“deep peace” and other comments


Jan Slakov

Date: Mon, 20 Jul 1998 18:21:38 -0400
To: •••@••.•••
From: Bill Ellis <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Deep Peace

At 10:59 AM -0300 7/19/98, Jan Slakov wrote:
>It is to be assumed that all of us on this list advocate using non-violence
>in our social change work.
Thanks for the post on nonviolence and the reference to TRANET's web page
on the nonviolence.net.  I think we all should take part in the peace
brigades you mention. I was myself partly responsible for the contact in
Chiapas when I was there and saw the pending violence there some years ago.

But, in spite of all the anti nuke, anti military, anit crime, and non
violence activity going on I'm still having trouble finding literature on
"peace."  That is, what is it made Gandhi, King and others the peaceFULL
(not only peace loving) people they were? And what made Stalin, Hitler, and
others the violent people they were?
And, how do we move society in the direction of "deep peace?"

I have alway been amazed at the Quakers I've met.  They seem to be endowed
with a peacefulness which surpasses my understanding.  Somehow they all, or
at least most that I have met, live and breathe peace.  I, and most of my
nonviolence colleagues, merely work for peace and nonviolence.  It is not
as deeply ingrained in our beings as in others. How do we gain real "deep
peace?"  And how do we build it into our social fabric?

I'd like any references to a positive "deep peace" that others on this net
might forward
Jan's comments:   July 21

Big questions you end your message with. I would like to start the
discussion with a few comments and hope others will add more.

Perhaps an essential thing about the "deep peace" of Quakers is a core
belief that "there is that of God" in each of us.

I once went to a residential Quaker school to teach and learn for about a
month. I remember being struck by how EVERYONE was listened to, including a
boy I tended to write off as being "dumb". The teachers especially would
always be able to take what he said and use it to carry the group forward.

I also remember that in an exercise we did to observe and improve group
performance, I noticedone of the teachers said she agreed with what someone
had said, not "with so-and-so". A fine distinction, which is related to
being able to "hate the crime but not the criminal"; being able to separate
the person from what they do or say. This is, I think, an essential skill to
develop if we are to be able to act fairly towards all the different people
we come in contact with.

I am not a Quaker so I hope someone who is might be able to correct any
mistakes I may have made and maybe to elaborate further.

I also urge any of you who would like to comment on how we can move society
towards "deep peace" to do so. I think these questions are central to doing
what needs doing: build a livable world (including vibrant democracy) by
living it now. As Richard has pointed out, our means are to embody our ends.
Date: Sun, 19 Jul 1998 14:19:13 -0700 (PDT)
To: •••@••.•••
From: •••@••.••• (John Lowry)
Subject: Re: some reader comments & dialog

rkm wrote:
>We need to break through the barriers of `right & left', talk
>people-to-people, and articulate a different paradigm of our situation and
>what needs to be done about it.
>The question of tariffs, I suggest is a technical one; tariffs can be
>useful, depending on your goals for economic development.  The strategic
>question is whether nations will have sufficient sovereignty to _have an
>economic policy.  The doctrine of `free trade', as enforced by IMF policies
>and GATT agreements offer some temporary benefits in terms of cheaper
>goods, but in the long run it reduces all nations to colonial status, and
>leaves economic (and environmental, and labor conditions, and social
>programs, etc etc) policy making in the hands of giant TNC corporations and
>their bureaucracies.
>all the best,

I think a practical priority for actual economic re-form is the food supply.
Trade in food is fine, so long as the political unit (bioregion?) is
self-sufficient in the basics.  Toward this objective, I suggest
transforming the US foodstamp program into a cash cow for bioregionalism by
paying grocers to purchase good, basic food, produced as locally as
possible, and distributing it to their regular customers for free.

I don't know if anyone else here has applied for food stamps, but, when
really down and out, I found the experience so degrading I went hungry for a
while instead.  I suppose if that level of poverty had been a more permanent
condition for me, I would have had no choice but to suffer the damage.  And
food stamps generate a large measure of political resentment in our ritual
gatherings at the supermarket check-out line.

We can eliminate these socially damaging experiences with a political
program that does more than just take care of the needy.  We can strengthen
the bonds between us by acknowledging our extraordinary wealth, and by
celebrating our prosperity with the gesture of free basic food -- for
everyone.  While we have overcome the state of economic nature our ancestors
called "scarcity," there are other states of nature that can threaten our
well being, and we can pay more careful attention to those threats if we
enjoy a fair measure of the benefit from our societal accomplishment in
creating material abundance.  A program of bioregional self-sufficient food
supplies, to which everyone has equal claim in extremis, would be seen as a
useful state action by those not now on foodstamps, and it would be a
postivie, inclusive gesture toward those now seen as not "contributing" to

Jan's comments:

Yes, bioregions ought to be self-sufficient in the basics! This is a part of
what it means to pursue security through non-violence. The more a community
is self-sufficient in the basics, the less it will need to protect its
interests elsewhere through violence and the less vulnerable it will be to
attemps to cut of its supplies.

The food stamp idea sounds great; it would be a worthy one for a group to
work on.

You might be interested to see what Herman Daly and John Cobb, Jr. wrote in
their 1989 book, _For the Common Good, on the topic of limiting inequality
(rather than striving for absolute equality). They advocate a negative
income tax, an idea supported by Milton Friedman in _Capitalism and Freedom

Now, before all of you write in to tell me what a dunderhead Milton F. is,
let's remember to separate between the person and what the person is saying!
(Friedman does not get an easy ride in Daly and Cobb's book. It has been one
of my "landmark" books; helped me realize how our economic theory evolved
(or regressed!) to where it is now and what kinds of things could be done to
make economics more sensible.)

all the best, Jan