Good points. Haven't seen the new episode yet so not sure who Yakone is.
I don't see it as just being about the Equalist movement though that's the thing, at least not in the grand scheme. It will be a major point and hell, probably encompass a large amount of the story. I'm not sure where it's going. But I don't see it being bender vs non benders past a certain point. There's always a puppeteer in the background pulling the strings for reasons past the original. At least in this case I think it will. Because the last Avatar was only about war as well. They still haven't gone into the spirit world past a certain point that's new ground. Energy bending it might have been a stretch to expect war with them.
I say the fire bender story sounded a bit phony because it wasn't a detailed account, and it sounds basically like the story avatar did with the earth tribe soldiers extorting the family Zuko came across. Sounded very generic, like it was meant to just resonate with common people. Obviously he's hiding things, there's something important with his mask (didn't even think about it but the mask has a giant red dot on the forehead) and what's behind it.
I'm not sure about the Equalist movement because yes there is oppression. But they already showed at the end of the first avatar how those who didn't bend could already use technology to fight alongside the benders. Sokka got his sword, Sokka's master was a member of the white lotus who took down countless firebenders in battle. The inventors and normal people in the siege of the Fire Nation that failed, the Kiyoshi warriors and their group who could take down benders. Then obviously Ty Lee with Chi Blocking and Mai with knife throwing. The many members of the southern water tribe who barely had any benders. This amplified in the new avatar as there were large groups of people who could chi block, and those who didn't could fight with weapons infused with technology and superior martial arts.
Sokka was portrayed as weak and useless because he lacked any actual fighting training. He lived in the Arctic while the actual warriors were gone for a long time. His big deal when he met his dad again was becoming a man. Because he was still just a kid really. Hell it's why he trained with the Kiyoshi warriors if I'm not mistaken.
Then went through training with his sword master finally, which was his only real intense training and after that he could take down plenty of benders.
The first arc at the very least will deal with passing technology to the common man to fight oppression probably though.
They're trying to portray how Korra is the opposite of Aang and has to face different challenges though. The same as Aang had to do, the writers are going to make it so Korra has to face obstacles that even the previous avatars haven't. That's why I don't think it's just going to be another war. My guess is at least the spirit world and the other aspects of the avatar they never got into. Since Aang's whole trial was learning the elements in time but Korra obviously is completely different. Aang was a monk and naturally in turn with the spirit world, Korra isn't and is physical. Maybe after the war or during it someones trying to upset the balance of the spirit world which would effect the real world as we saw with the fire nation siege on the northern water tribe and moon/tide stuff.
Technically Energy Bending and the spirit world could coincide thinking about it. Since from the lion turtle Energy Bending predates the elements and they were formed out of it. There has to be a connection between it and the avatar which mysteriously can bend all 4 of these that came from it and how the Avatar so far was the only one who could Energy bend at all. Since the Avatar is known as the link between the 2 worlds. If energy bending of any type exists it has to deal with the spirit world probably.
I'm rambling, I just find it an interesting world to think about.