The Russo-Ukrainian War and the rest of us.
By Bill Fletcher Jr.
The Nation January 20, 2023
The announcement of the Ukraine Solidarity Network is a small step in breaking a strange combination of silence, ambivalence, and complicity within some left-leaning circles regarding the Russian aggression against Ukraine. Code Pink, for instance, which is outspoken on international affairs, falls into the “ambivalent” category, criticizing the Russian invasion—but not supporting Ukrainian resistance. Black Alliance for Peace is an example of a group that is complicit through its support of the invasion.
Particularly since the end of the Cold War and the turn towards capitalism within China, much of the US left and progressive circles have found themselves adrift in navigating the stormy seas of neoliberal globalization and growing right-wing authoritarianism. Given the crimes of the United States—domestically and internationally—it came as no surprise that a great deal of the attention of left and progressive forces has been on the posture and practice of the US government (and its allies). This approach, however, began running into complications when governments in the Global South that had appeared to have embraced a left, anti-imperialist approach, began embarking on approaches that were either complicit with neoliberal capital and/or undertook repressive measures against their populations—in the latter case in response to popular protests. Zimbabwe under former President Robert Mugabe is a case in point; the Ortega regime in Nicaragua is a more current example. In both cases, the left-wing “bona fides” of these regimes covered over an increasingly authoritarian approach, often mixed with corruption.
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