There are many different roles that INNATE plays. The most visible is its information sharing role regarding peace, nonviolence and change movements (green, human rights etc) on the island of Ireland. When I came into the ‘peace movement’ in 1969 (!) the problem was a dearth of information – the Irish Pacifist Movement was at the end of its life and was no longer really communicating with people. Today, in the age of the internet and smart phones, the problem is a mixture of information overload (sorting the useful from the useless) and, still in many cases, a lack of the right information about the things that matter. INNATE tries to address that need for the appropriate information, always providing links to the groups or organisations concerned. And, as the current moves seamlessly to become the past, our coverage becomes an archive also of what has been.
But a key point is that INNATE plays a campaigning and training/exploration role. INNATE does not want to be seen simply as an information conduit but as part of a vibrant movement for peace and social change. To that end we take part in events, demonstrations (e.g. we were involved in a Bradley Manning support leafleting at the US Consulate in Belfast in March), lobbying and letter writing, projects, training and seminar events, and networking, as well as our own individual involvements, some of which intertwine with INNATE, e.g. the INNATE coordinator was involved in training human rights monitors for the Corrib Gas situation in Co Mayo. Though we are a small group we are active and welcome involvement from others interested in any aspect of our work, and cooperation with others in their work when possible.
We were delighted to welcome Javier Gárate of the War Resisters’ International (WRI) in October for a very participative residential at Kilcranny House in Coleraine on the theme “Effective nonviolence in the 21st century”, and we published his paper on the same theme which he gave as a talk, held by the Irish School of Ecumenics at their Belfast campus. We also hosted Gerry Condon and Helen Jaccard of US Veterans for Peace when they were in Belfast. The Irish Peace Trail project, which we initiated, is likely to take off in 2012 – contact us if you think you might be interested, more details will be forthcoming soon. We were involved in one anti-recruiting exercise (re. British Army) and would do more in this field if we could.
Ten issues of Nonviolent News were produced during 2011 and two e-mail supplements (January and August) so there was news coming out every month. A typical e-mail and web issue is about 8,500 words on average and includes news, regular columnists (Larry Speight and Billy King) and special articles. The paper edition of Nonviolent News remains the first two sides of news items. Unfortunately there was a problem with uploading Nonviolent News to the website in the latter part of the year – we hope this will be rectified soon. The most reliable way to get ‘all’ INNATE information speedily is via the monthly Nonviolent News e-mail edition. INNATE also acts as an ‘information service’ to people directly through responding to numerous queries, most via e-mail. Our flickr photo site continues to grow as an Irish peace and nonviolence photo site (most easily accessible via the INNATE home page).
We welcome your support in whatever way that is possible. For those accessible to Belfast, involvement through the monthly networking meeting is one possibility. But you can help us by providing information for inclusion in Nonviolent News, by bringing INNATE and Nonviolent News to the attention of those you think might be interested, and, of course, by supporting us financially. We are very much a ‘low maintenance’ organisation, with no staff costs to meet but we still need to find the finances to run the newssheet, website and events. If you think you might be able to help but are not sure in what way, please do talk to us – we are about networking and mutual support.
With greetings and solidarity,
Rob Fairmichael, Coordinator, INNATE, February 2012.
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INNATE depends on subscriptions and donations for its day-to-day working. We also send out a considerable number of free copies of Nonviolent News to groups and places where it should be available but for which we are not recompensed, and the e-mail and web editions still have costs attached. Your subscription/donation is therefore very much appreciated as annual outgoings are greater than subscriptions and personal donations. We would also appreciate your comments about Nonviolent News, its existing features or suggestions for new ones, or suggestions for work and projects.