Report from workshop 2.
Grassroots Actions for a world without nuclear weapons and without
Seventy nine participants of the 2004 World Conference attended
the workshop that discussed grassroots actions for a world without
nuclear weapons and without war. Twenty four Japanese and nine overseas
delegates shared their ideas in the workshop. The proceedings of
the workshop were facilitated by a panel of chair persons consisting
of Mr. Anatoly Ionesov, Mr. Takeshi Ando, Ms. Mikiko Shimamura and
Prof. John M. Itty. Given below is the summary of the discussion.
Importance of grassroots actions
Many a time, the policies and actions of the governments go against
the interests of the people who are being treated as the subjects.
Especially, the policy regarding armametation, and was causes threat
to the life and security of the people. Even when there is no war,
armamentation causes reduction in the expenditure to provide basic
requirements like food, education, health care and social security
to the people, and production, testing and stockpiling of nuclear
weapons causes radiation effects. Further, war in any part of the
world creates pain and suffering all over the world. As the ruling
class in all countries has an inclination towards war and war preparations,
constant vigil and opposition of the people against such policies
is necessary and the only means to protect their life and security.
Therefore, strengthening of peoplefs movements at grassroots level
is the only option for the people to create a world without nuclear
weapons and wars.
The ongoing actions
The delegates narrated stories of actions being taking place at
grassroots level in various parts of the world. Reports about the
experiences of the people of Okinawa who continue their struggles
against U.S. military bases, the nationwide struggle against deployment
of Japanese soldiers in Iraq, campaigns to mobilize public opinion
against the attempt to revise Article 9 of the Constitution of Japan,
efforts to stop the use of Yokosuka Port in Kanagawa Prefecture
as the mother port of U.S. nuclear aircraft carriers, 34-year-efforts
to carry out signature collection against nuclear weapons, campaign
to support lawsuit of Hibakushas, and peace marches and exhibitions
being organized throughout the lengths and breadth of Japan every
year are encouraging. The initiative being taken by some groups
to teach peace song and to teach children and mothers war experiences
and distribution of pamphlets in schools are inspiring. Hogo Prefectural
Gensuikyofs support to the Asia, Africa and Latin America (AALA)
Solidarity Committee is an example of Japanese grassroots groups
widening their horizons.
Reports about closing military bases in the Philippines and withdrawal
of Filipino soldiers from Iraq and declaration of Mongolia as non-nuclear
state were received with applause. Grassroots actions against war
in the form of demonstration and human chains has become vary active
and powerful during the last two years in every county and national
and international networking has also become strong. The regular
meetings of World Social Forum is a reflection of the growth and
solidarity of grassroots groups all over the world.
Suggestions to Strengthen Grassroots Groups
Following are the suggestions that came out of the workshop to strengthen
1. Anti-war peace movements may take up human rights issue also
as one of its focus.
2. An agenda of action may be put forward for the creation of nuclear-free
zone in North-East Asia
3. Lawsuit may be filed against Japanese Government to withdraw
self-defense forces from Iraq.
4. The right of the people to live in peace may be highlighted
on a slogan of grassroots groups.
5. Making the local governments committed to peace and pressing
for budget allocation for these activities is to be attempted everywhere.
Concentrated efforts for this could help strengthen a new politics
from below against war.
6. The role of cooperative in peace activities may be explored
7. Pressure from grassroots groups for review of NPT may be intensified.
8. Workers and ordinary people may be organized everywhere.
9. Peace museum and peace education to the children and young mothers
may be organized everywhere.
10. Public opinion may be mobilized against production and use
of military toys for the children.
11. Better communication networks between the groups may be explored.
12. Efforts for building networks at regional, national and international
levels may be strengthened.
13. Action against the war in Iraq which helped national and international
networking of the people more than ever before may be further strengthened.
14. In Europe, groups may take up the issue of the new role assumed
by NATO as a force for offense rather than defense.
15. Efforts may be taken to bring more people in the global antiwar
gathering in Beiruit, Lebanon.
16. Mass media may be used in support of peace activities.
17. Global networking against foreign military bases everywhere
may be attempted.
18. Individuals, citizen groups, community and civic leaders make
a commitment to support the call for concrete plans for anti-nuclear
free world during the 60th anniversary of bombing in Hiroshima and
Nagasaki starting from Aug. 6, 2004 to Aug. 9, 2005.
Discussion in the workshop reiterated the role and importance of
grassroot actions as the means of promoting a politics in favor
of peace both at national and international levels. The stories
of the grass root actions also provide hope and encouragement about
the power of gthe people and the possibility of people together
creating another better world.
Prof. John M. Itty
On behalf of the chairpersons