Key Question: Does America desire peace?
Aldous Huxley frequently wrote about Hindu and Buddhist spiritual ideas, pacifism, and mysticism. He renounced all war, and his pacifist views ultimately prevented him from becoming a U.S. citizen. After living in California for 14 years, Huxley and his wife applied for citizenship. However, he refused to say that he would, if necessary, defend the U.S. in wartime. Because his refusal to fight was based on philosophical rather than religious reasons, he realized the government would most likely deny his application, so he withdrew it before they had a chance to turn him down. ~ 10 Fascinating Facts about Aldous Huxley
“The American defense system has only a coincidental relationship with actual defense. They don’t really care that much about it. What they care about is the money. Defense spending, developing weapons, and doing what they do, is only a means to that end.” ~ Andrew Cockburn author of Spoils of War; KCRW interview War Is a Multi-Trillion-Dollar Racket and the Pentagon Knows It
The First Step is Admitting That We Cannot Afford War
“Whether it’s the younger generation with an unlived story or the older generation with unshared wisdom, we cannot afford to sacrifice any more to wars that financially benefit a few”, with costs paid by everyone else paid in lives, lost potential and generational scarring from the ongoing brutality.
Follow the Money
Pentagon spending has totaled over $14 trillion since the start of the war in Afghanistan, with one-third to one-half of the total going to military contractors.
A large portion of these contracts — one-quarter to one-third of all Pentagon contracts in recent years — have gone to just five major corporations: Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics, Raytheon, and Northrop Grumman. The $75 billion in Pentagon contracts received by Lockheed Martin in fiscal year 2020 is well over one and one-half times the entire budget for the State Department and Agency for International Development for that year, which totaled $44 billion.
Weapons makers have spent $2.5 billion on lobbying over the past two decades, employing, on average, over 700 lobbyists per year over the past five years. That is more than one for every member of Congress.
Numerous companies took advantage of wartime conditions — which require speed of delivery and often involve less rigorous oversight — to overcharge the government or engage in outright fraud. In 2011, the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan estimated that waste, fraud and abuse had totaled between $31 billion and $60 billion.
As the U.S. reduces the size of its military footprint in Iraq and Afghanistan, exaggerated estimates of the military challenges posed by China have become the new rationale of choice in arguments for keeping the Pentagon budget at historically high levels. Military contractors will continue to profit from this inflated spending. ~ Profits of War: Corporate Beneficiaries of the post-9/11 Pentagon Spending Surge
The situation in Afghanistan should not come as a surprise to anyone who has been paying attention.
Beyond the Monetary Cost
What about the human cost?
Since the war against the Taliban began in 2001, there have been more than 3,500 coalition deaths, of which more than 2,300 have been US soldiers.
More than 450 UK troops have died.
A further 20,660 US soldiers have been injured in action.
But these casualty figures are dwarfed by the loss of life among Afghan security forces and civilians.
President Ghani said in 2019 that more than 45,000 members of the Afghan security forces had been killed since he became president five years earlier.
Brown University’s research in 2019 estimated the loss of life amongst the national military and police in Afghanistan to be more than 64,100 since October 2001, when the war began. ~ Afghanistan: What has the conflict cost the US and its allies?
Each one of those lives damaged or ended diminished the potential for the entire world.
Photographer Lalage Snow, who is currently based in Kabul, Afghanistan, embarked on an 8-month-long project titled We Are The Not Dead featuring portraits of British soldiers before, during, and after their deployment in Afghanistan. Similar to Claire Felicie’s series of monochromatic triptychs,
Snow captures the innocent expressions of these men transformed into gaunt, sullen faces in less than a year. Snow’s intention with the series is to not only honor their bravery by featuring them, but to also draw attention to every soldiers’ psychological transformation. She says, “It was a very personal project and stemmed from having embedded with the military on and off for 4 years in Iraq and Afghanistan and bearing witness to how many young men return as shadows of their former selves and, in many cases, with deep, psychological scars. As the body count of British servicemen killed or wounded rose and the political ramifications of the British army’s presence in Afghanistan became increasingly convoluted, more and more soldiers felt like they didn’t have a voice, or at least, weren’t being listened to. We Are The Not Dead is an attempt at giving the brave young men and women the chance to explain how it really is.” ~ Portraits of Soldiers Before, During, and After War (November 2012)
During his mission in Afghanistan, 20-year-old Private Michael Swan is featured saying, “Before I came out here I was like, ‘losing one limb wouldn’t be so bad’ but now all I want to do is get back in one piece. I miss home so much — I hate being away. I used to want to see more action, but then I went on R and R and saw all my family and friends. Now I just want to go home.” Nearly four months later, upon returning home, Swan says, “Being back is strange. You are away for so long and you think about how you lived so basically. It makes you appreciate things a lot more. Makes you appreciate life more, but find I get frustrated easily and lose my temper. My family says I am a lot more aggressive. I used to be a really placid guy, you know, really hard to upset but now it is quite easy.” ~ More Portraits of Soldiers Before, During, and After War (May 2013)
What is a Peace Economy?
Peace economics is a branch of conflict economics and focuses on the design of the sociosphere’s political, economic, and cultural institutions and their interacting policies and actions with the goal of preventing, mitigating, or resolving violent conflict within and between societies.
A sustainable peace would require the formation of peace economies: economies that actively work towards reducing structural economic inequalities and grievances of the (pre-) conflict period, as well as addressing the livelihood concerns of citizens.
Why is a Peace Economy Difficult to Sustain?
Our Language Instigates and Perpetuates Conflict
Colonizing begins with language. As a force seeks to dominate, it diminishes the value of the existing group identity, moving from a story of ‘we’ to ‘me’. This immediately sets up a competition for opportunity, resources and wealth.
Our perception of the world is significantly affected by the language we speak. It frames our worldview by training our brains in line with cultural understanding. Indigenous languages from around Australia pose a vastly different perspective of the world than that of English. We explore how these languages influence perceptions of self, kinship and the natural world.
Indigenous language and perception
Our perception of the world is significantly affected by the language we speak. Indigenous languages from around…
Leading to an Economy Dependent on Conflict
Peace, or the lack thereof, has economic consequences across multiple categories. Not only does it have a social and political impact, but violence also imposes substantial economic costs on individuals, communities and nations. The global economic impact of violence is defined as the expenditure and economic effect related to “containing, preventing and dealing with the consequences of violence.
”The impact of violence goes beyond the victim and perpetrator and has economic, social and psychological implications for the larger society. Society and governments spend to curtail violence, including expenditures such as public security, military spending, and programs that aim to reduce or prevent violence, such as judicial systems. These expenses impose large costs on the public system. As public finances are necessarily limited, increased public spending on violence needs to be funded by either increases in revenue through debt and higher taxes, or the reallocation of resources from other sectors. Given the political challenges associated with tax increases and financing through debt, the reallocation of resources is often more likely. The financing of violence containment through debt increases the economic impact of violence, both in the short term and long term, due to the interest on this debt. ~ The Economic Cost of Violence
A Simple Example
The other day a friend discovered her car had been vandalized overnight. The damage to the vehicle was minor, but the impact on her was major.
She immediately began considering the real cost of getting it all repaired and the real-in-a-different-way costs of questioning whether she was safe in her neighborhood. This quickly spun into a potentially huge investment in a new place to live, with the attendant extra costs to feel safe all requiring a higher income and on and on.
This relatively minor bit of social violence forced her to be a consumer of things that she wouldn’t be urgently considering if her car hadn’t been damaged. And thus the consumer-driven economy continues to be fed.
If her car hadn’t been vandalized, she may have still had interest in a new car or neighborhood, but there wouldn’t have been an immediate ‘investment’ into the economy. The peace would have been kept.
One of the reasons it’s so hard to break the cycle is that you can’t do it as an individual. No matter how peaceful you choose to be, the world will continue to intrude as long as others aren’t subscribed to the model.
Changing the Story to One of Peace
We need a powerful new story stating that we are a part of community and not separate from it. We need a story that properly situates people in their communities — neither isolated from each other by virtue of our proscribed history, nor overwhelmed by the enormity of the task of reclamation due to lack of experience. We are equal partners with all that exists, co-creators with leaders both visible and invisible, wisdom both remembered and forgotten, and the imaginal cells in all of us awaiting awakening, in a materially, intellectually and spiritually evolving community identity
In 2019, the economic impact of violence was estimated to be $14.4 trillion. This equates to $5 for every person, for every day of the year. Given that 9.2 per cent of the world’s population live below $1.90 per day, redirecting some of this economic resource could provide significant economic gains to society and reduce human suffering. The countries with the highest economic impacts from violence are also some of the poorest countries. In addition to causing suffering, interpersonal violence, social unrest and collective violence hinders productivity and economic activity, destabilises institutions and reduces business confidence. Violence disrupts the economy, resulting in adverse and ongoing negative effects even after conflict subsides. These economic disruptions include reduced GDP growth, a less predictable economy, higher levels of unemployment, lower levels of foreign direct investment and higher interest rates and higher inflation.
Reducing violence not only avoids the considerable direct costs, but it also allows for the reallocation of resources to more productive sectors such as health and education, which yield compounding benefits to society over time. In this way, violence and the economy can be considered a system, where improvements in one can lead to improvements in the other and vice-versa. For example, meaningful reductions in violence have considerable benefits, such as poverty reduction and economic growth. These, in turn, can reduce the grievances that give rise to violence. Conversely, increases in violence consume economic resources that could otherwise be used in more productive sectors. This situation increases the potential for grievances to occur and can lead to increases in violence. ~ Economic Progress, Prosperity and Peace
Messengers of Peace Economics
Gandhian economics places importance to means of achieving the aim of development and this means must be non-violent, ethical and truthful in all economic spheres. In order to achieve this means he advocated trusteeship, decentralization of economic activities, labour-intensive technology and priority to weaker sections. Gandhi claims that to be non-violent an Individual needs to have a rural mindedness. It also helps in thinking of our necessities of our household in terms of rural mindedness.
The revival of the economy is made possible only when it is free from exploitation, so according to Gandhi industrialization on a mass-scale will lead to passive or active exploitation of the people as the problem of competition and marketing comes in. Gandhi believes that for an economy to be self-contained, it should manufacture mainly for its use even if that necessitates the use of modern machines and tools, provided it is not used as a means of exploitation of others. ~ Ghandian Economics
In 1975, Muhammad Ali spoke to 2,000 Harvard seniors at a commencement ceremony, during which he was asked to share a poem.
His response was “Me, We”.
In two words, he expressed a sense of community, and of appreciation for support and togetherness. ~ Remembering When Muhammad Ali Invented the Shortest Poem in the English Language
The Pillars of Positive Peace
Using the Pro-Peace Pillars to Support the Household
Future Story Lab and 214 Alpha are partnering to develop and activate the Anti-Fragile Playbook which is an easy to follow guide for self-governance, and will feature a neighborhood franchise, where the neighborhood goes into business with itself to create a citizens assembly that’s entirely self-supporting and regenerative.
Shaped by social violence…
Socio-economic deprivation can make a victim more vulnerable to other forms of violence and can even be the reason why other forms of violence are inflicted.
Global economic data clearly show that one of the consequences of globalization is the feminisation of poverty (making women generally more economically vulnerable than men), however economic vulnerability is a phenomenon that also exists on the personal level. It has been recognised in a vast number of abusive relationships as a distinct phenomenon, which is why it deserves a category of its own. ~ Socio-economic Violence
…expressed in economic violence…
The current system relies on a vicious cycle of production and consumption: people have to produce in order to make money to consume what they need to live, and people need to consume more to create enough jobs to go around. But in a sustainable future, we can and should produce enough to meet everyone’s needs without letting the need to create jobs drive all policies — which means we should all just work less rather than creating “bullshit jobs” that don’t really need doing just to keep people employed.
And so while it’s infuriating that women are still always the ones expected to balance “career and family,” the flip side is that women have thought a lot about life beyond work. “Lean out” feminists could be trailblazers of a world where we all work less, share work more evenly, and spend more time doing the other things that make our lives worth living. Of course, even when they also work outside the home, women continue to do the bulk of unpaid household labor. While working less won’t magically change gender dynamics, working less would mean that everyone would have more time to do the things that keep households running, from cooking to cleaning. And who knows — with more time, things like cooking might even feel less like chores and more like leisure. ~ Why “Women’s Work” is Key to a Just and Sustainable Future
…showing us what’s missing.
What is going on? Where are the voices of mothers, the caretakers of the world, the hands that rock the cradles? As we all know, the connection between women and peace is ancient; peace is often symbolized as the mother, the preserver of life, the angel in the house. Appeals to peace have often been made in the name of women and children, and there is a long history of women as peace activists. After all, don’t mothers have certain essential qualities derived from their roles as nurturers that can be universalized? Aren’t they really nicer, kinder, gentler? Isn’t it women as mothers who might possess the special peacemaking skills required for a new, more peaceful, and more just world order? ~ Feminist Perspectives on Mothering and Peace
As a woman in the world, I’ve thought about #womenswork my whole life and began writing about a framework for it in January 2018. Once the framing was built, I began to explore the elements of the fabric being woven. Designed to distill the essence and infuse the expressions. Crafting the tools to create the containers in which to grow the future. ~ Mothering the Future
The kitchen is where #womenswork is most evident.
It’s where a mother sits at the table assessing the resources, evaluating the volume of needs — and their urgency — staring into that gap that always seems deeper & darker as those finite resources disappear. What she’s also calculating is how to leverage that hard capital that’s mapped to making a living to the abundant soft capitals that are vital to making a life. She’s the CEO of this household. She’s a Kitchen Table Capitalist.
No matter your socio-economic status or gender, we’ve all been this mother. It’s a shared experience that binds us to each other, although we may not ever meet. What we’re proposing is that we clean & deepen the roots of our shared history and use technology to connect, communicate & collaborate to co-create a world that works for all, no exceptions. And we’re starting in the kitchen. ~ Kitchen Table Capitalism 101
Rooting Peace in the Household #seedrootgrowsustainflourish
The 214 Alpha C.A.L.M. Model
Sourced from over 25 years of experience and used within thousands of communities, the Community Activation and Launch Methodology (or C.A.L.M.) is used by 214 Alpha to help activate, and launch leadership that’s been sourced from within the communities they serve.
The Community Activation and Launch Methodology
214 c.a.l.m. A step-by-step guide for a self-funded community economic stimulus that's anti-fragile Sponsored by 214…
Whether they realized it or not, every successful “intentional community,” mutual aid society, or expression of neighborhood economics began with a vision, and progressed through the following seven steps as the vision evolved. (click on the titles for additional information and associated articles)
There’s a lot of reasons to become “fed up,” but frustration alone must take a back seat if lasting change is to be made. The Community Activation and Launch Methodology (C.A.L.M.) guides activists from outrage to stewardship through actions designed to help them reclaim dignity on their terms.
As the outrage of the prior stage gave way and made space for solution-oriented creativity, a vision is formed, and this vision will need to be shared with others.
This is the step where you begin to first imagine the rough but essential building blocks of a self-sustaining, self-governing community.
There is no such thing as a community created by a single person; all successful intentional communities relied upon the collaborative efforts of a small but dedicated core team, rallied around your original vision defined and fine-tuned during the prior step.
Through your example your successful advocacy will demonstrate your community’s first examples of self-governance.
Once you have followed the previous three steps it is a lot easier to secure funds, and far less likely there will be conflict within the community.
Take it from the experts: you have to complete steps one (OUTRAGE!) through three (COMMUNITY BUILDING), first, or you will likely raise very little money.
This is where your team’s vision, formed during the prior step, evolves into an action plan the community can understand, adopt as their own, and support.
This is where the rubber hits the road:
The gradual, step-by-step adoption of process, technology, and services in support of your vision, implemented in bite size steps.
As soon as your vision becomes reality, your core governance team will be in the thick of acting as trustees, accountable to your community.
Let there be peace on Earth
I grew up in the Episcopal church. The one hymn I remember singing as a kid — both inside and outside church — and that has stayed with me over all the years since then is ‘Let There Be Peace on Earth’.
I don’t know why it resonated with me so strongly. Although I certainly didn’t have the conscious capacity for discernment at that time, I remember feeling the power & purpose of the message that peace had to begin with a person and grow from there. Even now, I remember being in my room at 6217 Tanager Street in southwest Houston and whispering that song as I played.