Rebuilding an Anti-War movement in the U.S. — -an Update.

Russian Invasion Requires Changes in Slogans

The most effective strategies, tactics and slogans will shift with events. As of February 23, the issue of Ukraine took a turn. The Russians invaded. The conflict between the U.S. and Russia was no longer simmering. The pot had boiled over. Though both sides were still at fault and people in the U.S. should still first of all oppose the U.S. government, the most immediate crisis was the Russian invasion. An effective anti-war movement in the U.S. would have to take that issue head on. Instead of just U.S. Out , the movement would also have to directly demand that Russia get out of Ukraine. If it didn’t make that demand , it would get no hearing in the U.S. populace smothered in Cold War rhetoric . Besides the tactical consideration, solidarity with the people of Ukraine required this. The application of the politics expressed in Rebuilding an Anti-War movement in the U.S. had to change.

The Russian invasion also shifted the balance of politics in the anti-war movement. Political support for Russia was detrimental to building opposition to U.S. imperialism even before the invasion. After the invasion it was disastrous. When the main slogan was “ U.S. Out” supporters of international solidarity could be in the same movement with those who gave political support to Putin. After the invasion, this kind of alliance became problematic. Those who support international solidarity and oppose all imperialist powers will have make decisions about how to relate to rallies dominated by pro-Russian politics while making their position clear.

Below is a draft of a leaflet that was offered for an anti-war coalition from this viewpoint:

RUSSIA OUT OF UKRAINE ! U.S. OUT OF EASTERN EUROPE! NO TO WESTERN SANCTIONS!

The Russian attack on Ukraine will have horrific consequences. Already dozens of people have been killed. Thousands are now refugees. The people of Ukraine will suffer the most directly, but the world as a whole will suffer. Rising prices will lower the living standards across the planet. Supplies of basic goods will run short. Resources that should go to education, health care , housing and food will be wasted on destruction and death. The continuing conflict could even lead to a direct war between the two major nuclear armed states. Miscalculations can happen. If this conflict continues nuclear war is a possibility. Of course poor and working people across the world should oppose this invasion. We should applaud the brave Russians who have demonstrated against the war and have been arrested in large numbers. But we should not believe the propaganda of the U.S. and its NATO allies. We should not support the politicians of either party who want to whip up a new Cold ( and possibly hot) War. The war in Ukraine was not caused by Russia alone. Since the collapse of the USSR , NATO has expanded eastward. The U.S. violated its pledge to Gorbachev in the 90s that it would not expand NATO. The conflict in Ukraine is the result of the great power conflict between the U.S. and Russia. Under Putin, Russia has intervened in Chechnya, Georgia, Kazakhstan and Syria . It wants to rebuild a Russian empire. In a similar period , the U.S. has attacked Iraq, Syria ,Afghanistan Libya, and aided the repressive regimes of Saudi Arabia against Yemen and Israel against Palestine and imposed crippling sanctions on Venezuela, Nicaragua and Russia. The U.S. has 800 foreign military bases. The U.S. claims to care about national sovereignty and the sanctity of borders. Did it show that when it invaded Iraq and Afghanistan? Each side is trying to increase its power and profit at the expense of people around the world. The U.S. can hardly claim to support democracy when it has overthrown countless governments over the years. Economic sanctions hurt ordinary people. The Western sanctions against Russia will hurt ordinary Russians, not Putin and his clique. It is the first duty of people in the U.S. to oppose the U.S. government’s military moves and economic attacks on Russia. We should demand an end to the system of great power conflict. We need to ally with poor and working people across the world to demand an end to aggression and war by the major powers. Now is the time for an international anti-war movement ! Neither Washington nor Moscow , but international solidarity !

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