The Central Ideology
In the last section of the analysis I introduced the five functions of peace organizations as 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 this section of the analysis, I will discuss the structure of the organization’s central ideology in defining the core tenets of a doctrine of peace.
An ideology can most simply be described as a system of beliefs. While the beliefs being defined within a particular ideology are of the utmost importance, it is equally important to understand how these beliefs are organized and the functions they serve in transmitting the organization’s core principles.
By discussing an organization’s central ideology one is also gaining insight into the underlying motives driving members of the organization to act. In effect, then, the purpose of its central ideology is to motivate members to act in accordance with a system of belief as defined within the core tenets of the organization.
In discussing peace organizations, the core principle and the central ideology governing the organization must be the same for all organizations defined as peace organizations; namely, the organization must be founded on the principles of nonviolence.
The spectrum of peace organizations is as diverse as the members that participate in such movements. From antimilitarism to antiwar and from pacifism to conflict resolution, though the aims of these organizations differ, their central ideologies are the same. Thus, in discussing the central ideology of nonviolence it is also imperative to describe how the application of nonviolence differs among various peace organizations.
For example, in applying an ideology of nonviolence, an antiwar stance may differ from a pacifist stance. Though the central ideology is the same, the application or the manifestation of this ideology may have varying degrees of intensity with respect to its implementation.
Antiwar supporters may not be pacifists. They may renounce or protest a particular war without also ascribing to a categorical refutation of all military engagements. An antiwar supporter may renounce the War in Iraq or even the first Gulf War, while also supporting American’s role in WWII after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The pacifist, however, cannot support either of these stances as all war, irrespective of the justification, is opposed.
Thus, it is important to first realize that though all peace organizations may share a central ideology, they are not the same and they can serve very different purposes. The purpose of an antiwar organization can be vastly different from a pacifist organization and members of these organizations can and will have different motivations.