About one hundred people rallied to the call of the Toronto Coalition Against NATO at the corner of Bloor and Spadina, just meters from the office of Liberal MP and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, on Sunday, October 1. The anti-war protest was one of several held in conjunction with the Canada-Wide Peace and Justice Network, Oct. 1-8. Below is the text of the speech delivered by Julius Arscott for Socialist Action. SA is one of the founding organizations of TOCAN. Julius is a leading member of Socialist Action. He is on the Executive Board of the Ontario Public Service Employees’ Union, and is the Workers’ Action Movement candidate for Secretary-Treasurer of the Ontario Federation of Labour.
The war in Ukraine poses a grave danger to humanity. The conflict will end by negotiation, or it will end in nuclear destruction of the world. Socialist Action is opposed to all wars, except the class war. SA supports all struggles against oppression, including freedom for Palestine, Ireland, central Africa, Haiti, and Indigenous peoples across Turtle Island. We oppose a NATO victory. We oppose a Kremlin victory. Socialist Action seeks the defeat of all the capitalist powers, starting with NATO and the Canadian state. During World War 1, socialists called for “revolutionary defeatism.” Lenin, Trotsky and Rosa Luxemburg said, “Turn your weapons against your commanders. Turn imperialist war into civil war. All power to the working class!”
In 2014, Kyiv began the conflict in Ukraine’s Donbas region. Since Russia’s intervention in 2022, nearly 500,000 people have been killed and wounded, including both Ukrainian and Russian soldiers, and Ukrainian civilians. Millions more have been displaced. Putin’s denial that Ukraine is a nation, his aim to revive the Czarist Empire, fuel reactionary nationalism on all sides. The USA and UK provided cluster bombs to Ukraine. NATO’s proxy war will adversely affect Ukrainians for generations. NATO provoked the conflict with Russia. NATO’s expansion to Russia’s borders, its violation of the Minsk treaties, its training and arming of Ukraine’s military, and support for Ukraine against its eastern Donbas region — these have been the principal causes behind the current conflict. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is an aggressive, US-led, military alliance that waged deadly wars in the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq and Syria. NATO caused profound misery and a massive refugee crisis, now swelled by millions more Ukrainians.
Military spending in Canada has exploded. The Trudeau government so far delivered $8.5 billion in arms and funding to the Zelensky regime, and it pledged more. This comes at the cost of housing, public healthcare, education, and climate solutions. In 2021, Canada spent $33 billion on the military — 15 times more than on climate change. In 2022, the defence minister announced military spending will increase by 70% over the next 5 years. NATO’s demand for 2% of GDP is fueling a costly arms race.
NATO is now stationed along the western border of Russia. Imagine how the US would respond if Mexico invited China to set up military bases armed with nuclear missiles along the border of Texas. Do you remember the 1962 Cuban Missile crisis? That confrontation ended with the removal of Soviet weapons from Cuba, and US missiles from Turkey and Italy.
We say to the Trudeau government: Stop Supporting the Corrupt, Anti-Democratic, Anti-labour Zelensky Regime! His government and military are riddled with open neo-Nazis. It banned opposition political parties, arrested their members, and rammed through vicious anti-union legislation (including NO to union organizing). It is selling off state enterprises and public lands to the highest western bidders.
The standing ovation in Parliament for an old Nazi soldier, a volunteer who fought under the German SS Galician division, was disgusting. But it is not just the fault of the Speaker. It is the fault of Justin Trudeau, and of Chrystia Freeland, his Ukrainian nationalist Deputy P.M., for backing Zelensky and NATO in the first place. We demand the resignation of the Trudeau government. And we demand that Jagmeet Singh and the NDP break with the Liberals.
End the Confidence and Supply pact. Vote for homes, not drones. Vote for water bombers, not fighter jets. Demand freedom for all anti-war prisoners in Ukraine and Russia!
Negotiate, Don’t Escalate! Abolish NATO now!