Tempest Collective vehemently opposes imperialism and stands with working class Ukrainians against the Russian military invasion and occupation. We likewise oppose the U.S.- led NATO escalations and provocations which helped to bring us to this point. We stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian resistance against occupation and defend Ukraine’s right to self-determination against Russia. We equally stand in solidarity with the anti-war protestors in Russia, facing violent state repression, and the mass outpouring of anti-war sentiment internationally. Solidarity and mass action from below provide the only path out of this imperialist-created disaster.
We must oppose all forms of capitalist oppression against the working class. War will only serve the interests of the ruling class and will have devastating consequences for working people. As we enter a new historical epoch marked by great power rivalry between the U.S. and Russia and China, we must be clear on our position: Neither Washington, nor Moscow, nor Beijing, but International Socialism!
The Russian state’s invasion threatens the entirety of Ukraine, and represents a historic moment in shaping the new inter-imperial landscape. This invasion provides a momentous opportunity to NATO for reinvigoration, and we should expect increased support for NATO action from otherwise non-interventionist states. Those which have remained outside of NATO’s sphere are likely to be drawn into a massive imperialist contest between capitalists competing for resources and power.
At home, Putin faces ever-growing criticism and opposition. There is no widespread public support for this invasion. Over 500,000 have signed onto a statement against war with thousands flooding the streets to show their opposition. This paired with the expansion of NATO over the past decade has led to an environment of paranoia which Putin has met with military suppression and opportunistic international intervention. This invasion may indeed prove disastrous for his regime.
Likewise, there is a lack of popular support for the regimes of the LPR and DPR, which are now acting Kremlin proxies in Donbas and suppress all oppositional political activity. These areas are facing environmental catastrophe with rapid and unsafe deindustrialization which has also left workers without pay for months of their labor. Labor organizing in response to these conditions has resulted in swift repressive action, including the kidnapping of organizers.
Years of conflict in the region have been capitalized on by the U.S. and the IMF in an effort to enforce harmful neoliberal economic reforms. We must demand cancellation of Ukrainian debt. Biden has amplified his own brand of paranoia, refreshing the age-old Russophobia that Americans are all too familiar with. Portraying Russia as the big bad wolf to garner support for U.S. imperialist maneuvering. This falls perfectly in line with the “America as innocent protector and savior” trope.
As we stand with our international comrades against Russian imperialist occupation in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, our priorities as U.S. socialists must also include opposing NATO intervention and expansion. We face an urgent task of helping to build a mass anti-war movement that can do both. While small groups of anti-war activists and socialists in the U.S. urgently figure out how to bring these demands to the fore, high profile democratic socialists in office participate in banging the war drums – so long as Congress gets to vote on what interventions to take.
Both the Democrats and the Republicans, as well as both imperialist powers, seek only to improve the position of their own states and ruling classes, while the people of Ukraine are treated as mere pawns. But it is ordinary Ukrainians and ordinary Russians who will pay the heaviest price for violent imperialist competition.
One thing is certain, war in Ukraine will result in the death of thousands more working class people during a global pandemic that has already claimed the lives of millions. We must oppose the Russian invasion of Ukraine. We must oppose NATO intervention and expansion.The Left must stand unequivocally in solidarity with the international working class against capitalist war.
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The Tempest Collective Steering Committee is the elected standing, political leadership body of the Tempest Collective, between the monthly Collective meetings.