Peace – you wouldn’t read about it (elsewhere)
On September 21 each year, the United Nations marks World Peace Day.
What a tragic irony that the day falls this year less than a week after Scott Morrison joined Joe Biden and Boris Johnson (both of whom seemingly forgot his name) to announce Australia’s purchase of nuclear submarines. The announcement is the latest in an increasingly troubling sabre-rattling approach by Australian governments, built on a Cold War attitude of sheltering behind the USA, and an ugly “strongman” display that men like Morrison and Peter Dutton believe will play well politically.
In all the coverage of the submarine purchase, very little called into question the fundamental assumption that increased spending on military materiel would make us safer. Very little asked whether there are alternatives, in the face of geopolitical instability, to preparing for war.
In this context, I wanted to take the opportunity to share with you a selection of articles, blogs, interviews and essays that the Green Institute has published at Green Agenda over recent months and years. Green Agenda is one of a handful of spaces where you can read ideas about peace, which is part of what makes it such a valuable publication.
Back in 2017, Dr Sue Wareham, a Greens member, former candidate, and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate as a key founding member of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), wrote this brilliant call to action, articulating passionately and forensically why the Greens need to lift our campaigning on peace. It’s an essay I’ve gone back to several times over the years, to remind myself of Sue’s arguments, and to forward it to others when discussing the peace pillar. It truly is a must read.
Much more recently, Jo Vallentine, former Senator first for the Nuclear Disarmament Party and then the Greens, wrote a fabulous short piece for Green Agenda on what she termed the “fiery trifecta” of climate, Covid and nuclear, and the opportunity for transformation that the three provide.
Our own Felicity Gray wrote one of my favourite ever Green Agenda essays last year, in response to the government’s Defence Strategic Update. Felicity, who works in non-violent conflict resolution and is doing a PhD on the subject, explains that “There is no evidence that shows having a bigger and ‘better’ defence arsenal actually deters violence, or creates peace. In fact, there is lots of evidence to the contrary.”
The recent autumn edition including this hard-hitting piece by Alex Edney-Brown, tying together the alleged war crimes by SAS members in Afghanistan with racism, insecurity, and anti-democratic actions at home. It’s an important contribution, traversing some of Australia’s darkest chapters.
Finally, I want to draw your attention to a series of interviews we’ve published with some leading lights in the global peace and environment movement: We have Scott Ludlam interviewing Dr Frank Habineza, President of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda on the Politics of Peace and Patience; Scott being interviewed by Felicity Gray about his book; and Felicity Ruby interviewing the legendary Edith Ballantyne from the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom on the question “What it takes for peace”.
Green Agenda provides such an important space for deep discussion of green political ideas, and one of the only spaces in Australia for writing about peace. If you appreciate and value what you read there, please be sure to CHIP IN to help fund future editions.
Yours in peace,
PS: After I’d written this, I got the great news that The Canberra Times had agreed to publish this opinion piece from me marking World Peace Day and how the Morrison government’s extraordinary combination of bad faith and incompetence is putting us in dangerous territory. I’m delighted that it’s getting a run in a daily paper, but still encourage you to support the important work of Green Agenda 🙂