The Toronto Chapter, as part of our attempt to redesign our programme of activities to match the changed realities of the ´90s and the interests of the current generation, has had two meetings involving both members and other interested persons. The first of these took place on 8 February. The following are notes on the 12 April 1994 meeting at which 21 people attended.
The previous meeting, 8 February, saw Science for Peace’s directions being characterized by:
- The environment is a peace issue.
- Science for Peace should be stimulating the public to think about the role of science in society — how do we do that?
- The Science for Peace document “Taking Stock” filled a gap — what more can we produce of this sort of document?
- We should raise our profile on campus.
- How do we organize ourselves to be effective?
The meeting proposed a number of ideas around which to develop programmes. These included:
- Artificial intelligence — critical work investigating and explaining to the public the social dangers inherent in the computerization of human activity. (8)
- Economic self-reliance — a direction towards peace — a thrust- to stop the destructiveness of large central economies by the empowerment from self-reliance. (7)
- Environmental issues.
- “Taking Stock” — Militarism and the environment. (7)
- Local Toronto issues such as military industries, gun laws. (6)
- An exploration of the acceptance of violence in our society. (12)
- Creating public awareness through press releases, maintaining a media list and using contact people, a speaker’s bureau. (4)
- Public lectures. (5)
- Internal activities and organization — reading groups, working groups. (3)
- Focus on raising our profile on campus — including book sales. (3)
- A look at the University and “The System”. (5)
- A viewpoint of the current era considering ideological issues. (14)
These were discussed in the context of what activities can and should we take on. It was noted that the items listed imply a variety of different categories — some are programmes, some are viewpoints of other programmes in the list, some are general directions. However, it was pointed out that we should use these merely as guidelines as to our directions. As an indication of available energies, a show of hands asking who would be interested in participating in the activities in the list. The numbers of persons responding is indicated in parentheses.
A format for meetings involving a number of members was proposed. There would be sessions discussing pre-set topics with invited speakers and participation by those at the meeting. Prepared reading lists would precede the meetings. Three topics were suggested:
- Economic self-sufficiency — local economies
- Acceptance of violence in our society
- Ideological issues
It was suggested that the new Executive of the Chapter, which will be elected in May, use the discussion as a guide for next year’s programme. It is hoped that a number of the people at the meeting will be part of next year’s Executive.