Radical Pacifism

Peace magazines for activists and just folks

| January/February 2002

Just reading newspaper headlines can feel like an assault: War, Ambush, Terror, Lethal Attacks. And television is even worse, with its torrent of violent and numbing images. The mass media defines news as events that are happenstance and usually bad, if not downright catastrophic. This does us all a disservice, fostering an unnecessary climate of fear and cynicism.
If you feel the need for a different point of view about international events, you can turn to the independent peace press. There you’ll find explorations of the questions What can I do? and Is peace possible?, and you’ll learn about courageous people around the globe placing themselves in harm’s way every day in service of peace.

Operating under the premise that peace begins within each of us, Turning Wheel (Box 4650, Berkeley, CA 94704; $45, $20 low income; www.bpf.org), the quarterly magazine of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, regularly provides engaging stories about peacemaking at the local and interpersonal level. The Fall 2001 edition of this 'journal of socially engaged Buddhism' focused on 'reconciliation in the heart and in the world' with useful material on forgiveness and restorative justice.

Peacework (2161 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA, 02140; $20/10 issues, $10 low income; www.afsc.org/peacewrk.htm) advocates for 'global thought and local action for nonviolent social change,' via articles about the spiritual basis for peace and justice, resource lists, and profiles of people who act bravely and conscientiously. Now in its 29th year, Peacework is published by the American Friends Service Committee’s New England Regional Office.

Active since 1936, the quarterly Peace News (5 Caledonian Rd., London, N1 9DY; $25; www.gn.apc.org/peacenews), a London-based project of War Resisters’ International, examines militarism, promotes pacifist analysis, and supports campaigns such as the International Network on Disarmament and Globalisation. A recent issue contained disturbing articles about child soldiers, as well as hopeful reports on nonviolence training in schools and children as leaders.

The Toronto-based Peace Magazine (Box 248, Station P, Toronto, M5S 2S7, Canada; $20; www.peacemagazine.org) is also international in scope. Recent editions of this quarterly publication of the Canadian Disarmament Information Service have looked at connections between poverty and war, reported on the Global Nonviolent Peace Force, and considered 'what to do about Osama bin Laden.'

Also noteworthy: Nonviolent Activist, bimonthly publication of the War Resisters League (339 Lafayette St., New York, NY 10012; $15; http: //www.warresisters.org/nva.htm) and The Oregon Peaceworker (104 Commercial St. NE, Salem, OR 97301; $15/6 issues; www.oregonpeaceworks.org).

This Just In

Processed World (41 Sutter St., #1829, San Francisco, CA 94104; $10 each; www.processedworld.com), the magazine for dissident office workers, is back with a special issue after a seven-year hiatus. The 112-page Fall 2001 edition contains articles about billboard liberation, distance education, urban gardening, dot-com labor, radical bikers of the 1890s, and 'the promise of leisure in the computer age.'

Below Critical Radar: Fanzines and Alternative Comics from 1976 to Now (Slab-O-Concrete Publications, Box 148, Hove, BN3 3DQ, England; $19.95; www.slaboconcrete.com) is a slender book covering several zine subgenres from the viewpoints of Comics Journal editor Gary Groth, New York Times art director David Kendall, e-zine maven John Labovitz, and others. Though not an exhaustive history, its timeline and graphic reproductions give a sense of what the micro-press is and why it matters.

Speaking of zines, Dream Whip (Box 53832, Lubbock, TX 79453; $3) is the best I’ve read lately. In issue #11 its editor, Bill Brown, writes poetically and perceptively about New York City and other places, describing beautiful things that are decaying, dying, covered with grime, and often overlooked. Something about it helps maintain a glimmer of hope in the face of difficult reality.

OnEarth (40 W. 20th St., New York, NY 10011; $12/4issues; www.nrdc.org) is the new name of the quarterly magazine of the Natural Resources Defense Council, formerly titled The Amicus Journal. The redesigned publication will continue to focus on environmental issues.

Lingua Franca has ceased publication after 11 years. The lively independent magazine covering academia won a 1993 Utne Reader Alternative Press Award (and was nominated in five other years).

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