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Dossier: One Year of a Reactionary War in Ukraine

With the aim of developing an international perspective for working class intervention against the reactionary war in Ukraine, we publish this dossier. These articles engage with some of the key debates the war has opened on the Left, analysis on how the geopolitical crisis is developing, and the positions of our international tendency: the Trotskyist Fraction – Fourth International.

Left Voice

March 5, 2023
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A year ago, in an escalation of longstanding tensions with NATO, Russia invaded Ukraine. In response, NATO, led by U.S. imperialism, has used the war to not only finance, ship weapons, and provide military training to Ukraine, but also to increase military budgets to historic proportions, rearm European powers, and expand NATO influence in the region — precipitating a dangerous escalation. Before the war, the alliance was fraying, but the consensus to curb Russia’s ambitions has begun to revitalize NATO, strengthening (if not repairing) ties between the world’s imperialist powers and reasserting U.S. hegemony in Europe. Now, two new countries — Finland and Sweden — have entered the process to join the alliance. The United States has convinced European countries to send tanks and more to Ukraine, and rearmament means the stage is set for the Western powers to lead new imperialist advances.

Clearly, this is not a just war between Russia and Ukraine, but a war that continues the long-term conflicts between Western imperialist powers and Russia — one that is now being advanced by Putin’s reactionary regime. For now, as Biden’s visit to Kiev and Putin’s recent state of the nation speech reflect, both sides are committed to prolonging the conflict and escalating tensions for the foreseeable future. But as the world’s powers jockey for better positions, this war offers nothing but misery for the working class, especially as Zelenskyy continues to subordinate their interests to Western imperialism in the name of “self-determination.”

Putin’s invasion of Ukraine for the interests of Russian capital is absolutely reactionary. Putin heads an authoritarian and despotic regime in the service of oligarchs of his inner circle. His regime prevents the independent and democratic organization of the workers and persecutes with imprisonment those who oppose the war in Ukraine.

Beyond the tactical objectives of the war is the strategic challenge of deepening tensions between capitalist powers. The international order based on the neoliberal consensus and undisputed hegemony of the U.S. in the last 30 years is in crisis. The involvement of the great traditional imperialist powers (the United States/NATO) and emerging powers (an alliance of China and Russia with variable allies) sets the stage for future confrontations in the dispute for hegemony.

Given the horrors of the war, we shouldn’t submit ourselves to being the pawns of the ruling class once again! Through the year, we’ve seen the effects this war has had around the world, from Ukrainians suffering its worst consequences, Russians facing deployment and sanctions, and the masses around the world facing a cost of living crisis and supply shortages exacerbated by this protracted conflict. From the U.K. to France to Peru, workers are fighting back against various expressions of the capitalist crisis at hand.

Even here in the U.S., a new generation of youth and workers are increasingly coming to anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist conclusions and rejecting the price paid by years of neoliberal policies. The billions of dollars being spent around the world to fund this reactionary war are a key part of an attempt to re-legitimize that neoliberal world order; consequently, defying the capitalists’ war is a critical struggle for the working class and oppressed. At Left Voice, we side with neither Putin nor NATO — it’s only through independent and international working class struggle against the war, the economic crisis, and all the oppression this system brings that we can find a path out of this historic crisis and link our struggle to one for a socialist system.

With the aim of developing this international perspective for working class intervention against the reactionary war, we republish some of our key analysis developed throughout the war by our international tendency, the Trotskyist Fraction – Fourth International. This dossier includes original analysis by Left Voice and translations from our comrades in Europe and Latin America.

No to war in Ukraine! Neither Putin nor NATO! Down with NATO rearmament and intervention! No weapons shipments to Ukraine! Russian troops out of Ukraine! For an independent socialist Ukraine! For an independent, international working class resistance to crisis, inflation, and war!

Statements by the Trotskyist Fraction – Fourth International:

Analysis one year into the war:

Analysis throughout the year:

Debates on the war:

Left Voice Magazine March 2022:

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Left Voice

Militant journalism, revolutionary politics.

Ideas & Debates

Understanding the Global Context of the Ukrainian Conflict: A Response to Our Critics

The 2022 invasion of Ukraine and the massive rearmament of Europe that followed mark a new stage in a growing conflict that has become a proxy war between the imperialist states of the US and NATO on one side, and an emerging alliance between Russia and China on the other. While some on the Left see this new pole of Russia and China as a check against US imperialism, neither country is anti-imperialist, and neither has anything progressive to offer working people.

Jimena Vergara

March 16, 2023

Pro-NATO Positions Split a Trotskyist Tendency

The war in Ukraine has led to intense debates on the international socialist Left. In November, the Socialist Labor Party (SEP) of Turkey announced it was breaking with the Socialist Workers Movement (MST) of Argentina, in a serious blow to their common project, the International Socialist League (ISL-LIS). What can we learn from this split?

Nathaniel Flakin

March 10, 2023
Ukrainian servicemen ride on tanks towards the front line with Russian forces in the Lugansk region of Ukraine on February 25, 2022

One Year of the War in Ukraine: A Socialist Perspective

One year after the start of the war in Ukraine, it is necessary to return to the political debates that divide the international Left, in the face of a strategic conflict that represents the confrontation between large powers in the heart of Europe.

Claudia Cinatti

February 27, 2023
Ukrainian solders and the Ukrainian flag.

Five Theses on the War in Ukraine

The outbreak of the war in European territory a year ago has animated key debates on the left. Here, we go back to some of our central conclusions on the war and the necessity for the working class to chart an independent path forward.

Sou Mi

February 27, 2023


France: Macron Bets On His Presidency as Millions Rise Up

A historic two weeks of mobilizations against Macron’s pension reform, with several sectors going into open-ended strikes, and including a spectacular show of solidarity on International Women’s Day. Yet despite the massive turnout, the government pushed through the reform Thursday night, using an antidemocratic maneuver to bypass the National Assembly. Which direction will the movement take? Will it fizzle out in a failed top-down union strategy, or will it generalize the struggle to all sectors from the bottom up?

Antoine Ramboz

March 17, 2023

Temple’s Grad Worker Strike Ends with Important Victories 

The last report on the strike from a union teacher at Temple University in Philadelphia.

Jason Koslowski

March 17, 2023

Teachers and Education Workers Set to Strike! Tens of Thousands Rally in Los Angeles 

A three day strike was announced by two education unions at a rally attended by tens of thousands of members. The workers are calling for increased wages, reduced class size, and an end to harassment by their employers.

Julia Wallace

March 17, 2023

Turning the Greatest Anti-war Novel Ever into Bourgeois Propaganda

All Quiet on the Western Front won four Oscars, and it’s not hard to see why. The production — depicting the horrors of World War I — is spectacular. Yet the producers did not at all understand Erich Maria Remarque’s novel. Spoilers follow.

Nathaniel Flakin

March 16, 2023