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AFWW Newsletter #39 - April 2015 - Synopsis of Chapters 5-9 of Shift

Leymah Gbowee to Join Hundreds at International Peace Conference
Shift: Chapters 5-9
About AFWW
Quotable Quote 
"No peace can endure if women are not afforded a central role." 
John Kerry, United States Secretary of State
Marach 6, 2014

A Good Book


War, Peace, and Human Nature: The Convergence of Evolutionary and Cultural Views. 
Edited by Douglas P. Fry. 2013. 
Chapters from a wide range of scholars look at war through the lenses of anthropology, archaeology, sociology, political science and more to understand the causes of war the the potential for peace. 



A Good YouTube Video


 The Evolution of a Global Peace System. 

20 min. 

A video based on historian Kent Shifferd's book From War to Peace and produced by the War Prevention Initiative of the Jubitz Family Foundation. It outlines over 20 historical events and trends that are part of the  progress we have already made toward a global peace system and the emergence of a global spirit that is reaching out for peace.    








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A Future Without War

Believe in it.

Envision it.

Work for it.

And we will achieve it.





These three quick links are to Dr. Hand's core articles on paradigm shift:

To Abolish War

Shaping the Future

More Links:

Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee to Join Hundreds of Peacemakers at International Peace Conference

Ms. Gbowee is joining 1,300 peace activists in The Hague from 27 - 29 April to set a new peacemaking agenda for the 21st century. It is the first conference of its kind in 100 years.


100 years ago over 1000 women activists from around the world met in The Hague to launch WILPF, the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. This 100 year anniversary celebration is the result of a century of dogged work by women devoted to changing human history for the better.


Leading investigative journalist and Democracy Now host Amy Goodman will be speaking and broadcasting her show live from Conference.


This conference of experienced women activists who are determined to end war itself -- not just a war here and there -- has the potential to light a fire under a profound, historical paradigm shift in human history. How different would our lives be if this meeting leads to the establishment of a global peace system that has been the goal at the heart of the United Nations. The need to end the waste and stupidity of war is great. The time is right. The time is now!!! 


Although the conference is only days away, online registration is open until 19 April 2015. After the online registration has closed you will still be able to buy a ticket directly at the Conference in the World Forum at the registration desk.


 "A radical shift in the approach to peace is necessary," says Madeleine Rees, Secretary General of WILPF. She is known for speaking out against human rights abuses, as portrayed in the feature film The Whistleblower (2010)."First we have to believe in it and not make war and violence just more manageable. Second we have to build inclusive investment into sustaining peace: placing human rights, the environment and justice - in particular economic and social - at the core of policy making and address inequalities. We can only do this with real and inclusive participation - by all of us."


"You cannot build peace unless you deal with the root causes of conflict. You have to understand how power works, who has it, who wants it, and how it impacts on men and women differently and affects our abilities to reach out to each other across national, religious, ethnic and political divides," says Rees.


The Conference is supported by organisations like the  Nobel Womens Initiative and the International Peace Bureau


Registration for the Conference is now open on


The Conference Schedule can be found here


The extensive list of amazing speakers can be found here: 


A Future Without War will be following the progress of the conference, and the progress that comes out of it as women step into a leadership role to make that vision a reality.

Shift: Chapters 5-9

This AFWW newsletter is the second of three designed to highlight material from the book Shift: The Beginning of War, The Ending of War, written by AFWW founder  Dr. Judith Hand. 


AFWW newsletter readers are teachers, activists, scholars of war, students, and a diverse variety of global citizens with a compelling interest in war, and most especially, the potential for freeing us from it.


Each of three newsletters provides summaries of subject matter in Shift's chapters. The purpose is to offer synopses of the book's content so readers can decide if the material is sufficiently relevant that they may wish to purchase it....for personal use, to give as a gift, to recommend to others interested in ending war, to use as a textbook.


Shift covers two broad subject areas: why we make war, and why and how we can end war. It is available as a softcover book from and as a Kindle download from and


Chapters 1-4 were covered in the January newsletter. 

This newsletter summarizes chapters 5-9.



                     PART I - WHY WE MAKE WAR

Bonobos, Chimpanzees, and Ardi

Chapters 5, 6, and 7 plunge into questions such as: Have humans always made war? If we did not, when did we begin and why? Chapter 5 examines relevant behavior and anatomy of close relatives (chimpanzees and bonobos), and physical characteristics of a very ancient ancestor, Ardipithecus ramidus. The story they tell suggests strongly that human ancestors from our deep past did NOT likely make war.
"Man the Warrior" or "Humans the Cooperators"


Chapter 6 continues exploration of when we started making war. The work of anthropologist Sarah Hrdy on the origins of cooperation and empathy are reviewed, seeking to determine whether some survival or reproductive advantage provided by killing fellow humans (war) explains why we developed impressive abilities to cooperate - often called a "man-the-warrior" hypothesis? A contrary hypothesis is offered that within nomadic foraging groups of early humans, dispersal, not war, was favored by evolution as the means to resolve serious conflicts. And as for why we are such an astoundingly successful species, the case is made that it is our ability to cooperate, not kill each other, that most characterizes Homo sapiens.

Unintended Consequences of Settled Living

Current day nomadic hunter-gatherers/nomadic foragers  (nomadic HGs) are the best models for how human ancestors lived for roughly the first 190,000 years of our species known existence. [only roughly 10,000 years ago did humans begin to take up settled living] Chapter 7 reviews relevant work of several scholars to establish clearly that nomadic HGs do not live in peaceful utopias without conflict or violence. They can display male-male, male-female, and female-female fighting, which overwhelmingly does not, however, result in deaths. Homicides, although not common, do occur, as well as the execution of murderers. Occasional use of violence does exist in all cultures. But this is not the same thing as saying that war is part of our genetic inheritance; there are societies that live without war!


It is suggested that execution may have been the selection pressure underlying the known human aversion to indiscriminate, face-to-face killing of other humans: we do not kill others who have not done us a serious harm.


Looking deeper, nomadic HGs overwhelmingly do not make war.... but settled HGs do. Several societal features of these two different types of HGs - nomadic and settled - are compared. The conclusion is that settled living and increased population density tend to correlate with the origin of war. 


Two additional hypotheses relating to a male need to establish a "masculine" identity are also described as potential contributors to war's origins.


Fossil evidence for war's origins is reviewed.


Finally, a shift in social structure that accompanies settled living - the decline in status of women - is suggested as another enabler of war.


Chapters 8 and 9 tackle a seeming contradiction: women tend to avoid physical violence, but under some conditions, they engage in it or encourage men to engage in it. Chapter 8 begins to solve this puzzle by looking at how women use power and how this is related to matrilocal or patrilocal residence. Also examined in this chapter is the effect of "feminization" on the recent overall decline in human violence documental by, for example, Joshua Goldstein and Steven Pinker. Pinker stresses the rise of "reason" during the Enlightenment as an important factor in this recent decline. A contrasting suggestion is made that the rise of "romanticism," - including "feminine" traits such as empathy -is equally likely to be responsible for this decline. A case is made that increasing influence of women in Western societies may be an important, overlooked, contributor to this decline.
Women as Warriors

The puzzle of women and war is solved when we understand that women do not oppose war per se: they are adapted to prefer social stability. If they can be convinced that to keep their community safe, secure, and stable, it will be necessary to make war, women will support preemptive war. If necessary, they will serve, and serve heroically, in battle. Examples are provided.

A simple exercise comparing historical examples of the motivations of women and men who have been warriors illustrates the general principle that the motivation of women serving in battle is for defense, not offense.

Two major reasons why women support war are explored: Cycle of Defense (Revenge) and Raids for Resources.

The chapter ends by preparing to shift gears for the second half of the book, moving from understanding why we make war and the role of women in deciding to make war to how we can end war. A successful campaign to end war will require:
  • Action directed to nine cornerstones or battlefronts (tackling proximate causes),
  • A directed effort against the war machine - a battle plan.

The essentials for ending war are the subject of the book's PART II - HOW WE CAN END WAR. Summaries of those chapters will be presented in the next AFWW newsletter, in July.

About A Future Without War

We want to provide newsletter readers with a reminder about our extensive website, The materials can be a reference for personal use, something to share with friends or colleagues who doubt that it would ever be possible to abolish war, and as thought pieces to stimulate discussions, for example, by your students, a book group, or peace activist organizations. You will find on the site:

  • A Mission Statement
  • An Action Plan
  • Keynote Speech - Åbo University, Vaasa, Finland 2014 - "War is Not Inevitable"
  • Capstone Essay: "To Abolish War"
  • "Overview" Essays - 7 essays explaining the core rationale for why it is reasonable to believe we could abolish war if we make it a priority.
  • "Cornerstone" Essays - 9 essays explaining each of the broad categories of "good works" that we need to attend to simultaneously in any campaign to abolish war and maintain that state into the future.
  • "The Books" - a Table of Contents, reviews, and FREE download of Women, Power, and the Biology of Peace, links to purchase that book and also A Future Without War: the Strategy of a Warfare Transition"
  • A Link to the AFWW Blog
  • A Map of Nonviolent Cultures
  • A Video of Dr. Hand
  • Several Movie and Book Reviews
  • Archives of AFWW Newsletters
  • Links to over 150 Organizations involved in some aspect of the campaign to abolish war
  • Miscellaneous AFWW Essays

These are titles of and links to current Miscellaneous AFWW Essays 

A Future Without War
Believe in it. Envision it. Work for it.
And we will achieve it.

A Future Without War
Contact Info
A Future Without War Dr. Judith Hand P.O. Box 270074, San Diego, CA 92198