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PROGRESS: Has your organization seen progress toward a culture of peace and nonviolence in your domain of action and in your constituency during the first half of the Decade?

Yes ... Progressive Democrats of America (formerly the Dennis Kucinich Presidental Campaign) has seen considerable progress toward a culture of peace ... by the nature of its recent birth & very existence.  PDA was born in the ashes of the Congressman Kucinich 2004 Presidental Campaign at the Democratic Convention in Boston.   The Kucinich Presidential Campaign itself was an inspiring, hopeful social movement composed of grassroots visionary "cultural creatives" coming together to exercise their collective political will ...  because they believed in the wisdom of Congressman Kucinich's peace message of putting people first.  

Rep. Kucinich became widely known as the "Peace Candidate" because of his impassioned, courageous articulation of "culture of peace" concepts within the mainstream political discourse  -- brilliantly planting consciousness-raising seeds in the public debate.   His peace language in the public dialogue (even though only a start) was completely unimaginable five years ago during the 2000 presidental election -- at the start of the Decade for a Culture of Peace!! Dennis first started speaking about it back in 2000 but he did not have a mainstream forum then. He spoke about creating a Department of Peace at a cutting-edge "Spiritual-Politics" Convention in D.C. during the summer of 2000 at which time it was considered a brilliant pipe-dream. We have come a long way since the 2000 election to where the Department of Peace legislation is now known, often even well-known ... now having many co-sponsors in Congress with ever-growing Congressional endorsements through the more highly evolved and organized national Department of Peace Campaign.

OBSTACLES: What are the most important obstacles that have prevented progress?

Ultimately everything goes back to our fundamental beliefs -which are reflected in our politics.  People essentially do not believe peace is possible.  This belief is reflected in how we govern ourselves on the planet.  Thus, the biggest obstacle to creating a culture of peace is lack of political will ...for where there's a will, there's a way.  If people really wanted peace and believed it were possible, a culture of peace might materialize.  In a truly civilized society, man must learn to rise above his brute animal instincts by using the unlimited powers of his rational mind.  But first he must believe this is possible.  On a small scale nonviolence and conflict resolution have proven that peace is possible because these techniques work.  The relatively new field of Peace Education continues to expand our knowledge in this domain.  If there were legislation mandating the creation of a structure for peace -- with nonviolence as the organizing principle, a culture of peace could happen.  

Part of the problem is that we simply don't know yet how to resolve conflicts on all levels of our existence without resorting to violence -- effective institutionalized alternatives to violence have yet to be developed.  The fact that we are at war in Iraq right now makes it exceedingly more difficult to talk about a culture of peace without being accused of being "unpatriotic."  

Another major obstacle is that war is simply more profitable than peace.   As a society, we get what we pay for ... people who work for peace are compensated very poorly, if at all, many "world-servers" volunteering their services to humanity for free.  If society really wanted peace, it would compensate peace workers equal to the valuable work they do.  

Another obstacle is that we have no really great and inspiring spiritual leader now such as Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi -- someone who exudes peace from the depths of his or her being -- capable of mobilizing the peace movement into a powerful force.   The faith community has for the most part shamefully remained silent and shirked its duty in speaking out about the immorality of the war.

ACTIONS: What actions have been undertaken by your organization to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence during the first half of the Decade?

The Dennis Kucinich presidental campaign was a national effort that culminated during the Democratic Convention in Boston at the "alternative progressive convention."  It evolved into PDA which is now carrying on with even more depth and political sophistication - attracting many different groups and noteworthy individuals.  Both the Kucinich campaign and PDA have advocated for the creation of a Department of Peace.  The national Kucinich campaign encouraged states to hold Peace Parties for Dennis on the International Day of Peace as a way of getting publicity for both.  Grassroots groups all over the country concurrently held fund-raisers in 2003 to announce the start of Dennis's presidental bid.  Many of these events received media attention.  

Both the Kucinich campaign and PDA are relatively recent phenomena in the first half of the Decade.  The fact that they came into existence out of nothing in the latter part of this period is significant.  If PDA keeps going on with the same momentum and force that spurred it into being, by the end of the Decade,  our vision of a culture of peace may be reality.

ADVICE: What advice would you like to give to the Secretary-General and the General Assembly to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence during the second half of the Decade?

Public endorsement of Kucinich's Department of Peace legislation (HR-1673) to be re-introduced to Congress on September 12, 2005 -- that it could be used as the basis for Department of Peace Ministries in nations all over the world.

PARTNERSHIPS: What partnerships and networks does your organization participate in, thus strengthening the global movement for a culture of peace?

One of PDA's fundamental grassroots philosophies that of inclusiveness and partnership with various actors.  PDA nationally has worked from the very beginning with it's sister progressive organization, Democracy for America, composed of former Howard Dean supporters.  It is attempting to bring together the many other progressive organizations to consolidate them for strength and unity.

PLANS: What new engagements are planned by your organization to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence in the second half of the Decade (2005-2010)?

Stonger more organized national and state political advocacy for Department of Peace legislation.  

Publicity for International Day of Peace.

Postal address of organization

E-mail address of organization

Website address of organization

WWW.PDAMERICA.ORG (national) ... pdanj.org (nj chapter)

Highest priority action domain of a culture of peace

Democratic participation

Second priority action domain of a culture of peace

Highest priority country of action (or international)

United States

Second priority country of action (or international)

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