“…they make a desert and call it peace.” Tacitus.
The world is not short of food. We always produce more than we need – scarcity itself is generally ‘manufactured’ but rarely to the point of global crisis. So what has happened? Most of the world’s grain and pulse crops haven’t disappeared – they have been sequestered, kidnapped, held to ransom.
Despite the war, three quarters of Ukraine’s harvest from the winter sowing is ready to be gathered. Whether the missiles and bombs allow this to happen or not, there will be nowhere to store it. The warehouses and granaries of southern Ukraine are full but blockaded from export. Russia’s leverage of this has purpose. Until that ends, the new harvest is not conservable. The key supplies for Europe and North Africa are technically plentiful but without peace, will be left to rot. Unless the current harvest is gathered, there will not be (an already late) spring sewing or a summer harvest. One hand of imperialist conflict is on our neck, the other is hollowing out our stomachs.
We are being choked or starved in this rivalry and greed between the capitalist blocs. The details of this conflict are becoming increasingly relevant as they indicate the next direction of threat to our collective survival and the challenges to our class. Central to this is the port of Odessa, once the centrepiece of proletarian revolution, it has become as important now as the Shat-al-Arab waterway was for oil in the Iran-Iraq war. It will remain so as food reasserts itself as a more fundamental need than hydrocarbons and petrochemicals. If Russia decides to try and land-lock Ukraine to secure its defeat, the implications of the resulting potential for famine and unrest may prove a decisive red line for the west. The warning signs are everywhere. Most recently India has stopped exporting to protect its own supplies while Iraq has joined the growing list of countries angrily protesting over scarcity and increasing prices. Riots have already been reported in Iran.
Finland and Sweden’s rapid repositioning towards NATO is front and centre of the West’s response and escalation. Apart from doubling NATO’s potential operational border with Russia (implying threat and dividing Russian resources) it is a significant military gain to that alliance. The £4million centrepiece Russian T-90 tank destroyed this week was hit by a rifle launched Swedish rocket costing £18K, while Finland brings the largest concentration of sophisticated heavy artillery equipment in western Europe. Additionally, because of its conscription and reserve system geared to protect its neutrality, a rapidly deployable ground force exceeding that of Ukraine at the outset. NATO has pulled a knife to Russia’s jugular. The apparentLY stuck war in the Donbass is dynamically escalating by other means. A big picture – peace through annihilation – is being misdirected to the small screen of ‘plucky little Ukraine’, whilst they further distract us with WAG’s, Twitter, party-gate and fucking starving! This war is a present and immediate danger on every conceivable level. It’s causes and impact are interwoven with every other threat we face from cost of living to forced migration. Every struggle we actively engage in is also a struggle against this bosses’ war. As internationalists we are committed to exposing and sharing the totality of this global struggle as we engage in solidarity globally, and at every local level against the total war against us.