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A new kind of peace movement needs to spring up in the United States, one which emphasizes domestic economic reform and democratic inclusiveness, speakers at the Bunting Institute's Second Annual Peace Conference told an audience of more than 100 activists yesterday.
"There is an anti-war movement [in the U.S.], not a pro-peace movement," said Dessima M. Williams, a professor of political science at Williams College. "The real peace movement is a movement of peace and justice, and domestic, economic, political and social development."
Besides focusing attention on peace movements, many of the women at the conference--held in conjunction with International Women's Day--also discussed their experiences in exile. Speakers came from several areas of conflict around the world, including South Africa, China and Cambodia.
"The conference here...is to express our solidarity with women all around the world whose lives have been harmed by world militarism," said participant Sayre P. Sheldon, former president of the national peace organization Women's Action for Nuclear Disarmament.
Women politicians and activists at the conference called for the creation of a new party and for a renewed activism of women in politics and the press.
"We're not voting, we're not calling our representatives...there's no mass women's movement," said Suzanne Gordon, a journalist and a speaker at the conference. "When are we going to learn that we've got to stop being so bloody polite?"
Although several participants said they felt the gathering gave them an increased sense of empowerment, some said they were frustrated that no specific resolutions emerged from the event. But others said that the conference was useful for creating an international network of women peace activists.
"For me, I think it was very powerful to link the Bunting with grassroots peace activists," said conference coordinator Lynn Wilson, who is also the Bunting Institute's peace fellow this year.
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