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A People’s Peace, not an Imperial Peace

Monday 24 June 2024, by Collective, Sotsialnyi Rukh

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Joint declaration by ecosocialist, anarchist, feminist, environmental organisations, and groups in solidarity with the Ukrainian resistance and for a self-determined social and ecological reconstruction of Ukraine.

The Swiss government will hold an international conference for a peace process in Ukraine on 15 and 16 June 2024 on the mountain Bürgenstock, close to Lucerne. The Ukrainian gov-ernment supports this conference.

This conference is taking place in a decisive phase of the war. For months, the Russian invasion forces have been hitting gaps in the Ukrainian defences and pushing them back, with heavy losses of their own. The Russian leadership has an-nounced a major offensive and is attacking the people in Kharkiv, a city of millions.

We support all steps towards a peace that enables the Ukrain-ian people to rebuild the country in a self-determined manner. Peace requires the complete withdrawal of the Russian occu-pying forces from the entire territory of Ukraine. With this in mind, we hope that the peace conference in Switzerland will contribute to the restoration of Ukraine’s sovereignty.

The conditions for this are extremely difficult. The represent-atives of the Putin regime regularly declare that they do not recognise an independent Ukraine and deny the existence of the Ukrainian people. The Putin regime purses a Great Rus-sian project, subjugates the people in the occupied territories with terror and aims to eradicate the Ukrainian culture. The ruling regime in Russia regularly commits war crimes against the Ukraine population.

The full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, launched on 24 February 2022, not only calls Ukraine’s independence into question. It also encourages other authoritarian regimes to threaten neighbouring populations, occupy territories and massively expel people. In order to avoid resistance at home, the Russian army is now also recruiting people from neigh-bouring countries and the Global South to serve as cannon fodder.

Due to the massive – and surprising – resistance of the Ukrainian population, the governments of Europe and North America began to support the Ukrainian army in its defence against the Russian occupying forces. However, they are backing Ukraine to assert their own interests in the global im-perialist rivalry. The US aim to weaken its Russian counter-part while showing strength against rising China and setting the pace for the European powers which are both partners and rivals. But despite the US Congress finally approving a com-prehensive aid package for Ukraine on 20 April 2024, which had been blocked by the Republican Party for nine months, the support for Ukraine has always remained selective and insufficient.

Similarly, the economic sanctions that have been imposed by the EU and US governments against Russia and the exponents of the Putin regime are selective, inadequately targeted, and insufficient. They do not prevent Russia from continuing to export oil and gas, along with other strategically important raw materials, to fill its war chest. Some European countries have even significantly increased their imports of LNG from Russia since the start of the war. Others, such as Austria, ob-tain over 90% of their natural gas imports from Russia. The governments of these countries are forcing gas consumers to finance Putin’s war against the Ukrainian population.

The Swiss government, the host of the peace conference, has not only been giving tax breaks to Russian oligarchs for dec-ades, it has also refused to confiscate the assets of these oli-garchs since the start of the full-scale Russian invasion. As a major hub of international commodities trading, Switzerland has offered Russian capital excellent opportunities to acquire wealth for many years. Many bourgeois politicians have gladly welcomed these businesses in Switzerland. Through the sale of dual-use products, Switzerland contributes to equipping the Russian war machine. And finally, the Swiss financial sector facilitates the trade of Russian oil.

Both in the US and in Europe, there is a growing number of voices in the political and economic establishment who want to tie their support for Ukraine to certain conditions. They aim to pressure Ukraine to cede large territories and several mil-lion people to the Putin regime. Such a peace, enforced by major imperial powers, would strengthen the Putin regime and fail to provide a basis for a lasting democratic reconstruc-tion of Ukraine.

We need a peace that is based on, as well as supported by, the interests of the people and of workers in Ukraine and Russia. Such a perspective can only succeed if trade unions, women’s organisations, environmental initiatives and various civil so-ciety organisations from both Ukraine and Russia play a lead-ing role in the peace talks.

Occupation is a crime! We are guided by the principles of self-liberation, emancipation, and self-determination of working-class and all oppressed peoples beyond geopolitical considerations. In this sense, we also stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people, who have been fighting for their self-determination for decades. Likewise, we support the Kurdish and Armenian peoples and all other peoples threatened by oc-cupation, national and cultural oppression.

Based on our positioning, supporting the Ukrainian resistance against the Russian occupation, we want to contribute to de-veloping a common European perspective for radical socio-ecological reforms and ultimately for an ecosocialist transfor-mation of the entire European continent in global solidarity.

By submitting this declaration for discussion, we want to con-tribute to a transnational process of understanding and politi-cal clarification among those left-wing forces throughout Eu-rope and beyond that share these important convictions. 2

12 Principles for a Just Peace in Ukraine within a Europe based on Solidarity and Ecology

We, the undersigned organisations and initiatives, want to pro-mote a peace process that adheres to the following 12 principles.

1. Achieving a socially just and ecologically sustainable peace requires the unconditional and complete withdrawal of Rus-sian occupying forces from Ukraine, returning the entire ter-ritory to its internationally recognized borders.

2. Russia is systematically destroying cities, infrastructure, and the environment to demoralise the population and trigger a large wave of refugees. Against this daily terror, we demand that the “Western” governments support Ukraine in protecting its population and infrastructure against the bombing and mis-sile attacks of the Russian occupying power. We are in favour of massive humanitarian, economic and military support for Ukraine from the rich states in Europe. The Ukrainian popu-lation urgently needs protection from Russian bombs and rockets.

3. We oppose attempts by “Western” governments, NATO and EU exponents to pressure Ukraine into making massive con-cessions to the Russian occupying power. We oppose the idea that Ukraine must cede several million people to the Putin re-gime. It is only up to the Ukrainian people to decide how to confront this atrocious situation of ongoing and possibly in-creasing occupation. We support the armed and unarmed re-sistance of Ukrainians against the Russian occupying power.

4. We demand that all Russians who refuse military service be granted secure residence status in the countries of Europe and North America. Mass desertion is important to weaken the Russian war machine.

5. We support the political struggle of Ukrainian trade unions, women’s organisations, and environmental initiatives against the neoliberal anti-labour policies of the government under President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. These policies undermine Ukraine’s socially broad-based defence against Russian occu-pation and render a socially just and ecologically sustainable reconstruction impossible.

6. We stand in solidarity with the anti-war movement, demo-cratic opposition, and independent labour struggles in Russia. We also stand in solidarity with the oppressed nationalities in Russia who suffer particularly badly from the war and fight for their self-determination. It is their youth that is being ex-ploited as cannon fodder by the Putin regime. These move-ments are a key factor for achieving a just peace and a demo-cratic Russia.

7. Russia has imprisoned numerous people from Ukraine as po-litical prisoners. Many have been sentenced to decades in prison and penal camps. We demand their unconditional re-lease. We demand that the International Red Cross be allowed to maintain regular contact with all prisoners of war. The ex-change and release of prisoners of war is a prerequisite for any just peace.

8. Russia must pay reparations to the Ukrainian people. The ol-igarchs of Russia and Ukraine must be expropriated. Their

assets must be made available to the reconstruction of Ukraine and, once the Putin regime falls to the democratic develop-ment of Russia.

9. We demand that the “Western” governments immediately cancel Ukraine’s debts. This is a crucial condition for the sov-ereign reconstruction of the country. The rich states of Europe and North America must set up comprehensive and broad-based support programmes for the Ukrainian people and the reconstruction of the country. This reconstruction must take place under the democratic control of the population, trade unions, environmental initiatives, feminist organisations and organized neighbourhoods in the cities and villages.

10. We oppose all projects of the European and Northern Ameri-can governments, as well as international organisations, to impose a neoliberal economic agenda on the Ukrainian peo-ple. This would prolong and deepen poverty and suffering. We also denounce all efforts to sell off the property and assets of the Ukrainian population to foreign corporations. The recov-ery and reorganisation of agriculture, industry, energy sys-tems and the entire social infrastructure must serve the socio-ecological transformation of Ukraine, not the supply of cheap labour, grain and hydrogen to Western European countries.

11. An effective military support of Ukraine does not require a new wave of armaments. We oppose NATO’s rearmament programmes and weapon exports to third countries. Instead, the countries of Europe and North America must provide the weapons from their existing, huge arsenals that will help Ukraine to defend itself effectively. In this sense, we demand that the arms industry should not serve the profit interests of capital – to the contrary, we want to work towards the social appropriation of the arms industry. This industry should serve the immediate interests of Ukraine. At the same time, for so-cial and urgent ecological reasons, we underline the impera-tive of democratically converting the arms industry into so-cially useful production on a global scale.

12. We want to initiate a debate on a radical reorganisation of Eu-rope. We want to contribute to developing a common Euro-pean perspective for radical socio-ecological reforms, and ul-timately for a fundamental ecosocialist transformation of the entire European continent in global solidarity. Within this framework, we support the will of the Ukrainian people to join the EU, even though we reject the EU’s neoliberal foun-dations that impoverish millions of people and promote une-qual development in Europe. We take the perspective of an accession of several countries in Eastern Europe and South-East Europe as an opportunity to reflect together on how such a radical socio-ecological change can be initiated throughout Europe, including a common energy strategy, ecological in-dustrial conversion, pay-as-you-go pension systems, social la-bour regulation, solidarity-based migration policy, interre-gional transfer payments, and military security along with the conversion of the armaments industry. Trade union, feminist, ecological, anti-authoritarian left and socialist forces in East-ern Europe should play an important role in this debate.

This declaration has been launched jointly by Sotsialnyi Rukh (Social Movement) in Ukraine, Posle Media Collective in Russia, Bewegung für den Sozialismus / Mouvement pour le Socialisme and solidaritéS – mouvement anticapitaliste, féministe, écoso-cialiste in Switzerland, emanzipation – Zeitschrift für ökosozialistische Strategie (DE, AT, CH).

We invite all interested organisations, groups, initiatives, and media collectives to spread and sign this declaration by 14 June. Please send confirmations of your signing to: Joao_Woyzeck@proton.me and redaktion@emanzipation.org


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