As we watch clips and testimonies of Ukrainian casualties and refugees; of Russian bombings and invasions, we are forced to ask ourselves why the working peoples of the world must suffer at the hands of the wealthy? Why do consumers get squeezed at the pump due to corporate price gouging? Why must families flee their homes because of Russian imperialism? Why was the encroachment of NATO towards Russia so conspicuously kept out of our political discourse, hidden from the American public?
Amid the outpouring of support for Ukrainian war refugees, we must ask why the same fervent response hasn’t been given to all refugees, including those from Afghanistan, Yemen, or Syria? And as our Congress signs off on billion dollar aid to Ukraine, the working class of this country are forced to ask “why not us?” Where was the relief for the poor and unhoused as a result of COVID-19? Where was the relief in stimulus for the working class, after President Biden promised significantly more than was delivered? Where was the relief for students and those in crippling debt after going to college? How in the world did billions of dollars appear out of thin air if for so long we were told that the United States had no money for us here at home?
The rich do not have our interests in mind— they see us as pawns in an endlessly profitable game of chess. The crisis in Ukraine is the result of a world built on the exploitation of capitalism and the nature of empire politics. The solution is one that concerns the working class first; for us to put down our arms as one and refuse to sacrifice our lives for the profits of the rich. The Russian invasion has already made world hunger much worse by disrupting Ukrainian food exports, especially to Yemen.
The US has a moral obligation to welcome all the world’s refugees the way we are currently welcoming Ukrainian refugees, including those from Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, and Palestine. Further, Metro Justice joins in the call made by CWA 7250 for the US and its allies to cancel Ukraine’s national debt so that the nation’s full resources can be put to caring for its people and rebuilding its infrastructure without having to pay off big banks first.
This conflict also highlights a clear example of how our global addiction to fossil fuels complicates a just, and moral, response to instances of geopolitical aggression. That’s why Metro Justice continues to fight for a rapid transition off fossil fuels led by the working class through public solutions like Rochester for Energy Democracy. Taking our literal power back from corporations into the public sector lets us accelerate a green transition, democratically.
We firmly oppose any escalation by the US/NATO, including the idea of a No Fly Zone. That idea is dangerous, and we are relieved that so far Biden has not done this. We remain concerned, however, at continuous aggressive posturing by the US. A war between Russia and the US is in no one’s interest.
We remain gravely concerned by the presence of nazi militia on both sides of this conflict, ongoing violence against Roma and Jews in Ukraine, and the prospect of the far-right throughout Europe being emboldened by either side’s “victory.” Therefore, we feel the need to specify our support for progressive and antifascist forces on the Ukrainian side, and the antiwar movement on the Russian side. We are further inspired by workers taking direct action against the war, such as Belarusian railway workers refusing to work logistics for the Russian army.
For our members and community who want to help by donating, we recommend giving to the Ukrainian trade unions supporting the resistance.
A world is possible that does not sacrifice the lives of the innocent for profitable resources. Let the people of Ukraine and the working peoples of the world unite against war and imperialism!
Metro Justice Council