The Militarism Working group is very small, so small that it does not make sense at this time to have various officers. We communicate easily with each other by email, and one member attends our meetings via Skype. We only began meeting several months ago, and while there was interest and support from by a number of people, only four or five people attend meetings. There is agreement to focus particularly on militarism and especially its salience in terms of climate change. We hope to reach out to other groups and to collaborate on political and educational activities. We have already organized the Global Day of Action Against Military Spending and collaborated with Voice of Women to bring Dr. Gretchen Roedde to Toronto. As a physician with MSF, she has worked in over thirty countries and spoke about women and war. The talk was filmed and is hopefully up on SfP website. Unfortunately there was low attendance.
We also organized a protest against Canada’s non-participation in the nuclear weapons talks in New York, June 15-July 7. We sponsored a panel on June 11 that featured Erin Hunt, Steven Staples, and myself, and the talks are on you-tube. As a result of the discussion that evening, we initiated a vigil at Chrystia Freeland’s office on June 17th in collaboration with Voice of Women, Independent Jewish Voices, Centre for Social Justice, Quaker Peace and Social Action, Physicians for Global Survival. A professional filmmaker took videos and it should soon go up on Facebook.
We are in the process of thinking through how to bring public attention to nuclear weapons and are collaborating with other groups. My article on Canada and nuclear weapons is in NOW magazine which has a large circulation. As we are such a small group, and we want to be as effective as possible, The focus is on individual initiatives, so one member will be able to give a talk for the Vital Discussions series, another member is especially interested in petitions and public statements, and another will cultivate connections with news media like the Real News. The GDAMS talks are always poorly attended though we’ve had excellent speakers. I find that at present, the back-up help from an office coordinator is a real drawback; it has been difficult to publicize this event and today the SfP website is down. Generally, there are no announcements of these talks on the website and I’ve had to set up the facebook event site myself —- and it is not circulating to SfP members. To make SfP more effective, it would be helpful to better promote events and articles. Also, it would be desirable to clarify a budget for working groups.
Lastly, there are constraints on everyone’s time so individual initiative is important as well as keeping up communication outside of face-to-face meetings.
— Judith Deutsch
[Report to the 2017 SfP AGM