World Peace through the Town Hall
1) The difference between "peace" and "culture of peace" and a brief history of the culture of war A Strategy for the Global Movement for a Culture of Peace

World Peace through the Town Hall


1) The difference between "peace" and "culture of peace" and a brief history of the culture of war

2) The role of the individual in culture of war and culture of peace

3) Why the state cannot create a culture of peace

4) The important role of civil society in creating a culture of peace

--Peace and disarmament movements

--Ecology movement

--Movements for human rights

--Democracy movements

--Women's movement

--International understanding, tolerance and solidarity

--Movements for free flow of information

--The strengths and weaknesses of civil society

5) The basic and essential role of local government in culture of peace

--Sustainable development

--Human rights

--Democratic participation

--Women's equality


--Transparency and the free flow of information

--Education for a culture of peace

--Security and public safety

--Some ongoing initiatives

6) Assessing progress toward a culture of peace at the local level

--Culture of peace measurement at the level of the state

7) Going global: networking of city culture of peace commissions

8) The future transition of the United Nations from control by states to popular control through local governmental representatives

9) What would a culture of peace be like?


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We had arrived at these eight programme areas as alternatives to the culture of war, in other words, replacing the culture of war in all its eight characteristics by a culture of peace. In an earlier resolution of 1998, the UN General Assembly had called for a transition from the culture of war and violence to a culture of peace and non-violence. However, in 1999, the European Union claimed "there is no culture of war" and forced the revision of the document, omitting any reference to it. In order to see the analysis based on the culture of war, one must go back to the original draft (United Nations, 1998) before it was "censored:"

1. "Education is the principle means of promoting a culture of peace ... The very concept of power needs to be transformed - from the logic of force and fear to the force of reason and love." [Although education for the culture of war and violence is not specifically mentioned here, it is inferred that it is based on force and fear.]

2. "sustainable human development for all ... This represents a major change in the concept of economic growth which, in the past, could be considered as benefiting from military supremacy and structural violence and achieved at the expense of the vanquished and the weak."

3. "The elaboration and international acceptance of universal human rights, especially the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, has been one of the most important steps towards the transition from a culture of war and violence to a culture of peace and nonviolence. It calls for a transformation of values, attitudes and behaviours from whose which would benefit exclusively the clan, the tribe or the nation towards those which benefit the entire human family."

4. "equality between women and men ... can replace the historical inequality between men and women that has always characterized the culture of war and violence."

5. "democratic participation and governance ... the only way to replace the authoritarian structures of power which were created by and which have, in the past, sustained the culture of war and violence."

6. "There has never been a war without an 'enemy', and to abolish war, we must transcend and supersede enemy images with understanding, tolerance and solidarity among all peoples and cultures."

7. "participatory communication and the free flow and sharing of information and knowledge ... is needed to replace the secrecy and manipulation of information which characterize the culture of war."

8. "International peace and security, including disarmament". [It seemed so obvious that we did not bother to state that this is an alternative to the soldiers and weapons that are central to the culture of war.]

I have conducted an exercise dozens of times, deriving the culture of peace by defining first the characteristics of the culture of war and then specifying their alternatives. The exercise is a key part of the dialogue with local activists and elected officials in order to clarify the difference between peace and culture of peace, war and culture of war. And no matter where the exercise is done, whether in Japan or Korea, Malaysia or Egypt, Netherlands, France, Spain or England, Brazil or Mexico, Canada or the USA, the results come out the same. It turns out that the culture of war is universal and, by consequence, its opposite, the culture of peace, is also universal. The United Nations Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace, like its predecessor, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is valid on all continents and in all societies. War, which is universal, is the tip of a universal iceberg, of which the base is the culture of war.

Continued on next page

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The History of the Culture of War

What is culture and how does it evolve

Warfare in prehistory and its usefulness

The culture of war in prehistory

Data from prehistory before the Neolithic

Enemy images: culture or biology

War and the culture of war at the dawn of history

--Ancient Mesopotamia

--Ancient Egypt

--Ancient China

--Ancient Greece and Rome

--Ancient Crete

--Ancient Indus civilizations

--Ancient Hebrew civilization

--Ancient Central American civilization

Warfare and the origin of the State

Religion and the origin of the State

A summary of the culture of war at the dawn of history

The internal culture of war: a taboo topic

The evolution of the culture of war over the past 5,000 years: its increasing monopolization by the state

--1.Armies and armaments

--2.External conquest and exploitation: Colonialism and Neocolonialism

--3.The internal culture of war and economies based on exploitation of workers and the environment

--4.Prisons and penal systems

--5.The military-industrial complex

--6.The drugs-for-arms trade

--7.Authoritarian control

--8.Control of information

--9.Identification of an "enemy"

--10.Education for the culture of war

--11.Male domination

--12.Religion and the culture of war

--13.The arts and the culture of war



Summary of the history of the culture of war