It sickens me that liberal institutions are jumping on the war bandwagon in the mistaken belief that one side is more virtuous than the other.
NATO and Russia are both imperial powers. NATO wants to expand into Eastern Europe, and Russia wants to stop NATO from capturing Ukraine. Neither imperial power is virtuous. Neither one deserves our support. Whoever wins this battle, the war for domination will continue, increasing the risk of human annihilation.
War madness has taken hold, turning normally peace-loving folks into rabid war-mongers. This madness has infected the school where I used to teach.
In a recent public statement, the school called Russia’s war in Ukraine “unnecessary, unprovoked, and brutal.” And while the statement expresses “hope for diplomatic resolutions that would restore peace,” it calls on “the global community to condemn the actions of the Russian Government and exert continued pressure to end this senseless attack.”
It is dishonest to call for a diplomatic end to war while also taking sides in that war, especially the side of your own rulers.
Canadians should follow the example of Russian activists and oppose our own government’s participation in this war. We should do more than that.
We should condemn Canada’s weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, whose brutal war against Yemen has caused one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters. Since 2015, Canada has sold over $8 billion in weapons to Saudi Arabia, making it complicit in the deaths of more than 400,00 people.
The hypocrisy is astounding. Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister warned Russia, “If you make war on the rules-based international order, we’re going to cut you out of the global economy.” She made no such threat against Saudi Arabia for using Canadian-made weapons against Yemeni schools, hospitals, mosques, and markets. And the United States was never sanctioned for bombing, invading, and occupying Iraq and Afghanistan.
Some say we should not take sides but simply march for peace.
What does it mean to march for peace? Supporters of NATO imperialism insist that peace must be based on a defeat for Russia. Supporters of Russian imperialism insist that peace must be based on a victory for Russia.
There can be no peace in a global capitalist system that feeds on wars of acquisition. Earth has a limited amount of territory, forcing capitalists to war over who will dominate what patch of it. The stakes are high. Domination means profit, and profit becomes the power to dominate and acquire even more profit. I imagine Jeff Bezos and other NATO-based capitalists are salivating at the prospect of expanding into Russian territory, and Russian capitalists are salivating at the prospect of rebuilding the Russian empire.
Rich people rarely die in wars. Working people in all nations pay the price. They suffer and die as combatants, as bystanders, as refugees, and as victims of the economic disruption and environmental destruction caused by war. They suffer and die as wealth that could be used to end poverty, prevent disease, restore the environment, and address climate change is lavished on the military instead.
There is only one road to genuine peace, the one where ALL imperial powers are defeated from below by workers’ revolutions. Because, no matter who wins these wars, workers always lose.
In the spring of 1917, Lenin was asked how the horrible slaughter of World War I could be ended. He replied,
There is no easy way out of this terrible war. The war has been brought about by the ruling classes, and only a revolution of the working class can end it. Whatever sentimental things may be said, however much we may be told, “Let us end the war immediately,” the war which the capitalist governments have started can only be ended by a workers’ revolution.
A workers’ revolution pulled Russia out of that war. A global workers’ revolution could end war altogether.