Attend “The war in Ukraine and how to stop it” on June 4 in Toronto!

The International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) strongly encourage youth and workers in the Great Toronto Area to attend the June 4 meeting, “The War in Ukraine and How to Stop It,” hosted by the IYSSE as part of a worldwide series of meetings aimed at building a socialist anti-war movement in the working class. The meeting will take place at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday at the Toronto Public Library - Lillian H. Smith Branch, 239 College St Auditorium (basement level), Toronto, M5T 1R5.

The twin developments of the US-NATO war against Russia in Ukraine and the explosive intensification of the global class struggle dominate every aspect of social life in 2023. The world stands on the precipice of a nuclear third world war. Masses of workers and youth across the globe are entering into revolutionary confrontations against capitalist governments and the socioeconomic system they defend, fuelled by unprecedented social inequality and brutal austerity.

The objective strivings of the working class towards socialism point the way forward for the resolution of these crises on a progressive basis, but they must be guided by a deeper understanding of history and the Trotskyist perspective of socialist internationalism. 

The IYSSE’s meeting will explain the historical causes of the fratricidal war in Ukraine, which are rooted in the long-term economic decline of US imperialism and its Canadian imperialist ally, as well as the betrayal of the 1917 October Revolution in Russia by the nationalist regime of Joseph Stalin and the Stalinist bureaucracy’s dissolution of the USSR and restoration of capitalism in 1991.

The meeting will make the case for why Canadian youth and workers must study this history and turn to the international working class as the only social base for a powerful movement to end war through socialist revolution. 

Youth and workers cannot end the ongoing bloodshed in Ukraine by orienting themselves to the criminal Russian oligarchy or any other capitalist government. Nor should they buy into the fantasy of a “progressive” Canadian imperialism capable of playing an altruistic role in a so-called “multi-polar” world, as proposed by middle class pacifist organizations.

Canadian imperialism, soaked in blood from head to toe from its genocidal dispossession of the indigenous population to the predatory wars it has waged throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries in league with its American and British partners, is a major belligerent in the war against Russia.

Under Operation Unifier, the Canadian Armed Forces played a major role in training and reorganizing Ukraine’s military to prepare for war with Russia. This included helping integrate fascist militia like the Azov battalion. [Photo: Canadian Department of Defence]

For the Canadian ruling class, whose military-security alliance with American imperialism dates back to World War Two, the defeat and dismemberment of the Russian Federation offers the prospect of lucrative new markets, natural resources, and labour for Canadian banks and corporations to exploit.

The current war against nuclear-armed Russia, as devastating as it is, is just a prelude to the main target of American and Canadian imperialism, China.

With an economy which is rapidly eclipsing that of the United States, China is viewed by the American ruling class as its most dangerous rival. Washington’s top strategists have concluded that the subjugation of Russia is a necessary prerequisite to war with China, which they predict could break out as early as 2025.

The economic and geopolitical interests of Canadian imperialism compel it to enthusiastically participate in this new round of great power conflict between nuclear-armed states, the logic of which leads inevitably to world war.

Since Putin’s reactionary invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the federal Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has spent over $8 billion in financial and military aid for Kiev. This includes arming and training the Ukrainian military, which is infested with fascist forces like the Azov Battalion.

Canadian imperialism has a decades-long partnership with the Ukrainian far-right, which the political establishment and corporate media furiously try to deny. After World War Two, the federal government funneled thousands of Ukrainian fascists into the country and allowed them to whitewash their crimes. These included collaborating with the Nazis to carry out the massacre of six million European Jews in the Holocaust.

The descendants of these war criminals, among them Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, collaborate closely with the far-right Ukrainian Canadian Congress, which today wields unparalleled political influence in Ottawa and is at the forefront of beating the drums of war.

Meanwhile, the skyrocketing cost of living and decades of declining living and working conditions have pushed tens of thousands of Canadian workers into open struggle against the corporations and the capitalist state, the main proponents of war. Major strikes, like the walkout of over 100,000 federal government workers in April, are erupting on an almost daily basis. Over half a million public sector workers in Quebec are in the midst of a contract battle against Premier François Legault’s corporatist and anti-immigrant government. 

Contracts for autoworkers on both sides of the US-Canada border expire in the fall, creating the opportunity for a joint international struggle of the over 170,000-strong automotive workforce. In order to defeat the corporations, however, workers and youth must decisively break with the nationalist and pro-capitalist trade union apparatus, which for decades has overseen attacks on jobs and wages. On the question of war, the unions, like UNIFOR in Canada and the United Auto Workers (UAW) in the US, fully support the war drive and the xenophobic campaigns against workers in Latin America, Asia, and Europe.

The situation is just as dire for young people across the country, who face a future of uncertain career prospects, poverty wages, and the near impossibility of starting a family. University and college tuition is increasingly out of reach for masses of working class youth. Even when they manage to enroll, they quickly discover that the schools have become nothing more than centres for improving corporate profits and the deadliness of the Canadian military, with the promotion of identity politics used to justify this pro-capitalist propaganda and steer students away from Marxism.

Only by studying the history of the past century, above all the impact of the 1917 Russian Revolution in ending World War One, and the role played by the Bolshevik Party in leading the Russian working class and peasantry to power in a socialist revolution, can youth and workers begin to understand how to avert the barbarism of World War III. The history of the Trotskyist movement, including its life-and-death struggle against the nationalist degeneration of the Soviet Union under Stalinism, is indispensable in providing any objective assessment of the war in Ukraine and how to stop it.

These crucial historical and theoretical questions will be elaborated upon at the June 4 meeting. Keith Jones, the national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party (Canada) will deliver the main report. He will subsequently participate in a panel discussion with WSWS writer James Clayton, a co-author of “Canadian Imperialism’s Fascist Friends,” a thorough exposure of the intimate ties between Ukrainian far-right nationalists and the Canadian state.

All workers and young people in the GTA looking for a way to oppose war should make plans to attend Sunday’s meeting and join the struggle for the construction of an international working class-led anti-war movement.