A Post-Conflict World

Imagine a world without war

 Focus on conflict; spiralling to encompass more and more areas of the world; bringing “terror” into all cities east, west, north, south; wreaking chaos on whole countries; creating friction between different sections of the population – between people who previously had no reason to be suspicious or fearful of the other. This is what those in power around the world would subject us to and in this they are having no small success.

 Now focus on how it could be if the majority of the world’s people were to have their say, and imagine a world without conflict following a transformation in thinking. A transformation in thinking that comes about through the realisation and understanding by individuals who alone or in small numbers have little influence over what they can achieve against the powers of a state but when working together for common aims can bring the power to the people where it belongs. Not military power. Not economic power. Decision-making power.

 States, i.e. governments, (or even small sections of government) have the prerogative of violence. All means are in their control and they allow themselves the sole right to use violence, to use police and armed forces against whomever they label as enemies, as a threat to the state or as a threat to national security. The citizenry can’t be a party to the details. In fact even discussing making them a party to the details in itself will be heralded as risking national security further and giving them the excuse to restrict us even more. But, imagine gradually more and more people, seeking an egalitarian and peaceful society, protesting at their government’s armed interventions in other countries, as for example today in Afghanistan and Iraq.

 And more and more daring to protest at the level of violence at home perpetrated by the authorities towards citizens on the streets. More letters written to more newspapers and to representatives of the people at all levels; more emails flashing around the globe to encourage others to get involved; more websites and blogs to which people can add their name to show dissidence; more meetings and demonstrations displaying withdrawal of support by the masses for their so-called leaders. Bertrand Russell told CND many years ago, “If all those who disapprove of government policy were to join massive demonstrations of civil disobedience they could render government folly impossible.” It’s not impossible to believe that numbers could become such that members of the forces of repression and armed aggression decide that they will no longer act against fellow citizens or against citizens of another nation. Significant numbers have already spoken out against such aggression, more of them beginning to feel the pressure of society, a society of which they are a part, (not apart from!) a society made up of their friends, family members, school mates, neighbours, a society whose interests they are supposedly engaged in defending. In the case of civil disturbances, strikes and demonstrations they will now join ranks with their own masses preventing repression at home and opposing interference in the destinies of other societies which conversely have no argument with them.

 Imagine the power falling away from those who have used it recklessly around the world and into the hands of this majority seeking an egalitarian and peaceful society. Imagine the armed forces, now under the democratic control of the people, committed to securing all weapons, armaments, vehicles, planes, helicopters, ships, submarines, war materiel of all kinds including factories and depots; securing them from any further use whilst and until they can be dismantled, recycled or made safe.

 Are people to stand by passively observing societies descend into the dystopian dissolution that many see as inevitable or shall they stand up together against aggression in all its manifestations in a process of struggle and achievement? Imagine this amazing specimen of revolution, this fantastic human organism, coming together at last to realise its full potential – for what the preamble to the UN Declaration of Human Rights refers to as dignity and worth, freedom, justice and peace.

As Edward Said has written, “There is always the possibility of another social model.”


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