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Peace movement

The global peace movement seeks to end war and minimize inter-human violence, usually through pacifism and non-violent resistance.

Global protests against war on Iraq in early 2003 are an example of a more specific, short term and loosely-affiliated single-issue "movement" with little ideological coherence. Nonetheless, some of those who are involved in several such short term movements and build up trust relationships with others within them, do tend to eventually join more global or long-term movements.

By contrast, the more committed elements of the global peace movement seeks to guarantee health security[?] by ending war and implementing basic human rights including universal access to at least minimal survival levels of air, water, food, medical care[?] and social justice. It is primarily characterized by a belief that humans should not war on each other or engage in violent ethnic conflict over language, race or resources or ethical conflict[?] over religion or ideology. It opposes the proliferation of dangerous technologies and weapons of mass destruction, in particular nuclear weapons and biological warfare.

It is one of several movements that supported the formation of Green Party political associations in many democratic countries near the end of the 20th century. Peace movement has a very strong incidence in some countries' green parties, such as in Germany, reflecting extremely negative experiences with militarism in the 20th century.

The term peace movement is itself a rhetorical construction, in part because of the loose nature of the collaborations involved, but also because no modern theory of ethics holds that war is in any way desirable, but is rather a "necessary evil[?]" that prevents worse abuses, e.g. ongoing organized crime, endless torture or genocide of an entire people. What is usually called the peace movement are those who oppose such doctrines as peace through strength (see below).

R. J. Rummel presents what he considers to be definitive evidence that in recent centuries

  1. government-sponsored murder has killed more people than warfare
  2. increasing liberty decreases conflict
If this is the case, then actions to increase liberty and democracy would be justified in the name of peace.

Table of contents

current events

As of the Iraq crisis it began to be obvious that peace movements could no longer be seen as national movements but all part of a global effort to cohere "public opinion as a superpower[?]" to compete with U.S. unilateralism[?].

Peace movements are also generally thought to have benefitted from the rise of Internet communication and coordination, the so-called smart mob[?] technology.

It has also been suggested that such efforts as Indymedia and the Wikipedia play a role in coordinating this public opinion, e.g. compiling lists of alleged effects of invading Iraq, providing neutral views of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, of Islamist activity, varying views of ethics and of politics, and providing a quick check on biased views of history.

See also:

External links


too American?

Peace movement in the United States of America

The peace movement in the 1960s in the United States sought to bring an end to the Vietnam War. Some factions within this movement advocated a unilateral withdrawal of US forces from Vietnam. One reason given for the withdrawal is that it would contribute to a lessening of tensions in the region and thus less human bloodshed. Another, contrasting reason was that the Vietnamese should work out their problems themselves, i.e., without interference from foreign powers.

Some critics of US withdrawal predicted that it would not contribute to peace but rather vastly increased bloodshed. These critics advocated US forces remain and get victory over the Communists, whom they saw as the aggressors in the conflict.

Advocates of US withdrawal were generally known as "doves", and they called their opponents "hawks". The imagery was intended to present the withdrawal advocates as peace-seeking (good) and the withdrawal opponents as bad.

Others believe, in the words of George Washington's 1790 State of the Union Address, that

"To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace."


too detailed? refactor?[?]

The global peace movement seeks to end war and minimize inter-human violence, usually through pacifism and non-violent resistance - or more pragmatically through diplomacy and such means as boycott and moral purchasing. It tends to be a very loose reactive and event-driven collaboration between groups with every sort of motivation (nationalism, anti-racism[?], anti-sexism[?], ideology, theology, and plain fear) and who are involved on every time scale.

The most long-term-committed elements of the peace movement (SIPRI[?], Transcend[?], Science for Peace[?], etc.) seek to guarantee human health security[?] by ending war and redirecting military expenditures (the so-called "peace dividence[?]") to implementing basic human rights including universal access to at least minimal survival levels of air, water, food, medical care[?] and social justice.

Ideologically, these long term opponents of war preparations are primarily characterized by a belief that might is a poor route to right[?], that humans should not war on each other or engage in violent ethnic conflict over language, race or resources or ethical conflict[?] over religion or ideology.

They opposes the proliferation of dangerous technologies and weapons of mass destruction, in particular nuclear weapons and biological warfare. Some, like SIPRI[?], have voice special concern that artificial intelligence, molecular engineering, genetics and proteomics have even more vast destructive potential. Thus there is intersection between peace movement elements and Neo-Luddites[?] or primitivism, but also with the more mainstream technology critics such as the Green parties, Greenpeace and the ecology movement they are part of.

Such Green parties and related political associations were formed in many democratic countries near the end of the 20th century. The peace movement has a very strong influence in some countries' green parties, such as in Germany. These can sometimes exercise decisive influence over policy, e.g. as during 2002 when the German Greens[?] influenced German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, via their control of the German Foreign Ministry under Joschka Fischer (a Green and the single most popular politician in German at the time) to limit his involvement in the War on Terrorism and eventually to united with French President Jacques Chirac whose veto at the UN Security Council was decisive in limiting support for the U.S. plan to invade Iraq.

Detailed history by region

These histories will begin with the countries that suffered during World War II, and which effectively began the postwar period in a submitted position, and wrote peace into their constitutions. They will then deal with the English-speaking world[?] and the arguments more familiar to the English speaking reader, which intersect with current events most strongly, and are the current focus of the peace movement worldwide.

Peace movements in non-democracies are difficult to separate from propaganda efforts of specific regimes. Thus they are not covered in this article.

Japan

Germany

Russia

Israel

Canada

United Kingdom

Post-WWII peace movement efforts in the United Kingdom were initially focused on the dissolution of the British Empire and the rejection of imperialism by the United States and Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The anti-nuclear movement[?] sought to "opt out" of the Cold War (see below under USA) and rejected such ideas as "Britain's Little Independent Nuclear Deterrent" in part on the grounds that it (BLIND) was in contradiction even with MAD (see below). It was usually associated with the UK Labour Party and in later years, with the British Greens[?] as Labour moved "more to the centre" under Prime Minister Anthony Blair.

By early 2003, the peace movement in the UK was powerful enough to cause several of Blair's cabinet to resign, and hundreds of Labour Party MPs to vote against their government. Blair's motion to support militarily the U.S. plan to invade Iraq carried only due to support from the UK Conservative Party. Global protests against war on Iraq had been particularly vocal in Britain. Polls suggested that without UN Security Council approval, the UK public was very much opposed to involvement.

the United States of America

Although there was substantial organized resistance to foreign wars in the USA since its beginnings, this was often simply an outgrowth of isolationism or religious pacifism, and not in general a coherent movement with single goals until after World War II, when these movements were dismissed by most in U.S. foreign policy[?] circles as "impractical" and militarism ascended.

Resistance was muted during the 1950s when the United States saw itself in direct conflict with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the "Cold War", which involved an immense arms race especially in nuclear weapons. This muting was in part due to McCarthyism and the outright targetting and censoring of opponents to preparation and arming for war. The Mutual Assured Destruction thesis from game theory was the basis of a policy that cost literally billions of dollars and became the sole focus of U.S. foreign policy: anti-communism.

One may reasonably date the open explicit and public resistance to this process to the departing comments of U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower who warned that the United States was in some danger of being politically dominated by a military-industrial complex.

Opposition to the Vietnam War in the early 1960s tended to unite groups opposed to U.S. anti-communism, perceived imperialism and colonialism and (for those involved in left-wing politics) capitalism itself. In the 1960s and early 1970s the peace movement in the United States simply sought to bring an end to the war. Some factions within this movement advocated a unilateral withdrawal of US forces from Vietnam. One reason given for the withdrawal is that it would contribute to a lessening of tensions in the region and thus less human bloodshed. Another, contrasting reason was that the Vietnamese should work out their problems themselves, i.e., without interference from foreign powers.

Some critics of US withdrawal predicted that it would not contribute to peace but rather vastly increased bloodshed. These critics advocated US forces remain and get victory over the Communists, whom they saw as the aggressors in the conflict.

Advocates of US withdrawal were generally known as "doves", and they called their opponents "hawks". The imagery was intended to present the withdrawal advocates as peace-seeking (good) and the withdrawal opponents as bad and predatory. The idea of a chicken hawk also emerged at this time, to describe those who had avoided dangerous military service[?] before they entered politics, but then advocated aggressive stances once in office.

other views of peace

As noted above, there are (perhaps globally in the minority, but in the majority if one considers the numbers of governments that buy arms and the number of people that vote for them) views of peace that require being ready for war:

peace through strength

Advocates of continued design, acquisition and deployment of arms tend to believe, in the words of George Washington's 1790 State of the Union Address, that

"To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace."

At times it has seemed that Washington's "one of the most" has been interpreted to mean "the only". This may be in part due to the influence of the various interest groups[?] that actually benefit from conflict, e.g. arms manufacturers[?], and oilcos[?] which require strong defenses to control oil producing regions and sell immense amounts of fuel for naval and aviation use.

However, there is a substantial argument for military preparedness[?] or "peace through strength" that simply cannot be ignored. Jane Jacobs observed that shows of strength are often thought to be required to maintain control. Niccolo Machiavelli thought that even acts of explicit cruelty might be required though leaders should take no joy in them. Then there is the argument that state power[?] and the monopoly on violence are simply essential.

This view is however common only in the United Kingdom and United States, and more so in the latter, which has no experience of invasion by a foreign power.

human security

Another view is the human security[?] agenda first advanced in Canada by Lester Pearson[?], the founder of the UN Peacekeeping[?] force and an early and decisive advocate of the formation of the State of Israel in the early days of the UN. In this view, nations prepare militarily but only for the sake of interventions to make or keep peace, supervise elections or nation-building, disarm dictators, prevent genocide, or end ongoing terrorism.

Recently, R. J. Rummel presented what he considers to be definitive evidence that in recent centuries

  1. government-sponsored murder has killed more people than warfare
  2. increasing liberty decreases conflict
If this is the case, then actions to increase liberty and democracy would be justified in the name of peace. This tends to be the view of most Republican and Democratic Party power figures in the U.S.. In other words, this intent makes an action more like to be a just war.

This view was widely influential and even decisive prior to the Iraq crisis - the peace movement had only muted criticisms of the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia[?] or the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. But it began to unravel when the G. W. Bush adminstration[?] sought to expand its War on Terrorism to Iraq. Notably, Jean Chretien, Prime Minister of Canada at the time and of the same Liberal Party of Canada as Pearson and Pierre Trudeau, sent more troops to Afghanistan and more ships to the Persian Gulf for the enforcement of UN sanctions on Iraq[?] even as he rejected any Canadian involvement in the U.S. plan to invade Iraq. The distinction between disarmament, regime change and assassination seemed to have become blurred, from the point of view of the advocates of the human security agenda.

It remains to be seen if it is in fact possible to keep such goals separate, and to retain the support of nation-states and multilateral bodies under such threats as new weapons of mass destruction, and nuclear proliferation, which seem to force more rapid action than diplomacy and peacemaking can offer.



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