This is the time of year when I make plans for the next phase of this blog. What will the "transitions" phase transition into? I look to my soul for that answer. The next theme emerges from the previous year's work and circumstances.
The "Transitions" theme emerged from the circumstances of my quitting work in Korea and moving back to Canada just around my 60th birthday. I continued to build on the overall theme of positive thinking, but dwelt more specifically on becoming a senior, the intercontinental move, resettling and career development, aspects of my transition. The foundation of reflecting on positive thinking, and the goal-setting and adaptability it armed me with during the "Year of Living Positively" blogging in 2014, followed by the "Eye of the Optimist" blogging from 2015 to 2016, had prepared me well. My transition has been relatively positive, easy and smooth. I arrive at my next birthday with the questions of a new home and appropriate, regular professional work settled. I have made one transition and am shifting into another: transition into the life of a senior in Canada, which inevitably leads to retirement from regular, paid employment.
In the interim, I still have some other questions to settle. One major one for me is how to pick up on my role as an activist in Canada. That is to ask, what main concern will occupy me, and what will be my role in addressing that concern?
Given my continuing reflections and return to activism in Canada, the observations I have been making on the political activism front, as well as my desire/ need to take up some specific area of anti-imperialist work, I want to move into the theme of "Just Peace" at least for the next 12 months of blogging.
I have been preoccupied with the conflicts in the world and the dangers of world war and nuclear weapons for the past few years. This is the area of most concern to me even before 2014 when I organized a small anti-war and anti-nukes tour in Korea and Japan with the collaboration of the Asian-Wide Coalition against domination and aggression. With the tensions in the Korean peninsula mounting, the increased militarization by the US and Japan, and the Obama's Pivot to Asia plan, my concern has been getting more urgent. Since last August, I have looked at Canada's role as an imperialist state, established since 1996, and its renewed defense policy and practices. Meanwhile, the Trump administration of the US has become more aggressive and its language more bellicose.
My study has compelled me to focus my contributions to local and national activism to just peace. I have felt it necessary to speak out and act in the interest of averting all-out world war and calling for de-militarization. For example, I attended an international anti-war conference in Toronto back then, and started petitioning for a diplomatic solution to the Korean conflict. Moreover, I more recently spoke on the context and nature of World War One on the Remembrance Day weekend when our committee held the commemoration of the October Revolution centenary. I have provided information to a growing network that I instigated at the conference last summer. Lastly, I wrote an opinion related to the UN meeting on peace-keeping held in Vancouver last week. I wish to build on this foundation of activism for just peace with more local activity. I have in mind the formation of a Just Peace Movement.
Just peace means peace with conditions of social and economic betterment for the people. With this definition, armed struggle for social and economic betterment, as well as liberation movements against foreign control or occupation, are supported. This definition does not mean laying down arms and pacifism in any situation, because defense against foreign domination and control is just as are struggles for relief from mass deprivation and oppression. Conditions of just peace require taking steps for self-rule and representative democracy as well as negotiating solutions for human needs such as land, food and food production, shelter and health care. In addition to opposing war and militarization, activism on this front entails support for anti-colonial and struggles to end occupations, as well as peoples' struggles for essentials such as land, housing, full employment, proper social and health assistance, human rights and genuine democracy. No justice--no peace!