the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist
“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx
Mar 14, 2022
The scenes that we are shown coming from Ukraine are horrifying. Neighborhoods are being bombed, bridges and infrastructure are blown up by both sides in this war. Thousands of people are living in underground subways. Over two million people have fled the country to escape this war, adding to the refugee crisis in Europe.
The horrors of this war go well beyond the stories we are being shown on television. Two peoples, Ukrainian and Russian, who share a common culture and a common history, have been set against each other by this war. Ordinary Ukrainians are being killed, as well as Russian conscript soldiers.
And the effects of this war are extending beyond the borders of Ukraine to affect the ordinary working people of the entire world. Ukraine and Russia are the world’s leading exporters of wheat, as well as other basic foodstuffs. Capitalist speculators are using the war to bid up the price of wheat and other grains, which could lead to food shortages and starvation in those populations that depend on these grain exports, especially in the Middle East and parts of Africa and Asia.
The oil corporations of the U.S. and Europe are using the cover of this war to continue what they had already started—raising the price of oil. Disrupting oil distribution out of Russia also allows U.S. oil companies to open more oil wells here. All of which means higher gas prices—with higher profits for U.S. capitalists and higher costs for U.S. workers. The economic dislocations caused by the war and the sanctions imposed on Russia could well lead to more shortages and add to the inflation, which is cutting into the standard of living of working people in this country and around the world.
The working class in Russia will also pay the price for this war. This war is not in their interests and thousands of Russians have been arrested for protesting against this criminal war—a war where Putin and the Russian regime were the ones who fired the first shot.
But Putin is not the only aggressor or even the biggest aggressor. The main responsibility for this war lies with the policies of the U.S. ruling class and the NATO military alliance, which the U.S. government organized in 1949 to threaten the Soviet Union. After the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, NATO incorporated former Soviet bloc countries into its military alliance and stationed U.S. troops, military bases and missile sites all along the border of Russia. No different than if Russia had troops and military bases in Canada and Mexico, all along the border with the U.S.
Today the U.S. and NATO confront Russia by using Ukraine as a proxy to fight this war. The U.S. continues to ship more weapons to the Ukrainian military and paramilitary forces, extending a war in which Ukrainian forces are badly outnumbered against the stronger forces of the Russian army. Neither side has any regard for the Ukrainian population, which is caught between them, paying the price of the war.
But this war in Ukraine carries an even bigger threat to the whole world’s population—the threat of a larger war. The conflict today between the U.S. ruling class and their NATO allies and the Putin regime is the kind of conflict that can lead to a world war. Today the U.S. government, with the aid and complicity of the media, is using the war in Ukraine to carry out a nationalist propaganda against Russia designed to prepare the U.S. working class to support a war in which the U.S. would be directly involved.
This future of wars is the future which they are preparing for us. They have no other answer for our future. Just as Biden and NATO and Putin have no answers for the Covid pandemic, still ongoing after two years. Just as they have no answers for an economy that couldn’t provide enough jobs and a decent standard of living even before Covid. Just as they have no answers to the worldwide shortage of goods and inflation of prices. They have no answers for any of these problems. And history shows that when imperialism runs out of answers, their response is war—war that spreads to engulf larger regions of the world in a contest between all the major powers.
But the working class of the world, including the U.S., Ukraine, and Russia, can find better answers. We do not have to leave our fate in the hands of those who rule over us. The world working class has the power to fight for a different world—a world in which we determine our own future—a future in which we don’t have to pay the price for their wars.