Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Voters for Peace

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About VotersForPeace

VotersForPeace Project Board

ForPeace Co-Founders

About VotersForPeace

VotersForPeace is educating, organizing and activating voters to end the occupation of Iraq and prevent future wars of aggression. Our mission is to mobilize anti-war voters into a visible and effective political force that cannot be ignored. We provide voters with the information and tools they need to be effective peace advocates; this includes educating their friends and family on the occupation, writing letters to the media, and holding congressional and presidential candidates accountable.

The first thing that voters can do to take action VotersForPeace table is sign the Voters' Pledge. This sends an important message to their elected officials and it empowers other voters to take a stand and demand withdrawal from Iraq. Second, we urge voters to visit our Activist Toolbox where they can download our pledge form, sign up to host a Cancelled Check Party, write their legislators, or help persuade the press so that the true facts about Iraq and the views of anti-war Americans are represented in the media.

VotersForPeace was launched on March 17, 2006, with the VotersForPeace Pledge, a shared project of national, state and local participating groups. Click here to read the launch press release, speaker bios and statements.

VotersForPeace is sponsored by Campaign for Fresh Air & Clean Politics, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, public charity for education and research. It engages in very limited lobbying and no political activity.


VotersForPeace Project Board

Kevin Martin
Kevin Martin is the Executive Director of
Peace Action. He serves on the administrative steering committee of United for Peace and Justice and has been a long-term anti-nuclear, anti-war advocate.


Geoff Millard
Geoffrey Millard is the Washington, DC representative of
Iraq Veterans Against the War. He has been featured in or on Democracy NOW, The NY Times, MTV, MSNBC, Fox News, Common Dreams, Indy media, and other media outlets. Geoff has traveled to Jordan and Syria to meet with Iraqi refugees and was the first (and only) Iraq war veteran to meet with members of the Iraqi parliament about their 26-point peace plan.


Tina Richards
Tina Richards is a Marine Mom and the CEO of Grassroots America, She is the mother of Marine Cpl. Cloy Richards who served two tours in Iraq and is now 80% disabled. She managed the congressional campaign of Democrat, Veronica Hambacker, in Missouri in 2006.

Linda Schade
Linda Schade is Executive Director of
VotersForPeace and an ex officio member of the VotersForPeace board. Ms. Schade is a 20-year political veteran featured on CNN, Fox News, C-SPAN, Washington Post, USA Today, NPR, Pacifica radio, and other media outlets on her peace, justice and democracy work. She co-founded TrueVoteMD and VoteTrustUSA - a state and national organization fighting for transparent elections voters can trust, and paper records for electronic voting machines, and the Montgomery County Coalition for Alternatives to War. Linda is also the Founder of the Campaign for Fresh Air & Clean Politics, a 501(c)3 organization, the sponsor of VotersForPeace. She ran for state legislature in Maryland on the Green Party ballot line in 2002, and has worked on numerous electoral campaigns. Ms. Schade has traveled extensively, and lived and worked internationally, including in Doha, Qatar.

Cindy Sheehan
Cindy Sheehan the co-founder of
Gold Star Families for Peace. Cindy's son, Army Spc. Casey A. Sheehan, was killed in action in Sadr City, Baghdad on April 4 2004. She is also a member of the board of Progressive Democrats of America.

David Swanson
David Swanson is the co-founder of the pro-impeachment organization, After Downing Street and the Washington Director of and He is creator of, and a board member of Progressive Democrats of America. He has worked as a newspaper reporter and as a communications director, with jobs including Press Secretary for Dennis Kucinich's 2004 presidential campaign, Media Coordinator for the International Labor Communications Association, and three years as Communications Coordinator for ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. His website is

Ann Wright
Ann Wright is the Chair of
Veterans for Peace and a former colonel in the U.S. military. Ann had an impressive 29 year career in the U.S. military and also served in the Foreign Service from 1987 to 2003 when she resigned in protest over the Iraq War. She served as Deputy Chief of Mission of US Embassies in Sierra Leone, Micronesia and Afghanistan . She received the State Department's Award for Heroism for her actions during the evacuation of 2,500 persons from the civil war in Sierra Leone, the largest evacuation since Saigon in 1974.

Rev. Yearwood
Rev. Lennox Yearwood is a former military chaplain and President of the
Hip Hop Caucus. He was a presidential intern under President Bill Clinton. Rev. Yearwood is the Chairman of the Board for E.G.O.S (Education, Goals, Opportunities, and Sports) United Inc., and Helping the Homeless of the World Inc. He is also on the Board of Directors for Progressive Democrats of America, United for Peace and Justice, and Clergy and Laity Concerned about Iraq.

Kevin Zeese
Kevin Zeese
is the Executive Director of Democracy Rising and an attorney who has been a long term peace advocate. He is a co-founder of VotersForPeace and he serves as Chairman of the Board. Zeese took a leave from VotersForPeace for most of 2006 while he was running for the U.S. Senate in Maryland. Zeese was a founding member of the Montgmery County Coalition Against the War in Maryland and has worked with various non-profit organizations on peace, justice, and democracy issues since 1978.


Founders of VotersForPeace

VotersForPeace was co-founded by Dick Mazess, Bill Scheurer, Kevin Zeese and Linda Schade on March 17, 2006, the third anniversary of the Iraq War.

VotersForPeace is sponsored by Campaign for Fresh Air & Clean Politics, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, public charity for education and research. It engages in very limited lobbying and no political activity.


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Sunday, July 15, 2007

Gideon Polya

Art For Peace and Iran-West Amity: "Isfahan Matisse" Painting

By Gideon Polya, MWC News, Australia

IRAN is a remarkable country in that, part from inevitable border conflicts, it has not seriously invaded any other country for the best part of 2 millennia. Conversely, over the last 14 centuries it has been invaded by Arabs (641 AD), Mongols (1258), Portuguese in coastal areas (16th – 17th centuries), Russians (from 1722 onwards), Afghans (18th century), Russia (19th century), and Russia and Britain (20th centuries). The US got into the act with the 1953 US-backed overthrow of democratic rule (after Prime Minister Mossadegh's attempted nationalization of Anglo-Iranian oil), the installation of the Shah's dictatorship, the US-backed Iraqi invasion in 1980 and the subsequent 1980-1988 Iran–Iraq war that killed millions of Iranians (1.5 million war dead; 1980-1988 excess deaths in the country as a whole total 2.1 million).

"Isfahan Matisse" by Gideon Polya (click here to see full size)

Now Iran faces the horrendous prospect of a possibly TERMINAL nuclear cataclysm as the US backs Baluchi terrorists in South Eastern Iran, advances its nuclear-armed aircraft carriers into positions off the Iranian coast and the Americans and Israelis advance their virulent, war-mongering anti-Iranian rhetoric. Thus simple Google Searches for the utterly obscene phrases "nuke Iran" and "attack Iran" today yield 132,000 and 695,000 URLs, respectively. Reports from authoritative media such as the BBC, The New Statesman and Global Research indicate that the Americans and Israelis may be ready to unleash NUCLEAR war on this peaceful, remote, non-aggressive country of 71 million people.

The human consequences of an invasion and occupation of Iran (population 71 million) can be roughly estimated by PROPORTIONALITY from what the Racist Bushites (RBs) and Racist Zionists (RBs) have done to Palestine (population 3.8 million), Iraq (population 27 million) and Afghanistan (population 26 million). The post invasion excess deaths (avoidable deaths, deaths that did not have to happen) in the Occupied Palestinian, Iraqi and Afghan Territories now (May 2007) total 0.3 million, 1.0 million and 2.4 million (mostly Women and Children and due to gross Occupier violation of the Geneva Convention that demands that occupiers keep their conquered subjects alive); post-invasion under-5 infant deaths total 0.2 million, 0.5 million and 1.9 million, respectively (90% of these deaths being avoidable); and there is a refugee nightmare of 4.3 million Palestinians registered with the UN, 4 million Iraqi refugees (half of whom have fled their country) and 3.7 million Afghan refugees (see MWC News and here ).

However the human consequences for Iran – and indeed its neighbours – from a NUCLEAR attack by Israel or America will be utterly disastrous and genocidal.

Faced with this appalling scenario that appears to be coalescing into nightmare reality, what can a decent person do? My concern is heightened by my and my family's friendship with lovely Iranians. Words having failed, my most recent response to this horrendously violent world is Painting for Peace - Art for Peace to demonstrate with beautiful images the Unity of Mankind. I have painted a huge painting called "Isfahan Matisse" that conflates the stunningly beautiful, pure Islamic tile pattern-based Art of Iran (as most wonderfully shown in the holy city of Isfahan) with modern, avant garde Western painting as exemplified by French painter Henri Matisse.

Several weeks ago, MWC News published the image of a huge painting I had created called "Alhambra Pollock" that conflates pure, Medieval Islamic Art from the 13th and 14th centuries in the Alhambra Palace of Moorish Spain with Golden Rectangle (Fibonacci Sequence, Da Vinci Code) geometries from religious paintings of the Italian Renaissance and 20,000 year old Australian Aboriginal rock painting figures - to create a beautiful image conflating pure Islamic Art with post-war American Jackson Pollock Abstract Expressionism .

The beautiful IDEA was that if you could combine the extremes of pure religious Islamic Art with radical, avant garde American Abstract Expressionism then you can have a beautiful IMAGE that describes the essential Unity of Man – and therefore argues cogently that there is no call for the hatred, the xenophobia, the anti-Arab anti-Semitism, the Islamophobia, warmongering , wars, invasions, occupations and horrendous human suffering currently being inflicted by US-Israeli State Terrorism (USIST) and the US Alliance (USA) on a swathe of countries from Somalia to Afghanistan – almost from the Nile to the Indus. In its awful actuality, the Bush War on Terror is a cowardly and racist War on Women and Children, a War on Arab Women and Children, a War on Muslim Women and Children, a War on Asian Women and Children and a War on non-European Women and Children.

My "Isfahan Matisse" (1.3 metres x 2.9 metres; acrylic on doubly-primed canvas) has essentially the same geometrical, cultural and humanitarian basis as "Alhambra Pollock", described by the acronym PEACE that stands for Pَlya, Escher, Alhambra Cultural Ecumenism (after my Great Uncle George Pَlya who published a mathematical analysis of the 17 plane symmetry groups or "tile patterns" exploited in Islamic Art, and Dutch lithographer M.C. Escher who was inspired both by George Pَlya's analysis and by the wonderful tile pattern Art of the Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain). "Isfahan Matisse" has figurative elements and brilliant colours redolent of the wonderful work of contemporary French painter Henri Matisse. The figurative elements give the sense of the wonderful Calligraphy often superimposed on Islamic tile Art.

Whereas "Alhambra Pollock" was based on Four Seasons and ONE YEAR in the life a human being, "Isfahan Matisse" is based on ONE DAY in the life of a person. I have interpreted Tchaikovsky's wonderful last Symphony Number 6 – The Pathétique – as one day in the life of a Man. This wonderful symphony was popularly named The Pathétique because of Tchaikovsky's untimely death shortly after it was performed for the first time and its extraordinary conclusion. However Tchaikovsky himself was extremely pleased with the symphony. One Christmas morning, watching the dawn break over the beautiful Yarra River valley in Victoria, Australia – and coincidentally listening to The Pathétique Symphony - it suddenly dawned on me that this work was not a statement of the tragedy of human existence (as commonly thought by pessimistic interpretations) but an Ode to Joy, the accurate description of one joyous day in the life of a human being. No wonder Tchaikovsky was so pleased with this great work – as I am with my humble effort to conflate the beauties of Isfahan and Matisse (pinnacles of Iranian and French culture, respectively) in the description of one joyous day in the life of a human being.

Peace is the only way and this present contribution of PEACE – Pَlya, Escher, Alhambra Cultural Ecumenism - through ART is one of many possible ways to increase empathy for the Other that underscores amity and understanding between human beings. I have previously painted a series of huge paintings as part of this commitment to Art for Peace, and for respect for Woman and for Mother and Child. You can see all of these paintings on MWC News, namely Sydney Madonna, Manhattan Madonna , Melbourne Madonna, Qana , Truelove . and Alhambra Pollock .

With the election of conservative, pro-American Nicolas Sarkozy in France there is an even greater need for Islam-West Amity as the world teeters on the brink of a nuclear nightmare in the Middle East. Please tell all your friends and associates about "Isfahan Matisse" and spread the positive message of Islam-West Amity, Franco-Iranian Amity and Iran-West Amity through this joyous painting.

Dr Gideon Polya
, MWC News Chief political editor, published some 130 works in a 4 decade scientific career, most recently a huge pharmacological reference text "Biochemical Targets of Plant Bioactive Compounds" (CRC Press/Taylor & Francis, New York & London, 2003), and is currently writing a book on global mortality ---
Other articles by this author

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Quincy Wright (1890-1970)



by Karl Deutsch, Harvard University
Man's history has long been a story of struggle against suffering and death. This struggle began when hunger and illness were no longer accepted as irresistible and foreordained by fate—when men began to act against them. Today millions of men and women in medical work and medical research carry on this struggle against death. But today war is a greater threat to human life than famine or disease. And in the entire world only a few hundred or thousand men and women are engaged in serious professional research on what causes war and on how war could be abolished.
Nothing less than this—the understanding of war and the possible ways to its abolition—is on the agenda of our time.
War, to be abolished, must be understood. To be understood, it must be studied. No one man worked with more sustained care, compassion, and level-headedness on the study of war, its causes, and its possible prevention than Quincy Wright. He did so for nearly half a century, not only as a defender of man's survival, but as a scientist. He valued accuracy, facts, and truth more than any more appealing or preferred conclusions; and in his great book, A Study of War, he gathered, together with his collaborators, a larger body of relevant facts, insights, and far-ranging questions about war than anyone else has done.
Quincy Wright did more than pile up information about war. He developed a basic theory of war. Summarized and in drastically oversimplified form, it might be called in effect a four-factor model of the origins of war. Put most simply, his four factors are (1) technology, particularly as it applies to military matters; (2) law, particularly as it pertains to war and its initiation; (3) social organization, particularly in regard to such general purpose political units as tribes, nations, empires, and international organizations; and (4) the distribution of opinions and attitudes concerning basic values. These four factors correspond to the technological, legal, sociopolitical, and biological-psychological-cultural levels of human life, respectively. At each level, conflict is likely, and violent conflict becomes probable whenever there is an overloading or breakdown of the mechanisms of arrangements that have controlled the interplay of actions and actors at any level and that previously have preserved some nonviolent balance or equilibrium.

Quincy and Louise Wright in New Delhi, c. 1958
Violence and war, according to Quincy Wright, are probable and natural whenever adequate adjustments or controls on one or more of these levels are lacking. Peace, as he saw it, is "an equilibrium among many forces." It is unlikely to come about by itself. It must be organized in order to bring it about, to maintain it thereafter, and to restore it after it has broken down.
Whenever there is a major change at any level—culture and values, political and social institutions, laws, or technology—the old adjustment and control mechanisms become strained and may break down. Any major psychological and cultural, or major social and political, or legal, or technological change in the world thus increases the risk of war, unless it is balanced by compensatory political, legal, cultural, and psychological adjustments. Peace thus requires ever new efforts, new arrangements, and often new institutions to preserve the peace or to restore it after its partial or worldwide breakdown.
The decades since 1942, the first appearance of A Study of War, have seen unparalleled changes sweep the world. These have been changes at all levels—in demography, in technology, in law, in cultures and values, and in social systems and in politics—and, consequently, the basic risk of war is now greater than ever. It follows that we must increase our efforts to create international organizations and practices capable of reducing this mounting risk of war to very low proportions.
Wright's conception of these factors was such that the changes in each are conceived of as, in principle. measurable. Technological change can be measured by statistical data about the explosive power of bombs, about the speed and range of delivery systems, and about the total energy supply of the national economies behind each military establishment. Changes in attitudes and values held by the masses of the populations, and in the possibly different values held by the elites of political decision-makers, may be measured by means of public opinion data and by the content analysis of major newspapers or by policy statements. Changes in the number and size of states of various types and in the number, scope, and observance of international laws, treaties, and organizations could all, in principle, likewise be noted. From such data, inferences could be drawn to estimate the speed and scope of processes increasing or decreasing the likelihood of uncontrolled large-scale conflicts and hence the size and power of the forces making for war or peace. These forces are seen as working behind and beneath the health or illness and the wisdom or folly of individual statesmen, leaders, or commanders. The decisions of such individuals still count for much in Quincy Wright's view of the world, but they must govern—either against or with—the current of large events made up of the changes of large systems and the changing values and actions of hundreds of millions of people. In the present age of dangerous transition, the problems before statesmen and peoples are in some ways similar to the difficult adjustments that European peoples had to make in the great transitions of the fifth and the fifteenth centuries, each of which, as Wright reminded us, was made successfully.
As a pragmatically oriented thinker, Quincy Wright sought more to be empirically comprehensive than to be mathematically elegant. At this stage of social science, his broad factors are not completely operational. They represent large categories and aspects of society and politics. Once we try to specify quantitative variables within each of these broad factors, their number soon becomes large and their analysis difficult. Much work is to be done here, but it will be aided and illuminated by Wright's grand conception. Details of this conception, applied to the historic past, as well as to the present and future, fill hundreds of pages of A Study of War. They still furnish suggestions for research for years to come. Indeed, seeing the world in this manner, Quincy Wright necessarily became one of the chief pioneers of modern peace research. In due time, more explicit, detailed, and sophisticated models will doubtlessly follow upon his pathbreaking effort, but they will bear a debt to the work he did.

Quincy Wright, left, and his brother Sewall with a portrait of their father, Phillip Green Wright.
But this book offers more than a fundamental education. It was and is a pathfinder in matters of substance; and its substantive concerns have been carried forward since the time of its first appearance in 1942. Quincy Wright himself did this by editing a volume on The World Community in 1948 and by writing his important text on The Study of International Relations in 1955, which marked a significant advance in the use of quantitative data in a larger framework of analysis (Wright, 1948, 1955). His work on the study of conflict has been the pioneer for such later work as the continuing research by many scholars.
His chapter in A Study of War on the balance of power showed the way in which a balance-of-power system may gradually turn into an international or supranational community.
Until now, to the best of my knowledge, the Nobel Peace Prize has never been given to a social scientist. In contrast to the policy of other Nobel Prize committees, in other fields, the Norwegian Parliament has awarded mankind's highest honor for contributions to peace only to men of political action or to other persons engaged in popular persuasion.
Recipients of the prize thus have usually been statesmen of national governments or international organizations or else writers, educators, or natural scientists trying to influence popular attitudes. In regard to the social sciences, the pursuit of more knowledge about peace thus far has gone unnoticed and unhonored at the highest level. On the day on which this changes, on the day when the crucial role of knowledge and of social science in the search for peace will be more fully appreciated than it has been in the past—mankind may well remember the pioneering contributions of Quincy Wright's A Study of War.
from The Journal of Conflict Resolution (Volume XIV, Number 4, 1970)

Other than A Study of War, Wright published a further 20 books and nearly 400 journal articles during his career. Several of his books became standard texts, including Mandates Under the League of Nations (1930) and The Study of International Relations (1955).

  • The Control of American Foreign Relations. 1922. Macmillan.

  • Mandates Under the League of Nations. 1930. University of Chicago Press.

  • Research in International Law Since the War. 1930. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

  • A Study of War. 1942. University of Chicago Press.

  • The Study of International Relations. 1955. Appleton-Century-Crofts.

  • The Strengthening of International Law. 1960. Academic of International Law.

  • International Law and the United States. 1960. Asia Publishing House.

  • The Role of International Law in the Elimination of War. 1961. Oceana.

He was a Unitarian:

Quincy Wright was a leading scholar and educator in the fields of political science and international law. He served on the faculties of Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Virginia, among others. Wright spent the majority of his academic career at the University of Chicago, where he was professor of political science from 1923 to 1931 and professor of international law from 1931 to 1956. Wright provided legal advice to the U.S. Navy during the first World War and to the State Department during the second. In 1945, he served as technical adviser to the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. Wright was a prolific author and served as visiting professor at eight universities ranging from Cornell to Makerere University in Uganda.

Wright's Evolutionary Stages of Warfare
Animal WarfareIndistinctPsychology
Primitive WarfareSocietySociology
Civilized WarfareInt'l SystemInt'l Law
Modern WarfareTechnologyScience

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Pitirim Aleksandrovich Sorokin (1889-1968)

Pitirim Aleksandrovich Sorokin

January 21, 1889 — February 10, 1968

Pitirim A. Sorokin served as the 55th President of the American Sociological Association. The following is some excerpts from an article by Barry V. Johnston entitled “Sorokin Lives! Centennial Observations”, published in the January 1989 issue of Footnotes (Volume 17, Number 1, Pages 1 and 5) on the occasion of Pitirim Sorokin's 100th birthday.

Pitirim Aleksandrovich Sorokin was one of the most colorful, erudite and controversial figures in American Sociology. A Komi peasant, Sorokin was born on January 21, 1889, in the village of Turya located in the cold, remote regions of Northern Russia. Sorokin was three when his mother died and the family split up.

At fourteen, he was part of the organized resistance to the Czar and politics became intertwined with education in a dynamic mix. By 1922 Sorokin had finished his Magistrant of Criminal Law and PhD degrees. He had also been jailed six times for political defiance. Prisoner of both the Czar and the Bolsheviks, he preferred the Monarch's jails. They were cleaner, books were provided and treatment was more humane. Sorokin advanced academically and politically. He founded the first sociology department at the University of St. Petersburg, and became Alexander Kerensky's personal secretary in the post Czarist government. Because he as a highly vocal and persuasive anti-communist, during his last incarceration, Lenin ordered him shot. Only pleas from former political allies persuaded Lenin to exile him instead.

Sorokin and his wife, Elena, whom he married in 1917, left Russia in September 1923. After a year in Prague, Sorokin came to the United States and soon found employment in F. Stuart Chapin's department at the University of Minnesota. There, in six years, he wrote six books. Four of them defined their fields at the time: Social Mobility (1927), Contemporary Sociological Theories (1928), Principles of Rural-Urban Sociology (1929) with Carle C. Zimmerman and the first of the three volume work A Systematic Source Book in Rural Sociology (1929) with Zimmerman and Charles J. Galpin.

It was on the reputation of these volumes that Harvard's President, Abbott Lawrence Lowell, invited Sorokin to chair the University's first Department of Sociology. Harvard's commitment to the discipline is remarkable when one realizes that to accomplish it, an aristocratic Lowell had to replace a Brahmin Cabot with a Russian emigre and an established Department of Social Ethics with an unseasoned Department of Sociology (Merton, 1980:69). As Jessie Bernard observed, it was a great step forward for the discipline and “Sociologists finally got academic respectability when Sorokin went to Harvard in the 1930's.” (Howery, 1984:5)

During his three Harvard decades, Sorokin's writings too many different directions. He came to Harvard as a positivistic, comparative and scientific sociologist. By 1937 he had moved towards a broadly based philosophy of history. His magnum opus, the monumental Social and Cultural Dynamics spanned 2,500 years and attempted to isolate the principles of social change as they were manifested in his studies of art, philosophy, science, law ethics, religion and psychology. The problems described in Dynamics took Sorokin to an anlysis of civilization's crisis and the social, political and economic calamities inherent in modern culture. Diagnosing the times as those of a decaying sensate civilization, Sorokin speculated that we were moving towards a difficult and bloody period of transition. With these concerns in mind his research turned to: the analysis of conflict, war, and revoluation; the search for a comprehensive philosophical foundation for knowledge; and a direct means for dealing with social problems and improving the human condition. For the next twenty years he wrote prolifically on war, integralism and altruism. As a humanistic scholar he wanted to understand the conditions which led to war and the methods by which they could be treated and reduced. Similar values informed his later works on revolution and institutional violence.

Sorokin's Official ASA Presidential Photo

Photo from Cover of Sorokin's Autobiography


  • Coser, Lewis A. 1977. Masters of Sociological Thought 2nd ed. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.
  • Howery, Carla. May 1984. “Jessie Bernard at 80: Reflections on Life and Sociology.” Footnotes, page 5.
  • Merton, Robert K. 1980. “Remembering the Young Talcott Parsons.” The American Sociologist 15:69.


The century from 1560-1660 was a watershed period in military history. Pitirim Sorokin estimates that war casualties in the seventeenth century increased by more than one hundred percent over what they appear to have been in the previous one hundred years. Germany's population alone was reduced anywhere from (the most conservative estimates) two-thirds its original size of sixteen million to (the most liberal estimates) a quarter of the original number during the Thirty Years' War. By the Treaty of Westphalia (1648), German farmland had been ravaged, its schools closed for lack of teachers, more than half of its houses destroyed, and its capacity for economic development delayed perhaps a generation.

from James A. Aho, Religious Mythology and the Art of War (London: Aldwych Press, 1981), p. 194.

Aho continues by arguing that the rise in militarism is not accidentally concomitant with the rise of Protestantism, not that Protestantism was the cause of European militarism, but that "the Kriegethik of a society and its dominant religion [are] ... dialectically related, as representing the two aspects of a single military-religious meaning structure." (195)

On the same page, Aho describes Sorokin's Index of War Intensity:

Sorokin's index is a weighted composite measure of five factors related to the "intensity" of war: its duration, the sizes of the forces involved, the numbers killed and wounded, the number of participating countries, and the proportion of combatants to the total poplulation of the society. The larger the index score, the more "intense" the wars fought during the specified century.... Over all, Sorokin would say, seventeenth-century wars were about seven times more intense than those of the previous century. And the rate of increase of war intensity from the sixteenth to the seventeenth centuries was two to three times greater than any previous period.

Sorokin's results were extended by Quincy Wright in his A Study of War (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1965). Wright estimates that during the twentieth century, the intensity of war increased thirty times what it was by the end of the seventeenth century.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Nostalgia and Peace

The same sort of nostalgic feeling wells up inside of me when I think of how the world could be if only people and governments put just a bit as much effort into improving people's lives as they do into military expenditure and when I think of being eleven years old and going to the World's Fair. My father taught us indignation against the government and the Church because of the war in Vietnam through nightly commentaries on the news. Moral conscience and religion must stand opposed to the war, and the government has failed us by carrying out war, bombing, atrocities, propaganda, and militarization, and the Church has failed us by not issuing a clear condemnation of it. So, when we went to the Fair in 1964 and found the dedication of the Unisphere to "Peace and Understanding," it meant a lot. It was a statement against militarism and in favor of the ideal of peace. When I think of how much war and horror remains in the world today, forty-two years later, I sigh for the longing of the idealism of the nineteen sixties, for not being able to return to childhood, and for not having been able to achieve peace in the world.

Click on the text above for Roy Latham's site, where there are links to some of the photographs he took as a teenager at the fair.
I took the pictures below in 2005.

It seems such a waste, that the ideals and the buildings have been allowed to fall into disrepair.

For some years there was an effort to refurbish the old NY State pavillion, but the plans offered were never funded.

According to Bill Young (to whom I am grateful for his efforts to preserve the history of the Fair and improve the site) the city and park departments have done nothing for the ruins of the pavillion, and it must be destroyed or stabilized or it might just collapse!

Dear Reader,

We take this opportunity to present a final report of the proposed Air and Space Museum project at the New York State Pavilion, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Borough of Queens, New York.

Thank you to the many people who gave us encouragement and support in Queens Borough government and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation in our effort to stabilize and develop an adaptive reuse for the pavilion. In particular we would like to thank New York City Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, Assistant Parks Commissioner for Queens Estelle Cooper, former New York City Parks Commissioner Henry Stern, Deputy Commissioner of Capital Projects for the New York City Parks Department Amy Freitag, Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, former Queens Borough President Claire Schulman and their staffs for graciously allowing us to present our proposal and for their consideration of our project. Many hours were spent by them attending meetings, reviewing proposals, researching documents, and a vast variety of other work that needed to be done to honestly evaluate a monumental proposal of turning a derelict, decaying structure into a glittering Air & Space Museum.

Thank you to the many people who have followed our project since 2001 -- who have given us a pat on the back when it they felt it was deserved, a gentle prod when they felt it was needed and a shoulder to cry on when we needed it as well. Thank you for your interest, support, encouragement and kindness over the years. It was appreciated more than we can say.

In June of 2004, the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation issued a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) to allow parties to submit ideas, concepts and plans for the stabilization, restoration and adaptive reuse of the New York State Pavilion. The Air & Space Museum proposal was one of only two RFEIs submitted. Six weeks after the deadline, New York City Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe announced that none of the submissions had addressed funding concerns and, therefore, the RFEI was canceled. At that point, further efforts to continue with the project were halted since it seemed fruitless to continue working with a Parks Department who were obviously no longer interested in our efforts toward stabilization and reuse of the pavilion.

This final update of the project will present:

  1. A reprint of the Concept Page of the original website to preserve the original concept of the Air & Space Museum, online.
  2. A Timeline of Events dating back to 1992 when the first engineering report was commissioned by the Department of Parks & Recreation of the City of New York to determine the structural stability of the NY State Pavilion. The majority of the timeline focuses on our efforts to stabilize and restore the NY State Pavilion into a world-class Air & Space Museum.
  3. Publication of documents (in PDF format) pertinent to the project. These include the copies of the engineering reports we obtained from the Parks Department detailing the deterioration of the structure, the RFEI put out by the Parks Department and our response, among others.
  4. Parting comments about the project by key members of the team.
Perhaps, with the facts presented, those interested in this project -- or future projects regarding the NY State Pavilion -- can draw their own conclusions as to why it could not move forward.
Charles A. Aybar, PhD, Scottsdale, AZ
Frankie Campione, AIA, Principal, CREATE Architecture Planning & Design, New York, NY
July, 2006

Somewhere in the files of the NY library, there is a recording of the speeches made at the reopening of the Fair in 1965. An unidentified person made a speech about "Peace through Understanding." Willy Brandt was also on the program. I wonder who made the speech about "Peace through Understanding," if it was any good, or just the wish that peace would spread through the world with technology and corporate influence, like the Coca-Cola bottles to be found at that company's exhibit, placed tastefully among exotic scenes depicting various wonders of the world and other sights.

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