Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

JPT Practice # 7: Work with Emerging Cooperative Forces in the International System

We do not have a world government. Many people whom I respect greatly believe that the only possible form of world government would be dictatorial and, thus, a very bad idea. Others I respect just as highly believe it could be possible to evolve several international organizations toward a global form of federalism and I somewhat support that, but I worry about the bureacracy. At any rate, we have nothing like a world government now.
But we do have an international system that is more than just sheer anarchy. Just peacemaking practice # 7 is to work with the cooperative forces in that international system. Everything which works to connect nations makes wars more difficult. Actions which weaken international institutions and cooperative forces make wars more frequent and more likely.
Now, realistically, some cooperative forces have both positive and negative facets. For instance, the increasingly global economy of trade and trade agreements reduces the incentives for nations to wage war against trading partners. But the economic injustice involved in the current form of (top-down) global “free trade” agreements does great harm to people and environments and increases the possibilities of insurrections and civil wars. (See the JPT practice of promoting just and sustainable economic development.)
But in addition to trade, other forces which are knitting the world closer together include the internet and other forms of increased international cooperation. Global religions often work to get their members to think beyond national borders to members of their faith in other nations. (U.S. Christianity has been weaker on this than Christianity elsewhere. Even a recent Pew Report showed that over half of U.S. Christians think of themselves as Americans first and Christians second, which is truly tragic. I continue to tell people in churches that they have more in common with fellow Christians in nations our government designates as “enemy” than either does with non-Christian neighbors.) Ecumenical organizations such as the World Council of Churches work to connect believers across national, language, ethnic, and denominational lines. Grassroots Christian peacemaking groups do the same. Interfaith dialogue can also work to tie people together across national boundaries, though obviously not as strongly as movements within a particular religion.
The arts, literature, cooperative efforts between scientists, the kinds of tourism that get real interaction between cultures, and many similar works go some way to connect people. Just peacemakers will work to strengthen such cohesive forces and to resist forces which encourage “us vs. them” attitudes.


November 1, 2006 - Posted by | just peacemaking

1 Comment

  1. […] JPT Practice #7:  Work with Emerging Forces of Cooperation in the International System  […]

    Pingback by Index of Posts on the Practices of Just Peacemaking « Levellers | July 16, 2008

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