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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 18, Number 6, April 2006

Peace is a core labour issue

by Bill Saunders

As part of the World Peace Forum in Vancouver, June 23 to 28, the Vancouver and District Labour Council will be hosting a Labour Peace Forum on June 25 and 26.

The World Peace Forum and the Labour Peace Forum will be an important opportunity for the international labour movement to meet to discuss and debate our collective position on the issues of war and peace and the effects on working families. As North Americans, we have never faced a major war on our own soil. Workers, such as those in Asia and Europe who have been directly affected by war, understand what can happen. Factories get bombed, transportation disrupted, productive capacity destroyed—there is no economy. And it doesn’t end there. Housing is destroyed, the basics of life—water, power, heat, and nutrition disappear. Workers and their families, including many children, die as a direct result of war.

War is devastating to workers in the public sector and those who rely on public-sector services. Look at the United States. The Bush administration has spent more than $255 billion pursuing the wars in Afghanistan and Iran. The US deficit is soaring, due almost entirely to defence spending. Health care, education, social services, and now even pensions are being cutback, while billions are spent on war.

War is also closely linked to globalization. Workers pay for wars in many ways while corporations profit. The economic powers of the world are also the military powers. While the world is being reorganized economically, the rules favour those with economic (and military) power. Resistance is met by force or the threat of force.

As part of the Labour Peace Forum in Vancouver, we will focus on the economic issues as fundamental to the interests of the labour movement in developing a comprehensive position on peace.

Bill Saunders is president, Vancouver and District Labour Council, Labour Peace Forum Organizing Committee, labourpeaceforum@bclc.ca.


Registration for the Peace Education Forum

Full week: $225
Fixed-income seniors and students: $150
Daily Rates: $50 a day
Fixed income seniors and students: $30 a day

Field-trip rate, Monday, June 26 International Peace Education Conference only: $5 per student (K–12 students must be accompanied by teacher/supervisors)

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