Southsiders for Peace was founded in 2003 to condemn the United States’ invasion and occupation of Iraq, and now we condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
We stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine.
We offer our heartfelt concern and compassion for the people of Ukraine suffering from the dislocations, destruction and death of this unjust war. We express our solidarity with the people of Ukraine and Russia, including those who have bravely demonstrated, in their streets and in battle, their opposition to Russia’s aggression.
With them, we call for an immediate ceasefire, withdrawal of all Russian forces from Ukraine and the resolution of the conflict through diplomatic negotiations that respect Ukrainian sovereignty, address Russian security concerns, disarm all neo-Nazi and ultra-nationalist elements and respect the rights of all sectors of Ukrainian society.
Diplomacy, not war and military power, is the only way to pursue a foreign policy that promotes security and prosperity for working people in Ukraine, in Russia, in the U.S., and around the world.
We call on President Biden and Congress to forego our long and destructive history of a militarized foreign policy and unwind the power of our military-industrial complex, including in Asia. In the immediate crisis that means devoting all U.S. resources to the resolution of the conflict through negotiations to achieve the full withdrawal of Russian regular and paramilitary forces from Ukraine and the construction of a new architecture of European security and disarmament.
As a minimum immediate first step in the diplomatic process, we call on President Biden to declare that it is U.S. policy that Ukraine not be admitted to NATO, now or in the future (a country can enter NATO only with the unanimous consent of all NATO countries).
War is always a catastrophe for ordinary working people. But, war is a boon to the corporations and oligarchs who grow rich from the armaments industry. The military-industrial complex, fossil fuel corporations and a small super-wealthy elite drive the militarized foreign policies of both the U.S. and Russia to serve their own interests at the expense of working people in their countries.
While we applaud the widespread support for Ukrainian refugees especially on the part of European countries and the U.S., we remember with great sadness the racism and hatred displayed towards refugees from the Middle East and Africa. Many of those refugees were escaping violence and dislocations caused by the bombs and policies of some of the same countries denying them refuge.
Working people in the U.S., as well as those in Russia, Ukraine, Europe and China, have a common interest in reining in the power of their militaries and redirecting the vast resources going to war into programs that support and improve their lives and address climate change.
We oppose increases in U.S. military spending using the excuse of arming Ukraine. We oppose the further expansion of NATO or shipment of yet more U.S. arms to NATO countries. NATO is a military alliance, a vestige of the Cold War, that has been kept alive to justify inflated military budgets and as a mechanism for “containing” Russia after the Soviet Union dissolved. Indeed, the expansion of NATO to Russia’s borders since 1991 has fueled tensions leading to Russia’s invasion.
We call on the U.S. to engage in a diplomatic process to achieve a new architecture of European common security through a negotiated agreement among all relevant parties. And, we call for the drawdown and elimination of all nuclear weapons that should have no place in any nation’s arsenal.
Sanctions are no substitute for patient, persistent diplomacy. They are a blunt instrument that in the past have proven ineffective in deterring international aggression or domestic repression. Sanctions have almost always increased the suffering and deprivation of ordinary working people in countries subject to them, where ruling elites have almost always escaped their force.
True national security is based on the broad welfare of the people–healthcare, education, jobs at decent wages, environmental sustainability, voting rights, democratic civic engagement and social justice–not on larger military budgets and ever more deadly weapons.
We stand with ordinary working people worldwide on behalf of peace and justice.
Southsiders for Peace