Thursday, February 5, 2009

When governments fail to end war people can do so by starting a consumer’s boycott against the nations or businesses that foment war. The Internet allows peace organizations and religious groups to cooperate to organize the boycott.

Boycotts can work
International law clearly forbids genocide and wars of aggression. The International Court of Justice at The Hague is one of the courts but up to now courts have not been effective because nations can block the cases they hear and they have no power to enforce decisions. The Internet now changes this situation. Peace and religious groups can act as unofficial courts and their findings can be enforced by an economic boycott. Recall the boycott of Nestle in the 1970s for its promotion of infant formula as a substitute for breast milk. Also recall the boycotts of table grapes and lettuce, led by the United Farm Workers, which resulted in protective legislation for the workers. These boycotts were successful at a time when there was no Internet. If they were called today they would spread around the world much more quickly. No nation can block the Internet.

The boycott has to be specific. Perhaps there are exports that can be blocked. Maybe companies can be identified that supply highly advanced computer components, special machinery, or weapons. Perhaps certain international banks can be found to be conduits that finance aggression. When these are identified they may be targets for a boycott.

Can we bring peace to Gaza?
It is important that the first instance of aggression to be addressed by the people be ended successfully. If a boycott is called that does not succeed it is worse than no boycott because it wastes a lot of effort and discourages future use of this tool.

The terrible bombing of Gaza by Israel is a matter too complicated to be the first war that peace groups try to end. But I want to give my personal analysis of this conflict to illustrate how the people can solve even a very difficult situation. There are at least three parties to the problem. First, there is the effort to expand the boundaries of Israel by religious Jews who think they have a mandate from God. Second, there is the Iranian religious leadership who use oil revenue to try to increase the importance of Iran in the Middle East. Iran subsidizes Hamas and Hezbollah to fight Israel. As long as Iran has money it will not back down. Third, there is the Palestinian youth, raised during the Intifadas, who would rather die fighting than submit to tyranny.

That is the history of oppressed people everywhere: the American Revolution, the Jews in the Polish ghetto, the Russians at Stalingrad, the Vietnamese. Discussion on the Internet may find an opening wedge that can bring an end to the fighting. For example, information is published on Lloyd's about the movement of ships. We can learn which tankers fill up with Iranian oil and where they are headed as compared with, say, Saudi oil or Kuwaiti oil. A boycott of oil companies that deal with Iran at the same time as a boycott of Israeli exports would create economic pressure on both Iran and Israel. This is bound to bring the warring parties to the peace table.

What about the war in Sudan?
Please see my blog about the war in Sudan. It is one I think we can end.

Make it work
Can religious and peace groups try to end war through the Internet and the boycott? Please send this URL to your members and other organizations and then decide on the best cooperative action to end the terrible cost of war on lives, on the environment, and on civilization. I welcome your comments or you may send me an email.


peacefulveteran said...

Dr. Zar, you have a great idea. If we did a nation wide boycott on companies that support our agression on Iraq and Afghanistan then we may starve. I am so disappointed in the number of companies in this country who support these senseless acts of agression. We need to clean up our acts of agression and genocide before we try and clean up the others. We cannot sucessfully set and example if we are in the act of agression ourselves.

I think Obama should end all agression, not escalate violence, and work toward peace and non-violence around the globe. He could set the example of a nation willing to end agression in the interest of world peace. Work to help those nations who are willing to put down their weapons and begin to build a peaceful nation. Use the military as a peace corps machine and not a killing and demolition machine. Reach out to nations who are willing to build and not destroy. Peace is around the corner, I can taste it. We need to be the first to experience it!

jacob zar said...

I, Jacob, agree with the previous comment. Obama should try to end aggression, but I believe he will be like other American Presidents and Congresses i.e. use war and aggression as national policy. His first act as President was to send 15000 more troops to Afghanistan and he is continuing to build permanent American bases in the Middle East. The people must take the initiative to end war in stead of and in spite of governments. That will require some sort of People’s Council of major Religious and Peace Organizations to manage direct popular action. That is what my blogs call for. I hope the message gets circulated. The next hundred years will face major world wide problems like shortages of water, rising temperatures, rising ocean levels, antibiotic resistant diseases, children dumbed by mercury and other pollutants in their food and so many others. We don’t need war and destruction to cope with.