On Monday, 13 April, Pax Christi is joining the Global Day of Action on Military Spending, to challenge the $1.75 trillion that is spent on the military and war every year. In London Pax Christi will be conducting a 'people's ballot' inviting people to choose their priorities for a safer world.
You can find a list of events here: http://demilitarize.org.uk/events-2/
There is also an on-line ballot: http://demilitarize.org.uk/gdams-survey-2015/
The members of GDAMs plan to use the results to deepen discussion on non-military approaches to security. At £38 billion a year, the UK has the sixth highest military spending in the world. This is before you even take into account all of the extra money from other budgets and departments that is often found at short notice to fund foreign wars and interventions.
Despite recent cuts to social welfare budgets, military spending is still far higher in the UK than in a number of much bigger countries, such as Brazil or India. It also represents a far higher percentage of national GDP than any other European country, and almost all NATO members.
The GDAMS Coalition wants to see military spending shifted towards meeting social and environmental needs. The greatest drivers of insecurity include climate change, inequality between people and the abuse of natural resources.
In his message to the Vienna Conference on Nuclear Weapons last December Pope Francis spoke about security in this way: "The security of our own future depends on guaranteeing the peaceful security of others, for if peace, security and stability are not established globally, they will not be enjoyed at all. Individually and collectively, we are responsible for the present and future wellbeing of our brothers and sisters."
GDAMS is supported by almost 50 campaign groups and organisations from across the UK; including Campaign Against Arms Trade, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Pax Christi, Quaker Peace and Social Witness, War on Want, Stop The War Coalition, and others.
Why are campaigners opposed to high military spending?
We are always being told that high military spending is necessary to maintain peace, create jobs and combat terrorism. This myth is promoted by governments and by multinational arms companies who benefit from the global arms trade politically and economically. Military spending prevents the money from being used to tackle much greater challenges; such as relieving poverty, improving health, and protecting the environment.
Support the work of Pax Christi here: http://paxchristi.org.uk/about-us/support-us/donation/