21 September is the International Day of Peace, established since 1981 by the General Assembly of the United Nations with an invitation to all member states, regional and nongovernmental organizations and individuals to commemorate the day appropriately through education and public awareness. Global peace needs nonviolence and a ceasefire for all belligerents in the world called to lay down their arms and end the war. The theme chosen by the UN for 2020 is “Shaping Peace Together, let us create peace together”.
Precisely for this reason we have chosen the date of 21 September 2020 to announce the birth of the Italian Network for Peace and Disarmament, a new organised network into which the Peace Network (founded in 2014) and the Italian Disarmament Network (founded in 2004) converge. This is our specific contribution to the UN message, let us create peace together, starting from the union of our forces, common goals, to strengthen and grow the collective work for peace and disarmament.
This decision represents a further step in a long journey that has seen us working together on some themes and campaigns already underway at international level (Stop Bombs in Yemen, NO F-35, Unarmed and Nonviolent Civil Defence, Nuclear Disarmament with ICAN for the accession to the Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty, IoAccolgo, Peace Law Justice in Israel/Palestine, for the reduction of military expenses, for the control of arms exports and the defence of Law 185/90, for civil peace interventions in ongoing conflicts, Control Arms campaign, ENAAT network, Stop Killer Robots campaign, INEW campaign against explosive weapons). We want to go forward together on what we have done and what we still have to do, to give voice to the experiences of civil and non-violent resistance and set new common objectives.
There are many associations, large and small, from the pacifist, nonviolent, disarming, solidarity, civil service, social justice, culture and environmentalism world, which have decided to join together in one big network. It is not a process of “cold fusion” from above, but a stage in a process of work already done together in the territories, from below, participating in common campaigns, which now finds an outlet in a unitary organization. Finally a process of aggregation, not separation. We feel the need to confront different subjects, cultures and sensibilities, on the economic choices of our country that for decades have resumed to privilege industry and arms trade, rather than investing in the economy of peace, security of the territory, services and civil and non-violent defense.
We are deeply convinced that the current policy, which invests billions in weapons and only crumbs in peace projects, does not defend and protect us but, on the contrary, damages us and deepens the economic, social and environmental crisis that our society is experiencing, widening the furrow of distrust that separates the community from politics.
The result of the political choices of the last few decades is before everyone’s eyes:
• the strongest arms race we have ever witnessed is underway, a massive quantitative and qualitative growth in the arsenals that takes enormous resources away from the fight against poverty;
• the collapse of international law, the great supranational organisations, from Europe to the UN, are in a deep crisis of legitimacy and credibility;
• nationalist, racist and fundamentalist ideologies are once again spreading;
• the global economic crisis, further aggravated by the pandemic, tends to exacerbate conflict, even within Europe;
• the unsustainability of the development model that is destroying the planet, causing climate variations, and producing ever greater inequalities;
• the criminalisation of solidarity and the closure of borders in the face of requests for protection and reception by migrants and asylum seekers.
Unfortunately, there are all the conditions for the war, cleared through customs as an instrument of international policy at the end of the last century, to become again the protagonist of international relations and to lead to a new global conflict.
These are the concerns and the reasons that push us to continue the path of dialogue and confrontation between the different sensitivities of the associative archipelago engaged daily to affirm that another policy is urgent, possible and necessary, producing correct information, elaborating data and concrete proposals to modify the laws for the better and acting both in local policies, of the single territories, and to modify the great political and strategic choices, also international. The results obtained so far by some of our Campaigns give us confidence and give us hope.
To do all this, you need skills, study, thought, information and actions, personal and political. That is why we have joined forces and found grounds for unity for a future of peace and disarmament. Our strength is nonviolence, our unity is in the concrete action spread over the territories. For peace and disarmament.