A DSA International Committee organizer talks about DSA’s response to the war in Ukraine, the need for socialist anti-war organizing, and his perspective on the conflict as an Eastern European.

by Gerard Dalbon, Democratic Left

More than nine months after Russia’s invasion in February, the war in Ukraine rages on with no clear end in sight. While some paths to a possible settlement have been emerging, risks of escalation toward nuclear catastrophe continue posing serious concerns. In this dangerous and uncertain moment, it’s crucial for socialists in the United States to have a clear outlook on our responsibility for responding to the war and contending with the underlying role the United States plays in this conflict.

The Biden administration is currently requesting sending a new $38B aid package to Ukraine, $22B of it for military spending, on top of more than $70B total so far, of which over $50B has been weapons and military aid. To the thrill of military contractors, this massive war drive only further fuels next year’s already obscene $860B military budget. Complacent warmongering rhetoric among mainstream media and political commentators, coupled with dangerous, historically poor relations between the United States and Russia, necessitates that socialists provide a clear anti-war alternative.

DSA members at an anti-war march

DSA responded to the conflict since before the invasion and has coordinated in the International Committee (IC) with the National Political Committee (NPC) to organize the needed anti-war work to confront rising militarization. As someone who grew up in Romania, a short drive to Ukraine, and with family from Ukraine, I felt obliged to put my own efforts to try and respond to this crisis. I’ve been involved in the ongoing organizing efforts and helped draft the IC and NPC statements, as well as working on the subsequent resources, actions, poli-ed, projects, and campaigns in the IC to continue providing the necessary socialist action. DSA joined left-wing organizations in the United States and around the world to condemn the invasion, stress the need for diplomacy, and warn of the dangers of escalating militarism globally.

While DSA was initially relentlessly attacked by mainstream media outlets and pundits for opposing the war and calling out the role of the United States and NATO, it was these sort of early responses that pushed the needed discourse to question U.S. motives and stress the importance for diplomatic negotiations to avoid escalating the crisis. Any honest examination of our work easily dispels the uncritical denunciations and shows our positions are in-line with left-wing movements around the world which mirror our concerns. Without this principled anti-war stance from our organization critical of the narratives espousing brinkmanship and further fueling war, the current reductive conversation would be at an even worse state.

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