In George Orwell's novel 1984, a totalitarian regime operates under the slogan "war is peace. ” Peace is the ever-desired state, an object of longing that is never achieved. The abolishing of the dichotomy between war and peace not only extinguishes the meaning of each, but makes both possible at the same time. Today's war on terror is not only a war being fought during peacetime, it is also a war that has been declared in the name of humanitarian aid (militaristic humanism). Could it be that we are in the midst of an Orwellian oxymoron? The interpretive prerogative of how warlike actions are presented ̶such as presenting them as peacekeeping measures to protect the populace, or deciding who is classified as an aggressor and who a peacemaker is fought over fiercely. Manipulating and reinterpreting the portrayal of events and distorting cause and effect are methods of covert warfare. What does this mean for our contemporary view of peace in an era of fake news? To what extent is our concept of peace related to the wars of the past? How can peace movements be effective today? And what is needed in the face of so many forms and masquerades of warlike acts and violence that are constantly changing?


If you think about the peace movement, you remember that it was particularly strong in the 1980s, when there were mass protests in reaction to the nuclear armaments competition (the NATO Double-Track Decision) between the great powers of the United States and Soviet Union. The threat of nuclear destruction prompted a civil rights movement that engaged civilian representatives from all sorts of organizations and walks of life. The escalation of the world arms race in the early 1980s can be seen as one of the most dangerous periods in the Cold War, a period when the name of the game was establishing security and peace with equality in armament strength in short, peace guaranteed by military buildup. In actuality, it increased the danger that war would break out. The conflicts between the ideological blocs of capitalism and communism were later shifted to South America, Asia and Africa, driven by geopolitical and economic interests. Within the consensus of peace after World War II, international policy was based on the "balance of terror, ” and domestic policy was based on the concept of a social market economy, whose function was to ensure social peace in the various countries. After the Wende, the "turnaround ” in Europe in 1989, the peace movement transformed in the direction of mediation, conflict counseling, peace-building measures and working out peaceful solutions for actual wars. Despite the fact that large numbers of people did take to the streets to protest various NATO military interventions (that lacked UN mandates), as for example the military deployment in former Yugoslavia (in the 1990s) or the Iraq war (2003), after the Wende the peace movement lost its public prominence and visibility. With the ensuing disarmament in European countries, the largest common denominator in the 9 10 post-war peace movement ̶resistance against nuclear buildup lost its urgency. However, a focus of con flict in foreign policy increasingly became the question of which country is allowed to possess nuclear arms and which not. How is the need for military buildup or warfare justified? There are many ways to play the security card: rattling sabers, launching missiles, military maneuvers and exercises, possessing nuclear weapons, terrorism, etc. To legitimize the need for military buildup, threats to domestic security from outside are cited, or the violation of international agreements. And when it comes to depicting who is a threat or who is violating international law, old enemy images are often called up, propaganda machineries rolled out, and information wars are started. This has happened not only with regard to the Ukraine conflict, but also during the NATO missions conducted without UN mandates.


In order to implement political measures, certain narratives are regularly introduced to create the right mood so public opinion response is positive. At the moment one can observe how legitimization mechanisms are being employed for military buildup in Japan, with the Shinzo Abe government using both the con flict with North Korea and the military strength of China to legitimize militarization and changes to Japan's constitution. The Abe government is persistently working on watering down, step by step, the relevant Article 9 in Japan's pacifist constitution. According to Article 9, Japan is not allowed to have regular armed forces, which is why Japan calls its military "self-defense forces. ” The interpretation of Article 9 has been under dispute since the 1970s. "A reason for renewed, violent debate was a cabinet decision of 1 July 2014: In this decision, the government amended its earlier interpreation of Article 9 JV and allowed the exercise of a collective right to self-defense, previously considered unconstitutional, without changing the constitution's text. The laws on security based on this ‘reinterpretation' came into force on 29 March 2016. ” Abe was able to push through a twenty-fold increase in funding for military research, permission for the Japanese military to engage in overseas conflicts, and a law against conspiracies. Critics of this law point out that it does not define what is classified as a criminal group, meaning that the law could be used against trade unionists, civil rights activists, NGO representatives or activists such as climate protection workers or nuclear power plant opponents. Something like this has happened in Austria (in 2010/2011), where the terror paragraph 278a of the Penal Code has been used against animal rights activists. Article 9, the peace clause enshrined in the post-war constitution, is fundamental to Japan's self-identity, although over the years arms buildup has been undertaken in the name of self-defense. Abe seems interested in changing this pacifist identity. This legally enshrined avowal of peace as part of the national identity of the post-war period is comparable, if you will, to Austrian neutrality. In Japan, however, the American side demanded military buildup, a process that continues today with the expansion of the US military base in Okinawa (35,000 US soldiers who are not under Japanese jurisdiction). For US military protection or, depending on how you look at it, for the US to use Okinawa as a missile launch site the Japanese government pays 1.9 billion dollars annually. It is interesting to note that the attitude toward Article 9 has changed in the country; in the meantime, half of the Japanese population is in favor of changing the pacifist constitution so that an offensive military policy is possible. Nonetheless, in 2015, more than 120,000 people demonstrated against Abe's plans. Here, the country is divided.


Peace (and the definition of non-peace) is established through treaties, alliances, international treaties and agreements. Here, offenses against these regulations are defined as such and procedures for given cases are fixed. According to the Charter of the United Nations, the most important tasks of this intergovernmental organization of 193 States are safeguarding world peace, ensuring compliance with international law, protecting human rights and promoting international cooperation. Yet despite the lack of UN mandates, there have been no legal consequences for those responsible for the wars and military operations that have been waged by the West since 1945. The peace researcher Daniele Ganser points to the spiraling violence that has been set into motion by illegal wars such as the 2003 Iraq war. This attack was undertaken by the NATO members United States and Great Britain without a UN mandate and resulted in more than 1 million deaths. Today the former military officers and secret security staff of ousted President Saddam Hussein form the core of the Sunni terrorist organization IS, which is destabilizing Syria and backing terrorism in Europe. The military intervention in Syria and the NATO attacks on Serbia in 1999 were also illegal the list is long. According to Ganser, most military outbreaks, which are often connected to regime changes or economic and geopolitical interests, violate prohibitions on the use of force. Under the UN Charter, no country may attack another country. For this reason, all wars since 1945 have been illegal. Today there are only two exceptions in which war is still permitted: The right to self-defense, or a war under explicit mandate from the UN Security Council. Nonetheless, the socalled war on terror currently seems to be a carte blanche for military operations.


The struggle for the prerogative of interpretation, which is used to justify military buildup and operations, is fierce; media campaigns are conducted to get populations to agree to military action. The need for war is legitimized by threats to national security, whereby aggressive and illegal measures are often concealed or even described as contributing to peacekeeping. This is linked to the question of how ideological positions affect both alliances and reporting in the media, and what impact they have on the interpretation of belligerent acts in brief, whether military operations are presented as peacekeeping or as breaches of the peace, as protective measures or as aggression. There are various methods used in non-military warfare: prerogative of interpretation, concealment of combat intentions, disinformation and misinformation, manipulation, destabilization, etc. Covert warfare makes important aspects increasingly opaque―aspects such as battle lines, interests, intentions, responsibilities and relationships―and this is reinforced by propaganda and technology (drones, cyber attacks). The potential of being susceptible to propaganda is increased by distortion of reality, deception, unclassifiability, etc. Alexander Kluge distinguishes between real war that can be observed and described, and war that is continuously immanent as a potential. Potential violence can be felt and seen. For example, the competitive negotiations on free trade agreements can be described as warlike clashes at quite a number of levels. On one hand, there are clashes between rival agreements and about which countries have better deals than others. There are also clashes regarding which contract partner can enforce better conditions. And there are clashes between politics and the economy, between corporate and civil interests, etc. This leads to questions such as: what are the conditions, who is excluded, who will make a profit, who has to pay the price. The relationships between economy and war and peace are complex. Ever since trade has existed, peace agreements have been concluded to allow economic agreements. Economy and finance, in turn, are sensitive to political uncertainties, which they often cause. On the other hand, war has always been a deflecting tactic and a profit-generating machine for large-scale industries and corporations.


The West European post-war consensus that domestic peace can be achieved through a social market economy (with the population strata of the poor involved in prosperity) has been replaced in Europe by neoliberal doctrines and the dogma of free markets. Social insecurity, inequality and the ever widening gap between rich and poor have contributed to the upswing of right-wing populist parties. The capitalist potential for violence is often described as competition, self-responsibility, freedom, etc., making it seem better than it is. In fact, within the spirals of optimization and performance, in which systems of solidarity disappear, there is ever-increasing pressure and a scenario of dog-eatdog. Such developments are reinforced by financial engineering such as credit, debts, derivative trading, etc. What potential for discord is slumbering in past, present and future actions, not only at the levels of economics and politics, but also at the individual level? And how is this immanent potential for conflict being promoted and activated? According to Carl von Clausewitz (Prussian general and military theorist, 1780–1831), the duel is the basic form of war, which expands into infinity and appears into ever new masquerades. Clausewitz's theories on strategy, tactics and philosophy not only had a great influence on the development of warfare, but have also been applied to company management and marketing. Just as the forms of war are constantly changing and emerging in new guises, new forms of protest are needed. New models of peaceful coexistence will be found through interdisciplinary collaboration between artistic, political and environmentalist activists and between social and humanitarian organizations, as well as through peace research and conflict research, the criticism of capitalism, and so on. Does peace need to be rethought or reinvented? What new narratives of peace are needed, especially when thinking of social media and the aggression found there (hate speech), as well as its wide range of influence and echo chamber structures? Especially in the context of developments in AI, new peace narratives and related contractual regulations seem necessary. Representatives of post-humanism, in turn, are demanding the abolition of opposites. They reject the separation between subject and object and call for the equality of all living beings in order to counteract, among other things, the construction of the other. The ever-recurring dualism of subject and object, according to Timothy Morton, is based on the distinction between inside and outside, and is "regarded as the philosophical reason for humankind's destruction of the environment.” This, however, seems to be only a partial aspect; it seems doubtful that by abolishing the category of subject-object, peaceful relations would be promoted. Social security and redistribution are prerequisites for peaceful coexistence and policies of peace, as are technological developments in the sense of the common good, and the attentive and careful use of nature and the environment. For this, new forms of protest are essential.

Sabine Winkler
Translation from the original German: Cynthia Peck


«Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place.» These are the words of the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland. Will running on a treadmill like that guarantee our happiness?

Modernity sees itself as society in motion and history as progress, mobility, speed and « fluidness.» The guiding principles are tempo, dynamism, acceleration. Since it has been proven that the earth is moving, our view of the world has changed tremendously. Thanks to scientific discoveries as well as extraordinary technical developments, we have gained new mobility in space and time. This has promoted movement and the globalization of trade - making enormous changes in our lives. «Revolution of speed» (Virilio)! Movement is subject to the principle of acceleration. This has radicalized the relationship between movement and standing still, the latter denounced as non-activity and rigidity. We should learn «time management,» become even better connected so that we can be even more mobile. (And anyone who doesn't is a social outcast.) A popular slogan is «slow down.» There is an institute in Jena, Germany, that does research on just this. Regardless of whether one considers human beings «squatting animals» that try to conserve their energy, or as eternal hunters and gatherers who are constantly moving: People have two legs and curious minds, which means they long for any and everything. People go out just to look around ‒ go out into the world, looking for happiness or new places for shelter (migratory movements). Mobility and commerce are simply the technical realization of the urge to roam! Under, above and on the earth ‒ there are all sorts of networks for movement, used until they collapse (mega-traffic jams, smog alarms). The transport industry as the primary global economic factor has caused the primary climate problem, and it is just these horror visions that move industry forward: New energy sources are a necessity, which is why we will soon have intelligent networked mobility, in which access to various types of transportation will be more important than owning a car. To get further down the road, we have «iPhones on four wheels» that tell us where to find the closest Car to Go, pedelec, smart or intercity bus... Everything has to be smart! People almost never stop moving ‒ it is hard for us to do nothing. Human beings are essentially seekers, and our longing to find something becomes thinking that is constantly moving, dashing about. While there are many questions and goals, there are few answers and no arrival. That is what art and literature try to do. «You have to change your life!» Although we are living, something in us keeps saying, «you're still not living the right way, there has got to be another life in this life.» This matches our dissatisfaction, our feeling of being defective. If we face ourselves in this tense relationship, we start to optimize ourselves. But we often are no longer able to decide whether what is driving us forward has to do with growing social demands on individually produced and sustained competitiveness, or our inner inadequacies. Often the path leads to the next gym ... because our bodies are gradually doing less and less. At the same time, our bodies are becoming our calling card more and more. That is why so much of our spare time is used for strenuous workouts. We walk on treadmills for hours and train with machines. Performance and fitness also apply to extreme sports, party marathons and daylong disco dancing. The body has won back a central role in our lives. This is most evident in physical movement, which characterizes the fundamental approach of human beings to the world. Our globalized and connected societies have spread movement-based practices (Asian body-consciousness techniques and meditation exercises), cultural dance forms (tango, salsa, disco ...) and culture-specific sports (football, combat sports, surfing, snowboarding) around the globe. Some questions come up:
– Does movement have gender?
– Is there body intelligence? How does the body know how to move?
– Is movement defined by the body, or is the body defined by movement?

– Is it possible to distinguish between inner and outer movement?
A well-known example: I'm not running away because I'm afraid, I'm afraid because I'm running away. (Are both true?)

– How is our movement affected by urban space and architecture?

One more word on the politics of the new social movements such as ATTAC, which are offensively and pragmatically initiating tens of thousands of projects to make the world a bit more tolerable: «Where is there hope? Completely new social movements and a powerful civil society are coming into being. Opposition fronts are setting out everywhere on the planet. .... With no hierarchy, no central committee .... as a living figure of solidarity. We know exactly what we do not want.» (Jean Ziegler) We can also see structural changes in public life. Social displeasure can also be organized outside the classical mass media ‒ in network communities that form groups which are ready to go on the spot and can create effective counter-publicity, allowing a previously unknown degree of participation in politics. That is why politicians, to give themselves a touch of NGO and antiestablishment, also take advantage of the word «movement» and become surprisingly successful, even if it is a fake label. A confusing chaos of conflicts near and far, can the world be saved...?? We don't know whether we are coming or going, what will make us happy now? That's it! Let's start with ourselves. Let's hang a white flag from our window. Please, a little peace. A little more than until now.... P.S. It is different IF you take a moment to think.

Karin Ruprechter-Prenn
Translation from the original German: Cynthia Peck