November 07, 2006

Peace in Space Sunday Session

The Peace in Space workshop attendees agreed the number one intra-movement goal is education, education, EDUCATION! Far too many peace activists, even those well acquainted with the nuclear industry, equate space-based warfighting with the issue of banning weapons in space. While it is useful to participate in diplomatic efforts, the vast majority of activists do not understand how first-strike tactical war in particular regions of the world is enabled by new space tools.

One of the keys for education is unifying all the sources of of information on corporate involvement in specific military programs, specific bases, etc. (This is obviously of interest to groups well outside the peace in space community.) Sources exist at WILPF, FAS, Government Accountability Project, World Policy Institute, globalsecurity.org, Center for Defense Information, Global Network, but they must be synthesized and constantly updated. Carol Urner's work at WILPF can be seen as a template for a universal web-based model. Jack Cohen-Joppa of Nuclear Resister said that community awareness must extend beyond the major contractor in a city - in Tucson, most attention is given to Raytheon, even though there are many small optical-based military contractors working in space.

For specific goals outside the peace community, the group was comfortable in providing support to efforts within the US government, and efforts within the UN, for banning weapons in space. However, this should be seen as only a small first step. Bringing regional peace groups to a greater awareness of the use of military space for global dominance, and getting Washington-based peace think tanks to address the issue of unilateralism more openly, is a more important goal.

Frank Cordaro of Des Moines Catholic Worker and MacGregor Eddy specifically talked about the problem of fear among former activists, even those willing to challenge the nuclear industry in the 1980s. Residents near Offutt and Vandenburg seem to relish staying ignorant, and often special strategies must be developed to bring in, not just members of the community at large, but old activist friends who have lost their way.

"Maybe the real answer is to make new friends if the old friends no longer care," Cordaro said.

Loring

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