The Radical Anti-Imperialist Position Regarding the War in Ukraine

Gilbert Achcar grew up in Lebanon. He is currently Professor of Development Studies and International Relations at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London. His most recent books are Morbid Symptoms: Relapse in the Arab Uprising (2016) and The People Want: A Radical Exploration of the Arab Uprising (2013). 

Gilbert Achcar

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is the second defining moment of the New Cold War in which the world has been plunged since the turn of the century as a result of the US decision to expand NATO. The first defining moment was the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. It ended in complete failure to achieve US imperialist goals. The price that Iraq paid – and is still paying along with neighbouring countries – has been enormous, but the propensity of US imperialism to invade other countries has been severely curtailed, as confirmed by the recent US withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The fate of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will determine the propensity of all other countries for aggression. If it fails in turn, the effect on all global and regional powers will be one of powerful deterrence. If it succeeds, that is if Russia manages to “pacify” Ukraine under Russian boots, the effect will be a major slide of the global situation toward unrestrained law of the jungle, emboldening US imperialism itself and its allies to resume their own aggressive stances.

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Reproductive Rights in Vermont

The Right has spent decades attacking abortion access with restrictive and unnecessary regulations, violent attacks at health clinics, the prosecution of individual women, and the setting a legal framework to bestow “personhood” on fetuses. And now, with Texas attempting to put what abortion rights we have back in the air, we need to keep the pressure on both the states and the courts to uphold bodily autonomy.

As socialists, we must see these attempts as what they are: race-, gender-, and class-based attacks on the most vulnerable. The Texas ban and others like it will impact poor and working-class women the most. We need a socialist feminist struggle for free, quality reproductive care. We need an end to health care profiteering and a transition to improved Medicare for All.

In Vermont, we have a friendlier political environment regarding reproductive rights, but we cannot assume that what needs doing will get done. The protection afforded by Roe v. Wade, imperiled by the whims of the courts, is not yet enshrined in state law.

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A Bad Romance: Biden and Enbridge Line 3

Our climate emergency worsens each day. Scientists have just declared that 2021 brought North America the hottest June on record. More heat waves, droughts, wildfires, and die-offs await us.

Despite such shocking circumstances, the Biden Administration offers no leadership. Despite broadcasting his commitment to tackling climate change, his American Jobs Act already brings humiliating concessions to a Congress with no interest in steering us away from the preeminent global crisis. Moreover, whatever this infrastructure bill might become, if ever passed, it is a neoliberal stimulus. Its ultimate aims are “growth” and its concessions include privatization.

Simultaneously, President Biden has actively encouraged fossil fuel extraction by approving the Enbridge Line 3 expansion, which would shift more Canadian tar sands oil to US ports. Enbridge — an egregious perpetrator of colonial settler violence — caused the worst inland oil leak in US history and with Line 3 is expected to add 193 million tons of CO2 to the atmosphere each year.

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