Remarks to “Vermont Stands With Ukraine” Solidarity Rally

3/13/22

Paul Fleckenstein, DSA, and Tempest Collective

Hello sisters, brothers, and siblings.

First, thank you to the organizers of this rally. This is important work. 

The many anti-war protests I have attended on this lawn involve standing in solidarity with the victims of war, with those who resist occupation, understanding how we got here, and asking what are we going to do?

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is horrific. Decimation of cities, homes, and hospitals. Over 2 million refugees forced out of the country. Large numbers of casualties and mass terror. 

Putin believed his propaganda lies about Ukranian’s welcoming Russian forces.

The Ukrainian resistance has derailed and slowed Putin’s invasion. We must stand in solidarity with their fight for freedom and national self-determination.

The opposition to the invasion in Russia, facing harsh repression, is a positive development and an important part of stopping Moscow’s war.  In Belarus too. Reports are that large sections of the military there refused deployment to Ukraine, hindering Moscow’s invasion. This is how wars are stopped.

The war in Ukraine threatens a global crisis. 

We all have a stake in this fight.

This means several demands for us now:

Open the borders to Ukrainian war refugees (and for refugees fleeing war in other parts of the world)

Support Ukranian’s right to arms to free themselves from imperial occupation.

Humanitarian aid and canceling the $billions of debt to the U.S. controlled IMF that will keep Ukranians in economic subservience after this war is over. 

We have to combat the xenophobia and Russophobia being whipped up around this war. 

We also cannot rely on other imperial powers to resolve this crisis in a way that helps Ukrainians. U.S./ NATO intervention is not the answer.

NATO since its inception has been a predatory and expansionist alliance seeking to increase the U.S. sphere of influence. It engaged in a 20-year occupation of Afghanistan, and carried out war crimes and left the country in shambles. 

While Moscow is to blame for the war in Ukraine, the U.S./Nato contributed to the disaster with decades of military expansion.  

Neither Moscow nor Washington, capitalist states locked in an inter-imperial conflict that sacrifices the needs of people to profit and empire, offer a way forward.

We have to remember that we have more in common with 

→ordinary Russians, including the large numbers in opposition to the war who have long suffered under Putin’s repression;

 →with Ukranian’s heroically resisting Moscow’s invasion;

 →and with working class people around the world that will suffer the food shortages, economic impacts, and the threat of a new world war, 

than we do with the rulers of the Russian and United States, or the European Union. 

Our struggle must be with Ukrainian’s fight for self-determination, for solidarity across borders, and with the growing international anti-war movement to stop Moscow’s war and all imperialist wars.

Solidarity with Ukraine. 

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