Peace and the resolution of conflict
The Peace Party does not support or condone war of any kind. War is a morally unacceptable way to resolve conflict and must never be an instrument of government policy. Governments should always foster and promote peace, and work to remove of the causes of war.
Peace is not only desirable in international relations. It also needs to be expressed nationally through a proper regard for the interests of those with little or no political power, and by preventing commercial exploitation and domestic violence.
We are all responsible for our own actions — but we also share in the responsibility for the actions of government, since these are carried out in our name and with our collective consent. Just as we have a responsibility, as individuals, not to harm one another, so we have a responsibility as citizens and members of a community not to consent to harm being done, whether through military force, oppressive or discriminatory legislation, or other means. We share in a ‘duty of care’ to our fellow human beings.
It is generally taken for granted that when, inevitably, conflicts arise the only way to deal with them is through force. But there is plenty of evidence to the contrary. The principles of non-violent conflict resolution have been the subject of academic study and research for several decades now, but have not yet entered public discourse to any extent, nor formed a significant part of any UK political party’s programme.
The Peace Party will press for a better and wider understanding of the principles and practice of non-violence, and will explore ways of incorporating into government sound and accepted techniques for peaceful conflict resolution.
Militarism and the armed forces
A society that is determined to resolve conflicts by peaceful means can have no use for armed forces, and we believe they should be disarmed. This will also help to assuage some countries’ legitimate concerns about out intentions, and send a message of support to other peaceful countries.
The resources thus released, including manpower, should be redeployed to act on the country’s behalf, both at home and abroad. This would enable us to help in disaster relief on a massive scale, to support rebuilding programmes in countries that have been ravaged by war, and generally to foster peace rather than adding to international tension.
We should immediately withdraw from NATO, cancel plans to replace Trident, and dismantle all nuclear weapons. Arms manufacturing facilities must cease production immediately, and the construction, sale, distribution or use of arms of whatever kind should be made a serious criminal offence.
Giving minorities a voice
It is a fundamental principle of natural justice that no one person or group has the right to impose its will on another person or group — and much of politics, whether national or local, is concerned with settling conflicts of interest between competing groups. Frequently the interests of the stronger group prevail, to the detriment of, for example, ‘travellers,’ women, and the poor.
The balance must be redressed by taking seriously the concerns of the poor and the politically weak, providing platforms where their voices can be heard, and bringing competing groups together in a positive atmosphere in an attempt to increase the level of mutual understanding.
Over recent years there has been a move away from adversarial models of conflict-resolution in domestic issues such as divorce and custody of children. The Peace Party supports this trend and will press for it to be carried further.
Security and human rights
It has been said that the first duty of a government is the protection of the people, but it must be remembered that this duty is to all the people, and not just the majority or the mainstream. A legitimate concern for security must never be used to excuse the repression, harassment or persecution of groups within the larger community, or the attenuation of basic human rights.
We are particularly concerned about popular attitudes to immigrants, ‘travellers’ and Muslims, and will seeks ways of protecting their security, freedoms, opportunities for advancement, and status within our society.
The Peace Party supports human rights legislation as a way of setting limits on the power of the state over the individual and on the power of the majority over minorities.