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Delivering Community Power CUPW 2022-2023

Crisis in Ukraine

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022 plunged Europe into its most serious crisis since the end of the Cold War. But the conflict has also exposed longer-standing tensions within the broader regional security order, threatening war between nuclear powers. What will this mean for Ukraine and Russia, and their people whose history is perilously intertwined?

  • Europe, more than Putin, must shoulder the blame for the energy crisis

    NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has sounded the alarm about “civil unrest” this winter as prices across Europe soar, even while demanding public money be used to send yet more weapons to Ukraine. The question is whether Western publics will keep buying the narrative of an existential threat that can only be dealt with if they, rather than their leaders, dig deep into their pockets.

  • Mikhail Gorbachev’s misunderstood legacy

    Mikhail Gorbachev meant well. An idealist, he believed in communism’s humanist potential. Realizing that communism’s practice fell short of its promise, he sought to do something about it. In the process, he unleashed hidden forces that destroyed the system he hoped to revive. For better or for worse, we are still living with the consequences today.

  • Ukraine and the politics of permanent war

    As the persecution of Julian Assange illustrates, the throttling of press freedom is bipartisan. This assault on truth leaves a population unmoored. It feeds wild conspiracy theories. It shreds the credibility of the ruling class. It empowers demagogues. It creates an information desert, one where truth and lies are indistinguishable.

  • Putin’s ‘ally’—a case of misreporting

    Were just one media outlet to have characterized Dugin incorrectly it would be a simple case of poor reporting. The fact that almost the entire Western press corps has done so is indicative of a more systemic failing. The impoverished picture one gets of the world as a result of this failing leads to ill considered policies, grounded in ignorance.

  • The rockets of summer

    At this point, the West appears to be sleepwalking toward Armageddon via a dangerous proxy war. By supplying precision munitions, training Ukrainians in their use, and sharing actionable intelligence, NATO is doing everything short of actually pushing the launch buttons. The West is essentially at war with Russia already. This is madness.

  • Status anxiety and the war in Ukraine

    States seek status, and those who have risen to the top feel a need to put anyone who might challenge them firmly in their place. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is such a challenge. Ever since the Maidan revolution of 2014, the West has determined that Ukraine lies within its own sphere of influence. By arguing otherwise, Russia is challenging the West’s honour. The West feels that it must respond or lose face.

  • Peace-minded Canadians deserve a voice in Parliament

    There are no good options available at this point in the Ukraine-Russia war. Except to warmongers and war profiteers, a negotiated solution with unpleasant compromises appears preferable to prolonging the fighting for years or risking the unthinkable. Millions of Canadians support peaceful solutions to the Ukraine war. A left wing party should be their voice. Heather McPherson is making that impossible.

  • The causes and consequences of the Ukraine war

    This is the full text of a speech given on June 16 by John J. Mearsheimer at the European Union Institute and published by The National Interest under the headline “The Causes and Consequences of the Ukraine Crisis.” Mearsheimer is the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago, and a regular commentator on European geopolitics.

  • Prairies ramp up potash production amid Russia sanctions blowback

    Fertilizer prices are extremely high, contributing to the ongoing global food crisis that has worsened in the fallout of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the short-sighted imposition of sanctions by Western countries. In particular, production of potash has been severely impacted by the war in Ukraine and the West’s stubborn aversion to negotiation and compromise in eastern Europe.

  • Ottawa must be honest with Canadians about troops in Ukraine

    Ottawa’s policies have aggravated tensions in eastern Europe, writes author, activist and Canadian Foreign Policy Institute director Bianca Mugyenyi. To help ensure the conflict doesn’t escalate even further we need to start asking tough questions of our political leaders. At a minimum we should be told by our government if Canadian forces are on the ground in Ukraine.

  • Ukraine’s ‘servant of the people’ is a Western fiction

    The real Zelensky is an anti-hero who has degraded whatever democracy existed in Ukraine, writes Dimitri Lascaris. He instituted a profoundly unpopular program of neoliberalism. He has deep ties to a shady oligarch who funded Ukrainian neo-Nazis. Perhaps worst of all, he betrayed his promise to seek peace with Russia by pursuing policies that greatly heightened the risk of war.

  • West at inflection point in Ukraine war

    That’s where the actual inflection point lies today—whether the structural contradictions in the Western economies have matured into disorder. Putin sees the West’s future as bleak, hit simultaneously by the blowback from its own imposition of sanctions, and the resultant spike in commodity prices, but lacking agility to deflect the blows due to institutional rigidities.

  • Ukraine war: When you are in a hole, stop digging

    From the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Western media have systematically misrepresented developments on the battlefield. Time and again, major media organizations have cited military ‘experts’ from NATO armies and officials from Western governments to support the false claim that Ukraine is either winning the war or has battled Russian forces to a standstill.

  • The war in Ukraine has Canadian mining companies looking to Africa

    In the context of the Russia-Ukraine war and the profitable exploitation of battery metals, Canadian politicians have stressed the need to maintain and expand access to critical minerals in Africa. Such access will have the effect of keeping the continent as a crucial supplier of the minerals with which Canada and its allies hope to blunt the economic blowback of the invasion.

  • No way out but war

    The permanent war economy has destroyed the private economy, bankrupted the nation, and squandered trillions of dollars of taxpayer money. The monopolization of capital by the military has driven the US debt to $30 trillion. Servicing this debt costs $300 billion a year. We spent more on the military, $813 billion for fiscal year 2023, than the next nine countries, including China and Russia, combined.

  • The nerve centre of the resistance: an international conference in Lviv

    Last week, in Lviv, an international delegation met with labour organizers and activists. The Swiss weekly newspaper, Die Wochenzeitung, followed the proceedings. What questions are most preoccupying the country’s workers, and why are anarchists angry with parts of the Western left? The following is a report by journalist Anna Jikhareva from Lviv.

  • Who watches the watchers?

    With automated systems already trained on inaccurate data—Russia as the trial ground—“publisher classification” systems for analyzing, reporting, targeting and removing dissenting voices, accounts and publications set a dangerous precedent for tracking and blacklisting voices that challenge Canadian foreign policy online with accusations of “fake news.”

  • Is it time to admit that Canada is at war in Ukraine?

    While more details on the scope of Western involvement will likely emerge, there is enough information in the public record to conclude that, despite falling below the threshold of direct confrontation with Russia, Canada’s contribution of arms means that we are indeed at war in Ukraine. This reality is compounded by the other retaliatory measures Ottawa has wielded to destroy the Russian economy.

  • Is the US stalling urgent diplomatic efforts in Ukraine?

    Next to starting a war, the most reprehensible act would be keeping one going when more people will die with little hope the outcome will improve. Yet, there are several lines of evidence that suggest that the US is inhibiting a diplomatic solution in Ukraine. Years prior to the war, when diplomatic avenues were open to prevent war, the United States already seemed to be setting up roadblocks.

  • Russia at a turning point?

    At the end of the Cold War there was much debate between proponents of two models of the world’s future development. For Russians this debate reflected their own long-lasting dispute between Westernizing liberal historical determinists on the one hand and conservative believers in distinct paths of civilizational development on the other. The latter have won the day, and there may be no turning back.

  • Why Canada’s double standards on Russia-Ukraine matter

    If Canadian foreign policy had anything resembling a consistent concern for human rights and the demands of oppressed populations, Canada’s leaders would not remain silent as the Biden administration starves the Afghan population as punishment for the US defeat there. If such a policy existed, our leaders would also totally extricate themselves from any involvement in the Saudi-led war on Yemen.

  • Letters from Ukraine

    The following interviews are part of a weekly series conducted in English and translated into French by the French online media project Tous Dehors with “A,” a Ukrainian student from Kharkiv. They have also been published by Endnotes, a communist theoretical journal produced by a discussion group of the same name based in Britain and the United States. Reprinted here with permission.

  • Children are bearing the brunt of Putin’s war

    A UNICEF report from March 24 found that more than half of Ukraine’s child population has been displaced as a result of the invasion. Nearly two million kids have fled to neighbouring countries, while 2.5 million remain internally displaced. Within the country, 1.4 million people lack access to clean water, and almost half-a-million infants aged six to 24 months require complementary food support.

  • How the issue of Ukraine is playing out on the left

    A significant issue that has generated much heated discussion on the left is not over whether Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine is justifiable. Few, that is very few, say it is. Rather the key question is whether raising the issue of NATO enlargement distracts from the atrocity of Putin’s aggression. Indeed, some on the left accuse those who raise the issue of NATO of justifying the invasion.

  • Ukraine is at the centre of a superpower proxy war

    Framing Russian aggression as a disastrous escalation in a long-term proxy war is necessary both to accurately make sense of how and why this cataclysm is unfolding, and to underscore the urgency of building an anti-war movement inside NATO countries. For peace to be achieved, people living in NATO states first have to understand the role our governments have played in setting the stage for Russia’s brutal attack.

  • Revisiting our secret role in Ukraine’s 2004 Orange Revolution

    Ottawa’s primary objective in Ukraine has long been to promote neoliberalism and support Washington’s bid to create conflict between Ukraine and its powerful neighbour. While Canadians should sympathize with Ukrainians who reject Russian influence, and condemn Putin’s criminal invasion, we also need to consider Canada’s considerable role in this unfolding tragedy.

  • A realist take on the Ukraine war

    Realism is an approach to the study of international relations. Its main assumptions are that all nation states seek security within an anarchic international system, and that decision makers tend to act in a rational manner. This way of looking at the world can provide useful insights that cut through emotional responses and the distortions of propaganda, particularly with respect to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.

  • Waltzing toward Armageddon with the merchants of death

    Peace has been sacrificed for US global hegemony, for the billions in profits made by the arms industry. Peace could have seen state resources invested in people rather than systems of control. It could have allowed us to address the climate emergency. But we cry peace, peace, and there is no peace. Nations frantically rearm, threatening nuclear war. They prepare for the worst, ensuring that the worst will happen.

  • Guns n’ gas: the German government’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

    As Russian President Vladimir Putin amassed troops near the Ukraine border, US President Joe Biden pressured German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to cut natural gas imports from Russia. Yet Scholz put diplomacy before sanctions and sabre-rattling. Then came the turnaround: on February 26, two days after Russia’s invasion, Germany cancelled the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and announced its largest rearmament program since the Second World War.

  • Stop this imperialist war

    We must press the war masters on all sides to negotiate for peace since there’s no social justice, no democracy, and no livable ecology for the common good on a war-levelled planet. But we must also wage a people’s war on class rule and oligarchs of all national stripes for it is the chaotic and soulless capitalist order that most fundamentally gives rise to modern imperial war in the first place.

  • Sanctions against Russia are hurting ordinary people in Central Asia

    While some well-intentioned observers may endorse sanctions against Russia as a seemingly humanitarian alternative to military action, the supposedly bloodless and “targeted” punishment of sectors of the Russian economy has already had wide-ranging effects on people inside and outside of Russia who have committed no crime, and who simply want the best possible life for themselves and their family.

  • Ukraine: How to avoid escalation and end the war

    The worst is still avoidable in Ukraine. If a settlement is to be found, the White House should urgently restore high-level dialogue with the Kremlin. The main goal must be to facilitate peace in Ukraine with a view to maintaining shared security in wider Europe and beyond—not to simply punish or isolate Putin and engage in full-scale financial war with Russia.

  • Chrystia Freeland’s ties to Ukrainian nationalists reveal a double standard

    Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland spoke at a rally against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 27, in which she was photographed holding up a scarf associated with a Ukrainian paramilitary organization that massacred thousands of Jews and Poles during the Second World War. Freeland, who has made her heritage a major focus of her political brand, could benefit from a serious lesson in optics.

  • No, opposing pipelines does not make you a Putin stooge

    When it comes to Canadian oil, the “Putinist” smear is only the newest stage in a series of attempts to discredit largely Indigenous-led anti-pipeline protest movements. And it’s not just the ridiculous ramblings of Jason Kenney—one of Canada’s most prominent think tanks has also endorsed that view, potentially foreshadowing the character of the Canadian elite’s newest assault on this country’s land defenders.

  • Fifteen bad Ukraine narratives

    Especially when deepened by the fog of war, idiocy comes in many mutually reinforcing forms. Here, writer and social critic Paul Street examines fifteen bad narratives running around the intertwined media, Internet, and political cultures regarding the crisis unfolding in Ukraine to examine and get past some problematic thinking on Russia’s criminal invasion of its neighbour.

  • The Ukraine invasion and the peace movement

    Russia’s invasion of Ukraine should have been pretty straightforward at least on the surface. A large authoritarian nuclear power launches an all out assault on a vulnerable and militarily weak neighbour to recover its regional hegemony and eliminate any semblance of a political alternative. This should be a no brainer for peace activists, or so you would think. But that assumption has turned out to be wrong.

  • The greatest evil is war

    Yes, the Russians were baited. But they reacted by pulling the trigger. This is a crime. Their crime. Let us pray for a ceasefire. Let us work for a return to diplomacy and sanity, a moratorium on arms shipments to Ukraine and the withdrawal of Russian troops from the country. Let us hope for an end to war before we stumble into a nuclear holocaust that devours us all.

  • How Canada’s support for NATO expansion led to the Ukraine tragedy

    While Moscow’s violation of international law must be unequivocally condemned, we also need to be honest about the origins of this crisis, the most significant conventional warfare operation in Europe since the Second World War. Doing so is not to downplay Putin’s clear act of aggression, but to understand the geopolitical realities at play.

  • Russia: From sanctions to slump?

    Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is going to be costly for Russia and its people. Oxford Economics reckons it will knock at least one percentage point a year off Russia’s real GDP growth over the next few years. If that happens, the country will be in economic recession for several years. Whatever the case, once the war is over and after thousands have been killed or injured, Ukraine’s people will see little of the benefit.

  • The Russia-Ukraine War: Why the hawks prevailed

    The European continent is entering a new era of social and political divisions comparable to those of the Cold War. The possibility of further escalation is now closer than ever. Instead of building an inclusive and just international order, Russia and most European nations will now rely mainly on nuclear weapons and military preparations for their security.

  • Against Putin’s imperial war in Ukraine

    The members of LeftEast collective are aghast at the violent military aggression that has escalated into war in Ukraine. It threatens to cast our region into bloodshed of a scale that has not been seen in decades. We unequivocally condemn the Kremlin’s criminal invasion and call for the withdrawal of Russian troops back to the international border.

  • NATO, Russia and Ukraine: False pretexts for war

    Washington wants only one kind of development in Ukraine—similar to the one that it would like to impose on Russia—a neoliberal paradise that will allow Western capital complete freedom to do what it wants with Ukrainian land and resources. This will greatly intensify social inequality and have very negative consequences for most of the Ukrainian population.

  • Liberal messianism and the Ukraine crisis have turned Joe Biden into a Russia hawk

    The Biden administration is likely to continue to obstruct a multilateral European settlement with a new place for Ukraine and Russia in the continent’s security system. The Kremlin will conclude that more “tensions” are needed for moving the US toward comprehensive negotiations on the European and international order. Crisis bargaining has become the order of the day.

  • No, Canada shouldn’t be arming Ukraine

    Why would a progressive media outlet regurgitate talking points from the Conservative Party and hawkish media pundits about Canada arming the Ukrainian military? On January 31, The Tyee published an article echoing the call of former Conservative leader Erin O’Toole and many mainstream journalists for Canada to provide more weapons to Ukrainian forces in their standoff with Russia.

  • Pipeline politics and the Ukraine crisis

    Amid escalating tensions between United States, NATO and Russia, all eyes are on Ukraine. Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland describes it as “a struggle between democracy and authoritarianism.” But Nord Stream 2, a pipeline built to bring Russian gas under the Baltic Sea directly to Germany, is an integral part of the story.

  • Putin, Put’n, and peace in Ukraine

    When it comes to occupying more territory in eastern and southern Ukraine, perhaps even the actual Putin would feel in these circumstances that he missed a chance in 2014, and should not miss that chance again. Any such move would be followed by a new Russian offer to negotiate an agreement on Ukrainian neutrality and federalism; but, in the meantime, thousands of people would have died.

  • The petro-war of Chrystia Freeland: Canada’s military support for Ukraine

    Next to Russia, Canada is home to the largest Ukrainian community outside of Ukraine, but the influential Ukraine lobby does not explain everything. The geo-strategic stake in the confrontation between NATO and Russia, one about which little has been said, is the decoupling of Europe from Russia, and an end to European dependence on Russian hydrocarbons.

  • Bombs and Waffles: the NDP and NATO in the twentieth century

    Long-time observers of the NDP should not be surprised at the internal disarray over Canadian support for NATO. According to Huron University College professor David Blocker, the party’s stance on Canadian involvement in the alliance has been the source of considerable debate and internal tension within the NDP and the left in Canada since the party’s founding in 1961.

  • Weakness and paranoia are behind the Western war scare

    What drives the Western war scare has more to do with the West itself than with Putin’s unpredictability, writes San Francisco State University professor Andrei P. Tsygankov. Domestic and foreign affairs of the last decade have left the West weak and deeply confused. This loss of confidence does a disservice to conducting a measured assessment of Russia’s foreign policy and motives in its relations with Ukraine.

  • Russia doesn’t count

    Ratcheting up tensions during a global pandemic is nothing less than a shoddy diversion; another symptom of the weakening of both public discourse and the fortitude of institutions, now fueled by comic-book like personality-driven politics. What Russia and Ukraine both need is no different than that eternal human dream of everyone else everywhere: better living and hope for a brighter future for all citizens.

  • On Ukraine-Russia, don’t let war fever consume us

    War is in the air. As most everybody knows by now, Russia has assembled a formidable force at various locations near Ukraine’s borders. Satellite images of military equipment and amateur video of lines of tanks convey the menace. Diplomats are talking but some are also withdrawing from the Ukrainian capital. Few are neutral or nuanced about the crisis.

  • The hidden origin of the escalating Ukraine-Russia conflict

    The question of which side carried out the 2014 Maidan massacre is central to understanding the “bloodiest and most controversial hours of European conflict since the end of the Cold War,” and the main tipping point in the escalating conflict between the West and Russia over Ukraine. According to Ivan Katchanovski, the origins of the conflict are often misrepresented, omitted or even covered-up.

  • Ukraine crisis: US ‘toolboxes’ are empty

    The toolbox is empty. Russia knows this. Biden knows this. Blinken knows this. CNN knows this. The only ones who aren’t aware of this are the American people. The consequences of a US rejection of Russia’s demands will more than likely be war. If you think the American people are ready to bear the burden of a war with Russia, think again.

  • On NATO all parties agree—follow orders without question

    NATO’s proponents often claim it’s a democratic force, but in Canada’s case the alliance highlights the hollowness of our democracy. A healthy polity requires vigorous debate on important issues, but no major party opposes this country’s membership in the military alliance. In fact, the social democratic NDP leadership has gone to great lengths to block members from expressing themselves on NATO.

  • The right-wing checkpoint for Canada’s intervention in Ukraine

    Canada’s policy of providing Ukraine military aid has been disproportionately shaped by both Ukrainian far-right nationalism and the domestic right-wing lobby in Canada. The far-right in Ukraine holds a degree of military power and a corresponding threat of violence that surpasses that of other comparable European ultranationalist organizations.

  • Debasing US policy discourse about Russia

    Baseless and reckless tropes about Russia, Cohen points out, have proliferated in the US political-media establishment during the new Cold War, and even more since Russiagate allegations began to circulate widely two years ago, in mid-2016. The worst of these tropes—in effect an incitement to war—is that “Russia attacked America during the 2016 presidential election.”

  • The beneficiaries of conflict with Russia

    The US arms and intelligence industries are the main beneficiaries of confrontation with Russia, closely followed by the hierarchy of the defunct US-NATO military alliance who have been desperately seeking justification for its existence for many years. For so long as the military-industrial complex holds sway in Washington, there will continue to be sabre-rattling and mindless military posturing.

  • Misinformation about Ukraine and Russia

    Since the overthrow of the Yanukovych government at the end of February 2014, the mainstream media en masse has attempted to whitewash the nature of the current interim Ukrainian government. With Ukraine now having Europe’s first government since Hitler’s time to include fascists in high-profile cabinet positions, one might wonder how their presence affects the operation of the state.

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