Rather than go to war …

I wrote a friend, saying that I was against war in principle, that I took neither side in the Ukraine/Russia conflict, that killing anyone doesn’t take the human race forward, ever.

She wrote back:

“Whatever your ideologies and hopes for ‘non-violence’, I don’t see how closing your eyes to how or why it happens is a solution.And I don’t see how insisting people lie down and die when attacked from the comfort of an English home is ‘non-violent’?And equating perpetrators and recipients of violence doesn’t seem a very logical or fair theory to me either.Neutrality may be very self-comforting when faced with a ghastly situation, but I don’t see how it helps.”

I then wrote:

“Looking more closely at your message, as this whole thing bothers me deeply, this is what comes up for me: 

I don’t see myself as closing my eyes to how and why violence happens – I do my best to understand what motivates it.  That doesn’t mean I condone it.  I can empathise with the despair without having to celebrate a violent response to it. 

I don’t believe I equate perpetrators and victims.  I see both sides as gangs of violent thugs acting out their emotional traumas on an international stage.  Neither side has the awareness or the conditions under which that awareness might grow to see that the violence comes from unresolved unmet needs that become more and more distorted, the longer they remain unmet. I’m not neutral, as I keep on affirming.  I’m against both. 

I see almost every nation in the world acting out unfettered expansionist tendencies, as capitalism always demands, to secure markets, to secure supply chains, to dominate material resources, so that its products can compete and dominate in the world market.  It’s the same on a personal level – those who can throw their weight around can avoid looking at their own personal (hi)stories to see where their personal physical, sexual and emotional health has been stunted. 

We need, the earth demands it, that we learn to take personal responsibility for our health and well-being, both individually and collectively.  We need to see that the challenges the planet faces, and those that we collectively and individually face, demand a level of awareness, consciousness, of self and other, that permits us to co-operate without feeling that we lose anything because we do so.  The only people who can do this are those who are so emotionally and spiritually developed that they can see that nothing is lost when we co-operate and share our resources according to need – the original communist vision.  I remain as radical as I always have been, and for me the revolution needed is one of consciousness, a recognition that we live on a planet that offers us personal and collective abundance if we have the courage to drop any demands that any of us rules the world, rules over any other, dominates resources, needs to consume any more than that which the planet can safely permit us, more than enough to survive and enjoy a fulfilling life. 

In the UK, we consume 4.5 times as much as the planet can sustain if everyone on the planet was consuming as much as we do.  In the US it is 6 or 7 times.  We need to find a way of organising ourselves so that we optimise food supply (self-sufficiency is great), energy supply, etc, etc without depleting the world’s resources.  In fact the human race is on a path to self-destruction if it does not do so.  There is simply not enough to go round if we don’t back off from consuming as much as we do. And wars such as the one in Ukraine, or any war, is simply a statement of the fact that the human race has lost its way, is stuck in an imperialist capitalist expansionist economic and social model, in both east and west, and any support for military activity, for whatever reason, is to encourage this historically redundant, anachronistic way of organising society.

Ukraine 24th February 2022

I imagine there are many of you out there who are feeling, as I, pretty powerless in the face of what is happening in and around Ukraine.

I see two massive powerblocs, Russia and the West, at odds with each other, each desiring to secure Ukraine into their cultural and economic spider’s web.

It’s very easy to imagine that the West is the good guy and Putin the bad. Personally I see both the west and Russia as vying for influence over any and every country and people they can get their hands on, just as China appears now to be doing also.

There seems to be, in all of these countries, a lack of checks and blocks on megalomaniacs acceding to positions of power that enable them to throw their weight around as Putin and Nato are currently playing at, with ordinary people’s lives being carelessly expended.
So, what are we to do?

I imagine, if you are like me, you are somewhat scared of the possibility of Europe descending into a blood-bath, and wondering what we can do prevent it. It would be oh so easy to blame Putin’s apparent posturing and take sides against him, throwing weaponry at the front line in an effort to stop what appears to be bullying behaviour on his part.
And that would then be that! How would we ever pull out before Europe had been obliterated as there’s no doubt in my mind that this would trigger mutual escalation until nuclear weapons were threatened and quite possibly used by one side or another to prove that “I’m less scared than you of pressing the button”.

What kind of madness would that be?

And if we don’t follow that path, what’s the alternative?

Well first of all, I state very clearly that none of the actions of the British establishment are undertaken in my name. I distance myself from any actions that may provoke further escalation on the part of Putin and his allies.

Secondly I reaffirm my commitment to the principle that any people must be the determinant of its own future and no outsider may exercise domination over that people. While I’m not particularly nationalistic, countries, regions, ethnic groups, any cohesive group that wants to do its own thing, must be honoured in its choices, as long as those choices don’t inhibit another group exercising its own freedom to do its own thing.

Thirdly, we must stop the production of arms, of all arms, stop their trade, stop their use in any setting. We must commit ourselves to peaceful methods of dealing with difference. We have laws against domestic abuse, in which the use of weapons would draw long, long prison sentences. What’s the difference when that abuse is national and international, exercised by police forces, governments and armed forces? The same thing must apply, although I can’t say I favour prison sentences as a way of dealing with irresponsible behaviour. Yes, the perpetrator must be stopped, and there are much more successful ways of bringing abour rehabilitation than prison.

Fourthly, as I was inspired, funnily enough by a Chinese commentator, to believe, Ukraine must declare itself to by neutral, no interest in Nato, no interest in joining Russia. It needs to go one step further and de-militarise itself. In fact, the United Nations should declare itself as encouraging all of its member countries to declare themselves to be non-belligerent and neutral in international matters. We have to choose a new paradigm in international relations, one in which weapons of war are no longer available to be employed when communication breaks down. What is needed is to put as many resources as are necessary to develop whatever is required to deal with differences in a peaceful way. There is no alternative if we are to survive as a species on the planet. Co-operation is the absolute necessity of the day, to deal with climate change, to deal with people across the planet desperate to improve their circumstances on a planet with limited resources.

In the UK we are consuming between four and five times the amount that the earth can sustain if this level of consumption is matched throughout the planet. The USA consumes more than six times this amount. We have to co-operate to bring this back to what the Welsh government recognises in its planning regime as One Planet Development.

Competing for scarce resources, competing for influence as this current war displays, is not compatible with the survival of the species. Our evolution demands a level of awareness, a level of consciousness, and a level of action that goes way, way beyond what we are seeing embodied in current leaders throughout the world.

We, the people, must take responsbility for the changes and put people in positions of authority who reflect our and the planets immediate needs, and the lines of authority must be devised in such a way that pyschopaths and narcissists such as Putin, Trump, Johnson, Bolsonairo, and so many others, are not able to take hold of the reins of our world!