Is Johan Galtung, a leading figure in peace research and peace practice, an anti-Semite? I have known him for twenty years, and I’m sure that he is not. But he has spoken in such a way as to give apparent credence to this charge, which complicates the issue.
The burden of Galtung’s argument is that there is increasing danger that, as the American Empire continues to decline and Western economies deteriorate further, Jews will be seen as the source of these failures and scapegoated as they were in interwar Germany. Johan is in touch with the growing anger and desperation of working-class and middle-class people in the U.S. and in Europe – a state of frustration which is already producing a resurgence of right-wing nationalism and rise of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, especially in nations in which Jews play a prominent role in the news media, investment banking, and higher education. The cure for this ominous malaise, he thinks, is to solve the structural problems that are impoverishing working people and throwing nations into debt, as well as generating useless foreign wars and interventions. Meanwhile, as an antidote to anti-Semitism, he advocates discussing the Jewish role in society openly instead of maintaining current taboos.
The father of peace research, Johan Galtung, spoke at S-CAR on April 7, 2012. The lecture was titled “16 American Conflicts and How to Resolve Them.” Details on the event can be found here: http://scar.gmu.edu/event/14090
The continued persistence of the Occupy movement is likely both heartening and challenging for readers of Unrest. Heartening because many of us, I presume, are sympathetic to the general goals of the movement and the nonviolent tactics generally used, but also challenging for scholars and practitioners in conflict resolution because it is not immediately clear what role practitioners could or should play in the conflict that the movement is addressing. Not every social or political interaction is a conflict and not all conflicts require the attention of a “conflict worker,” to borrow Johan Galtung’s term (1996, 266). In order to justify a conflict analysis and resolution response, we should be able to identify a unique and helpful contribution to be made. It is my contention here that conflict resolution, as currently thought and practiced, is ill-prepared for this kind of contribution.
Originally published at Transcend.org on 6-21-2010
This is the Epilogue of a book just to be printed, A Theory of Conflict, TRANSCEND University Press, 2010:
From an essay written in 1968, “Conflict as a Way of Life”:
“If you cannot remove conflict, why not adjust your thinking about it? Why not try and see conflict as the salt of life, the big energizer, the tickler, the tantalizer, rather than as a bothersome nuisance, as noise in perfect channel, as disturbing ripples in otherwise quiet waters? In short, why not treat conflict as a form of life, particularly since we all know that it is precisely during the period of our lives when we are exposed to a conflict that really challenges us, and that we finally are able to master, that we feel most alive”.
Originally published at Transcend.org on 6-14-2010
Nobody would expect the world US Empire and the regional Israeli empire to be falling gracefully, opting for alternatives. The alternatives, more modest, egalitarian, more 21st century are obvious: a North American region Mexico-USA-Canada, a MEXUSCAN for one, and a Six states solution, Israel with the five neighboring Arab states in a Middle East Community for the other. Seeking security the only way it can be found, through peace, particularly with neighbors, and maybe a strong defensive defense. But such alternatives are not on their agendas.
Originally published at Transcend.org on 5-24-2010
Greensboro, NC: This is where it happened: the sit-in at the Woolworth lunch-counter 1 February 1960, unleashing a cascade of events leading to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, formally ending segregation based on color in the United States of America. The event got its International Civil Rights Museum 1 February 2010; 50 years (!) later. But then the Civil Rights Act came nearly a century after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed 1 January 1863, making the war anti-secession and anti-slavery. The South fought even more bitterly, England and France gave up the idea of recognizing the Confederacy as slavery was illegal in both, and white workers in the North feared competition from freed slaves so much that enlistment declined and a Conscription Act was passed March 1863. As late as 1850 the Compromise kept the Union united provided federal forces could be used to catch fugitive slaves!