THE FUTURE OF THE PEACE MOVEMENT
Continued from previous page
My psychological studies of peace activists indicate that anger, in the form of righteous indignation, is a key aspect of the consciousness development of peace activists (Note 17). The same is no doubt true for activists in other movements (ecology, trade union, human rights, women's, democracy, and, of course revolutionary movements). As Martin Luther King once said, "The greatest task is to organize and unite people so that their anger becomes a transforming force."
As Gandhi and King found through long experience, the constructive use of anger must be carefully learned. To be constructive, anger needs to be directed towards actions and institutions rather than being directed at individuals and personalities. As Gandhi explained, we must struggle with our opponents to convince them of the truth, so that they will turn away from their ways and join with the forces of justice. This is based on the profound idea that every person, no matter how much they have been engaged in the culture of war, is capable of learning and changing and working ultimately for a culture of peace. It is an essential aspect of a culture of peace that we have no enemies and we must create no enemy images.
Most social movements have not concentrated enough on developing in their participants the skills of constructive anger against actions and institutions. Instead, they often take the shortcut of channeling anger by caricaturing their opponents, dehumanizing them and holding them up as targets for violence. But this tactic is one of the principal methods of the culture of war and in the long run, it may backfire, corrupting the movement and laying the groundwork for demagogy and violence.
Finally, what is needed is a global movement, because the culture of war is global. This is a lesson that we can draw from the successful movement to end apartheid in South Africa. It was the combination of struggle within South Africa and the struggles around the world to boycott the South African government and big business that was ultimately successful. In the process of building that movement, we became aware that the apartheid forces had strong alliances throughout the world; it was not easy to struggle for divestment in the North because there were many in the North who were profiting from their investments in the apartheid regime. As this is being written, a similar global campaign is developing to overcome the war in the Middle East which shares many features with the previous apartheid struggle.
Quoting from the book on the culture of peace that I produced for UNESCO in 1995 (note 19): "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 centers of power to the most remote villages, may be engaged and transformed in the process." The time has come to turn this vision into reality.