Solidarity with Ukraine! 

Ukraine Solidarity Network (U.S.) Mission Statement

January 13, 2023

THE UKRAINE SOLIDARITY NETWORK (U.S.) reaches out to unions, communities and individuals from diverse backgrounds to build moral, political and material support for the people of Ukraine in their resistance to Russia’s criminal invasion and their struggle for an independent, egalitarian and democratic country.

The war against Ukraine is a horrible and destructive disaster in the human suffering and economic devastation it has already caused, not only for Ukraine and its people but also in its impact on global hunger and energy supplies, on the world environmental crisis, and on the lives of ordinary Russian people who are sacrificed for Putin’s war. The war also carries the risk of escalation to a direct confrontation among military great powers, with unthinkable possible consequences.

It is urgent to end this war as soon as possible. This can only be achieved through the success of Ukraine’s resistance to Russia’s invasion. Ukraine is fighting a legitimate war of self-defense, indeed a war for its survival as a nation. Calling for “peace” in the abstract is meaningless in these circumstances.

The Ukraine Solidarity Network (U.S.) supports Ukraine’s war of resistance, its right to determine the means and objectives of its own struggle – and we support its right to obtain the weapons it needs from any available source. We are united in our support for Ukraine’s people, their military and civilian defense against aggression, and for the reconstruction of the country in the interests of the majority of its population. We stand in opposition to all domination by powerful nations and states, including by the United States and its allies, over smaller ones and oppressed peoples.

We uphold the following principles and goals:

1) We strive for a world free of global power domination at the expense of smaller nations. We oppose war and authoritarianism no matter which state it comes from, and support the right of self-determination and self-defense for any oppressed nation.

2) We support Ukraine’s victory against the Russian invasion, and its right to reparations to meet the costs of reconstruction after the colossal destruction it is suffering.

3) The reconstruction of Ukraine also demands the cancellation of its debts to international financial institutions. Aid to Ukraine must come without strings attached, above all without crushing debt burdens.

4) We recognize the suffering that this war imposes on people in Russia, most intensely on the ethnic and religious minority sectors of the Russian Federation which are disproportionately impacted by forced military conscription. We salute the brave Russian antiwar forces speaking out and demonstrating in the face of severe repression, and we are encouraged by the popular resistance to the draft of soldiers to become cannon fodder for Putin’s unjust war of aggression.

5) We seek to build connections to progressive organizations and movements in Ukraine and with the labor movement, which represents the biggest part of Ukrainian civil society, and to link Ukrainian civic organizations, marginalized communities and trade unions with counterpart organizations in the United States. We support Ukrainian struggles for ensuring just and fair labor rights for its population, especially during the war, as there are no military reasons to implement laws that threaten the social rights of Ukrainians, including those who are fighting in the front lines.

The Ukraine Solidarity Network (U.S.) website is here. See the list of endorsers of the Mission Statement and sign it here

Comments
  • Peter Solenberger says:

    I wouldn’t try to discourage anyone inclined to sign the Ukraine Solidarity Network (US) Mission Statement from doing so, as I wouldn’t try to discourage anyone inclined to sign the CodepPink Call for a Christmas Truce in Ukraine.

    The USN-US statement is well-intentioned, but it’s also one-sided. It comes across as supporting not just the Ukrainian people against the Russian invasion, but also the US-NATO camp in the interimperialist cold war. To me, the statement has three major defects:

    1. The statement says nothing about US imperialism, nothing about the struggle over the division of the world between the US-led bloc of established imperialist powers and the Russia-China bloc challenging them, and nothing about the need to oppose our own imperialism.

    2. The statement doesn’t identify the Ukrainian ruling class and government as mortal enemies of the Ukrainian working class in its “struggle for an independent, egalitarian, and democratic country.” The rulers are trying to use the war to enhance their power, and the problem of their rule will remain, whatever the outcome of the war.

    3. The statement asserts that “It is urgent to end this war as soon as possible. This can only be achieved through the success of Ukraine’s resistance to Russia’s invasion. Ukraine is fighting a legitimate war of self-defense, indeed a war for its survival as a nation. Calling for ‘peace’ in the abstract is meaningless in these circumstances.”

    I agree that calling for “peace” in the abstract is meaningless in these circumstances, but “the success of Ukraine’s resistance to Russia’s invasion” isn’t the only way the war could end.

    ”Fight until victory” is a universal battle cry. It’s the prevailing sentiment in Ukraine outside the historically Russian areas through which the front lines run. But revolutionary socialists should take a step back and consider what’s really happening in the war.

    The Ukrainian people have already won, in the sense that they thwarted the Russian attempt to conquer their country and impose a client regime. It seems very unlikely that the Ukrainian military will be able to drive out the Russian military and prevent the partition of the country.

    If they can’t, the war will still end, but not in the victory the statement contemplates. Rather, it will end through a ceasefire in place, when the two sides have exhausted themselves.

    • David Finkel says:

      As the invasion of Ukraine nears the February 24 anniversary, this horrific and globally catastrophic war looks like lasting a long time yet. Peter’s reflection on the stalemate leading toward a “cease-fire” — not a solution — represents the current military situation. But for Ukraine this is a war of national and physical survival, and for Russia and Putin it’s a war of regime survival, and so neither side is close to being “exhausted” in view of what’s at stake. Solidarity with the Ukrainian people is all the more important now. The Ukraine Solidarity Network is organizing an online event for Saturday, February 25, featuring Ukrainian and antiwar Russian speakers and U.S. supporters. Details forthcoming!

  • Sam Friedman says:

    I want to add a few words to what David said. I recently wrote an article in Against the Current that describes some of the likely effects of Russia’s war on the health of Ukrainians in the period after the war, as well as some of the ways Ukrainians are organizing and struggling at the present moment. In 2014, I wrote an article on the Maidan uprisings and Russia’s profoundly conservative and anti-revolutionary motives for seizing Crimea and for instigating and supporting the war in Eastern Ukraine that went on until the invasion. (It is available at http://ukrainesolidaritycampaign.org/2015/08/03/maidan-and-after/) The point is that we need to understand what is really happening, not rely on incorrect abstractions that posit the US as the only imperialist power.

    In addition, although it is not in the article I recently published in ATC, Russia’s imperial war will lead to nightmarish public health issues for Russia itself in coming years. This parallels the miseries of American soldiers who have taken part in US imperial wars.

    Further, the critics of the Ukraine Solidarity Network statement should consider the fact that Russian socialists and Russian feminists, as well as Ukrainian ones, have all come out against Russia’s imperialist war.

  • Will Hall says:

    Was very much inspired by Solidarity and Against the Current – a long time ago. The organization and magazine still do have many great left political perspectives and projects. This support for empire against Russia is however an endorsement of WWIII and a sad alignment of so-called left politics with the neo-conservative Hillary Clinton wing of the Democratic Party. It is absolute madness for this statement to be framed as anti-intervention solidarity when the reality is that Ukraine is not defending itself, it is being used as a proxy for US and NATO funding and geopolitical aims. “Defending democracy” is the new branding of US imperial intervention that the left needs to see through. Have you engaged with any of Chomsky’
    s arguments on this? Instead of speaking to the development of NATO into an aggressive global imperialist actor, or speaking to the US funding for NATO expansion through money to the Ukraine military, the statement refers only vaguely to the right for any country to defend itself, get weapons wherever it can, material support… Where is the discussion of the war that was already going on before the Russian invasion, or the geopolitics at work there? Where is the discussion of Obama’s decision to not respond with military escalation – are you and your organization now really to the right of Obama? Have you considered any of this? This statement is a horrific indictment of the inability of the left to think independently of scare tactic moralistic hypocrisy repeated in the same forever war corporate media that kept us in Afghanistan for 20 years and drove the Iraq War, the destruction of Libya, and the arming of Israel and its occupation. One day I hope we look back on the misguided pro-war left for what it is, and I hope that day comes soon.

  • Elizabeth Fattah says:

    I am saddened that Solidarity writes like a “Cold War Warrior” instead of a Socialist who should be pushing for negotiations.

    • David says:

      Most wars have multiple dimensions, and the horrific war in Ukraine is no exception. Many people on the left, such as our two respondents above, see only one thing: U.S./NATO involvement in arming and supporting Ukraine in what Will Hall and others call a “proxy war.” The NATO governments do so for their own reasons, of course, but our respondents are unable to see the fundamental dimension of Ukraine’s war of self-defense and national survival. Will goes so far as to say “Ukraine is not defending itself,” which is both factual nonsense and an insult to millions of Ukrainians who are performing miracles of organization and resistance against the Putin regime’s intention to obliterate their country. And for those of us on the left who are organizing for active solidarity with Ukraine, there is a third, critically important dimension: This is not only a war for Ukraine’s independence which is entirely legitimate in itself, but in many ways a genuine “people’s war” of self-organization. This struggle carries the potential (nothing is guaranteed of course) for building a progressive alternative to the rightwing neoliberal and anti-labor politics of the present Ukrainian government. Obviously this is only possible IF the Russian invasion is defeated. The multiple dimensions of this war are interconnected, but it is terrible blindness on the part of much of the “anti-imperialist” left not to see how much is at stake. And that’s not even taking account the Russian regime’s savage internal repression, genocidal rhetoric and turn toward fascism.

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