Arms Reduction: a prerequisite for fruitful relationships among people.

Subtitle: Stop the Arms to Stop the War.

Karl Miller 14 October 2004 London ESF

Karl Miller 30 September 2004 Sheffield Campaign Against the Arms Trade meeting

 Preamble
Introduction
Reducing Arms and Arms Control
(new)
Radicals Like ARC (new)
The present cycle must be broken (new)
A prerequisite for fruitful relationships among people (new)
Some ARC Analysis Findings (new)
The Arms Business
Human Security
Jobs

Why should you support this campaign?
ARC needs your Help
The Proposal
Summary

Preamble

Kindred Spirits,

In considering this proposal, Please be mindful of the fact that 4 millions people have died in Africa in the last 6 years due to the effects of conventional arms. 4 millions dead in the last 6 years. That’s like the whole of twice the population of North and South Yorkshire or six times the population of Sheffield, North London, , or Yokohama, or Los Angles, or Sydney, or Ireland, or Central African Republic or Uruguay dead in the last 6 years. 4 million dead, yet incredibly, not one person has been prosecuted for supplying the weapons of their destruction and death. It's like legalised aiding, abetting and facilitating mass slaughter.

 Introduction

Dwight D Eisenhower, General Commander Allied Forces, World War 2 and US President 1952-1960 is quoted as saying:

"Every gun, every warship, every tank and every military aircraft built is, in the final analysis, a theft from those who are hungry and are not fed, from those who are naked and are not clothed."
This expresses part of the essence of ARC's (Arms Reduction Coalition) campaign.

The Arms Reduction Coalition (ARC) is campaigning for the states of the United Nations (UN) to agree and implement a legally binding instrument, to reduce the amount of resources spent on arms by between 1 and 5 percent for a period of between 10 and 25 years, and to spend the resources saved on programmes that benefit humanity and the earth. This reasonable proposal is based on Implementing Article 26 of the UN Charter, which the states of the UN have committed "to promote the establishment and maintenance of international peace and security with the least diversion for armaments of the worlds human and economic resources".

The value of the world's arms trade is currently over $950 bn (Billion Dollars) per year. A one percent year on year reduction on the previous year’s expenditure would make over $9bn available in the first year.

ARC is about resources. Reducing the amount of resources being spent by the states of the UN on things to kill people, and diverting those resources to positive (UN based) humanitarian and Earthism programmes such as poverty reduction, sustainable development, protecting the vulnerable, peaceful resolution of conflict systems, maintaining the environment.

My talk’s purpose is to suggest some reasons why you should apply your minds to and support this Arms Reduction Coalition; as I believe that in order to stop the wars we have to stop producing the weapons; arms reduction is an essential step towards fruitful relationships among Mankind and between it and the Earth; and that another world with fewer arms is possible. I will talk about Reducing Arms and Arms Control, Radicals Like ARC, The present cycle must be broken, A prerequisite for fruitful relationships among people, Some ARC Analysis Findings, The Arms Business, Human Security, Jobs, Why should you support this campaign, ARC needs your Help, The Proposal. Please forgive my style (I am not very adept at public speaking). Consider substance over from.

You can take as many pictures as you like. But, for my personal security, Please do not publish or broadcast my photograph without my written permission.

The ESF is a giant gathering for everyone opposed to war, racism and corporate power, everyone who wants to see global justice, workers' rights and a sustainable society.

Its Charter of Principles states that the World Social Forum "are committed to building a planetary society directed towards fruitful relationships among Mankind and between it and the Earth."

that "another world is possible", it becomes a permanent process of seeking and building alternatives,

 

Reducing Arms and Arms Control

That is basically my sad message today. Because of the large amount of resources being spent on arms; we will continue to have many wars and many deaths due to arms. Twenty-three nations have been bombed by the US since World War 2, from Japan in 1945 to Afghanistan in '99 . See www.Action-For-Un-renewal.org.uk "A UN without America" for a list of countries and dates. I Think that the US will periodically go to war. The military have to justify their vast expenditure on arms. Drug dealers periodically use their guns to kill people; to show their power; to show they have guns; and to justify the expenditure on guns. In most major conflicts; there is a build up of weapons before the start of most of the killing. From the first world war, second world war Rwanda (Read Linda Melvern's books) , Afghanistan to Iraq and many others; the build up of weapons proceeded the conflict. I supported the stop the war protests in London last year by marching on the streets; but watching the news and hearing of the US military build up; I thought it will be difficult to stop the war as the US had already made up its mind to go to war; and after mobilizing such a force it would be difficult for them to turn back. After making so many weapons they are going to use them or sell them to someone who wants to use them.

Quote "A key task in the twenty-first century will be to establish effective restraints based on three principles, contrasting sharply with the approaches underlying past and present policies: disarmament (as opposed to arms control); universal constraints on arms (as opposed to non-proliferation); and war prevention (as opposed to regulating warfare)." Michael Renner http://www.ppu.org.uk/war/peace21century.html PEACE IN THE 21st CENTURY. Based on Ending Violent Conflict Worldwatch Paper 146. www.worldwatch.org

 

Guns are made to and do kill people. That is their aim and purpose.

Not our arms good , illegal arms bad. That why I gave up reading agreement of illicit arms in 2001. 1 word illicit. Sure illicit arms kill people and wreak havoc; but legal arms have killed more people. Not illicit when researched & developed, Not illicit when made, Not illicit when sold. An illegal nuclear accident is just as bad as a legal nuclear accident

Trying to controls arms is like trying to control poisons once they get into the reservoir. Stop the poisons before they get into the reservoir. It very difficult to control the poisons once they are produced and put in the reservoir so part of the strategy must be to stop the production of the poisons.

ARC Emphasizes that it is paramount to prevent resources being wasted on producing weapons; rather than trying to control arms after they have being produced; as arms are made to and do kill people.

I would like to ask all of you to support ARC and the control arms campaign being run by AI, Oxfam and IANSA aimed at the UN small review conference in New York in 2006. But I also ask you to press and campaign for arms reduction.

Let me be naughty and disclose some recent communications on the subject with someone from amnesty International .

"We would be happy for you to join us in promoting the Control Arms campaign and the call for an ATT, but I guess this probably isn't quite what you want to hear as it wouldn't get your message across....

AI, Oxfam and IANSA we are keen to try to maintain our focus on the Control Arms campaign if at all possible There are certainly similarities between the two ideas - we are calling for stricter regulation of the international arms trade and for a range of community safety initiatives to be supported and funded by governments and donor agencies, but although the Arms Trade Treaty might well result in a reduction of international arms transfers it is not actually what we are calling for, and therein lies the fundamental difference. Amnesty would not be able to endorse a straight call for reducing the amount of resources spent on arms - for AI it has to be directly linked to human rights violations."

My reply was

" ARC does support the ATT. However we do not think it goes far enough. We believe the world has to reduce the amount of arms made and in circulation, as they not only waste the earth's human and economic resources and kill millions; but are difficult or nearly impossible to control once made. For example despite sanctions and arms Moratorium over 4 million people have died in Africa since 1998 due to the effect of Small arms and light weapons; yet not one person has been prosecuted for their supply. Or closer to home, despite the laws in the UK; more and more guns are in circulation and being used in the UK.
Reducing the resources spent on arms should make more resources available for the work of AI, Oxfam and IANSA and reduce the obstacles, threats and difficulties that the large amounts of arms in circulation pose to them in carrying out their work.
e.g. From UNDP Human Development Report 2002
"When order breaks down in a country, poor people usually suffer first and most. All too often, violence against civilians emanates from forces under government control. During the 20th century governments killed 170 million people; far more than died in wars between countries."

I believe Stop the Arms to Stop the War. Reduce the arms; reduce the deaths.

Let me Quote from a recent article:

"According to a report by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, there has been "significant progress" in the global response to the unregulated flow of illicit small arms, especially in strengthening national legislation and international law enforcement in tackling the spread of small arms.

The report (S/2003/1217) examines the progress achieved in implementing the recommendations that Mr. Annan made in 2002 on how the Security Council can better address small arms problems in countries on the Council’s agenda. Sanctions, in particular arms embargoes against governments and insurgents, continue to be the most frequent measures imposed by the Council, the Secretary- General said, but the enforcement of embargoes "presents a mixed picture" because they "have proved to be extremely difficult to enforce." The Security Council has imposed embargoes on Iraq, Liberia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, and al- Qaeda and the Taliban.

To improve the effectiveness of embargoes, Mr. Annan recommends the Council consider "coercive measures" against States that "deliberately violate" the sanctions and consider giving greater attention to blocking the flow of ammunition to areas of conflict. Other studies have shown that while weapons may still get to warring par ties, when ammunition can be blocked, the conflicts slacken. "Progress…depends almost entirely on the political will and technical capacity [of States]," he wrote. "

From Go Between 101 December 2003 - January 2004

http://www.un-ngls.org/documents/pdf/go.between/GB101.pdf

If you support control arms; does that mean that you cannot be associated with radicals like ARC who want to reduce resources spent on arms and the quantity of arms produced? I implore you to support both. Even if your support is just endorsing the ARC resolution; no money, no big campaign or publicity just the resources it takes to endorse the ARC resolution.

 

Radicals like ARC

I understand the fear many of you have in associating with radicals like ARC. Especially when considering the quote above about" During the 20th century governments killed 170 million people". You will be associating with many other radicals, like those who attended one of the largest pecae conferences in the 20th century and agreed The Hague Agenda for Peace and Justice for the 21st Century.

Quote: "43 Demilitarise the Global Economy by reducing Military Budgets and Shifting resources Toward Human Security Programs.
Peace in the 21st century demands a shift from the 20th century's expenditures on the military to civilian programs that safeguard human security. Disarmament will entail making drastic cuts in weapons, forces and military budgets. Demilitarisation will require transforming the military economy to a peace economy by allocating resources for programs that ensure the well being of the world's citizens - that provide for the basic human rights of food, shelter, education, work, health, security and peace. It will require global adherence to the United nations Charter and to the development of non-military security structures and peace-making institutions.
As a first step toward disarmament and demilitarisation, the Hague Appeal for Peace endorses the Women's Peace Petition, which calls for a 5% reduction a year for 5 years in military spending and the reallocation of these substantial resources toward human security programs and peace education.

The Hague Agenda for Peace and Justice for the 21st Century - UN Ref: A/54/98 www.haguepeace.org

You will also be associating with radicals, some countries at last weeks UN General Assembly.

Let me quote you extracts from First Committee Monitor, No. 1: October 4-8, 2004

 

Disarmament and Development

The concept of "human security" was raised by numerous States throughout the high-level segment of the GA General Debate. China noted that international peace and security are threatened by numerous factors, including the "growing gap between the rich and the poor;" Ambassador Hu advocated for "a new security concept centered on equality, mutual trust, mutual benefit and cooperation" in a push to promote "common security for all countries".

Many link the slow progress of development to the ever-increasing global military expenditures.

The United Arab Emirates noted "the significant human, financial and environment losses caused by huge volumes and types of weapons used in these conflicts and the consequent difficulties of building peace in the post conflict countries. These resources could have been utilized in implementing the development programs and in promoting welfare of our people." UAE also noted that "global military expenditure on production and stockpiling of … weapons has increased by 5% in the past year, in contradiction to the commitments and undertaking made by the States in the Millennium Declaration".

 

Brazil also noted "arms expenditures divert substantive financial, material and human resources that could otherwise be invested in social programs." It recalled the "New York Declaration on the Action Against Hunger and Poverty" and suggested that new and innovative financing mechanisms would raise funds needed to meet the Millennium Development Goals.

 

Jamaica commented on the issue of global military expenditures, expressing concern that "world military spending has increased to a total of $956 billion dollars with about 75 per cent of this figure being expended by developed countries…. It is … all too clear that there has not been comparable spending in promoting economic development or in alleviating poverty."

 

Zambia echoed this feeling when it stated that the First Committee has the opportunity to contribute to the strengthening of international peace and security by releasing "resources that continue to be spent on armaments in favor of human development." Zambia also recommended that another Special Session of the GA devoted to disarmament (SSODIV) could address these issues. (See Disarmament Machinery report.)

The Holy See made a clear link between the growing rate of military expenditures and the growing global fear of terrorism and insecurity, stating "A clear result of such over-spending on the instruments of death is that governments are much less able to meet long-term commitments to education, health care and housing…. Security for all is enhanced when disarmament and development steps complement one another. We must point up the economic benefits of disarmament measures." They also noted that while poverty and terrorism are not explicitly linked, they do share certain conditional relationships.

Some States, including Ukraine, Jamaica and the Rio Group praised the work of the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on the Relationship between Disarmament and Development, established through resolution A/RES/57/65, originally sponsored by Russia. Indonesia also praised the GGE, recognizing the importance of "exercising restraint in military spending with a view to provide resources that can be utilized for social and economic development".

Read more about the Human Security Network at: http://www.humansecuritynetwork.org
For more information on human security and disarmament, see: http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/social/genderdisarm/humansec.pdf

- Susi Snyder,
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom

 

Conventional Weapons/Small Arms and Light Weapons

While most States remain frustrated with the slow progress on nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation, the views on progress regarding conventional weapons disarmament, including small arms and light weapons (SALW) were mixed. Although many stressed the massive danger posed by these weapons, just as many were eager to note the progress that has been made in recent years to combat the scourge.

 

Indonesia regarded SALW as "a menace linked with terrorist, separatist groups, drug trafficking and other forms of violence," while Australia noted that the distribution, accumulation, spread and misuse of SALW continues to contribute to the breakdown of law and order in many regions. The Netherlands, on behalf of the European Union, asserted that regional conflict has precipitated a huge proliferation of small arms, landmines as well as increased crime.

 

Turkey, along with India, is of the view that excessive accumulation and uncontrolled spread of SALW poses a significant threat to peace, security and political stability as well as to social and economic development of many communities and countries. (See Disarmament and Development report.) "It is generally believed that on average half a million people are killed each year with small arms," stated Ambassador Ilicak, noting that 2/3 of these deaths are not attributed to armed conflicts. Bahamas, speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said that "CARICOM States do not produce SALW, nor are we large-scale importers of this category of weapons. Yet despite our best efforts, we continue to face the uncontrolled spread of illicit weapons throughout our territories, most times through the illegal diversion of weapons from the illicit trade".

It is worthwhile to note that last year’s resolution on tracing SALW generated one of the most contentious debates throughout the 58th session. With so much support generated through its first successful working group meeting, perhaps the adoption of this year’s resolution will command the consensus hoped for by most of the international community.

- Dan Kuwali,
Amnesty International

 

You will also be associating with radicals, like over 1,350 representatives of over 1,000 NGO from more than 100 countries, in May 2000 who agreed We the Peoples Millennium Forum Declaration and Agenda for Action up,

"Our vision is of ..... a world where peace and human security, as envisioned in the principles of the United Nations Charter, replace armaments, violent conflicts and wars....
The UN and its member states have failed to fulfil their primary responsibility of maintaining peace and preserving human life. "
"Disarmament is not the only way to peace. It must be accompanied by genuine human security. It is imperative that NGOs be included in the dialogue for peace. The world community, civil society, including younger and older people and their governments have the resources and knowledge to move from a culture of violence to a culture of peace
."...
"The Forum urges: ... Governments... To initiate a world-wide freeze on armed forces and a 25% cut in production and export of major weapons and small arms, ... as the beginning of world-wide build-down of conventional forces."
We the Peoples Millennium Forum Declaration and Agenda for Action. Strengthening the United Nations for the 21st Century - Declaration over 1,350 representatives of over 1,000 NGO from more than 100 countries. May 2000. (available from UN Information Centre and UNA)

You will also be associating with radicals, like those who drew up, agreed and have committed to the UN charter. Article 26 of the UN Charter, states that one of the prime responsibilities of the UN and the Security Council is "to promote the establishment and maintenance of international peace and security with the least diversion for armaments of the worlds human and economic resources".

The present cycle must be broken

Countries spent US$950 billion (an estimated 2.6% of world Gross Domestic Product) on weapons and other military expenditure in 2003, an average of US$140 for every person in the world. Yet 2 Billion of the world people live on less than US$2 per day.

"Without peace NGOs and the UN cannot achieve their aims. Without a reduction in weapons peace will be very difficult to achieve. The present cycle that must be broken is:

A) Large amounts of resources are used to make weapons.

B) The weapons are used to maim and kill people and to destroy their homes, their infrastructure and the environment.

C) The UN, NGOs and people who care are left to pick up the pieces and try to alleviate the resulting poverty and suffering and rebuilding their environments.

D) The world turns. Humanity advances. The weapons are replenished by more advanced and destructive ones and the cycle starts again."

The arms trade not only wrecks lives but also stifles development. Refer to UN Resolution 57/65 "Relationship between disarmament and development".

African resources wasted by men marching up and down, cleaning their guns being soldiers while no resources available to grow food to eat or protecting the environment.

In Angola over 22% of its GDP was spent on the military during 2001.

Professor Peter Willetts of City University reports that the IMF concluded that many developing countries can only satisfy the needs of their populations by diverting funds from their military budgets.

"How will any form of equity be established unless more resources are aimed at developing people who are at the bottom of the economic ladder? Years after the end of the cold war, the world’s governments continue to spend more than $800 billion a year on arms and the arms trade is once again expanding. Though the bulk of military spending is on conventional arms, the possession of nuclear weapons by the powerful is driving militarism around the globe. Grotesque imbalances result:

"The Western nuclear powers are primarily responsible for keeping the relationship between disarmament and development off the political agenda.

There is a dynamic, triangular relationship between disarmament, development, and security. The more disarmament and development are advanced, the more security is enhanced and strengthened. But most nations haven’t yet made the mental leap that security today requires the development of the human being, not the preparation for war."
DEVELOPMENT AND EQUALITY by Douglas Roche A former Canadian Member of Parliament and Ambassador for Disarmament, Douglas Roche is author of The Ultimate Evil: The Fight to Ban Nuclear Weapons and other books, and served for 6 years as GEA's Chairperson.

Africa is now the dumping ground for obsolete technology weapons. Much of the debt owed by developing countries was brought about through the purchase of arms. At a recent Jubilee 2000, Drop the debt meeting we were informed that some 30% of the loans made to the highly indebted nations is spent on arms. In some parts of Africa armed gangs are wreaking havoc, terrorising and robbing people, raping women and spreading HIV/Aids. The arms trade not only provides the veto 5 with economic wealth but also provides the finance to enable them to develop even more weapons. People in indebted countries will be paying interest and loans for many years to come, some of which will be used to develop more weapons. (Think of the suffering that this will cause many mothers and their children.) The result is that millions have been and will be killed, wounded, maimed, suffered and impoverished. Some responsibility for the wrecking and termination of these lives must be born by the arms makers. "Like slaves of haughty rulers and tyrants', who, heedless of their own liberty, make armaments to overthrow the liberty of others". They make some of their living from making and selling weapons to people to kill other people.

It also amazes me how some very religious and moral people fight against contraception yet support and even invest in the arms industry. It is as if the investment in arms is so profitable that it overrides their beliefs, and the extra people are needed as cannon fodder or test subjects for the arms to be used to kill them.

 

A prerequisite for fruitful relationships among people

We are living in the International decade for a culture of peace and non-violence. Our patron

Federico Mayor Zaragoza - Head of UNESCO (1987-1999); created the Culture of Peace Program and is now on the Leadership of Fundaciˇn Cultura de Paz. The preamble of constitution of UNESCO, states: "That since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed."

About five years ago, when I was new to UNA; I was surprised to learn from a senior UNA member that no department in the UN had a mandate for peace education. UNESCO had taken up that role via the Culture of Peace, but that was almost an extension to its role. At last after 50 years the UN has taken on this essential task. I was pleased to read in Reaching Critical Will's report that last week at the UN " The UN Study on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Education, a two-year study, was released last year by a group of governmental experts and adopted as a resolution sponsored by Mexico (A/C.1/57/L.7/Rev.2). The study consists mostly of recommendations for governments, UN bodies, academic institutions and civil society. It was prompted by growing concerns of the lack of progress in the field of disarmament, and the belief that education on all levels can help improve the understanding of the close relationship between disarmament and international peace and security.

New Zealand, a great supporter of the study, has implemented the recommendations in its educational system. In its statement to the First Committee, New Zealand commented that the study "provide[s] a timely reminder of the vital importance of peace education" and added furthermore that "[o]ne of our best hopes for a peaceful future is to encourage young people to develop non-confrontational ways of dealing with conflict, starting in their immediate surroundings and extending out to the wider community. By incorporating peace education programmes into all levels of society, we can reflect our joint goal of working towards a more secure and stable future. States parties, international organizations and civil society must work together to make this aspiration a reality."

Sir Richard Jolly; President of the UNA-UK has said that one of the major challenges we face today is dealing with inequality. He is now a leading exponent of Human Security.

I did not understand why he placed so much significance on inequality at first. But now I understand, gross Inequality leads to violent conflict. People wallowing in poverty and despair will take up the arms the rich have used essential resources to make; and engage in violent conflicts to try to alleviate their sufferings and meet their needs.

Quote "The world military sector is a vast repository of resources -- financial, physical, human and technological. If only a fraction of these resources could be diverted to meet the unmet socioeconomic needs of the developing world, then not only would human welfare be dramatically enhanced, but also many conflicts with their roots in economic deprivation would be averted. In order to realize this 'peace dividend,' however, the over- militarized nations will have to undergo a major restructuring of their forces and a reappraisal of their real military needs. They must accept much more rapid reductions in military spending and make a political commitment to investing what does not need to be retained for the disarmament and decommissioning process itself in development programs to benefit the world's poorest communities. "
Source: Disarmament: The Unfinished Disarmament Agenda, February, 1995. Written and edited by the Special NGO Committee for Disarmament, Geneva, Switzerland. http://www.ncf.carleton.ca/ip/global/coat/24/international/intdevel.txt

Also Douglas Mattern "At the same time, UN Secretary General Koffi Annan reminds us that half of humanity lives in poverty, existing on an average of $2 a day. The Arias Foundation reports that world military spending increased from $798 billion in 2000 to $839 billion in 2001. Half of the world's governments spend more on the military than for health care. This expenditure is a monumental waste of our wealth, resources, and intellectual talent for the means of destruction and astonishing profits for the armament companies. The war business is the world's ultimate criminal activity. "

I think Gareth Evans, Former Foreign Minister of Australia, sums it up succinctly.

"To the extent that money can solve conflicts and potential conflicts, not a huge amount is required compared to what the world is prepared to spend on everything else, including defence."
Gareth Evans, President of The International Crisis Group (www.intl-crisis-group.org ); Former Foreign Minister of Australia. - Preventing and responding to deadly conflict in UN2000 The United Nations Millennium Summit (available from UN Information Centre and UNA).

And The Dresden Appeal of the Party of Democratic Socialism, Germany,

"New weapons systems do not bring security. They squander economic resources; they subordinate research and development to military goals. Thinking in military categories deforms intellectual and cultural life. "
"Heavily armed, the world will remain without peace. Disarmament gives peace a chance. One fifth of today's military spending would suffice to ensure everyone a sustained basic supply of food, drinking water, education and public health services."

The Dresden Appeal of the Party of Democratic Socialism, Germany, adopted at the 2nd Session of the 7th PDS Congress on 7 October, 2001 From: http://www.spectrezine.org/war/pds.htm

 Some ARC Analysis Findings

In the context of ARC. I think academia should consider debating how much of its resources are spent on thinking up and researching things to kill people, while teaching the next generation. But perhaps I am being na´ve; as its military so its hush hush in the interests of security. "Like slaves of academic research and sponsorship, who, heedless of their own ethics, use their knowledge to devise things to extinguish others". I think universities should publish the extent of their involvement in arms research and development. Both parents and students should have a right to know if they will be taught by a university and it's teachers who are devising ways to kill people.

On a similar note I am surprised that students do not commit to using their knowledge for the benefit of mankind, the earth and its inhabitants. I am so pleased that the doctors have the Hippocratic oath. Yet those students that have been or will be responsible for the death of millions and the destruction of our environment do not make any promise or pledge to show their unwillingness to use their work for unethical ends.

Lets move on to a role of Amnesty International in the Arms Reduction Coalition's campaign. I view Amnesty as the world's best NGO protector of human rights. I think they can help ARC in three main ways. By setting the standards on how Governments should treat ARC's supporters; by monitoring and reporting Governments abuses of ARC's supporters both before and after the ARC treaty has been ratified. 

On Saturday 30th August 2003, the Stop The War coalition People's Assembly Passed the following resolution:

"The People's Assembly calls upon the states of the UN to honour their pledge made in Article 26 of the UN Charter "to promote the establishment and maintenance of international peace and security with the least diversion for armaments of the worlds human and economic resources", by agreeing and implementing a legally binding instrument, to reduce the amount of resources spent on arms by between 1 and 5 percent for a period of between 10 and 25 years, and to spend the resources saved on programmes that benefit humanity and the earth. "

I look forward to the day when the student, unions, academics and political parties passes such a resolution. Or even just makes a statement like

The Dresden Appeal by the German Party of Democratic Socialism 7Th October 2001

" Heavily armed, the world will remain without peace. Disarmament gives peace a chance. One fifth of today's military spending would suffice to ensure everyone sustains a basic supply of food, drinking water, education and public health services."

 

The Arms Business

Opposition to ARC will come from some of the most powerful sections of society such as the military (less toys for the boys), the arms companies (less profits), Universities (less research); etc. To quote Richard Falk in Peace is Possible "Millions of people gain profits and fame by selling and using weaponry. Strong networks of such people use their money to influence political leaders, elections, and even TV and newspaper coverage"

To quote ACTUN’s Vice Chair VIJAY MEHTA "It is for profit, greed, world domination, and control of land space and other resources. It is about protecting interests and investments of the big corporations and powerful governments. It is about creating tensions, upsetting the balance of power among different countries."

As Douglas Mattern observes "this business is spread around the world with over 1,000 companies in some 98 countries involved in the production of small arms and/or ammunition. Small arms kill over 500,000 people a year in conflicts."

The ARC proposal should includes the cumulative sum of all resources spent on all arms. From nuclear weapons to hand guns, from war ships to military air craft, from chemical weapons to biological weapons. As Dwight D Eisenhower puts it "Every gun, every warship, every tank and every military aircraft built". It includes research, development, production, marketing, support, maintenance; all resources (Human, Financial and physical).

 

Human security

"Human security has emerged as a foreign policy paradigm with the potential to serve as a powerful complement to more traditional security concepts in meeting the range of new threats to people and, ultimately, to governments and multilateral organizations. Human security is best seen as a shift in perspective, which takes people as the principal point of reference in international affairs. The human security agenda seeks to address a range of threats to the safety and security of people. It is fundamentally about putting people first and enhancing our collective ability and capacity to protect human rights, and to ensure the essential peace and stability which is a key pre-requisite for sustainable human development. ...
Human security provides a valuable theoretical basis from which a variety of issues can be dealt with. Its utility and focus may well prove different for a small island state than it will for a large federal nation. For example, the influx of a small number of illegal arms may pose a negligible threat to a large country, yet have much more serious consequences in a smaller nation."
HUMAN SECURITY IN THE AMERICAS THIRTIETH REGULAR SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES June 4, 2000 Windsor, Canada OAS/SER.P AG/doc.3851/00 April 26, 2000 (Document presented by the Canadian Delegation)

""Human security," defined by the Department of Foreign Affairs as "safety for people from both violent and non-violent threats," is now advanced as one of the fundamental objectives of Canadian foreign policy. Internationally, "human security" is increasingly recognized as the true measure of state security, and yet, in a world of some three dozen armed conflicts, in which civilian casualties far outnumber military casualties, many hundreds of millions of people today have no experience of safety or security. Entrenched economic, social, and political marginalization perpetrate a structural violence that threatens personal safety, well-being, and security and leads with alarming frequency to widespread overt violence. Lives are imperilled by both kinds of violence, a violence that is all too often perpetrated by the very services and institutions charged with the responsibility of protecting them.

Through the UN, other international agencies, and the efforts of certain national governments, the international community is gradually becoming more focussed on the imperative to provide protection to the world’s vulnerable people. The promotion of human security and peacebuilding has spawned a growing variety of concrete non-military governmental and non-governmental efforts to directly address the welfare and safety of people. The serious implementation of human security policies obviously still requires major and long-term peacebuilding efforts, aided by the significant infusion of new resources, but the acceptance of human security as a formal foreign policy objective is a major step forward.

Human security should also have major implications for defence policies and practices. When diplomacy and peacebuilding, and other economic, social, and political responses, fail and civilian populations are victimized by widespread violence and humanitarian crises, military forces are increasingly called upon to come to their rescue. But, without adapting and modifying military forces and their operations to conform to human security standards and imperatives, the world will continue to bring fundamentally inappropriate and counterproductive military responses to bear on humanitarian and human security crises – Kosovo, Chechnya, and Sudan are among the examples currently making headlines."
Defence and Human Security Ploughshares Monitor, December 1999 Defence and human security By Ernie Regehr

Jobs

Let's briefly look at the loss of jobs argument.

1. At the first lecture I attended at the London School of Economics a few years ago, one of the UK's most prominent economists Professor Britain, presented a detailed economic analysis that showed that the UK's arms trade is subsidized by the tax payer. Thus the benefits such as jobs, and arms exports that the Government usually extol are not profitable; and are possible because of your tax payers being used to subsidize them.

A UN study by Nobel Prize winning economists concluded that diverting spending from arms / military to the supply side of the economy would increase employment four times (7 times for the consumption). So if the resources were not invested in arms, but in the consumption side of the economy; those young people who can only join the military to get training and jobs would have seven times as many jobs to choose from.

ARC is a Challenge: to Economists, Military, Business / investors as well as politicians. I have every confidence that they will be able to make life better of us all by effective planning and implementation of a small percentage year on year reduction in the resources spent on arms.

2. The buggy makers mentality. I recall a story related to me by a lecturer. During the late 1800’s one of the wealthiest men in the world died. He and his family had made enormous wealth from the horse and cart trade. In his will he stated that none of the family’s wealth should be invested in the (then new) motor car but remain invested in horse based modes of transport. It was beyond his comprehension that the car could overtake the horse based modes of transport. It like those 200 years ago who could not conceive of the abolition of slavery, or those 100 years ago could not conceive of women having the vote, or those 60 years ago when the UN was formed could not conceive of the independence of the colonies or the empowerment of women or the eradication of polio; or those 30 years ago could not conceive of a computer on every desk; or those 20 years ago who could not conceive that the could be more mobile phones than people in some countries. One aspect of the loss of jobs argument is that it is beyond the comprehension of some that the world could do without so many weapons. I hope many of those involved in the arms industry would choose to do something other make things to kill people given the chance. Another implication is that the only decent work the government can invest in is making and trading in weapons to kill people.

Why should you support this campaign?

For several reasons:
To quote Ex-Swedish Premier Olaf Palme;

"It is very unlikely that disarmament will ever take place if it must wait for the initiatives of governments and experts. It will only come about as the expression of the political will of people in many parts of the world."

1. Just imagine how great it will be if we succeed. For the poor people, for all peoples, and indeed life on earth. Its worth a try! Ten years ago we did not have mobile phones, yet in some countries there are now more mobile phones than people. Fifty years ago, few women could vote, yet now most have the vote. The change to a culture of peace is possible.

To quote our vice chair Vijay Mehta; "It has become evident that biggest source of terrorism is the weapons and arms industry. It has killed more people going back in history - Persian, Greek and Roman empires put together then anything else. Weapons are a warranty of death. They are immoral and crimes against humanity."

2. For it to succeed we require a broad based campaign, with demonstrated support from a large cross section of the population. We need You. Only then will the States of the UN consider it seriously, and perhaps, hopefully make a legally binding commitment required.

3. Without peace most Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) cannot achieve their aims. Without a reduction in weapons peace will be very difficult to achieve. Most people (leaders included) agreed on the need for peace before poverty can be effectively tackled. At a positive meeting on Africa's NEPAD development plan last year ;I said to Claire Short that I did not ask a question because I did not want to put a damp squib on the good work been done on development by pointing out that all that good work is often destroyed by war. By the way Claire Short did support the need for Arms reduction.

 

5 To the public; the proposal is about reducing the resources spent on things to kill people, possibly themselves or their relatives especially as in Kofi Annan’s Millenniums report "We the peoples the Role of the United Nations in the 21st Century.." report we read that most wars are within states and most people killed or injured are civilians. 90% of all war casualties are civilians. Some weapons sold to Nigeria found their way to the IRA to be used against the British people.

6 If you think there are too many arms, more than is needed to ensure our security; Join ARC. Or, If you think too many resources are being spent on weapons; Join ARC. Or, If you want more resources to be spent on the environment, or tackling diseases, or helping the poor, or on development, or on conflict prevention; Join ARC. Or if you think that the arms trade or making things to kill people is abhorrent; Join ARC. Or, if you want the possibility of paying less tax. Join the Arms Reduction Campaign.

7 The request is about using those resources to improve the quality of life of all the Earth’s peoples. The coalition calls for some of the savings to be spent on programmes on own state’s programmes; which conceivably could include tax reductions.

Lets me make it clear; that I am not dis-respecting our war heroes or those who gave their lives in wars for their countrymen. What I am saying is that the UN's prime mission is 'to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war'. I believe, like the Movement for the Abolition of war, that war is not inevitable. It can be banished to the annuals of history. Conflict is inevitable; but you do not have to fight. You do not beat up your partner whenever you have an argument. I am asking for the commitment made by all the states of the UN in article 26 to be honored; ' the least diversion for armaments of the worlds human and economic resources'. Too many resources are being diverted to arms while over a third of the world's population languish in poverty. Too many guns are being made that are killing civilians especially in Africa. Too many guns, too much blood running. How much richer and better the world is now that most women have equal rights. How much safer and better the world will be without so many arms. Arms are made to kill people. The days of slavery are gone and we are all better for it. The days of wife beating are gone and we are all better for it. The days of wars can be and should be gone; and we will all be better for it. ARC is a prerequisite, an essential part of banishing wars to the annuals of history and fulfilling the main purpose of the UN.

To paraphrase our vice-chair - Vijay Mehta "War is not inevitable and is not in human genes. We should campaign for banning or outlawing war and combating militarism. To deconstruct peoples mind from intolerance and hatred to tolerance and love. Weapons have no other purpose but to kill people. All manufacture, sale, export and use of arms should be reduced. Military budgets of all nations should be limited."

ARC needs your Help

ARC are asking for your support. This could take the form of :

a) Just saying you support the proposal – joining the coalition as a member or just endorse the ARC resolution.

b) Offer of resources (human, financial, physical)

c) Getting academics, experts, policy makers or you to write papers (that we can publish) analysing the proposal.)

d) Writing letters to MPs, Media, web sites, phone the radio etc in support of the proposal. Write to your leaders and leaders of countries like USA making arms and the UN in New York

e) Join some of the organizations that support ARC such as CND (Campaign for Nuclear disarmament) and WILPF (Women's International League for Peace and Freedom) and ACTUN (Action for UN Renewal), WDC (World Disarmament Campaign), and CAAT (Campaign Against the Arms Trade).

We will be pleased to come and speak about the proposal to your group (resources permitting) and shall be holding other meetings in future to which we will invite you if you so wish. Contact us via our web site at www.arcwebsite.org Come and see us at our stall.

The Proposal

"Our vision is of ..... a world where peace and human security, as envisioned in the principles of the United Nations Charter, replace armaments, violent conflicts and wars...." From the Declaration of We the Peoples Millennium Forum, when over 1,350 representatives of over 1,000 NGO from more than 100 countries met at the UN in May 2000 (moi aussi)

Essentially the proposal is for all the Member States of the UN to make a legally binding commitment to reduce the amount of the world's human and economic resources diverted to armaments by a small (one to five) agreed percentage each year. The resources saved can be used for poverty reduction, sustainable development, peaceful resolution of conflict systems, maintaining the environment etc. A strong emphasis is placed on implementation; requiring Members to have systems in place so that their resource figures can be independently verified / audited each year. Members will be required to recommit every ten to twenty years, so that if the proposal does not work they can revert back to spending the world's precious resources making things to kill people.

Over ten years A one percent year on year reduction on the previous year’s expenditure would make over $7 bn available for the improvement of humankind and preservation of our common home - Earth. During the same ten years over $7,000 bn would still have been spent on things to kill people.


In summary a 1% to 5% reduction over 10 to 20 years. I hope you agree that is reasonable.

 

Summary

"I believe in the inherent goodness of Man. What would be the point of keeping the human species if this were not true! But then our task must be to ensure that this belief gains general acceptance.

We still conduct world affairs on the outdated principle that our survival demands being militarily strong. This is a remnant of our early history, when Man had to resort to violence in order to survive or to ensure continuation of the species. It completely ignores the radical changes that have occurred as a result of the advances in science and technology, changes which make such a stand no longer necessary. If equitably distributed, our resources could be sufficient to meet the basic needs of the world population, despite its huge increase." (Sir Joseph Rotblat

Divert resources from arms to positive humanitarian and Earthism programmes such as poverty reduction, sustainable development, protecting the vulnerable, conflict prevention, peaceful resolution of conflict systems, maintaining the environment.

That is what the Charter of the United Nations calls for. Some 191 states have signed up to the charter. It is full time they live up to their commitments and responsibility to ensure the least diversion for armaments of the world’s human and economic resources.

The request calls for a 1% to 5% reduction over 10 to 25 years of the resources being spent by the states of the UN on things to kill people. I hope you agree that is reasonable.

Read more on our web site at www.arcwebsite.org

It is estimated that the amount required to implement the Millennium Development Goals (the world agreed plan) is $50 bn a year or over 15 years $750 bn , Amount that will be spent on arms over same 15 years $12,000 bn (16 times more). Current projections are that the MDGs will be underfunded, targets not met, many will die; arms spending increased, resources wasted, terror increased, many will die.

To quote Rhianna Tyson of Reaching Critical Will

"The new century before us is still young. Though it was ushered in with the deaths of 3,000 and wrongly avenged with thousands more, it is not too late for the twenty-first century to re-define power for the next. No longer shall power be equated with nuclear weapons and mortifying arms expenditures. No longer shall we respect those who act selfishly in the name of national interest at the cost of global security. No longer shall the rich and powerful profiteers of blood dictate policy to the people's representatives, who in turn betray those they purport to protect. Power will arise in the combined strength of multilateralism; it shall manifest in the bravery and patience that is cultivated through diplomacy and non-violent means. The world shall be defined by the majority of the world's people who all yearn to live in a prosperous peace, free from the specter of war. "

"…and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares…" 

Do you think there are too many arms?

Do you think too many resources are being spent on weapons;

Do you want more resources to be spent on the environment, or tackling diseases, or helping the poor, or on development, or on conflict prevention;

Do you think that the arms trade or making things to kill people is abhorrent;

Do you want the possibility of paying less tax.

Do you want less guns on our streets?

If you said yes then Join the Arms Reduction Campaign. Please support and take on this request, join ARC, and let we the peoples start upon a new direction of peace and better usage of our Earth’s extremely precious resources

Arms reduction will help to development by:

The earth's precious resources being wasted on arms.

Over 4 million dead in Africa in the last 6 years.

Gun crimes on our streets.

Terrorist committing heinous acts against civilians.

To all the governments, arms makers, suppliers, terrorists, gunmen and killers we say "Blood run done, CEASE, NOW PEACE".