My Recipe for Peace
Written for One Peace Many Path’s “Recipes for Peace” event Sept 19, 2012. Read more recipes here, and come to our Sunday Nov 11 Membership Meeting to concoct and share your own recipe for peace and justice!
My recipe for peace calls for:
- bread for all …because “Peace begins when the hungry are fed.” — Gene White
- land for all and homes for all; clean air and clean water for all
- recognition of the inherent worth and dignity of every human person and the interconnected web of life, of which we are all a part
- compassion and action, solidarity and unity
- appreciation of difference
- the freedom to love whom we love, the freedom to marry if we choose
- the freedom to organize and the right to self-determination
- accountability to those directly affected
- a dose of people’s history so we can see root causes
- life balance for all: “8 hours for work, 8 hours for rest, 8 hours for what we will.”
- community involvement & community-building
- shared power and a model of power-sharing
- courage, to stand up and get accused of trouble-making when what you’re doing is trouble-revealing. In Martin Luther King’s words: “Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored.”
- Struggle! Frederick Douglass wrote: “The whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims have been born of earnest struggle. … If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet deprecate agitation, … want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. …. Power concedes nothing without demand. It never did and it never will.”
- military spending, military aid, & militarism as a whole
- materialism and economic exploitation
- world domination by superpowers or corporations
- fear, borders, segregation, separation, and blind obedience
- violence in all forms: physical, whether by individuals or by armies or by drones; ideological, economic, political, structural…
Take these to the compost pile and let them decay!
Here’s how we can cook it up:
- For all steps, prepare together … Cesar Chavez wrote, “We have tried to involve masses of people in their own struggle. Participation and self determination remain the best experience of freedom…” and that experience is transformative.
- Understand disparities and why they exist. Look at problems and their root causes from a structural standpoint…. What patterns do you see? Who benefits? What communities are most hurt? Who is included and who is excluded? How?
- Name race, gender, class, ability, sexual orientation explicitly in the solution. Imagine a bird in a cage. Examining only one wire cannot explain why the bird cannot fly. It is multiple wires, arranged in specific ways, that reinforce each other and trap the bird.
- Listen to and take leadership from people of color, women, young people, poor people, working people, people in countries our nation targets, people whom corporations exploit.
- If we have white privilege or male privilege or class privilege or American privilege, use it to create fairness, access and equity for all.
- Make plans together: Who has the authority to make the change you want? What actions could influence the power holders? What could we do after they say no the first time, and the second time?
- If policymakers don’t see the light, turn up the heat!
- Change systems, institutional practices, policies, and outcomes.
- Renew your efforts and yourself daily.
With this recipe:
- Create new economic forms that are not based on exploitation or growth for the sake of growth.
- Create justice and equity. Equity is happening when we see even outcomes across communities and continents, including markers like race, gender, ability, sexual orientation, and income.
- Create peace: Responding to an accusation that he was “disturbing the peace” by his activism during the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Martin Luther King replied: “True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.”
Serve to all.