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....

My Photo
Name:
Location: Bath, Maine, United States

I grew up in a military family and joined the Air Force in 1971 during the Vietnam War. It was there that I became a peace activist.

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Why the demonization of Russia?



There are peaceniks out there who are internalizing much of the western media demonization of Russia and Putin.  I run into them all the time.

My basic response starts with the fact/question: What mainstream western media sold the WMD story in Iraq that justified Bush's 2003 'shock and awe'?  Did you believe the media?  What resulted from 'shock and awe'?  Did you see it repeated in Libya, Syria, and now Yemen (and Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, and many, many more before)?

Most people by now have acknowledged that the corporate-owned media feed us the opposite of the truth in 2003 - in order to steer, intimidate and neuralize the public into supporting the war and the never ending 'war on terror' since then.

But what I don't understand is why some activists turn around today and believe the CIA, FBI, DIA, Clapper's clap-trap, Brennan, MSNBC and the Democrats.  When you have all those agents of doom pushing a story in the media my experience tells me to look the hell out.  Some shit is coming.

The US and NATO (the international armed force of corporate power - led by Washington) want regime change in Moscow.  Putin is on the shit list.  Why?  Because they won't get in line behind the 'most exceptional nation' on Earth - the USA.  Plus they have resources and the largest land border along the melting Arctic Sea where much oil and natural gas will be accessible. And they can fight back.

I look for possible reasons why a peace activist would join the demonization crowd.  Maybe, first, they like being with the crowd and the peace 'biz' ain't hot right now in the social world?

Maybe folks carry around the fear of previous episodes of red-baiting in this country - it stings hard for many and memories of pain are tough to shake.

It could also be some laziness - where people don't want to put in time reading real alternative media from other parts of the world.  Even if you are reading 'alternative' media in the US you are still reading 'filtered' news.  Yeah it takes effort, imagination and inquisitiveness to search for more opinions.

I accept that some don't want to bother with it at all....there are many complex reasons of course but indeed there are those who just want to avoid spats - and global domination is a big one.

But the worst case as far as I am concerned is when those who don't really know much about what is going on with Russia try to muscle others by defending the current status quo American brainwashing on Putin. 

As a last ditch argument people often throw 'Well the Russians and Putin are oligarchs' into the fire.  That short statement is so complex that all I can do is recommend you read the recent Saker thinking on this subject here.  I've learned so much from him since 2014 when I began following the US-directed Ukraine coup d' etat and needed some reliable and trustworthy information sources.  It is then that I stumbled on The Saker web site.

I hope that people will come around once they see others stepping forward and speaking out for reason and justice on the Russia issue (same as we would for any other country we are surrounding).

The first Russian I ever met was in 1984 when I was asked to represent Mobilization for Survival at the annual Hiroshima and Nagasaki commemoration events in Japan.  I was coordinating the Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice at the time and had been working on space issues for about two years.

I arrived a day late in Tokyo for a three-day opening conference of anti-nuclear activists from around the world.  When I walked into the meeting hall many were yelling at the man at the microphone stand.  I sat down and tried to figure out what the hell was going on inside this 'peace meeting' - it felt like a war zone to me.

The guy at the microphone was Russian from a 'government sponsored' peace group.  People were demanding that he tell his country to get rid of nuclear weapons.  He tried to reason with the audience but few were listening and no one defended him in the room of a couple hundred folks.

Two days later I noticed him sitting alone in the hotel lobby.  I approached him and said that I had been deeply touched with sadness about the way he was treated when I had arrived at the conference.

He quickly poured out his heart and said, "When we go talk with our generals about disarmament they remind us that the US recently called us 'the epitome of evil' in the world."

He was referring to then President Ronald Reagan's famous 'Russians are the evil people' speech at a right-wing evangelical church convention in Orlando, Florida.  I remember this one well - in the spring of 1983 I organized a protest outside of the hotel where the convention and speech took place.

The New York Times covered the speech and mentioned our protest and even carried a photo of me in a Reagan mask with a bullhorn in my hand.  Back then the Times covered protests like these now and then.  These days the NY Times is too busy helping to sell the encirclement and possible war with the 'evil demons' in Russia.  It's dangerous, provocative and very unstable thinking.  It is also cruel and sadistic.  Ask the American Indians....

My first Russian friend was moved that I took the time to hear his strong desire for peace but he also wanted those in the west to look inside their own hearts and policies.  He gave me two wooden hand carved souvenirs from his native Soviet Georgia.  They hang in our house to this day and I remain committed to trying to build peaceful bridges where and when I can.

I've met a few other Russians since and always felt close to them and impressed with their thinking and hearts.  The US has done the world a great disservice in the way we have vilified Russia over my lifetime and beyond.

I want to help repair that divide - even if it only helps a little bit.

Bruce 

2 Comments:

Blogger Ariel Ky said...

Bruce, I can't agree with you more. Although I have not yet visited Russia, I fell in love with the country and the people while teaching Russians English online.

It seems that the culture and curiosity of Russians have touched my heart and soul again and again during my lifetime: being enthralled with Dr. Zhivago, finding Russian research on auras with photography of plants at a time when I could find nothing on the subject in the U.S., reading science fiction written by Russians singing with a Russian choir at MSU, watching Mikhail Barishnikov leap and dance at a performance of the Nutcracker Suite.

Since then I've watched every movie that I can find about Russian ballet. While living in Mongolia, I watched the comedies and game shows on Russian TV because I liked the magical sound of spokenRussian. I even started to study Russian at that time with a private teacher.

Demonizing Russians and Putin is easy to dissect, if you have an political savvy. The U.S. needs a significant enemy to fuel the military economy and justify the extravagant spending and windfall profits from financing military deals that Wall Street thrives on. It also serves to passify Americans through fear.

7/8/18, 7:02 PM  
Blogger Peter Bergel said...

I went to Russia on a citizen diplomacy peace delegation about 3 years ago. We visited Moscow, several places in Crimea, Krasnodar, and St. Petersburg. We talked to a great many people of many different kinds and were warmly welcomed by almost all. We were treated with wonderful hospitality everywhere we went. Then when I got back to the US, I was shocked that:
1) the news was full of half-truths and outright lies about Russia, all accepted as gospel with almost no one disagreeing, 2) not many people seemed interested in hearing what I had directly experienced, especially when they found out that it was going to conflict with what the news was telling them, and 3) many people were unwilling to believe that I had not been spied upon, not told where I could and could not go, not fed a party line, or that there was such a thing as independent media in Russia.

7/10/18, 12:59 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home