U.S. and World Politics

Self-Defense is a Human Right—Even Against Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

By Bonnie Weinstein

The U.S. antiwar movement, by and large, has coined Russia’s war on Ukraine a “war of self-defense of Russia against U.S./NATO forces.” Their rationale is that since the U.S. and NATO are supplying arms to Ukraine, the war is essentially a U.S./NATO war against Russia, they say that the “Nazi-infested” government of Ukraine is carrying out a proxy war against Russia and, therefore, is simply an extension of the U.S. war machine. It must be noted that fascism is on the rise throughout the world including in Russia, Europe, and the U.S. It’s the result of capitalism’s inevitable descent back into barbarism if a world socialist revolution doesn’t stop them.

The recent March 18, 2023, National March on Washington on the 20th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq made no mention whatsoever of Russia’s relentless bombing and shooting of the people of Ukraine and the carefully targeted destruction of their infrastructure including apartment buildings, hospitals, schools, and playgrounds.

In fact, their demands were, “Peace in Ukraine—No weapons, no money for the Ukraine War! Abolish NATO! End U.S. militarism and sanctions! Fund people’s needs, not the war machine! No war with China! End U.S. aid to racist apartheid Israel! Fight racism and bigotry at home, not other peoples! U.S. hands off Haiti! End AFRICOM! End the Sanctions on Syria!”

Not one word about Putin’s brutal invasion bringing murder and mayhem to the people of Ukraine. In fact, many claim that Ukraine’s military is responsible for “accidentally bombing” their own people and blaming Russia unjustly.

They further lament that the reason the March 18 demonstration was small (all together around 2,500 people nationally compared to the massive Vietnam anti-war demonstrations in the ’60s and ’70s of hundreds-of-thousands,) is that those in the Vietnam anti-war movement did not believe in the mainstream media’s depiction of the war at the time. They claim that’s why the movement grew so large and powerful then—and why the current antiwar movement is so small—because Americans today believe the bourgeois press.

In fact, the exact opposite is true—the Vietnam anti-war movement became convinced by the bourgeois media that the war was wrong! They witnessed its brutality every day on TV and in the newspapers.

The argument that Russia’s war on Ukraine is a defensive war against the U.S. is irrational, illogical, superficial, and immoral! And that’s why the March 18th demonstrations were small! Very few people buy that argument!

Russia vs. U.S.

The war in Ukraine is not a revolutionary war—Russia against Ukraine—it’s a capitalist war. Capitalist Russia is also against capitalist U.S. for world hegemony. But capitalist Russia—a nuclear-armed world power—invaded Ukraine, a small capitalist country without nuclear weapons.

Russia is ruthlessly bombing and shooting the Ukrainian people in their homes and in the streets only to gain territory to be in bitter competition with the U.S.

The U.S. doesn’t give a damn about the people of Ukraine either. All they care about is maintaining and gaining world hegemony in business above all capitalist countries through war, and the constant threat of nuclear annihilation.

Ban and abolish U.S./NATO

If the U.S./NATO were banned and abolished, then that would mean that the world socialist revolution had been realized and had already overthrown them—that’s the only way the U.S./NATO can be “banned and abolished.”

Supporting the right of self-defense for Ukraine is NOT supporting U.S./NATO imperialism. And, again, Russia today is not the USSR—a worker’s state! It’s capitalist Russia in competition with the rest of the capitalist world.

We want to see a socialist revolution everywhere including Russia and Ukraine—and especially—in the U.S. But to carry out a socialist revolution in Ukraine, the people of Ukraine must be alive.

The Vietnam War and the antiwar movement

The incredible thing about the Vietnam War was the massive press coverage of the war and of the atrocities carried out by the U.S. in the war.

Every day more and more footage exposed exactly what the United States was doing to the people of Vietnam—little children running in the street on fire from napalm. Entire village populations massacred. The atrocities of the Vietnam War were viewed by the American people and the world daily. That’s what spurned the massive antiwar movement. That, and the draft—induction into the military—masses of young men being forced to fight.

And while many middle-class, white youth could opt out by going to college—masses of poor, working class white, Brown, and Black men were inducted, and were suffering huge casualties.

It wasn’t that they didn’t believe the mainstream capitalist media, it was because they did believe the bourgeois media, and were horrified about what was shown on TV and in the newspapers every day. That’s why the Vietnam anti-war movement exploded onto the streets in the millions across the world.

The U.S. learned from Vietnam and applied those lessons in Iraq, Afghanistan and everywhere else it has bombed and droned since. Photos are not released. There are secret prisons, secret torture, secret bombings.

And then, there is WikiLeaks, which exposes such atrocities, and is relentlessly being silenced by the U.S. and its allies, and its founder, Julian Assange, jailed and tortured as we speak!

The antiwar movement must be able to distinguish between invasion and war, and self-defense against it.

Ukraine has a right to defend itself against Russia’s invasion by any means it can!

Ending all war

The antiwar movement must be, first and foremost, against war as a way to solve human conflict.

War is the capitalists modus operandi needed to conquer the world. It’s how they roll.

The socialist revolution will finally put an end to war. It will put an end to borders. It will put an end to private ownership of the means of production and private profit. It will put an end to exploitation, racism, sexism, starvation, homelessness, the destruction of the environment—war being the ultimate form of destruction of the environment!

War is the antithesis of socialism and must be opposed. Self-defense is the modus operandi of the socialist revolution—self-defense of the world’s working class in unity and solidarity against capitalist war is how we will win socialism! It’s how we roll!