New Internationalist

Ideas For Action

Issue 99

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CENTRAL AMERICA[image, unknown] Ideas for action

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IDEAS FOR ACTION

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Centre for Education & Documentation
3 Suleman Chambers
4 Battery Street (Behind Regal Cinema)
Bombay 400 039
India
Telephone: 220019

AIMS
To support action groups involved in the struggle for democratic rights and create an awareness on developmental issues among the people at large by:

(a) Organising specific research and analysis geared to these needs.

(b) Providing relevant cognitive inputs.

(c) Providing a forum for exchange between various groups.

(d) Helping to relate theoretical knowledge to action experience.

METHODS
(a) We organise exchange meetings between different action groups.

(b) We run a clipping service including material from newspapers, magazines, journals, brochures, etc., a library for progressive people.

(c) We aid and facilitate research and study, with a lot of emphasis on in-field documentation from the grassroots.

(d) We also organise seminars, workshops and other such programmes on current issues of social, cultural, economic and political interest having a direct bearing on the struggles of the people.

SUCCESSES
We have been able to motivate a lot of new people through our various educational processes to join various groups involved in democratic struggles.

FAILURES
We have not been able to raise enough local funds to keep the organisation going. Since by its very nature it is fairly capital intensive, periodically we are caught in a position of financial instability affecting our work seriously. We have not been able to reconcile between building the organisation from our objectives point of view and the administrative problems involved, primarily financial.

FUTURE PLANS
(a) At the moment, we are working on a complete documentation with analysis of the problems in the North East of India.

(b) Study of Adivasi movements in Western India.

(c) Study of multinational drug corporations operating within India.

(d) Several meetings of identically thinking groups working in different places in India for exchange of experience.

(e) To achieve at least 50% self-sufficiency.

HELP NEEDED
Material in the form of written or pictorial matter, slide shows, etc. pertaining to developmental issues.

Contacts with groups doing similar work elsewhere in the world.

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Toronto Committee for the Liberation of Southern Africa
427 Bloor Street
West Toronto
Ontario
Canada Telephone 416-967-5562

AIMS
To provide information to Canadians about political and social developments in Southern Africa.

To oppose Canadian corporate and government support for white minority rule in the region. To mobilize political and material support for liberation struggles in South Africa and Namibia, and for socialist construction in Zimbabwe and in the former Portuguese colonies in Africa - Mozambique, Angola, Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde.

METHODS
We are a community-based volunteer organisation which works in co-operation with other groups in Toronto and Canada. We produce slide-tape shows, a monthly newsletter, TCLSAC Reports, and pamphlets. We hold public events - meetings, demonstrations, film series. Our members speak at schools, universities, churches, community groups and trade unions. Our library/resource centre has a wealth of otherwise unavailable information and resources and a current emphasis is on building our collection on women's issues. TCLSAC, along with other groups, lobbies government and organises campaigns against Canadian corporate connections with Southern Africa, such as the 'No Bank Loans to South Africa' campaign.

SUCCESSES
The bank campaign exposed Canadian complicity with apartheid and put significant pressure on the banks. Our resources are widely distributed across Canada and internationally. We have developed considerable expertise about Southern Africa. Our initiatives have combined liberation support with a contribution to change in Canada - our 'Cinema of Solidarity' series brought people together in Toronto and raised money to buy items like a mobile ambulance for SWAPO.

FAILURES
We try to do too much - to cover too many countries and struggles and to take on too many projects at once. We find it difficult to maintain a solid volunteer base.

FUTURE PLANS
We are focussing more on workers' and women's issues in South Africa and Namibia. We are improving TCLSAC Reports and producing pamphlets to link up with popular issues in Canada (women, nuclear energy, etc.).

HELP NEEDED
We need volunteers to help organise public events and produce our newsletter and other resources.

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Campaign against Militarism
6 Endsleigh Street
London WC1 ODX
Telephone: 01-387-5501

AIMS
To reveal the extent to which militarism pervades our lives and uses resources which could be put to more constructive use.

METHODS
The Campaign against Militarism was initiated by the Peace Pledge Union, a pacifist organisation whose members oppose war and search for ways to peace.

We have prepared leaflets, pamphlets and posters giving information about militarism and suggesting ways of campaigning against it. We point to the influence of militarism in the media, advertising, government, education and many other aspects of our lives. We stress facts like this country's spending a million pounds an hour on arms and armies while budgets for aid, education, health, etc. are all being cut.

SUCCESSES
The Campaign has only just started but already we have been pleasantly surprised at the response it is getting. More than ever before, ordinary people are interested in peace and war, and they see that it is vital to decide whether we should spend money on tanks or tractors, atomic bombs or aid. People are becoming aware that military expenditure is a direct theft from those whose need is greatest.

FAILURES
It's too early to say. We have not yet succeeded in persuading our government to beat swords into ploughshares, but if enough people take up the issue of militarism, who knows...?

FUTURE PLANS
We are preparing more publications and background information, such as a map showing how much of our countryside is owned by the armed forces (more than 1000 square miles) and a poster questioning the mentality which assumes that particular nations are our 'enemies'.

HELP NEEDED
You can help the Campaign against Militarism by becoming aware of the power and dangers of militarism; by joining in the campaigning; by asking us for our publications and getting them more widely known.

 

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