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INTEGRATIVE POWER April 25, 2008

Posted by wmmbb in Peace.
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So what is war good for? Today marks the landing at Anzac Cove when Australians, New Zealanders joined the British and French, to invade another country, Turkey, in their fight for “King, the Empire and country”. When not engaged in fruitless, heroics to scale Lone Pine, they were taking their gin to go over the top in the bogs of the Somme and elsewhere in which one military commentator described as stupidity. Then there has been the tiresome repetition of wars that has entrapped most generations. The constructive thought is to think of alternatives.


Kenneth E Boulding,
economist, system theorist and Quaker, among a number wrote, Three Faces of Power in which he identified threat power, exchange power and integrative power. Wars, for example, illustrate threat power which sets up systems of dominance and denial of needs, characteristic of the way the world works and the few accumulate wealth at the expense of the many.Threat power is destruction and violence. Exchange power can be suffused with threat power, which explains in part the why of unemployment. Integrative power has to be present otherwise order is lost.

Here is one definition:

Integrative Power is the third and least understood of Quaker peace theorist and economist Kenneth Boulding’s “three faces of power.” Integrative Power can be articulated: ‘I will take positive action to represent the truth as I see it, and I have faith that in the process we will draw closer in our relationship.’ Boulding argued that neither Threat Power nor Exchange Power produced a lasting peace. Instead, Boulding contended that Integrative Power calls on each party to follow what they believed to be true, maintain an open mind, and trust that this interaction would produce a result that is mutually respectful of all parties’ human needs and dignity. Integrative Power is principled nonviolence in action.

And here is another:

Integrative power is the power that binds humans together. Kenneth Boulding calls it “love” or, “if that is too strong,” he said, “call it respect.” Though seldom studied or discussed, Boulding argues that it is the strongest form of power, especially because the other two forms (exchange and coercive power) cannot operate without integrative power too.

The question then becomes can threat power be eliminated? While it not unproblematic, if it were to be it would be fundamentally transformative. The problem arises when the non violent actor is confronted with the situation when there is no other option that effect an action in self defence that while not done with violent intention has the same effect. In these situations, through lack of practice and skill, the violent actor is likely to be more effective than the non-violent one. Thus to save their world view non-violent players have to reach the potential violent persons before they act?

(If you are interested in an important source for these ideas, which I am giving a second hand account, you might like to check out Professor Michael Nagler’s lectures on nonviolence at Berkeley. There is lot of time involved, I suppose an index of the content would be very helpful.)

POSTSCRIPT:

Today is ANZAC Day, and I remember my grandfather’s brothers, who unlike him did not return home. Surely, they did not die for the stupid cause of Empire, much less monarchy.

My grandfather, who I never met, returned home wounded from the First World War in 1916. I know this small piece of history because I have the Walton pocket watch given to him by his workmates at the WA Government Railways.

I also choose to remember the conscientious objectors, whom may have been few, but were nevertheless, at least in New Zealand, subject to barbarity. Considering that they may have part of isolated, and I imagine might have been narrow and cruel communities, their courage is testament to the vision of the common man. Archibald Baxter published an account of his experiences in 1939.

Soldier who died were often as much victims as the civilians causalities. Wars in the twentieth century, and now in this one, have never been the last resort, nor have means been proportional to ends, so much for the just war.

ELSEWHERE:

Abbey shares her family memories as does David Tiley.

What is sadder the people killed in wars, or those that survive them?

John Quiggin reposting from 2005 makes the sensible observation that:

The Gallipoli campaign was a bloody and pointless diversionary attack in a bloody and pointless war. Millions were killed over trivial causes that were utterly irrelevant by the time the
war ended. The 1914-8 War only paved the way for the even greater horrors of Nazism and Stalinism. Nothing good came of it.

Poneke’s Weblog has a view from Wellington, New Zealand. ANZAC Day is one of those ceremonies that cross generations, relating the expressed opinions of the fifteen year old daughter:

“To pay respect for the people who died in wars,” she said. “The First World War could have been avoided but if people hadn’t stood up to Hitler he would have taken over Europe, and much of the world, so we were fighting for peace, odd as that sounds.”

Despite her age, she is also well aware that it is politicians who wage wars, not the ordinary people who have to pay the awful cost in lives and misery of them.

“I don’t like it when people protest at the cenotaph. They shouldn’t be protesting at the soldiers. They were only doing what they had to. They should be protesting at the governments that started the wars.”

At ABC Online’s “Unleased”, Irfan Yusuf writes of “Another legacy of Gallipoli”, beginning with the mosque in Auburn, Sydney, that intriguingly bears that name.

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