A toast for the new year, part 3

In this posting, we present a voice from the African American community, from a slightly later period, but which we think speaks strongly to today. Langston Hughes (1902 – 1967) was an American author of poetry, plays, novels, short stories and essay—one of the brilliant writers to emerge as part of the Harlem Renaissance. In 1936, he published “Let America Be America Again,” a poem that articulates a vision of a country that excluded his own community of African-Americans among others–the Native population and the poor–and that transforms an illusion of past greatness into a call to action to forge the country we would yet want to see.

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A toast for the new year, part 2

Those who are interested in the outlawry of war are not interested in it as a panacea, but as a supplement to all other means of obtaining peaceful settlement of disputes, and we all know that there is going to be no one way out, but we must put war outside the sanction of law. We have built up this human institution and we can tear it down much more quickly than we have built it up. By the nation saying that we have come to the conclusion that this human institution is futile and stupid, and therefore we will not sanction it legally, then we can proceed unhampered toward organization to take care of the problems that confront us as a nation in our international relations.

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A toast for the new year, part 1

As we near the end of 2016, we turn to voices from the past who inspire us in our work. As a toast for the new year, we are launching a short series of excerpts from writing authored by those who worked for peace and social justice in the early twentieth century, broadly around the time of the founding of the World Peace Foundation (1910). Their work is not necessarily a blueprint for ours today, not only in how the problems were defined but also in its membership and the articulation of solutions. For instance, the movement was dominated by voices of people of European descent, whether resident in Europe or North America, a limitation in the imagination and scope of the movement. Nonetheless, their eloquence, even as they struggled for a cause that at times seemed hopeless, remind us that we are part of larger community historically and today committed to building more just and less violent world.

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The End of Interventionism

The era of the West’s enthusiasm for military intervention is over. Two reports on Iraq and Libya—written from the heart of the British establishment and published recently—have delivered its obituary. Each is damning; together, they dismember the case for intervention in both its neocon and liberal-hawk variants. Although their focus is almost exclusively on decision-making within Whitehall—the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), the Ministry of Defence, and, above all, No. 10 Downing Street—Americans will recognize many of the same ills afflicting their own government.

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