Polygons for Peace
Polygons for Peace started life as a club in the online virtual world of There.com on January 23, 2003. It was founded by Keith and Margaret Howe — a husband and wife team that wanted to bring attention to issues surrounding Bush Jr.'s Iraq war plans.
The club organized a virtual peace rally, peace marches, patriotic costume contests, and other community events in order to spark an open dialogue about the issues of the day.
|Peace Rally||Peace is Patriotic||Miscellaneous Events|
Though the club is not particularly active at the moment, you can still get in touch with us: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Though the club had many events, the virtual peace rally seemed to draw the most attention, and was referenced in a variety of places. Here are some of the ones we know about. Where possible, links from the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine  are also provided in case the source material happens to disappear.
- There.com's official paper, The Guardian, talked about the virtual rally  shortly after it took place.
- A paper on Tech-Enabled Activism includes the virtual peace rally in their list of example online protests. The original paper seems to be gone, but here's the Google cache of it.
- An article at SelectParks discussing real life crossing into online games references the virtual peace rally.
- There were rumors  that the Polygons for Peace virtual march prompted the US DoD — which has had a stake in There.com's technology platform for a while — to demand changes to the service. To the point that members of the Board of Directors felt it necessary to dispel this myth.
- An article (PDF)  on freedom of speech in MMO games, published by the Journal of Internet Law, references the Polygons for Peace virtual rally.
- A talk titled Angry Avatars: Political Activism in Multiplayer Games  at the National Communication Association's 2004 convention references the Polygons for Peace virtual rally.
- Game Girl Advance referenced the virtual peace rally in two separate articles. One on Games as Political Spaces , and another on The Right to Virtually Assemble .
This is the original manifesto for the club, as published in There.com when the group first formed.
We submit that war is a necessary evil. As an extension of diplomacy by other means, the application of measured force toward foreign states, governments, and organizations is sometimes justified and essential. There have been occassions in history when war was the only option; a measure of last resort that could not be avoided. It is the nature of humanity that there will continue to be times when only war can resolve the grievances of some factions. We do not deny this. We understand that sometimes the need is so great or the atrocity so horrific that only bloodshed can wash clean the stain upon our species.
We also submit that the decision to commit sanctioned, state violence against another entity is so tremendous a responsibility that it can never be left in the hands of only a few individuals. We are not the first to think this, and the structure of most civilized governments, whether Eastern or Western; Arabic, Asian, or European; is such that no single group can plunge the whole into armed conflict. The United States of America provides one such example. The legislative branch can only enact funding for an armed endeavor. The executive branch can only pick the strategy of the nation's military. The judicial branch can only judge the actions of its armed forces. And the people can only choose who fulfills these many and varied roles. Without all arms of government and populace working in united cause, there can be no war. There should be no war.
We finally submit that only through the unashamed use of blatant propoganda, deception, and counterfeit, have many leaders past and present been able to con the carefully balanced system into supporting the unjust and ill-advised actions of a select few. Through careful manipulation of the facts, and outright lies, a few individuals can blind even an intelligent and enlightened society into believing that we have come to the option of last resort. Only through willfull ignorance and a purposeful attempt to close every door and sabotage every alternative can this be done; but with a single-minded lunancy it CAN be done. It remains only for the scholars, historians, and gravediggers left in the aftermath to untangle the web of fear and distrust, peeling away the layers of falsehoods to discover the sad truth too late to help those fallen on any side of an unneeded conflict: we did not have to go blindly to our fate.
Therefore, it is the purpose of the Polygons for Peace to illuminate the participants of every world, virtual and real, that there is reason in discussion, options to be had, and the power at the tips of your fingers to grasp the fate of our species. Do not let the machinations of a select few powerful individuals sway your better judgement; now or ever; today or tomorrow. At all times in human existence there will be those trying to persuade you to their personal ambitions; you do not have to play along. When war is needed, you will know; you will be willing to go shed your blood for the cause you believe in, standing in the trenches with your ideals carried safely beside your ammunition. Until that day, do not let your countrymen and your good name go flippantly into bloody conflict for the gratification of a few petty men. It is your responsibility as an inhabitant of ANY world to open your eyes to the true humanity of every participant, friend or foe. War is a final, unalterable option that will taint our species in any form, justified or not. You must see for yourself and decide -- are we truly that far gone that there is no hope for a better way? Stand by your convictions, to the death, either way; anything less is an untempered value that will not stand the forge of our times.