Newsworthy

By Shirley Farlinger, John Bacher, Al Rycroft, Janis Alton, Anne Runyan, David Collins, Woodrow W Coward

Peacefund's Initial Grants Announced

BY SHIRLEY FARLINGER

TORONTO--Peacefund Canada has kicked off its 1986 giveaways with a $750 grant to a coalition of peace groups protesting the plan to bring military industries to Cape Breton Island. A pamphlet describing the planned move of Thyssen of West Germany as the first of several defense production plants and pro-posing alternatives to this job creation will be produced with the money. Women in Cape Breton will also receive $300 to create a Peace Quilt on condition they turn the auction into a community adult education project.

A Kingston video of the International Peace and Justice Tour of 11 teenagers who recounted their war experiences in many countries will also be funded. In Nelson, B.C. a seminar on peace and development planned for July 21 to August 1 will receive aid to bring speakers to the proposed David Thompson Centre for Peace and Development.

These examples of the projects receiving assistance show the importance Peace-fund directors place on adult education linking peace and development. The three originating organizations are the Canadian Association for Adult Education. Institut Canadien d'Education des Adultes and the International Council for Adult Education. Murray Thomson, Executive Secretary and creator of this initiative is using his skill and contacts from Project Ploughshares, the Group of 78 and development work.

In Canada grants are to be divided one-third for French-speaking and two-thirds, English-speaking Canada. The international aid will roughly equal the amount for Canadian projects.

The largest grant, $2500, goes to bring adult educators in developing countries to the meeting Year of Peace -For the Sake of Life," June 8 to 14 in Teisko, Finland. It is sponsored by the Association of Finnish Adult Education Organization but promises to be a global event.

The most exotic project to receive aid is the Friendship Cruise on the Mekong River in Thailand. Political friction and occasional shootings across the river which divides Laos from Burma and Thailand have strained relations between the nations. A project of artists, musicians and monks and cultural events is planned on both riverbanks reviving past cultural exchanges. Thailand will also receive funds for a Peace and Development Information Centre.

In Africa money for a pamphlet on militarism in Uganda was quickly allotted. The African Association for Literacy and Adult Education will examine what might be done to understand how militarism has arisen in Africa and how traditional African values of trust and nonviolence could be restored.

In total, over $10,000 has been allotted. Contributions to Peacefund Canada are tax deducible. To contribute or to apply for grants write to: Peacefund Canada, Corbett House, 29 Prince Arthur Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M5R 1B2 Tel: 924-6607. Peacefund Canada is endorsed by the United Nations World Disarmament

Campaign. U

Computer Network Planned

BY AL RYCROFT

OTTAWA--Computer-assisted communications allows people, at different places and times, to exchange text messages by phone between terminals or personal computers. AlterNET (a provisional title) is a network now being created for sending such messages across Canada and possibly other countries. Each local system will have its own computer capable of receiving and filing messages sent by local users. Each of these set-ups will be controlled and operated by individuals and organizations within the local community. Most of the messaging will take place at the local level, within each community. It would, however, be possible for users to send messages, via their local system, to others elsewhere.

A message sender could choose to send or "mail" a message to only one recipient or to several designated recipients (like cc-ing a letter). Or the message could be posted on a "bulletin board"--a file that could be read by anyone with authorized access to it. A "computer conference" is a bulletin board in which messages are filed according to user-defined topics. Conference "members" can exchange ideas and information on specific subjects. The participants do not all have to be present at the same time. When it suits them, they may read the contributions of other participants and add their own. There is no pressure to respond on the spot, without adequate reflection. A number of people working together on a paper for publication could create their own private conference.

Many people, recognizing the potential of such computer communications, have bought equipment and programs, but have often been frustrated by the difficulty of getting their systems to work properly. Alter-NET proposes to create demonstration system immediately in the Ottawa region. It will help others create similar systems in other towns. It plans to operate a computer centre to serve groups regionally and to obtain charitable status. It hopes to train users, assist with analysis, and perhaps also use commercial data-bases.

Contact Al Rycroft at INPUT, Box 248, Station B, Ottawa K1P 6C4. 613 230-6678.

Scott Marsden Can Demonstrate

TORONTO-- Scott Marsden walked down Yonge Street on April 26 with several thousand other demonstrators. It was an appropriate way to celebrate his legal victory. Marsden had been convicted for demonstrating at Litton Industries and the judge had prohibited him from any further demonstrations. But on April 18, Marsden won his appeal and this condition was struck down. However, he is still not allowed to go to Litton.-

Anti-Amerikan

TORONTO--Performing Artists for Nuclear Disarmament will hold a public forum, "The Greening of Amerika: The Artist and Social Responsibility." "Amerika" is an ABC - TV mini-series depicting life in the U.S. 10 years after its being conquered by the Soviet Union. Filming is scheduled for this summer. In February PAND published its concern that the series may harm the cause of peace. Many Toronto actors have declined to work on the show. The for em is being held to inform artists and the public on the issues. Meg Hogaith, a Toronto actress and activist will moderate. Journalist and media critic Barrie Zwicker and Bonnie Klein, a Montréal filmmaker, are confirmed panelists. Donald Wrye the writer/producer of "Amerika," has been invited and is considering coming. The date is to be decided pending Mr. Wrye's confirmation.

The Great Peace March is Still on the Road

BY WOODROW W. COWARD, (LT. COL. RTRD.)

NEVADA--'The reports of my demise are greatly exaggerated," said Mark Twain, after reading of his death. The same could be said of the reports published some ten days after The Great Peace March left Los Angeles, which proclaimed that the march had collapsed. There were, to be sure, problems: The sponsors had declared bankruptcy.

The organization behind the march, Pro Peace, had planned for 5000 marchers to set out from Los Angeles on 1 March, 1986, backed by a budget of $20 million. In fact, only 1300 set out, each marcher having paid an entry fee of U.S. $3225. For this they had the privilege of marching 3225 miles from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., over a period of eight and a half months. In reality, the budget support totalled only $4 million.

Eight days into the march, Pro Peace was half a million dollars in debt. Nevertheless, it was believed that if the march could make it to Las Vegas, it would attract sufficient additional funding to proceed to the nation's capitol.

Major problems appeared about a week before the marchers set out. There were demands for insurance coverage that could not be afforded, for example. Local inspectors demanded that the

mobile shower trailer be tiled with ceramic tile. Others complained because the dining tent had no chairs or tables. The shower trailer was a week late in arriving, and the mobile laundry unit never did materialise. Indeed, the rigors of the trip immediately discouraged many-especially certain meat-eaters, some of whom dropped out because of the vegetarian fare.

Nevertheless, those who quit were replaced by late-comers, and the overall energy and morale of the group remained high. The trekkers soon earned a reputation for leaving their bivouac sites cleaner than they had found them.

On the day we visited them, reveille had sounded at 4:30 a.m. After breakfast, the tents and baggage were loaded and by 7:30 the marchers had set out. By 4:30 p.m. the last of them had reached the new camp and, after briefings and council meetings, were in their sleeping bags by 7:30 pm. However, because the marchers maintained night-long security patrols, a few members had to stay awake.

At the time of our visit, while the marchers were in California's Mojave Desert, the group included 26 children between the ages of 9 months and 18 years, and one marcher as old as 78.

This had created extra and special problems for parents, organizers, and other marchers. The decision to include children and older people, however admirable from a philosophical point of view, may have been an error.

The level of personal commitment was extraordinary. One family of four, for example, had sold their home and car to raise the joining fee. They, like the others, received a blow in Barstow, California, when they learned that the Pro Peace organizers were bankrupt and unable to support the marchers further. This meant that the group had lost their support vehicles and equipment, as well as their medical, food, and sanitation staff. Worst of all, they forfeited the $3225 entry fee which each of them had paid, and which was to have housed and fed them for the next eight months. These circumstances forced about two-thirds of the marchers to withdraw. They had to make their own way back home from Barstow.

Still, over 500 marchers were determined to continue the march on their own. They reorganized in Barstow for a few days, then continued their trek across the Mojave Desert.

One of these dedicated stalwarts is Derek Youngs, a massage therapist from Galiano Island, British Columbia. Youngs compares the trials the marchers have en-countered to the hammer blows needed to harden steel. What counts is to make a collective statement to the people of America that nuclear weapons must be removed from the world's arsenals.

The obstacles from middle level bureaucracy seem to have disappeared, and the marchers now are being assisted and supported as they move from community to community. They are he-hind schedule and may have to change their route and method of movement, but they are determined to reach Washington, DC. by mid-November.

As we go to press, the group is leaving Nevada and heading toward Denver. They are deliberately limiting their size now to five hundred marchers. Possibly when they reach Denver they will open it up to a larger number, so that it may snow-ball as it moves across the great expanse of the United States. Spirits are high.

Those who wish to help Galiano's Derek Youngs to represent the Gulf Islands in this march, should direct their support to the Galiano Island Peace Group, Box 37, Galiano, B.C. V0N 1P0. The group will pass the support on to Youngs, who phones home every Sunday night. U

Peace Groups React after Chernobyl Disaster

TORONTO--On May 6, Toronto Nuclear Awareness held a press conference at Queen's Park to discuss the implications of the Chernobyl disaster for Ontario's nuclear industry. Toronto Nuclear Awareness is a voluntary organization that opposes both nuclear power and nuclear weapons.

"Aside from the immediate loss of life and environmental contamination," announced TNA, "we now face the certain prospect of in-

creases in cancer deaths and birth defects in years to come. The whole world lives 'downwind' from Chernobyl.

"Although reactor designs around the world vary, no reactor design is immune from a melt down and no safety system is fool-proof. It has been argued by nuclear advocates that western reactors are safer than those at Chernobyl because they have containment buildings. Radiation releases to the environment occurred at Three Mile Island despite the containment building....The Canadian nuclear industry claims that a comparable accident could never happen in Canada, but our safety record shows otherwise....

"We advocate the phasing out of all nuclear facilities, by which we mean an end to current construction of nuclear plants and the decommissioning of reactors as they reach the end of their estimated 30 year life span."

Twenty three other Toronto organizations, mostly peace groups, endorsed TNA's statement

The community does no intend to let the issue rest after the Chernobyl disaster is no longer news. TNA announced plans to hold a forum on the issue on May 26 where experts will discuss the implications of the accident in greater detail. People wishing further information can contact TNA at 730 Bathurst Street, Toronto M55 2R4. Call 537-0438.

The Birth and Persecution of Poland's 'Freedom and Peace'

BY JOHN BACHER

A new independent peace group, Freedom and Peace, has been growing in Poland. Rooted in the popular protest tradition of Solidarity, it emerged after an increasing debate in the Polish underground press over the bloc system. Western peace activists became aware of these concerns when the human rights advocate and Solidarity and KOR leader, Jareck Kuron, advocated the creation of a demilitarized, neutral zone in Central Europe. Freedom and Peace supports Kuron's positions and proposed alternative service for conscientious objectors in the 1981 Congress of Solidarity. Conscientious objection is an emotional issue in Poland because Polish soldiers must swear an oath of allegiance to the Soviet army. A former Solidarnosc activist Marek Adamkiewicz, who refused the oath when he was conscripted into the army, was jailed for two years. Freedom and Peace organized a 10,000 person petition in his defence. Twenty persons took part in a hunger strike. Another pettion calls for alternatives to the oath and to military service for those who object on religious, political or ethical grounds. Signers include Lech Walesa, ex-Vice-Chairman of Solidarity Andrzej Gwiazda, and other Solidarity supporters.

Freedom and Peace, which plans to work with War Resisters International, invites western peace activists to Poland to sign individual peace treaties with its members. The signers mutually pledge not to go to war. The westerners who come to Poland should be people who are not afraid to be refused entry in the future.

Not surprisingly, the Polish government has repressed Peace and Freedom. Charged with belonging to an illegal organization, two of its leaders, Piotr Niemczyk and Jacek Czaputowicz, are in prison. If convicted, they face three years in prison.

However, the European peace movement has come to their defence. Supporters include the Dutch Interchurch Peace Council, CND, War Resisters International (Great Britain), CODENE (a non-aligned French coalition), the West German and Belgian Green parties, and the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions.

A Week at the United Nations

By Janis Alton and Anne Runyan

UNITED NATIONS--Twenty one women from five provinces, representing several women's and peace groups, participated in the special program on women, disarmament, and development at the United Nations, March 31-April 5. The program, organized by the Voice of Women, was designed to promote women's presence at the United Nations--a direct response to Ambassador Stephen Lewis's concern about the absence of women in the U.N at senior levels. It provided opportunities for Canadian women to meet with Ambassador for Disarmament Douglas Roche, U.N. Ambassador Stephen Lewis, representatives of the Canadian Mission, and the U.N. Secretariat.

The visit to the U.N. was timed to coincide with preparations for the international conference on the relationship between disarmament and development, to take place this summer in Paris. The preparatory committee, comprising government delegates, held daily sessions. These were augmented by a forum organized by members of non-governmental organizations and the U.N., which dealt with the disarmament -development--security issue.

The women found that there is still resistance by some countries to increasing the influence of women at the U.N. and heard often that Canada has taken a solid leadership role in this area. One of the more disturbing issues that came to light over the week concerned the U.N.'s unprecedented financial crisis. It is staggering to find that when global military expenditure has reached $800 billion, the total budget of the U.N. and all its related agencies is only $4 billion annually. Yet it is having difficulty raising this amount.

The week-long session at the U.N. was the brainchild of Ann Gertler, VOW's former representative to the U.N., undertaken as a follow-up to the June 1985 international women's peace conference in Halifax. Also, Forward Looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women, the final document of the Nairobi Conference, called for

equal participation of women in international relations.

Was Stevens Militarizing Canada?

By David Collins

What will be the government's industrial policy, after Sinclair Stevens? Before his recent resignation as Minister for Regional Industrial Expansion, Stevens had promoted military production and export, sometimes to dubious Third World regimes. Before taking office, he had been active personally along the same lines; in 1983, he had toured El Salvador, meeting with the ruling junta and arranging sales for Canadian companies such as Geometrix, a possible supplier of helicopter parts. The deals collapsed when activists called attention to them. Yet Stevens was not alone in promoting this policy. Military contracts are often peddled under the guise of privatization and job creation. Thus Canadian firms are selling military and prison equipment to the Chilean junta. Some deals, arranged and subsidized by the government, have been defended as private, not public, issues. Even the NDP cannot always find out enough to question them in the House. As military contracts expand, civilian ones shrink. Maclean's reported (Feb.3): "When federal industry minister Sinclair Stevens visited Montréal last month, he said that Ottawa would allow Ultramar Canada to close down the Gulf oil refinery in the city's east end, causing the loss of 437 jobs. Last week Stevens returned to Montréal, flanked by Québec ministers. Stevens announced $50 million in contributions for Crown-owned Canadair Ltd. The funds will be used to help create two reconnaissance systems for military use; Stevens predicted the creation of 400 jobs and sales of more than $1.8 billion over the next 15 years." So 437 civilian jobs are turned into 400 military jobs with the help of 50 million Canadian tax dollars.

Thyssen AG wants to move production out of West Germany because laws there do not allow sales to warring factions in the Middle East. It hopes to build a $100 million facility in Cape Breton, though this has been criticized by a committee formed to look into the deal.

De Havilland was sold to Boeing; the new owners of the Urban Transit Development Corporation are considering producing small tanks and armored vehicles. And Litton has huge new military contracts for the Canadian forces. Such deals are presented publicly as new jobs. But the peace movement, now sophisticated, is countering all of them at local sites. Contact Cruise Missile Conversion Project, 736 Bathurst, Toronto M5S 2R4, about economics of the arms race.

Peace Magazine Jun-Jul 1986

Peace Magazine Jun-Jul 1986, page 22. Some rights reserved.

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