Stand Back , or Some Thoughts Upon Pacifism and Nonviolence.

Reconciliation or social revolution ?

I’ve always been somewhat reluctant to write a long and
philosophical article upon Pacifism and Nonviolence,
as most of what I would like to say has been written about
before now.

Yet I still find myself reading a lot of works that confuses
Nonviolent principles with those ideas which exclude any
references to humanitarian social justice. Continue reading Stand Back , or Some Thoughts Upon Pacifism and Nonviolence.

Referencing the Imperial War Museum

The Imperial War Museum ( IWM ) has changed a lot since I first
visited it some time around 1963.

I still have a very strong impression of just what the museum
was like at the time,
and the displays upon the horrors of World War One.

I’ve been back to the IWM several times over the years since
then.

I Recently went on a librarians visit to the new
Explore History Centre within the IWM.

The Explore centre replaces what used to be the Museum
Library, and is a good starting place for anyone who wishes to
learn more about the various aspects of the various wars
which Britain has been involved in since the turn of the 19th
century.

Not only can one access the books and papers which are held
within the museum,
but it’s audio visual materials too.

This is also the starting point from which one may undertake
some research in to ones family history,
but find out about how wars have been waged during the 20th
century.

The idea behind the Explore Centre is that what is held within
the Museum should be easily available to everyone.

Both World War One & Two were ‘peoples wars’,
and the collection is a reflection of this very fact.

Thus the Museum has a vast collection of books, documents,
and other items upon the subject of Conscientious Objection,
together with many sound recording made by COs.

e.g.
by Harold Bing.

Amongst the items I was shown the last letter of Edith Cavell,
whos statue Women In Black hold their vigils,
&
a collection of letters from people who were on the Lusitania
when it was torpedoed in 1915.

The IWM has a holding of over 5 miles of books,
50,000 badges,
and the largest collection of paintings within the UK.

So you should be able to find something of interst for
everyone.

Pensions & Library Workers.

Here is The Deal.

Library & Information workers get below average incomes,
but most will get a pension after years of service.

Such pensions are based upon years of hard work on low pay,
and the below average wage which they may be receiving at
the point of retirement.

The deal being that one will put up with such low pay in
exchange for a pension that will lift one above the penury
which is the state pension.

Now some clever investors are claiming that this is an
unreasonable deal for the tax-payer.

Well you can’t have it both ways!

Either you start to pay the real economic worth of library
workers during a working life,
or
you pay what is not an unreasonable pension.

Though it might also be remembered that:

– All pensions are paid for over a working life time by those
who receive these pensions.

&

– A pension is a form of savings during ones working life, which is withdrawn in stages after one retires.

So it is not the tax-payer who is funding these pensions,
but the workers themselves.

If anything does need to be done in terms of pension reform,
then it should be the ending the spouse or partners
allowance.

Such an allowance is a form of Discrimination against single
people.

This would also release a lot of money which could be better
used to make sure that everyone who has a pension might
continue to do so,
and increase the level of pension pay-outs for all.

Enough said …….. We are not all overpaid bankers.

An Inequitable Taxation.

Be it the window or Poll tax,
the question as to what is an equitable or a reasonable
taxation has always excited a lot of protest.

That is why the question of tax exceptions is one which should
concern us all.

We all think that we are over taxed,
but just how many of us think about how just the payment or
none payment of taxation may be.

At present within Britain all religious comminutes are except
from paying any council ( local authority ) tax.

While most of the churches or religious bodies are registered
as Charities,
and thus gain many tax advantages.

Yet Pacifist bodies, ecology action groups have to pay their
taxes in full.

Why should this be so?

Because under the present law Churches are deemed as being
charitable bodies,
while Pacifist and Eco action organisations are considered to
be ‘political’.

If a group of atheists were to establish a community or body to
combat the extremes of any religion, then they would not be
able to be registered as a charity,
or get all of the tax benefits which go with this.

That would be deemed to be a political activity.

Yet Religious bodies who campaign against good atheist values
do get these various tax benefits.

Now just tell me that this is not political?

This makes no sense at all,
as all religions involve themselves in politics,
even if they hide it with the expression:
‘ Spreading the word of god ‘.

Just to take two examples:
– They campaign against the rights of women to make their own
decisions upon contraception and abortion.
&
– Interfere upon just what may or may not be taught within our
schools.

Just look at the website for the
Charity Commission for England and Wales
and you will see just how many religious bodies are registered
as charities.

This includes such controversial bodies as the
Universal Church Kingdom of God.
A church whose activities has aroused a lot of concerns over
the last few years.

On the other hand we have the case of many pacifists who are
taken to court for refusing to pay any war taxes.

This is despite the fact that Pacifists have a legal right to
exercise a conscientious objection to conscription.

Clearly there is an urgent need to change this system,
and give one the right to exercise a conscientious objection to
all war taxes.

Though the long term aim should really be to abolish all
military organisations.

Equally importantly: –
The whole question as to the charitable status of all religious
bodies should be examined,

They should be made to take pay their share of the tax burden,
as it is inequitable that we should all be forced to subsidise
them this way.

Nonviolent Resistance to the Falkland War.

The overriding mood in Britain the during spring of 1982 was
that of Jingoism, nationalism, & militarism.

The Falkland Islands had been invaded by the Argentina
military,
& Britain was at War.

In between the Jingoism, nationalism, & militarism: –
There were a few of us who were engaged in
Anti Falkland War Activities.

Over the few months of the war there were a lot of small
scale demonstrations,
and three national marches against the war.

Upon one of these demonstrations I was photographed in the
company of my comrades from Greenpeace ( London ).
This photo appeared on the front page of the Morning Star –
Monday May 10th 1982.

During the period between may day 1982 & the ‘victory parade’
on oct 12 of that year:
Some circa 118 people were arrested for Anti-Falkland war
activities.

Most of these arrests were for small scale,
or symbolic actions against the war.

Some £515 was raised in donations to cover their fines &
other legal costs.

These figures come from bulletin no 6 of the anti-Falklands
war support network (March 1983 ), in which I was involved.

This support network was founded on may 24th 1982,
and held its last meeting on February 28th 1983.

The Peace Pledge Union ( P.P.U. ) was engaged in activities
against the war,
as was London Peace Action,
&
Greenpeace ( London ).

Peace News published various news stories and back ground
articles upon the situation during the time of the war.

Since then very little has been published about this small
grass root opposition to the Falkland War.

The archives of the anti-Falklands war support network are
now held by the P.P.U.

A statement marking the 25th anniversary of the war was
published in Information for Social Change 2007.

What I would like to happen is an oral history project upon
the resistance to the Falkland War.

Would anyone be interested in undertaking such a project?

Some Notes Upon Pacifist Activities in Bulgaria During the 1920s & 1930s.

On July 3rd 1924 a young man was beaten up in the Bulgarian
village of Bujinci-Vasil. His ‘crime’ was that of refusing to be
conscripted.

This was in contravention of the provisions of the peace
treaty which came in to effect at the end of world war one.

The reporter upon this incident had no idea upon what had
subsequently happened to the young man.

Thus we have the 1st of a number of reports upon the pacifist
movement in Bulgaria which were published in the various
newsletters of War Resisters International ( WRI ).

In September 1924 it was reported that a group of Bulgarian
Tolstoyans had formed a new section of WRI.

At the same time it was reported that their situation had
become much more difficult. Continue reading Some Notes Upon Pacifist Activities in Bulgaria During the 1920s & 1930s.

40 Years of Peace Activism.

On November 3rd it will be exactly 40 years since I first
become involved in the peace movement.

I remember this exact date as I was on a sitdown outside of a
company which made military plane equipment that was
being used in Vietnam.

It was my 19th birthday when I joined a demonstration
outside of a company called Elliott Automation.

Elliott Automation made navigation equipment which was
used upon American Military Aircraft in Vietnam.

I knew no one upon the demonstration, but felt that it was
important to show my opposition to the war

What happened on the demonstration,
& information upon Elliott Automation,
appeared within Peace News: –
November 1st & 8th 1968.

If you look very carefully:
you can see me in a photo of the demonstration that was
published within Peace News.

The first copy of Peace News I ever purchased was sold to
me by a street seller outside of Holborn Tube station.

It was dated November 8th 1968.

While upon the demonstration I picked up a leaflet about
the Peace Pledge Union ( PPU ).

I joined the PPU,
started to read Peace News,
and the rest is history.

A nice little story from Norway during World War Two.

During the Nazi occupation of Norway there was a Nonviolent boycott of all official sports events.

So when the Occupying powers organised games events in Oslo, all the viewing stands were empty.

Just look at any photos of these events, & you will see just how effective these boycotts became.

I mention this as my contribution as to what might be done about the Olympic games in China later on this year.