Socialist Alliance (Australia): Russia out of Ukraine, No to NATO

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Socialist Alliance condemns the Russian attack on Ukraine. The war violates international law and is a catastrophe for people in both countries. We recognise the right of the Ukrainian people to self-determination free from all foreign interference. As a consequence we support:

  • An immediate halt to the Russian invasion and a withdrawal of its military from Ukraine's territory and airspace.   
  • The Ukrainian peoples' right to resist the invasion, to expel Russian armed forces from Ukrainian territory and to access the arms needed to achieve this.
  • A return to diplomacy to de-escalate the situation and resolve the current impasse. This is a call on Russia and the Western powers to abandon their war aims and allow Ukraine to live in peace, not for Ukraine to capitulate. 
  • A commitment from all sides to a peaceful resolution of the status of the Donbas and Crimea that respects the democratically expressed wishes of the people who live there.
  • The permanent cancellation of Ukraine’s external debt.    

The role of NATO & the US

The Russian government is responsible for this terrible act of war with its appalling impact on human life and the environment, including the potential horror of widespread radioactive contamination.

While the relentless drive by the United States to expand NATO up to Russia’s border in order to encircle it militarily significantly frames the conflict, the Russian invasion has been a propaganda gift for Western imperialism, allowing the US and its allies to take advantage of Eastern European fears about the ambitions of Putin’s Russia in order boost military spending and adopt an even more hostile posture. The same approach is being applied to China through AUKUS and the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue.

In both cases this has nothing to do with defending a "rules based international order" or supporting democratic transformation in Russia or China as its proponents claim, and everything to do with blocking competition and preserving profits. This aggressive "containment" policy actually has the consequence of reinforcing authoritarian nationalist politics in both Russia and China. The following measures are needed to contribute to a lasting peace:

  • An immediate commitment to stop the eastward expansion of NATO. Like AUKUS, ANZUS and the Quad; NATO should be scrapped.    
  • All countries to sign the Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons.
  • Reversal of the increase in war budgets, with negotiation between governments of mutually agreed cuts in arms expenditure.    

Putin’s Russia

The assertion by Russian President Vladimir Putin that the Ukrainian nation does not exist but was an invention of the Soviet Union is absurd. His suggestion that there would be military consequences for Finland and Sweden if they joined NATO and reference to nuclear conflict was extremely inflammatory.

Putin does not represent the interests of the working people of Russia. His political project is based on authoritarianism, social conservatism and Russian chauvinism. He represents the interests of Russia’s capitalist oligarchs and their desire to carve out their own sphere of influence in competition with Western capitalism. This project has no progressive or anti-imperialist role. Instead, Putin’s actions make it harder to build a peaceful and more just world:

  • The invasion of Ukraine has boosted the appeal of NATO in neighbouring countries and convinced many people in them that they need to remain allied with US military strategy in Europe and beyond.    
  • With the focus on Putin’s destruction in Ukraine, it makes it easier for the US and its allies to pose as the defenders of international law while they continue to unleash violence on parts of the world outside the gaze of the Western media.    
  • We therefore express our solidarity with the Russian peace and democracy movement and call for the immediate release of all protesters who have been detained and political prisoners, and an immediate end to the repression of the political opposition and critical media. We do not support economic sanctions on Russia that hurt working people.
  • We support Ukrainian left movements, trade unions, feminists and environmentalists in their defence of the country’s labour, social and environmental rights and against attacks by the Ukrainian government and parliament   

Finally, we insist that while refugees from this war should immediately be made welcome in Australia, this must be in addition to the existing humanitarian intake and not at the expense of refugees from other places.

This statement was adopted by the Socialist Alliance National Council at its meeting on September 18