Reject the Democratic Socialists of America (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 https://danlabotz.medium.com/dsa-and-the-russian-war-on-ukraine-political-paralysis-aec135e957d5
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 list of public signatures is at the bottom of this text.