2004 World Conference against A & H Bombs

Report from workshop 2.
Grassroots Actions for a world without nuclear weapons and without war

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 peoplefs 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 Gensuikyofs 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 grassroots actions.
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 further.

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



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