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FROM: http://www.wf.org/detente.htm

[IMPORTANT TVOTW NOTE: This work was created and promulgated to the world community more than 12 years ago. It is invaluable when viewed in the present day context.]

4 JAN 1991

Détente from Below
Milan Nikolic and Sonja Licht

The scenes in the streets of Prague, Berlin, Timisoara, and Leipzig late last autumn will live in the European memory for generations: ordinary citizens demanding human rights, democracy, and an end to militarism. That these mass demonstrations and strikes succeeded will surely be regarded a water-shed in the history of the twentieth century. But the struggle in Eastern Europe for peace and democracy started long before the revolutionary year of 1989, when the Berlin Wall was opened, few people around Europe probably remembered the Berlin Appeal published on January 25, 1982. It was one of the first documents to emerge from the new, autonomous peace movement in East Germany, and it was the first independent peace manifesto in the 1980s to stress the link between freedom of expression and peace activity.

The Appeal was followed by other statements and actions of the growing East European peace movement. In April 1983 Jaroslav Sabata, a leading figure in Charter 77, the Czechoslovak dissident group, wrote to E.P. Thompson, a leader of European Nuclear Disarmament (END), advocating the necessity of an alternative both to "peaceful coexistence" and nuclear annihilation. The alternative, he wrote, would be a democratic peace-not simply the absence of weapons, but the absence of p0litical and social tensions between the state and its citizens.

Peace & Human Rights

In his essay, "The Anatomy of a Reticence," written for the Amsterdam Peace Congress in July 1985, Vaclav Havel defined a position that would soon become the underlying principle of the East European dissidents concerning the issues of peace: ignores the will and the rights of its citizens can offer no guarantee that it will respect the will and the rights of other peoples, nations, and states.... A respectful human rights is the fundamental condition and the sole genuine guarantee of true peace.... A lasting peace and disarmament can only be the work of free people.

It was extremely important that Havel's bold approach incidentally articulated in the Prague Appeal and sent by Charter 77 to the same congress had become accepted by a large portion of the West European peace movement. Of equal significance was its rediscovery of the concept of "civil society," that part of society separate from government and party-free trade unions, private groups, alternative press, unofficial institutions of all kinds. According to Mary Kaldor, one of END's founders, this concept was already "terribly important" for the new peace movement in the West, but it had not been expressed.

"We always said that we would be trying to influence the government, change the relationship between state and society," Kaldor recalls in a 1989 essay. "We didn't care who was in power as long as you got rid of the missiles. We would win when the missiles had gone, not when our people won power. And that was something we had been saying, but defining it in the terms of civil society, that was something we learned from Solidarnosc.... We need real institutions in a society which allow us to become citizens and which allow us to negotiate with government. We need to create a civil society that solves its own problems."

The acceptance of the notion of democratic peace-that peace and democracy are essentially linked-was a necessary precondition for better mutual understanding and future joint actions of Western and Eastern European peace movements for a détente from below. It is now obvious that this détente from below, together with the Soviet "new thinking," played the decisive role in transforming Eastern Europe.

The dramatic changes in Eastern Europe are occurring within a post-Cold War framework. This is not to say that the democratic transformation of Eastern Europe would not have taken place without the new East-West détente, of which the peace movement is an organic part, but that the transformation would be different-more troublesome, slowe2r, less radical, and probably spurring resistance from the armed forces. Surely the rethinking about the very identity of Europe would not have been so prominent as it is now.

Emergence of an Independent Peace Movement

The détente from below is a phenomenon of the 1980s. After the first appeals and actions of east European dissidents concerning the issues of peace and democracy, and especially after the international seminars in Warsaw, Budapest, Moscow, and Prague organized by independent peace and human rights activists in 1987 and 1988, it became obvious that an independent peace movement had emerged in Eastern Europe. It was a peace movement based on citizen initiative contrary to the official peace committees that had been partners of the Western peace movement in the previous few years. But those official committees proved to be a constitutive part of the party-state structure.

Through the European Network for East-West Dialogue, Campaign for Peace and Democracy/East and West, and similar joint efforts, independent campaigners for peace and democracy came together and made an East-West as well as an East-East dialogue part of the everyday political scene. This type of cooperation proved to be indispensable for denying the superpowers their prerogative to decide, once again, about matters of war and peace. In Eastern Europe it helped the democratic opposition to understand that one of the basic preconditions for democratic transformation of their societies is to end the Cold War. And it helped the Western peace movement to understand, in the words of Charter 77, that "peace is threatened everywhere where the voice of critically thinking citizens has been silenced."

The concept of democratic' peace was also linked to the ecological movement in East,. em Europe. Although the democratic opposition was aware of the environmental damage wrought by regimes long before the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl, this catastrophe and the way it was handled by the authorities in all East European countries was a turning point in the development of a strong ecological consciousness in everyday life. A number of very successful actions concerning ecological issues followed, such as the Yugoslavian Federal Assembly's ban on further construction of nuclear power plants, and the decision of the Hungarian Parliament to give up the construction of the Bas-Nagymaros dam on the river Danube.

Peace groups were among the principal organizers of these actions. So, for example, one of the most important peace organizations in Eastern Europe, Poland's Wolnosc iPokoj(Freedom and Peace), was in the forefront of a massive reaction to the Chernobyl disaster. It staged demonstrations after the accident, and conducted a campaign against a nuclear power plant being built near Gdansk, among other environmentalist actions. The fear of future nuclear disasters helped the people of Eastern Europe become fully aware of the danger of nuclear weapons. Thus the Chernobyl disaster was the very moment when the issues of nuclear disarmament became a really important issue for all East Europeans.

What will happen to the peace movement in the new circumstances of upheaval and change is far from clear. Civil society is developing throughout Eastern Europe, and as a result, human rights, ecology, and peace have new significance for the opposition. These issues are still important, but with freshly acquired freedoms of expression and political organization, the main activity of the new parties, civic forums, and independent groups and associations are shifting toward the problems of economic recovery and reconstructing democratic institutions.

Most of the peace movements in Eastern Europe have become marginalized by the direct political struggle between the remains of the Communist regimes and the democratic opposition. If, however, the opposition seeks to transform the authoritarian state into a truly democratic one-with a developed civil society-they should be faithful to the heritage of the new social movements. It should encourage, in the phrase H{Hungarian reformer Istvan Bibo, "the little circles of freedom" to blossom. It should preserve and encourage the novel sense of citizens' responsibility that was fostered by the new social movements, one that said, "Nobody is helpless; we are all responsible." This sense of responsibility was undoubtedly powerful in the streets of Prague, Budapest, Warsaw, Leipzig, and Sofia. It made possible Vaclav Havel's ascent, in a mere 40 days, from a "forbidden" person to Czechoslovakia's president. This new sensibility is the condition sine qua non of the civil society in Eastern Europe. And this sensibility implies a strong concern for peace. For even if the Cold War is over, the potential for war-for one country violating the rights of another-is not yet close to nil.

Change and Challenge in Eastern Europe

The last six months of 1989 made it clear that the model of state socialism characterized by One-party rule is rapidly disintegrating. Only one country in Eastern Europe-Albania-seems immune to the profound and dramatic shifts affecting the rest of the region. The rapidity of change is overwhelming even to the wildest imagination of veteran dissidents.

The process of dismantling the party-state structure in Poland and Hungary that lasted a year (a pace that seemed even too fast for the opposition), took just one month in East Germany. The rate of change was still more startling in Czechoslovakia. On November 17, demonstrating students were violently attacked in Prague; ten days later, the opposition organized a successful general strike throughout the country, and leaders of the Civic Forum held their first meeting with the Communist government. By the end of December, Havel was president. In Rumania, after the Timisoara massacre, it took less than ten days to crush the most repressive Stalinist regime. It has been the only violent revolution in Eastern Europe in this period, and the violence was a reaction to the brutality of the state security forces loyal to Ceaucescu.

Years of struggle and suffering preceded these astonishing events, and credit should be given to the democratic opposition represented by the Workers Defense Committee (Solidarity's predecessor), Charter 77, the Moscow Trust Group, and hundreds of other human rights, peace, and environmental groups. Solidarity's long years of struggle for an independent trade union-and an independent civil society-was also important in exposing the failure of Soviet-style socialism.

Most of the independent citizens' groups saw the necessity of changing not only their domestic politics, but the international scene as well: as long as Europe remained divided, their hopes of * the Brezhnev Doctrine (the Soviets' self-proclaimed "right" to intervene) and transforming their own societies democratically were unrealistic.

POLAND

In Poland, only a few years after many who spoke out against the Communist regime were in jails, isolation, or hiding, Solidarity shares power with the Communist Party, which controls the military, police, and foreign ministry They face the daunting task of rebuilding a ruined economy and, at the same time, trying to change its very structure in order to dissolve the foundation of state power. The economic program of Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki promises Poles only "sweat and blood"-which translates into unemployment, inflation, loss of some union rights, and more costly social services. It is possible that many Poles will be reluctant to take sides in potential disputes between the Solidarity-led government and the Communist bureaucracy. Still, the Polish people will not be ready to give up the pluralism and democracy they have achieved at high cost.

Considering that the old guard controls the army, p0lice, and foreign ministry-the instruments of war and peace-the peace movement in Poland faces a complex and challenging situation. The organization Freedom and Peace was helping Solidarity throughout the election period last year, its leading activists serving as members of Lech Walesa's "Citizen Committee" and seeking financial aid for Poland abroad. Although they remain concerned about peace issues, especially in the European context, most of their activity is absorbed by the process of rebuilding Polish society.

EAST GERMANY

The transformation of East Germany, which together with Czechoslovakia looked like the fortress of neo-Stalinism, was marked by the massive exodus of citizens from the country. If the Communist oligarchy had calculated that a relatively superior economy by East European standards would appease the citizenry and act as a safety valve for easing tensions, they were badly mistaken. Mass demonstrations in Leipzig and Berlin in effect forced the hard-liners from the government. Most independent peace activists, forced to emigrate to West Germany two years ago, returned immediately and got involved with the principal opposition group, New Forum. As soon as East Germany moved toward political pluralism, talk of (;* German reunification rose. The probability of a reunified Germany-even within the federation Helmut Kohl has proposed-means that the role of the peace movement in East and West Germany is all the more significant. To many observers, a precondition of reunification should be broad demilitarization and removal of all nuclear weapons from the country as a whole. These demands, including some sort of neutral status for Germany, have been goals of the peace movements there for years, but will still be resisted by many in power and by a possibly resurgent fascist element as well.

CZECHOSLOVAKIA

In some respects, the developments in East Germany resemble those in Czechoslovakia. Charter 77 and other independent groups that formed the Czechoslovakian movement for peace and democracy are promoting Sabata's and Havel's concept of democratic peace as a common ground for joint political interests and actions. In Czechoslovakia, as in other countries in Eastern Europe, opposition forces must concentrate their efforts on creating the conditions for free political action and an independent civil society. As a result, the struggle for peace appears to be taking a secondary role to the work for democracy and the demands of coalition government. But the impact of peace activism on the new Prague government was immediately apparent in their demands to Moscow to remove Soviet troops.

It is important to note that the economies of East Germany and Czechoslovakia are in better shape than their Comecon neighbors. Once profound democratic changes begin, these societies may be less vulnerable and exposed to the dangers of nationalism, ethnic chauvinism, religious intolerance, indiscriminate privatization, high unemployment, and importation of "predatory" capital and "dirty" and obsolete technologies than the neighbors whose economies are more dilapidated.

HUNGARY

In Hungary, changes appear to be less dramatic on the surface, but a deep transformation of the political and economic structure of the country is underway. The economy is being reformed, but Hungary is plagued by the highest per-capita foreign debt in Eastern Europe, and inflation and unemployment are growing. The reformist stream of the ruling Communist Party converted itself into the Socialist Party, and the opposition is preparing for elections and expects to gain significantly. The Hungarian Democratic Forum is the largest opposition party. But two others-the Association of Free Democrats, in coalition with the Association of Young Democrats-called for a referendum on electing a president before parliamentary elections, and despite a boycott by the Democratic Forum, more than half of the nation voted. The peace movement in Budapest appears to have a minor role in the restructuring of politics, the economy, and society, but continues to act as the ally of the main forces of the opposition. Its goals coincide with those of the opposition movement as a whole, which is unanimous in its demand for the depoliticization of the army and the demilitarization of society. Already, the Hungarian Parliament has decided to dissolve all party organizations in the army and to dissolve the Workers' Guard, a paramilitary organization of the old Communist Party. In addition, the foreign minister proposed the creation of a demilitarized buffer zone made up of Hungary, Austria, and Yugoslavia. And, in nearly all public meetings and documents of the opposition, the demand for complete withdrawal of all Soviet troops is articulated-a demand heard in mass meetings in Prague, Leipzig, East Berlin, and elsewhere.

YUGOSLAVIA

Amid the stunning changes in Eastern Europe, Yugoslavia-the first East European country to experiment with reforms from above-is struggling to keep pace with its neighbors. Tormented by its economic and political crisis, and by bitter nationalist feuds fueled by regional Communist Party leaders seeking new legitimacy, Yugoslavia 5 reform efforts have been significantly slowed. Because of barriers to interregional cooperation, opposition groups and the new social movements-including peace activists-have been weakened and fractured. As a result, the peace movement has flourished primarily in the more pluralistic republic of Slovenia.

In other republics such as Croatia and Serbia, only kernels of the peace movement exist. Although activists in Serbia are weak, together with activists in Slovenia they are now playing an important role as almost the sole voices of reason and peace among the Yugoslav nations, albeit on the eve of a total break of ties between the two republics. As a part of the democratic opposition, peace activists are the first to rise above the present nationalist euphoria in understanding that nationalist quarrels only serve the interests of the Communist political establishment.

At the same time, the Yugoslav military continues to defend the existing order, making it clear that it will accept neither the disintegration of Yugoslavia nor a multiparty system. The military's position is confronted only by peace activists. They may also be the ones who build bridges between the democratic opposition of different republics, a necessary precondition for successful, democratic changes in Yugoslavia.

BULGARIA & RUMANIA

In Bulgaria, to everyone's surprise, November 1989 witnessed the dismissal of long-time ''socialist czar'' Zhivkov. Dissident groups appeared after Zhivkov's downfall, among them peace activists, as organizers of mass rallies in Sofia. At one of the first meetings, independent activists for the first time in Bulgaria's recent history raised publicly the issue of the persecuted Turkish minority. For the moment it seems that the new Bulgarian leadership will respect this margin of democracy in order to speed up the changes in the party and state apparatus, which is still almost entirely "Zhivkovistic." The events that took place in Rumania in December were even more startling. Although everyone knew that Ceaucescu's Stalinist dictatorship was among the world's worst regimes, and many were convinced that only a spark was needed to send people into the streets, nobody knew that the Rumanians were so desperate that thousands of young people were ready to risk their lives for freedom and democracy. It was also impossible to predict that the Rumanian nation would fight together with the Hungarians and other ethnic groups living in Rumania after decades of hostilities instigated by different Rumanian regimes, a situation most severe under Ceaucescu's dictatorial rule, when Rumania and Hungary were close to armed conflict. Of course, the process of democratic transformation in Rumania is at the very beginning. Not even traces of democratic institutions or a viable opposition existed before the revolt. After the first moments of euphoria, several questions were troubling: Having won credit for its decisive role in the revolution, what is the future role of the army? What will be the relationship between Rumanians and other ethnic groups, particularly Hungarians? What is the future of the current-probably transitional-government, of which a great part served in the former regime? It is obvious that a peace movement would have a lot to do, and we believe that some activity may soon appear.

New Circumstances and New Problems

These changes in Eastern Europe are placing peace activists and other independent movements in an entirely new position. In Poland, for example, activists feel that part of the coalition government is "ours" (those from Solidarity), while at the same time "they" (the Communist establishment) still maintain authority over military, police, and foreign affairs. The need for peace activity still exists, of course, but it is not operating in the old milieu in which the party-state and its Soviet ally were the principal enemies. Now activists are trying to adapt to an environment in which their natural allies, principally Solidarity, have great influence and significant government offices.

In this new set-up, the former democratic opposition must frequently endorse government policies. In such cases peace activists must comply with the general political line supporting the government, even when they disagree with its present policy, in order not to hurt the political plans of their allies. At the moment, the "our" part of the government sympathizes with independent peace activity as a kind of pressure on the Communists. But there are signs that this kind of activism would be seen differently if, for example, Mazowiecki's government were to bring foreign affairs under its control.

In that case, the Polish Peace movement would probably be pressed by Solidarity to harmonize its activity with government policy. On the one hand, this is understandable given the complex, even disastrous, economic situation; the government needs all the help it can get. But on the other hand, it would mean the end of the peace movement's independence. This would split the movement, and perhaps only a new generation of peace dissidents would continue independent activity.

Maintaining an Independent Peace Movement

In order to avoid this trap, the peace movement in Poland and elsewhere should press its own issues and perspectives onto the government and the general public. It needs to carefully guard its independence from other democratic forces. This does not mean that peace activists should not support the democratic transformation of Eastern Europe, but they should be cautious about the compromises that proximity to political power always brings.

Such independence will be particularly crucial if the army becomes "apoliticized," that is, if the Communist Party leaves the barracks (as in Hungary) or if political activity is forbidden to all soldiers. It is possible in such circumstances that parts of the population and even the democratic opposition would become much more benevolent toward the army. It is also possible that the widespread desire for demilitarization would weaken as soon as the Soviet troops leave Eastern Europe. What then would be the attitude of the peace movement? Should it still press for the demilitarization of Central Europe and the whole continent? These are difficult questions, particularly given the fear of East Europeans about the closeness of Soviet armed forces even after they have withdrawn.

Another sensitive issue may create an entirely new complex of problems for peace activists, particularly in multi - national states: the appearance of nationalism, ethnic chauvinism, and religion intolerance. It should be recalled that both world wars began in this region, and nationalism played a role in instigating conflict. Today in Yugoslavia, the Baltic republics of the USSR, Bulgaria, and Rumania, nationalism may lead to hostility between ethnic groups, in turn sparking violent conflicts, and ultimately, military intervention. Such intervention may even be welcomed by some people for example, endangered ethnic groups, particularly if troops are viewed as "our army."

In such circumstances, the peace movement would have a hard time in its antimilitarist stance. A sharp illustration is Serbia, where it is disadvantageous to criticize the military and its actions against Albanian ethnics and their movement for national independence in the autonomous Kosovo province (a part of Serbia, though the great majority is Albanian). Most Serbians consider the military's actions in Kosovo as the legitimate defense of the "Serbian imperiled minority" from the "Albanian aggressive majority."

Nationalism & the Threat of War

Strong nationalist sentiments in Eastern Europe can be traced back to the Middle Ages, but their reemergence in the last few years is attributable to the decades of Stalinist and neo-Stalinist regimes. After a long period of identification with a one-dimensional, authoritarian, and in fact, a simple doctrine, a deeply dissatisfied populace may find it easier to switch to national identification nationalism or chauvinism than to identify with some genuinely democratic and universal values.

This switch has been usually initiated by the Communist bureaucracy itself: as Communism was declining throughout Eastern Europe, it was trying to find some new basis for legitimacy by presenting itself as the champion of national (i.e., ethnic) interests. This process has been most visible in Yugoslavia, Rumania, Bulgaria, Hungary, and the Soviet Union. It is also true, however, that Communist regimes suppressed national rights throughout Eastern Europe and the USSR, and such suppression is itself a strong source of nationalism, especially in the absence of democratic traditions in this part of Europe.

In addition, unresolved differences over territories and national minorities fester in the region. The Baltic states are an obvious case. Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia are claimed by both the USSR and Poland, which heightens the nationalist fervor within each country in their struggle for independence. A growing chauvinism towards outsiders, particularly Russians, is strongly evident. An analogous problem is arising in Silesia and East Prussia, areas ceded to Poland and the USSR by Germany following World War II. German nationalists hope to reclaim those areas, a claim that could become more pressing of East and West Germany are reunified.

The territorial disputes do not end there, however. Polish nationalists claim not only Vilnius and part of Latvia but also Lvov, part of the Ukraine, and eastern Slovakia. Hungarian nationalists have claims on Transylvania, which is now part of Rumania, but also envisage a Great Hungary, which would include parts of Yugoslavia and Slovakia. Rumanian nationalists hope to integrate Moldavia, which now straddles the USSR and northeast Bulgaria and is inhabited by a Rumanian minority. Northwestern Yugoslavia, namely Istria and part of Slovenia, is claimed by Italian nationalists.

Some Bulgarians have their eyes on Macedonian (now part of Yugoslavia) as do some Albanians and Greeks. But Macedonian nationalists aim to unify Pirin Macedonia (part of Bulgaria) and Aegean Macedonia (part of Greece) with Macedonia proper. All these claims are potential sources of conflict. If peace movements in Eastern Europe want to pursue their role, they first must confront the nationalist sentiments within their own movements and countries, as well as within Eastern Europe as a whole. It must be stressed that in this part of Europe, nationalist passions and feuds almost inevitably lead to violent conflicts.

One of the immediate dangers for peace activists, therefore, might be the emergence of conservative patriotism that in many of these countries is mixed with nationalism and chauvinism. The peace movement needs to develop some fundamental principles of its own in defining the link between national rights and peace. Just as there is a natural link between freedom and peace, there must be a similar link between the rights of each national group and peace. The basic right is that each nation and ethnic group, regardless of size, should be free to live in accordance with its own national, cultural, and political values.

Fragmentation of Peace and Democracy

One factor that could alter the nature of the peace movement is that the struggle for democracy, of which the struggle for peace is a constitutive part, is now taking a different path. Until recently, the struggle for peace in Eastern Europe was also the struggle to pacify the Communist regimes-particularly their oppressive apparatus- and to change their foreign policies. Now that it is increasingly possible to end the old regimes, gain political power, and radically transform the societies, many in the democratic movement may feel that peace activities are no longer necessary. They might even treat them as a "fragmentation of our forces," when unity of the opposition is required to increase bargaining power.

An observed decrease of activity and visibility of peace movements in Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and East Germany is believed to be, at least partially, due to this viewpoint of the democratic opposition and not merely because more direct political actions-massive street demonstrations and general strikes-have eclipsed them.

The dissolution of the Cold War, the transformation of Eastern and Western Europe, and the emergence of new foreign policies in the East directed toward peace and cooperation in Europe may change some basic presumptions for the peace movement. This new European dimension may change it from a more universal outlook-emphasizing human rights and democracy, for example toward concrete issues such as German reunification, neutrality in Central Europe, a demilitarized buffer zone between the superpowers in Europe, independence of the Baltic states, and termination of the Warsaw Pact and NATO.

Turning to concrete issues may have positive effects. For instance, it would help to shape further the foreign policies of new East European governments. But some negative effects may appear as well, especially if the general alms of total disarmament and demilitarization are undermined in favor of more immediate goals and alliances. The Polish peace movement, for example, may oppose the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Western Europe, fearing a new imbalance resulting from a powerful, united Germany. Hungarian peace activists are worried about a "New Rapalo Treaty" an axis between a united Germany (which has capital and technology, but needs raw materials and markets) and the Soviet Union (which has raw materials and potential markets, but little else). Out of these and other fears, East European activists may take steps that Western peace movements may find unorthodox or strange in the absence of ongoing dialogue between them.

Another new focus for East European movements is the third world. The problems of third world conflict have been minor - virtually nonexistent - issues for East Europeans. Many activists know little of the U.S. emphasis on low intensity warfare, for example, or its history of intervention in Latin America. [TVOTW NOTE: warmonger?] Common approaches can be sought between Eastern and Western activists if some permanent discussions can be opened.

A European Peace Forum

The proposal to set up a European peace parliament-the so-called European Assembly for Peace and Democracy is therefore extremely important. Such an assembly will be a "permanent forum for spokespersons of those sections of the international community who are aware that a war on this continent would mean destruction on an apocalyptic scale," Jaroslav Sabata wrote last year. "This European forum would strive to articulate what political parties and governments are not saying or what they are not yet able to say. Somebody has to express the truths which are 'ahead of time." Sabata adds that the assembly "will look for the right direction in the complex under-growth of relations between disarmament and the development of democratic political structures."

The idea to create such a European peace forum was first voiced by Birgit EuweKoch from West Berlin at a May 1988 meeting of peace activists in Czechoslovakia, and was further developed in Prague the next month. After the preparatory meeting in Budapest in February, the first meeting of the Assembly will take place in Prague this May. The agenda will include the unification of Germany, demilitarization of certain parts of Europe, dissolution of the military pacts, creation of nuclear-weapons-free zones and demilitarized zones between the United States and the Soviet Union, and the right of alternative civilian service for conscientious objectors to military conscription.

The Assembly represents an opportunity to improve dialogue and begin a new phase in the development of the international peace movement. It will not only enhance mutual relationships, however. It will help everyone understand the extraordinary changes they face on the European scene.

The rapid transformation of both Eastern Europe and the region peace movements is creating confusion, but it also has created new ideas and the introduction of: the movement's objectives into foreign policies. Some of the movement's leaders are even in power. But the upheaval implies a certain decline in activism, however temporary, which could cause splits within the movements. It may also result in a new generation of activists who will have more critical distance from the new political arrangements.

Most important, activists must remember that their opposition to militarism, repression, and abuse of the environment was a catalytic spark of the revolution in Eastern Europe. It is that role, and the goals that were partially realized, which should guide their activity in the 1990s.

January 4, 1991

Milan Nikolic and Sonja Licht are sociologists and long-time Yugoslav dissidents, cofounders of Belgrade Peace and Democracy Group, members of the Yugoslav Helsinki Committee, and the Association for Yugoslav Democratic Initiative. Milan, who spent more than two years in prison for his political activities, is now forming the Yugoslav Social Democratic Party. Sonja is also active in feminist issues. They have contribute to numerous journals in the United States, Britain, and elsewhere, including New Politics and Across Frontiers.
Nuclear Times, Spring 1990 25-3
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