Peacemakers Unite for a World Beyond War

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Speaker:- Laurie Ross
& Worship Leader:- Shirin Caldwell

Peacemakers Unite for a World Beyond War
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Laurie Ross © 18 February 2024

Kia Rangimarie-Peace be with you. We are the people of Nuclear Free New Zealand Aotearoa. The Blessed Isles in the far South of the Pacific Ocean. The land of kereru Peace doves and giant kauri trees, of Tangata Whenua Maori. We are five million people of every ethnicity, with vibrant political, social and cultural diversity. However, we share a common sense of Unity around our higher values, about the kind of peaceful multicultural society we want to create together, for ourselves and Humanity as a whole, in harmony with the natural world. We are the Kaitiaki-Guardians of this land, the people and the Earth Papatuanuku.

Today we are facing major existential threats to our beloved world fromClimate Crisis, Biodiversity Destruction and Pollution of Rivers, Oceans, Soil, Air and Outer Space. However, the greatest and most immediate threat is: Nuclear War and annihilation of civilisation. Militarism drives both Conventional and Nuclear Warfare is a major cause of environmental degradation and producer of CO2 emissions.

The Doomsday Clock’ in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists states that the world is ‘90 seconds to midnight’ which means Nuclear Holocaust- Armageddon. Yet, there are still 12,000 nuclear weapons held by nine countries. Detonation of only 100 nuclear bombs in a couple hours would be sufficient to kill, incinerate and poison millions of people, while millions more would die slowly from radiation sickness or starve in a Nuclear winter.

Great scientist Albert Einstein, who helped create the nuclear bomb and witnessed the horror of Hiroshima (1945) said; ‘A new kind of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive…’ he realised that science and technology will not save us and said: ‘The destiny of civilised humanity depends more than ever on the moral forces it is capable of generating. Without ‘ethical culture’ there is no salvation for humanity.’

The UN International Day for Elimination of Nuclear Weapons (2018) attended by 60 world leaders provides examples eg. Phillipines Foreign Affairs Secretary said: ‘Nuclear Weapons are incompatible with peace, security and the United Nations’.

Peru’s Director of Multilateral and Global Affairs said:Nuclear weapons present a crime against humanity, violation of International Law and Humanitarian Law’.

Morocco Min. Foreign Affairs said: ‘Nuclear Defence is a moral contradiction. Nuclear disarmament is the only way to greater global security.’

Each government is free to choose to reject ‘nuclear Deterrance’ defence doctrines. Nations can proceed to ‘Disarmament’ as promised in the (1970) Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (Article VI) yet governments still refuse to relinguish ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’.The nuclear weapon scientist Oppenheimer said:‘The people of this world must unite (to abolish WMD) or they will perish.’ Thankfully, millions of people have worked for decades to abolish nuclear weapons. Our most notable success is the TPNW.

UN Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons wasagreed to by 122 nations at the United Nations on 7th July 2017 became International Law January 2021 when 50 ratifications were received. This is a great victory for Humanity!

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear weapons (ICAN) united the Peace movement around the world for 10 years to achieve this goal.

Greater problem is State institutionalised warfare

The platform for nuclear war is Conventional Warfare Ideology and grotesque budgets of billions of dollars for every form of mass murder high tech weaponry.

This includes cyberwar, hypersonic missiles, biogenetically engineered weapons, Space Warfare, Drones, Lethal autonomous AI weapons and military installations everywhere etc. Is Humanity doomed to perpetuate warfare, killing and unbearable suffering ad infinitum?

Great philosopher, Anti-Nuclear and Anti-War advocate Lord Bertrand Russell said: ‘Neither misery nor folly seems to me…the inevitable lot of man. I am convinced that intelligence, patience, and eloquence can, sooner or later, lead the Human Race out of its self-imposed tortures…. provided it does not exterminate itself meanwhile.’

How can we STOP military aggressors without warfare ?

We are right to condemn Russia’s military invasion, war and destruction of Ukraine. We are right to condemn Hamas massacre of 1200 Israelis and right to condemn Israel’s relentless bombing in Gaza, killing over 28,000 Palestinians. We are right to object to billions of dollars for militarisation, nuclear weapons and warfare under the guise of ‘Defence Budgets’or the misnomer of ‘Security’. The winners in wars are weapon corporations. There are no military solutions to our problems. The greatest threat to Humanity is War!

The Russell-Einstein Manifesto 1955 posed the crucial question: ‘Shall we put an end to the human race; or shall mankind renounce war?’ Even more relevant in 2024.

Governments do have the power to renounce warfare and pursue Peacemaking Defence and Foreign policies. Nation states can give up Militarism eg. Costa Rica (1948). Governments can refuse permission for corporations to produce, export or import military warfare weaponry. They could authorise that ‘swords (bombs) be beaten into ploughshares’ (windmills for renewable energy). However, this requires massive organisation of people to lobby government to withdraw from military alliances and the profitable military warfare industry.

My Proposal: In order to stop humanity repeating the horrors of war we must cease propagating militarist warfare ideology and violent cultural indoctrination. This means: a) we must lobby governments to adopt Peace Policies for national and international Human Security.

b) This requires commitment by millions of people in many countries (‘minimum critical mass’) to Work for a ‘World Beyond War’ (especially in Free Democracies who need to lead by example, determined to Prevent Warfare and cease investment in it)

BUT How do we End a particular War ?
Definition: When one group/nation violently attacks another who violently defends itself in ‘military operations’ of mass murder and destruction –it is war. However, the rest of the world has a choice to either take sides, add military fuel to the fire OR to advocate for Peace based on Justice. Example of five steps:

1/ Ceasefire with UN Peacekeeper corridors, supply Humanitarian Aid for civilians

2/ Mediation to facilitate dialogue between protagonists on major violations

3/ Truth and Reconciliation process to share pain, trauma, grievances, develop empathy. Then address the historic causes of war eg. Injustice etc. Also, vital to examine the human condition eg. Fear, Hate, Greed, Injustice, Occupation, Oppression, Ignorance, Deceit, Betrayal, etc (destructive tendancies can be contained rather than militarised into warfare)

4/ Peacemaking diplomacy by Trusted facilitators to Negotiate Peace Treaties

5/Just solutions and Peace education essential to prevent further violence and war

Developing Generousity, Patience, Compassion, Integrity and good organisation is required.

Dr. Martin Luther King said: ‘Those who love peace must learn to organise themselves as effectively as those who love war.’ This insight inspires practical action using Unitarian Principles #6 The Goal of World Community with Peace, Liberty and Justice for all. It provides an ethical platform for Peaceworkers to Unite for a World Beyond War. This requires that we organise ourselves to pursue the Human Right and Freedom from state organised warfare ideology. Our universal values are rooted in the philosophy of Humanism which puts faith in Humanity as a whole and in the Human Being as an individual, to aspire to ‘what is fair, right and good’ in our personal and political life. This maybe enhanced by spiritual experience or faith.

Unitarian whakapapa/history of Peace activism to End the abomination of War, is cause for hope. Our Unitarian Rev. Clay Nelson presented a sermon 2015 on Conscientious Objectors ‘Honouring Those who have Fought for Peace’. Auckland Unitarian and historian Wayne Facer, has written books documenting NZ Peace History through the lives of Unitarians Rev. William Jellie in ‘A Vision Splendid’ and Norman Murray Bell in ‘Prophet at the Gate’. He also refers to one of NZ’s great examples of organised peaceful resistance to government injustice 1881 by Maori at Parihaka in Taranaki. Based on Christian teachings Te Whiti and Tohu coordinated the community in non-violent civilian defence of their land and were imprisoned for it. However, now we admit the error of our ways and Maori lands are being returned.

Facer includes a section on Larry Ross (my father) a Unitarian from Canada who immigrated to NZ with his family from Montreal to Christchurch 1962 and established the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation (NZ/Australasian branch 1964-67).

LFJ Ross created the NZ Nuclear Free Zone Committee 1981-2007 and Peacemaking NZ Defence and Foreign Policy. I continue his work today.

NZ Nuclear Free Zone Campaign achieved the goal in 1984 after only three years of intensive public education, media publicity and political lobbying. A plethora of new Community peace groups succeeded in 96 local councils declaring Nuclear Free Zones covering 65% pop. The Labour Party government was elected into power on this Peace policy platform 1984 due to well-organised public political pressure.

The campaign achieved 105 local Councils declared NFZ covering 72% of the population. (detailed NZ NFZ Peace History milestones available on request).

The government was re-elected and fulfilled its promise to enshrine the policy as legislation in the NZNFZ Disarmament and Arms Control Act 1987.

We have protected this policy for 36 years and NZ is a recognised champion for Disarmament in the world. However, now we must go forward to develop our Peacemaking Defence and Foreign policy role for the International Community of nations as stipulated in the Peacemaker Petitions.

NZ Peaceworkers Unite for a World Beyond War

Aotearoa NZ is a Leader in the Human Race Against the Arms Race. On thisplatform ‘We thePeople’ can convince political parties to withdraw from warfare strategies and alliances. Peacemaking Policies are the foundation for national and international Human Security.

This means in practice that NZ would: 1/ Refuse to be Pillar 2 in the AUKUS nuclear submarine deal.

2/ Withdraw from the RIMPAC wargame exercises in the Pacific in June’24.

3/ Call for immediate permanent Ceasefire of warfare in Gaza (killed over 27,000).

4/ Call for Israel to ensure unobstructed Humanitarian Aid reaches two million Palestinians in Gaza, suffering famine, 60,000 wounded, psychological trauma, and to prevent Genocide as required by the International Court of Justice.

This NZ government advocacy is rooted in a kaupapa of compassion, evolving human consciousness and wisdom. It is ‘Whakapono’ of respect and ‘Whanaungatanga’ honouring the deep connection between people. It is ‘Kotahitanga’ that recognises our unity as Human Beings (not only Maori or multicultural New Zealanders). This understanding is the foundation for Peace of this land and people, for Peace on Earth and with the Earth.

Three Drivers of Warfare (Military Economics, Violent Culture and Warfare Technology)

1/Governments maintain militarism by spending billions of taxpayer dollars for war weapons, equipment and training thousands of men (and now women). It is promoted as a good way to learn skills, earn a living and rise up the socio-political ladder. Military budgets increase each year for army, airforce, navy and Space force to produce, prepare and practice warfare, killing and destruction.

2/ Governments justify militarism based on hundreds of years of warfare between competing groups or countries for wealth and power. Warfare ideology is the official geopolitical model for international relations. There is no comparable investment, training or promotion for Peacemaking policies or productivity.

3/Military warfare culture is propagated by ‘violence as entertainment’ industry which indoctrinates society with a constant diet of crime, pornography, war, murder and destruction, dominating our digital screens. This gross abuse of ‘free speech’ is seldom questioned. The ‘Wargaming’ industry is promoted, profitable and subsidised by the NZ government (taxpayers/us). This abhorrent images are freely available on phones and computers to children.We are easily led to believe there is no alternative nor escape from excessive violence and war as the norm in the Technological Age.

Three Drivers of PeacefareUNESCO Constitution says ‘Since Wars begin in the minds of Men it is in the minds of men (and Women) that the defences of peace must be constructed’

1/ Peace Education and Peace Culture must be the central focus of society.

We have done this for Maori culture over the last 10-20 years funded by government. Thus, Peace Culture too could be made dominant through mass mainstream Media. This means removing entrenched warfare mindset, beliefs and culture, replacing by programmes for psychologically healthy peaceful societies. ‘Peace is possible when it is made Profitable’ instead of war.

2/ Political lobbying for Peacemaker Foreign policy –based on developing diplomacy, mediation and negotiation services for non-violent conflict resolution.

Investment in UN Peacekeeping Teams-to protect civilians inwartorn countries and provideHumanitarian Aid to those suffering from war, starvation, environmental disasters. However, each state maintains policing patrol protection of territorial waters from poaching, pollution, overfishing, drug or weapon traffic and to demilitarise the South Pacific.

3/ Peacebuilding Projects –to employ people in ‘Peacework Industries’ to build infrastructureservices for social and ecological well-being. This means redirecting militaryspending to meet human needs and protection of the environment. Transformation for ‘Creating a Peace Economy’

Historic Precedents for International Peace Policy

A World without War’ by Sundeep Waslekar (2022) makes the distinction between wholesome ‘patriotism’ in love of one’s country and ‘nationalism’ used to mobilise public support for militarism and war. He presents forerunners for renunciation of war eg. philosopher Emmanuel Kant’s work ‘Perpetual Peace’ (1795). Another example was US President JFKennedy and Russian leader Nikita Khrushchev who authorised a Plan for disarming nation states and abolishing war

(the McCloy-Zorin Accord 1961).

Although this UN Resolution 1722 passed unanimously in the General Assembly, it was not implemented, but it provides a template for achievement by our generation. He cites the great spiritual political leader Gandhi who achieved India’s independence from British imperial rule (1947) through non-violence (ahimsa) and satyagraha.

NZ Nuclear Free International Peacemaker

Alyn Ware is NZ’s leading exponent on the world stage, who has devoted his lifetime to Disarmament. He shares Gandhi’s vision of a‘World Federation’ of free nations for prevention of aggression and exploitation by one nation over another’.

He is now championing a new campaign ‘Law Not War’ for achieving Abolition of Nuclear Weapons and State Warfare.

This can be done through International Law and Humanitarian Law which are already established. Cases of violation can be taken to the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court. Although legal rulings may not yet be enforceable or adhered to, they do promote the highest level of legal judgement and moral values in the global public domain. The ideal is that each national government would abide by International Law and ICJ rulings voluntarily.

UN Charter Unites Humanity on Peace Principles

The United Nations was set up in 1945 ‘determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war’. The UN Declaration for Human Rights 1948provides the mandate for justice and freedom for people of every race, religion, creed and country.

The 194 member states are also committed (in principle) to the UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals for all people to have good food, clean water, health care, sanitation, housing, education, protection from poverty, violence and war.

The SDGs also call for environmental protection of rivers and seas, replenishing the soil, planting forests of trees and renewable energy to reduce climate disaster.

SDG #16 Peace, Justice and Security was expanded by UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres (2018) in ‘Securing Our Common Future: an Agenda for Disarmament’. In order to fulfil the SDGs nations must proceed with disarmament, demilitarisation and redirection of military spending for social and environmental Well-Being. This requires replacing the military warfare economy with Eco-Economics for Peace.

Honouring the War Dead by Ending War

We commemorate the end of World War I and II to remember millions of civilians who suffered and died, as well as soldiers. We promise ‘Never Again’ and it was ‘the war to end all wars’ stated by Veterans who say warfare is an abomination of our humanity. Sir Robert Gillies, the last surviving WWII Maori Battalion member, voiced this sentiment at the 2023 ANZAC ceremony on mainstream media Television, but these insights are quickly suppressed.

Governments continue to prepare for wars like sporting or business competitions.

Warfare has gone on for centuries in recurring cycles of fear, violence and revenge. However, we need not be doomed to repeat the past in a future of forever wars. We know warfare is barbarism, it is wrong and should be relegated to the annals of history. This is common sense, backed by rational argument.

However, ‘Reason is not Enough’ says David Kreiger, founder of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation 1982 (who died 2023) after a lifetime of service to the American people and Humanity.

He says ‘the broken heart must find common cause with imagination and transform apathy to empathy’. This echoes the insight presented by Dr. Helen Caldicott of IPPNW 1983, whose lectures, books and film ‘If You Love this Planet’ empowered millions of people to overcome apathy to passionately pursue abolition of nuclear weapons and achieve Nuclear Free Zone policies.

Peaceful Revolution to End War

Another great Peace leader is Daiseku Ikeda –President ofthe Soka Gakkai Buddhist Humanismorganisation for 58 years (who died in 2023).

Ikeda clarifies that inner revolution of the individual is essential, along with the outer revolution to end militarism and warfare by peaceful means. This inner psychological revolution involves meditation practice, overcoming endless setbacks and opposition. It is a spiritual revolution for the Evolution of Human Consciousness. He promotes the idea that ‘We are global citizens’ who love life and want to protect our Earth and humanity. This requires development of collective human intelligence and compassion supported by organisations.

Soka Gakkai means ‘Value Creating Society’ which is cultivated within ourselves in community groups. Together we can generate Power for Peace Values to become the heart of political thinking, in mainstream media and public education for a global system of Economics for Peace.

Conclusion: ‘World Beyond War’ is an NGO at the cutting edge of international civil society, using well-reasoned argument to overcome warfare doctrines and the weapons industry. ( It is led by David Swanson, an American who dedicates his life to serving humanity for abolishing warfare that plagues the planet. He provides us with practical guidelines to do this in his book

‘A Global Security System: An Alternative to War’. I recommend it as the focus for a study and public advocacy group. Leading WBW Peace Practitioner and Educator

Dr. John Reuwer is currently doing a NZ speaking tour on this subject.

I am committed to New Zealand Nuclear Free Peacemakers (over 40 years).I invite people to join me in this peacework rooted in the soul soil of ‘Arohanui’. In the philosophical spiritual foundation of Unitarians: ‘Love is the doctrine of this church and the Quest for truth its sacrament.’ Let us carry on this intellectual Labour of Love, as Peacemakers United for a World Beyond War.

Tena koe- Thankyou – Tena kotou katoa

More information contact: :

Note: This is an introductory talk to inform and inspire people about our Peace History and the Future for Nuclear Disarmament and Abolition of Warfare.

The purpose is to cultivate thinking, dialogue and action in effective Peacework for a World beyond War. I recommend a series of talks on various aspects raised in this document.

Topics: 1/‘Transformation of the Economic system for Peace, Justice and Environmental Well-Being’ as the goal of ‘Productivity’ ( not ‘profitability’per se)

2/‘NZ Nuclear Free Peacemaker nation’ Defence and Foreign policy

3/‘Promoting Peace values and culture in the public domain

4/ ‘Problems of Militarism, Violence, Warfare cultural indoctrination

5/‘Philosophical exploration of Peace and enlightened consciousness

Acknowledgement: I am grateful to the Peace Foundation Aotearoa/NZ, the UNA NZ and PACDAC for supporting me on a Peace Mission to attend the ‘World Beyond War’ conference in Toronto Canada and the ‘UN High Level Plenary on Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons’ at the UN in New York, Sept. 2018. Both events exemplify civil society peacework organising to stop warfare and militarisation.

Meditation / Conversation starter

  • What is the peacemaker role for Aotearoa/New Zealand in the world?


Opening Words:- Call to Worship and Action” by Sharon Wylie

Chalice Lighting:- Searching for Justice and Hope” by Summer Albayati

Reading:- Let Us Talk About Peace” by Mamutty Chola

Closing Words are from:- Wherever We Are, Love Is” by Debra Haffner