The sources of hostilities during the past 20th century among societies were mainly based on ideological rivalry. However, the underlying sources of hostility has in the 21st century shifted from ideologically-based causes to resource-based causes of violent conflict.
Resource-based causes of hostilities create tensions between those who access to resources and those who do not have access to resources. The need to build inclusive peaceful societies requires that these resource-based causes be resolved. In most cases, causes of hostilities based on resources occur in states which are undergoing reorganization after a lull of state rapture caused by dispensations of exclusions.
The history of state formation and reorganization, in general, demonstrate that state-building and reconstruction can sometimes be a violent process especially in cases where the political dispensations which preceded the process of reorganization had been characterised by exclusionary political settlements.
The process of reorganization can also lead to the emergence of radical social movements within society which seek to challenge not only the history of the existence of exclusionary political discourse but also the nature of political settlements. This can subsequently lead to conflicts based on emerging interests as the platform for a more sustainable future-oriented inclusive settlement is sought. The state and non-state actors in this case must be able to accommodate and deliver on such emerging legitimate demands from radicalized sections of society for inclusive sustainable post settlement dispensation.
However, where the state is weak to deliver on such interests to meet the urgent needs of certain sections of society with such emerging legitimate demands, resource based conflict may transpire. This can happen, particularly, in situations where there is evidence of illicit gains of resources by political elites and cronies at the expense of the general public.
Such illicit accumulation of resources gained from political patronage grounded in political influence peddling can lead to a destabilized society and can undermine any political settlements that might have been reached during the process of state reorganization and political settlement resulting in long term conflict within society.
In addition, the illicit accumulation of resources which seeks to empower political elites at the expense of the general public can either create sections of society which face inequities in resource distribution or sections of society whose basic rights of accessing resources are destroyed leading to a rapture of violent conflict. Sections of society faced with political, social and economic exclusion and where victims of such exclusions do not have access to equitable justice can mobilize for violence within society especially if attendant grievances are exacerbated by abuses of human rights, corruption and failure to deliver services by the state. Exacerbated abuses of human rights can provide a platform where sections of society to take advantage of these grievances and build them into radicalized militant narratives leading to greater conflicts and instability in society.
Building inclusive peaceful societies involves a shared sense of identity and destiny grounded in both diversity and a sense of patriotism all of which help in resolving the problem of ethnic, racial and cultural based differences which in turn essentially facilitates the processes of overcoming detachments and strengthens social cohesion among diverse ethnic, racial and cultural sections of society.
Peaceful inclusive societies espouse diversity which incorporates respect for the rights of all people including their sacrosanct right to have a voice, access to publicly provided resource, choice and control over their own lives. While the word “societies” may imply diversity, inclination to class and pursuant of exclusive values, there is, nonetheless, the need to comply with generally accepted rules and regulations which constrain human behaviour within societies…the constitution of the state.
The advancement of tolerance within these legal constraints grounded in diverse value systems and the rejection of the imposition of certain values over society within the context of diversity is essential in building peaceful inclusive societies. The promotion of peaceful inclusive societies is, also, essential in promoting and sustaining the principles of functioning democracies which among other things include peaceful co-existence and equality in the application of the rule of law. Can dialogue and resource-redistributive justice build peaceful inclusive societies?
Dialogue seeks to propagate conversation between warring parties having presumed varying views. In propagating this conversation, the intention is often to find substantively agreeable solutions to the underlying causes of such remarkable differences in views. Violent confrontation seeks to unleash collective punitive measures against constructive cooperation and engagement as opposed to dialogue. In addition to the promotion of dialogue as an antidote to violent conflict, resource-redistributive justice through the creation of employment possibilities to improve equity in access to livelihoods diminishes the incentives by victims of inequalities and deprivation to engage in violent conflicts. The creation of employment possibilities must involve a cocktail of inclusive civil society actors which can also play a detective role of identifying and addressing sources of possible causes of violent conflict.
Inclusive non state actors can be can be used in not only resolving violent conflicts to insulate the process of building inclusive peaceful societies from exclusionary and discriminatory undertones but also serves as an incentive to the promotion of the principles of transparency and accountability all of which are essential in strengthening the practice of democratic governance.