By Taylor O’Connor | www.everydaypeacebuilding.com
“We don’t have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in the process of change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can quietly become a power no government can suppress, a power than can transform the world.” — Howard Zinn
Those who work for peace and justice have an extensive array of approaches available to them. Based on my experiences during the past decade working with grassroots peacebuilders around the world, I’ve mapped hundreds of actions for peace and organized the main ones into this list of 198.
Actions are organized under…
“Power does not reside in institutions, not even the state or large corporations. It is located in the networks that structure society.” — Manuel Castells
There’s a lot of organizations and grassroots groups out there working tirelessly to build peace. Many of us work in places affected by violent conflict or other challenging contexts; others are working to challenge militarism or to prevent war at higher levels.
Regardless of our approach, it is common that we work in silos, disconnected from similar efforts working towards the same goals. A common challenge I hear from peacebuilders I work with is that…
“The ultimate goal of peace education is the formation of responsible, committed, and caring citizens who have integrated the values into everyday life and acquired the skills to advocate for them.” — Betty Reardon
So I made this peace-learning framework once. No, not the one in the image above. That’s the second proper one I made. Similar concept, but entirely different purpose and intended use.
Peace-learning frameworks are seriously critical for any peace education program you want to set up or for any education-type program associated with peace, human rights, anti-racism, social justice, or anything of the sort. I’ve used…
“The key to complexity is finding the elegant beauty of simplicity.” — John Paul Lederach
I remember the first conflict analysis I did, some ten or so years ago. I was just getting into consulting in the NGO world, looking to ‘get my foot in the door’ so to speak.
I did well with the CV, and the interview, and the pretending I knew what I was talking about part. Hired. Contracted. Now came the part of figuring out how the hell I was gonna do this thing!
So I downloaded a bunch of PDF guides for conducting conflict analyses…
“Peace is not the absence of conflict, but the presence of creative alternatives for responding to conflict.” — Dorothy Thompson
I had this job once. This is some years back now. I didn’t know anybody there, but immediately upon walking into the office on my first day, I could sense something was off. I couldn’t pinpoint it. This was a feeling. I felt it in my gut.
After a week on the job, I learned the following:
“The story of the human race is characterized by efforts to get along much more than by violent disputes, although it’s the latter that make the history books. Violence is actually exceptional. The human race has survived because of cooperation, not aggression.” — Gerard Vanderhaar
They say that if you don’t know your history, you’re bound to repeat it. Well, I figure that for those peace activists, peacebuilders, social justice advocates, and the like, if we don’t know the history of movements for peace and justice, then we are bound to repeat mistakes of old.
I’ve been working in the…
“To fight and conquer in all our battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.” — Sun Tzu
This is for all of you dreamers and idealists out there, you activists and selfless souls dedicating your life to a cause. I hate to do this, but I’m gonna rain on your parade for a minute here. It’s a little tough love, but I’m here to help.
Have you ever had the fleeting thought that a lot of what you are involved in might be a waste of time? And money? …
“Human existence cannot be silent, nor can it be nourished by false words, but only by true words, with which people transform the world.” — Paulo Freire
Working for peace and justice can be stressful. And at times, it is an isolating endeavor. One must not only be thinking deeply to understand the causes of the issues you are engaging with, but also think of creative ways to transform them and take action. The issues we’re dealing with are complex and dynamic, and there is often little guidance available to help us decide our next move.
Often overlooked, an excellent…
The 2020 Republican National Convention last week was painful. It was hard to watch the racist filth and lies spewing forth speaker after speaker, all the while witnessing the violence produced by Trumpian rhetoric play out in the streets of America.
It got me reflecting on the nature of violence, particularly state violence. I feel like… that to dismantle the systems the Trump administration has set in place to create chaos and with it the narratives that justify his war on the American people, we need to take a close look into the nature of state violence itself.
“It is the curse of minorities in this power-worshipping world that either from fear or from an uncertain policy of expedience they distrust their own standards and hesitate to give voice to their deeper convictions, submitting supinely to estimates and characterizations of themselves as handed down by a not unprejudiced dominant majority.” — Anna Julia Cooper (A Voice from the South, 1892)
It was a typical day, early spring in Memphis, when a mob dragged Thomas Moss and two other men from their jail cell and put them to a slow, painful death much to the entertainment of the crowd…