The Principles of the Committee of 100 in Finland

Principles

Accepted in the Autumn meeting on 11.11.2013

1. Peace will make it good

Peace is true.

Peace is cooperation. Peace is a talent and learning it demands vigilance, obligation and responsibility, and this skill needs to be actively nurtured.
Peace is something concrete and tangible. Peace is not some abstract utopia for the distant future but peace – or the lack of it – is visible in everyone’s everyday life. Peace is not to be taken for granted but it requires hard work. Can you make your way to work in peace? Is there coffee in your cup without a fight? Are there walls around your house? Has your neighbour escaped a war?

Peace is true but also violence is true. It does not happen somewhere, it is not a game, it is not a play. It hits, it touches, it hurts – if not you then someone like you.

War and violence are not the opposites of peace but they mean laziness, ignorance, selfishness and oblivion – qualities that we should uproot from ourselves as well as others.

Peace is a way – and there is a way to peace

Peace is necessary to many commonly accepted things. Peace helps to bring about human rights, civil freedoms, evenly divided welfare, equality, democracy, steady economic growth and environmental resilience. Peace creates a base on which a sustainable, functioning and equal society can be built.

On the other hand these same things are a way to peace. Peace is strengthened by justice, possibility to have an impact, fulfilment of basic rights and adequate subsistence. Peace is threatened by injustice, silenced voices, absolute poverty and ruined opportunities to sustain oneself. Thus peace is a way to something better but peace is built on that same road: by improving people’s living conditions, possibilities to influence and justice.

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.” - Dwight D. Eisenhower

2. The Committee of 100 in Finland

The Committee of 100 works to make the world of peace possible. The Committee of 100 is a pacifist and anti-militarist organisation whose fundamental goal is world peace; a situation where there are no wars, where no one suffers from violence and where no fight is ignored. Utopian but therefore necessary.

The Committee of 100 works for a world without arms. We want to take the power from arms to the people and get rid of the politics of fear. We want that security will be no excuse to acts of violence and no victim of violence will be seen as necessary.  Under no circumstances do we support violence.

The Committee of 100 believes in non-violent action. Peace does not come about on its own nor is it created from the top down; it is the result of the non-violent action of the people. Peace creates peace. The strongest is the one that answers to violence with peace, not the one with the strongest force.

We have followed the same basic principles since 1963. The Committee of 100 was born into the Cold War world where the threat of the war was near and in people’s minds. There was a need for a peace movement when nuclear armament accelerated and the world became bipolar.

In Finland today the threat of war is neither concrete nor near. The threat of war has been outsourced to distant lands, to computerised reality tv programmes that you can watch from your living room. For that reason we need the peace movement now and in the future. We want peace in our homes, on our streets, in our schools. That same peace we need around the whole world. Peace in our homes, on our streets and in our schools will not be achieved without world peace.

We talk about peace instead of war. We do not want security politics to remain in the hands of the few when peacebuilding touches upon us all. Security politics is no the politics of war but the fundamental question should be how we create peace.

The Committee of 100 is founded on the thought that building peace requires everyone’s efforts. Governments or international organisation alone cannot and will not create of world of peace. It requires all of us. The Committee of 100 needs you and this age needs The Committee of 100.

3. A World of Peace

Peace among people

Growing up to peace requires a peaceful environment. Peace springs out of every individual. Violence on individuals makes violence within communities more likely. Violence that takes place at home, in schools and on a Friday night creates a culture of violence. Peace requires a peaceful environment and people to grow up into peace. We must say no to all violence.

Peace through Cooperation

The state of peace has grown stronger but violence and conflicts are still part of our everyday lives. We live simultaneously in two different eras: the old realpolitik based on power politics and a world of new global interdependencies.

Some still trust power politics and arms although they cannot bring sustainable advantages anywhere. Power politics is also unable to answer to global challenges, such as environmental change, population growth and economic crises. Answering to these threats requires international cooperation and actions that have been jointly agreed upon; the pursuit of the common good instead of self-interest.

Unlimited Peace

The UN system has weakened the threat of war between states and the meaning of military action in security politics has been reduced. The states of the world are tied to each other by countless interlinks. Especially their economic interdependencies undermines war and strengthens peace.

Security is not drawing borders and guarding them. Areas and limits should transmit and advance interaction and not prevent it. International cooperation must aim at security zones within which war is impossible and all armament is senseless.

The European Union and the Nordic countries are examples of successful security zones. Wide cooperation and networking within the fields of economy, labour, politics, culture and the civil society creates trust and prevents conflicts from escalating. Borders that would not be crossed in Europe should be seen as a strange phase in the history of the last century.

In the Nordic countries a share identity has grown stronger alongside national identities. Instead of differences we emphasise rather what we have in common and instead of national projects we have built shared Nordic welfare.

European integration is a peace process that has erased wars between states. Free movement within the Schengen area, increased social interaction and the euro as a shared currency reinforce Europeanness. The institutions and bureaucracy must not be obstacles to the strengthening of international identities: alongside the national passports or to replace them we should also have common European nationalities.

Finland is international

Finland does not face a threat of war. During her independence Finland has been attacked once – in the middle of a World War. Nothing in Europe hints to a new world war.

The hero myth of the Winter War of a small nation standing on its own does not correspond to the situation today. Provoking people to defend the nation when the threat of war diminishes is making a lot of noise about a non-existent threat in the fear of internationalisation. Security policy must be based on the actual security situation and not on bolstering a fading national feeling.

A true miracle is the story of Finland during peace time; an increasingly firm understanding that Finland is not alone. Finland is Nordic and European. In Finland there is a stable tradition of equality, democracy, civil action and internationalism which is a good basis for working towards peace.

The celebrations of the Finnish Independence Day are nowadays not focused on independence but on remembering war. Why build identity on violence when the foundation could be positive achievements? Let us celebrate all the good things that Finland has achieved: Nordic welfare state, common basic rights, international Finland. There are other things than wars in our history too. We could for example remember how in the beginning of the twentieth century Finnish people refused to be enrolled to the Russian army. The awaking Finnish national feeling was fed with peace work, not war.

Freedom from military conscription

Military conscription as it is today should be abolished. It upholds the culture of violence and militarism. It teaches people the wrong kind of system of hierarchy. Military conscription has a negative impact on the image of a man; at its core it maintains one-sided and limited masculinity. The current conscription that only applies to men strengthens false separation to the two sexes and belief in the difference between the sexes.

Finland is not threatened by any such thing that calls for a mass army as the correct solution. Today’s threats are natural catastrophes, epidemics and surprising acts of violence. When abandoning military conscription also civilian service and punishments of total objectors must be ended. Our long-term goal is the abolition of armies.

Armless world

Finland does not need more arms or new expensive weapon systems. On the contrary Finland must show example and execute a one-sided disarmament. We must demand others to make efforts to advancing welfare and combatting poverty and natural catastrophes instead of armament. Finland must stop arming the rest of the world but stop arms trade altogether.

Nuclear weapons must be abolished from this world. Pouring enormous sums of money into the development of weapons of mass destruction in Europe that prides itself for civilisation is unbelievable in all its hypocrisy. We must demand nuclear disarmament of all the nuclear states under the Nuclear Ban Treaty. The UN must also compile a treaty that forbids nuclear weapons.

The accelerating automatization and of war and killing must be stopped. Death and violence are always humane tragedies and technology must not distance us from this fact.

Harnessing information networks to a cyber war threatens people’s everyday welfare. Any cyber-attack on people’s basic needs and functions that enable everyday life, such as food and water maintenance and household heating systems is a war crime on the civilian population, and even planning such an attack should be criminal. Global information networks must be free and open and they must serve the whole world and welfare of the population. There is a need for global cyber disarmament.

The NATO, a military alliance, must be abolished. The abolition of the NATO would strengthen the UN system and structures of the civil society that strengthen regional security.

The Åland islands have been demilitarised; let us next demilitarise the Nordic countries.

Homes Free of Guns

People do not need arms. Arms have no place in self-defence or the bringing the feeling of safety. Arms significantly increase the risk of death and injury.

Reducing the number of arms and minimising the risks caused by arms must be a general goal in policy-making. The large number of arms in Finland causes risks in everyday life, for example in the form of worsening domestic violence, shootings at schools and unpremeditated suicides as well the easiness of acquiring a gun to your own use without a proper purpose.

Arms are not a part of childhood. Children must not be brought up to violence and killing. As an example of this kind of upbringing, some children learn to shoot, and shoot with hunting rifles. A person who has learned to use a gun can pick up the gun more easily to misuse it.

We want to get rid of the arms at homes. On the way to the armless world the existing arms must be kept safe and for example the police should have the right to make checks of the safe storing of arms in the same manner as cars are inspected. There must also be an own system of Pigovian taxes for arms just like any products that harmful to people.

Solving Conflicts Peacefully

The aim of crisis management should be enhancing human security. The UN is the most trustworthy organisation when it comes to crisis management. Regional actors, like the EU, the AU or the OSCE, as well as local and international civil society actors can play their own roles.

Civilian crisis management should be the primary objective, also when the conflict has already escalated and it can no longer be prevented. At the end conflicts will always be solved without soldiers because only peaceful conflict resolution is sustainable. Military actors should always work under the civilian crisis management.

Civilian actors can have foreseen the escalation of the conflict when there is enough time to look into the primary causes of conflict and try to find a solution through legislation, mediation, negotiation and targeted economic means. The financial cost of prevention is very small compared to the direct and indirect economic and humanitarian costs of a war on the society and population.

Violence, hierarchies and inflexibility are part of the logic of military action. At worst, military presence can provoke more violence and weaken the parties’ belief in a peaceful solution. In addition, the high cost of military action cause a bias within the operation and obstruct the chances of peaceful solutions by civil society actors. Violence is not a solution to a conflict. We should try to fight models of action where violence is answered with violence.

In good crisis management the action of military forces should not be extended to the areas where civilian action is more efficient. In crisis management where also military actors are involved the soldiers must join the operation last and leave it first. Civilian actors must be responsible for the operation as well as the allocation of adequate expenses.

Us and others

No one is on this earth alone. We are tied to each other, other creatures and the globe itself. That tie should be visible in our actions. We must act in a way that is ecologically, financially and socially sustainable. In order to achieve peace, must take care of everyone’s living conditions; prevent the climate change from growing out of hand, take care of clean water, offer everyone food, secure the welfare of animals, prevent one from building their welfare at the expense of others’. Insufficient resources and their unequal distribution easily create conflicts. In order to create peace we must also create justice and sustainability.

Peace does not exist on its own. It requires hard work – of everyone. Peace must be built on all levels of action. We must fight for peace in the international fora, at schools, in business and in meetings. Peace also requires examples. First of all peace requires commitment.

There is an agreement in the UN that states together and separately have the responsibility to protect people with the most suitable and sufficient means not only of crimes against humanity but also from provocation to such an act. States consist of people so this responsibility touches upon us all.

As citizens of states and more importantly as individuals we also have the right to decide for our own lives in such a way that our actions do not provoke or enable crimes against humanity and that with sufficient means we prevent them and provocation to them. The responsibility for our actions has not been transferred to the state but it remains with all of us. We have the right and even the obligation to peacefully resist the misuse of power and violence.

We are all responsible, apart from our own actions, responsible also for the actions of the wholes that we are a part of, like states. This responsibility is enormous because can never monitor all members of a community all the time. We can never know for sure which of our actions lead to provocation or crimes against humanity. However, we must take care of each member in our communities in such a way that we carry the responsibility for each other.

Ignorance does not remove the responsibility and even if our brother or sister decided to act wrongly, we must ask ourselves if we could have prevented it. Like the state and the international community are responsible for protecting every individual, it is also the responsibility of every individual and community to protect everyone who shares the same world because if we are free only so long as someone else protects us. That is peace.

4. Demands for decision-makers and us all

Domestic politics:

1. Defence expenses must be reduced and one-sided disarmament must be started.
2. The current military conscription must be renounced, the civilian service as form of punishment must be abolished and total objectors must be absolved.
3. The budget for development cooperation must be at least one per cent of the gross domestic product.
4. Decision-making about defence policies must be transparent from the start.
5. Products with harmful effects are taxed in many different ways. Arms must be created their own category of Pigovian tax, the arms tax.
6. Peace education must be included in the schools’ curricula.
7. All foreign politics must be coherent, meaning that when working for disarmament and human rights in negotiation table, arms trade to strengthen dictatorships must be ended.

International politics

8. The NATO and other military alliances must be abolished.
9. The focus of peacekeeping in Finland and in the EU must be transferred to civilian crisis management. There must be an allocation for it in the state budget.
10. Finland must support with determination all initiatives aiming at disarmament in the United Nations, and join also the resolutions that require changes in the state’s defence policy.
11. All parties of a conflict must observe the Geneva conventions and other rules of warfare. All war criminals must be brought to international justice.
12. A cyber-attack against the civil society is a war crime and even preparing such an attack should be banned internationally. We need an international cyber disarmament and wide international agreement on cyber safety.
13. Stopping climate change and climate equality are conditions to achieving peace. We must draw a compelling international climate agreement that curbs the warming of the atmosphere to a tolerable level.

Civil Society

14. Peace work and control of conflicts must be actively supported in Finland as well as internationally on all levels of action.
15. There must be no military parades during peace time. War must not be brought to the everyday life.
16. On the Independence Day, instead of war, we should remember all the peaceful development that has been achieved in Finland.
17. We encourage all the people in the reserve to refuse arms. Reserve objectors must not be obliged to rehearse in the civilian service.
18. Internationalisation and cross-border non-national identities must be strengthened. EU citizenship should be made possible alongside or instead of national citizenship.

Arms

19. Finland must end arms trade altogether and give up arms production.
20. Arms are not a part of an open society. The Finnish arms legislation must be tightened in its entirety.
21. The conditions for the preservation of arms must be tightened significantly and give the police the right to do checks on their storing. Recreational shooting must be confined to the specific areas allocated to it.
22. The conditions for a permission to acquire arms must be tightened significantly, the age limits must be higher and there must be a limit to the number of arms an individual can have according to their purpose. All arms permissions should be temporary.