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War is atrocious. There is no question about it. The actions of the world’s imperialist military powers in recent days and weeks disturb us, and we cannot remain silent as our government toes a precipice with atrocity and horror. Bi-Co SDS condemns the Russian invasion of Ukraine: Russia’s violent escalations have taken innocent lives and infringed upon the Ukrainian people’s right to self-determination. We similarly condemn the expansion of NATO and the US military industrial complex, and the disingenuous use of the Ukrainian conflict by American politicians thirsty for war. Intervention, sanctions, and military aid are all disastrous policies that will further harm the Ukrainian and Russian people and destabilize the region. The Ukrainian people deserve to be treated as more than just pawns in a geopolitical chess game, so as American subjects, we oppose American involvement in this conflict.
Foremost in our minds are the Ukrainian people, who are the victims of circumstances beyond their control, but steadfast in their resiliency. The imperialist forces fighting over Ukraine’s future do not have their best interests in mind, and it is their blood being spilt, their homes being burnt, and their lives being wrecked. As the US mobilizes its resources for war with Russia, we encourage everyone supporting interventions to consider the implications of these violent policies.
Sanctions are cruel: they are a weapon targeting the populace of a nation, felt most harshly by the sick, the elderly, children, the disabled, and the poor. Among these are Russians fighting against the war from the heart of the nation itself. Arms being sent to Ukraine will only exacerbate the violence over a longer time frame, having adverse effects on the people of Eastern Europe. For security to return to the region, it is important for the guns to be dropped on all sides and for discussion to recommence. The deployment of the tools of imperialism will never be the solution to conflicts abroad; thus, the American public cannot allow cruel and ineffective policies to be carried out by our government.
We stand in solidarity with the Russians brave enough to stand up to their government and protest the war being carried out in their name. To oppose war is never easy but always necessary. We must extend these same staunch opposition to war in our own country, the prime agent of imperialism and destruction. Within the same week that Russian forces entered Ukraine, America bombed Somalia, Saudi Arabia struck Yemen, and Israel launched attacks on Syria and Palestinians in Gaza. We have seen the catastrophes left behind in places battered by American imperialist war and American weapons. We know that American sanctions and war cripple societies and breed disaster everywhere they go. American imperialism must be combatted on all fronts.
Efforts to aid the Ukrainian people would be directly undermined by calls for further intervention from the US and NATO, bodies whose actions thus far have contributed to the escalation of the conflict. After agreeing in 1990 not to expand “one-inch eastward,” in the words of former US Secretary of State James Baker, NATO has absorbed many Eastern European countries. Russia was even a member state in the military alliance at one point before increased expansion became a point of tension in the mid-2000s. Since then, the question of Ukraine’s incorporation into NATO has heavily shaped Russia-Ukraine relations.
In 2014, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was removed from office and replaced in a parliamentary coup by US-backed leaders, Yatsenyuk and Poroshenko. President Poroshenko rallied around a Ukrainian nationalist agenda, ending military cooperation with Russia, and establishing the sole official state language as Ukrainian. The subsequent repression of Russian language and other minority languages, along with the empowerment of neo-Nazi elements of the military, precipitated an armed conflict in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine, which is inhabited by a significant Russian-speaking minority.
In 2014-15, the countries agreed to a number of de-escalation measures known as the Minsk Agreements. In the time since, the Agreements have been violated by all sides and the war has now been ongoing for eight years in the Donbass region. There has been minimal international attention paid to the crisis or the rise of neo-Nazi elements. NATO powers’ refusal to seriously tend to the conflict or to guarantee Russia’s security (through guarantees that Ukraine would not join NATO or become a nuclear power) have been prime issues leading to the recent intervention.
Central to our concerns are the lives of working people of all nationalities and an end to the armed conflict. SDS supports an immediate ceasefire, adherence to the Minsk Agreements, security guarantees for both Ukraine and Russia, and a reinstatement of Ukrainian laws supportive of all national and ethnic groups within the sovereign borders. The guns need to be put down and discussions need to restart for peace and security to return to the region. To prevent our government from exacerbating this conflict through imperialism and war profiteering, we must oppose American intervention in Ukraine and condemn all forms of violence and war.
No US War on Russia! No NATO Expansion! No Sanctions!
Update: the original authors of the Opinions piece above have requested that the following message be appended.
Last week, BiCo SDS wrote an opinions article about the Russian invasion of Ukraine
titled “BiCo SDS Condemns Imperialist Warmongering” that was deeply insensitive and riddled
with factual inaccuracies. This article caused undo stress for Ukrainian students in the BiCo and
poisoned the dialogue surrounding this event by propagating misinformation. The criticism we
received—rightfully so—for publishing this article under our aegis, prompted much
introspection within the organization, and we feel it is our duty to apologize publicly and own up
to our mistake. We are deeply ashamed that our organization put such a document into the public
discourse, and we apologize unreservedly for the harm that our article caused. BiCo SDS does
not stand by the article which we submitted for publication in our name, and the individual
primarily responsible for its authorship is no longer associated with our organization. We have
nothing but gratitude to all those who brought our mistakes to our attention as we continue to
learn and grow as a group because of them.
In solidarity always,