Youri Speaks to Maya Garfinkel of World BEYOND War Canada/Montreal on Ending All Wars

By 1+1 hosted by Youri Smouter, January 13, 2023

How do we strengthen the peace movement especially in areas where such a movement is either too small or simply non-existent.

Are there anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-heteronormativity, and enviromental movement mobillizing against wars and if not why is that the case?

Why Feminists, Queer liberationists, police abolitionists/reductionists, environmentalists/eco-socialists, and those dedicated to eradicating white supremacy shouldn’t join the Canadian military or support ANY form of militarism/imperialism overseas.

And how do we encourage peace movements, how ever small or big in Russia or elsewhere, to continue mobilzing against wars and what is the state of anti-war actions in Russia?

These are just some of the questions and topics I got to ask the brilliant Maya Garfinkel the head of World BEYOND War Canada, and the Montreal chapter of the international peace organization who is also an environmentalist, social/racial/eco justice activist, feminist, an ally to the Native Lives Matter and ally/member of 2SLGBTQIA+ liberation movement.

We also discussed if wars are EVER justifiable, how do we advance the cause of peace and anti-imperialism and detente and cooperation when the Russia-Ukraine War and standing blindly by Ukraine is considered “a good war” if you are on NATO’s side, as well as mobilizing against the Pivot to Asia/New Cold War on China and the rising Sinophobia.

One Response

  1. At 47:40 unfortunately Maya totally avoids reality. Maya’s smile is nice, her sincerity is real but unfortunately her answer is total gobbledygook. Total avoidance. Last February Russia invaded Ukraine and began killing civilians. Your guest refuses to acknowledge how a foreign power invaded and began killing and that there was a need for Ukrainians and friends to fight back in order to prevent a genocide, Putin saying that Ukraine did not truly exist. It has been a year and all your Maya can do is squirm a bit, act cutesy a bit (way too many smiles) and then totally ignore the reality of a colonial war. Those on the left who are peace activists must also be realistic: we must oppose those countries who attack and force countries to find ways to defend themselves, to find ways of stopping the killing. Instead the World Beyond War spokesperson stumbles by not answering and immediately switches to talk of First Nation’s struggles for « liberation »in Canada and brings up struggles for peace Palestine. The problem is they are all completely different struggles. Why? Clearly because the W BW spokesperson is caught with the contradiction she refuses to address: if one you are a pacifist – as she is- and you refuse to acknowledge that defence against agression is necessary, you are supporting the aggressor. George Orwell went so far as to accuse British pacifists of supporting Hitler. Those who refuse to support Ukraine’s right to self defence – to stop the killing of children to be blunt- are supporting Putin. How can one argue otherwise? To stand by while Russia kills tens of thousands of civilians is totally irresponsible. Maya, as the WBW spokesman is that irresponsible, that guilty.

    Truly this whole conversation with Youri is so thin that there is little to learn here for anyone who thinks seriously about history, about government, or justice.

    Celebrating wins at Standing Rock or Civil rights marches in the 1960’s as the WBW spokesperson does are of course important. Good for you for recognizing how sometimes non violence can work sometimes, but in the context of figuring out how to end the Russian War this is simply more « bla bla bla » (as Greta categorizes the environmental promises of most politicians.) Peace activists expect more than bla bla bla from someone representing World Beyond War.
    « Nobody wins wars » is simply empty as a slogan.
    Peace activists who support Ukraine’s right to self determination are not « blindly » supporting Ukraine. They are being realistic, they are saying a bully must be stopped and kicked out of the country before negotiations for lasting peace can begin. Calls to « end all wars » is like calling for « « free ice-cream for all » or for « Justice for all, » they sound good until you examine them and realize they are hollow, they are time wasters because so far from what happens in life.

    The only responsible peace-building position that makes sense now is calling for « Putin to stop killing civilians and to get out of Ukraine. «  Once that at happens the two countries can talk.
    But to not have an opinion after a year of war when one claims to be a peace activist is not only irresponsible it is horrific because it actually is a call to prolong the war, prolong the suffering, accept that the number of dead babies will grow.
    It is not activism for peace, it is active support of a Russian fascist regime. It is pro-war! So sorry to be so negative as I know you mean well and do good work in some areas. But on the issue of the Russian war you are simply and totally wrong.

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