Ukraine and Global War; the only winners are the North American Fuel Cartel and Arms Manufacturers

Neither the U.S./NATO military build-up against Russia (and, more recently, against China), nor the canonization of Ukrainian President Zelensky and the Ukrainian fascists as “standard-bearers of democracy” can contribute to the ending of the Ukraine War and justice for all parties there.

Only the action of the working-class, organized in the workplace and in the community, has the potential to lead the forces needed to deflect the current course toward sure annihilation of people and planet through a nuclear exchange leading to a nuclear winter or the march toward human-propelled climate collapse. War itself is a crime.

In war, truth is the first casualty. Our job is to cut through the curtain of propaganda put up by all warring parties. We need to understand the history that led to the current crisis and analyze the forces at play in order to determine what our goal must be to win peace and justice for all parties, particularly the working people who are always the first and dominant victims of chauvinism and imperialism.

The miscreants who firebombed Dresden and Tokyo, atom-bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, partitioned Germany, and went on to napalm Korea and defoliate Vietnam created NATO, which was criminal from its very birth, itself a provocation to war.

With the end of the Cold War, some of us were so foolish as to expect that both NATO and the Warsaw Pact would be dissolved. But NATO’s mission of aggression had not been completed. The former colonial powers in NATO ravaged the Global South, focusing on Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya. Proclamations that NATO was a force for peace are pure propaganda.

Bill Clinton stands beside Ronald Reagan as the other pillar of the neoliberal counterrevolution in the United States. Clinton was the architect of mass incarceration and mass disenfranchisement, and he pushed the expansion of NATO into Eastern Europe. He helped complete the rebalkanization of the Balkans.

Clinton’s air war helped partition Serbia to create Kosovo while obliterating such Belgrade remnants of socialism as the Yugo plant and the state radio-TV station. The U.S. attacked the Chinese embassy there three times. (Clinton even sent a cruise missile into downtown Baghdad to get his peccadilloes off the front page while intensifying the sanctions on Iraq that killed hundreds of thousands of children.)

The current war in Ukraine actually began in February 2014 with the U.S.-orchestrated, Nazi-spearheaded coup that sent the elected president fleeing for his life. Crimea had been administratively attached to the Ukrainian SSR in 1954 by Nikita Khrushchev, and after the coup its population chose to sever ties with Kyiv and go back to Russia. Folks in sections of the Donbas oblast chose also to sever ties with the new government in Kyiv. There and elsewhere, armed conflict broke out leading to an eight-year siege in Donbas. For years weapons were flowing into Ukraine and thousands were killed. Multiparty agreements reached in Minsk were not enforced, and the shelling continued. In 2019, Volodymyr Zelensky was elected president of Ukraine on a peace platform, but the civil war continued, fueled by the United States and NATO.

The demonization of Vladimir Putin unfolded over many years. President Putin and his extreme Great Russian nationalism are by no means endearing, but the Russia-hating neocons, now embedded in the Democratic Party, longed for the days of that drunken lout Boris Yeltsin, who gave away the store and created the class of oligarchs, leaving workers to go months without pay during the harsh transition to unfettered capitalism.

That is why the Labor Fightback Network affirms the following:

We condemn Putin for his criminal invasion of Ukraine.

We condemn the U.S./NATO provocateurs who began the Ukraine War in February 2014 with a Nazi-spearheaded coup.

We oppose all escalations and military spending on this high-risk fiasco!

We demand the withdrawal of all foreign troops and mercenaries from Ukraine!

We call for blocking imperialist efforts to expand the conflict into the Pacific, deploying AUKUS (Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) in an attempt to construct an Asian NATO subsidiary, and creating a crisis in Taiwan where there had been no sharp threats to peace for years. U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi flew to Taiwan, and U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris went to South Korea, inflaming tensions from one end of the Eurasian land mass to the other, desperate to maintain U.S. full-spectrum dominance in a changing world.

We demand the dismantling of NATO!

We support and promote widely across the U.S. labor movement the resolution adopted April 11, 2022, by the Western Massachusetts Area Federation of Labor (AFL-CIO), which states, in part:

[T]he Western Massachusetts Area Labor Federation AFL-CIO is committed to labor’s antiwar voice being heard in the current national debate. … [T]he  Russian invasion of Ukraine is inflicting horrific pain, suffering, and death on the civilian population of Ukraine, while forcing more than 4 million people to flee the country as refugees, and creating the risk of a wider conflict that could spiral into a nuclear war from which there will be no winners.

“[At the same time] the U.S. and NATO have played a provocative role in precipitating this crisis by expanding NATO’s ranks and deploying strategic military forces to Russia’s borders. … The U.S. has a destructive history of a militarized foreign policy that is driven by the interests of corporations, including but not limited to the oil and arms sectors, a policy that siphons resources away from programs that serve public needs.

“True national security is based on the broad welfare of the people – healthcare, education, jobs at decent wages, environmental sustainability, voting rights and democratic civic engagement, and social justice – not on larger military budgets and ever more deadly weapons.

“Working people in the U.S., as well as those in Russia and Ukraine, have a common interest in reining in the power of their militaries and redirecting the vast resources going to war into programs that improve their lives and address the climate emergency.” 

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