February 20, 2023, Editorial of the Workplace Newsletters of the Etincelle fraction of the New Anticapitalist Party (NPA), Translated from French
One year ago, on February 24, 2022, war penetrated the heart of Europe once again. Russian tanks crossed the border of Ukraine towards the capital, Kiev. Putin the dictator probably hoped to unseat Zelensky and replace him with someone who would do his bidding. But he failed. By deciding to turn his conflicts with U.S. imperialism into a real war, Putin contributed to welding the Ukrainian population to a regime in the service of corrupt capitalists. With his nostalgia for the Tsarist empire, Putin also intended to play cop within the ex-Soviet territory, which he considers his fiefdom, in order to put down social mobilizations such as those that shook Ukraine in 2013-2014, Belarus in 2020, and Kazakhstan in 2022.
Death on the Nightly News
One year later, Russian death machines are continuing to wipe out lives along with vital infrastructure. The war in Ukraine has killed or wounded probably 100,000 military personnel, Ukrainian as well as Russian, and nearly 20,000 civilians in Ukraine. Millions of Ukrainians, mostly women and children, have left their country, others have had to leave their destroyed homes. On the Russian side, opponents have been imprisoned and a million have gone into exile, among other things, to escape Putin’s decree for a massive draft.
Profits at the Very Top
As for the North American and European imperialists, while not being direct instigators of war, nor belligerents on the ground, they are nonetheless arms suppliers and war profiteers. They send in guns and heavy tanks supposedly as “defensive” weapons, and thousands of U.S. soldiers are being brought in as reinforcements for NATO troops in Eastern Europe “in case of emergency.” On the pretext of addressing Putin’s aggression, Biden increased the pressure on his European allies, including Germany and France, to sever their economic relations with Russia, and to buy U.S. liquefied gas or nuclear power rather than Russian. It was more expensive, but the profits climbed proportionately on the Western side as well as the Russian. Exacerbated inflation only crushes the working classes everywhere in the world.
The U.S. and NATO countries are pushing for the production of weapons, ostensibly to help Ukraine, but mainly because they want to prepare for a ramping up of wars between major powers, as well as to increase the profits for weapon suppliers and to mark their territories on the planet – the U.S.A. vs. China, among others. Military budgets are increasing everywhere. President Macron has just announced that by 2030, 413 billion euros more will be allocated to the French army. According to the U.N., this sum would be enough to eradicate hunger in the world over the same time period. And everywhere, the increase in military budgets is at the expense of public and social spending, including pensions!
Proletarians of All Countries, Our Unity is Urgent!
In this world of capitalist murderers and thieves, we must affirm our solidarity with the Ukrainian population who do not want to live under Putin’s heel: “Russian army out of Ukraine!”
But we must also demand the withdrawal of French and NATO troops from Europe and the rest of the world. To get out of this endless war, the proletarians of Ukraine cannot count on the Western tanks and planes that Zelensky promises them, nor on a Ukrainian power at the service of an unscrupulous bourgeoisie. The workers of Ukraine have a class weapon of greater range than any missile: despite the bloody gulf the war is creating, dissident voices in Russia show that it is possible to call for solidarity with Russian proletarians, to support those in Russia who oppose the war and whom Putin is also repressing, and to engage in a common revolutionary policy, as opposed to nationalist policies. Our task here is to contribute to popularizing this way forward, that of internationalism.