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A Tribute to Zinn, Forsberg, Boulding

Andre SheldonHoward, Randall, and Elise are gone now, but I can still hear them. They would say, stand up and be heard! Zinn and Forsberg would say to mobilize. Boulding would say work together. The economic, political, peace and environmental problems facing the planet now are enormous and there must be unity to resolve the problems. We need leaders whom can find the way to unify the world. But what can unify the world?

Elise Boulding believed there could be peace through socialization. Elise promoted peace by leading women’s organizations. Was she doing it just for women, or was she doing it for humanity? Throughout her life, she was at the forefront of promoting peace on an every day level, through the family – to teach the children. Could it be that working for the welfare of the children is the stimulus to lay down our arms and find world unity?

If we have a unifying element, what can be the conduit to make it believable and have the strength to get people’s attention? Here is where the sages of the past are needed. Mahatma Gandhi said, “Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man.” Could it be that a global movement of nonviolence is the conduit to solve global problems?

Howard Zinn promoted the people participating in democracy. Democracy was not just about voting. The people have to influence their own governments. Zinn said in an interview in The Internationalist, October 18, 2006, “I now believe only in the movements of the people that can change history.” Would Zinn support a movement of nonviolence? Can a movement of nonviolence solve all the problems? Probably not, but what it will do is illustrate the direction to unify, help to denounce war, and influence governments!

People believe in democracy but then put all their hopes in the government and the leader. But the people need to be involved. President Obama is a centrist and compromiser, wanting to be re-elected. What would make Obama take a stand? Zinn wrote in The Nation that he thought Obama would be a “mediocre president … unless there is some national movement to push him in a better direction."

Randall Forsberg would have been right there with Howard. In Forsberg’s obituary, Stephanie Peters wrote of Forsberg telling the Globe, “Many people will say this is hopeless, this is too much, this is too big, it’s too hard.” The reference was to her refusal to back down trying to stop nuclear proliferation. Forsberg stood up against the powers that be! This is what is needed today – leaders to stand up.

Zinn, Forsberg, and Boulding are calling out to us from the grave. It is time to unify with a people movement! Bill Moyers, TV journalist said at Zinn’s memorial at BU, “If you decide not to do anything, because it's too hard or too impossible, then nothing will be done, and when you're on your death bed, you're gonna say, I wish I had done something. But if you go and do the right thing NOW, and you do it long enough good things will happen-something's gonna happen. Shades of Howard Zinn!”

The key is nonviolence. Could a people movement of nonviolence, “for the children”, make a difference? Thomas Merton, a twentieth century religious scholar for peace, wrote in Ghandi and the One-Eyed Giant , “Nonviolence heals and restores man’s nature, while giving him a means to restore social order and justice.”

The beauty of a movement of nonviolence is that it isn’t just about one country – the U.S. or any other country – it is for every country! And it can happen all at once, everywhere!

The political and economic woes of the U.S. were highlighted by Noam Chomsky in an article entitled, America in Decline, 8/10/11. He wrote that the problems will continue but at the end inferred the need for people to speak out. “By shredding the remnants of political democracy, the financial institutions lay the basis for carrying the lethal process forward—as long as their victims are willing to suffer in silence.”We need Forsberg, Zinn, and Boulding now! A movement of nonviolence for the children will be POLITICAL and affect global economic, environmental, and peace efforts.

Are people going to do something about it? A plan, designed as a guideline, exists called a Global Strategy of Nonviolence, For the Children (GSofNV). A GSofNV is a comprehensive plan to include:

· A catalyst to attain political clout (critical mass, a tipping point) to influence governments and the U.N.
· An inclusion of conflict resolution measures, support for de-militarization, nuclear disarmament, conventional disarmament, and the renouncing of war
· A common goal, based upon a common denominator to create a new political, humanitarian, social, and economic paradigm
· A business plan for administration, financing, and philanthropy

The question remains: Who will lead a movement of nonviolence?

Andre Sheldon
Director, Global Strategy of Nonviolence, For the Children
Cell # 617-413-9064 Home # 617- 964-5267
E-mail: Website:

Martin Luther King wrote in Strength to Love, about nonviolence, “It gives them new self respect. It calls up resources of strength and courage that they did not know they had. Finally, it so stirs the conscience of the opponent that reconciliation becomes a reality.”

“If a person with black hair sees a person with red hair, he or she sees someone different, but, if a person with black hair sees a child with red hair, he or she sees a child.” Adil Najam, Boston University, International Relations


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