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Two Sides of Life in Colombia

For the past week a small delegation of WILPF members from the Section in Colombia and 5 other countries of Europe, the Middle East and Latin America have been in Bogota and Cartagena, Colombia. We went to learn the realities in greater depth and prepare recommendations to present at the International Congress in Bolivia for WILPF actions concerning that country, home to one of the world's longest and most murderous civil conflicts. One of the striking aspects of the Colombian conflict is that the Government refuses to admit it exists...insisting both that the conflict has been resolved by military force and that it never existed. Our WILPF delegation met with many NGO representatives, UNIFEM, and the Colombian Presidency's advisor on women's equality. We learned the tremendous complexity of the history,the escalating role of multinational corporations, and the stunning scope of the ongoing violence which has evolved over the decades since the 1960s, or depending on your history, the 1940s.

DISARMAMENT and the U.S. World Social Forum, June 27-July 1

DISARM: Dismantle the War Economy committee sponsored or co-sponsored five workshops at the USSF and we were generally pleased with the results. In addition, Linda Richards of the DISARM team managed to present a statement on behalf of WILPF to the final plenary, calling for more emphasis on demilitarization in any future Social Forum. Other goals of the forum – economic justice, human rights, universal health care, etc. – cannot be realized while more than half of our tax dollars are going to feed the war machine.

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Peace Movement at the Crossroads: the whole world is watching!

Tom Hayden, a founder of SDS, tried for conspiracy as part of the Chicago 7, California state legislator for many years, came back to Chicago last weekend (June 22) to share his thoughts with the General Assembly of the major anti-war coalition of the United States. He told the 200 or so delegates at the UFPJ (United for Peace and Justice) meeting that the key challenge for the 1400 member organizations is to find a way to move from
"protest to resistance".

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