I began writing about pacifism several years ago on my blog Literary Kicks, and gradually came to realize that I cared more about this topic than any of the others I was covering on that site. In October 2015 I began an Indiegogo fundraising drive to kickoff a new nonprofit organization called Pacifism for the 21st Century, and I launched the beta version of this website a month later.
I've been running Literary Kicks on my own for years, but I'm hoping Pacifism21.org will be much more than a blog, and am already working with an amazing team of supporters, friends and donors who are helping me define and reach some ambitious goals for this project, and for the cause we are choosing to represent. Here are the words I wrote to explain the purpose of Pacifism for the 21st Century on Indiegogo:
Why Are We Building This Website?
In 2015, the time is ripe for peace movements to break out all over the world.
Who says peace is not possible? We saw how suddenly gay marriage happened all over the world, and how fast legal marijuana is happening. These examples show how quickly attitudes can change. Can a new understanding of the possibility of world peace be next?
We think it can. Pacifism is already bubbling all over the world, and a worldwide awakening of peaceful ideals is in the air. Pacifism21.org will provide a voice, a forum and a daily chronicle for peace-builders, activists and concerned citizens as this important movement continues to grow.
What is Pacifism?
Pacifism does not have to be an absolute position: it is simply the belief that less war is better than more war. When there is a global conflict (say, in the Middle East today), a pacifist will tend to support peace talks over military escalation. When voting for a candidate, a pacifist will tend to support less military spending, and will be turned off by "let's bomb them!" rhetoric.
A pacifist is not against all reasonable self-defense, and does not have to believe that the problem of war can be solved completely. Dwight David Eisenhower was stating a pacifist position when he said these words:
"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military–industrial complex."
Eisenhower was also one of the toughest military leaders of the 20th Century, and led the invasion of Europe to defeat Hitler during World War Two.
Pacifism is a broad position. A pacifist may be left wing or right wing, liberal or conservative, capitalist or socialist, Occupy or Tea Party, Christian or Jewish or Muslim or Buddhist or Hindu or agnostic or atheist. A pacifist does not have to reject violence 100% of the time, does not have to dress like Mahatma Gandhi, is not required to sing folk music.
If you declare yourself a pacifist, you are joining a practical movement to reduce the incidence of military escalation around the world. It's a common-sense idea: the idea that war is a terrible disease that we ought to try to cure, and that we ought to be able to cure.
Why "Pacifism for the 21st Century"?
Pacifism21 means "Pacifism for the 21st Century". We chose this name to counter the idea that pacifism is a naive or outdated philosophy after the violent horrors of the 20th Century. We want to emphasize that pacifism is a realistic, common-sense philosophy that is essential to the well-being of our planet.
We also want to show that pacifists can stand proud, that the broad and open-minded philosophy of life that inspired Dorothy Day, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, John Lennon and Yoko Ono is a coherent and cohesive belief system that can no longer be dismissed with a joke or a stereotype.
What is Pacifism21.org
Pacifism is a gigantic topic, and Pacifism21.org will have to grow a bit to reach the size and scale that this project demands. At this point, the website contains new articles as well as some key pieces of content that were originally published on Literary Kicks. We are at the early stages with various social media channels as well. We hope this organization and website will grow quickly. If you'd like to get in touch or contribute in any way, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.