Sunday, September 25, 2016

Global Peace Movement: Big, Networked, Diverse

The global peace movement: We're big. We're getting networked. We're diverse (and therein lies our strength).

"Peace is Universal" - shared on Twitter V @marianoGROVETON

Last year I paused to reflect after Peace Day (September 21) and identified 10 aspects of the peace movement that I thought were (and are) important.

This year I'm getting even leaner.

I think there are three (3) things we in the movement need to pay attention to. Everything else follows from that.

(1) We're BIG!

We tend to bemoan the fact that "there aren't enough of us."

In fact, there are COUNTLESS people out there devoting themselves to peace work of various kinds.

They're in every country.

They're of every gender. They're of every age.

They do it in their jobs and they do it as volunteers.

Do you doubt it? Scroll through some of the peace workers I follow on Twitter.

A big moment for me came when I realized that not everyone doing great peace work lives where I live, or looks like me, or is even doing the kind of work I'm doing. Once I started to explore the real extent of the movement, what I found surprised me!

(2) We need to be networked

"Sure," I hear you saying, "there are huge numbers of people working for peace. But how do we connect with each other?"

I'll be writing more about this. For now, I'll just put forward a couple of observations:

(a) I think we need to view "connecting" as a central and ongoing task. Each of us needs to make it a daily discipline, and I think we need to devote a significant percentage of our time to making connections.

(b) The low cost of connecting via the Internet works to our advantage.

Setting some goals is the first step.

(Here's an idea: Using social media, try to notice one new person doing peace work each day. Take a few minutes to look at the work they are doing, think about it, and bring them and their work to the attention of others. This morning, I shared information about Japanese peace activist Kozue Akibayashi.)

(3) Our diversity is our strength

We are diverse: that's a fact.

Working on A Global Security System: An Alternative to War helped me recognize the many threads in any attempt to describe the peace movement. In a given day, I might be tuning in to communities focusing on nuclear disarmament, counter-recruitment in schools, the connection of development to peace, the occupation of Palestine, faith-based activism, the use of technology for peace work, general antiwar activism, and more . . . .

Now, the peace movement is subject to self-criticism that says, "We're not united enough" and or "We're not focused enough on the main thing."

The strategic challenge we face is to wake up to the fact that -- globally -- we are pursuing peace work in diverse ways . . . and then figure out a way to take advantage of the inherent strength in the existence of these diverse approaches.

I'll be talking more about this, you can be sure!

Related posts

September is a big month for peace work organizing - the UN International Day for Peace is September 21. As you plan your peace work for September, consider how you will directly and/or indirectly participate in and support of these activities taking place around the world.

(See Make Your Plans for #PeaceWork in September)

Twitter is certainly a powerful way to quickly form connections with others in the movement.

(See Suggestions for Successful Twitter Activism)

Yesterday was the UN International Day of Peace (2015). The day nudged me to think about what -- if anything -- I feel I really know about peace and the movement for peace. Here are 10 things that are true for me . . . .

(See #PeaceDay 2015 - Ten Thoughts on Peace)