Below, you'll find information about War Tax Resistance.
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We advocate for a positive alternative to the traditional, militarised model of security, which relies on violence and the threat of violence. We believe that peace cannot be achieved by investing in war; instead, we must focus on nonviolent solutions to conflicts. The cycle of military intervention and threats can be broken by initiatives centered on non-military security, aimed at achieving genuine human security.
The UK boasts a wealth of expertise in non-military security approaches and techniques. Non-military security is not only more effective but also cost-effective in ensuring long-term security. Despite this, the government allocates only a fraction of its budget to conflict prevention.
Conscientious objectors to war aspire to pay their taxes with a clear conscience, contributing to non-military security instead. In the past, conscientious objectors performed "alternative service" during both world wars, allowing them to contribute to safety and security without participating in violence. We propose that modern conscientious objectors should have the option to allocate a portion of their taxes to a non-military security fund, enabling them to pay taxes with a clear conscience.
/Advancing Beyond Protest
Efforts to change the prevailing militarized approach to security involve various activities, from protesting military actions and arms purchases to writing protest letters to the government, signing petitions, and joining peace-focused organisations. While these actions are essential for expressing public concern, they often focus on reversing specific decisions or critiquing existing models.
However, to truly influence policy and provide concrete, positive alternatives to current security models, a critical mass of individuals—both within the peace movement and within the government—must gain a deep understanding of better security models. Collaboration between the government and the peace sector is necessary to initiate a cultural shift in how we perceive security and seek solutions.
/The Imperative of Human Security
Security should guarantee people's safety and freedom from fear. The current military model has failed to provide this kind of security. Human Security takes a global perspective, emphasising the protection of civil society. It addresses the questions of what protection is needed and who requires this security. Its fundamental premise is that everyone has the right to be free from fear and want. Applied globally, this perspective challenges many aspects of current political, economic, and military practices.
/Challenges for the UK
While the UK government is engaged in peace efforts worldwide, these endeavors are not without challenges. Issues with "peace support" spending, discrepancies between policy statements and budget realities, and a reliance on force for combating terrorism are among the challenges. Civilian strategies are sometimes viewed as optional additions to military efforts.
/Exploring New Paths to Security - A Toolbox for Change
Addressing violent conflict requires multifaceted approaches that work best when combined. Viewing mechanisms to address violence as a fully equipped toolbox, rather than relying solely on military force, can significantly enhance the potential for nonviolent change.
/Applying It in Real Contexts
We've chosen Zimbabwe as an example of a country where non-military solutions can be implemented to enhance security. The tools outlined below can be applied to address the complex issues faced by nations in conflict:
Civilian Protection: Mobilising trained civilian volunteers in tense areas to spotlight global attention on crises.
Control of Arms and Weapons: Restricting arms exports to reduce the availability of weapons to combatants.
Trained Inspectors: Deploying inspectors to investigate human rights violations and report to the appropriate authorities.
Law Enforcement: Supporting well-trained law enforcement and judicial systems to promote accountability.
Bringing Warlords and Militias Under Control: Engaging NGOs, diplomats, local leaders, and the armed forces to negotiate with and reintegrate warlords and militias.
Back Channel Diplomacy: Using unofficial dialogue when conventional diplomacy stalls.
Mediation Training: Providing mediation training to enable local individuals to bridge divides.
Reconciliation Committees: Organising public hearings for victims of human rights violations to share their experiences.
Support for Civil Society and Opposition: Supporting civil society organisations and opposition voices to address societal issues.
Free Press and the Internet: Promoting a free press and internet access to disseminate accurate information and stories.
These tools represent a holistic approach to address violence and insecurity without relying on military force. While no country currently operates purely from this perspective, there are real-world examples and models to learn from, such as the multi-faceted approach adopted by Scandinavian countries.
Note: Concepts in this section are derived from "Cutting the Costs of War" by Dr. Scilla Elworthy, published by Oxford Research Group and PeaceDirect.
/Want to learn more about Non-Military Security?
The Conflict Pool (CP) is a UK government funding initiative supporting global peacebuilding projects. Leveraging local expertise, it tailors programs to enhance security and community cohesion, aiming to prevent conflicts.
Despite its effectiveness, issues include CP funds going towards military peacekeeping, diluting its non-military focus. There's a need for better evaluation and monitoring, highlighted by reports from the National Audit Office and the Independent Commission for Aid Impact.
The CP, with a non-military focus, has potential as an international peacebuilding tool. Improved monitoring and a clear strategy can enhance its role in the UK's conflict prevention efforts. Click the button below to read our report "Conflict Pool Reform: Non-Military Peace and Security".