Campaigning against militarism


By Ray Fulcher

MELBOURNE — A decision to campaign around the Kangaroo '92 military exercise, the aerospace exhibition and the Cape York space base was adopted by around 60 peace activists attending the Campaigning Against Militarism conference, held here over the Invasion Day long weekend.

The conference, organised by Campaign Against Militarism, focussed on the military aspects of our society. It opened with Aboriginal activist Gary Foley discussing the need for solidarity with the struggle of the Aboriginal peoples.

There were main panel sessions and workshops on such topics as the arms trade, military research on campus and regional military alliances. Other workshops took up indigenous peoples' struggles in the Asia-Pacific region, including Indonesia and East Timor.

On January 26, many of the participants joined about 300 people at a protest concert and invasion re-enactment at St Kilda beach.

On the final day of the conference, an opening panel consisting of speakers from Friends of the Earth, Democratic Socialist Party, Campaign Against Militarism and International Socialist Organisation posed the question of how to build the peace movement in the '90s.

All speakers stressed the need to build a broad, united movement. The FoE representative spoke of the need to "link the needs of the environment with the need for peace." Lively debate followed as people tried to come to grips with the movement's recent history and the best strategy and tactics for drawing in large numbers of people around the political demands of the peace movement.

Workshops in the afternoon dealt with the practical details of campaigning. The concluding session decided on campaigning around Kangaroo '92, which begins in March (it was decided that a lot of street theatre would be used in this campaign). The aerospace exhibition at Avalon in Victoria in October was seen as a major focus because of the military content of some exhibits. The Cape York space base was seen as a long-term project. To contact CAM and get involved in these campaigns, ring (03) 419 5937.

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