‘Peace’ movement backs Putin’s war aims

January 30, 2023

As he openly explained, Russian President Vladimir Putin launched Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine last February to destroy its government, subjugate its people, obliterate their national identity, and incorporate it into a rebuilt greater Russian empire. With working people in the lead, Ukrainians have fought back courageously, determined to defend their country’s independence. This struggle is in the interests of working people everywhere and deserves our solidarity and aid.

The imperialist rulers in Washington, as well as in Berlin and Paris, are looking for the realities of battlefield losses to force the two sides to the negotiating table. Bourgeois politicians here, especially in the left wing of the Democrats and right wing of the Republicans, seek to pressure the capitalist government in Kyiv to cede territory occupied by Moscow in return for “peace talks.”

A bogus “new peace movement,” a coalition of Stalinist and middle-class radicals, is trying to gather forces to act as shills for Putin’s war, calling rallies and “teach-ins.” Some of these forces, such as Medea Benjamin of Code Pink, are also joining a “Rage against the War Machine” rally in Washington, D.C., Feb. 19 organized by currents both right and left, including the Libertarian Party and People’s Party. Demands center on calling for Washington to cut off funding and arms shipments to Ukraine and press Kyiv to make concessions to end the war.

Behind the slogans, “NATO Expansion, No! Peace in Ukraine, Yes!” a Jan. 14 rally in New York drew over 100 people, organized by the ANSWER coalition, People’s Forum and others. This self-proclaimed “new peace movement” is determined to give aid and succor to Putin’s war.

All these forces peddle the slanderous canard pushed by Putin that the massive, popular Maidan uprising in 2014 that overthrew the dictatorial pro-Moscow regime of Victor Yanukovych was in reality a fascist coup engineered by Washington.

The idea that the millions of Ukrainian working people who fought to take control of the destiny of their nation were nothing but a band of neo-Nazis is absurd.

Militant editor John Studer helped lead a series of reporting and solidarity teams to the Maidan in Kyiv — and to dozens of Ukrainian cities and towns, including Sokol, Chernobyl, Kharkiv, Pavlograd, Kryvyi Rih and Energodar. They met with coal miners, rail and nuclear workers, Jewish leaders, supporters of Cuba’s socialist revolution and others — all of whom backed the Maidan and continue to fight to defend Ukrainian independence. You can find lively reports from those trips on our website.

Putin’s claim — echoed by the new “peace” forces — that he was forced to launch his murderous invasion because of moves by Washington and other NATO governments is utterly false and cynical. A sovereign and independent Ukraine poses no military threat to Russia of any kind.

These petty-bourgeois apologists for the Kremlin claim Moscow’s invasion and destruction is in fact a “proxy war” with Washington. This cynically attempts to bury the unrelenting fight for national sovereignty being waged by the Ukrainian people, as well as the growing opposition to Putin’s war among Russian soldiers and working people.

These so-called peace forces are determined to strangle support for Ukraine’s fight for sovereignty. In March the International Longshore and Warehouse Union adopted a strong statement condemning the Russian invasion as “an act of aggression that endangers a population of more than 40 million people.” A number of retired union officials and others signed a letter run in the Dec. 26 Workers World demanding the ILWU reverse its positions and “oppose the U.S./NATO-provoked war!” They called for “dockworkers around the world” to take action to block military cargo being shipped to Ukraine for its defense.

Working people do need to oppose the economic and financial embargo imposed on Russia by Washington and its allies, as well as military maneuvers by these governments. Those sanctions fall most harshly on workers and farmers in Russia and are obstacles to building solidarity between toilers in Ukraine and Russia.

Class-conscious workers place no political confidence in the capitalist government in Kyiv, which upholds the system of exploitation of working people by Ukraine’s wealthy rulers and uses the war to justify attacks on workers’ wages, working conditions and political rights.

The struggle by the Ukrainian people for self-determination — which was championed by V.I. Lenin and the Bolshevik Revolution — deserves the support of working people everywhere. That is why it is important to campaign for Moscow’s invading forces to get out of Ukraine, all of Ukraine!