Volume 4, Number 1, 2009
The common value that people across cultures and regions have for peace stands as a loom where their initiatives are woven together. Connected as strands in a multi-textured weaving, their intertwined cohesion constructs a comforter for use in a storm started by structural conflict. Regardless of weathering from the storm, the comforter sustains the warmth of companionship in peace pursuits. The beauty of the solidarity comforter remains due to its symbolism of unity.
Collective action in the pursuit of peace has multiple effects. One is the power for change that increases with comprehensiveness of actions and mutual support in them. Another effect is increased awareness of common interests and goals, which contribute to camaraderie during those engagements and subsequent desire for sustaining such connection. Maintenance of energy during long-term and otherwise difficult initiatives is another effect of unity in the pursuit of peace. Ultimately, initiation in action is an important effect of solidarity. Observers of conflict who join in a collective action develop motivation for continued participation in connection-based pursuits of peace, and every so often, for individual peace work. Not to be overlooked is the effect of collectivity on felt courage, especially in the face of potential or extant violence.
Solidarity for peace has been short-term where transformation was rapid. It has also been sustained for decades while being characterized by shared ideology and maintained communication. Transformations resulting from collective actions have ranged from awareness-raising for participants and observers to small or large change, such as revolution. The federation of trade unions in Poland, known as Solidarity, that challenged the Soviet government, was one catalyst in the dissolution of the USSR. The solidarity of Estonians in defiance of the ban on singing their own patriotic songs has been recorded in the recently completed movie “The Singing Revolution”. In USA, the solidarity of protesters who have spent years calling attention to violence education their government provides for foreigners in the School of the Americas (WHINSEC) has evidenced the multiple effects that we mentioned above.
Our interdependence in peace development and our capability for cooperation in a united response to conflict remind us of the power we have to bring about change. Connect with others for solidarity in the pursuit of peace to increase our power for change without violence. .
Author: Bruce Glasberg
Author: Louise Diamond
Author: John Lola Okunola, Ph.D.
Performing and VisualArts
Film makers: Maureen
and James Tusty
Artist: Pacoima Singers