Socialist Alliance: Russia out of Ukraine! No to NATO!

An anti-war protest in Sydney on February 27. Photo: Peter Boyle

Socialist Alliance condemns the Russian attack on Ukraine. The war violates international law and is a catastrophe for people in both countries.

The Ukrainian people have a right to resist the invasion. We support calls for:

• Russia to immediately halt the invasion and withdraw its military from Ukraine’s territory and airspace.

• A return to diplomacy to de-escalate the situation and resolve the current impasse.

• The right to democratic self-determination for the Ukrainian people.

• A commitment from all sides to a peaceful resolution of the situation in the Donbas and a solution that respects the democratically-expressed wishes of the people who live there.

The role of NATO and the US

The Russian government is responsible for this terrible act of war. However, 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 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 order” as their proponents hypocritically claim, but are about 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 on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

Putin’s Russia

The recent 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 join NATO and references to nuclear conflict were extremely inflammatory.

Putin does not represent 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 will boost the appeal of NATO in neighbouring countries and convince 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 hypocritically 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 express our solidarity with the emerging Russian peace movement and call for the immediate release of all detained protesters and political prisoners. We do not support economic sanctions on Russia that hurt working people.

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.

[The Socialist Alliance National Executive released this statement on March 1.]