A Pan African Perspective of the Russia-Ukraine Conflict
So a lot of our people have been asking what the hell is going on with the Ukraine/Russian conflict. What’s really going on here? Give us a basic breakdown for someone who has no idea what’s going on. Should we be worried?
What people really need to understand about what’s going on in Ukraine is that it is a manufactured crisis. By manufactured crisis, what we mean is that it is a war of aggression between two capitalist states over security and resources. The stand-off is between the U.S./NATO forces and the Russian Federation with the Ukrainians. If you are a person living in North America or Europe (any place identified as “the West” in general) and you want an end to war, you MUST oppose the existence of NATO.
What is NATO?
NATO stands for North Atlantic Treaty Organization. NATO is a criminal military structure whose only purpose is providing the military basis for the maintenance and extension of white power around the world. As a structure of white colonial power, NATO was essential in supporting colonial powers in Africa, including the Portuguese in their military struggles to maintain their colonial holdings in Africa during the initial wave of anti-colonial struggles on the continent. The Obama/Biden administration also used NATO for their attack on Libya in 2011, resulting in the destruction of the most prosperous and revolutionary state on the African continent. All peace-loving people should call for the dismantling of NATO.
Why was NATO created?
NATO was created on April 4th, 1949, and designed in direct opposition to the existence of the Soviet Union. During the COLD WAR ALONE, the U.S. directly helped stage/fund at least 70 coups or regime changes. Even though the Russia we see today is NOT the Soviet Union of yesterday, NATO actively continues being hostile toward Russia as a rising world power. And as part of the Biden administration's strategy to create direct confrontation with that power has been antagonizing Russia with the possibility of absorbing its neighboring state, Ukraine into NATO.
Over the years, NATO has begun to add other Eastern European countries into its fold. Why is this a bad thing? The “NA” in NATO stands for NORTH Atlantic, so why is NATO getting closer and closer to Russia? What adding Ukraine to its collection would mean for Russia is that its archnemesis would be pulling up and parking right beside it. Rightfully, Russia is not having it. And it’s been made clear several times that if Ukraine becomes a part of NATO, there will be problems.
So what is going on in Ukraine?
In order to understand what you see now in Ukraine, you CAN NOT skip over what happened in 2014 first. In 2014, the U.S. assisted a far-right coup in Ukraine. So what we’re talking about is the U.S. giving millions of dollars a day in a war of support to literal Nazis in Ukraine to assist in pulling off this coup.
This is where what happens today comes into play. During this 2014 coup, you have these two areas in Ukraine who are not fucking with it at all. They put up mass resistance and remember, what they are resisting is NAZIS. And these NAZIS start using U.S. MONEY (part of the 778 billion dollar war chest that the U.S. has) to attack these regions in Ukraine who are primarily Russians and Russian speakers. In response, these regions declare themselves independent of Ukraine (this process was supported by Putin). There’s a huge armed conflict around this. But to bring the conflict to a ceasefire, essentially, two agreements called the Minsk Agreements are drawn up and signed by all parties involved. And what these agreements say is that the Donbas regions should technically reintegrate back into Ukraine but in exchange for autonomy. For the past 8 years or so, Ukraine has not really held up that end of the bargain.
To make things worse the Biden administration has decided to exploit this situation in its attempts to antagonize Russia and have been encouraging Ukraine authorities to continue ignoring the Minsk agreements and to more forcefully retake control of the region. For the past 8 years, Ukraine has used the Donbas regions as areas for military operations, meaning there’s been non-stop “shelling” or firing of ammunition and weaponry. This is usually very dangerous and something else you need to understand: the war here did NOT start just last night (2/24/2022) it started YEARS ago. For almost a decade it has restricted the way people in the region can move around, many people have had to go as far as living in basements for safety. Many civilians have been injured and killed in crossfire, like a miner who was killed this week on his way to work early on Monday morning.
This is important to understand while you watch mainstream news who are going to try to convince you to focus on Russia and not Ukraine and its support from NATO who have been harming and killing people for years. This is NOT a new war.
So what you have is two things happening:
The potential idea of Ukraine to join NATO, which pisses Russia off
The continued disrespect of these autonomous regions by Ukraine
This is why we reject any obscure references to the “both sides are to blame” position that we see in various statements from peace and anti-war groups. To be clear: this is not a “pro-Russia” position, but an objective assessment of the dynamics of the situation.
So where are we now?
This week, the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin made a speech in which he said, since Ukraine is increasingly behaving as if it has no intention of respecting the autonomy of the Donbas region, and since it has long never respected the Minsk agreements, f*ck it: DPR AND LPR ARE INDEPENDENT STATES, RECOGNIZED BY RUSSIA.
And what this does is give Russia 100% authority to reach into the affairs of the region and protect them, because these areas no longer belong to Ukraine. This is also a display of solidarity as well, protecting a region primarily made of Russian nationals who have been requesting Russian intervention for years. This is a huge display of power and sovereignty and is a reminder of how countries with power get to navigate the world vs. those who do not have power.
Last night (2/24/2022), Putin announced that Russia would begin to move on these territories. Keep in mind: this has largely been at the request of Russian nationals living in those areas. The military attack began strictly on military bases, targeting soldiers and equipment. How Russia continues to move and where this goes next is developing every hour.
How has the U.S. responded? What do sanctions mean?
The U.S. responded the way it always does, immediately sanctioning the Donbas region to limit the interactions they can have with the rest of the world in terms of finance/trade, etc. Numerous countries inside of the UN are also rallying together to implement “harsh” sanctions on Russia as well. In simple terms, sanctions are policies or laws that restrict the ability of a country to make money, travel, and exist with the rest of the world. The important thing to know about sanctions is that there is no such thing as “targeted sanctions”. You will hear this term on the news often. Sanctions are ALWAYS designed to target the most oppressed people in any given society. Calling for U.S./UN sanctions on any nation is always immoral.
Traditionally, sanctions have meant struggle and death for countries hit with them. But something else you need to know about this current moment is that we are witnessing a shift from a unipolar world (a world where the U.S. is the main dominating power), to a multipolar world (a world with many powers, like China and Russia). This means that U.S. sanctions won’t always be the end of the world for those victims of them. This is an objectively good thing. It is a good thing that there are multiple powers in the world today to check the U.S.
What does this have to do with Black people? What can we do?
As we have outlined here, NATO is a white power organization. Once you understand this, you have to start looking at all the messaging around you and decide to not align yourself in support of the U.S./NATO in the affairs of other nations. The U.S. has never gone anywhere else in the world in support of human rights or out of the goodness of its heart. It is always about the domination of resources.
As Western countries stick together to attempt to push Russia out of the world economy, it would be wise to consider that this will likely have an effect on the cost of certain goods, like gas and various food products inside of the U.S. Get outside, have conversations with your neighbors and figure out ways that you can support each other in advance. You also need to think about how much money goes toward financing these wars. It’s billions of dollars that you are told every day do not exist in order to ensure everyone has access to healthcare, housing, education, and food. Every day, your tax dollars are being squandered in countries you’ve never been to. This is not by accident. It’s not because the system is “flawed.” This is how capitalism works. Capitalism requires infinite profit growth in order to expand and maintain itself. That is why it is the #1 priority of the U.S. to ensure it keeps its grip around the throat of the rest of the world and its resources.
The Lowcountry Action Committee wants you to consider the importance of organization right now. Black people in the U.S. must begin to see ourselves as a nation within a nation. Our interests are not aligned with the white capitalists that enslaved our ancestors and continue to keep our neighborhoods destitute and torn apart. We must begin to organize toward self-determination, meaning, we need to begin working together to build institutions of our own. Institutions that can feed us, house us, educate our children, provide medical care, etc, as we watch the United States crumble and lose its grip on the world. We never signed up for life under capitalism and imperialism, and we have the right to refuse it. We are African people, connected to the rest of the oppressed people of the world, and as Pan-Africanists, we see the value in assisting our siblings on the continent of Africa, which is oppressed by the U.S./NATO, in fighting back against the beast from within. A free and united Africa works to our benefit. Imagine what this kind of power could look like in the context of a unified, socialist Africa that is able to step in and declare the sovereignty of its people and nations inside of its borders and around the world? From Somalia to the Caribbean to Africans in the Americas. We are our own liberators! Instead of joking around and wrapping ourselves in the U.S. flag, we must begin to figure out how to use this moment of tension between the dominating world powers to our benefit.