In recent years, people such as you have done great work challenging militarism in everyday life – in communities, workplaces, schools, universities and political movements. Here in the PPU office, we’ve learnt a lot from these campaigns around the UK.
So in February 2020 we announced the launch of a new project to provide resources and training events to help you tackle militarism in your own community. This is about us all learning from each other. As you would expect, aspects of the project had to be postponed or adapted due to the Covid 19 pandemic, but this doesn't mean it isn't happening!
In the spring of 2021, we have held several online events aimed at supporting our members and allies to build community campaigns. We hope to hold in-person training events later in 2021, if the Covid situation allows it. We will be adding online resources to our website during 2021, giving guidance on campaigning skills such as building local alliances, lobbying a local council, engaging with the media and nonviolent direct action.
Here’s a sample of the grassroots campaign successes that PPU members and allies have been part of in the last two years:
- Members of Leicester for Peace secured a major change in policy from the local authority, so that the armed forces are no longer allowed to invite children to handle weapons at their events in the city.
- A school near Swansea allowed a wreath of white poppies to be laid at last year’s Remembrance ceremony, thanks to the efforts of a sixth former who is a PPU member.
- When York LGBT Pride hosted a military recruitment stand in 2018, members of No Pride in War in York protested so successfully that there was no military element to the event the following year, which allowed a real celebration of LGBT liberation.
- A primary school in Cheshire ended a “military ethos” project after a campaign by their own teachers.
- Glasgow City Council scrapped plans for a so-called "Armed Forces Fun Day" after a local campaign.
These are just a few examples. Please feel free to remind us of others!
Some of these campaigns involved organised local groups. Others were championed by individuals who are keen to challenge militarism and promote nonviolence. To win more campaigns we need to be focused, well-prepared and ready to learn from each other.
That’s what the PPU’s new Everyday Militarism project aims to do. It involves:
- New resources in print and online, giving guidance on issues such as identifying militarism in your area, building a local campaign and finding allies – all illustrated with concrete examples. These will be posted online from mid-2021 onwards.
- A series of training events online, and hopefully in person in different parts of the UK (depending on the Covid situation), with workshops on skills such as lobbying your local council, engaging with the media and nonviolent direct action, bringing experienced people together with others who are new to activism.
- New campaigning materials such as leaflets, posters and postcards, for use in particular contexts, such as on Armed Forces Day or in resisting a military presence in universities.
- A system whereby local groups - whether organised peace groups or more informal groups focused on a particular issue - can register their link with the Peace Pledge Union. We will publish information on these groups, their campaigns and events on our website.
We aim to organise training events in conjunction with local campaigners. This may be a local peace group, faith group, trade union branch or informal group of friends. We're not just imposing ideas from the PPU office!
If you would like to attend a local training event, or are part of a group that might host one, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org on 020 7424 9444. We are also keen to hear about what you would find helpful more generally.
More details will be published on the PPU website as we make plans in line with the developing Covid situation. Watch this space!
(Above) Members of Leicester for Peace challenging militarism in their city. Photo credit: Ambrose Musiyiwa/ Civic Leicester
(Top of page) PPU members and supporters in Hackney in London