Earth Citizens Revolution for Ukraine

GPP Uncategorized Leave a Comment

A global grassroots action plan to end the war in Ukraine

Barnaby Flynn
Founder, Global People Power
United Kingdom, Earth

Global People Power’s vision is for Earth Citizens to assume democratic power and responsibility as a diverse human family united in tackling the systemic root causes of threats to all life on earth. Earth Citizens’ Assemblies create “rules without rulers,” global policies to solve global challenges. Earth Citizens take Non-violent Direct Action to drive all nations to implement those policies immediately and unilaterally where possible, or where necessary, to set a date for their global cooperative implementation. 

GlobalPeoplePower.org

Contents

Introduction

Plan Summary

The Russo-Ukraine War

Addressing the crisis

Earth Citizens’ Rapid Response Assemblies

What are Citizens Assemblies?

What is an Earth Citizens’ Rapid Response Assembly?

Implementation

ECRRA’s and the Russo-Ukraine War

What is the best short-term solution for all citizens involved?

What is the best long-term solution for all citizens involved?

Non-Violent Direct Action

Non-Violent Direct Action and the Russo-Ukraine War

Conclusion

Introduction

This action plan has been composed with the sincere intent to save lives in Ukraine in the quickest time frame possible and to bring the world back from the brink of nuclear destruction.

Just as the British and German WW1 enemy troops came out of their trenches to fraternise with each other in no man’s land, so can we bring together citizens on all sides of this conflict to resume a path of sanity.

We need an alternative citizen-led peace process capable of overcoming the growing divisions between all sides. It is everyday people, not corrupt politicians who we should trust to decide upon solutions that are in the best interests of all citizens involved.

A process that bypasses those in power who either refuse to, who are unable to, or who have too much to lose by critiquing their own actions, their government, or their cultural-political system. A procedure capable still, despite the untold suffering, death and destruction that has already taken place, of transcending absolutist “You’re either with us or against us” fascism.

It is also everyday citizens who can take the responsibility so lacking in our political leaders to drive all nations concerned to cooperate to implement those citizen-led solutions. I set out a movement-building Non-violent Direct Action plan which could be quickly scaled up to encourage Russian forces to lay down their weapons and for all sides to start cooperating.

I describe policies that I would propose if I was called upon to attend an ECRRA, policies which I believe most people directly involved in the conflict, and the wider world would agree to. After that, I explain how a nuanced Preferendum is the safest way for citizens of all nations involved to vote on those solutions while avoiding a binary “for” or “against” referendum vote which has the potential of causing further division. 

This action plan can be used not only to save lives in all nations presently at war (not just those in predominantly Caucasian nations), but it can also be used to tackle interrelated problems of global inequality, injustice, the climate and ecological crisis. It is as ambitious in scope as global threats are to our very survival.  

It is during times of crisis that real change happens, for good or ill. Let’s unite to ensure the right kind of change happens.

The best way to predict the future is to step up and chnage it.

Plan Summary

Global Peace Strike

1-minute silence. 12 pm local time.

Weapons down. Peace up. Unify.

We will force:

  • A ceasefire in Ukraine. Russian troops go home.
  • Earth Citizens’ Rapid Response Assembly (ECRRA) to replace adversarial “peace talks”.
  • All geo-politically competing nations cooperate to implement ECRRA’s resolutions.

We stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and with people everywhere, no matter what their skin colour, who are being murdered, starved, and brutalised by oppressive, corrupt, and authoritarian regimes.

We are not naïve. We do not expect our demands to be implemented. We know that concentrated power corrupts and this war will continue to escalate unless we act.

We will fund the ECCRA ourselves.

Once thousands of us become millions, we will discuss how to escalate our use of a Non-violent Direct Action to force all nations to act.

We do not need permission to assume democratic power and responsibility for peace, justice, sustainability, and prosperity. Our so-called “world leaders” will continue to fail us until life on earth is wiped out.

The Russo-Ukraine War

Russia’s political makeup hasn’t changed materially in hundreds of years. It has replaced one extremely feudalistic imperialist dictatorship of Tsarist rule with two more, the USSR and now Putin’s ultra-nationalistic oligarchic regime. 

It is the extreme inequality of access to decision-making power, in all its forms (war-lord, feudalistic, dictatorial, or the capture of wealth to purchase political power) that is the cause of the world’s problems. Hierarchical systems require the constant threat, real or imagined, of conflict in order to keep the general populace in a state of stress and therefore far more willing to have their rights and freedoms reduced in return for “strong leadership” and “military security.” 

The pretext of a threat from more powerful nations is the source from which dictators are able to maintain and justify their power just as it is consequently, the threat of dictators which increases the share price of arms manufacturers in corporate-captured so-called “democratic” nations. 

I am a UK citizen. My government follows, almost to the letter, the dictates of the US’s foreign policy. I am critical of my, and the US government’s cosy relationship with the worlds’ dictators. Foreign policy such as this creates perpetual war or the perpetual threat of war. 

We in the UK have allowed our leaders to stroke and then poke President Putin. We have supported his killing sprees by selling him weapons. We tolerated our secret services to pave the way for the largest fossil fuel investment in Russia which, even after Putin annexed Crimea in 2014 increased oil production. We then bought Russian fossil fuels which enabled Putin to fund his war machine. We helped Putin’s oligarch supporters, those who were handed their fellow citizens’ national assets on a platter to syphon off their profits into offshore secret banks situated in western or western protectorate tax-haven jurisdictions. We gave Russian oligarchs the right to apply for citizenship via a ‘golded visa’ scheme thus enabling them to launder their fellow patriots’ money through our housing market. We permitted our politicians to take funding from dictators and use it to wage war upon our national and supranational (EU) democratic institutions. We sanctioned our “leaders” to sell them weapons whilst knowing full well that eastern NATO expansion would be highly provocative and most likely “unsettle European stability”. 

It now seems that President Biden’s end game is not to save lives in Ukraine but that of Russian regime change. US regime change, as we have repeatedly seen, is always catastrophic (except for weapons manufacturer shareholders) and has never been attempted with a nuclear power. 

Fred Harrison (member of the Independent Constitutionalists UK) was intimately involved in the New Start opportunity that was presented to the people of Russia in 1991. 

He states that “Instead of privatising land and natural resources, Russia should have leased them in return for the full rental value (of oil, gas, urban locations, etc). Political power would have resided in people’s hands.

Instead, Yeltsin listened to the emissaries sent from governments in London, Washington and Brussels; he listened to the think tanks like the Carnegie Foundation, and the intellectuals like Jeffrey Sachs (whose splendid advice on the need for “shock therapy” earned him the distinction of being appointed adviser to the UN Secretary-General). They all pushed for the privatisation of Russia’s natural resources. That created the class of oligarchs that enabled Putin to turn the Kremlin into an autocracy. The people of Ukraine are today paying the price of the advice from the West.”

Addressing the crisis

Citizens need to come to their own political conclusions to accept them. We need to create the space for that to happen.   

The good news is that cooperation remains the best long-term strategy to create a win-win-win (non-zero-sum game) winner-takes-all situation for all concerned. Despite challenging immediate circumstances affecting our mood and our ability to reason, despite our cultural conditioning since birth, despite our genetic coding going back millions of years, we are highly capable of change

What we need are communication tools to help foster mutual understanding from the ground up. This aids cooperation in tackling seemingly unresolvable problems. Even in difficult situations between so-called rival nations, people with long-standing disagreements, or between segregated religious, political and ethnic groups, the longing to cooperate is present. There are two bits of good news here.

The vast majority of us are still highly competent at working together if given the opportunity. We also have the technology at our fingertips to scale this up to the global sphere.

Earth Citizens’ Rapid Response Assemblies

What are Citizens Assemblies? 

Citizens Assemblies are a proven democratic and legitimate way of finding solutions to break political deadlock over highly complex issues with many competing interests. 

“Genuine democracy is about people being involved in, having control over and identifying with the decisions that affect their lives.” (Independent Constitutionalists – UK. A Democracy Fit for the 21st Century). 

This is how the Sortition Foundation introduces Citizens’ Assemblies.

“Many people don’t trust politicians and the political class. They are disillusioned with politics and believe that powerful vested and factional interests have too much influence on political decisions. Fortunately, there is a better way to make political decisions. 

By selecting representative groups of everyday people by lottery, and bringing them together in Citizens’ Assemblies, we can break the hold of career politicians on decisions and bypass the powerful vested interests. Let’s create a real democracy of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

Just like politicians, Earth Citizens don’t need to be experts on any issue but, during the Citizens’ Assembly process, they will become experts – experts making decisions whilst being free of party political influence, career aspirations, and funding corruption.

Citizens receive evidence from a range of experts providing evidence from a plurality of opinions. They learn systemic thinking tools (how circumstances, social groups, natural and human-made systems interact with each other as whole systems within whole systems), critical thinking tools to challenge received wisdom and opinions of expert witnesses, and non-adversarial debating tools, to look at evidence from the same angle at the same time, e.g. for, against, facts, new ideas, purpose, feelings. 

Earth Citizens Assemblies deliberate on the best course of action      

Single issue Global Citizens Assemblies have already been trialled with great success. Multi-issue Earth Citizens’ Assemblies can be set up immediately and relatively cheaply. Earth Citizens Assemblies proceedings could be followed by those with an interest in their outcome. 

Citizens’ Assemblies (randomly selected groups – Sortition) will invite a rich diversity of ethnic, cultural and experiential wisdom from across the world generating a broad set of novel ideas. Access to a plurality of information and media (interest group and profit motive biases are understood and balanced out) is a vital requirement for informed democratic consent.   

We don’t so much need new political administrations, we need new political systems.

What is an Earth Citizens’ Rapid Response Assembly?

The novel concept of an Earth Citizens’ Rapid Response Assembly follows the process of existing citizens’ assemblies. Participants would consist of citizens with a stake in the outcome of the issue at hand.

If the process were already in place, it could be convened within days. Even without it being in place presently, it would probably take less time to organise and complete successfully than it would be for vested interest leaders of Russia, Ukraine and NATO to come to an agreement that would be in the best interests of all citizens concerned.  

They would be used to find solutions to tackle urgent international or global problems, problems that cannot be solved due to geopolitical disagreement and deadlock. They would be a preferable alternative to the conventional method of vested interest groups setting agreements that impact us all behind closed doors.    

Citizens’ Assemblies can quickly, legitimately and democratically help find solutions to urgent global problems, for example, to war that threatens to become nuclear. 

As no issue exists in isolation, agreements need not tackle singular issues but a range of issues as a policy package. 

Earth Citizens’ Rapid Response Assemblies could avert the imminent extinction of all life on earth.

Implementation

  • Citizens of nations involved in the conflict participate in the assembly.
  • Earth Citizens’ Rapid Response Assemblies pass their immediate short-term and long-term solutions. 
  • A national Preferedum, a nuanced and non-binary referendum on whether to cooperate globally, reject or renegotiate key aspects of the Earth Citizens’ Rapid Response Assembly’s proposals.

ECRRA’s and the Russo-Ukraine War

Other than holding blind nationalistic loyalties, we have little reason to have faith in either the process or the agenda of the participants of peace talks between Russia and Ukraine. Nor do we have any logical reason to trust the motives of world leaders within either of the opposing military alliances.  

Authoritarian leaders require the constant threat of conflict to maintain their power and influence in exactly the same way as the world’s largest military-industrial complexes need the threat of authoritarian leaders to maintain theirs.

On one side we have a dictatorship under Putin, and on the other, the corporatocracies of the USA and NATO nations, both, as I example below, are corrupt imperialist systems using Ukraine as a proxy war.

Just as the US and its allies invaded Iraq upon a false pretext resulting in hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths, so is Russia invading Ukraine.

To break the geopolitical deadlock between Russia and Ukraine alongside NATO we need to convene an Earth Citizens’ Rapid Response Assembly (ECRRA). If funding was made available, an ECCRA could be set up in days. It could take one or two weeks for participants to find both a nuanced short-term and an off-the-shelf long-term solution. This process will save time and be far safer and less demoralising than repeating failed “peace talks” centred around who will concede the least. 

A peaceful solution to the war in Ukraine already exists, a solution that the vast majority of people impacted by the war would agree to. That solution can be discovered swiftly and democratically by people we can truly trust using deliberative processes we can trust. We need people who do not fear any loss of status or wealth by changing their opinion or by compromising. Not by those corrupted by power, or those with extremely personal, factional, or nationalistic agendas. 

Recommended questions to Earth Citizens’ Rapid Response Assemblies with answers provided as though I were participating in an ECRRA:

  • What are the systemic cultural and geopolitical root causes of the conflict in Ukraine? (Dominance hierarchy systems replacing virtually all ancient egalitarian social systems leading to feedback-loops that reward narcissism which feeds into culture, values, history, and to its broadest expression thus far, International Divide-and-Rule [IDR])   
  • What is the key barrier to peace? (Undemocratic globally mobile power bases utilising IDR to maintain power)
  • What is the best short-term solution for all citizens involved? (See below)
  • What is the best long-term (multi-issue) solution for all citizens involved? (See below)

What is the best short-term solution for all citizens involved?

If I was invited to attend an Earth Citizens’ Rapid Response Assembly, I would propose something very close to what Yanis Varoufakis has proposed.   

“a diplomatic solution needs to be found as soon as possible. That we, from the comfort of our peaceful surroundings, must push for a solution that spares the lives of thousands and prevents the occupation of Ukraine.

What would an agreeable diplomatic solution entail? Three things: First, an immediate ceasefire followed by the withdrawal of Russian troops. Second, the opportunity for Putin to portray any such agreement as a form of victory – a deal that gives him something close to what he wanted. Third, it must be an agreement guaranteed jointly by Washington and Moscow, guaranteeing an independent and neutral Ukraine as part of a broader agreement that de-escalates tensions with the Baltics, Poland, and around the Black Sea, across Europe. 

Such an agreement would leave everyone a little dissatisfied but also grant Ukrainians the chance to rebuild a free, democratic, and independent Ukraine. Many issues will have to be settled but, once de-escalation begins, a healing process can commence. For example, the EU can pour investments into Ukraine, well before any move to admit it into the EU. Once Washington and Moscow jointly guarantee a demilitarised zone along the Russian-Ukrainian border, the contested Donetsk-Luhansk region could be administered along the lines of the Northern Irish Good Friday agreement in a manner that guarantees the rights of all ethnic communities under the supervision of Kiyv, Moscow and the European Union.”

If Ukrainian President Zalenski is now, after weeks of death and destruction stating that he is open to agreeing to Putin’s demand to maintain Ukraine’s geopolitical neutrality, why exactly did he not agree to this before the invasion?      

What is the best long-term solution for all citizens involved?

Answer: World Peace Through Law

  1. Arms reductions (including the abolition of nuclear weapons and all WMD) are not general and complete disarmament.
  2. A four-stage comprehensive system of compulsory alternative dispute resolution (compulsory negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and adjudication), not a global legislature. This process should be complemented by Citizens’ Assemblies.  
  3. Various enforcement mechanisms, including an international peace force, not pacifism. 

As no issue exists in isolation, an ECCRA could also discuss longer-term multi-issue policies which could tackle the root cause of the war.

Global Renewable Energy Grid (GREG). The cause of war is most often tied up with access to fossil fuel reserves. If an ECRRA might propose the building of a GREG as this would break the power of transnational fossil fuel corporations over national governments and end geopolitical competition for access to scarce and polluting resources. Money spent on weaponry could be spent instead on the GREG which in turn would create new jobs, pay a dividend to citizens around the world for its use and go a long way to tackle the climate and ecological emergency.

With a GREG in place, humanity would no longer be dependent upon paying exorbitant prices to wealthy oligarch shareholder owners of increasingly scarce fossil-fuel resources. The whole of humanity could attain a significantly high standard of living without destroying the planet.

The means and technology to build a GREG already exists. The reason the political will to cooperate internationally to build it doesn’t exist is firstly because oligarchs, autocrats and plutocrats rely on humanity being chained like slaves to their scarce polluting resources and secondly because global cooperation will utterly destroy their means of maintaining power, International Divide-and-Rule.

Borders: In many instances, regional conflicts can be solved with greater local autonomy, by having more borders but fewer hard borders. By networking local, national and global Citizens’ Assemblies following the principle of subsidiarity, humanity can regain their local and national democratic sovereignty in a globalised world.

These are the kind of enlightened policies which, by following the proceedings ECRRAs, citizens of the world could be encouraged to vote in favour of implementing. 

Non-Violent Direct Action

Non-Violent Direct Action is proven the most effective method of achieving long-term positive change. If 3.5% of the population were to rise up and maintain the pressure then no leader can resist its demands and remain in office. To succeed, we need invading, oppressing and occupying armies to join us and refuse to fight in defiance of their orders to escalate the killing.

People standing in front of tanks is the most powerful way to get military forces opposing you to refuse to fight. It is through peaceful action that we build bridges across borders and between ethnic, religious and political divides.

Let us stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and people everywhere who are being murdered, starved and brutalised by oppressive, corrupt and authoritarian regimes. The most respectful and powerful way to do so is in silence. This way, we cannot be typecast and dismissed. We also do this in solidarity with the people of Russia  – victims of dehumanising and mind-perverting lies – and of the people of every other oppressive state where, as is rapidly becoming the case here in the UK, protest is being criminalised.

We stand shoulder to shoulder with the peoples of all nations in sovereign equality. To those victim peoples consumed by a sense of superiority and difference, we say: “sit with us in celebration of our common humanity in order to find common ground. Let’s assess our most fundamental needs and provide for them. We are a human family”. 

Small communal acts, such as observing silence, can become a heuristic engendering new more inclusive value systems and therefore scaled-up actions. 

Non-Violent Direct Action and the Russo-Ukraine War

Let us unite and mobilise humanity everywhere, outside our homes, places of work, and on our streets. We observe a 1-minute Global Peace Strike, held every day, in silence (12 pm local time) until our demands are met.  Weapons down. Peace Up. Unify.

Due to the corrupting nature of concentrated power, it is highly unlikely that “world leaders” will lead on our demands. 

We will not wait for permission to assume democratic power and responsibility. We will fund the ECCRA ourselves.

As our simple action goes viral (like the global Clap for Carers during the Covid-19 lockdown) we will escalate our use of Non-violent Direct Action to compel Russian forces to refuse to fight and to force all nations to cooperate to implement the ECCRA’s findings.

Conclusion

With the ECRRA process in place and reiterated through Peoples’ Assemblies within our communities we can expect more systemic whole world thinking in the form of a recognition of our common humanity, of our interconnectedness and therefore more agreement to cooperate for the good of the whole world. In this way, humanity can gain democratic sovereignty free from corruption and the tyranny of centralised power.

A majourity of Ukrainians, especially the younger generation want to join the EU. I expect they would relish the opportunity even more to join a truly cooperative and democratic, decentralised global people-powered alliance.

Leave a Reply