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Academi Heddwch Cymru - Wales Peace Institute

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 6:11 pm    Post subject: Academi Heddwch Cymru - Wales Peace Institute Reply with quote

As with The White Book of Carmarthen ( http://repwblic.informe.com/viewtopic.php?t=566 ) I have to issue a warning on posting up this topic thread under " Campaigns " and I am thinking more about the implications of how those conducting campaigns feel about it when I endorse and promote such a campaign by giving it such a thread on repwblic.informe.com's web pages. Initially things were very simple - the business of Repwblic is to be a " republic of letters " and to promote open discussion of republicanism at an accessible level, i.e. proper republicanism not those ideas about it being a politics of hatred and violence created by propoganda, this being done in a public way especially in order to enable people who have paranoid ideas about republicanism to easily see how moral and ethical it is so that they can feel safe in reading and talking about it.

The only campaign absolutely necessary for Repwblic is against the Treason Felony Act 1848 which threatens the activity which defines it, and although the possibility existed of other campaigns which have that same generalising application they seemed otherwise unnecessary. As Repwblic has drifted away from the conversations that define a " republic of letters," because there are at present loads of readers and only one writer, the range of opinion on it has narrowed to " dai's " - so now it has a rather more hard-line stance which can be labeled " Republican Democrat " - and so now I am not worrying so much about my radically anti-militaristic if not outrightly pacifist stance estranging those who are more sceptical of this sort of old fashioned Republicanism which does not reject Democracy but is very critical of it, most especially as professedly practiced in the United Kingdom.

This topic thread does not mean that the people campaigning for this or anything else are going to endorse Repwblic if I choose to endorse them of course, and I am not about to run around attending every meeting - but I may well attend this one because promoting the culture of making peace in society is a profound necessity - no politics can take place without it whereas every war provides every opportunity for every thing to be lost that is to be gained by doing politics. That being said I am not entirely sure what I am endorsing as yet because nobody can be certain what this " Academi Heddwch Cymru - Wales Peace Institute " is going to look like as yet - unless perhaps they go to this conference. Whilst what follows from a recent email is in Welsh I am not entirely sure that it will all be conducted in Welsh since Jenny Pearce is from Bradford University, and anyway there may well be simultaneous translation provided -

Academi Heddwch Cymru

Taenu trais ar drais yn drwch
Yw lladd i ennill heddwch,

meddai John Penry Jones, Y Foel, Dyffryn Banw. I bawb, felly, sy’n dyheu am weld cyfiawnder a heddwch, croeso cynnes iawn i’r gynhadledd hollbwysig hon.

Lleoliad: Y Morlan, Aberystwyth, 10am. – 4.30pm.
Dyddiad: Sadwrn, 23 Mawrth 2013.

Y Prifardd Mererid Hopwood
Y Bonwr Stephen Thomas

Siaradwyr yn y bore:

• Jill Evans, ASE.

• Dr Robin Gwyndaf, Is-lywydd Cymdeithas y Cymod ac awdur Rhyfel a Heddwch a Sancteiddrwydd Bywyd.

• Yr Athro Jenny Pearce, Adran Astudiaethau Heddwch, Prifysgol Bradford.

Yn y prynhawn: gweithdai a thrafodaethau i ystyried y math o Academi Heddwch yr hoffem ei sefydlu, a’r camau pellach tuag at wireddu hynny. Bydd Côr Gobaith yn canu i agor a chloi’r gynhadledd.

Gorau oll os gall y cynadleddwyr roi gwybod (erbyn 9 Mawrth) o’u bwriad i fynychu. Anfonwch eich enw(au), os gwelwch yn dda, ynghyd â’ch cyfeiriad, ebost, a rhif ffôn, at:

... I don't feel like handing out my friends' personal contacts here, but I ought to be able to locate some advertised on the internet if you can wait a while ... any minute now ... bound to find one soon ... be right back ...
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have been aware of the idea for some sort of peace studies centre being around for some time and it is surprising that some sort of course at least dealing in peace studies does not already exist at a university level in Wales. At Bradord University such a thing has been well established for years - but why study peace ?


" ... While Peace Studies degrees have the study of politics at their core, they are also interdisciplinary and draw on sociology, history, philosophy, international relations, economics, anthropology, development and psychology. Our teaching and research is centred on the analysis of peace and conflict from the international to the local level and the related issues of security, social justice, human rights and development. ... Our international reputation Academic staff have a global profile and undertake regular media interviews, as well as advising governments, international organisations and nongovernmental organisations around the world. ... All our leading academics are involved in teaching. ... [ using ] ... Our applied approach. We will engage you critically in practical and policy debates, simulations and group exercises, focusing on developing an understanding of key global problems in the 21st century. We host lectures by leading policymakers from international organisations such as the UN and NGOs such as Oxfam. ...

... We also host PeaceJam, an exciting and innovative international peace education programme for schools and youths in the UK. Peace Studies students can train as facilitators for this event. ... You therefore have every opportunity to focus on those aspects of peace and conflict that are of particular concern to you. The international reputation of Peace Studies means that we attract students from all over the world and with a wide range of different backgrounds. We believe this adds significantly to the quality of academic and social life in Peace Studies. ... we are the only politics division in the country that employs a student liaison officer to organise social events, speakers and study trips, and give ongoing support to students ... The international reputation of Peace Studies and the rigour of our courses means that our graduates are attractive to employers in a wide range of fields including business, journalism, the civil service or working for international NGOs or multilateral bodies. "


[ Don't you ever sometimes feel that you made the wrong choices in life due to prejudice and ignorance - that studying peace sounded a touch too posh, pathetic, worthy ... I mean, it was not promoted as a career option when I was a teenager ... the Army came to our school and I'm sure that some us thought that we were being recruited by Rambo into Star Wars.]

[ But some of us were instead recruited by Rimbaud unto Starwards ]

( THE DANCE OF THE HANGED MEN ) -- http://www.mag4.net/Rimbaud/poesies/Dance.html -- http://www.mag4.net/Rimbaud/poesies/Bal.html

Oh ! but see how from the middle of this Dance of Death
Springs into the red sky a great skeleton, mad,
Carried away by his own impetus, like a rearing horse:
And, feeling the rope tight again round his neck,

Clenches his knuckles on his thighbone with a crack
Uttering cries like mocking laughter,
And then like a mountebank into his booth,
Skips back into the dance to the music of the bones !

( THE STAR HAS WEPT ROSE COLOUR ) -- http://www.mag4.net/Rimbaud/poesies/Star.html -- http://www.mag4.net/Rimbaud/poesies/Etoile.html

The star has wept rose-colour in the heart of your ears,
The infinite rolled white from your nape to the small of your back
The sea has broken russet at your vermilion nipples,
And Man bled black at your royal side.

( THE BARRACK ROOM AT NIGHT ) -- http://www.mag4.net/Rimbaud/poesies/Chambree.html

La Chambrée de Nuit


On a faim dans la chambrée -
C'est vrai...
Emanations, explosions. Un génie :
"Je suis le gruère ! -
Lefêbvre : "Keller !"
Le génie : "Je suis le Brie ! -
Les soldats coupent sur leur pain :
"C'est la vie !
Le génie. - Je suis le Roquefort !
- "Ça s'ra not' mort !....
- Je suis le gruère
Et le Brie !....

- Valse -

On nous a joints, Lefêvre et moi...


Thirty odd years ago I heard at university that a friend of mine had still not learned to shoot straight despite years in amusement arcades and months in the army - he had put the gun in his mouth and missed, taking half his face away. In my mind this more or less illustrates militarism.

Thus it might be more pertinent to ask " Why study war ? "

In terms of " The Golden Rule " which is the basic ethical teaching of Republicanism - " Do unto others as you would have them do unto you " - it should be fairly obvious that when societies make preparations for war they are meeting threat for threat, fear for fear, harm for harm and death for death : the reason why " The Golden Rule " has been restated so many times in so many religiously, philosophically and scientifically based political arguments is that has been proven to be true again and again and again - but perhaps only in Republicanism has its amorality been emphasised : in order to arrest the spiral downwards through hatred, lies, and war into enslavement and death a clear choice has to be made between evil and good, between preparing for war or preparing for peace - and the latter requires us to choose to drive the spiral upwards through love, truth, and peace into freedom and life. Thus in Republicanism there is the concommitant moral teaching of " The Prime Right " or " The Right to Life " - it is not enough to hope that the world that we live in will become a better place, we have to make it into one by the moral and ethical choices that we make.

These choices are not necessarily easy to make although these two rules of thumb can prove initially useful guides for the perplexed : the best choices are clearly thought out after examining good facts, in other words they are reasonable decisions made on a rational basis. Why then make a choice between studying war and studying peace, as has been made in Wales ? How exactly can anybody claim to be making a reasonable choice in any matter if they refuse to encounter half of the facts that should be involved in making it ? When the facts presented for the rationality of making this choice between studying war and studying peace which is claimed to be so reasonable are so damning how can any reasonable person accept its rationality ?

When we encounter people behaving in this way in any other sphere of life then we deem them to be not capable of exercising sufficient responsibility to make any decisions because their incapacity in one kind of decision making inevitably reflects upon their incapacity in making other decisions. Surely politicians can not be excused from this basic test and if they try to escape it we must ask why : why do we not already have peace studies on the curriculum ?

Last edited by dai on Tue Jan 22, 2013 10:41 pm; edited 4 times in total
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 1:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There was a bit more to the above but it was best left as is as a piece, however it is just as well to add a qualifier as to why anti-militarism is a feature of Republicanism when it is well known that despite their moral and ethical aspirations various republican theories have addressed the problems of organising defenses against aggresors both internal and external. From a republican point of view it has always hinged on the idea of the citizens as active moral agents who refuse to surrender responsibility for the ethical choices that they make. This is the basis of the argument for citizen militias being able to defend the peace of their society from internal and external aggressors : they may be trained in martial disciplines but decide to refuse to follow orders that they consider to be either immoral or questionable, in which case they will may prevent the execution of criminal acts and may improve the plans of their commanders by criticism.

The derogatory contrast was always made between the citizens in a militia and the soldiers in a regiment : the word ' soldier ' comes from ' solidus ' which was more or less a ' shilling ' - in exchange for which the ' soldier ' surrendered his right to make moral and ethical choices and became a subject not a citizen, and was considered to be a mercenary with no loyalties other to himself - having to be driven forward into battle by fear of punishment not by any passion to fight for what he defended. Soldiers were considered to be more or less criminals seeking plunder, open to being bribed by the enemies of the citizens they were supposed to be defending and likely to desert them if the odds seemed to be unpromising. Citizens in a militia were deemed to be fighting to defend their families and communities, being held together by bonds of natural affection, doing so merely to secure their own freedom and with no interest in plunder or conquest - they were not interested in prolonged punitive wars but only in re-securing the peace in order to go back to their own daily business.


This is why Cincinnatus is regarded as the model of republican heroism, but he is not liked by democrats - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cincinnatus - and just as a reflective aside to traditional European and American republican culture, which drew heavily upon the Judeo-Christian values of the societies in which it evolved, note how the fixity of the north star as the centre around which the heavens revolved became a symbol of the guiding values of the eternal and divine Res Publica : it is changed neither by these revolutions nor by the movements of the stars, planets and comets that have been used in various ways to symbolise republican aspirations. One of the most famous republican symbols as mostly used in Ireland refers to the virtues of Cincinnatus who promptly accepted his duty to lead the defence of his country and left his plough standing in the field - but having been granted the powers of a dictator in order to win the victory he promptly discarded them having secured the peace and went back that evening to finish the task of the morning - his plough guided by the north star. [ that is rather the romantic myth of Cincinnatus ] Hence the use of the Starry Plough on the flag of the Irish Citizen Army in 1916 - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starry_Plough_(flag) - and note that whilst there were many issues involved in that uprising, the issue that triggered it was the prospect of conscription being imposed - which more or less goes straight to the heart of what it means to be a conscientious objector refusing to escape moral responsibility for the ethical choices that we make in hoping to promote a more peaceful world. For many the motives must have been otherwise, but for some the Easter Rising was obviously the lesser evil and arguably they succeeded in delaying the imposition of conscription upon Ireland until 1918 after it had been imposed upon Scotland, England and Wales in January 1916. In terms of the body count of World War One, it can be argued that the April insurrection insurrection was thus defensive because it saved possibly hundreds of thousands of lives from death and trauma.

I know that that doesn't sound much like most people's idea of a " pacifist " stance but the word is not about appeasement and it definitely is not " passivist." Whilst originally in English people talked of making " pacific " gestures in order to lessen conflicts and increase peacefulness, which was an adjective which had already begun to carry the sense of appeasement instead of merely that of calming people down, in Latin the original noun was " pac + i + ficator = peace + maker " which carried the positive meaning of actively granting, making and promoting peace or tendencies towards it. Now that I think is a far more realistic and positive approach to making peace but in order for it to be possible it requires a certain amount of skill and commitment - it is not enough to give the other side the benefit of the doubt and hope that this " pacific " gesture of conciliation will mollify them and make them behave better : actual encounters have to be made and relationships built that bring an end to conflict by embarking upon the shared and mutual project of peace. This involves confronting the kinds of real circumstances that contain such complexities as in Ireland in 1916 and not merely standing over them and proclaiming yourself to have occupied the unassailable ethical high ground from which you may pronounce your incontestable judgement upon the morality of all others who will not join you there. This may be a very pleasurable position to occupy - but if you have the benefit of such a superior view over a violent conflict, what use is it to anybody unless you come down from the mountain and prophesy - or even better draw the poor wretches a map and try to show them the way out of their misery : that is what was meant originally by the word " pacificator."

I can see that I risk being misunderstood here, and I nearly struck out this discussion of militias v armies, but I feel that it contains the crucial point about accepting moral and ethical responsibility as active citizens and not being passive subjects who plead that we are not responsible, that we are only following orders, that market forces compel us to act this way or that we are true believers in this religion or that politics who must shut our ears and eyes to the consequences of our actions. Republicanism has a diverse, rich and interesting literature which has developed over five or more centuries which is full of ideas to draw upon - but not to draw authority from : responsibility still rests with the authors of the deeds whoever wrote the words that they cite to justify themselves. In reality, few people if any are considering any political or religious convictions when they are caught up in the events which they then use republicanisms to explain themselves with afterwards. So in the long run I think that we are reduced to counting the corpses : some of the most noble aspirations have the highest body counts. I am minded to recall the rhetoric put into the mouth of the defiant warrior who led the last of the ancient ancestors of the Welsh before they were finally in AD 84 totally defeated after more than forty years of warfare by the Romans at the Battle at ' Mons Graupius ' after which ' Ynys Alban ' was totally over run even to its northern most islands. Tacitus reports ' Calgacus ' ending his speech before the battle with the words " ... They are the only people on earth [ i.e. the men of Rome ] who with equal eagerness covet both the riches and the poverty of others [ i.e. in order to enslave them.] They give the lying name of empire [ i.e. government ] to robbery, butchery and rape : they create a desolation [ i.e. kill everything ] and call it peace." The Roman general Agricola was not impressed, nor was Margaret Thatcher when she got a similar reception on her tour of duty, and I think that Tony Blair thought that Gordon Brown was actually offering him foreign policy advice ...

... but then may be the skills of making peace are so rare that many people think that peace making is more or less a matter of individual genius and lucky circumstances - NO - I would say that all socially well adjusted and moderately intelligent people already have them in some measure and can be taught some more. War is nothing more in most instances than a refusal to hear another point of view, a refusal to be just to others and a willingness to deal out even more injustice to mere bystanders in your dispute. In my book, war is nothing more nor less than licenced criminality : I would be inclined to portray it as a grand tantrum but unfortunatedly when bombs are raining down you can not turn your back as upon a small child - and indeed small children can be reasoned with whereas politicians are far too preoccupied with themselves and this leaves people feeling helpless, as if even talking about peace is futile if not actually foolish. Being made to feel this way is of course a classic symptom of being abused, this is the way in which inadequate parents deliberately abuse their children to obtain illegitmate gratifications for emotions that they are unable to gratify by negotiation with adults. Emotional abuse that fails to manipulate the child into providing gratification must escalate into violence to make them comply : peace making starts there in detecting and protecting these children - and ends in the business of trying to achieve world nuclear disarmament.

To be honest I personally would prefer campaigning for world peace, since international political crises appear to me to be far easier to handle than dinner parties - they sort of calm your nerves and take you out of yourself, like the history of republicanism : did you know that " The Northern Star " which was the mid 19c Chartist newspaper based in Leeds is reputably so named by its founder Feargus O'Connor after the late 18c United Irishmen's newspaper based in Belfast ?




So republicanisms in general are desirous of peace and averse to war, but not pacifist in extremis but rather they advocate active peace making in order to avoid war if possible. Clearly extensive preparations for war are threatening and initiate the sorts of arms race and escalations that lead to wars, whereas extensive preparations for peace are entreating and initiate the sorts of alms race and escalations that lead to peace. In the latter case the facts are that there is only so much a person needs to have in order to live and so besides its obvious benefits peace is the cheaper option, whereas in the former case the facts are that there is no limit to how much a person needs in order to die and so besides its obvious disbenefits war is the more expensive option and the militarist in extremis can not possibly succeed in avoiding peace, even if he does a lot of damage on the way to that conclusion. More or less, betting on war is like betting on a horse - only in the age of nuclear warfare the latter is a much safer bet. It constantly surprises me that people sneer at the rather minor losses to be risked in betting on peace when if we lose we only lose some money not our lives as we may lose when betting on war.

The question then arises as to why we spend money on betting on war, buying huge stockpiles of weapons and selling even more to people who turn out to be our enemies and attack us. I think that if we look inside our garden sheds and garages, perhaps at large amounts of money in bank accounts whose value may be gone tomorrow in some financial crisis - or in my case books that accumulate unread but which I can not bear to part with because most probably they secure to me some sense of myself ... well we are not the rational reasonable creatures that we suppose ourselves to be, and we are certainly not responsible enough to possess nuclear weapons if we do not have the capacity to make good decisions about them. We put dangerous things out of the reach of children, simple and senile people and others who lack the capacity to behave responsibly - and given the recent news from America about new gun controls after yet another school massacre by a lone unbalanced gunman we know that this is the rational reasonable thing to do. As an aspiring citizen-to-be I would be classed as a Conscientious Objector ( by some ) for refusing to hand over my moral and ethical responsibility for my actions by accepting conscription into the armed forces - but just because no conscription presently exists upon me to do so does not excuse me from that moral and ethical decision to decide the extent of my responsibility to defend the society that I live in from the clear and present military threat which exists to our hospitals, schools, industry, infrastructure and the land itself from the enemy within.

If we can not contain the causes of war let us at least unleash the causes of peace and put some balance back into both the local and the global situation - if not sanity. Before you rush off to read up on Machiavelli and form a militia and stockpile your favourite brand of baked beans in your own private nuclear bunker at the bottom of the garden consider the sanity of this sort of thing in the first place : rooted perhaps in many other things, it creates or derives from a world view which involves irrational fear - it is derived from and is a mirror image of exactly that fearful mentality cultivated by militarism and so you will not be escaping from it by recreating it in miniature. In order to throw the cycle into reverse and defeat this world view and the militarism that creates it you have to handle the fears created by it in order to establish a more realistic world view : you need facts to rationalise with in order to reason your way into this more realistic world view and in order to learn the facts about other people you have to form relationships with them - to love those you previously deemed to be your enemies, to learn the truth about them, to come to live in peace with them, to be realise what kinds of freedom can be got and thence to enjoy life - and that is how you set your feet on the path upwards to plough the stars : in various sorts of ways every religiously, philosophically and scientifically based ideology that has been held in respect has basically been saying the same thing for centuries.

To put it yet another way, those who live by the sword die by the sword - not because somebody else actually then slays them but because the consequences of this for them are lives that are not worth living. Which is most probably the reason for them so often turning their murderous rage and hatred upon themselves instead of upon others - but no absolutist pacifist heroics are required of us in dealing with such people unless such actions are deemed to be reasonably rational behaviour in the given circumstances.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2013 10:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been a bit more creative visually recently, not having drawn many cartoons this past two decades because all forms of artistic creativity are drawn from happiness and are associated with celebrating life - whereas in my experience the sort of verbosity and argumentativeness displayed by politicos such as I have become are associated with unhappiness drawn from experiencing harm or witnessing to the potential death of those people and things that we value - and therefore we wage peace to save something, anything from the irrational, unreasonable politics that we have been and are being and anticipate will be subjected to.

I shared this with a number of other Quakers several weeks ago and I do not know whether non-Quakers or even Quakers outside of the UK will immediately get this : this is more or less in the classic vein of exceptionally dry Quaker humour ... for our American friends I would like to point out that whilst your government is shouting and screaming about the threat of Al Qaeda and Jihadi terrorists, who have never brought any part of the American war machine to a halt ( I will not call it ' imperialist ' because that implies a political project that is guided by the principle of extending the rule of at least some kind of law and of providing some kind of recourse to justice ), it was a bunch of people who set out from Cardiff Quaker Meeting House and were regarded as the local laughing stock by such eminently wise distributors of opinion such as the Western Mail for their proclomation from the capital city of Wales which at the time did not even have a government to call its own ( and still doesn't ) who marched to Greenham Common and set up a camp outside of one of its gates : the only people who ever brought the most super-powerful self-appointed caped-crusaders ever-known to a halt, albeit only for a while.

It's a funny thing, being Welsh : I'm not sure that I particularly care for it until I cross the bridge into England and re-encounter the difference between a nation that relies for its sense of identity upon other things ... and a nation that draws upon things that matter for making sense of itself. Whilst most of those proclaiming themselves ' republican ' have decided that some sort of imperial control over a piece of geography is the definition of ' sovereignty ' I am more inclined towards the notion of self-control : the Welsh never surrendered their sense of identity either to the monarchy or the aristocracy or - most importantly from a republican point of view - even to the rule of democracy, which given the will to make everyone British seeming so reasonable to some even within Wales would have been disastrous. The continued existence of the Welsh nation in the absence of a state is proof positive that governments and armies are not neccessary for the survival of nations and may well endanger their continued existence. What political lesson can the Welsh draw from our history to teach the world as a result of our experience ? What are the things that matter ?

Justice I think above all : it is not neccessary for a nation's continued existence to actually secure justice, but it is disastrous for a nation to believe that what has been done to it and is being done to it and will be done to it is just, that a people accept that they are less worthy of being justly treated than any other people. There can be no acceptance by any people who share a sense of justice as a community that the people of any other community have no share in that justice as they conceive it. The sorts of people who plan injustice for others have no sense of community even with those that they make their temporary alliances with in order to commit such injustices upon others. It is the sense of one's relationship to others in belonging to one community that cultivates the sense of one's relationship to other people in other communities - and which sharpens the sense of that relationship with others being violated when they do not make it a just one.

The point to note however is to avoid the conclusion that those who violate justice are representative of the community that we take them to belong to - they do not belong to it, any more than criminals belong to their own communities. In order to avoid being estranged from their own communities criminals do not perpetrate their injustices upon members of their families or immediate neighbours, and so waging war upon their own community is not accepted by any community - but is often explained away as ' defence ' when practised on another community, even though more often than not ' defence ' is typically characterised by what is universally recognised as injustice by all communities.

It is notable to me that professional armies deliberately recruit those already estranged from their own communities and who therefore lack the social relationships that resut in a sense of self esteem : such people have little or no experience of justice, and military regimes usually treat recruits in an arbitrary and random way in order to destroy any remaining self esteem by unpredictable and unjust demands in order to produce the slavish unquestioning obedience that is perversely called ' discipline.' Soldiers are certainly not ' disciples ' - they do not question those who command them, they do not understand the consequences of their actions and they are thereby absolved of any responsibility for what they do because they have ceased to be members of any community but reduced to the status of objects.

You can not defend a community by methodically removing people from it - yet our streets are littered with the objects of our pity, soldiers discharged from the army who believed that they were defending our community but have discovered only too late that they have been made no longer part of it : they do not know how to be part of it because they have been made into soldiers and treated as objects and thus have become estranged from all communities. Ex-soldiers like any others who live without the functioning relationships of being in community with others are thus likely to be devoid of any sense of justice and therefore given to acting in unjust ways and blundering into criminal behaviours that others would not do.

When you understand this view of unjust behaviour towards people reducing them to mere objects which are estranged from their communities the emergence of criminality can then be seen in terms of political protest - and if there are a sufficient number of such people then their organised crime can be seen as an organised protest by a political community. In other words, a society governed by violent means whose conception of sovereignty is one of blind obedience to the orders of a punitive authority will create its own mirror image in the political protest opposing it - and this is where the commonly held conception of republicanism arose from. Those peoples subjected to the violent rule of the British Empire conceived of the alternatives to it in terms of the political ideals of republicanism - of love, truth, peace and freedom - but their political leaders in trying to assert those aspirations for the communities that they represented were subjected to violent actions upon both themselves and their communities which created violent reactions which more often than not they tried to dissuade others from.

The appalling conditions in Wales during the industrial revolution produced exactly that sort of reaction amongst the communities of the iron and coal industries, and the predictable consequences resulted : a mass movement for the six moderate political reforms of ' The Charter ' became frustrated, the leaders were seized and meetings suppressed and so those leaders still free in 1839 and others already inclined to the use force embarked upon an action in Newport using a moderate amount of force sufficient to protect themselves from the murderous use of force that had been practised on previous protestors in Merthyr Tydful in 1831. This resulted merely in increasing the level of violence.

Wales' subsequent prosperity led to a gradual and peaceful progression towards political reforms, but in Ireland chronic increasing poverty maintained the level of violence through frustration after frustration until chronic increasing violence led to the continuing rule of Ireland to be uneconomic due to its poverty not supprting the taxation neccessary to maintain it : it was not violence that ended the injustice between the communities involved but rational reasonable political arguments, and such arguments can not be conducted at the same time as warfare - there is no such thing as ' political ' violence, because peace is the precondition for politics and war is the refusal to engage in any political dialogue.

The whole basis of military organisation is to issue demands to be obeyed upon pain of punishments : the punishments have to be so dreadful and disproportionate that no sympathy can be shown for those to whom they are meted out whether the persons subjected to them are friends or foes. It is not only the ' enemies ' who have to be refused justice but also any ' allies ' such as other people in the political community whose opinions differ. The consequences therefore of a political community becoming increasingly militarised is that its reasoning becomes decreasingly rational : it can not accept criticism, it can not take in information that contradicts its intentions or even merely deflects them. Political opponents are denounced as being sympathisers with or even in league with those deemed to be the ' enemies ' and even without actually obstructing the prosecution of a war those who decline to participate are deemed to be subversive ( the last time that anybody was prosecuted under the Treaon Felony Act 1848 was in Australia for campaigning against conscription in World War One.)

Militarism has often destroyed the societies that it has claimed to be protecting by dividing their communities against each other because of the irrational unreasonable and therefore increasingly unjust policies that it demands of governments, which then have to resort to persecuting communities that do not heed their calls for unity through slavish obedience to an ' authority ' which is nothing more than the threat of violence. Militarism equates ' respect ' with ' fear ' - ' order ' with ' will ' - ' obedience ' with ' subservience ' - ' discipline ' with ' training.'

Militarism in many respects demonstrates the dangers of the ' Pure Republicanism ' of a ' one-party state.' In the wonky world of warlording, sums do not just not add up but must be added up to the correct answer - which is dictated by the military objectives. Military establishments the world over demonstrate more than a few of the oddities that confirm how irrational and unreasonable their decision making processes are : fleets of expensive planes that never flew and were finally scrapped because of the cost of maintaining them, guns issued for combat with neccessary parts to make them able to fire due to follow, warships that flipped upside down immediately after being launched because they were overloaded with guns above the centre of gravity, warehouses full of only right boots left over from some conflict decades before - maintained at a steady room temperature but never visited and the keys lost years ago ... not to mention the battles lost through giving stupid orders and wars started by mistakenly attacking the wrong country etc etc etc The main military objective is to admit nothing to anybody, not even to oneself, and it is an interesting aspect of military history that heavily militarised states generally lose the wars that they insist on starting against pacific states.

So how come pacifist and pacificatory republican states can defeat them ?

The classic republican argument is that a people's militia are fighting for freedom so they will not go home when the money runs out but fight on to the bitter end whereas paid soldiers fight for money and want to save their skins ... well this did not work for Washington, but what did work for Washington was his intelligent organisation and the effective use of his limited resources of which, whilst he complained of them being an unruly rabble given over to democratic notions, the most important was the initiative that so many of his officers and men used in their choices of action - because they talked freely and knew what they were talking about, and as a consequence used appropriate tactics which exploited their opportunities. The heirarchical conventional command structure of the British Army was still losing wars against well armed opponents over 150 years later, it was more or less only guaranteed to be succesful when it was fighting opponents armed only with sticks and stones - most of the time. In contrast to his military opponents, Ghandhi understood warfare : it is useless for securing political objectives because it is anti-political.

I'm not so sure of how far I would go along Ghandhi's road, the sensible assertion is that nobody knows how they will behave until confronted with the situation that puts our convictions to the test. I suspect that my own stance is more or less that I have only two cheeks and that whilst I am slow to react and think it better to take a few blows rather than escalate a situation so that the end result is even more injuries all round, it is only a human and biologically evolved response to begin to fight back rather than to be beaten to a pulp : Quakerism doesn't deny the right to self defence and ultimately always leaves individuals to decide for themselves and admits the possibility for each to make their mistakes. What Quakerism does advise is well in line with " blessed are the peace-makers " - that if ' pacificism ' is merely not fighting it is ' passivism ' and that is not acceptable. Peace is not the absence of war - both are ways of doing things and therefore ' peace-making ' means actively pursuing the things that make the peace : this requires not merely relieving injustice but tackling the things that create injustice such as reforming the political system so that it makes just decisions and creates the just laws which make the peace. The laws we live by advise our actions and therefore they ought to be framed in such a way as to help us to query our actions - will they have a just outcome or will they result in injustice ?

You do not need to be a Quaker to have a share in the wisdom of mankind, but acquiring that wisdom within a society that is militarised can be difficult because the political system that it re-creates in its own image produces the kind of crazy thinking displayed by the police and military officers in my cartoon. I have actually heard such things said and with such conviction that it is obvious that such a world view is not only plausible but believed in and taken to be true : how on earth could the possession of nuclear weapons be endangering those they supposedly protect ? Well quite besides the madness of MAD - Mutually Assured Destruction - the proportionality of spending or rather squandering our society's resources upon something so utterly useless is obvious. But the arguments for it are put forward by well funded advocates, advocates funded by huge amounts of public money - bad arguments but successful ones because well funded. To have a ' Peace Academy ' would in a small way put some balance back into this argument over the spending of public money on military hardware that can not be used for defence but only or offence, for fighting wars that can not achieve their proposed political ends because wars can not achieve any political ends beyond self defence. If we think of ' peace ' not in terms of ' not fighting ' but in terms of the neccessary actions to reduce the need for defensive wars, it immediately becomes obvious that a ' Peace Academy ' is not some idealistic crusade for righteously pious behavior but an immensely practical if not actually materialistic argument for introducing new facts and arguments into the political life of our nation : it will contribute to Wales' politicians being able to be more rational and reasonable in making their decisions, and that will have consequences far beyond our defence policies - it is our social and economic policies and the laws that we make which effect people both within and beyond Wales which will make the peace in Wales and the World.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 10:47 pm    Post subject: Cofi'r Comin Reply with quote


Cofio'r Comin - a documentary on S4C worth watching to remind ourselves of the contrast between those in government who were looking forward to their nice cosy bunkers with their friends and how everybody else felt about that ... still feel about it ... broadcast 04 / 04 / 13 available until 09 / 05 / 13 on Clic ... assuming we are all still here of course ... frst broadcast 2002 so I guess that it will come round again ...
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2016 10:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


(This is a bilingual communication. For English please see below)

Annwyl Gyfeillion

Cyfarchion cynnes! Anfonaf atoch newyddion chwarterol am Fenter Academi Heddwch Cymru.

Prif destun y cylchlythyr hwn yw adrodd yn ol o'n Cyfarfod Blyinyddol a gynhaliwyd yn Aberystwyth ar 6 Chwefror. Atodir adroddiad llawn o'r cyfarfod hwnnw, yn ogystal a phapurau a chyflwyniadau PwyntPwer a oedd yn sail i drafodaeth ar y diwrnod. Atodaf hefyd adroddiad ein Trysorydd am y flwyddyn ariannol yn arwain at y cyfarfod blynyddol.

Mae'r adroddiad o'r cyfarfod blynyddol yn amlinellu llwyddiannau'r flwyddyn ddiwethaf, yn enwedig wrth gynhyrchu a chyhoeddi adroddiadau ymchwil, sydd bellach ar gael ar wefan Cymru dros Heddwch. Ar ol etholiadau'r Cynullaid rydym yn edrych ymlaen at lobio ein ACau ac ailgysylltu a'r Grwp Trawsbleidiol ar Hawliau Dynol a Heddwch. Efallai mai agweddau pwysicaf ein gwaith ym 2016 fydd creu partneriaethau cadan a chodi'r arian a fydd yn ein caniatau i symud tuag at sefydlu'r Academi ei hun.

A fedrwch chi ein helpu?

Grwp bach ffyddlon yw Pwyllgor Menter Academi Heddwch Cymru ond mae gennym dasg fawr i'w chyflawni! Croesawn gefnogaeth wrth weithio tuag at sefydlu academi heddwch yng Nghymru. Byddwn yn croesawi cymorth gyda'r canlynol:

rhoi'r academi heddwch ar y map trwy ddweud amdano wrth bobl a sefydliadau, ac ennill eu cefnogaeth;

codi'r arian angenrheidiol i ymgymryd ag ymchwil bellach ac i sefydlu'r academi ei hun;

creu adnoddau cyhoeddusrwydd, cylchlythyr electorneg a gwefan.

Os hoffech chi gefnogi'r Fenter i sefydlu academi heddwch, cysylltwch a'r Ysgrifennydd trwy ebostio: ejharries@hotmail.com. Gallwn anfon pecyn gwybodaeth atoch i'ch helpu wrth gysylltu ag unigolion a sefydliadau.

Os hoffech gyfrannu at y Fenter yn ariannol, cysylltwch a'n Trysorydd, Chris Jones trwy ebostio: xxxxx

Edrychwn ymlaen at fod mewn cysylltiad eto yn yr haf.

Cofion gorau

Jane Harries


Dear Friends

I am sending you a quaterly update on the Wales Peace Institute Initiative, with friendly greetings.

This update consists largely on reporting back to you on our AGM, which was held in Aberystwyth on 6th February. A full report is attached, as well as papers and PowerPoint presentations which informed discussion on the day and our Treasurer's report for the financial year up until the AGM.

Our AGM report outlines successes in the past year, in particular in producing and publishing two research reports, which are both available on the Wales for Peace website. After the forthcoming Assembly elections we look forward to lobbying our new AMs for their support and making contact again with the Cross-Party Group on Human Rights and Peace. Perhaps the most important aspects of our work in 2016 will be in gaining solid partnerships and in fundraising to enable us to move towards establishing the Institute itself.

Can you help us?

The Wales Peace Institute Initiative Committee is a small group with a potentially large task ! We welcome support in our task of working to set up a peace institute in Wales. In particular we welcome help / support with the following:

putting the peace institute on the map by telling key people and organisations about it and gaining their support;

raising the necessary funds to do further research work and to establish the peace institute itself;

creating publicity materials and an online newsletter and website.

If you would like to support the Initiative to set up a peace institute, please contact the Secretary at xxxxx We can send you an information pack to help you when making contact with individuals and organisations.

If you would like to make a financial contribution to the Initiative, please contact our Treasurer, Chris Jones at xxxxx

We look forward to being in touch again in the summer.

With best wishes

Jane Harries

'World peace will come through the will of ordinary people like yourself'
Lucy Behenna, founder of Mothers for Peace

'Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.'
Margaret Mead

Mae'n flin fy mod i yn cael trafferth ar hyn o bryd i gadw i fyny gyda'm ebyst! Os ydych chi am ymateb sydyn, gallwch fy ffonio ar xxxxx
I'm sorry that I'm having problems keeping up with my emails at the moment! If you need an urgent reply, you can reach me on xxxxx
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