Social change, activism, often cost the lives and sacrifice of millions of brave people, Despite some small victories for some minorities and liberties, activism has never been in control. Whether as slaves, as union- or minimum wage workers, farmers, women, students, with any kind of label, those who pushed for reforms have always had to depend on the mercy and approval, granted by those in power.Not only have people never been in control of decision making, but they have always been incredibly fragmented inside their own team, on local or national issues. Imagine being actually able to connect them and get them to agree on something substantial for progress beyond borders and languages! Being able to control the narrative, uniting "the so called 99% behind a higher purpose, may not seem much, but is far more than what thousands of organizations and political movements ever dreamed of achieving in 2000 years and over 50 years of passionate activism. Explaining to you why it's so urgent but necessary that we shift our thinking on the definition of peace, it's a challenge. Famous Designer Rand Paul said: "Design is so simple. That's why is so complicated." For now, think it this way. Agreeing and adding your name (or the name of your small business) to the front page commitments, takes less time than arguing on wheather this may or not work.
In Social Psychology you may have heard of the concept of "Self efficacy" or "internal vs. external Locus of Control" (here). In our exercise of social activism we simply can't have a strong internal Locus of Control. First because we depend way too much on delegating our grievances to organizations, petitions sites, political or environmental movements. Second, because our governments act as the ultimate authorities in deciding whether our grievances will be redressed or not. Most of the time they are ignored. This may have been the best activism had to offer, but is not what empowerment feels or looks like.
No matter what grievances you have to express with a petition or via an organization, it will be much better if we, the 99%, were the ones controlling the message, the narrative. Wouldn't it be nice if the prevailing narrative is shaped by the collective consciousness and not decided and argued by organizations? And wouldn't it be nice if that narrative was able to weed out of activism all the fake organizations, the so called Astroturfs, funded by billionaires to divide us?
Organizations and movements fighting during the Civil Rights Movement, were conflicted, not cohesive. When the subject of war overshadowed all other serious, social conflicts, Peace became a dogma, associated mainly with armed conflicts between nations and nuclear weapons. The realization of peace, Activism as a community of coalitions fighting against fear and against an illegitimate establishment was the thread, the narrative that could have provided all the cohesion and power needed to evolve consciousness. Activism missed an opportunity which has now been represented with all major nations uprisings.
In the images above, you can see some of the leading organizations and movements around issues like womens' rights, Discrimination and segregation of African Americans, Students rights, Workers/Unions rights, and antiwar coalitions during the U.S. Civil Rights Movement. Activism had one of history's biggest show downs. It was the first time that the inspiring and empowering ideal of peace became an occurrence. However, the purpose all of the organizations and movements was to remove social injustices and fears, real conflicts, before the Vietnam war became the one issue to take over the debate on peace. The Civil Rights Movement was a peace movement and a peace process by virtue of fact that all activists were already united by this higher ideal and shared purpose.
When the focus shifted on war, peace got glued in the dogma of War & Peace. All other causes and movements literally lost the opportunity to control of the narrative. Social activism, with all future grievances, hasn't been able to empower humanity because we abdicated control of the narrative on peace to the government and to organizations we believed we could trust. The Government has ever since decided to what length it will go to protect peace (!).
If you feel like you have no control over the outcome of racial, social or armed conflicts, it's because you keep delegating your power to millions of entities that fail to deliver.
As absurd as this may sound, the reason activism has no cohesion is because it doesn't know that it has always been The Peace Movement. The Antiwar and nuclear disarmament movements were only two causes in the wider context of peace. The traditional peace movement has no more reason to exist. Its strategy, whatever that looks like, has become irrelevant. Authors and writers who keep framing the debate of peace through the lens of wars and nuclear weapons are perpetuating a fallacy. They are just promoting more paralysis, not empowerment. War is peace is the sad, Orwellian state of affairs we're in now. We can only escape this linguistic quagmire, if we insist on raising the issue of an accurate, more practical definition of peace to all existing organizations. With a few clicks of a mouse and some participation, you will be able to do thaton the front page of this website.
You realize peace. You always have! All causes are aimed at relieving conflicts. This is the power of knowledge. Insisting to frame peace as the absence of war perpetuates an impotent myth.