international control. The savings by disarmament will be used to provide sustainable development for all peoples.

 

PREAMBLE

The massive expenditure for weapons deprives us here and abroad of funds desperately needed for development programs. In our own communities there is no money for child care, job-training, adequate education and health services while billions of dollars are available for the manufacture of weapons. In poorer countries the purchase of weapons, often a condition of foreign aid, takes money from desperately needed development projects. And where there are weapons, a use is found for them.

In California we have heavy defense and aerospace industries, justified as "good for the economy" and "the creation of jobs" and our legislators vote to perpetuate this permanent war-economy, even though we produce weapons we don't need. Workers are taught to ignore the ends for which they work. (Does a defense worker know what a missile does? Has he ever seen the victim of a land mine?) While the cost is killing us by taking from our social needs, if the end products are ever used we will all be dead. Women recognize this as a no- win, truly dead-end situation. It is time that men recognized the need for serious and thorough planning for conversion from war work to meaningful, constructive jobs.

Beyond the economic problems of a war economy, the role of militarism in our society is reflected in the violence in our communities. The so-called "arms bazaars" which extoll the virtues of new weapons and encourage their sale glorifies force as a solution to all conflicts. Manliness is equated with owning a gun. The rejoicing at the massacre of the Gulf War, the celebration of the "body count" during the Vietnam War exalts force and violence as a solution to all problems WHERE THERE IS ORGANIZED VIOLENCE AT THE TOP THERE WILL BE INDIVIDUAL VIOLENCE AT THE BOTTOM.

The military hierarchy employs public relations teams to perpetuate itself, it advocates military training in our schools and spends millions upon recruitment. And while the propaganda advertises "the good life" at overseas bases, the devastating effects upon women in the Philippines, in Okinawa and elsewhere have been well documented.

Not only does our military-dominated life affect us as individuals it is also destructive of the environment. When a military base is closed the toxic waste remains until expensive clean-up procedures can take place. In the development of nuclear weapons we have mined on Native American lands, ruined the health of uranium workers and we continue to test weapons on Shoshone land. And there are the permanently polluted areas of Hanford and Rocky Flats.

 

ISSUES OF CONCERN

Campaign financing, by which elected officials and legislation are bought makes legislation for disarmament and economic conversion difficult. Defense industries finance a political campaign, the elected official votes for more defense spending and so it goes. We must change this!

We have not held our elected officials accountable and we have failed in keeping after them, arranging delegations to visit them regularly, phoning, writing on issues.


The media is a major problem. It shapes the public perception on issues of war and peace. The growing mergers and increasing monopoly are a major obstacle to free dissemination of information. Deregualation has limited public access to television, both in program content and availability of Public Sservice Announcements. Congress does not fund programs of community concern, nor does it require the FCC to rule for programs that are genuinely in the public interest

There is often no Peace Education in the schools and when there is it is frequently inadequate.

In our zeal to achieve goals quickly we do not always treat other women with respect and this is a problem we must always keep in mind, with kindess and generosity of spirit

It is our conviction that we are not powerless, even in the face of this mighty military machine. We propose the following actions:

 

RECOMMENDED ACTIONS

Peace and Disarmament must be achieved through the United Nations. We must expand education and support for the United Nations and work to democratize it. We must require of our government full payment of dues owed to the United Nations as a first step.

Strengthen Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) participation at all levels of the United Nations.

Demand of our President a real committment and a time-line for abolishing nuclear weapons.

Demand a COMPLETE ban on land mines, production, sale and use. (President Clinton reneged on this, allowing use of certain typyes of wapons at the Pentagon's request that "we not be denied the use of this weapon for humanitarian reasons")

End nuclear weapons producction; employ nuclear engineers to find a means to dispose salfely nuclear waste.

Require that local, non-partisan, objective commissions be appointed by local citizens and officials to address the problems of nuclear and hazardous waste. Such a commision must be given respect and clout.

Stop arms production and arms sales, nationally, internationaly and intra-state.

Stop the National Ignition Facility to be built at Livermore which will permit "controlled " nuclear testing and provide research capabilities for leaner, meaner nuclear weapons.

Institute conferences and commissions state-wide to attack the problems of converting from military to civilian jobs. Such meetings should be immediate, but well-planned with the best minds we can get, with equal representation of women.

Work for parity for peace studies, in schools, in libraries, equal to war studies.

Promote conflict resolution in our communites, in our schools and at all levels of government - city, county, state, national.

In all work promote gender equality, develop inter-racical infrastructures.

Develop lobby groups. Three hundred women in each congressional district to write, phone, organize delegations to visit legislators would have a tremendous impact on disarmament issues.

All the foregoing assumes the promotion of women as equal partners in all decision making and negotiations in matters of war and peace.

Enact strict gun control measures.

Demand a global "NO FIRST USE" treaty.

Require local, non-partisan, objective commissions to be appointed by local citizens and officials to address the problem of nuclear and hazardous waste. such a commission must be respected and be given the clout to affect change.

Keep ROTC and NAVAI ROTC out of our schools.

Support our State government supporting the Arias Peace Pledge.

Support Ward Valley Actions.

Promote gender equality through educational programs as a means of reducing violence against women.

Initiate in-house programs centered on conflict resolution at conferences on issues of racism, ageism, and disability.

 

SUCCESSFUL PROGRAMS

 

RESOURCE ORGANIZATIONS

Tri-Valley Cares - Marylea Kelley

Livermore Conversion Project - Marylea Kelley

Western States Legal Foundation - Jackie Cabasso

Center for Economic C conversion - Lenny Segal, Michael Claussen

War Resisters League - Chris, Steve Ladd

Plowshares - Jack Holmgren

Catholic Workers

Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition - Ted Smith

AFSC - Wilson Riles, Jr.

WILPF - Madeline Duckless

UFW - Dolores Huerta

Nuclear Age Peace Foundation - Santa Barbara, David Krieger

Global Exchange - Medea Benjamin

SCCOSH - Mandy Hawes

PRS - Dr. Bernard Lown, Helen Caldicott

Club of Budapest - Irvin Laszlo

Center for Defense Information

Greenpeace

Ward Valley - Ernie Goitein

Bahai - San Francisco Center

Goleta, CA - Nabil Maghzi

Friends National Committee on Legislation

Friends California Committee on Legislation

Common Agenda - Edith Laub

San Jose Peace Center - Sheila Moriarty (408) 297-8330


 

SPECIAL RESOLUTIONS

"We the People of the State of California demand an immediate end to the violation of human and civil rights of ethnic groups and undocumented people in California. We demand that the President of the United States and the Governor of the State of California mandate that all law enforcement offices obey all human and civil rights laws when dealing with persons who appear to be undocumented due to physical appearance, color, language, or dress. We demand thatpeople crossing the US/Mexico border be treated with respect and without violence. Further, we demand that no wall, artillery, law enforcement or seach lights be placed at the border to creat fear and suspicion which promotes a cold war between the US and Mexico."

"We the people of the State of California urge the Governor of California the President of the United States and the Congress to institute a moratorium on the mining of strategic metals at the Gasquet Mountain Mines, as a gesture of peace to the world."

 

PEACE FOR ALL PEOPLE

Adopted by the Peace and Armed Conflict Task Force of the California Women's Agenda Assembly on June 29, 1996


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