We must refuse to march in the wars led by Biden, Macron and Putin!

Lutte Ouvrière workplace newsletter
February 27, 2023

For a year now, we’ve been receiving images of the horrible tragedy going on in Ukraine: images of cities that have been bombed and completely destroyed, of families living in underground cellars or in devastated areas, of soldiers hiding out in muddy trenches... The inhumanity of it all is particularly unsettling for us because it’s taking place so close by, on European soil.

But, in reality, war is nothing new to our co-workers from Africa, the Middle East or former Yugoslavia, those we work with and see every day on car assembly lines, construction sites, in hospitals and offices. Many of them have experienced the same suffering and were forced to flee their countries ravaged by wars no less deadly than in Ukraine.

The populations of Western countries may have been spared the horrors of war since the end of WW2, but their governments have never stopped leading wars all around the world. Within the imperialist system, the bourgeoisies and their states are engaged in a permanent battle to make profit, win over markets, control natural resources and zones of influence. The most powerful ones impose their law, crushing the weaker ones. This economic warfare constantly provokes and feeds wars that cause hundreds of thousands of deaths. Under imperialism, peace is at best a truce between two wars.

For a year, we’ve been fed lies about Biden and other Western and Ukrainian leaders who are presented as the defenders of freedom and democracy. Putin is indeed a dictator who represents the exclusive interests of a minority of bureaucrats and rich businessmen whose fortunes come from the exploitation of workers and the plundering of the country’s wealth.

But Biden is not a defender of freedom! The USA has itself invaded other countries and overthrown their government more than once, or tried to, as was the case in Grenada, Panama, Cuba and more recently in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Western leaders claim to defend the independence of Ukraine, but they themselves have tried to bring states from the former Soviet Union into their sphere of influence, including by getting them to join NATO. Putin invaded Ukraine to prevent this, which is a clear demonstration of his total lack of consideration for the Ukrainian population that is suffering and dying under bombs and for the youth of his country who are being used as cannon fodder. But imperialism and its aggressive policies bear a major responsibility in the events that led to this war.

Say what they might, the governments of the major Western powers are engaged in a war against Russia. For the time being, they have limited their intervention to supplying Ukraine with war material leaving the Ukrainians to do the fighting and dying. But war has its own logic and the risk of it degenerating into a wider conflict cannot be excluded. Especially since the imperialist side, led by the United States, is becoming more and more aggressive towards China, which has become far too powerful in the eyes of the representatives of the American bourgeoisie.

Within the Western bloc itself, another war is being waged, an economic one, between the United States and its European allies. Europe, having to go without natural gas from Russia, is forced to buy natural gas at much higher prices than American capitalists. American arms manufacturers are making record-breaking sales by driving out their European competitors.

In order to take advantage of the subsidies Biden announced a few months ago, some European industries are threatening to relocate to the US. For American capitalists, the war in Ukraine is clearly an excellent way to make business deals!

Today, in France, the workers must oppose the attacks on pensions. They must defend their wages which have taken a pounding with inflation. We have no choice but to defend our living conditions against the greed of the bourgeoisie, but we should also realize that it threatens to cause catastrophes that will be even worse. Those who exploit us today will be the ones who send us to die on the battlefield tomorrow.

A verse from the workers’ fight song “The Internationale” states, “Peace among ourselves, war on tyrants!”. The capitalists, their political leaders and general staff are the tyrants that need to be overthrown.

Nathalie Arthaud