SfP Bulletin Winter 1985
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The Council of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto passed the following resolution on September 24, 1984:
As members of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, we wish to express our professional concern over the unprecedented threat to life and health posed by nuclear weapons, a threat that hangs over hundreds of millions of people. The increasing accumulation of destructive power and the development of ever more sophisticated weapons greatly increase the risk of nuclear war.
If even a single nuclear weapon is exploded over one of our major cities, hundreds of thousands will be killed. If many nuclear weapons are exploded, radioactive fallout and disturbance of the biosphere will cause suffering and death — particularly from starvation, radiation illness, infectious disease and cancer — without regard to national boundaries. The remaining medical facilities and personnel will be inadequate to help the wounded. An all-out nuclear war would end our present civilization.
The cost of the arms race is not only the vast sums being diverted to armaments in a world where tens of thousands of human beings die each day of treatable diseases. The cost is also in the great psychological damage that is being done, particularly to young people and children who fear they will have no futures.
We recognize that to reach agreements to end the nuclear arms race and avert the introduction of nuclear weapons into any conflict represents a major political task. We regard such agreements as crucial and urgent since the threat of nuclear war is the greatest challenge to health and survival that humanity has ever faced. As members of the Faculty of Medicine, we believe a nuclear war would be the final epidemic.
From poet member Murray Wilton (Toronto)
When all the guns and all the ships
And the missiles laden with hate
Are tied with ribbon like a mortgage paid —
Then burnt as a consecrate.
When all the Pentagons and all the Kremlins
And all the dictators soliciting salutes
Are told to take their uniforms off
And surrender their swords and boots.
When north is south and east is west
And goods are produced everywhere,
When privilege and pride of being top dog
Are titles that all will share.
When millions and billions of new human beings
Springing up from the fertile womb
Will know that no tariff or hydrogen bomb
May spell their certain doom.
When all the religions and all the sects
And all the mumbo-jumbies of deepest God knows
Admit that there’s more to the world around
Than their magic will ever disclose.
When all the masters of psychological hype
Leave the press and the airways at rest
And give us all a brief respite
To use as each thinks best.
When man sees man as a fellow man
Adrift on a raft in space,
Where there’s nothing to hold that raft afloat
Except for a saving grace.
For intelligence alone is not enough
What fools the intelligent can be;
The world is run by clever fools
Who resemble you and me.
from When, 1983.
With this issue of the Bulletin, Brydon Gombay takes over as editor from Edward Barbeau (Math, U of T), who has served since the inception of the Bulletin. Ed wants to think through alternative ways of working for peace. Brydon was secretary of S4P last year, has previously edited and written for journals.
Since Science for Peace acquired charitable status, the chances of receiving financial support from individuals, foundations, or corporations in sympathy with the aims of our organization have substantially increased. However, such support is usually rendered for specific projects. Of these several are listed in the recently disseminated brochure Science for Peace — The First Three Years. Surely many more projects — research or educational — in various states of readiness to be formulated are percolating in the minds of many of our members. Are you thinking of a research programme, a conference, a workshop, which you want to see realized? To be realized, any of these activities must be funded. To be funded, each proposal must be formulated in a way that explains why it deserves to be supported. The more concretely it is described (e.g. with a schedule of work, a budget, etc.) the more likely it is to find support. The Central Office of Science for Peace can assist in routing these applications for support.
There is another important way in which you can take advantage of your membership in Science for Peace: by participating in an exchange of ideas. This Bulletin is a natural medium for such exchanges. If you are thinking of a project a piece of research, a course to be introduced in a curriculum, an edited publication of important documents that should be available in compact form, you name it - send this idea to the Central Office. To the extent that space permits, we will publish it in the Bulletin. Your fellow members will read it. Surely, at least some will respond to some of the ideas. In this way, we can start a multilogue (see the item about Bill Eckhardt’s program in this issue). The level and effectiveness of the activity of an organization depends crucially on how strongly its members are bound together. Of course, initially there must have been a bond among us because we were motivated to join together. But the initial impetus is not enough. As in marriage or friendship, the bond must be constantly nourished and rejuvenated.
So let me tell you about my project, for which the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada has just given a grant. It is called “Investigations of Conditions Facilitating or Inhibiting Escape from Social Traps”. The best known model of a social trap is a deceptively simple game called “Prisoner’s Dilemma”. It has been so widely publicized that I assume you know what the dilemma is about (If you don’t, write me c/o the Central Office, and I promise to send an explanation). There have been several hundred papers published on experiments with this game. It has attracted so much attention, especially among social scientists, because it is a perfect condensation of the most tantalizing problem of social life the “dialectical opposition” between competition and cooperation.
Another widely known social trap is called “The Tragedy of the Commons”, originally formulated by the noted biologist G. Hardin (If you want to know about this one, write me). My project deals with variations on the theme of the “Tragedy of the Commons”. One of these is called “The Volunteer’s Dilemma” (information supplied on request), an idea I stole (with his blessing) from a colleague of mine when we were working together in Vienna. He now works in Munich and has started a project there to dovetail with mine.
Social traps are important in peace research and peace education because they are prototypes of the trap into which the struggle for power between the superpowers is leading the people of this planet. Escape from this trap depends on collective understanding of the “dialectical opposition” between “security” and the risk of extinction aggravated by attempts to increase one’s security, while attempting to do exactly the same.
Now it’s your turn. With best wishes for a productive, peacemaking New Year. A.R.
The members’ publications listed in the fall, 1984 Bulletin are still available from Science for Peace office.,
Dian Cohen & Kristin Shannon, The Next Canadian Economy, 1984, Eden Press, 203 pages, $9.95.
Bhupendra Jasani & Christopher Lee, Countdown to Space War, 1984, a SIPRI publication, 110 pages, $10. Order from Taylor & Francis, Inc. 242 Cherry Street, Philadelphia, Pa. 19106-1906. U.S.A.
Those who have been too busy saving the world to do their Christmas shopping before January can still order the 1985 Children’s Peace Art Calendar: “A Child’s View of Peace”. A single copy (including postage) costs $5.75, 5-9 copies $5.30 each, 10-99 $4.85 each, and 100 or more $4.20 each (7% provincial sales tax must be added) from The Vancouver Peace Centre Society, 1520 West 6th Ave., Vancouver, B.C. V6J 1R2, tel: 604-734-4141.
The December 1984 issue of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists contains a teaching guide on nuclear war which will be of interest to many members of Science for Peace. Intended as a primer for college and university teachers, it also gives suggestions for inter-institution programmes. Separate articles are included on each of the following disciplines: the physical sciences, mathematics, engineering, biological and ecological sciences, history, the humanities, religious studies, medicine, law, journalism and mass communications, and education.
Hanna Newcombe has edited a 1984 supplement to the Peace Research Abstracts Journal: World Unification Plans and Analyses. This selection from Peace Research Abstracts Journal includes contributions on world constitutions, general plans and models of alternative world futures, U.N. charter reform proposals, historical and economic analyses of the future, relationships to other ideas of peaceful change, etc. Copies of this supplement (128 pp., price $15.00) may be obtained by writing to Dr. Hanna Newcombe, Peace Research Institute – Dundas, 25 Dundana Ave., Dundas, Ontario L9H 4E5. Copies of the 1980 edition of World Unification Plans and Analyses (259 pp.) may be ordered at the same price from the same address.
The National Research Council of the USA reports (Toronto Star, Nov. 27, 1984) that the U.S. stockpile of aging, militarily useless and extremely. dangerous chemical weapons stored at eight army bases is leaking. The stockpile will have to be destroyed in the next decade or two at a cost of $2 to $4 billion (US).
Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei. Gromyko and U.S. Secretary of State George Schultz meet Jan. 7-8 in Geneva, Switzerland, for preliminary talks to prepare for resumption of arms talks between the two countries. Aim of the talks: limiting nuclear spending. Says the New York Times News Service (Dec. 27, 1984): “The, beneficiaries of a successful round of negotiations would be the U.S. budget deficit, interest rates, bond prices and common stocks. The big loser could be military stocks.
UC-S4P Lectures: West Hall, Univ. College, U of T, at 8 p.m.
- Jan 23 – Kenneth Hare (Trinity College, U of T);
- Feb. 28 – Henry Wiseman (Guelph Univ.);
- Mar. 25 – Noam Chomsky (USA).
HILLCREST FOR PEACE (Toronto) starts a seminar series in January with a discussion led by U of T Economist Mel Watkins on “Disarmament and Economic Conversion”. January 15th, 8 p.m. at the Wychwood Library.
The Science for Peace preparatory group will meet in Croft Chapter House at the University of Toronto on January 16, at 8 p.m., for its continuing discussion of Canadian Peace Initiatives and to prepare a brief to the government on defence and foreign policy. Prof. Michael Lanphier, of York University, will table a paper for discussion.
Science for Peace, together with the York Programme in Strategic Studies, is sponsoring a conference on European Security Requirements and the MBFR Talks, at University College, University of Toronto, May 6-7, 1985. Many of the participants will be experts on particular aspects of European Security and/or European Defence, including alternative defence.
Help is needed in organizing the second and third mailings (some one familiar with computers and word processors would be especially useful) and in the preparation of bibliographies and background papers. Contact Derek Paul (416) 978-2971.
There will be three more seminars at York University during the winter term of the Peace in the Nuclear Age series (organized by Michael Lanphier):
- Jan.16 – Non-military defence; different roads, same models. Theodore Olson (Social Science)
- Feb. 6 – Strategic studies and peace research; contrasting perspectives and assumptions. Jim MacIntosh(Strategic Studies)
- Mar. 6 – Scientific organization and the struggle for peace. Lee Lorch (Mathematics)
A “Nuclear Winter Evening” will be held on Thursday, February 7 at 7:30 p.m. in the Science Lounge (1/313) at Brock University, St. Catherines, Ont. Included in the programme are a Carl Sagan film, a slide-tape show and a panel discussion.
Call for papers by CPREA for annual conference at the University of Montreal June 2-4, 1985, along with other Learned Societies. Papers should deal with peace studies and peace education. Deadline is 10 January for title submission, 200 word abstract and personal vitae. Send to Prof. M.V. Naidu, Dept. of Political Science, Brandon University, Brandon, Manitoba R7A 6A9.
A recent speaker at the University College and Science for Peace lecture series was Major General Leonard Johnson, former commandant of Canada’s National Defence, College in Kingston, Ontario. A member of the International Generals for Peace and Disarmament, he discussed Canada’s commitment to NATO pointing out that of the 2.6 million land forces in Europe, the total number of Canadian forces stands now at 5,400. Current NATO doctrine, said General Johnson, offers us the choice between defeat and suicide. He claimed that Canada must insist on the right to dissent from official NATO policy. Arguing that we must substitute an ideology of peace for the current ideology of war, General Johnson suggested that the single goal of national security policy should be the prevention of nuclear war. Generals for Peace and Disarmament, whose membership consists of retired NATO military officers, expects to meet for the second time in May, 1985, with retired Warsaw Treaty Organization officers.
I feel the dread
I feel the dread,
and the sun burns in me, burns like a fever.
The world is full of war, and at home, crime
resembles a war. Men flock to the city
leaving their fields to weeds, their tools to rust.
Plowshares now are beaten into swords.
It’s bad in Asia, bad in Europe, bad …
No treaties hold, no laws hold, nothing
but Mars, blood red … He holds it all,
hurtling through the sky in his chariot.
I feel those wheels rumble.
I feel the sway of speed.
The horses are mad and running faster
They ought to check. They ought to answer the reins.
There ought to be reins.
But there are none.
Virgil, The Georgics I, 29 BC, Read to Emperor Augustus (translated by David R. Slavitt, New York, Doubleday, 1972).
Quoted by General Johnson in his Toronto Lecture.
All our members are no doubt aware of Canada’s vote against the freeze proposal put before the United Nations, both at the political affairs committee, where it passed by a vote of 111 to 12 and subsequently in the General Assembly, where the vote was 129 for vs. 12 against. Between the two votes, Science for Peace co-signed a letter written in conjunction with several groups urging that Canada support the joint Mexican-Swedish Freeze proposal. Four members of NATO (Denmark, Iceland, Greece, and Norway) voted in favour of the Freeze; Canada did not. External Affairs Minister Joe Clark suggested in a recent interview that Canada can exert more influence “working through the alliance” than she can by trying to advise the superpowers.
Bob Melvin of the University of Western Ontario reports that about forty participants of last fall’s Peace Studies Programme have been meeting weekly ever since.
Geoffrey Pearson has been confirmed as executive director of the newly created Canadian Institute for International Peace and Security. The board organized in early fall (chairman William Barton, vice-chairman Margaret Fulton) has awaited confirmation of this appointment to begin the Institute’s work. Other S4P members on the board of directors are Norman Alcock and William Epstein.
External Affairs Minister Joe Clark will present a Green Paper on foreign policy to Parliament towards the end of January, 1985. This paper will form the basis for discussion within a parliamentary committee, which may recommend cross-Canada public hearings on such issues before it reports its recommendations next autumn for the official White Paper on foreign policy. This matter is of great importance and should bring forth a special effort from our own membership to contribute to the Brief which our preparatory group will draft. Members wishing to work on this should contact Metta Spencer at (416) 789-2294.
A collection of SIPRI books has found its way into the S4P library, thanks to Pat Alcock.
Bill Eckhardt has responded enthusiastically to our research directors’ appeal for a survey of ongoing research by Science for Peace members, enclosing several interesting papers which he would be willing to send at no charge to any interested members of Science for Peace. He is writing a book on the nature of war, which he hopes to finish by the end of 1985. Once published, it should prove to be a useful peace studies text, covering, as it does, topics such as archeological evidence, anthropological evidence, philosophies of science, value analyses of political ideologies, definitions and causal theories concerning war and peace, conflict reduction and resolution, etc.
Send further questions, answers, or requests for his papers to William Eckhardt, 2000 Main 211, Dunedin, FL 33528, U.S.A.
Doreen Morton, a member who has faithfully typed the Bulletin since its inception, has gone into business: AFT Word Processing, “today’s secretarial service”. Those wanting to make use of her services should contact her at 279 Palmerston Ave., Toronto M6J 2J3 (tel. 416-924-5287) after office hours or on weekends.
S4P members George Ignatieff and Norman Alcock have been appointed to the Consultative Group to the Department of External Affairs. Norman Alcock will be official S4P representative.
David Suzuki in an early December talk to the Empire Club of Toronto: “It’s time society called a halt to nuclear technology or face the possibility that an errant computer will destroy us all”.
S4P President Anatol Rapoport starts a 12 week course at Conrad Grebel College at the University of Waterloo (Ont.) Jan. 8. Contact Prof. Conrad Bronk.
Dr. Donald Bates of Science for Peace and the McGill Study Group for Peace and Disarmament presented a slide-tape show on December 3 on the effects of a nuclear war on Canada to the UCAM meeting, the University of Toronto.
Good news from Metta Spencer, board member and contributing editor of the Peace Calendar: a grant from External Affairs means the newspaper will shortly blossom in a new magazine format.