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peace and disarmament movements

Peace and disarmament movements
(Coordinator Comment)

A number of years ago, my book The American Peace Movements, (Adams 1985) analyzed the major anti-war movements of American history, from the movement against the Spanish-American War at the turn of the 20th Century to the Nuclear Freeze movement of the 1980's. At that time there had been seven movements in the United States that had engaged more than a million people, and since then there has been one more, against the recent war in Iraq. In all cases the movements were reactions against a particular war or threat of war, and their goals could be characterized as a "negative peace", i.e. the end of the particular war in question. In no case did the movement rally around a vision or program for a "positive peace", let alone a "culture of peace." As a result, it was possible for these movements to become very broad, involving people with many different perspectives in which the only common cause was opposition to the war or threat of war at hand.

The recent worldwide peace movement against the War in Iraq has been no exception, also being a reaction against the war rather than a movement for a culture of peace.

While traditional peace movements do not provide an institutional framework for the transition to a culture of peace, they do provide a valuable context for consciousness development.

Closely related to anti-war movements have been the movements for disarmament.

In recent years, the civil society was responsible for the international treaty to ban anti-personnel mines, which was an important breakthrough for which the Nobel Peace Prize (1997) was granted.

The hopes for further disarmament after the anti-personnel mine campaign have had very limited success. In the intervening years, the only advance has been the movement against cluster bombs. Meanwhile, the resistance to disarmament by the Great Powers remains as strong as ever. The annual debates on nuclear disarmament at the United Nations are highly politicized and fruitless as the Security Council members (U.S., U.K, France, Russia and China) refuse to renounce or reduce their stockpiles of nuclear weapons and delivery systems.

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game administrator Apr. 01 2009,12:55
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