by Barry Weisleder
Socialists oppose all wars, except the class war. Workers and the poor, women and children are the first and foremost victims of war, while a tiny, rich minority profit from the woe it inflicts on the vast majority. The current conflict over Ukraine shows this again. It stems from the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which is led by Washington, London, Paris, Ottawa and their imperialist allies. The unfolding tragedy can be halted by mass protest actions in every country, along with the construction of a broad, democratic anti-war movement. Those are the key tasks at this moment.
Despite promises to the contrary when East and West Germany united, the United States aggressively pushed expansion of NATO membership right up to the boundaries of Russia. It armed dozens of NATO countries with heavy military equipment, including nuclear weapons, while conducting war maneuvers on the border lands and coastal waters of Russia. Washington imposed over 100 sanctions on Russia before this month. It backed the 2014 fascist-led coup that overthrew the elected government of Ukraine. The ensuing rump ultra-right government blatantly discriminated against speakers of the Russian language and promoted fascist militias that marched on Eastern Ukraine, attacking people in Russian-speaking regions. It violated scores of cease fire agreements. The US armed Ukraine’s military to relentlessly shell residents of the two breakaway republics in the Donbass region. Thousands died; many more were displaced from their homes.
Meanwhile, the Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his arch pro-Ukrainian nationalist Deputy PM Chrystia Freeland now send additional troops to eastern Europe, falsely posing as champions of democracy and self-determination. They bolster Ottawa’s war budget to buy new fighter jets instead of meeting human needs for enhanced public health care and economic supports during an ongoing pandemic, instead of providing for social housing, justice for Indigenous people and a rapid transition to a sustainable green economy in harmony with nature. Trudeau backs a brutal dictatorship in Haiti, seeks to overthrow the elected government of Venezuela with a punishing trade embargo, and endorses weapons exports to Saudi Arabia to spread starvation and mass murder in Yemen. A Canadian general led NATO’s horrendous bombing and destruction of Libya.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine is a dead wrong response to NATO aggression. It should be condemned as a brutal invasion. Putin is harking back to the Russian empire and is treating Ukraine as a ‘little brother’ that he can dominate. Putin’s excuse that he is helping the ‘de-Nazification’ of Ukraine is spurious. Putin and his associates have been assisting the far-right in Europe for years. French far-right leader, Marie Le Pen, has been a frequent guest of Putin. Putin’s attacks on LGBTQI people and his promotion of the Russian Orthodox Church as the symbol of Russian nationalism align with familiar themes of ultra-conservatives. His violent invasion of Ukraine only strengthens that country’s radical nationalists, rather than mobilize progressive public opinion there and abroad. During his long rambling address to the Russian people, Putin attacked the legacy of the Russian Revolution of 1917. He claimed that modern Ukraine “was entirely and fully created by the Bolsheviks” who did so “by dividing, tearing from Russia pieces of her own historical tendency”. In doing so, he revealed himself as part of a long tradition of Great Russian chauvinism that stretches from the Tsars to Joseph Stalin. Putin’s actions are being used by military hawks in the US and Canada to whip up a pro-war atmosphere. The Pentagon, humiliated by its defeat in Afghanistan, is determined to re-assert ‘leadership’ over the Western world by posing as its defender. We should reject the cold war rhetoric of our rulers, and support anti-war actions in every country. Stand firmly with the workers of Russia, Ukraine and the NATO countries who demonstrate for peace, and who strive to disarm the war-makers. The only way to end inter-imperialist rivalry, environmental destruction and endless wars is to eradicate the capitalist profit system by means of workers’ socialist revolution.
No to War in Ukraine.
NATO Out of Eastern Europe.
Canada Out of NATO.
No military intervention by Russia.
Stop U.S. weapons supplies to Kiev.
Self-determination for Donetsk and Luhansk.