Peace Initiatives Guide
Find yourself a truly peaceful cause. Involve yourself in initiatives that prevent crimes against people’s lives. Invest your resources into real programmes, products and services aimed at stopping legal violence, maiming and murder.
Under «legal violence...» here and further on refers to the training and usage of security forces (the army, police, special services, justice system etc.), whose central tool is the threat of violence and directly inflicted injury and death. But also the production, use and sale of lethal and harmful weapons and other means of destruction.
Under «real programmes...» is nonviolence from words to acts: if people don’t wish to need and participate in the killing of other people for the protection of their own lives, territories and orders, they search for and find other methods of protection.
They have the signs of peace initiatives, but are not included in this list (click to expand):
Legal protectionThe protection of citizens' rights in any state is based on forceful methods and any "civilised" court decision is carried out mostly due to the prospect of punishment for insubordination and not due to the trust and respect between people.
Anti-war initiativesThe very problem of ensuring security via legal threats, maiming and murder of people by the army, police, special services, justice system etc. is pushed aside. They are predominantly symbolic in nature and do not prevent murders neither locally nor systematically and they rarely lead to the emergence of specific peacekeeping programmes and products.
Nonviolent resistanceIt is extremely rare that the desire for protection is separated from murder. It manifests itself more often when it becomes bad for people rather when it is done unto someone else.
International and national politicsA large number of cases require qualified assessment and analysis of consequences in order to actually be considered "peaceful solutions". Regular use of the power resource.
Medical and humanitarian missionsElimination of the consequences of conflicts, and not the causes (up to the forbidding of their discussion). Close co-operation with the armed forces, their training and instruction.
Where to start
If you do not want your effort and investments in peace initiatives to be accompanied by the crimes of the state and society then you should start by creating a reasonable distance from them (see Nonviolence - where to begin).
Otherwise you will be personally and daily involved in violence against people as:
- Accomplice - a person whose sufferance and implicit consent agrees to threats of violence, murder, maiming and torture
- Co-govenor - sharing the responsibility for the state’s crimes and those of civil society through citizenship
- Sponsor - providing the means to maintain the violent apparatus through taxes, excise duties, duties etc.
- Victim - when faced with unselectable professional aggression by security forces, who are hardly capable of empathy and compassion
- Seducer - demonstrating the allowance for and acceptability of staying a long time in a society of violence that surrounds you (including children)
Additionally, daily existence with violence, even unwillingly and subtly, gradually leads a person to moral degradation, forcing them to "not notice", get accustomed to or justify the murder and maiming of people in order to protect their lives, homeland and loved ones.
Practices of humility and kindness
Under "humility" here and afterwards it is understood, obviously, not as reconciliation with evil, but the ability to relate to every person with peace, independent of their words and actions. Humility stops the spread of evil, not allowing it to pass from one person to another. It is a skill, e.g. can be developed with the correct approach and due diligence. However, it is commonly seen not as a personality trait, but rather as a process of becoming, with both ups and downs.
- Humility in the Christian sense. It is the result of a lifestyle based on love for God through Christ and care for loved ones. The humble Christian believes in eternal life (from which words and actions come) and do not expect to be rewarded in this earthly life. The theory is learnt through the Gospel and practiced by prayer, austerity and work. Deeper faith, by all accounts, seems to promote greater humility – however, even the first steps towards Christ can be fruitful:
- Accepting Him as teacher
- Relying on Him as prophet
- Believing in Him as the son of God and the Saviour
- Psychological techniques and practices (managing emotions, self-control, conflict free communication, Vl. Levi and others)
- Changing the circle of communication, limiting or increasing the amount of contacts (depending on the type of person and situation)
- Independence and autonomous lifestyle, see Lifestyle
- Neurological therapy, psychotherapy, psychological correction
Some additional techniques that produce a state of rest can be found in several of the practices of South-East Asian religions (Buddhism, Jainism, Hinduism): meditation, yoga etc. In order to excess aggression you can successfully use all kinds of non-competitive physical activities (from training and strengthening your health to any creative physical work).
Methods of protection
Methods of protection against physical aggression can be divided into 2 types of results:
- Weakening of the attacker - giving a quick result, but has negative long-term consequences (for example: cold weapons and firearms)
- Strengthening of the attacker - giving a slow result, but has positive long-term consequences (for example: humility, enlightenment, education)
The impact, which will be discussed below, is of the first type: they weaken the attacker both physically and mentally. But, at the same time, they aim to do this carefully to his life and his health – as much as is possible.
Individual means of protection
- Single combat focused on protection (aikido, sambo (not combat) etc.)
- Individual special equipment (pepper, gas, light, sound etc.)
- Technical methods: beacons/trackers, any type of alarm (people/animals, house/yard/office, road/areas), repellents (acoustics etc.)
- Mechanical means of passive protection (locks, fences, obstacles etc.)
Collective methods of protection
The list of research, development and samples of non-lethal methods of protection is detailed in the reports:
- European Working Group on Non-Lethal Weapons (1998 -)
- Bradford Non-Lethal Weapons Research Project (1997-2007)
They are not peace initiatives in the full sense of the phrase as, in a significant number of cases:
- They are designed as a weapon, not as a method of defence – but as a result they can be used for attacks
- They are not guaranteed to be non-traumatic and non-fatal
- The main customer and sponsor is the state (it is impossible to control, they can and will be used for repression)
- Are developed in the same place and with the same specialists as traditional types of weapon (lack of trust)
Additionally – passive protection (shelters and infrastructures). Separately – places of detention, see Education and upbringing.
Education and upbringing
The most important part of any peaceful educational process is, among others, the formation of students’ feelings of rejection and unacceptability methods of force and protection used officially. “Peaceful learning”, which allows legalised violence, actually lies to and disorientates students instead of forming a concrete peaceful worldview.
Pedagogical activities (including methodology, training and the process itself), aims at creating a peaceful coexistence and can be conditionally attributed to two large age groups, and also to a separate group of people with deviant behaviour:
- Children. Forms of training:
- The least effective - one-time lessons (lessons on kindness, forgiveness, tolerance, gratitude)
- Effective - regular practical lessons with a teacher-psychologist (to train empathy, to help with irritability, to develop skills for peacefully resolving controversial situations)
- The most effective - complex programmes/methods/systems (Montessori pedagogy, Scandinavian education system etc.)
- Youths and adults. Format of education – courses/training:
- Direction of general education and self-education, see Enlightenment, Practices of humility and kindness
- Preparation for external activities (pedagogy of Maralov and others, pedagogy and research of the Global Campaign for Peace Education), see also Conflict resolution
A perspective direction is the adaptation of former security forces, including their peaceful complex socialisation and direct participation in helping those affected by their actions.
Laws and rights
Not one of the initiatives listed below is "peaceful" in the full sense of the word, since any right requires power to protect itself. Nonetheless, as the first steps:
- Application of actual forms of taxation and tax resistance:
- "tax sovereignty" - is the combination of Voluntary taxation and Tax choice mechanisms, presupposing the ability to choose concrete taxes (or their categories) for payment, up to the point of complete refusal. Similarly, the amount of government services correlates to the sum received. This allows for the exclusion of the power block and related parts of industry, science and education from a particular person’s expenses (and also other unacceptable types of expenses).
- Refusal to provide the power block within the current taxation system (in the case of when it is possible to clearly distinguish between a given part of the costs in the entire tax sum), see Conscientious objection to military taxation
- Creation of a peaceful tax fund from the taxpayers’ funds, see above
- The realisation of a peaceful tax mechanism by analogy with ACS (alternative Civil Service), see Civil Peace Tax
- The restriction of security forces on duty, equipment and weapons. Examples of restriction: there are 18 countries in the world where police do not carry weapons (including Norway, Great Britain, Ireland, Iceland, New Zealand).
- Freedom to denounce citizenship at birth. Examples of successful (USA) и unsuccessful (Russia) cases. Renunciation of citizenship without the guarantee of another citizenship cannot be allowed if the state has signed or guided by the European Convention on Citizenship and/or the UN Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.
- Protection of rights of conscientious objectors from military service on the grounds of faith and conscience. Local legal agencies and specialist not-for-profit organisations (if there is an applicable justice system in the state) or political representatives, activites and press (in the absence of such a system).
And also the gradual refusal of development of institutions, the strengthening of which weakens the spiritual closeness between people and removes their spiritual unity:
- The institution of democracy as a form of social structure, generating resentment, disturbance and irritability (up to anger) in the minority who are forced to obey the decision of the majority.
- The institution of power, the current powers of which (sentencing people to death) must be reduced to administrative-economic functions, but the decisions should only be as advice.
- The institution of rights, trying to replace love with laws.
The tendencies indicated above can only be observed on the scale of small communities formed under the influence of faith, ideas or in a natural way, see Lifestyle.
Sustainable 21st century products of education are orientated on the meeting point between the history of non-violence (the beginning stage) and its current tendencies (the main stage):
- Literature, opening up new names and approaches to non-violence (books and publications of Center for Global Nonkilling, Beyond violence etc.)
- Regular press and internet publications (public organisation bulletins, the Alternative etc.)
- Video and audio content (TV shows, Youtube, podcasts)
Economy and business
An effective solution to the problem of the mass social-economic employment of active young men:
- With the need for physical expression
- With the need for external attributes of respect/recognition and self-worth
- With the need for leadership and/or power
- With a tendency to unite groups, create a hierarchy, and obey orders
Examples: civil protection organisations (emergency prevention and response), repair-construction teams (in compliance with the quality standards of residential and non-residential housing, infrastructure etc.), manual labour etc.
Peace-making deals with conflicts at the crux of which, as a rule, are very base reasons: envy, vanity, a feeling of national superiority etc. Therefore, a key skill of a peacemaker will be to not succumb to anger and despair when in daily contact with human vices and weaknesses.
At the same, even the experienced peacemaker cannot ensure that with his meditation (and sometimes even just with his presence) he will not create, provoke or lay the foundation for possibly even greater and worse troubles. Therefore, in the real world, peace-making often comes down to the resolution of conflicts “here and now” without the guarantee of it happening again.
- Practical conflictology. The development and application of verbal and physical interaction skills (sources: life experience, talent, specialist training):
- Development of the skill of humanity (see Practices of humility and kindness) into the skill of peaceful resolution of domestic arguments, claims and contradictions
- Conflictology in the collective (psychologists/conflictologists/facilitators/mediators, an example of the training Deep Democracy Institute)
- Global conflict management:
Attention! Be careful with any social group or people who put their own beliefs, views and ideals above kindness and charity; who adhere to single-sided kindness (aimed only at members of the collective) and who are extremely media orientated or are the opposite, closed-off.
Communities built on the principles of autonomy, non-violence, austerity/modernity/unpretentiousness and distance from temptation:
- Spiritual and practical direction: Tolstoyans etc.
- Religious and practical direction: Amish, Mennonites, Dukhobors, Quakers, the Lapkin community etc.
- Residents of territories and settlements with an organic peaceful lifestyle (and corresponding worldview)
- Other communities, groups, family, individuals