In Douglas Mattern's life, politics comes from another direction altogether: that of making peace.
If the world gave peace prizes to the unsung, the Palo Alto resident and Apple Computer engineer would be a contender for the ordinary man's Nobel. He was co-chairman of the Peninsula Vietman Moratorium Committee at Stanford, co-founder of the Peninsula Peace Center and a principle organizers of some of Stanford and Palo Alto's largest peace rallies. In addition, he is a Radio for Peace commentator, an international speaker on behalf of peace and a frequent contributor to local newspaper and magazine editorial pages.
He has met with Gorbachev, was part of a citizen's diplomacy group sent to the former USSR and drafted two resolutions--"To End the Arms Race" and the "Hiroshima Resolution"--adopted by the 1978 and 1982 United Nations Special Sessions on Disarmament.
He is also a card-carrying World Citizen, and has been since he joined the World Citizens Association in 1968. The grass-roots organization was founded by people throughout the world working to support and strengthen the United Nations to achieve world peace.
It now boasts more than 100,000 registered World Citizens from 101 countries throughout the world. The organization's philosophy follows Socrates's maxim that "I am a citizen, not of Athens or Greece, but of the world."
"We believe people must come together across national boundaries to use the world's resources for the service of all people," said Mattern. "One of the biggest threats in the world today is nationalism. By that I don't mean love of country. I mean the jingoistic kind of nationalism that separates people."
Lofty talk, but do these World Citizens actually do anything besides wring their hands and spew out carbon dioxide in praise of peace? "We're very practical," said Mattern. "We try to come up with practical programs for people to have wider visions of the world. We're idealists, not utopians."
From June 17-21, the World Citizens Assembly will hold its 20-year anniversary at the new Conference Center at San Francisco State University. The assembly is part of the United Nations 50th anniversary celebration taking place in San Francisco during the month of June. The conference will examine global security; the environment and sustainable development; education, ethics and human rights; and alternative economics. Jesse Jackson is the principal speaker for the event.
Although Mattern came of age politically during the '60s, he never went in for bell-bottoms, peace symbol necklaces, American flag jackets or inhaling. "My interest was politics. I never had long hair, and I never was a hippie."
Despite unrelenting nationalistic and ethnic conflicts around the global village, Mattern never loses faith. "I can't reconstruct the world, but I can move it along," he said. "UNESCO did a study and issued a report on war that showed violence and war is learned, not innate. It's learned. If we are capable of learning war, we are capable of learning peace."
--Diane Sussman Anyone interested in attending the World Citizens Assembly or becoming a World Citizen--complete with card--can contact Mattern at 326-1409.
Back up to the Table of Contents Page