On March 18 protesters will gather at the White House to call for an end to Joe Biden’s cruel proxy war. "Cruel" is the operative word, because the war cynically uses Ukrainians as cannon fodder to weaken Russia and bring about regime change.
We should all be there – or at one of the 5 sister demonstrations in other cities listed here.
The March 18 Rally is organized by a variety of progressive organizations, including ANSWER Coalition, Black Alliance for Peace, Code Pink , The People’s Forum and UNAC (United National Antiwar Coalition). (A more complete list may be found here.)
Only a month ago on February 19, the first national demonstration to oppose the US proxy against Russia in Ukraine broke the ice and drew thousands to Washington under the banner of Rage Against the War Machine. It was organized by the leftist Peoples Party and the Libertarian Party to organize an anti-interventionist movement across the entire political spectrum. Continuing its effort for the broadest possible antiwar movement, Rage Against the War Machine has also called for joining the March 18 demonstration. Everyone in; nobody out!
The broad array of social forces represented by these two rallies is breathtaking. They reflect the growing dissatisfaction with the US proxy war, the fear of its careening out of control into a nuclear Armageddon and a dissatisfaction with squandering well over $100 billion in the cruel killing fields of Ukraine. This growing antiwar sentiment is also showing up in polling. (See below.) Potentially the power of this antiwar movement and the popular sentiment it represents is enormous, holding out the promise of actually stopping this war.
The demands of the March 18 rally as listed by ANSWER and CodePink are:
- Peace in Ukraine – Negotiations not escalation!
- Abolish NATO – End U.S. militarism & sanctions on Syria, Cuba, Zimbabwe, Venezuela, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Iran and many other nations
- Fund people’s needs, not the war machine!
- No war with China!
- End US aid to racist apartheid Israel!
- Fight racism & bigotry at home, not other peoples!
- US hands off Haiti!
- End AFRICOM!
- End the siege on Syria!
- Free all political prisoners – Mumia Abu-Jamal, Julian Assange, Leonard Peltier, and many others.
The March 18 coalition deserves kudos for including "No War with China", because the intensity of anti-China sentiment is growing, fueled by unrelenting anti-China rhetoric by Biden and both Parties. We see this in the Justice Department’s assault on Chinese and Chinese American scientists known as "The China Initiative," which has had its name removed but proceeds apace sans name. And we see it dramatically in the street assaults on Chinese Americans and other Asian Americans. These results of the anti-China rhetoric coming out of Washington are all signs of war with China on the horizon. And that danger, another conflict with a major nuclear power, deserves mention at every turn.
UNAC has a somewhat different wording for the first of these demands; it reads "Peace in Ukraine – No weapons, no money for the Ukraine War." This formulation appeals directly to the concerns of the American public over the war, as shown in the February, 2023, polling by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. In January, 2023, a minority, 48%, supported sending weapons to Ukraine, down from 60% in May, 2022. And a smaller minority, 37%, supported sending government funds directly to Ukraine, down from 44% in May, 2022.
A majority of Americans now support the demand of "No weapons, no money for the Ukraine War." Significantly the first demand of the February 19 Rage Against the War Machine Rally is the virtually the same, "Not one penny more for the war in Ukraine." There is convergence among the main demands of the protest movements and the sentiment of the American people. A convergence of this kind shows that the war in Ukraine can be ended! It is reason for optimism in what has seemed a hopeless situation.
Antiwar sentiment spreads
This popular antiwar sentiment has percolated up from the grass roots and is now showing up in Congress where Rep. Matt Gaetz and gained 15 co-sponsors have introduced a sense of the House resolution "The Ukraine Fatigue Resolution." It quite simply calls for the US to "end its financial and military aid to Ukraine." This is another first in the growing antiwar sentiment.
The same antiwar attitudes are growing in Europe whose support is essential if Biden and his fellow neocons are to continue their dangerous drive for hegemony. For example, in Germany, the most important EU ally of the US in the proxy war, over 80% now feel it is more important to end the war with negotiations than for Ukraine to win! Asked whether the problems of Ukraine matter enough to Germany that it should be involved, only a minority agreed, 43% down 11% from a year ago.
And in the streets of Europe the war and its effects are bringing out protesters by the tens of thousands. This has been chronicled recently in the GrayZone by Stavroula Pabst and Max Blumenthal in an article entitled “European antiwar protests gain strength as NATO’s proxy war escalates.” They discuss protests in Athens, Paris, Berlin, Brussels, Chișinău, Tirana, Vienna, London and Prague. Some of these protests are directed at the economic straits in which Europeans find themselves, a blowback from sanctions imposed by the war. In others demonstrators aimed their anger directly at the war itself, the US and NATO.
A Grand Convergence is developing. We can stop the cruel US proxy war in Ukraine. The next step forward will be taken at the White House on March 18. Let’s all take that step!
John V. Walsh, until recently a Professor of Physiology and Neuroscience at a Medical School in Massachusetts, has written on issues of peace and health care for the San Francisco Chronicle, EastBayTimes/San Jose Mercury News, Asia Times, LA Progressive, Antiwar.com, CounterPunch and others.