Peace and Justice

portrait of Douglas allen
On Ho Chi Minh Street in Calcutta, 1992.
peace sign from Douglas allen
Participating in Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine’s “Rich People’s Liberation Front” guerrilla theater in Bangor. Thanking citizens of Maine for their tax breaks for the wealthy.

A major part of my personal identity is as a peace and justice scholar activist. I first became a peace and justice activist in the Civil Rights Movement in the South. In the 1960s and 1970s, I devoted much of my time to the antiwar movement attempting to end the war in Vietnam and other parts of Indochina. For a decade, I was actively involved in the anti-apartheid movement attempting to end the racist system in South Africa and resist U.S. and university complicity in profiting from such racism. I have also been active in struggles dealing with violence and war, sexism, homophobia, classism, racism, human rights, and environmental devastation.

As can be seen in my curriculum vitae and publications, much of my scholarship is shaped by peace and justice priorities and commitments. For example, this commitment involves writing books and articles on the Vietnam War; religious-political conflict in India, South Asia, and the Middle East; Gandhi, King, and nonviolence; class exploitation, capitalism, imperialism, and U.S. policies; and issues related to racism and sexism.

A major academic peace and justice commitment is my role as coordinator of the remarkable Socialist and Marxist Studies Lecture Series at the University of Maine. The main sponsor of this weekly series is the interdisciplinary Marxist-Socialist Studies Minor at the University of Maine of which I’m the coordinator. The weekly series, begin in 1988, has had over 400 programs on a tremendous diversity of topics. This is one of the outstanding educational offerings at the university with consistently well-attended programs, excellent presentations, lively discussions, and extensive media coverage. Programs are held on most Thursdays at 12:30-1:45 in the Bangor Room of the Memorial Union. Some of the programs are available as internet podcasts by accessing peacecast.us and peacecenter.org

In addition to writing books, chapters, and scholarly articles, I devote a lot of time to more popular peace and justice writing, media work, and presentations. As can be seen on my curriculum vitae, I give many peace and justice talks at conferences, universities, and to civic and religious gatherings in the community. I do this on a regular basis. In recent years, many of my talks have focused on 9/11, “the war on terrorism,” the Iraq War, Gandhi, violence and nonviolence. In Maine, my two major peace and justice commitments are the Maine Peace Action Committee at the University of Maine and the Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine in Bangor.

I helped found MPAC in 1974 when I joined the faculty of the University of Maine, and I have served as faculty advisor and have been an active participant for over 30 years. MPAC has had a remarkable, educational, activist history. MPAC meets every week on Tuesdays in the Maples Building, organizes peace and justice film series and other educational programs, organizes rallies, and mobilizes people around different peace and justice issues. Among MPAC’s many accomplishments, I played a leadership role in the struggle that resulted in the University of Maine divesting about $3,000,000 from corporations and banks doing business in apartheid South Africa and becoming one of the first U.S. universities to agree to complete divestment. The remarkable Maine Peace Action Committee Newsletter has completed Volume 33 (33 years) of publication. For each issue of the Newsletter, I write one or two peace and justice articles. For more information about MPAC, go to the website at www.umaine.edu/mpac.

discussion
With Maine Peace Action Committee students, declaring “Victory,” after the University of Maine became one of the first universities to divest all holdings in banks and corporations doing business in apartheid South Africa.
activists
With Naresh Dadhich from Jaipur, India and three student members of the Maine Peace Action Committee.

Since the Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine was founded in 1988, I have served as the Education Coordinator. Consisting of a large network of progressive individuals and groups located throughout Eastern Maine, the Center has been a major peace and justice presence. I have always organized the monthly Peace and Justice Center Film Series, coordinating discussions after films; write articles for the Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine Newsletter, the Center’s monthly publication; and devote considerable time to giving talks, doing media work, organizing conferences and other educational programs, mobilizing people and engaging in activist struggles, and contributing to other Center activities. The Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine is located at 96 Harlow Street, Suite 100, Bangor, Maine 04401; telephone: (207) 942-9343; website at www.peacectr.org.

hanging out in the field
Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine’s annual retreat in Maine.
discussion panel
Participating on panel at Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine’s “ACT III (Active Community Training): the Fairness Agenda” program featuring a presentation by Molly Ivins, June 1998.
Douglas allen at the podium
Speaking at annual HOPE (Help Organize Peace Earthwide) Festival, organized by the Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine, Brewer Auditorium.