The Peace Table, Megiddo Peace Project
an open letter by Odile Hugonot Haber and Alan Haber
Dear Friends in the Peace movements
This introduction letter is an invitation into a hopeful peace initiative long percolating… The action begins circulating a one page,”change the world,” leaflet (draft.3, at the end, adapted from “Greetings” circulated at the 2018 Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom International Congress, Accra, Ghana.)
The intent is a 2 year strategic plan to identify “the war system” as a “system,” and to introduce into politics a high-drama of the “people of the world” calling the “powers that be,” the war powers, to the table to negotiate peace, “a new social-political-economic contract” ending the war system.
Naming the System is a beginning
In 1965, at the first US national demonstration against the Vietnam war, organized by the Students for a Democratic Society, our keynote talk challenged that we “name the system.”
In the 1980’s, peace activists working the United States suffered “solidarity whip-lash” shifting from calls for help from El Salvador, South Africa, Nicaragua, while it was clear the same system and dynamics underlay all these wars.
Naming the system… remains a challenge, capitalism? patriarchy? corporatism? neo-liberalism? imperialism? empire? military-industrial-complex? what?
This initiative urges that we roll these all into one and call it what, in effect, it is: a “war system.” and to demand it be ended.
The war system […another telling of the sorry story. skip ahead if need be] The people of the world have suffered under the war system for at least the last 5000 years. The boundaries of our countries are drawn in blood and the agonies of soldiers contending in violence, and of the innocents swept in its tides.
History, (his story,) is often taught pre-war, post-war, between the wars, cold war…the war of roses and a hundred years. Entertainments tell its glories and horrors, Wall Street records its profits.
States are defined by Constitutions and Laws often imposed by violence and sustained by pacifications of uprisings and the umbrellas of “protection” like old feudal barons lording it over vassals and serfs.
A culture of war has permeated all aspects of our common life.
The War System is a system of power based on domination, hierarchy, command, imposition, impunity, and ultimately violence to keep in power those who often got into power by those means, including aggression, corruption, deceit, bullying, and manipulations of democracy and fear..
The war system exists in a concurrent consensus among the powerful on the divisions of resources, terms of trade and alliances to keep things relatively stable,… until there is a rift in the fabric and arms are called to re-establish order.
The war system is a siphon that sucks money and wealth and the fruit of labor from the poor and the working many to the coffers of the gun makers, financiers and politicians who profit from the mayhem.
The war system is hot now in 40 plus places on this planet., and simmering in many more. creating sufferings beyond measure. Nations have bonded into huge coalitions and are making war in some of the poorest nations like Yemen.
So it has been, beyond memory. People endure, persevere People resist, organize, protest all over the world, on a thousand and ten thousand local fronts…advances are made, humanity keeps hope alive.
However, even in our victories the war system has maintained itself and two looming realities send alarms that make perseverance and steadfastness not enough.
First: Alarm The destructive capacity of the weapons of war and the instability of power, and people in power, pressed by distress everywhere, make urgent a reversal of increasing militarization… and a ban against the bomb and weapons of mass destruction.
And Second Alarm, The planetary climate change consequences of human activity, threatening the life system as a whole, require economic and political shifts in policies and cooperation hardly conceivable in the world of war, with the war system itself contributing mightily to the fossil fuel dependence and pollution.
The peace movements are rising, reasons for hope. Often our movements have been separated and siloed in different specialties, localities and vocabularies…(and ideologies, identities and egos, too.) No longer need it be so,
The basis of unity in the Call of Life for Peace is far deeper than the particulars of difference, and cooperation is a way differences are resolved.
First, the movements for peace and justice and freedom and liberation have never been more diverse, extensive, stronger, active. Every identity has become more conscious of itself and its history and dignity. Increasingly, every facet of repression and oppression is resisted and challenged. People inspire one another across boundaries. Incredible work has already been done.
Second, the capacity for communication with the world wide web, internet and social media allows a degree of cooperation, information sharing and thinking and planning together, never possible before.
Third, this is a new time in the whole human story. Now, for the first time since humans first came out of Africa and populated the world, or however it happened, for the first time since the old book said, “the sins and iniquities of the fathers are on to the 3rd and 4th generation,” that there are actually 3 and 4 generations active and conscious and trying to figure out our human predicament and to extricate ourselves from the consequences of the actions of the past generations which we have inherited. The opportunity for four intergeneration thinking might point a strategic path that does not reproduce the problems that got humanity to this mess in the first place.
Fourth, there is a new generation of courage and honesty, individuals who have it together and speak authentic truth… and challenge power right in its face, and have compassion and understanding too. Women and those schooled in the worlds of oppression and carriers of the ancient wisdoms are in new prominence.
Fifth, there are the continuing movements of consciousness and spirit and human potential, general systems thinking, trauma recovery and healing, and permaculture that allow a wider global life system perspective in political work.
Six, almost everyone, in every country feels an apprehension…people are alert. not yet enough, but more than ever, restless, like animals before a storm, possibly receptive.
And Seventh: a viable alternative exists. A set of policies and best practices that could set in motion a transition out of the economy and culture of war, into a culture of peace and non-violence, reproachement and a wider justice and freer life for all.
And Eight, war is not anywhere necessary. It is not good for children and other living things. Everyone could be better off if the whole enterprise were closed down, money reallocated, swords beaten into plowshares, and people set to doing better things for human needs. Past belligerents can agree on mutual recognition.
So, given the necessity imposed by the First and Second Alarm, , and the strengths and potentialities suggested by 1 through 8, what can be done….
Challenge the war system as a system.
every way we have, and are doing
and adding one new way: provide the warriors an exit option, and the people a way of participating.
Stage, choreograph and act out a mythic meta-drama of the “people of the world” challenging the “old powers that have been,” to give up their wars, put down their guns, to let their hearts be touched, and turned, and come to the table to talk…to face the people of the world
Every person, every human in the world, to the extent we can, is invited to the peace table, to become a living character in this drama, a passion play for our time, to put their voice in the “one human voice”…(or taking on the voice of the masters of war and makers of the big guns,) …or to be spectators, … or perhaps members of a chorus of lamentation, or silent.
On the everyday level of organization actions and missions, everyone keeps doing what we do, …forward on all fronts. Resisting and proposing. Advancing coordinated direct action demonstrations and non-violent civil disobedience. Struggling for the commons and democratic space.
On the meta level of system change: First, create an open public process to invite the self expression of the “one human voice,” and, then, compose out of the particulars of response, a draft of a “new social-political-economic contract,” for after the wars, and for the transition time to after the wars, that the “people of the world” call the “powers that have been” to the table negotiate…. and to agree..
Make it “News” and loud by the 2020 political campaigns, in America, and all over the world, wherever there are elections..
Challenge in the United States the wars powers long announced plan of “full spectrum dominance” with the people power plan of “full spectrum cooperation,” beginning now with cooperation among peace organizations in sharing in “crowdsourcing” the peoples’ voice, and in composing a document —and video and song and whatever in its expression.
Create a bank of win-win solutions that have occured. Problems versus solutions so all could access possibilities that have worked and won the day lessening dispute or wars, that help also to create long term decisions.
“Time Line” 2 year plan
- Now through Peace Day, 2018:
>send out draft “leaflet” and introductory letter for responses. and rework for better expression, WILPF, WBW, others 2 questions:
What would help make peace in the world where you live, from what you know? Who are the people and powers you are up against?
>invite a “reception committee” to design a way of receiving, organizing and sharing responses
>invite a “software committee” to help
- September 2018 through February, Presidents Day, 2019
>open Megiddo web site portal as initial reception point of responses
>seek co-initiators, and proliferators and pollinators
>begin general distribution, promotion of the initiative,
Meeting in the Fall: Nuclear Accountability Boulder meeting
World Beyond War Toronto meetings
Women’s March Washington
Armistice Day veterans rallies Washington November 9-11
1400 organizations in Housemans World Peace Directory
- Presidents Day 2019 through Summer 2019
> reception committee continues to receive and organize responses
> invite a “presentation committee” to undertake reading, synthesis, writing and other expressions to present the Demand
207 country codes, and “world citizens”
40 war zones and displaced persons, and people without documents
recurrent questions: land, water, security, privilege, power,
care of life system, traditional enemities and historic memories
whole system elements: justice, governance, infrastructure, economics environment, science, education, media, health, relations, spirituality, arts
“revolution of values:” racism, materialism, militarism nationalism
questions of morals, bigotry, greed, brutality, arrogance…
what peace looks like …actual on the ground projects and pieces of the peace,
next system economic transition policies
gender and transgender perspectives
4 generational perspectives, young and youth, and old and elder, and two generations between.
- Peace Week 2019 Sundays September 15 to 22. International Day of Peace Saturday September 21. Peoples of the World Convocation.
To receive and discuss the work of the “presentation committee.” emulating the aspirations of the 1999 Hague Appeal for Peace, plus 20, and the First Hague conference, 1899 plus 120…
Invent a beautiful way of doing it, with music art and ideas, broadcast everywhere
An inclusive peace circle with its center everywhere and circumference surrounding, embracing the whole world
>invite a “convocation planning consortium,” all organizations that want to cooperate
>choose a central meeting site, or multiple inter-connected sites
>create a computer world wide web interconnect design so any one or group at any peace table in the world can have a presence in the world convocation
>present “the Presentation,” seek consensus and identify continuing questions
>issue the Demand.
> Address the Powers that have been, the Masters of War: those identified as the ones we are up against.
End of the War System, your part a the whole system.
put down the guns, come to the people’s peace table to talk. consider to accept a “new social-political contract,” articulated in minute particular at this convocation, a better system, where everyone wins: “full spectrum cooperation.” partnership, generosity, caring, sharing, healing, helping, truth and reconciliation, demanding all governments become “governments for peace.”
In the United States, for instance, formulate a 4 year economic, political diplomatic transition program to demobilize the military industrial complex and convert to the peace system and an alternative global security system.
- Peace Week 2019 to Election Days 2020, November 3, 2020 in the United States
> introduce the peace demand in political debates,
> challenge all political candidates to read and endorse the Demand and the “new social-political-economic contract.” …Press National House and Senate candidates, State and Local candidates, and especially those contending for the Presidency
> challenge the Democratic and Republican Conventions Seek to introduce and end the war system platform Summer 2020
> consider options for independent political action
- after the elections 2020:
>press the 4 year plan on congress
>prepare for 2022 and 2024.
To the End Game
A conscious social political evolution can happen.
Awakening is possible, especially when alarms are sounded
People can choose to change old habits, especially when help is at hand
Learned behaviors and beliefs can be unlearned, especially when teachers are at hand
It is also true, not to be denied, as one woman said:
“nobody in the world, nobody in history, has ever gotten their freedom
by appealing to the moral sense, of the people, who were oppressing them”
Yet ending the war system, creating a world beyond war is changing history, and changing the world as it has been since before memory.
One human voice speaking truth to power Circulating this leaflet, asking people to respond and to pass it on, listening, working to synthesize one human voice of the many, …the actions here…undertakes to create an articulated public voice of the ”people of the world”, speaking directly to the powers of war and politics, demanding they come to the table to talk, demand they consider “transformational surrender,” going through the eye of the needle, accepting a new social-political-economic contract, ending the whole war system and beginning the next age of humanity, after the wars, becoming heros for the future..
Asking them to change…each of them, . identified by the people who respond to the question, “who are the people and powers you are up against?” Personalize the system, by names and deeds, named by the people on whose neck is their war system foot.
It is an appeal to the heart, and reason, and care for the children, their own, and grandchildren, and the next generations, and for the polar bears too.
Look for splinterings in the ruling class concurrent consensus that keeps the war system in place.
The Demand, distilled out of all the”Reception Committee” was able to receive, is intended to be policy specific, —local, state, national, regional, global — with links to sources, for peace in the world and in all and each of the wars now hot and simmering. “What is needed for peace where you are?” our first basic question.
“The Presentation” will likely be in many media forms…more than words. The words though are important, hoped to be beautifully said, clear and in big print, explicite about the minute particulars, in multiple languages. Other forms of presentation may be videos, songs, dances, tweets, who knows how the people of the world, if asked, would express it themself.
20/20 clear vision : full spectrum cooperation. End the war system.
In the political campaigns of 2020, the universal inclusive demand can be put to every politician in the political process, country by country, reinforcing itself across borders—changing the terms of debate globally, and helping all of us better work together.
And ideally, too, it will help stir an increasing awakening, and a way for people, wherever they are, to participate in a conscious social evolution.., to be characters in the drama.
This initiative projects a two year process, also ideally, that we become more the “we” that we can be, a big us…world wide…collaborating in both intentional action, and in a big hug, of mutual recognition around the world, across boundaries of class and race and gender and age and organization and religion… to a common purpose, broad enough to embrace all our purposes.
In this effort toward full spectrum cooperation, no organization loses its autonomy or independence in what it does.
Each “co-initiator organization” keeps connection with the responses that come through its portal to the “reception committee” All organizations can spread the initiative invitation leaflet in their own outreach and program efforts
This work is also hoped to increase our knowledge of one another and opportunities to cooperate.
>a “collaboration consortium” of participating organizations will figure out how to proceed as we go along to the Peace Table
The Megiddo Peace Project, the organizing “lets do it,” of this initiative, has, since its inception in 1986, focused on “the peace table.” Peace requires a meeting, (or many, but one to seal it,) and a meeting requires a table, and peace requires putting down the gun and coming to the table to talk, and people have to agree on the shape of the table at which to sit and see eye to eye. The project began with a physical table, family size, designed to be receptive to all outstanding questions, –artistically representing the coming together of the 4 corners of the square of our earthly dilemmas, rising through the eye of the needle transformed to support the circle of community— and it was given to the movement to do with what we can. Tel Megiddo is an archeological site in the Holy Lands, the foretold place of “Armageddon” the bloody war at the “end of days”… which it is our purpose to preempt and prevent and transform. and make peace instead.
We are long time activists, Odile Hugonot Haber, a nurse, and Alan Haber a woodworker, We call this effort an “initiative” because without our initiative it would not have been talked out, presented at the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) international congress in Ghana, and now in our world of friends and colleagues in the movements… and to you.
We hope what we do produces a positive response and generates the momentum and spread necessary for success.
Scale of this ,endeavor:
There are 7 billion people in the world and almost all of them would include their voice for peace in the one human voice, if they heard they were asked. In the short run this would overload any capacity to receive the responses.
So practically speaking, how many people responding are enough?
As many as we get is the best we can do. Looked at another way, a psychologist of visual perception told me, there were 1.2 million neural fibers in the optic nerve, carrying information about what is out there to what is seen in the mind, giving the clarity of the human eye.
If we could among us receive 1.2 million inputs, and integrate them, we could perhaps see together. adequately enough to approach true human vision. …of the one human family.
>We invite information engineers to join the “software committee” to help design a receiver, adequate to receive a wider world web of inputs.
Run the whole project on voluntary donations of work, love and knowledge.
Money needed for postage and printing
Money needed for the Peace Week meeting 2019
Each committee and consortium would develop its own budget and fundraising plan
REPLY: Megiddo Peace Project firstname.lastname@example.org PO Box 7213, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 48107, usa
( ) I am interested
real name, email address, country code, age, gender and other self identification.
my answer to the questions, now ( ) or ( ) later
- what would help make peace in the world, and my life where I live, from what I know?
- who are the people and powers you are up against?
I am willing to help
( ) Software Committee: help design reception portals, ways to share information
( ) Co-Initiating Organization: establishing a partner portal
( ) Reception Committee: to receive responses
( ) Presentation Committee:to integrate and to present what is received
( ) Convocation planning consortium , peace week 2019 conference
( ) Collaboration consortium…figuring it out as we go along.
copy of draft .3 leaflet
adapted from “Greetings” circulated at the 2018 Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom International Congress, Accra, Ghana
Women, and men, of every country, and the world, are enmeshed in the war system.
System change is what we need.
Eleanor Roosevelt said, after the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948
“It is for the people of the world to make the peace”
The states can’t do it. They define the war system.
>power concedes nothing without demand<
The Inclusive Demand is Ending the whole System of War.
This Demand needs to be put at the center of the political agendas in 2020.
Wars kill, mutilate, rape, pollute, starve, do not increase human security,
and cause horrendous moral injury.
The war powers have many nuclear bombs –and weapons and violences proliferate.
The people of the world need to transform this war worn system into a system of peace making and healing
moving forward in economics and culture to support life on our planet.
…the inclusive we …need to bring together our knowledges from our organizations and struggles and to craft a presentation of comprehensive demands that express in one voice the peace call of the human family
offering solutions, and putting system change demands to the politicians and powers that be.
We are inviting a cooperative endeavor to harvest from the knowledge of the movements
a clear program statement of what it means, in specific policies required, to end the war system…
and to transition, retrain and repurpose to build what will be the new, next system that serves,
life and humanity, all species, full spectrum cooperation …the peace system.
We invite you to join this 2020 20/20 clear vision initiative.
What would help make peace in the world where you live, from what you know?
Who are the people and powers you are up against?
The Megiddo Peace Project is undertaking to provide an initial “portal” to help gather these particulars of demand and solution, calling the war powers to the peace table Much help is needed.
Please write and send your responses as part of your part in the composite one voice for Peace. send: your “statements of demand,” what is needed, and ideas and questions .
We will share what we receive. We hope many organizations will become co-initiators, and a cooperative process will be invented to sort out what we learn and write what needs to be said.
An aim of this initiative is to stimulate the broad peace and justice and freedom movements in every country to become more coordinated and to press common policy programs for each government…expressing an ideal,…to become a “government for peace.”
We are both WILPF members of Ann Arbor, Michigan US Section. Odile Hugonot Haber is a nurse, long active in the US section, and Alan Haber, a carpenter, made a peace table receptive to all questions. As the first president of Students for a Democratic Society (sds), Alan participated in the collective drafting of the 1962 sds Port Huron Statement, a manifesto of the New Left..
Contact Megiddo Peace project PO Box 7213 Ann Arbor Michigan 48107.