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 Douglas Allen’s personal values, scholarly career, activities, and commitments has been as a peace and justice scholar activist. Doug Allen first became a peace and justice activist in the Civil Rights Movement in the South. In the 1960s and 1970s, he devoted much of his time to the antiwar movement attempting to end the war in Vietnam and other parts of Indochina. For a decade, he 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. Over the decades, he has continued to be active in struggles dealing with violence and war, sexism, homophobia, classism, racism, human rights violations, imperialism, and environmental devastation.

As can be seen in Doug Allen’s curriculum vitae and publications, much of his scholarship has been shaped by peace and justice priorities and commitments. For example, this commitment has involved 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, socialism, imperialism, and U.S. policies; and issues related to racism and sexism.

A major academic peace and justice commitment has been Allen’s role as coordinator of the remarkable Socialist and Marxist Studies 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 Allen served as the coordinator until his retirement in 2020. The weekly series, began in 1988, and Allen served as the coordinator until his retirement in 2020 when he became the co-coordinator with Professor Michael Swacha. The lecture series has had over 600 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. In February 2021, Doug Allen delivered his lecture program on “Moral, Philosophical, and Spiritual Nonviolence and Socialism in 2021.” Some of the programs are available on the series website at umaine.edu/SocialistAnd MarxistStudiesSeries.

In addition to writing books, chapters, and scholarly articles, Douglas Allen has devoted a lot of time to more popular peace and justice writing, media work, and presentations. As can be seen on his curriculum vitae, he has given many peace and justice talks at conferences, universities, and to civic and religious gatherings in the community, nationally, in India, and internationally. In recent years, many of Doug’s talks have focused on 9/11 in the USA and 26/11 in India, the root causes and systemic relations of terrorism, the Iraq War, reinterpreting Gandhi’s philosophy and practices, and a deeper and broader understanding of multidimensional and structural violence and nonviolence. In Maine, Doug Allen’s two major peace and justice commitments have been the Maine Peace Action Committee at the University of Maine and the Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine in Bangor.

Doug Allen helped found MPAC in 1974 when he joined the faculty of the University of Maine, and he has served as faculty advisor and has been an active participant for over 47 years. After his retirement Doug became the co-advisor with Sonja Birthisel. MPAC, one of the oldest university student-oriented peace and justice groups in the USA, has had a remarkable, educational, activist history. MPAC meets weekly, organizes peace and justice film series, book discussion groups, and other educational programs, organizes rallies, and mobilizes people around different peace and justice issues. Among MPAC’s many accomplishments, Doug 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 completed Volume 46 (46 years of publication) in March 2021. Doug writes an essay contribution for each issue of the MPAC Newsletter.

With the founding of the Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine in 1988, Doug Allen served as the Education Coordinator for 30 years until 2017. His partner Ilze Petersons served as the Center’s Coordinator for many years. Consisting of a large network of progressive individuals and groups located throughout Eastern Maine, the Center has been a major peace and justice presence. Over the decades, Doug organized the monthly Peace and Justice Center Film Series and coordinated discussions after films; wrote articles for the Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine Newsletter; and devoted considerable time to giving talks, doing media work, organizing conferences and other educational programs, mobilizing people and engaging in nonviolent activist marches, demonstrations, and other struggles.

For Douglas Allen’s peace and justice activities, see the links to the Long CV and the Shorter CV on the Biography page.

 

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.

 

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.