Presentation to January 6th Stratford Rotary Club
By John Mikhud
World BEYOND War(WBW) was founded on January 1st, 2014, when co-founders David Hartsough and David Swanson set out to create a global movement to abolish the institution of war itself, not just the “war of the day.” If war is ever to be abolished, then it must be taken off the table as a viable option. Just as there is no such thing as “good” or necessary slavery, there is no such thing as a “good” or necessary war. Both institutions are abhorrent and never acceptable, no matter the circumstances. So, if we can’t use war to resolve international conflicts, what can we do?
Finding a way to transition to a global security system that is supported by international law, diplomacy, collaboration, and human rights, and defending those things with nonviolent action rather than the threat of violence, is the heart of WBW. Our work includes education that dispels myths, like “War is natural” or “We have always had war,” and shows people not only that war should be abolished, but also that it actually can be. Our work includes all variety of nonviolent activism that moves the world in the direction of ending all war.
World BEYOND War currently coordinates dozens of chapters and maintains partnerships with nearly 100 affiliates around the world. WBW functions through a decentralized, distributed grassroots organizing model focused on building power at the local level. We don’t have a central office and we all work remotely.
WBW’s staff provide tools, trainings, and resources to empower the chapters and affiliates to organize in their own communities based on what campaigns resonate most with their members, while at the same time organizing towards the long-term goal of war abolition. Key to World BEYOND War’s work is the holistic opposition to the institution of war at large – not only all current wars and violent conflicts, but the industry of war itself, the ongoing preparations for war that feed the profitability of the system (for example, arms manufacturing, weapons stockpiling, and the expansion of military bases). This holistic approach, focused on the institution of war as a whole, sets WBW apart from many other organizations.