Transcend-International

Linked with Kai Brand-Jacobsen – Romania & Canada & Norway, with The Power of Non-Violence, with Johan Galtung – Norway, with The Transnational Foundation, with Violence, War, and Their Impact, and with TRANSCEND’s Advanced International Training Programme.

Transcend-International, a peace and development organization for conflict transformation by peaceful means.

about: To work for peace is to work against violence; by analyzing its forms and causes, predicting in order to prevent, and then act preventively and curatively since peace relates to violence like health relates to illness.

Particularly important is genocide, or massive category killing, across the fault-lines in human society: nature (between humans and their environment), gender, generation, race, class, exclusion, nation, state. Whether as direct violence or as the indirect slow, grinding violence of social structures that do not deliver sufficient nutrition and health at the bottom of world society, enormous suffering, dukkha, is the effect.

To work for peace is to build sukha, liberation, well-ness in a world with peace with nature, between genders, generations and races, where the excluded are included but not by force, and where classes, nations and states serve neither direct nor structural violence. In such a world they would all pull together for better livelihood for all. That would be true globalization, unlike the present reduction of that term to represent only state and corporate elites in a handful countries.

The best instrument of true globalization would be an improved United Nations, with a UN People’s Assembly for global democracy, and without any veto power for privileged states, probably located where most people live, somewhere in the Third world like in Jerusalem or Hong Kong. An improved UN would build on civil society actors – NGOs and local authorities(LAs) – and TNCs, an underutilized peace actor. The modern state system, from the “peace” of Westphalia 1648 on, has clearly been overutilized. It is a war system, giving states the right of war (except for Japan: Constitution Article 9 denies Japan that right). An improved UN would also have to learn to build on nations striving for autonomy and not privilege states.

States were not created to bring peace into the world but to satisfy “interests” defined by their elites, if necessary by war. Peace has lower priority, as seen clearly when we compare the size of the professional war and peace establishments of states. Very problematic are predatory states who see the interests located outside their own territory – euphemistically called their “sphere of interest” – and in the smaller states in their alliances. When states pretend to work for peace it is very often as a way of solidifying their sphere of interest. And even if the effort should be honest it is usually painfully clear how little they know and how amateurish their endeavors. Nothing of this, however, prevents them from claiming monopoly on peace, as also on war.

From this it does not follow that non-states, in the world civil society, both as NGOs and as LAs, the TNCs and individuals are necessarily competent. Nor does it follow that states cannot be improved, nor that states cannot often be excellent peacemakers across the other divides defined by nature, gender, generation, race, class, and exclusion.

Often in ways codified by that major instrument for peace, the human rights (universal, indivisible), protected by the institutions of democracy. But these two institutions are far from culturally neutral and not necessarily practiced in inter-nation and inter-state relations, at the macro level of the human construction, where state and alliance egotism seem to dominate, often supported by democratic majorities.

Hence the rise early last century (but with forerunners in the high Middle Ages) of non-state actors working for peace.

There are at least three generations of such approaches, so far. To understand them better a definition of peace = ability to handle conflict, with empathy, nonviolence and creativity may be useful, since so much violence is due to mishandling of conflict.

(See all the rest on their website).

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