Congressman Dennis Kucinich

kucinich1st March 2003

Share the Spirit of Peace – Peace Summit – Sydney, Australia

Good morning Sydney.

And as we share the spirit of peace from the United States to Sydney, Australia this morning, we visit a world, which is on the verge of war. Needing more than ever to hear our hearts speak, to hear our voices lift up, to hear our own thoughts reverberate around the world. Thoughts of peace, voices for peace, the spirit of peace. Rising to deliver us from the flames of war.

This is an important moment in the world’s history and your gathering in Sydney Australia is a signal even because it demonstrates that all around the globe there are people of passion, people of commitment, people of strength, who are prepared to stand up and be counted for peace.

There has never been a more important moment, for the world stands at the threshold of a war against Iraq that would be devastating to the morality of our world. That would be devastating to the reputation of my own beloved country. That would be devastating to our efforts to try to build a new world, a world where there’s hope and the possibility of peace.

So this morning, as we discuss the possibilities of re-awakening this spirit of peace and sending it forth around the world let us face the facts that confront the world at this moment. The facts are that Iraq was not connected in any way to 9/11 to Al-Qaeda’s work on 9/11, to the anthrax attack on the United States of America. That Iraq does not have usable weapons of mass destruction according to the United Nations. That Iraq does not have the missile technology to strike at the United States or for that matter at many or most nations in the world.

That being the case, why not continue the inspections? Why not continue a policy of containment? Why not continue to work to bring Iraq back to the world community and integrate Iraq with the world community? Indeed for purely strategic reasons peace ought to be inevitable. There is no reason for war. There is no cause for war. There is no imminent threat to any nation and Iraq has not attacked any nation to inspire a war against them. We clearly have it within our means as world leaders to create a condition where peaceful resolution of this crisis in Iraq is possible.

Of course we all understand, and those of you sitting in Sydney at this moment understand, that this isn’t only about Iraq. That the policies of our current United States administration would call on the United States to take a new role in the world. One of aggressor. One, which works unilaterally. One, which would work pre-emptively as a matter of doctrine. There are many dangers to this approach in the world. And it must be known around the world that there are millions of Americans who take exception to these doctrines of pre-emptions and unilateralism. That there are millions of Americans who believe that the world needs to work together in addressing matters of security for all nations.

I think it’s very important to assert at this time in world history, a holistic worldview. Where we see the world as being interconnected. Where we understand our essential inter-dependence. Where we understand that what affects me, affects you and affects everyone. That the butterfly moving its wings in a jungle area along the Amazon, the movement of those wings creates thunder in far off worlds. We have to understand the connection of causality in this world.

And so, as Americans we share the concerns of people all over the world that we maintain peace. That we build a new order for peace and new possibilities for peace. That’s one of the reasons why 42 members of Congress joined me last year in introducing legislation to create a Department of Peace in the United States.

A Department of Peace. The idea behind is Department of Peace is that peace is inevitable. Is that we can in our society, address the pathologies that create violence and through doing that create structures within our society that creates peace within our homes, peace within our neighbourhoods, in our schools. A Department of Peace.

At a domestic level in the United States it seeks to address issues within our own society of domestic violence, spousal abuse, any form of violence in the home, violence in the schools, Police-community relations challenges. Violence against minorities. Violence against people who are gay, people who are different colours. The whole idea of a department of peace is to come up with programmes where the government actually recognises that violence is a challenge in our society and can be met through our own efforts with education.

On an international level, a Department of Peace looks at those challenges in a society that create war. Cases of human scarcity, poverty, lack of food, water, health care. Things that cause the human condition to be lowered. And the Department of Peace seeks to lift them up through recognising that through intervention and mediation and people talking to people, and people helping people, that we can recreate this world. Make it a new world.

In the words of the poet Tennyson, “come my friends, tis not too late to seek a newer world”. And so the Department of peace, internationally, seeks to build that world where war itself is someday archaic.

Why is it that we believe that war is inevitable? Why is it that we cannot believe that through the power of the human heart and the power of the human spirit, create a new world – where peace is inevitable. Where we can evolve as people. Certainly we need to do that.

In the 20th century, 100 million people perished in war, most of them civilian non-combatants. Now think about that. We’re so modern today; people in that century were modern in their own time. They could not believe that this dog of war would find its way, ravaging their own communities, their own homes.

We understand and that’s why we gather here today, that war anywhere affects people everywhere. That war in Iraq presents a challenge to our own humanity. That the missiles that would fly from US launchers into Bagdad are missiles that would strike at the heart of our own humanity. And so we’re challenged to begin in this time, to once again, gather the power of the spirit of peace. Work to create a world where war will be no more. To do the daily work that’s needed by bringing peace into our own lives. By sharing that peace with others. By looking in each moment for reciprocity. By exploring our own hearts wherever we find there’s some virus of war affecting us. By reaching out and grasping the hand of that person who would be our brother or sister except for own difference. Except for our own willingness to touch and be touched. It’s so important.

You’re there gathering in Sydney, there’s people gathering all over the world. As people have come together from country to country and continent to continent, in the largest expression, which our humanity has ever, experienced. People raising their voice as in a single voice. A cry from the world itself, saying peace. Saying we are prepared to create a new world where peace is possible.

Look around at the wonderful meeting place where you are sitting now. Look at the person sitting next to you. Look at the person sitting in front of you and behind you. The world is within your reach just within the eyes of those people near you. The world is reflected in the hearts of everyone with whom we come in contact. And with everyone with whom our thoughts come in contact.

This world, which we’re creating right now, needs this kind of peaceful activism. Because as we know, peace is not a static condition. Peace requires us to step forward, to realise that we the ones that have the obligation in this time and space to create peaceful communities. To come together to create structures of peace. To ask our governments to confirm the purpose of a government which is to not only help to enlighten societies but to give societies the ability to grow. Peace is a precondition for such growth. Peace will enable us to address our urgent domestic needs – our needs for education, for health care, for better housing. Peace, or as our president Franklin Roosevelt called it, “that science of human relations which enables us to get along”, is the path towards the future. As a matter of fact, given this technologically advanced society, there can be no other future except through peace.

Its been said that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction so we must move in and eliminate Iraq in order to eliminate their weapons of mass destruction. Let us for a moment examine the state of the world. Twelve nations either possessing or trying to possess nuclear weapons. Twenty nations possessing or trying to possess biological weapons. Twenty-six nations possessing or trying to get chemical nations. At least nations having missile technologies, which can deliver those, deliver those weapons of mass destruction over a great distance.

We are in an uncertain world. We are in a world where the old thinking says “I don’t like you, I’m gonna kill you”. Well that doesn’t work. It doesn’t work to give us the opportunity to grow. It only produces carnage. It is time to replace that old thinking.

We have structures in place to do that, by the way. The non-proliferation treaty is to do away with nuclear weapons. I think its time that nations of the world come together once again and assert our humanity and say once and for all we will get rid of all nuclear weapons. I think its time for the United States to participate with the world community and say we will sign a biological weapons convention and a chemical weapons convention and a land mines treaty and a small arms treaty. All of which are aimed at limiting the violence, which these instruments can bring to the world.

I think that we need to find ways of affirming our international structures. Of supporting the United Nations in peace. Of supporting all efforts which reinforce this common bond we have as citizens of the world. That’s why what you do in Sydney today is so important. Because across Australia there are people of good will and people of peaceful intent. Who are looking for the opportunity to express their involvement and they need to be contacted. It is so urgent that the peace movement be visible. And it was so peaceful two weeks ago in New York City. I had the opportunity to look First Avenue in New York City and to see a half a million people – one voice.

The peace movement is becoming visible and it needs to remain visible. We need to declare who we are so that all these instrumentalities of violence do not have power over the assertion of our humanity. It is urgent that we do this. It is urgent that we step forward. It is urgent that we are heard from. It is urgent that we gather in cities, in town squares, in community halls, so that the whole world can hear the movement of peace. Can hear the voice of peace. Can feel the spirit of peace.

We may well be at a turning point in human history. We may well be at a time when we decide the path the world will take. When we decide that it’s the upward path we’re taking. Towards world unity. Towards an assertion of our humanity. Towards the survival of this world. Where we reject an attempt to use destructive power any more. Where we reject political philosophies of domination, of pre-emption of unipolarity. Where we work reciprocally with each other to deal with the very difficult challenges, which confront humanity.

How shall we be secure in a world of such diverse political & economic philosophies? How will we be secure in a world, which is threatened by environmental catastrophe? How shall we be secure in a world where the wealth is accelerating to the top and poverty becomes greater and greater every day? These are challenges that we can meet. These are challenges that we must meet. And we meet them through the path of morality and human decency, which has always been an innate capacity, which we have.

That is the key to our conscious evolution. That is the key to the enfolding of the power of the human spirit. That is the key to our deliverance from the crisis of the moment. That we once again connect heart to heart. That we once again clasp each other’s hand as a symbol and as a statement of brotherhood and sisterhood. And that all over the world people gather together to insist not only on our right to survive but on the right to evolve which gives us the capacity and the ability to survive.

I thank you Sydney, for demonstrating the power of the spirit of peace. For demonstrating what happens when people of love, of compassion and commitment and caring, speak out in times of peril.

I have every expectation that no matter the direction of events in the next few days, weeks and months, that we have the qualities and the capacity to move beyond these moments and to follow the welcoming of Tennyson when he said “Come my friends, tis not too late to seek a newer world”

Thank you.