Acceptance speech – Petra Kelly
In a world struggling in violence and dishonesty, the further development of non-violence...becomes one of the most urgent priorities.
In a world struggling in violence and dishonesty, the further development of non-violence...becomes one of the most urgent priorities.
My vision of a non-violent, ecological and non-exploitative republic!
“Oh sisters, come you sing for all you’re worth
Arms are made for linking,
sisters, we are asking for the Earth”
I dedicate this speech and these remarks first and foremost to my 77-year-old grandmother, Frau Kunigunde Birle, who has accompanied me here to Stockholm and who has been my guardian light and inspiration throughout these past 35 years. I also dedicate these remarks to my sister who has died of cancer and radiation illness in 1970 and who has been the motivation for all my work and efforts within the anti-nuclear and anti-war movement in the past 13 years. And when I make these remarks, I also think of Karen Silkwood, the lab technician at an Oklahoma plutonium factory operated by the Kerr- McGee- nuclear company. On November 13th, 1974 she was on her way to deliver her documents about the hazards and wrong-doing inside the facility to a New York Times reporter. She never arrived. Her car went off the road and she was killed. Her documents vanished. After brief investigation, the case is declared closed. And I also think about Sophie Scholl, the brave young woman who fought in her own way, together with her brother, against the fascist state of Germany, against suppression and dictatorship.
I would like to cite Emma Goldman, who wrote: “The true emancipation begins neither at the polls nor in the courts, it begins in women’s soul.” History tells us that every oppressed class gained true liberation from its masters through its own efforts. It is necessary that women learn from that lesson, that they realize that their freedom will reach as far as their power to achieve their freedom reaches.”
The true essence of Emma Goldman’s feminist vision was that women should start taking responsibility for their own lives instead of trying to improve or purify those lives of men. Emma Goldman explained that is male egotism, vanity and strength in the patriarchal sense, operated to enslave women. It was partly, she argued, because women themselves often idolized those qualities in men, creating then a self-perpetuating system. Women must change their consciousness, break from the patriarchal circle and free themselves from such ill-suited ideals as those of the masculine, patriarchal and nuclear society. All too long we have been told that to gain equal chances and equal opportunities, we must accept the equal rights and equal duties of men. But it cannot be emancipation, to stand beside men in the various national armies and learn to shoot and learn to kill. It cannot be emancipation to learn how to operate a nuclear reactor or to be able to sit in a nuclear silo and control the control board.
The development of women, their freedom, their independence, must come from and through themselves. First by asserting themselves as a personality, as human beings and not as sex commodities. Second by refusing the right to anyone over her body, by refusing to bear children unless they want them; by refusing to be a servant to the state, society, husband, family, by making her life deeper and richer. That is by trying to learn the meaning and substance of life in all its complexities, by freeing herself from the fear of public opinion and public condemnation. These are words again of Emma Goldman who tried to help women to free themselves from bondage to state and husband.
I begin with this vision of the strong women in history, because without emancipation of women, without the emancipation of men, we cannot build a non-violent, ecological and non-military green republic. The women of the “Pentagon action” of November 1980 explained, why they were holding hands and why they were engaging in direct non-violent action:
“We are in the hands of men whose power
and wealth have separated them from
the reality of daily life and from
the imagination. We are right to be afraid.”
“There is fear among the people, and that fear, created by the industrial militarists, is used as an’ excuse to accelerate the arms race. We will protect you … they say, but we have never been so endangered, so close to the end of human, time. Women are gathering because life on the precipice is intolerable. We want to know what anger in these men, what fear which can only be satisfied by destruction, what coldness of heart and ambition drive their days. We want to know, because we do not want that dominance which is exploitative and murderous in international relations and so dangerous to women and children at home, we do not want that sickness transferred by the violent society through fathers to sons.
While women and men will be blockading many nuclear and atomic installations on the 12th of December 1982, whether it will be in Bitburg/Germany or in Greenham Common/Great Britain or in Stockholm/Sweden, the vertical and horizontal arms race is continuing. The vertical arms race, in which the main contestants, are the USA and USSR, – the continuous attempt to gain numerical and technological superiority – faster, bigger and deadlier missiles leading as now to the USA acquiring first strike capability and superiority trough the proposed stationing of owner-controlled Pershing II and Cruise Missiles on German and European soil. Already, this vertical arms race has led to the mad state of affairs known as overkill, in which the stock piles of nuclear weapons are now considerably more than enough to destroy every human being on the earth (40 times over).
And there is also the horizontal arms race, in which more and more nations acquire the potential to produce nuclear weapons or to procure them otherwise. During this decade, many countries will be able to come within hours of the production of the bomb – including many nations which have agreed to abstain from making one – without actually violating their non-proliferation agreement. The bomb and the reactor – they cannot be, in the eyes of the European peace and ecological and womens movement, separated. They are truly Siamese twins – they are swords from so-called plough-shares. The military potential of civilian use of nuclear energy has been underestimated, not only by the Christian-Democratic governments who are continuing to build more nuclear plants, reactors and, reprocessing facilities, but the military potential of civilian uses of nuclear energy have also been underestimated by the Social-Democratic or Socialist Governments, may it be in the Federal Republic of Germany or may it be in Great Britain or in Sweden. We, the forces of the international anti-war and anti-nuclear weapons movement must be honest and must therefore reject all nuclear power plants, all nuclear facilities, whether they be civilian or military. The Israeli attack on the nuclear reactor In Iraq increasing sales of nuclear reactors to Brazil, Argentina and Pakistan, the fact that a country with an extensive civilian nuclear power programme cannot be at all defended by military means, and the fact that low level radiation from man-made sources is causing a cancerous, dying world population, must mobilize us to reject the process of nuclearization everywhere.
By 1985, about 40 countries will have enough missile material to make three bombs or more. Almost as many are likely to have enough fissile material for 30 to 60 of such weapons or more. Existing civilian nuclear activities, have as a by-product, advanced many countries a long way towards the production of atomic weapons grade material. Furthermore, since civilian nuclear activities overlap with military ones, they can provide a cover-up for further military advance.
More than 50.000 nuclear bombs, over 1 million Hiroshimas worth, already hang over the world, and their number grows daily. At this present time Ronald Reagan and the United States government subsidize more reactors for South Korea and pressures the Philippines to continue their work on reactors. The USSR speeds up its reactor programme and exports nuclear supplies to the Third World. France develops neutron bombs and the United Kingdom announces programmes to make its own tritiom and highly enriched uranium. Germany is about to build commercial reprocessing plants and has just given the green light to the Fast Breeder in Kalkar. This world continues to spend over half a trillion Dollars a year – a million Dollars per minute – on more efficient ways to kill people! And that is in 1982, some days before Christmas! In an era where the total explosive power released in World War II is incapsulated in single bombs that can fit beneath a bed, the conviction grows: WE SHALL ALL BLOW EACH OTHER UP; THE ONLY QUESTION IS WHEN (Amory Lovins). Beyond the fear and denial of this syndrom of “tenainality” (bureaucratization of homicide) is the enjoyment of the simple things left to us. It is a song, a walk in a meadow, seeing a child smile – must we accept the absence of a future? Have we a future?
On Monday, 6th August 1945, a totally different era in human history had opened. The forces which held together the constituent particles of the atom had been harnessed to man’s use or this day men used them. By a decision of the American military authorities, made in wake of the protests of many of the scientists who had worked in the project, an atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. About 2/3 of the world’s population today were born after the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I too was born in 1947 after the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Many of us were born in this atomic age and have grown up with the bomb with many irresponsible leaders, often infantile old men, whether they be in the White House or in the Kremlin, and we have been made to believe that we can live with the bomb and can continue to watch the politicians and military personal build up their stock of overkill war toys. But In 1976 and in 1981, I have been to Hiroshima and to Nagasaki, and I will not forget the atomic victims still suffering today in the atomic hospitals in Japan and elsewhere in the Pacific cannot forget watching the children bring their coloured paper cranes to the Memorial Park in Hiroshima and I cannot forget the many women and men of the Pacific Islands, of the Bikini atoll, of Micronesia, the Indians of the United States and the Aborigines in Australia – all victims of the nuclear industry, all victims of the militarization and nuclearization this planet Earth which has no emergency exit.
I have also seen the luxurious air-conditioned and thick-carpeted rooms of the European Economic Community in Brussels where I have worked for the past 9 1/2 years, and I have seen them at NATO, and I have seem them within the Pentagon. There, such terms and such unholy language as “body-count”, “collateral damage”, “escalation control” and “targets of opportunity’ are used. There, people work, whose speech and behaviour suggest that they are of the conviction that they are doing what needs to be done and is therefore right. Why can they not stand back from their day-to-day computerized killings and begin to examine the implications of their work? How can these human beings be converted? Just before his death, Albert Einstein and Bertrand Russell issued an appeal in which they said: ” Shall we put an end to the human race; or shall mankind and womankind renounce war? Most of us are not neutral in feeling, but, as human beings, we have to remember, that if the issues between East and West are to be decided in any manner that can give any possible satisfaction to anybody, whether Asian, European or American, whether White or Black, then these issues must not be decided by war.” (from the Einstein-Russell Manifesto). Albert Einstein also stated that peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding. And as Mahatma Gandhi said:” There is no way to peace, peace is the only way.”
I agree with the words of Prof. P.M.S. Blackett (Nobel Price 1948) who said:” The dropping of the atomic arms was not so much the last military act of World War II, as the first act of the cold, diplomatic war with the Soviet Union.” By 1949, the Soviet Union had exploded her first atomic bomb. In 1953, the United Kingdom joint the Nuclear Club. The scientists and the politicians involved were not concerned with moral implications. On one June 1953, Winston Churchill reported “They had one and let it off – it went off beautifully”.
“Wars will cease when men refuse to fight” – this has attracted many to the pacifist philosophy which is an integral part of the GREEN PARTY, the party for which I speak, the alternative party and non-violent movement which I have helped to build up since leaving the Social-Democratic Party in 1978. The GREEN PARTY, a non-violent, ecological and basic-democratic anti-war coalition of parliamentary and outer-parliamentary grass roots oriented forces within the Federal Republic of Germany, is at the moment the only hope I have to change not only the system of structural and personal violence but also to find a way out of the insane policies of atomic deterrence. The GREEN PARTY to which I have dedicated my efforts and all my energy in the past 3 years, is committed to basic democracy, to ecology in the broadest sense of the term, to social justice and to non-violence. Military leaders and politicians have in the past aroused partial unity by means of fear, pride, anger, hate, lies. Unity can also be aroused by love and the desire for social justice. When a sufficient number of people, as for example, in my country and also in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, in the Scandinavian countries, in Japan, in the United States, begin to understand the close relationships between the arms race and international violence, economic ties preservation, social injustice, and ecological instability, then we are on the way to make the right demands for the benefit of humankind, rather than for one nation, one particular class. The global overview of military and social expenditures as presented by the Stockholm Institute for Peace Research (SIPRI) makes a grim reading. It is a dismal reflection of our values as a world community. We have thought it necessary to invest so much more of our wealth in military power than in meeting the needs of society, in meeting the needs of women, children and men.
The green party has an underlying thought which states clearly that humankind must not consider the land and what it supports in terms of property a real estate. We are all temporary custodians of the land entrusted to us for passing on unimpaired to future generations. We argue that most urgent and most straight forward disarmament measures required at this juncture from an ecological standpoint are the absolute prohibition of all nuclear weapons, of all atomic, biological, chemical weapons and a complete demilitarization and conversion to protective status of ecologically important regions. Nuclear power states now comprise a large part of the world’s population. There is for me only one way out – complete disarmament. The bilateral step by step approaches have failed. Arms control talks and the present hypocritical talks in Geneva and the so-called Zero-option of Mr. Reagan have also failed. We propose unilateral and calculated towards complete disarmament as a solution which we propose not only for the Federal Republic of Germany, but for all European countries, for all countries in the world. Each of our governments must take that first step which it expects the other government to take! And if the governments do not take these first steps, so we shall take these first steps for them! We must work towards a disarmament race. Military balances, the balance of terror, the counting-game, are irrelevant. The greatest criticism that can be made of the nuclear arms race is its total irrelevance to the problems facing us today! World poverty, the diminishing natural resources, overpopulation and pollution – these are the problems we are facing today. The only war we seek should be the war against humankind’s ancient enemies – poverty, hunger, illiteracy and preventable disease.
Thee need increased trust in world relationships, abolition of the belief of the “so-called enemies, we must shed our Western paranoia in regard to the possible threats posed by the Soviet Union. This paranoia, this new-hysteria in our established media and in government circles has prepared once again the ground for “Just wars” to be fought against the so-called red menace. But in both blocks, in the block of NATO and in the block of the Warsaw pact, lie many corpses, he many strangulated and tortured men, women and children, may it be in El Salvador, in Turkey, in Vietnam, in Chile or in Afghanistan. In these present days we speak very much about “limited nuclear wars”. We speak of “victory that is possible, we speak of megatons and megadead! And it is possible for a Deputy Under-Secretary of Defence for Strategic and Nuclear forces T.K. Jones of the present Reagan administration to say the following: “Dig a hole, cover it with a couple of doors and then throw 3 feet of dirt on top… it’s the dirt that does it… If there are enough shovels to go around, everybody is going to make it.” These are also the times in which the following interview had taken place (Los Angeles Times, January 23rd, 1980):
Scheer: How do you win in a nuclear exchange?
Vice President Bush: You have a survivability of command in control, survivability of industrial potential, protection of a percentage of your opposition that it can inflict upon you. That’s the way you can have a winner and the Soviet planning is based on the ugly concept of a winner in a nuclear exchange.
Scheer: Do you mean like 5% will survive?
Bush: More than that – if everybody fired everything we had, you’d have more than that survive.
We can kill thousands, because we have first learned to call the enemy. Wars commence in our culture first of all because we kill each other in euphomismes and abstractions long before the first missiles have been launched. It has never been true that nuclear war is unthinkable, it has been thought and has been put into effect. It was done in 1945 in the name of allies – It was done by professing Christians, when a victory against the Japanese was certain. What is unthinkable is that nuclear war could happen to us. So long as we can support that this war will be inflicted, the thought comes easily. And if we can suppose that this war will save our lives, or serve our self-interest or even save us from the queuing every other day for gasoline, then the act can easily follow on. (E.P. Thowin). We think each other to death. The deformed human mind is the ultimate dooms day weapon – it is out of the human mind that the Pershing IIs and the SS 20 and neutron warheads come. And thus we must begin to resist the terms and the ugly language which precede the act. A war confined to Europe ought not to be given the term limited theatre. The development of now deadlier weapons – made not to deter, but to wage war – combined with major new strategic decisions, ought not to be concealed within the term of modernization.
Within the logic of “deterrence”, millions are now employed in the armed services, in the security organs and military economy of both blocks. Here is also the driving rationale for expansionists – programs in unsafe nuclear energy (programmes with a military pay-off), while the urgent research into safe, renewable, soft energies is neglected. The so-called capitalist and the state-socialist powers compete to feed into the Middle East. Africa and Asia more sophisticated means of killing and they compete for markets for arms and weapons.
I cry out with the women of the world, with the women in the peace movements everywhere like those women, my sisters doing the Pentagon action two years ago:
‘We have come here to man and rage and defy the Pentagon, because, it is the workplace of the imperial power which threatens us all. Every day while we work, study and laugh, the colonels and generals who are planning our annihilation walk calmly in and out of the doors of its five sides. To carry out their plans, they have been making 3 to 6 nuclear bombs every day. They have accumulated over 40.000. They have invented the neutron bomb which kills people but leaves property and buildings like this one intact. They produce the MX‑missile which wastes thousands of miles of Western lands and consume its most delicate resource‑water … They have just appropriated millions of dollars to revive the cruel old killer ‑ nerve gas. They have proclaimed the Directive 59, which asks for small nuclear wars, prolonged, but limited. The Soviet Union works hard to keep up with the United States Initiatives. And so we can destroy each other cities, towns, schools, children many times over…
All over the world, people from the grass roots, from below, are saying ‘no’ to the games of the super‑powers. They are coming in the thousands and in the hundred thousands tomorrow: Women were arrested on November 17th, 1980 at the end of a two‑days civil disobedience action at the Pentagon. Women were recently arrested outside of the missile base at Greenham Common in Great Britain, for they had protested non‑violently for several months in a peace camp. And on Sept. 9th, 1980, a group called ‘Plough‑shares Eight’ (among them the Berrigan‑Brothers) walked into the General Electric Re‑entry division plant at King of Prussia/Pennsylvania, hammered on two nuclear warhead cones and scoured their blood on the damaged cones and on documents and desks until they were stopped by guards and arrested. On March 6th, 1981, they were found guilty of several felonies: burglary, criminal conspiracy etc at the Montgomery county court in Wellstown/ Pennsylvania. Daniel Berrigan, a dear friend of mine, stated in December 1980: ‘Perhaps the struggle to prevent nuclear war is a struggle for the soul and heart and minds of people. I believe that with all my heart. I believe that the crime of nuclear catastrophy is already on the way. Even If, as we all hope and pray, there were never to be another nuclear explosion against human life. I believe that the intention to use the bomb is signified by having the bomb around…
Two convictions today led us to a civil disobedient‑attitude to the law. First of all, the State has perverted law to the point of legalizing its nuclear psychosis. 60 cents of every Federal Tax dollar now goes into the bottomless rat-hole of the Pentagon. This state and others like it throughout the world remain invincible unless they are challenged by non‑violent civil disobedience. I believe we are at that point. The government has become invincible to our fear, accountable to no one for military waste, invincible in its determination to initiate or to provoke thermo‑nuclear war. We commit civil disobedience at General Electric, because this genocidal entity is the fifth leading producer of weaponry in the United States. To maintain this incredible position, General Electric drains 3 million dollars a day from the public treasury, an enormous larceny against the poor.”
After many demonstrations and signatory campaigns, such as the Krefelder Appell, which I have initiated with my comrade Gen. ret. Gert Bastian (we have collected 3 Million signatures) there must now be the way of civil disobedience, of non‑violent direct action against the system of structural violence, militarization and nuclearization. Alone the density of nuclear and chemical plants and facilities in Germany side by side make a nuclear war totally senseless, since already a conventional war and conventional arms dropped on nuclear stations can cause nuclear disasters and a repetition of Hiroshima.
We must do all we can to prevent an Euroshima. We must resort to non‑violent blockades, sit‑ins, die‑ins, hours of silence, fasting periods, information campaigns, discussion with the police and with military personal. We must rejoice with the many reserve officers who recently have handed it their reserve passes and with the many (69.000) thousands of war resisters this year. We must also resist any attempt by the statesmen and politicians of East and West to manipulate this movement to their own advantage. Our objectives must be to free Europe from confrontation and to lead this Europe out of both blocks.
One day the great military alliances must be dissolved by the people in both blocks. And so we must continue to agitate non‑violently for the expulsion of all nuclear of all ABC‑weapons and bases from European soil. I am ashamed of the present state of affairs, whereby my country, the Federal Republic of Germany, has become the sixth largest weapons exporter in the world. Over 70% of all West German arms exports go to the developing countries of the Third World. We export weapon components, U‑boats and tanks to South American military dictators and to Apartheid regimes.
We must begin to work towards conversion models and join our critical trade‑unionists, such as Mike Cooley from Lucas Aerospace, & dear and close friend of mine, so that we have solutions for the 8 to 10 % unemployed workers in the arms industry, once peace will break out. We must find ways and means to make alternative production, to produce socially useful and necessary products instead of military supplies.
And we women in this peace movement, my sisters, reject the plans to integrate women into the armed forces. We will not forsake our liberation by accepting patriarchy’s interpretation of equality. The military complex has all symbols ‑ of patriarchy… armies kill discriminate, repress, exploit, give orders. They do not further mutual aid, co‑operation, respect or equality. We oppose all conditions where the strong subjugate the weak… the power our industrialized countries hold over the underdeveloped ones… this is all an extension in my eyes of man’s domination over woman in the last centuries. Many women have risen to leadership positions in the German antiwar and GREEN movement and these women make very clear that in order to establish more equal relations between the sexes, men must learn to nurture life rather than train women to kill and obey orders.
The anti‑war and anti‑nuclear movement does not mean negative protest: it is necessarily pro‑environment, pro‑woods‑ and pro‑fields, pro-rivers and oceans, pro‑plants and animals, pro‑solar energy, pro clean air and above all, pro‑people. It is a planetary vision, planetary moral standard, for hungry people, poor people, women, youth the handicapped, the old people, the Amazone tribes, the Aborgines, the inner‑city slum dwellers, the oppressed minorities everywhere ‑ we are all in this together? We are in fact the realists, we are not only the dreamers of brother‑ and sisterhood, of nonviolence and of survival.
When think of the non‑violence that we need not only in the course of politics but as a way of life, I think of the native Americans, the American Indians, who have a reverence for life, respect human dignity and understand the interconnection of all things to an extent that has yet to be surpassed. The genocide perpetrated by the United States on the Indian tribes and cultures ‑ a pattern which still continues today ‑ remains one of the most‑ crucial indictments of the white civilization. In 1854, Chief Seattle, leader of the Suquamish tribe in the Washington territory, delivered this prophetic speech to mark the transferal of ancestral Indian lands to the Federal Government; … this we know. The Earth does not belong to map; man belongs to the Earth, this we know. All things are connected like the blood which unites one family. All things are connected. Whatever befalls the Earth, befalls the sons of the Earth. Man did not weave the web of life, he is nearly a part in it. Whatever, he does to the web, he does to himself.’
It is perhaps another way of saying that we must build up the power of the people which will be a power different from the THE POWER OF THE STATE. We need to restructure and we need to overhaul the entire social fabric, for it is at this moment woven by violence. I want both, peace and a non‑violent revolution. If we want peace, than as Mahatma Gandhi has said, the only way to peace is peace Itself. We have to prove that non‑violence and peace have the power to revolutionize society. If this is proved, violence will cease to be the indispensable adjunct of the past.
Society can be saved. Non‑violence is a relatively new idea which differs considerably from religious pacifism. While pacifism refers to the traditional belief that all killing, particularly in war is wrong, contemporary non‑violence concerns itself with the implications of this belief in the whole social fabric. Non‑violence has for me a broader definition of what causes and constitutes violence. It takes the initiative against the existing system of dominance and privilege and gives more conscious attention to the building of an alternative social structure. War and the war, system, the military industrial complex in the West and the bureaucratic repression in the East, as well as social violence, are inherent in our present political‑economic order and prevailing materialistic culture. A.J. Muste wrote that humanity faced a major crisis in which only the drastic change such as is suggested by the terms rebirth, conversion, can bring deliverance. A.G. Muste called for a non‑violent revolutionary movement which would include both changes in external relationships and an inner transformation of the individual. That is to say that while we are fighting against the larger war, the ABC‑war, we must, at the same time, also fight against the small wars, the wars of violence that take place every day in our streets where women fear to walk alone at night, that take place every time a woman is raped or beaten, that take place every time a child is hit or struck. We need not only change the status quo of the so‑called institutionalized violence, but we also need to change ourselves fundamentally before we can change the social and political life.
For me, non‑violence in the tradition of Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi and Bertha von Suttner is a natural element which relies on the power of truth rather than the force of arms and flows from a sense of the underlying unity of all human beings. At the same time, there can be no sustained non violence struggle on a massive scale until social institutions based on non violent principles are built up. While non‑violent resistance and direct action are an extremely important part of this movement on a European and worldwide basis at the root of non‑violence is unity based on love and the desire for justice and unitary constructive work which will build up the structure of the new global society. Conscience must become stronger than custom, and personal risks must be taken to better the common lot. I think at this stage especially about the brave initiatives of the Catholic bishops in the United States, on the questions of nuclear disarmament. I think of Bishop Raymond Hunthausen who has been initiating a tax‑strike since April of 1982 with the consequence of perhaps having to go to jail. I think of Daniel Ellsberg and the many men and women who sat on the railroad tracks in Rocky flats to stop a plutonium train. I think of the farmers in Comiso/Italy who are trying to help buy the property to prevent the sitting of Cruise Missiles which will point at Libya. I think of the other America which is now engaged in the Freeze Campaign and I think of the many Japanese sisters and brothers who together with our friends in the Pacific are marching for a nuclear‑free world. And I think of our sisters and brothers in Eastern Europe may it be within the union of Solidarnosc or may it be within the East German peace movement within the churches in East Germany under the symbol of ‘Swords into plough‑shares’.
We must learn much more about the Pacifist tradition, the roots of non‑violence and the struggle for freedom of conscience. And as a woman I must reiterate that especially my sisters must demand that the psychological, physical and economic violence perpetrated by men against women be recognized and ended and that social institutions be changed so as to no longer reflect the pattern of dominance and submission We must turn towards encouraging a more humane, loving standard of behaviour instead of relationships steeped in aggression, competition, exploitation. We women are so intimately close to our oppressors and this sometimes has made me pessimistic. We must explore new forms of relating and relate only with those men who are non‑violent.
The feminist vision, which is also an ecological one, abandons the concept of naming enemies and adopts the concept familiar to the non‑violent tradition: naming behaviour that is oppressive, naming abuse of power that is held unfairly and must be destroyed, but naming no person, one, whom we are willing to destroy. Barbara Demin has written: ‘ If we can destroy a man’s power to be violent, there is no need of course to destroy the man himself. And if the same man who behaves in one sense as an oppressor, is in another sense our comrade, there is no need to fear that we have lost our political minds or souls when we treat him as a person divided from us, and from himself in just this way. We must always judge the social role and see behind that social role the human being.
Patriarchy is a system of ownership where in in most cases women and children are owned. Patriarchy is the original authoritarian model, the moleculiar totalitarian model and every violent form has derived from it. So we must end forever the war of the powerful against the powerless and ending the smaller wars of bad men against worse men, and this means dismantling the machinery of patriarchy, whether it be in the East or in the West.
Many non‑violent groups have marched in 1976 to Washington D.C. and the Call of the Walk stated in part:” Military spending priorities continue to deprive our sisters and brothers on this planet of dignity and even of life itself, also continuing to increase misery inflation and unemployment. Foreign policies based on fear and mistrust continue to aggravate the ever increasing arms stock pile. Non-nuclear arms continue to be used to repress social change and to preserve patterns of injustice… We know that those who control the governments are trapped in the illusion that militarism can defend the interests of the nations and peoples. The last 30 years have shown that without massive public pressure, governments will not take a single step towards disarmament.”
The vision I see is not only a movement of direct democracy, of self‑ and co‑determination and of non‑violence, but a movement in which politic means the power to love and the power to feel united on the spaceship Earth. We need life affirming directions in politics, and thus the GREEN PARTY will never compromise on the issues of life and death, on the issues of the right to life, the right to health to peace, the right to a safe and healthy environment . Such issues cannot be compromised and cannot be misused for the sake of staying in power or gaining power. In the upcoming Federal Elections in March 1983, the GREENS will not in anyone of those questions of life and death make one compromise, for if we did make such compromise, we would betray not only our voters but also our members and the movement. In a world struggling in violence and dishonesty, the further development of non‑violence not only as a philosophy but as an effective political force on the streets, in the market squares outside the missile bases, inside the chemical plants and inside the war industry becomes one of the most urgent priorities.
In a letter that was addressed to Mr. Breshnew and Mr. Reagan, Mr. Benson, the author of the Peace Book, had written to those two gentlemen that over 500 billion dollars a year, a million dollars a minute of our money, is now being spent to further arm the world which can destroy itself already more than 40 times. And Mr. Benson asked Mr. Breshnew and Mr. Reagan to return to us, the people, a minute‑part of our military budget, 100 million dollars, 1/5th of 1/10th of 1% of the world’s annual arms budget. With the touch of a finger, we can now all be destroyed and with a stroke of their pen we could all be saved. 4oo.ooo technicians and engineers are working in the arms industry, trying to find new methods of annihilation. Only 2 persons. 2 men sit at a negotiating table in Geneva and are trying to reduce so‑called “medium‑range missiles” which are land‑based. This is where the priorities stand.
We must reject an economy based on death and thus we must begin to refuse paying war taxes. We must refuse to work in the military/industrial complex, we must refuse to serve in the armies.
Without a bullet having been fired and without a bomb having been dropped, without a missile having been launched, it can be truthfully said, that the arms race is killing us. The military escalation and poverty are closely related to one another. And while I speak here in Stockholm, the Reagan administration, the so‑called protective power of the West, has declared an open‑season and welfare, social security, foot stamps and other forms of public assistance, but the price tag on the MX‑missile and new multi‑million dollar weapon systems are considered too sacred to tamper with. 15 years ago, during the heights of the Vietnam war, Martin Luther King Jun., who won the Nobel Prize, spoke out against the idolatrous mindset of Pentagon experts who could only understand security in terms of military strength leaving out the most important dimension, the human cost of it all. “The security we seek with military means, we lose in our dying cities. The bombs in Vietnam explode at home, they destroy our hopes and possibilities for a decent living. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programmes of social uplift, is approaching spiritual death.” (Martin Luther King Jun.)
The vision that I have is the vision of social or civilian defense, a world in which we not only abolish man’s destructive weapons but a world in which we also abolish the so‑called military security and defense system. If we believe strongly enough in our democratic ideas, if we believe in our rights of speech and rights of assembly, in our rights of conscience, then no tank and no missile can blackmail or repress or suppress us. Social defense which is a highly sophisticated form of non‑violent direct action (should there be a so‑called aggressor from within or an aggressor at ones borders), makes the price for the aggressor so high that he will have to think twice before ever attempting an invasion. Social defense calls for a democratized society and calls for society built up on solidarity with each other.
At this time, not only the Reagan administration, but all administrations in the countries of this world which call for increased military spending, are committing an act of aggression which amounts to a crime, for even when they are not used, by their cost alone, armaments kill the poor by causing misery and deprivation. In any attempt to measure the arms race this is the bottom line: Death by deprivation is surely as heinous as death by force of arms.
Our young people don’t need the draft, they need jobs, our older people don’t new weapons of overkill, they need better and more qualitative housing at more affordable prices. Our working people cannot live with inflationary effects of military spending, they need the right to a job, they need the right to work and the right to a qualitative job. Our fly members don’t need Cruise Missiles, they need affordable health care. And our children don’t need neutron bombs, they need better schools. None of us need the SS 20 or the MX missile, we need an efficient mass transit system. We must bring together on this planet Earth the different groups which have been used to work in an isolation and that means hard work. We must form or grass roots alliance based on shared interests if we are to reach out effectively to a larger audience. We need to develop a nonviolent strategy, not only to stop the deployment of first strike missiles in Europe, but to begin reducing all mass destructive weapons and finally to get rid of them. And I make a last appeal not only to the Peace Movement in Europe, but to the Third World movement everywhere, because especially women and children of the Third World are to perish first. They have already begun to starve. All that is asked of them is to starve quietly. The tragedy of women in the Third World is one that moves me, touches me deeply. There are now about a hundred million children under the age of 5 always hungry. 15 million children die every year from infection and malnutrition, and there are about 800 million illiterates in the world, nearly 2/3 of them are women. And while I say this I remember at the same time the multi‑national company Nestlé that has told women in the Third World to stop breast‑feeding and to start feeding lactogen. All this is related directly to our own prosperity and so‑called material and economic growth. The developed nations are armed to their teeth and mean not only to hold on to what they have, but to grasp everything they still can. The suffering people of this world must come together to take control of their lives, to wrest political power from their present masters pushing them towards destruction. The Earth has been mistreated and only by restoring a balance, only by living with the Earth, only by employing knowledge and expertise towards soft energies and soft technology, a technology for people and for life, can we overcome the patriarchal ego.
1984 and George Orwell ‑ they are not so far from us, and not so far from us is the police‑and‑atomic state and the danger of totalitarian regimes ‑ all in the name of making secure the nuclear societies. We must lose our fears and we must speak up and we must demand what is ours and what is our children’s. We must begin to rediscover our own nature, we must begin to forge new ways, ways of wholeness, inter‑connectedness, balance, preservation and decentralisation.
As Gandhi said, the non‑violence of the weak must become the nonviolence of the brave. I believed that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality.