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CPP News CPP Newsletter Online Past Conferences V11.2

CfP: CPP Fifth National Conference

Newsletter of the Concerned Philosophers for Peace, Vol. 11.2 (Fall 1991)

The fifth annual conference of the Concerned Philosophers for Peace will be held in Charlotte, NC on October 16-18, 1992. The theme of the conference is “Power and Domination.” Papers which reflect the conference theme are strongly encouraged, but papers which discuss other topics related to peace and war are welcome. Papers on the conference theme may discuss the phenomena of power and domination operating at any of a variety of levels: international politics, national politics, interpersonal relationships, gender issues, race and class issues, ecology and institutional politics within such institutions as families, schools, peace groups, military organizations, prisons, etc. Papers on the conference theme may discuss how power and domination (or our conceptions of them) work and/or how power and domination (or our conceptions of them) may be transformed. Presentation time for papers will be limited to twenty minutes. Papers are due July 1. Please send three copies of the paper and one copy of an abstract of no more than 150 words to: Laura Duhan Kaplan, Department of Philosophy, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, NC 28223.

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Concerned Philosophers for Peace
Department of Philosophy
The University of Dayton
300 College Park Avenue
Dayton, Ohio 45469-2260

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CPP Newsletter Online Notices V11.2

Santoni Serves as Delegate at UN Conference

Newsletter of the Concerned Philosophers for Peace, Vol. 1.2 (Fall 1991)

Ronald E. Santoni (Denison University) was a delegate at a special UN Conference for Peace Messenger organizations. Co-sponsored by the Soviet Peace Fund, the conference was held in Dagomys, Sochi, USSR on June 10-14 and focused on possibilities for peace in the 21st century. Santoni was a delegate for IPPNO and was selected to be “rapporteur” and spokesperson for a special working group of the conference concentrating on International Peace and Global Security. He also addressed the plenary session on “Nuclear Weapons: Moral Grounds for Their Abolition.”

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Articles CPP Newsletter Online V11.2

Reflections on ‘Soviet Union’ by James Sterba

Sterba, James P. “Reflections on Recent Events in What Used to be Called the Soviet Union,” Newsletter of the Concerned Philosophers for Peace, Vol. 1.2 (Fall 1991)

I was in the Soviet Union in August of 1991 when the military coup occurred. Later I will recount for you some of the experiences I had at the time, but I would also like to put my recent visit to the Soviet Union in the context of the other visits I have made to the Soviet Union going back to 1989 because they have been for me a developing teaching and learning experience. In 1989, I was a Fulbright lecturer at the University of Latvia in Riga and my family and I got to witness the development of the independence movements in the Baltic republics and elsewhere in the Soviet Union. At the time, I was looking for topics to lecture on that might be useful to the faculty and students, and I began to notice parallels between the political movements to be found in various Soviet republics and the feminist movement in the United States. First of all, people in the Soviet Union were interested in getting a correct view of their own history, for example, the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact in 1939 which led to the incorporation of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia into the Soviet Union. People in the Soviet Union had just been able to publicly speak about this pact for the first time when we got there. Similarly, feminists in the United States are interested in uncovering the role of women in our history which has certainly not been given much coverage in our history books. Secondly, people in the Soviet Union were interested in giving proper recognition to native writers whose work was previously ignored or suppressed. Similarly, feminists in the United States are seeking to give proper recognition to women writers whose works were previously ignored or devalued because, for example, they focused on aspects of human life that men found uninteresting. Thirdly, people in the Soviet Union were pressing for greater rights, particularly vis-a-vis the central government. Similarly, feminists in the United States are pressing for greater rights for women. Yet surprisingly there was no feminist movement in the Soviet Union.

I argued that this inconsistency undermined the political movements that were underway in the Soviet Union. Later, in arguing this point in the Baltic republics, I used a remark from Prime Minister Prunskiene of Lithuania before she resigned her post. She said, “I am the only woman of rank in the government. And sometimes I look around me and think that the shape of democracy and the process of democracy might be well served if there were more women involved.”

In 1990, I again visited Moscow and Riga. In Riga, I argued that it was important for leaders of the Popular Front Independence Movement to exchange views and reach agreements with ethnic Russians living in Latvia. These Russians, I claimed, needed to be convinced that they would benefit from future economic prosperity and that they would have full civil and political rights. As a strategy for dealing with Moscow, I proposed that local leaders present arguments, if they could, that either independence for the Baltic republics would not lead to independence for the other Soviet republics, or if it would (as it has), this would have beneficial effects overall. I must say that at the time, although there was considerable support among Latvians for including ethnic Russians in their independence movement, few showed any concern for the impact their independence movement would have on the rest of the Soviet Union.

Now this past summer I again planned to visit Riga and Moscow. I had received invitations and had planned to lecture in Riga on the implications of environmental ethics for Baltic independence, and in Moscow on the relevance of feminism. I traveled to Riga by way of Moscow arriving late on August 17. On the 18th, I toured the countryside with my hosts, visiting the ruins of 13th Century castles and enjoying the lush green landscapes. But on awakening on the 19th, the first thing I heard from my hosts was news of the military coup in Moscow. That day I was to have lectured on environmental ethics at the University of Latvia. Later that day when one of my hosts and I walked to the university to officially cancel my lecture (despite its long term importance, in the middle of a military coup, environmental ethics did not seem like a very pressing problem) military helicopters armed with missiles circled overhead, but surprisingly, except for children, people did not seem to pay them much heed. Upon returning to my hosts’ apartment, I was also surprised to find the local TV station broadcasting CNN and simultaneously translating it into Latvian. I was told that since the recent attempted crackdown in January, CNN had been carried for one half an hour every evening without translation, but now with the coup it was being broadcast continuously with translation. At one point, I saw the news conference of the coup leaders covered by CNN in Moscow. Here Russian was being translated into English and the English into Latvian all virtually simultaneously. I was impressed. Around this time, one of my hosts suggested that I should fly home directly rather than through Moscow. She was worried and so was I.

Around 6:30 P.M., the local TV station was occupied. By 7:30 P.M. the international telephone station and headquarters of the Popular Front Independence Movement had been seized. In each case, the number of troops involved was small; fifty occupied the TV station and four Black Berets seized and then abandoned the headquarters of the Popular Front. The international telephone station was near my hosts’ home, and we heard gunfire about the time that it was announced over the radio that the station had been occupied. Nearby, Black Berets shot two people in a radio van, killing one and critically wounding the other who later died as well.

We heard reports that tanks were approaching Riga and that bridges to the city were cut. The leader of the Communist Party in Latvia, who had been previously excluded from power by a coalition of non-Communist parties, claimed that he had formed a committee that would carry out the orders of the committee formed in Moscow. There were also reports from the duly-elected Latvian government leaders saying that all was calm, that there was no need for emergency powers, but that people should surround the parliament building.

In general, in Latvia and in the other Baltic republics, the strategy was not to confront the military, the opposite of what was being done in Moscow and Leningrad. This was because most of those in the military forces in the Baltics were Russian, not Lithuanians, Latvian or Estonian, and so most of them had little sympathy for the local independence movements.

The hopes of most of the people I talked to in Latvia centered on Yeltsin and what he would be able to do in the Russian republic. We were encouraged when we saw Yeltsin speaking from a tank and when we saw demonstrators talking and even fighting with soldiers–all, of course, on CNN. We were specifically encouraged when we heard that a number of tanks and military forces had gone over to Yeltsin and were taking defensive positions around the Russian parliament. Later, from reading reports of these events, I came to the conclusion (even against my inclination) that much of the credit for the failure of the coup has to be given to the Russian army and also to the officers of the KGB who refused orders in the early stages of the coup. This is because it was only later that the people of Moscow took to streets and became a force against the coup. If the military had responded quickly, the people in Moscow and Leningrad would not have had the time to rally their forces, and, as a result, I think that the coup would have been successful, at least for a time. However, there is a further story to tell that ultimately credits the failure of the coup to the actions of individual civilians. It turns out that many military officers in explaining why they refused orders, said they did not want to participate in events like those that had occurred in Lithuania in January of 1991 in which a number of civilians were killed when they nonviolently resisted the military.

To finish my personal saga, I was scheduled to leave Riga by plane the next day at 8:00 A.M. We had heard reports that the bridge that we would have to cross to get to the airport was sometimes cut. So we decided to start for the airport by car at 4:00 A.M. As we approached the bridge, we saw an armored vehicle in the middle of the road with a soldier nearby flagging us down. After checking our papers, however, the soldier let us go. As we crossed the bridge, we heard shots in the direction of the old town, but it was too dark to see anything. Later, as we continued along, a car with local militia in it pulled along side our car, but after staring at us for some time, the car pulled away. At the airport, everything looked normal, and my plane actually departed on time, as did my plane from Moscow to Berlin. Obviously, I felt a certain relief once my plane was in the air heading for Berlin, but I also felt that having shared that day and a night with my friends in Riga, my life was inextricably joined to theirs in ways that are only possible when one lives through such momentous events together.

Let me end by giving a brief overall assessment of the situation in what used to be called the Soviet Union from my current vantage point. Although I have been more pessimistic in the past, my current assessment is basically optimistic. I am optimistic for the future of the republics in what used to be called the Soviet Union and for the Baltic nations in particular. When I first visited Latvia in 1989, people there were hoping that political independence would be achieved in ten years time. When I was in Riga this past August on the 18th, I asked one of my hosts when would the huge Lenin statue that was in the center of Riga come down. This statue was in the middle of what is now called Freedom Street. This street used to be called Lenin Street. Before that it was called Hitler Street. During the period of independence (1919-1940), it was called Freedom Street, and before that it was called Alexander Street after Czar Alexander I of Russia. Pointing to the statue, my host said that many changes would have to take place in Latvia before that statue could come down. The next Sunday on the front page of the International Herald Tribune was a picture of that Lenin statue in Riga, lying on the ground. In the final analysis, it is events like these that make me optimistic about the future of what used to be called the Soviet Union.

University of Notre Dame

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CPP Books CPP News CPP Newsletter Online V11.2

The CPP Series: ETHICS, VIOLENCE AND PEACE

Series Editor: Kenneth H. Klein

Issues in War and Peace (1989)
Editors: Joseph C. Kunkel & Kenneth H. Klein

In the Interest of Peace (1990)
Editors: Kenneth H. Klein & Joseph C. Kunkel

Just War, Nonviolence, and Nuclear Deterrence (1991)
Editors: Duane Cady & Richard Werner

Longwood Academic
Hollowbrook Publishing
Wakefield, New Hampshire

Details on the Most Recent Volume

JUST WAR, NONVIOLENCE, AND NUCLEAR DETERRENCE
Philosophers on War and Peace

Duane Cady and Richard Werner (eds.)

In this new anthology, contemporary philosophers turn their attention to the issues of war and peace. Using their skills in political and social philosophy, ethical theory, and critical analysis, they debate the morality and logic of nuclear deterrence, the applicability and viability of just war theory, and the ethics and practicality of non-violence. Many perspectives and viewpoints are represented, including those of feminism, political realism, pacifism, and just war theory.

Several of the contributors are well-known for their previous books and articles on war and peace. The contributors include Sheldon Cohen, William Gay, Robert Holmes, Douglas Lackey, Steven Lee, Sara Ruddick, Ronald Santoni, and James Sterba. Most of the articles appear here in print for the first time.

Editor Duane Cady is chair of the philosophy department at Hamline University and is the author of the book From Warism to Pacifism. He presently serves as president of Concerned Philosophers for Peace. Co-editor Richard Werner is chair of the philosophy department at Hamilton College. He presently serves as eastern divisional representative for Concerned Philosophers for Peace.

ISBN: 0-89341-675-4 cloth $37.50 ISBN: 0-89341-676-2 paper $18.50 304 pages

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CPP Newsletter Online Notices V11.2

Hypatia Special Issue: Feminism & Peace

Call For Papers

Call for papers for a Special Issue of Hypatia on “Feminism and Peace.” This volume will explore a range of issues concerning the interconnections between feminist philosophy and peace studies. Papers are welcome on a variety of topics, including (but not limited to) the following: the nature of a feminist peace politics or a feminist peace ethic; the relevance and implications of various feminist philosophies (e.g., liberal feminism, Marxist feminism, radical feminism, socialist feminism, ecological feminism, postmodernist feminism) for an understanding of the just war and pacifist traditions; feminist perspectives on the morality of war and the morality of violence; feminist discussions of philosophical connections between the practices and ideologies of militarism, nuclearism, imperialism and violence toward those perceived as “other;” feminist analyses of the relevance of race, gender, and class to discussions of war, peace, and various forms of institutional and interpersonal violence; critical examinations of male gender-biased language in the contexts of discussions of war, peace, and violence toward women; gendered conceptions of the body and sexuality as they relate to issues of war, peace, and “domestic violence;” feminist analyses of prostitution, rape, pornography, sexual harassment and other forms of sexual abuse in the context of a feminist peace politics; ecofeminist perspectives on connections between women, peace, and the nonhuman natural environment; feminist explorations of the philosophical significance of women’s peace camps and non-violent actions; and feminist analyses of Gandhian satyagrahas as strategies of resistance.

The guest editors for this Special Issue are Karen J. Warren and Duane L. Cady. Submissions should be sent in quadruplicate to: Karen J. Warren, Philosophy Department, Macalester College, 1600 Grand Avenue, St. Paul, Minnesota 55101. Deadline for Submissions: March 15, 1993. Publication Date: April, 1994.

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Articles CPP Newsletter Online V11.2

War, Gender, Race & Class by Duane Cady

Cady, Duane. “War, Gender, Race & Class: 1991 CPP Presidential Address,” Newsletter of the Concerned Philosophers for Peace, Vol. 11.2 (Fall 1991)

Preface

Let me preface my paper with a few personal remarks; I know this is unusual for gatherings of academic philosophers, but Concerned Philosophers for Peace is an unusual group.

I am both honored and humbled to have been elected President of CPP. I am primarily a teacher of undergraduates. I work in a department of three in a small, liberal arts college. Course variety and load are significant. My writing goes on around the edges. I say all of this to acknowledge that my work has come to light in large part because of this group. I doubt that my book–or even an essay on my war and peace concerns–would have been written and published were it not for many of you who have taken me in and taken me on. You know that our peace interests have been at the margins of our profession; without the encouragement of one another, few of us could persist in work so far from the academic center. I thank you.

While you have helped me take myself seriously, I don’t take myself too seriously. A couple of years ago a colleague of mine observed that she often heard academics account for the presence of a woman or person of color on a panel or program by reference to their race or gender; she wondered when the day would come when a white male would make such a self-reference as an account of his presence on a program. Although she’s not here to hear me, I do know that as a white, male, middle-class American I have had a great many advantages in our culture; those advantages certainly help account for my presence on this program. Although we did not create it, ours is a white-male privileged culture and it’s only fair at least to acknowledge it as such, better yet to challenge and change it. This leads me to my remarks for the evening.

War, Gender, Race & Class

In thinking about Nationalism, Militarism and Regional Conflict, in order to provoke a thought which might become my talk for this occasion, I caught myself reflecting on the chauvinism and arrogance that often accompany nationalism and militarism. From there the jump was small to racism, sexism and what I have called warism. Without pretending to exhaust the relationships between these, I explore some of them in what follows. My thesis is that something like what Marilyn Frye has named “arrogant perception” (Frye, 67) goes hand-in-hand with an attitude of domination which is common to sexism, racism, classism and warism. To me this means that these and other “isms of domination,” as Karen Warren has called them (Warren, 87), are variant manifestations of the urge to elevate or to defend oneself (or one’s race, gender, nation, etc.) by putting or holding others down where the put-downs are based solely on selected and politically structured differences that reflect apparent power differentials.

My effort here is to examine warism and its relations to racism, sexism and classism. I take warism to be the view that war is both morally justifiable in principle and often morally justified in fact.(1) It is sometimes held explicitly, by those who openly and consciously take just-warist positions. And it is held implicitly, by those who take war for granted as, simply, the normal and natural activity of sovereign states. Often warism is encouraged by manipulation and exploitation of ignorance, fears and prejudices of sexist, racist and classist sorts. I will argue that warism cannot be understood without grasping these isms of domination through which it functions and is sustained. Warism synthesizes racism, sexism and classism on a grand scale, holding them in place while depending on them for its own maintenance. Racism, sexism and classism are interrelated in warism; they are interconnected, mutually supporting and inextricably entangled, each with the others. To resist any one of them involves resisting them all; to ignore any one of them involves complicity with the rest.

I will confine my remarks to four aspects involved in maintaining and justifying the power and privilege of the isms of domination of racism, sexism and classism and their synthesis in war: 1) conceptual issues, 2) the institutionalization of race, gender and class identities, 3) epistemological issues, and 4) interconnections between isms of domination. My approach will be to draw from several important contributors to current discussion of these isms of domination to develop and exemplify the plausibility of my suggestion that warism both sustains and is sustained by racism, sexism and classism.

In The Politics of Reality, Marilyn Frye argues that various “cultural and economic structures … create and enforce elaborate and rigid patterns of sex-marking and sex-announcing which divide the species, along lines of sex, into dominators and subordinates.” Acts and practices which reinforce and support these structures are sexist (Frye, 38). For subordination to be efficient it is important “that the structure not appear to be a cultural artifact kept in place by human decision or custom, but that it appear natural …,” (Frye, 34, emphasis hers).

All of us, to varying degrees, reflect our culture’s sex-marking standards through our garments, hairdos, cosmetics, scents, “gait, gesture, posture, speech, humor, taste and even perception, interest and attention [all] that we learn as we grow up to be women or men…,” (Frye, 23-24). And we take these cultural constructs of gender to be reality and thereby to justify the double-standards. The point is not that there are no differences between women and men; there are subtle and complex differences, some of which are just beginning to be understood. Frye’s point is that the differences are largely limited to reproductive function, and, importantly, are exaggerated to suggest two distinct and sharply dimorphic sexes when in reality “people fit on a biological spectrum between two not so sharply defined poles,” (Frye, 25). So, gender is mostly political. But while our consciously chosen political acts explicitly reflect our conceptual frameworks, sexism implicitly does so, reflecting beliefs, attitudes and assumptions of which we may not even be aware. Sexism functions as a normative lens which shapes and filters all that we encounter to fit its contours.

In developing her notion of the pervasive influence of culture on our sense of gender, Frye describes the “arrogant eye,” her name for the sort of perception dominant in Western Civilization. The philosophic question, ‘what is man’s place in nature?’ is answered, ‘everything exists for man’s purposes.’ Those seeing with arrogant eyes organize everything with reference to themselves and their own interests (Frye, 67).

Importantly, most of those in positions of power and privilege doing the theorizing about “man’s place in nature” have been men. In Is Women’s Philosophy Possible? Nancy Holland points out not only that women’s experience has been almost entirely left out of consideration in traditional philosophy; beyond this neglect, male norms from experience “are offered as examples of human behavior” and “function as standards that exclude those with different experiences from the realm of the human,” (Holland, 12). Those falsely universalizing from male experience to standards for humanity may be unaware of “the power hidden in universalization, the power to say who and what other people are, and the power to ignore their self-definitions and their own experience of themselves and the world,” (Holland, 2).

Feminist considerations of theorizing, of philosophy itself, expose the dangers of perceptual arrogance: we may not only be misled about the reality we seek to know, but we may also contribute to splitting humanity into dominant and subordinate divisions. This is so no less of race than of gender.

In a remarkable essay called “On Being White: Thinking Toward a Feminist Understanding of Race and Race Supremacy,” Frye describes her feelings about the dilemmas of struggling against racism: “…racism is so systematic and White privilege so impossible to escape, that one is, simply, trapped,” (Frye, 126).

Frye tells a story of her work with a number of White women who formed a consciousness-raising group to identify racism in their lives with hope to understand and dismantle it. Some women of color suggested that it was racist of them to form a group of White women only, and one Black woman confronted them angrily for even thinking they could achieve their goals working only with White women. It seemed to the White women that doing nothing would be racist, but that whatever they did would be racist just because they did it. Frye realizes that as a White, whatever decision she makes will be an exercise of race privilege.

For Frye, race–like gender– is cultural.

Many people whose skin is White, by which of course we don’t really mean white, are Black or Mexican or Puerto Rican or Mohawk. And some people who are dark-skinned are White. Natives of India and Pakistan are generally counted as White… Whiteness is, it seems pretty obvious, a social or political construct (Frye, 114).

To be White is to be a member of a privileged group which is self-defining. In America, by law, if you are part Black, you are Black, but if you are part White that does not make you White. The privileged group decides who its members are.

Certainly, there are differences between the phenomena of gender and race, even if both are cultural constructs contained within our conceptual frameworks; but the similarity may help some of us recognize ourselves as members of one or more privileged groups. If membership is political–as it must be since the privileged decide membership–then it is not dictated by nature. If the privileges are unwarranted–as surely they must be regarding gender and race–then our advantages come at the expense of disadvantages to others. Racism and sexism are so systemic and their privileges as well as burdens so impossible to escape, that we are, simply, trapped. Or are we? After all, if racism and sexism are cultural constructs, then even if we number among the privileged we have the option of resisting the cultural constructs. Here’s where Frye finds hope:

I have enjoined males of my acquaintance to set themselves against masculinity. I have asked them to think about how they can stop being men, and I was not recommending a sex-change operation. I do not know how they can stop being men, but I think it is thinkable, and it is a counsel of hope. Likewise I can set myself against Whiteness. I can give myself the injunction to stop being White (Frye, 127).

As Whites, we must never claim not to be racist, but only to be anti-racist (Frye, 126); as men we must never claim not to be sexist, but only to be anti-sexist.

A year ago I had the good fortune to meet Katie Cannon, the Black feminist theologian (one of a handful of Black women to hold a Ph.D. in religion) and author of Black Womanist Ethics. Interested as I am in the relationships between varieties of domination and subordination I could not resist asking her how she saw the relationships between racism, sexism, and classism. As a Black woman raised in a working-poor family she would have a privileged access to the interplay between these isms of domination. I was amazed and moved when she related her experience.

She said that as a child she was sure that racism was the fundamental oppression; she hadn’t yet felt the sting of sexism and she didn’t realize how poor her family was until she was older. By the time she got to seminary she was pretty sure sexism was a bigger problem than racism; her peers and professors seemed more bothered by her gender than by her race. Years later, having completed her Ph.D. and having taught for several years in Boston, she made a major presentation before a large and affluent audience. After her talk she met several Black women whose body language and voice inflections seemed to put her down. Confused and hurt, Professor Cannon realized later that the women had heard her working-poor background in her voice; it wasn’t race or gender, but class prejudice which she then felt (2).

Professor Cannon’s own experience had convinced her that it was a mistake–a trap–to be pushed to choose between racism, sexism, and classism. In her mind none could be thought to be more (or less) important than the others. Black Lesbian feminist Barbara Smith took a similar position as early as 1977 when the Combahee River Collective wrote:

The most general statement of our politics at the present time would be that we are actively committed to struggling against racial, sexual, heterosexual and class oppression, and see as our particular task the development of integrated analysis and practice based upon the fact that the major systems of oppression are interlocking. The synthesis of these oppressions creates the conditions of our lives (Smith, 95).

The synthesis of these oppressions–that is, how they come together–creates the conditions of our lives whether we’re among the privileged or the subordinate when the conditions are cultural. This synthesis is a subtle and complex business; here we are looking only at one of the ways this synthesis is maintained, namely, warism. There may well be a good many other cultural structures which sustain a similar synthetic function: economics, education, history, etc. The analysis of such conditions–that is, how we take them apart–may distract us away from the very synthesis which holds them together to create a network which sustains existing privilege and power. As I have tried to make clear above, recognizing, engaging, and trying to overcome this synthesis is a problem for all of us, not only for those disadvantaged by the status quo.

With “A Fierce and Human Peace,” Sara Ruddick provides a critique of military masculinity as she develops her feminist peace politics. She exposes the ‘male’-defining misogynous and homophobic norms of masculinity invoked by militarists to train, shame, and inspire soldiers. Ruddick notes the use of racial and ethnic slurs in the process and extends her critique to challenge military femininity. Her objective is to urge a sturdy, public suspicion of organized violence even in the best of causes (Ruddick, 3). Applied to regional conflict, each of us can readily cite exploitations of racism, sexism, and classism in various contexts. Popular media coverage of the Persian Gulf War provided innumerable examples. It is important to recognize that “good” wars, if there can be any, would not rest upon such synthesizing of isms of domination. Perhaps better said: the acceptability of a given war may be proportionate to its dependence upon synthesizing isms of domination to sustain itself.

In Philosophy of Liberation, Enrique Dussell points out the ways in which dominant conceptions of geo-political reality reinforce status quo power and privilege at the expense of people of the so-called Third World, extending the considerations of class into a world-wide arena. On Dussell’s model, our present global order consists of a culturally dominant “center” and a culturally dominated “periphery.” Those of influence in the U.S., Western Europe, and Japan constitute the center; the peoples of the periphery include women, children, the aged, the racially and ethnically oppressed, and the populations of Latin America, Africa and most of Asia. Domination of the periphery by the center is political, military and economic, and goes deeper to entrap ideologically, psychologically, spiritually, scientifically. All relationships are contaminated by the center/periphery split.

Dussell asks all theorists to begin anew with the primacy of the other as the foundation rather than to presume objectivity and thus help to sustain the theft of all value from the people of the periphery. The implications are radical and revolutionary: economics becomes service to the other rather than maximization of profits; nature becomes a global home and not mere exploitable matter; choices must respect the periphery and not merely impose themselves onto the periphery from the center, and so on.

Applied to the global reality described in Dussell’s terms, warism synthesizes sexism, racism, and classism on a grand scale to perpetuate the power and privilege of the center. It “justifies” itself by marginalizing the disadvantaged, that is, by arrogant perception. As long as the privileged and powerful perceive the “reality” formed by the isms of domination, the normal and natural thing to do is constantly prepare for, threaten, and undertake war to preserve the status quo. The isms of domination together form a status quo network which is both self-sustaining and oppressive of the periphery.

In “Playfulness, ‘World’-Traveling, and Loving Perception” Maria Lugones takes off from Frye’s notion of arrogant perception to insist on the need to understand and affirm racial and cultural plurality as central to feminist knowing. Her concept of ‘loving perception’ avoids the fusion and erasure of difference characteristic of traditional (false-universalizing) philosophy. In place of the tradition’s ‘unity’ which she shows to be conceptually tied to domination, Lugones offers plurality which celebrates difference and is conceptually tied to solidarity. Noticing and appreciating pluralities turn out to depend on “‘world’-traveling,” “understanding what it is to be [another] and what it is to be ourselves in their eyes,” (Lugones, 17). This is no sentimental, utopian suggestion that world peace will reign when everyone learns to appreciate everyone else. There are ‘worlds’ which we enter at risk, in which we are uncomfortable at best and which have “conquest and arrogance as the main ingredients in their ethos,” (Lugones, 17). But while not all loving perception yields the same in return, at least there is hope beyond the domination of arrogant perception.

In “On the Logic of Pluralist Feminism,” Lugones goes further to argue that plurality must be stressed in the very structure of any theory. Otherwise the theory distorts by missing complexity, and, in its arrogance, offends those it excludes while privileging its simple, narrow source. Humble perception is the antithesis of arrogant perception.

I have tried to show some of the ways in which racism, sexism, classism, and warism are intertangled. Together they create the conditions of our lives whether we are among the privileged or the disadvantaged. If we want to understand any of them we are stuck struggling to understand all of them. They are connected not only as they are exploited and manipulated by the powerful to sustain the status quo ; they are connected as well by the arrogant perception dominant in the prevailing conceptual framework of our culture, the self-determined geo-political center. This means that they are sustained by the systems through which our culture operates.

Racism, sexism, classism, and warism are not identical. Taken independently, each has distinct features of its own. Token together, they perpetuate the established dominant systems which seem to become increasingly monolithic as time passes. These same systems have given the world ever higher levels of carnage, hate, and suffering while fewer and fewer (but increasingly privileged) individuals have significant influence.

Recognizing the interdependencies of racism, sexism, classism, and warism can provoke despair; the scope and complexity of our problems nearly overwhelm. Yet the recognition of these interlocking features of dominant (and dominating) culture also frees us to join in solidarity with people suppressed and subordinated, because we needn’t affirm or help sustain these systemic isms of privilege and domination; we can set ourselves against them. Because they are institutionalized features of culture, they needn’t define us nor need they be accepted as if natural or permanent.

Hamline University

Notes

I want to express my gratitude to Katie Cannon, Nancy Holland, Julie Raulli, Sara Ruddick, Karen Warren, and Rick Werner for helpful comments on an earlier draft of this talk; of course the problems remaining are my own.

1) Cf. From Warism to Pacifism: A Moral Continuum (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1989), especially Chapter I.

2) Small group discussion with Katie Cannon, St. Paul, Minnesota, November 8, 1990.

References

Dussell, Enrique. Philosophy of Liberation, tr. Aquilina Martinez & Christine Morkovsky (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1985).

Frye, Marilyn. The Politics of Reality: Essays in Feminist Theory (Trumansburg, NY: The Crossing Press, 1983).

Holland, Nancy J. Is Women’s Philosophy Possible? (Savage, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 1990).
Lugones, Maria. “On the Logic of Pluralist Feminism,” in Feminist Ethics, Claudia Card, ed. (University Press of Kansas, 1991).

———— “Playfulness, ‘World’ Traveling, and Loving Perception,” Hypatia Vol. 2, No. 2 (Summer, 1987).

Ruddick, Sara. “Fierce and Human Peace,” in Just War, Nonviolence and Nuclear Deterrence, Duane L. Cady & Richard Werner, eds. (Wakefield, NH: Longwood Academic, 1991).

Smith, Barbara. “Feminist Writers Confront the Nuclear Abyss,” in Exposing Nuclear Phallacies, Diana E. H. Russell, ed. (Elmsford, NY: Pergamon Press, 1989).

Warren, Karen. “Towards a Feminist Peace Politics,” Journal for Peace and Justice Studies, Vol. 3, No. 1, 1991.

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CPP News CPP Newsletter Online V11.2

Report from Knoxville

Kunkel, Joseph. “Report from Knoxville,” Newsletter of the Concerned Philosophers for Peace, Vol. 11.2 (Fall 1991)

CPP’s fourth annual conference was held October 25-27, 1991 in Knoxville, TN. We met on the campus of the University of Tennessee Friday and Saturday, and at the Knoxville Hilton Sunday morning. At the plenary sessions we heard addresses from Henry Shue, Karen Warren, Linda Forcey, and Duane Cady. The theme was “Nationalism and Regional Conflicts.” Sheldon Cohen is to be congratulated for arranging this stimulating conference.

At the business meeting several issues were discussed. The first concerned some difficulties encountered by Duane Cady and Richard Werner in the publication of CPP’s third volume entitled Just War, Nonviolence, and Nuclear Deterrence: Philosophers on War and Peace. The book is a selection of revised papers from the 1990 conference held at the University of Notre Dame. The camera-ready manuscript was submitted to Longwood this past summer. Although the book was not printed in time for distribution at the Knoxville meeting, it is now availble. Meanwhile, Laurence Bove and Laura Duhan Kaplan agreed to begin the editing of the Knoxville papers.

William Gay reported on the progress of the joint venture he is editing for CPP with Tatjana Alekseeva of the Institute of Philosophy in Moscow. The seven American essays have been chosen after a blind reviewing process that involved a number of CPP members. Each submitted essay was reviewed by two to four reviewers. The final selection was made from these reviewers’ comments by an editorial board consisting of Richard Werner, R. Paul Churchill, and Bill Gay. The Soviet essays have been collected by Tatjana and are in the process of being translated into English. If all goes well the English edition will be sent to the publisher Rowman & Littlefield by this Spring.

Next year’s CPP conference will be in Charlotte, NC, with the University of North Carolina at Charlotte acting as host. Laura Duhan Kaplan has agreed to chair the program and make the local arrangements. The conference theme will be “Power and Domination.” (See p. 16 for an early announcement with various subthemes.)

A report on IPPNO was given by Howard Friedman of the University of Conn. at Waterbury. John Somerville has resigned as USA Chair. In his place Ronald Santoni was appointed as USA President and Howard as USA Executive Secretary. Thomas Daffern continues as International Coordinator. The IPPNO name is presently being retained, but with a subtitle of “Philosophers for Global Concerns.” Howard made a strong pitch for cordial relations with CPP. He is hoping to begin an international journal on philosophy and peace, by using computer diskettes instead of paper bindings. IPPNO will also organize a philosophy of peace section at the World Congress on Violence and Human Coexistence meeting in Montreal in July, 1992 (contact Ron at Denison for more details), and at the World Congress of Philosophy meeting in Moscow in 1993.

James Sterba reported for the elections committee on two nominees for CPP president. They are Robert Holmes and Steven Lee. Joseph Kunkel was nominated to run unopposed for Executive Secretary. The ballots will be sent out in the extra January mailing that includes the annual dues request.

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CPP Newsletter Online Notices V11.2

IPPNO News

Friedman, Howard. “IPPNO News.” Newsletter of the Concerned Philosophers for Peace V11.2 (Fall 1991)

CURRENT HISTORY. On 3-14-91 John Somerville, seriously ill for more than a year, resigned as President of North American IPPNO and asked Paul Allen, then Secretary, to take over. On 9-17-91, after considerable consultation, Paul asked Ron Santoni and Howard Friedman, respectively, to be President and Executive Secretary. Both accepted with Paul and John (the latter’s health permitting) remaining on the Advisory Board. One task of the present executives and all others concerned is to redefine the mission of IPPNO, given the diminished present threat of omnicide. My own view is that IPPNO’s central focus should be the attainment of peace, however this latter may be viewed, but that the larger circle of IPPNO’s concerns extend to any global issue that might become peace-threatening. Arguments for other views are encouraged: out of this interchange a new IPPNO–and a new constitution–will arise.
Is IPPNO’s name also to be modified? Time will tell. At the very least, in the interest of continuity for the present IPPNO will keep the acronym, ‘IPPNO,’ but define its scope differently. Since the North American section of IPPNO has been the chief locomotive in energizing the entire IPPNO structure, this section will shortly reach out through the IPPNO coordinator, Tom Daffern, to other IPPNO sections to establish closer ties and to stimulate the formation or renewal of activities.

What of the relation between IPPNO and CPP? I attended the CPP meeting in Knoxville specifically to begin rebuilding bridges. I said then, with Ron’s concurrence, that although the particulars are open and to be defined in practice, our intention is to be totally cooperative, non-competitive and wherever possible mutually complementary. In the same spirit, I noted how regrettable difficulties had arisen in the past between the two groups and that we would take all steps possible to avoid any recurrences.

PLANNED MEETINGS AND CONFERENCES. 1) IPPNO meeting, Eastern Division, APA, Sun., Dec. 29 1991; 9-11am, Broadhurst/Belasco Room, Mariott Hotel, NYC. Topic: War and Its Victims. Papers include “The Effects of War on Children” and “Current Estimates of Nuclear Warfare Casualties.” Business meeting will follow talks. Contact Barbara Wall, see below. 2) A plenary session on War and Violence is being organized by IPPNO and CPP for the Second International Congress on Violence, Montreal, July 13-17, 1992. IPPNO is an official sponsor and Ron Santoni is preparing this session. Papers will be chosen on merit without regard to organizational affiliation. Please contact Ron asap , see below. 3) An international conference, European Conversations on Peace, will be held in the autumn, 1992 in London and then in Brussels or Paris. Contact Daffern, see below. 4) IPPNO plans to hold its next international conference in connection with the XIXth World Congress of Philosophy, Moscow, 1993. The conference theme is Mankind at a Turning Point, Philosophical Perspectives. Contact Friedman or Santoni, see below.

ACTIVISM. I am proposing a Network of Correspondence whose members will originate letters-to-the-editor and op-ed articles and transmit these to all other members so that one article can be placed in many local papers and magazines. I invite volunteers to serve as members and coordinators for the Network. Contact Friedman, see below.

JOURNAL OF THE PHILOSOPHY OF PEACE. To be an international, multi-perspectival, interactive, refereed electronic journal. Sections will contain articles, electronic roundtable discussions, reprints of classical articles not easily obtainable, notes, reviews, peace-relevant data, current bibliography, announcements, etc. All submitted articles are to be refereed. (All referring is blind, so serving as a referee does not preclude contributing to the Journal as well.) Issue editors, assistants,and those interested in developing an authoritative bibliography, or in taking charge of any particular section, are also needed. Contact Friedman, see below.

Howard FRIEDMAN, Phil. Dept., Univ. of Connecticut at Waterbury, Waterbury, CT 06710. Tel. (w) 203 757-1231 (Tell operator before being connected you wish to leave a message if no answer.) (h) 203 283-4485. Bitnet FRIEDMAN@UCONNVM. Internet FRIEDMAN@UCONNVM.UCONN.EDU. FAX 203 754-8540. Ronald E. SANTONI, Phil. Dept., Denison Univ., Granville, OH 43023. Tel. (w) 614 587-6318 (h) 614 587-2327. Bitnet Santoni@Denison. Internet SANTONI@MAX.CC.DENISON.EDU. FAX 614 587-6417. Barbara Wall, Phil. Dept.,Villanova Univ., Villanova PA 19085. Tel. (w) 215 645-4690. Bitnet QUILTER@VILLVM. Internet QUILTER@UCIS.VILL.EDU. FAX 215 645-4496. Tom DAFFERN, Peace House, 31 Pembroke Rd., London N15 4NW. Tel. from US 011 44 81 801-9981. Also, Initiative for Peace Studies, Inst.of Education, Univ. of London. FAX 071 436-2186.

Howard Friedman is Executive Secretary, North American IPPNO

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Articles CPP Newsletter Online V11.1

Desert Storm and the Same Old World Order by William Gay

Gay, William, “Editorial: Desert Storm and the Same Old World Order,” Newsletter of the Concerned Philosophers for Peace, Vol. 11, No. 1 (Spring 1991).

Under the cover of darkness and only hours after the expiration of the United Nation’s deadline for Iraq to end its occupation of Kuwait, Operation Desert Storm was initiated with the first of many thousands of air strikes against Iraqi military targets. Once again, as is characteristic with the onslaught of war, neither side blinked. The final costs of this war–human, environmental, economic, political, and, yes, even moral–cannot now be known. However, already it seems that any attempts at a consequentialist justification of the such enormous destruction will be challenged by many humanists, environmentalists, and ethicists. Tens of thousands of Iraqi soldiers were killed–perhaps close to 100,000. Even apart from the civilian casualties that resulted from what is euphemistically termed “collateral damage,” the bombardment was not strictly counterforce. Large segments of the Iraqi domestic infrastructure were targeted. The major urban areas were soon out of power and water, and the harsh and unsanitary conditions could end in tragic epidemics that kill even more thousands. Regardless, it is disingenuous, if not outright deceptive to deny that the U.S. and its allies also engaged in a systematic countervalue attack.

One point should be clear. Whatever our final assessment of Operation Desert Storm, we must not let governmental and military officials beguile the public with their antiseptic and sophistical uses of language. The criterion of proportionality demands that we keep a close eye on the many types and levels of destruction and that we be explicit about the fact that these numbers are about people–many of them non-combatants–and the eco-system upon which we all depend for our survival. This operation was not the initiation of a New World Order, and it is an abuse of language to designate it as such. Operation Desert Storm was a very disturbing instance of the Same Old World Order in which nations rather hastily and savagely resort to war as their means of conflict resolution.

Katie Sherrod, columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, wrote:

Our historical remoteness from the wreckage of war makes it seem the easiest answer. Our insulation from the havoc we wreak feeds our belief that military power is the way to solve the world’s problems. It encourages us to believe we’re right because we’re strongest, and blinds us to the legitimacy of other viewpoints.

Lars-Erik Nelson, syndicated columnist and Washington bureau chief of the New York Daily News, wrote:

Will we be viewed as the liberators of an enslaved Iraqi people, or are we the high-tech killers of a confused and disorganized army that only wanted to surrender?

Because of the war euphoria that has swept the nation (supposedly ending the self-deterrence of the Vietnam Syndrome), because of the frustration that many of us feel over the dismissal of the peace movement , and because of our responsibilities as philosophers to assess critically actions and justifications in the public sphere (especially as these relate to the large-scale violence, of war), I decided to devote this issue of the Newsletter to philosophical assessments of various aspects of the war against Iraq. This issue begins with war commentaries provided by the Presidents of CPP.

Next, three essays by other professional philosophers continue the critical assessment. Finally, the reflections by two philosophy majors are included. These various contributions contain both some overlap and some divergence. However, it is my hope that each of us can find a sense of support from seeing in one place several assessments of the war by philosophers and that we can find in them relevant and useful sources for our own teaching and research in this field.

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Articles CPP Newsletter Online V11.1

Bush’s Abuse of Just War Theory by Douglas P. Lackey

Lackey, Douglas P., “Bush’s Abuse of Just War Theory,” Newsletter of the Concerned Philosophers for Peace, Vol. 11, No. 1 (Spring 1991).

The President’s invocation last February of Plato, Augustine, and Aquinas in defense of his Gulf War policies should warm the hearts of old-style philosophy teachers like myself. But I must be excused if I do not sign on. Does the Just War theory developed by these and later philosophers declare that the war against Saddam Hussein is just? I think not.

The Just War theory as we now have it asserts that a war is just if and only if it is fought with just cause, with just intention, with competent authority, with just means, with proportionate damage, and as a last resort.

I think that most authorities will agree that this war is fought with just cause, in response to an act of naked aggression. I also think that many authorities would agree that the allies fight with just intention. You should believe this provided that you believe that if Saddam withdrew from Kuwait, allied military operations will cease, demonstrating that the primary allied objective is the liberation of Kuwait. But if you do not believe this, the President’s argument is lost. And when we turn to the remaining conditions for just war, all of them necessary, the allied case is even less compelling.

The question of competent authority falls heavily on President Bush. The President made some attempts to internationalize his initiative, but the crucial UN resolution does not so much require the use of force as acquiesce in it. On the domestic scene, the President sought and obtained Congressional blessing, but he got it only after dispatching enough troops to make war unavoidable. Congress became philosophical and accepted the inevitable, beaten down by a blizzard of yellow ribbons. Historians may judge that Bush’s manipulation of Congress in 1990 mimics Lyndon Johnson’s maneuvers in the Tonkin Gulf in 1964.

The principal means by which the war is fought has been strategic bombing, and about strategic bombing St. Thomas Aquinas has little to say. But if you can believe that blowing up every bridge in Iraq is an attack on military capacity, and not an assault on Iraqi society at large, you can believe anything. Just war theorists have always had qualms about strategic bombing, and the many conflicting moral rationales for such bombings developed over the years are as ingenious as they are unconvincing.

The scale of the allied bombardment runs the President into trouble with the rule of proportionality, which requires that the damage caused by allied action be less than the damage it prevents. Since the damage to Iraq promises to be total, and Iraq is considerably larger than Kuwait, the restoration of Kuwait cannot counterbalance the destruction of Iraq. If Saddam is evil because he has brought so much death and destruction into the world, the moral remedy can hardly be to cause even more destruction and death.

But it is the “last resort” requirement that is the weakest link in the Presidential chain. The speed and size of American deployments, the limited time allowed for sanctions to take effect, the inflexibility of the Administration’s negotiating stance, all point to a decision to use force sooner rather than later. I agree that Saddam Hussein should not profit from his crimes, but he cannot profit from oil he cannot sell. Many experts believe that, given the destabilizing effect of sanctions, Saddam might settle for a minor change in the border and two small islands in the Persian Gulf. True, he has no right to those islands, but the United States has no right to the lives of children in Iraq. On the scales of justice, two small children should count for more than two small islands. Let us hope that the President heeds the Just War Theory before emotion drowns out ethics.

Baruch College, CUNY