Ackerman, P., & DuVall, J. (2000). A force more powerful: A century of nonviolent conflict. New York: St. Martin's Press.
"People power in the twentieth century did not grow out of the barrel of a gun."
A Force More Powerful describes the 20th century as a period of conflicts in which nonviolence has been used as a source of strength and might for groups of people to fight against oppressive forces. Whether the desired ends have been to gain denied rights, to resist undesirable occupation or rule, or to transition from one form of government to another, nonviolence has an overlooked history that has been in many instances successful and in all instances insightful. Fifteen historical cases of the successes and failures of movements that opted to use nonviolence as a strategy are covered, from the most well known and organized cases such as Gandhi leading the people of India in mass civil disobedience, to lesser known and less organized instances like Las Madres de la Plaza de Mayo, mothers of sons who had disappeared, or were taken, under a military junta in Argentina. Each of these cases show that the power of one group requires the subordination of another. Violence is the means of those in power to demand obedience and subordination from subjects, whereas nonviolence provides power to the people to resist and not cooperate with those oppressive forces. As history continues to unfold, nonviolence will hopefully continue to play a part in determining our collective future as its successes become more exposed and the idea of the violent ruler and the obedient ruled becomes an obsolete form of governance.
Addams, J., Balch, E. G., & Hamilton, A. (2003). Women at the Hague: The International Congress of Women and its results. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press.
"Peace is the highest effort of the human brain applied to the organisation of the life and being of the peoples of the world on the basis of cooperation." - Emmeline Pethick Lawrence
Women at the Hague is the journalistic account of Jane Addams, Emily Green Balch, both of whom are Nobel Peace Prize winners, and Alice Hamilton regarding their international travels and experiences as envoys of peace during the International Congress of Women in 1915. Also included is an extensive introduction by Harriet Hyman Alonso, which provides insight into the text of the book as well as a historical background of the three women and the effect that the experience had on their lives as pacifists and leaders in the realm of peace. The role of women as peace leaders is central to the theme of this work and the views expressed by the women are visionary, since much of what they describe is as relevant today as it was almost a century ago. Themes such as the generation gap between the old male war makers and the young soldiers fighting causes that may not be apparent to them, jingoism, nationalism, and objectification of the enemy in the press, and the strong sense from citizens from every participant country that their cause was one of self defense. Some of the outcomes of the congress include statements of international cooperation, democratic
control of foreign policy, and the enfranchisement of women on equal political footing with men, since their voice is the voice of peace. The groundwork laid by the International Congress of Women paved the way for the founding of the Women's International League of Peace and Freedom, of which Jane Addams was President and Emily Balch was secretary.
Aung San Suu Kyi, & Aris, M. (1991). Freedom from fear: And other writings. New York: Penguin Books.
"The quintessential revolution is that of the spirit, born of an intellectual conviction of the need for change in those mental attitudes and values which shape the course of a nation's development."
Freedom from Fear contains the writings of 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Burmese leader and political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi in two parts, a third section with four tributary essays from third party contributors, and a forward by Václav Havel. The first part of the book consist of writings of a more academic nature from her time spent in Oxford with her family. The first of these writings concerns her father, U Aung San, who originated and led the Burma Independence Army and liberated Burma from British rule in 1948 as well as led the country in a resistance against the Japanese before being assassinated. Also included are a history of Burma and the Burmese written for a young audience, a comparison of intellectual life between Burma and India, both countries having been colonized by Great Britain during different periods and adapted to British rule in divergent ways, and the literature in Burma which "reflected social conditions and political aspirations" of the Burmese. The second part of the book, which is probably of most interest to potential readers, contains her overtly political essays, letters, proposals, interviews and speeches during the period of her return to Burma and her entering the political stage between 1988 and 1989, as well as the statement made by the Norwegian Nobel Committee for the distribution of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize. The last part of the work contains reflections on the turbulent history of Burma and the life and development of Suu as a political leader. This book provides a background to the current situation in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) and its people, whose future is unknown, its present mired in opression and human rights abuses, and its fearless voice, Aung San Suu Kyi, remaining under indefinite house arrest for refusing cooperative exile.
Bstan-dzin-rgya-mtsho, & Cutler, H. C. (1998). The art of happiness: A handbook for living. New York: Riverhead Books.
"If you maintain a feeling of compassion, loving kindness, then something automatically opens your inner door. Through that, you can communicate much more easily with other people. And that feeling of warmth creates a kind of openness. You'll find that all human beings are just like you, so you'll be able to relate to them more easily."
The Art of Happiness is the product of a collaboration between His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler, M.D., which expounds upon on the notions of happiness, compassion, and the essential gentleness of human nature. Through a series of interviews, contemplations, and frank discussions, the pair attempt to bridge the gap between Eastern philosophy and Western culture, using the Buddhist principles of compassion and kindness as foundations for human happiness. Cutler and the Dalai Lama assert that it is in fact the purpose of life to seek and find happiness, as the Dalai Lama shares his knowledge about finding peace through training the mind and eliminating negative mind states. Together the pair discuss and seek solutions to the universal human sufferings of loneliness, anger, anxiety, and low self-esteem, with the overall purpose of helping the reader discover his own happiness, in order to create a more peaceful and content world.
Buck, P. S. (1954). My several worlds: A personal record. New York: Day.
“Deep in the hearts of the Chinese people the ancient ways still hold. It cannot be otherwise, for people do not change in a day or a night from what they have been for centuries. And long ago Confucius decreed that the ways of peace are the honorable ways, that the superior man does not fight and kill, but governs himself first and then his household and at last his nation.”
My Several Worlds is an autobiographical work that tells the stories and accounts the worlds of Pearl S. Buck, America‟s first woman Nobel Laureate in Literature. A daughter of American Presbyterian missionaries in China, Buck lived there through major historical and cultural events of the first half of the twentieth century: the overthrow of the last Chinese emperor, the first democratic movement in China, World War I, the Japanese invasion of China, the Chinese civil war, the rise of communism, and upon her subsequent move to the United States, World War II, the Cold War, and the nuclear threat. My Several Worlds weaves together stories of East and West, her philosophy and observations, her beliefs and her compassionate acts. A “citizen of the world,” Buck is among the first to bridge the cultural understanding between East and West, China and America. With words and through her humanitarian work and activism, she champions for peace and justice, women‟s rights, racial understanding, and the equality of all people. This book reveals masterful story-telling, keen observations, and compassionate insights into eastern and western cultures.
Caldicott, H. (1994). Nuclear madness: What you can do. New York: Norton.
"The controversy surrounding nuclear fission is the most important issue that all societies and the world at large have ever faced."
Nuclear Madness was originally written in 1978 by Dr. Helen Caldicott, an Australian born physician and activist for nuclear issues, and was updated in 1994. The overall picture that is painted by Caldicott is that we live in a world that allows a very young industry driven by profit, proliferating a power source that is not very well understood, to pollute our only life system and sow the seeds of devastation for generations to come. One specific example Caldicott discusses is that nuclear reactors produce plutonium on a daily basis and in great amounts. This material is the basis for creating nuclear weapons, is extremely deadly, and as of yet has no known permanent storage method, even though it will be on our planet for 500,000 years. To know about these dangers and bank on future generations to clean it up is one of the many reasons for the descriptive title of the book. This work provides a history of nuclear power that has been covered up and largely ignored by vested interests, has been abhorrently damaging to the environment and in effect to human life, and has had disasters fueled by ignorance and arrogance. The byproducts of nuclear power are dangerous and long-lasting in terms that can only be discussed in abstract terms, since to approach it concrete terms would sound like lunacy. Reading this book and understanding the potential and real consequences of progress in this arena reveal an underlying sickness and apathy that pervades modern society.
Camus, A. (1986). Neither victims nor executioners (Macdonald D., Trans.). Philadelphia, PA: New Society Publishers. (Original work published 1946)
“Over the expanse of five continents throughout the coming years an endless struggle is going to be pursued between violence and friendly persuasion… words are more powerful than munitions.”
Neither Victims nor Executioners eloquently explicates Camus's moral position on war and violence. Camus addresses the 20th century as the century of fear and analyzes the grave realities of World War II, the rise of totalitarianism, fascism, Nazi Germany, military powers, imperialism, tyranny, the nation state, technology, and violence in the name of Just War. Camus urges individuals to take personal responsibility, to challenge the justification and legitimization of war and violence, to engage in dialog/reflection/thinking, to break the cycle of violence by saying No to be either a victim or an executioner. Despite of accusations of being a Utopian, Camus holds firm his position that in a murderous world, people are to reflect on murder and make a choice. The 1986 edition also offers a precious introduction, “An Ethic Superior to Murder” by R. Scott Kennedy and Peter Klotz-Chamberlin that acknowledges Camus‟s foresight and relevancy from World War II to the War against Vietnam.
Capra, F., & Spretnak, C. (1984). Green politics: The global promise. London: Paladin Grafton Books.
"They are fighting to save the natural world and humankind, not through force but by awakening the consciousness that a new orientation for society is imperative."
Green Politics represents one of the earliest attempts to describe the Green Party and its development in West Germany as well as its spreading potential in other European countries and the United States. The politics of the Green Party are based on several "pillars," which include "ecology, social responsibility, grassroots democracy, nonviolence, decentralization, postpatriarchal perspectives, and spirituality," which are all seen as interrelated but also require distinct attention since they are divergent and neglected issues from the mainstream of political aims. The Greens, although divided ideologically within their own party and lacking cohesive, comprehensive and concrete planning upon the writing of this book, represent a political change in their approach to achieving sustainable peace, economic reform and addressing social issues including health care, minority and women's rights, education, and the role of science in society. They see social and ecological issues as systemically interlinked and see politics as a process best addressed through comprehensive participation and consensus building; a means of transformation rather than an ends to maintain status quo. This book portrays the somewhat uneasy but positive beginnings of a movement that has achieved a globally prominent status and continues to grow as environmental and social crises continue to proliferate.
Chavez, C., & Stavans, I. (2008). An organizer's tale: Speeches. New York: Penguin Books.
"It is my deepest belief that only by giving our lives do we find life."
An Organizer's Tale anthologizes many of the speeches and writings of Cesar Chavez, a farm laborer and union organizer for migrant farm workers in the United States. What can be gleaned from this collection is that Chavez' life focus had been on the unrepresented poor and exploited migrant farm workers who face constant health problems from working with chemically treated produce, work long hours for pittance pay, and suffer general exploitation from produce growers who count on their invisibility from the general population. It can be said that he organized behind the idea that all humans are equal, and that social justice is something to struggle for from the ground up with the continued involvement of the effected masses rather than the process getting mired in the ideologies, bureaucracy, and monetary requirements that halt the progress of other social organizations. His means of instigating change, whether through boycotts, strikes, or fasting, were always inspired by and carried out in the nonviolence inspired by the civil rights movement as well as the actions and teachings of Gandhi. This book is arranged chronologically and includes further readings, a timeline of Chavez' life, and a further collection of quotes from other sources.
Davis, A. P., & Selvidge, M. L. (2006). Women Nobel Peace Prize winners. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co.
“They work quietly and often without recognition to protect the environment, promote democracy, defend human rights and ensure equality between men and women. By doing so, they plant the seeds of peace.” Wangari Muta Maathai
Women Nobel Peace Prize Winners offers the life stories and struggles of 12 women Nobel Peace Prize winners in the years of 1905 to 2005, fighting government policies as well as the social, economic, political, and cultural conditions that cause war, inequality, loss of freedom and human dignity. The highest honor in peace recognizes women from diverse regions of the world -- Iran, Burma, Kenya, Guatemala, United States, Ireland, and etc. -- and for the diverse causes they fight: Jane Adams and Emily Green Balch for social reform, suffrage movement, and for their work with International Women‟s League for Peace and Freedom, Mother Teresa for her love and self sacrifice for the poor, Jody Williams for heading the Campaign to Ban Landmines, Alva Myrdal for her efforts to end nuclear armaments, Aung San Su Kyi for advocating for a free and democratic Burma under the threat of the state, Shirin Ebadi for working for equality in Iran while facing death threats, Wangari Muta Maathai for linking peace with natural resources, the environment/nature/the ecosystem. The anthology tells moving personal stories and struggles and triumph, and is objective and critical in discussing controversies and sharing multiple points of view surrounding some of these highly respected women.
Day, D. (1997). Loaves and fishes. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books.
"We were trying to overcome hatred with love, to understand the forces that made men what they are, to learn something of their backgrounds, their education to change them, if possible, from lions into lambs. It was a practice in loving, a learning to love, a paying of the cost of love."
Loaves and Fishes is Dorothy Day's account of the origins and growth of the Catholic Worker; a movement, a way of life, and a radical newspaper which she helped found along with Peter Maurin, whose ideologies, teachings, and livelihood she recounts as integral to the Workers' inspiration. The community, or rather the "slipshod group of individuals" as Day described the Workers to a future associate, came together for various individual reasons but stayed together to bring works of mercy to all of those in need. Some would stay for only a short period of time, while others would stay for the duration of their lives, all of whom were given the opportunity to commit their lives to a cause greater than themselves and be surrounded by a community full of faith and love. Day recounts myriad stories from hospitality houses and communal farms in New York, time spent prison for her public refusal to participate in mandatory air raid drills, and her day to day experiences with fellow Workers, patrons, poets, and priests. This work is a document, told in the most humble of voices, of voluntary poverty, pacifism, and endless love for her fellow man, founded in an unshakable faith.
Deming, B. (1995). Prisons that could not hold. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press.
"If we seek a world in which men do the least possible violence to each other (which is to state just the negative of it), then we are committed not simply to avoid violence ourselves, but to try and destroy patterns of violence that already exist."
Prisons That Could Not Hold contains writings from two experiences separated by 20 years of experiences, but brought together through Barbara Deming's life as an nonviolent activist for human rights. The first part of the book contains the contemplative writings of Deming while fasting in a jail cell for 27 days in Albany, Georgia with several other like minded people for participating in the Canada-to-Cuba Peace Walk of 1964. Deming's experience in jail, while filled with dirty mattresses, drunken, angry and distressed inmates, and oppressive authority figures, is one of unity, freedom, and love. And not just love for her fellow marchers, but a love for all of humanity, including her immediate oppressors on the other side of her cell's bars. Her noncooperation was not driven by spite, but rather by love and compassion that would not allow her to complacently accept violence, whether through racism, discrimination, or war. The second part of the book describes her experiences during a march of women, from the Seneca Women's Peace Encampment to a missile base in New York, in the form of a letter to a friend. Here we see a network of women, not to alienate the male gender, but to celebrate a bond that is often neglected in a patriarchal society. What becomes clear in her account is that through nonviolence and loving, cooperative community building, these women were not symbolically marching for peace, they were demonstrating their love and compassion for humanity and the acknowledging that violence aided by war and massive death dealing weapons hold the key to humanity's demise.
Dutta, K., & Robinson, A. (Eds.). (1997). Rabindranath Tagore: An anthology. New York: St. Martin's Griffin.
“I felt it to be my duty to warn the land of bushido, of great art and traditions of noble heroism, that this phase of scientific savagery which victimized western humanity and led their helpless masses to a moral cannibalism was never to be imitated by a virile people who had entered upon a glorious nascence and had every promise of a creative future before them.”
Rabindranath Tagore offers a wide selection from Tagore‟s memoirs, essays, letters, conversations, short stories, poems, songs, novel excerpts, and his travel writings about Europe, Japan, Java, Russia, Persia, and other countries. The anthology reveals Tagore‟s infectious spirit as an artist, his boundless love, poetic vision, passionate morality, profound insight, wisdom, and his keen appreciation for nature, culture, peoples, and world peace. Tagore was deeply engaged with the world and with the issues central to his time: war, imperialism, independence movement, nonviolent resistance, the terror of technological weapons, and the strife between East and West. He questions deeply about the power represented by war and imperialism: “It can sign peace treaties, but can it give peace?” He holds ardently a poetic vision for a world of peace, harmony, innocence, and justice.
Easwaran, E. (1999). Nonviolent soldier of Islam: Badshah Khan, a man to match his mountains. Tomales, CA: Nilgiri Press.
"The Prophet faced many handicaps, but he never gave up hope, and finally triumphed. He has left that lesson behind, and if we face our difficulties in the same spirit, I do not see why we should ever fail. The cause of freedom is always just and the fight against slavery is always noble."
Nonviolent Soldier of Islam is a biographical account of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, given the prestigious title of Badshah and known by many as the "frontier Gandhi" due to his geographic location and devotion to nonviolence. By utilizing the strength and faith of the Pathan (Pashtun) people, Badshah Khan, by requiring oaths of nonviolence, created an army that stood against the British not by countering violence with violence, but armed with "soul force", risked their lives in their struggle against oppression. In one of the more intense scenarios in the book, the Khudai Khidmatgars, literally translated as "servants of God," were gathered in the Qissa Khawani Bazaar to demonstrate against the arrest of their leaders. When confronted by British troops in armored vehicles ordering their dispersal, they refused, and unarmed they absorbed their bullets and attacks. The effect of their faithful strength and other resultant situations like it multiplied their support among the Indian people and helped in exposing the brutality of British Imperialism. Throughout his life, Khan held to his firm faith in nonviolence and was assured of its transformative effects through his own experience. Through his leadership, the Pathan people, classically known as violent and vengeful warriors, used their own strength, honor, and firm faith to transform their anger against oppressive forces from violent reaction to love in action through nonviolence. Khan died in 1988 under house arrest after having spent half of his life under arrest or in exile.
Frank, A. (1989). The diary of Anne Frank: The Critical Edition. New York: Doubleday.
"I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are still truly good at heart."
The Diary of Anne Frank is the writing of a Jewish girl who was forced into hiding after the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam. In the crammed annexe on her father‟s second floor warehouse, the family lived with another family, the van Daans, for twenty-five months before they were betrayed and Anne was deported to Auschwitz and then later died of typhus in the Bergen-Belson concentration camp. The diary reveals the spirited, lively, playful, and emotionally stormy lives of a young girl, as well as her keen descriptions and portraits of personalities, relationships, hopes, dreams, fear, and nightmares under persecution and racism. Most remarkable are the confession of her deepest thoughts and feelings and the conspicuous transformation of the diary-writer from a rebellious thirteen-year old into an astonishingly mature fifteen year old. The writing is lively, clear, vivid, and marvelously observant and deep. The Diary of Anne Frank is a testimony of the senselessness of the Holocaust that nipped the life of a remarkably gifted and innocent teenager, one who had wanted and had set out to become a writer.
Galtung, J. & Ikeda, D. (1995). Choose peace: A dialogue between Johan Galtung and Daisaku Ikeda. Chicago, IL: Pluto Press.
"The work for peace needs not not merely a handful of governments or peoples at the top, but all of us." -Johan Galtung
"All peoples must come to realize and assimilate within themselves the idea of the supreme importance of human life." -Daisaku Ikeda
Choose Peace is dialogue between Daisaku Ikeda, the president of Soka Gakkai International, and Johan Galtung, founder of the International Peace Research Institute. The book, like a long conversation, winds its way through a myriad of topics involving institutions, people, and personal experiences from a transdisciplinary perspective. One of the strong points of this work is that while they are discussing a rather lofty subject, both participants provide very specific solutions to their seemingly utopian vision, such as the restructuring of the United Nations, the reorganization of human settlements into smaller populations, and focusing education toward a curriculum of peace. Although the book is dizzying at times in its breadth, its central theme, peace as work for individuals and societies, never sends the audience adrift. As Galtung states in summing up the book, "The answer is dialoge, inner and outer, among all parties concerned."
Gandhi, M. K. (2005). All men are brothers: Life and thoughts of Mahatma Gandhi. New York: Continuum.
"Love is the strongest force the world possesses and yet it is the humblest imaginable."
Originally published by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), All Men Are Brothers is a compilation of Gandhi's writings that attempt to illuminate his lifelong experiment in seeking out truth and practicing it through nonviolence (or more specifically, ahimsa). The book contains Gandhi's autobiographical accounts and views regarding various temporal topics, all of which come under the auspices of Ghandi's philosophy and acts of ahimsa. One of the major strengths of this particular compilation is that it does not delve too deeply, providing an unfamiliar reader with a brief and broad foundation into Ghandi's life. What becomes clear from reading his excerpts and quotes is that Gandhi‟s life was his message. Through discipline and faith in ahimsa, Gandhi was able to actively oppose oppressive forces while at the same time loving the humanity of the actors behind the oppression. Although much of his work was aimed at nonviolent resistance, his lifelong experiment in practicing ahimsa was also a constructive force for the loving community that he hoped one day to help build. "All Men Are Brothers" provides a brief glimpse into the life of an extraordinary man and acts as a call to action for those seeking community built on a foundation of love, truth, and nonviolence.
Green, M. B. (1983). Tolstoy and Gandhi, men of peace: A biography. New York: Basic Books.
“Tolstoy and Gandhi are the greatest of anti-imperialists precisely because they attacked the sources and roots of empire outside the realm of politics – attacked the very logic of power.”
Tolstoy and Gandhi, Men of Peace parallels the lives of Tolstoy and Gandhi in all phases, from early beginnings through youth, from the “New Life” to “Manhood,” from “Old Age” to the “Two Deaths.” Green prides Old Age as the most crucial period of the two men‟s lives, where “they became old men because of theirs was an old man‟s philosophy: a counsel of renunciation, a warning against appetite and enthusiasm, a serious call to a devout and earnest life, a bitter and detoxifying draught.” Yet both men regarded this enlightenment as recapturing a truth they had known as children, but had lost during adolescence and youth. Using a biographical approach, Green‟s book provides life histories, details of their behavior, their private and public lives, their living and dying, which richly depict Tolstoy as “the great philosopher of anti-imperialism” and Gandhi as the phenomenal leader of the nonviolent mass resistance against the British Empire, and how both resisted the modern empire that eroded the traditional cultures they were born into, and stood with “the moral vocabulary of classical civilization.”
Hallie, P. P. (1979). Lest innocent blood be shed: The story of the village of Le Chambon, and how goodness happened there. New York: Harper & Row.
"For Trocmé, every person - Jew and non-Jew, German and non-German - had a spiritual diamond at the center of his vitality, a hard, clear, pricelessly valuable source that God cherishes."
Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed is the story of the tireless love of Andre Trocme, a protestant pastor and advocate of nonviolence, his wife Magda, his cousin Daniel, Edouard Theis, and the community of Le Chambon, a tiny French village under Vichy control during WWII. The community hid, protected, and aided the escape of large numbers of refugees, including many children, who were trying to hide from the oppression of fascism or the threat of death in concentration camps, as was the case for Jewish refugees. What is remarkable about this story is the simplicity of goodness in action, which the people of the Le Chambon performed under the guidance of their pastor without hesitation. Fostered by their Christian faith, the act of saving the lives of those in need was never in question, since all men, women, and children have intrinsic value to God. Beyond mere heroism, this is the story of the goodness of people and faith in action.
Harford, B., & Hopkins, S. (1984). Greenham Common: Women at the wire. London: Women's Press.
"Which comes first, disarmament or feminism? It always had to be one or the other - prioritising. We say you can't have one without the other."
Greenham Common: Women at the Wire is a narrative about what began as march of the 'Women for Life on Earth' from Cardiff to a US military base at Greenham and turned into a long-term encampment of women in opposition to the "cruise" silos that threatened death and destruction with their unwanted existence. The manner in which the book was edited together reflects the nature of the camp itself. It is made up of many different voices offering first hand accounts of creative and nonviolent resistance, court hearings, jailings, weathering the elements in makeshift housing, democratic group meetings, interactions with the press; everything that was happening in a liquid and constantly evolving movement. As it was a developing situation, the tension, doubt, and confusion both internal and external to the camp is relayed, which only added to the organic and transcendent nature of what was going on. The women in the camp, while coming from different backgrounds, holding different opinions, and speaking with different voices, were all bonded together in a common cause and felt strong enough to espouse their cause with action.
Havel, V., & Keane, J. (1985). The Power of the powerless: Citizens against the state in central-eastern Europe. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe.
“Permanent self-satisfaction is a threat to life, and presents an extreme danger to humanity as humanity." – Rudolf Battěk
Power of the Powerless is a collection of essays, written by several of the signatories of Charter 77 shortly after its delivery, which address the “post totalitarian” state in Czechoslovakia. The essays act as a call to action out of passivity for the Czechoslovakian people, who by being complicit in the rule of the state in effect allow for its legitimacy. Mass acquiescence allows the state to perpetrate human rights violations and other abuses of power that ideologically it should protect. It is ideology that is on trial in these essays, since the ideologies extolled by the state have become meaningless verbiage and documentation used to maintain power through the status quo rather than to transform society and promote the individual. It is therefore the individual who must act and live according to truth, parallel to the framework set up by the state, in active dissidence. Although the essayists come from different backgrounds and sometimes propose different ways to achieve societal transformation, all of the essays are grounded in empowering the individual and denying absolute power to the state. This book not only acts as a historical document to a grassroots movement against a repressive regime, it also serves as inspiration for any individual or concerned group of people in a state system that relies on passivity and a lack of a political sphere for its continued existence.
Hentoff, N. (1963). Peace agitator: The story of A.J. Muste. New York: Macmillan.
"If I can't love Hitler, I can't love at all."
Peace Agitator is the story of A.J. Muste and his lifelong radical social experiments. Muste, although spending some time as a revolutionary Trotskyite, was a pacifist and a major figure in American peace movements. Whether it was involvement and leadership in peace marches, demonstrations against nuclear testing, labor strikes, or civil rights activities, Muste lead a life in action guided by the principles of nonviolence and his love of humanity. A theme that appears in this biography, which includes accounts from members of various movements and groups involved in social action, is that Muste was a sort of Renaissance man of the peace movement. Muste had a very firm moral foundation based in his Christian faith (he began as a Calvinist Dutch Reformed Church minister and eventually became a Quaker and chair of the Fellowship of Reconciliation) which allowed him to move forward with an unflinching and momentous conviction in his own work, but also allowed him to tie together the myriad movements that were happening all around him and to conciliate the various points of view that were being espoused. In a way, as the appellation "American Gandhi" which is often attributed to him indicates, Muste was an activist's activist who had a clear vision that rooted the disparate visions and social experiments of the time.
Hesse, H. (1971). If the war goes on… Reflections on war and politics (Manheim, R., Trans.). New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
“Like all human progress, the love of peace must come from knowledge. All live knowledge is opposed to academic knowledge… must embody one truth… The Indians call it atman, the Chinese Tao, Christians call it grace.”
If the War Goes on collects Hesse‟s profoundly humane and soulful essays and letters dedicated to Roman Rolland. Hesse salutes the spirit of Laozi, Gandhi, and Roman Rolland as teachers of peace. He questions patriotism, militarism, war, and the conscience of his Germany in the two world wars and under the Nazis. He gives “thoughts about China,” addresses “a Cabinet Minister,” responds to an aspiring young writer in Japan. These letters show that he was haunted and horrified by war and the destructive powers of science, and that he dedicated his life‟s work to peace and reconciliation. He places his trust in the value of culture as “supranational” and “international” and as a vehicle “under obligation to serve not war and destruction but peace and reconciliation.” Hesse looks towards the wisdom and philosophies of the East and the West for “a true spirit of peace.” For Hesse, this knowledge possesses an alchemical power to transform, to bring about peace: “to one who has experienced it his enemy becomes a brother, death becomes birth, disgrace honor, calamity good fortune.”
Huxley, A. (1947). Science, liberty and peace. London: Chatto & Windus.
“For the present, Western societies remain at the mercy of their progressive technologies, to the intense discomfort of everybody concerned. Man as a moral, social and political being is sacrificed to homo faber, or man the smith, the inventor and forger of new gadgets.”
Science, Liberty and Peace is a penetrating, poignant, and far-sighted analysis of how disinterested science research is turned into applied science and technology, which has become one of the causative factors of the “progressive decline of liberty” and “progressive centralization of power” in the twentieth century. Of ultimate concern to Huxley is the centralization of finance and government, industrialization and the subsequent mass production and mass distribution, the manufacturing of weapons of destruction, and the enslavement of the masses in a world where economic and political bosses utilize technology for coercion. He regards Gandhi‟s satyagraha -- nonviolent action – as the only hope for change for people living under such political-economic system. He envisions a society where individuals work in co-operatives that serve a local market and that guarantees self-government and freedom from industry and government powers. His proposal for reversing such a system also appeals to the conscience of individual scientists and the community of world scientists to resist war, to resist participation in the manufacturing of weapons, to engage in “right livelihood,” to explore alternative source of technology for the benefit of self-reliant, small communities, and that they swear a professional oath – like the oath of Hipporates for physicians – and they work together for the common good of humanity against the destructive forces of the world.
Hunt, S. A. (2002). The future of peace: On the front lines with the world's great peacemakers. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco.
“I emerged from these journeys optimistic that the human sense of right, the sense of justice, and the spiritual yearning for deeper meaning and expression will ensure our eventual liberation from violence.”
The Future of Peace tells many stories, and it tells Scott A. Hunt‟s personal encounters, acts of courage, and conversations with dissident Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma, with spiritual leader Dalai Lama in India, with peace leaders Dr. Hanan Ashrwi, Uri Avnery and Shulamit Aloni in Iasrael and Palestine, with monk and leader of religious freedom Thich Quang Do in Vietnam, with Central America‟s peacemaker Oscar Arias in Costa Rica, with the “Gandhi of Cambodia” Maha Ghosananda, and with three peacemakers in Northern Ireland, John Hume, Betty Williams, and Máiread Corrigan Maguire. Each of these encounters is an adventure story of the author‟s journey into perilous situations facing his heroes and that face him as a foreigner. Each encounter also tells the story of the country he ventures into and the origin and history of the conflict involved. The book is vivid, immediate, and accessible, and demonstrates astute intellectual insights, keen observations, and a yearning for understanding and spiritual transcendence. It tells stories of faith and transformation, of the possibility of removing hatred and violence, and of the possibility of peace in the human heart and in the world.
King, M. (2007). A quiet revolution: The first Palestinian Intifada and nonviolent resistance. New York: Nation Books.
"The Palestinians in the first intifada had shown sophistication in appreciating that the best way to equalize the power relationship with Israel was through small institutions, employing the theories of nonviolent struggle with their potential for improving the odds for negotiation and reconciliation, and by open use of information to explain their new thinking."
A Quiet Revolution is a detailed and historical account of Palestinians and the first Intifada, or “shaking off,” of Israeli occupation. Although the Intifada was sparked by the death of four Palestinians at an Israeli checkpoint, its roots run deep into the history of the evolution of Palestinian struggle. King describes the first Intifada as marked by largely nonviolent and organized resistance on a mass scale, which was made possible through the prolonged efforts of intellectuals, women, students, prisoners, and work committees. King also provides a historical background including precedents of Palestinian nonviolent sanctions during the 1920s and 30s, which were seen as ineffective at the time and became eclipsed by the use of violence to affect British and Zionist policies in the region. As is the case with much of accepted history, demarcated by periods of violent conflict ending with victors and losers, the Intifada has been widely misrepresented by popular accounts. The strength of the nonviolent struggle of the first Intifada, which manifested in tactics such as hunger strikes, tax resistance, and general strikes, could eventually not be sustained because its leaders were imprisoned, deported, and killed, and nonviolent actions were not well understood by many others as an organizational strategy. Although this was the case, the Intifada's effects were fairly far reaching. It spawned alternative means for Palestinians and Israelis striving for peace through civil organization and compromise rather than military mobilization.
King, M. L. (1968). Why we can't wait. New York: New American Library.
"Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon. It is a weapon unique in history which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals."
Why We Can’t Wait is a document of the African American struggle in 1964 to gain equality and social justice in a country that had yet to honor promises made 100 years prior with the issuance of Emancipation Proclamation. The focus of the book is on Birmingham, Alabama: a city that epitomized the discrimination, segregation, and brutality of racism, as well as the silent indifference of the well-meaning majority. King describes the deliberate strategic planning that went into the struggle, the marches and songs of freedom, the sit-ins at various institutions and the boycotts of local businesses. While the opposition in Birmingham violently beat, overpowered with fire hoses, released dogs upon, bombed homes of, and overfilled jails with nonviolent resisters, they did not return the violence perpetrated upon them. The effect of this key moment in a growing movement was that it reopened old and unhealthy wounds for a renewed healing process in the United States. White America was confronted with an ugliness in its civil life and needed to answer not only for the overt brutality of its fellow citizens, but also for the apathetic negligence of social wrongs. King‟s descriptions of these events and their rationale display his uncompromising and inspired leadership in a strategic struggle for a future of equality and kinship between all Americans.
Levi, P. (1984). Periodic table (Rosenthal, R., Trans.). New York: Schocken Books.
“I had many questions to ask him: too many, and too heavy for him and for me. Why Auschwitz? Why Panwitz? Why the children in the gas chambers? But I felt it was not yet the moment to go beyond certain limits, and I asked him only whether he accepted the judgments, implicit or explicit, of my book. Whether he felt that IG-Farben had spontaneously taken on the slave labor force. Whether he knew then about Auschwitz‟s „installations,‟ which devoured ten thousand lives a day only seven kilometers away from the Buna rubber plant.”
Periodic Table is alive, luminous, grave, mystical, poetical, ordinary, and extraordinary, like the elements in the periodic table, like the stories told in Levi‟s memoir. A chemist, Holocaust survivor, and a gifted writer, Levi creates a world of magical observations and likeness between the nature and properties of chemicals and that of human nature and human lives. Stories of chemicals fold and unfold with family stories and his life stories as a Jewish person living in Italy and later in Auschwitz -- stories of his struggles, experiments and discoveries, hopes and failures as a chemist, and stories of his stringent living as a human being under persecution and intimidation. Behind the light and humor created by the chemist-artist, the book simmers with rage, restless questioning of the Holocaust, deeply troubled conscience, and the gloomy shadow cast over the author's soul by the inhumanity of the death camp.
Maathai, W. (2006). Unbowed: A memoir. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
"Trees have been an essential part of my life and have provided me with many lessons. Trees are living symbols of peace and hope. A tree has roots in the soil yet reaches for the sky. It tells us that in order to aspire we need to be grounded, and that no matter how high we go it is from our roots that we draw sustenance."
Unbowed is a memoir written by 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai. The story is one that reveals her development from a child who loved being with her mother and working with plants and soil, to being the first woman to receive a PhD in her home country, to eventually founding the Green Belt Movement and becoming and outspoken leader, teacher, and advocate for the pro democracy movement in Kenya. What becomes apparent through this collection of memories is her dedication and persistence in pursuing what she knows to be right. Through the Green Belt Movement, Wangari Maathai instilled in the common people her own passion for renewing the ecosystem of her depleted homeland through the planting of trees, often times in the face of violent opposition and stints of time spent in jail. Although the story details the overt political oppression that she faced, there is also a general oppression that is the backdrop for her tireless efforts. From the time of British colonization up to the present, Maathai's story reveals the suffering of Kenya's land, water, and vegetation, which seems intrinsically tied to the suffering of Kenya's people. Through Maathai's eyes, the readercan identify the interrelation between the neglect and abuse of the environment, whether out of plain ignorance, the greed for profit, or both, and the breakdown of society.
Mandela, Nelson. Long walk to freedom: The autobiography of Nelson Mandela. Boston: Little, Brown, c1994.
“I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can rest only for a moment, for with freedom comes responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not yet ended.”
Long Walk to Freedom is the autobiography of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, freedom fighter, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, and South Africa‟s firstly democratically elected President. Written largely and in secret on Robben Island where he was imprisoned for twenty-seven years, Mandela tells the story of his childhood in the royal household of the Thembu tribe, where, like his father, he was groomed to counsel the rulers of his tribe, and the early years of his political awakening and involvement in Johannesburg with African National Congress against the apartheid, oppression, and discrimination. Most of the book centers on his twenty-seven year imprisonment on Robben Island after he was arrested and charged with treason, the physical labor at the lime quarry, the solidarity with other political prisoners, the complex relationship between the prisoners and the captors. After being freed at age 71, Mandela pursued negotiations and reconciliations with the South African government which won freedom for Africans and led to the first election where all South Africans were allowed to vote. Detailed, economical, and fluid, this autobiography portrays a greater political leader who is also humane, honest, and real.
Mann, T. (1938). This peace ( Lowe-Porter, H.T., Trans.). New York: A. A. Knopf.
“It was my profoundest, most burning conviction that the movement (fascism) must be fought, on account of its inherently anti-cultural character… cultural to express my ideal of humanity and of human dignity.”
This Peace is Mann‟s outcry against the “criminal representatives” of the European states and the infiltration of fascism into the political, intellectual, and moral life of Europe. Thomas Mann speaks from the conscience of an artist, a creator of human values, against the swift spread of fascism, dictatorship, bolshevism, and domination in Europe upon the signing of the Munich Agreement and during the two World Wars. He exposes the hypocrisy and treachery in foreign policy between the English Chamberlain and Hitler‟s Germany, and the isolation of France, the betrayal of Czechoslovakia, the nightmare of bolshevism, division of the world into fascist and communist camps. He denounces the atrocities of the concentration camps, the persecution of Jews and Christians, and the tortures and murders threatening the peace and civilization of the Continent. Compelling, just, penetrating, prophetic, and visionary, This Peace is an assertion of Mann‟s ethical ideals, and his ideals for human dignity, freedom, and peace.
McCarthy, C. (2002). I'd rather teach peace. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books.
“The peaceable society is not only possible, it is inevitable – if we press on, starting today. Tomorrow is too late.”
I'd Rather Teach Peace is an account of Colman McCarthy‟s (renowned columnist of the Washington Post) journey teaching peace-making in schools, juvenile prison, and university classrooms in the D.C. area. Driven by a deep personal question that gripped the author, “Can peace-making be taught and learned?” McCarthy has planted the seeds of peace in students, teachers, administrators and established courses on the history, theory, and practice of nonviolence in school curricula. He has taught over 5,000 students, trains college students, and directs the Center for Teaching Peace, a non-profit where his wife and three children are also involved as teachers. McCarthy‟s teaching is rooted in his vision that we organize our society in such a way that peace becomes a strong, enduring, and moral force. The book offers daring revelations of politics in Washington, discussions on nonviolence, pacifism, conflict management as well as wisdom, idealism, and urgency in peace education.
Mead, C., & Hager, T. (Eds.). (2001). Linus Pauling: Scientist and peacemaker. Corvallis, Or.: Oregon State University Press.
“I had by this time begun to feel so strongly about these matters that I decide that I should devote half my time, over a period that has turned out to be nearly four decades, to learning about international relations, international law, treaties, histories, the peace movement, and other subjects relating to the whole question of how to abolish war from the world and to achieve the goal of a peaceful world, in which the resources of the world are used for the benefit of human beings, and not for preparation for death and destruction.”
Linus Pauling is a compilation of personal accounts, lectures, articles, and anecdotes by Pauling as well as critical, historical, and contemporary pieces by biographers, interviewers, scientists, students, and family members. Mead and Hager offer this edited centenary collection to commemorate the hundredth birthday of Linus Pauling, outstanding scientist and peace activist. The volume offers three portraits of Linus Pauling centering on “The Man,” “The Science,” and “The Peace Work.” “The Man” shows Pauling as a person, his friendships, his relationship with his students, and stories of Lnus Pauling and Ava Helen, his wife, who, “In an incident that changed my life,” steers Pauling to work on peace. “The Science” profiles his major contributions to science, including in physical chemistry, structural chemistry, the study of chemical bond, sickle-cell anemia, molecular medicine, and the nature of life. “The Peace Work” offers a comprehensive view of Linus Pauling‟s views and engagement in peace movement within the circle of scientists and in the society and the world as a whole. This collection is accessible, multi-faceted, and offers comprehensive, quality, and some previously unpublished sources.
Mead, M. (1971). And keep your powder dry: An anthropologist looks at America. Freeport, NY: Books for Libraries Press.
"Only by taking out the beam from our own eye, and the mote from our neighbor's, both at once, can we hope to get anywhere."
And Keep your Powder Dry is a book written by Margaret Mead, an anthropologist and innovator of the idea that war is culturally transmitted rather than biologically determined, who felt compelled to answer a call to duty for which she felt obliged to her home country during World War II. To this end, Mead turns her focus and expertise as an anthropologist on the U.S.A., taking inventory of its human capital to determine what her country would need to fight and win the war. From this description, it would seem that she approaches the topic of peace as an end for which war is the means, but that is not the case. Rather, this book is used by Mead to seek an outcome for a world already entrenched in war, and to propose to her audience a globally peaceful future thereafter. Mead proposes that nations and individuals all over the planet have recently been caught in the same "net" of human existence; a global society intricately connected. Every culture has something to enrich the whole, and every individual has the right to cultivate their potential. Mead proposes that anthropologists, social scientists, and scientists, although currently speaking a somewhat "limited language", can work toward a connected and peaceful society. What is needed is the valuation of each individual and an understanding of our differences, something for which anthropologists are uniquely trained.Through a valuation of all individuals, not just from an ethnocentric perspective, and a respect for the offerings of all individuals, Mead creates a proposal for a sound, although admittedly distant, proposal for global cooperation based on initiative and democratically motivated science.
Menchú, R., & Burgos-Debray, E. (1984). I, Rigoberta Menchú: An Indian woman in Guatemala. London: Verso.
"My commitment to our struggle recognizes neither boundaries nor limits: only those of us who carry our cause in our hearts are willing to run the risk."
I, Rigoberta Menchú is the personal account, as transcribed from a set of 's story relays the life and customs of her people, including birth, marriage and end of life rituals, which are integral to the maintainence of a tightly knit community and provide for generational continuity in that they convey the wisdom of ancestral heritage into the present and keep outside influences at bay. These details provide a contextual background for the reader, as Menchu also relays the horrific exploitation of her relatives, neighbors, and fellow Guatemalan Indians (the Quiche are actually 1 of 22 separate tribes, each with their own individual languages and customs) caused by a foreign oppressive sysfincas earning unlivable wages, how her other brother was arrested, tortured, and burned alive in front of her family, how her father, who was a leading activist for the Peasant Union Committee (PUC), was killed in a fire during a protest, and how her mother, also an organizer, was kidnapped, raped, and killed. Rigoberta, who became an organizer and leader for the PUC, was forced into exile in Mexico where sthe Nobel Peace Prize in 1992 and used the money to found the Rigoberta Menchú Tum foundation for the rights of indigenous people. This book, although surrounded by controversy regarding its factual portrayal of events, relays the development of Rigoberta as an activist and spokesperson for the indigenous people of Guatemala, giving a voice to those who need it most.
Merton, T. (1996). Passion for peace: The social essays. New York: The Crossroad.
“The whole point of nonviolence is that it rises above pragmatism and does not consider whether or not it pays off officially. Ahimsa is defense of and witness of truth, not efficacy.”
Passion for Peace covers Thomas Merton‟s essays during the years of the Cold War and after, dated October 1961 to September 1968. It brings into focus Merton‟s passionate stance on social issues central to his time, and still relevant to our time. Merton writes with passionate authenticity, moral clarity, gand reat compassion on the root of war, nuclear war, the cold war, religion and race, Christian responsibility and war. He discusses Gandhi, Malcolm X, Thich Nhat Hanh, Simone Weil, and other peacemakers. He reflects on issues facing Afro-Americans, Native Americans, Danish non-violent resistance, the Vietnam War, and Auschwitz. He terms the ideological division of the world into “red or dead” as “insane reasoning,” as “the Nazi mentality.” In analyzing Auschwitz, he foresees a horrifying apocalyptic vision of its repetition as long as “ordinary,” “respectable” people “submit to an ideology which enables them to be violent and destructive without guilt.” Merton‟s essays possess deep moral conscience, honesty, and courage. They appeal to individual responsibility and reveal the depth of his spiritual power and conviction.
Muhaiyaddeen, M.R.B. (2002). Islam and world peace: Explanations of a Sufi. Philadelphia: PA: Fellowships Press.
“To establish peace, man must first change the thoughts and qualities within himself. He must change his qualities of selfishness and avarice, his desire for praise, and his love for earth, sensual pleasures, and gold.” “Peace can only be found in the heart.”
Islam and World Peace offers an Islamic Sufi believer‟s understanding of Islam as the religion of peace, unity, justice, and compassion, and of God as creator, sustainer, and protector. Based on Muhaiyaddeen‟s teachings and recitations, this book tells the story of belief, proclamation, and the inner voice of the heart in a simple and direct style of the ancient oral tradition of Sufism. The book weaves his reflections on current issues with the stories of inspiration and wisdom of the Islam religion. Muhaiyaddeen gives an illuminating definition of the Holy War – “For man to raise his sword against man, for man to kill man, is not holy war. True holy war is to praise God and cut away the enemies of truth within our own hearts.” He teaches unity as the secret of creation, peace and justice for all, peace in God, and urges man to look within and conduct his life with good qualities, and this as the foundation of peace.
Nhat Hanh, T. & Kotler, A. (2005). Being Peace. Berkeley, CA: Parallax Press.
"Peace work means, first of all, being peace."
Being Peace is a simple and approachable work with profound implications for living a peaceful, engaged, and compassionate existence. Thich Nhat Hanh begins with the proposition that “if we are peaceful, if we are happy, we can smile and blossom like a flower, and everyone in our family, our entire society will benefit from our peace.” Through the sharing of stories, poems, guidelines and deep insights, he exposes a path to individual peace through the practice of meditation and living mindfully in each moment. One only has to look to Thich Nhat Hanh‟s own life to see a shining example of the right livelihood which he espouses. By the end of the book, the reader can‟t help but be inspired by the simplicity of Brother Thay's message. Regardless of all of the external woes of the world and our own internal struggle for happiness, peace can begin with us in the present moment.
Peace Pilgrim. (1983). Peace Pilgrim: Her life and work in her own words. Santa Fe, NM: Ocean Tree Books.
"This is the way of peace - overcome evil with good, and falsehood with truth, and hatred with love."
Peace Pilgrim is the story and the message of a woman who made her life a pilgrimage for peace. Through her own search for and discovery of inner peace, she realized that her life's journey would be to walk, and in effect make her life a prayer for peace for all mankind. In order to initiate her journey, she greatly simplified her material life; she carried with her very few personal possessions (not more than could be stored in her emblematic tunic) and she relied on her own spiritual fortitude and the kindness of others for sustenance. She walked across the United States going on seven times and journeyed through Canada and parts of Mexico from 1953 to 1981. This work, which was compiled after her death, gives the reader a glimpse into her life, from her turbulent initial search for inner peace to her lifelong pilgrimage and her reflections on it. It provides anecdotes and insights, answers to questions, newspaper clippings, and letters. Most of all, it provides the reader with the message that peace starts with the individual, for without peaceful individuals how can one expect a peaceful society?
Pérez Esquivel, A. (1983). Christ in a poncho: Testimonials of the nonviolent struggles in Latin America. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books.
"The first step toward liberation, we say, occurs when a human being becomes aware that he or she is a person."
Christ in a Poncho tells the story of Adolfo Pérez Esquivel: artist, activist, and 1980 Nobel Peace Prize winner. He is an organizer for the people of Latin America, and through the foundation of the Peace and Justice Service group, facilitated the coalition of the poor and oppressed in nonviolent resistance, fostering in them a voice and a realization of their own humanity and strength. One of the great metaphors of this book is that of a struggle between an army of ants and an elephant, symbolizing the organization of the poor and marginalized masses against the violent brute power of military rulers. He does not take the credit for the Nobel Peace Prize alone, sharing its receipt with all of the people who have struggled in the many countries of Latin America as well as the church leaders with the strength to live the message of gospel. Through the presentation of documents, letters, and interviews, much of the book covers nonviolent resistant movements affected by the Peace and Justice Service group. These include the Madres de Plaza de Mayo in Argentina who organized silent marches to get an answer about the sudden disappearances of their sons, the 150 months of Brazilian cement workers appealing their legal rights as workers through nonviolent resistance, the plight of the Toctezinín Indians in Ecuador standing up for their rights to plant crops on land that was theirs through the Agrarian Land Reform, and the peasants in Brazil using law, organization, and resistance to wage a struggle for their right to life sustaining land. In all of these cases, it is the participation of good people that is required, whereas non-participation, silence, and apathy perpetuate oppression and stand as tragic evils.
Polanyi, J. C. (2001). “On being a scientist: A personal view.” Nobel Prize.org. Retrieved March 18, 2008, from http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/chemistry/articles/polanyi/index.html.
“It is important that we reflect upon our craft, since our understanding of science will inform public policy towards it.”
“In science, truth must take precedence not only over individual advantage, but also over 'group advantage' – sectional interests such as nationality, creed or ethnicity.”
“On Being a Scientist: A Personal View” is clear, lucid, succinct and poignant in sharing a Nobel Laureate scientist‟s view on the social responsibility of science. Refuting the popular perception of science as facts and “technical expertise,” Polanyi argues that science is story-telling that reflects the philosophical position and social responsibility of a scientist. This essay briefly reviews how science has been profited and used during the 1950s nuclear threat, the Vietnam War of the 60s and 70s, and the “Star Wars” of the 80s during the Reagan era by government and how scientists have offered different perspectives based on moral tenet. Polanyi unambiguously states that science should not serve political or economic power or personal advantage or sectarian interests such as nationality, ethnicity, and creed but truth, human rights, and democracy, and that democracy is a precious value because it guarantees the freedom of inquiry.
Romero, O. A., & Brockman, J. R. (1998). The violence of love. Farmington, PA: Plough Publishing House.
"Let us not tire of preaching love; it is the force that will overcome the world."
The Violence of Love is a collection of homilies transcribed in chronological order and spoken by Oscar A. Romero, who served as Archbishop in the Catholic Church in El Salvador from 1977 to 1980 until he was assassinated while performing mass. His message is one of love, nonviolence, peace, and social justice; a response to his encounters with violence, oppression, and poverty suffered by the people of El Salvador. Although this anthology is rooted in Catholicism, the words transcend religious dogmatism or sectarianism to reveal a universal message of love that is fearless and faith that obliterates the individualism and ego that separates us. The most prominent message in this work is a calling to follow the message of the gospel by following Christ's message, which was his life, in action rather than word. His message is a social one and it reveals a universal chord that many of the most prominent figures in the history of the promotion of peace address: that we are all part of the same humanity and that the suffering of any one person is also our own suffering.
Perkins, R. Jr. (Ed.). (2002). Yours faithfully, Bertrand Russell: A lifelong fight for peace, justice, and truth in letters to the editor. Chicago: Open Court.
“The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge.”
Yours Faithfully, Bertrand Russell includes nearly 300 letters to the editor by Bertrand Russell between 1904 and 1969 on a wide variety of topics, including war and peace, human rights, civil liberties and disobedience, science, philosophy, and religion, education, Middle East and Far East, and American militarism. These letters are arranged chronologically in six parts representing six historical periods covering the First World War, between the wars, World War Two, the Early Cold War, the Cold War and the Nuclear Peril, the Cold War and American Militarism. The editor has conducted thorough research on the context of these letters, provides informative footnotes on British history and politics and an introduction to each part to anchor the readers in a specific historical period and into Bertrand Russell‟s life and activities. With richness, intelligence, wisdom, and courage, these letters highlight Bertrand Russell‟s public life, public concern, public conscience, and his profound sensitivity to human suffering, his life-long battle with injustices and the establishment, and his vision of human life and dignity.
Stafford, W. (1998). Down in my heart: Peace witness in war time. Corvallis: Oregon State University Press.
“The frogs were scraping away outside. I listened. George, you see, lived for a life of reconciliation, of kindness, of governing the mind and its retributive feelings.”
Down in My Heart, first published in 1947, is poet and teacher William Stafford‟s account of his life in camps set up for conscientious objectors (CO) in wartime, 1942-1946. Holding true to his pacifist ideals and refusing to be inducted in the U.S. Army, Stafford was interned in camps and worked on conservation projects for Civilian Public Service in Oregon and California. The book offers a rare world of a small group --“alien,” “outlaw,” “tagged,” isolated, “homeless in our society” -- because of their political and moral choice. Among the physical labor of fighting forest fires, building trails and roads, and other conservation projects, the book records the social and cultural milieu of the time as well as the creative, intellectual, and philosophical life of the CO – the readings, discussions, classes, writing, performances, and debates. Filled with astute observations, lively conversations, and poetic descriptions, Stafford‟s book shows how (these) individuals can choose an alternative to war, be committed to free thinking, personal integrity, and ideals of peace.
Stassen, G. H., & Wittner, L. S. (2007). Peace action: Past, present, and future. Boulder, CO: Paradigm.
"Whether motivated by our courage or our compassion, by our love for our children or of this planet, we all believe that war is not the answer and that we can, and must, do what we are able to create peace in this world." - Monica Green
Peace Action is a book that celebrates fifty years of the "largest grassroots peace group in the United States." In this work, one is treated to Peace Action's history, which began as SANE, an organization formed around the common vision of achieving nuclear test bans and disarmament during the Cold War, and eventually combined its efforts with Freeze, another grassroots organization that was formed around the idea of halting the nuclear arms race, and finally became Peace Action in the 1990s. This book edits together various perspectives that weave the personal experiences of activists chronologically from Peace Actions' beginnings. Throughout the collection the reader is exposed to the peaks, such as swaying the unilateral and militaristic air of the Reagan administration, and valleys, such as waning interest and support in the 1990s, of the organization's potency. Depending on external circumstances and political climates, popular participation has ebbed and flowed. What is evident from reading these reflections is that activists need to focus on the long term, where successes are built upon and mistakes are reflected on and learned from. The future of Peace Action lies in a unified approach, built on cooperation and a focus on fundamental issues in the cause of sustained peace. Teresa, Mother (1995). A
Teresa, Mother (1995). A simple path. New York: Ballantine Books.
"There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread but there are many more dying for a little love."
A Simple Path contains the words of Mother Theresa as well as many other sisters, brothers, fathers, and volunteers regarding prayer, faith, love, service and peace. More than a compilation of platitudes, Mother Teresa and her friends give insight into the simplicity of life in the service of God and humanity. Prayer, faith, service, peace and love are all interconnected, each baring the fruits of another. Acts of love and charity as well as silence in prayer seem to be the foundation for any individual seeking a more holistic personhood, regardless of their faith or lack thereof. Through the words and experiences portrayed in this book, the simple and profound life to be found in loving service to those in need becomes approachable for anyone looking for fulfillment beyond the material.
Tutu, D. (1999). No future without forgiveness. New York: Doubleday.
"After the grueling work of the commission I came away with a deep sense - indeed an exhilarating realization - that, although there is undoubtebly much evil about, we human beings have a wonderful capacity for good."
No Future Without Forgiveness is Desmond Tutu's account of the work performed by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) put into effect after the end of Apartheid in South Africa, which lasted officially from 1948 to 1994. The TRC provided both the victims and the perpetrators of crimes, which included murder, torture, and unlawful imprisonment during the Apartheid regime, a medium to confess their stories and to allow for healing to occur between the two otherwise opposed parties. Amnesty would be provided for those guilty of crimes if they were first of all able to establish a connection between their crime and a political motive and secondly they were forthcoming in confessing their crimes and willing to accept some measure of accountability. Although the TRC was not unanimously supported by either the victims or the victimizers, nor was it without some downsides and fumbles in its actualization, Desmond Tutu reveals its necessity for a nation like South Africa to move forward under a banner of reconciliation rather than retribution.
Weil, S., & Bespaloff, R. (2005). War and the Iliad (McCarthy, M., Trans.). New York: New York Review Books.
“No one in the Iliad is spared by it, as no one on earth is…there is no refuge from fate.” Simone Weil
War and the Iliad offers two essays into one volume: Simone Weil‟s “The Iliad, or the Poem of Force” and Rachel Bespaloff‟s “On the Iliad,” and two introductions, respectively, Hermann Broch's “The Style of the Mythical Age: An Rachel Bespaloff” and “Introduction: A Tale of Two Iliads” by Christopher Benfey. Weil and Bespaloff were contemporaries in war-torn Europe, who fled to America, bearing the burden and suffering of the world war and the Holocaust, and continued their lives and fight in their own ways in the New World. Weil presents the Greek epic as the embodiment of force that subjected the human to “a thing” -- “a force that kills.” It kills love and grace; it destroys a city. In her essay, no one was exempt from the suffering and destruction, friends or foe, and regardless of one's status or religion. Bespaloff also writes about the same epic, drawing parallels and comparisons between it and the Bible and Tolstoy's War and Peace, weaving together analysis, meditations, and speculations. At the center was war, peace, tragedy, and the human condition. Emerging out of the immediate historical reality of the war in Europe, these two essays mirror the horror of war on the pscyche not only of the characters depicted but humanity in general, and the distant time of the Bible or the not too distant time of Tolstoy's novel also reflect the pervasive destructive power of war, undoubtedly, in their own time.
Weisman, A. (1998). Gaviotas: A village to reinvent the world. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing.
"I want Gaviotas to be real. I'm tired of reading about all these places that sound so perfect but never get lifted off the page into reality. Just for once, I'd like to see humans go from fantasy to fact. From utopia to topia."
Gaviotas is a story, written by journalist and inspired visitor Alan Weisman, of Utopian idealism made reality because of the vision and hard work of Paolo Lugari and a host of other individuals seeking to manifest a dream. The product was Gaviotas, a village founded in the llanos, or Columbian savanna, where no roads led and nothing much grew. It was in this harshest of places that a diverse group of people, from engineers to artists, created a community that was self-sustaining and functional without adding to the pollution and destruction of an already overtaxed planet. Because what was being done was new, the community of llaneros needed to be creative an inventive. Based on their innovative use of recycled and readily available materials instead of imported first world technologies, which would introduce first world problems, came systems of solar and wind power to sterilize water, heat showers and power kitchens. One of the best examples of their creativity was the invention of a highly efficient water pump for underground water that worked off of children at play on seesaws. Perhaps the most inspiring story of the Gaviotas experiment is that through research, the llaneros introduced the Caribbean pine, a tree that they figured would respond well to the acidic soil of the llanos, and which ended up flourishing over the years, providing them with lumber and an extremely useful resin that they farmed from the trees. What is truly astonishing is that by introducing these trees, other species of trees are now sprouting that have never been recorded in the area, growing under the protection of the pines and revitalizing a long lost ecosystem. Gaviotas is an inspiration to a world in need of reinvention.
Williams, P. (1981). The International Bill of Human Rights. Glen Ellen, CA: Entwhistle Books.
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights."
The International Bill of Human Rights consists of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 10, 1948, and was an international expression of inalienable human rights for all people, regardless of superficial differences. In order to further this declaration from an expressive international document into more binding international law, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights were treaties put into effect in 1976, binding signatories of the document to work for rights and freedoms described therein, including the right to life, freedom from torture, rights to just wages and safe working conditions, etc. This book, edited by Paul Williams also contains a forward by ex-president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Jimmy Carter,and an afterward by Nobel Peace Prize winner, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, who points out the importance of international recognition of the rights of all humans at the various levels in which our civilizations and societies interact.