As the essay below will explain, the unconscious and universally accepted worldview, the paradigm, that underlies war is: Domination of others using force and violence is inevitable and hence to be endured/accommodated/worked around. The vast majority of us believe we have always made war and always will. To end war, that paradigm must be eliminated and replaced by another. The essay introduces that replacement paradigm, and then explains how the global community can take action to bring about that replacement.
At this time, however, late 2019, as I update the AFWW website, I find that not everything in the essay will seem useful or relevant. This is particularly the case with specific ideas for how to go about weaning human societies from war. In some respects, the essay should be considered a historical piece. It was written over eight years ago, in 2011, and needs to be understood in the writer’s historical context. In my historical context as a peace advocate.
That was the backdrop against which I wrote the essay below: "A Proposal to Hasten a Global Paradigm Shift for the Security and Well-being of All Children Everywhere."
Time moved on, and the backdrop changed. For example:
The confidence in 2011 that I felt about the forward and upward progress of the global community toward embracing a global peace has taken a hit. The confidence with which I described in this essay the means by which the global community could undertake the serious work of dismantling the war machine has taken a hit. Although the material on paradigm shift is as germane as ever, I considered whether I ought to delete the essay entirely as having too many components that seem wildly undoable in today’s political and social circumstances.
But times do change. There will be a U.S. presidential election in 2020. That may set things right again in that great democracy. America may then reach out once more to move history forward and upward, seeking to unite the global community in common cause to deal with climate change for example, a cause that would surely benefit by simultaneous action to construct an enforceable global peace treaty.
Arguably the need for global unity to solve the massive problems that confront all nations at this time may also lead us to decide collectively that we must stop spending human and financial resources on war and spend them instead on building a future where our way of life does not include war. If we decide to change the course of history in that positive direction, the information in the essay, outlining some ways to proceed, will once again become relevant. For that reason I have chosen to keep the essay fundamentally in its original form.
A Proposal to Hasten a Global Paradigm Shift
for the Security and Well-being of All Children Everywhere
Copyright © 2011 by Judith Hand
Adapt or die! This Darwinian imperative is arguably truer now than at any time in our brief history on earth.
Many of us look into the years ahead with dread, aware of monumental, self-inflicted problems that seem to be spinning us out of control: poverty that triggers revolution and war, the cruelty of slave and sex trades, the waste of lives due to drug addictions, violence in our homes and communities, the unsustainable consumption of life-sustaining resources. Then there are the potential horrors of newfangled weapons of mass destruction. Global climate change could result in—or trigger—a global pandemic, mass starvation, massive refugee problems, or global economic collapse. Can we adapt? Can we change?
Our problems are super-sized, many are global in scope. Our disagreements are numerous and severe. A belief that virtually all of us can agree on, however, it is that if we could shape a culture that allowed our children to grow up in safe, healthy, and nurturing communities, we should use our collective wisdom and resources to create that reality. What is meant by security and wellbeing is that we build and sustain communities where children grow up with healthy food and clean water, have access to education to the level they choose, medical care essential to a healthy body, freedom to think and speak freely, and they do not live in fear of outsiders or members of their own community.
Consider how acknowledgment of universality on this one issue could allow something splendid to evolve. Legions of individuals and organizations around the globe already work to create safe, healthy communities. Imagine the daring possibility that those legions become—within the space of a year or two—partnered in a powerful, united voice demanding an end to war.
What follows is a speculative "how to" concept for igniting a revolutionary shift in our worldview based on this shared concern for children. An underlying assumption of the concept is that to achieve our goal, a deeply embedded working paradigm of our dominant cultures must change. As improbable as it may at first sound, a focus on preventing and ultimately eliminating wars is suggested as the means to unite diverse legions which at this time have no common shared goal, and by doing so, create a compelling global force for change.
This concept works by phased, integrated, achievable milestones. Partners in this movement would be unified by an umbrella entity—actually an über-umbrella entity—that for purposes of this paper I'll call FACE—For All Children Everywhere.
The concept of FACE is one of action. Unlike many other necessary and allied social transformation efforts which rely primarily on gradual change using education, FACE is geared to use nonviolent direct action to apply pressure to speed up change. The goal is to hasten a great paradigm shift. But above all, FACE would be an awareness movement, to let the world know that massive change is possible, and that a massive shift is being initiated now.
The goals and structure of the movement are detailed below, but here are some basics up front:
As both a foundation and a formula, this paper explores why a Global Paradigm Shift Campaign (GPSC), by whatever name, needs to happen now, how it could come about, and the resulting jump in human social evolution. The paper:
Can we influence the direction and end result of change in ways we choose? If so, how? Elsewhere I argued that, within limits and without being able to control all unknowns and unpredictables, we can indeed significantly shape our destiny (Hand 2010). What follows below is a proposed strategy for how to accomplish that shaping.
There is Good News
We are a supremely adaptive species—without peers in adaptability—and our survival instinct has been aroused. In some quarters, it is in over-drive. Many organizations, groups, and individuals are broadcasting alarms and searching for change that will save us from ourselves. A positive Global Paradigm Shift Campaign (GPSC) is possible. We do have it in us. But only if our underlying worldview about how to live together and deal with conflicts changes. The good news is that those most keenly aware of our current dangers are calling for a shift in a fundamental working paradigm. But which paradigm?
The Trouble with Paradigms
The online free dictionary offers this definition:
Paradigm: A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them, especially in an intellectual discipline...Applications of the term in other contexts show that it can sometimes be used more loosely to mean "the prevailing view of things."
Because essentially all members of a group, organization, or culture embrace a paradigm, it shapes the values and decisions of virtually all members. It shapes their values and decisions without question or thought by them. Worldview is a term close in meaning to paradigm, except possibly larger in scope. And the trouble with paradigms is that they can be dead wrong.
Here are examples of paradigms widely embraced at some time, some of them true and some not: 1) the world is flat, 2) people with dark skin are inferior to people with light skin, 3) the earth is the center of the universe, 4) women are not quite fully developed humans, 5) angry spirits cause diseases, 5) germs cause diseases, 6) all matter is made of atoms, 7) humans will always make war. Note that wrong paradigms may wear out their usefulness and come to be seen as false. We aren't eternally shackled to them. In fact, progress has often been made by challenging and then rejecting old paradigms.
Shifting the Current Paradigm from What to What
To purposefully make an adaptive shift in our behavior, we require a clear understanding of the current dysfunctional (maladaptive) paradigm. So, to shape a positive global paradigm shift we need to answer two key questions:
Question one: What exactly is the current dysfunctional paradigm that we want to shift?
Question two: What is the paradigm we want to put in its place?
Strategic thinking can then address two related questions. Question three: if there is a particularly egregious "evil" produced by the maladaptive paradigm, what is it? The logic is that by tackling the most egregious evil, or a particularly outstanding evil, we direct effort at the heart of the problem. While other goals may be worthy, we will squander time and resources and risk backsliding if we don't resolve the core problem.
Assuming we come to agreement on some particularly egregious evil, question four is: what is the "good thing" we could do that would most directly force an end to that evil? This "good thing" will be the cause capable of uniting and motivating a critical mass of determined citizens, a cause around which many millions will rally.
What Exactly is the Paradigm We Want to Shift, and How Does It Relate to War?
War is defined by AFWW as occurring when one group or an alliance of groups takes up weapons to indiscriminately kill individuals in another group, and the initiating group's noncombatants and religious leaders sanction the killing. Murder clearly isn't war. Revenge killings by individuals for perceived wrongs by other individuals also isn't war; the killing is not indiscriminate. It's directed at the perceived wrong-doers.
The maladaptive paradigm that underlies war, as so defined, and that needs to be shifted is:
Domination of others using force and violence is inevitable and hence to be endured/accommodated/worked around.
In cultures where this worldview rules--which is true in all of our dominant nations--it underlies all aspects of law and common practice—even child-rearing. In some cultures, war is justified as occasionally being necessary, even righteous for example if one's group is attacked. Warrors are given high honor. In spite of the stupendous waste of material resources and the destruction of communities and lives that war entails, we stumble forward in the embrace of a belief that is in fact not true.
The belief in inevitability of dominance using violence underlies decisions by governments deciding military budgets. Because the inevitabiity of domination by force is assumed by all of the world's current dominant cultures, it is the single biggest barrier to ending wars. If even one of the world's current dominant cultures operates not just defensively but also offensively from this assumption, seeking to be the dominator not the dominated, the existence of that culture and the threat it presents becomes a barrier to stopping the destruction. All other cultures must prepare defenses against the possibility of aggression. They expend major resources to maintain military preparedness. And weapon systems once developed tend eventually to get used. It is a vicious cycle.
Explored below is the proposition that war is arguably the most egregious evil produced by this maladaptive paradigm of assumed domination by force. Many evils challenge us, from poverty to pollution, slavery to racism. But of them all, only war kills outright and immediately. It is the finality of death for large numbers of us along with the awesome waste and destruction of resources that qualifies war as arguably our most egregious evil.
Furthermore, it is a truth of our nature that if we believe something is impossible, it is impossible. Such belief creates a psychological barrier to envisioning and working for some other possibility. Belief in the inevitability of violence and war will absolutely shape the culture a society creates, and that culture will inevitably include violence and wars. Self-fulfilling prophacy is a term used to describe this phenomenon. To generate a truly epic, historical, positive paradigm shift, something as big as the Agricultural, Industrial, or Digital Revolutions, we need to stop believing that war is inescapable (Hand 2005a, 2010, 2011b).
What Adaptive Paradigm Needs to Replace the Old One?
The paradigm which would undergird and sustain a warless future and peace in homes and communities is:
Using force and violence against others is anathema--intolerable under any conditions.
What if everyone in a culture unconsciously believed in and operated out of that paradigm? Could we bend the arc of history toward nonviolence? The longing to do so is expressed in one form or another in all major philosophies. As it turns out, there exist some cultures that operate out of that paradigm. In some nonviolent cultures, people's response to violent acts perpetrated on them is to flee or move away, never to fight (Fry 2006, 2007). In some, this underlying nonviolent worldview is so deeply embedded in their ethos that the very idea of using physical violence on another is literally unthinkable: violence is essentially never observed by children or adults. The point is that war is not biologically innate or socially inevitable, it is a creature of the kind of culture we create and in which we raise our children (Hand, 2009). Biologically speaking then, could we bend the arc of history away from war?
Emphatically, yes. Change the culture appropriately, and you can end the violence of war. And over time, in a warless world the worldview will shift to match reality.
So, what is the "good thing" we could do that would most directly hasten a shift away from the current paradigm to the paradigm of nonviolence?
Mount a Campaign That Will Dismantle the War Machine and Thereby Render War Obsolete.
The simple but profound beauty of mounting a campaign to take on the collective insanity of war is that it will give synergistic power far beyond the arena of war to many othr urgently needed Great Change efforts. Why? As explained below, causes from ending poverty to creating sustainable communities, fostering democracy to empowering women, teaching peace to devising economies that foster ecologically sustainable work, and much more, are a necessary part of and can benefit from dismantling the war machine.
Living under the sway of a paradigm of domination, including domination by force, we have created cultures in which struggles for wealth and power are more important than achieving the stabilizing influence and priorities associated with care for family, community, and the common good. If we are to create safe and healthy communities, for all children everywhere, this needs to change.
SHAPING HISTORY TO ABOLISH WAR
The Power to Achieve the Desired Goal Lies in Shared, Nonviolent Direct Actions of All Allied Individuals, Groups, and Organizations.
So now we ask: Is there a mechanism that will allow vast numbers of people to unite and take action with great effectiveness in order to achieve the shared goal of ending war, and, while in the process of achieving that goal, also hasten the paradigm shift to nonviolence that we desire?
Fortunately, the answer is yes. The Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Jody Williams and those working with her created an operating concept for the International Committee to Ban Land Mines that, with modifications, can provide the necessary uniting mechanism. The ICBL process is described below in the section entitled "Project Coordination." But before we consider how to unify and coordinate vast numbers of organizations and individuals, we need to consider 1) the general nature of the proposed Global Paradigm Shift Campaign, and 2) consider just who the partners in this effort can be.
Nature of the Proposed Global Paradigm Shift Campaign (GPSC)
When I began AFutureWithoutWar.org I wasn't concerned with the possibility of shaping a massive social revolution. I focused on why we make war and whether it is possible, even in theory, to end the behavior?
It was soon obvious that, although from a biological perspective war is not inevitable, the scope of a campaign to prevent wars would be huge. It would encompass many problems that seem unrelated, that seem to have nothing directly to do with each other or war. Eventually I realized that the means to unite vast numbers of people and organizations across boundaries of religion, nationality, race, and so on, was to focus such a movement on a globally shared concern that crosses all those boundaries. The most powerful of these is the shared universal of love and concern that all people have for not only their children, but all children.
Mounting such a campaign would be an enormous undertaking. I often compare the challenge to the level of difficulty of establishing a base on the moon. And just as no moon base could be built without a coordinating body, a GPSC would need a "NASA" to coordinate it. As mentioned above, there are thousands of projects and organizations working separately whose efforts are essential to success of a a GPSC. But they lack unification or a common voice. They certainly haven't yet prevailed over the world's urges for wars.
Our collective fears have enabled the paradigm of domination by force to persist under a vast array of patriarchal governmental and economic regimes: chiefdoms, dictatorships, all-male oligarchies, illiberal democracies, and under socialism, communism, and capitalism (Hand 2010). History strongly suggests that unless there is some coordinated intervention, the war machine will find a way to co-opt and undermine the transformative efforts of our generation as it has all generations preceding us.
The simple beauty of the FACE concept is that by focusing on the shared goal of ultimately ending wars for our children, organizations tackling a rogue's gallery of humanity's self-inflicted ills would come together under one über-umbrella that could overpower the violence paradigm. By acknowledging and signing a simple statement pledging to work for safe, healthy, nurturing communities for all children everywhere, including the abolition of war, hundreds of thousands of groups working around the globe to better the human condition would stand in mighty opposition to destructive practices. The world could sense a mighty, united entity determined to shape a better destiny for us all—an entity whose members could quickly outnumber all the world's armed forces combined. Again, for purposes of this paper, I refer to that entity for change as FACE.
Structure and Function of a Global Paradigm Shift Campaign (GPSC), perhaps called FACE as a continual reminder of the reason for the movement.
FACE would not be a bureaucracy, but a hub with a shared focus, an ongoing basis of cohesion and momentum. With the beginnings of a paradigm shift occurring, a volunteer at an AIDS clinic in Africa, a school builder in Afghanistan, or a teacher of sustainable agriculture can begin to see herself or himself as a non-violent soldier in an ending-war campaign.
Unlike NASA, FACE would not be the central location of actual work and planning, with a huge staff and many departments. The FACE movement would not be something dictated from the top down. Most of the work and planning would be done by the partner organizations, and at local, regional, national, and international meetings. It would be the job of the relatively small FACE staff to keep everyone aware of what everyone else is doing. To provide information to the media. And to provide coordination when the entire FACE body engages in shared, direct action against the war machine [more about the importance of shared direct action later].
The funding would be grant-based, sponsor-backed, or voluntary donation, intentionally eschewing dues. FACE itself would require minimal leadership and employees to:
Potential FACE Partners
Nine cornerstones of the project A Future Without War (AFWW.org) are an attempt to embrace and bring some order to the necessary components of a campaign to successfully end war, and equally importantly, what is necessary to maintain an enduring peace. What follows, based on the cornerstones, are broadly generalized descriptions of potential FACE/GPSC areas of focus. Included in each description is a link to a website listing many organizations whose focus generally fits in that group. All of them would be potential partners in FACE. For illustration, and at the risk of offending the many organizations not listed, a few examples are mentioned.
Embrace the Goal – As indicated earlier, groups with a global vision are already uniting many projects under an umbrella for global change. Although their focus is broad, each usually has a particular emphasis: e.g., addressing environmental issues, promoting a sense of human community and oneness, teaching the art of peaceful living and skills of nonviolent conflict resolution, extending humanist values, etc.. Each would likely be eager to participate in a partnership for nonviolence and the prevention of war, if for no other reason, because ending war would free up resources for their own work (examples: Alliance for a New Humanity; Beyond War; Great Transition Initiative; Network of Spiritual Progressives, International Humanist and Ethical Union).
Ensure Essential Resources - Countless disputes arise over resources, and many groups already address the need to provide people with life's essentials: food, clean water, safe shelter, a way to make a living, health care, and educational opportunities for children. People without these, especially the first four, are inclined to go to war to get them. AFWW.org provides links to a number of these groups, which in turn are linked to thousands more. An "Essential Resources" division also embraces projects working to create economies characterized by sustainable living while preserving and husbanding the environment. Projects focused on providing resources would greatly benefit from partnering in an ending-war campaign because of the waste and habitat destruction that war entails. (examples: CAMFED; Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; One; Rotary International; Wiser Earth).
Foster Connectedness - Also immediately obvious as potential campaign partners are groups teaching tolerance of cultural and religious differences, teaching the "oneness" of our species, and creating a sense of global community. Xenophobia—a fear of what is strange or different—is a trait that has become maladaptive in our current economically intertwined world. It can be whipped up by warmongers to raise an army and launch a war. The "Foster Connectedness" focus area also embraces organizations teaching a sense of love for and connectedness to Mother Earth, the source of our quality of life and our existence. Failing that, we may continue heedless extractions that create scarce resource conditions. These organizations, too, are potential campaign partners who are central to and will benefit from joining a mass movement for nonviolence and the abolition of war (examples: Peace X Peace; People to People; Playing for Change; Seeds of Peace; Sierra Club, The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund, UNESCO).
Promote Nonviolent Conflict Resolution – To ensure that the better future we will shape persists over time, other issues emerge. For example, the need to teach people, especially children, the skills of living in peace: compromise, negotiation, mediation, non-violent conflict resolution, empathy, sharing, and inner peace. The FACE movement would shine a light on such organizations that work to encourage the spread of curricula that stress that children need to learn that violence is always counterproductive, and that using nonviolence brings many advantages. Also, organizations that intervene between warring parties or that offer tools for reconciliation after violent conflicts are grouped under "Promote Nonviolent Conflict Resolution." All are potential partners for this aspect of FACE (examples: Carter Foundation; Fellowship of Reconciliation; Gandhi Institute, The Metta Center, Nonviolent Peaceforce).
Empower Women –Groups working to empower women play a vital role in creating safe, healthy communities for raising children and therefore belong in the FACE/GPSC. Well researched and carefully interpreted studies enable a firm assessment with respect to physical aggression (violence) and war: as a group, men differ significantly from women in their greater proclivity to use physical violence (Daly and Wilson, 1988; Campbell, 2005; Hand, 2003, 2011b; Potts and Hayden, 2008).
This critical sexual difference is explored in Women, Power, and the Biology of Peace (Hand, 2003, also 2011b). A "social stability" hypothesis is offered to explain why natural selection has favored some critical differences between men and women when it comes to resolving conflicts. Because women invest more reproductive effort and risk than do men in assuring the well-being and survival of their offspring, women have a number of evolved preferences/proclivities that function to create a socially stable, secure community in which women can raise helpless, slow-maturing offspring to reproductive age and beyond. If a woman loses a baby or child during a violent conflict, she will experience far more difficulty in bearing and caring for a replacement than a man would experience in fathering one. A man who looses a child simply needs to impregnate a woman and then might, or might not, share in raising the child to sexaul maturity, a task that virtually always falls to women. If a woman dies, her still helpless young will lose their primary caregiver, a possibly fatal loss. These biological realities make social stability a much higher priority reproductively for women than it is for men.
It's this built-in female preference for fostering socially stable communities, the exact opposite of war, that a FACE/GPSC can deploy in a campaign to shape a better future. AFWW lists prominent organizations that are linked to hundreds of others, all of which can benefit from the partnership because all will be working to empower women as they share the work to end war ( examples: Council of Women World Leaders; Global Fund for Women; Institute for Inclusive Security; Nobel Women's Initiative, Soroptimists; UN Women).
Spread Liberal Democracy – The need to "Spread Liberal Democracy" is an obvious necessity to shape a more egalitarian, just, and less violent future for our children (Hand 2005b, 2006). For one thing, no liberal democracy has declared war on another. Moreover, the freedom to speak one's mind, to be free from onerous and unfair laws, to have a voice in how one's community takes care of its children, these are benefits of liberal democracy. That in turn will contribute to maintaining the kind of just and egalitarian future that the vast majority of people long for personally and wish for their children. Organizations encouraging the establishment and maturing of liberal democracies are essential, and they would benefit by participation in a FACE movement: where there is war, no democracy building can take place and a democracy can be demolished (examples:, Carter Foundation; National Democratic Institute; Open Society Institute; Rockridge Institute).
Shift our Economies – Entire industries, to say nothing of millions of men and increasingly women are employed in armies. They make their living on war. People must have work. Restless young men especially must have work. If we are to live in ecologically and economically sustainable communities, a new economic philosophy is imperative. The AFWW cornerstone "Shift our Economies" (Hand 2005c, 2006b) groups all projects focused on the economics of our future and the organizations sharing this concern. They are additional key partners for and would be beneficiaries of a GPSC campaign (examples: Bioneers; Caring Economics Campaign; Case Western Reserve-World Inquiry's Innovation Bank; Center for Global Development; Earth Institute-Columbia University).
Enlist Young Men – Arguably the least appreciated challenge for a campaign to end war is what to do with young men. Young men, especially before marriage, are the single most disruptive elements of any society (e.g., Daly and Wilson 1988). They are also the potential recruits for armies that destroy communities. In our dominant cultures, many young men are socialized—taught what it means to be a man—within the context of the military. If they are not to be employed as warriors or lost to gangs, what do we do with them? (see "Enlist Young Men," Hand, 2005d, 2006c). We need many many projects and organizations working with young men, to enlist them as promoters and defenders of a global peace. AFWW provides a way too short list of some projects that have that objective as part of their mission.
Actually, a FACE movement would challenge all the world's young people, girls and boys, to be agents of positive social change. Recruit them to join a GPSC partner organization—in their country or perhaps in another country. Encouarge them to join an organization that draws their interest and where they can use their talent. Call these young people to action, to revolution, to a cause that is greater than self. Sadly, there are relatively few organizations focused on how to lead young men to be champions of nonviolence in their communities and in the world, rather than sacrificial bodies for gang or state wars (examples: Global Youth Action Network; Global Youth Connect; PeaceJam).
Provide Security and Order - And finally, the disastrous effects of lawlessness, in places like Afghanistan, Sudan, and Congo, illustrate that where there is no security and order, none of the "good works" of any FACE focus areas can proceed, let alone succeed. Grouped here are entities providing national and local security, that deal with issues like local policing, border security, terrorism, smuggling, peacemaking and peacekeeping. Also included are projects to eliminate the weapons of war. To be successful, not just idealistic, FACE must deal with the world as it is as we transition to the future we are building. Operating within a paradigm of preference for nonviolance, the CPSC will have to find nonviolent means to prevent petty tyrants, warlords, and warmongers from running the show (examples: Arms Control Association; Center for Advanced Defense Strategies; Global Zero; International Action Network for Small Arms; Nonviolent Peaceforce).
In Summary–Leading by example with carefully chosen intermediate goals (see below), FACE as an awareness movement would demonstrate the power of nonviolent direct action. It is best envisioned not as yet another organization, but as an über-umbrella uniting mechanism. Others may cluster these many efforts differently. The point is that if a mechanism can be found so that all these "good works" groupscan be synergized to act together with a coordinated voice they will form an unstoppable, overwhelming force for change (see "Project Coordination" and "How the Project Will Look Over Time" below).
Aggressive marketing can showcase the work of all partners and FACE's ultimate goal, and by this means the partners' combined efforts will be a challenge to the worldview that supports the inevitability of violence in all its forms. As situations arise in which demonstrations or other actions could make a difference, already allied FACE members can easily and quickly be mobilized as a massive, united body. Their combined actions will announce to the global community that citizens can allow themselves to have hope and even join the effort. The starting place is for each organization to see how their particular concern can contribute to and benefit from partnership in the overarching common cause of establishing a global peace.
Aspects Critical to the Global Paradigm Shift Campaign (GPSC)
The Importance of Having Reached Critical Mass
Until roughly the last decade, there were always people who longed for peace, from before Jesus of Nazareth and after Mohandas Gandhi. History documents many efforts to secure lasting peace. A successful effort could not be realistically mounted, however, because they lacked a "critical mass" of participants in several key ways. That has changed (Hand 2005f, 2011).
First, the numbers of influential men who recognize that inclusion of women is critical to major positive social transformation has reached critical mass. This was perhaps most emphatically acknowledged in 2000 by United Nations Resolution 1325 which addressed the disproportionate and unique impact of armed conflict on women; recognized the under-valued and under-utilized contributions women make to conflict prevention, peacekeeping, conflict resolution and peace-building; and stressed the importance of women's equal and full participation as active agents in peace and security. U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan has said, "There is no development strategy more beneficial to society as a whole - women and men alike - than the one which involves women as central players."
Second, there are now enough powerful, influential, educated, and financially independent women who can be instigators and leaders. This is entirely new.
Finally, pent up passion for change has reached critical mass globally as evidenced by a plethora of organizations specifically seeking a global paradigm shift (e.g., Alliance for a New Humanity, Alliance for Peacebuilding, Earth Charter Initiative, Fellowship of Reconciliation, Great Transition Initiative, Living Economies Forum, Network of Spiritual Progressives, World Social Forum). Moreover, the massive unrest occurring in Muslim countries in North Africa and the Middle East at this time, 2011, could not be a clearer sign of a pent-up demand that business as usual under the sway or dictators, tyrants, and even all-powerful kings needs to be replaced by a form of governing that meets the priorities and desires of the people. Ranking high among these desires is the creation of secure communities in which to raise children that are healthy, educated, and living with hope for a better future. And the form of government best able to facilitate those conditions is a liberal democracy.
The Importance of Measurable Goals
Any motivational coach will tell you that having vague or unmeasurable goals is likely fatal to success. Clear and measurable goals allow members of a campaign to focus plans and assess progress. For a peoples' movement, having vague and unmeasurable goals also makes it difficult or impossible to keep activists and supporters energized; activists must see and feel that they have won intermediate skirmishes and their movement has forward momentum. Lacking clear and measurable goals, the project wallows and ultimately dies.
A Shared End-goal
Examination of previous successful major nonviolent social transformation movements reveals an important related principle: you do not try to change every evil, rather the movement needs one clear, uniting end-goal. For example:
In a paper entitled "Life Without War" the anthropologist Douglas Fry compared characteristics of a variety of societies who had decided that they did not want to live in a state of war with each other. They created "peace systems" (Fry, 2012). The three he studied most closely were the Iroquois Nation, ten tribes living in a river basin in Brazil, and the European Union. [For details see the Blog "Peace Systems and Enduring Peace."]
An advantage of adopting as the one shared end-goal of all cornerstone projects "the prevention and ultimate elimination of war by creating a global peace system," is that it is measurable. It is not to end conflict, something given human nature is impossible. It's not to do away with the necessity for peacekeeping and peacemaking, which given our biology will likely be necessary into the foreseeable future (Hand 2003, 2010). It's not to teach peace, a necessary effort, but how exactly do you measure and powerfully illustrate intermediate and ultimate successes?
It is to reach an agreement--an enforceable global peace treaty--that will bring the use of armies to a halt. Such a treaty, when enforced, will be the foundation upon which to build a global peace system. A global peace system would have characteristics similar to the ones described by Douglas Fry's paper "Life Without War"and illustrated by the European Union and the United States (see the blog "Peace Systems and Enduring Peace."
When there are no ongoing wars anywhere on the planet, we will be very close to full success. Elsewhere I describe historical examples of shaped social changes that from an historical perspective were extrememly rapid, like the elimination of foot-binding in China, and the Christianization of much of South America by Catholic and other faith groups, often in one generation or less. The U.S. Constitution was written in a matter of weeks, roughly 116 days. Formation of the European Union only took several decades to achieve a more or less final form, roughly fifty years. Study of many such examples of swift, shaped changes indicates that, when sufficient creativity and resources are committed, it is entirely possible to reach this level of success—no ongoing wars—in two generations or less (Hand 2010, 2014). And when there have been no wars for many lifetimes, we will have achieved total success.
Shared intermediate goals - A successful campaign for a project of such massive size must also involve measurable intermediate goals (Hand 2010). For example, all FACE partners could adopt a struggling country for an allotted period of time and concentrate the global partnership's efforts to assisting that country in making measurable changes that will support it's progress to be a fully-fledged example of a liberal democracy on the path to a positive and nonviolent future (for example, Tunesia, Palestine, Afghanistan, Liberia, Haiti).
Or the partners could initiate a new shared cause: e.g., promotion of a United Nations Resolution to ban the use of aerial drones as killing weapons. The partners could be mobilized to use nonviolent strategies to apply pressure to financial interests that benefit from war or to legislative branches considering crucial policies (Sharp 2005). (For discussion of how shared goals would be selected, see "Project Coordination" below).
It's important to also work smart. The social transformer Mohandas Gandhi taught, as did Sun Tzu in his Art of War, that you don't fight battles you can't win. The partners' choices for shared action must be carefully selected to produce successes. The movement should move "from success to success."
Project Coordination (A Modified ICBL Process)
There will be no human base on the Moon or Mars unless the work of all divisions and subcontractors is coordinated. At this time, potential GPSC organizations which are focused on ending war are struggling in great frustration, looking for a way to create a united voice with clout on the world stage. Some are sinking into despair, thinking there just is no way to do it, that the problem is too large, too intractable. By default they fall back onto the argument (hope) that by some organic, gradual process, this Great Paradigm Shift will emerge in time to deliver us from the draconian ills we've created. I argue (Hand 2010) that this is about as likely as putting a base on the Moon by some gradual process involving a lot of organizations having different specializations and expertise, all of which think putting a base on the Moon is a great idea, and which then separately pursue the goal.
The good news is that a tested model already exists for how to mix all these seemingly disparate cogs/elements/components into a powerful global movement: the operating concept for the International Committee to Ban Land Mines developed by the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Jody Williams and those who worked with her.
With modifications it can work for FACE. Using this process, the ICBL secured a treaty that was their goal, and the process continues as more signatories are added and compliance is monitored. Ms. Williams called the process a way to create "massively distributed collaboration." This is precisely what is needed. The concept is explored in detail in Banning Landmines: disarmament, diplomacy, and human security (Williams et al. 2008). Chapters detail how the process worked and even the problems it encountered.
Potential FACE partners can get a sense of how their movement would be structured and how their particular organization would fit in from the "keys to success" described by Williams and Goose (2008). I've summarized these here:
From the bottom, there is no limit to the number of grass roots partners that can provide input at local, regional, national, or global meetings. Grass roots input could further be ensured if all individuals would elect the members of the final decision-making council.
Further, by stipulating that final decisions about actions to be embraced by all FACE member organizations are to be decided by agreement among a council composed of roughly equal numbers of women and men, the process can also ensure that 1) no one individual, or small set of individuals, can dominate decisions, 2) the probability will be high that the bias toward nonviolence and collaboration will be maintained over the long period likely required to achieve this enormous shift, and 3) loss of any one individual won't cripple or end the project.
Another desirable feature of the ICBL process is that partners do not change anything they are doing. Whatever plans and projects they have now or that they create as the years pass are totally up to them. What they gain by joining forces is the ability to let others know what they are doing, and when interests overlap withother groups, recruit assistance from partners from all divisions. Their membership should also grow since people who want to be a part of this exciting and historical movement will generally participate by becoming a member of one or more partner organizations.
FACE will require the services of many experts, including skilled fund-raisers. Initially, funding needs will be modest, for rent, staff, publicity, and communication. Over time, as the movement builds, funding requirements will grow. With successes, funding sources will also grow. Financial needs will doubtless become substantial, but to succeed in creating the massive, comprehensive, global, cultural shift we are aiming for, the global community must willingly make the necessary financial and emotional investment. Permit two clichés: There is no free lunch, and, You get what you pay for.
Physical conferences allow for face-to-face sharing of ideas and successes, but sophisticated applications for teleconferencing and online meeting software would also allow partners to network via virtual meetings without excessive travel expenses. Social networking applications would allow campaign facilitators to keep the partners and the media aware of the campaign's status at all times.
To determine the most effective course of action, the movement should go high-tech. The facilitators can task topnotch systems analysts to determine how the divisions (cornerstone efforts) can best be coordinated so their work is synergistic, what are weak points of the war system toward which the movement should direct attention, and in what order. The movement can also use the technique of "crowdsourcing"—calling on ordinary citizens to volunteer their help in addressing this complicated problem—to ask how best to foster reinforcing interactions between the movement's cornerstone areas of focus.
Refining working methods and procedures constitute an early task for the organizations and individuals that create the FACE partnership—the project's NASA. Who would these founding fathers and mothers be? Surely this founding group should include any willing organization already focused on creating a global paradigm shift.
Women's organizations focused on peace and poverty issues would also be attracted to join as founding partners: organizations like Code Pink, Global Fund for Women, Institute for Inclusive Security, Millennia2015.org, Peace X Peace, Soroptimists, UN Women, Voices of Women, Women for Women, Women's Actions for New Directions, Women's International League of Peace and Freedom.
Every peace institute around the globe, governmental or private, would surely want to be a partner. Faith groups that have already rejected any participation in violence and war and which are able to work with people of other faiths are natural allies and possible founding partners: Bahai, Quakers, perhaps Jehovah's Witnesses. Humanist organizations on all continents, dedicated to advancing the wellbeing of humanity, would be natural partners and excellent founding partners.
The list of groups, large and small, that could conceivably become founding or general partners is enormous.
Taking our cue from the ICBL process, what is required is that a core set of partners must be passionately and irrevocably committed to shaping this shift, for our children, and using all nonviolent means possible, and applying the force of nonviolent direct action (Obstructive Program-Hand, 2010; Sharp 2005).
Esprit de Corps – Getting and Staying in Touch with our Female Side
To shift the current paradigm from domination by force to one that abhors violence, FACE's underlying esprit de corps must spring from the female side of our biology. What that refers to is the fact that it is the femalae side of human nature that most strongly favors nonviolence (Hand 2003, 2011). It is also the side most consistently concerned with community, family, and children's wellbeing.
Ideally the movement would be officially constructed to ensure that through the years, the majority of the top leadership remains gender balanced or even slightly female. Failing that, the historical record indicates, and our biology dictates, that the movement will ultimately slip back under the sway of urges for domination and control coming from the male side of our biology, and concern for children's wellbeing, the shared passion that has the power to unite all members of the campaign, will eventually fade. Other interests will begin to influence decision-making about what goals to tackle and how to tackle them. Urges to dominate decision-making by a few will take over. As a rsult, splintering of the movement will occur (Hand 2003, 2005e). Over time, ignoring this fact of our nature has the potential to prevent success in what will be a major struggle.
Women on the Front Lines
"Changing the Chemistry of Nonviolent Direct Action: Women on the Front Lines" (Hand 2011) explores why movements committed to social transformation using nonviolent means might benefit from adopting a radical change in tactics whenever feasible and appropriate. As real-world examples, study the peace campaign of the Liberian Women's Peace Movement (Disney & Riticker 2008; "Pray the Devil Back to Hell") and also the successful U.S. women's movement to secure the vote.
Rather than having men on the front lines of marches, sit-ins, demonstrations, work-stoppages and so on, consider what happens if instead women are up front, or at least, more women than men are up front. This tactic would be particularly useful in situtions where conflict with authorities is to be expected. It immediatley alters the conflict chemistry. The context is no longer a male contest of wills, which provokes emotions that easily escalate into violence. Instead, men who are the enforcers of the system are facing, and threatening, women: their mothers, grandmothers, sisters, and daughters, whose goal is to foster conditions favoring peace and security for children, something very hard to be against.
In a nonviolence movement, remaining nonviolent greatly magnifies the power of those seeking change. Thus as an added plus, this tactic does not require laborious training of men in how to respond nonviolently when they are attacked, something that is essential to all successful nonviolent protests using men.
Many if not most men and women will initially respond skeptically or even negatively to this reversal of traditional roles. A GPSC, however, that proposes to use nonviolent direct action as one tool of the movement should not automatically dismiss its potential for tactical advantage whenever feasible.
Aspects of Promotion and the Keys to Success
Using Media - Sir Richard Attenborough's film "Gandhi" shows the importance Mohandas Gandhi placed on using media to get out the word, not only to his followers but to the world, that change was coming to India. Other successful social change activists, for example the U.S. suffragist Alice Paul and her collaborators, also understood media power. These suffragists marched. They held the first picket in front of the U.S. White House. When newspapers reported that Alice was being force-fed in prison and all because she wanted the vote for women, it had an enormous galvanizing effect for her cause. In our age, the power of television and social media like Facebook and Twitter is so great that dictators under siege block access to them.
From its beginning, FACE must employ the best promotional and media experts it can afford to make the world know that change is coming, that there is a plan, and that action is under way. As years pass, sustained input to the media will keep the partners energized, recruit new followers, announce plans and successes to the world, and ultimately, such media will be the place to declare victory...goal achieved! Use them all: print media, films, TV, social networks, and networking and information sources not yet invented. From the very beginning, hire, or recruit, the best!
Name – "Framing" refers to the power of words to advance a cause or idea or even to sell a product. Use the wrong words and you hurt or even fatally undermine your cause. Since the GPSC must be a peoples' cause, not the cause of elitists, giving the GPSC a high falutin, elitist name will weigh it down with boots of lead rather than empower it with broad wings. Calling it the Global Paradigm Shift Campaign is an obvious dud. Even calling it A People's Movement is vague, not something to capture attention and command passion, even lead to a willingness to make sacrifices to achieve it.
Ideally a GPSC name should be integral to its focus, a constant reminder. A group of AFWW thinkers proposed the name I've used here: FACE. For All Children Everywhere: a Partnership for Nonviolence and the Prevention of War.
If FACE isn't selected by the movement's founders, whatever name is chosen should convey the movement's purpose and optimism. The name should reach inside, touch hearts, resonate at the deepest possible positive psychological level, and convey positivity. It should say what the movement is for....not what the movement is against.
Focus - One of the weaknesses of many social movements is lack of focus. There are so many problems. All people want to have their problem addressed. Meetings become a deluge of ideas, solutions, and projects...the majority of which are never acted upon. The movement proposed here has a narrow focus, although as described, the ramifications are vast: it is a movement using nonviolence to abolish war by creating an enforceable, global peace system. The intention is the prevention of war in order to create safe, secure, and healthy places in which to live and raise children. While its many partners have other concerns, this is FACE's singular goal. Creating secure and nurturing communities for our children. That is a cause that can unite millions across all political, religious, class and national barriers!
Now imagine people observing a FACE celebration or rally with the media in attendance. First, they always see a banner emblazoned with the words "From Violence to Peace." The participants carry signs or chant to signify the particular cause (division focus) being addressed that day: it might be, Save our Forest, or No More War, or Democracy Now, End Human Trafficking, No More Nukes, Educate our Children, or Buy Local Products! All the participants wear something—caps, T-shirts, headbands, or armbands for example—with the letters FACE on them. In a different context, say a nonviolent protest action, imagine people, and the media, observing participants who all wear headbands bearing the letters FACE.
In all instances the observers ask, "What does FACE stand for?" The answer, "For All Children Everywhere," would surely lead them to ask further questions, including, "What exactly is it you intend to do for all children, and how does this event fit into the plan?" This becomes a moment for recruiting.
The Luminaries - Just as an emotionally compelling name and singular focus are key to promotion, so are stars. Past successful and lasting social-change campaigns often had a luminary at their heart. Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. are famous examples. Stars are key to raising substantial financial resources. They are hooks where the media can attach their stories. They are role models and inspiration for all participants, and attractors of possible recruits.
Global Zero, a contemporary campaign, makes good use of high profile people. This effort seeks reduction and ultimate elimination of nuclear weapons. Visit their website (www.GlobalZero.org) and you find a list of over 100 "signatories," all influential people and many genuine luminaries like Queen Noor of Jordan, former presidents of their countries Jimmy Carter, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Mary Robinson, entrepreneur Richard Branson, actor Michael Douglas, and Nobel Prize Laureate Muhammad Yunus. The GPSC must use this same approach.
The day-to-day work will be done by legions of organizations headed by people of great dedication and talent ... but who have no global platform. Unless the movement recruits from the beginning at least a handful of famous and well-respected men and women to be its face and voice to the world community, it is unlikely to break through age-old habits of thought to reach hearts and minds with the possibility, the hope, that this vast change can actually happen.
Furthermore, at minimum, for reasons described above, slightly more than half of these luminaries, and those who take their places over the years, must be women. The call to make this change for our children can be especially powerfully made if it comes from mothers, grandmothers, daughters, aunts, and sisters...not just fathers, uncles, sons, and brothers.
Founding Partner Organizations – Ideally, in addition to luminaries there would initially be, at minimum, partners from at least two organizations representing each focus area/cornerstone of the campaign, preferably organizations with huge mailing lists and key contacts. The founding organizations will most likely be ones which already have a global vision and are working to create a more just, egalitarian, nonviolent, and ecologically sustainable future.
Coming Together – When will these essential leaders awaken to this monumental, historical challenge? Will they in fact awaken? Or will the moment for this Great Paradigm Shift pass unrealized? FACE's founders are the seed around which the FACE pearl will grow. As a rough estimate, when five luminaries and two major organizations from each of the nine major areas of focus have solidified their commitment, FACE will be birthed and begin to grow. In 1848, the founding mothers of the U.S. women's suffragist movement convened at the famous Seneca Falls meeting to decide how to proceed. They created a manifesto, inspired by the U.S. Declaration of Independence, and most of the attendees signed it. And then they got down to work. Roughly 70 years later, victory came as a women's movement supported through the years by men of good will celebrated the empowering amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The U.S. civil rights movement didn't start with Martin Luther King, Jr. He became the face and voice after others approached him, dedicated individuals already deeply involved in the struggle to end segregation who understood that they needed a powerful representative.
How would the founding fathers and mothers of the FACE campaign coalesce? Perhaps heads of organizations focused on hastening a positive, global paradigm shift might convene to adopt the working concept pioneered by the ICBL, and then reach out to recruit essential luminaries. Or perhaps luminaries and heads of groups belonging to one or more of the nine cornerstone areas of concern would find each other at meetings where their paths naturally cross, like the Davos World Economic Forum. However it happens, the luminaries and founding partner organizations will need to hold their version of a Seneca Falls, out of which a working manifesto evolves. I not only hope this awakening will come to pass, but that a FACE movement will arise soon enough for me to rejoice in it.
Launch - The next step would logically involve months—or perhaps one or even if necessary, two years -- during which the founders would lay the groundwork for launch day. They would reach out to as many organizations as possible around the globe, letting those groups know that a global launch is scheduled for such-and-such a date. They would explain what "spectacular event" the FACE luminaries and core partners themselves are planning for that day, perhaps a global march for nonviolence or an around-the-world, a let's-end-war-for-the-sake-of-all-children concert.
They would ask this multitude of organizations and their members to participate on that day in whatever way they choose. Those willing to be partners would agree to carry the FACE banner and wear the movement's logo. The global media would be notified. Then imagine the impact when, on the same day all over the globe, this movement announces that business as usual is OVER! That change has come. That this is a movement to shape history, to dismantle the war machine, to create a new perception of how to live in peace with each other and in harmony with our planet, and that the movement invites everyone willing to agree to the manifesto to join the cause.
At the time of this writing (2019) a recent massive, daylong concert was held in New York's Central Park dedicated to highlighting the need for the global community to unite and act to stem the causes of climate change. A movement similarly dedicated to ending war is equally possible, in fact could be part of the movement to deal with climate change given that resources spent on wars could be shifted instead to efforts needed to deal with the changes the climate crises is going to inflict.
Cornerstone Leaders and Facilitators – As with the ICBL, the movement will need facilitators, the small but dedicated staff at the project's heart. These facilitators, chosen by the founders, would be experienced heads of organizations or representatives of organizations willing to expend time and effort, plus some paid full-time staff, plus volunteers. Like the ICBL facilitators, these individuals are the movement's enablers, overseeing coordination of meetings between the partners, day to day communications, and outreach. They give the movement a unified voice to speak to authority figures, institutions, and the media. An important part of their job will be promotion.
Subcontractors - Ultimately the movement, a peoples' movement, must be given force by the energy, passion, and work of legions of citizens on every continent, in as many nations as possible and of every religion, political affiliation, and philosophy—the project's indispensable subcontractors. These legions are out there, waiting to be united and inspired to change the future for the sake of their children. By word-of-mouth, the world's most powerful promotional engine, these legions will be the movement's greatest promoters.
How the Shift Will Look Over Time
Shortly after launch, the global community must see action, perhaps FACE rallies or demonstrations monthly for the next year. This obviously will require a lot of advance planning.
And very soon they must see results. Intermediate goals must be achieved. A key to achieving such success will be that all of the allied partners apply pressure by whatever means they choose to achieve an agreed upon shared goal, a goal carefully chosen to be something that could be accomplished. When the goal is achieved, the partners join in highly visible celebrations. The strategy is, as much as possible, to go from victory to victory. Well publicized successes will recruit more partners and retain the passions of participants.
The ICBL process, with it flexible local, regional, topic-based, national, and international gatherings, is the model by which the partners would settle on shared intermediate objectives. At annual meetings, partners from different areas of concern would use a couple of preliminary days to network with other partners whose efforts are similar. Their primary task, however, would be to draw up a short list, from their perspective, of projects they believe would be suitable for the entire FACE enterprise to adopt for the next year, or for a few years.
These focus divisions would then present--via email or other means to the entire body of partners' representatives--their list of suggested projects and the rationale for how each project would most powerfully advance the movement's long term goal.
After reflection and consultation, all of the partners would then vote to select five or ten behind which they would willingly throw their support.
Finally, the 10 to 15 top choices would be submitted to an elected Council for a final decision on which one, or few, the entire FACE alliance would pursue. The results would be made available to the media for the widest possible distribution, to let the global community know where exactly this paradigm shift movement is turning its laser light.
Every five years a Grand Assembly of all partners could be convened in person, to celebrate successes, reassess the projects direction, and equally important, to capture the attention of all possible media.
Patience and Perserverance. It would be a serious tactical blunder to suggest to potential partners, recruits, and especially the media that this Great Change will happen quickly. Paradigms of this magnitude do not shift quickly. Indeed, sometimes a necessary part of the process is that people unable to let go of the old paradigm die. Many of those reading these words certainly will not live to see victory, including the author.
Cultures and paradigms do change, though, and if enough pressure is applied and citizens are favorable to the shift being offered, paradigms can change remarkably quickly (Hand 2010). If we devote the necessary financial and human resources to it, we could end the practice of war in two generations or less. And as we work to shape that better future, we can raise awareness and hope and promote shifts in thinking and belief to ones that are in alignment with humanism and the values expressed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These lie at the heart of the United Nations, the world's best effort to date to gift our children with a future liberated from war.
Can we adapt, can we change? We can if we have the will to make it so. Perhaps the single most uplifting effect a Global Paradigm Shift movement will have is simply to let the people know that change is in fact possible. The movement can provide a vision of a common cause, a grand and historic shared goal that is greater than self to which we can call our young people. It will offer to the world a powerful message of intent to channel our global ethos in the direction we choose, inspired by a sense of shared responsibility and love for our children. A shift that might be called The Nonviolence Revolution.
SHAPING HISTORY TO ABOLISH WAR
I am profoundly grateful for the editing of two friends and colleagues, Peggy Lang and Judith Levine. Their writing skills, and most especially their challenging dialogue with me about ideas in the paper, especially when they disagreed with me, contributed mightily to its improvement. Also adding important feedback were Wendy Hong, Manuel Manga, and Philip Vergragt, To all, my grateful thanks.
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About the Author
Dr. Judith L. Hand. Dr. Hand earned her Ph.D. in biology from UCLA. Her studies included animal behavior and primatology. After completing a Smithsonian Post-doctoral Fellowship at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., she returned to UCLA as a research associate and lecturer. Her undergraduate major was in cultural anthropology. She worked as a technician in neurophysiology laboratories at UCLA and the Max Planck Institute, in Munich, Germany. As a student of animal communication, she is the author of several books and scientific papers on the subject of social conflict resolution.