In 2010, global military spending surged to an all-time high of US $1.63 trillion. Given the numerous crises facing the planet — economic, environmental, health, diplomatic — it is imperative that we create a global movement to shift this money to human needs. We know that there are thousands of organizations and millions of individuals who support this point of view – what is needed is to begin a serious mobilizing effort to make it visible.
Since 2011, on a specific week in April, we organize the Global Day of Action on Military Spending (GDAMS) to coincide with the release of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s (SIPRI) new annual figures on world military expenditures. It is also Tax Day in the US. On this day, people on all continents join together in collaborative actions to focus public, political, and media attention on the costs of military spending and the need for new priorities. Such events will help us to build the international network around this issue.
While each location will craft its own approach, we hope there will be a common focus on calling attention to the overall size of global military spending. This would need in most cases to be linked to a related national, local, or international issue, such as an on-going war, anti-bases efforts, arms trade deals, work against small arms, resources for nonviolent conflict resolution, Article 9 campaign etc. We very much hope that peace groups will use this as an opportunity to connect up with anti-poverty, environmental, pro-democracy organizations and others who share our perspective.
As for types of actions: a whole range is possible! — from street theatre/demonstrations, putting up banners to seminars, signature collection and much more. Many slogans come to mind: Cut Military Spending, Fund Human Needs! What Would You Do With $1.63 Trillion? Trillions for War or Trillions for Peace? etc. Ideas from past actions and tools are available for the organizers. A key aspect is the visual side. By generating some captivating images, we plan to attract widespread media coverage and make available photos of our rallies and events. We are compiling the pictures from around the world to document the global movement as well as to accompany our stories.
We have commitments from organizations in the United States and Canada, Asia, the Pacific, Latin America and Europe.
Can we add you to our list?