You are hereWhen the World Outlawed War

When the World Outlawed War


2011 book by David Swanson

Are there 100 people on Planet Earth who believe all of these 10 truths?

  1. World Peace is highly desirable.
  2. World Peace is possible.
  3. There’s a law against war.
  4. Everyone should know the law against war.
  5. The public is almost totally ignorant of the law against war.
  6. Ignorance of the law is unacceptable.
  7. I can do my part in educating the public.
  8. The pen is mightier than the sword.
  9. An informed public can demand accountability.
  10. I can write a peace essay.

If you are one of these 100 people please join the WSFPC Peace Essay Contest before the end of 2014.  The Rules are attached.  Winners will be given cash awards up to $1,000 and will be announced on August 27, 2015.

Also. PLEASE NOTE OUR NEW WEB ADDRESS: www.faithpeace.mennonite.net

Frank Goetz
WSFPC Peace Essay Coordinator
frankgoetz@comcast.net
630-653-0597

West Suburban Faith-Based Peace Coalition

$1,000 for First Place Peace Essay

The West Suburban Faith-Based Peace Coalition is once again sponsoring a Peace Essay Contest with a $1,000.00 award to the winner, $300 for the runner-up, and $100 for third place. As in the previous year’s contest, essays will have to be directed to a person who can help promote knowledge of the Kellogg-Briand Pact (KBP) and, from whom a response is expected. Essays will be judged not only on the quality of the essay but on the impact of the response. Everyone is eligible to participate; there are no restrictions regarding age or country of residence. Participants are required to take the following 3 steps:

1. To enter the contest send a Peace
Essay Request email to coordinator Frank
Goetz at frankgoetz@comcast.net. Provide your Name, Mailing Address, Email Address, Phone Number, and, if under 19, Age. Also, provide the Name and Position of the person or persons to whom the Essay will be directed. Your application acceptance as a contest participant will be acknowledged in an email containing your assigned 4-digit Essay Number. [If information is missing or confusing you will be contacted by email or phone.]

2. In 800 words or less write your essay on: How Can We Obey the Law Against War? As soon as possible but at least by April 15, 2015 send the essay to the person named in your application and a copy to frankgoetz@comcast.net with your Essay Number in the Subject line.

3. By May 15, 2015 send Essay Response documentation to frankgoetz@comcast.net with your Essay Number in the Subject line.

Some examples of impact:

  1. The President agrees to explain the limitations placed on the government by KBP.
  2. A member of congress supports a resolution to make August 27 a Day of Reflection.
  3. The ACT or SAT administration agrees to include questions regarding KBP.
  4. A newspaper includes a KBP story.
  5. A school board revises its curriculum to expand KBP studies.
  6. A religious leader calls for nonviolent actions.

Act now: We may have to limit the number of contestants and it takes time to get responses. We will announce the Winners at a festive event honoring the 87th Anniversary of the Kellogg-Briand Pact on August 27, 2015.

faithpeace.mennonite.net

When soldiers lay down their arms – “I want to do something peaceful”

by  R. Teichmann
first published on news-beacon-ireland

 

 

http://rt.com/files/news/2b/64/c0/00/u-1.jpg

Image: These Ukrainian soldiers had enough, source

 

This is the Israeli Military Calling: Civilizing War Has Failed

http://www.worldbeyondwar.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/voltaire.jpgProbably the biggest news story of 1928 was the war-making nations of the world coming together on August 27th and legally outlawing war.  It's a story that's not told in our history books, but it's not secret CIA history.  There was no CIA.  There was virtually no weapons industry as we know it.  There weren't two political parties in the United States uniting in support of war after war.  In fact, the four biggest political parties in the United States all backed abolishing war.

Cue whining, polysyllabic screech: "But it didn't wooooooooork!"

I wouldn't be bothering with it if it had.  In its defense, the Kellogg-Briand Pact (look it up or read my book) was used to prosecute the makers of war on the losing sides following World War II (an historic first), and -- for whatever combination of reasons (nukes? enlightenment? luck?) -- the armed nations of the world have not waged war on each other since, preferring to slaughter the world's poor instead. Significant compliance following the very first prosecution is a record that almost no other law can claim.

The Kellogg-Briand Pact has two chief values, as I see it.  First, it's the law of the land in 85 nations including the United States, and it bans all war-making.  For those who claim that the U.S. Constitution sanctions or requires wars regardless of treaty obligations, the Peace Pact is no more relevant than the U.N. Charter or the Geneva Conventions or the Anti-Torture Convention or any other treaty.  But for those who read the laws as they are written, beginning to comply with the Kellogg-Briand Pact makes far more sense than legalizing drone murders or torture or bribery or corporate personhood or imprisonment without trial or any of the other lovely practices we've been "legalizing" on the flimsiest of legal arguments.  I'm not against new national or international laws against war; ban it 1,000 times, by all means, if there's the slightest chance that one of them will stick. But there is, for what it's worth, already a law on the books if we care to acknowledge it.

Second, the movement that created the Pact of Paris grew out of a widespread mainstream international understanding that war must be abolished, as slavery and blood feuds and duelling and other institutions were being abolished.  While advocates of outlawing war believed other steps would be required: a change in the culture, demilitarization, the establishment of international authorities and nonviolent forms of conflict resolution, prosecutions and targeted sanctions against war-makers; while most believed this would be the work of generations; while the forces leading toward World War II were understood and protested against for decades; the explicit and successful intention was to make a start of it by outlawing and formally renouncing and rendering illegitimate all war, not aggressive war or unsanctioned war or inappropriate war, but war.

In the never-ending aftermath of World War II, the U.N. Charter has formalized and popularized a very different conception of war's legality.  I've just interviewed Ben Ferencz, aged 94, the last living Nuremberg prosecutor, for an upcoming edition of Talk Nation Radio.  He describes the Nuremberg prosecutions as happening under the framework of the U.N. Charter, or something identical to it, despite the chronological problem.  He believes that the U.S. invasion of Iraq was illegal.  But he claims not to know whether the U.S. invasion and ongoing over-12-year war on Afghanistan is legal or not.  Why? Not because it fits either of the two gaping loopholes opened up by the U.N. Charter, that is: not because it is U.N.-authorized or defensive, but -- as far as I can make out -- just because those loopholes exist and therefore wars might be legal and it's unpleasant to acknowledge that the wars waged by one's own nation are not.

Of course, plenty of people thought more or less like that in the 1920s and 1930s, but plenty of people also did not.  In the era of the United Nations, NATO, the CIA, and Lockheed Martin we have seen steady progress in the doomed attempt, not to eliminate war, but to civilize it.  The United States leads the way in arming the rest of the world, maintaining a military presence in most of the world, and launching wars.  Western allies and nations armed, free-of-charge, by the United States, including Israel, advance war-making and war-civilizing, not war-abolition.  The notion that war can be eliminated using the tool of war, making war on war-makers in order to teach them not to make war, has had a far longer run than the Kellogg-Briand Pact had prior to its supposed failure and the Truman Administration's remaking of the U.S. government into a permanent war machine in the cause of progress. 

Civilizing war for the benefit of the world has been an abysmal failure.  We now have wars launched on unarmed defenseless people thousands of miles away in the name of "defense."  We now have wars depicted as U.N.-authorized because the U.N. once passed a resolution related to the nation being destroyed.  And just seconds before the Israeli military blows up your house in Gaza, they ring you up on the telephone to give you a proper warning. 

I remember a comedy sketch from Steve Martin mocking the phony politeness of Los Angeles: a line of people waited their turn to withdraw cash from a bank machine, while a line of armed robbers waited their turn in a separate line to politely ask for and steal each person's money.  War is past the point of such parody.  There is no space left for satire.  Governments are phoning families to tell them they're about to be slaughtered, and then bombing the shelters they flee to if they manage to flee. 

Is mass-murder acceptable if done without rape or torture or excessive targeting of children or the use of particular types of chemical weapons, as long as the victims are telephoned first or the murderers are associated with a group of people harmed by war several decades back?

Here's a new initiative that says No, the abolition of the greatest evil needs a renaissance and completion: WorldBeyondWar.org.

Essay Contest Entries 2014

Information on this contest is here.

2014 Entries:

 

Frank Kellogg's Peace Treaty

We've collectively forgotten what was probably the single biggest news story of 1928.  It is little known and even less appreciated that the United States is party to a treaty that bans all war. This treaty, known as the Kellogg-Briand Pact, or the Peace Pact, or the Renunciation of War, is listed on the U.S. State Department's website as in force. The Pact reads:

"The High Contracting Parties solemly [sic] declare in the names of their respective peoples that they condemn recourse to war for the solution of international controversies, and renounce it, as an instrument of national policy in their relations with one another.

"The High Contracting Parties agree that the settlement or solution of all disputes or conflicts of whatever nature or of whatever origin they may be, which may arise among them, shall never be sought except by pacific means."

Pacific means only. No martial means. No war. No targeted murder. No surgical strikes.

The story of how this treaty, to which over 80 nations are party, came to be is inspiring. The peace movement of the 1920s that convinced U.S. Secretary of State Frank Kellogg from St. Paul, Minn., to work for it was a model of dedication, patience, strategy, integrity, and struggle.

Playing a leading role was the movement for "outlawry," for the outlawing of war. War had been legal until that point. Following World War I, atrocities could be objected to but not the launching of war, and not the seizing of territory.  The Kellogg-Briand Pact changed that.

With the creation of the peace pact, wars were avoided and ended. But nations continued to arm themselves and to support the rise of militaristic governments.  Following World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt used the Kellogg-Briand Pact to prosecute the losers of the war for the brand new crime of war. From that day to this, despite an endless plague of war on and among the poor nations of the world, the wealthy armed nations have yet to launch a third world war among themselves.

When not simply ignored or unknown, the Kellogg-Briand Pact is dismissed because World War II happened. But what other legal ban have we ever tossed out following the very first violation and what appears to have been a quite effective prosecution?

An argument can also be made that the U.N. Charter undoes the peace pact simply by coming later in time. But this is by no means an easy argument, and it requires understanding the U.N. Charter as the re-legalization of war rather than the ban on war that most people imagine it to be. While Frank Kellogg's treaty bans all war, the U.N. Charter allows wars that are either defensive or U.N.-authorized.

In fact, the Kellogg-Briand Pact has continued to be used in international law, including in a case at the World Court in 1998 that arguably prevented a U.S. war against Libya.

Eliminating war, the outlawrists believed, would not be easy. A first step would be to ban it, to stigmatize it, to render it unrespectable. A second step would be to establish accepted laws for international relations. A third would be to create courts with the authority to settle international disputes. The outlawrists took the first big step, but we haven't followed through.

We should. 

Supporters of torture and unlimited election spending and all sorts of dubious innovations point to court proceedings marginalia, overridden vetoes, speeches, and tangentially related ancient precedents, but not laws.

Supporters of peace have a law that can be pointed to, and a stronger one than the U.N. Charter.  As long as some wars are deemed legal, supporters of any war will argue for its legality. 

But how do you enforce a ban on war, without using war to do it?  There are other means.  If Canada were to invade the U.S., Americans could refuse to cooperate with the occupation, Canadians could refuse to take part in it, activists from around the world could come to the U.S. as human shields.  The world's governments could condemn, ostracize, sanction, and prosecute the Canadian war-makers.  In other words, war could be resisted using tools other than war. (Sorry for the example, Canada! I am aware which nation has a history of invading the other.)

There's a song from 1950 that describes the scene on August 27, 1928:

Last night I had the strangest dream, I ever dreamed before.

I dreamed the world had all agreed to put an end to war.

That was Frank Kellogg's dream.  It's time we started dreaming it again.

A New Holiday Is Being Created for Peace

When I wrote When the World Outlawed War, I was struck by the significance of a forgotten day, a day matching the description in the 1950 folk song that begins "Last night I had the strangest dream . . . "  On this day, August 27, 1928, the major nations of the world sent representatives to a room in Paris, France, in which they signed a treaty banning war and committing to the peaceful settlement of all disputes. 

The treaty they signed, which is still on the books, has been used over the decades to prevent wars, end wars, and prosecute war makers.  The Peace Pact is listed as in force on the U.S. State Department website (open the document, scroll to page 454). But, unlike a corporate trade agreement, the Kellogg-Briand Pact is, shall we say, less than strictly adhered to -- or even remembered.

Few people strolling down Kellogg Boulevard in St. Paul, Minnesota, have any idea that it's named for Frank Kellogg or who he was. 

They're about to find out.

At 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, August 21, a resolution will be introduced and voted on by the St. Paul City Council.  This resolution is being brought forward by Council member David Thune for the purpose of proclaiming August 27, 2013, to be "Kellogg-Briand Peace Pact Day" in celebration of the 85th anniversary of the signing.

Council member Dave Thune's ward includes Kellogg's former house.  Thune will be introducing the proclamation at the request of St. Paul residents, including members of the Minneapolis-St. Paul chapter of Veterans For Peace. The Kellogg-Briand Pact  "renounces war as an instrument of National Policy" which is the exact wording found in the (more recently created) Statement of Purpose of Veterans For Peace. 

Here is the resolution that is being introduced:

Whereas Frank Billings Kellogg has rightly been honored around the world, including with a Nobel Peace Prize presented to him in 1930,

Whereas Frank Kellogg is honored in the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., where his ashes lie, and where the Kellogg window in the Kellogg Bay bears these words: "In grateful memory of Frank Billings Kellogg, LL.D., 1856-1937, Senator of the United States from Minnesota, Ambassador to the Court of St. James, Secretary of State, a Judge of the Permanent Court of International Justice, Joint Author of the Kellogg-Briand Pact, in Fidelity to American Ideals he served his nation with conspicuous ability and sought equity and peace among the nations of the world, his body rests in this cathedral,"

Whereas Frank Kellogg's family moved to Minnesota in 1865 and Kellogg moved to St. Paul in 1886, and Kellogg's home from 1899 to 1937 was the house at 633 Fairmont Avenue in St. Paul, Minnesota, which is now a National Historic Landmark,

Whereas Frank Kellogg's name is remembered in St. Paul as the name of Kellogg Boulevard, but memory of what Kellogg did to merit such honors is fading,

Whereas Frank Kellogg as U.S. Secretary of State heeded the passionate and almost universal desire of the people of this and other nations for peace, and in particular the proposal of the Outlawry Movement to legally ban war,

Whereas Frank Kellogg surprised his State Department staff and many others in 1927 by working carefully and diligently to bring many of the world's nations together to ban war,

Whereas war had not previously been a crime, and the Kellogg-Briand Pact made it one, resulting in a nearly complete end to the legal recognition of territorial gains made through war, and resulting in the prosecution following World War II of the new crime of making war,

Whereas the wealthy well-armed nations of the world have not gone to war with each other since those prosecutions -- the elimination of war upon and among the world's poorer nations remaining an important goal toward which greater recognition of the Kellogg-Briand Pact might contribute,

Whereas the Kellogg-Briand Pact is recognized as in force by the U.S. State Department with 84 nations currently parties to it, and the pact open to any other nations that choose to join,

Whereas the Pact, excluding formalities and procedural matters, reads in full, "The High Contracting Parties solemly [sic] declare in the names of their respective peoples that they condemn recourse to war for the solution of international controversies, and renounce it, as an instrument of national policy in their relations with one another.  The High Contracting Parties agree that settlement or solution of all disputes or conflicts of whatever nature or whatever origin they may be, which may arise among them, shall never be sought except by pacific means,"

Whereas compliance with the law is more likely to occur if we remember what the law is,

Whereas then French Foreign Minister Aristide Briand remarked at the signing of the Kellogg-Briand Pact on August 27, 1928: "For the first time, on a scale as absolute as it is vast, a treaty has been truly devoted to the very establishment of peace, and has laid down laws that are new and free from all political considerations.  Such a treaty means a beginning and not an end. . . . [S]elfish and willful war which has been regarded from of old as springing from divine right, and has remained in international ethics as an attribute of sovereignty, has been at last deprived by law of what constituted its most serious danger, its legitimacy.  For the future, branded with illegality, it is by mutual accord truly and regularly outlawed so that a culprit must indur the unconditional condemnation and probably the hostility of all his co-signatories,"

Therefore, in hopes of encouraging awareness of the work of Frank Kellogg and of the peace movement of the 1920s that moved him to action, the City of St. Paul, Minnesota, proclaims August 27th to be Kellogg-Briand Peace Pact Day.

On August 27th a celebration is planned at the Kellogg house.  Meanwhile, in Illinois, an award ceremony is planned for the winners of the first annual essay contest dedicated to the question "How Can We Obey the Law Against War?"  But why shouldn't there be celebrations everywhere?  Why not recognition for Salmon Oliver Levinson of Chicago, whose movement persuaded Kellogg to act?  Why not remembrance of Kellogg in Washington, D.C., where he's buried?  Why not celebration of the activists of the 1920s who made up the Outlawry Movement, and who were from every part of the United States and many other nations?  Why not a day of celebrating peace and advancing the cause of the abolition of war, including by collectively urging new nations to sign onto the Peace Pact?

Here's a petition that can be signed, and the signatures from any town or state printed out to be used in local lobbying.  St. Paul is leading the way, but it need not do so alone.  The petition reads:

"We support local, state, national, and international legislation that would make August 27th a holiday in honor of the Kellogg-Briand Pact, also known as the Peace Pact, that was signed on this date in 1928. The International Pact which renounced war as an instrument of national policy and committed nations to settling disputes exclusively by peaceful means was passed into U.S. law in 1929 with only one Senator in opposition. The co-authors were Republican Secretary of State Frank Kellogg from Minnesota and French foreign minister Aristide Briand. Kellogg won the Nobel Peace Prize, and the Pact is still U.S. and International Law."

A Cure for War – With Limitations.

A Cure for War – With Limitations.

by Erin Niemela

 

Earlier this week I wrote an editorial proposing a 28th constitutional amendment to abolish war.  The NSA scandal, I argue, is tied to the more pervasive problem of violent foreign (and domestic) policy, and we’ll continue to see government abuses so long as war and inter-state military violence are the acceptable choices for conflict management.  David Swanson, author of the brilliant history, “When the World Outlawed War,” thoughtfully responded to my plea by urging us to recall and reignite the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928, an existing international pact renouncing war signed and ratified by the US president and Senate.

 

 I agree with Mr. Swanson that any efforts to end war should point to existing law, and we agree that abolishing war is possible and necessary.  However, the Kellogg-Briand Pact is not without its limitations, and a fresh, people-driven constitutional amendment could both address those limitations and offer current, culturally relevant and legally dispositive reinforcement.

 

A Built-In Cure for War

Erin Niemela's recent proposal that we amend the Constitution to ban war is provocative and persuasive.  Count me in.  But I have a related idea that I think should be tried first.

While banning war is just what the world ordered, it has about it something of the whole Bush-Cheney ordeal during which we spent years trying to persuade Congress to ban torture.  By no means do I want to be counted among those opposed to banning torture.  But it is relevant, I want to suggest, that torture had already been banned.  Torture had been banned by treaty and been made a felony, under two different statutes, before George W. Bush was made president.  In fact, the pre-existing ban on torture was stronger and more comprehensive than any of the loophole-ridden efforts to re-criminalize it.  Had the debate over "banning torture" been entirely replaced with a stronger demand to prosecute torture, we might be better off today.

We are in that same situation with regard to war.  War was banned 84 years ago, making talk of banning war problematic.

We were in that same situation, in fact, even before the U.N. Charter was drafted 68 years ago.  By any reasonable interpretation of the U.N. Charter, most -- if not all -- U.S. wars are forbidden.  The United Nations did not authorize the invasion of Afghanistan or Iraq, the overthrow of the Libyan government, or the drone wars in Pakistan or Yemen or Somalia.  And by only the wildest stretch of the imagination are these wars defensive from the U.S. side.  But the two loopholes created by the U.N. Charter (for defensive and U.N.-authorized wars) are severe weaknesses.  There will always be those who claim that a current war is in compliance with the U.N. Charter or that a future war might be.  So, when I say that war is illegal, I don't have the U.N. Charter in mind.

Nor am I thinking that every war inevitably violates the so-called laws of war, involving countless atrocities that don't stand up under a defense of "necessity" or "distinction" or "proportionality," although this is certainly true.  Banning improper war, while useful as far as it goes, actually supports the barbaric notion that one can conduct a proper war.  The situation in which a war would be a "just war" is as mythical as the much-imagined situation in which torture would be justified.

Nor do I mean that U.S. Constitutional war powers are violated or fraud is perpetrated in making the case for war, although these and other violations of law are frequent companions of U.S. wars.

I also do not want to dispute the advantages of banning war in the highest law, the Constitution.  There is a common misconception that holds up lesser, statutory law as more serious than the Constitution or the treaties that it makes "supreme law of the land."  This is a dangerous inversion.  Edward Snowden is right to expose violations of the Fourth Amendment.  Senator Dianne Feinstein is wrong to insist that those violations have been legalized by statutes.  Amending the Constitution to ban war would (if the Constitution were complied with) prevent any lesser law from legalizing war.  But a treaty would do that too.  And we already have one.

THE 84-YEAR-OLD BAN ON WAR

It is little known and even less appreciated that the United States is party to a treaty that bans all war.  This treaty, known as the Kellogg-Briand Pact, or the Peace Pact of Paris, or the Renunciation of War, is listed on the U.S. State Department's website (go here, open the document, scroll to page 454).  The Pact reads:

"The High Contracting Parties solemly [sic] declare in the names of their respective peoples that they condemn recourse to war for the solution of international controversies, and renounce it, as an instrument of national policy in their relations with one another.

"The High Contracting Parties agree that the settlement or solution of all disputes or conflicts of whatever nature or of whatever origin they may be, which may arise among them, shall never be sought except by pacific means."

Pacific means only.  No martial means.  No war.  No targeted murder.  No surgical strikes. 

The story of how this treaty, to which over 80 nations are party, came to be is inspiring.  The peace movement of the 1920s is a model of dedication, patience, strategy, integrity, and struggle.  Playing a leading role was the movement for "outlawry," for the outlawing of war, which had been legal until that point (just as people falsely imagine it to be today).  Slavery had been outlawed.  Blood feuds had been outlawed.  Duelling had been outlawed.  And outlawrists pointedly noted that not just "aggressive duelling" had been banned.  Those who went before us didn't keep defensive duelling or humanitarian duelling around but set the whole barbaric practice behind them.

Eliminating war, the outlawrists believed, would not be easy.  A first step would be to ban it, to stigmatize it, to render it unrespectable.  A second step would be to establish accepted laws for international relations.  A third would be to create courts with the power to settle international disputes.  They took the first big step in 1928, with the treaty taking effect in 1929.  We haven't followed through.  In fact we've collectively buried what was probably the single biggest news story of 1928.

With the creation of the peace pact, wars were avoided and ended.  But armament and hostility continued.  The mentality that accepts war as an instrument of national policy would not vanish swiftly.  World War II came.  And, following World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt used the Kellogg-Briand Pact to prosecute the losers of the war, not just for "war crimes," but also for the brand new crime of war.  Despite an endless plague of war on and among the poor nations of the world, the wealthy armed nations have yet to launch a third world war.

When not simply ignored or unknown, the Kellogg-Briand Pact is dismissed because World War II happened.  But what other legal ban on undesired behavior have we ever tossed out following the very first violation and what appears to have been a quite effective prosecution?  An argument can also be made that the U.N. Charter undoes the earlier pact simply by coming later in time.  But this is by no means an easy argument, and it requires understanding the U.N. Charter as the re-legalization of war rather than the ban on war that most people imagine it to be. 

In the two years since I published an account of the activism that created the Pact, I have found a great deal of interest in reviving awareness of it.  People may not be as sick of war now as they were following World War I, or at least not as open to the possibility of abolition, but many are pretty far down that road.  Groups and individuals have launched petitions.  City councils are creating a peace holiday on August 27th, the day the treaty was signed in 1928 in a scene well described in the song Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream.  A fan of the story has created an essay contest that's received thousands of entries.  Drone protesters have educated judges about the Peace Pact when they've been hauled into court for making use of the First Amendment.  A Congress member has put into the Congressional Record his recognition that the Kellogg-Briand Pact made war illegal.  And I've been in touch with other nations not party to the treaty and not party to any wars, encouraging them to sign on to the Pact and then urge certain other parties to begin complying with it.

When someone wants to legalize torture or campaign bribery they point to court proceedings marginalia, overridden vetoes, speeches, and tangentially related ancient precedents.  When we want to de-legalize war, why not point to the Kellogg-Briand Pact? It is a treaty to which the United States is party.  It is the Supreme Law of the Land.  It not only does what we want.  It does more than most people dare to dream.  I've found that some people are inspired by the Pact's existence and by the fact that our great-grandparents were able to create a public movement that brought it into existence.

This seems to me a good place to start.

David Swanson is the author of When the World Outlawed War.

Peace Essay Contest: How Can We Obey the Law Against War?

When the World Outlawed War Graphic

New website here: http://www.faithpeace.mennonite.net

New Rules: PDF.

2014 Essays: PDF.

2014 entries are in: read them!

Four score and five years ago our fathers brought forth a new world conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all nations are created equal.  When nations came together to renounce war, the Kellogg-Briand Pact they signed became the blueprint for peace on earth.  Unfortunately hardly anyone in America remembers this important historical fact and inconvenient truth.  This is why the West Suburban Faith-Based Peace Coalition (WSFPC) is encouraging people to do a little research on the subject.  Anyone who thinks war is a stupid way to resolve international conflicts is invited to join the 2014 WSFPC Peace Essay-Response Contest.  Those essays which elicit the most significant responses from our country’s leaders will be rewarded, the top prize being $1,000.  The contest rules are listed below.

2014 Peace Essay-Response Contest Rules

The West Suburban Faith-Based Peace Coalition is once again sponsoring a Peace Essay Contest with a $1,000.00 award to the winner, $300 for the runner-up, and $100 for third place.  In contrast to the previous year’s contest, essays now will have to be directed to a person who can help promote knowledge of the Kellogg-Briand Pact (KBP) and, from whom a response is expected.  Essays will be judged not only on the quality of the essay but on the impact of the response.  Everyone is eligible to participate; there are no restrictions regarding age or place of residence.  Participants are required to take the following 3 steps:

1.       To enter the contest send a Peace Essay Request email to coordinator Frank Goetz at frankgoetz@comcast.net.  Provide your Name, Mailing Address, Email Address, Phone Number, and, if under 19, Age.  Also, provide the Name and Position of the person to whom the Essay will be directed.  Your application acceptance as a contest participant will be acknowledged in an email containing your assigned 4-digit Essay Number.  [If information is missing or confusing you will be contacted by phone.]

2.       In 800 words or less write your essay on: How Can We Obey the Law Against War?  By April 15, 2014 send the essay to the person named in your application and a copy to frankgoetz@comcast.net  with your Essay Number in the Subject line.

3.       By May 15, 2014 send Essay Response documentation to frankgoetz@comcast.net with your Essay Number in the Subject line.

The 2014 WSFPC Peace Essay-Response Contest will begin once the Rules are approved by consensus of the WSFPC Servant Leadership Team and posted on our website: http://www.faithpeace.mennonite.net  The WSFPC reserves the right to restrict the number of participants.  We know from our previous experience we can evaluate at least 100 participants.  With broad distribution of the Rules on the Internet with help from affiliated organizations it is difficult (perhaps impossible) to predict the number of Peace Essay Requests.  If necessary we will post a cut-off date of Peace Essay Requests on our website.

Some examples of impact:

1.       The President agrees to explain the limitations placed on the government by KBP.

2.       A member of congress supports a resolution to make August 27 a Day of Reflection.

3.       The ACT or SAT administration agrees to include questions regarding KBP.

4.       A newspaper includes a KBP story.

5.       A school board revises its curriculum to expand KBP studies.

6.       A religious leader calls for nonviolent actions.

We anticipate announcing the Winners at a festive event honoring the 86th Anniversary of the Kellogg-Briand Pact on August 27, 2014.  Your comments are welcome.  Early applicants will receive a prize with their Essay Number.

Peace,  Frank

***

When the World Outlawed War tells the story of how a treaty was created in 1928 that bans war and is still the supreme law of the land under the U.S. Constitution. (Sign the petition to create a holiday.)

This is an annual essay contest that can be entered at any time.

Read the 2013 Winning Essays: Word, PDF.

The top prize is $1,000, with lesser prizes for runners-up.

In 800 words or less answer the question: How can we obey the law against war?

Essays are judged based on (1) Knowledge of the Kellogg-Briand Pact (2) Insight into how the Pact influences U.S. foreign policy (3) Creativity in recommendations regarding compliance (4) Quality of prose.

Please include your: (1) name, (2) age (if under 19), (3) mailing address, (4) phone number, (5) email address, and (6) year and school that you first learned about the Kellogg-Briand Pact.

Email your Peace Essay to frankgoetz@comcast.net or mail to Peace Desk, 213 S. Wheaton Avenue, Wheaton, IL 60187.

This contest is a creation of the West Suburban Faith-Based Peace Coalition.

A copy of When the World Outlawed War by David Swanson will be donated to the library of the winner's school. The WSFPC will also send the best Peace Essays to key members of the U.S. Congress.

Illegality of War Acknowledged in Congressional Record

Congressional Record article 3 of 5

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RECOGNIZING THE KELLOGG-BRIAND PACT -- HON. KEITH ELLISON (Extensions of Remarks - April 18, 2013)

[Page: E491]  GPO's PDF
---

HON. KEITH ELLISON

OF MINNESOTA

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Thursday, April 18, 2013

  • Mr. ELLISON. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the Kellogg-Briand Pact.
  • One of the busiest streets in Minnesota's state capital of St. Paul is Kellogg Boulevard. This street runs along the Mississippi River and was named after the only person from Minnesota to ever win the Nobel Peace Prize. Frank B. Kellogg was a Department of Justice prosecutor who was elected President of the American Bar Association and then served as a U.S. Republican Senator from Minnesota, followed by an appointment as U.S. Secretary of State for President Calvin Coolidge from 1925 to 1929.
  • Kellogg was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1929 for his work in co-authoring the Kellogg-Briand Pact that made war illegal, renounced the use of war, and committed nations to the peaceful settlement of disputes. The Kellogg-Briand Pact--also called the Pact of Paris, or the General Treaty for the Renunciation of War--was signed on August 27, 1928 by the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Japan, and several other countries.
  • The Pact prohibited the use of war as ``an instrument of national policy'' except in matters of self-defense. President Coolidge signed the Pact on January 27, 1929 and the U.S. Senate passed it by a vote of 85 to 1. On July 24, 1929 President Herbert Hoover declared the Pact in force. The Kellogg-Briand Pact provided the legal basis for prosecuting Nazi officials at Nuremburg and is still U.S. and international law, with 84 state signatories.
  • Mr. Speaker, some of my own constituents are currently planning a commemoration of the Kellogg-Briand Pact to mark its 85th anniversary and to recognize Frank B. Kellogg. The Minneapolis-St. Paul chapter of Veterans for Peace is taking part in a peace essay competition organized by the West Suburban Faith-based Peace Coalition. The competition asks the question, ``How can we obey the law against war?'' The best essays will be sent to members of Congress. I urge this body to welcome these essays and give them due attention. Everyone must do their part to help eliminate war and promote the cause of peace.

##

Here's the book that tells this story:
http://davidswanson.org/outlawry

And here's how to enter the essay contest or introduce it to your schools and youth groups:
http://warisacrime.org/content/peace-essay-contest-how-can-we-obey-law-against-war-top-prize-1000

 

The Future's So Much More Fun than the Past: How to Avoid the Bummer Myth

 

By John Grant


“The elite always has a Plan B, while people have no escape.”
            - Ahmad Saadawi


Peace Essay Contest

How Can We Obey the Law Against War?

Top Prize $1,000

Peace Essay Rules

In 800 words or less answer the question:

How can we obey the law against war?

Please include your: (1) name, (2) age (if under 19), (3) mailing address, (4) phone number, (5) email address, and (6) year and school that you first learned about the Kellogg-Briand Pact.

Mail your Peace Essay – postmarked by April 14, 2013 – to:

Peace Desk, 213 S. Wheaton Avenue, Wheaton, IL 60187

Peace Essays will be judged by members of the West Suburban Faith-Based Peace Coalition (WSFPC) (www.FaithPeace.org) based on:

(1) Knowledge of the Kellogg-Briand Pact

(2) Insight into how the Pact influences U.S. foreign policy

(3) Creativity in recommendations regarding compliance

(4) Quality of the Peace Essay prose

 

The author of the best essay will receive $1,000. Also, if the award winner identifies the school where she/he learned about the Kellogg-Briand Pact, a book – When the World Outlawed War, by David Swanson – will be donated to the school library. The WSFPC will also send the best Peace Essays to key members of the U.S. Congress.

For more information please contact

Frank Goetz at frankgoetz@comcast.net

Everyone who respects the Law should work for Peace.

Background

Most People understand that war is destructive but few know that it is illegal. On August 27, 1928 many countries signed a treaty called the Kellogg-Briand Pact which outlawed war. After ratification by the U.S. Senate the following year this Pact became the supreme law of the land in the United States and sixty-five other countries. How can we respect the law if most of us are ignorant of its existence? Members of the Peace Community have decided to: 1) educate the population on why this law was passed, and 2) encourage insight and creative expression on how we can bring our country into compliance.

Frank Goetz

213 S. Wheaton Avenue

Wheaton, IL 60187

Phone: 630-510-8500 ext. 104

frankgoetz@comcast.net

Podcast w/ David Keen, author of Useless Enemies: When Waging Wars Is More Important Than Winning Them

It's not so unusual to observe that war is often a goal in itself rather than a means to an end. But it is unusual to systematize the observation, to normalize it, and -- I hate to use this term -- to give it theoretical underpinnings. Although he doesn't talk about his findings in theoretical terms, and doesn't need to, David Keen has taken a great step toward revising our thinking about war in his book Useful Enemies:When Waging Wars Is More Important Than Winning Them (Yale University Press, 2012). This is an important and provocative work, presented in a low-key, unassuming sort of way. In other words, a find!

I hope you enjoy the podcast.

http://www.electricpolitics.com/podcast/2013/01/on_magical_war.html
 

Where Does War Come From?

Remarks to the Marin Peace & Justice Coalition, Social Justice Center of Marin, and Community Media Center of Marin, Armistice Day 2012.

Most members of our species that have lived on this earth have never known war.  Most societies that have developed war have later abandoned it.  While there's always war somewhere, there are always many somewheres without war.  War deprivation, the prolonged absence of war, has never given a single person post traumatic stress disorder.  Most nations that participate in wars do so under duress as members of coalitions of the willing but not the eager.  Most nations that engage in wars refuse to use particularly awful weapons and tactics.  Most incidents that are used to spark wars are identical to other incidents not used to spark wars.  War making does not increase with population density, resource scarcity, testosterone, or the election of Republicans.  War making is, like all forms of violence, on the decline globally, even as the Greatest Purveyor of Violence in the World develops a permanent war economy and gives war powers to temporary despots or 4-year kings.

Today we celebrate Armistice Day, a moment of tremendous opposition to war -- opposition that built understanding and structures to prevent war, structures that failed once and only once as regards wars like World War I, wars among the wealthy well-armed and white nations of the world.  That the rich nations continue to wage racist and exploitative wars against the poor nations doesn't erase the fact that Europe stopped attacking itself until Yugoslavia became an opportunity for NATO.  Soldiers in the U.S. civil war and drone pilots would not recognize each other as engaged in the same enterprise.  There is no central core to war that homo sapiens are obliged to continue by their genes.  We can choose not to eat, drink, sleep, have sex, or breathe.  The notion that we can't choose to refrain from something as complex and laborious as war is just incoherent.

That Europeans only attack poor people is not, of course, grounds to give the European Union a Nobel Peace Prize.  Yes, indeed, it is a little-acknowledged feat of miraculous life-saving power that Europe has not gone to war with itself -- other than that whole Yugoslavia thing -- since World War II.  It's as clear a demonstration as anything that people can choose to stop fighting.  It's a testament to the pre-war peace efforts that criminalized war, the post-war prosecutions of the brand new crime of making war, the reconstruction of the Marshall Plan, and ... and something else a little less noble, and much less Nobel-worthy.

Alfred Nobel's will, written in 1895, left funding for a prize to be awarded to "the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses." Fredrik Heffermehl has been leading a valuable effort to compel the Nobel committee to abide by the will. Now they've outdone themselves in their movement in the other direction.

Europe is not a person.  It has not during the past year -- which is the requirement -- or even during the past several decades done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations.  Ask Libya.  Ask Syria.  Check with Afghanistan.  See what Iraq thinks.  Far from doing the best work to abolish or reduce standing armies, Europe has joined with the United States in developing an armed global force aggressively imposing its will on the world.   The Nobel prize money will not fund Europe's supposed disarmement work remotely as much as Europe could fund itself by simply buying fewer armaments.

There were good nominees and potential nominees available, even great ones, including a young man named Bradley Manning.  In fact, I happen to believe a truly qualified nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize next year would be Medea Benjamin.

Now, instead of moving in that direction, the Nobelites have almost guaranteed themselves a second-ever pro-war peace-prize acceptance speech.  If you don't recall who gave the first one, I'll give you a clue. If he were a Republican we'd all have posters and bumper stickers denouncing him for it.

Was Nobel asking so much really when he asked that a prize go to whoever did the best work toward abolishing war?

Was Carnegie asking so much when he required that his endowment work to eliminate war?

Is it asking too much today for our so-called progressive movement to address the spending of over half of federal discretionary dollars on preparations for the criminal act of war?

Ninety-four years ago today, on the original Armistice Day in 1918, much of the world ended a four-year war that served no useful purpose whatsoever while costing the lives of some 10 million soldiers, 6 million civilians, 21 million soldiers wounded, an outbreak of Spanish influenza that took another 100 million lives, environmental destruction that is ongoing today, the development of new weapons—including chemical weapons—still used today, huge leaps forward in the art of propaganda still plagiarized today, huge setbacks in the struggle for economic justice, and a culture more militarized, more focused on stupid ideas like banning alcohol, and more ready to restrict civil liberties in the name of nationalism, and all for the bargain price, as one author calculated it at the time, of enough money to have given a $2,500 home with $1,000 worth of furniture and five acres of land to every family in Russia, most of the European nations, Canada, the United States, and Australia, plus enough to give every city of over 20,000 a $2 million library, a $3 million hospital, a $20 million college, and still enough left over to buy every piece of property in Germany and Belgium.  And it was all legal.  Incredibly stupid, but totally legal.  Particular atrocities violated laws, but war was not criminal.  It never had been, but it soon would be.

A powerful movement would ban war in 1928 in a treaty still on the books and to which 81 countries are now party.  In 1935, the New York Herald-Tribune's Institute of Public Opinion found that 75% of voters wanted a public referendum before any war could be launched, and 71% opposed joining in any war with other countries to "enforce the peace."  That's not just a quantitative difference from today.  Our great grandparents were able to think of war very differently.  They'd ended blood feuds and duelling and other barbaric habits.  War was to be next.  It was mass murder.  The problem wasn't butchering or urinating on corpses.  You couldn't clean that up and make war OK.  The problem was the creation of the corpses.  War was to be abolished, and not just bad wars and aggressive wars.  All wars.  They didn't keep defensive duelling around. There was no humanitarian duelling.  War needed to be set behind us. 

In this militarized nation that has essentially never ended World War II, never left Germany or Japan, never undone the taxes and the spending, never stopped seeking out uses and customers for weaponry, we've lost track of the campaign to abolish war and of the steps already taken on that path.  As war evolves to minimize further the deaths of the aggressing army, while continuing to kill foreigners (and even occasional U.S. citizens made to seem frighteningly foreign) war is ironically coming to resemble more closely in the minds of many what it has always been: murder.  An assassination program is a form of war no more or less moral or dangerous or controllable or legal than any other form of war.  But it may bring home to people that war is not a sport, that war is the killing of men, women, and children in their homes at such expense that we could instead have bought new homes for them and all their neighbors.

We should remember at a time like this that when the slightly less funded of two corporate funded candidates wins, we don't win.  President Obama publicly and illegally instructed the Attorney General not to prosecute the CIA for torture.  We accepted that.  Obama told environmental groups not to speak of climate change and most of them obeyed.  Obama told unions not to say "single payer" and they didn't.  The peace movement spent the first Obama year muttering about how it was too early, the second worrying about the midterm elections, the third trying to focus the Occupy Movement on our collective antagonists, and the fourth being scared of Mitt Romney.  Now we're being told we must not demand military spending cuts or the prosecution of war crimes or the immediate withdrawal of forces abroad.  Progressive groups want to pretend to take a stand on Social Security and Medicare before caving.  And their opening pretense doesn't even touch military spending. 

It's our job to add that to the conversation.  It's our job to focus our friends and neighbors on the fact that our money and our names are being used to kill, and that there is nothing necessary about it.  War is waged by a particular type of nation.  War is waged by a nation that accepts the waging of war.  That acceptance needs to end now.

Peace Essay Contest: How can we Obey the Law against War?

Most people understand that war is destructive, but few know that it is illegal.  On August 27, 1928 many countries signed a treaty called the Kellogg-Briand Pact which outlawed war.  After ratification by the U.S. Senate the following year this Pact became the supreme law of the land in the United States and sixty five other countries.  How can we respect the law if most of us are ignorant of its existence?  Members of the Peace Community have decided to: (1) educate the population on why this law was passed and (2) encourage insight and creative expression on how we can bring our country into compliance.

Tw

Peace Essay Rules:
Although we are focusing on the student population, anyone can enter the Peace Essay Contest.  In 800 words or less answer the question: How can we Obey the Law against War?  Send your Peace Essay to:

Peace Desk
213 S. Wheaton Ave.
Wheaton, IL 60187

Please include: (1) Your Name, (2) Age, (3) Mailing Address, (4) Email Address or Phone Number, and (5) Year and school that you first learned about the Kellogg-Briand Pact.  Peace Essays will be judged by members of the West Suburban Faith-based Peace Coalition (www.FaithPeace.org) based on: (1) Knowledge of the Kellogg-Briand Pact, (2) Insight into how the Pact influences U.S. foreign policy, (3) Creativity in recommendations regarding compliance, and (4) Quality of the Peace Essay prose. 

Age-appropriate prizes will be awarded for the top 25 Peace Essays received by November 1, 2012.   Also, if the award winner identifies the school where she/he learned about the Pact, a book – “When the World Outlawed War” by David Swanson - will be donated to the school library.  The WSFPC will also send the best Peace Essays to key members of the U.S. Congress.  For more information please contact Frank Goetz at frankgoetz@comcast.net.

Malaysia Should Sign onto the Kellogg-Briand Pact if It Wants War Outlawed

Here's an excellent column from a former prime minister of Malaysia who seems unaware of this.

Use people power to outlaw war, too

CHANGING MINDSETS: World community must rally to make war a crime

.

A protester holding a placard reading ‘Bliar’ outside the High Court in London. The protest was to denounce former Britsh prime minister Tony Blair and his role in sending British troops to join the 2003 war on Iraq. AFP pic

Tun Dr Mahathir MohamadFOR the past few years, the Perdana Global Peace Foundation has been trying to convince people that war is a crime; that war should be criminalised.

If one thinks deeply enough, one must conclude that war is indeed a crime. We all, the whole human race, regard the killing of a person by another as a crime; a crime so serious as to warrant the stiffest punishment, including the death penalty.

Yet, in war, a person may order the killing of a million people, and it is not regarded as criminal. Indeed, the man who ordered the killings is often regarded as a great man, a hero.

And the killers, too, the soldiers, are regarded as heroes, awarded medals and multicoloured ribbons to wear proudly on their breasts on ceremonial occasions.

There is something wrong here. How can we regard the killer of one man as a murderer but the killer or killers of millions as heroes? The pilot of the Enola Gay, which bombed Hiroshima killing 100,000 people, is a free man, regretting nothing regarding the horrors he inflicted on innocent men, women and children, the healthy and the sick.

Wars have been fought for thousands of years. Does that make wars normal and acceptable? Think of slavery. Slavery, too, was regarded as acceptable and normal for millennia. But for most countries, slavery has been abolished. It has been abolished because it represents oppression by men on other men. That is not right and so it is made illegal; made a crime.

Slavery is certainly not as bad as murder, as the killing of men by men. Yet, slavery was considered bad enough for the human race to abolish it, to inflict severe penalties on whoever practises slavery.

Clearly, what was acceptable as normal in the past does not necessarily justify continued acceptance today and in the future. As the human community becomes more civilised, the practices of the past have been scrutinised and re-evaluated and many have been condemned as incompatible with the values of a more sophisticated and more sensitive modern human society.

So, is it so strange or unusual for modern society, conscious of the horrors of war and the massive killings involved to reject war, to criminalise it the way it was done with slavery?

Perhaps many of us are not aware of the horrors of war as we should. Let us take a closer look at war. War is about killing people, usually on a massive scale. In war, ordinary men willingly kill. In war, men behave like wild animals. No, men in war behave worse than animals.

Animals kill for food and animals don't kill their own kind, even the wildest of them. But men kill merely for the sake of killing. Men kill their own kind. And he does this with inhuman beastliness.

Men are trained to kill, and are equipped with ever more lethal killing instruments. Such is the training in modern wars that special commandos willingly creep up to the unsuspecting enemy to slit his throat with a knife. And often, they train their guns on innocent civilians and with a burst of their automatic weapons, kill these people who had done them no harm.

In the current war, the usually young soldiers would mutilate bodies, decapitating and hacking off the limbs, kicking dead bodies with total disrespect.

In Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, men and women from a great civilisation strip prisoners naked, force them to self abuse, threaten them with dogs, tie ropes round their necks and drag them on the floor, subject them to electric shocks to their genitals, pour water on towels covering their faces so that they inhale water when they breathe and feel as if they are drowning and many, many more hideous acts unworthy of modern civilisation.

The worst part is that the very civilised leaders of a great nation actually legalised the forms of torture meted out to detainees, many of whom were released after years of detention without any explanation as to why they were detained. Presumably, they were found to be innocent of the acts they were suspected of committing.

In today's wars, the whole country becomes the battlefield. Bombs are dropped and missiles fired at villages, towns and cities, killing innocent non-combatants of all ages, razing to the ground buildings and houses, schools and hospitals and destroying electric cables and wires, and water pipes. Life support equipment in hospitals suddenly stops, killing the patients.

The destructiveness of the last great war deterred the powerful nations from going to war against each other. And so they pick on weak countries to invade, to kill and destroy.

The leaders of these powerful nations are not ashamed to tell lies in order to justify their invasions and killings. When their lies were exposed, their people still re-elected them. This makes their people equally culpable.

Research and development of ever more destructive weapons take up much of the powerful countries' budget. Gleefully, they report on the destructiveness of their new weapons. They are forever seeking opportunities to test them in real life. For this, they instigate proxy wars or they find excuses for going to war. It is suspected that the 9/11 destruction of the World Trade Centre was engineered to provide an excuse for war.

Their latest creations are the unmanned aerial vehicles, tanks and warships. With these weapons, their fighters would be safely ensconced a thousand miles from the target zones and the people they wish to destroy and kill. They, the killers, would run no risk of being injured. They can kill a hundred thousand people while drinking beer in the air-conditioned operations rooms.

They will not see the destruction, the deaths and the horrors they have caused. They will sleep well and soundly after committing mass murders.

The big military powers of today are nothing more than international bullies, picking on countries unable to match their military capacities, applying sanctions to starve and weaken their puny target countries and then launching "shock and awe" invasions. The killings and massive destructions are intended to impress and frighten their adversaries into capitulation.

Yes, wars of today are massively destructive, with an unlimited toll in deaths. No one is spared. The people in the target countries are truly terrorised, waiting to have their heads torn from their bodies, their arms and legs blown off and their remains eaten by the ownerless hungry and wild dogs.

One would expect that the great advocates of human rights, the people who loudly proclaim the freedoms of democracy, to be foremost in wanting wars to be made illegal. But, alas, these are the very people who resort to war at the drop of a coin.

Even as they talk of the sanctity of human life, of freedom from oppression, they would not hesitate to indulge in massive bombings and rocketings, killing hundreds of thousands, laying waste whole cities, towns and villages, detaining without trial and torturing their victims for years and years.

These hypocritical powers will continue to resort to wars for as long as human society considers war as proper and legitimate.

Maybe even if we make war a crime, the big powers would not care; would still wage war against other nations. But public opinion is a powerful force. Just as slavery ceased to be practised because public opinion was against it, war, too, can be outlawed if people, ordinary people, object to the mass murders and destruction due to wars.

Changing mindsets and value systems takes time. But it is not impossible. Already, many of the cruelties and injustices of the past have been abolished. In fact, even the death penalty has been abolished in many so-called humane countries of the world.

If the campaign to make war a crime is carried out assiduously and persistently, the day will come when war as an option to settle conflicts between nations would be rejected and classified as a crime. Then, we can say that our civilisation is truly a civilisation.

When the World Outlawed War: David Swanson's New Book

By Bruce Levine, Huffington Post

David Swanson, since serving as press secretary in Dennis Kucinich's 2004 presidential campaign, has emerged as one of the leading anti-war activists in the United States. Swanson is not satisfied with just stopping current U.S. wars. In his previous book War is a Lie, Swanson made the case for the abolition of war as an instrument of national policy, and his new book, When the World Outlawed War, provides an historical example of just how powerful war abolitionism can be.

Prospects for Peace on Earth

This time of year is ideal for reflecting on the miracle of Christmas 1914, that famous temporary truce and friendship between opposing sides in the midst of a war. Here was a new type of slaughter confronted with a new type of humanism, the leading edges of two opposing trends.

An op-ed in the New York Times last week by Steven Pinker and Joshua Goldstein argues that peace, rather than war, was the dominant development, and that over the millennia, centuries, decades, and right up to this moment, "War Really Is Going Out of Style."

Bruce Levine Interviews David Swanson on When the World Outlawed War

For those who know war only through television, criminalizing it sounds like proposing to criminalize government. But there was a time when the masses made war illegal.

David Swanson’s recently released book, When the World Outlawed War, tells the story of how the highly energized peace movement in the 1920s, supported by an overwhelming majority of U.S. citizens from every level of society, was able to push politicians into something quite remarkable—the Kellogg-Briand Pact and the renunciation of war as an instrument of national policy. The 1920s “War Outlawry” movement in the United States was so popular that most politicians could not afford to oppose it.  

David Swanson, since serving as press secretary in Dennis Kucinich’s 2004 presidential campaign, has emerged as one of the leading anti-war activists in the United States. While Swanson has fought against the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and tried to alert Americans to the fact that U.S. military spending is the source of most of our economic problems, his anti-war activism goes much deeper. He wants to stigmatize militarist politicians as criminals. In his previous book War is a Lie, Swanson made the case for the abolition of war as an instrument of national policy, and When the World Outlawed War provides an historical example of just how powerful war abolitionism can be. 

Bruce Levine: At a college lecture that you recently gave, you asked the students and professors if they believed war was illegal or if they had ever heard of the Kellogg-Briand Pact, and only about 2 or 3 percent of a large group raised their hands. But what really seems to have disturbed you is when you asked if war should be illegal, and only 5 percent thought that it should be.

READ THE REST.

Video: A Way to End War

David Swanson discusses his new book When the World Outlawed War in Charlottesville, Va., November 16, 2011.

Fahrenheit 11/11/11

Believe it or not, November 11th was not made a holiday in order to celebrate war, support troops, or cheer the 11th year of occupying Afghanistan.  This day was made a holiday in order to celebrate an armistice that ended what was up until that point, in 1918, one of the worst things our species had thus far done to itself, namely World War I.

World War I, then known simply as the world war or the great war, had been marketed as a war to end war.  Celebrating its end was also understood as celebrating the end of all wars.  A ten-year campaign was launched in 1918 that in 1928 created the Kellogg-Briand Pact, legally banning all wars.  That treaty is still on the books, which is why war making is a criminal act and how Nazis came to be prosecuted for it.

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