The historic challenge to the Global Movement for a Culture of Peace

Last month’s blog posed two questions. Is the Global Movement for a Culture of Peace growing? And will it be able grow enough to replace the present culture of war when it crashes? ¬†This month’s CPNN bulletin¬†indicates that it is growing, but is it growing fast enough to deal with the world crises that are coming?

The coming crises are ecological, economic, political and military.

The ecological crises such as global warming and rising ocean levels, lack of fresh water resources and new forms of disease and epidemics, etc. are developing over many decades. The many initiatives for sustainable development – a key component of the culture of peace – can slow the onset of these crises, but cannot halt them as long as we maintain the present political and economic systems.

The economic crises include the uncontrolled financial speculation (the annual gross product of the world being traded every day), the constantly rising American debt and consequent risk to the value of the dollar (which begins to resemble the Soviet ruble 30 years ago), the continually increasing urbanization of the world which means fewer farms and more people dependent upon food production and delivery based on imported oil, and the increasing interdependence of the global economy to the point that a crash would be far more devastating than any in previous history. The time line for an economic crash is probably much sooner than that of the ecological crises, even less than a decade according to some predictions.

The political crises that we see today – the inability of states to deal with nuclear disarmament, with global warming or with economic instability – can only get worse if there is an economic crash. That’s what we saw in the Soviet Union after its economic crash at the end of the 80’s.

The last time there was a global economic crash in 1929, it was followed by the political “solution” of fascism. In fact, fascism is simply the extreme manifestation of the culture of war in all its aspects.

Herein lies the greatest challenge to the Global Movement for a Culture of Peace. If its principles are sufficiently established in the consciousness of people and in institutional frameworks, it can provide a convincing alternative to fascism in the face of the crises that are coming.

And, of course, there are always the crises of militarism. In recent years we have seen the military interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and now underway, Syria, with nothing but disastrous results, and always the risk of nuclear weapons being employed.

More and more there is a global realization that there are no military solutions to the economic and political crises. But can this negative anti-war sentiment be matured into a positive culture of peace consciousness that consists of positive actions as well as ideas?

The challenge facing us is so complex that we cannot predict its details. Hence, we need to strengthen every one of the 8 program areas of the culture of peace, mobilize every sector of society, women, youth, intellectuals, artists, etc., and the Movement needs to be expanded in every continent and region. As this month’s CPNN bulletin indicates, there is some progress in all of these respects, but much more is needed if the Movement is to achieve its potential.