Peace Action has a position on conflict resolution passed at the 1993
Congress. It states: "Peace Action works toward the goal of a world without
war in which conflicts are resolved nonviolently. Therefore, our policy
supports only non-military solutions to global problems."
At the time of the debate, the authors of the resolution were asked
resolution were passed, would that mean Peace Action could not
endorse UN Peacekeeping missions. The authors said that was true.
The resolution passed.
At the last Executive Committee meeting we discussed the matter of
"Peacekeeping" troops in Kosovo and the ExCom reaffirmed that the
Congress resolution remains the policy of the organization since the
Congress is the highest policy making branch of our organization.
I have not seen any proposed statement and do not know who is
proposing backing UN Peacekeepers. But any position Peace Action
takes must be compatible with the resolution passed by the Congress.
I favor the above position for several reasons. First of all there is
Peacekeeping mission to call upon. There are only the armies of national
states, all of which support the national interests of those states. Second,
military solutions don't solve conflicts. Armies are authoritarian and
hierarchical. Use of armies validates the view that might makes right and
glorifies the strong. Instead, we need to champion democracy, consensus,
and creative conflict resolution, and to respect the different contributions that
people can make to creating a peaceful world. Third, there are conflicts
raging all around the world which our members feel strongly about. We must
not let our organization get completely focused on the hot spot that is
headlined today. Plunging Peace Action into an internal debate about armies
under UN Command occupying Kosovo is not a good use of our time. This is
especially true since we have not addressed the war Turkey is waging against
the Kurds, the many conflicts in Africa, the crisis in Indonesia, Mexico,
ETC. Are we to figure out solutions for these conflicts too?
The injustice in the world, fostered by the United States and other
governments, is creating horrible conflicts around the world. It is frustrating
not to have the peace movement we need to turn our country's foreign policy
around. We must use every opportunity to build the movement we need and
not get stuck trying to figure out ways to clean up the messes caused by the
leaders of today's nation states.
In today's Sacramento BEE, in a story carried over from the front page,
Gordon Clark was quoted speaking for Peace Action, "If bombing is NATO's
answer, it will never solve the problem. Our main message is there is always
an alternative." I was proud of the position he conveyed. I believe Peace
Action has a program which will bring a safer, more secure world and that is
what we should spend our energy on.
Jo Ann Fuller
National Board Member, Peace Action