Global Day of Action on Military Spending, April 17th 2012
Over 130 different actions will take place in 40 countries worldwide, with participation in over 50 cities in the United States alone. The events, which coincide with Tax Day in the United States, emphasize the staggering amount of taxpayer money that goes toward military spending. Amidst global economic and climate crises, groups will be calling for a shift in spending from war and militarism to expenditures on human need. An annual report on global military spending will be released on the same day, and is expected to show an increase.
“Almost every country with a military is on an insane path, spending more and more on missiles, aircraft, and guns, while the planet is in crisis,” said John Feffer, Co-Director of Foreign Policy In Focus, a project of the Institute for Policy Studies. “These countries should be confronting the real threats of climate change, hunger, disease, and oppression, not wasting taxpayers’ money on their military.”
“We are not only talking about money”, added Colin Archer, Secretary-General of the International Peace Bureau. “The world is misusing some of its most brilliant brains, which are desperately needed to tackle issues like the energy crisis and the challenge of creating millions of new jobs”.
The global protests occur at the same time that the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) will release annual numbers on global military spending. SIPRI’s annual report is among the most authoritative indexes of global military spending. Last year, according to SIPRI, global military spending exceeded $1.6 trillion. This year’s report is expected to show that levels of military spending across the globe increased once again in 2011, the most recent measureable period.
The global actions will be unified in their message that $1.6 trillion-plus in military spending is an enormous waste of money. Each local event, however, will develop its own specific focus. Among the various events there will be street theater in Dhaka, an outdoor press conference in Istanbul, a parliamentary debate in Yaoundé, protests against military bases in Okinawa, a peace village in Oslo, a high-level seminar at the UN in Geneva, flash mobs in Oakland and Toronto, Tax Day leafleting in Bethlehem, PA, a “walk of shame” in Washington, DC, and more.
The first Global Day of Action on Military Spending was last year in 2011 and featured GDAMS events at the international, national, and local levels. Activists produced videos, constructed powerful public displays and performances, held press conferences and seminars, and mobilized public opinion in favor of reducing military spending.
The GDAMS coalition is a network of dozens of well-known peace organizations, and was originally called into being by the Institute for Policy Studies and the International Peace Bureau in acknowledgement that thousands of civil society organizations and billions of individuals across the world share the desire for a reduction in global military spending.
For further information go to: www.demilitarize.org