Stop the war!
by Otto König/Richard Detje
Easter March 2022 - Active for Peace and Disarmament
[This article published on 4/15/2022 is translated from the German on the Internet, https://www.sozialismus.de/kommentare_analysen/detail/artikel/stoppt-den-krieg-1/.]
"On the streets for the Easter marches! Our common message is: Stop the war! Peace and solidarity for the people in Ukraine!" This is the call of the DGB and its member unions for the Easter Marches 2022.
At Easter, "a strong signal must be sent against a policy of military confrontation, against a new global arms race and against an increase in the arsenals of weapons of mass destruction," is the reason given for the call to actively participate in the Easter marches. The Ukraine war makes it clear how right and important it is to stick to the goal of general and globally controlled disarmament.
"Not only in Ukraine, but all over the world. In Yemen, Syria and elsewhere, too, the weapons must finally fall silent. We condemn all those who use oppression, war and military force as a means of politics," the DGB appeal says. There are no military solutions, only political ones based on the principles of mutual respect and common security.
However, in the current debate about the delivery of heavy weapons to Ukraine, there are increasing signs that important actors within NATO and the EU are not interested in finding diplomatic solutions to the Ukraine war. The delivery of heavy weapons is said to lead "to the preferred scenario: a long-lasting and bloody proxy war, which, however, carries considerable risks," writes Jürgen Wagner (IMI) on Telepolis (4/14/2022). As early as April 5, the Washington Post reported, "Some in NATO think it better for Ukrainians to keep fighting and dying than for a peace to emerge too soon and at too high a cost to Kiev and the rest of Europe."
Meanwhile, pressure is growing in Berlin to supply more weapons to Ukraine. For weeks, the Ukrainian ambassador, Andrij Melnyk, has been interfering in German domestic politics without "observing a minimum of diplomatic customs" (Rolf Mützenich, SPD), demanding: "What we need today are heavy weapons."
His narrative is falling more and more on fertile ground. "Everything that is possible below going to war" should be "feasible," Alexander Dobrindt, chairman of the CSU state group in the Bundestag, spoke up. The left-wing Green politician Anton Hofreiter adopted the demand of Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba - "weapons, weapons and more weapons" - in the ZDF program Berlin direkt.
And Annalena Baerbock stated at the meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg: "What is clear is that Ukraine needs more military material, especially heavy weapons." The terrible horror of Russia's war of aggression, she said, compels action. "Now is not the time for excuses, now is the time for creativity and pragmatism," the foreign minister paraphrased her increasingly overt war rhetoric.
She did not say exactly what heavy weapons would be supplied to Ukraine from Germany, but she specified that the tank deal could go through the so-called European Peace Facility. The "Peace Facility" is a new EU financing instrument that can be used to strengthen the capabilities of armed forces in partner countries. Three tranches of 500 million euros each have now been released through this instrument to finance weapons for Ukraine.
The chairmen of the Bundestag committees on Foreign Affairs, Michael Roth (SPD), Defense, Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann (FDP), and Europe, Anton Hofreiter (The Greens), sounded the same horn when they called for further arms deliveries following their visit to Lviv, Ukraine. "There should be broad majorities for this in the Bundestag. Germany must assume even more responsibility," the three said in a joint statement. "The West is prolonging the war with its arms deliveries. As soon as our weapons are used there, it is no longer just Putin's dead, it will be ours," Jakob Augstein writes in Freitag.
Such deliveries are potentially a "path to the Third World War," says former military policy advisor to former Chancellor Angela Merkel, retired Brigadier General Erich Vad. In addition, he says, complex weapon systems such as the Leopard main battle tank or the Marder infantry fighting vehicle can only be operated and deployed in a system-compatible manner after years of training. They are therefore of no military use to the Ukrainians at present and for the foreseeable future (NTV, 12.4.2022). The more NATO partners - such as Poland - help out with battle tanks on which Ukrainian soldiers no longer need to be trained, the more concrete NATO's entry into the proxy war becomes.
While arms manufacturers such as Heckler & Koch, Rheinmetall and KMW were until recently the "grubby children" of German industry in the public perception - for example, some pension and sovereign wealth funds had excluded arms companies from their portfolios because they did not want to support the controversial industry - they are suddenly considered "systemically relevant." The military-industrial complex and financial institutions are seizing the moment to campaign for defense companies to be classified as sustainable. The contribution of arms manufacturers to "defending the values of liberal democracies and creating a deterrent that preserves peace and global stability" is a basic prerequisite for being able to address social issues at all, argue analysts at the U.S. investment bank Citi.
Is it just a coincidence that the push to supply heavy warfare equipment to Ukraine coincided with Rheinmetall's offer to supply "Leopard 1" tanks? "The first Leopard 1 could be delivered in six weeks," Rheinmetall CEO Armin Papperger told Handelsblatt. In an interview with Die Zeit (April 6, 2022), Ralf Ketzel, a former Bundeswehr officer and current head of Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW), bluntly demanded, "If the war lasts for a long time, which can be assumed at present, Ukraine must be soundly equipped." This would include heavy equipment such as tanks and armored personnel carriers. For arms companies, the Ukraine war is a goldmine.
In connection with the murderous arms production, Hans-Jürgen Urban, executive board member of IG Metall, rightly states in the Frankfurter Rundschau: "Armament to secure jobs cannot be a guiding principle of politics. It makes much more sense for unions to continue to fight with works councils and workforces for conversion strategies, i.e., the transformation of armaments into civilian products." Securing peace must not be at the expense of social peace, nor at the expense of urgently needed future investments in socio-ecological transformation and in the performance of our welfare state. We must not accept war as a means of politics.
This year's call for the Easter marches states: "We want to live in a Europe of peace, free from fear of war or nuclear annihilation. We want peace for the people in Ukraine and for all people affected by conflicts. For this, we need a peace policy perspective for Europe that includes Ukraine and, in the long term, also brings Russia back into the community of states so that the hope for a common civil security architecture for Europe becomes a reality." Only if we abandon the misguided path of armament and war will it be possible for future generations to live without fear and in peace."
From April 16 to 18, 2022, demonstrations will be held nationwide
for a new policy of détente that takes into account the security interests of all European states from the Atlantic to the Urals
for a strengthening of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)
for disarmament instead of rearmament, no to NATO's 2% target - people need the billions thus released for social welfare, education, health and ecology
for the stop of nuclear armament, abolition of the US nuclear bombs in Germany without substitution
for Germany's accession to the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, against new Bundeswehr bombers for nuclear warfare
against the proliferation of nuclear weapons technology in North Rhine-Westphalia, stop nuclear transports through Germany, shut down the uranium enrichment plant in Gronau immediately
for an end to all Bundeswehr war missions, for humanitarian aid and civil conflict resolution - learn from previous war missions such as Afghanistan
for outlawing automation in war technology, banning combat drones and cyber strategies for war in the 21st century.
Now it must be "Lay down your arms!" An immediate ceasefire is needed. "We need to think about the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine from the end. If we don't want World War III, sooner or later we have to get out of this military escalation logic and start negotiations," Erich Vad emphasizes.
 Already, the export of 1,000 Stinger anti-tank and 500 anti-aircraft missiles has been approved; in addition, there are 2,700 Strela anti-aircraft missiles, protective equipment and ammunition. In addition, the German government has given the green light for the export of 58 armored personnel carriers from the Czech Republic to Ukraine; the tanks originally came from NVA stocks. According to reports, the delivery of further war equipment worth 300 million euros is in the pipeline. This involves 2,650 RGW90 HH Matador anti-tank guns, 18 reconnaissance drones, mortars, automatic cannons, 3,000 night-vision devices, and thousands of protective vests and helmets (Axel Zimmermann: Ukraine vor neuem Waffenkauf in Deutschland. zdf.de 31.3.2022).