Last week, the International Peace Bureau held a GCOMS meeting in Brussels, where the GCOMS campaign 2017 was presented. GCOMS coordination is located since last year in Barcelona, under the responsibility of the Centre Delàs of Peace Studies.
GDAMS 2017 included 116 actions in 30 countries, covering 5 continents. The final GDAMS 2017 report is now available and can be downloaded here. GDAMS 2017 started on April 18th, which is Tax Day in the U.S. On the 24th, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) published the global military expenditure figures for 2016, together with an analysis of its trends. Having a period of 11 Global Days offered GDAMS campaigners a more flexible scope to choose a suitable moment to organize events that fit local or national contexts. This year’s Global Day/GDAMS took place in a particular context: we are increasingly immersed in a World that is based on a divisive rhetoric, hate speeches, and xenophobic thinking. The consequence is a dominant Worldview insisting on a separation between good and evil and supporting on-going military campaigns – and the increased budgets to support them. During 11 days, GDAMS events varied in shape and size depending on countries and partners. As in previous years, a whole range of actions where organized, including: street protests/demonstrations, seminars, press conferences, media releases, videos, petitions, peace vigils, penny polls and photos. These various actions highlighted the unacceptable global military expenditure of $1.69 trillion in 2016, and linked it to regional, national and local issues like the Pentagon budget hearings in the U.S., the militarisation and drug wars in Latin America, the economic crisis in Europe, nuclear weapons modernisation, the tendency towards militarism in Japan, the growing tension between South and North Korea and other issues. Activists asked to redirect military expenditure to human needs and sustainable goals.
A new GCOMS campaign has now started: Cut Milex 2017. This is a fall campaign of political lobbying, asking Parliaments to reduce Milex in their budgets while redirecting funds to human needs. It aims at introducing Milex as a political debate at Parliaments while annual budgets are discussed. The campaign will also focus on requiring transparency in all Milex-related issues.
A Handbook for GCOMS campaigners in now in progress. It will include an introduction on Milex and GCOMS together with many suggestions, proposals, and examples to plan campaigns and their strategies.
Several GDAMS 2018 objectives were discussed, including an increase on the number of partners and actions worldwide, actions on the European Parliament asking for a reduction on European Milex, and activities related to the NATO proposal of having a Milex raised to 2% GDP. Human Security should be always be raised as an alternative to militar security.
We need to involve citizens and organisations more actively in an open and robust debate to challenge the negative results of military expenditure. More than ever, we welcome new partners to work on the ongoing Global Campaign on Military Spending (GCOMS), and to make the Global Days of Action on Military Spending (GDAMS) and the Cut Milex campaign a great success!