A year without war
Antiwar activist Joseph White aims for worldwide movement by 2020
By Danielle Brubaker 05/31/2012
What started as a little light reading during a work sabbatical has turned into a global movement toward a year of world peace. It’s not too often one comes across a person so profoundly intent on changing the world as to be willing to do everything in his or her power to achieve it … even convincing a group of philosophy students to think “outside the classroom.”
Joseph White, philosophy professor at Santa Barbara City College, has started a project he calls A Year Without War. The goal of the project is to achieve an entire year of world peace and global harmony.
White and his group of 15 students aim to reach 765 million people by 2020 — 10 percent of the world’s population. Although this project was originally centered in Santa Barbara, during the last few weeks it has spread to surrounding cities and counties.
With the advent of modern technology and the tech-savvy ability of the younger generation, White believes this project will quickly spread throughout California and beyond the United States. Not only are White and his students promoting global change and world peace, they are actually doing something about it and making it an active daily goal to move closer to worldwide acceptance and toleration. White will host a presentation on A Year Without War on June 3 at the E.P Foster Library Topping Room.
VCReporter: What was your inspiration for starting this project?
Joseph White: It was a result of work on my sabbatical. I was reading some political philosophy and it got me thinking about the social tipping point, which is 10 percent. The civil rights movement and women’s rights movement were both successful because at least 10 percent of the population supported it.
The famous documentary filmmaker Jeremy Gilley made September 21st the International Day of Peace, and a man named Steven Pinker wrote a book called “Better Angels,” where he states that the overall violence in human beings is dropping. Also, last fall the United Nations voted a world truce at the 2012 London Games. So I decided that I, too, wanted to do something to contribute to global peace and get actively involved and make a difference.
What are the principles of this project?
Well, clearly there’s something in the air. Human beings want to get away from war as a means of conflict resolution. While conflict is inevitable, war cannot be used as a resolution. There must be other methods to bring about nonviolence. Throughout the duration of this project, we will essentially be lobbying relentlessly towards one year without war — the year 2020.
What are your short-term and long-term goals for this project?
Well, a short-term goal would, of course, be financial support. As far as long-term goals, that’s all about building up a worldwide group. In the next eight years, our aim is to get 10 percent of the world’s population (765 million people) to join this project and support this movement. By the middle of June, we hope to have 1,000 members, and by September, our aim is to reach 10,000.
If everyone who has a Facebook, would invite at least 25 percent of their friends to sign up and join, we would certainly reach our goal of 765 million people. With the younger generation being so tech-savvy and so much technology available (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), I think this project will progress fairly quickly into a global movement involving integrated communities, beyond California and beyond this country.
Who are you partnering with for this project?
In my small group, there are about 15 other students from SBCC. They were the first ones involved, and they are also under the guidance of the CPE — Center for Philosophy Education — at SBCC. We are also partnering with global companies such as Nuclear Age Center for Peace, Oniracom, Following the Ninth, NASPA and Lenhoff & Lenhoff. We would like to partner with more organizations, so if anyone is a part of one, and would consider joining with us for this project, please don’t hesitate to let us know!
How can one sign up to join this global project?
It’s really simple! Just go to ayearwithoutwar.org and register. It’s free and only takes a few minutes, but it will make a huge difference. The website has a lot of interesting and important information. You can also like our page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ayearwithoutwar.
How do you plan on expanding this project beyond the United States?
We have a group of students from Sweden in charge of the international aspect. We also have many people from China, Germany, France, England, Sri Lanka and many other countries who are already interested in the progression and future of this project. … War is always chosen, and it is indeed possible to live in a world without war. There used to be religious wars waged between groups of people, and now they are living together. That gives us hope that despite our deep, profound differences with each other and with other countries around the world, it is possible to destroy the “plague of war,” as George Washington called it, that we created.
Professor Joseph White and his group of students from SBCC will host a presentation on Saturday, June 3, at 3 p.m. in the Fosters Library’s Topping Room at 651 E. Main St. in Ventura. Attendees will be able to meet the founders and organizers of this project. For more information or to join this project, visit ayearwithoutwar.org.