Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Message from Finland - No to NATO


Last month while on our speaking tour to several Nordic nations Dave Webb and I were taken to Helsinki, Finland by Kerstin Tuomala.  Yesterday she sent me a message that I felt was important to share with blog readers.  The US-NATO are trying to get their military boot into Finland which borders Russia.  During the days of the former Soviet Union Finland played a neutral role and it appears by the poll above that the Finnish people wish to remain the same now.  But the corrupt corporate forces that want war with Russia press ahead anyway - not giving a damn what the people really want.

I want you to know that I think it was very important you [and Dave] came to Finland. As you know, I have the opinion that it is not my business to judge the inside business of Russia, but my task is to work for that my country lives peacefully with our neighbors and so contributes to peace.
 
We had the annual meeting for the peace committee in Lapland (the meeting to choose chairman and board for our organization and to accept plans for action etc). Kaarina is continuing as chairman this year and I as secretary. We have a very good group – politically plural. Finland is the host for the Arctic Challenge Exercise this year and we will protest against it in the whole country in May. Our group decided to study half an hour in the beginning of each meeting - beginning with the 'Host Country Treaty' with NATO. It is a very bad treaty, because it gives NATO the right to use our territory as a base for war games but also for wars so that our taxes go to supply the NATO troops when they are in Finland. 
 
It is the same in Sweden, which this year will host the AURORA exercise as you know. I have noticed that the exercises have a tendency to start in Sweden. Two years ago the Arctic Challenge Exercise was the biggest NATO air exercise in the world and now we see that it is regular and is repeated every second year, this year Finland is the host. This year the Swedish peace movement is busy fighting AURORA, which is the biggest exercise ever since the Cold War and for which Sweden is host. I suspect it will be repeated after two years in Finland. 
 
 
In Finland resources are also used, more than 10 billion Euros, to purchase new fighters and warships and the same amount to use them. We in Lapland have taken stands against this and sent them to ministers, parliament groups and even the president.
In April we will have local community elections and the Peace Committee of Lapland will have a public discussion in Kemi with candidates of each party about how the local community can work for peace.
 
I have followed your Organizing Notes blog and am not astonished that Bruce is always hungry, because you really work so well. The recent report from Odessa, Ukraine was very urgent and at least in Helsinki Marja-Liisa is organizing a meeting about the massacre in Odessa and she expressed her thankfulness to get the updated report about the events in Odessa. Good that you have these contacts. 
 
It is important for us in Europe to know what is going on in our own continent especially as the official stand of our government ignores it completely and I am afraid that a part of the peace movement is ignoring it, too. Hope I am wrong about it, but I am afraid I am not. The peace movement in Sweden is much more clear about this. Here the main stream seems ignorant, even though we fortunately have exceptions. That is a matter we can study also in our Lapland group, because I think it is important. So all the information you get is really welcome.
 
Kerstin Tuomala
Simo, Finland

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