On Thursday morning, February 24th, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the beginning of “special military operations” in Ukraine. The shelling of major Ukrainian cities, airports, and military positions began shortly afterwards. Later in the day, Russian troops pushed forward toward the capital city of Kyiv and the second-largest city of Kharkiv.
We condemn in the strongest terms this invasion by Russia. Socialists stand unequivocally against imperialism — whether it is of U.S., Russian, or any other vintage. This war is a tragedy that will bring death and destruction and sow the seeds of national hatred. Our solidarity is with the people of Ukraine and Russia who will bear its horrible costs.
The origins of this invasion go back to the end of the Cold War in 1991. U.S. imperialist maneuvers — the rapid incorporation of eastern Europe into NATO in particular — are partly responsible for ratcheting up tensions. The gradual encirclement of Russia by the U.S. and its allies stoked Russian fears of an eventual intervention. With a frightening disregard for possible consequences, the U.S. has recklessly antagonized Russia, another nuclear power. Most recently, the U.S. refused to commit to keeping Ukraine neutral and out of NATO and offered its support to reactionary forces in the Maidan events in 2014.
Nevertheless, there is one clear aggressor in the immediate conflict: the government of Vladimir Putin. That government is backed up by, and represents, Russia’s oligarchic capitalist class and is driven by ambitions to rebuild the Russian Empire of the 18th and 19th centuries.
By choosing a military invasion over diplomatic negotiations, Putin’s government is adopting an imperialist strategy, further isolating itself, and plunging the world into a possible new global war.
Socialists in the United States are limited by our size and distance from the conflict in what we can do to fight for peace. But our tasks and demands are increasingly clear.
- We must continue to resist the escalation of the conflict into a world war. Socialists in the United States and the 29 other member countries of NATO must oppose a NATO-led intervention into the conflict. As events develop, we must be ready to call for mass mobilizations against possible military intervention.
- We support calls by democratic socialists in Congress to levy heavy sanctions on the massive fortunes of Russian state leaders and capitalists. Doing so effectively will require taking on Wall Street interests, who would rather such fortunes remain hidden. At the same time, we must oppose economic warfare in the form of broad-based sanctions against ordinary Russians.
- We support the demand to open the U.S. border to refugees from the Russo-Ukrainian War (as well as other wars and conflicts abroad).
- We offer our solidarity to the Ukrainian and Russian working classes and the socialist and antiwar movements in both countries. The initial mobilizations by the Russian people — in the face of tremendous state repression — are inspiring. We call on DSA, through its National Political Committee and its International Committee, to offer in the strongest terms its solidarity to the socialist and antiwar movements in Ukraine and Russia.
- We call on the U.S., Russia, and Ukraine to return to negotiations to find a diplomatic solution to the conflict. As part of that resolution, we support the dissolution of NATO — an alliance of capitalist states that has always been used to advance the capitalist interests of its members through aggressive interventions — and the construction of a real and lasting mutual security agreement with Russia. Russian troops must also withdraw from Ukrainian territory.
Real hopes for lasting peace, justice, and democratic socialism ultimately lie in the hands of the international working class. At home in the United States and across the NATO countries, working people can stop the escalation of military conflict through mass mobilizations and the defeat of their own imperialist governments. In Ukraine, working people can resist the invasion by force and through strikes and economic action. And most of all in Russia, working people can, through their mobilizations, bring the invasion to a halt and topple the Putin regime.
Mass action by working people can build a better world. It is our only real defense against imperialist war and against capitalism. Stop the war in Ukraine!