THE FUTURE OF THE PEACE MOVEMENT
Continued from previous page
3. The leadership and style of each peace movement has been distinct from that of the preceding movement, perhaps because each generation demands new tactics, different from those of the preceding movement. If this continues to be the case, it becomes especially important to develop an inter-generational dialogue of listening and learning from each other, so that the lessons of the past can be used by the activists of the future. While peace movements of the future will no doubt use many of the tactics of their predecessors, they will probably invent new tactics as well, as has been the case in the past. Already, for example, the Internet is being used in ways that were not dreamed of previously.
4. The success of American peace movements has depended to an important extent upon their ability to mobilize and develop a unified opposition to war among the people as a whole, including the multi-racial working class. This is a key lesson that needs to be passed on to future activists.
5. A particularly important issue in class unity in the past has centered around anti-communism, which has been used by the state and by capitalist enterprises, especially the media, to divide and fragment peace and justice movements. While some might say that anti-communism is no longer an issue since the demise of the Soviet Union, I disagree. Economic crises, with high levels of unemployment, are likely to continue to plague the capitalist system, with socialists and communists once again in the leadership of reform and revolution. If so, once again, they will be among the first to be targeted by the internal side of the culture of war. Anti-communism originated as a means to divide and weaken peace and justice movements long before there was any Soviet Union (William Jennings Bryan was accused of being pro-communist when he made anti-imperialism an issue of his Presidential campaign of 1900), and it is likely to continue long after. Drawing lessons from the past, it is wise to anticipate and reject anti-communism in order to protect the solidarity and unity of the peace movement.
6. The American peace movements have tended to share the isolationism that characterizes so much of American culture. The most recent example concerns the Manifesto 2000: although it was signed by one percent of the world's population, there were fewer than 50,000 American signatures. Occasionally, isolationism has been overcome by the American peace movements and there have been moments of success when common ground has been found with activists in other countries. For example, as mentioned above, the increased contacts between U.S. and Soviet activists played a major role in ensuring that the Cold War ended with a minimum of overt violence. In the future, it will be important to resist isolationist tendencies and find ways to develop international exchange and solidarity.
Continued on next page