Twelve Theses on the War Underway

Antiauthoritarians for International Solidarity

Other languages: French, Italian

Our agonizing world has entered a new age of death: a new period of wars between empires, which holds the power to end the world.

We compiled this short list of ideas on day 28 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. They should be understood as contributions intended to be discussed, corrected, and principally, to be put into practice without delay.

1. Currently, the vanguard of the anti-war movement is situated in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. Individual and collective protests have occurred in dozens of cities, as well as defections, the sabotage of railway lines on which military vehicles travel, and attacks on recruitment centers. Even in the territories occupied by the Russian advance, courageous protests by residents continue to defy the war machine. The thousands of people arrested in these actions deserve our attention and our solidarity.

2. Russia and China are not outside the planetary scheme of capitalist domination. To affirm that they represent an obstacle to the neoliberal totalization initiated by the West is to uphold an untruth.

3. "Everyone against his own imperialism" means standing against every imperialism. To focus on determining who first initiated the hostilities between NATO and Russia is misleading, and is of no use to those concerned with internationalism, solidarity between the subordinate classes, and the self-determination of peoples. We reject any point of view that takes into account only the reasons of states.

4. The aim of NATO and the CSTO alike is to structure and stabilize their rule. Both are military formations designed to increase control and repression over their respective populations by engaging in open conflict, proxy interventions, alliances, or mutual enmities. Without NATO, Putin's tyranny is upended; without Putin, the NATO coalition collapses.

5. There is an ontological and material difference between those who govern (and those who identify with their government) and those who find themselves subject to the choices of governments and their burden of death, but who instead identify and live in accord with a principal of life. The latter must fight their own struggle.

6. Russia's role as reactionary gendarme against the uprisings and insurrections in Belarus (2019/2020), Kazakhstan (2022), and Kyrgyzstan (2020) must be emphasized. These legitimate social tensions within the bloc of the Russian sphere of influence have been "resolved” either by the boots-on-the-ground intervention of Moscow's troops or by the threat thereof (Kyrgyzstan). Internationalists must keep their eyes trained on popular uprisings and carefully study the dynamics and organizational forms expressed therein.

7. The stronger the iron fist, the weaker its grip on the facts. The arrogance of the invader failed to consider that there will always be people willing to defend the territory they inhabit. The Ukrainian resistance we look to is not that of the regular army or that of the far-right paramilitary formations (already recruited by both sides). Rather, it is that of those who have chosen to resist, in every form and fashion, in order to defend their lives and their land, or simply to hold open the possibility of fighting again tomorrow.

8. The infowar spiral is an apparatus of capture. In it, the absolutism of geopolitical interpretations proliferates. To cheer on participants without having to take material responsibility for one's own positioning is a privilege of bourgeois social life, reflecting a favorable position within the social pyramid. Let's close Twitter, Telegram, turn off the television, and go back to meeting and talking in the streets and squares. Only by speaking collectively are we able to produce a partisan worldview, from our side. The white noise of journalists is the enemy of internationalist solidarity.

9. Beneath all the strategic commentary, beneath all the discourse about the clash of states' interests, the true nature of war is revealed. On the one hand, murder, children hiding in basements, families sleeping by the hundreds under bridges, lack of medicine, electricity, sleep. On the other, far away from the conflict zone, within the borders of the states participating in the war effort, we see the rising cost of living, rationing of commodities, propaganda, and the growth of internal repression. If this is already the reality for countless populations around the world, it is only because society is organized into classes, and the domination of the ruling classes structures social "peace" through and through.

10. The present war is not like others. Parallelism and relativization do not take into account the gravity of the epochal shifts to which it attests. This war was prepared for at least 30 years. The existence of nuclear weapons places the entire planet at risk. Incredulity and inaction in the face of the atomic catastrophe do not account for the fact that the West is no longer a central player. To believe that atomic bombs could never fall on Rome is to rely on the common sense and good will of the ruling classes. It fails to grasp the difference between you and a rich capitalist. He has an elsewhere. We do not.

11. Institutional anti-Nazism and anti-fascism have always been propaganda tools in the service of employers' interests, whatever state makes use of them. This is true regardless of whether they speak of the denazification of Ukraine or of halting the advance of the "new Hitler" Putin. It has little or nothing to do with human brotherhood and sisterhood. Wars, imperialisms and militarization are needed: no margin of proletarian advantage can be found in the inclination to one or the other discourse of war propaganda. On the contrary, only solidarity and complicity among the various forces of resistance will open up the possibility of an improvement in the world struggle against fascism. Only through solidarity and complicity can we confront our specific task of creating the real state of exception: the real rupture of the social peace that sustains the warfare of empires and the common ruin of the planet.

12. Developing strategies for struggle and opposition to war means taking stock of the relations of force that we are actually able to generate and the opportunities that we’re in a position to seize upon in the places where we find ourselves. If a movement were able to do this, it would also be able to unequivocally grasp the needs of the exploited and put in place a strategy to identify the appropriate priorities. Instead, the bulk of the debate within the residual Western revolutionary movement rarely manages to overcome the alienation of its marginal position, and to outline a perspective in line with the times.  

—Antiauthoritarians for International Solidarity

First published on Internazionale Vitalista, March 23rd, 2022.

Image: Ilya Repin