Socialist Workers Party joins actions demanding Moscow out of Ukraine!

By Vivian Sahner
March 11, 2024
Socialist Workers Party vice presidential candidate Margaret Trowe joined car caravan in San Francisco Feb. 24 backing Ukraine’s independence fight against Moscow’s invasion. Inset, Trowe addresses the rally.
Militant/Eric SimpsonSocialist Workers Party vice presidential candidate Margaret Trowe joined car caravan in San Francisco Feb. 24 backing Ukraine’s independence fight against Moscow’s invasion. Inset, Trowe addresses the rally.

Campaign supporters of the Socialist Workers Party and the Communist Leagues in Canada, Australia and the U.K. built and joined the tens of thousands worldwide who marched and rallied to protest Moscow’s war on Ukraine Feb. 24, marking the second anniversary of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion. The Ukrainian World Congress tallied 1,023 actions supporting Ukraine, in 746 cities in 69 countries, on every continent, including Antarctica.

Margaret Trowe, Socialist Workers Party candidate for vice president, opened her campaign in San Francisco Feb. 24, by joining several hundred people in an 80-vehicle car caravan and rally in support of victory for Ukraine.

Trowe addressed the rally, saying she was the SWP vice presidential candidate, a factory worker and trade unionist. She noted the decadeslong record of her party in support of self-determination for Ukraine, and got a burst of applause when she said the Socialist Workers Party calls for “Russia out of all of Ukraine, including Crimea.”

She said supporters of Ukraine’s fight should have no confidence in the Democrats and Republicans, explaining both parties represent the U.S. billionaire families who act only in their own capitalist class interests in Ukraine, as they do everywhere.

When Trowe said her campaign supports the “related fight against Jew-hatred — a crucial question facing working people everywhere — and for Israel’s right to exist and defend itself in the wake of the Tehran-backed Hamas Oct. 7 pogrom,” many nodded and some thanked her afterward.

Wearing a button supporting flight attendants fighting both airline bosses and the government’s anti-union Railway Labor Act for new contracts, Trowe circulated among rally participants. She discussed her campaign and showed people the Militant, the voice of the Socialist Workers Party campaign that reports weekly on the central questions facing working people.

Thousands rally in Stockholm, Sweden, Feb. 24 to support independence for Ukraine on second anniversary of Moscow’s invasion. Actions took place in hundreds of cities worldwide.
Caisa Rasmussen/TTThousands rally in Stockholm, Sweden, Feb. 24 to support independence for Ukraine on second anniversary of Moscow’s invasion. Actions took place in hundreds of cities worldwide.

The campaign’s central message, she said, is the need for workers to organize independently of the bosses’ parties on the road to taking political power in their own hands. She pointed to the example of Cuba’s socialist revolution, led by Fidel Castro.

Trowe told Ukrainian-born Maria Volynets, 24, the SWP had supported the Maidan mobilizations of millions that ousted the pro-Moscow regime, and Militant reporters went there days afterward to get out the truth about what it accomplished. Trowe said, unlike our party, most who call themselves socialists argue the Maidan was fascist.

“Anyone who thinks Maidan is fascist doesn’t know anything about it,” Volynets said. “I fought in the Maidan when I was 14 to establish Ukraine as an independent country.”

Trowe pointed to growing working-class opposition in Russia to Putin’s war, noting protests after Putin’s murder of political prisoner Aleksei Navalny Feb. 16 and the 200,000 people who braved repression to line up across the country to put anti-war candidate Boris Nadezhdin on the ballot. She said workers there, who have no interest in Putin’s war, are the most important potential allies of Ukrainian workers.

Volynets was unpersuaded and told Trowe her grandfather, Mykhtod Volynets, born in 1926, was a lifelong fighter against the oppression of Ukraine in Stalin’s prison house of nations. Trowe said the SWP was as well, and its co-thinkers in Russia, supporters of the Bolshevik Revolution overthrown by Stalin, were also killed or thrown in prison. Volynets decided to get a subscription to the Militant.

The SWP campaign table was a hub of discussion and debate. Thirty people bought copies of the Militant, and four subscribed. Participants bought three copies of The Jewish Question: A Marxist Interpretation by Abram Leon, a copy of The Low Point of Labor Resistance Is Behind Us: The Socialist Workers Party Looks Forward by party leaders Jack Barnes, Steve Clark and Mary-Alice Waters; the three-volume History of the Russian Revolution in Russian by Leon Trotsky and contributed $34 to the campaign.

The SWP’s support of Ukrainian’s fight to defend their independence is documented in a statement issued March 3, 2022, on the heels of Moscow’s invasion. It stands strong today and is available on the Militant’s website.

‘Ukraine will prevail’

In Los Angeles a car caravan of 500 people, chanting “Ukraine will prevail,” drove to City Hall Feb. 24, the site of a solidarity rally of more than 1,000.

The SWP campaign table drew interest, with rally participants getting two subscriptions to the Militant, 10 single copies and one copy of The Jewish Question.

Oles Navrotskyi, a member of a volunteer military unit in Ukraine who is in Los Angeles for medical care, told SWP member Bernie Senter that more military aid from the U.S. and Europe was needed. “The U.S. government has its own strategic and political interests in Ukraine, different than those of the people of Ukraine,” Senter said. “While Ukraine has a right to get military aid from wherever it can, in reality the U.S. military is a mortal enemy of working people here and everywhere in the world.”

Hundreds turned out at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Feb. 25 to stand in solidarity with Ukraine. The Socialist Workers Party table, with its signs in support of Ukraine and the fight against Jew-hatred, caught peoples attention, with many taking pictures and saying thanks for the support.

“I don’t have any confidence in Washington,” Anna Kaschak, a Ukrainian living in Horsham, Pennsylvania, told SWP campaigner Chris Hoeppner. “We have no choice but to keep fighting, our families depend on us.”

“Working people need to break with the capitalist parties and fight to take power,” Hoeppner said. “Our unions are starting to fight and make some gains. We need to build on that.”

During the action 10 participants bought the Militant and one picked up The Low Point of Labor Resistance Is Behind Us.

Over 1,000 defenders of Ukraine’s independence rallied in Washington, D.C., at the Lincoln Memorial Feb. 24.

Eugene Zharovtsev from Krasnodar, Russia, a recent refugee and supporter of Navalny, and Michael Serebrennikov, who has lived in Falls Church, Virginia, for the last 10 years, participated. They carried signs in Russian and English, “Putin is a killer” and “No Putin, no war.”

“Many Russians support Ukraine in the country and it is growing,” Serebrennikov told SWP campaigners they met there. After looking it over, he bought a copy of the Militant.

“Hamas is a terrorist organization which committed a horrendous crime Oct. 7. This paper is different from other socialist ones I have seen,” he said.

SWP campaigners took part in other pro-Ukraine actions across the U.S., as did Communist League members in Montreal, Sydney and London.

To join SWP or CL members campaigning, contact the party branch nearest you.

Andrea Morell in Oakland, California; Bernie Senter in Los Angeles; and Arlene Rubinstein in Washington, D.C., contributed to this article.