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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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

With a new administration in Washington it will be a challenge to get the 'liberals' to hold Biden-Harris to the few 'progressive promises' they made during their campaign. Biden is bringing back many of Bush & Obama's neo-cons to head his foreign policy. I'll be on this case without hesitation.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Notes from a Zoom call from Ukraine & Russia

 


On Sunday I joined a Zoom discussion led by an activist friend in Russia.  On the call were people from Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, Russia and the US. Below are notes that I took which seemed most important to share - not in any particular order.

  • Several weeks ago President Zelensky in Kiev began acting even more 'strange' than before. He actively suppressed his already very weak 'progressive' opposition; got hard and clamped down on any TV stations that dared to be a tiny bit even-handed when it came to the Donbass issue; and showed even more obedience to Washington and London by having his army kill more Russian-speaking Ukrainian citizens who live in the Donbass as a way to draw Russia's military closer to the border. All of this was intended to get more money for his failing state. Zelensky (a popular TV comedian was made president by one of the key oligarchs in Ukraine) has seen his popularity drop to at most 10% in recent times as he has delivered on none of the promises he made about peace or reviving the economy.
  • The Ukrainians on the call felt that Zelensky's recent move to dramatically expand the numbers of his military forces along the Donbass line of contact was primarily political theater. It was a demonstration of force but not the initiation of a war that Kiev would surely lose.  But, the Ukrainian's underscored, 'unexpected things could quickly develop' that could trigger a war so we can't underestimate the danger.
  • I asked what the US wanted out of the current tensions.  The answer was that Washington wants to exercise its power in Eastern Europe - to show its dominance to the EU and to Russia. Typical bully behavior.
  • The view of those on the call was that the two places in the world where war is most likely to occur in the near future is Ukraine and Taiwan.
  • The Lithuanian on the call asked us to pay close attention to what his country and Poland are doing in conjunction with the US-NATO. This person was jailed in Lithuania for five years due to his human rights work against the right-wing government. Lithuania and Poland are NATO members. Article 5 of the NATO Treaty is 'collective defense'. Collective defense means that an attack against one ally is considered as an attack against all allies. The right-wing governments in Poland and Lithuania are daily provoking hostility with Russia.  If Russia could be drawn into a conflict then NATO would theoretically have justification to respond in force.
  • Continued deployments of new NATO military units from Germany, US, UK and other NATO nations in Lithuania are dangerously poking Russia.  They bring in large amounts of heavy military hardware and often leave it once they rotate out. Peaceful people in Lithuania worry why their country is becoming so militarized.
  • The armies of nations near Russia are being integrated into the military structures subordinate to the US under the auspices of NATO. As part of the growth of the US military budget, since 2017, spending on increasing funding for the armies of Eastern Europe, including Ukraine, has been steadily growing.
  • During the past year the US-NATO promoted an unsuccessful 'Color Revolution' inside Belarus. Those who oppose the current Belarusian government are allied with Poland and Lithuania. Check the map above and see what an alliance of those three countries could do if they all were taking marching orders from Washington. Belarus provides electricity to Lithuania - they are ethnically related but on opposite political sides. The US and UK are dangerously sowing the seeds of division in this region.
  • The US Navy expanding operations in the Black, Baltic and Arctic Seas are creating more tensions and could also be a trigger for war.
  • Capitalism's need to control and consume resources is what drives most of these current war mongering activities.
  • When the anti-fascist activists in these embattled regions learn about solidarity activities in the US or Europe it gives them a great feeling.  Please keep doing what you can to help us prevent a terrible war.
  • Keep a close eye on Russia's smallest oblast (region) of Kaliningrad which is an exclave located 200 miles away from the border of Russia proper. Kaliningrad was a spoil of World War II, allocated from Germany to the Soviet Union at the Potsdam Conference that divided Europe between the allied powers in 1945. The oblast is a wedge-shaped piece of land along the Baltic Sea between Poland and Lithuania, approximately one-half the size of Belgium. The oblast's primary and port city is also known as Kaliningrad. This region could be an ignition point for war if attacked by a very aggressive Poland which is clearly in Washington's pocket.

  • When the USSR existed, there were fewer wars .... fear is a great sin .... Russia must be respected, not afraid.
  • Unwittingly, the Ukrainians will help many people around the world to withdraw American bases from their lands as they watch what the US is doing.
  • Some elements of Hitler's fascist 'Rat line' in Eastern Europe are still in operation in the region and around the world. Some of the eastern European fascists moved to the US and Canada after WW II. Today Canada is a big supporter of the regime in Kiev.
  • There is growing concern that Turkey's President Erdogan will help Kiev. Erdogan has to get all those ISIS terrorists he has been sending to Syria and Libya off his payrolls and food lines. Having a few thousand AQ and ISIS fight to their death in Ukraine is perfect for Erdogan. They would replace many reluctant Ukrainian troops.
  • One American on the call said that we in the US must do more to reach out to younger anti-fascists in our country about what is happening in Ukraine
  • Quote from Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov: ′′ Questions are asked: what is the Russian Federation doing on the border with Ukraine? The answer is very simple: we live there, this is our country. But the question is, what does the US do in the form of its ships, soldiers, who constantly organize some NATO activities in Ukraine, thousands of kilometers from its own territory, while it remains unanswered .′′
  • China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Algeria, Angola, Belarus, Bolivia, Cambodia, Cuba, Eritrea, Laos, Nicaragua, Saint Vincent, Syria, Venezuela, and the Palestinians have formed a group to defend the UN Charter on the promotion of legality over force. The group said in a letter it will "strive to preserve, promote and defend the prevalence and validity of the UN Charter .... while providing a platform for, among others promoting the prevalence of legality over force."  It calls for dialogue, tolerance, and solidarity, adding these are at the core of international relations and remain vital for the peaceful coexistence among nations.

Bruce

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