Truth, Justice, Peace: A call on international activists – Peace-Campers, Human Rights delegates, “Reality” tourists and solidarity activists.
Posted by Fredsvenn den april 7, 2013
“We are a product of 500 years of struggle: first against slavery, then during the War of Independence against Spain led by insurgents, then to avoid being absorbed by North American imperialism……. They don’t care that we have nothing, absolutely nothing, not even a roof over our heads, no land, no work, no health care, no food nor education. Nor are we able to freely and democratically elect our political representatives, nor is there independence from foreigners, nor is there peace nor justice for ourselves and our children”
War and the state
We live in a divided world, divided between rich and poor, powerful and powerless, west and east, north and south. Taxpayers’ money goes to making war so that a wealthy minority can be even more wealthier and the ones in power even more powerful. “No McDonalds without McDouglas” is a saying that has its painfull reality. War and business goes hand in hand. The big companies gets bigger and the military-industrial complex has grown over our heads. Today a small elite has something to say about the further development of our world, and it does not seem that it develops in a positive direction. In the meantime more and more people understand that something has to be done.
Instead of using ressources to develop a better world, we use them to kill. The gap between the ones who have and the ones who haven’t increases all the time. War does not only hurt the ones in the warzones, but also people in other regions, whose ressources are taken away from. Africa is a typical example.
The ones to declare wars are states. Sometimes states cooperates, other times they go to war against each others. They fight for controll and power. The strong ones make the decisions, the weaker ones have to follow. This they do trough institutions like IMF, World Bank, WTO etc. Most countries in the world is forced to have a policy that their people suffer from. Policies like The Structural Adjustment Programme is responsible for hunger in vast parts of the world. In the contrary our economical theories says that war is a necessary illness to keep the world economy running, something that tells a lot about how our economical system functions and what it takes.
The different states depend on each others existence. It’s a endless powergame between the states, where people are the ultimate loosers. Civilians experience the greatest loss when it’s war, not the ones in the state apparateus. This is a fact what ever it comes to diplomatic, economical or military conflict and warfare. In Iraq more than one million people died in the 1990s because of economic sanctions.
Common for states are that they are the only body who can use force legally, not at least against their own citizens. It’s a perfect system to controll citizens and the world populaton. People are just like prisoners of this net of states. Any indvidual has a passport and belongs to a state, something that divides people and makes it easier for the ones in power to stay in power. The prison-industrial complex has grown rapidly and in the US it’s more than two million prisoners. The prisoners are mostly lowclass citizens, they are poor or have minority background, while rich and powerful people seldom get arrested. You can’t wear a t-shirt where it’s written “peace”, but you kill a million of people and still be a president.
In many countries there is obligatory military service. The enemy is declared by the state and soldiers have to fight in a country thousands of kilometers away against a enemy they know nothing about. Many leave their loved ones only to travel into the unknown. Maybe never to return unless in a bodybag and often they come home with mental illness. Someone understand that they have done little else than cause other people’s pain. The Veterans Against War is the second biggest organisation in the US. Soldiers return home every year from around the globe to join the organisation. The question is if this kind of manhood ritual some day will end.
Nowadays soldiers are not only sent out to fight for a state. In stead soldiers are mercenaries for big companies, who get good deals if they win the war.
The case is that people all over the world have a lot in common, even if the picture given by the corporate media, owned by Berlusconi, Murdoch and their like, tells us something else. Most people want peace, a good bed to sleep in and food on the table. The idea about one world citizenship is not as far away as it seems like. In reality it would help to level out the differences between rich and poor areas of the world.
Hopefully people one day will understand how dependent we all are upon each other and that we all live on the same planet. We are all interconnected. By cooperating for common good we will be able to make better living conditions for all of us, at the same time as we make our world more secure. The terrorism we today experience is mostly caused by the injustice done to poor, defenceless people by the big states and corporations. A war against terrorism led by a coalition of the strongest will therefore only escalate terrorism.
The new paradigm
Since the 1970s there has been a major paradigm shift in the general human understanding of the world around us. This shift is one away from the Newtonian mechanistic world view that held that the different aspects of society could be abstracted and observed in isolation. In turn it is one towards the Kuhnian ecological or “network” worldview in which a balance of interconnectedness and autonomy are understood as the lens through which to more lucidly analyze and to organize society.
The theory of “swarmintelligence” as articulated by the Santa Fe Institute describes the overall principle at work here, which is that the emergent collective intelligence of groups of simple agents replaces control, preprogramming and centralization. This shift is not simply occurring in one distinct field or in the muddled minds of a few obscure physicists; rather, it is pervasive and fundamentally alters all sectors of society; from business to terrorism, from militarism to activism and from government administration to criminal activity.
The massive vacuum that has emerged as a result is sucking into it all of the old mechanistic political traditions; from liberalism to fascism, from imperialism to anarchism and from capitalism to communism. In their place, new hybridized political theories and organizational structures are emerging, with a tendency toward emphasizing a balance of interconnectedness and autonomy.
Paradoxically, these epistemological shifts offer less of the mediocrity of “business-as-usual” and more of the extreme possibilities of either global catastrophe or global utopia; as power simultaneously migrates above and below the nation-state level to form globally networked constellations of both elite formations and grassroots movements in global civil society, a process refered to as “horizontalization.”
The process of horizontalization is one in which former concepts of left and right and even of top and bottom begin to disintegrate, fading into uselessness as the boundaries separating them blur together in every conceivable way. In this ongoing process however, a complex web of influence is emerging in which a global administrative “supernetwork”, GAS, a network of networks, is developing in one interwoven cluster and a global socialsupernetwork, GSS, is developing in another. These two are amongst several other clusters.
The network paradigm embodied in the GSS; as in the GAS, is characterized by a blurring of the boundaries that at one time were the very definition of the difference between its diverse constituent sectors. For instance the long standing differences that have separated movements based on the “polar opposites” of global and local, autonomy and solidarity, reform and revolution, non-violent and violent, and lifestyle and resistance have all been blurred in the most successful of the newly emerging social movements such as the Argentina rebellion, the Zapatista uprising and the ongoing anti-globalization movement.
In addition “jurisdictional” distinctions are increasingly blurred as more and more movements begin to realize that labor and the environmental struggles cannot be separated, that indigenous sovereignty and women’s movements cannot be separated and that food sovereignty and anti-racist struggles cannot be separated. Another thing that the GSS and GAS have in common is their common links into various terrorist and criminal networks such as Al-Qaeda, the Russian Mafias and Hamas, all for varying reasons and to varying degrees depending on the node or cluster of the network being examined.
Our strength exists in the many millions in all parts of the world wich work to better their living conditions, as well as the many thousands of protesters, peasant and farmers organization, workers, environmentalists, trade unionists and many other groups from around the world wich take part in massive demonstrations and campaigns against the ills caused by global capitalism. They oppose the World Trade Organization, corporate globalisation and militarism. Together this myriade of grass root groups and individuals institute global networks, like Peoples Global Action, World Social Forum and Third World Network.
To reach a more just and peaceful world we have to use different strategies. One strategy is to create a peoples front of volunteres who go from place to place and intervene where it’s difficult situations, or hot spots. Both places that are threatened by war and areas of crisis, just like in Iran where a earthquake killed over 40.000 people. In this places we can go in as solidarity brigades. Groups as ISM, International Solidarity Movement, has many experiences from such work. They do a good work in Palestine.
ISM, a Palestinian-led movement of Palestinian and international activists, work to raise awareness of the struggle for Palestinian freedom and an end to Israeli occupation. ISM utilizes nonviolent, direct-action methods of resistance to confront and challenge illegal Israeli occupation forces and policies. As enshrined in international law and UN resolutions, ISM recognize the Palestinian right to resist Israeli violence and occupation via legitimate armed struggle. However, ISM believes that nonviolence may be a powerful weapon in fighting oppression and we are committed to the principles of nonviolent resistance.
Most of the international activists working in ISM comes from the West. It’s a sad fact that people in the West today is more valued than people from other places by the ones in power. If thousands from the third world gets killed nearly no one will share it a thought, if one from the West gets killed it’s world news. Therefore the ones in power will try to prevent that someone from the West gets killed. Together with disobedience, boycott and sabotage, as well as other forms of direct actions, this can make it more expensive to go to war and force warmongers to be more aware and take care of human rights.
In February 1995, the Mexican army launched a statewide offensive against all Zapatista-held territory: approximately 1/3 of the rebel-zone was lost. Hundreds were taken prisoner; there were a handful of deaths. In response, the Zapatistas called for an International presence to witness and monitor Military and State Human Rights abuses. ‘Peace-Camps’ were set up on strategic locations throughout the conflict zone and were populated and run by volunteers from all over the world.
The Zapatista rebellion solidified a trend where decentralized, internet-based support networks were formed that spanned the globe, helping to ensure the otherwise unlikely success of a largely non-violent autonomist movement in southern Mexico. Many engaged themselves with the Zapatista struggle, travelling to Chiapas and working as international observers, or attending the International Encuentros held in Mexico and Spain.
Since then Chiapas has hosted thousands of International activists and has been a good training ground for anti-globalization activists, and an inspiration for organizing and strategic thinking. The new anti-political tradition of Zapatismo, with its rejection of the universalism of both socialism and anarchism, had a large influence on anarchists the world over.
Just before the war against Iraq started in 2003, there was a lot of debate about going to war or not. The antiwar movement have seldom seemed stronger and actions where being done all over the world. From London a group of antiwar activists, my self included, started the travel trough Europe, to mobilze more people, in the end of January. The Human Shield Operation was on their way to Iraq where they should stay at different civilian sites, water purfication and electric power stations etc., and do their best to stop them being demolished. All in all it was a success, even if it wasn’t more than thousand people involved.
In the summer of 2005 the 5 Million Peace March, MPM, will organize a march to Jerusalem, the city of peace. As they write on their homepage: When the politicians cannot solve the problems of the world, it is time for the people to act. It was the will of people that turned the German wall down, let´s do it again. The march will be joined by organizations, artists, parties, unions, peace activists, celebrities, sports figures, children as well as adults, scouts, children clubs, women clubs, workers, college and university students, doctors, lawyers and nurses. Every peace lover from all generations should take part in the march and demonstrate his or her true participation. This humanistic and peaceful march will mark the will of all people from all countries directly or indirectly involved in the Middle East question. When national and international leaders cannot stop the violence, cannot end the conflict, it is time for the people of the world to take action and put an end to one of the world’s longest conflicts.
Today people are working with such methods around the world. Together we can unite and create a global network, a peoples movement, established on nonviolent principles, working for truth, justice and peace. It should not in any way be corrupted by cooperating with states or big campanies, but be a a loose network of people communicating trough web, run by concensus and always be able to change according to the circumstances.
It should be a coordination group that can act like a central unit that mobilises people and helps with the logistics so that they in a short time will be be prepared to operate anywhere in the world and be equipped according to different rescue and peace missions. On the sites it should be food, places to live and other necessary equipment. The coordination group should at the same time organise actions and campaigns, do information work and collect money to realise all the different actions.
Simultaneously workshops and conferences can be held around the world where people can learn about societies, both at a local, regional and global level, the international situation, first aid, media etc., not to mention workshops of how to act and cope with the situations in the conflict zones. It will be important to cooperate with local institutions and groups.
The work can be coordinated globally trough the internet. Indymedia is a good channel for information, even if an own homepage is needed. Equally important is to create news that fits better with the realities than the news given us by the big corporations. People will understand, if they get to know the truth, what has to be done, and will soon start to work for justice and peace.
The ones who earn by going to war will not hand over their wealth and power voluntarily, but fight to keep it. They will resist any alternative development. Maybe we will not make a big change fast, but if we do no work to change the trend of today, the whole planet can be deemed to die tomorrow.
“People all over the world have to understand their power and to start resist the ruling elites. Together we can make a front of people who struggle by peaceful means. Many Palestinians have told that they want to have as many international activists, people from other parts of the world, there as possible. We could go to Palestine in a big number. Here we could see for ourselves how the situation is, document and force the media and politicians to do something. We can force them to tell the truth and force them to take steps toward a peaceful and just world. Maybe one day it will be possible to have a process of truth and reconciliation also in Israel and Palestine, not to mention all over the world.”
Sjur C. Papazian
”The future of … must be appraised within a global context; any attempt to localize it is bound to yield a distorted outcome. The obstacles to … are, in the main, global; only their specifics are determined by local circumstances.”
“Postmodern war’s incredible instability is both a tremendous danger and a utopian possibility.”
“No military on earth can go toe-to-toe with the U.S. armed forces.But no hierarchy on earth can keep up with a well-functioning network.”