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Jacobin - February 26, 2022

There is no force more destructive in human society than war. With every day and every mile it advances, it tears apart the fabric of life around it. Schools close, transport stops, the streets empty, and that is the deep breath before the plunge. When the wave itself arrives, it brings with it fear like few of us who do not live in war zones can truly understand: the sounds of bombs, the images of destruction in places just minutes from your home, then the sight of blood and injury and death. In the end, that is what war is: organized killing.

That is the reality facing millions of people across Ukraine today. It is brutal and tragic and heartbreaking in equal measure. There should be no equivocation on the Left in condemning Vladimir Putin’s invasion and the murder it brings in its wake. Context matters when it comes to conflict, but there can be no justification for sending tanks and planes into a sovereign country. It is a historic crime. We must do what we can to support the Ukrainian refugees who are its victims, and to show our solidarity with the brave protesters in cities across Russia who insist that it is not carried out in their name.

Today, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, elected with an overwhelming mandate by the Ukrainian people in 2019, called on the Putin government to end the violence and negotiate. Everyone who thinks of themselves as a democrat should back that call.

It is precisely because war is so devastating that we need an anti-war movement. This is especially the case in a world in which unipolarity, and the unquestioned dominance of the United States, is quickly unraveling. The geopolitics of the 2020s, ’30s, and ’40s will not look like those of the 1990s or 2000s. They will look a lot more like the twentieth century, with major powers competing for influence across the globe. If we want to avoid the worst episodes of the last hundred years from repeating themselves, we need to learn their lessons once again — and swiftly. ...
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