Dave – the editor
To date, we’ve written three posts with our thoughts on the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. We’ve also put up seven posts with readings about it that cover the build up and deal with the growing possibility of escalation towards a world war situation. We thought it was time to bring them all together in one post to make it easier for you to access them and also, to see how our thinking has evolved over the course of the conflict – the links are at the foot of this post. For the record, as things stand at the moment, we stand by what we’ve posted.
What we’ve tried to do with the readings is present a range of perspectives. The aim was to encourage people to take a few steps back from the increasing level of hype and bombast that’s surrounding this conflict and to think deeply about the dangers we face if NATO gets dragged into direct confrontation with Russia. While the readings we have presented reflect a range of opinions, we will admit to some of our biases coming through. Biases that reflect our fears about escalation beyond the borders of Ukraine to a world war situation.
We’ve been around long enough as activists to have lived through a few wars and the level of hype regarding the ongoing conflict between Russia and the Ukraine is off the scale. Obviously, each war we’ve lived through has been different and the response of the public to each of them has reflected that. The Falklands/Malvinas war in 1982 did spark a lot of jingoism and things were pretty polarised between supporters and opponents but it was a contained conflict and was over relatively quickly. The downside was that the victory emboldened Thatcher to take on ‘the enemy within’ and we’re still living with the consequences of that today.
The 2003 Iraq war drew a lot of opposition but at the end of the day, it washed off a messianic Blair who was determined along with his mate Bush, to go ahead with it regardless of the consequences. Looking back, that was probably the last time we saw a significant anti-war movement here in the UK. With the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, what we’re seeing is a chorus from much of the media and a growing section of the public pushing for more direct involvement from NATO. With all due respect to the anti-imperialists that we do know, it feels that for the moment at least, any principled anti-war movement is out on the sidelines.
While in previous wars, we’ve always been reasonably confident in expressing our opposition to them without having to worry too much about any serious blowback, with the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, it feels different. That’s not just because it is a complex and messy situation. It’s because of the moral fervour that’s building up over this which is fuelling the calls for more direct intervention. A moral fervour which seems worryingly blind to the disastrous consequences of escalation which potentially could lead to nuclear war. A moral fervour which at the moment, is making us think very carefully about what we say and post and when and how we do that.
Obviously we’re going to keep on doing what we’re doing with posting up a range of readings about the conflict here on this blog, along with our commentaries on them. We’ll also carry on putting up the occasional post with our thoughts about the situation and the reaction to it. As well as this, we’ll be carrying on with the postering and stickering that we’ve been doing, albeit taking more precautions than we normally would. See the meme at the foot of this post for an idea of what we’re putting up:) At some point, hopefully sooner rather than later, an anti-war movement with sound anti-imperialist principles will (re)emerge. We hope to be a part of that…