Home / Globalizing Americana: Part 29 – Obstructionist and Non-Obstructionist Peace Organizations

Globalizing Americana: Part 29 – Obstructionist and Non-Obstructionist Peace Organizations

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The fifth and final function of a newly formed peace organization is to incorporate new members. The main difficulty with increasing membership is minimizing attrition. Keeping attrition low, especially during peacetime, is an essential responsibility for peace organizers. New members should be motivated to offer their assistance, but organizers should temper zealous members from thwarting the group’s central ideology of non-violence.

Arguably, one of the greatest challenges peace organizations face are zealous members eager to change the world. One might think is an advantage to the organization, but without well-defined objectives, members can radically transform the nature of an organization and ultimately undermine its ability to peacefully protest and to support its causes.

To combat a perceived idleness, some peace organizations have taken obstructionist stances, e.g. interrupting the military objectives of opposing agencies through the interposition of human bodies. For example, the iconic picture of “Tank Man” during the Tiananmen Square Protests of 1989 is a hallmark representation of an “obstructionist peace advocate.”

For me, and my particular brand of pacifism, I cannot and do not endorse obstructionist peace movements. I do support a movement’s right to protest injustice, but insofar as human lives are required to obstruct or barricade, to deflect or detour militarization efforts, I cannot and will not endorse such acts.

Note: a sit-in is not obstructionist. Thus, I would endorse those groups opting to use this means of protest. But as to more radical forms of peace movements with obstructionist stances and belief systems, I do not support them, and my arguments are not constructed with such objectives in mind.

Since peace organizations vary, the incorporation of new members will differ according to the motivations and ideologies of each organization. Some people will be attracted to obstructionist peace movements, others to non-obstructionist organizations. My support of non-obstructionist peace organizations requires that I formalize my concept of a non-obstructionist stance.

Peace organizations of the 21st century must cater to the diverse needs of interested members. To do this properly, however, requires that each organization clearly identify how it implements its central ideology, either through obstructionist or non-obstructionist means. Obstructionist members cannot be tolerated within a non-obstructionist organization, though obstructionist organizations can tolerate non-obstructionist members.

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About Jason J. Campbell

  • Jason,

    Just one comment for you. This belongs under politics, not culture.