Most people in the world want peace, yet have no idea how to get there. If asked,
they often respond by saying that war is inevitable, war is human nature, it’s good for the economy, it’s necessary to prevent terrorism – responses uttered with a tired sigh and sense of resignation. Youth are not so defeated; they will often passionately question the status quo, harshly criticize our sorry current state of affairs and shake their heads at their elders’ moral failure to take action for a more peaceful world. They in turn are labelled “idealistic” and
“unrealistic” by those of us worn down by a militarized culture, made fearful and passive by
outdated ways of thinking about security. We have given away our power to envision and create the world we want, one where we think globally and find ways to work through conflict non-violently, a world where resources are allocated to human and environmental well-being rather than the violence and degradation accompanying war and war-preparation.
Here is a book that offers hope and realism under one cover. It’s the 5th Edition from World Beyond War, (founded in 2014) and it tackles the “edifice of the War System”, naming the pillars of war, laying the foundations for peace and providing readers a blueprint for building a world safe for all. This book is very accessible, and is designed like a how-to manual, in that the reader can begin at the start and follow it through its logical course, or open it at a specific place of interest. The book is a collaborative work-in-progress. It is easy to read, and chock full of photo images, graphs, thoughtful and inspiring quotes, lists condensing the ideas presented, maps, resources, and careful, fact-based expansion of ideas. It is a primer on causes of war, myths about war, and ways to move beyond war.
The authors lay out a clear 3-pronged strategy:
1. Demilitarize security
2. Manage conflict without violence
3. Create a culture of peace.
This is followed by realistic steps a group or individual can take, accompanied by an on-line study guide for further depth and action. The focus is on citizen action as being absolutely essential to transform our present war-focused system. There are important new sections in this edition on a feminist-based foreign policy, on building infrastructure for peace (just as we have massive infrastructure now in place for war-making), and on the essential role of youth in peace and security.
This important book is a valuable resource for use in schools, for study groups, and for individuals who care about our world and want to participate meaningfully in making it better.
As the authors say, it’s time to take a new path, ”not informed by some sort of perceived naïve pacifism but by rigorous analysis of non-violent alternatives without a so-called military option as part of the picture”.(p.47) A highly recommended resource!
For those interested in reading this excellent book, I will have copies for sale at cost.