Asia Times: A new force for peace appears in the US. The lead demand of this broad coalition is simple and direct: ‘Not one more penny for war in Ukraine’ By Professor John Walsh MD in SF, Jan 30 2023
On February 19, Washington, DC, will witness a protest against the war in Ukraine that marks a sharp departure from past demonstrations. It also marks a new departure for anti-war, anti-Empire forces here in the US.
The lead demand of this broad coalition is simple and direct: “Not one more penny for war in Ukraine.” It is a demand that emphasizes what we in the US can do to end the war, not what others can do. After all, the only government we Americans have the power to influence is our own.
And at bottom, its basis for agreement is anti-interventionism, which much of the progressive movement in the US has abandoned, as shown by recent congressional votes where all Democrats, including all progressive Democrats, voted for sending arms to Ukraine.
Above and beyond that demand, the potential power of this unique and promising movement arises from the nature of the sponsoring organizations – the People’s Party, a new progressive party, and the Libertarian Party. It is in fact what much of the press would term a “right-left” coalition, spanning a spectrum broad enough actually to bring the proxy war in Ukraine to an end.
Fittingly, the organizers are calling the protest “Rage Against the War Machine.” With the war in Ukraine putting us on the precipice of nuclear Armageddon, “rage” might be considered a mild reaction.
A new right-left coalition to oppose the war
The People’s Party is probably the less known of the two sponsoring organizations, because it’s newer. Its founder and national chairman is Nick Brana, a lead organizer of the protest. Brana was national coordinator of Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign, but has turned his back on the Democrats in disgust over the failure progressive Democratic pols to fight for the promises they made.
Among the speakers at the party’s founding convention in 2020 were Cornel West, Chris Hedges, Jimmy Dore and Nina Turner (co-chairwoman of the Sanders 2020 campaign).
The Libertarian Party is better known. It has been around longer and, though small, is the third-largest political party in the US by voter registration. The present national chairwoman, Angela McCardle, is the other lead organizer of the DC protest. In American political life, probably the best-known representative of libertarian values, most notably a principled anti-interventionist stance in foreign policy, is Ron Paul.
A call for ending US support for the proxy war in Ukraine is realistic; a substantial and growing segment of the American people support this demand.
The lead demand of “not one more penny for war in Ukraine” is finding ever more support among Americans. A survey in November by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs found that 35% of Americans oppose sending more arms to Ukraine and 34% oppose sending more economic aid. (When it comes to sending US troops, 68% are opposed.)
These numbers grew from the previous survey in July, revealing rising anti-interventionist sentiment. While this is not a majority, more than one-third of the populace is a base substantial enough to build an antiwar majority. Only 16% more need to be won over to reach a majority. The No 1 demand of the February demonstration is not utopian – it is realistic.
The demands of the demonstration
It is worthwhile to look at all 10 of the demands of the February protest, which are found here. But the first four deserve special attention because they spell out the spirit and leading ideas of the movement. Here they are as worded on the website for the protest:
Not One More Penny for War in Ukraine.
The Democrats and Republicans have armed Ukraine with tens of billions of dollars in weapons and military aid. The war has killed tens of thousands, displaced millions, and is pushing us toward a nuclear WW3. Stop funding the war.
The US government instigated the war in Ukraine with a coup of its democratically elected government in 2014, and then sabotaged a peace deal between Russia and Ukraine in March. Pursue an immediate ceasefire and diplomacy to end the war.
Stop the War Inflation.
The war is accelerating inflation and increasing food, gas and energy prices. The US blew up Russian gas pipelines to Europe, starving them of energy and deindustrializing their countries. End the war and stop increasing prices.
NATO expansion to Russia’s border provoked the war in Ukraine. NATO is a warmongering relic of the Cold War. Disband it like the Warsaw Pact.
The other six demands are: Global Nuclear De-Escalation; Slash the Pentagon Budget; Abolish the CIA and Military-Industrial Deep State; Abolish War and Empire; Restore Civil Liberties; and Free Julian Assange.
This US coalition holds great significance for East Asia. The US proxy war, using Ukrainians as cannon fodder to weaken and break up Russia, is the prelude to an assault on China, with Taiwanese as cannon fodder.
In the former case, the states of Europe are necessary US instruments, since the US cannot take on Russia in Europe unless it has allies beyond Ukraine. Such allies, most notably Germany, have proved unable to stand up to the US, and so they act against their own interests, economically and geopolitically, in moving against Russia.
The same can be said of US vassal entities in East Asia, notably Taiwan and Japan, as Washington pushes them to sacrifice themselves for the sake of US aggression against China.
Perhaps the appearance of this new broad-based force for peace in the US will give some hope to the hapless US vassals, East and West, to stand up to the US Empire and look to their own best interests rather than sacrificing blood and treasure for a master on the other side of an ocean.
The world faces too many problems and we are too close to nuclear war in Europe and East Asia to continue wasting resources and lives in the continued US drive for global hegemony.
John V Walsh, until recently a professor of physiology and neuroscience at the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School, has written on issues of peace and health care for the San Francisco Chronicle, EastBayTimes/San Jose Mercury News, Asia Times, LA Progressive, Antiwar.com, CounterPunch and others.