We call on everyone to show solidarity with the people in the Ukraine and advocate for a swift end to all hostilities.
Since the Russian army’s unlawful attack on the Ukraine, hundreds of thousands of people have lost their lives. In 2020, the Ukraine had approximately 45 million inhabitants and was already the second poorest country in Europe. Now, more than a third of its population has been displaced. Civilian infrastructure is being destroyed. The continuation of the war is the continuation of this inhumanity, including use of landmines, environmental contamination, and traumatization of people. The Russian government must halt its aggressive war and withdraw its soldiers.
All of these makes a ceasefire, massive humanitarian aid, and support for reconstruction measures in the Ukraine crucial humanitarian necessities.
In order to silence the weapons: Dare for more diplomacy!
Politics and society are called upon to make de-escalation possible and promote understanding, to ensure a ceasefire and peace. The will to establish civil conflict resolution and peace is the same as that which forms the attitude that can succeed in interrupting and overcoming violence.
Therefore, we reject the acts of delivery of combat aircrafts, warships, intermediate-range missiles, and further combat tanks. Such deliveries serve only to exacerbate the war of attrition in the Ukraine. Arms proliferation lead to destructive expectations of “winning” the war amongst all parties of war involved, and ignores the human price paid for it. Whereas it is necessary to exclude the expansion of the war to other countries and nuclear escalation and quickly achieve a ceasefire.
Negotiations have already taken place at all stages of the conflict (e.g., concerning grain agreements, humanitarian corridors, prisoner exchanges, and the safety of nuclear power plants). They must be expanded to improve the humanitarian situation of the population and rebuild trust.
History shows that de-escalation, rapprochement, and peace require enduring and courageous initiatives from individuals, governments, and society as a whole.
For global cooperation instead of power political confrontation.
The war is not merely an interstate conflict between Russia and the Ukraine; it also involves conflicting interests between the governments of the USA and Russia. Accepting socio-economic deterioration, an expansion of the war, or even nuclear escalation to resolve these conflicts is not in the interest of European population.
The sources of a sovereign development of Europe are civil: cooperative, economic, scientific, and social. They derive from peace treaties, enlightenment, and human rights. They can only be preserved and further developed through civil means for the benefit of population. Now more than ever, this requires better relations with all parts of the world.
This is also a demand for global (climate) justice. Russia is the largest and most resource-rich country in the world. Cooperation is necessary to achieve global socio-ecological transformation as well as energy and food security. Conversely, the necessary diminishing of CO₂ emissions is turned into an absurd increase by war, arms proliferation, and destruction of infrastructure. It is up to us to enforce the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals instead of relying on inadequate restructuring with neocolonial resource policies, isolation, and militarization.
Strengthening humanity instead of promoting brutality.
Every militarization is a misdirection of investments. Expanding industrial capacities and aligning infrastructure, education, and research for warfare is a destructive waste of human labor, creativity, and resources. This is not contemporary. What is contemporary is investing in health, education, and civil sciences, in decent work, mobility, and housing, in social prosperity and culture, in a sustainable relationship between humans and nature, and in justice between states and continents.
Oil companies and the arms industry profit the most from war, while inflation and war economy lead to impoverishment. The arms industry wants to break the taboo of supplying weapons to war zones. War rhetoric—talking about victory, toughening heroes—and simplified thinking in terms of “good” and “evil” represent cultural regression. Often, images, reports, and visits from the battlefields create a sense of concern that is meant to justify armament. The horrors of war, its images, and the reflexive response with demands for even more powerful weapons create an illusion of logic. With getting accustomed to war and military violence comes the threat of such acts as legitimate means of conflict resolution.
Extreme inequality and the normalization of war foster right-wing political tendencies and mentalities of violence. These malformations must be overcome through factual enlightenment about the interests and objectives of the conflicting parties, the needs of populations, and the reinforcement of civil alternatives in politics and society. The necessary alternative also lies in just economic regulation and democratic social welfare as a rational humanistic foundation for solidary coexistence. These stimuli for such action must also be increasingly initiated by governments.
The path to peace is a path of learning.
Against the spiral of escalation, we can draw on the experience of détente policy. It was based on the realization that “humanity must be saved from the scourge of war” (United Nations Charter) to exist and guarantee the dignity of all. The negation of war brings with it the opening of a livable perspective for humanity.
Détente policy also achieved successes in times of greatest international tension. It led to far-reaching agreements for the establishment of international institutions for peace, security, and cooperation, as well as treaties on arms control and disarmament. We must build on these experiences—also to reactivate these agreements quickly.
We also know that civil collaborations—in sciences, culture, youth work, labor unions, or humanitarian organizations—lay the foundation for understanding in difficult situations. We are committed to preserving, creating, and expanding such possibilities.
War is always a capitulation of reason—dare for more rationality!
The creation of a livable civilization is a rational challenge for all—populations and governments alike. Respect for and reaffirmation of international law are indispensable. War can only be banished through—on all side—reinforced efforts for reconciling interests, civil conflict resolution, and peaceful coexistence. In the nuclear age and in the face of global ecological dangers, the following remains fully relevant: “Security from one another must be replaced by security with one another“ (Egon Bahr). The European social democratic institutions have a rich fund of experiences that must be updated and assertively put into effect for cooperation instead of confrontation.
We, Social Democrats, demand and advocate for:
- Prioritization of diplomacy for a prompt ceasefire! All opportunities should be used to bring the parties of war to the negotiating table, to facilitate humanitarian relief, to create trust and to seek a solution for peace.
- Support for international mediation offers and coordination with own initiatives. Appreciation of the United Nations and OSCE. They create the framework for serious peace agreements and for an international peace order.
- Escalation of arms deliveries must be prevented.
- Expansion of humanitarian aid.
- Insurance of safe entry into the EU and residence for all deserters and conscientious objectors.
- De-escalation: The end of acts of war and civilian conflict resolution must be combined with the lifting of economic sanctions.
- Help shaping the reconstruction of Ukraine in an economically and socially sustainable way.
- Comprehensive and proactive achievement of nuclear arms control and disarmament.
We furthermore demand and advocate for:
- The SPD being an actor for a fair North-South relationship and peaceful pan-European development and cooperation.
- As part of the peace movement and civil society organizations, we want to lay the foundations for a civilian turn, fighting militarism.
- Forcing discussion within the party about a “world domestic policy” that serves the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and promotes peace and disarmament.