GLOBAL DAY of ACTION on MILITARY SPENDING

http://demilitarize.org/

2011

No. 3 ! February 2011

Global Day of Action on Military Spending 12 April, 2011
Welcome to our third newsletter. As we get closer to April 12, more and more organizations and people are signing on. The Food Not Bombs network, School of the Americas Watch, International Network of Engineers & Scientists, and the Global Network against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space are all on board. Changemaker in Bangladesh, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom in Switzerland, and Peace Movement Aotearoa in New Zealand will all participate. Welcome! This newsletter will focus on what's going on in Latin America. We'll also tell you about our organizers packet and our new one-pager on the militaryindustrial-academic complex, update you on the debate in the United States, and give you another idea for how to turn your April 12 event into a photo opportunity that the media will want to jump at.

Organizers:
The!International Peace Bureau ( I P B) !is dedicated to the vision of a World Without War. We are a Nobel Peace Laureate (1910); over the years, 13 of our officers have been recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize. Our 320 member organisations in 70 countries, together with individual members from a global network, bring together expertise and campaigning experience in a common cause. Our current main programme centres on Sustainable Disarmament for Sustainable Development.

Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) is a
community of public scholars and organizers linking peace, justice, and the environment in the U.S. and globally. We work with social movements to promote true democracy and challenge concentrated wealth, corporate influence, and military power. As Washington’s first progressive multi-issue think tank, the IPS has served as a policy and research resource for visionary social justice movements for over four decades.!

Big Buildup In Latin America
Largely overlooked in the broad sweep of American foreign policy for the last decade, Latin America has attracted the renewed attention of some U.S. policymakers. Unfortunately, this attention may serve only to re-militarize a region with already bitter memories of military dominance. GDAMS partner John Lindsay-Poland of the Fellowship for Reconciliation has written about new planned U.S. military bases in Colombia, some of which are already under construction despite a Colombia Constitutional Court ruling that the basing agreement was invalid. In addition to new facilities in Colombia, the Army Corps of Engineers has been planning the construction of new military compounds in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, Ecuador, and Belize.

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GDAMS Website
The United States’ renewed interest in power projection in Latin America has driven the militarization of other states in the region. Citing "the threat posed by the empire and its allies," Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has taken a $4 billion loan from Russia to purchase new armaments. Brazil, seeking to secure its regional preeminence, is making massive new investments in naval technology despite its ongoing problems with poverty and urban development. Perhaps reacting to Brazil’s maneuvers, Argentina has announced an enormous 50 percent increase in its military budget and expressed its renewed interest in nuclear technology.
Our website is up and running at http://www.demilitarize.org. Here you can find out where actions are being planned around the world. You can watch videos that can give you ideas of what you can do on April 12. And you can download information about global military spending and related topics such military bases. Here, for instance, is a comparison compiled by A. Dueck of the International Peace Bureau of the estimated costs of fulfilling the Millennium Development Goals (in colors) versus what we’re spending on the military (in black).

SOA Watch in Colombia:

Civil society efforts are already underway in the region to close bases, demilitarize U.S. regional policy, and abolish nuclear weapons. But few regions in the world have suffered as much at the hands of military-first policies as Latin America. As the new wave of militarization accelerates, the issue of military spending will require evermore agitation.

Organizers Packet
Want to participate in April 12 but don't know where to begin? With our GDAMS Organizers Packet, we give you all the information you need to hold an event on April 12 and connect with an international movement that is saying no to the enormous waste of money on global military spending. Inside, you'll find a sample press release, fact sheets, and suggestions of what kind of highly visible action you can organize for April 12.

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The Military-IndustrialAcademic Complex
As researcher Subrata Ghoshroy explains in our new one-pager on the Pentagon's influence on campus, the United States spends nearly $80 billion annually on defense research and development (R&D) alone. This line item exceeds the total spending on defense – not just R&D – by the UK, France, Russia, and other spending giants. Every year, approximately the Pentagon provides $4 billion to support university research in the United States. You can read more about where this money goes in the full fact sheet.

Photo Wall
We need more submissions to our Photo Wall! Get creative – show us with a sign or a graphic what you would do with $1.6 trillion, and encourage your networks to do the same. It only takes a few minutes to make a powerful statement!

Poster Power
The United States spends more on the military than virtually all the rest of the countries of the world combined. You've probably heard this before. But how do you convey this fact to people simply and visually? Here's an idea for your April 12 event. Create signs that represent the countries and their military spending. Include the flag and the amount of money the country spends on its military. But here's the twist: each of the signs is sized proportionate to the spending. So, the U.S. sign would be huge, the Chinese sign about one-tenth the size, and all the other signs proportionately smaller. That would have an immediate visual impact.! Here's a ratio chart that you can use if you start with a U.S. figure of 10 feet:
United States: 10 ft China: 1 ft, 5.9 in United Kingdom: 1 ft, 0.5 in France: 1 ft Russia: 11 in Germany: 8.6 in Japan: 8.5 in Saudi Arabia: 7.1 in Italy: 6.7 in India: 6.6 in South Korea: 4.9 in Brazil: 4.9 in Canada: 3.7 in Australia: 3.6 in Spain: 3.5 in Turkey: 3.4 in Israel: 2.6 in Greece: 2.5 in United Arab Emirates: 2.4 in Netherlands: 2.3

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Don’t Forget
Of course, you can use these same ratios to suit your circumstances. Here’s a desktop example from the IPS office taking the top ten countries. It puts the U.S. at 2 feet and divides the remaining sides by 5:
• Let us know if you’re planning an event for April 12 (g d a m s 2 0 1 1 @ g m a i l . c o m ) – share your ideas with others around the world! Sign up on our Facebook page Follow us on Twitter

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Properly blown up, the visual impact can be astounding. This can also be an excellent participatory activity if you turn the bars into signs for ten or twenty people to hold.