Ending war means building peace

Symposium audience and Kozue Akibayashi at No War 2016. Credit: Ellen Thomas.

By Carol Urner, co-chair emeritus of WILPF National Disarm/End War

Ending war means building peace . . . and building peace means ending war. We can’t do either by ourselves as WILPF. In September, and now in October, we continue working in coalition with other peace movement leaders to do both.

But at the same time we keep our own identity as a unique, 101-year-old international women’s peace organization (also including some wonderful men), with both ending war and building peace as our primary goals.

Ending war

In September, at least 23 WILPFers—from San Diego, California, to Burlington, Vermont—traveled to Washington, DC, to participate in a symposium organized by World Beyond War.

For four days, we focused on ending war. Fourteen of those attendees were also members of our Disarm/End Wars National Committee. Disarm member Odile Hugonot Haber spoke in a plenary session on the proposed Middle East Nuclear Free Zone, with member Alice Slater serving as moderator. In addition, our International WILPF president spoke in two plenaries: one on patriarchy and war and the other on foreign bases and war.

In October, WILPF is joining in Keeping Space for Peace! activities as our way of participating in the United Nations World Space Week. Please notify us about your own events by writing to Bruce Gagnon at globalnet@mindspring.com or to me, Carol Urner, at carol.disarm@gmail.com.

Building peace

At the same time, WILPFers everywhere are building peace in many different ways: in human rights, saving our water, challenging corporate power, normalizing relationships with Cuba, nonviolent peace building in the Middle East, and building the beloved community everywhere.

In our Disarm/End War National Committee, our two current priorities have been abolition of nuclear weapons and banning of militarized drones. Nuclear weapons abolition includes successful efforts like our work with Physicians for Social Responsibility and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) on the nuclear weapons ban treaty. Many of our members also work on restoring of earth destroyed by our use of depleted uranium weapons and nuclear power industries.

We also seek to bring those branches (and at-large members) working on banning drones into closer contact with each other to share creative strategies, successes, and failures. And we welcome other women and branches with passion for any other disarmament issue to contact our committee via Ellen Thomas at et@prop1.org and to join our 60-plus-member WILPFUS Disarm/End Wars team!

And, THANKS to the Jane Addams Peace Association and to the WILPF US Mini-grant Committee for financial support of our committee’s projects. We’d keep working hard even without your support, but that support has made so much of what we are doing as unpaid volunteers possible. And thanks for US government Social Security and Medicare, as well!



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