The new face of European resistance – Protests at the EU summit in Gothenburg, Sweden 2017 and the political background

This material is a report from protests and a seminar i Gothenburg November 16-17, 2017. Activists for peace (In Swedish: Aktivister för fred) was one of the organizations coarranging the seminar.

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Why the EU protests in Gothenburg, Sweden 2017 makes a difference

1. Movements from all of Europe came together. From the East and the West, from the South and the North.

2. Popular movements independent from political parties took the leading role in connecting issues building both alliances across established parliamentarian issue sectors as well as going much further criticizing the whole development model and the present world order. With the support of MEPs.

3. Rural and urban movements were equally important, ecological issues as important as social.

4. The coming together of all movements had its roots in growing cooperation between popular movements uniting peasant, environmental and solidarity organizations struggling for food sovereignty; these movements together with trade unions against TTIP and CETA; peace, trade unions and environmentalists against militarization and for climate transition; refugee becoming more EU-critical connecting to other movements and in general movements democratizing society and building for alternatives to EU austerity politics.

5. EU politics was challenged at all levels, from social policy to the EU growth model, the two official summit issues.

6. The follow up possibilities are many at all levels from the local to the international. Especially on transversal issues and in general for all-European cooperation including both non-EU and EU countries, both East and West as well as the next World Social Forum in Brazil, March 2018.

Read the report as a pdf here: The new face of European resistance


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Foreword: “Only united can we achieve change”

The EU bears responsibility on so many levels – from the current economic system that’s devastated our planet to human tragedies due to climate change. What we have also been seeing in the past couple of years is a humanitarian crisis – or better said- a crisis of humanity. We need collective action for social transformation. We need a systemic change in order to achieve climate justice. And this change, this transition, needs to be driven by principles of justice. Because we do not want to replicate the current system that is exploiting people. We need to build a better one, a more human one. What needs to be done to make this happen is movement building. And this movement needs to be inclusive and collaborative. A movement that is not just an environmental one. But which brings together all the injustices created by the system. Which recognises that some are suffering more than others as a result of these injustices. And which says: Refugees welcome. Black lives matter. Gender justice. Social justice. Because only united can we achieve change. Another Europe can and will be possible because people have the power.

Maruska Mileta from Friends of the Earth Croatia
in a speech at the Alternative Summit manifestation
at Gustav Adolfs Torg 
in Gothenburg, Sweden, November 17, 2017

Content

p2 Foreword: “Only united can we achieve change”
p3 Op-Ed and content
p4-7 Activities during the Alternative Summit
p8-13 Social rights & fair jobs everywhere!
p14-15 Another Europe is possible
p16-19 EU – The dictatorship of capitalism. EU history and whose interests it serves

– Kajsa Ekis Ekman
– The case of Greece
– Bike action against corporate EU

p20-25 Stop Corporate power!

– Lora Verheecke
– CEO articles

p26-31 Refugees Welcome!

– International Call for PPT
– Emancipation with refugees, not from them! CEESF in Wroclaw
– The rise of the far right
– Closing borders to refugees and migrants is unjust and dangerous!

p32-43 Peace on Earth – Peace with Earth

– Dave Webb
– Militarization of information: NATO and EU propaganda is now called Strategic Communications
– Building peace in Warsaw
– EU loves NATO
– Anti-militarism and socio-ecological transition in unity
– We need a new critical and indepedent peace movement

p44-47 System change – not climate change!

– Maruska Mileta
– Climate transition
– COP23: EU acts as if climate change a distant prospect
– COP23: From the coal mine to the conference

p48-55 The EU and agroindustrial threat to family farmers and society

– Ole Jacob Christensen- Via Campesina Europe articles

p56-65 Alternatives to EU austerity politic

– Basic income workshop
– Matyas Benyik
– Marko Ulvila
– The hidden agenda of the European Union
– Keynes and his critics in the same boat
– Austerity measures in Central and Eastern Europe, especially in Hungary
– The Collapse of the Eastern EU model

p66-69 Just transition & No to EU growth model

– EU-critical economic theory

p70-73 EU a tool for neocolonialism

– EU rewrites history

p74-79 The Future of EU

– Black Swans Queuing in Europe

p80-93 The road to Gothenburg

– Resisting EU in Sweden
– Time to build resistance in Europe
– Internationalism more necessary than ever
– Movements challenging the European Crisis
– Another internationalism is possible
– Left projects in Western Europe
– No Future without peasants!
– Behind the scenes

p94-95 Call for unity

p96-104 The road from Gothenburg

– World Social Forum – Alternative to Capitalism
– A new people’s global initiative
– Another Europe in the Making
– Reflections after the alternative EU summit

Call for action, sign our Petition: Say yes to peace in Ukraine! – Stop European Parliament from using disinformation and attacking Minsk II agreement

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We (Activits for peace, In Swedish: Aktivister för fred) call upon all constituencies in the European parliament to criticize the use of disinformation during the ongoing escalation and economic blockade in Eastern Ukraine and lack of support for the Minsk II agreement by its members in the European Parliament’s Ukraine delegation.

We demand that all actors including Ukraine equally follow the Minsk II agreement.

We call upon people in all of Europe to support diplomatic efforts to solve the Ukrainian conflict.

The time has come to say yes to peace in Ukraine and Europe!

Sign our international petition: Say yes to peace in Ukraine! – Stop European Parliament from using disinformation and attacking Minsk II agreement.


A vast majority of MEPs in the European parliament elected to be responsible for relations to the Ukrainian parliament have used their position to spread disinformation and attack the Minsk II agreement. It is of utmost importance for building peace that different actors do not deny facts on the ground trying to falsely blame the opponent for acts committed by the side in the conflict that EU supports. It is also of great importance that diplomatic efforts to end the conflict and human suffering are honoured. The Minsk II agreement is endorsed by the UN Security Council, i.e. at highest possible international level. Attacks against the Minsk II agreement by the vast majority of MEPs given the responsibility for addressing the Ukrainian conflict is unacceptable.

We demand that the constituencies in the European parliament immediately address the concern this creates for EU as a democratic community basing its decision on facts and not on disinformation.

Europe needs peace now. The greatest humanitarian catastrophe in Europe which is threatening the health and life of millions of people in Eastern Ukraine must be solved. The way the West says that Russia is the only actor who must follow the Minsk II agreement is creating passivity and prolonged human suffering. On the ground, the Ukrainian forces and the volunteer battalions have advanced in what is labelled as a ”creeping offensive”. This means that the Ukrainian forces are advancing into the grey zone and this is not in line with the Minsk II agreement which Ukraine has signed.

On the ground, Ukrainian ultra nationalist have since January also illegally blocked the railway transport between Ukraine and the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR) in order to totally break the economies of Donbass and Ukraine apart. This economic blockade is in violation of the Minsk II agreement and a threat to the economy of the Ukraine and DPR and LPR, who are tied together by mutual need for, for instance, selling coal and buying fuel for power stations. President Poroshenko strongly oppose the illegal blockade, but cannot force the ultranationalist to follow the law.

During a session in the European Parliament on the 14th of February 2017, the situation in Eastern Ukraine was presented in an erroneous way by Anna Maria Corozza Bildt, Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, Rebecca Harms, Dariusz Rosati, Sandra Kalniete, and several others in the European Parliament’s Ukraine delegation. They explicitly tried to undermine the Minsk II agreement by using false statements about the ongoing escalation of the conflict in order to avoid criticism against the aggressor that currently is Ukraine. A country responsible for a creeping offensive unable or not willing any longer to maintain law and order and thus letting ultra nationalists enforce an economic blockade against the Minsk II agreement.

Read more about the background and the campaign in To all peace loving people in Europe and the world – Time to join hands for peace in Ukraine.

The European Parliament must stop saying No to Peace

And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”

Luke 6:41, Matthew 7:3

Europe needs peace now. The greatest humanitarian catastrophe in Europe which is threatening the health and life of millions of people in Eastern Ukraine must be solved.

The largest obstacle to peace is those who claim that only the other side of the conflict has to follow the agreements made and signed. The way the West says that Russia is the only actor who must follow the Minsk II agreement is creating passivity and prolonged human suffering. Replacing the facts about what is happening on the ground with speculations about motives and to pretend that these guesses are the truth is another way to stop Europe from take steps towards peace.

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Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports from the front line of a ”creeping offensive” where the Ukrainian side inch by inch gets further into the grey demilitarized area – January, 30 2017.

On the ground, the Ukrainian forces and the volunteer battalions have advanced in what is labelled as a ”creeping offensive” by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL). This means that the Ukrainian forces are advancing into the grey zone and this is in direct conflict with the Minsk II agreement. During the last two weeks, this advancement has – with the help of tanks and other weaponry who are forbidden close to the contact line – taking place along the front line and especially in the triangle of Avdeevka-Yasinovataya-Donetsk Airport. The creeping offensive have also seen the use of proscribed weaponry by the Donetsk forces. The water filtration station located in the Donetsk’s Peoples Republic (DPR) have been damaged by the Ukrainian aggression and this cause severe problems in Donetsk, but also in Avdeevka as the plant serves about 400 000 customers in areas located on both sides of the contact line.

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Hayla Coynash from Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group succumbs to speculation – February, 2 2017. 

Some Western sources avoid addressing facts on the ground and replace this by speculation. To Halya Coynash writing on the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KhPG) web site an important reason for why Ukraine is not on the offensive causing the recent escalation is the timing which made “most western analysts and media assume that Moscow had orchestrated the offensive against Avdiivka.” The shelling began the day after the first telephone conversation between Putin and Trump. According to this speculation avoiding the facts on the ground this is proof that one side started and not the other.

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Euromaidan Press writes about recent escalations in Eastern Ukraine – February, 2 2017.

Unlike KhPG Euromaidan Press do not avoid the facts on the ground. But the creeping Ukrainian offensive is actually the opposite – a “separatists’ offence” which “can be a response to Ukrainian maneuvers”. Regardless the facts on the ground to Euromaidan press turns this and many other events during the war into something else than what actually happens. In this case a Ukrainian offensive is turned into maneuvers as if suddenly Ukrainian forces by chance happens to be in the grey zone and the culprit are the separatist forces responding to the Ukrainian advancement.

Christopher Miller, a correspondent for RFE/RL, writes in his coverage that “since mid-December Ukraine’s armed forces have edged further into parts of the gray zone in or near the war-torn cities of Avdiivka, Debaltseve, Dokuchaievsk, Horlivka, and Mariupol, shrinking the space between them and the separatist fighters.” Alexander Hug, principal deputy chief monitor of the OSCE SMM to Ukraine, quoted in RFE/RL article, said that “direct result of forward moves is escalation in tension.” The Ukrainian side, however, claim that the creeping offensive is not violating the Minsk agreements as they were not crossing the demarcation line and only entered in the zone forbidden to enter by military forces according to agreements made by the contact group with all parties from DPR and LPR as well as Ukraine and OSCE as a tool to implement the Minsk II agreement.

If this by Ukraine is not called breaking the Minsk II agreement it is only an attempt to avoid facts on the ground. It is clear that both sides shoot at each other but this time it is also clear that it is the Ukrainian side that has caused the rising tension by moving forward closer to the separatist forces causing the recent escalation. Regardless of how one looks at the war as a whole the recent escalation is the result of Ukraine being the aggressor.

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Non-sanctioned economic blockade of railway transport with DPR and LPR.
The banner reads: “No financing to terrorists! Trading with occupiers means doing business on blood!”
Photo: Штаб блокади

Simultaneously with the Ukrainian creeping offensive ultra nationalist has enforced an economic blockade against DPR and LPR by blocking all railway transport violating the Minsk II agreement and against the will of the Ukrainian national security council. Since January, 26 2017; 74000 train cars laden with anthracite coal from mines in the separatist region states Fred Weir in a report in Christian Science Monitor one month after the blockade started. He writes – Backed by a coalition of oligarchs, nationalist militias, and opposition politicians, the aim of the blockade is apparently to compel a beleaguered President Poroshenko to abandon hopes of integrating the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk back into Ukraine , as called for under the Minsk II agreements.

By attacking the trade seeing Ukrainian iron ore shipped to steel mills in Donbass, and coal and steel shipped back the hope is to declare DPR and LPR occupied Russian territory according to Weir. So far Poroshenko is helplessly declaring the blockade illegal but unable to enforce law and order. The Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman states that the loss of mining and metallurgical complex of Ukraine from the blockade of the railway in the Donbass will be 3.5 billion dollars of foreign exchange earnings and 75 000 jobs will be lost. As the companies involved in the trading across the frontline by rail are registered in Ukraine and thus pay taxes to the Ukrainian state is the blockade a blow to the Ukrainian economy. In response after having sent a ultimatum demanding an end to the blockaded have the DPR and LPR authorities on March, 1 2017 nationalised the industries trying to sell their products through Russia instead.

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Homepage for European Parliament – Ukrainan delegation.

During a session in the European Parliament February, 14 2017; this situation is presented in a contra factual way. Swedish MEP Anna Maria Corozza Bildt stated that Russia, since there was uncertainty due to a new administration in Washington, was guilty of the escalation during the last weeks. She concluded with: ”As Russia is testing the US reaction, the EU should show leadership and firmly condemn Russia’s attacks”.

Jacek Saryusz-Wolski from Poland, a country that together with Sweden headed the EU:s expansion through the Eastern Partnership project towards Ukraine and other countries, stated the following: ”The more we hesitate the further Russia goes; that is new… There are 36 000 Russian troops, some regular mercenaries and others in disguise. It is necessary to leave the harmful fiction of separatists and civil war”. In this statement, the local population filling the ranks of the separatist forces are turned into pawns in a game between great powers as EU seeing Russia as an enemy. Those who emphasise such enemy images also promote that EU should throw Russia out of the UN security council and that it is better to abandon the Minsk II agreement. If this is not possible, it is seen as a must to give arms to Ukraine.

Dariusz Rosati contributed to the contra factual statements as he said that ”Renewed attacks by Russian regular and proxy troops against the Ukrainian military and civilians in the Avdiivka region have cost many human lives, caused significant material damage and represent yet another blatant violation of the Minsk Agreements.”. He said this with the assumption that this was not a blatant violation by the Ukrainian side. Black is turned into white in the European Parliament.

Sandra Kalniete, stated on behalf of the PPE group that ”we have a vital interest in stopping Putin before he moves on to other countries in Europe”. She praised the EU initiative East Stratcom which is said to stop disinformation and so called hybrid information.

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East Stratcom’s Disinformation Review – February, 13 2017.

February, 13 2017; East Stratcom presented a report on ”pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign” in Scandinavia. Two Swedish cases were singled out. One was a false personal accusation against a known pro-NATO journalist. This false accusation was posted on a facebook group opposing Western politics in Ukraine and the post was taken away later during the day when administrators noticed it. Months later, the person in question was sentenced in court for libel. This was certainly not part of a campaign, but rather seen as an act against the interest of those questioning Swedish and Western influence in the Ukrainian conflict.

East Stratcom also highlights the acts of another individual who, under the name of Egor Putilov, wrote articles published in Sweden. Putilov started writing articles accusing left activists. This included a political refugee from Russia who had opposed the government and had to flee the country. He was accused of being Putin’s agent. Putilov’s articles accused all left voices that had opposed the Swedish Ukrainian policy and labelled them as Putin’s agents.

Later the same Putilov. sometimes using different names. turned up as being employed by the right wing populist party Swedish Democrats. He now produced articles with the same conspiracy theory methods as he used against those he claimed to be Putin’s agents, but this time he addressed migrant issues in the way which suited the party who employed him inside the parliament building. Putilov was also a Russian refugee and he had written critical articles against the Russian president Vladimir Putin and the Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad. Putilov also bought a house in Stockholm from a convicted Russian businessman, who was married to a senior figure in the Russian tax authority in Sankt Petersburg and the story goes that Putilov possibly gained huge amounts of money from the affair.

The methods used by Putilov and his connections with a shady Russian business man caused a great alarm in the Swedish parliament and among journalists. Some of those who raised their voices was the same journalists who earlier on had promoted Putilov’s accusations against those voices opposing the Swedish Ukrainian policy as being Putin’s agents. In this case, Putilov himself was portrayed in the same manner he had portrayed others; by guilt by association methods.

East Stratcom Disinformation Digest summarizes: ”Swedish media have reported concerns that Mr Putilov’s access to the parliament posed a major security concern. … This scandal comes after the Digest reported that several security services in Europe have warned of the threat of Russian disinformation activities”.

East Stratcom follows the footsteps of NATO friendly journalists in Sweden which initially, for their own interests, used Putilovs attacks against those who were critical towards the Russian government but at the same time also was critical towards the Ukrainian government. Such persons were, with help of Putilov, accused of being tools for Russian Propaganda. Then, the NATO friendly journalists concealed that Putilov always had been anti-Putin in his writings in order to better attack him for being the ideal person to accuse for being a Putin agent inside the parliament. East Stratcom uses the case of Putilov in the same way. The content of what Putilov writes about Russia and Ukraine is here wiped out of the reader’s attention. Instead of the content, is the methods Putilov uses claimed to be typical of Russian propaganda.

When East Stratcom claims to expose serious Russian propaganda in Sweden they end up with a first case of personal defamation of a journalist seen by few and discarded as soon as the administrators had a chance to take it away. The second case is even more questionable as Putilov was an anti-Putin propagandist causing trouble for the peace opinion, a person who suddenly was useful as the ideal Putin agent, not because of his opinions on Russia, but by his methods. This is McCarthyism and not a serious effort to counteract Russian state disinformation.

While MEPs in the European parliament is, in a mass scale, using disinformation against the public about the current situation in Eastern Ukraine and try to undermine the Minsk II agreement, the East Stratcom produces disinformation about Putin agents in Sweden (and elsewhere) by grossly exaggerating the effects of small incidents or by concealing the actual anti-Putin message made by the accused Russian propaganda maker.

A clearer case of when someone attacks another for what he himself is doing is hard to find. This is an act which is morally and strongly criticised already in the bible. It is about time that the constituencies in the European parliament strongly denounce what has taken place among the MEPs elected to be responsible for the Ukrainian issues. The way they disinform the public and undermine diplomatic efforts is a threat to peace in Europe.

References