American Friends Service Committee
Patrica Watson, Editor
Sara Burke, Assistant Editor
Pat Farren, Founding Editor
2161 Massachusetts Ave.
Peacework has been published monthly since 1972, intended to serve as a source of dependable information to those who strive for peace and justice and are committed to furthering the nonviolent social change necessary to achieve them. Rooted in Quaker values and informed by AFSC experience and initiatives, Peacework offers a forum for organizers, fostering coalition-building and teaching the methods and strategies that work in the global and local community. Peacework seeks to serve as an incubator for social transformation, introducing a younger generation to a deeper analysis of problems and issues, reminding and re-inspiring long-term activists, encouraging the generations to listen to each other, and creating space for the voices of the disenfranchised.
Views expressed are those of the authors, not necessarily of the AFSC.
From the editor's desk
We thought we had given you the "Peacework take" on the millennium last month, with its odometer-like subtitle: December 1999/January 2000. But now that we are in the fabled Year 2000, and looking over the list of articles that have assembled themselves for this February issue, it seems as if we have a fairly cosmic spectrum once again.
Bill Strickland accepted our invitation--to look at the century past and think about things to come--with a piece of which he himself suggested we might want to have our lawyers check for libel. We demurred, knowing that our readers will take him to task if they disapprove of his take on things. Anne Braden reaffirms W.E.B. Du Bois' 100-year-old analysis of the "American dilemma." Things haven't changed much in recent years. But drawing on her lifetime of experience opposing racism and organizing for justice, she offers some practical advice which even the timid can act on.
If we grant these two their say, what comes next is no surprise; bad policy, poor memory, and bankrupt ethics have direct consequences for people's lives. Flawed vision will hurt everyone eventually; those furthest down the scale--the utterly poor, people who live in countries we have designated our "enemy," soldiers obliged to obey orders, the planet itself--just experience that hurt first. Thus the articles on criminalization of homelesness and on the use of toxic weapons.
Jim Carroll looks at one sound-bite issue--gays in the military--and sees its relevance to the fundamental civic culture of the nation. "America's nobility lies in its having found ways to expand the dream of equality in every generation." Cede that away, relinquish civilian control of the military, he says, and you lose everything worth keeping.
These issues of race, poverty, and locus of power are at the heart of the clash over the World Trade Organization. And activist can take heart; clearly Seattle is one place where "we won one." Starhawk, just out of jail, gives us a users' manual for organizing a revolution. To veterans of the struggles over civil rights, Vietnam, Seabrook, and the like, this is familiar ground. Used well, these methods have proved powerful and are worth remembering. Mike Prokosch, himself deeply immersed in the day-to-day work, reminds us that activists also have to keep on doing the 'vision thing'--the analysis, the long-term planning, the listening and talking across differences.
Of many, we've settled on two troubled spots this month--Chechnya and Palestine. Peter Jarman offers a short history lesson on Chechnya, an area many of us cannot place on a map with any assurance, but where the misery of residents and foot soldiers is fresh and ageless. Jeff Halper and Doug Hostetter take us behind the headlines and campaign oratory to look for the real ingredients necessary for anything approaching long-term peace in a tortured place.
And finally, a word from outer space. It's no surprise that we offer you a critical analysis of the National Missile Defense plan. But it's scary to read that, with the exception of Bill Bradley, those who seek to be president, to a man--and they are all men--think it's fine. Scarier still the fact that, of the nations of the world, only two --Israel and the US--are unwilling to recognize "the common interest of all mankind in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes." Cosmic work for the 21st century.