The Emerging Peace Movement and its Structural Organization
There is an emerging peace movement currently taking shape, one that will define Gen-xers like myself. It will comprise artists, musicians, academics, and citizens of the globe. The movement, like all organized social movements, will require structural organization if it is to be effective.
Unlike social movements of the past, however, the effectiveness of this emerging movement will largely take shape in cyberspace, which in no sense undermines the potential grandeur of its scope. In fact, the possibility for an international community of self-organized peacemakers has never been greater. The potential to affect change has never had a scope as large as that which is accessible through the Internet.
The question certainly does not pertain to the viability of peace or the need for a global community of peacemakers. The question is how will this emerging peace movement be organized? What are the structural requirements that will promote peace? And finally, how will peace advocates motivate nonviolent sentiments within a largely desensitized public?
To address each of these questions requires an understanding of how social movements are organized in general and how peace movements are specifically structured. My intention within this section of the analysis, then, is to explain the structure of peace movements within a historical context and offer an anticipatory account of how they might be structured for citizens of the 21st century.
Charles Chatfield, in referring to the Fellowship of Reconciliation (a peace movement of the early 1900s) writes, “…the initiative for peace action should come from individuals or local groups, rather than national officers.” *
I would argue the same sentiments hold true for a contemporary account of peace advocacy where the motivating forces behind the movement are derived from the group’s members.
Describing the organizational structure of peace movements requires an understanding of its purpose and function. The purpose of most social movements is to educate and recruit new members, but there is much more than recruitment at stake in discussing how peace movements are organized.
Peace movements are organized around an interconnection of five functions. Granted, I have constructed my description of the structural organization of peace around these functions, but in no sense am I suggesting they are exhaustive, nor have I arrived at these functions arbitrarily.
The five functions are the movement’s central ideology, its organizational structure, its points of accessibility, its recruitment practices, and the incorporation of new members into the group. In the next section of the analysis I will discuss each of these functions and explain how each contributes to the advancement of the movement.
* Chatfield, Charles. 1971. For Peace and Justice: Pacifism in America 1914-1941. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, p. 39.