About David Adams

I am now the coordinator of the Culture of Peace News Network. I retired in 2001 from UNESCO where I was the Director of the Unit for the International Year for the Culture of Peace, proclaimed for the Year 2000 by the United Nations General Assembly. Following a career as Professor of Psychology for 23 years at Wesleyan University (Connecticut, USA), I had come to UNESCO in 1992 to develop the Culture of Peace Programme as an supplement and alternative to military peacekeeping operations. My responsibilities included development of national culture of peace projects, research and development of the culture of peace concept and training in peace-building and conflict resolution. On behalf of UNESCO I prepared UN documents, including the draft Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace (1999). While at Wesleyan University, and previously at Yale University, I was a specialist on the brain mechanisms of aggressive behaviour, the evolution of war, and the psychology of peace activists, and helped to develop and publicize the Seville Statement on Violence. I published numerous studies in neurophysiology, cardiovascular physiology, genetics, ethology, biopsychology, social psychology, cross-cultural anthropology, history, and ethics. A number of these studies have helped lay the scientific basis for work towards a culture of peace; especially the most recent books: The History of the Culture of War, World Peace through the Town Hall, and I Have Seen the Promised Land (a utopian novella). For a full listing of publications see my curriculum vita.

Has the crash arrived?

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The headlines provide abundant details about economic shutdowns in order to slow the spread of the COV-19 virus.

But behind the headlines, there is another story more important in the long run: the global economy is a house of cards based on speculation and military spending. It seems likely that the house of cards will come crashing down as a result of the global economic shutdown.

The details of how this will come about in economic terms are difficult to predict since there are so many interacting factors.

But even more important is how this can play out in political repercussions and opportunities.

Will it provide us with the opportunity to make the transition from the culture of war to a culture of peace?

In the novella that I wrote ten years ago, I foresaw a global economic crash in the year 2020, which opened the possibility for this radical transformation.

Ultimately the result depends on our coordinated strategy and tactics, but it also depends on having the necessary communication and transportation mechanisms that allow our coordination and our actions.

Will we be able to travel and meet face to face? Already there are are severe travel restructions. In the novella I wrote: “Don’t forget that in 2021, airline flights around the world were running at less than 30% of pre-crash levels, and to get a ticket under ordinary circumstances you needed to reserve six months in advance and hope that the airline would stay in business that long. “

Can we depend on internet communications as the crash develops? In the novella, I predict that internet communication will also be curtailed, and I propose that alternative electronic communication will fill the void. I am not an expert in this domain, but perhaps some who read this blog may send me suggestions.

In the novella I considered that in the first few years after the global economic crash, the priority was to mobilize millions of people to resist the attempts by the rich to impose a “fascist solution” like that imposed last century in the Great Depression. I think this priority is appropriate today, since already in recent years we are seeing signs of this danger with the rise to power of authoritarian heads of state such as Trump, Bolsonaro, Duterte, Erdogan and Orban, not to mention the moves of Putin and Xi Jinping to retain power without elections.

The turning point, according to the novella, was the declaration by representatives from cities around the world meeting in Porto Alegre, Brazil:

    When in the course of history it
    becomes evident that the old order has
    failed and it becomes possible through
    the development and sharing of a new
    vision that power be transferred from
    the nation-state with its culture of war
    to a new order based on the culture of
    peace, it is the right and duty of those
    who have been elected to represent the
    people on the local and regional level
    to take up the higher responsibility of
    world governance.

Readers of this blog will recognize here the proposal in last month’s blog for a Mayor’s Security Council.

I don’t know if it will be in Porto Alegre, but Latin America seems a logical place to start the process towards a new world order. After all, it was the World Social Forums born in Brazil that gave us our slogan: “Another world is possible.”

* * * * *

Le crash est-il arrivé?

Les titres fournissent de nombreux détails sur les fermetures économiques afin de ralentir la propagation du virus COV-19.

Mais derrière les titres, il y a une autre histoire plus importante à long terme: l’économie mondiale est un château de cartes basé sur la spéculation et les dépenses militaires. Il semble probable que ce château de cartes s’écroulera à la suite de l’arrêt économique mondial.

Les détails économiques de la façon dont cela se produira sont difficiles à prévoir car il existe de nombreux facteurs d’interaction.

Mais e plus important encore est de savoir comment cela peut se traduire par les répercussions et les opportunités politiques.

Cela nous donnera-t-il la possibilité de faire la transition de la culture de la guerre à une culture de la paix?

Dans le roman que j’ai écrit il y a dix ans , je prévoyais un krach économique mondial en 2020, qui a ouvert la possibilité de cette transformation radicale.

En fin de compte, le résultat dépend de notre stratégie et de nos tactiques coordonnées, mais il dépend également de la disponibilité des mécanismes de communication et de transport qui sont nécessaires pour notre coordination et pour nos actions.

Dans l’avenir pourrons-nous encore voyager et faire des réunions? Il y a déjà de sévères restrictions de voyage. Dans le roman, j’écrivait: “N’oubliez pas qu’en 2021, les vols des compagnies aériennes à travers le monde fonctionnaient à moins de 30% des niveaux d’avant le crash, et pour obtenir un billet dans des circonstances ordinaires, vous deviez réserver six mois à l’avance espérons que la compagnie aérienne ne soit pas en faillite.”

Pouvons-nous dépendre des communications Internet à mesure que le crash se développe? Dans la roman, je prédis que la communication sur Internet sera également réduite, et je propose que d’autres systemes de communication électronique alternative comblent le vide. Je ne suis pas un expert dans ce domaine, mais peut-être que certains qui liront ce blog pourront m’envoyer des suggestions.

Dans la roman, j’ai considéré que dans les premières années après le krach économique mondial, la priorité était de mobiliser des millions de personnes pour résister aux tentatives des riches d’imposer une “solution fasciste” comme celle imposée au siècle dernier dans la Grande Dépression. Je pense que cette priorité est appropriée aujourd’hui, car déjà au cours des dernières années, nous voyons des signes de ce danger avec la montée en puissance de chefs d’État autoritaires tels que Trump, Bolsonaro, Duterte, Erdogan et Orban, sans parler des mouvements de Poutine et de Xi Jinping à conserver le pouvoir sans élections.

Selon la roman, le tournant a été la déclaration des représentants des villes du monde entier réunis à Porto Alegre, au Brésil:

    Au cours de l’histoire,
    il devient évident que l’ancien ordre
    a échoué et il devient possible grâce
    au développement et au partage
    d’une nouvelle vision que le pouvoir soit transféré de
    l’État-nation avec sa culture de guerre
    à un nouvel ordre basé sur la culture de
    la paix; c’est le droit et le devoir de ceux
    qui ont été élus pour représenter le
    le peuple au niveau local et régional,
    de prendre la plus haute responsabilité de
    gouvernance mondiale.

Les lecteurs de ce blog reconnaîtront ici la proposition dans le blog du mois dernier d’un Conseil de sécurité des maires.

Je ne sais pas si ce sera à Porto Alegre, mais l’Amérique latine semble un endroit logique pour entamer le processus vers un nouvel ordre mondial. Après tout, ce sont les Forums sociaux mondiaux nés au Brésil qui nous ont donné notre slogan: “Un autre monde est possible”.

TOWARDS A MAYORS’ SECURITY COUNCIL

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A proliferation of city and mayoral organizations are filling the void left by the failure of the nation-states. As stated by one of the most recent, the Strong Cities Network: “Nation states have dominated the global political arena for centuries, but with more than half of the world’s population today residing in cities, it may be time to rethink who should be at the table when it comes to decisions on how we can reduce violence.”

The latest issue of the CPNN bulletin lists recent actions by the following organizations and forums of cities and mayors contibuting to nuclear disarmament, sustainable development, reduction of international tensions and reduction of urban violence :

Mayors for Peace
Cities Appeal of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons
World Urban Forum
ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability)
Global Parliament of Mayors
International Cities of Peace
Strong Cities Network (SCN)
World Forum on Cities and Territories of Peace
United Cities and Local Governments

We may suppose that this proliferation of initiatives reflects a growing realization that the system of nation states is failing as we have documented over the past couple of years in CPNN.

Sustainable development. The CPNN bulletin of January 1 this year is devoted to the Global Climate Change Conference in Madrid which failed just as the previous Conferences failed.

Nuclear disarmament. The CPNN bulletin of June 1, 2018 was devoted to the United Nationsl Disarmament Conference that never took place because of the opposition of the nuclear states.

Around the world we see the beginning of failed states, consumed by violence: Libya, Yemen, and a case can be made for Mexico. Johan Galtung has gone so far as to imagine that the United States will split into two countries as the American Empire crumbles.

The situation is so serious that UN Secretary-General Guterrres devoted his annual press conference on February 4 to the “wind of madness” sweeping the globe. ” From Libya to Yemen to Syria and beyond — escalation is back. Arms are flowing. Offensives are increasing.” And the “doomsday clock” of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has been moved to the closest to midnight of an apocalypse since the lock was first started in 1947 to warn of the dangers of nuclear war.

We may point our finger at the United Nations Security Council as the key element of the failure. The Council was established after World War II to ensure peace and stability in the post-war world. For the first half of its existence it was hobbled by the Cold War, and there were hopes that after the falll of the Soviet Empire it would be able to fulfill its function. But now, it is now evident that the nation-states are not capable of this.

The time has come to begin a process of transferring the decision-making of the UN Secuity Council from the nation-state to the city.

Cities have no interest in nuclear weapons. They are not invested in the arms race or in the polluting industries that cause global warming. They have no frontiers to defend or tarrifs to impose.

The process can be started now with a Mayors’ Security Council (MSC) similar to the Virtual Parliament recently begun by the Global Parliament of Mayors. The MSC would regularly issue press releases stating how they would vote on issues facing the UN Security Council. Immediately they would begin the process of nuclear disarmament. And they would be more serious in addressing the global climate crisis. They would raise the hope that “another world is possible.”

To survive at this point in human history, we need a new vision and a new approach. The MSC could begin this process.

* * * * *

VERS UN CONSEIL DE SÉCURITÉ DES MAIRES

Une prolifération d’organisations de villes et de maires comble le vide laissé par l’échec des États-nations. Comme l’a déclaré l’un des plus récents, le Strong Cities Network: «Les États-nations dominent l’arène politique mondiale depuis des siècles, mais avec plus de la moitié de la population mondiale résidant aujourd’hui dans les villes, il est peut-être temps de repenser qui devrait être autour de la table quand il s’agit de décisions sur la façon dont nous pouvons réduire la violence. “

Le dernier numéro du bulletin du CPNN liste les actions récentes des organisations et forums de villes et maires suivants, contribuant au désarmement nucléaire, au développement durable, à la réduction des tensions internationales et à la réduction de la violence urbaine:

Maires pour la paix,

L’appel des villes par la Campagne internationale pour l’abolition des armes nucléaires
Forum urbain mondial,

ICLEI (Gouvernements locaux pour la developpement durable),
Parlement mondial des maires,
Villes internationales de paix,
Réseau des villes fortes (SCN),
Forum mondial des villes et territoires de paix,
Cités et Gouvernements Unis

Nous pouvons supposer que cette prolifération d’initiatives reflète une prise de conscience croissante de l’échec du système des États-nations comme nous l’avons documenté au cours des deux dernières années dans CPNN.

Le développement durable. Le bulletin de CPNN du 1er janvier de cette année est consacré à la Conférence mondiale sur le changement climatique à Madrid qui a échoué tout comme les conférences précédentes ont échoué.

Le désarmement nucléaire. Le bulletin du CPNN du 1er juin 2018 était consacré à la Conférence des Nations Unies sur le désarmement qui n’a jamais eu lieu en raison de l’opposition des États nucléaires.

Partout dans le monde, nous voyons le début d’États en déroute, dévorés par la violence: la Libye, le Yémen, et peut-être le Mexique. Johan Galtung est allé jusqu’à imaginer que les États-Unis se diviseraient en deux pays lors que l’Empire américain s’effondrera.

La situation est si grave que le Secrétaire général de l’ONU, M. Guterrres, a consacré sa conférence de presse annuelle du 4 février au “vent de folie” qui balaie le monde. “De la Libye au Yémen en passant par la Syrie et au-delà – l’escalade est de retour. Les armes crachent. Les offensives augmentent.”

Et l’horloge apocalyptique du Bulletin of Atomic Scientists a été déplacée au plus près de minuit depuis son début en 1947 pour avertir des dangers de la guerre nucléaire.

Nous pouvons pointer du doigt le Conseil de sécurité des Nations Unies comme l’élément clé de l’échec. Le Conseil a été créé après la Seconde Guerre mondiale pour assurer la paix et la stabilité dans le monde d’après-guerre. Pendant la première moitié de son existence, il a été entravé par la guerre froide, et il y avait l’espoir qu’après la chute de l’empire soviétique, il serait en mesure de remplir sa fonction. Mais maintenant, il semble évident que les États-nations n’en sont pas capables.

Le moment est venu d’entamer un processus de transfert de la décision du Conseil de sécurité des Nations Unies de l’État-nation à la ville.

Les villes n’ont aucun intérêt pour les armes nucléaires. Elles ne sont pas investies dans la course aux armements ou dans les industries polluantes qui provoquent le réchauffement climatique. Elles n’ont pas de frontières à défendre, ni de tarifs à imposer.

Le processus peut commencer dès maintenant avec un Conseil de sécurité des maires (MSC) similaire au Parlement virtuel récemment initié par le Parlement mondial des maires. Le MSC publiera régulièrement des communiqués de presse indiquant comment il votera sur les questions auxquelles le Conseil de sécurité des Nations Unies est confronté. Ils entameraient immédiatement le processus de désarmement nucléaire. Et ils seraient plus sérieux dans la lutte contre la crise climatique mondiale. Ils susciteraient l’espoir qu’un “autre monde est possible”.

Pour survivre à cette période dangereuse de l’histoire humaine, nous avons besoin d’une nouvelle vision et d’une nouvelle approche. Le MSC pourrait commencer ce processus.

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Why the bloated military budget threatens to bring down the American empire

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The continued, unchecked, expansion of the American military budget, as described in this month’s CPNN bulletin reminds me of what happened to the Soviet empire in the 1980’s.

In the beginning of the 1980’s there were three things that foreshadowed the end of the Soviet empire:

1. The arms race of the Cold War which destroyed the Soviet empire, not by war itself, but by bankrupting their economy (see note). By matching the West’s military budgets ruble for dollar, but based on an economy only half as great, the Soviet Union was forced to divert almost all of its resources to the military. For example, in the West about 40% of scientists and engineers were engaged directly or indirectly with the military, but in the Soviet Union it was closer to 90%. There was nothing left for economic development or for the needs of the people.

2. The prediction of Johan Galtung in 1980 that the Soviet Empire would collapse in 10 years.

3. I experienced this when working in a scientific lab doing brain research in Moscow. When I couldn’t get decent electronics or a good electronics engineer, I asked a Russian colleague doing cardiovascular research how he got his good equipment. “I have friends in the military,” he replied. Yes, there were lines at the stores for meat, but the longest lines I saw were to buy gold or diamonds because people feared that the ruble would crash.

They were correct, Galtung and the people buying gold. Only instead of 10 years, it took 9 years before the ruble crashed and the empire crashed as a result..

As was the case in the Soviet Union, the continued expansion of the American military budget leaves little for economic development or for the needs of the American people. But most important, as was the case for the Soviet Union, it destroys confidence in the US dollar.

The American military budget is not paid from the profits of American exports. In fact the US regularly imports more than it exports and runs a deficit which for the year 2019 was more than $1 trillion dollars. As we have seen the military budget accounts for almost 75% of this.

The deficit is covered primarily by the sale of US treasury bills, notes and bonds, much of which are bought by other countries, the most important being Japan and China. As of October 2019, Japan held $1.27 trillion in US debt and China held $1.10 trillion.

Normally it is assumed that Japan, China and other countries will continue to buy American debt because they will lose their investment if the dollar crashes. Traditionally the dollar has been considered a “safe haven” for investments.

But there are signs that this is changing. In particular it can be seen in the movement of gold from West to East. Since 2005, Russia, China, Turkey and India have bought about 80% of the world’s gold production (36,000 tons) , and recently Japan has been buying gold as well. They pay for the gold in dollars and, at least in the case of Russia, it is stated that it is a process of “de-dollarization.” This was made explicit in remarks by the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs this January 15.

During this time the US, in contrast has been selling its gold. It still claims to have 8,000 tons, but there are suspicions that this is exaggerated.

According to The Economist on January 18, the more that the US imposes financial sanctions on other countries (a favorite tactic of the Trump administration), the more countries will follow the suit of Russia and de-dollarize their economies.

According to The Economist article, in the past when there was economic turmoil countries bought dollars as a “safe haven”. But during the most recent crisis between the US and Iran, there were signs that this has changed. The Financial Times revealed on January 10 that this time there was no increased buying of the dollar.

Here are some quotes from the Financial Times:

“A more profound change to the dollar’s safe-haven status may be taking place, however, according to Zach Pandl, head of global foreign exchange strategy at Goldman Sachs. He pointed to efforts from Russia, which is expanding the use of euros and roubles for settling energy transactions, in an attempt to reduce its reliance on the US currency. . . . Mr Pandl said other countries could follow suit if geopolitical tensions persist. ‘If the tensions last just a few weeks or months, it will not be enough to get a large scale de-dollarisation effort under way,’ he said. ‘But if it were to last a longer period or to broaden in some way, it could affect aspects of the dollar’s global role.’”

Once the ruble crashed after 1989, it was all down-hill. Eventually, aided by CIA advisors sent to “advise” President Yeltsin, the ruble was devalued by 10,000 times. Imagine what will happen to the American empire and the global economy if the dollar loses its global role and has to be devalued!

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Pourquoi le budget militaire gonflé menace de faire tomber l’empire américain

L’expansion continue et incontrôlée du budget militaire américain, décrite dans le bulletin CPNN de ce mois-ci, me rappelle ce qui est arrivé à l’empire soviétique dans les années 80.

Au début des années 80, trois choses préfiguraient la fin de l’empire soviétique:

1. La course aux armements de la guerre froide qui a détruit l’empire soviétique, non pas par la guerre elle-même, mais en forçant la faillite de leur économie ( (voir note). En faisant correspondre les budgets militaires de l’Occident au rouble pour un dollar, mais sur la base d’une économie moitié moins grande, l’Union soviétique a été obligée de détourner la quasi-totalité de ses ressources vers les forces armées. Par exemple, en Occident, environ 40% des scientifiques et ingénieurs étaient engagés directement ou indirectement dans l’armée, mais en Union soviétique, ils étaient plus proches de 90%. Il ne restait plus rien pour le développement économique ou pour les besoins de la population.

2. La prédiction de Johan Galtung en 1980 que l’Empire soviétique s’effondrerait dans 10 ans.

3. J’ai vécu cela en travaillant dans un laboratoire scientifique lors de mes recherches sur le cerveau à Moscou. Quand je ne pouvais pas obtenir d’appareils électroniques ni un bon ingénieur en électronique, je demandais à un collègue russe effectuant des recherches cardiovasculaires comment il avait obtenu son bon équipement. “J’ai des amis dans l’armée”, a-t-il répondu. Oui, il y avait des files d’attente devant les magasins pour la viande, mais les plus longues que j’ai vues étaient pour acheter de l’or ou des diamants parce que les gens craignaient que le rouble ne s’effondre.

Ils avaient raison, Galtung et les gens qui achetaient de l’or. Seulement au lieu de 10 ans, il a fallu 9 ans avant que le rouble ne s’effondre et que l’empire tombe juste après.

Comme ce fut le cas en Union soviétique, l’expansion continue du budget militaire laisse peu de place au développement économique ou aux besoins du peuple américain. Mais le plus important, comme ce fut le cas pour l’Union soviétique, elle détruit la confiance dans le dollar américain.

Le budget militaire américain n’est pas payé par les bénéfices des exportations américaines. En fait, les États-Unis importent régulièrement plus qu’ils n’exportent et accusent un déficit qui, pour l’année 2019, était supérieur à un billion de dollars. Comme nous l’avons vu, le budget militaire en représente près de 75%.

Le déficit est principalement couvert par la vente de bons, de billets et d’obligations du Trésor américain, dont une grande partie est achetée par d’autres pays, les plus importants étant le Japon et la Chine. En octobre 2019, le Japon détenait 1,27 billion de dollars de la dette américaine et la Chine, 1,10 billion de dollars.

Normalement, on considère que le Japon, la Chine et d’autres pays continueront à acheter de la dette américaine car ils perdront leur investissement si le dollar s’effondre. Traditionnellement, le dollar a été considéré comme un “refuge” pour les investissements.

Mais il y a des signes de changement. En particulier, on peut le voir dans le mouvement de l’or d’Ouest en Est. Depuis 2005, la Russie, la Chine, la Turquie et l’Inde ont acheté environ 80% de la production mondiale d’or (36 000 tonnes), et récemment le Japon a également acheté de l’or. Ils échangent l’or en dollars et, du moins dans le cas de la Russie, il est indiqué qu’il s’agit d’un processus de «dé-dollarisation». Cela a été rendu explicite dans les remarques du ministre russe des Affaires étrangères ce 15 janvier.

Pendant ces années, les États-Unis, en revanche, ont vendu leur or. Ils prétendent toujours en avoir encore 8 000 tonnes, mais on soupçonne que cela est exagéré.

Selon The Economist du 18 janvier, plus les États-Unis imposent de sanctions financières à d’autres pays (une tactique préférée de l’administration Trump), plus les pays suivront le mouvement de la Russie et dé-dollariseront leurs économies.

Selon l’article de The Ecoomist, dans le passé, lorsque leurs pays étaient en proie à des bouleversements économiques, ils achetaient des dollars comme “refuge”. Mais lors de la dernière crise entre les États-Unis et l’Iran, il y avait des signes que cela avait changé. Le Financial Times a révélé le 10 janvier que cette fois il n’y avait pas d’augmentation des achats de dollars.

Voici quelques citations du Financial Times:

“Un changement plus profond du statut de valeur refuge du dollar pourrait toutefois avoir lieu, selon Zach Pandl, responsable de la stratégie de change mondiale chez Goldman Sachs. Il a souligné les efforts de la Russie, qui étend l’utilisation des euros et des roubles. pour le règlement des transactions énergétiques, afin de réduire sa dépendance à l’égard de la devise américaine … M. Pandl a déclaré que d’autres pays pourraient emboîter le pas si les tensions géopolitiques persistent. ‘Si les tensions ne durent que quelques semaines ou quelques mois, ce ne sera pas suffisant pour lancer un effort de dé-dollarisation à grande échelle,’ a-t-il dit. ‘Mais s’il devait durer plus longtemps ou s’élargir d’une manière ou d’une autre, il pourrait affecter certains aspects du rôle mondial du dollar.'”

Une fois que le rouble s’est écrasé après 1989, tout était en descente. Finalement, aidé par des conseillers de la CIA envoyés pour “conseiller” le président Eltsine, le rouble a été dévalué de 10 000 fois. Imaginez ce qui arrivera à l’empire américain et à l’économie mondiale si le dollar perd son rôle mondial et doit être dévalué!

* * * * * *

Note: An earlier version of this blog stated that the bankruptcy of the Soviet Union because of the arms race was a deliberate policy of the CIA. It turns out that I was wrong about this. According to interviews with CIA agents who were responsible for Russian policy in the 1980’s, they did not dare to make this prediction because the US government and military-industrial-congressional complex needed to justify their own military budget by considering the Soviet Union to be a powerful enemy.

For more details on why the Soviet Union went bankrupt, see my own article written in 1991.

* * * * * *

Note: Une version antérieure de ce blog a déclaré que la faillite de l’Union soviétique en raison de la course aux armements était une politique délibérée de la CIA. Il s’avère que j’avais tort à ce sujet. Selon des entretiens avec des agents de la CIA qui étaient responsables de la politique russe dans les années 1980, ils n’ont pas osé faire cette prédiction parce que le gouvernement américain et le complexe militaro-industriel-du Congrès devaient justifier leur propre budget militaire en considérant l’Union soviétique comme un ennemi puissant.

Pour plus de détails sur les raisons de la faillite de l’Union soviétique, voir mon propre article écrit en 1991.

A World without the Nation-State

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The articles in CPNN this month show how the state is a culture of war. In this case the state is the United States and their culture of war is shown in their role in the overthrow of President Morales of Bolivia (precisely because he was promoting a culture of peace) and their threat to punish Julian Assange (precisely because he revealed the secrets of their culture of war.) Not to mention that the states of the world are unable to seriously attack the problem of global warming, and the United States is the worst in this regard.

This is the latest evidence that the conclusion of my History of the Culture of War is correct: the state has come to monopolize the culture of war and cannot be separated from it.

The only solution if we are to survive must be a world in which the state has disappeared or has been relegated to a ceremonial role, much as monarchies were abolished or relegated to ceremonial roles in an earlier period of history.

When I say this, I receive the argument that one cannot imagine a world without the nation-state.

Well, let us try imagine such a world.

Imagine that there were no longer the frontiers of states. No visas. People would be free to travel anywhere without restriction!

No more wars or war preparations. After all, in most cases, it is the state that prepares for and makes war. And in most of the other cases, it is groups that are trying to take over the state.

This is where I part company with Marx and Engels. They thought that peace would come about once the communists seized the power of the state. But they were wrong. The communists seized power in almost half of the world during the 20th century, and what they produced were socialist cultures of war instead of a capitalist cultures of war. The role of the state was stronger than the dreams of the communists. The only difference was that the capitalist cultures of war were more adept at exploitation and were able to defeat the socialist cultures of war (Soviet Union and its allies) or convert them to capitalism (China).

But what about all of the roles now played by the state? Who would manage these roles? Obviously, we would not miss the states’ military budgets, military contracts, military preparation, secret budgets like that of the CIA, etc. But what about the useful roles played by the state?

By controlling the movement of peoples, the rich states ensure that the poor people from poor countries and countries victimized by war do not migrate into their states. You may think this is a good and necessary function. In fact, most populist and fascist politicians want this function strengthened. But what has happened in the course of history is that this has served as a mask to hide the continually growing inequality of the world caused by capitalist exploitation. This mask has enabled the people of the North to avoid confronting the problem. Although official statistics claim that foreign aid compensates for foreign exploitation, the truth is that these statistics are misleading. The illegal and hence secret movement of capital from the global south to the global north far exceeds foreign aid as shown in the study “Aid in reverse: how poor countries develop rich countries”.

Abolition or reduction in power of the state would require that we confront and solve the problem of inequality. We could no longer hide behind national borders. Let us come back to this challenge later in the blog.

Imagine that the United Nations were controlled by representatives of the mayors of the world instead of the states of the world, and that its agencies were to be reinforced so that they could operate universally, much as UN agencies already serve for the universal regulation of postal service, airport coordination, etc. Let us compare a list of these agencies (or potential agencies) to the major functions served by a typical national budget, in this case we take the example of France for 2019 according to www.statista.com.

French budget item in millions of eurosUN Agency to replace it (existing or potential)
1. Education 72,7United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) working with local authorities much as it already does throughout Africa.
2. Defense 44,3Put to use by a new UN commission to confront the need for transportation, communication, food and shelter for the people in migration (see below).
3. Financial commitments 42.4World Bank and International Monetary Fund working with banks around the world
4. Research and higher education 28.1United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) working directly with universities and research organizations
5. Security 20.1Interpol working with local police forces
6. Solidarity re-adaptation and equal opportunities 23,9(served by 8 & 9 below)
7. Territories cohesion 16,4(a bureaucracy no longer needed)
8. Work and employment 12,5New: A new global organization that would work with private industry for economic development and full employment. Based on World Trade Organization?
9. Environment and sustainable development and mobilities 12,6United Nations Environmental Program working with local authorities
10. Public finances and human resources management 10,4(a bureaucracy no longer needed)
11. Justice 9.1World court expanded to work with local judiciaries
12. Pension and social plans 6.3Privatization of pension and social plans in coordination with a new global monitoring unit
13. Relations with local and regional authorities 3.4(a bureaucracy no longer needed)
14. Agriculture, fishing, food, forests and rural affairs 2.9The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) working directly with local aouthoritiesL’
15. Foreign action 2.8(a bureaucracy and interference no longer needed)
16. Culture 2.9United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) working with local authorities much as it already does for the World Heritage Sites
17. General and territorial state administration 2.8(a bureaucracy no longer needed)
18. Public development aid 3.1(served by 8 & 9 above)
19. Veterans, memory and links with the nation 2.3Privatization of pension and social plans in coordination with the new global monitoring unit in 12 above
20. Overseas 2.6(a bureaucracy no longer needed)
21. Economy 1.9( served by 8 & 9 above)
22. Government action supervision 1.3(a bureaucracy no longer needed)
23. Immigration, asylum and integration 1.7(See comments below concerning migration)
24. Health 1.4World Health Organization working with local authorities

It is interesting that the United Nations agency in the best position to assume new powers is UNESCO where I worked for 10 years. During that time I met very talented people at UNESCO who would have been capable of undertaking the expanded roles required by the above.

I anticipate that readers will have many questions/objections at this point. Let me try to list and respond to some of them.

1. The transition to a world without states cannot come about because the state structures are strong and will resist change.

Yes, that is true at the present moment of history. But imagine that the global economy crashes. Would it not be followed by a global political crash and dismemberment such as what happened to the Soviet Union after 1989? At such a moment, the United Nations, which has already been abandoned by the Great Powers for their priority functions, might now be completely abandoned and the role of the nation-state at the UN could be replaced by representatives of the cities of the world.

2. What will become of the militaries of the world? Won’t they resist and revolt?

In addition to the migration from South to North mentioned above, there has been an enormous internal migration during the past few centuries from the countryside to the city, the process of urbanization. But if there is a global economic crash, the cities may become unlivable, and we may see the most dramatic migration of human history, from the cities back to the countryside as people seek something to eat. After all, most food in the city comes by truck and is sold in supermarkets. If, in a crisis, there is a shortage of fuel for the trucks, there will be no food deliveries and it will take only a day or two to empty the supermarkets by hoarding and riots. There may be great suffering.

Copying with these migrations could be another use to which the militaries of the world could be put to use if they were under the command of a reformed United Nations. Who is best equipped with the transportation and communication systems and the reserves of food and shelter that will be needed? The militaries of the world. Under orders from a reformed United Nations they could set aside their weapons and serve as the source of resources needed to survive the crisis.

3. Who will pay for all this?

With regard to item 3 above, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, they could take on a key role of the nation state – the collection of taxes. This will be essential in order to support the greatly increased expenses of the reformed United Nations. These taxes could be based on the proposals and experiments already in place for financial transaction taxes In effect they would be Robin Hood taxes that begin to reverse one of the most difficult and dangerous tendancies of recent history, the growing inequality of the world, as mentioned above. In other words, inequality would be reduced, not by directly giving money from the rich to the poor, but by taking money from the rich to deliver services (education, health care, full employment), to everyone, including the poor.

4. What will happen to law and order once the state’s power is reduced? Won’t there be violence and chaos?

Yes, people need law and order. Fortunately, in recent years, as we have tried to document in CPNN, there are growing movements of mediation, restorative justice and nonviolent peace forces that provide alternatives to police and internal military intervention. In this regard it is interesting to recall that during the Great Depression there was a decrease in armed theft and interpersonal violence, presumably because there was an increase in solidarity in the face of the common threat. It is this solidarity, coupled with existing initiatives, that could be the key.

5. Where is the precedent for item 8, a new global organization that would work with private industry for economic development and full employment?

Such an organization could take lessons from the Chinese who are developing a global system of transportation and trade, their “One belt, one road” plan. There are some who say that the Chinese will take over the world if the American empire collapses. This variant suggests that the Chinese may show us the way to sustain the world in that case. It seems that the Chinese, in this new project, are able to bypass state structures and make trade agreements directly with capitalist enterprises that already have production/employment structures at local, regional and international levels. This could serve as model for a new global economic organization that would work with private industry at local, regional and international levels in the absence of state involvement.

6. What will happen to national identity and patriotism?

For this it will be very important to expand the function that is far down on the list at number 16: culture. It will be useful to greatly expand the support of the reformed United Nations (in particular, UNESCO) to local and regional activities that express and develop the unique heritage of the thousands of national identities that exist throughout the world, often extending beyond traditional state borders.

7. You envisage abolition of the state, but you don’t envisage abolition of militaries or capitalism. Why?

As mentioned above, we will need the resources and organization of militaries in order to cope with the suffering associated with mass migrations. And we will need the production/employment structures of capitalist enterprises to maintain economic development and employment. This the logic that I followed a few years ago in developing my utopian novel that imagines the transition to a culture of peace. What will happen to capitalism and militaries in 50 or 100 years is difficult to predict, but the present scenario concerns years and decades, not centuries.

All of these crises may arrive at the same time: international migration, migration from city to countryside and the economic and political crises that cause them. Are we ready to cope with this?

No.

But how can we begin to prepare?

We need to be constructing an alternative global governance structure in preparation. Instead of depending on the nation-state to save us, we need to be developing city and regional peace commissions that deal with all of these problems as they develop, and which can serve as the basis for a new global structure centered on a United Nations managed by the people rather than the states, for example by representatives of the mayors of the world. Over the years, we have given priority to news of development of culture of peace at the city and regional level.

What can each citizen do? Each citizen can work for peace and justice at the local and regional level and develop structures such as city and regional peace commissions. For example, asked for advice by Mouvement de la Paix in France, I have recently proposed that those who initiated actions to mark the International Day of Peace in more than 60 cities and towns in France should now approach their city councils to establish a continuing action for peace and sustainable development in their communities and regions. In this way, we can prepare the basis for a new global governance structure when the present system collapses.

And in my opinion, and that of some others who have a good grasp of history, this collapse could come very soon.

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Un Monde Sans État-nation

Les articles du CPNN de ce mois-ci montrent à quel point l’État est une culture de guerre. Dans ce cas, l’État est les États-Unis et leur culture de guerre se manifeste dans leur rôle dans le renversement du président Morales de Bolivie (précisément parce qu’il promouvait une culture de la paix) et leur menace de punir Julian Assange (précisément parce qu’il a révélé les secrets de leur culture de guerre.)

C’est la dernière preuve que la conclusion de mon histoire de la culture de la guerre est correcte: l’État en est venu à monopoliser la culture de la guerre et ne peut en être séparé de cette culture.

La solution? Un monde dans lequel l’État a disparu ou a été relégué à un rôle cérémoniel, tout comme les monarchies ont été abolies ou reléguées à des rôles cérémoniels dans une période antérieure de l’histoire.

Quand je dis cela, je reçois l’argument selon lequel on ne peut pas imaginer un monde sans l’État-nation.

Quand même,, essayons d’imaginer un tel monde !

Imaginez qu’il n’y ait plus de frontières d’Etats. Pas de visas. Les gens seraient libres de voyager n’importe où sans restriction!

Plus de guerres ou de préparatifs de guerre. Après tout, dans la plupart des cas, c’est l’État qui prépare et fait la guerre. Et dans la plupart des autres cas, ce sont des groupes qui tentent de prendre le contrôle de l’État.

C’est là que je me sépare de Marx et Engels. Ils pensaient que la paix arriverait une fois que les communistes auraient pris le pouvoir de l’État. Mais ils avaient tort. Les communistes ont pris le pouvoir dans près de la moitié du monde au cours du XXe siècle et ils ont produit des cultures de guerre socialistes au lieu de cultures de guerre capitalistes. Le rôle de l’État était plus fort que les rêves des communistes. La seule différence était que les cultures de guerre capitalistes étaient plus aptes à l’exploitation et pouvaient vaincre les cultures de guerre socialistes (Union soviétique et ses alliés) ou les convertir au capitalisme (Chine).

Mais qu’en est-il de tous les rôles maintenant joués par l’État? Qui gérerait ces rôles? Évidemment, nous ne manquerions pas les budgets militaires des États, les contrats militaires, la préparation militaire, les budgets secrets comme celui de la CIA, etc. Mais qu’en est-il des rôles utiles joués par l’État?

En contrôlant le mouvement des peuples, les États riches veillent à ce que les peuples des pays pauvres et des pays victimes de la guerre ne migrent pas dans leurs États. Vous pensez peut-être que c’est une fonction bonne et nécessaire. En fait, la plupart des politiciens populistes et fascistes souhaitent que cette fonction soit renforcée. Mais ce qui s’est produit au cours de l’histoire, c’est que cela a servi de masque pour cacher l’inégalité croissante du monde causée par l’exploitation capitaliste. Ce masque a permis aux habitants du Nord d’éviter de faire face au problème. Bien que les statistiques officielles prétendent que l’aide étrangère compense l’exploitation étrangère, la vérité est que ces statistiques sont trompeuses. Le transfert illégal et donc secret de capitaux du Sud au Nord du monde dépasse de loin l’aide donnée, comme le montre l’étude ” Aide en sens inverse: comment pays pauvres développent pays riches .

L’abolition ou la réduction du pouvoir de l’État exigerait que nous affrontions et résolvions le problème des inégalités. Nous ne pouvions plus nous cacher derrière les frontières nationales. Revenons à ce défi plus tard dans le blog.

Imaginez que les Nations Unies soient contrôlées par des représentants des maires du monde au lieu des États du monde, et que ses agences devaient soient renforcées afin qu’elles puissent fonctionner universellement, tout comme les agences des Nations Unies servent déjà à la réglementation universelle des postes service (union postale universelle), coordination aéroportuaire, etc. Comparons une liste de ces agences (ou agences potentielles) aux principales fonctions assumées par un budget national. Dans ce cas prenons l’exemple de la France pour 2019 selon www.statista.com.

Poste budgétaire français en millions d'eurosAgence des Nations Unies (existante ou potentielle)
1. Enseignement scolaire 72,7L'Organisation des Nations Unies pour l'éducation, la science et la culture (UNESCO) en travail avec les autorités locales comme elle le fait déjà dans toute l'Afrique.
2. Defense 44,3Mis à profit par une nouvelle commission des Nations Unies pour faire face au besoin de transport, de communication, de nourriture et d'abri pour les personnes en migration (voir ci-dessous).
3. Engagements financiers de l’État 42.4La Banque mondiale et le Fonds monétaire international travaillent avec des banques du monde entier
4. Recherche et enseignement supérieur 28.1Organisation des Nations Unies pour l'éducation, la science et la culture (UNESCO) travaillant directement avec les universités et les organismes de recherche
5. Sécurités 20.1Interpol collaborant avec les forces de police locales
6. Solidarité, insertion et égalité des chances 23,9 (servi par 8 et 9 ci-dessous)
7. Cohésion des territoires16,4(une bureaucratie qui ne sera plus nécessaire)
8. Travail et emploi 12,5Besoin: Une nouvelle organisation mondiale qui travaillerait avec l'industrie privée pour le développement économique et le plein emploi. Basé sur l'Organisation mondiale du commerce?
9. Écologie, développement et mobilité durable 12,6Le Programme des Nations Unies pour l'environnement travaillant avec les autorités locales
10. Gestion des finances publiques et des ressources humaines 10,4(une bureaucratie qui ne sera plus nécessaire)
11. Justice 9.1Le tribunal mondial élargi pour travailler avec les autorités judiciaires locales
12. Régimes sociaux et de retraite 6.3Privatisation des régimes de retraite et sociaux en coordination avec une nouvelle unité de surveillance mondiale
13. Relations avec les collectivités territoriales 3.4(une bureaucratie qui ne sera plus nécessaire)
14. Agriculture, alimentation, forêt et affaires rurales 2.9L’Organisation pour l’alimentation et l’agriculture (FAO) en travail avec les autorités locales
15. Action extérieure de l'État 2.8(une bureaucratie qui ne sera plus nécessaire)
16. Culture 2.9Organisation des Nations Unies pour l'éducation, la science et la culture (UNESCO) travaillant avec les autorités locales comme elle le fait déjà pour les sites du patrimoine mondial
17. Administration générale et territoriale de l'État 2.8(une bureaucratie qui ne sera plus nécessaire)
18. Aide publique au développement 3.1(servi par 8 et 9 ci-dessous)
19. Anciens combattants, mémoire et liens avec la nation 2.3Privatisation des régimes de retraite et des régimes sociaux en coordination avec une nouvelle unité de surveillance mondiale en 12 ci-dessus
20. Outre-mer 2.6(une bureaucratie qui ne sera plus nécessaire)
21. Économie 1.9(servi par 8 et 9 ci-dessous)
22. Direction de l'action du Gouvernement 1.3 (une bureaucratie qui ne sera plus nécessaire)
23. Immigration, asile et intégration 1.7  (Voir les commentaires ci-dessous concernant la migration)
24. Santé 1.4L'Organisation mondiale de la santé en travail avec les autorités locales

Il est intéressant de noter que l’agence des Nations Unies la mieux placée pour assumer de nouveaux pouvoirs est l’UNESCO où j’ai travaillé pendant 10 ans. Pendant ce temps, j’ai rencontré à l’UNESCO des personnes très talentueuses qui auraient été capables d’assumer les rôles élargis requis par ce projet.

Je prévois que les lecteurs auront de nombreuses questions / objections à ce stade. Permettez-moi d’essayer d’énumérer et de répondre à certains d’entre eux.

1. La transition vers un monde sans États ne peut se faire parce que les structures étatiques sont fortes et résisteront au changement.

Oui, c’est vrai au moment actuel de l’histoire. Mais imaginez que l’économie mondiale s’effondre. Ne serait-il pas suivi d’un krach politique mondial et d’un démembrement comme ce qui est arrivé à l’Union soviétique après 1989? À un tel moment, les Nations Unies, qui ont déjà été abandonnées par les grandes puissances pour leurs fonctions prioritaires, pourraient maintenant être complètement abandonnées et le rôle de l’État-nation à l’ONU pourrait être remplacé par des représentants des villes du monde ou par autres représentants proches du peuple.

2. Que deviendront les forces armées du monde? Ne résisteront-ils pas et ne se révolteront-ils pas?

En plus de la migration du Sud vers le Nord mentionnée ci-dessus, il y a eu une énorme migration interne au cours des derniers siècles de la campagne à la ville, le processus d’urbanisation. Mais s’il y a un crash économique mondial, les villes peuvent devenir invivables, et nous pouvons voir la migration la plus spectaculaire de l’histoire humaine, des villes vers la campagne alors que les gens cherchent quelque chose à manger. Après tout, la plupart des aliments de la ville viennent par camion et sont vendus dans les supermarchés. Si, en cas de crise, il y a une pénurie de carburant pour les camions, il n’y aura pas de livraison de nourriture et il ne faudra qu’un jour ou deux pour vider les supermarchés par thésaurisation et émeutes. Il peut y avoir de grandes souffrances.

En face de ces migrations il y a un autre usage auquel les forces armées du monde pourraient être mises à l’emploi si elles étaient sous le commandement d’une Organisation des Nations Unies réformée. Qui est le mieux équipé des systèmes de transport et de communication et des réserves de nourriture et d’abris qui seront nécessaires? Les militaires du monde. Sous les ordres d’une ONU réformée, ils pouvaient mettre de côté leurs armes et servir de source de ressources nécessaires pour survivre à la crise.

3. Qui paiera tout cela?

En ce qui concerne le point 3 ci-dessus, la Banque mondiale et le Fonds monétaire international, ils pourraient jouer un rôle clé de l’État-nation – la collecte des impôts. Cela sera essentiel pour payer les dépenses considérablement accrues des Nations Unies réformées. Ces taxes pourraient être basées sur les propositions et les expériences déjà en place pour les taxes sur les transactions financières. En effet, elles seraient Robin Hood taxes qui commencent à inverser l’une des tendances les plus difficiles et dangereuses de l’histoire récente, l’inégalité croissante du monde, comme mentionné ci-dessus. En d’autres termes, l’inégalité serait réduite, non pas en donnant directement de l’argent des riches aux pauvres, mais en prenant de l’argent des riches pour fournir des services (éducation, soins de santé, plein emploi), à tout le monde, y compris aux pauvres.

4. Qu’adviendra-t-il de la loi et de l’ordre une fois que le pouvoir de l’État sera réduit? N’y aura-t-il pas beaucouop de violence et chaos?

Oui, les gens ont besoin de loi et d’ordre. Heureusement, ces dernières années, comme nous avons essayé de documenter dans le CPNN, il y a des mouvements croissants de médiation, de justice réparatrice et de forces de paix non violentes qui offrent des alternatives à la police et à l’intervention militaire interne. À cet égard, il est intéressant de rappeler que pendant la Grande Dépression, il y a eu une diminution des vols armés et des violences interpersonnelles, probablement parce qu’il y a eu une augmentation de la solidarité face à la menace commune. C’est cette solidarité, couplée aux initiatives existantes, qui pourrait être la clé.

5. Où est le précédent pour le point 8, une nouvelle organisation mondiale qui travaillerait avec l’industrie privée pour le développement économique et le plein emploi?

Une telle organisation pourrait tirer les leçons des Chinois qui développent un système mondial de transport et de commerce, leur plan «Une ceinture, une route». Il y en a qui disent que les Chinois prendront le contrôle du monde si l’empire américain s’effondre. Cette variante suggère que les Chinois pourraient nous montrer le moyen de soutenir le monde dans ce cas. Il semble que les Chinois, dans ce nouveau projet, soient capables de contourner les structures étatiques et de conclure des accords commerciaux directement avec des entreprises capitalistes qui ont déjà des structures de production / emploi aux niveaux local, régional et international. Cela pourrait servir de modèle à une nouvelle organisation économique mondiale qui travaillerait avec l’industrie privée aux niveaux local, régional et international en l’absence de participation de l’État.

6. Qu’adviendra-t-il de l’identité nationale et du patriotisme?

Pour cela, il sera très important d’élargir la fonction qui est loin dans la liste au numéro 16: la culture. Il sera utile d’étendre considérablement le soutien des Nations Unies réformées (en particulier, l’UNESCO) aux activités locales et régionales qui expriment et développent le patrimoine unique des milliers d’identités nationales qui existent dans le monde, s’étendant souvent au-delà des frontières traditionnelles des États. .

7. Vous envisagez l’abolition de l’État, mais vous n’envisagez pas l’abolition des forces armées ou du capitalisme. Pourquoi?

Comme mentionné ci-dessus, nous aurons besoin des ressources et de l’organisation des forces armées pour faire face aux souffrances liées aux migrations massives. Et nous aurons besoin des structures de production / emploi des entreprises capitalistes pour maintenir le développement économique et l’emploi. C’est la logique que j’ai suivie il y a quelques années en développant mon roman utopique qui imagine la transition vers une culture de la paix. Ce qui arrivera au capitalisme et aux militaires dans 50 ou 100 ans est difficile à prévoir, mais le scénario actuel concerne des années et des décennies, pas des siècles.

Toutes ces crises peuvent arriver en même temps: migrations internationales, migrations des villes vers les campagnes et crises économiques et politiques qui les provoquent. Sommes-nous prêts à faire face à cela? Non.

Mais comment pouvons-nous commencer à nous préparer?

Nous devons construire une structure de gouvernance mondiale alternative en préparation. Au lieu de dépendre de l’État-nation pour nous sauver, nous devons développer des commissions de paix municipales et régionales qui traitent tous ces problèmes à mesure qu’ils se développent et qui peuvent servir de base à une nouvelle structure mondiale centrée sur une Organisation des Nations Unies. géré par le peuple plutôt que par les États, par exemple par des représentants des maires du monde. Dans CPNN, au fil des années, nous avons privilégié l’actualité du développement de la culture de la paix au niveau de la ville et de la région, même si il reste beaucoup moins de ce dont nous avons besoin..

Que peut faire chaque citoyen? Chaque citoyen peut travailler pour la paix et la justice aux niveaux local et régional et développer des structures telles que les commissions de paix de la ville et de la région. Par exemple, sollicités l’avis du Mouvement de la Paix en France, j’ai récemment proposé que ceux qui ont initié des actions pour marquer la Journée Internationale de la Paix dans plus de 60 villes et villages en France devraient désormais s’adresser à leur conseil municipal pour mettre en place une action continue pour la paix et le développement durable dans leurs communautés et région. De cette façon, nous pouvons préparer la base d’une nouvelle structure de gouvernance mondiale prêt à prendre le pouvoir lorsque le système actuel s’effondre.

Et à mon avis, et celui de certains autres qui ont une bonne compréhension de l’histoire, cet effondrement pourrait arriver très bientôt.

The Pope, Religion and the Culture of Peace

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(Une version française suit en dessous)

In this month’s bulletin of CPNN I have written about the initiative of Pope Francis for nuclear disarmament, and, along with and the bishops and churches of the Amazon, for sustainable development and the rights of indigenous peoples, key components of the culture of peace.

One of the initial reactions to the bulletin was to object that the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church do not support the culture of peace insofar as they continue to call homosexuality a disease and and to oppose abortion. This point of view considers that a person’s sexual orientation and a woman’s control over reproduction are fundamental human rights and hence components of the culture of peace.

Of course the Pope’s remarks about homosexuality and abortion reflect a long-standing dogma of the Roman Catholic Church, as well as many other religious institutions.

This debate reminds me of the excellent discussion about religion and culture of peace published in 2000 by Elise Boulding in her book Cultures of Peace: The Hidden Side of History:

“Every religion then contains two cultures: the culture of violence and war and the culture of peaceableness. The holy war culture calls for mobilization against evil and is easily politicized. The culture of the peaceable garden relies on a sense of the oneness of humankind, often taking the form of intentional communities based on peaceful and cooperative lifeways, sanctuaries for the nonviolent….”. .

In my opinion, the Pope’s initiatives go beyond the usual “two cultures” of religion. I see them as an important contribution to the agenda of history. Hence, at the conclusion of the bulletin I write that they “may be seen as a major step in the transition from a culture of war to a culture of peace.”

It is the general theme of this blog that there is an agenda of history in the sense that certain problems/challenges are more urgent than others. This theme is present in the remarks quoted in the bulletin by Cardinal Czerny at the final press briefing of the Amazon Synod, that the ecological and human crisis is so deep that without a sense of urgency “we’re not going to make it.”

Nuclear disarmament is such a problem/challenge. Unless we can achieve it, the other components of the culture of peace, including human rights, will never be achieved.

As for the ecological crisis and the necessity of sustainable development, there is a sense in which they are less urgent than nuclear disarmament. The ecological threat is real but while a nuclear war could completely destroy our world in a matter of hours and days, the ecological threat is a matter of decades and centuries.

Unlike the perspective that I am presenting, it seems that people, and especially the young generation, are more conscious of the ecological threat than the nuclear threat. For them the evidence of global warming is visible every day, while the nuclear threat remains abstract and hidden. Therefore, it is tactically and strategically effective that nuclear disarmament be linked as much as possible to the movements for sustainable development.

Of course, the two issues are profoundly related in the sense that both concern preservation of our planet, and like all components of the culture of war and culture of peace they are part of a cultural continuum. This was expressed by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres: “Today peace faces a new danger: the climate emergency, which threatens our security, our livelihoods, and our lives. That is why it is the focus of this year’s International Day of Peace.” And it was emphasized in the effective mobilizations for the International Day of Peace in France by Mouvement de la Paix and by the analysis for the occasion by their spokesman Roland Nivet: “Climate and peace are the same fight. The struggles for peace and climate, social justice and human rights, nuclear disarmament are linked. They unite us today and must be the cement of our unity of action for tomorrow.”

The initiatives of the Pope are especially timely because they support this linkage of nuclear disarmament and sustainable development and they send out this message to the Catholic churches around the world and their more than a billion religious followers.

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Le pape, la religion et la culture de la paix

Dans le bulletin de CPNN de ce mois-ci, j’ai évoqué l’initiative du pape François en faveur du désarmement nucléaire et en faveur du développement durable et des droits des peuples autochtones, comme faisant partie des éléments essentiels de la culture de la paix.  Ces derniers ont été faits avec les évêques et avec les églises de l’Amazonie.

L’une des premières réactions au bulletin a été de faire remarquer que le Pape et l’Église catholique romaine ne soutiennent pas complètement la culture de la paix dans la mesure où ils continuent de qualifier l’homosexualité de maladie et de s’opposer à l’avortement. Ces points de vue considèrent que l’orientation sexuelle d’une personne et le contrôle de la procréation par une femme sont des droits de l’Homme fondamentaux et donc des éléments essentiels de la culture de la paix.

Bien sûr, le points de vue du pape sur l’homosexualité et l’avortement reflètent une prise de position de longue date de l’Église catholique romaine, ainsi que de nombreuses autres institutions religieuses.

Ce débat me rappelle l’excellente discussion sur la religion et la culture de la paix publiée en 2000 par Elise Boulding dans son livre Cultures of Peace: The Hidden Side of History:

“Chaque religion contient alors deux cultures: la culture de la violence et de la guerre et la culture de la paix. La culture de la guerre sainte appelle à la mobilisation contre le mal et est facilement politisée. La culture du jardin pacifique repose sur le sentiment de l’unité de l’humanité, prenant souvent la forme de communautés intentionnelles basées sur des chemins de vie pacifiques et coopératifs, des sanctuaires pour les non-violents…. “. .

À mon avis, les initiatives du pape vont au-delà des “deux cultures” habituelles de la religion. Je les considère comme une contribution importante à l’ordre du jour de l’histoire. Par conséquent, à la fin du bulletin, j’écris qu’ils “pourraient être considérés comme une étape majeure dans la transition d’une culture de la guerre à une culture de la paix”.

Le thème général de ce blog est qu’il existe un agenda de l’histoire en ce sens que certains problèmes – défis sont plus urgents que d’autres. Ce thème est présent dans les remarques citées dans le bulletin du cardinal Czerny lors de sa conférence de presse finale du Synode d’Amazonie, selon lesquelles la crise écologique et humaine est si profonde que, sans sentiment d’urgence, nous n’allons pas survivre.

Le désarmement nucléaire est un tel problème – défi !  À moins d’atteindre cet objectif, les autres éléments de la culture de la paix, y compris les droits de l’Homme, ne seront jamais atteints.

En ce qui concerne la crise écologique et la nécessité d’un développement durable, il est en quelque sorte moins urgent que le désarmement nucléaire. La menace écologique est réelle, mais son rhythme est plus lent. Une guerre nucléaire pourrait complètement détruire notre monde en quelques heures et quelques jours alors que la menace écologique est une affaire de décennies et de siècles.

Contrairement à la perspective que je présente, il semble que les gens, et en particulier la jeune génération, soient plus conscients de la menace écologique que de la menace nucléaire. Pour eux, les preuves du réchauffement climatique sont visibles chaque jour, tandis que la menace nucléaire reste abstraite et cachée. Par conséquent, il est tactiquement et stratégiquement efficace de lier autant que possible le désarmement nucléaire aux mouvements en faveur du développement durable.

Bien entendu, les deux problèmes sont profondément liés en ce sens qu’ils concernent à la fois la préservation de notre planète et que, comme toutes les composantes de la culture de la guerre et de la culture de la paix, ils font partie d’un continuum culturel. Dans ce sens, le Secrétaire général de l’ONU, Antonio Guterres, a déclaré: “Aujourd’hui, la paix fait face à un nouveau danger : l’urgence climatique, qui menace notre sécurité, nos moyens de subsistance, notre vie. C’est pourquoi cette année la Journée internationale de la paix sera placée sous le thème de l’action climatique.” Et il a été souligné dans les mobilisations effectives pour la Journée internationale de la paix en France par le Mouvement de la paix et par l’analyse effectuée pour l’occasion par son porte-parole Roland Nivet: “Climat et paix même combat. Les luttes pour la paix et le climat, la justice sociale et les droits humains, le désarmement nucléaire sont liées. Elles nous unissent aujourd’hui et doivent être le ciment de notre unité d’action pour demain.” “

Les initiatives du pape sont particulièrement opportunes, car elles soutiennent ce lien entre le désarmement nucléaire et le développement durable et envoient ce message aux églises catholiques du monde entier et à leurs fidèles qui sont plus d’un milliard.

The International Day of Peace

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The International Day of Peace (IDP), as officially proclaimed by the United Nations, is certainly the most universal action for peace in our times, and there is no doubt that it contributes greatly to the consciousness throughout the world that we need to turn from the culture of war to a culture of peace.

With this in mind it would be good to be able to measure the IDP actions each year, to know if they are increasing or not, and to know if this is occuring throughout the world, or more in some regions than in others.

During the first decade of this century, extensive international surveys were conducted by the Culture of Peace Initiative (see suveys from 2005 and 2009 as documented in Wikipedia), but they were discontinued, and there was nothing to replace them until 2017 when I conducted the first IDP survey from CPNN, searching for articles by Google and using other, less complete surveys.

This is now the third time that I have done the survey – not an easy task requiring something like 100 hours of labor – and I continue to find hundreds of events throughout the world, with the largest number from USA/Canada and Western Europe.

There is no doubt that, despite my best efforts, we continue to under-estimate the number and scope of actions involved. Many actions are not put on the internet. In addition to the languages recognzed by the United Nations (English, French, Russian, Arabic, Chinese and Spanish), I have searched via Google in Ukrainian, German and Portuguese, but no doubt there are actions described in articles in other languages as well.

There are other surveys of IDP events, but it is difficult to assess their data in some cases.

Pathways to Peace, the successor to the Culture of Peace Initiative, provides a map where people can enter their actions for the IDP. This year’s map has 642 entries, but perhaps half of them are from 2018, and perhaps half of the entries from 2019 are marked as meditation (not action in the sense defined by CPNN). The others from 2019 that are marked as music, march or multiple actions have been included in the CPNN survey.

The Campaign for Nonviolence lists CNV 3314 total actions, mostly in the United States, but this includes multiple actions by the 205 sites listed on their map. I have included all the 205 sites in the CPNN data.

One Day One Choir says that for the International Day of Peace “since we started in 2014, more than a million people around the world have connected with us to sing for peace and unity,” There are almost a thousand entries on their map of the world, but I could not use the data because it seems to be an accumulaton of all the events since 2014, with no indication in what year or years the action occurred.

The website of Montessori schools says that “In 2017, “Sing Peace” involved over 150,000 children from some 65 different countries.” The site provides a listing of 1141 schools “signed up to sing” and these are shown on a map of the world,, but as in the case of OneDayOneChoir, it is not clear if this is an accumulation of data over many years or if it refers to actions in 2019.

In addition, I should mention the website of Peace One Day which states that “throughout the years, millions of people have been active on Peace Day in every country of the world. . . In 2016, after several years work with global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, it was estimated that 2.2 billion people had been exposed to the Peace Day message, that 940 million were aware of the day and that 16 million behaved more peacefully as a result.” But since the website provides no listing or source for particular events, I don’t see how its claims. can be verified.

Failing to realize that the data from One Day One Choir and Montessori Sing Peace were not necessarily up-to-date, I included their data in the totals last year (2018). For that reason it makes no sense to compare this year’s CPNN total of 655 to last year’s total of 835. Although it is not possible to be precise, it seems likely that the number of IDP actions listed on CPNN might be as much as doubled if it were possible to obtain up-to-date information from One Day One Choir and the Montessori Schools.

Despite the incompleteness of the quantitative data, there is plenty of qualitative information to be found in the CPNN survey, as described in this month’s CPNN bulletin, and I think this justifies the labor involved. For example, it turns out that data cited from Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, France, Ukraine, and Yemen are not reflected in the other surveys mentioned above.

What really happened in Zimbabwe

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On September 7 the New York Times carried several very long articles about former Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe who had just died, saying that he was a “tyrant” and that he “presided over the decline of one of Africa’s most prosperous lands.”

At one point they describe his seizure of white-owned farms. “By 1998, although Mr. Mugabe had promised new land for 162,000 black families, only 71,000 white households had been resettled. Then came a dramatic turn. Starting around 2000, Mr. Mugabe’s lieutenants sent squads of young men to invade hundreds of white-owned farms and chase away their owners. The campaign took a huge toll. Over two years, nearly all of the country’s white-owned land had been redistributed . . . The violent agricultural revolution had come with a heavy price. The economy was collapsing as farmland fell into disuse and peasant farmers struggled to grow crops without fertilizer, irrigation, farm equipment, money or seeds.”

But we get a different story about this if we look for an African source, in this case The East African.

“However, the land grab was instigated by Britain itself when it went against the spirit of the 1979 Lancaster House Agreement that stated that the former colonial power was to provide the funds for compensating Zimbabwean British settler farmers who were willing to sell their land back to the government. This agreement was signed by the Conservative Party under the leadership of Margaret Thatcher.

“When New Labour came to power in 1997 under prime minister Tony Blair, the UK government unilaterally scrapped the arrangement.

“President Mugabe was then adamant that his government would not initiate a land buy-out scheme for what had been stolen and taken for free from Africans. These facts were corroborated by the current British premier, Boris Johnson, when he was still a journalist.

“Mugabe then launched the so-called “Land Grab” that attracted economic sanctions from Western countries, making Zimbabwe a pariah nation, collapsing almost every sector of the economy.”

The New York Times article mentions only in passing the Lancaster House Agreement that ended colonial rule and provided for Zimbabwe’s independence, and they do not mention that part of the agreement was that the UK (and the US) would provide funds for land reform.

Nor do they mention that the UK unilaterally scrapped the agreement.

And in describing “the decline of one of Africa’s most prosperous lands”, the Times does not mention that Zimbabwe was the victim of economic sanctions.

In other words, “blame the victim!”

More detail is available in an article by Thabo Mbeki who succeeded Nelson Mandela as President of South Africa:

“When the war veterans and others began to occupy white-owned farms, we intervened first of all with Prime Minister Tony Blair in 1998 to encourage the UK Government to honour the commitment that had been made at Lancaster House in 1979 to give the Government of Zimbabwe the financial means to carry out the required land redistribution in a non-confrontational manner.

“This led to the September 1998 International Donors’ Conference on Land Reform and Resettlement held in Harare, which the British Government attended, but whose very positive decisions were not implemented, thanks to the negative attitude adopted by the very same British Government.

“Unfortunately, contrary to what the Conservative Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher and John Major had agreed, Tony Blair’s Secretary of State for International Development, Claire Short, repudiated the commitment to honour the undertaking made at Lancaster House.”

Reacting to the death of Mugabe, Thabo Mbeki gives us a very different assessment of his role in Africa:

“Mugabe will be remembered as outstanding fighter for the liberation not only of the people of Zimbabwe but also all other colonially and racially oppressed peoples”, Mbeki said. . . . “Zimbabwe has lost a father of the nation! As Africans, we have lost an eminent leader of our victorious struggle for national liberation!”

As for the New York Times, we should question their claim to print “All the News That’s Fit to Print.”

The UN Resolution for the Culture of Peace

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(Une version française suit en dessous)

This summer and fall is seeing an increase in the number of international conferences dedicated to the culture of peace and basing their analysis on the Declaration and Program of Action for a Culture of Peace that was adopted 20 years ago by the UN General Assembly.

The UN resolution provides a holistic, positive view of peace. For each of the eight aspects of the culture of war, it proposes the alternative as described here. The resolution proposes specific actions to promote each of these eight program areas. And furthermore, it calls for a global movement for a culture of peace through partnerships between an among international, national and civil society organizations promoted through sysems of information exchange (such as the Culture of Peace News Network) on their initiatives.

The struggle for a culture of peace could gain much more force if this resolution were used as the basis for analysis and practice by more organizations around the world, but unfortunately it is relatively unknown.

The situation reminds me of the use of another landmark UN document, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UNDHR).

The adoption of the UNDHR by the UN General Assembly in 1948 did not immediately yield results. For the first 40 years the document sat on the shelf and was rarely mentioned, as shown in the following graph which shows the citations of human rights in academic publications as monitored by the Science Citation Index. It has only in recent years that references have exploded into thousands of times per year.

Figure drawn from my book World Peace throught the Town Hall.

Now over 70 years after its adoption, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been taken up by thousands of other organizations and struggles in all social movements as a powerful tool for justice.

We may assume that the increased attention to human rights after the 1970s was largely due to the Nobel Peace Prize of 1977 to Amnesty International because of their efforts for human rights.

Hopefully, we will not have to wait another 20 years for such effective use of the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace. The work for culture of peace has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in recent years, and if it were to be recognized by the Prize, that could help produce the kind of universal recognition and historical impact as that of the UNDHR.

* * * * *

La résolution des Nations Unies pour la culture de la paix

Pour cet été et cet automne, le nombre de conférences internationales consacrées à la culture de la paix a augmenté. Leur analyse est souvent basée sur de la Déclaration et Programme d’action pour une culture de la paix adoptés il y a 20 ans par l’Assemblée générale des Nations Unies.

La résolution de l’ONU offre une vision globale et positive de la paix. Pour chacun des huit aspects de la culture de la guerre, il propose une alternative (voir ici). La résolution propose des actions spécifiques pour promouvoir chacun de ces huit domaines de programme. En outre, il appelle à un mouvement mondial pour une culture de la paix par des partenariats entre des organisations internationales, nationales et de la société civile, promues par des systèmes d’échanges et d’informations (comme CPNN) sur leurs initiatives.

La lutte pour une culture de la paix pourrait gagner beaucoup plus de force si cette résolution était utilisée comme base d’analyse et de pratique par plus d’organisations dans le monde, mais malheureusement, elle est mal connue.

La situation me rappelle l’utilisation d’un autre document historique des Nations Unies, la Déclaration universelle des droits de l’Homme (DUDH).

L’adoption de la DUDH par l’Assemblée générale des Nations Unies en 1948 n’a pas immédiatement donné de résultats. Pendant les 40 premières années, le document était sur l’étagère et rarement mentionné, comme l’illustre le graphique ci-dessous, qui montre les citations des droits de l’Homme dans des publications universitaires suivies par le Science Citation Index. Ce n’est que ces dernières années que les références ont explosé des milliers de fois par an.

[Figure tirée de mon livre “Paix mondiale à travers les municipalites”.]

Aujourd’hui, plus de 70 ans après son adoption, la Declaration universelle des droits de l’Homme a été reprise par des milliers d’organisations et de luttes dans tous les mouvements sociaux, en tant que puissant outil de justice.

Nous pouvons supposer que l’attention accrue portée aux droits de l’Homme après les années 1970 était largement due au prix Nobel de la paix de 1977 attribué à Amnesty International en raison de ses efforts en faveur des droits de l’Homme.

Espérons que nous n’aurons pas besoin d’attendre encore 20 ans pour une utilisation aussi efficace de la Déclaration et du Programme d’action pour une culture de la paix. L’œuvre pour la culture de la paix a été nominée pour le prix Nobel de la paix ces dernières années. Si elle devait être reconnue par le prix, elle pourrait contribuer à produire le type de reconnaissance universelle et d’impact historique de la DUDH.


 

Consciousness + Institutional Change = Culture of Peace

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People are taking to the streets to defend human rights and demand democracy around the world, including Hong Kong, Russia, Sudan, Algeria, Czech Republic and Brazil as described on the pages of CPNN and reviewed in this month’s CPNN bulletin.

They join the millions of people who have taken to the streets for human rights and democracy in the last few years in France , Germany and the United States.

And perhaps most important, it is the new generation that has often taken the lead, as we have seen in the global student movement to demand that we change the policies that are contributing to global warming. This is the new generation that is on the front lines every year to celebrate the international day of peace.

We see the development of a global, universal consciousness. But is it strong enough to counter the rise of authoritarian governance that is also developing at this moment of history, whether in the rich counties or in the poor countries?

In my little utopian novella I have imagined that people will take to the streets to resist the imposition of fascism after the present system crashes. It was fascism that was installed when the financial system collapsed in the 1930’s?

I come from the generation of the 60’s which also saw people taking to the streets to oppose the American war in Vietnam. In fact, in the 1990’s when we looked around the table of UNESCO workers developing the Culture of Peace Program, it turned out most of us had been involved in the movements of the 60’s in one way or another in France, Ecuador, Costa Rica and the United States. The consciousness developed in the 60’s came to fruition in the 90’s.

But consciousness is not enough. We need institutional change towards a culture of peace such as the initiative developed thanks to the leadership of Federico Mayor at UNESCO in the 1990’s. The United Nations resolution for a culture of peace which he inspired will have its 20th anniversary this September and will be celebrated at the annual High Level Meeting on the Culture of Peace at UN headquarters.

To see and understand these institutional changes, we cannot depend on the commercial media to which they are almost invisible. This was the case with the UNESCO culture of peace initiative, which was never mentioned in the American press at the time despite our signed agreements with two American institutions with 50 million members, the American Association of Retired Persons and the National Council of Churches, and the 75 million signatures on the Manifesto 2000 obtained around the world.

At CPNN we provide an alternative media that seeks out news about institutional change towards a culture of peace. A good example is the adoption of restorative justice princiiples and practices by the entire judicial system of Brazil, as described this month in CPNN. Over the years we have followed this initiative that was largely due to the work of Judge Leoberto Brancher. I don’t think it is by accident that prior to this he was involved in the development of city culture of peace commissions that came out of the UNESCO program and the UN Decade for a Culture of Peace.

We need more such institutional change if we are to harness the consciousness of people in the coming decade when the global financial system has crashed and a window of opportunity opens for us to move from the culture of war to a culture of peace.

Roadmap for peace activism

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In this month’s bulletin of CPNN we try to identify those to whom we can look for peace leadership in these turbulent times. Let us consider their actions and advice.

Let’s listen first to the new generation of youth activists.

The Panafrican Panafrican Youth Network for the Culture of Peace has provided a roadmap for actions in Gabon, which can serve as a model everywhere. It includes promotion of a culture of peace, support for the UN SR resolution 2250 on youth, peace and security, and development of social enterprises for youth employment.

The Resolution 2250 is especially important because provides a link between the developing global youth movement which has taken the lead in the fight to save the climate to global warming (see blog this April ) and the United Nations which, despite its weakness at the present moment of history, is still our best hope for a future institutional base for the culture of peace (see blog on the paradox of the United Nations). Resolution 2250 was adopted as the result of several years of intensive lobbying by youth organizations for the UN to recognize and guarantee the role of youth in peacebuilding and violence prevention.

At the same time, let us also listen to “the Elders.” Mary Robinson, now President of the Elders, formerly President of Ireland and UN Commissioner for Human Rights, recalls the founding of their organization by Nelson Mandela in 2007. “At first I was quite skeptical. Isn’t it a bit arrogant to want to be elders for the global village. But as soon as he [Nelson Mandela] sat with us and talked, it was as if we had a mandate that was overwhelmingly important.”

The Elders continue to be involved as peacemakers around the world and to give us good advice. Most recently in Ethiopia, they have lauded efforts to establish universal health care. As stated by Mandela’s widow, Graça Machel, “Health is a human right, and health workers are human rights champions.” Among other priorities identified by the Elders are the development of Green economies, the continuation of the Colombia peace process, multilateralism as now championed by China (while it seems increasingly abandoned in the West), and a solution to the terrible suffering in the Middle East by means of a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine.

And let us listen to those who have won the Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel Women’s Initiative recently brought 50 women from over 20 countries together in Monrovia, Liberia to discuss feminism, power, activism and peace. According to one of the participants, “the overarching theme was that we (women) are powerful and worthy; that we must claim our space, we must use our voice and we must not ask for permission to do so.”

One of the themes at Monrovia was the need for “self and collective care, wellbeing and healing as critical components in our struggles for rights, justice and peace. We heard from Jody Williams and Rigoberta Menchú Tum on how they look after themselves and how they continue to do the work that they do. Jody mentioned how easy it is to feel overwhelmed by urgency and righteous indignation, however with time she has learned the value of granting herself personal time and space. By exposing their own humanity and vulnerability, these powerhouse women let the young people in the room know that it’s ok to not feel strong sometimes.”

Another major theme at Monrovia was the need for alliance building, tapping into different networks on a local and global scale. There was a commitment to feminist leadership, to multi-generational organising and to building communities of care.

Alliance-building was also an important theme in the work of the Panafrican Youth Network for Peace Culture; they are urged to collaborate with other youth organizations for greater synergy and social impact.

A concrete example of alliance-building comes from the plans for the 17th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates. In addition to at least 21 Nobel Laureates, the meeting expects to include representatives of the following Institutions: American Friends Service Committee, Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet, International Peace Bureau, Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, Albert Schweizer Institute, International Campaign to Ban Landmines, Amnesty International, Institute of International Law and the Kim Dae-Jung Presidential Library and Museum.

The preceding themes, activism, affiliation, personal integration and world historic consciousness, correspond to steps of consciousness development identified in the survey of great peace activists described in my 1986 book, Psychology for Peace Activists. They provide a universal roadmap for the development of peace activism.

Let us continue to listen to the youth, to the women, to the Elders, to the Nobel Peace Laureates, and let us strengthen our commitment to activism, affiliation, personal integration and world historic consciousness as we work for the transition to a culture of peace !

Why Julian Assange is so important

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Julian Assange has been arrested, imprisoned threatened with extradition to the US where he could face solitary confinement or death. It seems he is considered to be extremely dangerous by the US and its allies. Why? Because he has exposed the weakness of the culture of war – its secrecy and lies.

As we have analyzed previously, there has been so much advance in both democracy and anti-war consciousness over the past few centuries that the state has found it increasingly difficult to get popular support for its wars, overt and covert, and its threats of war. People no longer will vote for this. To get around this problem and to continue its culture of war, the state has increasingly resorted to secret war, secret threats, and outright lies in order to justify its overt warfare. The war against Vietnam was justified by an invented attack in the Gulf of Tonkin. The war against Iraq was justified by the invented “weapons of mass destruction.”

The control of information has become a crucial means for the culture of war – without this control it cannot be sustained.

In the past, only a few of the secrets and lies of the US and its allies were revealed, such as the Gulf of Tonkin and the “weapons of mass destruction.” But thanks to Julian Assange and his organization Wikileaks, we have learned about many more secrets and lies in the past few years.

How do governments react? They certainly do not apologize and promise to tell the truth! Instead they try to control the media. As described in CPNN this month, freedom of the press is under attack. And government lying has become so commonplace that the current US president tells obvious lies almost every day and has surrounded himself with advisors that will do the same. In fact, the repeated lying by the US president and his advisors is one of the few conclusions of the long-awaited “Mueller report” in the US. But go one step further. Is the Mueller report telling the truth? Although the commercial media seems to think so, there are some independent observers who think that the Mueller report, like the Warren report after the assssination of Kennedy, may turn out to be an elaborate coverup. Given the current plethora of government lies, we should remain skeptical.

And how do the commercial media react? They criticize governments on many issues, but when it comes to questions of war and peace they repeat the governments’ lies without question. A case in point is the media coverage of events in Venezuela over the past few months. As we have shown recently in CPNN, it is almost impossible to learn from the commercial media what is really happening in Venezuela. And most recently, the US government lies about the coup attempt were headlined without question, not only by Fox News, but by the New York Times, Washington Post, Guardian, BBC, etc.

This is not sustainable. As famously expressed by Abraham Lincoln: “You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

People no longer believe in their governmens. One of the effects is their increasingly erratic voting patterns. People are now voting for the most anti-establishment candidates such as Trump and Bolsonaro. Consequent to this, the government policies that result have become increasingly erratic, upsetting the traditional balances and structures of international relations.

Now people are starting to disbelieve the mass media as well. What will be the effect of this?

One thing we can say for certain. These trends are not sustainable!

And they come at a time when there are other trends that cannot be sustained: the increasing gap between rich and poor, the destruction of the environment, the changing of the climate, the structure of global finance based on debt and speculation that far exceeds actual production, burgeoning military production and sales, and the nuclear arms race increasingly out of control.

Analyzing the accumulation of such unsustainable contradictions in the Soviet Union in 1980, Johan Galtung predicted the collapse of the Soviet Empire by 1990. He was correct. And analyzing the accumulation of such unsustainable contradictions in the American empire, he has predicted its collapse by 2020. Yes, next year !

And speaking of the collapse of empire, we must consider the key role of confidence and lack of confidence of the people in their government and media.

I saw this living from time to time in the Soviet Union in the years before its collapse. People no longer believed their government or their media. As they said, you find no truth in Pravda and no true information in Izvestia. President Gorbachev tried to correct this with his “glasnost and perestroika” but it was too little and too late. When the Soviet economy crashed, the people did not come onto the streets to support their government or reconstruct it. Instead, they washed their hands of it, saying in effect, “let it crash, it is not worth saving.”

If the global ecoomy crashes (next year?), who will come into the streets to save it?

When the global economy and national governments crashed in the 1930’s, what happened? We fell back on the culture of war in its extreme form, fascism. And eventually, world war.

Let us not allow this to happen again ! Let us prepare, instead, for a transition to the culture of peace.

In previous blogs we have explored the various trends that could potentially contribute to such a transition:

* a global student movement

* a “rural-urban continuum” based on solar energy and electric vehicles

* the preparation for a United Nations run by direct representatives of the people instead of by nation-states.

We don’t need a Chinese proverb to tell us that a crisis is an opportunity as well as a danger.

Let us not be distracted by the lies of governments and their media supporters, but keep on working positively on these and other potential “opportunities” that can emerge from the present crisis.

CAN STUDENTS BECOME A REVOLUTIONARY FORCE?

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As often remarked in this blog, the world is in such a mess that we need radical action. In fact we need revolutionary change.

But where can it come from? Who can be the revolutionary actors?

A century ago, it was thought by some that revolution would come from industrial workers.

They were constantly and obviously exploited by their capitalist bosses.

They were concentrated in large numbers in factories

They had the power to stop production by going on strike.

Today there are few such factories in the rich countries of the North. Factories have been automated or transferred to China and the poor countries of rhe South.

We don’t hear anymore that factory workers will change the world.

On the other hand, as described this month on CPNN, it seems we are now starting to see student strikes to demand that their governments address the problem of climate change. Can this movement become revolutionary?

Students are beginning to see that their world is being exploited by their governments and that their schools seem to be in complicity with the governments.

Students are concentrated in large numbers in schools.

Their strikes do not stop production in the short term, but in the long term their compliance is necessary if governments are to continue their inaction. At least that is the hope of the American Youth Climate Strike who say in their mission statement that “if the social order is disrupted by our refusal to attend school, then the system is forced to face the climate crisis and enact change.”

Students today have a tool that was not available to workers a century ago. They can connect up rapidly everywhere by means of social media. An example of this is the initiative of Greta Thunberg whose actions have inspired the student movement around the world. Her twitter accounts and her website list events in 1325 places in 98 countries going on strike on March 15, including Washingto DC, Moscow, Mumbai, Shanghai, Lagos, Rio de Janeiro, Sydney, Nuuk, Paris, Nairobi, Santiago, New York, London Hong Kong, Berlin, Tel Aviv, Toronto, Beirut, Zurch, Kyiv, Havana, Cork, Kampala, Buenos Aires, Seoul, Cape Town, Kyoto, Mexico City, Brussels, Por Vila, Los Angeles, Rome, Kuala Lumpur, Madrid, Auckland and Södertälje just to name a few.

What else does this student movement need to become truly revolutionary?

They would become more powerful by broadening their agenda to include other issues related to the question of environmental catastrophe. One such issue should be nuclear disarmament, given that a nuclear war would be even more catastrophic than global warming. In the long run both are important components of a global agenda to move from the culture of war to a culture of peace.

And they need to develop alliances with other movements that contribute to a culture of peace. One such alliance is the movement for equality of women, given that women have always been exploited and kept down by the culture of war and have usually taken the lead in movements for peace.

The largest mobilizations of the student strike movement have taken place in the rich countries of Europe and North America. To be come more effective they need to link up with students in the poor countries of the South, understanding and supporting their needs for education and development. This is not simple, since schools in the North may seem irrelevant, even oppressive, while education in the South is more often seen as liberation.

Insofar as the student strike movement broadens its agenda, other movements would be wise to accept their leadership. It may not always be easy for older generations to accept the leadership of the young. This was a problem in the 60’s in France when the organized workers refused to march with the revolutionary students, and in the US when the older peace activists refused to accept any leadership from the youth such as those of SDS (the Students for a Democratic Society). On the other hand, in South Africa, when the students took up the struggle against apartheid, their leadership was widely accepted by the older generation who were in prison or exile, and, as a result, this led to one of the greatest victories for justice in our times.

All this may seem fantastic in the face of the monolithic American empire and its alliances throughout the world, but, as often remarked this blog, the empire is crashing and we are coming into times of extraordinary change – and opportunity as well as danger. Let us hope that the students can rise to the challenge of leading us towards a better world.

How to prepare for a global financial crash: Rural-urban continuum and electric vehicles

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In this blog we have often proposed that the culture of war is not sustainable and that the American empire is destined to crash for the same reasons that the Soviet empire crashed. It can be an opportunity for a transition from the culture of war to a culture of peace. However, the crash of the American empire may well be accompanied (caused) by a global financial crash with suffering for ordinary people, as it did for the Soviet people 30 years ago.

In a financial crash the cities are especially vulnerable. They depend on daily food deliveries to supermarkets that often come long distances by plane and truck.

It is precisely this delivery system that is at risk in a global financial crash. Not to mention industrial agriculture. Both depend on adequate supplies of gasoline and diesel fuel for trucks, planes and tractors, and the fuel, in turn, is largely dependent on a global system of oil tankers which, in turn, depends up/on consistent financial support.

To site an historical precedent, following the financial crash of 1929, the number of freighters at sea fell drastically due to lack of financial support. In 1929 the world was less urbanized and the cities were less dependent on food deliveries by plane and truck. Much of their food came from local suppliers who were, in turn, less dependent on industrial methods.

That is no longer the case. Small local farms have been replaced by industrial agriculture that is concentrated in regions far from most cities.

One solution to this problem lies in the recent proposal of José Graziano da Silva, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), addressing a UN conference discussing common challenges to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as climate change and food security: “Sustainable development calls for the strengthening of rural-urban linkages based on a territorial approach,” he said, pushing for “a rural-urban continuum.”

In fact, this process is already underway on a small scale as cities develop networks of farmer’s markets linked to small farms in the region around them, and as young people increasingly turn to subsistence farming near these cities.

There is a second component needed for this solution: a shift from dependence on fossil fuel for trucks and tractors to use of electric trucks and tractors recharged by solar-powered charging stations.

The Chinese are at the forefront of this with their shift to electric vehicles, and their development of solar energy. We need to learn from them.

A shift to electric tractors and solar charging stations on farms is especially important, but we have little indication that this process has even begun.

How much time do we have to make these changes? Impossible to say. Johan Galtung has predicted the end of the American empire by the year 2020. Will it be accompanied and/or caused by a global financial crash?

In any case, it is not too early to begin the transition to a “rural-urban continuum” based on solar energy and electric vehicles.

Where is democracy?

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(Une version française suit en dessous)

In the past few months we have a tale of two elections.

In the Democratic Repubic of the Congo, after a difficult election campaign (described in CPNN), there is serious reason to believe that the election results were fixed to favor a candidate favorable to the huge mining interests in that country. Although the African Union and the catholic churches of the Congo have questioned the results, none of the major powers of Europe, North America, etc. have spoken up.

The opposite has occurred with regard to the election results last year in Venezuela. All of the major powers of Europe and North America and their allies have claimed that the election results were fraudulent and they have announced their support for the losing candidate. He just happens to support the major capitalist interests in the huge petroleaum industry of that country, unlike the President who claimed the election victory.

Such hypocrisy!

Not only do the governments of the major capitalist countries take these positions, but the major mass media follows the government lines.

This is not new.

In recent years we saw the “successful” overthrow of the President of Libya (put “successful” in quotation marks, because the country has been in chaos ever since). Was it by accident that Libya has major oil exports or that the overthrown President was a major financial supporter of the African Union?

And we have seen the unsuccessful, but extremely bloody attempt to overthrow the President of Syria.

Where is democracy? It seems to be held hostage to neo-colonialism, the continued exploitation of minerals and oil from the poor countries of Latin America and Africa and manipulation of the goverments in those countries to allow this exploitation. Although the mainstream media did not cover their remarks, several countries addressed this in the recent meeting of the UN Security Council called by the United States to gain UN support to overthrow the Venezuelan government.

The delegate from Cuba said that the current United States Administration appears to have “dusted off the Monroe Doctrine”, and in a fresh extension of imperialism in the region, gone so far as to say that all options are on table.  And the delegate from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines recalled that the history of Latin America and the Caribbean is indelibly scarred by military interventions and imposition of dictator Governments.

Let us not forget Salvador Allende!

To further understand the process, we can go over 50 years to the precise analysis of neo-colonialism that was made by the Kwame Nkrumah, the President of Ghana. I have quoted his analysis extensively in my History of the Culture of War. Here are some excerpts:

“Faced with the militant peoples of the ex-colonial territories in Asia, Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America, imperialism simply switches tactics. Without a qualm it dispenses with its flags, and even with certain of its more hated expatriate officials. This means, so it claims, that it is ‘giving’ independence to its former subjects, to be followed by ‘aid’ for their development. Under cover of such phrases, however, it devises innumerable ways to accomplish objectives formerly achieved by naked colonialism. It is this sum total of these modern attempts to perpetuate colonialism while at the same time talking about ‘freedom’, which has come to be known as neo-colonialism.

“Foremost among the neo-colonialists is the United States, which has long exercised its power in Latin America. Fumblingly at first she turned towards Europe, and then with more certainty after world war two when most countries of that continent were indebted to her. Since then, with methodical thoroughness and touching attention to detail, the Pentagon set about consolidating its ascendancy, evidence of which can be seen all around the world.

Who really rules in such places as Great Britain, West Germany, Japan, Spain, Portugal or Italy? . . . Lurking behind such questions are the extended tentacles of the Wall Street octopus. And its suction cups and muscular strength are provided by a phenomenon dubbed ‘The Invisible Government’, arising from Wall Street’s connection with the Pentagon and various intelligence services …”

In the culture of war, democracy is fragile and expendable. But the culture of war is also fragile and will eventually crash. When it crashes, we will have the chance to establish a new system with a culture of peace and a democracy that is sustainable. But how can this be done?

* * * * * * *

Où est la démocratie?

Ces derniers mois, deux élections ont pris place.

En République démocratique du Congo, après une campagne électorale difficile, décrite dans CPNN, il y a de bonnes raisons de croire que les résultats des élections ont été fixés de manière à favoriser un candidat favorable aux énormes intérêts miniers de ce pays. Bien que l’Union africaine ainsi que les églises catholiques du Congo ait mis en doute les résultats, les grandes puissances d’Europe, d’Amérique du Nord n’ont rien dit.

Le contraire s’est produit en ce qui concerne les résultats des élections de l’année dernière au Venezuela. Toutes les grandes puissances d’Europe et d’Amérique du Nord et leurs alliés ont affirmé que les résultats des élections étaient frauduleux et ils ont annoncé leur soutien au candidat perdant. Il arrive justement à soutenir les intérêts capitalistes majeurs de l’immense industrie pétrolière de ce pays, contrairement au président qui a remporté la victoire électorale.

Quelle hypocrisie!

Non seulement les gouvernements des principaux pays capitalistes adoptent ces positions, mais les principaux médias suivent les lignes des gouvernements.

Ce n’est pas nouveau.

Ces dernières années, nous avons assisté au renversement “réussi” du président libyen (entre guillemets, car le pays est plongé dans le chaos depuis). Était-ce par accident que la Libye avait d’importantes exportations de pétrole ou que le président renversé était un important bailleur de fonds de l’Union africaine?

Et nous avons assisté à la tentative infructueuse mais extrêmement sanglante de renverser le président de la Syrie.

Où est la démocratie? Il semble être pris en otage par le néo-colonialisme, l’exploitation continue des minéraux et du pétrole des pays pauvres d’Amérique latine et d’Afrique et la manipulation des gouvernements de ces pays pour permettre cette exploitation. Bien que les principaux médias n’aient pas couvert leurs propos, plusieurs pays ont abordé cette question lors de la récente réunion du Conseil de sécurité des Nations Unies, appelée par les États-Unis à obtenir le soutien de l’ONU pour renverser le gouvernement vénézuélien.

Le délégué de Cuba a déclaré que le gouvernement des États-Unis actuel semble avoir «dépoussiéré la doctrine Monroe» et, dans une nouvelle extension de l’impérialisme dans la région, est allé jusqu’à dire que toutes les options sont sur la table. Et le délégué de Saint-Vincent-et-les Grenadines a rappelé que l’histoire de l’Amérique latine et des Caraïbes est marquée à jamais par les interventions militaires et l’imposition de gouvernements dictateurs.

N’oublions pas Salvador Allende.

Pour mieux comprendre le processus, nous pouvons passer plus de 50 ans à l’analyse précise du néo-colonialisme réalisée par le président du Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah. J’ai abondamment cité son analyse dans mon Histoire de la culture de guerre. Voici quelques extraits:

“Face aux peuples militants des territoires anciennement colonisés d’Asie, d’Afrique, des Caraïbes et d’Amérique latine, l’impérialisme change simplement de tactique. Sans scrupule, il renonce à ses drapeaux et même à certains de ses fonctionnaires expatriés les plus détestés. Cela signifie Elle prétend ainsi, qu’elle “donne” l’indépendance à ses anciens sujets et qu’elle est suivie d’une “aide” pour leur développement. Sous le couvert de telles expressions, elle conçoit toutefois d’innombrables moyens d’atteindre les objectifs autrefois atteints par le colonialisme nu. Telle est la somme de ces tentatives modernes de perpétuer le colonialisme tout en parlant de la «liberté», connue sous le nom de «néo-colonialisme».

“Au premier rang des néo-colonisateurs, on trouve les États-Unis, qui ont longtemps exercé leur pouvoir en Amérique latine. Elle s’est d’abord retournée maladroitement vers l’Europe, puis avec plus de certitude après la deuxième guerre mondiale, lorsque la plupart des pays de ce continent lui étaient redevables. Depuis lors, avec une minutie méthodique et une attention touchant aux détails, le Pentagone s’est efforcé de consolider son ascendant, ce dont témoignent des preuves partout dans le monde.

Qui règne réellement en Grande-Bretagne, en Allemagne de l’Ouest, au Japon, en Espagne, au Portugal ou en Italie? . . . Derrière de telles questions se cachent les tentacules étendus de la pieuvre de Wall Street. Et ses ventouses et sa force musculaire sont fournies par un phénomène appelé “Le gouvernement invisible”, qui découle des relations de Wall Street avec le Pentagone et de divers services de renseignement … ”

Dans une culture de guerre, la démocratie est fragile et quelque chose qui peut être sacrifié. Mais la culture de guerre est aussi fragile et eventuallement il s’écroule. Quand cela se produira, nous aurons la chance d’établir un nouveau système basé sur la culture de la paix et une démocratie durable. Comment cela peut-il être fait?

The Doomsday Clock

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(Une version française suit en dessous)

Looking back at 2018, we see progress in all of the areas of a culture of peace except one: disarmament, and in particular nuclear disarmament.
Symbolic of this, last year the “doomsday clock” of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists was reset to only two minutes before midnight, the shortest it has been since 1953!

An accompanying article recalls a 1982 television film depicting the effects of a nuclear war on a Kansas town which was viewed by 100 million people and which helped inspire President Ronald Reagan to reach a disarmament agreement with Russian President Gorbachev a few years later. The author of the article concludes:

“There are striking parallels between the security situations today and 35 years ago, with one major discordance: Today, nuclear weapons are seldom a front-burner concern, largely being forgotten, underestimated, or ignored by the American public. The United States desperately needs a fresh national conversation about the born-again nuclear arms race—a conversation loud enough to catch the attention of the White House and the Kremlin and lead to resumed dialogue.”

This reminds me of a novel that I wrote back in 1965 called simply “PEACE.” Like many of my generation I was greatly troubled by the Cuban missile crisis a few years before which served as a wake-up call that we could destroy our entire civilization with a nuclear war. So I wrote a novel imagining that a series of accidental nuclear explosions and the threat of nuclear blackmail, combined with a peace movement centered around “Peace News” (much like CPNN), led eventually to a World Peace Treaty and nuclear disarmament.

More recently, in 2011, I came back to this theme in a two-act theatre play called “Freud’s Last Death” which takes place in the 1986 in a bunker buried deep below ground in what was then the Soviet Union. We meet Colonel Stanislav Petrov, retired from the Soviet Air Defense Forces, who refused to launch a nuclear attack against the West despite the fact that the radar showed missiles on the way to destroy the Soviet Union. That part of the play reflects an actual event that occurred in 1983. We carried two articles about this in CPNN, in 2004 and again in 2012, and a film about it was released in 2014. Petrov died in 2017 in poverty, and his story remains relatively unknown. Symbolically, it seems, even the links in the CPNN articles are no longer valid.

In the play we also meet Sigmund Freud, whose brain has been kept alive by a scientific “miracle,” and we question him about his belief that humanity is condemned because of a “death instinct.” At the time of the play, Gorbachev and Reagan are meeting in Iceland where they will reach agreement for the most important nuclear disarmament initiative in history. The danger of a nuclear war was reduced, but not eliminated,.

The play concludes:

The “initial disarmament agreements have been overcome by a new arms race. There are now over 30,000 nuclear weapons under the control of nine states, with other states planning to manufacture them. A global nuclear war would still risk the destruction of all life on the planet. And as for the death instinct, scientists still do not know if it exists or not.”

Here we are, entering 2019, without progress towards nuclear disarmament.

Will humanity survive until 2020? Or will the nightmare of nuclear war intervene?

It’s time to wake up!

 

L’horloge Doomsday


En regardant l’ensemble de l’année ècoulée, nous constatons des progrès dans tous les domaines d’une culture de la paix, à l’exception du désarmement, et en particulier le désarmement nucléaire.

Symbole de cela, l’année dernière, le “Doomsday Clock” du Bulletin of Atomic Scienists a été réinitialisé à seulement deux minutes avant minuit, son minimum depuis 1953 !

Un article d’accompagnement rappelle un film télévisé en 1982 décrivant les effets d’une guerre des armes nucléaires sur une ville du Kansas, vue par 100 millions de personnes et qui a incité le président Ronald Reagan à conclure un accord de désarmement avec le président russe Gorbatchev quelques années plus tard. L’auteur de l’article conclut:

“Il existe des parallèles frappants entre la situation sécuritaire actuelle et celle d’il y a 35 ans, et une discordance majeure: aujourd’hui, les armes nucléaires sont rarement une préoccupation majeure, elles sont en grande partie oubliées, sous-estimées ou ignorées par le public américain. Les États-Unis ont désespérément besoin d’une nouvelle consultation nationale sur la course aux armements nucléaires qui est relancée, mais une consultation suffisamment forte pour attirer l’attention de la Maison-Blanche et du Kremlin et pour amener à la reprise du dialogue. ”

Cela me rappelle un roman que j’avais écrit en 1965 et qui s’appelait simplement “PEACE.” Comme beaucoup de membres de ma génération, la crise des missiles cubains qui a eu lieu il y a quelques décennies m’a profondément troublée et a servi de signal d’alarme pour que nous puissions détruire toute notre civlilsation par une guerre nucléaire. J’ai donc écrit un roman en imaginant qu’une série d’explosions nucléaires accidentelles et la menace de chantage nucléaire, combinées à un mouvement pour la paix centré sur “Peace News” (un peu comme le CPNN) aboutissaient à un traité de paix mondial et au désarmement nucléaire.

Plus récemment, en 2011, je suis revenu sur ce thème dans une pièce de théâtre en deux actes intitulée “La dernière mort de Freud” qui se déroule en 1986 dans un bunker enfoui sous le sol dans ce qui était à l’époque l’Union soviétique. Nous y rencontrions le colonel Stanislav Petrov, retraité des Forces de défense antiaériennes soviétiques, qui a refusé de lancer une attaque nucléaire contre l’Occident alors que le radar montrait des missiles sur le chemin de la destruction de l’Union soviétique. Cette partie de la pièce reflète un événement réel arrivé en 1983. Nous avons publié deux articles à ce sujet dans CPNN, en 2004 et à nouveau en 2012, et un film à ce sujet a été publié en 2014. Petrov est décédé en 2017 dans la misère, et son histoire reste relativement inconnue et oublié. Les liens des articles de CPNN n’existent plus. Le film n’a pas reçu grand attention.

Dans la pièce, nous rencontrons également Sigmund Freud, dont le cerveau a été maintenu en vie par un “miracle” scientifique, et nous le questionnons sur sa conviction que l’humanité est condamnée en raison d’un “instinct de mort”. Au moment de la pièce, Gorbatchev et Reagan se rencontrent en Islande où ils parviendront à un accord sur la plus importante initiative de désarmement nucléaire de l’histoire. Le danger de guerre nucléaire a été réduit, mais pas éliminé.

 La pièce se termine: “Les accords de désarmement initiaux ont été dépassés par une nouvelle course aux armements. Plus de 30 000 armes nucléaires sont actuellement sous le contrôle de neuf États, d’autres pays envisageant de les fabriquer. Une guerre nucléaire mondiale risquerait encore de détruire la planète. Et quant à l’instinct de mort, les scientifiques ne savent toujours pas s’il existe ou non. ”

Nous sommes entrés en 2019 sans progresser dans le désarmement nucléaire.

L’humanité survivra-t-elle jusqu’en 2020? Ou le cauchemar de la guerre nucléaire va-t-il intervenir?

If faut se réveiller!

Rationale for an Alternative to the UN Security Council

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In last month’s blog, after writing about the impending crash of the American empire and the window of opportunity this will create to change the global system of governance from the culture of war to a culture of peace, I returned to a previous theme of an Alternative UN Security Council.

It has been pointed out to me that I did not provide a very explicit rationale about this proposal and why it should be given priority. So let me try to do that now in terms of the following strategy and tactics involved.

1) The United Nations is capable of promoting a culture of peace, as we showed at UNESCO during the 1990’s when Federico Mayor was its Director-General. We initiated culture of peace programs at a national level in El Salvador and Mozambique that brought together the opposing sides of the civil wars in those countries to work together in projects of education, science, culture and communication. In one case the project was funded by one of the major donors to the UN (Germany) and in that case the program was successful. However, the major powers pointedly refused to fund the other projects, and despite the efforts of UNESCO and our partners “on the ground” the culture of peace programs could not be sustained. National programs foreseen in Russia, the Balkans and elsewhere could not even get started. An account of the one successful project in El Salvador is available here on the Internet.

2) Our experience at UNESCO shows that the peace capacities of the United Nations cannot be achieved so long as the UN is run by the Member States. In fact the Member States of the UN Security Council are the states who are responsible for wars and preparation for wars, such as the possession of nuclear weapons. This can be understood from the history of the culture of war which shows that over time the state has come to monopolize and embody the culture of war. Other entities that previously made war (cities, tribes, criminal organizations, etc.) have been “pacified” by the states and deprived of their war-making capacity. Meanwhile, the preparations for war remain the dominant expense of the state, and the huge military expenditures of the state have engendered a military-industrial-financial complex. This was even true in the old Soviet Union, as we found out at the end of the Soviet empire. A self-perpetuating cycle has resulted, as the military-industrial-financial complex promotes and ensures the election of a pro-military government.

3) There is a growing anti-war consciousness of the peoples of the world in contradiction to the policies of their national governments. We see this growth in anti-war consciousness in the news covered by the Culture of Peace News Network. See, for example, the increase in participation in the International Day of Peace from year to year.

4) There is a contradiction between the growing anti-war consciousness of the people and the continued priority of the culture of war by the state. So far this contradiction has been handled by the state and its allies in the miltary-industrial-financial complex in two ways.

a) First, they control the mass media and emphasize enemy images and news of violent events in order to convince the people that military preparedness is necessary.

b) Second, national elections have become more and more expensive and hence more dependent on funding from the military-industrial-financial complex. Anti-war candidates cannot get the funding they need to win on a national scale. As a result, almost no congressman or senator in the United States votes against the military budget, even if a majority of the voters that elected them may be anti-war.

5) Putting together the above, it would seem that the transition to a culture of peace needs a United Nations that is run by the peoples of the world rather than the Member States. This may be expressed In terms of the charter of the United Nations, which begins, “We the Peoples. . . ”

6) If history did not have major qualitative, revolutionary changes, but simply continued with only gradual change, it would seem that a United Nations run by the Peoples would never be possible.

7) However, there is good reason to believe that the American empire will soon crash because of its over-militarization similar to that which caused the crash of the Soviet empire. Many other countries will crash as well, similar to what happened to Eastern Europe after the fall of the Soviet Union. This may open a window of opportunity during which the United Nations is more or less abandoned by the states and open to a radical refoundation. In fact, we have already seen in the last few decades the United Nations is abandoned by the major states when there is a crisis. The economic crisis of 2008 was handled directly by state ministries and power was not given the UN entities, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Similarly, the great powers avoid the United Nations when it comes to nuclear policy and rely on ad-hoc inter-state forums and agreements to contain nuclear proliferation. Also, the great powers do not seriously engage the United Nations in confronting the problem of global warming and climate change. As for military interventions, the great powers try to get consensus on the Security Council, but they go ahead with invasions and attacks when they cannot obtain it.

8) We don’t have to wait for the crash of the American empire to begin preparing. Given all of the above strategic considerations, we could create an unofficial Alternative Security Council (ASC). This would be an effective tactic for at least two reasons.

a) Wide dissemination of regular press releases by the ASC would support and strengthen the anti-war consciousness of the peoples of the world that “another world is possible.” It would start them thinking that the United Nations could be reformed in a way that would support peace instead of war.

b) Experience gathered by an ASC could provide a valuable input into the institutional changes that would be needed for an eventual refoundation of the United Nations based on “We the Peoples” instead of the Member States. Perhaps the eventual institutional arrangement would be different from the ASC, but the principles would be similar.

9) The effectiveness of an ASC at this time, especially its press releases and their effect on the peoples’ consciousness would depend upon the perceived stature and democratic representation of the members of the ASC. For this reason, a good choice would be an ASC composed of mayors and ex-mayors of major cities in all regions of the world (for example, two each from East Asia, South Asia, Arab states, former Soviet states, Africa, Europe, South America and North America).

10) This proposal does not depend on the timing of a crash of the American empire. Even if you do not think it will crash soon (as I do), you may wish to start thinking in the long run, how the world can turn from a culture of war to a culture of peace.

11) Nor does it depend on the maintenance of the United Nations after a global economic crash. Perhaps there will be a new institution, similar to what happened after World War II which did not retain the League of Nations but established a completely new institution, the United Nations. But even if there is a totally new institution, it will face the same challenges as the United Nations of today and the experience of a previous ASC could be useful.

12) Many readers may well persist in believing that the nation-state can be reformed to support a culture of peace. As you can see, I am skeptical of this. In any case, however, attempts to reform the state could also be served by the experience of a radical alternative such as the proposed ASC.

13) As for the importance of all this, I close with the words from the monograph on a culture of peace that we published at UNESCO in 1995:

14) When in the course of history there is an accumulation of changes which make possible a revolutionary transformation in social relations, the mobilization and participation of people on a vast scale, a global movement, becomes possible through the development and sharing of a common vision of a new world. The time is ripe for such a movement and vision for a culture of peace.

15) The transformation of society from a culture of war to a culture of peace is perhaps more radical and far reaching than any previous change in human history. Every aspect of social relations – having been shaped for millennia by the dominant culture of war, is open to change – from the relations among nations to those between women and men. Everyone, from the centres of power to the most remote villages, may be engaged and transformed in the process.

As the Empire Crashes

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As the American empire begins to crash, capitalism becomes desperate and takes off its gloves. We see its fist; all of the characteristics of the culture of war carried to extreme. In fact, that is the simple nature of fascism, the culture of war carried to extreme.

Trump in the USA, Erdogan in Turkey, now Bolsonaro in Brazil. The capitalists finance their campaigns in a desperate effort to protect their wealth.

History is repeating. Hitler, too, was backed by big capitalists at a time when the Weimar Republic was failing. This is not generally known because the records of German industry for that period are kept secret and the unfortunate historian who tried to document this back in the 1980’s, a young graduate student at Princeton named David Abraham, was drummed out of the profession as a reward for his research.

All of the aspects of the culture of war are exaggerated now. Enemy images are used to label scapegoats (immigrants, leftists, muslims, will the scapgoating of jews be next?). Military budgets are bloated. Democracy is jettisoned in favor of authoritarian regimes. Educational systems are devoted to producing a generation of passive citizens believing in the glory of past wars. Information is controlled and whistle-blowers punished. Human rights are trampled. The earth is plundered for its resources.

And as always the case with the culture of war, women are oppressed and victimized. This was the theme of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, as the Nobel Committee joins an impressive list of organizations around the world that are working for women’s equality and an end to violence against women, in the face of increased pressures against women’s rights.

As an example, consider how Trump, Erdogan and Bolsonaro deal with the question of abortion. Trump’s oppostion to abortion has been concretized in his choice for the Suprieme Court, a man who is pledged to overthrow abortion rights in the US. Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan has described abortion as tantamount to “murder”, angering women’s rights groups and sparking an intense debate in the mainly Muslim nation. And now Brazil’s Bolsonaro is strongly opposed to abortion. Writing on Twitter on 12 October he said: “The money of Brazilians will not finance NGOs that promote that practice.”

It should be obvious that all of these policies of the culture of war are linked to each other, and hence the struggles for peace, human rights, democracy, sustainable development, education, the free flow of information and equality for women also need to be linked together in one great unified movement.

It’s too late to stop the system from crashing. Just as the Soviet Union crashed because it poured its wealth into the bottomless pit of military spending, so, too, the United States has been doing the same for decades already. There is no one in the Congress opposed to the military budget, as they are all in debt to the military-industrial complex. And Trump, of course, is making it worse. We will soon arrive at the tipping point when the dollar crashes like the ruble crashed before it.

But we can begin already to construct what will come after the crash. We need a whole new system of governance in the world that is devoted to the culture of peace! The maximum unity is needed if we are to achieve this.

The answer is blowing in the wind

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(Une version française suit en dessous)

During the week (actually it took two weeks) during which I was seeking out the information about the observation of the International Day of Peace, I came across the article published by Unfold Zero about two meetings at the United Nations on the same day concerning nuclear weapons. The major nuclear states (USA, France, UK, China and Russia) all went to a meeting for non-proliferation and boycotted the meeting for nuclear disarmament. As the article correctly concludes, the nuclear states “place very little priority on their obligations to eliminate their own weapons of mass destruction, focusing instead on preventing others from acquiring such weapons.”

The contrast could not be stronger between the actions of these national governments and the great numbers of schools, cities and towns, civil society organizations and individuals everywhere in the world who took part in the International Day of Peace.

Having used more or less the same methodology this year as last year, we can see that the involvement in the International Day of Peace is increasing in most of the world. In fact, this is probably the best measure we have of the increasing anti-war consciousness of the peoples of the world.

Not only does this mean that new people, localities and organizations enter the celebration of Peace each year, but we can imagine as well that for those who have been involved before, there is an accumulation and strengthening of their anti-war consciousness.

And most important of all, the greatest part of the celebrations took place in schools with schoolchildren taking part in the International Day of Peace. This gives us great hope for the future. We are raising a new generation who, hopefully, can finally undertake the abolition of war.

The schoolchildren took part in a wide variety of actions for the Day, but for me the most symbolic was their release of balloons and doves into the sky, and their watching them disperse with the wind, as if they were going around the world. After all, the sky is something we share with everyone else in the world. Symbolically, “the answer is blowing in the wind,” as in the anti-war song written by Bob Dylan in my generation opposed to the Vietnam War.

The continuing growth of anti-war consciousness, as expressed by “the answer blowing in the wind,” is absolutely essential to our hopes for peace, including nuclear disarmament and the abolition of war. Perhaps it is not enough, as I have often emphasized in this blog, since we also need to develop an institutional framework for peace. But even if it is not enough, it still essential and indispensable.

Let us be like the children and launch our balloons and doves and desires for peace onto all the winds and involving all the peopes of our planet ! And knowing that the days are numbered for the national governments that hold onto nuclear weapons as instruments of power, let us look forward to the day when their power has crashed and they are replaced at the United Nations by true representatives of the people conscious of the need for a culture of peace.

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La solution souffle dans le vent

Au cours de la semaine (en fait, cela a pris deux semaines) au cours de laquelle j’ai cherché des informations sur l’observation de la Journée internationale de la paix, je suis tombé sur l’article publié par Unfold Zero à propos de deux réunions le même jour aux Nations Unies sur les armes nucléaires. Les principaux États nucléaires (États-Unis, France, Royaume-Uni, Chine et Russie) se sont tous rendus à la réunion sur la non-prolifération et ils ont boycotté ainsi la réunion sur le désarmement! Comme l’article le conclut à juste titre, les États nucléaires “n’accordent pas de priorité à leur obligation d’éliminer leurs propres armes de destruction massive, mais se concentrent plutôt sur l’empêchement des autres d’acquérir de telles armes”.

Le contraste ne pouvait pas être plus fort entre les actions de ces gouvernements nationaux et le grand nombre d’écoles, de villes et villages, d’organisations de la société civile et d’individus du monde entier qui ont participé à la Journée internationale de la paix.

Après avoir utilisé plus ou moins la même méthodologie cette année que l’année dernière, nous pouvons constater que la participation à cette Journée s’intensifie dans la plupart du monde. En fait, ces chifres sont probablement la meilleure mesure que nous ayons de la conscience croissante des peuples du monde entier contre la guerre.

Cela signifie non seulement que de nouvelles personnes, localités et organisations y participent chaque année, mais nous pouvons également imaginer que, pour ceux qui ont été impliqués auparavant, leur conscience anti-guerre s’accumule et se renforce.

Et le plus important de tout, la plus grande partie des célébrations de la Journée a eu lieu dans les écoles avec des écoliers. Cela nous donne un grand espoir pour l’avenir. Nous élevons une nouvelle génération qui, espérons-le, pourra enfin entreprendre l’abolition de la guerre.

Les écoliers ont pris part à de nombreuses actions pour la Journée, mais pour moi, le plus symbolique a été de lâcher de ballons et de colombes dans le ciel et de les regarder se disperser avec le vent, comme s’ils partaient faire un tour du monde. Après tout, le ciel est quelque chose que nous partageons avec tous les autres peuples du monde. Symboliquement, “la solution souffle dans le vent”, comme dans le chanson anti-guerre écrit par Bob Dylan de ma génération opposée à la guerre du Vietnam.

La croissance de la conscience anti-guerre, exprimée par “la solution qui souffle dans le vent”, est absolument essentielle à nos espoirs de paix, y compris le désarmement nucléaire et l’abolition de la guerre. Comme je l’ai souvent souligné dans ce blog, cela n’est peut-être pas suffisant, car nous devons également mettre en place un cadre institutionnel pour la paix. Mais même si cela ne suffit pas, cela reste essentiel et indispensable.

Soyons comme les enfants et lançons nos ballons, nos colombes et nos désirs de paix dans le vent pour arriver dans tous les coins de notre planète! Et sachant que les jours sont déjà compté avant que les pouvoirs nucleaires tombent dans un crash économique, attendons avec impatience ce jour quand leur pouvoir se sera écrasé et quand ils seront remplacés aux Nations Unies par de véritables représentants des peuples conscient de ce qui soufle dans le vent !

The Paradox of the United Nations: Peace vs. Culture of Peace

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If we consider the purpose for which the United Nations was formed: “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war,” it is failing badly. This spring, when we hoped that the United Nations would convene a High-Level Conference on Nuclear Disarmament, the meeting was cancelled due to pressure from the United States and its allies. And most recently, we see that the proposal for a peacekeeping force to protect the Palestinian people cannot be implemented because of the American veto.

This month in the CPNN bulletin, we look at recent moves towards peace in the Philippines, Colombia, Korea and Etheopia/Eritrea. What is remarkable is the absence of the United Nations from these initiatives. Only in Colombia did the United Nations play an important role by supervising the disarmament of the FARC guerilla army.

This impotence of the UN is not new. We saw it two decades ago when our work for peace in El Salvador and Mozambique was not supported by the US and its allies.

On the other hand, if we look at the culture of peace, the 90% of the iceberg of peace which is not visible on the surface, we see that the UN is continually developing a culture of peace at the local level.

Education for peace: the ‘Back to Learning’ education campaign of UNICEF will benefit half a million children in South Sudan.

Democratic participation: UN Women contributed to the historic leap in Tunisia where women now make up 47 per cent of local government.

Sustainable development: UNESCO and UNWTO are encouraging cultural tourism as a means of fostering sustainable development.

Women’s equality: As described in their annual report, UN Women is supporting women politicians, electoral officials, voters, lawmakers, civil society activists and many others to claim their equal right to lead and be heard.

Human rights: Although the task is often frustrating, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights works for implementation of the UN Declaration on Human Rights which is the keystone of work in this area.

Tolerance and solidarity: The United Nations continues to support youth projects for tolerance and solidarity through the Youth Solidarity Fund.

Free flow of information: In Africa UNESCO supports the development of local radio initiatives against gender violence.

Disarmament: Although the UN is failing at the highest level for disarmament, it is quite capable of action when the member states support it, as described above in the case of Colombia.

And on a more general level, the United Nations continues to hold annual high level forums dedicated to the development of a culture of peace and UNESCO continues to support the development of a culture of peace in Africa.

Imagine how effective the UN could be if the stranglehold of the member states as expressed by the veto of the United States were to be replaced by a radical revision of the UN management with direction by representatives of cities or parliaments, as I have repeatedly proposed!

Movement for Sustainable Development: Model for Culture of Peace?

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From the beginning, sustainable development has been considered to be an essential component of the culture of peace, one of the eight action areas of the Programme of Action for a Culture of Peace, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1999.

In our analysis of the National Culture of Peace Programme in El Salvador, published in 1996, Francisco Lacayo Parajon considered that the global ecological movement provided the best model for the development of a global movement for the culture of peace. He described seven stages of its development, beginning with the adoption of a new paradigm, open to the participation to various sectors, so long as they share the same basic principles and culminating in its internalization in the daily life of people, until it becomes a benchmark of a great majority of societies.

Is the global movement for sustainable development still a good model for the culture of peace? I think the answer is yes, but in a way we did not envisage in 1996.

To some extent, it is true as we predicted that the new paradigm of sustainable development has become accepted and integrated into the thinking of a large proportion of humanity. But there is a new and different stage emerging now, as described in this month’s bulletin of CPNN, based on simple economic forces. This can be seen in the changing nature of fossil fuel divestment: Originally, it “was entirely driven by moral concerns—institutions pulled their money out of oil, gas, and coal companies because they didn’t want to be contributing to the destruction of a stable climate. Now, divestment is increasingly seen as a smart financial move for investors.” An example of this comes from India where “new renewable energy is less expensive to build than it costs to run most of the existing coal fired power in the nation—let alone construct new plants.”

Should we be surprised that economic forces turn out to be the most powerful factor in social change? Not if we were Karl Marx 150 years ago who analyzed historical change as follows: the era of social revolution is preceded by a transformation of the material productive forces of society, i.e. its economy, due to their conflict with the previous material productive forces which have become fetters. Put in terms of example of India, the reliance on coal-fired power is becoming more expensive than the new technologies of wind and solar power.

But is this relevant for the movement for a culture of peace? Yes, if we take seriously the analysis made several decades ago by the economist Lloyd Dumas in his book The Overburdened Economy. He shows that in the long run military production is a burden to the economy, draining its talent and material resources away from production which is useful for people. This was, in fact, the reason for the collapse of the Soviet economy (and Soviet empire) at the end of the 1980’s and it seems likely to produce the collapse of the American economy (and American empire) in the next few years. Recalling how the collapse of the Soviet empire produced a collapse of the linked economies of Eastern Europe, we should understand that the collapse of the American empire will have a similar effect throughout the world due to the interdependence of economies which has increased over time.

Already we see that the paradigm of a culture of peace, as opposed to a culture of war, is becoming internalized in the consciousness of a large proportion of humanity.

Can we not expect that the closer we come to a collapse of the present system, the more it will become evident that wise financial investment should seek out productive sectors instead of militarized sectors of the economy? If and when this occurs, then the time will be ripe for a social revolution from the culture of war to a culture of peace.