• Michael Laxer

No to War in Ukraine! No to NATO! For Peace and Socialism!

A The Left Chapter editorial.


As the war in Ukraine continues the danger of an historic betrayal of the international working class and humanity by the European and North American Left akin to that of 1914 is growing larger.


We are seeing even leftist stalwart parties who have always opposed NATO -- like Die Linke in Germany and the Left Alliance in Finland -- thrown into division and turmoil on the issue as many on the western left are embracing the disturbing and nonsensical idea that NATO could be a "defensive" and "anti-imperialist" alliance.


A particularly grotesque example of this line was penned by Daniel Marwecki on the website for the German Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung. In it he writes "Overnight, Putin transformed NATO in Eastern Europe into what hardly any leftist ever wanted to think of it as: an anti-imperialist defensive alliance." This is inane and false and is especially sad to see being associated -- with no sense of shame or irony -- with Rosa Luxemburg who most certainly would not have felt this way.


NATO has never been a "defensive" alliance and the notion that a military formation that includes the US, UK, France and Germany could in anyway be seen as anti-imperialist is absurd and ignores NATO's entire history as well as the actions of many of its member states.


(See: The west's hypocrisy and history of violence matters. Calling it out is not "whataboutism". (theleftchapter.com))


NATO and the west in the lead up to this war made no attempt to negotiate in any reasonable way with Russia and rejected all its demands outright which is not "diplomacy". However, while Russia's security concerns may have been legitimate, this horrific attack is not.

Having said that, now, more than ever, the only "side" that western leftists should be on during this dangerous period of military conflict, with escalating calls for the expansion of either NATO's involvement in the war or of NATO itself, is the "side" that is against NATO as well as our own generals, oligarchs, politicians, war hawks and governments. We must stand up against, as well, all "left" parties now embracing NATO narratives.


We are seeing a new push for NATO to create a "no fly zone" over Ukraine including from the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Zelensky has also said that World War III "may have already started". While these types of histrionics may be not be a surprise in this case, there are many in the west -- including liberals and progressives -- saying similar things.


This is a deeply reckless position to take that, for now, fortunately even NATO rejects.


No, WWIII has not started. But if NATO intervenes directly through a "no fly zone" or other provocative acts and there is actual combat between Russian and NATO forces or aircraft it just might.


And that would be a human catastrophe on a level that many simply no longer want to or can seem to understand. It could lead to the deaths of tens or even hundreds of millions of people and the devastation of entire cities around the globe. It would be an environmental catastrophe on a level that is incomprehensible.


Actually calling for an escalation that could lead to global or nuclear war is not in the interest of Ukraine or anyone else on the planet. Even if it is just on social media it emboldens unbelievably dangerous elements in our society, governments and military.

It is a precipice that, once crossed, there would be no coming back from for many generations, if ever, both for civilization and the Earth itself. It must be prevented at all cost.


Leftists in the west should, as always, support resistance to imperialist war in all countries. We must oppose the Russian invasion of Ukraine and NATO. There is no contradiction at all in doing both.


As Dimitris Koutsoumbas, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) said at a rally on March 14:


The people of Ukraine are losing their lives, their children, their homes; they are being uprooted from their land because they have become a punching bag among ruthless imperialists.
On the one hand, there is Russia and on the other hand, there is NATO, the US, and the EU, which resolve their competition and differences over the division of mineral wealth, energy, land, workforce, pipelines, commodity transport networks, and markets at the expense of the Ukrainian people.
In other words, there are two camps of thieves, representatives of monopoly interests, who for years now have been attacking a people to seize the wealth of their country, which holds an important geostrategic position in the Black Sea, has significant productive potential —also due to its socialist heritage—, has rich and vast arable lands and, in particular, a rare and abundant mineral wealth.

Many leftists and Communists in Russia and Ukraine are rising to oppose the war and their government's actions. We must do the same at home.


Working to stop NATO and its expansionism and adventurism would advance the cause of peace around the world including in Ukraine. It is also something leftists in the west can actually do. It must be our top and foremost priority along with opposing any steps that could escalate the war in Ukraine into a broader conflict.


Fight against attempts to expand this war. It is essential to realize that a Third World War is not the "answer", it is the end. For all of us.


No repeat of 1914! The western Left needs to stridently oppose imperialist wars as well as the capitalists, politicians, nationalists and generals in our own countries.


No to NATO! No to Imperialist War! No to War in Ukraine! No to Left Nationalist Capitulation!


For Peace and Socialism!

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