Ninth International Conference on War Tax Resistance and Peace Tax Campaigns - Hirschluch, Germany 2002

Money - War - Conscience

5 - 8 September 2002 Berlin and Ev. Jugendheim Hirschluch, Storkow

SUMMARY

Program Overview

see internet: www.netzwerk-friedenssteuer.de


Berlin: Opening speech

“War, Money and Conscience”

Canon Dr. Paul Oestreicher, Brighton/Great Britain

The right, not to carry and use a weapon leads - especially with an increasing use of technology in war and an abolition of the compulsory military service - to the right not to have to pay for weapons. It is necessary to couple the government's right to use weapons for defense with the individual alternative right to resist military service and war financing. This special right of a pacifistic resistance to pay taxes solely applies to the case of the national power monopoly.


Welcoming and Introduction

of the 96 participants from 16 countries, Hirschluch

Africa: Ghana, Congo, Sierra Leone, (arrived late)

Asia: Bangladesh, India, Nepal America Canada (2), USA (6)

Europe: Belgium (3), Denmark, Germany (60), Great Britain(6), Italy, The Netherlands (7), Norway (2), Spain

7 speakers, 8 interpreters, 1 technician

Short-term cancellations: 10 participants from 3 more countries, 2 speakers


Reports from The Countries

2000-2002

Compilation of reports: included in the documentation

Indications exist that the war tax resistance can politically only be asserted, if the right to conscientious objection is acknowledged. The abolition of the compulsory military service complicates the assertion of this concern.


Four Workshops resulting in suggestions and requests

The workshops worked mostly within the actual contents.

From 14 scheduled workshops 11 took place.

Workshop 3

Terrorism and Non-Violence’

Host Clemens Ronnefeldt (Versöhnungsbund)

Workshop 5

‘How do we win support for resistance on grounds of conscience from churches and religious societies?’

Host Lutz-E. Bohr (Netzwerk Friedenssteuer ‘Steuern zu Pflugscharen’

(Taxes to the Ploughshares))

Workshop 6

The issue of the freedom of conscience within the process of the European Constitution

Host Dr. Wolfgang Ullmann (former MdB and MdEP)

Workshop 9

Last resort and conscience

Host Sepp Rottmayr (Pax Christi and Netzwerk Friedenssteuer)


International Support Project

2002/2004

Selection Committee:

Robert Antoch /Deutschland,

Piet Kruithof /Netherlands,

Lynnet Rita Martin /Bangladesh

(For details see documentation)

The non-governmental organization CPTI (Conscience and Peace Tax International) should be provided with additional funds for public relation work in order to step up their lobby work and the work within the Human Rights Committee at the United Nations in Geneva.

Further recommendations of the Selection Committee included:

  1. All national organizations are requested to continue their donations for the Support Project 2000/2002 (return of the land to Adivasi/Central India).
  2. All national organizations are recommended to continuously support the International Peace Brigades (PBI) financially.
  3. Especially the US American organizations are asked to adopt the Legal Aid Center for women in San Marcos/Nicaragua as a project deserving support;
  4. responsible: twinning Jena-San Marcos. All participants are requested to look for ways to equip a radio station within the Democratic Republic Congo;

    Contact partner: Dieudonné Bwelongo Kambilo.


Panel discussion:

“Alternatives to military peacekeeping”

Participants:

Host: Robert Antoch, Netzwerk Friedenssteuer

Hopp: The German third world aid policy as an important part of the extended security policy starts with the structural causes of war and terror, of a violent settlement of conflicts. It wants to contribute to the improvement of the structures within the countries concerned to support the civilian society and alliances for peace. - Even after violence and war have ended third world aid policy must aid reconstruction and reconciliation. - Within the own country it is important to sensitize and inform people. - Third world aid policy must definitely cooperate with foreign affairs, the defense policy but also with the economic and trade policy and furthermore achieve more coordination and cooperation internationally. The much quoted ‘Culture of Prevention’ must be started.

Vogt: Prior to the federal election 1983 the GRÜNE agreed to a resistance to war tax; a small group has practiced this. - Germany needs a policy inspired by non-violence, which is also supported by the whole economy (against all black economy of armament and war).

Otto: The Zivile Friedensdienst (ZFD) aims for a strengthening of the idea of an active non-violence within national social as well as international conflicts.

Practically this means influencing conflicts nationally and internationally by reducing or preventing violence with trained qualified peace workers, organizing aid for victims, demanding compliance with human rights, supporting democratic processes or accompanying the reintegration of refugees and displaced persons.

Trained qualified persons usually work one to two years on a project. - The forumZFD was able to gain their latest experiences in ex-Yugoslavia, Palestine and on Cyprus. (see also www.forumZFD.de). - Still unsolved is the problem: there are still no appropriate civilian means for a concrete violent conflict.


CPTI(Conscience and Peace Tax International)

NGO with a special advisory status at the United Nations in New York and Geneva

Internet: www.cpti.ws

Two Board meetings took place as well as the General Assembly (GA) with all conference participants:


Spiritual Encounters

Hirschluch:

Morning and evening services with involvement of:

Berlin:

Meditation hour of the religions ‘Live Peace - Create Peace’ with 8 religious societies, organized together with the World Conference of Religions for Peace, Berlin


Berlin:

Political Discussions in Small Groups

Partners in talks:


Berlin:

Visit of the Foreign Ministry,

Department of Global Issues / GF 02

Partner in talks:

André Scholz, Assistant Head of the Department

It is the first time that the red-green Federal Government drew up an overall plan concerning the prevention of a crises with an integrated approach for all political areas. The current budget is 14 Mio € [Note: 0.056 % of the total budget!].

The focus is on: UN peacekeeping, projects within UN missions, support of NGO projects working to prevent an outbreak of violence. In addition, military peacekeeping is considered imperative. The department limits its public presentation as not to raise unrealizable expectations.

In July 2002, the Zentrum für Internationale Friedenseinsätze (ZIF Center for International Peace Work) was officially opened in Berlin with the fields of activity:

(budget: 2 Mio. € from the overall funds mentioned above).

A compilation of all budget titles of the 11 ministries does not exist.

Internet: www.auswaertiges-amt.de


Evening of The Countries

After listening to and comparing the reports from the countries the “Evening of The Countries”, starting with a dance, brought some relaxation. The late summer evening was wonderfully warm; the outside illumination created a nice deep dusk and the dance loosened up legs and heads. Then several participants presented poems, prose and sketches, the participants listened to the sounds of piano and guitar tunes as well as songs.


Pantomime

In this multi-language atmosphere actions without words were something that united in a special way. With the pantomime Günther Richter we presented the joie de vivre as a fantastic sculpture on the one side and on the opposite side avarice, rage and hatred in form of live sculptures clarifying plainly what it is they rob the joie de vivre of.


Public Relation Work

A press conference was held and a final press release submitted with the final announcement (see documentation) The event was covered by broadcast, press and TV on a local, regional and national level (completely listed in the documentation or on the web site)


Organization

A team of 9 voluntary persons plus Friedrich Heilmann working on a fee basis organized the conference (photos see web site) The translations were done by four voluntary participants.


Co-organizers

Co-organizers included: Bund für Soziale Verteidigung, Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung Brandenburg, Stiftung Mitarbeit, INKOTA-Netzwerk e.V., Kooperation Eine Welt- Katholischer Fonds für Bildung


Finance

The budgeted costs (50,557 € ) were paid: by the participants 19%, by grants 56% and donations 25%


International Conference of War Tax Resistance and Peace Tax Campaigns 2004

The Belgium action VRAK invites to Brussels for 8 -11 July 2004.

Thus an international conference takes place in Belgium again after 12 years.

October 2002 Hannelore Morgenstern-Przygoda