Tuesday, 15 April 2014

A Day to Protest Military Spending

Yesterday (14 April 2014) was the Global Day of Action Against Military Spending (GDAMS).

Over 100 organizations around the world have been involved in this vision. This is a wake up call to all of us to convert the yearly $1.7 trillion worldwide on the military into spending that meets our human needs of good health, free education for all, adequate housing, enriched cultural facilities, clean environment, good governance (with Departments of Peace) — the works.

In Canada, Steven Staples (of Rideau Institute and Ceasefire) has urged us to send a letter to the Canadian Finance Minister Joe Oliver with a message, such as the following.

Dear Minister Oliver,

Today I join with people all over the world seeking a reduction of military spending. I urge you to commit to reducing military spending to pre-September 11, 2001 levels, freeing up $2.5 billion every year to support our social programs.

In committing ourselves to a world without wars, let's remember some of the strong resources that we have to make this change not only possible, but inevitable:
  • War is 'the slavery of our times' (Lev N. Tolstoy, 1900), an idea that resonates with the notion of 'the kingdom of God is within you'. Like slavery, war needs to be gotten rid of. Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr shared this path.
  • 'War is a racket' (Major General Smedley Butler, 1935). 'It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.'
  • War is 'learned behaviour' that can be unlearnt (Seville Statement on Violence, 1989). Reason must thrump fear.
  • 'Nonkilling society is possible' (Glenn D. Paige, Center for Global Nonkilling, 2002). 'At least 95% of humans have not killed.'
  • 'Thou shalt not kill' is a commandment that is shared with Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Humanism, Mennonites, Quakers, and many others. In all societies, murder is disapproved.
  • My ancestors, Spirit Wrestlers/Doukhobors, burnt their guns in Tsarist Russia in 1895 because they showed reverence for life from the spirit of Love/Beauty/God within.
  • Cooperation is better than conflict.
  • Hope is better than fear.
GDAMS as a model for a world without war requires creativity. It challenges us to take money out of the military and funnel it into various human needs based on a culture of peace and nonkilling. This is a call for humanity. Let's get on with it my friends of Planet Earth.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Nonkilling Mennonites 150 Years Ago

Article submitted by Dr. Lawrence Klippenstein regarding nonkilling global peace.

I really like the emphasis of a "nonkilling solution." For 30 years I have been researching Mennonites who, more than 150 years ago, began working on a "nonkilling" solution in Crimea. Here is my most recent article:

Three Eyewitness Accounts, (2012, PDF, 20 pages)

Because the first Mennonite COs and non-combatants assisted Russian soldiers who killed, they did not provide a perfect "nonkilling solution." Later they improved.

Dr. Lawrence Klippenstein is a long-serving board member and former Historian-Archivist, Mennonite Heritage Centre; and an independent scholar, living in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. His 1984 PhD thesis was about Mennonite pacifism. In 1998, he received the Prix Manitoba Award by the Manitoba government for his accomplishments as a writer, teacher, researcher, historian, archivist, and linguist of Mennonite culture. He was Editor of Windows to the West Reserve: A Mennonite Heritage Preservation Newsletter, from the first issue in 2002 to the last in 2008. He taught at the Elim Christian Education Centre in Altona, before it closed in 1986.

Many Publications
Online Publications

Manitoba Historical Society, 6 articles

Klippenstein, Lawrence. Manitoba Settlement and the Mennonite West Reserve (1875-1876), Manitoba Pageant, Autumn 1975, Volume 21, Number 1

Klippenstein, Lawrence, and Julius G. Toews, eds. Mennonite Memories: Settling in Western Canada. Winnipeg, MB: Centennial Publications, 1977.

Bender, Harold S. and Lawrence Klippenstein. "Archives." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1990.

Klippenstein, Lawrence. Conscientious Objectors in Eastern Europe: The Quest for Free Choice and Alternative Service, in Protestantism and Politics in Eastern Europe and Russia: The Communist and Postcommunist Eras, edited by Sabrina P. Rame, Duke University Press, 1992, pages 276-309.

Klippenstein, Lawrence. Mennonites and Military Service in the Soviet Union to 1939, in Challenge to Mars: Essays on Pacifism from 1918 to 1945, edited by Peter Brock, Thomas Paul Socknat, University of Toronto Press, 1999, pages 3-18.

Klippenstein, Lawrence. Book Review: Wilmer A. Harms, The Odyssey of Escapes from Russia: The Saga of Anna K, Mennonite Life, V.55, N.2, June 2000.

Forestry Service among Mennonites in Tsarist Russia, by Dr. Lawrence Klippenstein, (bottom of) Annual Report of the Mennonite Church Pertaining to the Maintenance of the Forestry Service in 1908, Transcribed by Michael Penner. Published 2005.

Klippenstein, Lawrence, and Alf Redekopp, website historical consultants. Alternative Service in the Second World War: Conscientious Objectors in Canada: 1939 – 1945.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Song: 'From Russia With Peace'

Introduction by Koozma

The song 'From Russia With Peace' was written to celebrate the Doukhobors' burning their guns in Russia, on midnight of June 28-29, 1895. It was composed in 1982 by Jim Stark of Shawville, Quebec, a writer, singer, composer and peace activist, who I have known since the 1970s.

In 1977 Jim Stark and Peter Brown founded Operation Dismantle (a non-profit national nuclear disarmament organization). Jim served as President and CEO until 1985. In 2004, he founded the non-profit NGO 'Vote World Parliament' known as Democratic World Parliament Through a Global Referendum and since then has served on the Board.

The late John J. Verigin, Sr. (Honourary Chairman of the USCC, Grand Forks, BC) was a sponsor of Operation Dismantle; and his son, John J. Verigin, Jr, the current CEO of USCC, was active as a lobbyist at the United Nations.

Jim was a speaker and singer at the International Doukhobor Intergroup Symposium in Castlegar, British Columbia, June 25 - 28, 1982. See pages 56-58 of the Symposium Proceedings for his talk on 'Operation Dismantle' in which he ends with the following words: '…I think that we, the people, might and probably shall overcome all obstacles and see the day, or perhaps it will be left to our children, or grandchildren, when the world will in fact do to the nuclear bomb, what the Doukhobors have done to their guns so many years ago.'

Jim Stark has written over a dozen fiction and nonfiction books, most available through Amazon. However, Jim writes that 'the three best The LieDeck Revolution (Book #1, The Opening, and Book #2 The Endgame) and Beaner Wiener (an autobiography of a cat) are not there, as I am trying my best to find traditional publishers for them (not much luck so far).' 

As well, Jim writes: 'The LieDeck books were best-selllers as e-books on Fictionwise for several months. I never receive a penny from Fictionwise, but at least I had the satisfaction of hearing from readers in a positive way.'

"From Russia with Peace" can be heard on YouTube and on his YouTube channel. Jim writes in April 2014: 'You can listen to a bunch more of my songs. You have my permission to use any or all of them however you wish.'

From Russia With Peace    (© Jim Stark 1982)  Play

(This story starts in) eighteen ninety-four on a day
When a middle aged man was to make his way
From down in the land of Genghis Khan
To the exiled-in-Siberia man

(Well he) walks all day and he walks all night
And the tsar of Russia wants to make him go fight
Spirit wrestler looking for the light and
Thinkin’ of his wife and son, oh, thinkin’ of his wife and son

(It happened that the) journey up took half of a year ’n’ as he
Reached his goal he was filled with fear
His boots all muddy and his hat all fur
“Is Peter Verigin here, good sir?”

Well the guard looked down with his eyes of fire
These people were a threat to the whole empire
“You better not cut it too close to the wire
Five minutes is all you won, oh, five minutes is all you won

(Finally the) weary traveler walked in the cell
And he wished his spiritual leader well
A warm embrace and a tear that fell
And a host of troubling stories to tell

“Take off your boots,” the prisoner said,
“You gonna walk outa here in mine instead.
There’s papers at the bottom that’ve gotta be read
There’s a great deal to be done, oh, there’s a great deal to be done …”

(Soon they found the) time for departure was well near nigh
And it’s funny how five little minutes can fly
The traveler spoke his sad farewell
“Your message to the folks back home I’ll tell.”

“Every person is a holy font and
Murder by the state I do not want.
Gather your weapons and let ’em all taunt ya
Burn ’em up every one, oh, burn ’em up every one.”

(The people gathered) loaded rifles by the wagon full
It took twenty-two teams of horses to pull
With dry manure bricks and kerosene
It made a midnight blaze like ya never seen

Hymns were sung as the bullets flew
God was praised but the people knew
Troops would come and beat them blue
And send them on the run, oh and send them on the run.

(And then it was from) Kars and from Slavyanka they fled
In Bogdanovka people lay dead
Russia could be their home no more
But Canada opened its bountiful door

Now these thousands, brave and calm,
Bring to the nations a modern-day psalm
The world’s gotta do to the nuclear bomb
What the Doukhobors done to the gun, oh
The world’s gotta do to the nuclear bomb
What the Doukhobors done to the gun, oh!

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

A Russian’s View of Crimea

I get correspondence from around the world. This is about the situation in Crimea from a scholar who wishes to remain anonymous. Several notes are combined and edited.

"Putin's Russia" by Sergei Yelkin,The Moscow Times, 9 Nov. 2014.  
You are absolutely correct in your article: The Next Cold War? The whole representation of the events in Canadian media is based only and exclusively on lies. Russians and Ukrainians really have nothing to argue about, and nothing to split; we used to be one nation, and our languages and cultures are so similar.

If this was left to us common people, we would find ways to resolve all the issues, but the easiest way for politicians to gain popularity and votes is by fueling nationalism, so it is the shameless politicians who deliberately set people against each other to divide and conquer, and they climb to the tops of political power on hatred, blood, and nationalism.

Crimea is a disputed territory (to put it mildly), originally belonging to Ancient Greece, then Ottoman Empire, it was captured by Russia in 1871 and remained Russian until 1954, when it was given to Ukraine by idiot Khrushchev … as a present for Ukraine joining Russia some 200 years earlier. Once they split from Russia, doesn't it annul the ‘present’?

Ukrainian government (a bad one, I agree) was overthrown in a coup (illegal per se), and the new government which status is questionable passed a discriminatory legislation excluding Russian from the official languages of the country. This deprived 1/3 of the population of Ukraine of the ability to maintain and use their native Russian language. Crimea was an autonomous territory within Ukraine, and thus relatively independent. Disgusted Crimeans in turn overthrew their pro-Ukraine government, held a perfectly legitimate referendum, and decided to join Russia. Incidentally, their (Crimean republic) new language legislation is highly progressive and democratic, as it includes 3 languages (Russian, Ukrainian and Tartar) as the official language of the republic.
  • Where is the attack on Ukraine? Where is the occupation?
  • Suppose Canadian government undertook an action similar to that of Ukraine government and … forbade Quebecois to speak French? Wouldn't THIS action result with another referendum in Quebec and their separation from Canada?
  • Why are the results of the previous Quebec referendum LEGITIMATE, and Crimean not legitimate? Because the previous Quebec referendum barely left Quebec in Canada. Suppose it didn't?
  • Why was it OK for multiple countries to split (Yugoslavia, Czech republic, etc.) and redefine their boundaries, but not Crimea?
  • Why was it OK for territories to SPLIT from Russia, but not join Russia?
  • Why was it OK for Hawaii OCCUPIED by Americans to join the USA?
  • Why is the Canadian government making statements about their support of Ukraine, when Ukraine government made a discriminatory language planning decision?
The Ukrainian government proclaimed Bandera (a Nazi collaborator who murdered many people during WW II) a …national hero. Is this what Canada supports as well by the act of supporting the Ukrainian government?

Now, I am all for peaceful negotiation, but the referendum was peaceful.

All Doukhobors know what dreadful effects language discrimination has on minorities. I admire Doukhobors so much because they recognized the corruption of world governments, and refused to participate in hatred and division. They opposed the oppression of nation states and attempts to build self-governance systems. And threatened governments retaliated by renewed and reinforced oppression on both sides of the globe — Russia and Canada alike, the place of people struggling for their rights …was in prison.

  1. Пророчиства Америки о России’ [Prophecy by America about Russia]. From American archives in the 1920s and 1930s. YouTube (6:33 min.), Nov. 26, 2013.
  2. This is the one map you need to understand Ukraine’s crisis,’ ;Washington Post, January 24, 2014.
  3. Learn How the United States is Behind the Kiev Ukraine Riots,’ YouTube, Infowars.com, You Tube, Feb. 18, 2014.
  4. I am a Ukrainian’ Video Exposed As Kony Style Scam, YouTube, Feb 20, 2014.
  5. Danger of Nuclear War,’ by John Scales Avery, WagingPeace.org, March 14, 2014.
  6. 'This map shows what the loss of Crimea really means for Ukraine,’ Washington Post, March 21, 2014.
  7. Ukraine and Yugoslavia,’ by Diana Johnstone, Portside.org, 22 March 2014.
  8. Ukraine Crisis Highlights Ugly Global Energy Truths,’ by Andrew Nikiforuk, CounterCurrents.org, March 27, 2014.
  9. Western Looting Of Ukraine Has Begun,’ Blog by Paul Craig Roberts, March 30,2014.
  10. Will America Save Europe?’ The Equedia Letter, March 30, 2014.
  11. If You’re Surprised by Putin’s Move in Crimea You’ve Not Been Paying Attention,’ by Dr. David Stefancic, History News Network, 7 April 2014.
  12. The Strangelove Effect - or How We Are Hoodwinked Into Fighting a New Cold War,’ by John Pilger, Truthout | Op-Ed, 18 April 2014.
  13. 'The Crimean Crisis and US Hypocrisy. "War of Words" to Justify Outright Aggression,' by Kourosh Ziabasi, Global Research, 31st March 2014.
  14. War by media and the triumph of propaganda, JohnPilger.com, 5 December 2014.