This discussion question applies to the following articles:
This discussion question applies to the following articles:
Anne Creter, the author of the article listed below about the Toronto Conference, responds as follows:
“We need a whole new system of governance devoted to the culture of peace.
One logical way would be to enhance the existing global movement calling for governmental Departments and Infrastructure for Peace (I4P) worldwide.
“The current U.S. bill in Congress (H.R.1111) to establish a Department of Peacebuilding is a great example of your points. See https://www.congress.gov/115/bills/hr1111/BILLS-115hr1111ih.pdf and https://peacealliance.org/issues-advocacy/department-of-peace/ .
“The UN Development Programme has much evidence of governmental I4P effectiveness in certain countries where they are operational and have been shown to reduce violence. (Journal of Peacebuilding & Development Special I4P Issue, volume 7, Number 3, 2012 ISSN: 1542-3166).
“So let us develop a viable institutional framework for peace. Let us advocate our legislators for governmental Departments & I4P NOW.”
Reading CPNN, we can see that we are advancing towards a culture of peace in little steps throughout the world. A good example is the progress in Participatory Budgeting (PB) which is, in effect, democratic participation. News about PB may be found in local media, but not on the front pages of the international commercial media which does not consider it to be important. A number of these local stories (see below) were covered by the CPNN bulletin a few years ago.
A blog by the CPNN coordinator in September 2017, asks if we are seeing the end of democracy: “. . . Leaders [in Latin America] who might have shown some sympathy with a culture of peace are gone, Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, Lula in Brazil and Fidel in Cuba, and their countries are moving to the right. This trend is not limited to Latin America. We have Trump, Putin, Duterte, Erdogan, rise of right-wing, even fascist parties in Europe, loss of the leadership of Mandela and Mbeki in South Africa, fading hopes that were raised by the Arab spring, and lack of any movement in Asia towards a culture of peace. Some might say it is the end of democracy, although I see it more limited as the loss of bourgeois democracy. After all, national elections are now almost solely determined by big money, and big money corrupts. To find progress towards true democracy it is necessary to look at a more local level.”
It seems from our CPNN coverage (list in right column) that the leadership on this question is being taken in Africa Here is a contribution to this question from Africa published in Transcend by David Tiomajou, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and International Relations at Protestant University of Central Africa:
“In recent years, the call for political systems based on power-sharing and liberal democracy of executive power has been in full swing in countries where shortage of change and coalition of power has resulted in large scale poor governance and chronic citizens’ frustration. Cameroon, with a unique exoglossic and colonial heritage is one of such countries. Against the background of half a century French-English constitutional Bilingualism with a vibrant heterogynous linguistic landscape, it provides an ideal setting for political debate nationwide in general and in its dual cultural heritage in particular.
Prof. Celestin Tagou in his 2017 book entitled Democratic Rotation in Office: Political Transcendency and Transformation of Ethno-regional Identities within the 21st Century Nation State, in 167 pages covering 4 chapters explores the concept of power sharing as shaped by the anthropological and socio-cultural realities of the African continent.
Beginning with the theoretical concepts of the family, the clan, the tribe, the ethnicity, the people, the race and the state and the nation, (Chapter 1). Prof. Tagou provides a sharp critical analysis of the “copy and paste” western approach to liberal democracy and its devastating shortcomings within the African context (Chapter 2) before elaborating the main purpose of his book which is “Democratic Rotation in Office” nicely captured in French as “Démocratie Rotative”(Chapter 3) with two significant case studies from Central and West Africa namely Cameroon and Ivory Coast.(Chapter 4).
In a nutshell, Prof. Tagou argues that power sharing and political participation require positive peace which is a necessary condition for sustainable development and this can only be effective through a model of democracy which is in fine tune with African history, its customs as well as its ancestral knowledge. He reckons that the importation, the implementation and even more so the “Copy and paste” of Westminster and Jacobin constitutional democracy in African young states have been “a political and societal mistakes”. Democracy per se could have universal principles and values, but there is not a model of democracy, that is universal. The is a French, a German, a British, an American…. model which is adapted to the various history and cultural background of each country.
Above all, Prof. Tagou brings to the democratic debate table bold, interesting and eye-opening proposals: Africa should proudly and positively mold its own model of democracy rooted in its socio-cultural and ethnic pluralistic context. He proposes a model based on Johan Galtung’s concepts of transcendence and transformation of conflicts: Rotative Democracy as mechanism for the election of the President of the Republic.
This book has inter alia two major strengths: first the originality of the argument within the African context marred with chronic heated political tensions around the executive power second, the timing and relevance of the publication with regard to Cameroon, currently in a deadlock political crisis known as “Anglophone Problem”. Prof. Tagou details his proposals with real, reliable and clear facts.
Never the less, although beautifully written in a fascinating and movingly style; Prof. Tagou’s “Democratic Rotation of Office” may leave its reader with a bitter taste in the mouth: how sound and fare can the relationship between the strategic group and the conflicting ones be? Is the rotating period among the 7+1 groups not too long for frustrating citizens to wait? And, as clearly stated by Prof. Alain Didier Olinga in the preface: To which group do the mixed-raced, half-breed and half-cast Cameroonians belong?
Whatever the case, Prof. Tagou has taken an insightful stand into the political debate on power sharing and liberal democracy in Africa with a major step in the contribution towards the search for solutions to office rotation and power coalition in Cameroon and readers and specialists of political sciences within the African continent and beyond will find this book of special interest.”
Below are articles in CPNN about this question:
CPNN has often carried articles about establishing a culture of peace at the level of the city, but there are also some advantages to promoting a culture of peace at a somewhat broader regional level.
In particular, the culture of peace needs to be based on a sustainable economy, which, in the long run, should depend on local agricultural production more than imported food. This requires that the unit for the culture of peace include not only the city, but also the agricultural region surrounding it.
Below are articles in CPNN about this question:
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This question applies to the following CPNN articles:
For prior discussion on this question, click here.
We’ve seen two shocking election results recently: the defeat of the referendum for the peace accords in Colombia, and the election of Donald Trump in the USA based on a racist and xenophobic campaign. What does it mean?
It means that voters in the two countries are alienated from their governments – quite siimply, they do not trust the government. And they are angry.
So what comes next? Do we slide back into war or into fascism? Or do we return to the people, listen to their fears and anger, and organize them in the sense that Martin Luther King told us?: “The supreme task is to organize and unite people so that their anger becomes a transforming force.”
CPNN, this month, finds ample evidence that the fightback to defend peace and human rights is underway in both countries. It begins at the local level, as it must be if it is to be sustainable. And it is being led by young people, as it must be if it is to have the energy to succeed.
Already, there are plans for a massive march of women to take place in Washington on the day after the inauguration. We “will send a bold message to our new administration on their first day in office, and to the world that women’s rights are human rights. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.”
Thousands of students have staged walk-outs on college campuses across the United States, signalling their commitment to maintain “sanctuary campuses” to protect immigrant students. At the same time, the mayors of the largest American cities have pledged to maintain their policy of refusing to work with federal deportations These include Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York. Not to mention entire states that are part of the sanctuary movement, including California and New York.
If you are out on the street talking to people, there is a new sense of urgency and commitment to get involved. “We’ve got a lot more work to do, now that Trump has been elected . . . more than ever, we need to work together for peace.”
People, especially youth, are training in methods of nonviolence, realizing that they will be put to the test in the coming times. For example, in Tucson, Arizona, students are taking the Kingian Nonviolence training program, which aims to “institutionalize and internationalize nonviolence.”
In Colombia, young people are training “to build capacities and to form ‘ Leaders animators’ in the territory who can then promote a political culture of pardon and reconciliation.” Also, there is the development of Municipal Peace Councils, the Municipal Councils of Transitional Justice . . . to form the network of peacebuilding strategy at the municipal level.” This month, CPNN articles about these initiatives come from the Colombian departments of Magdalena Centro, Cesar, Valle de Cauca and Antioquia, some of the most populous of Colombia’s 32 deparments.
Traditional peace and justice organizations, such as Search for Common Ground, Pace e Bene, Nonviolent Peaceforce and American Civil Liberties Union are deeply involved. But the energy is coming from young people to an extent that we have not seen since the revoluionary 60’s. It is they who will determine the direction and the power of the movement.
Tabling for peace in the USA: A new sense of urgency
47 of the world’s poorest countries are aiming to hit 100% renewable energy
TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY
FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION
DISARMAMENT AND SECURITY
EDUCATION FOR PEACE
To a great extent, this new institutional framework is being developed at the municipal level. This important because cities, unlike national governments, do not have an invested interest in the culture of war.
At the same time, there are continuing efforts to establish culture of peace institutions at national and international levels, as described in the following CPNN articles.
Readers are encouraged to add their comments below.