Conscience Webinars

Our next Conscience webinar

Details of our next Conscience webinar will be posted here.

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Series of Conscience webinars

In 2020 we organised four webinars which looked at different aspects of conscientious objection to military conscription.

In 2021 we have started looking at conscientious objection to financial conscription i.e. conscientious objection to being forced to pay for the military through our taxes.  We began by organising a webinar exploring the history of conscientious objection to military taxation.  The webinar included details of Peace Tax Bills which Conscience has sought to introduce over the years, which would give UK citizens the right to opt for the military proportion of their taxes to be re-directed to peaceful purposes, via a Peace Tax Fund.

In the next few webinars we will be exploring different aspects of non-military security, and the sorts of work and approaches a Peace Tax Fund might fund.

The webinars are part of a series of Conscience webinars, ‘Voices of Conscientious Objection’.  We are delighted to have received funding from Funding for Social Change Ltd for this work.  Full details of the ‘Voices of Conscientious Objection’ project can be found here  Each webinar is being recorded.  Below you can find details of all the Conscience webinars to date, together with links to the video recordings.

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Conscience webinars to date

1.  Voices of Conscientious Objection

You can view the video of the webinar here

Symon Hill, Campaigns & Communications Manager at the Peace Pledge Union, was the guest speaker at our first Conscience webinar.  The title of  Symon’s fascinating talk was, ‘Conscientious Objection – Then And Now’.  Symon shared the stories of three people who conscientiously objected to war; Howard Marten (a conscientious objector in the First World War), Tair Kaminer (a conscientious objector from Israel), and Michael Lyons (a Royal Navy medic who became a conscientious objector to the war in Afghanistan).

Conscience Campaign Worker, Karen Robinson, wrote the following blog about the webinar: Stories of three people who conscientiously objected to war

2.  Conscientious Objection during the First World War

You can view the video of the webinar here

Prof Lois Bibbings, Professor of  Law, Gender and History at the University of Bristol, and David Milner, previously member of Conscience Executive Committee, were our guest speakers.  Lois gave an overview of conscientious objection during the First World War – nationwide.  She then shared stories of conscientious objectors from Bristol.  David continued by sharing his research on conscientious objectors in Dorset during the First World War.

3.  Conscientious Objection during the Second World War

You can view the video of the webinar here

Donald Saunders spoke to us about his personal experiences of being a conscientious objector in the Second World War.  Ann Kramer, a historian and a writer, gave us a fascinating overview, and shared with us the results of her research interviewing people who had been conscientious objectors during the Second World War.

4.  Conscientious objection to conscription – A review of the current situation in different countries

You can view the video of the webinar here

This was our first international webinar.  Gina Chappa (Republic of Cyprus) did a joint talk with Murat Kanatli (northern part of Cyprus) on, ‘Conscientious Objection in Cyprus’.  Gina and Murat are both Board members of the European Bureau for Conscientious Objection.  Murat is himself a conscientious objector.  Natalia García Cortés (Colombia) works for ‘The Right to Refuse to Kill’ programme for War Resisters’ International (WRI).  She spoke about the WRI and its work on conscientious objection and supporting conscientious objectors.

5.  Exploring the history of conscientious objection to military taxation

You can view the video of the webinar here

Robin Brookes (Conscience Peace Tax International and Peace Tax Seven) gave us an ‘Historical overview of conscientious objection to military taxation’.  Mary Lou Leavitt (Religious Society of Friends) spoke about ‘Quaker involvement in the Peace Tax Campaign / Conscience’.  And finally Monica Frisch (Conscience) shared her reflections on ‘Campaigning for conscientious objection to military taxation in the UK’.

6.  Reconciliation and Peacebuilding

You can view the video of the webinar here

We were very honoured to have Jo Berry, founder of Building Bridges For Peace, as our guest speaker.

The title of Jo’s talk was: ‘Reconciliation and peacebuilding: personal experience of being affected by terrorism and becoming a peacebuilder’.

It was very moving to hear Jo’s extraordinary story.  And to reflect on how it has inspired people all over the world, including in many conflict zones.

7.  Transforming our military and fossil fuel-based industrial production to non-military, socially and ecologically useful production

You can view the video of the webinar here

We were very grateful to Sam Mason, Policy Officer at the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), for her fascinating talk.  Sam’s talk was in three parts:

  • The original Lucas Plan and the New Lucas Plan
  • Conversion of industrial production from military to non-military purposes / defence diversification
  • A just transition to socially and ecologically useful production in response to the climate crisis

8.  Why we need non-military security

You can view the video of the webinar here

We were delighted that Prof Paul Rogers, Emeritus Professor of Peace Studies at Bradford University, was our guest speaker.  He divided his very informative talk on ‘Why we need non-military security‘ into two parts:

  1.  Failed wars and new security challenges
  2.  So what is the alternative?
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