Uk: A Win for Peace: UCU Opposes the War in Ukraine


An article from Stop the War Coalition

Stop the War Coalition congratulates delegates at the University and College Union who voted through a resolution at their congress this weekend calling for peace in Ukraine. The resolution condemns the Russian invasion and points out that NATO’s escalation in response has turned Ukraine into a battleground between the great powers. It is the Ukrainian people who are the main victims.

(Editor’s note: The University and College Union (UCU) is a British trade union in further and higher education representing over 120,000 academics and support staff.)

The success of the resolution has sparked a debate within the union which we welcome as there is so little discussion allowed in this country on the war in Ukraine. We condemn attacks on the union by pro-war figures and the use of UCU social media accounts to criticise the vote. The democracy of the trade union movement should be defended by all.

Trade unions have a long history of opposing government involvement in foreign wars and campaigning against militarisation and increased arms spending. This tradition is especially important in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis.

We urge trade unionists across the movement to put similar resolutions to their branches. We are happy to provide speakers for any meeting.

The resolution passed at the UCU is as follows:

Stop the War in Ukraine – Peace Now. City and Islington College Camden Road, University of Brighton, Grand Parade

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Questions related to this article:
Can the peace movement help stop the war in the Ukraine?

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Congress notes:

1. One year after the brutal invasion, Ukraine has become a battleground for Russian and US imperialism.

2. It is estimated that 150,000 Ukrainian soldiers and civilians and 200,000 Russian soldiers have died since invasion.

3. Putin has threatened the use of nuclear weapons and unleashed war crimes.

4. The 2022 NATO summit committed to a US military base in Poland, a brigade in Romania, air missile systems in Italy and Germany and two additional F-35 squadrons in Britain.

5. Volodymyr Zelensky says he wants Ukraine to become a “big Israel”—an armed, illiberal outpost of US imperialism.

Congress believes:

a. Wars are fought by the poor and unemployed of one country killing and maiming the poor and unemployed of another.

b. We should say, “Russian troops out, no to NATO escalation and expansion.”

c. We should stand in solidarity with ordinary Ukrainians and demand an immediate withdrawal of Russian troops.

d. NATO is not a progressive force: escalation risks widening war in the region.

e. Only through a peaceful resolution can lives be saved.


i. UCU to call upon Russian to withdraw its troops and for government to stop arming Ukraine.

ii. UCU to call for a peaceful resolution to the war.

iii. Congress resolves to support protests called by Stop The War, CND and other anti-war organisations.

Peace by Peaceful Means: International Summit for Peace in Ukraine


An announcement from Peace in Ukraine

We are calling for an international civil society gathering in Vienna, Austria on June 10/11*

The goal of the Peace Summit is to publish an Urgent Global Appeal, called the Vienna Declaration for Peace, calling on political leaders to act in support of a ceasefire and  negotiations in Ukraine.

Inviting Organizations: International Peace Bureau, CODEPINK, Assembly of the World  Social Forum, Transform Europe, IPPNW (D,AT,CH) (tbc), Europe4Peace, WILPF  International (tbc), International Fellowship of Reconciliation, Peace in Ukraine coalition

Local Organizers and Supporters: AbFaNG (Action Alliance for Peace, active Neutrality  and Non-violence), Institute for Intercultural Research and Cooperation (IIRC), Austrian  Center for Peace (ACP) in Stadtschlaining, Herbert C. Kelman Institute for Interactive  Conflict Transformation, ÖGB – Österreichischer Gewerkschaftsbund, WILPF Austria (tbc), Internationaler Versöhnungsbund – österreichischer Zweig

The summit will have different parts:

A conference to discuss the controversial questions related to the Russian-Ukrainian war, to hear the voices of civil society representatives of the various NATO countries, as well as  representatives from Russia and Ukraine who support the aims of the Peace Summit.  Participants from the Global South will share the dramatic consequences this war has had  for the people in their countries and emphasize how they can contribute to peace. The  Conference will focus not only on critics and analysis, but also on creative solutions and  ways to end the war and how to prepare negotiations. This is not only the task of states and  diplomats but nowadays more and more also of global society.

The conference will include a combination of lectures, working groups, expert groups, and  dialogues.

After the summit a march in Vienna to the various NATO-country embassies, as well as  the embassies of Russia and Ukraine and international organizations located in Vienna will  take place to meet with embassy representatives and deliver the Vienna Declaration for  Peace from people around the world;

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Questions related to this article:
Can the peace movement help stop the war in the Ukraine?

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The summit will also be supported by a send-off for delegations to visit the capitals of  various European countries with the purpose of meeting with government officials and  international organizations. Also further events for late 2023 will be developed.

*The 9th of June is the 180th Birthday of the Austrian Nobel Peace Prize laureate Bertha von Suttner, the first female Nobel Peace Prize laureate ever.

A call for peace 

We condemn the illegal Russian invasion in Ukraine. The war has caused death and injuries  of civilians and soldiers and created untold suffering for the Ukrainian people, destroying the  country’s environment and infrastructure, causing rising food and energy prices around the  world, exacerbating poverty and hunger – especially in the global South – and threatening the  entire world with a nuclear war.

It is time for the weapons to fall silent and for diplomacy to begin to resolve the conflict. We  must counter the logic of war with the logic of peace.

Let us gather to discuss the state and the wider context of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, the  positions of our various governments, the efforts, obstacles, and opportunities of the various  peace movements and most importantly, how we can work more effectively to promote a  ceasefire and negotiations, and peaceful solutions as the alternative to war.

Peace is not only the task of states and diplomats but nowadays more and more also of the  global civil society. What is urgently needed now is a global movement demanding that all  parties stop fighting and start talking. The international support garnered by the International  Peace Bureau’s Christmas ceasefire appeal, the appeals at the UN General Assembly and by  many governments, even comments from some political leaders of Russia and Ukraine show  that a window of opportunity may be opening.

Why Vienna? 

Austria is a neutral country. It is a “UN City” and the home to the Secretariat of the OSCE (the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe), which had been monitoring the  situation in the Donbas since the signing of the Minsk II agreement.

Join the Peace Summit! 

It is the responsibility of peace movements all around the world and of all peace-loving  peoples to strengthen these efforts. The Vienna Summit for Peace in Ukraine can be a  powerful sign of hope and a catalyst for more and stronger peace actions globally. The future of humanity hangs in the balance; we must seize the moment before it’s too late.

Contact: International Peace Bureau, Marienstraße 19-20, 10117 Berlin,

There will be also an opportunity to join the conference virtually. RSVP for more details!


June 10, 2023 at 9:00am – June 11, 2023 (GMT+2)

Zone of Peace, Trust and Cooperation of Central Asia


Excerpts from United Nations Press Release

The UN General Assembly held a debate on the declaration of Central Asia as a zone of peace, trust and cooperation (for background, see Press Release GA/12437).  Many speakers commended that declaration, with some offering recommendations alongside their encouragement, as Central Asian countries showcased regional and national efforts. . . .

AKSOLTAN ATAEVA (Turkmenistan), expressing her gratitude to the General Assembly for its unanimous support in adopting a historic resolution for Central Asia by declaring it a zone of peace, trust and cooperation, pointed out that the concept of such zones enables the international community to create long-term security guarantees.  Among other things, she spotlighted similar such initiatives in other regions; showcased the Central Asia region’s efforts on strengthening peace and stability, such as the United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia and its project; and highlighted its regional sustainable development projects, including on transport, logistics and infrastructure.  The success of the Central Asian countries in maintaining a further strengthening of stable and lasting peace in the region notably depends on the support of the international community, she underscored, calling on all to cooperate to that end.

AKAN RAKHMETULLIN (Kazakhstan) said to coordinate its joint national efforts and those of the United Nations, his country will establish the United Nations Regional Centre for the Sustainable Development Goals for Central Asia and Afghanistan in Almaty.  The hub will streamline the Organization’s inter-agency regional and interregional coordination and management to transform Central Asia into a zone of peace, security and sustainable development, with a spillover effect into Afghanistan.

Speaking as the Kazakhstan Chairmanship representative to the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia, he said the Conference considers the establishment of confidence-building measures, peace and dialogue as the primary basis for broad cooperation.  It will achieve the goals of sustainable development and socioeconomic well-being on the vast Asian continent.  The Central Asian region is facing unprecedented new and emerging challenges and the forum includes 28 States, with eight observers.  The region’s entire perimeter is surrounded exclusively by Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia member States.  The Conference is a platform that gives Central Asia an outreach to other parts of the Asian continent and neighbouring subregions.  Central Asia tends to gain considerably from the Conference’s multifaceted, multidimensional portfolios.

MARÍA DEL CARMEN SQUEFF (Argentina), underlining the international community’s recognition that the establishment of zones of peace can contribute to the strengthening of economic development and peace, highlighted her country’s experience as an active participant of the zone of peace and cooperation of the South Atlantic.  This zone is notably not only one of peace and cooperation but is also a nuclear-weapon-free zone.  She commended the efforts of Central Asian countries to promote confidence and cooperation at a time when it is more vital than ever.  The success of this initiative, however, will depend on the joint work and determination of the zone’s member States as well as the support of the international community.  In that regard, the current Assembly debate is a sign of that commitment and a promising signal, she said.

MUNIR AKRAM (Pakistan) said his country has made consistent efforts to promote peace and cooperation in its own and adjacent regions.  The Government actively advocated for the creation of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in South Asia for more than two decades.  This was thwarted by the nuclear explosions initiated by its neighbour.  Pakistan has also supported the creation of a zone of peace in the Indian Ocean, as declared by the Assembly in resolution 2832.  His delegation is concerned that the Indian Ocean is being drawn into a geostrategic construct that implies the renewal of rivalries and the emergence of new military alliances.  With these efforts to escalate military and political competition, it is even more vital to preserve Central Asia as a zone of peace.  A peaceful Central Asia can be a bulwark against the extension of conflicts from Europe to Asia and serve as a bridge of peace across the Eurasian landmass.

JONIBEK ISMOIL HIKMAT (Tajikistan) stressed that the Central Asian countries have demonstrated constructive and predictable inter-State relations at a time when the world is experiencing simultaneous crises in security, health, economics, politics and climate change.  In recognizing the significance of economic and social development for its people and the region’s prosperity, his Government has focused on infrastructure development, energy projects and economic diversification; seeks to harness its water potential to drive economic growth and employment; and is open to cooperation to that end.  Mitigating climate change, addressing waste and water pollution and ensuring environmental sustainability are pressing global issues, he continued, spotlighting several of Dushanbe’s initiatives to that end. Regarding its efforts on addressing shared security threats such as terrorism, its financing and drug trafficking, he reiterated his President’s call to build a security belt around Afghanistan while strengthening regional cooperation and coordination.

JOONKOOK HWANG (Republic of Korea) said it is highly commendable that these countries are aligning themselves with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.  The resolution addresses the importance of preventive diplomacy and the active role of women.  To address the complex transboundary challenges, such as terrorism and climate change, an integrated approach is crucial.  His delegation appreciates the role being played by the United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia, established in 2007.  The Centre has led to initiatives to empower women and youth.  His delegation supports the Center’s proactive role in addressing the challenges in Afghanistan, which affects peace and stability in the region and beyond.  Climate issues are another crucial challenge facing the Central Asian countries and he welcomed efforts to reach solutions to the region’s water challenges.  Many issues, such as land degradation, require the international community’s consistent attention.  Noting the Republic of Korea’s expanding trade volume with the Central Asian region, he said the Government will continue to expand future economic partnerships with the region, including in digital transformation and health infrastructure.

GERARDO PEÑALVER PORTAL (Cuba) stressed that, to make headway towards a world of peace, the diversity of different political, economic, social, cultural and religious systems must be respected as must the principles and aspirations of the Charter of the United Nations alongside international law.  Noting that the planet is now facing a crisis which began with the COVID-19 pandemic, he pointed out that the world has yet to learn from its mistakes — it continues to waste money by modernizing weapons, billions of dollars which could otherwise be used to achieve peace, sustainable development and a decent life. As such, he urged the international community to focus on eradicating poverty, hunger, disease, ignorance and colonialism’s consequences.  It must also, among other things, address the unjust economic order that reproduces the privileges of rich countries while perpetuating the “lackings” of the poorest. There can be no peace without development, justice and equity, he underscored, spotlighting the United States’ embargo on his country.

SEDAT ÖNAL (Türkiye) said the international community is facing entwined, multi-faceted contemporary challenges, such as international peace and security, sustainable development and human rights.  These challenges cannot be dealt with in isolation from each other.  Greater international cooperation is crucial and each Member State must take action.  Regional cooperation and ownership are essential and Türkiye has contributed to regional efforts to resolve conflicts and address disruptions in the food and energy supply chains.  For example, the country participates in the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation.  Central Asia is key to the region’s stability and this resolution is an important step that shows the collective political will of countries to bolster a culture of cooperation in managing energy resources, trade and transportation initiatives.

AIDA KASYMALIEVA (Kyrgyzstan) pointed out that consultative meetings among the region’s heads of State serve as an important platform for cooperation by ensuring peace and trust.  The fourth such meeting in July 2022 notably confirmed the commitment of Central Asian countries to a constructive and mutually beneficial dialogue and resulted in a treaty on friendship, good-neighbourliness and cooperation for the region’s development. Highlighting a number of issues of importance, including the “Central Asia plus” format and the Regional Centre, she invited Member States and international organizations to further enhance their support of the Five Years of Action for the Development of Mountain Regions.  She also announced that her country aims to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 44 per cent by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 through the development of hydropower.  She then spotlighted her Government’s cooperation with Uzbekistan on delimiting their border as an example of dialogue and the search for mutually acceptable solutions.

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Question for this article:

Where in the world are zones of peace?

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JAIME HERMIDA CASTILLO (Nicaragua) said the Charter of the United Nations asks all Member States to maintain international peace and security and settle their disputes through peaceful means.  The international community recognizes that the creation of zones of peace can help contribute to peace and stability in the specific areas and beyond.  The creation of a zone of peace in Central Asia will help promote cooperation between peoples, countries and cultures.  It is important to maintain territorial integrity and sovereignty as an important part of this work.  Trade and economic openness is important.  The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) created a zone of peace in 2014.  Its people are committed to engage in friendly relations despite their differences.  His delegation supports multilateralism.  Yet there are still countries that do not apply a culture of peace and impose unilateral coercive measures.  He rejected these measures, which are called sanctions, as unfair.  He called for the repeal of these measures.

ANTJE LEENDERTSE (Germany) — noting that Central Asia faces serious challenges which include climate change, water scarcity, geopolitical tensions and the threat of terrorism — stressed that stronger regional cooperation will further promote prosperity by deepening intraregional trade and expanding the use of renewable energy and the protection of natural resources.  The zone of peace in particular can create positive momentum to deepen ties and foster regional cooperation as a strong foundation for maintaining peace and security, bringing forward sustainable and green development and promoting human rights.  For its part, Germany is supporting the Green Central Asia initiative, which focuses on joint regional projects in the fight against the climate crisis; cooperating with all Central Asian States to strengthen comprehensive security within the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE); and funding multiple OSCE projects to foster long-term stability, resilience and prosperity for Central Asia’s young people.

BAKHTIYOR IBRAGIMOV (Uzbekistan) said Central Asian countries have great potential for cooperation and development as they share a common spiritual and cultural-historical heritage, common transport-communication networks and economies that complement one another.  Tashkent strongly believes in strengthening practical cooperation with its neighbours to confront traditional threats of terrorism, organized crime and drug-trafficking, as well as new challenges such as illegal Internet activity.  A long-term peace in Afghanistan can play an important role in connecting Central and South Asia.  His delegation is ready to work with interested Member States to involve Afghanistan in regional economic processes, expand humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people, and promote important social and infrastructure projects.  He recalled Tashkent’s initiative to establish, under United Nations auspices, an international high-level negotiating group.  This group would develop and agree with the de facto government of Afghanistan on a road map of gradual implementation of obligations of the parties.

YOSHINO KOHEI (Japan) noted that 2022 marked the thirtieth anniversary of the establishment of his Government’s diplomatic relations with the five Central Asian countries.  Tokyo also established its cooperation mechanism with the region in 2004 — the Central Asia plus Japan dialogue — when no other countries had such a framework of cooperation.  His Government has notably worked with Central Asian countries on tackling a variety of challenges they face, including by providing $4.1 million in grant assistance to empower youth and strengthen social cohesion across the region and by cooperating with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).  Building on these achievements, Japan will continue to support peace, sustainability and sustainable development in the region, he pledged.

ROBERT A. WOOD (United States) said his delegation commends the creation of this zone as it creates a foundation for greater cooperation in the region and reinforces the integrated pillars needed for a peaceful society.  The creation of a zone helps strengthen the security of States within the region.  Yet he was disappointed that some delegations fought to prevent the resolution from reaffirming the importance of human rights and international law in sustaining peace.  The resolution should note that human rights and international law are enshrined in the preamble of the Charter of the United Nations.  His delegation was delighted that the role of women in maintaining peace was included.  Women must always participate in the peaceful settlement of disputes at all levels of decision-making.  His delegation is committed to supporting democratic goals in Central Asia.

JAMES KARIUKI (United Kingdom) stressed that cooperation and mutual support between Central Asian countries and their partners is critical given the security challenges facing the region, be it the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan or the economic uncertainty caused by the Russian Federation’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.  In encouraging Central Asian States to continue their work with the Peacebuilding Commission and the Peacebuilding Fund, he underscored that political stability, long-lasting reform and sustainable economic development are necessary for those nations to fulfil their potential.  For its part, the United Kingdom is supporting long-term reform and stability by strengthening its trade links with those countries and working with the region bilaterally and through its regional programming.  He then pointed out that temperatures in the region are expected to rise faster than the global average; observed that this is already driving water scarcity and food insecurity; and called for sustainable solutions.

DAI BING (China) said his delegation supports the establishment of this zone in Central Asia as the world faces many complex challenges and solidarity and trust must be promoted.  China has always supported cooperation that includes mutual benefits.  The upcoming China-Central Asia Summit, which will be held on 18 and 19 May in China, will gather heads of State and will build a closer community and open a new chapter in regional relations.  China will work with these countries to defend the principles of the Charter of the United Nations and build a zone of peace in Central Asia.  China firmly supports the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of these countries.  China opposes the interference of external forces in the internal affairs of Central Asian countries under any pretext.  This would make the region a battleground for geopolitical gains.  He supported efforts to combat terrorism, cybercrime and organized crime.

JOAQUÍN ALBERTO PÉREZ AYESTARÁN (Venezuela), welcoming Central Asian countries’ efforts to promote conflict prevention mechanisms and consolidate regional peace, security and stability, spotlighted his region’s zone of peace and its contributions towards strengthening peace and trust among the Organization’s Member States.  Unfortunately, many of the goals and aspirations within the Charter of the United Nations continue to escape the world’s peoples who yearn for more peace and prosperity.  In that vein, he called on all responsible States to end the ongoing use of inflammatory rhetoric; the use of zero-sum games; punitive, divisive and confrontational approaches; reckless, provocative and unilateral actions; double standards; and the further imposition of agendas of a dubious nature.  Such actions in no way contribute to the aspirations of achieving a lasting peace or preventing the emergence of new conflicts or crises, he underscored, before renewing his Government’s firm determination to defend the Charter.

VASSILY A. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation) said his delegation is a long-standing and reliable partner of the Central Asian nations.  For many years, it has consistently supported the region in its aim for gradual development and this resolution on the zone of peace is an example.  The Russian Federation is also supporting the region by participating in summits.  For example, the first Russian-Central Asian Summit was held in Astana on 14 November 2022.  The region is of major geopolitical significance for the Russian Federation and good relations are essential to maintain its security and stability.  Anti-terrorist activities are important.  The Russian Federation is a key trading partner for the region and a major consumer of Central Asian goods.  Maintenance of the transportation corridors is important to economic development.  The Russian language is prominent in the region, making the Russian Federation an essential part of the region’s labour markets.  He noted that Western parties are seeking to undermine stability through the use of sanctions and imposing their world view on this region.  His delegation is committed to good neighbourly relations.

YASHAR T. ALIYEV (Azerbaijan) said that the zone of peace, trust and cooperation is a shining example of multilateralism and diplomacy which reinforces the three pillars of the United Nations.  It notably contributes to the strengthening of international peace and security while promoting the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, he added. The region’s countries in particular play an important role in ensuring peace, stability and sustainable development as well as in promoting regional and international cooperation in areas such as science and technology, education, environment, trade, transport, culture and others.  His Government notably enjoys friendly relations and constructive cooperation with these countries and has engaged closely in transport, logistics, energy, agriculture and tourism, to name but a few areas.  As such, Baku attaches high importance to further enhancing cooperation by focusing on greater connectivity and communication.

(Editor’s note: The countries of Central Asia do not obey the NATO demand to boycott Russia. The leaders of all Central Asia countries went to Moscow on May 9 to take part in the annual ceremony celebrating the end of World War II.)

16 May: International Day of Living Together in Peace


An article from the United Nations

United in differences and diversity

Living together in peace is all about accepting differences and having the ability to listen to, recognize, respect and appreciate others, as well as living in a peaceful and united way.

The UN General-Assembly, in its resolution 72/130, declared 16 May the International Day of Living Together in Peace, as a means of regularly mobilizing the efforts of the international community to promote peace, tolerance, inclusion, understanding and solidarity. The Day aims to uphold the desire to live and act together, united in differences and diversity, in order to build a sustainable world of peace, solidarity and harmony.

Doves are released during the “Flame of Peace” ceremony in which arms were destroyed to mark the beginning of the country’s disarmament and reconciliation process in Bouake, Côte d’Ivoire. PHOTO: ©UN /Basile Zoma

The Day invites countries to further promote reconciliation to help to ensure peace and sustainable development, including by working with communities, faith leaders and other relevant actors, through reconciliatory measures and acts of service and by encouraging forgiveness and compassion among individuals.

Question for this article:

What is the United Nations doing for a culture of peace?


Following the devastation of the Second World War, the United Nations was established to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war. One of its purposes is to achieve international cooperation in solving international problems, including by promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion.

In 1997, the General-Assembly proclaimed – by its resolution 52/15  — the year 2000 as the “International Year for a Culture of Peace”. In 1998, it proclaimed the period 2001-2010 as the “International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for Children of the World.”

In 1999, The General-Assembly adopted, by resolution 53/243, the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace, which serves as the universal mandate for the international community, particularly the United Nations system, to promote a culture of peace and non-violence that benefits all of humanity, including future generations.

The declaration came about as a result of the long-held and cherished concept — contained within the Constitution of UNESCO — that “since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed.” The Declaration embraces the principle that peace is not merely the absence of conflict, but also requires a positive, dynamic participatory process, in which dialogue is encouraged and conflicts are resolved in a spirit of mutual understanding and cooperation.

The Declaration also recognizes that to fulfill such an aspiration, there is a need to eliminate all forms of discrimination and intolerance, including those based on race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status.

Mouvement de la Paix: No to the War Economy


A press release from the Mouvement de la Paix

No to the war economy proposed by the President of the Republic through the draft Military Programming Law (LPM 2024-2030) of 413 billion € (i.e. 40% increase compared to the previous law), which includes around 50 billion euros for nuclear weapons

In his greetings to the armed forces, pronounced at the Mont-de-Marsan air base on January 20, 2023, President Macron declared his desire “that the 2024-2030 military programming law reflect considerable efforts… which oblige us for decades …because we must never be one war behind, but we must be one war ahead”! It proposes a new LPM of 413 billion euros (+ 40% compared to the last LPM) including fifty billion for nuclear weapons. This would violate the NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty signed by France) and the TIAN (Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, entered into force on January 21, 2021).

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(Click here for the original French version of this article.)

Question for this article:

Does military spending lead to economic decline and collapse?

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We refuse this crazy spending for war! Yes to an economy for peace! Let us refuse to be drawn into this logic of war, the disastrous economic, financial, social and ecological consequences of which we are already suffering, the extent of which we find difficult to imagine, including in the event of the use of nuclear weapons. Let us demand the reorientation of budgets towards social needs: salaries, pensions, health – hospitals, education and research, public services – job creation, fight to reduce climate change!

France must choose the side of PEACE and social and climate justice. France must act for a political and diplomatic solution to the war in Ukraine and for all the ongoing conflicts (Palestine, Yemen, Kivu, etc.) instead of engaging our country in the infernal cycle of war maintained by the military- industrialist who alone benefits from it.

France, instead of inserting itself into the orientations of NATO, should propose and act for solutions based on the United Nations Charter (*), the SDGs (Sustainable Development Objectives), the work of the IPCC and UN Resolutions for a Culture of Peace.

War is never the solution, but always the worst for the people! The human security of peoples (physical, health, food, social, ecological) cannot develop without PEACE.

The Mouvement de la Paix calls on the population to act, in the largest popular gathering, to build our future together through a mobilization campaign which will take place from April 6 to the end of June with a highlight on May 21 with rallies on the places related to nuclear weapons (SNLE-NG base at L’île longue near Brest, Le Barp in Aquitaine (nuclear tests in the laboratory) etc: “Let’s build a future for life, peace, social and climate justice, including nuclear disarmament”.

Our objective is to convince as many parliamentarians as possible to vote against this military programming law, to say no to this war economy project and to get France to act with determination, as a signatory of the NPT ( nuclear non-proliferation treaty), in favor of nuclear disarmament by signing the treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons (TPNW).

Mr. President of the Republic, ladies and gentlemen parliamentarians “NO MORE BOMBS!)

Mouvement de la Paix: Chinese Peace Plan


A press release from Mouvement de la Paix (translation by CPNN)

China has presented a document for a just and lasting peace entitled “Global Security Initiative”.

This initiative follows a document presented by XI Jinping in 2022 and has the support of many countries.

This twelve-point document notes the growing turbulence and conflict in the world and proposes to promote lasting peace through dialogue rather than confrontation.

It insists, among other things,
– On respect for the sovereignty of each country,
– On the rejection of the use of nuclear weapons and the cessation of research and development of chemical and biological weapons,
– On abandoning the Cold War mentality,
– On the cessation of hostilities and the opening of negotiations,
-On the resolution of the humanitarian crisis and the protection of civilians and prisoners of war,
-On the safety of nuclear power plants.

Unsurprisingly, the USA, NATO and the North Atlantic world have worked to minimize this initiative. It is not credible in their eyes “because of the good relations between China and Russia”.

The President of the European Commission explained “that China had taken the side of Moscow”.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken even believed he had secret information saying that “China was preparing to deliver weapons to Russia”.

In this distressing context, Emmanuel Macron’s position seems almost courageous, by “daring” to underline the obvious by saying that “the fact that China is committed to peace efforts is completely good” and by announcing “a next trip to Beijing”.

On the other hand, among many countries of the Global South, Beijing’s initiative was received much more favorably, considering this document as “an important contribution”, in particular “on the need to avoid the use of nuclear weapons”.

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(Click here for the original French version.)

Questions related to this article:
Can the peace movement help stop the war in the Ukraine?

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This position echoes the words of the UN Secretary General who is worried about “a major risk for humanity”.

Brazil, through the voice of its President Lula, has advanced an approach similar to that of Beijing by calling for “the creation of a group of countries not involved in the conflict in order to assume responsibility for restoring peace”.

Lula explains that “the Chinese text reaffirms the main principles of the UN on the sovereignty of each country and urges Russia and Ukraine to strictly comply with international humanitarian law” and denounces “any recourse to nuclear weapons explicitly disavowing Vladimir Putin when he decreed the suspension of his country from participation in the SALT 2 agreement.

It also proposes, “a new global governance with an enlargement of the UN Security Council which would lead to permanent seats for Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean”.

President Lula also speaks for the non-aligned countries, believing that “V. Zelensky and NATO bore some responsibility in the process that led to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, following the installation of military bases on the borders of Russia”. He specifies that “Brazil refuses to supply any arms”.

While it is indeed important to remember this fact, it is just as important to remember that nothing can justify the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Finally, it was from Ukraine that came the clearest proof of the seriousness of the Chinese peace initiative since Volodymyr Zelensky announced that he wanted to “meet Xi Jinping” adding that “it would be important for global security”.

This set of reactions reinforces the position of Mouvement de la Paix that we cannot conceive of peace on the basis of a military victory for one camp or another.

It is the essence of any political settlement and the condition of a lasting peace to respond to the legitimate interests of the various parties in conflict.

It is urgent and essential, from Moscow to Washington, via Brussels and the European capitals, that the terms peace, ceasefire and negotiation reappear in the diplomatic vocabulary.

Strong and concerted diplomatic initiatives are urgently needed.

It should be noted that since March 10, Saudi Arabia and Iran, two enemy powers, have – after a seven-year interruption – reestablished their diplomatic relations. This agreement, concluded under the auspices of China, shows that the hope of peace can be born even where one did not expect it.

This new example of diplomacy in the service of peace must encourage pacifists to seize all opportunities, wherever they come from, to advance the settlement of the conflict in Ukraine.

This is one more reason to continue popular mobilizations in France and worldwide to demand an end to the fighting and a negotiated outcome, for a lasting peace in compliance with the United Nations Charter.

United Nations International Year of Dialogue as a Guarantee of Peace, 2023 


An article from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

On 27 January 2023, the official launch ceremony of 2023 as the International Year of Dialogue as a Guarantee of Peace took place at the Institute of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan in Ashgabat. This official ceremony brought together over 200 representatives from the UN Member States, UN sister agencies including the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Regional Office for Central Asia, relevant international and regional organizations, and civil society in person and online.

The year 2023 was declared as the International Year of Dialogue as a Guarantee of Peace, according to the resolution 77/32 of the United Nations General Assembly at the initiative of Turkmenistan.

This resolution was adopted by consensus and was co-sponsored by 68 member countries of the Organization, including all countries of Central Asia.

Turkmenistan underlines that the initiative directly correlates with the António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General’s “New Agenda for Peace”, which includes reducing global strategic risks, investing in conflict prevention and peacemaking, and supporting regional preventive measures.

Question for this article:

What is the United Nations doing for a culture of peace?

Vepa Hajiyev, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan in his opening remarks noted: “Today we are starting a joint results-oriented work to create conditions for improving and developing international relations, restore trust in the world politics, and establish a respectful dialogue. Currently, these principles and goals are particularly relevant against the background of the existing systemic problems of international relations. In this context, we see a common task in turning the International Year of Dialogue as a Guarantee of Peace into a powerful constructive process designed to provide an incentive for dialogue, cooperation, and mutual understanding”.

Ashita Mittal, UNODC Regional Representative for Central Asia in her speech emphasized: “While the World, and the region, in particular face the triple crisis of conflicts, climate change and COVID, magnifying the impact of the world drug problem, organized crime and terrorism, and deepening vulnerabilities and desperation, we in Central Asia need to join our efforts to strengthen peace, stability, and security in the region, especially through negotiations and dialogue.”

During the event, UN sister agencies, national and international participants presented their initiatives and proposals to observe the International Year of Dialogue as a Guarantee of Peace, shared information on activities aimed at implementation of the International Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace.

“The promotion of the international partnership, which is the basis of the UN Charter and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, is fundamental in preserving peace and security, supporting, developing and ensuring human rights. That’s why the adopted Resolution of the UN General Assembly, which calls for the development of dialogue as a valuable tool for resolving and preventing conflicts, alleviating tensions and settling disputes, is of particular value to us,”- highlighted Dmitry Shlapacheko, UN Resident Coordinator in Turkmenistan in his speech.

Following the official launch ceremony, the high-level participants adopted a Roadmap for the International Year of Dialogue as a Guarantee of Peace.

United States: 60+ Faith Groups Urge Congress to ‘Dramatically’ Slash Pentagon Budget


An article by Jake Johnson in Common Dreams (licensed under Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).

More than 60 faith-based organizations on Tuesday urged the U.S. Congress to impose major cuts on the bloated military budget as President Joe Biden pushes for a nearly $30 billion increase and Republicans demand even bigger spending hike.

“The country is sprinting towards a trillion-dollar budget for weapons and war—propping up an expensive and harmful militarized foreign policy while people struggle to meet their basic needs,” reads a new letter to members of Congress signed by U.S., international, and state and local groups including the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice, Hindus for Human Rights, and dozens of others.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley arrives at a news briefing at the Pentagon on May 23, 2022 in Arlington, Virginia. (Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

“We cannot continue down this morally bankrupt path,” the letter continues. “We urge members of Congress to dramatically cut militarized spending in the fiscal year 2024 budget—both to facilitate reinvestment in the well-being of our communities, and to curtail the harms of our militarized foreign policy.”

The groups’ principled stand against devoting further resources to the U.S. military—and specifically to the Pentagon, an agency that recently failed its fifth consecutive audit —comes days after Biden requested an $886 billion military budget for the upcoming fiscal year, with $842 billion of that total earmarked for the Department of Defense.

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Question related to this article:

Does military spending lead to economic decline and collapse?

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Tori Bateman, the policy advocacy coordinator at AFSC, said Tuesday that “we know that there is enormous waste, fraud, and abuse at the Pentagon—and that spending exorbitant amounts of money on weapons and war takes away from the funding our communities receive for things like healthcare and housing.”

“This year, we need Congress to commit to cutting Pentagon spending, and maintaining a robust level of spending on human needs programs,” Bateman added.

But that demand is likely to be ignored in a Congress that agrees each year—on a bipartisan basis and with relatively little pushback —to increase the U.S. military budget, often by tens of billions more than the president’s original request. In 2022, just 78 members of the House voted for Rep. Barbara Lee’s (D-Calif.) amendment to cut the military budget by $100 billion while 350 opposed it.

In response to Biden’s budget framework, leading Republicans made clear that they would push for even more military spending, calling the president’s proposal “woefully inadequate” —even though it’s among the largest in U.S. history.

“If past experience is any guide, more than half of the new Pentagon budget will go to contractors, with the biggest share going to the top five—Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, General Dynamics, and Northrop Grumman—to build everything from howitzers and tanks to intercontinental ballistic missiles,” William Hartung of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft noted last week. “Much of the funding for contractors will come from spending on buying, researching, and developing weapons, which accounts for $315 billion of the new budget request.”

Of the $1.7 trillion in discretionary spending that Biden has proposed for fiscal year 2024, just $584 billion is reserved for social programs, analyst Stephen Semler observed.

The anti-war group CodePink said in a statement Tuesday that while “President Biden’s overall 2024 budget does have some positive proposals like restoring the child tax credit, investing in clean energy projects, and cleaning up nuclear waste sites,” the “likelihood of passing the tax reform needed as well as the policies themselves seems very unlikely as congressional Democrats couldn’t even pass the Build Back Better legislation when they had more control in 2021.”

“What will pass—what always passes no matter who is in the White House and what majority fills the halls of Congress—is the defense budget,” the group added. “Any domestic policy being dangled to the public by the Democrats is meaningless while they still support the ever-growing and immoral defense budget.”

Egypt, Jordan, Algeria, Palestine, Arab League reiterate commitment to supporting Al Quds


An article from Egypt Today

CAIRO – 12 February 2023: Al Quds support conference kicked off on Sunday at the Cairo-based Arab League HQ with the participation of President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, Jordanian King Abdullah II, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Abul Gheit.

High-level representatives for presidents and kings of Arab League member states also attend the event alongside foreign ministers and representatives for international, regional and Arab organizations.

Al Quds is the Arabic name of Jerusalem

Spokesman for AL Secretary General Gamal Roshdi said the conference is meant to bring to limelight the Quds issue before world public opinion in view of Israel’s crimes and violations.

Al Quds Affiars Minister Fadi al-Hidmi said the conference is extraordinary, calling for a clear political Arab stand.

The conference focuses on three main axes; the political conditions in Quds, development and investment priorities in Quds and the Israeli illegal and racist measures against Quds people.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi has reaffirmed Egypt’s firm stance towards the rejection of Israel’s measures to change the legal status of Al Quds and its sanctities.

President Sisi called on Arabs to support the Palestinian cause.

President Sisi welcomed the participants of the conference, saying that Al Quds, which hosts Al Aqsa mosque and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, is the crux of the Palestinian cause.

The president said that Egypt rejects all Israeli measures to change the historical and legal status of Al Quds and supports the Hashemite custodianship of the Holy places of the City.

President Sisi said that Egypt, more than four decades ago, stretched its hands to Israel to achieve just and durable peace that restores the rights of the Palestinian people and establishes a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders.

He said today’s gathering coincides with extraordinary circumstances threatening regional security and the concept of coexistence.

President Sisi said Israel’s unilateral measures including settlement activities, demolition of houses, confiscation of lands, expulsion of the Palestinians from their homes and attempts to Judaize Al Quds, run counter to the international legitimacy resolutions and fuel congestion.

The president appealed to the international community to work on salvaging the two-state solution plan and pave the way for the resumption of peace talks, saying that Egypt will continue its efforts to reconstruct Gaza Strip 

Sending a message to the Palestinian people, the president said that their cause will remain on the top of the priorities of Egypt and the Arabs.

Sending another message to Israel, its government and people the president said “time is ripe for peace and coexistence among the peoples of the region.”
President Abdelmadjid Tebboune of Algeria warned that the racist policies adopted by Israeli occupation authorities in Al Quds and its attempts to obliterate its Arab, Islamic and Christian identity will only achieve imaginary gains that violate legitimacy and demography.

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Question related to this article:

How can a culture of peace be established in the Middle East?

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Addressing the conference, the Algerian President reiterated condemnation of repeated Zionist attempts to impose a fait accompli through falsifying facts in the holy city.

He reiterated Algeria’s full commitment to support the right of the Palestinian people to establish their independent state within June 1967 borders with Al Quds as its capital.

He reiterated Algeria’s appreciation for the positive steps that have been achieved recently at the diplomatic level, especially the adoption of a resolution by the UN General Assembly to activate the role of the International Court of Justice in consolidating the rights of the Palestinian people.

He said Algeria will continue endeavors aiming at strengthening Palestinian national unity to materialize the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people in obtaining their freedom and restoring their sovereignty.

Also, Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Abul Gheit stressed that Arabs should enhance the steadfastness of Palestinians to preserve the Arab identity of Al Quds in face of all attempts to Judaize it.

Abul Gheit said the issue of Al Quds is at the heart of all Arabs, warning that the holy city does not only suffer from occupation but also from attempts to obliterate its identity.

Al Quds is under occupation and no one can change this fact, Abul Gheit said, warning that all attempts to Judaize the city will lead to more violence.

He underlined the importance of preserving the historical status of Al Quds so that just and comprehensive peace can be achieved, saying today’s conference aims at sending a message to the entire world on the importance of protecting the holy city from violations committed by occupation forces.

He warned of attempts to divide Al Quds and erase its Islamic identity, saying such attempts would lead to more hatred and conflicts.

He made clear that Israel is adopting a systematic approach to undermine the two-state solution, urging all peace loving powers to join efforts to settle the Palestinian issue.

King Abdullah II of Jordan has called on the international community to work on achieving the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people to establish a sovereign and viable state on the 1967 borders with Al Quds (East Jerusalem) as its capital.

Addressing Al Quds support conference, King Abdullah said the current state requires intensifying efforts to support the Palestinian people.

He said his country continued efforts to protect the Islamic and Christian holy sites in Al Quds.

The king stressed the importance of maintaining peace on the basis of the two state solution and ending Israel’s storming operation of Aqsa mosque, pointing out that the Palestinian cause will remain on Jordan’s top priorities.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said supporting Al Quds and its people is a religious duty and vital at the humanitarian and national levels. Abbas said al Quds is in need for the support of Arab and Islamic countries.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said “we will go to the United Nations for a resolution protecting the two-state solution through granting Palestine full membership.”

He called on Arab funds and associations to perform their duty in defending al Quds and protecting its identity.

Abbas voiced deep appreciation for President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s attendance of the conference, thanking Sisi and the Egyptian people for Egypt’s continued support for the Palestinian cause and the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip.

He also thanked King Abdullah II of Jordan for his support for the Palestinian cause and his efforts to protect Islamic and Christian sanctities in al Quds.

He called for putting into effect the decisions of the Arab summit that was held in Algeria last November.

Meanwhile, he lauded an initiative launched by the Qudsona Foundation and Al Quds empowerment fund and Al Quds endowment fund for mobilizing dlrs 70 million financing amid plans to up this number to dlrs 200 million within the coming five years.

Big Peace Rally in Germany: Despair and Joy


An article by Victor Grossman in World Beyond War

Despair and joy can be so close together!

In conflicts, I know, neither side can be trusted. Both sides twist and distort, magnify and minimize in support of their cause. But the daily, almost hourly pictures from Ukraine – of hardship, suffering, of death, destruction and flight, all too genuine, cause me the despair I have always felt on hearing – and worse seeing, if only on a screen – any pain inflicted on my fellow human beings, no matter what insignia they wear or flag they honor.

But I must also recoil at the hypocrisy and dishonesty which so often go unnoticed. The propaganda producers who feign despair but seek more conflict, more medals, more billions, always praise a noble cause: freedom, democracy, rule of order, and always warn of despicable enemies; Bolsheviks, anarchists, Stalinists, communist aggressors and, when these are eliminated, terrorism. When that, too, erodes, authoritarianism must serve, or “imperialism” turned upside down. A nasty “villain” is always effective, justly or not, an Iago: Lenin, Stalin, Saddam, Gaddafi, Assad, Putin.

Is hypocrisy involved? Double standards? Chinese sources, like all others, must be met with caution. But can all the charges in their Foreign Affairs Department memorandum be completely denied?

“The history of the USA is characterized by violence and expansion… After World War II, the wars either provoked or launched by the United States included the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, the Kosovo War, the War in Afghanistan, the Iraq War, the Libyan War and the Syrian War… In recent years, the U.S. average annual military budget has exceeded 700 billion U.S. dollars, accounting for 40 percent of the world’s total, more than the 15 countries behind it combined. The United States has about 800 overseas military bases, with 173,000 troops deployed in 159 countries…The United States has also adopted appalling methods in war… massive quantities of chemical and biological weapons as well as cluster bombs, fuel-air bombs, graphite bombs and depleted uranium bombs, causing enormous damage on civilian facilities, countless civilian casualties and lasting environmental pollution… Since 2001, the wars and military operations launched by the USA in the name of fighting terrorism have claimed over 900,000 lives with some 335,000 of them civilians, injured millions and displaced tens of millions.”

Did none of this deserve the opprobrium now directed at Putin? Were any flags of sympathy displayed when the people of Serbia, Iraq or Afghanistan were bombed? When drones exploded on hospitals and wedding processions – were there also calls for tribunals against Bush – or Obama?

My despair grew far more intense when I felt the menace of escalating demands, after Leopard tanks, for powerful artillery, fighter planes and boats, and not just to win back Crimea; when I read the editorials insisting on “fighting on to victory,” no matter what it costs, above all to the people of Ukraine. Or when I read the following:

“This Ukraine crisis that we’re in right now, this is just the warmup,” said Navy Adm. Charles Richard, the commander of US Strategic Command. “The big one is coming. And it isn’t going to be very long before we’re going to get tested in ways that we haven’t been tested [in] a long time.”

Adm. Richard’s threat came after the US released its new Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), which reaffirms the US doctrine on first use of nuclear weapons. The review says that the purpose of the US nuclear arsenal is to “deter strategic attacks, assure allies and partners, and achieve US objectives if deterrence fails.” What are then the US objectives in Europe, Asia – or Africa and Latin America?

Only a few lonely voices questioned them and their likely cost, but were quickly muzzled. Peace rallies, rarely attracting more than 2-3000 faithful leftists even in Berlin, were mentioned, if at all, superciliously and dismissed as ragged little remnants of the huge rallies of the 1980’s. The media kept up its routine of repeated scenes of death, flight and destruction in Ukraine (not in Yemen), combined with rousing calls for more and deadlier instruments of war – until Ukraine was fully restored and Putin defeated, humbled, possibly deposed and preferably tried and sentenced.

How then, could I find any cause for joy, any reason to smile?

Almost surprisingly, two of the best-known women in Germany overcame past differences and joined hands. Alice Schwarzer, now 80, had once, with her magazine “Emma,” been the main founder and expounder of the women’s rights movement in West Germany, including abortion rights, but had later drifted politically rightwards. Sahra Wagenknecht, 52, with an East German background, was alongside party founder Gregor Gysi the most prominent, media-wise and popular spokesperson of the LINKE, the Left, a truly brilliant orator, but who has been disavowed by most of the present reformist leaders of her party, with some of them even demanding her ouster.

This unusual duo joined to publish a manifesto calling for a cease-fire in Ukraine and urging – not tanks and armaments for the Zelenskiy government in Kyiv but pressure on both sides for peace negotiations. It warned of the consequences of more weapons – and more active participation by Germany, basically in the wake of Washington.

But what could these two women achieve against such high tidal waves? Their position, in today’s Germany, was considered purest heresy, which must quickly be exorcized.

Suddenly, the witch-doctors found this far tougher than expected – after 69 prominent Germans signed the manifesto, people originally from all the parties, popular, respected people: a former female church leader, singers, actors, the son of one-time Chancellor Willy Brandt. And then the numbers of signers grew, and grew, and grew! 50,000, 100,000 – by Saturday it had topped 650,000 and was aiming at a million!

The alarm bells rose to a deafening cacophony! The media, the politicians, sadly including many of the LINKE, they all joined in a wild attack against the manifesto and especially against Sahra.

Their attempts to disprove its arguments were less and less convincing. Could more weapons really bring Russia to its knees, forcing it to give up claims it deemed necessary to its independence – if not its survival, like keeping NATO missiles at least a minimal distance from Moscow’s doorsteps and preserving safe, unmonitored warm-water Black Sea routes to the world’s oceans? Or might bigger attacks by Ukraine-USA lead instead to desperation? All such questions are publicly taboo – like questions about who really blasted the German-Russian underwater gas pipelines, who was really throwing dangerous missiles at atomic energy plants controlled by Russian troops, or what the USA-Ukrainian biological laboratories were really researching. There were too many such questions to permit discussion; it was like opening Pandora’s box. The lid must be kept sealed!

Common lid sealers were the usual accusations of Putin-endearment, of blindness to death and destruction, denial of Kyiv’s right to territorial sovereignty and free choice of its alignments, awarding Putin territorial seizures without a fight. But none of this applied; the Manifesto made no demands on anyone – except to sit down and end the slaughter before it exploded further and irreparably.

When Sahra and Alice called for a big rally in Berlin on February 25th the fears multiplied. A counter-demonstration was organized for the 24th, the anniversary of open warfare, mostly with Ukrainians (66,000 now live in Berlin) but aimed at convincing Germans who sympathize with Ukraine and its suffering to reject any blame on the preceding NATO provocation and blame Putin alone. One effort was to transport a wrecked Russian tank to a spot next to the Russian embassy, with its big gun aimed directly at its entrance.

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Questions related to this article:
Can the peace movement help stop the war in the Ukraine?

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But the main argument against Sahra and Alice stressed the support by the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), whose anti-European Union, pro-Russian positioning led its leaders to add their names to the manifesto and announce their intention to join the peace rally. Sahra answered: “We can have nothing to do with fascists or racists, we must not permit them to raise their banners or posters. But we simply do not wish, nor or we able to exclude anyone from singly signing or attending whose heart is honestly devoted toward ending further bloodshed – or worse.”

Many in eastern Germany vote for the AfD because of anger and disappointment at hardships caused by unification and their treatment as second-class citizens. Too many are fooled into blaming “privileged foreigners.” Many are just against “those on top,” somewhat like many simpler Trump voters, they want (affordable) butter not guns, therefore distrust further involvement in the Ukraine war. Since some LINKE leaders gratefully joined in state governments they were seen, not always falsely, as “part of the Establishment,” so many LINKE voters switched to the AfD or didn’t vote at all. Such support is certainly embarrassing to Sahra and Alice, but they hope a Manifesto for Peace movement can become a healthy antidote to fascists and their deceitful initiatives.

Yet it was this issue which was played upon by both media and politicians – trying to depict the Manifesto movement as a unity: right-wing nationalists with leftist “Putin-lovers”. This method of attack has been utilized in the past to split and wreck attempts at building a broad peace movement. One might suspect that powerful groups grasp this function of the far right all too well and apply it whenever required.

Would such constant media hammering succeed? Would this peace rally end up as a pathetic flop, with a meager crowd like the Zelenskiy-friendly Ukrainian rally the evening before? Waiting for the subway, I feared to find, once again, that same small bunch of the faithful, many of them old friends.

And what did I find? On this icy-cold Saturday afternoon, with snowflakes beginning to flutter down, the subway was jammed! There was hardly room to even stand properly! And at the next station more tried to push into the car! Where were they all going?

There was no doubt about it! When I arrived at the station near the Brandenburg Gate, the site of the rally, thousands and thousands climbed out of the jammed cars, ascended and merged into the crowded streets, all headed in one direction! I too moved through the famous arch towards the big speakers’ stage – but never got to a place where I could see them. I had just barely enough room to squeeze in to a free spot. And only later did I learn from my sons that the crowd had been huge on all sides, jammed, chilly, but friendly, polite, in wonderfully high spirits at the giant turn-out, and determined in their applause, cheers, occasional boos (when war-hungry politicians were named), with occasional shouts like “No Weapons! Negotiations!”- “Make Peace not War”.

Many, perhaps most of those present, on or below the speakers’ stage, deplored and condemned the Russian invasion. But many also insisted that Kyiv’s big planned attack on the Donbas, the numerous maneuvers all around Russian ports and borders, a secret CIA intensive training program in 2015 for elite Ukrainian special operations forces, had made it unavoidable, that these were part of a trap – which Russia either fell into or was forced to fall into, as in Afghanistan in 1979.

I, too, knew of an MSNBC report on March 4, saying: “Russia’s Ukraine invasion may have been preventable: The U.S. refused to reconsider Ukraine’s NATO status as Putin threatened war. Experts say that was a huge mistake…The abundance of evidence that NATO was a sustained source of anxiety for Moscow raises the question of whether the United States’ strategic posture was not just imprudent but negligent…Senator Joe Biden knew as far back as 1997 that NATO expansion, which he supported, could eventually lead to a hostile Russian reaction.” Views on the war were far distant from those in the media!

People discussed and debated, but all I spoke to agreed that further conflict would only continue the terrible afflictions for the Ukrainians, could achieve no victories but only create giant dangers – also atomic dangers threatening the entire world.

And the neo-fascists? In media reports afterwards they were very much present, with an interview with one of their leaders somewhere on the periphery. We heard later that a few known far-rightists had indeed shown up with a banner, but a “left-wing Linke” group, at the ready, had quickly covered it over with a bigger anti-war banner and pushed the rightists – non-violently – away from the rally. I saw a few Russian and pro-Russian flags, carried, I think, by Russian-speakers, perhaps adult children of the many Russians who have moved here in recent decades. One of my sons did see a small group with nationalist flags, which could not easily be banned in that giant but always peaceful crowd, but can hardly have reached anywhere near 1%. And as for me, in all the time I spent there, or getting there and back, I saw not one rightist sign, but rather many hundreds carrying peace dove depictions or self-made anti-war slogans, happily ignoring the organizers’ request to carry no signs at all.

As Sahra and Alice commented: the Manifesto, now being signed by additional tens of thousands, and especially the rally, have frightened all those who want to continue the war, who want no negotiations, who are determined, as some say openly, “to ruin Russia” and unseat anyone like Putin who, love him or hate him, refuses, unlike Yeltsin, to take orders from abroad. Policy-makers in the American seats of power clearly want to prevent even the weak but potentially growing cooperation between Germany with its European allies and Russia or China, which had been supported by some sectors in Germany – but had now been suffocated, with the current near-total domination by those German Herren, now in modern dress, but who recall all too frighteningly the stiffly monocled, heel-clicking warriors of past generations.

Of course, détente between Western Europe, Russia and China could mean fewer billions for US frackers and fuel providers, could cut profits for weapon-makers and other hungry expanders, from Amazon, Coca-Cola and Disney to Facebook, Unilever and the other queen bees in the honeyed hives of the pharmaceutical, movie, herbicide, food and other empires. Above all, the CEOs at Lockheed, Northrup, Raytheon, at Rheinmetall, Exxon Mobil and Chevron could then no longer rub their hands quite so gleefully or buy quite so many yachts, jets or mansions.

In her speech, Sahra reiterated: “We want no German tanks firing at those Russian women and men whose great-grandparents, in millions, were inhumanly slaughtered by the German Wehrmacht.” She condemned as cynical the signing of agreements to provide armaments for years in advance and said that true solidarity meant getting engaged for peace, not war.

Of course Vladimir Putin must also be willing to make compromises, she said, Ukraine must not be turned into a Russian protectorate. But as we have since learned, negotiations were not stymied by the Russian side. Several speakers recalled that Blinken, like his predecessors, had continued to push eastward, rejecting Russian appeals and offers and a final red-line warning in December 2021 to agree on security guarantees for all sides. New revelations by Naftali Bennett, the former prime minister of Israel, indicate that negotiations between Russia and Ukraine were moving ahead in March until Boris Johnson from London and his prompters in Washington made clear that an agreement was not desired. Turkey’s Recep Erdogan, though he succeeded in achieving grain shipments, prisoner exchanges and even a safe travel guarantee for Biden’s trip to Kyiv, felt the same outside pressure against further agreement.

Sahra and Alice got cheers when they stressed that agreements are not impossible, but must be fought for – and must be wanted! There is no need for tanks but rather for diplomacy, for a readiness to find compromises. A broad new peace movement is urgently necessary – and this rally must provide an impetus.

The media and the politicians, now more frightened than ever, were unsurprisingly quick, later, to dig up a solitary rightist they could use as Exhibit A, and then to lie about the figures. After the pro-Zelenskiy rally the night before, with about 7,000, they estimated 10,000; in our peace rally they could only count up to the same 10,000 figure, when everyone else saw 30,000, 50,000, perhaps even more. Since too many had taken part who would not swallow such a nonsense figure, TV reporters shame-facedly revised it to 13,000 or, vaguely, “thousands.” These were the least nasty, distorting even insulting examples of the immense efforts – even within a fracturing LINKE – to strangle this baby in its cradle before it emulates Hercules’ swift growth in muscle!

It was in fact the biggest peace rally in many, many years, good cause for them to fear – and for me and so many I have spoken to a source of great, unaccustomed joy! So close can despair and joy occupy one’s heart!