These are challenging days and we offer our solidarity to you all. At the Peace Pledge Union, we are continuing our work from home. You can still contact us in the usual ways, by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling us on 020 7424 9444. We are also still receiving our post, although if you are able to email or call instead, that will prevent delays in us receiving your message. Thank you for your understanding.
Healthcare, Not Warfare!
The Peace Pledge Union is calling for military budgets to be diverted to tackling Covid 19 and related threats. More and more groups and individuals have been making similar calls in recent weeks.
The coronavirus crisis is a deadly reminder that armed force cannot make us safe. People around the world share the same needs and face many of the same threats.
Successive security reviews by UK governments have identified pandemics as a serious security threat. Despite this, governments have equated "security" and "defence" with preparations for war, and ploughed billions of pounsd into the seventh highest military budget in the world.
We are grateful to everyone who is helping to build hospitals, deliver medical supplies and otherwise tackle the crisis, including armed forces personnel. We are also glad to see arms companies such as Babcock divert a percentage of their resources to producing ventilators. These initiatives involve just a small percentage of the armed forces and arms industry. They should be the first step in reallocating “defence” resources to defending us from the most serious threats to our security.
Money diverted from military budgets could contribute towards NHS and social care costs, initiatives to assist those losing their jobs and support for people whose mental health is affected by isolation. In the long term, we need to shift “defence” resources away from preparing for war and towards tackling serious threats to human security, including pandemics, epidemcis, poverty and climate change.
The PPU is one of 19 organisations in the UK, including charities, NGOs and others groups, who have signed an open letter calling for military resources and budgets to be used to tackle the Covid 19 pandemic and to advance real human security.
While we are focused on the UK, the same issues are relevant around the world. We're pleased to be acting alongside our allies in many countries in War Resisters' International and the Global Campaign On Military Spending.
Taking action under lockdown
We may be at home but our voices can travel!
The Healthcare Not Warfare campaign in the UK really took off on Friday 17th April, when hundreds of PPU members and allies took to social media for a day of online action. Many posted photos or videos of themselves with messages such as "You can't nuke a virus" or "Fighter jets won't defend us from Covid 19".
There are still many ways in which you can help this campaign during the lockdown. These are some examples.
Post a message on social media, saying #HealthcareNotWarfare, #DivertMilitarySpending or similar messages.
Tell your friends, family or flatmates why you're supporting the campaign.
If you're part of a peace group, union branch, faith group, charity or other organisation, and you're still meeting online, tell your group about the Healthcare Not Warfare campaign, and ask them to sign up to the open letter about military spending and Covid 19. Email email@example.com or call 020 7424 9444 to add your group's name.
Record a brief clip of yourself talking about why you're supporting this campaign and post it on social media. Alternatively, if you email it to firstname.lastname@example.org, we can post it from PPU social media feeds.
Come up with your own ideas and let us know about them!
Find out more about the issues
If you want to know more about what we are proposing and why, you might find the following resources helpful.
- Read Ceri Dare, Public Health Researcher and PPU member, on how society has been prepared for war but not pandemics.
- Find some helpful facts and figures for writing to your MP or local newspaper.
- Read the open letter from 19 charities and NGOs calling for military spending to be diverted to tackling Covid 19 and promoting real security.
- A global perspective: read a statement on the Covid 19 crisis from War Resisters' International, which brings together pacifists and anti-militarists in six contients, and of which the Peace Pledge Union is the British section.
- Find out what the PPU said early on in the crisis, as we called for military budgets to be diverted to tackling Covid 19 (dated 20th March 2020).
- Read more on the PPU's view on the use of troops during the pandemic (dated 19th March 2020).
- Ten truths about military spending and recruitment: read the PPU's briefing.
- Find out about the Global Campaign on Military Spending. The month from 10th April to 9th May marks the Global Days of Action on Military Spending: this action is now as vital than ever.