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From imperial war to class war—rage at our rulers

Western governments have butchered countless civilians in Syria, Somalia, Yemen and Iraq. And they will use the war in Ukraine to justify attacks on working class people here
Issue 2794
A graphic shows Joe Biden and Boris Johnson in front of an Afghani city and a Chinook war helicopter

Western rulers are guilty of their own crimes – at war and in their own countries

Russia’s horrific invasion of Ukraine has detonated a tonne of hypocrisy. Bombings, displaced people and deaths are the dreadful consequences of any military invasion.  But as Western nations denounce the inhumanity of Russian president Vladimir Putin, it seems they have forgotten the blood on their own hands.

Western forces have butchered countless civilians in Syria, Somalia, Yemen and Iraq to name a few. Just six months ago the US and Britain fled Afghanistan after 20 years of death and brutality caused by their greed and imperialist interests. Now Western politicians salute Ukrainian resistance—while branding resistance to their own invasions as “terrorism”. And they denounce the bravery of Palestinians resisting the Israeli military machine.

Their warnings over Russia’s deadly thermobaric or nuclear weapons glides over the fact that the West has an abundance of both these weapons. The US used thermobaric bombs—which suck the air out of people’s lungs—in its war in Afghanistan.

Under the guise of national pride rulers want to rally up troops to fight for their cause. British foreign secretary Liz Truss even said Britain “absolutely backs” people travelling to Ukraine to fight. Yet prison—and even Guantanamo Bay—awaited people accused of travelling to fight in Syria or Afghanistan

For all their warmongering the Tories refuse to acknowledge the human cost of war. Home secretary Priti Patel has rejected demands to offer a full visa waiver to Ukrainians.

Patel claims security checks must stay in place for fear of extremists and Russian agents posing as refugees. The stench of hypocrisy from Tory and Labour Party MPs in support of open borders reeks. They are happy to slam the borders shut on African and Middle Eastern refugees.

The threat of war gives our rulers an excuse to pretend we’re united in common cause. That’s why the danger of Putin and good grace of the West is pumped out at every turn. At the same time they continue with bitter class assaults, from fuel price rises to tax increases, to benefit and pension cuts.

Only weeks ago Johnson looked set for the sack as he made it clear he has had no interest in the lives of ordinary people. We can’t let the war bury the desperate need for a fightback.  If anything, increased spending on the military and weaponry will be used to justify cuts and austerity. So just as we oppose any escalation in Ukraine, so we should mount an urgent battle over the cost of living.

Socialists must reject the Russian invasion of Ukraine. But we must firmly stand against our own rulers who feed us the myth that we’re all in it together. Their lies only hide their own hypocrisy.

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