What should be the agenda for the Canadian disarmament movement during the rest of this decade? Many of us have come to understand that demanding the maximum leaves the shaping of actual public policy in the hands of those who would continue the nuclear arms race, albeit possibly through less belligerent means than Ronald Reagan favors. When the ante is raised too high, the unfortunate result is that disarmament comes up empty-handed.
We must debate the ingredients of a short-term and long-term disarmament agenda. There is danger in going too far beyond public opinion. Yet disarmament politics is not only the art of the possible; it is also the art of bringing into the realm of the possible that which is necessary
Plans were discussed to organize such a national "knock and drop" popular educational campaign at the November Canadian Disarmament Movement meetings in Toronto. Local and national groups interested in such a project should discuss the idea now with the delegates to the conference who considered the campaign while in Toronto.
The project would be a "knock and drop" popular educational campaign. Let us, for example, say that the issue is Star Wars. The plan would be to knock on doors and physically hand a short (300-400 words), easy-to-read leaflet to the person who answers. The 'canvasser" would encourage the person to read the material but would not be looking for a long conversation or response at the doorstep. It should be possible for an individual to do at least Is homes in an hour and the leaflet can be produced (at a union shop) for two and a half cents.
Cost: 1,000,000 x 2.5 = $25,000.
Personnel requirements: 5 or 6 hours per
"canvnsser" (100 homes) = 10,000 volunteers.
Twenty-five thousand dollars is not all that difficult to raise. But can we realistically get 10,000 canvassers? I think so, based on my Peace Petition Caravan Campaign experience in Sudbury. The Sudbury basin - not exactly fertile territory for disarmament activists - has a population of 150,000 and we had over 150 canvassers. That amounts to one volunteer per one thousand people. On a national basis, that could provide 25,000 canvassers - two and one-half times the number needed for this project.
I believe that the importance of such a project is obvious. Reaching a million homes once (maybe twice) a year will give us a decent chance of winning over ordinary
Simon Rosenblum can be contacted at 190 Lees Avenue, #1616, Ottawa, Ont. KIA 5L5.
Peace Magazine December 1985, page 6. Some rights reserved.
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