What does it mean to say “no” to the war in Ukraine, or war in general?
The dominant narrative we’re generally exposed to assumes that stopping the war in Ukraine requires sending more guns, also mercenaries, to Ukraine, and the place for “nonviolence” is in humanitarian aid. To better understand how we could be using the tools of nonviolence to stop this war, and war in general, I highly recommend the Waging Nonviolence website.
A talk worth listening to is this one, featuring peace researcher, award-winning author, founder of the Program on Nonviolent Action at the US Institute of Peace, Maria Stephan, followed by a more philosophical perspective from Michael Nagler, but there are so many interesting pieces that need wider audiences on the Waging Nonviolence website!
Also take a few moments to read the Canadian Friends Service Committee’s heartfelt and thoughtful open letter.
Prime Minister Trudeau and Foreign Affairs Minister Joly: Now is the time for Canada to use all tools available to push for de-escalation, negotiation, and diplomacy. NOT shipping arms, sending troops, or fanning the flames of war. There is no military solution here.
Are We Done Fighting? – Building Understanding in a World of Hate and Division
https://arewedonefighting.com/, by Matthew Legge, is a rarely valuable book. It explores the dynamics of relationships and conflict from the interpersonal to the international level in ways that invite readers to see these issues with new understanding. It’s so rich that I’m not the only person who finds it useful to go back to it often, finding new insights each time. Most of all, the book, especially if it provides the jumping off point for discussion and exploration with others, can be useful in a variety of contexts.
It occurred to me that Are We Done Fighting? reminds me of another of my favourite books, Prisons We Choose to Live Inside, by Doris Lessing. Both books expose the frailties and failings of how our minds work and how this can lead to disaster. However Legge’s book devotes as much or more space for insights and stories of how we are also “wired” for love, connection, justice and peace.
I’m also reminded of books by Leonard Desroches, which help us see what a powerful force nonviolence can be and how we can build the resources to keep ourselves out of the clutches of what Ursula Franklin understood violence to be: resourcelessness. Another book with numerous inspiring, dare I say, exciting, examples of how the power of nonviolence can transform situations is Dave Hubert’s Canada @ Peace: Coactive Security.
On a different, but related topic, there’s Shakil Choudhury’s Deep Diversity https://shakilwrites.com/. Both Choudhury and Legge offer workshops, opportunities for anyone with a zoom connection to deepen their learning with others. (And both books provide ample insight into the psychological aspects of, in one case, racial injustice, in the other, polarization, conflict and violence – both- in ways that are readily accessible to people without training in these fields.)
As physician Dale Dewar (former ED of Physicians for Global Survival) warns, “We must end war or ultimately it will end us.” At the root of war is our proclivity towards “othering” – when we see others as somehow lesser, or threatening – making it easier to harm them. This susceptibility threatens our very existence, not just because of the dangers of war and injustice, but also because this mindset permeates our relationship to the natural world, creating a war against nature that is ultimately suicidal. Are We Done Fighting? can be an exceptionally useful tool, a guidebook, for helping ourselves out of this mess. It does not naively minimize the dangers we face, nor does it tend towards fatalism or despair. Indeed, the book, and also the FREE workshops linked to the book help free us from the shackles that can lead to complicity in violence and cynicism.
Printed on “paper from responsible sources” by New Society Publishers, this is a book we can feel good about buying and getting into the hands of friends and family, our libraries and maybe also people in positions of influence, who could use the vision and information to “spread the peace virus”.
The following document contains the 2021 Conscience Canada Annual General Meeting Minutes and Board Report for 2020, as well as an Open Discussion and questions about the future of Conscience Canada.
In its Zoom-enabled virtual AGM on May 1st CC members from across Canada considered the future prospects of CC.
• How to generate more interest among younger Canadians.
• What are the challenges ahead.
• Where to concentrate our efforts.
• Why we face this critical juncture: grow or disband.
View the discussion as captured in this video report.
Saturday May 1, 2021, 3:30 p.m. EDT
Virtual meeting via ZOOM video conferencing
- Approval of the minutes of the 2020 AGM (available upon request)
- Presentation and Approval of the 2020 financial statements (available upon request)
- Appointment of auditors for 2021
- Review of CC activities in 2020 and a look ahead.
Our board president will report on 2020 then we will engage members in a vigorous open discussion about CC continuing on. Should CC try to find another peace group to take on the PTR/Trust Fund? Do we let CC dissolve as a distinct organization? Are there other alternatives? Are there new people with innovative ideas willing to be board members? (Specific directions from members will be vital in guiding the CC Board in a decisive 2021.)
- Confirmation of board members standing for re-election
- Election of new board member(s)
NOTE: This constitutes the official annual meeting notice required by the Conscience Canada by-laws. Please let us know if you want to receive a PDF copy of the by-laws by email.
To attend the AGM
Please send an email to email@example.com (you will receive an email reply that confirms your registration and includes a link to use to join the Zoom meeting on May 1).