Ukraine Socialist Solidarity Campaign Statement
Reject DSA International Committee’s Support for the Russian Invasion of Ukraine
On July 13, the International Committee of DSA sent out a message to its members via email, twitter, and other social media, asking them to contact Congress and demand:
-Peace in Ukraine, not military escalation
-End to billions in military aid and weapons
-Legislation to help working people.
We the undersigned oppose this veiled pro-Russian lobbying effort. The DSA International Committee’s demands are contrary to the articulated needs of the Ukrainian people, give real material aid to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and strengthen Trumpism and the far right here and throughout the world.
The first step in any peaceful resolution of the Russian invasion of Ukraine must be the complete withdrawal of all Russian forces from all Ukrainian territory.
Military escalation in Ukraine has been completely one sided: Russia – one of the great military powers on this planet – invaded a smaller neighboring country. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was completely unprovoked. It was an act of imperialist aggression. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is genocidal in character and has also involved the systematic use of rape and sexual violence as a weapon.
Instead of an end to military aid to Ukraine, we believe that Ukraine has the right to resist military attack, and to do so, it has the right to obtain the weapons from any and all sources it needs to defend itself, including from the United States. Instead of calling for ending military aid, we should call for aid without western imperialist strings and conditions. Support for military aid to Ukraine is no different than support for military aid to the Kurds fighting in Northern Syria against ISIS’s genocidal war except that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is even more destructive because Russia is a global nuclear power.
Instead of an end to military aid, DSA should support the Ukrainian people’s urgent call for immediate cancellation of Ukraine’s foreign debt. Ukraine not only faces the ravages of the Russian invasion, but will also face the enormously expensive process of rebuilding once Russian troops are gone.
We appeal to all members and supporters of DSA to consider the potential impact on the Ukrainian people of the International Committee’s demands, the particular timing of this call, and the process by which the International Committee came up with these demands.
Ending military aid simply means curtailing Ukraine’s ability to resist. It does not mean that Russia will stop its invasion. More children will die, more people will be displaced, more women will be raped by Russian soldiers, more essential farming will be razed, and more infrastructure will be destroyed.
Ukrainian women who have been raped by Russian soldiers become pregnant and flee the country to save their own lives. While abortion is legal in Ukraine, refugee women in Poland face even more oppressive abortion laws than those currently being imposed in many US states. The International Committee’s proposal will condemn more and more women to the same fate. In contrast, Ukrainian feminists are now waging a campaign to defend reproductive rights all around the world, recognizing that indeed, solidarity can have no borders. DSA should join them instead of supporting the International Committee’s pernicious proposal.
Ukraine is a sovereign nation with the right to determine its own future. Since the dissolution of the USSR in 1991, Ukrainians have been fighting to build a democratic, civil society, free from oppression and control by any imperialist power, especially Russia. History is clear on this matter. Despite Ukraine’s neoliberal governments and corruption, it is far more democratic than Russia and the Ukrainian extreme right is insignificant compared to the extreme right of Russia, whose leader is Vladimir Putin.
Putin and the current Russian regime are the world’s foremost promoters and advocates of white supremacy, ethno-nationalism, misogyny, totalitarianism, eugenics against LGBTQ+ people, and extreme right-wing ideology.
Our peers in Ukraine are democratic socialists, feminists, LGBTQ+ activists, anarchists and labor organizers who are on the front lines of the fight against Putin’s tyrannical miltary assault and who cannot continue their struggle for labor rights and gender rights so long as Russia’s genocidal war continues. Ukrainian people have joined forces to fight as part of the Territorial Defense, to provide aid to Ukrainian soldiers, and humanitarian aid to refugees and their own communities.
Our Ukrainian comrades, along with Syrian refugees and solidarity activists are the vanguard of the global fight against totalitarianism and fascism.
In June, a coalition of Ukrainian Feminists issued a common statement expressing their priorities, along with a petition to support them. The center of their platform is the Right to Resist. The statement begins with "We, feminists from Ukraine, call on feminists around the world to stand in solidarity with the resistance movement of the Ukrainian people against the predatory, imperialist war unleashed by the Russian Federation.” Their statement can be read and signed here;
In Ukraine, Social Movement is a democratic socialist organization that deserves DSA’s support. It is a leading force in the mobilization against the Russian invasion. Founded in 2016 on “Ten Points” of anti-capitalist and pro-labor demands, the people in Social Movement believe that Ukraine’s poverty, striking inequality, social injustice, lack of democracy, corruption, police violence, and attacks on civil and social rights can only be solved by a genuine social revolution – namely, replacing the existing system of oligarchic capitalism with democratic socialism.
Neither Ukrainian democratic socialists nor the many other organizations of the Left in Ukraine are calling for “peace” or for an end to military aid to Ukraine.
Democratic socialists in Ukraine are fighting for complete victory over the Russian invasion. And they are asking for international solidarity to help them in this effort. These are the voices we should be listening to-and learning from-in deciding what should be done and how to demonstrate meaningful solidarity with people under siege.
Clearly, the United States, the United Kingdom and NATO are no friends of Ukraine. From their point of view, aid to Ukraine is mostly about strengthening themselves. Their goal to find a diplomatic compromise that ends the fighting and leaves Russia in imperialist control of Eastern Ukraine, was enunciated in “Ukraine’s Implausible Theories of Victory, the Fantasy of Russian Defeat and the Case for Diplomacy” an article by Barry R. Posen published on July 8 by Foreign Affairs.
Perhaps the members of DSA’s International Committee truly desire peace, but their July 13th statement fits into the aims of both Russian imperialism and US imperialism. The DSA International Committee position is in no way consistent with "working toward a solidarity that knows no borders”. On the other hand, the DSA’s International Committee may have other motives as implied by this article by DSA member Dan LaBotz
All socialists and leftists everywhere support “legislation to help working people” but not counter posed to the right to resist an invasion. Resistance to attacks on working people in the USA goes hand in hand with support for the resistance of the Ukrainian people against the Russian invasion. This is the real meaning of a “solidarity that knows no borders.”
It is not too late for DSA to change course. The power to do that is in the members’ hands. We demand a nationwide debate in DSA on the International Committee’s erroneous support for the Russian Federation's imperialist invasion of Ukraine to be followed by a vote of the membership.
DSA must change course, oppose Russian conquest, and support Ukraine’s right to resist.
‘The right to resist’: A feminist manifesto from Ukraine
Reprinted from "Green Left"
Ukrainian feminists released "The right to resist." A feminist manifesto on July 7 in response to a document entitled Feminist Resistance Against War Manifesto. (see it below)
Green Left is publishing both manifestos because they reflect the debate within the anti-war movement about how to stop this disastrous war.
The March 14 Feminist Resistance Against War Manifesto was criticised by Indian Marxist feminist Kavita Krishnan for its “pacifism that failed to demonstrate solidarity with all manner of Ukrainian resistance, including armed resistance”.
French Marxist economist and feminist Catherine Samary also criticised it for presenting the war “as a conflict between imperialisms”, arguing that it presented “a political analysis that does not distinguish between aggressive war and legitimate resistance”.
'The right to resist.' A feminist manifesto
The Feminist Initiative Group
We, feminists from Ukraine, call on feminists around the world to stand in solidarity with the resistance movement of the Ukrainian people against the predatory, imperialist war unleashed by the Russian Federation. War narratives often portray women* as victims. However, in reality, women* also play a key role in resistance movements, both at the frontline and on the home front: from Algeria to Vietnam, from Syria to Palestine, from Kurdistan to Ukraine.
The authors of the Feminist Resistance Against War manifesto [See below] deny Ukrainian women* this right to resistance, which constitutes a basic act of self-defense of the oppressed. In contrast, we view feminist solidarity as a political practice which must listen to the voices of those directly affected by imperialist aggression. Feminist solidarity must defend women’s* right to independently determine their needs, political goals and strategies for achieving them.
Ukrainian feminists were struggling against systemic discrimination, patriarchy, racism and capitalist exploitation long before the present moment. We conducted and will continue to conduct this struggle both during war and in peacetime.
However, the Russian invasion is forcing us to focus on the general defense effort of Ukrainian society: the fight for survival, for basic rights and freedoms, for political self-determination. We call for an informed assessment of a specific situation instead of abstract geopolitical analysis which ignores the historical, social and political context. Abstract pacifism which condemns all sides taking part in the war leads to irresponsible solutions in practice. We insist on the essential difference between violence as a means of oppression and as a legitimate means of self-defense.
The Russian aggression undermines the achievements of Ukrainian feminists in the struggle against political and social oppression. In the occupied territories, the Russian army uses mass rape and other forms of gender-based violence as a military strategy. The establishment of the Russian regime in these territories poses the threat of criminalizing LGBTIQ+ people and decriminalising domestic violence. Throughout Ukraine, the problem of domestic violence is becoming more acute. Vast destruction of civilian infrastructure, threats to the environmental, inflation, shortages and population displacement endanger social reproduction.
The war intensifies gendered division of labor, further shifting the work of social reproduction — in especially difficult and precarious conditions — onto women. Rising unemployment and the neoliberal government’s attack on labor rights continue to exacerbate social problems. Fleeing from the war, many women* are forced to leave the country, and find themselves in a vulnerable position due to barriers to housing, social infrastructure, stable income, and medical services (including contraception and abortion). They are also at risk of getting trapped into sex trafficking.
We call on feminists from around the world to support our struggle. We demand:
• the right to self-determination, protection of life and fundamental freedoms and the right to self-defense (including armed) for the Ukrainian people — as well as for other peoples facing imperialist aggression;
• a just peace, based on the self-determination of the Ukrainian people, both in the territories controlled by Ukraine and its temporarily occupied territories, in which the interests of workers, women, LGBTIQ+ people, ethnic minorities and other oppressed and discriminated groups will be taken into account;
• international justice for war crimes and crimes against humanity during the imperialist wars of the Russian Federation and other countries;
• effective security guarantees for Ukraine and effective mechanisms to prevent further wars, aggression and escalation of conflicts in the region and in the world;
• freedom of movement, protection and social security for all refugees and internally displaced persons irrespective of origin;
• protection and expansion of labor rights, opposition to exploitation and super exploitation and democratization of industrial relations;
• prioritization of the sphere of social reproduction (kindergartens, schools, medical institutions, social support, etc.) in the reconstruction of Ukraine after the war;
• cancellation of Ukraine's foreign debt (and that of other countries of the global periphery) for post-war reconstruction and prevention of further austerity policies;
• protection against gender-based violence and guaranteed effective implementation of the Istanbul Convention;
• respect for the rights and empowerment of LGBTIQ+ people, national minorities, people with disabilities and other discriminated groups;
• implementation of the reproductive rights of girls and women, including the universal rights to sex education, medical services, medicine, contraception and abortion;
• guaranteed visibility for and recognition of women’s active role in the anti-imperialist struggle;
• inclusion of women in all social processes and decision-making, both during war and in peacetime, on equal terms with men;
Today, Russian imperialism threatens the existence of Ukrainian society and affects the entire world. Our common fight against it requires shared principles and global support. We call for feminist solidarity and action to protect human lives as well as rights, social justice, freedom and security.
We stand for the right to resist.
If Ukrainian society lays down its arms, there will be no Ukrainian society.
If Russia lays down its arms, the war will end.
July 7, 2022
[Manifesto reprinted from Commons.]
Feminist Resistance Against War Manifesto
Feminists Against War
We profoundly condemn the military invasion led by the Putin regime in Ukraine, which has already left thousands of people dead and hundreds of thousands displaced, and which provokes a sharpening of the confrontation between imperialist blocs at the global level.
We reject the positions issued in recent days that deepen the warmongering spiral. We reject the decisions that involve adding more weapons to the conflict and increasing war budgets. We reject security narratives that reinforce authoritarian logic and militarisation. Not in our name.
We must remember that [the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)] is co-responsible for the situation created by its global expansionism and militaristic security narrative. Weapons perpetuate war, perpetuate barbarism and perpetuate suffering. There is no greater security than peace.
With this manifesto we collect the call launched by Russian feminist groups and join the Feminist Resistance Against War! In this way, we recover the feminist thread of history that has participated in struggles against reactionary wars, from the movement led by Rosa Luxemburg in 1914, the Greenham Common anti-nuclear weapons camp of the 1980s or the Women in Black movement against war, to name a few.
We are with the people of Ukraine who want to restore peace in their lives and demand a ceasefire. We are with the mobilised Russian citizens, who, despite the repression and threats of the authoritarian and repressive regime of Putin, demand to stop the military invasion.
That is why we say Feminist Resistance Against War. Behind the NO to War there is no naive position. The only real road to peace is the de-escalation of war.
We demand a bold redirection of the situation to break the militaristic spiral initiated by Russia and supported by NATO. We demand the immediate cancellation of Ukraine’s foreign debt of 125 billion dollars as a concrete measure of support for the Ukrainian people and denounce the reforms and conditionality imposed by the [International Monetary Fund] in recent years.
Learning from the painful experiences of war and conflict in Europe in the last century must mark our commitment and action. War is irreconcilable with the essential values and goals of the feminist movement. We stand for peace, coexistence of peoples and a democratic solution to conflicts.
We are many who say no to war, imperialism, patriarchy, authoritarianism and militarism.
We are the future that will prevail!
March 14, 2022
[Reprinted from Feminists Against War.]