[saymaListserv] What good is a peace march?

Larry Osborne losborne at cn.edu
Fri Nov 4 09:42:34 JEST 2005

What good is a peace march?
It seems Friends have different opinions about taking part in public events such as mass peace marches.  Although passionately committed to peace, some Friends favor this means of citizen action while others are put off by the aggressive spirit that sometimes animates such events.  
I recently had the chance to participate in the March for Peace and Liberty in London, England.  Over 10,000 people marched for peace, including at least one Quaker meeting I recognized by their banner.  For those interested, I have attached a paper I am writing on the experience in which I reflect on the value and limitations of peace marches.  I propose a distinction between an anit-war march and a pro-peace march in terms of the spirit of the event and likely potential outcomes.  I would be most interested in hearing the perspectives of other Friends involved in the peace movement, past and present, and any other comments Friends might have, including any critical analysis you might want to offer.
My paper might lend itself to worship sharing.  Here are some tentative queries I have developed for such occasion:


    1.   What good is a peace march?  What are its outcomes, including unintended outcomes?

    2.   What determines whether a peace march is effective in accomplishing anything worthwhile or is counterproductive?

    3.   Should Friends participate in peace marches or find other ways to work for peace?


Peace like a river,


Larry Osborne

West Knoxville Friends Meeting

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