Launched in 2015 – a year that marked:
- 10 years since the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions
- 25 years since Mandela’s release
- 60 years since Rosa Parks sat down
- 800 years since Magna Carta
Launched in 2015 – a year that marked:
The primary task of the Five Percent campaign proposal is to get runaway military spending taken up as a ‘structural campaign issue’ by UK international development NGOs, working alongside partners in the global south and North America. We argue that excessive military spending is a global development issue and that current (and increasing) levels of military spending – especially on the global scale- has been ignored for far too long.
The Five Percent proposal offers a ‘road-map’ for civil society around the world to demand cuts to excessive military spending and to take up the international solidarity campaign call – ‘Don’t Buy Don’t Sell’. We are fast approaching $2trillion p/a on global military spending. This is without the ‘costs’ of actual war (ie veterans, environmental and infrastructure costs etc). It is doubly scandalous at times of austerity that nations are increasing military budgets while public services are being cut.
Our proposal argues that we need to place excessive global military spending alongside other established international development ‘structural’ campaigns in order to divert taxpayers money to better use, whether that be international ‘development’ focused or in support of the global green economy, and, as a result of a more intense spotlight on it, become more widely integrated into civil society dialogue and activism.
By joining the ranks of debt cancellation and tax justice, military spending savings could be regarded as yet one more significant ‘new’ revenue stream, redirecting the funds captured to serving the needs of the global community. Inevitably, increased debate around what we mean by ‘defence’ and, central to this, the question of whose interests are really served by the ever increasing global military expenditure, would be at the heart of this effort.
Ultimately, this brings us back to the fundamental need to see military spending as every bit as central to understanding power, poverty, economic collapse, unjust distribution of resources as other structural campaigns like debt, trade, tax, climate change and most recently the so-called ‘war on drugs’. It is not an adjunct to any of these issues – it is implicated in each and every one of them.
As leading activist and author of Shadow World Andrew Feinstein has said, ‘neoliberalism needs the war machine’. And as we see ever greater movement of peoples due to conflict and climate change, this is doubly true as the movement of peoples creates an opportunity for an even greater military ‘security’ presence.
The 5% Formula is a TWO-PART mechanism to achieve major, year-on-year cuts to global military spending over 10 years and beyond. It is a long-term, sustainable campaign, with a top-line demand that works for civil society groups in every country where there is a perceived value in challenging policies concerning military spending.
The first decade calls on the top 20 spenders (who account for 87% of $1.7 trillion world spending) to cut their military spending by 5% each year for decade. This would see annual global military spending cut by 40% after the first decade, back to mid 1990s spending levels ie $1 trillion dollars, the lowest in recent history (‘lowest’ still being far too high). This would deliver an estimated $700 billion to be redirected to core urgent human and environmental needs.
After the first 10 years, we call upon all nations to adopt the 5% threshold rule to sustainably restrain the global military spending – no country allows any increase in military spending to outstrip economic growth. Most economies grow less than 3% annually; this effectively translates as 2% annual reduction to their military spending.
0% economic growth = 5% cut to annual military spend
2% growth = 3% cut to annual military spend
5% growth = no increase
7% growth = only 2% increase on annual military spend.
All these factors conspire to escalate military spending and crucially undermine international development goals. UK int’l development NGOs and partners in the global south can play a leading role in driving a ground-breaking campaign to:
This proposal stands on the shoulders of those in the peace movement who have long campaigned on the war-spending/arms trade issues, but it is an area that the major players in the development sector have not sought to take on in the same way with the same courage. Moreover, as ‘development’ is interlinked with climate change and the military has a major (albeit relatively unknown) role in climate change, this proposal also speaks to everyone concerned with climate change.
As we head towards the $2 trillion p/a global military spend red-line, we should all be deeply concerned, for many reasons. A far greater civil society effort is needed to place military spending in the spotlight as we enter yet more uncertain times.
This campaign proposal is part of our ongoing commitment to this issue. Tipping Point Film Fund has been a lead partner on the feature-length documentary We Are Many directed by Amir Amirani and released in 2015, with a second wave release to mark the Chilcot Report in 2016. We Are Many explores the untold legacy of the global anti-war movement mobilized at the time of the Iraq invasion; is about the power of people coming together and the consequences of excessive war/military spending on us, the 99%. It includes interviews with more than 50 leading activists from across the world.
Download this brief introduction (pdf).
Tipping Point North South and the Alliance for Cancer Prevention is partnered on this campaign to increase the level of debate and public awareness concerning one issue – breast cancer and its links to the wider (polluted) environment.
FIND OUT MORE
Dedicated Website & Social Media
Sign our Petition
Booklet: All the things you won’t know but should
Toolkit films, posters, reading
Funding & Support
Huge thanks to our funders Ratcliff Foundation.
Also thank to UNISON for support of our annual BC Month work. You can support our work by visiting
or email for more information
Current drug policy is having devastating consequences for poor people and is deeply damaging to the cause of development. While the development sector, for the most part, has so far failed to address this issue, some groundbreaking work is underway to get it onto the development sector’s agenda.
Tipping Point Film Fund came to this issue through its development support of Australian film-maker Shane Ward and his film DRUG WAR. Together with Shane, TPFF was responsible for facilitating a round-table meeting between some of the UK’s leading drug policy reform experts and some key UK development agencies including Health Poverty Action, now a leading campaign voice on the issue. TPNS remains committed to its role in promoting the effort to galvanise the development sector to join the global movement for drug policy reform – and to play its part in helping that movement build a broad-based and paradigm-shifting coalition for change, as it has previously done itself on issues like debt cancellation and trade reform.
Find our more about Rethink the War on Drugs.