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Stop the War Coalition Publishes ‘Trade Union’ Conference Agenda.

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“British support for NATO escalation in Ukraine is prolonging the war and threatening confrontation between nuclear armed powers.”

Not many people are going to support that claim.

Stop the War Coalition.

“We are living in a more and more dangerous world. The war in Ukraine is a disaster for the people there and effectively pits two nuclear armed great powers against each other. It could escalate at any time and is already causing economic chaos. Meanwhile, the US is ramping up the pressure on China, with full support from the British government and other NATO allies.

All this is raising tensions around the world, and in the middle of the worst attacks on living standards since the 1930s they want us to pay for this new militarism. The Tories are attempting to increase defence spending to 3% of GDP – way above the European average.

We have called this conference because we believe that it is always working people who are the first victims of war and that the record sums being spent on arms and the military should be redirected to public services, to the NHS, social care and our crumbling schools. We believe that the slogan ‘cut warfare not welfare’ should be taken up by the whole of the trade union movement.

The conference is open to all trade unionists. We urge you to register but also to spread the word in your branches and trades councils.”

Stop the War are pushing a line, ” ‘cut warfare not welfare'” that harks back to the 19th century Liberal MP John Bright (1811 – 1899), “He opposed the Crimean War, not only because (like Cobden) he advocated the cause of peace and internationalism, but also for the burden that military expenditure imposed on the taxpayer.

There is no mention that most people, and most of the left and trade unionists, stand with Ukraine. Solidarity with Ukraine is common decency and internationalism. That includes military backing.

On China the StWC does not mention that Deputy Chair, Andrew Murray, author of their pamphlet The World at War. A Trade Union Issue, is an ardent Campist who backs the Chinese Communist Party (CPC) and thinks the country is ‘socialist’.

 It is also curious, though no doubt they are trying to drag in what they can, to see ‘Islamophobia’ on the STWC agenda.

And there is one absence – amongst items not on the day’s programme.

The Iranian people’s democratic fight against the Islamic Republic of Iran is not mentioned.

Written by Andrew Coates

January 8, 2023 at 12:14 pm

Stop the War Coalition Denounces Helping Ukraine With Arms.

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Peace is a Good Thing.

The Morning Star carries this story.

PEACE campaigners have condemned Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s pledge to supply hundreds of thousands of rounds of bullets to Ukraine in the new year.

Mr Sunak said the £250 million package will “ensure a constant flow of critical artillery ammunition to Ukraine throughout 2023.”

…..

Campaigners criticised this latest pledge, which follows the government’s decision to send more rocket launchers and guided missiles to Ukraine earlier this year.

Stop the War convener Lindsey German said: “Europe has made a major turn to rearming this year as a result of the war.

“These moves come at a cost to the people of Ukraine — and of Russia — as it means the war continues, with terrible human consequences.

“They also come at a high cost to the people of Europe who are suffering rocketing energy prices and attacks on their living standards.

…..

“Sunak says we can’t pay the nurses but can pay for deadly ammunition. This war is in no-one’s interests — we need ceasefire now, withdrawal of Russian troops and peace talks.”

Peace Pledge Union campaign manager Symon Hill said: “Rishi Sunak insults the intelligence of the public by saying he wants to achieve peace by building up military alliances and flooding a war zone with weapons.”

……

“Russian militarism and Nato militarism are two sides of the same coin. We need real and meaningful negotiations now.”

The Daily concludes,

But Labour’s shadow defence secretary John Healey said a constant flow of ammunition to Ukraine was “important and welcome.”

“Ministers must now place contracts to restock other weapons needed for the British army and to support Ukraine as part of the full plan of support they promised four months ago,” he said.

Revolutionary socialist Lindsey German, a leader of the SWP breakaway Counterfire. expresses her views in more detil here:

One of the main Xmas messages is that of peace. Yet this year we are marking a dramatic escalation in war and military spending. The war in Ukraine has been raging since Putin’s invasion in February. In the middle of freezing winter, many Ukrainians are suffering without heating or water, as attacks on the infrastructure from Russian forces continue. Many thousands of troops on both sides have died in the past 10 months. Refugees have been displaced across the country and worldwide. The war is bogged down in the winter months.  The danger is that it will continue as a destructive and long war of attrition and that the main victims will be the ordinary people of Ukraine.

The danger is that it will continue as a destructive and long war of attrition and that the main victims will be the ordinary people of Ukraine.

This makes peace all the more necessary. Calls for a ceasefire, withdrawal of Russian troops and peace talks are the only solution to this war which does not involve further misery and the prospect of escalation, the use of nuclear weapons and the involvement of further countries. This outcome was blocked by our own government in April, when Boris Johnson went to Kyiv to urge Volodymir Zelensky to keep fighting in order to weaken Russia. Britain has been one of the most keen to send arms and weaponry to Ukraine, despite the dangers of escalation that this presents. British special forces are active in Ukraine and Ukrainian troops are regularly trained by the British army.

….

Our government’s response is to argue that if we want peace then we need more weaponry and more war. The opposite is true. An end to the wars in Ukraine, Yemen and in the many other conflicts throughout the world requires us to oppose our government’s policy. 

*****

On the left there has been a discussion of the invasion of Ukraine. This has ranged from the right of Ukraine and its right to self-defence, the nature of Russian imperialism, its ideology, politics, military strategy and the interests its war furthers. There is the issue of the development – if it exists – of a ‘multipolar world’, A small minority has argued against backing the “Ukrainian capitalist state and its western imperialist backers” against the Russian onslaught. Apparently internationalism is a high price to pay, and an “echo of Western Governments, which so far have been willing to incur the pain as long as it can be transferred on to rivals and/or dumped on workers.” An even smaller group, the Tankie fringe, has taken Putin’s side.

Many would by contrast clearly follow the take of Anti-Capitalist Resistance (ACR) that, the Ukrainians, “are fighting for their own freedom, independence and self-determination.” “If Ukraine has the right to armed resistance to invasion, it must have the right to receive arms from whatever source – in actuality, mainly the NATO countries. The unexpected success of the Ukrainian armed forces on the battlefield is due to their greater motivation and the receipt of advanced weapons and equipment from the West. For us, it is counter-intuitive to support arms exports. In general, the arms trade is one of the evils of capitalism. However, right now, the supply of arms is vitally necessary for Ukraine to survive as an independent country.” Ukraine: voices of resistance and solidarity (a review). Richard Abernethy.

Friend of peace loving peoples German has boiled down the Stop the War arguments to the following: 1) Peace is a good thing, it should be negotiated in Ukraine. 2) The right to receive weapons is fuelling war, particularly in Ukraine. 3) Britain, from Boris Johnson to the present, is keeping the supply of weapons going in order to “weaken Russia”. 4) The cost of living crisis come from this Western warmongering.

The Second point is taken up by ACR.

The Third, part of a larger group of assertions about the war, expressed by Olivier Eagleton of New Left Review, was answered below.

No, the West Didn’t Halt Ukraine’s Peace Talks With Russia

Russian diplomacy was always a smokescreen.

Volodymyr Artiukh & Taras Fedirko. October 2022.

After the Russian withdrawal from Kyiv and northern Ukraine in late March, Johnson made a surprise visit to Kyiv on 9 April. He reportedly told Zelensky that Britain and other western states weren’t ready to provide security guarantees to Ukraine along the lines of the Istanbul framework agreement. The crucial evidence of Johnson’s intervention comes from an article in the Ukrainian outlet Ukrainska Pravda, which cites an anonymous source from Zelensky’s immediate circle…..

Because this article is almost the only source routinely cited as a proof of nefarious western interference, it’s worth looking at the evidence more carefully. We spoke with its author, the political journalist Roman Romaniuk, to get a clearer picture of the political context navigated by the Ukrainian negotiating team.

Romaniuk disagrees with Eagleton’s interpretation that Johnson halted the peace deal. “Johnson was one of the people whom Zelensky listened to – not because of a dependence on him, but because of relations of trust”, Romaniuk told us. Britain’s prime minister hadn’t come to Kyiv to order a termination of the peace deal; this was advice at best, and as such, his scepticism about Russia’s trustworthiness wasn’t unique. There were strong concerns within Zelensky’s closest entourage that the Kremlin wouldn’t stick to an agreement for any longer than it suited its interests.

………

The freezing of the March negotiations was a result of a complex interplay of different factors primarily related to Ukraine’s and Russia’s internal politics and the dynamics of the military operations. Focusing on a magic turning point when everything could have gone otherwise, commentators ignore that in Russia’s repertoire, diplomacy has consistently been subordinated to the use of force. We therefore shouldn’t fetishize peace talks, but ground a leftwing vision of the war and the opportunities for ending it in a realistic analysis of the interests, resources and strategies of the parties involved. With this vision, we need to ask: what kind of peace would be progressive and serve the interests of the people of Ukraine? As Ukrainian leftists have repeatedly emphasised, it isn’t just any peace Ukrainians want – and they certainly don’t want that which comes with occupation.

The first claim should be looked at in this light,

THE LEFT VIEW ON THE PROSPECTS OF PEACE NEGOTIATIONS (Ukraine Solidarity Campaign).

Lately, in the West, the sentiment on the prospects of a peaceful end to the war imposed on the Ukrainian people is heard more and more often. But are such negotiations possible, and who will benefit from them? And does Putin actually want peace? Ukrainian leftists Denys Bondar and Zakhar Popovych provided their take on these questions.

…..

Ukrainians want peace, but not another “ceasefire” that will last until the next invasion. Campaigning for peace is actually being conducted even in mainstream Ukrainian media, but trust in peace negotiations and lasting peace are impossible without public discussion of its terms. In particular, the editor-in-chief of “Ukrainian Pravda” Sevgil Musaeva, a Ukrainian of Crimean-Tatar origin, does not reject negotiations. Even though the postponement of the Crimea decision is a personal matter for her, she calls for the public formulation of fair peace terms because if “Ukrainian society does not feel justice, any agreements are doomed from the beginning.”

We, Ukrainian socialists, must now watch closely so that no one forgets that peace negotiations must be public and only public, only on terms acceptable to Ukrainians. Only in this way can we count on a just and lasting peace.

……

We will not stoop to reply in great detail to the fourth assertion except to say that it parallels the Tories’ efforts to blame Putin for rising prices. That is, don’t stand with Ukraine because it might cost something.

And so the Morning Star continues on its way:

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Written by Andrew Coates

December 20, 2022 at 12:58 pm

French Trade Unionists, Greens, Activists, Intellectuals, and Left-wingers call “For a just and lasting Peace in Ukraine.”

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Call for “The withdrawal of all invading troops from the entire territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders”.

“Every war ends one day, any negotiation that would put an end to it will be welcome. But a just and lasting peace will not be established without conditions, it can only be envisaged on the basis of the respect of certain elementary principles. A wide group French politicians, civil society associations, trade unions, intellectuals, artists and representatives of the Ukrainian diaspora are calling for a demonstration for “a just and lasting peace” on Saturday December 10 at 2 p.m. Place du Trocadéro.

Une paix juste et durable pour l’Ukraine.

An unprecedented humanitarian crisis threatens the people of Ukraine this winter. The conditions of conflict that have prevailed in eastern Ukraine since 2014 has turned into an all-out, “high-intensity” war since the invasion of Ukrainian territory by Putin’s troops on February 24, 2022.

This “special operation” had the explicit goal of overthrowing the Ukrainian government and destroying the Republic of Ukraine as an independent entity. The failure of this first objective led the government of the Russian Federation to modify its objectives and to prolong a brutal war of conquest with the proclamation of the annexation of a large part of Ukrainian territory.

The victims number in the tens of thousands, the displaced persons in the millions, the damage in the tens of billions of euros. The invading forces commit war crimes, and, by their systematic nature, crimes against humanity – such as the destruction of vital infrastructure, the forced displacement and deportation of populations – including children. Not to mention the massive rapes.

In Russia, people are recruited voluntarily or by force to fight a war, which, in different ways, hundreds of thousands of them rightly wish to avoid or courageously oppose head on.

Every war ends one day, any negotiation that would put an end to it will be welcome. But a just and lasting peace will not be established without conditions, it can only be envisaged on the basis of the respect of certain elementary principles:

• The withdrawal of all invading troops from the entire territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders;

• The safe return of all refugees and displaced persons;

• Respect for international law, both with regard to the rules of armed conflict (release of prisoners of war) and humanitarian law and the principles of the United Nations Charter and other international documents (including the European Convention on human rights and the founding principles of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe).

Other issues, such as reparations for war damage, possible criminal proceedings before the competent national and international jurisdictions, as well as guarantees of security, freedom of expression of populations and exercise of their individual and collective, can be clarified once the above principles have been affirmed and put into practice as quickly as possible.

The support of these objectives by public opinion throughout the world will be an essential element for a just and lasting peace for the peoples of Ukraine and Russia.”

******

Amongst the signatories the trade union leaders, including Phillippe Martinez, of the CGT, Benoît Teste, FSU, Clémentine Autain, the radical left Ensemble! and La France insoumise deputy, Olivier Besancenot of the NPA, and the left philosopher Étienne Balibar, stand out.

List of first signatories:

Simon DUTEIL , co-spokesperson for the Solidaires Trade Union Group.
Murielle GUILBERT , co-spokesperson for Solidaires.
Philippe MARTINEZ , General Secretary of the CGT Confédération General du Travail, radical left trade union federation, (second largest union group in France).
Benoît TESTE , General Secretary of the FSU (largest Education Union).

François ALFONSI , Greens/ALE MEP
 Rodrigo ARENAS, LFI MEP for Paris      
Clémentine AUTAIN, LFI MEP for Seine-Saint-Denis
 Esther BENBASSA , Ecologist Senator for Paris
Laurence BOFFET , Vice-President Ensemble Lyon Métropole
Leïla CHAIBI , LFI MEP
Paul-André COLOMBANI , LIOT deputy for Haute-Corse
Hendrik DAVI, LFI deputy for Bouches-du-Rhône
Alma DUFOUR , LFI deputy for Seine-Maritime  
Benjamin JOYEUX , EELV (Europe Écologie Les Verts ,French Green Party) Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes regional councilor
Hubert JULIEN – LAFFÉRIÈRE , EELV deputy for Rhône
Andy KERBRAT , LFI deputy for Loire-Atlantique
Marianne MAXIMI , LFI deputy for Puy-de-Dôme
Paul MOLAC , LIOT deputy for Morbihan
Sandrine ROUSSEAU , EELV deputy for Paris
Michel SALA , LFI deputy for Gard

Branislava KATIC , General Secretary of the Union of Ukrainian Artists
Jean-Pierre PASTERNAK , Union of Ukrainians of France

Olivier BESANCENOT , former presidential candidate (Nouveau Parti anticapitaliste NPA).
Eva JOLY , former presidential candidate (EELV, Greens)
Noël MAMÈRE , former presidential candidate (les Verts, Greens, was a member of EELV)
Philippe POUTOU , former presidential candidate (NPA),

Vincent DREZET , spokesperson for Attac France
Merlin GAUTHIER , co-host of PEPS
Myriam MARTIN , spokesperson for the Ecosocialist Left
Margot MEDKOUR , spokesperson for Nantes en Commun
Jean-François PELLISSIER,   spokesperson for Ensemble!
Christine POUPIN , spokesperson for the NPA

Étienne BALIBAR , philosopher
Sergio CORONADO , former EELV deputy
Gilles LEMAIRE , former EELV secretary
Twefik ALLAL , Algerian association activist
Albert HERSZKOWICZ , doctor, Memorial 98
Jacques SIMON , founder of Kinoglaz (Soviet and Russian cinema)
Philippe CORCUFF , political scientist
Philippe MARLIÈRE , political scientist
Catherine SAMARY , economist

Fred ALFI , musician
Daman , musician
Dubamix , musician
Footprint System, musicians
Jacques KIRSNER , screenwriter, producer
Dominique LABOURIER , actress

 Jean MALIFAUD , mathematician
Marnix DRESSEN – VAGNE , sociologist
Alexis CUKIER , philosopher
Didier EPSZTAJN , author
Pierre COURS – SALIES , sociologist
Pierre KHALFA , economist
François GÈZE , editor
Pierre SALAMA, economist
Ben CRAMER , editor
Francis SITEL, editor
Jean-Paul BRUCKERT , historian
Gustave MASSIAH , economist
Jean DHOMBRES , science historian
Stefan BEKIER, conference interpreter
Bernard DREANO, international solidarity activist
Bernard RANDE , mathematician
Gilles GODEFROY , research director emeritus
Violaine AUBERT , CPGE high school Henri-IV
Nara CLADERA , school teacher, SUD Education
Fabienne MESSICA , sociologist
Georges MENAHEM , sociologist, economist
Gilles MANCERON , historian
Vincent PRESUMEY , professor
Claire BORNAIS , teacher trade unionist, FSU
Idriss MAZARI , mathematician
Anne MARCHAND , sociologist
Benjamin SCHRAEN , mathematician
Michelle GUERCI , journalist, anti-racist feminist activist
Patrick SILBERSTEIN , doctor, publisher
Bruno SLAMA , business manager
Julien TROCCAZ , SUD-Rail
Christian GOURDET , worker in the Retired book
Christian MAHIEUX , retired railway worker, publisher
Pierre ROUSSET , Europe solidaire sans frontières
Monique DENTAL , feminist network Ruptures
Abraham BEHAR , president of the Association of French doctors for the prevention of nuclear war
Daniel GUERRIER , publisher
Jan MALEWSKI , publisher
Bernard PINAUD , former CCFD-Terre solidaire delegate
Patrick FARBIAZ , environmental activist
 Pierre BERNARD , mathematician
 Huayra LLANQUE , ATTAC association activist
 Patrick LE TREHONDAT , author, editor
 Mariana SANCHEZ , journalist, editor
Robi MORDER, lawyer, associate researcher
Antoine RABADAN , anti-capitalist and internationalist activist
Christian VARIN , anti-capitalist and internationalist activist
Henri MERME , self-management and internationalist activist
Roland MÉRIEUX , self-management and internationalist activist
Jean-François FONTANA , retired teacher, trade unionist
Michel LANSON , internationalist activist
Olivier AUBERT , prospective consultant,
Béatrice WHITAKER , internationalist activist
Jean-Paul ALLOUCHE, research director emeritus
Michel BROUE , mathematician
Faouzia CHARFI , physicist, former Secretary of State (Tunisia, 2011)
Kevin VACHER , Nos Vies Nos Voies , Marseille citizen movement

It is still possible to sign: ukrainesolidaritefrance@solidaires.orgRecommended (22)

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Written by Andrew Coates

December 10, 2022 at 8:38 pm