“Nothing will end war unless the people themselves refuse to go to war.” -Albert Einstein.
Labour Heartlands condemns the Russian invasion of Ukraine as an unwarranted act of aggression, regrets that this long-running conflict has reached the point of full-scale war, calls for an immediate ceasefire and the pursuit of a negotiated political settlement which takes into account the desire for peace and security on all sides.
Neither side in this war stands for the real interests of the peoples of Ukraine and Russia or the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. War does not benefit the interests of Europeans or the world more widely, we all have the right to live in peace and determine the future of our own societies free from outside domination.
Labour Heartlands stands in solidarity with the working class in Ukraine and Russia in their pursuit of peace and prosperity and the overthrow of their own capitalist exploiters and dictators. We applaud the courage of both those resisting this invasion in Ukraine and their counterparts in Russia protesting against the war despite facing the inevitable oppression meted out to them.
Since a bloody coup brought a pro-Western regime to power in 2014, Ukraine has been ruled by right-wing, authoritarian governments, involving far-right nationalists and fascistic elements, which have curtailed democratic rights and are no friends of the workers’ movement. Ethnic Russians in Ukraine face discrimination and unwarranted oppression.
The Ukraine crisis is an escalation of violence in its eight-year civil war that has seen an estimated 14000 deaths. The people of Ukraine have been the toys of corrupt powers that would dominate them as they do us. The politics behind the violence has been manipulated from all sides, both East and West.
However, none of this justifies the widespread military offensive launched by President Putin on February 24. This onslaught further destabilises Ukraine and will strengthen the hand of those elements in eastern Europe, Britain, the US, and Nato who prefer expansionism, militarism, provocations, and war to negotiation and the peaceful settlement of problems between and within states.
The attacks by Russian forces into Ukraine beyond the disputed breakaway states are an act of aggression and a serious violation of the United Nations Charter. They have already resulted in the loss of life along with acts that constitute war crimes.
For the sake of ‘all the people’ affected both directly and indirectly by this escalation of violence, there can be no alternative but to stop this war now. The only aim from all parties all governments must be to bring about a deescalating this conflict to the point of bringing all concerned to the negotiation table.
International working-class solidarity is essential to build a mass anti-war movement everywhere. We should support any attempts at genuine cross-community unity taking place on the ground in Ukraine, including democratically organised self-defence.
The only legitimate forum for addressing all the issues concerning Ukraine and the surrounding region, particularly Donetsk and Luhansk, regions that have witnessed the deaths of over 14000 people in the last 8 years, is at an international level, within the United Nations.
Unilateral action from the United States, the European Union, or NATO, only risks further escalation and the further erosion of international law and norms.
The worst thing we can do right now is to leave this in the hands of our governments. They will not be on the front lines, they will not go cold or hungry, they will not suffer, ultimately no members from the political class will become casualties of this war.
Labour Heartlands stand in solidarity with all peoples and movements who demand an immediate end to military action in Ukraine and condemns any moves to silence anti-war voices whether in Britain, Ukraine, or Russia.
Labour Heartlands as a group, not only support the FBU statement on Ukraine but adopt it in its entirety.
1. We oppose and condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine. We call for an immediate ceasefire and for all Russian armed forces to immediately withdraw from Ukraine.
2. The war in Ukraine is an extremely dangerous development. Implicit in the situation is the risk that it may spread and escalate, drawing other countries into a growing international conflict. The working class has nothing to gain from war and will pay the biggest price, both in Russia and Ukraine.
3. Despite the terrible situation, we support the building of unity among workers across national boundaries. The workers of Ukraine and Russia have common interests.
4. We stand in solidarity with those in Russia who have protested against the invasion, despite police repression. We support the building of a mass anti-war movement, including among Russian troops.
5. We support workers in Ukraine acting independently of the Zelensky regime and building their own organisations and taking independent action. This should include attempts to build dialogue and links with rank-and-file troops in the invading Russian forces.
6. We condemn any far right or fascist group, on either side of this conflict, seeking to take advantage of the war to build their own organisation and activity by further provoking national and ethnic tensions
7. We send our solidarity to Ukrainian firefighters and other emergency service workers, delivering humanitarian service in the most appalling conditions. We will seek to build support and send practical solidarity where possible, including through the relevant trade union where appropriate.
8. This war is also a proxy conflict between Russia and NATO prompted by NATO expansion into central and Eastern Europe. We oppose this expansion and any intervention in this conflict by NATO forces.
9. We note that economic sanctions will disproportionately hit working people, and will be seen as an aggressive measure by the west and may well strengthen support for Putin.
10. We have no trust or confidence in the Johnson government on this or any other matter. They have demonstrated for more than two years their utter disregard for human life through the deliberate mishandling of the pandemic, leading to the loss of more than 150,000 lives in the UK.
11. We note the hypocrisy of those in the UK government criticising the state repression of protest in Russia, whilst the police, crime and sentencing bill will serve to create authoritarian restrictions on protest and democracy in the UK.
12. We oppose the UK government’s disgraceful restriction on the right of refugees fleeing the war to enter the UK. We call for refugees from this and other conflicts to be welcomed.
13. In wartime, as in peace time, we defend the democratic right to speak out, discuss, debate and protest. We condemn the attempts by the leader of the Labour Party to shut down such discussion within the Labour Party and to bully and threaten those with different views.
14. Workers in Ukraine and Russia – and across the world – have common interests. Even in this appalling situation, we stand for workers’ unity and internationalism.”
Our solidarity stands firm with workers worldwide, victims of oppression, war and conflict whether conducted in the hundreds of conflict zones including Yemen, Libya, Palestine, Syria, or the wider Middle East, through to Afghanistan, Asia South America and Africa. We are all in a fight for the emancipation of the working class.
“I like to believe that people in the long run are going to do more to promote peace than our governments. Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that, one of these days, governments had better get out of the way and let them have it.” -Dwight D Eisenhower.