Deconstructing Campist Narratives on Ukraine


This is part 3 of a 3-part series. Read part 1 here and part 2 here.

Many analyses tend to present the “Western left” as a vague and meaningless amalgam, making no separation between the many thousands of movements and many millions of thinkers within it. Here I refer specifically to the “anti-war left” as a subunit of the “Western left” to identify the main culprit of campist sentiment, instead of grouping all progressive movements across Europe, North America, and Australia/New Zealand into collective guilt for the behavior of one faction. In this series, “anti-war left” does not necessarily refer to every organization that may espouse occasional campist tendencies, but rather the organizations that specialize in campist activism and campist thought leading.

Imagine If the US Invaded Mexico Today

The campist binary on Ukraine insists, ad nauseum, that there is a NATO and a Russia. Forget all social nuance whatsoever, let us reduce everything to two structural monoliths so that thinking is more convenient and less nuanced.

Let us consider a scenario on the opposite end of the campist binary, which has already been presented in a more abstract world systems assessment by Chomsky. An event that could very plausibly become a reality someday: the US invades Mexico for the purpose of annexing land, extracting resources, and causing total destruction under the pretext of fighting cartels. The Mexican resistance happens to be armed by the Russian and Chinese states. The resistance, comprised of a large portion of the Mexican population fighting for their homeland and livelihood, is likewise led by a Mexican regime that is the exoskeleton of its oligarchy, antagonizing workers and favoring nationalists. Eliminating the cartels acts as the most likely casus belli of this hypothetical invasion, the US version of “denazification.”

Now imagine “anti-war left” logic on Ukraine applied to this scenario, Mexicans must be conflated with cartels, or even the reactionary forces of the Catholic Church. Suddenly the territorial integrity of the US state is legitimate, the Russian and Chinese states are fully responsible for the invasion simply because they pulled the bordering ruling class into their sphere of influence. This is simultaneously laughable and concerning to think about, given the fact that this invasion is not an impossible one at all (it happened already in 1846). Now compare this scenario to Ukraine. In both cases, the conquest-driven exchange of a property system from domestic to colonial necessitates resistance. It would only be ethically consistent as an internationalist to support the resistance in both cases, as both cases are populations in self-defense. It would be entirely inconsistent to support one resistance but not the other.

Conflation of World Systems Analysis With Social Analysis

Fusion of neorealism with campism yields a quite literally nearsighted approach to international relations. First, it suggests that the nation-state system is a zero-sum game between a binary of two powers where one must be prioritized over the other. Second, that the US is the sole problem with all nation-states, functioning as this unipolar monolith of global oppression that must be the sole priority in all organizing, while every other power structure across the world is irrelevant no matter how close or distant its relations with the US.

Centering of the US as a monolith of structural hegemony implicitly antagonizes the interconnected struggles of all marginalized populations by reducing their conditions to an actor that is often only indirectly involved, if at all. Take the historical marginalization of the Tigrayan people in Ethiopia for example, who have been oppressed by Ethiopian power structures for centuries. There is no world systems analysis that can explain how domestic Ethiopian power structures have oppressed Tigrayans for centuries. Though foreign actors have manipulated these power structures and worsened them, world systems analysis does not and cannot address the social foundations of the problem. This likewise applies to a large portion of historically marginalized peoples across the world, Ukrainians included.

Attempts to conflate world systems analysis with social analysis often culminate in social Darwinism, whether intentionally or unintentionally holding ethnic hegemony as a valid status quo. The US is not responsible for creating most of the world’s social power structures, but it is responsible for manipulating them. The US has manipulated Ukrainian power structures to their own disadvantage, but it certainly has not created them. To say that the US has created Ukrainian power structures is to say that the US was present in the time of Kievan Rus and responsible for the separation of Ukrainian identity from Russian identity over a millennium ago, long before “the West” even existed as a coherent political bloc. Well hmm, this delusion of Ukrainians appearing out of nowhere and having no valid identity sounds quite familiar.

Immediate Disarmament as a Privileged Expectation

In the US “anti-war left” in particular, intellectual laziness on internationalism is often derived from the privilege of not living next to a state power that will brutalize and murder everyone around you. Many elements of the Eastern European left, for example, feel that membership in NATO is more of an existential topic than a political one. This is held to the degree that questioning NATO membership is sometimes perceived as favoring annexation.

It is difficult for a lot of folks in the US to conceptualize what external threats feel like since there are none surrounding the US. Virtually all threats in the US derive from the state, not from external powers. This ignorance of the largely white US “anti-war left” also stems from the colonial reality of not being connected to ancestral homeland, nor having a strong will to defend the land one lives on from invasion. This seems to link to internalized white guilt, not being able to understand what it feels like to live in an ancestral homeland, but instead refusing other European peoples the right to defend their own. Reductive analysis from “anti-war left” organizations in the US is therefore understandable given their colonial environment, but not excusable.

In fighting only against US imperialism, the “anti-war left” tends to become desensitized to all other sources of imperialism in the world. When one lives next to the Russian state and their family has been coerced by Russian power structures for centuries, it is reasonable that one would find a net positive in state collective security to deter imminent invasion, even if from NATO, one of the most destructive pacts in modern history. The “anti-war left” tends to conflate this existential understanding with unconditional support for NATO, when in reality that is not at all the sentiment.

Poland’s Razem Party, one of the largest left-wing organizations in the country, is highly critical of NATO’s imperialist nature yet still believes in its immediate necessity in Poland to prevent invasion, which Poland knows very well in its history. This is not supporting NATO as an imperialist structure, but rather understanding the immediate necessity of self-determination through the only vehicle of security available. Its end goal in this pursuit is NATO’s abolition, using NATO as a vehicle to gradually disarm its militaries in unison with global disarmament. In the words of Razem Party:

Specifically, we expect the Western left, instead of routinely resorting to NATO criticism, to actually come up with alternative proposals on how to guarantee security of Eastern Europe, the Baltic and Nordic countries in the face of Russian imperialism on the continent. Razem, therefore, proposes the development of a European security strategy as a key element to maintaining peace.”

Is one supposed to cancel the large portion of the Eastern European left who find the only mechanism of collective security available to be a temporary existential necessity to prevent invasion? Is one supposed to delegitimize their existence upon hearing this perspective without even asking for their rationale? Apparently all progressive blocs are supposed to be a policy monolith devoid of regional and dialectic nuance. This is the US-centric nature of the “anti-war left,” which holds a brazen superiority complex over international movements.

If we have to choose between compromise and genocide, we will choose our people.”

-Mazloum Kobanî

Of course, this analysis does not by any means serve to justify the existence of NATO. Slovenian socialist thinker Slavoj Žižek has given some questionable takes in this regard, advocating the expansion of NATO in order for the Ukrainian resistance to succeed. With the Russian state’s nuclear posturing and long-war strategy, it is evident that any possible expansion of NATO would not make much of a difference in the outcome of the war. It would simply make NATO more powerful and more imperialist than it already is, for no cogent reason.

Nobody should have to choose between imperialist collective security and invasion. However, that is the hegemonic constellation of police states that humanity is currently thrust under. There must be no shame in a population choosing collective security with hegemonic powers if it averts subjugation and genocide, but this does not warrant the existence of state collective security in the first place, nor does it warrant the state in general. The idea of hegemony is often a more immediate reality than the Western left realizes. Populations must often choose a collective hegemony to prevent another from invading and committing atrocities. This is precisely where the temporary appeal to NATO emerges from in Baltic and Eastern European leftist circles. It is not meant as political support by any means, but rather as a temporary existential necessity. NATO is very much a threat to Eastern Europe in that it militarizes the neoliberal order, but even so, this is a smaller threat relative to the Russian state for many neighboring countries.

Separation of the existential threat imposed on the Ukrainian people with the Ukrainian state itself is absolutely crucial in this understanding. Critique of the Ukrainian state is of utmost importance, but so is the necessity of popular self-defense amid the grasp of an invading empire. The Ukrainian people are fighting for their homes and their lives, the Russian state is invading them. This is a relationship that cannot be buried under assertions of Western involvement and pontifications about “inter-imperialism.” The Ukrainian people are not NATO, nor is NATO the Ukrainian people. One is an ethnic group, the other a state institution. Conflation of the two amounts to a deeply flawed social analysis rife with dehumanization and social Darwinism.

As stated by Razem Party: “Acknowledging Russian imperialism does not contradict a critique of the USA but rather allows us to move beyond Cold War, or even colonial, ways of looking at geopolitics.” With social nuance in mind, “inter-imperialism” and “denazification” narratives are two wings of the same bird, conflating states, institutions, and fascist subcultures with an entire population just trying to survive in its homeland. The “anti-war left” has long been overdue to discard neorealism as an explanation in its analysis of international relations, yet it holds neorealism as a norm without even realizing its inherent contradictions. This, in turn, perpetuates Cold War modes of thought.

Just because an imperialist power exploits the resistance of a population for its own interests, that does not mean the resistance itself is imperialist in nature. The analysis of “anything the West arms is inherently imperialist” runs inconsistent with OSS backing of the Viet Minh, CIA backing of the Mujahideen, and US backing of numerous other perceived “anti-imperialist” movements throughout modern history. The US has aligned with supposed adversary states on numerous occasions, such as aligning with the Soviet Union on the 1962 Sino-Indian War at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis, for example. Many tend to forget that the CIA has historically been both pro-communist and anti-communist, its preference dependent on US imperialist interests at any given time.

The Ukrainian state is not an imperialist state, nor does it have the capacity to be one. It is, however, backed and manipulated by imperialist powers. The Ukrainian resistance is an ethnic group resisting foreign domination, relying on the Ukrainian state as its vehicle of self-defense. The Ukrainian resistance must accept any support that is offered in order to avert the total subjugation and assimilation of Ukrainians, and this support is often only accessible through the state.

The idea that Ukrainians must lay down their arms is not only insensitive but also social Darwinist to a degree, flirting with a Hobbesian conclusion that the “weak” must capitulate to the “strong” in order to reduce collateral damage. This conclusion wholly rejects social analysis and contradicts the fact that collateral damage began the moment the Russian state invaded. Where analysis must begin is in understanding that the Russian state chose this violence, and the West inflamed it, not the Ukrainian people in either case. While the West has exacerbated tensions leading up to the invasion and armed Ukrainian forces, this does not mean the Ukrainian resistance is a proxy monolith. This is a population, an ethnic group, fighting against occupation and annihilation at the hands of one of the most powerful imperialist states on the planet.

Confronting Militarization Ethically

Thus, with the existential situation of the Ukrainian people in mind, the topic of armament is a tricky one. It is entirely reasonable for an internationalist to be in favor of blocking weapons shipments to Ukraine in principle, as it inconveniences the Western military-industrial complex. Billions of taxpayers dollars have been spent flooding the Ukrainian military with weapons as millions lay starving on the streets across the West, many dying on the sidewalk in plain view without any public services to speak of. There is no excuse for domestic mass murder in the pursuit of global imperialism. As the saying goes: “When our turn comes, we shall not make excuses for the terror.”

The material reality of weapons being in the hands of the Ukrainian people, however, is disconnected from this terror. Read carefully here: transferring material that does not change the neoliberal status quo in the West makes no justification for the neoliberal status quo nor the West, but neither does it negate justification for self-defense. To say that weapons alone are the problem and that they are just now causing mass poverty in the West because of Ukraine is to say there is a new terror, when in reality this terror has already existed since the dawn of capitalism and imperialism.

To put it more simply, the problematic part of weapons shipments to Ukraine is not the weapons shipments themselves, but rather the US and capitalism. The Ukrainian people have every right to wield these weapons in self-defense, but nobody should be paying for them, and the military-industrial complex should not exist at all. Regardless, at this point in the conflict there is no possible reversing of military aid to Ukraine. Instead of this futile idealist focus on ending arms shipments, what an internationalist actually has control over must be considered here.

The very few instances of arms shipment blocking in the West have been from groups entirely unaffiliated with the big “anti-war left” engines, instead they have been independent labor unions. The two most notable actions occurred in Pisa, Italy and Thessaloniki, Greece, initiated by the Unione Sindicale di Base and a coalition of 12 Greek unions respectively. Neither action accomplished a permanent diversion, nor have they been repeated as of fall 2022. It is somewhat odd that many “anti-war left” organizations in the US have been silent on weapons shipment blockages, rarely reporting or endorsing these instances. Organizations in Europe, however, have been far more vocal about them.

While the blocking of shipments to Ukraine is usually well-intentioned, critique of this action is also warranted, as there are clear repercussions to the Ukrainian people. Proponents tend to neglect how this action inherently favors the Russian war machine and naturally tips the balance in favor of the Russian state. Other actions can be done instead that do not give the Russian state disproportionate power, such as confronting the elite who enabled this war in the first place, being politicians, diplomats, oligarchs, and generals. Everyone can act in what they specialize in and brainstorm accordingly. If one has a computer sciences background, hacking and leaking sources of coercion should be the first thing to come to mind. If one has an artist background, tag and wheatpaste the hell out of the military-industrial complex. If one has a mutual aid background, mutual aid is the most necessary response to a crisis anywhere in the world, whether that means supporting displaced communities where one is or going to the location in need of support if asked and if able to do so.

Even something as simple as disseminating resources with those affected by conflict is far more important than meticulously searching for someone to blame and being perpetually angry about a situation one cannot change as an individual. There are actions for every capability and every set of expertise. Actions against militarization are weakened when homogenized into the “anti-war left” engines, as they nullify everyone’s collective capabilities. Arms shipment blocking is a well-intended action necessary to combat the military-industrial complex, but it is not one that leads to any meaningful change or relief in the case of Ukraine.

We did not see any energy in blocking shipments when the Turkish state invaded Afrin, when the Ethiopian state invaded Tigray, nor have we seen this passion for blocking shipments to Indonesia, Morocco, and many other Western-backed genocidal states. Sudden prioritization of blocking shipments to Ukraine in some Western movements seems to come from a Eurocentric understanding of internationalism. In the case of Ukraine, this action inherently favors the agressing war effort over the defending one, contradicting the both-sidesism analysis of “anti-war left” movements. If one sets aside the idea of state institutions for a moment, one may find that blocking arms shipments to Ukraine empowers an invasion by the 5th largest military in the world while weakening self-defense of the highly vulnerable population it is invading.

With all this in mind, blocking arms shipments is usually justified to combat any military-industrial complex. For Ukraine, however, this actually creates a net negative of harm and does not lead to any meaningful change. Preventing Ukrainians from having weapons would actually prolong the war, as negative peace would lead to decades, if not centuries of recurring conflict. The intention in the shipment blocking, as suggested by the Greek union coalition statement on Thessaloniki, is less so ending the war and more so contesting NATO. This is a very worthy intention, but it is one that requires ethical actions that do not have unethical repercussions.

Redeeming the “Anti-War Left”

It should be noted that this series is not meant as a character assassination of the “anti-war left,” nor as a critique of its contributions against US imperialism, but rather as a call to question its harmful complicity with state power structures and its normalization of performative activism in relation to the Russo-Ukrainian War.

In its defense, the “anti-war left” is a powerful engine of organizing that has contributed a significant amount to international consciousness in the West, otherwise its statements would be irrelevant. It is the go-to bloc for any baby internationalist looking to expand their understanding of internationalist organizing in the West. The “anti-war left” holds a presence in virtually every large city across the West and has been active in its current form since the beginning of the Cold War, rising not coincidentally alongside realist and neorealist thought. Yet, as flawed as it is, the “anti-war left” is still (usually) one step up from the “praxis is calling everything I don’t like revisionist” crowd of hardline Marxist-Leninists. It is not devoid of organizing value by any means. One should never underestimate the “anti-war left” as an ideational force nor dismiss it as an internet subculture.

Though its policy (and lack of policy) aligns with campism more times than not, it also encourages baby internationalists to seek deeper nuance beyond the prescribed soundbites. The “anti-war left” is excellent in its critique of Western imperialism and corresponding world systems. In fact, it is so good at defining world systems that it neglects social nuance in the process, relying on regurgitated state narratives and direly obsolete neorealist approaches to fill in the gaps. At the end of the day, approaches favoring Chinese and Russian imperialism to US imperialism might as well just conclude with “my colonial status quo is better than your colonial status quo, and there are only two you can choose.”

Campists will argue that not centering the US in all organizing is an excuse for inaction, but what action does the “anti-war left” actually commence beyond performative campaigns that follow weak traditions of social democracy? Calling your senator made you feel good, but did your senator comply? Signing a petition made you feel good, but what did it accomplish? Organizing a local rally of “Ukrainians don’t deserve solidarity because NATO and Nazis” made you feel good, but how are you actually changing anything? Are you actually helping anyone? These are mechanisms the “anti-war left” uses to rationalize its own inaction while claiming everyone else isn’t doing anything. Calls to action with anything more substantive than the social democracy routine are almost never to be found, mutual aid for affected populations even rarer.

One would think, in condemning inaction, the “anti-war left” engines would at least officially endorse arms shipment blockages and act to make them more frequent? We have scarcely even seen this. Instead, the “anti-war left” traps itself in a cycle of self-perpetuating symbol and performance following the traditions of social democracy.

Everyone is “anti-war” as a vague umbrella term, but peace studies as a field includes a wide range of theories from liberal pacifism to neorealism, many of them of greater symbolic value than practical value in this pursuit. The “anti-war left” as a political bloc within this field insists that the end of war can be achieved by jumping from point A to point Z without considering every letter in between, being a complex set of social relationships, state hierarchy, hegemony, power structures, power relations, and political metaphysics that world systems analysis fails to realistically consider. It attempts to reduce social concepts to neorealist soundbites that accomodate world systems analysis when in reality they cannot be reduced to soundbites at all. In theory, the “anti-war left” presents a peaceful socialist utopia that catches the eye and harbors an intense feeling of internationalist agency. In practice, it is really just advocating status quo negative peace with some aesthetical anti-US flavoring. Few recent conflicts have shown this more glaringly than the Russo-Ukrainian War has.

Just as there is nuance in all things, there is nuance to the “anti-war left.” Organizations or journals such as Left Voice may have a campist approach to one issue, and an entirely anti-campist approach to the next. This is not to reduce solidarity and support of platforms that hold mixed approaches, but rather to critique them when these backward tendencies are prevalent so that they do not slip further onto the path of social Darwinist thought. Given its size and agency, the “anti-war left” must be held to some standard of critique with its proven susceptibility to social democratic relapse.

For starters, there must be an internal mechanism of critique. In most of the “anti-war left” engines, DSA and PSL especially, dogmatic campism is enforced through a strong-chair committee system. In some cases, if a chair decides they do not like the political makeup of the committee body, they will simply onboard as many members needed to suit their preferences. This almost always leads to anti-authoritarian members being drowned out and campists becoming a majority in “anti-war” committees. For a personal example, in one DSA chapter that shall not be named, the chair of the chapter international committee curiously onboarded a wave of Dengist-aligned members to support a pro-Belt & Road Initiative “Hands Off China” campaign while non-Dengist members were driven out. One sees this first hand if around these “anti-war” committees long enough, and the author certainly has.

Given its many internal problems and exclusionary history, it is thus no surprise in the least that the widely influential “anti-war left” has missed so heinously on Ukraine. For those of us organizers who take action for all marginalized peoples and their fight for self-determination, we will not cave to campist propaganda on Ukraine nor on any crisis, and we will continue to be a presence of dissent against campism until grassroots internationalism is realized. For now, the “anti-war left” engines are not effective nor credible vehicles of internationalism, and Ukraine has reflected this the most obviously.

Actualizing an Internationalist Approach to Ukraine

Puppet masters around the world attempt to coerce and co-opt Ukrainian self-determination with their own interests in mind, both normatively and militaristically. Meaningful analysis of Ukraine must center its population, not the state, and not the institutions manipulating the state. Neorealist assumptions tend to dehumanize populations in self-defense by conflating them with states and backers. In refusing to take a side, the “anti-war left” always ends up taking a side, and often the side of the oppressor.

On the same hand, meaningful solidarity with the Ukrainian people must not be Eurocentric, nor can it be selective. Western fixation on Ukraine has led to widespread ignorance of invasion and genocide in other parts of the world. Populations affected by imperialism in the Global South are selectively ignored wherever energy is expended on the spectacle in Ukraine.

Economic instability has been felt as a result of billions of taxpayers dollars pouring into Ukraine while inflation makes itself known, but this is nothing new. It is an inherent and predictable component of capitalism that has existed for centuries and cannot be changed overnight. Actions countering this must not expect some sudden diplomatic solution or capitalist collapse, they must be practical: reducing harm, confronting oppressive structures, and confronting the elite as much as possible while ensuring the lasting self-determination of all marginalized populations.

Contrary to campist assumptions, the invasion of Ukraine is not a war against NATO nor the West. It is a war against the Ukrainian people. NATO, the militarized wing of Western neoliberalism, has undoubtedly taken advantage of Ukraine to expand its power, playing a large role in inciting the invasion. Yet, at the same time, NATO is not actually a main actor in the war itself. It is indirectly involved, but not directly.

The discussion of NATO is irrelevant on the ground of Ukraine when everyday people are being slaughtered, when an apartment building was just bombed to ashes across the street, when a hospital was just obliterated with Kalibr cruise missiles and body parts of children are scattered around your neighborhood. The vast majority of those affected by this invasion are not in any way responsible for the flaws of the Ukrainian state, nor even the existence of the Ukrainian state to begin with. Much like the peoples of Kurdistan, Syria, Palestine, Burma, Afghanistan, Yemen, and so many other destabilized regions of the planet, those who suffer most are humans who bear no responsibility in the decisions of state, party, and oligarchy. Yet, at the same time, many of them choose to resist foreign aggression to defend their homes, their livelihoods, and their families. They have a right to self-defense against colonial occupation, even when their only vehicle of this resistance is through a capitalist state.

As described by Ukrainian progressives themselves, solidarity with the Ukrainian state negates solidarity with its population. The carceral Ukrainian police state, with its cesspit of an oligarchy led by Zelensky, must be removed from all traces of solidarity. It must also be understood that the Russian speakers of Donbass have been marginalized by the Ukrainian state, and that this is partly what the Russian state abuses as a casus belli. Though the people of Donbass have a right to self-determination as do all populations, the Russian state has distorted their interests to fit its hegemonic model. This has been emulated in the fascist structure of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics respectively.

The most salient progressive route Western radicals can take is actively supporting those who fight for a future of progress in Ukraine, not standing on the sideline while exuding meaningless statements that favor Russian occupation. There are numerous groups on the ground fighting for this future in Ukraine, and they have been ignored entirely by the “anti-war left.” “No war but class war” is often thrown around aimlessly by campists and socialist pacifists, meanwhile those who are actually fighting the class war in Ukraine have been routinely snubbed and written off as fascist sympathizers.

Expectations in solidarity must be predicated on social realities in marginalized and targeted populations, not wishful idealism that will never materialize. If one’s support for a protest movement or resistance is predicated on socialist utopia, one will simply be perpetually angry. Populations fight for immediate relief with the vehicles at their immediate disposal far more often than they fight for a long-term political structure that has failed to communicate and resonate with them.

Liberal and reactionary factions alike often take advantage of this urge for immediate relief, toying with the narratives to simply reshuffle the incumbent system with a fresh oligarchy and ruling class. Progressive radical movements, already suppressed and muted by the state, most often fail to instantly resonate with a large portion of the general population. Class consciousness and intersectionality are a long-term process, not a short-term one. It must be recognized that this does not in any way delegitimize the causes and goals of mass protests, which again are often focused on immediate relief. Just because a protest movement becomes co-opted, this does not mean the movement’s intentions are invalid by any means.

Though it is often liberals who are viewed as the disarmers of marginalized populations in Western society, the “anti-war left” is not far off. When an organization claims resistance but also advocates the disarmament of marginalized populations across the world, one should be concerned. Liberals, social democrats, and the “anti-war left” often share this disarmament mentality in common, even when it leaves populations facing genocide with nothing to defend themselves. The “anti-war left” bears ethical intentions yet perpetuates what it is fighting against through a confused and contradictory set of statist policies.

Lobbying for the war to suddenly end with diplomacy is a cop-out from supporting affected populations. Considering the futile nature of expecting immediate disarmament, the act of blocking arms shipments is an ethical dead-end that amounts to more harm than benefit. Meaningful action is not found in the social democratic routine of the “anti-war left,” it is found in black bloc and mutual aid.

Just as there is a degree of selective solidarity required to solely block weapons shipments to Ukraine, disproportionate support for Ukrainian anti-authoritarians at the expense of movements in the Global South also clearly derives from a Eurocentric standpoint. Even with these problems, flawed action is better than no action. It has become clear that the “anti-war left,” has no practical or ethical answer on Ukraine. This war has exposed the broader pattern of the “anti-war left” becoming an obsolete organizing vehicle stuck in Cold War thought processes, which are sourced in a confused neorealist campism.

Campism does not know how to separate states from nations, nations from populations, and populations from communities. Its social understanding starts and ends at states and organizations. One must separate the Ukrainian state from the Ukrainian people, and one must separate the Ukrainian people from the ethnic minorities of the region, otherwise keep the words “proletariat” and “worker” the hell out of one’s mouth. Ukrainian anti-authoritarians require special consideration and solidarity in this resistance, as they hold the ideational tools of sustainable autonomy that inevitably confront Ukraine’s crony capitalist oligarchy, which happens to control the state through Zelensky.

May the Ukrainian resistance prevail against colonial occupation, and may all states feel the accountability of young resisters powered by a force more mighty and more immortal than any structure of coercion: internationalism.

About Author
Brendan S. is an ethnically Celtic organizer and journalist from so-called California. He is a member of DSA International Committee, founder of rising grassroots journal The Renegade, and mutual aid worker. The Renegade uses its influence to shape international solidarity in a meaningful and resistant manner.

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