Under the title "Ukraine War: Arms Supplies - Militarism - Expenses - Perspectives of the Peace Movement" the newspaper Die Rote Fahne (The Red Flag) organized a successful and content-rich podium discussion, which dealt with the current situation of the Ukraine War, the related effects in Austria and the EU, as well as the peace movement and anti-imperialist movement and their perspectives.
Due to the current situation, the panel discussion was interrupted by a statement of Leo Gabriel, organizer of the International Peace Conference, which took place on the same weekend (we reported: Austrian Trade Union Federation (ÖGB) denies peace conference its premises at the last minute). In his moving statement he reported on the attempts to prevent the conference, which culminated in the cancellation of the premises by the Austrian Trade Union Federation (ÖGB). Despite all the attacks, however, it was held successfully, with strong participation. This contribution was an important sign of solidarity and cooperation between the different parts of the peace movement.
The podium guests and the audience agreed that the course of the rulers against the peace movement is becoming harsher. Nadia Kovac (activist, Hands Off Ukraine Committee) emphasized that in addition to the criminalization of anti-imperialist activities, the criminalization of the peace movement has now reached a new quality. With the specious insinuation of a so-called "Putin propaganda", a vehement attempt is made with well-tried methods to prevent the mobilization and unification of the peace movement of broad parts of the people. However, this attempt to prevent had the opposite effect and evoked strong solidarity from different sectors of the peace movement.
Great unity of the panelists was also shown against rearmament and arms deliveries, as well as for the defense of neutrality, which as a state frame can prevent NATO integration. According to Nadia Kovac, this shows that neutrality has increasingly become a thorn in the side of the rulers, and that the majority of the population has now become the bearers and defenders of neutrality. In addition, there is a need for independent anti-imperialist activities, which must carry further orientation into the peace movement.
The tenor of the panel discussion was clear that, in addition to U.S. imperialism, the various forces of the EU, especially Germany, also have a weighty role to play as warmongers in Ukraine. The invasion of Russia, which was condemned as a war of aggression, is used in the so-called "West" as a pretext to massively increase arms production and to revive the enemy image of the "Russian". Hannes Hofbauer (publisher, ProMedia) particularly emphasized here the parallelism of armament and sanctions in the EU, which have led to a war economy with enormous consequences for the population. Gerhard Mack, member of the Komintern, saw here conclusively also the reason for an increasing opposition to this war, which according to him, is the first since 1945 which has direct effects on the Austrian working class. Nadia Kovac stressed that the sanctions also have an economic steering function for the rulers and are used as a means to get out of the crisis. Particularly in the energy sector, they are intended to encourage investment in the country's own energy sectors. The unjust war is, among other things, a suitable means for this, because this means destruction and gives opportunities to invest or "rebuild", mainly also at the expense of the peoples from oppressed countries, as Helga Suleiman, activist of the Styrian Peace Movement emphasized.
Seeing the sanctions against Russia linked to the Ukraine war as purely economic warns Gehard Mack, who points out that they have drastic effects and always result in humanitarian disasters. Sanctions against Russia have also contributed to skyrocketing inflation, such as in Austria. Hannes Hofbauer, author of numerous books, sees the beginning of the inflation in Austria not in the current sanctions packages, but rather in the preceding Corona policy, which massively fueled the inflation and then the Ukraine war contributed its part afterwards. The podium guests agreed that capitalism is confronted with massive investment problems and is looking for new ways, the central axis being war and the energy issue, in order to get closer to one of its strategic goals: to deprive its opponents Russia and China of spheres of power.
In many parts of the world, above all in Eastern Europe and the Balkans, the population is opposing the war course of the rulers. In Austria, too, numerous activities against the war in Ukraine have been taking place for a year and a half. In order to stand up against the warmongers, it is necessary to restore neutrality. This can only be fought for by the people themselves, the workers, employees, and other parts of the people, the panelists and the audience agreed. To this end, it is necessary to promote the unity of all those who oppose rearmament and warmongering. The results of the panel discussion can be summarized with the following demands:
- Withdrawal of Austria from all EU military treaties!
- Stop the transport of weapons through Austria!
- Restoration of neutrality, no to economic war, away with sanctions!
- For international solidarity and friendship between peoples!
The Rote Fahne (Red Flag) thanks the organizers, the podium guests and the audience for the good discussion and participation in the event. The podium discussion has made a further contribution in good content quality to give orientation in the struggle against rearmament and warmongering and also demonstrated the spirit of unity of different forces of the anti-imperialist and peace movement!