Refuseniks of the world
Speech at the 4th  Global Women’s Strike, 8 March 2003

 Payday – an international network of men co-ordinating men support for the Global Women’s Strike

I want to thank the women organisers of the GWS for giving Payday this opportunity to say why we oppose war and support this Women’s Strike. 

Two days ago, a journalist was reporting that American soldiers in Kuwait “were not happy with President’s Bush cowboy gung-ho attitude”!

Many of these soldiers, especially Black young people, go straight from high school to the army because there is little other choice to earn a living. They receive £10,000 when they join the infantry.

It’s very little money considering the risks they face. Veterans of the previous Gulf war know about that. One out of four is now disabled, and that is not counting those who died. But casualties did not end with the war. While only 24 British soldiers died during the war, nearly 600 have died since they returned – 70%, yes 70%, committed suicide!  You can understand why so many mothers and sometimes fathers work so hard to get their sons out of the military.

The first Gulf war never really ended. We refuse to be collateral damage, we refuse to be killed by friendly fire or enemy fire!

Two days ago, the press also reported hundreds of cases of rape and sexual abuse at the American Air Force Academy. Machismo begins with the military.

Luckily, things are changing. We know that a third of reservists in the UK are refusing to serve. There are now in all armies refusniks, soldiers who refuse to be soldiers, who refuse to kill: in Israel, in Spain, in Iraq, everywhere.

We civilians too are refusing: in Scotland and in Italy, train drivers, dockers and peace protesters are preventing the transport of military material. So there are also more and more refusniks outside the army.

In fact, when bus drivers allowed school girls to travel for free to the anti-war protest at Westminster last Wednesday or when police officers refuse to arrests peace activists or when teachers encourage, rather than discourage their students to oppose the war, or when the Gardia – the Irish police – arrange toilets for protesters and their children at Shannon airport in Ireland, they all contribute to the many refusals that we need to win against the warmongers.

We have more information on our website Refusing to kill at If you are in the military or have a relative in the military, please get in touch with us.

Military budgets make men killers. We can refuse, we must refuse, we do refuse.
Invest in caring not killing.