40 thesis concerning the suspension of Corbyn

Corbyn has been allowed to become member of the party again but have been refused to come back as part of the Labour group in parliament by the party leader Keith Starmer. The criticism below is as urgent as ever while more and more people are attacked, now even for criticizing how Corbyn is treated after allowed to be member of the party again.

By Tord Björk

  1. The suspension of Jeremy Corbyn from the Labour party in the UK for telling the truth about media biased writing about antisemitism in the party is a threat to the international struggle against racism, for the climate, peace and solidarity. The UK plays a central role in global political affairs. This not only as a state but also due to the central role English language plays in international culture and making of public opinion as well as the role of London in the global financial industry.
  2. The suspension of Corbyn is devastating because it is an act of silencing the truth. Corbyn supports the recommendations made by a commission set up to investigate cases of racism. The commission studied how complaints about antisemitism in the Labour party was addressed. There is no controversy in substance concerning following up on these recommendations. What Corbyn says is that studies made in 2019 shows that complaints had been made about incidents concerning much far less of the Labour party members than what is believed by the public. The media politicized these instances making the population of Britain to believe falsely that complaints had been made concerning every third member of the Labour party which is a hundredfold more than actually is the case. Corbyn is suspended by the present Labour party leader for telling this truth. That is a futile attempt to adapt to the false claims by the media instead of standing up for the party and the truth.
  3. Labour under Corbyn brought hope to the possibilities of saving the climate, stopping Western endless wars and creating a better relationship between the West and the rest of the world. The British people voted democratically against Labour in their full right for reasons said to have to do with other issues, mainly Brexit. The hope Labour represented internationally for people all over the world caring about the environment, peace, social justice and stopping racism is in need of being put on the agenda again.
  4. This is a question for everyone seeing the need to challenge those in central positions in global politics. We have to place the issue of suspension of Corbyn into the issue of the survival of mankind in a time of social and ecological crisis including militarization of conflicts between and within countries with the risk of ending in a nuclear war. Those constantly attacking Corbyn in British media and by other means strongly not only influence British politics but also world politics. Thus there is a need for an internationalistic answer to the attack against Corbyn.
  5. We have primarily to address the situation as actors that are able to learn from experience and not see ourselves as victims. Those addressing the suspension of Corbyn as a matter of tactics within the Labour party or as an issue of the need for the left to defend itself have to be told frankly that the matter is far more severe and broad. Those defending antiracism, peace, climate and solidarity in Britain have been unable to confront the attack from the vested interest in media, state and business institutions. Only by standing up against the lies made by those in power in these institutions it is possible for the rest of the world to make visible the negative role they play in global politics. Corbyn did what was necessary for an international wake up call against the threat from these institutions. Parochialism making the issue into an internal British affair is not acceptable.
  6. The British state is sometimes acting with the help of secret agents or the help of funding NGOs to secretly or openly interfere in other countries democratic life. With the help of methods such as having sexual relationships under false pretensions and other morally disgusting and antidemocratic provocative methods British agents have infiltrated the antiracist, environmental, climate and other movements internationally causing severe damage in the trust among people and to public life. The British state also funds NGOs as Integrity Initiative led by former military intelligence agents that have set up secret networks in other countries to attack the peace movement under the pretext of acting against Russian disinformation. The reaction to this British interference in other countries has mainly been to criticize how the Integrity Initiative was used against Corbyn and the Labour party. This has left aside the solidarity with the international peace movement and the need to stop the British state secret interference in other countries democratic life. This self-centered attitude is not acceptable anymore. The suspension of Corbyn is clearly linked to the role played by both British mass media and state apparatus with its closely related NGOs not only in the UK but also internationally.
  7. The situation calls for an investigation into how the British state plays a role in forming public opinion through secret manipulation via academies, media and intelligence as well as closely related NGOs and business interests. It is a well known fact that the UK was central in developing modern methods to manipulate public opinion as well as having state institutions secretly attacking movements and even their own democratically elected Labour governments. During WWI the British state hired an academician with international credentials to write a false report about German atrocities committed by soldiers in Belgium including chopping off the hands of babies. These accusations under false academic flag were then illustrated with the help of the best artists of the time for war propaganda. The British set an example that later inspired other countries using the same type of grossly exaggerated false claims about the enemy. In the 1920s the secret service produced a false document to imply that the Labour party was colluding with the communists in the Soviet union contributing to the fall of the government. In the 1970s members of the secret service were ”spreading damaging, malicious stories” about some members of the Labour government. In a report from Centre for Crime and Justice Studies by Connor Woodman on Counter-subversion, deep dissent and the logic of political policing the growing interpenetration and interaction between the secret state, multinationals and pro-business propaganda organisations is high-lighted. The report also shows that such cooperation has a long history. Already in the 1920 secret agents, right wing forces, parts of the press and private organizations acted jointly in the interest of corporate power.
  8. Campaigns today against independent movements in opposition to vested interests has become obscure and hard to deal with. In earlier days campaigns against larger movements were often organized at the domestic and international level by organizations such as the Secret service in the UK and CIA or FBI in the US and KGB in the USSR. In the 1980s such campaigns were beginning to be outsourced to NGOs. At the core of this reorganizing of attempts at monitoring and managing popular dissent lies a separation of politics and economics and social and political rights. Such a fragmenting framework makes room for protesters within a neoliberal system for pressure groups and advocacy while marginalizing protests against the system as a whole. This seemingly gives a voice to many while maintaining the present racist world order and privileges for a few.
  9. Antiracism becomes, in this system, institutionalized as a moral issue to be addressed by educational means changing individual behaviour and membership control to keep the party or organization ”clean”, a task without end for those telling who is a racist and who is not. Political change to minimise racism in society and the world by changing the causes becomes irrelevant or can even be labeled as a form of racism and denial of the false general rule that Left and dictatorships are genocidal and racist while Centre-right Western European states are democratic and antiracist.
  10. Political parties have failed to address this separation of moral and political antiracism. The decisive moment in Europe was when Joshka Fischer, then the German foreign minister, at the annual general assembly of the Greens in Germany 1999 was able to turn one of the strongest pacifist parties in European into a supporter of breaking apart the strong popular resistance to oppose German participation in wars, the first ever since WWII. To impose his will on the party he said he shared the wide sentiments against using military means in the population and the party but there was something worse, which was a new Auschwitz. This use of claimed human right violations legitimized wars in Europe and elsewhere by Western states against UN rules and with violations of human rights as a consequence. The model to legitimize such wars has been institutionalized in a well funded NGO system that addresses human rights issues in a biased way, using double standards while avoiding to address the present racist world order. Wars and a selective use of human rights benefitting corporate Western interests by military, economic and political means goes without systematic opposition. Many times, Left and Green parliamentary parties have been the strongest supporters of these wars to maintain Western world dominance in the name of avoiding atrocities – resulting in far worse atrocities than existed before.
  11. Popular movements have to find common ground to avoid being used against each other as political parties of all colors and the NGO system have failed us. Now is the time to stand up jointly against racism of all sorts in daily life and the way the world order is organized. The climate movement has to address the way wars for oil and other natural resources possible due to the racist world order is at the root of climate change. The peace movement has to see that it has common interest with the environmental movement in opposing the attack on Corbyn for telling the truth about the British press biased in this case in the interest of a corporate world view on forms of racism to oppose. Anti racism has to be put back in place as genuinely indivisible including both daily life moral issues and state racism directed against people with another ethnic background than the majority of the population and support of a racist world order by military, financial or other means.
  12. WWII is essential for the understanding of racism and in general about politics today. The present rewriting of history by relativization of the Holocaust is a major threat against the struggle to oppose antisemitism today. In the era of WWII the Holocaust is unique. Terror and mass starvation took place in colonial countries under Western control and in the Soviet Union. The far right ideology claiming that what took place was a double genocide committed by Germany against Jews and the Soviet Union against populations in countries it occupied is a rewriting of history. This obfuscation of the holocaust is used to maintain prejudices against Jews by claiming that Jewish partisans took part in a genocide while Nazi collaborators are turned into national heroes in the struggle against the Soviet Union.
  13. Many central and Eastern European countries as well as the EU and pro-business organizations support this rewriting of history, claiming that both Nazi Germany and the Soviet union were genocidal. This obfuscation of what happened has become the new denial of the Holocaust according to Dovid Katz, the Jiddisch scholar and editor of defendinghistory.com. It has been central in one of the ways antisemitism has been allowed to grow again and even made it possible for Nazism in some countries to be seen as a legitimate way to combat Jewish communism. At the same time as Nazi symbols are declared to be ancient domestic symbols not to be opposed the same way as communist symbols. Saying that the violent Nazi C14 organization is Neonazi has by court decision been declared as slander and forbidden in Ukraine.
  14. Earlier history called for a historic unity against antisemitism and fascist aggression both in Asia and Europe as the cause of WWII. The rewriting of history, claiming that the interwar period and WWII was a struggle between democracy and two genocidal totalitarian regimes, is ripping the historic unity against antisemitism apart. What we have left is a Europe with a view on a world war that doesn’t understand it as part of global history. The role played by Europe’s long time oppression of countries in the South is erased out of the picture. This role has continued after WWII in colonial or neocolonial forms. EU is getting closer to Japan and the US in an atmosphere of a new cold war both against Russia and China. But while Germany acknowledged the atrocities it committed during WWII Japan never did. The Japanese attack on China in the 1930s fighting both nationalist and communist forces and massacring civilians cannot be framed the way EU frames WWII in Europe. WWII in Asia was a conflict with communists and nationalist on the good side and today’s ally Japan as a fascist aggressor.An alliance concerning the view on WWII with this denialist country is not helpful in the interest of opposing racism emanating from the era of fascist aggression nor that of today’s world. Countries in Europe need instead to relate to the rest of the world in a mutually beneficial manner.
  15. The effort by president Trump and the EU to rewrite history books to make them more supportive of the role of their own countries must be opposed as damaging for both the West and the whole world. Opposition against the present world order dominated by the West imposed on populations everywhere is seen as unpatriotic by this recent move by Trump and similar attempts by the EU. The EU parliament goes as far as saying that the Russian response to the way the EU rewrites history is an act of information war ”waged against democratic Europe that aims to divide Europe”. What started as a rewriting of history in the interest of the EU to whitewash the role of Western European colonial democracies in the interwar period is turned upside down. All the blame for collusion with Germany is placed on Soviet Union and by proxy on Russia, a Soviet Union claimed by the EU to have the goal to dominate the world in contrast to the Western colonial countries. Instead of the EU attacking Russia it is claimed that Russia started an information war against the EU. What the EU does is presented as only counteracting against what is actually a self imposed problem started by the EU itself. Meanwhile it is not only the historic unity against antisemitism that is lost when Poland instrumentalized the Auschwitz commemorations for political reasons to exclude the country representing those that liberated the concentration camp. Lost is also the EU interest in a fair world built on reconciliation and ending denial of the crimes made by the EU member states in the rest of the world since the Opium war in the 19th century until today’s neocolonial unequal relationships and Western wars in regions of importance for the supply of fossil fuels. The common interest of both Trump and the EU to whitewash the role of their own countries is part of an effort to start a New Cold War both against domestic and external enemies presented in a distorted way which is the last thing the world needs.
  16. The rewriting of history is based on a separation of Nazi ideology into two parts. This anti-Jewish-bolshevist world view was both ideologically and in practice indivisible. The separation becomes the starting point for misusing remembrance of Nazism as a way to whitewash the ideology that underpins the EU. Nazi Germany was for reasons of preserving the German race opposing equally the Soviet state and Jews. Soviet Union was a danger to the organic common interest of many people as it was acknowledging class differences in society. The Jews were seen as a threat against the same organic unity of the German or any people that have built nation states as the Jews were unable to build their own nation states and thus were parasites undermining national unity. The splitting of Nazi ideology into two separate parts makes it possible to instrumentalize the struggle both against Nazism and antiracism using Nazism as the worst example of racism. By this separation of the Nazi anti-jewish-communist ideology it is used to demonize communism ending in in equalizing Russia with Nazism. This becomes central in an information war that develops in four steps.
  17. In the first step the conflation of communism and Jews takes place. The Nazi propaganda presented as the common enemy, the Jewish-bolshevik red soldier with a communist symbol inside the six pointed star of David on his hat. To destroy Jewish-bolshevism, a plan to mass murder 30 million Soviet citizens was implemented. 27 millions were successfully murdered according to the plan. The intention was to establish an oppressive society with Germans as the privileged class ruling over a population were for ever the idea of building a classless society should be destroyed. What the Nazis called Colonial Bolshevism should also be destroyed as it was a threat against Europeans and their rightful access to natural resources all over the world. The plan also included extermination of all Jews which was also brought to extreme consequences murdering 6 million Jews and would not have stopped at that if not Nazis Germany had been defeated by the allies with the red soldier carrying the heaviest burden.
  18. In the second large step the House of European History established by EU in Brussels in 2017 at the cost of 50 million euro takes the communist symbol out of its Nazi Jewish-bolshevist context and place it besides the swastika. Stalinism and Nazism are presented as both genocidal ideologies and regimes with the purpose of gaining global dominance. The actual world dominance at the time as well as before and after in the hands of Western countries and their corporations are erased out of the picture.
  19. In the third step taken earlier – but not in such a large scale – EU supports the Prague declaration that conflates communism and Nazism and promotes a double genocide theory as the way to frame WWII era history. The EU support for this declaration is institutionalized through the Platform of European Memory and Conscience 2011 as a tool to rewrite school books and produce other forms of material. Only other ideological regimes than those ruling liberal and conservative colonial and neocolonial countries now members are mentioned as responsible for genocides and will to dominate the world. This double standard is motivated by the need of ”building European resilience to modern external threats” according to the EU parliament.
  20. In the fourth step the rewriting of history goes full circle and shows that the aim is to use this new version of WWII and the interwar period as a tool in an information war instigated by the EU against Russia. The EU and Russia are now exchanging mutual accusations concerning WWII in an information war started by the EU a decade ago. The EU parliament claims that the current Russian leadership distorts historical facts and whitewash crimes committed by the Soviet Union, accusations that could as well be put against the EU. Meanwhile the way EU rewrites history in a way that relativizes the Holocaust and with that weakens the common struggle against antisemitism.
  21. That many single issue movements and political parties and intellectuals from the whole spectrum of ideological viewpoints have endorsed this separation of Nazi ideology and practice into two parts makes it no less dangerous and at the root of the present situation. All Labour, Liberal, Conservative and Green British members of the European parliament voted for the resolution that support the double genocide theory and thus the obfuscation of the Holocaust that can be seen as the new form of Holocaust denial.
  22. Instead of progressive movements and parties accepting this double genocide theory and separating racism in daily life and state racism it is necessary to place the responsibility for racism were it belongs. Endlessly defending ourselves of not being antiracist enough according to changing criteria and double standards is a dead end street. It is now necessary for every popular movement to live as we teach and at the same time address the societal causes of racism. We have to become trustworthy, live up to our own words as well as do what we can to act against state racism and any double standards in addressing racist issues while taking steps to dismantle the racist world order.
  23. The colluding of different forces built on coinciding temporary interests has merged into a powerful combination in the suspension of Corbyn, and yet it is weak. The Gordian knot composed by these different forces may seem impossible to penetrate. And yet there are a lot of inconsistencies inside the knot that makes it possible to implode.
  24. To make the criticism against Corbyn and others in progressive movements to live up to their own standards is a necessary first defensive move. The criticism of the commission had a main argument that the procedures in Labour should be not interfered with by the leadership, The first thing the new party leadership does is to break that rule and suspend Corbyn immediately for telling the truth. What Corbyn said was misrepresented by mainstream media as criticism against the commission when it was a criticism against the exaggeration of the problem in mass media. Moralistic arguments demanding immediate action from the leadership in specific cases have been prominent during the whole campaign in this issue. The main recommendation the commission made was that the opposite was what was needed and had not been in place, that sufficient resources and training was given to the separate body in charge reacting to complaints without interference. Now the new leadership did interfere immediately taking the focus away from the recommendations made. At the same time the critics of Labour used the occasion saying that the party under the former leadership had utterly failed because it interfered in the independent complaints process as if Corbyn had mainly tried to slow down the process. Actually he had tried to speed up the exclusion of the most high level politician which the media especially complained about.
  25. But due process arguments is not enough to win a political struggle nor is the trust in juridical forms of struggle. The trial against Julian Assange as well as the composition of the US Supreme court after Trump have made appointments shows that this can have serious shortcomings to say the least. The commission that studied Labour is very slow in reacting to complaints about islamophobia within the Tory party. This puts on the table the question if racism is being dealt with equally in all parties.
  26. The critics of the Labour party will shift arguments from moralistic to consequential and due process and back again or use contradictory arguments at the same time to win not only the battle but also the war, Their goal is in many cases far more than damaging the Labour party. It is to silence and make passive the social base for political change including opposition to state racism and support of a racist world order both in the UK and other countries.
  27. Thus far more has to be done than mere tactical damage management. The threat against the social base goes far beyond attacking the Labour party. It is an attack against any expression by people that oppose the present development model and world order, expressions we often call popular movements mobilizing concerns on platforms beyond a left wing agenda for peace, the environment and welfare.
  28. Business interests are among the main drivers of tightening the Gordian knot composed of so many diverging interests in the attack on Corbyn. Business organizations uses the occassion in general to attack Labour as well as accusing the workers movements for being antisemitic and racist, including also those part of the workers movements that were the first to be terrorized and put in camps by Stalin. Business organizations and representatives are well represented in the intertwined networks of people and institutions inside the knot. They promote the idea that the only result of the peasant and workers revolutions a hundred years ago was the creation of genocidal states. This is a conflict with European democracies that promotes freedom and has become rich thanks to free markets and entrepreneurial skills.
  29. The military industrial complex and secret services is another busy actor inside the knot trying to tighten the control of society. Openly and secretly attacking Corbyn in the interest of a foreign policy that gives free room for selling new wars with lies and replacing the UN and its charter with an alliance with rich countries antagonistic to anyone presented as a threat to their access to natural resources or willing to stand up for its own interests.
  30. Centre right parties as the Tories have as they should, especially in a two party system, have been doing what they are supposed to do. They used the issue for attacking the Labour party. Some conservative British politicians have opposed the House of European History and the way the EU tends to present nationalism as a problem. But in general the four steps in separating antiracism from anticommunism, then present Stalinism and Nazism as equally genocidal and finally saying communism and today’s Russia is the same as a Nazism fits the present centre right agenda well.
  31. Social democrats used to have another agenda talking about political reforms and not separating this from the moral issue. Statistics showing that Labour voters before Corbyn had the second least proportion of antisemites of any party in the country and during Corbyn the lowest shows the success of such a policy. But more and more social democrats give up on this unifying idea of politics. Appeasement and trade as a tool for bridging gaps and promoting peace between countries also with different political systems was the strength of social democratic foreign policy. This has been replaced by actively participating in war crimes at times by the majority of Labour and the subsequent need to defend earlier war mongering against the consistently peace and antiracist position held by Corbyn.
  32. What is of special international importance, and not only of British, is the role played by the media as the Guardian. This paper is the only centre-left daily of importance in Britain and could then be expected to play at least a neutral role in this controversy. On the contrary it has been one of the main contributors to the attack on Corbyn publishing a disproportionate number of the more than 5000 articles in the British national press about the trumped up accusations against Labour under Corbyn being severely antisemitic. As the Guardian plays the same role in the attacks against Julian Assange after having made use of his exposure of Western war crimes puts the central role the Guardian have in the global climate and other progressive movements in question. Who will be the next that the Guardian betrays together with the rest of the mainstream press?
  33. The attack on Corbyn has effects on movements in all of the world in many ways. Climate, peace, anti state racism and other movements will have far less to say in British politics for a number of years. This was the result already from the way the Labour party was inconsistent in its position on the Brexit vote which made it lose the election. The suspension of Corbyn evaporated any hope for building a strong Labour party again any time soon capable of winning against the Tories by mobilizing a broad social base. The hope represented by Labour to like-minded in many parts of the world has been crushed.
  34. The severity of the social and ecological crisis and the threat from militarization of conflicts and armament taking resources away from peace, welfare and climate transition does not disappear in the UK or elsewhere. When the party option for the time being has limited possibilities to go forward which is the case not only in Britain but also other countries all the more it becomes necessary to find other ways to organize opposition to the present ecocidal racist world order.
  35. The only way to successfully do that is to strike a blow against the Gordian knot at the core of its strength which is to label any progressive movement antisemites linked to genocidal left wing ideologies and legacy. Or at a more abstract level separate the individual moral from changing material conditions, in other words separating politics from economics and furthermore separating politics into single issue policies, what has become known as silos. Movements have to find a way to see their common interests in opposing the forces tightening the Gordian knot and start untying it instead of being constantly on the defensive.
  36. Nobody can do this alone. The strategy of the Left saying that they are not antisemites and that the attack is against them, pro-Palestinian movements stating opposing Zionism is not anti semitism and the peace movements saying they support Corbyn is to retreat and not going forward.
  37. What is needed is to criticize the relativization of the Holocaust which is now made into a main stream ideology with the help of EU and the New cold war being waged against Russia and China. By equalising communism and Nazism business interests, Western states hope to silence domestic movements and regain strength in competition with China and Russia. The fascist aggression appeased by Western states in both Asia and Europe leading to WWII should be forgotten.
  38. Only by stating clearly that in the era of WWII the Holocaust was unique we can regain political terrain. Other terror and mass starvation in the Soviet Union or the colonies governed by Western democracies in the same period are to be denounced without double standards but do not have the same character with the intent to murder every member of a people. Before and after the WWII era, genocides has taken place but in the politically defining era for the present world order before and during the Second World War, this was not the case. The way many have addressed this issue is to claim that the there has been also other atrocities and genocides committed by Western capitalist countries than the Holocaust that also should be taken into account. This have made it easy for the forces claiming only Nazism and Communist regimes have committed these kind of extreme crimes to say, that this is to relativize the Holocaust. By showing the uniqueness of the extermination of the Jews by the Germans in WWII we can strengthen the struggle against antisemitism and any other racism while at the same time expose the hypocrisy of those that blame others for relativizing the Holocaust which they themselves are doing.
  39. At the same time the separation of the moral and the political has to be firmly brought together again and placed where it belongs, in the common need of saving mankind in the only possible way, to preserve our planet with all its living beings so coming generations can live a fruitful life. This caring relationship between the moral and political can only be done in relationship with material conditions in rural and urban communities linked together via democratic movements all over the planet. It has to be placed in being a human in our full capacity as producers, consumers and creators of culture together with others. By simultaneously trying to live as we teach and trying to change society we need to transcend the private and the public by other means than the market or the state which is at the core of building popular movements and commons. Redistribution of wealth or demanding adherence to a specific ideology may not solve the crack in political and private life which the separation of the moral from the political have caused. The belief in state centric policymaking or the market when there is no such thing as society has no solution to his problem. Only in community based rural and urban commons of very different sorts that also can produce some of what we need can the moral and political realm foster fruitful relationships if links are made around the planet including to relate to different political parties and economic and cultural forces. The misuse of the separation of the moral and political for hypocritical purposes has no future if mankind should be able to survive
  40. Precisely this need to strengthen the expression of what local social bases need in a way that contributes to the survival of mankind is what is under attack when Corbyn is suspended. Labour under Corbyn with its mass participation of new members represents a will to unite all important struggles for social justice, antiracism, environment and peace. Those that consistently have been attacking this renewal of Labour with all the means available to those trying to capture us inside a Gordian knot represent the opposite. Only by simultaneously exposing the way those in power tries to separate us and find ways to combine our struggles can we move forward. We need to challenge all their attempts at character assassinations and depriving us from access to freely communicate and organize. We need to call for all movements to demand an end to the racist world order, peace, welfare and saving our planet.

Tord Björk

Some links:

Novara media – David Graeber: A celebration of his life, At 1:32:27 Corbyn about this Anarchist and his he contributed to a new relationship between the movements and the party

The books exposing the fake character of the attack against Labour under Corbyn: Antisemitism in the Labour party (can be downloaded for free).

How Labour Became “Antisemitic”, AN INTERVIEW WITH GREG PHILO

The article refers to the book Bad News for Labour:

The Labour Antisemitism Report Has Always Been a Politically Motivated Travesty, Daniel Finn

The Fallout From Jeremy Corbyn’s Suspension | Novara Media

Spycops in context: a brief history of political policing in Britain and A brief history of political policing, Connor Woodman

The purpose of the Integrity Initiative and what it does – We are all in an ongoing war according to Chris Donnelly, founder and director of The Institute for Statecraft and former NATO advisor

Undermining Democracy, Not Defending It: The ‘Integrity Initiative’ is Everything That’s Wrong With British Foreign Policy, Aaron Bastani

Dovid Katz: The “Double Genocide” Theory, The New and Official form of Holocaust denial:

Dovid Katz and his collaborators website:

Holocaust and the rewriting of history:

Tord Björk, rewriting of history in Brussels:

Tord Björk: Liberal rewriting of history, m,ore detailed version of the article in Algemeiner:

European Parliament resolution: Importance of European remembrance for the future of Europe

“Letter in support of critical social sciences in France” opposing governmental Islamophobia

The Weaponisation of Labour Antisemitism | David Graeber


International action calendar 2021

From the ongoing Indian farmer protests.

The dates are a mixture of days initiated by popular moveemnts and official UN dates when movements also often taken action. You can find more information about official UN dates in the link below. This list is done with the help of both global and European Sources. The first version was made to contribute to European/Prague Spring 2020 meeting online 5 – 6 December. Help is needed to fill in more actions days of continental or world wide importance including which coalition is supporting the initiative. Some of the dates below will have very many particpants, other may be proposals. The purpose of putting the list together is to help planning for those interested in organizing international acion days and campaigns./ Tord Björk Friends of the Earth Sweden, International Council WSF member for Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. You can send suggestions to this list including link to more information about the dates to: tord.bjork@gmail.com


4 January – The Assange verdict is supposed to be handed down this day in 2021, protests (IPA)

22 January – Celebration when the UN nuclear ban treaty will become law (peace movement)

23- 31 January – global decentralized WSF – Anti Davos

25 January – International Day of action on Yemen (peace movement)

25 January – Commemorating 10 year anniversary Tahrir square during Arab Spring, WSF action day, Helsinki

27 January – International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust

20 February – World Day of Social Justice

8 March – International Women´s Day (WEF, EF)

21 March – International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

30 March – International Domestic Workers Day (WEF)

17 April – International peasant struggle day (VC and others)

22 April – 9 May – International Action weeks: Disarm! for ecosocial transformation (E/P S)

22 April – International Mother Earth Day (environmental movement)

26 April – International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day (anti-nuclear movement)

End of April- beginning of May – Global Days of Action on Military Spending (GDAMS) including International Anti- Military Base Protest Day

1 May – Worker’s Day (EF, WEF)

2 May – Odessa solidarity 7th anniversary of the attack on the trade union house in Odessa killing 42 people (E/P S)

8 – 9 May – Victory day against fascism in Europe (peace movement, EF)

24 May – International Women’s Day for Peace and Disarmament (WEF)

5 June – World Environment Day (environmental movement, EF)

20 June – World Refugee Day (WEF)

6 August – Hiroshima Day (peace movement)

9 August – International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

21 September – International Day of Peace (peace movement)

23 September – International Day against Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking (WEF)

28 September – International Safe Abortion Day (WEF)

2 October – International Day of Non-Violence, Gandhi’s birth Day (peace movement)

15 October – International Day of Rural Women (WEF)

16 October – UN food day (Food sovereignty movement)

10 November – Proposal for a European Strike for Equal Pay Day in the EU – November 10 is the day when women symbolically stop getting paid compared to their male counterparts for the same job. (WEF)

25 November – International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (WEF, IPA)

29 November – International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People (IPA)

For more international UN days:

EF European Forum of Green, Progressive and Left Forces – https://europeanforum.eu
E/PS European/Prague Spring – https://www.attac.hu/2020/12/statement-from-european-prague-spring-december-5-6-mobilizing-meeting-for-world-social-forum-2021
IPA International People’s Assembly – https://antiimperialistweek.org
VC Via Campesina – https://viacampesina.org
WEF Women of the European Forum – https://europeanforum.eu/2020/11/23/women-assembly-manifesto
WEF World Economic Forum, the organizer of the Davos meeting – https://www.weforum.org/
WSF World SocialForum – https://wsf2021.net

Action proposals and backgrounds

Global Pact of Solidarity for the Rights of Migrant and Refugee Peoples, petition

World Says No to War on Yemen, International Day of action:

Ecosocial transformation through universal disarmament, end of April

Nuke Free Europe petition

Mock COP 26 youth climate initiative

Stop repression, Odessa solidarity May 2

Holocaust and the rewriting of History, Prague Spring 2 webinar related to Auschwitz liberation January 27:

European Forum

European/Prague Spring


International People’s Assembly

World Social Forum 2021 January 23 – 31

Daily life and the suspension of Corbyn

By Tord Björk

From the EU sponsored museum

The attacks against Jeremy Corbyn is not only attacks against his politics. It is part of an attack against peace, environmental, social rights and anti-racist movements and their attempts to come to terms with the state apparatus and its close links to business interests.

In the long waves of popular struggle for peace on and with earth the suspension of Jeremy Corbyn from the Labour party is telling us something. It comes in a time when all over the world we are asking ourselves how we can get a better, less stressed daily life at the same time as acting against the threats to the survival of mankind and biological diversity. To be able to do that we must find a way to a fruitful relationship, instead of a gap between our local experiences where we live and formal economics and politics.

Labour under Corbyn was able to bridge that gap and opened up for a fruitful dialogue with independent movements and people’s daily life experiences. A strong democratic momentum emerged raising the party membership threefold. Movements for climate, antiracism, peace, social justice, and several other issues found a voice inside the formal political system willing to listen to their message. Corbyn was suspended for telling the truth that the attacks against Labour for being antisemitic were exaggerated. The suspension is an attempt to dismantle the democratic progress that has een made. The role the UK and Anglo-American influence have in the world makes it necessary with an internationalistic support of this democratization and answer on the attack against it, which is also an attack against us.

The forces against this democratic progress are strong but will not succeed. The revitalization of linking daily life experience with politics is of too large importance both domestically and internationally. It is a decisive step forward in a country that was at the forefront of establishing racist imperialism globally, which continued today under the aegis of the finance industry in London.

Most reactions against the suspension of Corbyn lack the understanding of the historic opportunity to mobilize broad international support for this democratic progress. Instead, the reactions limit themselves to the playing field set up by the opponents to Corbyn. It is a defensive reaction saying we are not racist, being critical towards Israeli policies is not the same as being an antisemite. We who work for peace, as Corbyn consistently did, must defend ourselves against the military industrial complex. This is an attack against the UK left and we have to defend ourselves against the right.

A response kept within moral, single issue, ideological and national frameworks does not address the severity of the situation. What is under attack is of historical and international importance for the relationship between movements based in daily life and the parliamentarian realm. Movements that are political actors also rooted in the moral realm. A broad range of independent movements including those that are not carried forward by a left wing ideology. Acknowledging this dimension of a mutual general relationship beyond policymaking between movements and formal politics is the key to understanding why Corbyn is so feverousily attacked.

It is an attack organized by several forces joined by coinciding interests with seemingly unquestionable authority. It is not only those opposing the democratization within the parliamentary parties including some Labour MPs. It is also the overwhelmingly dominant part of mass media that selectively chooses what kind of racism to look for. This national press printed more than 5000 biased articles accusing Labour under Corbyn for antisemitism. There is also a long tradition of using secret and open collaboration between secret services, NGOs, business interest, part of mass media, and politicians to attack the kind of democratization, anti racist, peace, and social justice which Corbyn represents.

The biased attack against Corbyn has been systematic from many forces as part of a long UK history of misuse of propaganda against peace movements and Labour. Modern war propaganda was invented by the British Foreign Office during WWI. With the help of an internationally recognized academician a report was published with false accusations against German soldiers claimed to have chopped off the hands of babies in Belgium. During the 1920s and 1970s secret service agents in collaboration with business and likeminded forces conspired against the Labour government and was able to bring it down at their first attempt in 1924.

The British state is sometimes acting with the help of secret agents or the help of funding NGOs to secretly or openly interfere in other countries democratic life as well. With the help of methods such as having sexual relationships under false pretensions and other morally disgusting and antidemocratic provocative methods, British agents have infiltrated the antiracist, environmental, climate and other movements internationally. This has caused severe damage in the trust among people and to public life. The British state also funds NGOs like Integrity Initiative led by former military intelligence agents that have set up secret networks in other countries to attack the peace movement under the pretext of acting against Russian disinformation. The reaction to this British interference in other countries has mainly been to criticize how the Integrity Initiative was used against Corbyn and the Labour party. Instead, we need is to see that we have to jointly act against this British state funded attacks against peace, environmental, and antiracist movement and their relations with political parties.

We cannot any longer be silent about the forces that have united themselves against Corbyn and who also attacks many movements internationally. Instead we need to dismantle the legitimacy of the joint antidemocratic forces and their coinciding interests. This makes it necessary to systematically expose how the suspension of Corbyn and the collusion between the forces against him also operates internationally. It is done in similar ways and have malign effects on open democratic culture. Instead of being on the defensive we need to move the issues over to the side where they belong.

It is not we who continuously organize against racism that are racists, it is those that separates the moral issue from state racism. It is not us working for peace opposing all forms of militarism that increase our vulnerability. It is those that raise the vulnerability of all countries by promoting external and domestic enemy images.

Popular movements in opposition to the present racist world order are in need of addressing the unequal international relation between the North Atlantic countries and the rest of the world. The idea that European values or US exceptionalism are unique and calls for a right to act globally in their own interest must be opposed. This together with the revisionist idea that threat in the world comes only from totalitarian extremist ideologies as nazism, communism and islamism. To this end EU has started a museum and writes parliamentary resolutions erasing the rest of the world outside Europe from WWII history, blaming communism to be as genocidal as nazism. We have to put global history at the centre of WWII showing that the world war both in Asia and Europe was the result of fascist aggression during the 1930s started by Japan against China with mass terror against civilians in 1937 opposed by the nationalist and communist armies. Later in 1939 it started in Europe ending after six years on this continent before it ended with the Japanese capitulation in 1945.

EU relativizes the Holocaust and supports a far right ideology by claiming that both Soviet Union and Germany committed equally immoral genocides. Soviet Union as well as Western powers like the UK used large terror and mass starvation to impose their forced modernization in its own country or overseas, but this is not comparable with the German extinction of the Jews which was unique during the WWII era. The relativization of the Holocaust promoted by the EU, business interests and centre-left parties helps growing antisemitism in many places. Local Jew survivors in Central and Eastern Europe are still blamed for being Communists and thus as Jewish partisans or in the Soviet army guilty og genocide against people in Lithuania, Hungary and other similar countries.

Popular movements opposing the present world order need to criticize this double genocide theory. The way EU and those attacking Corbyn are taking antisemtism out of its political context and relativizing the Holocaust must be held responsible for helping antisemitism to grow.*

It is necessary to confront the racism inherent in the separation of the moral and the political side of racism. This in an unbiased way both in the case of antisemitism, islamophobia or any kind of racism. 

The attack against Corbyn goes beyond the issue of racism. All movements that question short term profit at the expense of environmental destruction or building a society free of oppression are under attack. The independent movements in Britain had found a fruitful relationship with a party willing to listen to them without co-opting the movements. Both participators in this relationship set an example for the rest of the world. 

The way vested interests secretly and openly oppose this relationship to enable more free room for militaristic and finance interests to rule the world needs to be studied and acted upon, especially the international dimension that has been addressed to little. The secret forces attacking Corbyn have also been paid by the British state to do the same thing in other countries. We cannot any longer let a combination of diverse forces attack us one by one. It is time to fight back by simultaneously continuing constructing alternatives, resisting wars and ways to make every social relationship and nature into a commodity. We can defeat divide and rule tactics by those in power by seeing ourselves as historical subjects with a common need of supporting each other rather than objects of oppression. When we see ourselves as people giving hope to our communities and the world in a mutual relationship with those members of political parties that oppose the present world order can we defend ourselves better when necessary, without losing our course. We can change our societies and make the world a better place to live in.

Tord Björk

* The webinar Holocaust and the rewriting of History addressed new forms of relativizing the Holocaust in the interest of business and continuation of European access to natural resources.This  with the help of military means if necessary all over the world. The webinar was organized by Activists for Peace together with Prague Spring 2 network against right wing extremism and populism on 27th of October 2020.

Webinar on the Holocaust and rewriting of history with Dovid Katz and Tord Björk October 27 2020

Tord Björk
coordinator of the EU committee in Friends of the Earth Sweden 
Co-founder of the Prague Spring 2 network against right wing extremism and populism
Co-founder of Activists for Peace
Member of the International Council of the World Social Forum for the Gandhian Network Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam

Some links:

Novara media – David Graeber: A celebration of his life, At 1:32:27 Corbyn about this Anarchist and his he contributed to a new relationship between the movements and the party

The books exposing the fake character of the attack against Labour under Corbyn:

Antisemitism in the Labour party (can be downloaded for free).

How Labour Became “Antisemitic”, AN INTERVIEW WITH GREG PHILO

The article refers to the book Bad News for Labour:

The Labour Antisemitism Report Has Always Been a Politically Motivated Travesty, Daniel Finn

The Fallout From Jeremy Corbyn’s Suspension | Novara Media

Spycops in context: a brief history of political policing in Britain
and A brief history of political policing, Connor Woodman

The purpose of the Integrity Initiative and what it does – We are all in an ongoing war according to Chris Donnelly, founder and director of The Institute for Statecraft and former NATO advisor

Undermining Democracy, Not Defending It: The ‘Integrity Initiative’ is Everything That’s Wrong With British Foreign Policy, Aaron Bastani

Dovid Katz: The “Double Genocide” Theory, The New and Official form of Holocaust denial:
Dovid Katz and his collaborators website:

Holocaust and the rewriting of history: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LpnTQMBD6Fo

Tord Björk, rewriting of history in Brussels: https://www.algemeiner.com/2020/11/23/rewriting-of-history-in-brussels-at-a-strange-new-museum-house-of-european-history/

Tord Björk: Liberal rewriting of history, more detailed version of the article in Algemeiner:

European Parliament resolution: Importance of European remembrance for the future of Europe 

“Letter in support of critical social sciences in France” opposing governmental Islamophobia

The Weaponisation of Labour Antisemitism | David Graeber

World leaders move their meetings to Asia – time for us to do the same?

In a change of places to meet from Davos to Singapore World Economic Forum (WEF) have made a decision that highlights the role of Europe in the world. The physical WEF meeting will 2021 be held 13-16 May. This has also consequences for popular movements on all continents cooperating with the help of World Social Forum (WSF) to confront the neoliberal Davos agenda. 

The reason for shifting WEF from the ski resort in the Alps to the financial hub in Asia is practical. Europe have not been able to control the Covid-19 pandemic while many countries in Eastern Asia have done this far better. The world leaders from business and politics that regularly meet in Davos at the yearly WEF gatherings do not find it safe anymore to go to Europe for a meeting like this.

We should do the same.

The change of place and time cannot be more symbolical. It is not only the health system and the way of living in Europe that have created severe societal problems. It is also at the economic and political level Europe is loosing its privileged position together with the US.  

Singapore is a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, ASEAN. This regional organisation consists of very different countries in terms of culture, economy and political system. Yet it has been successful and can today be seen as an example for the world. The region has integrated more and more countries since its beginning in 1967 and adopted newcomers well. It has gradually improved its relations with neighbouring countries like China, South Korea and Japan and lately also India, Australia and New Zealand with multilateral economic agreements beneficial for all. ASEAN also promotes regional peace and has declared South East Asia a nuclear free zone. The mode of operation is rather consensual built on multilateral agreements.

Europe is dominated by the EU that has chosen a different model. The main direction has been to develop a more supranational federalism in more and more areas causing growing tensions. When ASEAN gradually integrates new countries and maintains a good relationship with neighbours in all directions the EU is doing the opposite. It is becoming more and more hostile towards Russia ands chose to become more militarized. The House of European History established by the EU in Brussels rewrites history erasing the oppressive relationship that exists today since WWII between EU and the South while making a shiny picture of liberalism and seeing Nazism and communism as the threat against humanity. Neighbouring countries in Eastern Europe, West Asia and North Africa have a troublesome relationship with EU and its member states. Inside the EU tensions are also growing with the treatment of Greece by central EU institutions have caused severe concern and the UK now leaves the union. 

The move from the Swiss ski resort to Singapore will turn the eyes in the world population to the advantages of the ASEAN peaceful model and the present failures of the EU model. More importantly it will also pose a challenge for those protesting against the neoliberal world order promoted by the WEF. The shift of this meeting from Europe to Asia will not mean that the plans promoted at these meetings will be less dangerous.

WSF was established 20 years ago to confront the Davos agenda. WEF organizes a digital event on its normal dates the last week in January replacing the annual meeting in Davos while the physical meeting temporarily is moved to Singapore in May to come back to the Alps in January next year. In response at its 20th anniversary WSF will organize a decentralised and online global convergence between 23 – 31 January. 

South East Asia has been more important for social movements the last 30 years than we likely know

The temporary WEF move to Singapore makes it necessary to rethink and renew WSF. WSF has never been able to establish any substantial participations from South Eastern or East Asia. This will now be an important task to solve. WSF was originally planned to take place in Mexico 2021 but plans had to be changed because of pandemic regulations. As the Davos meeting WSF had to change preparing a decentralized and global WSF connected with the help of internet. Latin language countries has dominated the preparations so far and mobilization been slow outside Latin America. Now with the need to mobilize more strongly in the South East Asian region both in January and May it will also effect seemingly small details.

One such is when it is actually best to have a meeting with possible world wide attendance. Internet have provided us with possibilities to communicate across the globe at the same time. But not all times of the day are the best for having a global participation. People need to sleep. So far Mexican central time has been the norm for the choice of such a privileged time slot. Thus 8 – 10 am Mexican has been seen as the best two hours for such a world meeting. This would mean 6 – 8 am in California, Singapore 9.30 – 11.30 pm, Hiroshima 11 pm – 1 am the next day and 12 pm – 2 am in Sydney. The chosen time slot by the peace movement is telling. International Peace Bureau calls for a global virtual Zoom party to celebrate the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons entry into force between 13 – 15 pm Central European time two hours before the time so far seen as most useful for such events in the planning towards WSF 2021. The priority for the peace movement is rather Japan and large populations in East Asia rather than California. The peace celebration will take place 9 – 11 pm in Japan while the Mexicans has to be early risers at 6 am. 

More important are the political challenges for the WSF process when Davos moves to South East Asia. This region have been more important for global popular movements than most people know. Friends of the Earth and the Consumer Alliance In Malaysia hosted here the first meeting of the Third World Network meeting in 1983. This became decisive in changing the international environmental movement from dominated by Anglo American views lacking a social justice agenda to a more system critical movement with a strong voice from the continents in the South. Since then Third World Network has been a strong coordinator of the views of popular movements in environmental, trade and other international fora.  

In this region there are also other strong actors that have influenced international popular movements and criticism of the present world order. The economist Walden Bello and the organization Focus on the Global South based in Bangkok are such voices of special importance when WEF takes place in Singapore. Bello and Focus on the global South have been highly critical towards what they perceive as a politically impotent WSF the last decade. To convince them and likeminded people and organizations in the region that this is not the case anymore becomes essential to be able to confront WEF in May 2021.

The move by WEF maybe be the biggest mistake done by this influential institution. It can be of help for creating a greater convergence between movements in all parts of the world when WSF finally has to make Asia and Oceania beyond India seriously in tis plans for 2021 and the future. 

Tord Björk
Coordinator of the EU committee in Friends of the Earth Sweden 
Member of the International Council for Vasudhaiva Kutembakam in the World Social Forum

WEF information about the temporary move. https://www.weforum.org/press/2020/12/special-annual-meeting-2021-to-take-place-in-singapore-in-may

WSF: http://wsf2021.net

Let´s Celebrate the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons Entry into Force Together!

Liberal rewriting of history

By Tord Björk

Nazi and Communist symbols presented as representing genocidal ideologies at House of European History in Brussels

The Nazis wanted to exterminate another race and Karl Marx wanted to exterminate a social class. The guide at the House of European History (HEH) in Brussels is twisting her tongue when she tries to solve the task of simultaneously explaining that communism and nazism are both the same and yet not. Visually, the impression of the museum’s exhibition gives overwhelming evidence one side of the story, they are the same.

Towering above us in the ideologically most intense part of the museum are large video screens tilted towards the visitor. These screens on four islands in the room are so large that in spite of that the hall is generously big they fill up the room and the spectator can feel small under them. On the screens the masses march in honour of the dictator, people are violently oppressed and the imagery makes very clear: the interwar period was marked by the very same conflict as after the war until Soviet Union collapses and the Berlin wall falls, that between Western democracy and totalitarianism. In the impressive format is shown on the first two communism’s horrific methods, on the two later the same for Nazism. The similarity is visually striking. Stalin and Hitler in that order, omnipresent in the midst of terror. As a climax, the hammer and the sickle are projected at the same time as the swastika in oversized format.

The first time I visited the museum I was very surprised. The emphasis that the seemingly official guide gave to a group that followed her that the extinction of social classes and extermination of Jews was as morally abominable and basically as totalitarian and reprehensible appeared as confused. If this was the case, then a renunciation of the French Revolution’s abolition of nobility as a class with unique priveleges and the liberal revolution against feudal society would also be in place.

The second time I had the headphones on when the symbols of Communism and Nazism illuminated at the same time. The voice clearly stated that the two ideologies were different, something that the guide also pointed out, but in practice the next moment the voice spoke against itself. They were equally genocidal. A contradiction in practice which also to a large extent is given by HEH’s overall picture by texts and images.

Continue reading

Environment and peace were united in 1972


The demonstration at Sergels Torg outside the premises of the Conference, against the environmental murder of Vietnam, the first mass demo at a global summit. Photo Björn Gustafsson

There is something to learn from past experiences as we now face significant global threats. Not least how this awareness was brought about by a popular commitment. When we now celebrate the World Environment Day, June 5, in memory of the opening of the first day of the UN Conference on the Environment in Stockholm in 1972, there is reason to see what lessons we can draw from history.

A population movement for survival emerged in the 1940s and 1950s. That was when the consciousness arose that the nuclear bomb posed a global threat to humanity. A type of threat of total annihilation that mankind has not previously known. Soon enough, the World Federalist Movement could hand over a shovel to the Palace Guard in Stockholm in 1957 and the chairman of the Swedish Peace and Arbitration Association Per-Anders Fogelström talked about the same thing. Redirect the defense budget to support amending hunger and poverty in the world.

In 1972, in conjunction with the first UN conference on the environment in Stockholm, the realization arose that peace and the environment are connected. The concept ”environmental murder” came into use. Olof Palme used it at the conference to the great anger of the United States. Outside at Sergel’s Square, 7000 demonstrated against the poisonng of Vietnam’s forests with Agent Orange. The damage was widespread in this war against nature; to ensure that no one could hide from US helicopters and aircraft the forests of 15 percent of the land area were decomposed. The United States didn’t care about genetic damage to the women when the land was environmentally murdered to win the war. The children born by the mothers who were sprayed are filling the hospitals in Vietnam to this day.


Streets and squares were frequently used by the peace and environmental movements during the conference, as in this case with a poster against the environmental murder of Vietnam. Photo Björn Gustafsson

The popular movements’ demonstrations and alternative forums became a turning point for the environmental movement. So far, the environmental movement had accepted the framework set by the current development model. It din’t want or dare to imagine changing social power relations in society. Instead, it preferred to talk about choosing the right technology and everything would be fine. Therefore, organizations such as the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation and its youth organization the Field Biologists supported nuclear power. How else could you save the last rivers from being exploited? Another view was found only in small marginal groups such as the Working Group on Nuclear Power and the Health Promotion Movement.

The alternative activities surrounding the UN Conference changed this. The driving force behind these was the Powwow group, which took its name from the Indians’ concept of meeting where the peace pipe goes around. This small group of 12 people took the initiative one year in advance to spread leaflets, call for local actions internationally, information meetings and the cooperation organization Folkets Forum, or People’s Forum. In response, the Environmental Forum arose from the initiative of Anglo-American strategists in the secretariat of the UN Conference. It was governed by the Swedish Youth Council and the Swedish UN Association with its chairman Ingrid Segerstedt-Wiberg in the leadership of the entire forum.

The Anglo-American environmental movement with its close ties to the state, large corporations and a de-politicized hippie culture, where drugs replaced social criticism, came to suffer major defeat. So far, it had dominated the international debate. The issue of population growth was said to be the big problem. In the book Population Explosion, Paul Ehrlich pleaded for forced sterilization of men in Third World countries such as India. In a book from the US-initiated international Friends of the Earth before the conference, commons were seen as the major threat to the environment. A widespread view originally from the eco-fascist Garret Harding through the concept “the tragedy of the commons”. The solutions to the environmental issue consisted of population control at least of poor, better morals of the individual and that private ownership advanced at the expense of the commons.

An alliance between Swedish popular movements of all kinds and peoples of the Third World, as well as individual US peace and environmental activists such as Barry Commoner, thwarted the Anglo-American mix of large corporate private profit interests and the concept of too many poor people as causes of environmental degradation. The international contact network of the Young Theosophists was used to invite many environmental activists from the Third World with the help of Ingrid Segerstedt-Wiberg. The Director General of the Swedish Statistics Office demonstrated that rich people’s consumption did more harm to the environment than poor peoples’ numbers, and furthermore that forced sterilization was less efficient than contraceptives to bring numbers down. The Powwow group’s initiative, which criticized the entire UN conference for being a smokescreen in service to those in power, made its mark. The United FNL Groups ensured that there were thousands on the streets and squares willing to protest against the US environmental killings. The dominant position that the pro-capitalist and sometimes eco-fascist ideas conveyed by the Anglo-American environmental movement never again gained the central dominance they had before the UN Conference.

A more unified alternative to the Anglo-American environmental ideology was delayed for some time. But it was in its infancy. In 1973, the Stockholm environmental group Alternative City published the booklet Low Energy Society – but how? Here, the view was presented that both nuclear power and the climate must be saved, which can only be done by changing the power relations so that we get a society in need of less energy. An approach far more radical than most that is brought forth today by the climate movement in Sweden, but prominent in the Friends of the Earth International and global campaigns that demand climate justice. Unlike the environmental movement in 1972, many people nowadays seem to have the illusions that UN conferences will be the starting point for everyone if we are to solve the global social and ecological crisis. To many nowadays, the message is that if we only trust cooperation between business, the state and what is now called civil society, then win-win solutions will save us. Sometimes with civil disobedience on individual issues such as pressure and dissemination of local alternatives.

What became a more immediate effect of the alternative activities in 1972 was that the fight against nuclear power became central in both Sweden and internationally. To this, not least, Ingrid Segerstedt Wiberg, chair of the International Women’s Association for Peace and Freedom, encouraged the environmental movement to realize that peaceful nuclear power was a myth.

But even the Friends of the Earth in the United States had begun to take nuclear power seriously, which now came into its own when the dominant Anglo-American environmental ideology was challenged by Swedish peoples movements and third-world environmentalists. From the Powwow group grew a study circle with Annika Bryn as a driving force who in 1973 published the booklet Alternatives to nuclear power which influenced parliamentarans. In the Riksdag, Center Party member Birgitta Hambraeus had a central role in getting Sweden as the first country in the world to introduce a unanimous moratorium for continued nuclear expansion in new locations, which caught the haughty nuclear industry napping. In the Environmental Protection Group’s National Association, the Liberal Anita Lövgren from the Tyresö Environmental Conservation Association pushed a broad interest in the country’s many environmental groups for the nuclear issue.

1972 thus showed that the peace and environmental movement need each other. What happened also showed that power must be challenged and the question of how the whole of society is organized must be centered. That still applies.

Tord Björk,
once active in the Powwow group as a teenager and today an activist in the Friends of the Earth, Activists for Peace and the People and Peace Network.

The implosion of walls between movements in reaction to COVID19


All main international people’s movement respond with a comprehensive program on the COVID19 crisis including the Pope. The exception is the main trade union organizations but here Trade Union for Energy Democracy has instead addressed a wide range of issues by organizing a global webinar on COVID19. Main international organizations in women’s, small farmer’s, environmental, peace and antiimperialist movements all sees the need of addressing the current crisis in a broad way largely overlapping each others main areas of interest. A new situation have emerged making far more radical people’s movement cooperation across many issues possible. The analysis puts emphasis on class conscious strategies. It shows that the weakest link are the trade unions. La Via Campesina and its call for class alliances between people in rural and urban areas is emphasised as a way forward. The fastest way to strengthen global movement cooperation is to bring closer together the middle class based environmental and peace movements. This would be a more attractive cooperation partner to most trade unions. This would also weaken geopolitical polarizations and make socio-ecological dimensions more central which helps international solidarity and the kind of class alliances asked for by La Via Campesina.

People's movements COVID statements overview

Long time coming

It has been long time coming. With the COVID19 pandemic the main international people’s movements came out of the closet. Each one delivering their answer not only on how to solve the coronacrisis but also the general crisis which the present pandemic has made more explicit.

The interesting thing is that with one exception this implosion of walls do not take place by cooperating across the main movements althoug such cooperation have in many ways preceeded the current situation. It takes place by the fact that each movement to a very large degree also address the concerns of other movements. Thus a foundation is built on which further cooperation can be built on the strength on each movement and not a least common denominator,

This development made explicit by the internationalistic answers to the coronacrisis is presented by Activists for Peace, a Swedish peace organization which is a member of the social forum network Prague Spring 2 (PS2) and the Swedish network Folk och Fred (People and Peace). Statements from main international women’s, small farmers, trade unions, environmental, antiimperialist and peace movement as well as from the Pope have been compared to each other to make it possible to assess what is going on.

The collection of statements was done in the process of organizing the webinar ”Internationalistic answers to the corona crisis” 26th of April 2020. It was initiated by PS2 and organized together with the anti racist network UNITED, Youth Environment Europe (YEE), International Youth Naturefriends (IYFN), Transform Europe and SpED, Czechia, SZAB, Hungary and Activists for peace, Sweden.

The study is made to enable an exchange of experience among movements. Thus it has no ambition to be part of any academic or professional research tradition as the need for movements to get inspiration and learn from each other is here and now. The time for a more systematic study can come further on. The categories used to frame what issues are addressed by different movements can at times be arbitrary or questioned in other ways. Sometimes the problem with the category might be that its essential quality is to cross common categories like militarization which might both be an issue concerning foreign policy but also growing domestic authoritarian tendencies. Quite a few of the categories can be questioned including why some issues becomes very detailed and others broadly defined. But the idea is here rather to make people to go to the source and read more precisely what different organizations says rather then providing an unquestionable taxonomy.

All movements are represented by their main stream organization or maybe one should say man organization. One could say that farmers have stronger organizations than the small farmer organization La Via Campesina International (LVCI). But LVCI have a far larger membership with some 200 million members and a presence in all corners of the world with a similar political program which makes it a key factor for rural communities. International Peace Bureau (IPB) is by far the most established peace organization with its 128 years since it started. Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) has not produced a statement but published more articles on the coronacrisis than any other international people’s movement included in this study and the links to their articles are enclosed. War Resister’s International is also included as they have made a statement on COVID19 and represents a more radical part of the peace movement since the 1920s.

From the environmental movement two organization stands out. One is Friends of the Earth international. This is the biggest democratic international environmental organization with some 2 million members in total in 77 countries. There are other environmental organization with more resources like WWF and Greenpeace but they have no democratic membership base and is of less interest when we discuss how peoples movements react to the coronacrisis. Interesting is also 350.org which is the maybe globally most influential among the signatories to the Demand Climate Justice statement. How this organization is democratically controlled by a membership it is hard to find out. But 350.org has been able to organize already in 2009 local actions in 6000 places on all continents and is still a main organizer of international climate actions. Fridays for Future (FFF) is not included in this study as they have not responded to the COVID19 crisis and is a broad alliance based on a small common ground. But it should be pointed out that FFF is not a single issue movement as it address often with equal importance the protection of biological diversity and oppose art extinction thus challenging fundamentally the focus only on emission and industry so often dominating earlier climate campaigning. Extinction Rebellion also address art extinction in a similar vein while some of their groups have joined the Demand Climate Justice statement.

Global feminism is organized in several ways. World March of Women (WMW) stands out as being mass action oriented and firmly based among populations belonging to the global majority. This feminist movement cooperates closely with other peoples movements as La Via Campesina and anti transnational corporations campaigns. One can compare WMW established in 1998 with Women’s March Global (WMG) established in 2017. While WMW has its constitution and bylaws easily accessible under the Who we are in the menu such democratic clarity is hard to find on new Women’s March Global webpage. This webpage is well designed and local chapters are presented, 2/3 from the North and the rest from the South while proportions for national chapters of WMW is the opposite. The lack of democratic clarity is common among international networks based in the US or UK. Interesting is how this kind of network reacts on the corona crisis which is so far with silence. Thus although these kind of networks are resourceful they seem to respond later if at all when a severe global crisis appears and effects their own area of work.

The exception among the movements is the trade unions. The dominant International trade Union Confederation (ITUC) with some 180 million members has only produced a very narrow statement on the coronacrisis addressing only social rights in sharp contrast to all other movements. The 75 year old World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) has only presented a video with a message from its general secretary equally narrow in its scope addressing the important issue for workers of raised cost for necessities when speculators double or tenfold prices. The same broad approach held by all other movements was instead present at an international webinar on the corona crisis organized by Trade Unions for Energy Democracy (TUED).

Trade Unions, Via Campesina, solidarity movements as well as political parties are members of the International People´s Assembly (IPA) with continental and subcontinental chapters world wide. This cooperation between mass movements especially i Latin America, Africa, Arab countries, South Asia and Southeastern Asia with a European secretariat and network as well can be seen as the newest and in some aspects most well organized multi issue international people’s movement cooperation in the current crisis. It is an anticapitalist and antiimperialist network responding quickly on the coronacrisis by exchanging evaluation of the situation and what to say between the continents. The influence of IPA can also be seen in the so far most spread common statement by several main movements that so far has received almost 500 signatories from organizations world wide: In Light of the Global Pandemic, Focus Attention on the People.

Pope Francis Easter message: our brothers and sisters of popular movements and organizations has also been included. It represents one of the important convergences between movements and religious institutions and is as all above examples a process that has developed in a more comprehensive directions already before the COVID19 outbreak. The language of the Pope is different from the organizations but covers the same subjects. Furthermore it address the strategy forward in a manner were people in common are at the center and both market and state solutions are seen as insufficient which makes this statement important for the future.


Size does not matter

Some conclusion can be made. One is the size does not matter with the exception of the longest of the statements. It is true that two out of the four short circa 1 page statements are more single issue than comprehensive. Both ITUC and WRI have a narrow answer on the corona crisis in the two documents included in the study. But WMW and the Pope have in the same space been able to address as many wide issues as movement statements twice as long. The exception is the statements made by the Global Campaign Demand Climate Justice (DCJ) that thanks to its length address more issues than the other statements.


What areas are included?

Three areas of interest were fairly easy to distinguish between, one being social and economical, here seen as belong to the same group of issues, ecological issues and peace. More problematic was democracy issues. Such issues including the closely related issue of militarization in general of society including domestic conflicts were put together. Finally issues concerning existential question and how to act were added as two issues of interest in themselves.

What becomes clear is that all the movements address social and economic issues and all with the exception of ITUC also calls for a change of the economic system. As one could imagine it is health care the receives the most intense interest while actually social rights more in general is almost given the same importance. Interestingly demands for a change of the economic system in different ways receives great importance from all but ITUC and WRI that do not comment on the subject.

When it comes to environmental issues the attention is more varied. Food sovereignty and similar issues receives more interest than any other issues besides the social and economical field. The cause of the COVID19 pandemic receives surprisingly little interest. The only concerned is the climate justice movement and environmentalists. Climate just a short time ago a main priority for many organizations have drastically fallen behind among other than environmental movements with the exception of IPA.

Peace movement issues have a slightly different pattern. In total the interest is similar but differently distributed. While stopping wars is explicitly mentioned by the peace organizations, WMW, and vaguely by LVCI end armament is mentioned of course by the peace organizations and this time also by IPA and the joint statement by 479 organizations. The biggest difference in the pattern compared to environmental issues is that one of the aspects peace movement issues has not been included by any of the peace organizations. Instead opposing economic sanctions is brought forward by IPA and cooperation partners as well as WMW.

The issues of democracy and militarization causes both concern among WMW, LVCI and environmental organizations while the peace organizations only bring up militarization and the pope only address the need to support those that stands up for their rights. That ITUC and IPA including cooperation partners does not explicitly address none of these issues can rather be seen as that was is self evident that theses organization support must not be mentioned. Now such an argument could be used for making an excuse also for other missing issues but it can be an argument that ig is more telling in the other cases than this.

Finally existential issues and action methods are added. Not because they belong much to the same category or that one can say much about why an organization have mentioned them or not except for the Catholic Church. They are included anyway as a reminder that faced with a pandemic everything is not only politics and the other side of the coin, politics has also to be practised.


Unique qualities

There are some interesting unique qualities when looking at the more detailed account including what actors the organizations focused upon. That several organizations are unique in their area of special interest is not surprising. Standing out are the environmental organizations that together are alone on 6 issues out whom FOEI has unique interest in forestry and energy. When it comes to peace issues it is not the peace organizations that alone address some issues but IPA as they mentions to put an end to foreign military bases. In social and economic issues there is no unique interest, all issues are addressed by at least two organizations.

When it comes to actors the interest is more diverse. The two receiving most attention is small farmers addressed both by IPA et al, LVCI, DCJ, FOEI and the Pope and TNCs opposed by WMW, LVCI, DCJ, and FOEI while seen as a cooperation partner by ITUC. Indigenous people only receive attention from the environmental organizations. The two receiving unique interest is those in rehabilitation centers included by the Pope and prisoners included by the climate justice movement.


The way forward

When looking at the way the different movement address the corona crisis and frame it in a wider context there is one thing that become especially clear. The greatest potential lies in a mutual learning process between the environmental and peace movement. The environmental organizations interest in the three main peace issues stop war, armament and end sanctions is as blank as the peace organizations interest in their statements concerning stopping environmental destruction causing pandemics, climate change or food sovereignty. And yet we know that these movement are grown out of the same interest and have much in common. Now we also know that the interest for climate change is strong in the peace movement and the interest for stopping armament in the environmental movement. But further strengthening of understanding of common interests will strengthen not only both movements but also in general people movement cooperation to address the crisis at its roots. The peace movement have largely been marginalized as a result of growing competition for natural resources were us democracies in demand for oil and cheap food are in conflict with them, the dictators and terrorist. The peace movement has been portrayed as working in the interest unwillingly or willingly of the other side of geopolitical cleavages. The environmental movement on the other side has been embraced as few other movements at the risk of loosing its role as a threat capable of causing substantial change.

Seen from a class perspective the kind of classes that are the main members of environmental and peace organizations are at least in the North what is often called middle classes. They have as been seen in history a capability of mobilizing far wider in society beyond their class limits. Only when in a local community or at national and sometimes even transnational level a larger part of the working classes is involved can there be lasting victories. The working classes in agriculture and forestry in rural areas are especially important for environmental struggles. But workers in industrial economy as well as services and many time the unseen mostly female work behind the scenes to sustain a protest outside workplaces are of equal importance in the struggle against environmental destruction and war. Social struggles can often be carried out successfully when the class in question mobilize itself and receives solidarity from others seeing that it is in their own interest to do so. But quite a few environmental and peace issues get their strength through building of class alliances. Here environmental and peace organization can contribute uniquely to the family of peoples movement by coming more together on a common platform including ending of sanctions which in the time of COVID19 pandemic is of crucial importance.

Concerning social issues there are already a broad common ground and when it comes to democracy, authoritarian rule and militarization such a common ground seems also be fairly easy to achieve. When ot comes to practical ways of doing politics all the movements that made the statements hare well experienced and with further exchange of ideas and testing new ways of achieving mass participation this issue can also be fruitfully addressed. When it comes to existential issues it might be a more private matter. But it is becoming a wider recognition in all movements that it is not enough to resist and construct alternatives but it is also needed to celebrate. In Latin America the movements calls it Mistica, in other parts of the world similar cultural celebrations of what we are and do together by singing, dancing, reading poetry, making posters or street theater and the like is also an issue were we can learn more from each other.

Standing out as a problem are the trade unions or at least ITUC. But also here there might be new ways forward. In its description of the webinar organized by TUED on union responses to the COVID19 crisis with some 70 unions in 25 countries participating. This webinar addressed far wider issues than ITUC in its statement to G20 leaders. Among the issues were attacks on worker rights and health and safety including indirect effects of the pandemic due to the massive disruption to lives and livelihoods, and the threat of food insecurity. These disruptures are pointed out as being ”themselves a result of decades of austerity and increased privatization under neoliberalism, and the severe depletion of public health systems, other public services, and worker rights and protections.” How to advance international solidarity and pro-public solutions to the immediate challenges, was addressed together with solutions to the enduring ecological crisis. As TUED is an important part of the climate movement there are a growing core of organizations in all movements seeing the need to address the current crisis as a whole together with all other democratic peoples movements.

The probably fastest way to strengthen global movement cooperation is to bring closer together the middle class based environmental and peace movements on a class concious basis understanding the need of broader class alliances including indigenous people. This would be a more attractive cooperation partner to most trade unions. This would also weaken geopolitical polarizations and make socio-ecological dimensions more central. It would also strengthen rural workers and small farmers with their strong links to the environmental movement as an important part of the trade union family. The call made by La Via Campesina for class alliances between people in rural and urban areas is in the interest of many. A strengthening of ties between those working in agriculture, forestry, and fishery and those working in industry and services would also strengthening the urban trade unions.

This coming together will make it clear if an organization is more interested in maintaining the walls between different issues an be a junior partner to large well funded less democratic organization and the whims of media or been looked upon with contempt by those in power in spite of being a main organization within its filed of work as the issues the organization address at the moment is not seen as popular.

Organizations lacking a democratic membership base and mostly working with a single issue tactic can be good cooperation partners with democratic movements. An organization as Greenpeace built more like a company rather than association can do unique action were there is not local population like in the Antarctica. Avaaz can be a tool for making more and more single issue online petitions claiming to have more the 50 million members although those members are not having a democratic say in the way the political and economical decisions are made by this type of organization. These kind of organizations can get some attention and make some kind of political actions needed leaving room for peoples movements addressing all levels from the individual or family level to the local community, national and international level while also cooperating with other movements acting together.

The example with WMW and WMG* can be instructive. While WMW address the COVID19 crisis as wide as any other peoples movement the US based secretariat of the WMG has so far not been able to do so. WMG have taken part in main NGO campaigns as divest away from fossil fuels and on world peace day standing up together for peace against the forces of hate and exclusion. Other campaigns have called for an end of family separation, violence against women and slavery, the right to abortion, water rights, and stand with Kashmir. The present campaign address bodily autonomy and Free Saudi activists. In several movements we see this kind of often US or UK led NGOs doing important work but at times lacking coherence in the message so the movement can go forward. In the case of WMG it is not other mass movement which are main cooperation partner but WILPF and support comes from funds as Civicus. That these type of NGOs sometimes can have a very negative impact is the way Human Rights Watch have insistently called for more sanctions on Venezuela and supported the right wing military coup in Bolivia.** It has provided thin humanitarian justification for the war against Libya with devastating consequences. Such organizations often display clear double standards when it comes to which human rights to take into account and which one to ignore. With growing cooperation between international democratic movements the room for such biased way of handpicking which issues should be addressed and which should be not in the interest of donors rather than the democratic membership base will have less influence.


Ideological differences

There are of course clear ideological differences, mostly between ITUC and the rest. Pope Francis uses very different words than all the rest but there is no mistake to be made that he claims thatthe present economic system must change, only he calls it a cult of Mammon or in his more modern words ”the idolatry of money” rather than capitalism and sees people in common as the main agent of change, not representatives of organizations. Only ITUC sees corporations as mainly cooperation partners.

WMW and IPA are both explicitly anticapitalists IPA also antiimperialists. LVCI have a more outspoken class consciousness than any other movement in its statement. They say ”construct solidarity and class alliances, between rural and urban areas” while avoiding the concept capitalism and imperialism which they have used at other occasions. The signatories of the very radical common statement by organization initiated by IPA and signed by LVCI and in total 479 others is also avoiding the concepts capitalism and imperialism while in practice having formulated the probably most specific anticapitalist demands of all statements.

”International cooperation and not confrontation” is the way WRI use to describe its pacifist ideology. IPB talks in similar vein about a culture of peace: ”A peaceful path means that we need a global strategy, a global social contract, and global cooperation to ensure planet-wide support for people.” an ideology that can be interpreted in contrary direction as a way to seek win win solutions with corporations or as opposing such cooperation when corporations promote war. IPB also talks about opposing ”a world driven by financialization, shareholder value, and austerity” which ”has weakened our ability to defend the common good and placed human life in danger on a global scale. They also in a short and effective way combine all main subjects by calling for ”to dramatically reduce military spending in favor of healthcare and all social and environmental needs.”

The DCJ statement is also radical but avoids also words as imperialism and capitalism in general. Instead terms as the dominant economic system is used and years of neoliberalism is seen as a decisive factor behind the crisis both for health and other social issues as well as ecological problems. At one point the concept capitalism is used but in a limited sense: ”The powerful are taking advantage of the crisis to advance disaster capitalism and a new authoritarianism, handing themselves expanding police and military powers, and rushing through extractive projects.”

The FOEI statement use similar concepts as structures of social inequalities or current political-economical system Neoliberal doctrine, privatization, dismantling of worker’s rights and flexibilisation of the work market while increased exploitation of women’s work are accused of causing much of the problems. But also explicitly capitalism: ”The pandemic is unveiling and aggravating the brutal inequalities of capitalism between and within countries”. It also includes the maybe most elaborated ideological explanation of the corona crisis in all of the movements statements: ”COVID-19 is exposing the magnitude of the care crisis in our societies: a crisis that has developed over centuries through the failure of the patriarchal, racist, capitalist system to care for peoples, nature and territories, and its reliance on the work and bodies of women to make up for and fix the damage caused by the capitalist neocolonialist system of exploitation.”

There is also a difference regarding who is primarily addressed. LVCI and the environmental oppose transnational corporations while IPA primarily is state-centric highly critical against imperialist countries in the West. ITUC as we know by now wants cooperation with both states and corporations while the peace movement wants cooperation instead of conflict and is opposing the weapon industry. IPB add opposition to the general purpose of corporations and embrace a new version of the old demands from Tsar Russia, peace, welfare, and environment instead of peace, bread, and land from 1917 while also talking about cultural values thus going beyond political and economic demands putting pressure on corporations or the state.

The message coming from the Pope have probably the clearest view on who to address. He says technocratic paradigms (whether state-centred or market-driven) are not enough to address this crisis. Now more than ever, persons, communities and peoples must be put at the centre, united to heal, to care and to share.Here it is not primarily the state or corporations and the market who are the main actors. As he says in the last paragraph, ”Stand firm in your struggle and care for each other as brothers and sisters.


The languages used

Another question of interest is what languages are used. WMW has more or less all material in both English, French and Spanish as well as LVCI and FOEI use the same languages as WMW in most or all documents and the DCJ statement use these languages as well. ITUC statement is only in English. WFTU video is French with both English subtitles. WRI use English and Spanish. Standing out are the call by 479 organizations translated into English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and a language with letters unknown to undersigned. Pope Francis message to peoples movements is translated into German, English, Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese, IPB statements translated into English, Spanish, French, German, Swedish, Finnish, Catalan, Korean, and Japanese and finally IPA statement translated into English, Spanish, Arabic, Portuguese, French, Turkish, Catalan, German, Greek, Norwegian, and Italian. If all the main movements come together more there is an opportunity for a far wider use of language than normally at least for main documents and campaigns.


A window of opportunity is open

This coming together of international peoples movements is a window of opportunity. We know that there are many powerful actors out there willing and able to do the utmost to divide and rule. This time we should not let that happen. The family of peoples movements have thousands of year of experience behind us. If we need to move fast, we can move fast. If we need to move slow to get everyone on board, we can move slowly. As long as we keep together we can make miracles. Our opponents trying to split us apart find themselves in the predicament that when they hunt their enemy down they find themselves when in the mirror. Objectively we are weak but they are weaker if we stick together.

Tord Björk
Kristianstad 2nd of May 2020

Peoples movement COVI19 statements_Sida_1

Peoples movement COVI19 statements_Sida_2


Statements and articles published by main international peoples movements on COVID 19

General movements

IPA – International Peoples Assembly together with 479 organizations in total
In Light of the Global Pandemic, Focus Attention on the People

English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and a language with letters unknown to undersigned. With 479 endorsements from 70 countries on all continents

IPA: In time of Pandemic, lets turn the week of Anti-ipermailist struggle into a mobilization for the defense of dignified life
English, Spanish, Arabic, Portuguese, French, Turkish, Catalan, German, Greek, Norwegian, and Italian.

Womens Movement

World March of Women

The conflict is between capital and life. We defend life!

Farmers/peasant movements

LVCI – La Via Campesina

#StayHomeButNotSilent – In times of pandemic, peasants are united to feed the people!

COVID-19: Several members of La Via Campesina highlight the vulnerability of peasants and workers: https://viacampesina.org/en/covid-19-several-members-of-la-via-campesina-highlight-the-vulnerability-of-peasants-and-workers/
Migrant farm workers US, Confederation Paysanne, France, Union of Agricultural Work Committee (UAWC), Palestine, Serikat Petani Indonesia, Associazione Rurale Italiana (ARI), Italy, National Farmers Union, Canada, Landworkers’ Alliance, UK, Eco Ruralis, Romania, National Agrarian Confederation (CNA), Peru, MST, Brazil, National Indigenous Peasant Movement (MNC), Argentina, El Frente Nacional Campesino Ezequiel Zamora (FNCEZ), Venezuela, ANAP, Cuba,  Uniterre, Switzerland, FUGEA, Belgium, La Va Campesina South Asia.

Trade Unions

ITUC – International Trade Union Confederation

G20 COVID: Trade Unions Call for Coordinated Action for Public Health, Jobs and Incomes


ETUC – European Trade Union Confederation
ETUC Declaration on the COVID-19 Outbreak

Statement of the European Social Partners ETUC, BusinessEurope, CEEP, SMEUnited on the COVID-19 emergency

WFTU – Wold federation of Trade Unions
Statement of WFTU General Secretary on the Coronavirus Pandemic

TUED – Trade Unions for Energy Democracy: Videorecording of the TUED Global Forum on Union Responses to the COVID-19 Crisis

Environmental movements

DCJ – Global Campaign to Demand Climate Justice: A New Normal

FOEI – Friends of the Earth International
COVID-19 crisis is a wake up call for system change

COVID-19 measures must ensure Human Rights and build the resilient, sustainable food system we desperately need

Peace Movements

IPB – International Peace Bureau
PETITION: Invest in Healthcare Instead of Militarization
Download the statement in English, Spanish, French, German, Swedish, Finnish, Catalan, Korean, and Japanese.
IPB Statement: Call to the G20 to Invest in Healthcare Instead of Militarization
Download the statement in English, Spanish, French, German, Swedish, Finnish, Catalan, Korean and Japanese.

Health Care Instead of Military Exercises

International network “No to war – no to NATO”


WILPF – Womens International League for Peace and Freedom
COVID-19: Exposing the Fault Lines

What has COVID-19 Taught Us about Neoliberalism?
Qué nos ha enseñado el neoliberalismo?

COVID-19: Militarise or Organise?
Μιλιταρισμός ή Οργάνωση

COVID-19: Militarise or Organise?

“Waging War” Against a Virus is NOT What We Need to Be Doing

COVID-19: We are Not Soldiers

COVID-19: We are Not Soldiers

COVID-19: From Ceasefire to Divestment and Disarmament

Turning Swords into Ventilators? Or is it Ventilators into Swords?

Coronavirus Capitalism versus Persistent Activism

The Risks of Relying on Technology to “Save Us” from the Coronavirus

COVID-19: The United Nations Security Council is Doing What Exactly?

WILPF Sections Mobilising to Prevent Pandemic in Africa

COVID-19: A Sustainable Ceasefire Means No More “Business as Usual”

COVID-19: A Sustainable Ceasefire Means No More “Business as Usual”

WRI – War Resisters International
WRI Executive Committee statement on the Covid-19 Crisis

TFF – The Transnational Foundation for Peace & Future Research
TFF The Corona – An opportunity to replace militarist security with common and human security. Part 1, 2 and 3

World BEYOND War
COVID-19 and the Wasting Disease of Normalcy

Pandemics, Social Conflict And Armed Conflict: How Does COVID-19 Affect Vulnerable Populations?

Letter of Pope Francis: To our brothers and sisters of popular movements and organizations
German, English, Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese

* link to Women’s March Global to compare with WMW
** Criticism of Human Rights Watch


End the sickness of war – NOW!

Who should we be listening to? While Nato’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg based on a fictional enemy, is pleading for continued increased founding for military and militarisation another General Secretary speaks of the importance to put disagreements aside so we all side by side can fight against a real threat to humanity – the corona virus.


On March, 23 United Nation’s Secretary General António Guterres held a speech where he asked for an immediate global cease fire in all corners of the world to give everyone a real chance to fight the corona virus.

He talked about the reality where the virus hit us all. It does not care neither about ethnicity or nationality nor faction or faith; “The fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war.”

Around the world we see a severely cut healthcare system that is trying to deal with more and more people getting ill with COVID-19. Beds, equipment and personnel are missing to treat everyone. In this chaos, Guterres reminds us of something we must never forget; In war ravaged countries have the whole health systems collapsed and health professionals, already few in number, have often been targeted.

Recently, we have also started to hear warnings about what will happen when the corona virus takes an iron grip on overcrowded refugee camps around the world. Guterres states that refugees and others displaced by violent conflict are doubly vulnerable. He calls to;

End the sickness of war… Pull back from hostilities. Put aside mistrust and animosity. Silence the guns; stop the artillery: end the airstrikes. This is crucial… To help create corridors for life saving aid. To open precious windows of diplomacy. To bring hope to places among the most vulnerable to COVID-19.”

We would like to add that also all preparations for war must be stopped immediately and we must start investing in the future of humanity..

We say

  • Stop Defender 20, Aurora 20 and other large scale military exercises in Europe and elsewhere
  • End rearmament and invest in peace, welfare, health and the environment

Activists for peace will every day choose the solidarity that the UN Secretary General raises by calling for an immediate global cease fire; “That is what our human family needs, now more than ever”.

If you agree, sign our call.

Antonio Guterres whole speech follows:

Our world faces a common enemy: COVID-19.

The virus does not care about nationality or ethnicity, faction or faith. It attacks all, relentlessly.

Meanwhile, armed conflict rages on around the world.

The most vulnerable — women and children, people with disabilities, the marginalized and the displaced — pay the highest price.

They are also at the highest risk of suffering devastating losses from COVID-19.

Let’s not forget that in war-ravaged countries, health systems have collapsed.

Health professionals, already few in number, have often been targeted.

Refugees and others displaced by violent conflict are doubly vulnerable.

The fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war.

That is why today, I am calling for an immediate global ceasefire in all corners of the world.

It is time to put armed conflict on lockdown and focus together on the true fight of our lives.

To warring parties, I say:

Pull back from hostilities.

Put aside mistrust and animosity.

Silence the guns; stop the artillery; end the airstrikes.

This is crucial…

To help create corridors for life-saving aid.

To open precious windows for diplomacy.

To bring hope to places among the most vulnerable to COVID-19.

Let us take inspiration from coalitions and dialogue slowly taking shape among rival parties in some parts to enable joint approaches to COVID-19. But we need much more.

End the sickness of war and fight the disease that is ravaging our world.

It starts by stopping the fighting everywhere. Now.

That is what our human family needs, now more than ever.


Guterras, Antonio: “The fury of the virus illustrates the folly of the war”. March, 23 2020, United Nations Coronavirus Communications Team.

Listen to the call:

In the midst of coronavirus pandemic, they want money for games – Join over a thousand from all over the world to stop them


Our call to cancel all military exercises in Europe and the world after corona outbreak

A call to discontinue all large scale military exercise in Europe and the world after corona outbreak has collected over a thousand signatures. Signatories come from all over the world; Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and South America. People from every continent have come together and speak up against the present policies with large scale exercises bringing together tens of thousands of soldiers from different countries as part of a drastic increase in military expenditure.


EUCOM’s statement on Defender Europe 20 from March, 16

Defender Europe 20 is downsized, but some exercises are unfortunately still on. For instance, EUCOM has expressed that “as part of a modified Allied Spirit exercise, they expect an armored brigade combat team already deployed to Europe to conduct gunnery and other combined training together with Allies”. In parallel, we also hear statements that they already have “exercised the Army’s ability to coordinate large scale movements with Allies and partner”. They try to tell a story of success as they, since January, have been moving soldiers and equipment from the United States and equipment from prepositioned stocks in Europe to fulfil the goal of Defender Europe 20; “to build strategic readiness by deploying a combat credible force to Europe in support of NATO and the U.S. National Defense Strategy”. In practice, soldiers and equipment are moved to the east, closer to the Russian border.


Frankfurter Allgemeine on March, 19

Nato’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has confirmed the readiness of the Alliance even though the corona virus tests the resilience of the allies “to the limit”; “our forces remains ready and our work continues”. This includes the multinational combat allies stationed in the Baltic States to conduct airspace surveillance and also the naval allies and all missions from Afghanistan to Kosovo. He also expressed that exercises had to be slowed down or shortened, especially the large maneuver Defender Europe 20, but not discontinued.

It is clear that neither EUCOM nor Nato has any intention to stop or even decrease their presence in Europe. EUCOM explicitly state that changes are anticipated to the deployment timelines of soldiers already in Europe and redeployment of equipment today stationed in the United States. Schedules for future troop rotations in support of Atlantic Resolve are also likely to be adjusted at the same time as efforts are put into “maximizing efforts to advance alliances and partnerships”. Nato’s Stoltenberg also speaks about exercises slowed down or shortened, not cancelled.


USNI News on March, 7

Regarding other large scale military exercise such as Aurora 20 in Sweden and RIMPAC in the Pacific, there are no reports that any changes have been made. These military exercises are planned to be larger and more complex than ever before and also include more participants.

In this context, Nato’s Stoltenberg has acknowledged his main concern. He is worried that member states should decrease their military budgets due to the current corona crisis which has “serious economic impacts” on state budgets. Stoltenberg expects that allies will stick to the goal of “investing more in security” in order to protect themselves in an unsecure world. He says that the military threat has not changed. He prefers fictitious enemies instead of real threats to Europe and the world such as coronavirus pandemic and climate change which destroys whole ecosystems.

We say

  • Stop Defender 20, Aurora 20 and other large scale military exercises in Europe and elsewhere
  • End rearmament and invest in peace, welfare, health and the environment

No more money should be given for games. The money should go to the people by investments in health, welfare, peace and the environment.

If you agree, join over a thousand from all over the world to end rearmament and invest in peace, welfare, health and the environment. Don’t forget to spread the word.

Activists for peace



This is how the military should be used – Cancel all military exercises and end rearmament to make use of the resources for humanity

Yesterday, March 17, German news reported that the German capital Berlin ”has approved plans ahead of a expected spike in corona or COVID-19 infections”. It is planned to make use of the large Berlin Messe trade fair exhibitions grounds in the Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf district; a facility that every year, for instance, hosts the world’s largest farmer trade fair in late January. The plan is that the Berlin Messe will house up to 1 000 patients and both relatively minor corona virus cases as well as emergency respiratory patients will be treated.


Berlin Health Senator Dilek Kalayci said that ”This measure complements the well positioned Berlin hospital system to deal with possible bottlenecks” at the same time as existing hospitals in Berlin will expand their capacity to treat patients requiring ventilation in intensive care.

In parallel, hospitals in Berlin are beginning to postpone scheduled non acute surgeries in order to prepare the treatment of more patients tested positive for the corona virus.

Perhaps the most interesting part here is that German media further reports that the German armed forces, the Bundeswehr, will be drafted to help create the desired facility. We are convinced that this is how the military can and should be used and especially during crises. This time it is definitely something that poses a threat to citizens´ lives. That is the lives that any armed forces are allocated to protect.

In a time when peoples’ movements are restricted, the same should also apply for the military. But, all resources including military resources should also be put to use for humanity without risk of harm to civil society. We are looking forward to learn how this is done as military exercises are discontinued in favour of dealing with a real threat.

We are already aware of further such examples in, for instance, Norway and Sweden, but also in the United States. We plan to publish updates on the subject.

Stay tuned. Don’t forget to support our call and ask others to do the same.


On Tuesday, March 17, Berlin counted 332 of more than 7 500 cases of corona across Germany. The number of corona infected patients increased with 1 500 cases from the day before, Monday. So far 20 have not survived the pandemic virus infection and 500 are hospitalised.


During the next few months, German officials are expecting a much higher volume that will require hospital treatment after being tested positive for the corona virus. To, with the help of the German armed forces Bundeswehr, make use of the large exhibition hall in Berlin is one measure to try to contain the pandemic and ensure that the country’s health sector can cope.

Other measures includes that ”schools have been shut across most of the country, border controls have been tightened and new restrictions put on public and social spaces. Companies are being urged to offer employees remote work”.


However, some parts of the large-scale military exercise Defender Europe 20, i.e. the largest military exercise in 25 years in Europe, seems to still be on. Bundeswehr, which is responsible for host nation support during Defender Europe 20, on Monday, March, 16 said that they already had completed the major maneuvers and EUCOM expressed something similar in an update on Defender Europe 20. At the same time; Italy, a nation severely affected by the corona virus, officially withdrew their participation in the exercise. The United States has said that they are significantly reducing their participation after the Secretary of Defence’s travel bans for American soldiers and personnel went into force on Monday, but they also say “We anticipate the armored brigade combat team already deployed to Europe will conduct gunnery and other combined training events with Allies as part of a modified Allied Spirit exercise“.

Both American soldiers in Europe and senior military officials from at least two European countries who recently attended an annual NATO-meeting at an American military base in Wiesbaden, Germany as well as staff at the NATO headquarter in Brussels have been tested positive for the corona virus. In Europe, in the United states and around the world, cases of corona infected solders are reported. These soldiers and those they have spent time together with are put in quarantine, but some are still expected to conduct military exercises in Europe and elsewhere during the ongoing pandemic.