The Peace and Freedom Party’s activists and candidates hold a variety of views on specific issues, even as we all agree on the need for peace, both immediately and in the long term.
We are a multi-tendency organization, and we welcome all who agree that socialism, feminism, democracy, anti-racism and environmental protection are worthy goals.
The views of some of our activists on the current Russo-Ukrainian crisis are given below.
Peace is the Immediate Need in Ukraine
Since its foundation 54 years ago, the Peace and Freedom has advocated for removal of US troops from foreign countries, for an end to the transfer of US weapons to other countries, ending the economic sanctions that punish the ordinary people of various countries, and for the US government to take positive steps to live in peace with the rest of the world. We continue to take these positions, and we believe that working against war is in the interests of the people of our own country, as well as the world.
We are pleased to see so many organizations speaking up for peace in this crisis. We add our voice to that chorus.
–written by Kevin Akin
Kevin Akin is the California State Chair of the Peace & Freedom Party at the time this statement was written, March 4, 2022.
End all Capitalist Intervention and Kleptocracy Everywhere
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a danger to the world. It is killing and maiming working-class soldiers on both sides, threatening civilians in Ukraine who cannot leave or are denied entry into neighboring countries, destroying infrastructure, and devastating the environment. Nuclear “accidents” at Ukraine’s reactors and by Putin’s nuclear weapons loom large.
The U.S. and its NATO allies are party to the conflict: NATO was founded as a military alliance against the USSR, and Ukraine was an original Soviet Socialist Republic. When the USSR collapsed, Ukraine and other former SSRs should have remained neutral. Yet the NATO countries have broken agreements with Russia, admitted former Soviet Socialist Republics, and refuse to rule out Ukraine’s membership.
NATO’s presence and expansion are no excuse for Russia’s devastating invasion of Ukraine. But now that it is in progress, it is incumbent upon the U.S. to try to end it with some kind of assurance of security to Russia. Sanctions imposed by the U.S. on Russia mostly hurt civilians. They will not stop Putin’s aggressive moves.
As we agonize over this war, we recognize that it is one of many: the Saudi attack on Yemen (with U.S. military aid), Israel’s attack on the Palestinians (ditto), Morocco’s occupation of the Western Sahara, and U.S. intervention all over the world to name a few. All of these, including Russia’s foreign aggression, are contests for capitalist control of territory and resources. They do not benefit working class people who always pay the price for endless war.
We call on the U.S. to try to cease hostilities by assuring Russia that Ukraine will not join NATO. But we know the only real solution to endless imperialist war is for the workers of the world to unite and defeat global capitalist kleptocracy.
–written by Marsha Feinland
Marsha Feinland is a PFP State Central Committee member and was a PFP candidate for U.S. Senate in 2004, 2006, 2010 and 2012.
We Must Remain on the Correct Side of History
War drives present avalanches of biased information, making difficult the discernment of reality vs what is simply war propaganda. Our corporate media, as in all war drives, switched gears from seemingly objective reporting to robotic allegiance to one narrative of the U.S. No person or organization wants to lose friends and support taking stands for truth in such an environment.
But if we don’t, who will highlight the alternative media sources in Ukraine reporting a totally different story? Corporate media reruns lies of the Gulf of Tonkin, babies thrown from incubators, etc., to allow, this time, the most dangerous threat to humanity: NATO’s continued expansion. This expansion has nearly doubled NATO in 20 years.
In that time, we’ve seen its aggressive nation-destroying power cause the death of millions, a worldwide refugee crisis and the creation and enabling of terrorist organizations from ISIS to the rise of neo-Nazis now officially in the Ukrainian government. Neo-Nazi military organizations, funded with billions of dollars and training from the U.S. government, led the war crimes against the people of Donbass for the last eight years, killing 14,000.
Last November’s appointment by President Zelensky of Nazi leader Dmitro Yarosh as adviser to Commander of Ukrainian Armies explains why Luhansk and Donetsk, now independent republics, had every right to ask for Russia’s help. And it was also Russia’s right to stop an existential threat on its borders – including the real possibility of a Nazi-led, white supremacist military possessing NATO weaponry.
This war will only stop and not escalate when the U.S. is forced to end the expansion. We must target the root cause of this war – U.S. imperialism – and expose the rise of fascism, not cower and promote excuses they so desperately need to justify their proxy war. We must remain on the correct side of history.
–written by John Parker
John Parker is a leading member of the Socialist Unity Party and a longtime member of PFP. He is the PFP candidate for U.S. Senate in Election 2022.
Russia, Ukraine, and the threat to European neutrality
During the post-WWII Cold War period, there were nations in western Europe that managed to maintain neutrality. There is increasing pressure on these nations, both externally and internally, to join NATO. One such nation is Ireland.
Ireland is a unique case. It is an island, of 32 counties; 26 of those counties form the Republic and 6 remain part of the United Kingdom. The UK is in NATO, the Republic of Ireland is not. In the 1980s, the time of MAD (“Mutually Assured Destruction”) nuclear proliferation policies, “dummy” silos were placed in the North of Ireland. Of course. if any of these silos were hit by an ICBM, neutral Ireland would also suffer nuclear annihilation. Irish neutrality is a bit of an illusion today and has been since the 1980s. In 1982, the Irish National Liberation Army blew up the Mount Gabriel radar station in County Cork, in the south of Ireland. The INLA received intelligence the station was broadcasting to NATO, a clear violation of Irish neutrality. The station was unmanned, and there were no casualties. More recently, Shannon Airport in the west of Ireland has been used by the United States military as a refueling station during its many wars and actions in the Middle East.
The calls for ending Irish neutrality are coming from within the Irish government. An Tánaiste (deputy prime minister) Leo Varadkar has called for the end of Irish neutrality and the joining of NATO. Many other politicians are joining the bandwagon.
In 1916, at the height of the horror of WWI, a banner was raised on Liberty Hall, home of the Irish Transport and General Workers Union and the Irish Citizen Army: “We serve neither King nor Kaiser but Ireland.” Let us raise the banner: We serve neither NATO nor Oligarchs but the working class.”
–written by Mary McIlroy
Mary McIlroy was a supporter and member of the Irish Republican Socialist Movement for 24 years. She ran as the PFP candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2009 special election.
On the consequences of decades of U.S./NATO provocation
The deadly fighting currently raging across Ukraine is a tragedy. In any war, the working class of the nations involved are the ones to bear the brunt of the hardship and suffering. From 1922 until the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the peoples of Ukraine and Russia lived in peace. They were partners in a socialist-planned economy and together they defeated the fascist Nazi invasion of 1941 at the cost of 27 million Soviet lives. The bourgeois-led counterrevolution that dissolved the Soviet Union separated the peoples and republics. The animus and hostility that followed was the predictable outcome of the end of socialism and the beginning of capitalist competition.
While we do not support the Russian invasion, we reserve our strongest condemnation for the U.S. government, which rejected Russia’s legitimate security concerns in the region with total intransigence that they knew could provoke such a war. This is the consequence of decades of U.S.-NATO bullying and humiliating Russia.
The Party for Socialism and Liberation demands that the U.S. government and its allies in the imperialist NATO military alliance immediately cease their provocative behavior designed to escalate the crisis and provide security guarantees that can be the foundation for the restoration of peace — the cornerstone of which must be a pledge to end NATO expansion. This is what can bring relief to the people of Ukraine.
A highly explosive situation has been developing in Eastern Europe not only in recent weeks and months, but for many years. What happened on February 23 and the terrible violence to come was preventable, but decisions made by NATO powers at every key juncture since the end of the Cold War set the region on a collision course that was bound to come to a head sooner or later.
–written by Zach Farber
Zach Farber is a PFP State Central Committee member and longtime member of the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL). The above piece was first published on Liberation News and is rerun here with permission.
Two Inseparable Demands
For over a hundred years, socialists have refused to take sides in imperialist wars among the capitalist powers, fighting instead to unite the working people of all countries against the capitalist system. This is one of the important principles that separates socialists from social democrats. And make no mistake: The current war between Russia and Ukraine and its Western allies, led by the United States, is a war among capitalists in which the people of Ukraine are pawns and cannon fodder.
For over a hundred years, socialists have also supported the struggles of oppressed nationalities for independence and self-determination. In the lived experience of most Ukrainians, this war feels like exactly such a fight for self-determination. That is partly the Russian government’s own doing; its aggression since 2014 has driven much of even the Russian-speaking population of Ukraine into the arms of NATO.
International solidarity among the workers of all countries is the answer for tomorrow. But what answers do we have for Ukrainians today, when they are forced to defend their homeland or flee for their lives? In this situation – where it is not yet possible for the soldiers and workers of Russia and Ukraine to join forces against the plutocrats of both countries – how can we reconcile our opposition to all imperialist wars with our support for self-determination of all nationalities?
We support socialist governments and their citizens against capitalist attack, but we cannot support the capitalist client state of Ukraine, in spite of the tragic situation of its people. We reconcile our socialist principles with each other in the linkage between two slogans:
• Russia out of Ukraine!
• US/NATO out of Eastern Europe!
While campaigning for an end to the violence, we cannot lose sight of either of these demands or let them become separated from each other.
–written by Bob Richard
Bob Richard was a member of the PFP State Executive Committee and the party’s webmaster from 2010 to 2016.
In Inter-Imperialist Conflicts, Take the People’s Side
Too many folks have no idea how to take *neither side* in an inter-imperialist conflict, while focusing on keeping/getting their own country out of it.
I have no problem noting the provocative role that NATO expansion, deployment and military exercises in former Warsaw Pact countries and SSRs has played in leading to this moment. And I’m disturbed by the prominence of fascists in the Maidan uprising and the Ukrainian military.
None of this prevents me from unequivocally condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine and characterizing it as an act of imperialist aggression. None of it is convincing as a rationale for invading Ukraine. Putin’s own statements have made it clear he believes that Ukraine *belongs to* Russia, and that’s what this is really about. All the rest is pretext.
Because I’m against *both sides* in the international chess game between capitalist countries and alliances, I don’t make apologies for one side or the other.
Our party has been for the dissolution of NATO since before the end of the Cold War and has never seen a reason to change that position. We have always been for removing U.S. troops from everywhere. That hasn’t changed either.
I stand with the workers of Ukraine and Russia in calling for Russian troops out of Ukraine, and also opposing NATO/U.S. military action or sanctions that would punish the Russian people. I support humanitarian aid to refugees and to civilians in the war zone. I would like to know more about what measures the peace movement in Russia would find helpful to them.
–written by David Campbell
David Campbell is a member of the PFP State Central Committee.
Oppose sanctions, recognize aggression, negotiate peace
It is rare that the elites, oligarchs, capitalists, or in short, the ruling class of any country suffer greatly from the effects of wars, sanctions, blockades, or other acts of hostilities. It is the working class of all countries who suffer: This is a major reason why I oppose war and joined Peace and Freedom Party. It is also why I currently oppose the Russian invasion of Ukraine and call for negotiations that lead to the withdrawal of Russian troops from undisputed areas of Ukraine.
I think that if the security concerns of Russia had been taken seriously that this war could have been avoided. It could still be resolved if NATO would drop their efforts to incorporate Ukraine into their military alliance. Unlike many of my Democratic Party friends, I recognize the aggressive expansion of NATO from 12 member states in North America and western Europe in 1949 to 30 member states today, including former Warsaw Pact countries and former Soviet Socialist Republics, has helped create the current crisis. The United States has 70,000 troops in Europe (not counting the additional 10,000 recently authorized), other NATO countries have another 70,000 troops in Europe, and Ukraine itself has 250,000 troops. Even before this crisis started, there were thousands of NATO troops and weapons on the border with Russia.
NATO expansion into eastern Europe must stop and Ukraine needs to be a neutral state. Recall when the USSR moved missiles into Cuba, and we almost entered into a third world war as a result – Can you imagine NATO missiles in Ukraine on the Russian border with Ukraine as a member of NATO and determined to take Crimea away from the Russians?
I also oppose sanctions that will harm ordinary Russians and call on all countries to welcome refugees fleeing the war.
–written by C.T. Weber
C.T. Weber is a longtime member of the Peace & Freedom Party and has run for several offices on the PFP ticket in many California elections.
Cartoon at top provided courtesy SocialistRevolution.org.