THE FUTURE OF THE PEACE MOVEMENT
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A key question for the future of American peace movements concerns the alliances it makes.
One important alliance is with revolutionaries. This is important because in the long run, we need to abolish the entire war system and replace it with a culture of peace. Given the strong historical connection of the state to the culture of war, this is no less than a revolutionary task. In the past this alliance has been difficult because of the strong links of revolutionaries to their own version of the culture of war. Hopefully, however, future revolutionaries will learn from the mistakes of Soviet and other "culture of war revolutions" and commit themselves, instead, to non-violent revolution based on democracy, transparence, equality of women and solidarity instead of hierarchy, secrecy, male domination, violence and fear. If so, then a base can be laid for a powerful alliance between the peace movement and revolutionary change for social justice. Both sides would then be committed to a permanent, radical transformation in the structure and priorities of government, replacing its culture of war by a culture of peace.
Another set of potential alliances is with all those who work against violence at the level of the family and community. There is good scientific research showing that violence at the local and inter-personal level is greatly increased in countries with a strong culture of war, apparently because the government provides a model of violence which is followed by its citizens (note 18). To put it another way, the struggle to reduce violence in the family and community must include, if it is to be successful in the long run, a transformation of state policy to a culture of peace.
The culture of peace provides a basis for alliances with other movements as well, in which each of them struggles for a different, but complementary aspect:
In addition there is one other aspect of a culture of peace, the free flow of information,. This is not associated with a particular movement, but it can make a powerful contribution to all of them. While secrecy and propaganda are essential to the culture of war, they are also a point of vulnerability. We can expect that as the institutional structures of the culture of war begin to disintegrate, people on the inside will begin to divulge its secrets, and with today's technology (Internet, etc.) the effects will be greater than revelations in the past (e.g. the release of the secret Pentagon Papers by Daniel Ellsberg which helped turn public opinion against the Vietnam War). As always, an informed and concerned citizenry is the bulwark of democracy and peace.
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