Communist Fight issue 9 out now!

Communist Fight issue #9 is now available.

The entire focus of this issue is the war in Ukraine, and the defence of Russia and the population of the Donbass from NATO’s proxy war. The lead article is a full-scale expose of the war propaganda and concentrated lying that has characterised this war from the start, with the entire bourgeois media peddling the most hysterical lies in a manner unequalled since the outbreak of the First World War. This is fitting, because what we are talking about is a slow-motion Third World War, or at least overt preparation for it, being waged by US imperialism to try to shore up its declining world hegemony, which has reached crisis point. They are desperately searching for a way to destroy both China and Russia to preserve ‘full spectrum dominance’, ie. US world hegemony. The lead article also focuses heavily on the blatant racism being fomented in Britain by the warmakers, racialised indulgence of Ukrainians going hand-in-hand with abuses against non-whites refugees from the Middle East and Africa, while Russians are blatantly targeted for persecution and sporting and cultural figures, even dead ones, are targeted for racist bans.

The main focus of the issue is the International online forum that took place between Communist and Anti-Imperialist organisations on 26 March. The entire transcripts are in this issue. Along with the May Day statement that was initiated from that forum, has been signed by most of the participants in that forum, and many more. At the time of May Day it had gained the support of 22 organisations from six continents, with more undoubtedly on the way, and an impressive list of individual supporters. It embodies our attempt to create something akin to the Zimmerwald Left that provided a revolutionary focus during WWI, and which laid the basis for the emergence of the Communist International. We desperately need a mass revolutionary international today, to provide revolutionary leadership against the potent threat of imperialist WWIII and climate catastrophe. In this regard also the journal also contains the statements of the LCFI on the outbreak of the war, and also a statement of the South Korean Bolshevik Group, which we also consider highly principled, as well as a statement documenting our work in Britain with the International Ukraine Anti-Fascist Solidarity, under whose banner we have been active since the Maidan coup in defence of the people of the Donbass.

There are also articles on the French Presidential elections, and the recent consistitutional coup in Pakistan that ousted the hardly-radical president Imran Khan for disobeying US imperialism over Russian sanctions. And there is an important article on the Malvinas War, 40 years after the event, that looks at the implications of today’s rise of China for fighting US imperialist domination in South America.

All in all this issue is very focused on the struggle against imperialism and war and is a significant contribution to rearming the left to struggle against these.

NATO Expansionism, the Ukrainian Far-Right and Full-Blown Racism

Lies, lies and more lies!

Ukraine’s NATO-puppet Zelenskyy caused uproar by introducing Azov Nazi to Greek Parliament. 

The Ukrainian nationalist fetish with Nazism

Russian forces crossed the border into Ukraine on 24th February 2022 and the western world went into meltdown. What is a defensive military operation by Russia was seen by the imperialist West as a full blown invasion into a sovereign territory with Ukrainian history starting in 2022. To have some objectivity and understanding of how the Ukraine ended up here one needs to go back to at least November 2013. The start of the Euromaidan colour revolution, which culminated in violence with the rise of the Right Sector nationalists taking to the streets of Kiev and the forcing out of Viktor Yanukovich, the democratically elected pro-Russian President of Ukraine. This coup was unconstitutionally ratified[1][2] by the Rada on 22nd February 2014 leading to the Russian speaking and populated Donbas areas in the east, Donetsk and Lugansk, declaring autonomy with a referendum[3] that was declared on 11th May 2014. The referendum resulted in 89% voting in favour of self-rule, with 10% against, with a turnout of nearly 75%[4]. Germany, acting for the EU, along with the US and the new illegitimate government of Ukraine, refused to accept the result with Angela Merkel informing Putin that any elections in the East must be held under Ukrainian law. The blatant hypocrisy was that no such consideration or observance of legality and constitutional norms either by the Europeans or the Americans was afforded to the ousting of Yanukovich.

Since 2014 over 14,000 people have died in the ongoing conflict in the East [5] with atrocities being carried out by the Azov Battalion, who were formed as a reactionary force against the self-determination of the people of the DonbasS. The self-declared Nazis, who use the Wolfsangel insignia used by the Nazi SS, have a history of carrying out torture and war crimes. The spokesman for the Battalion, Andriy Diachenko, in March 2015 openly told USA Today[6] that 10% to 20% of the group’s members were Nazis and with their zeal they made ideal shock troops to fight ‘separatists’ as an alternative to what was otherwise a poorly organised Ukrainian military. Even the US administration declared them a terror group, which was then overturned by Congress in 2016[7]. But to ensure that training and funding by the Americans and Canadians could continue for this fascist group, it was simply absorbed into the Ukrainian National Guard to provide it with the cover of respectability.

In a country that has a 17%[8] ethnic Russian population and which has increasingly become Russophobic, it is hardly any surprise that racism is prevalent when Ukraine provides cult status to the Nazi collaborator, Stepan Bandera. The cult of Bandera has whitewashed the history of fascism in the Ukraine and the atrocities that were carried out against Poles, Jews and Communists during WWII, which were to cleanse the land from what they saw as ‘undesirables’, all in the false belief of achieving a ‘state’ in collaboration with the Nazis[9][10]. Ukrainian politicians have deliberately airbrushed over his and the crimes of others by bringing in this fascist son of Ukraine into the sphere of normal day to day life, renaming streets and districts after him, erecting statues and even at one point providing a national holiday in his honour. This is all designed to provide a level of respectability, not only for Bandera, but for their new brand of nationalist anti-Russian fervour. Both Israel and Poland have previously raised concerns and objections through their diplomats against this blatant revision of history[11]. Racism is not unique to the Ukraine but has also been simmering underneath the political landscape within the rest of Europe. However, this rose to the surface once Russian military operations were underway.

Attacks on Russian culture and legitimising Russians as targets

Russian concerns for ethnic Russians living in Ukraine, the autonomous eastern Republics, the failure of Ukraine while acting as a proxy of the US to implement the Minsk II Protocols[12], and with an increasingly belligerent NATO and its own security being security threatened, Russian patience finally snapped. Immediately the British press as well as that of the other European and American media went onto a war footing attacking anything cultural and politically identifying as Russian. This deluge of Russophobia included not only sanctions against any individuals or businesses perceived as having a ‘relationship’ with Vladimir Putin, but have also included Russian and Belarusian paralympic athletes who were then banned from competing by the International Paralympic Committee, the banning of Russian and Belarusian tennis players from Wimbledon, the International Tchaikovsky Competition removed from the World Federation of International Music Competitions , the University of Florida renaming its Karl Marx study room, Bicocca University cancelling a course on Dostoevsky, the Fédération Internationale Féline (FIFe) banning Russian felines from participating in events, and Netflix stopping production on an adaptation of Tolstoy’s novel ‘Anna Karenina’. Literally anything associated with being Russian is seen as a ‘legitimate’ target in a whirl wind of cancel culture and cultural vandalism. Compare this to the illegal wars by the US and Britain and the immediate double standards are all too apparent.  Where have we seen the call for sanctions to be applied to Britain and the US who consistently prosecute wars with impunity, murdering thousands of innocent civilians indiscriminately in the process?

But it doesn’t simply end there; Andrij Melnyk, the Ukrainian Ambassador to Germany, when being interviewed by the newspaper ‘Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung’ declared all Russians as enemies[13]. This makes all Russians a legitimate target for violence, which is not any different from the ideology of Da’esh and Al-Qaeda, who announce that all British, American and civilians from other western nations, are legitimate targets in their ‘holy war’ against the West. Where was the denunciation from the EU that a senior foreign diplomat sitting in Germany was encouraging racist violence toward civilians? This anti-Russian bile hit new heights when Ukraine’s own Doctor Mengele, Gennadiy Druzenko, claimed during an interview on Ukrainian television that he had ordered his doctors to castrate any captured injured Russian POWs because they are cockroaches and not people[14]. This was a call for war crimes to be committed, a blatant disregard for the Geneva Convention which provides protection for all prisoners of war. The flirtation with Nazis seems to be commonplace, a live broadcast on the Ukrainian channel 24 consisted of the TV presenter[15] alongside a photo of the Nazi Adolf Eichmann appearing on the screen. He then went on with his racist genocidal tirade “I know that in Russia they call us Nazis and fascists, therefore, I allow myself to quote Adolf Eichmann, who said that in order to destroy a nation, you must destroy, first of all, its children. Because if you kill their parents, the children will grow up and take revenge. By killing children they will never grow up and the nation will disappear.” He then added “You have to understand that it’s about the victory of the Ukrainian people, not about peace. We need victory. And if we have to slaughter all your families I’ll be one of the first to do it, and hope that there will never be such a nation as Russia and the Russians on this earth again.”

War crimes are being committed by the Ukrainians and the silence coming out of western political circles is deafening, when there is a whimper people try to justify it. Questioning any of this instantly earns one a ‘Putin lover’ tag to immediately stamp down on any debate. The clown prince, Zelensky, has been culpable in this, he has sacrificed his people on the NATO altar with a promise that which will never materialise. His outrageous claims to the world audience have been nothing short of a desperate call for NATO to come and save him and a potential escalation towards WWIII. He has deliberately handed out weapons to all and sundry throughout the population, not only making civilians a poorly trained potential target but also putting guns into the hands of fascists and criminals. Some of his outlandish claims have been debunked, including the attack on Babyn Yar that never happened[16] and the ‘bombing’ of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, which in reality was fire in a training block outside its perimeter[17], and the destruction of a Turkish mosque[18] in Mariupol, something that Turkey itself refuted. He is a puppet that is having his strings pulled from behind the scenes by those that really have the power, the Americans, the corrupt Ukrainian oligarch criminals and the far right, his performances are worthy of his role as an entertainment actor and not the pin up boy the media are trying to portray him as.

There is ample evidence through witness testimonies given to independent journalists of atrocities being committed by Ukrainian forces towards their own citizens, with claims of beatings[19] and executions of anyone suspected of having sympathy or having collaborated with Russian forces. Interviews with civilians finally escaping areas such as Mariupol after multiple attempts, claiming that Azov soldiers have used them as human shields[20] with threats of being shot should they try to escape. Photographic evidence has surfaced of bodies wearing white arm bands, as also do Russian soldiers as an aid to identify themselves, bodies with their hands tied behind their back some with Russian food aid parcels scattered nearby, as occurred in Bucha[21][22]. Accepting Russian aid could be seen as an act of treachery and it is no stretch of the imagination that such treason would be punished. This is particularly true as in the case of the Mayor of Kherson[23], while acknowledging the distribution of Russian aid, which in itself is hardly the actions of a force that are hell bent on killing citizens simply for being Ukrainian even more so that Russians also live in the population, stated that “So Russians want to send their humanitarian aid, but the people of Kherson are refusing it. Because they are patriots and they don’t want aid from Russians. They want aid from Ukrainians. So we are not receiving humanitarian aid at the moment”. In other words he was forbidding acceptance of Russian aid given the risk of people starving.

Despite Russian forces retreating from the area several days before and the Mayor of Bucha[24] not mentioning any executed civilians in his address to the cameras the day after that retreat, accusations of dead bodies littering the streets and war crimes started filtering through several days after Ukrainian forces announced a sweep of the area, a sweep to filter out any unwanted elements. When the accusations of Russian war crimes surfaced, Russia immediately requested an urgent UN meeting to discuss these accusations, this request was steadfastly refused by the British chair. This refusal flies in the face of natural justice and seeking the truth and is clearly a manoeuvre by the British to cover over what could be an inconvenient embarrassment. Footage has also emerged of executions of bound Russian soldiers[25][26], in stark contrast of an absence of any footage of Ukrainian soldiers being executed. War is never surgically clean, it is incredibly dirty, bloody and inevitably civilians become trapped in the crosshairs resulting in innocent casualties. What is striking is that while footage of alleged atrocities towards Russian soldiers and civilians at the hands of Ukrainian fascists is in the public domain, are the excuses from western commentators who suggest that these are either false, or at best questionable requiring forensic investigation to confirm what had taken place.

Compare this with accusations of Russian war crimes, no such due process is necessary for war mongers like Biden and Johnson to immediately declare ‘genocide’. This guilt without trial not only debases genocide but also undermines the due process required in holding war criminals to account, the guilt is automatic and without any scrutiny. This is just a continuation of the archaic demonisation of Russians, no less than how the Nazis saw Russians as being ‘sub-human’ to justify the barbaric treatment and wholesale slaughter in the East during WWII. Where were the calls and immediate guilt applied to the US and Britain for its wars and appalling loss of life in Afghanistan and Iraq? Nearly 1 million people died in Iraq in a brutal military operation described chillingly by the Americans as ‘Shock and Awe’, with the indiscriminate levelling of cities like Mosul and Fallujah. US torture facilities were set up in Abu Ghraib to illegally torture Iraqis away from the prying eyes of the world. Where were the calls for war crime investigations, where are the individuals including politicians being held to account?   Anyone daring to expose these war crimes are immediately punished, as were Edward Snowden and Julian Assange, the latter who is going through the process of extradition to the US where he faces a potential 175 years behind bars. Where are the sanctions against the main protagonists, the US and Britain? There is currently a war in Yemen, over 377,000 people have died, many being children. Britain is fuelling this conflict by providing arms, yet the appalling number of deaths in Yemen pale into insignificance when comparably much smaller numbers die in Europe. All too often the colour of a person’s skin, along with their cultural and religiously identity, determine the status of victimhood in times of war. What makes this even more sickening is that the US calls for the ICC to investigate Russia, while the US itself applied sanctions on the ICC in an effort to avoid accountability through threats. This hypocrisy is astounding.

Western embrace of Ukrainian fascism

The politicians in Kiev, Washington and Europe have deliberately downplayed the role of NATO expansion [27], the history and rise of fascism[28] and the attacks on the people of the Donbass, which are all documented by the (OSCE) Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe[29] all of which are attempts to delegitimise Moscow. Russian concerns are well founded and well documented, not only just by those on the left but also within liberal and conservative political circles and by ex-NATO personnel. But in this new age of propagandist ‘fake news’, the truth has now become lies deliberately propagated by a compliant ‘free’ bourgeois press. The dismissal of  the seriousness and importance of the far right in Ukraine is often supported by claiming that they don’t have a foothold in the Rada and questions about how could a country with Nazi sympathisers possibly have a Jewish President. This is easily explained, while Svoboda secured 10% of the vote in 2012 election and having influenced Ukrainian politics towards the right, it was inevitable that mainstream parties would capitalise on this by simply adopting the same territory. This is in no way different from how the Tories stole the UKIP vote by adopting their politics in the UK elections. Britain left the EU on a wave of nationalism without UKIP ever gaining one seat in a Parliamentary election.

Having ultra-nationalists absorbed into the political and state machinery, such as the police and military, is tantamount to having successfully carried out a coup d’état and getting their dirty hands onto the levers of power. Zelensky was financed by the energy oligarch and then governor of Dnipropetrovska region, Igor Kolomoisky, who himself is also Jewish. It was also Kolomoisky who financed the Azov Battalion, which was initially formed as a volunteer group in May 2014 born out of the ultra-nationalist Patriot of Ukraine gang, and the neo-Nazi Social National Assembly (SNA) group. Both groups have historically engaged in xenophobic behaviour and neo-Nazi rhetoric, physically attacking migrants, Roma and the LGBT communities. The founding leader Andriy Biletsky[30] boasted in 2010, that Ukraine’s national purpose was to “lead the white races of the world in a final crusade against Semite-led Untermenschen (inferior races)”. No argument is required to understand the fascist nature of this group, those that support it, and indeed the state which accommodates such fascists. Biletsky was an MP in the Ukrainian Parliament up until 2019 after having been elected in 2014. For so long the bourgeois press were reporting on the nature and danger of these groups and the political situation in Ukraine, yet in this conflict they have now become heroes. Fascists that have been whitewashed and sanitised for western consumption by the same who were denouncing them, proof indeed that neoliberal capitalism and fascism are bedfellows in times of crisis.

Refugees and racism

Refugees fleeing the conflict have not been spared. While considering that Ukraine is not a member of the European Union, in effect a ‘third country’, white Ukrainians are being  welcomed with open arms. The British government have even set up a scheme that financially provides £350.00 per month for anyone who is able to take in Ukrainian refugees. Contrast this with the fences put up on the Polish/Belarus border, which prevented refugees from other non-EU countries reaching safety and which contributed to a number of unfortunate souls freezing to death in forests. There have been multiple reports of African and Asian students fleeing the conflict in Ukraine not being allowed to board trains in Kiev, a policy of indigenous first. Those that did make it to the border crossing into Poland were aggressively questioned and redirected into immigration detention centres, while white Ukrainians were immediately welcomed and provided with safe places, support and schooling for their children.

The bourgeois press had no problem at all in accommodating this sickening racism[31]. These are just a sample selection comments of such, this from the BBC – “It’s very emotional for me because I see European people with blue eyes and blonde hair being killed.”; CBS News – “This isn’t Iraq or Afghanistan…This is a relatively civilized, relatively European city.”; BFM TV – “It’s an important question. We’re not talking here about Syrians fleeing…We’re talking about Europeans.”; Spanish TV news channel La Sexta – “These aren’t like the other children that we’ve become accustomed to see suffer on TV, these children are blond with blue eyes, this is very important.”; ITV, This Morning – “The US has used [a thermobaric bomb] before in Afghanistan. But the idea of it being used in Europe is stomach-churning.” The latter comment emphasises that Europeans are seen as civilised, despite the horrendous history of conflict on the continent, while those that Europe seeks to exclude are barbarians who are used to such violence.

The empathy for ‘fellow Europeans’, while a distinct lack of it is shown to refugees from elsewhere that are deliberately being left allowed to drown in the Mediterranean and the English Channel in the attempt to reach fortress Europe is sickening. It is plainly clear the there is a hierarchy of what constitutes as a human being. The European Union offshores its legal responsibilities by paying Turkey €billions annually to ensure that refugees from outside don’t reach Europe, despite the fact that it is Western bombs that are raining down on them to begin with. Britain seeks to also offshore its legal responsibilities with the UK Foreign Secretary, Priti Patel, announcing on 14th April while Parliament was in recess, that it has partnered with Rwanda to take in any refugees coming into the UK. There are only a handful of countries globally that treats refugees in this appalling manner, Australia being one of them, which also has a horrendous colonial history with its mistreatment of the indigenous population. The other being Israel, the colonial settler state that racially mistreats Palestinians with impunity and who also offshore their refugees to Rwanda. Perhaps the despicable Patel had an insight into this provided by Israel, given her history of dirty dealings with the ethno-state, which were previously carried behind the scenes of Theresa May’s government and without May even being aware that she was trying to bury handing British overseas aid to the Israeli military before Patel was sacked for her treachery.

Not only does Rwanda have its own history of genocide being carried out but the present Rwandan government has a problem with corruption and human rights abuses, something that the British government were only raising concerns with just over 9 months ago[32]. These concerns have now been miraculously waived to facilitate official British state racist policy towards people fleeing persecution. But this comes at a cost. This ‘partnership’ is set to cost the British taxpayer a fortune with the Tory MP Andrew Mitchell, claiming that it would be more cost effective to place refugees in the Ritz and provide schooling at Eton than to send them to Rwanda. However, this is not about cost, something that even the corrupt Labour Party fail to understand, it is a ‘flag waving’ policy from a disastrously failing government designed to pander to its right- wing base and divert attention from the narcissistic Johnson. What the British treatment of refugees should be about is the UK fulfilling its legal obligations under the 1951 Refugee Convention, which is to allow refugees to claim asylum wherever they wish and to treat them with dignity…. just as the Ukrainians fleeing the conflict are being treated. There is no such prerequisite as to how people fleeing war should travel, or how they claim asylum. The all-too-common term of ‘illegal refugee’ is a simple term for governments to hide behind and shirk their responsibility from the consequences of their own foreign policy.

War objectives and the stepping-stone to further conflict with China

The US has declared its intention to continue the conflict by the supply of weapons and other assistance to Ukraine, Biden has announced another package of additional military aid to the tune of $800 million on 13th April 2022[33]. The British government has also announced further military aid with the provision of Stormer armoured missile launchers[34]. This will do nothing to alleviate the issue that Ukraine finds itself in and will only prolong the suffering of civilians while the conflict continues to its logical outcome. The attack on the Moskva missile cruiser off the coast was a symbolic act, very much as the sinking of the Belgrano was during the Falklands conflict, an act to affect morale. However, all this has achieved is to further cement Russian resolve and to escalate retaliation. Russia is in this for the long run and while western political commentators claim that the ‘invasion of sovereign territory’ is to annex the Ukraine and absorb it into a ‘greater Russia’, the reality is completely the opposite. Russian objectives were clearly defined at the beginning of this conflict; prevent Ukraine becoming a NATO member to ensure that missiles could not be placed 5 minutes flying time from Moscow, something that the Americans would never allow if it was Washington; degrade the Ukrainian military, particularly when it came to the Azov Battalion, who have been terrorising the people of the Donbass; and to protect the autonomous regions of the Donbass. All of these objectives are being met.

The western part of Ukraine has been relatively untouched, the military conveys outside of Kiev seem to have been in a holding capacity while military operations were concentrating in the South and East of the country. It is becoming increasingly clearer that the easter part of Ukraine will be partitioned off to protect the Donbass from the horrendous war that has been raging for the last 8 years. Russia has a huge conventional military and is a nuclear superpower, an overhang from its Soviet Union days. Anyone of the belief that Russian resolve will erode and crumble are deluded.  The policy of the US and its allies to fight to the last Ukrainian will fail. In a partition scenario, should this indeed be the case, then at some point a territorial demarcation point will placed within the country. This then removes all possibility of guerrilla warfare and is more likely to result in negotiations and buffer zones. This already has a precedent and is similar to Cyprus in 1974 and which still exists up to today. Additional pressure in the application of sanctions is unlikely to have any effect, which in all likelihood was to be expected by Putin as they were used as a tool in 2014. What is clear is that Russia does not rely on the export of capital, it is an exporter of raw materials. It will simply apply its trade elsewhere. While Russia is the world’s most sanctioned nation[35] any glance of the world map will show that there is a clear disconnect between the US and its western allies, including Australia, and that of the remainder of the world[36] who understand the colonial mindset of the Global North better than anyone. The only people who will be paying for the consequences of this ridiculous economic war will be the working class on all sides.

This conflict in Ukraine was completely unnecessary but deliberately engineered, it wasn’t as if Russia hasn’t been objecting over the last 8 years and it was certainly clear as to what Russia’s red lines were and what those consequences would be should they be crossed. The US and its allies have been playing games and using Ukraine as a football in an attempt to undermine Russia. The end objective is clear, it is an attempt to degrade and subordinate Russia to further pave the way for increasing global domination by the world’s hegemonic power, a power-hungry monster that increasingly ravages the planet through war on peoples and devours natural resources in an insatiable quest for profit. China, which has become the factory of the world for Western capitalism, has flexed its economic muscles which is an unexpected by-product of the outsourcing of manufacturing by the west who have been taking advantage of China’s cheap labour. This is something that the US does not seem to like. Increasingly aggressive US rhetoric aimed at China with forays into the South China Sea, the Indo-Pacific AUKUS Pact, and surrounding China with compliant client states is lurching the world towards WWIII and nuclear annihilation.

As Communists we need to recognise this,  that defeat for Russia will be a catastrophe for the left globally and will set out this path. For this reason we must advocate for the defence of Russia in this conflict, recognise the aggressive role of and stand for the defeat of NATO, the neutrality of Ukraine, and for the self-determination of the people of the Donbass. While we defend Russia we recognise the Bonapartist nature of Vladimir Putin and that of the Russian political landscape, we also recognise that Ukraine exists as a nation and that only Socialist revolution will provide the answer to these problems.

References:

[1] https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/david-morrison/president-yanukovych_b_7647102.html

[2] http://www.david-morrison.org.uk/ukraine/why-ukrainian-regime-illegitimate.htm

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_Donbas_status_referendums

[4] https://www.pravda.com.ua/news/2014/05/12/7025037/

[5] https://tass.com/world/1289095 

[6] https://eu.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2015/03/10/ukraine-azov-brigade-nazis-abuses-separatists/24664937/

[7] https://www.thenation.com/article/politics/congress-has-removed-a-ban-on-funding-neo-nazis-from-its-year-end-spending-bill/

[8] http://2001.ukrcensus.gov.ua/eng/results/general/nationality/

[9] https://www.ushmm.org/m/pdfs/20130500-holocaust-in-ukraine.pdf

[10] https://www.degruyter.com/document/doi/10.1515/9783110671186-005/pdf

[11] https://www.timesofisrael.com/in-row-over-holocaust-history-israel-and-poland-issue-joint-critique-of-ukraine/

[12] https://peacemaker.un.org/sites/peacemaker.un.org/files/UA_150212_MinskAgreement_en.pdf

[13] https://twitter.com/melnykandrij/status/1511589607049252865

[14] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9xX4kgA-4I

[15] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68Rh1tKx98k&t=1s

[16] https://thejewishnews.com/2022/03/04/babyn-yar-wasnt-bombed-but-ukraines-zelensky-finds-a-useful-tool-to-rally-jews-to-his-cause/

[17] https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/russia-blames-attack-nuclear-power-station-ukrainian-saboteurs-interfax-2022-03-04/

[18] https://www.aa.com.tr/en/russia-ukraine-war/65-turkish-citizens-their-relatives-evacuated-from-besieged-ukrainian-city-of-mariupol/2538839

[19] https://twitter.com/JaclynPandaGirl/status/1511639696979501059?s=20&t=YjOCOu44-cloMJ1EC0U_uw

[20] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZsWKXDKI-0

[21] https://www.donbass-insider.com/2022/04/04/ukraine-the-massacre-of-bucha-a-ukrainian-timisoara/?fbclid=IwAR3-lIiDETZYfWM59t4t18HWwSMopmsFpBBLTItGXgHDDxeTjfj9KZhLfhA

[22] https://dailytelegraph.co.nz/news/ukrainian-police-force-video-casts-doubt-on-bucha-war-crimes-allegations/

[23] https://edition.cnn.com/europe/live-news/ukraine-russia-putin-news-03-05-22/h_b2041ef371d34bf604cf9cddea236bde

[24] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nellEd8umKU

[25] https://observers.france24.com/en/europe/20220331-ukraine-russia-video-prisoners-of-war

[26] https://nypost.com/2022/04/06/ukrainian-forces-caught-on-video-shooting-dead-wounded-russian-soldier/

[27] https://labourheartlands.com/jacques-baud-the-military-situation-in-the-ukraine-update/?fbclid=IwAR3qIauL5S9CrmkFXC7V6hIMpixuHSpHntD8tZOi6YEYqGfcQ_yIbDKdT1I

[28] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5C7DE2KFJHs&t=2136s

[29] https://www.osce.org/special-monitoring-mission-to-ukraine

[30] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/13/ukraine-far-right-national-militia-takes-law-into-own-hands-neo-nazi-links

[31] https://twitter.com/AlanRMacLeod/status/1497974245737050120?s=20&t=VQrp4ixZDNUWdCF6gtOm4g

[32] https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/un-human-rights-council-universal-periodic-review-adoption-rwanda

[33] https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/us-announces-additional-800-million-military-aid-ukraine-2022-04-13/

[34] https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/ukraine-boris-johnson-volodymyr-zelensky-lviv-donbas-b2060450.html

[35] https://thenextrecession.wordpress.com/2022/02/27/russia-from-sanctions-to-slump

[36] https://russia-direct.org/things-you-need-know-about-western-sanctions-against-russia

Pakistan — an Historical Moment  

By Anna Brogan

The current situation in Pakistan is very complex. Pakistan is in a state of turmoil, with the economy staring at a meltdown. It is a huge country with 220 million people, and the ruling class has deep links with the West due to 200 years of colonial rule. It was also an ally of the US in the war against the Soviets and helped to destroy the communist government in Afghanistan in the 1990s. The US poured billions of dollars into that project.

Vladimir Putin and Imran Khan

All the political parties’ economic policies are neo-liberal capitalist policies designed by the IMF.  What the IMF has done to the Pakistani economy (and other Third World economies) is nothing short of criminal, galloping inflation, rising cost of living, deindustrialization and no real growth. The debt crisis and what the IMF has done to Pakistan has destroyed the country. 27 Power Stations have been closed because they do not have enough oil, there are areas without any electricity 24/7.

Political parties in Pakistan are dominated by large landed capitalist families who play ball with the military. Imran Khan (IK) is a right-of-centre politician who was able to use his celebrity status to get ahead in politics and work with the military to get votes.

 Imran Khan (IK)  Prime Minister of Pakistan was ousted by a vote of no confidence. Although IK has the support of the middle class, he did not get a majority of  the votes in the general election, other tiny parties lined up to provide IK with a majority but crucially  he had the support of the military.  The military is known as the “umpire of Pakistani politics” They have now withdrawn their support  and IK’s party has split and some have now joined the opposition. The military bureaucracy is far stronger than any/all parties.

The old elite, the feudal inheritors claim that they became concerned that IK had not been able to come up with an effective team and deliver on his election promises.

For 3 years the opposition has been demanding a vote of no confidence in IK. They said that IK had failed to fix the crumbling economy (inflation is nearly 20%) and root out corruption.

IK tried to postpone the inevitable and delay the vote to oust him by going to the Supreme Court against his own MPs (seeking lifelong disqualification for aligning with the opposition)  the Supreme Court  ruled that IK’s  attempt to dissolve Parliament and call new elections was unconstitutional.

IK popularity has nosedived with rising inflation and high unemployment. The economy is in tatters.

IK’s Government has done very little for the majority of the people. It went back to the IMF for help. The IMF has suspended its programme in Pakistan and there is going to be a balance of payments crisis in Pakistan. They need about 5 billion dollars. (Pakistan has gone to the IMF  23 times)

The IK Government has suppressed the voices of laid off workers activists. The government did nothing for women’s rights activists, instead of supporting the Sexual Violence bills put forward by the Women’s movement, the government sent the Bill to the Council of Islamic Ideology which dismissed the Bill…

Thousands of people have taken to the streets to defend IK, and he has had many large rallies since the vote of no-confidence.

The Military plays a central role in Pakistan. Since 1947 No Prime Minister (PM) in Pakistan has completed a five-year term. The Military took over each time.

Now the fact is that the US has several Military bases in Pakistan and has in fact extended its military presence there because of Pakistan’s geo-political situation and US plans to extend the Middle East war wider. In order to justify its counter-terrorism programme, the US has increased its covert support for “terrorists”

In 2005, a US National Intelligence Council and CIA report predicted a “Yugoslav – like fate for Pakistan -such as was recently seen in Balochistan” (Energy Compass 2.3, 2005)  Further, this report stated  that by 2015 Pakistan would be a “failed state”  with “complete Talibanisation and struggle for control of its nuclear weapons” (Times of India 13th Feb 2005)

It is not surprising that the US wanted IK out, he has done several things which would incense the US. He was a longtime critic of the US war in Afghanistan and the West in general.  According to the New York Times and the Pakistani Media, relations became rather strained with the US after the CIA and Pakistan were in talks about a US Military base in Pakistan for Drones. Pakistan agreed to the base but only if Drone strikes were signed off by the Pakistan Military, so the strikes would be against the “terrorists” who the Pakistan Military deemed to be anti-Pakistan and not those they considered friendly to Pakistan.  The US disagreed, but the Pakistan Government denied that these talks had taken place.

IK said that he is the victim of a foreign conspiracy hatched in the US. He said he was asked to join yet another US war and he said NO. When he was asked about US bases in Pakistan he  said “Absolutely Not”

IK’s position on Afghanistan, Ukraine etc. would not have pleased the US. IK praised India’s Foreign Policy on Ukraine in maintaining a neutral stance. (India buys oil from Russia) IK was in Moscow when the war began in Ukraine. He went to Russia with the blessings of the Army to get a deal on oil and wheat, once the US contacted the Army and stated its displeasure at the way Pakistan had voted at the UN on Ukraine.

IK has not helped his case by expressing support for the Taliban!! and Osama bin Laden. A General in the Indian Army said on TV that the US thinks that Pakistan has been two timing them with the Taliban, that this was why the US had the failure in Afghanistan, this is of course a fiction, the US war was doomed to end just the way it did.

IK has said Muslim Countries have let down Palestine and Kashmir…

He also said that the PM of India Modi is a Fascist and a Nazi…(there was no response from India.)

Most damning of all was the emergence of old videos of IK being extremely critical of Pakistan’s Army, mentioning genocide in Baluchistan and that they have killed people and taken money from the US.

All of the statements IK had made and which his enemies are now using to gloat over his downfall are true – but an Indian General said the fact that IK raised the issue of material transmitted to the Pakistan PM’s Office regarding a discussion between American Assistant Secretary of State Lu and his Pakistani counterpart, in front of a public rally is unheard of and this sealed his fate. IK waved a piece of paper at a public mass rally which he said was proof that he was the victim of a US hatched conspiracy.

The Indian general said that Pakistan did not conform to the norms of diplomatic behaviour….

There will be a massive Trust deficit in the diplomatic community re Pakistan, and nobody will want to speak to a Pakistani diplomat “.

(So, the truth is irrelevant, just “proper diplomatic behaviour” – is what matters.)

Huge Protest in Lahore after Imran Khan was ousted as Pakistan’s Prime Minister 

The Indian General also said the US is watching all countries which have not condemned Russia. He said the EU, US and Germany wrote to every country which was neutral and said “Please don’t be neutral, please condemn this aggression”

Once IK had divulged the contents of the EU letter, the US was very angry and  conveyed this to the Pakistan Army Chief who promptly went on TV and in English said that the Foreign Policy of Pakistan will be in line with the US, despite the fact that the Army knew what IK was going to Russia for and agreed with his stance, they were not willing to do anything to upset US interests.

Pakistan’s geo-strategic location on the border with Afghanistan is of immense importance, especially to the US, it provides a pathway to Central Asia. Pakistan has extensive oil and mineral resources which is largely in the Balochistan region. Balochistan makes up more than 40% of the land mass of Pakistan. The Iran-India pipeline will transit through Balochistan. There is a deep sea port (Gwadar) in Balochistan on the Arab Sea, not far from the Strait of Hormuz, where 30% of the world’s daily oil supply is shipped.

Foreign oil/gas contractors such as BP, Italy’s ENI, Austria’s OMV and Australia’s BHP are in Balochistan – Pakistan’s oil/gas companies which have the larger stake in the oil fields were privatised under the IMF/World Bank in 1994.  Pakistan plans to finalise a Russian built gas pipeline despite international pressure.

The new government is clueless, the Prime minister is just another right-wing politician. not in office to serve the people but to serve his own interests. His brother is in prison for criminal activities. The cycle starts again.

The new PM is going back to the IMF to beg for renegotiation of the debt because he needs money to buy oil. He is under tremendous pressure to get rid of  whatever subsidies are in place and raise the price of gas.

Pakistan needs a  Communist/Worker’s Party which breaks from the elite and ruling class agenda, for workers’ power. Every other Party has come and gone including the Military. They have all gone to the IMF and done what the IMF instructed them to do. The Communists are the only ones who are willing to think outside the Neo-Liberal Capitalist box. Nationalise the Mines, oil and gas and break with Imperialism.

March with Anti-Imperialists at London May Day – Sunday May 1st

 The groups involved in the March 26th panel and initiating the May Day Statement are putting out a call for joint actions on May Day through marching together at May Day marches. This is happening in London on May 1st in London. The March itself will assemble at Clerkenwell Green at 12 noon.

The two agreed slogans of the bloc are:

• Down with NATO’s proxy imperialist war in Ukraine!

• for the right of Russia to defend itself against imperialist encroachment!

For any further information about this initiative please email mayday2022@protonmail.com .

French Elections – The Strangler vs the Axe-Murderer

Arch-Neoliberal Emmanuel Macron (left) vs ‘moderate’ fascist Marine Le Pen

The current French election epitomizes the ‘choices’ that the capitalist system offers to working class people in the absence of revolutionary class politics. Arch-neoliberal Emmanuel Macron topped the poll in the first round on 10th April with 27.85 of the votes, followed by the fascist Marine Le Pen on 23.15%, with the leftist candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon in third place with 21.95%. Thus, in the second round on 24 April, Macron faces Le Pen, and Mélenchon is eliminated.

There is a real possibility of a Le Pen victory in the second round, mainly because Macron is an arch-enemy of French working class people who has launched many attacks on democratic rights, living standards, welfare, pensions in the past five years, as well as pandering to anti-migrant racism and Islamophobia in a way that rivalled that of Le Pen. One factor that militates in favour of Le Pen in the second round is that while Le Pen has sought to play down the essentially fascist politics of her party (now called National Rally, previously the National Front) for many years now, there was another far-right candidate, Eric Zemmour, a Jewish reactionary who particularly specialized in anti-Muslim attacks, who gained 7% of the vote. Naturally he has endorsed Le Pen for the second round. But Macron will not inspire class conscious workers to vote for him even against a fascist: many such people consider him equally odious.

There was a working-class popular uprising against Macron’s attacks in late 2018, that of the gilets jaunes (yellow vests) who initially exploded against rises in taxes on fuel, and taxes on pensions.  The fuel tax, in a typically mendacious half-truth, was ‘justified’ by claims that Macron was doing something about climate change. However as usual, he was attacking the poor: only 20% of the money raised by these taxes was even being spent on anything to do with overcoming the use of fossil fuels to produce energy – the rest was just the usual transfer from the rich to the poor, as of course were the taxes on pensions. All these just happened to coincide with cuts in a wealth tax. The far right attempted to exploit this movement but were driven away by those involved, and it began to show its potential to shift French society and politics to the left before the pandemic struck.

Gilets jaunes confront CRS riot police

Macron’s response to the gilets jaunes was to attempt to brutally crush it by police terror – there were dozens of terrible cases of protesters being maimed, lost eyes and limbs, by police use of deadly high-explosive munitions against protesters. In fact, many may look at the way Macron treated the gilets jaunes and conclude there is little difference between this kind of criminal brutality and the behaviour of actual fascists in power in any case.

Mélenchon is a left-wing opponent of NATO and the EU, and of neoliberalism, albeit not a revolutionary. But many who can be won to a revolutionary position and party support him and must be addressed by Marxists with their tactics. His strong showing is undoubtedly linked to his support for the gilets jaunes, his involvement in attempts to unite this revolt of workers and lower-middle-class people outside the framework of the bureaucratized and class-collaborationist trade unions, with trade union militants in the period of the peak of gilets jaunes activity before the pandemic. Mélenchon called prominently for an amnesty for all gilets jaunes protesters victimized, charged, and convicted in his election campaign. This was certainly a campaign with a real class-conscious aspect to it that Marxists should have given critical support to.

He only narrowly failed to knock out Le Pen, which really would have been a political earthquake, as side by side with his strong showing, the candidate of the historically important French Socialist Party gained a tiny 1.75%; which was a product of the long record of this party in neoliberal treachery, anti-working class attacks, racism, and involvement in international imperialist crimes in North Africa and the Middle East. His narrow failure was partly the responsibility of some of the no-hoper leftists who stood in the first round, like the long-decayed Communist Party (2.3%), the so called ‘New Anti-Capitalist Party’ (0.8%), and Lutte Ouvrière (0.6%) who if they had withdrawn in favour of Mélenchon would likely have seen Le Pen knocked out in the first round. If Mélenchon is deemed critically supportable, then all efforts should have been made to maximise his vote in the crucial first round.

Leftist French Presidential candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon

Quite correctly, Mélenchon has refused to endorse Macron for the second round. It would be fatal to class politics and class consciousness for the working class left to endorse a bourgeois reactionary like Macron as a supposed ‘lesser evil’ to Marine Le Pen. Le Pen’s rise to the position of not only coming second in the first round, but seriously posing a threat in the second, is a result of the further demoralization of the working class through the support of much of the workers movement and left for Macron as a ‘lesser evil’ to Le Pen. Five years ago, Macron was a new political entity. Though he had been a minister in the administration of the neoliberal ‘socialist’ Francois Hollande’s preceding administration, he split and founded his own (bourgeois) party, En Marche, beforehand and won the election as an overtly neoliberal pro-EU chancer, a sort of French Thatcher/Blair composite, but without even a labour movement connection. Now he is a discredited chancer, and if re-elected will only further undermine the working class.

Marine Le Pen fortunately does not have a fascist military cadre, steeled in battles against the working class, as Hitler did. If she somehow wins the second round, she will likely try to use her position to create one, but that can be nipped in the bud by determined action from below from the labour movement and the left, which must be prepared to use force in an (initially) defensive sense to stamp such things out. Indeed, the defence of the democratic rights of the French workers necessitates such a force, whoever wins. If Macron wins narrowly, which seems likely, despite his sudden hypocritical reversals of rhetoric to try and placate left-wing voters, he will no doubt be even more keen to adopt elements of Le Pen’s programme, particularly the anti-migrant hatred and Islamophobia, if not her kind of attacks on democratic rights more generally. We already saw that with the gilets jaunes.

The election takes place in the context of the war in Ukraine, and for several years now, one of the tactics of the Russian government has been to try to curry favour with various dissident trends in Western politics, including far right elements like Trump or Le Pen who it judged may be more isolationist than mainstream bourgeois politicians like Macron. There is an aspect of this that is a descendant of the Stalinist ‘tactic’ of the international popular front, seeking an alliance with whichever faction in the imperialist countries is considered ‘peace-loving’, i.e. more likely to leave Russia alone. Likewise with the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact between Stalin and Hitler, which proved to be Stalin’s biggest political mistake, which disarmed the USSR against the Nazi invasion, precisely Hitler’s biggest operation in World War II.

Earlier, Putin hoped to be accepted into the imperialist club (G-7). His bourgeois geopolitical illusions actually helped the expansion of NATO to the East. China and Russia tacitly supported the invasion of Libya in the UN Security Council abstaining on the creation of the no-fly zone that wiped out Gaddafi’s resistance to Libyan fascist mercenaries, NATO agents, as Azov are today.

Russian support to Trump backfired badly , as he tore up the INF treaty to enable introduction of ‘short range’ nukes into Eastern Europe, obviously a key element of NATO expansion. However, the bourgeois alternative to Trump in the US, the Biden Democrats, were up their necks in the Maidan coup in 2014 and have driven the world to the kind of confrontation and hysteria over Ukraine and Russia’s military action to defend the Russian/Russophone population that was last seen over the Korean War in 1950. Which also happened under a Democratic administration, of Truman. The pro-war liberal hysterics now claim that this particular Russian tactic ‘proves’ that Russia is ‘fascist’, or even that Russia is somehow responsible for the rise of far-right currents to contend for power in the imperialist countries themselves … a remarkable claim, as they arm Nazis with Western weapons and bloodthirsty torturers and mercenaries with immense capital investments as the vanguard of their anti-Russian and anti-Eurasian offensive.

Whether in France or the US, the varied policies of political support to supposedly ‘lesser evil’ or even ‘progessive’ (!!!) bourgeois figures and currents fails even in its own terms. Vote Democrat against Trump and his racist hysteria and attempts to incite fascist violence in the US, and you get Biden instead who funds Nazi violence in the Ukraine and whose efforts have reached the point where it can be said that, over Ukraine, the imperialist bourgeoisie is more and more openly seeking to rehabilitate Nazism itself, while threatening WWIII. In France, a vote ‘against Le Pen’ by the left in favour of Macron will in practice lead to a Macron regime that resembles much of what a Le Pen regime would do. Choosing between the Strangler and the Axe-Murderer has only one predictable outcome – murder. The left needs to steel the working class to fight back militantly against either murderer.

Sign the Mayday declaration against NATO’s proxy imperialist war on Russia

Liga Communista and classconscious.org have launched an appeal for groups and individuals to sign an open letter to be distributed on May Day 2022 against the imperialist NATO proxy war against Russia in Ukraine and for the right of Russia to defend itself against imperialist encroachment.

The open letter hopes to build on the momentum of the panel initiated by the two groups held on March 26th “Marxists speak out against the conflict between Russia and imperialism”.  

As the imperialist offensive deepens in Ukraine and the drive towards WW3 accelerates, it is an essential political task for anti-imperialist forces to also deepen our collaboration. We must work together to build the socialist leadership of a genuinely anti-war movement that is built upon the twin goals of fighting imperialism and building socialism.

To sign the letter please send an email to: ClassConscious@protonmail.com or

emancipacaotrabalho@gmail.com

Some of the groups involved in the March 26th panel are putting out a call for joint actions on May Day through marching in a united front style bloc together at May Day marches. This is a separate political initiative. To join this initiative please email mayday2022@protonmail.com .

OPEN LETTER FOR MAYDAY

On May Day, the international day of solidarity of the workers of the world, the following groups and individuals proclaim our united opposition to the greatest threat to the global working class: imperialist war. We declare our refusal to accommodate ourselves to the war drive of world imperialism against Russia.  We hoist on our banners today the following:

• Down with NATO’s proxy imperialist war in Ukraine!

• for the right of Russia to defend itself against imperialist encroachment!

Those on the Left who seek to emulate the propaganda of the ruling class by reducing this global conflict to a national struggle for Ukrainian “self-determination” ignore the following:

Although Russia has been a capitalist state since 1991 it is not an imperialist power in its own right. Imperialism is more than when one state employs military force against another. Imperialism is a stage of capitalism represented by the dominance of finance capital. Russia is not part of the “imperialist club” but a relatively backward, dependent capitalist economy. 

The military operation of Russia in Ukraine is a desperate effort to stop it from being used as a spearhead in the long held plans of western imperialism to turn Russia into a semi-colony to loot its vast internal resources. Ukraine’s integration into the NATO war machine was well advanced before Russia launched its defensive military operation. Russia faced the prospect of its entire western border becoming part of the NATO alliance and a staging ground for the deployment of advanced weaponry, including nuclear weapons, missile defence systems and troops aimed squarely at Russia. 


The 2014 Maidan Coup led by fascist shock troops on the ground and guided by US imperialism, installed an effective puppet government in Kiev. Since the coup this government has not only been a direct tool of US imperialism, but has violently suppressed all Leftists, ethnic Russians, and other minorities. The repression provoked a bloody civil war in Ukraine as residents of the Donbass established the Peoples Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk to defend themselves from the violently Russophobic Kiev regime and its fascist attack dogs.

This is why we reject the policy of “revolutionary defeatism” being advocated by many centrist Marxist tendencies. It is not enough to just oppose NATO intervention in Ukraine. Opposition to imperialism means extending support to those in it directly in its cross hairs. This means offering support to both the Peoples Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk and to the Russian state. Russia has the right to defend its sovereignty by militarily force against imperialism’s proxy war. 

We are also committed to the genuine independence of Ukraine. However this cannot be achieved under the aegis of an imperialist war alliance that is using Ukraine as pawn.

We oppose the proxy war in Ukraine because it is part of imperialism’s drive to World War 3.  The efforts to subordinate Russia through sanctions, war and regime change, are part of US imperialism’s ever more reckless efforts to maintain its global hegemony and reverse its economic decline against both its imperialist rivals in Europe and rising China. The rivalries are fuelled by the ongoing capitalist economic crisis deepened by the Covid19 pandemic. A NATO victory in Ukraine would not lead to peace but only advance imperialism’s war plans against China. 

A war between NATO and its allies against either Russia or China risks wiping out billions of lives in a nuclear war and unleashing horrors that would dwarf the worst infernos of the 20th century. 

On May Day we recommit ourselves not only to resistance to imperialism but to building an independent movement of the working class internationally to overthrow capitalism through world socialist revolution. The signing and sharing of this statement on May Day is aimed at starting to rebuild concrete links between the genuinely anti-imperialist Marxist forces as part of this process. 

The struggle against imperialism must be forged into a struggle against the capitalist system and all the capitalist ruling classes! War will only truly end when there are no more nation states or classes!

Workers of the world unite!

Groups that have already signed include:

ABC de Luta (Brazil)

Anti-Imperialist Aotearoa (Aotearoa/New Zealand)

Bolshevik Group – (South Korea)

Classconscious.org (Australia/USA)

Communist Party of the Brazilian People.

Communist League (Brazil)

Consistent Democrats (Great Britain)

Fração Trotskista – Vanguarda Proletária (Brazil)

Frente Revolucionária dos Trabalhadores/FRT (Brazil)

Frontiera Vermelha (Brazil)

Komite Esperansa (Marxist Educational Movement – East Timor)

Militant Trend Bolshevik (Argentina)

New Communist Party – Great Britain

David Ajetunmobi, on behalf of Nigeria Automobile Technicians Association, NATA

Partido Comunista dos Trabalhadores Brasileiros/PCTB (Brazil)

Partido Obrero Socialista (Costa Rica)

Planning Beyond Capitalism (US)

Red Line, Group for Workers’ Counterattack (Greece)

Revolutionary Communist Action (Greece)

Socialist Fight (Great Britain)

Socialist Party of America (US)

Socialist Unity Party / Partido de Socialismo Unido (US)

Socialist Workers League (US)

Young People’s Socialist League (US)

US Friends of the Soviet People

Individuals that have already signed include:

Mark Andresen – Great Britain

Marcelo Bastos – Brazil

Irene Bolger—Australia

Joana Marisa Borges Boaventura – Brazil

Anthony Hubert Codjoe, Ghana

Chang-Won Kim – South Korea

Issac Cohen – Great Britain

Mark Copestake – Great Britain

Andy Coombes (UNITE member) – Great Britain

JM Considine  – Switzerland

Botagoz Datkhabaeva – Kazakhstan

Moises Delgado  – US

Alex Jordan Dillard – US

Will Eberrle—Switzerland

Jane Elliott – Great Britain

David Fox (Australia)

Mike Gimbel – Retired Executive Board member, Locak 375,  AFSME, AFL-CIO, US

Angie Graham – Great Britain

Jim Greenhow – Great Britain

James Hall – Great Britain

Karen Harris

Louise Hart – Great Britain

Clive Healiss – Great Britain

Mahanama Heller – Australia

Elizabeth Hoskings – Great Britain

Paul Humphries – Great Britain

Diana Isserlis – Great Britain

Tim Lauby – US

Kathy McGonaghie – US

Candice McKenzie – Australia

Myung-Seok Kim – South Korea

Márcia do Amaral Miranda – Brazil

Luís César Nunes – Brazil

Kevin O’Connor – Great Britain

Greg Rosen – US

Mohammad Basir Ul Haq Sinha, – Bangladesh

Las Malvinas: the perspectives that are opening up today with the crisis of imperialist domination in the South Atlantic

LCFI Statement

The following document is based on the first international declaration against imperialism signed by Trotskyist political groups existing in both England (Socialist Fight) and Argentina (Bolshevik Militant Tendency).  We updated that document in the light of the current conflicts, understanding that the defeats of imperialism in the 21st century mark a turn in favor of the imbalance of the inter-state struggle in favor of oppressed countries. On these defeats we refer to Lebanon (2006), to Crimea (2014), to Syria (2017) and especially from the war in the Ukraine (2022), when Russia imposed a limit on NATO’s Eastward expansion.

In the four decades that separate us from the Falklands War, this is an international declaration that defends the defeat of imperialism and the victory of the oppressed country, however, without capitulating to the bourgeoisie of the oppressed country. Let us not capitulate as those who yesterday took a position of the “third camp”, objectively pro-imperialist, nor yesterday to the military regime, nor today to the “national and popular” government of the Frente de Todos and even to Kirchnerism – nor spare criticism of the Alberto Fernández government and its agreement with the IMF.  .  in the South Atlantic.

The Argentine population feels stripped of its territory and its riches for centuries. . .  The Falklands have three times more oil than the rest of the UK.

The Falklands War was a military adventure to save the Argentine dictatorship using a legitimate vindication of the anti-imperialist cause.

On March 30, 1982, 50,000 workers fought for 6 hours in the streets against the military dictatorship in Buenos Aires, Rosario, Neuquén, Mar del Plata, Tucumán and Mendoza. It was the largest wave of proletarian mass demonstrations during the entire military regime.  The height of popular repudiation was the product of the political impasse in which the regime found itself. The growing economic crisis (bankruptcy of banks and companies, inflation and record unemployment, huge foreign debt,…) accentuated the internal division in the military government, provoked the coup within the coup that defeated Viola and led to the rise of Galtieri and undermined the support of the petty bourgeoisie for the regime. Besieged, the dictatorship resorted to an artifice of distraction provoking an external enemy and appropriated a secular aspiration of the Argentine people to divert popular discontent. This tactic, despite the immense internal crisis, gave life to the Argentine military regime.

The dictatorship did not believe in the British military reaction and opted for American intermediation. He thought that his role as an enforcer for Yankee imperialism, directly supporting the coup reaction and the CIA military in Bolivia and Nicaragua, would bear fruit and, feeling trapped by the current workers’ struggles, he tried to exploit the discontent over the occupation of the Falklands by the United Kingdom, believing that its imperialist masters Americans would be condescending, trying to avoid war, and pushing the conflict toward a negotiated solution that would be favorable to them.

They did not count that the inter-imperialist economic ties  against the oppressed nations, “the imperialist class solidarity” between the US and the UK were stronger than the “gratitude” for the services of bootlickers provided by the Argentine semi-colonial bourgeoisie. In addition to the complicity of the United States and other Latin American enforcer dictatorships such as the Chilean Pinochet dictatorship, Britain also demanded that France cede the secret codes to deactivate the Exocet missiles it had sold to Argentina.

The dictatorship did not believe that the result of its occupation of the island would be a war and was not prepared for such a consequence. In turn, a military victory OF imperialism against an OPPRESSED COUNTRY that did not even prepare for the struggle overcame the crisis of the British government and the other oppressed peoples.  . .  This new imperialist offensive was carried out in England and the United States but had a pilot experience in the Chilean military dictatorship where it was baptised as neoliberalism.  

Another fear of the dictatorship itself is that, in the midst of the crisis in which it finds itself immersed, a defeat of imperialism would not guarantee its survival either, and would also strengthen its worst enemy: the Argentine labouring masses. As Trotsky argued in his famous interview with the Argentine trade unionist Mateo Fosa, assuming a hypothetical war between Brazil, ruled by a dictatorship, and democratic England:

“If England were victorious, it would place another fascist in Rio de Janeiro and strengthen control over Brazil. If Brazil, on the other hand, were to emerge victorious, this would give a powerful boost to the national and democratic consciousness of the country and lead to the overthrow of the Vargas dictatorship. In fact, it is necessary to have nothing in mind to reduce world antagonisms and military conflicts to the struggle between fascism and democracy. You have to know how to distinguish exploiters, slavers and thieves behind any mask they wear!” .

“The anti-imperialist struggle is the key to liberation”, Interview of Leon Trotsky with Mateo Fossa, 23/09/1938

Similarly, by England winning, the Argentine dictatorship would fall in one way or another, as we have already said, the war gave it survival, but the world reaction was strengthened with the victory of imperialism, both in England and in Reagan’s USA, in Chile. Pinochet, in apartheid South Africa, including Peru, the South American country most involved in the conflict by militarily supporting Argentina with fighter jets, ships and medical equipment of the Peruvian Air Force, the right led the way with Alan Garcia and followed with Fujimori.

In England,

“Thatcher has recovered from a disastrous unpopularity in public opinion polls, due to the anti-worker attacks that led to the destruction of British jobs and factories, which would surely sweep her away in the next election. This ideological victory motivated her attack on miners in 1985, anti-union laws and the privatization of public services. And we must point out the terrible consequences of this policy for the British proletariat and the whole world, while many “left” apologists for imperialism have tried to obfuscate their betrayal by presenting as an achievement something quite secondary for the world working class such as the fall of Galtieri. The British working class was ideologically leaderless under the nationalist chauvinism of Labour’s Michael Foot and the other leaders. In 1981-82, Ronald Regan, president of the U.S., and Paul Volker, president of the Fed, the U.S. central bank, defeated the flight controllers’ strike (from PATCO). While the Falklands War was at its height, Reagan launched a ruthless offensive against the American working class, which set the standard for the offensive of all capitalists against their own working classes around the world. All this prepared the coronation of imperialism with the historic world defeat suffered by the planetary working class with the overthrow of the Soviet Union.” .

Ret Marut, “FUA is the tactic, Permanent Revolution is the current strategy in the face of imperialist wars in the semi-colonial world, Socialist Fight #8, Winter 2011/2012
Bourgeois media gloat over Thatcher’s bloodlust

This victory of imperialism in the only direct military confrontation against a semi-colonial South American country after World War II was a decisive battle of the planetary class war. The outcome of the war did not necessarily have to be this, since the outcome of the Vietnam War was not as expected by imperialism and this altered imperialism’s strategic control over Asia, forcing it to seek a heterodox alliance with the Chinese workers’ state against the USSR.

As portrayed in “The Iron Lady” (2011), Phyllida LLoyd’s film  , after the victory over Argentina, the triumphant Conservative prime minister addresses the British parliament to the Labour opposition: “This is a day to put aside differences, keep your head up and be proud to be British.”

The Labour Party follows Thatcher’s guidelines. The left wing of Labour also despised conflict against its own imperialist bourgeoisie and was proud of Argentina’s defeat. These elements drove the recovery of Thatcher’s popularity, the momentary reinvigoration of the British bourgeoisie, the increase in extortion of the proletariat (Poll Tax) and the triumphant reaction on the planet, in addition to highlighting the film through continuous consecutive comments from different characters:

“This rewards everything, their ratings skyrocket, from the most hated prime minister of all time to the beloved of the nation. The world was at her feet and Britain was working again. The business grows, the profits, the profits, the profits, Maggie’s millionaires, the Berlin Wall has fallen.”

In Argentina, hating the dictatorship, the working population took to the streets en masse to protest, especially against Britain, and to reclaim the archipelago. Because of this, one hundred thousand people volunteered to fight for the anti-imperialist cause. But it should be emphasised. For fear of the population, the dictatorship sabotaged the war effort of the Argentina itself, tortured the soldiers and sent them to die deliberately of cold and hunger, refused to expropriate the Bank of London and the British multinationals and ignored the foreign debt to England. More than the disproportion of forces was the political clumsiness of the dictatorship in the anti-imperialist struggle that forced Argentina to surrender on June 14, after battles that claimed the lives of 649 Argentines and 255 British.

Frustration at the defeat continued to take its toll, with ex-combatant centres pointing out that since the end of the war, more than 450 ex-combatants committed suicide because they were in a deep state of depression. This number is higher than the number of soldiers killed in battles on the islands, which were a total of 326; another 323 were killed when a British submarine torpedoed the cruiser General Belgrano. But Argentina’s defeat did not end there, and British imperialism continued to advance in a low-intensity offensive for the past 30 years.

The war is over, but the imperialist offensive in the Falklands continues

In 1986, the United Kingdom first claimed a fishing zone around the Falklands, guaranteeing the right to exercise its sovereignty from the coast up to 200 nautical miles, including the right to the bed and subsoil of the underwater platform. In 1993, the United Kingdom also proclaimed a 200-nautical-mile maritime zone around South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.  The kelpers are an auxiliary force of the British garrison, as are the Zionist settlers of the Gaza Strip are of the Israeli army, they have the spoils made against Argentina after 1982, a loot that already benefits the second generation of kelpers.

British imperialism, a component of the Anglo-Saxon bloc with the US, formed a cordon linking Asunción, Santa Elena, Tristan de Cunha and Malvinas. This cordon serves the immediate and geostrategic interests of England, which are overvalued in times like the current one, of economic recession and overheating of oil prices amid the new warmongering escalation in Africa and the Middle East. In addition to the disputed oil, there is fishing – including the important resource of krill – the possibility of transpolar flights and the fastest route to other members of the Anglo-Saxon bloc made up of oceanic countries (Australia and New Zealand) and Antarctica, as a strategic reserve for the immediate future, being the Antarctic sector on which the Malvinas is projected the most interesting for the facilities for economic viability.

Geostrategic interests in this area of the globe are also highlighted, such as the control of air and maritime traffic in the South Atlantic, that is, between South America and Africa, projecting into the Antarctic seas, the control of the interoceanic route the passages between the Atlantic and the Pacific, the communication with the Indian Ocean from the South Atlantic,  being important for England the maritime lines that lead to Australia,  fundamental for the logistics of the twin creation of NATO in the Pacific, the AUKUS created in 2021.

Malvinas and Oil

The UK can earn up to US$176 million – as early as 2012 — from taxes levied on companies exploring for gas and oil in the Falkland Islands area. According to The Telegraph, the calculation, which was made by consultancy Edison Investment, estimates that if the four fields currently being explored can be explored by oil companies, that would be the benefit to Britain.

Loligo alone, the largest of these wells, has a potential of more than 4.7 billion barrels of oil. This figure stands out if one takes into account that, in the North Sea, the largest deposit discovered in the last 11 years only contains a total of 300 million barrels.  

Added to this is the calculation that the Sea Lion field, the most developed exploration in the region, will produce about 448 million barrels in the next 20 years.

Peronism, incapable of breaking the Anglo-Saxon blockade and less of returning the Malvinas

While imperialism parades with ease, the government of Alberto Fernández does not attack British interests in Argentina, like British property in Patagonia, does not repudiate bonds from the debt with London, does not confiscate Shell, does not investigate the interests of the British crown itself in the lands of southern Argentina.

Imperialism bets on the survival of the Anglo-Saxon-Zionist bloc that historically had its eyes on controlling the Persian Gulf, from where the sap that feeds the Eurasian core comes out, especially its industrial heart (China) and is the gateway to most of Asia (Russia). in the Persian Gulf, the configuration of the twenty-first century world is decided in both the continental northern hemisphere and the maritime southern hemisphere. The importance of the Falklands today is similar to that of the isthmus of Central America, with the Panama Canal.  Today  with the new cold war the possibility of the Anglo-Saxon-Zionist bloc controlling the Persian Gulf is very limited which reinforces that they will not back down on what they already control in the islands of the South Atlantic.

Today, financial-speculative capital tries to reassert itself with a material base by controlling strategic extractive resources. They predict that the predominantly financial-speculative era is ending (the phenomenon of running out of betting chips in the global casino) and that it is necessary to accumulate again, therefore, they need to control strategic resources, especially extractive ones, of the “real economy” to guarantee its reconversion to match that which today manifests itself in the economic development obtained by the Chinese industrial bourgeoisie and the associated techno-bureaucracy. This sector of the world bourgeoisie can already be considered a new player, possessing important chips in the extreme south of the American continent.

China supported on Tuesday, February 8, 2022, Argentine sovereignty over the Falkland Islands through a statement on the website of the spokesman of the Asian embassy in the United Kingdom.  https://www.telesurtv.net/news/china-apoyo-dialogo-argentina-reino-unido-malvinas-20220208-0009.html

To that we must add the growing economic role  of China in Argentina. the Chinese state holding COFCO that by 2021 was already the second agro-export group in Argentina.  https://www.argenports.com.ar/nota/cargill-cofco-y-viterra-los-que-mas-exportaron-granos-y-subproductos-en-2021. Also in 2022 The Chinese mining company Zijin Mining advanced in Catamarca oriented to the exploitation of Lithium (https://agendarweb.com.ar/2022/03/21/la-minera-china-zijin-mining-avanza-en-catamarca-y-se-reune-con-el-presidente/).  We must add, for example, Chinese interests in transport infrastructure such as the Belgrano Freight Railway.  https://www.elagrario.com/actualidad-argentina-ratifico-el-acuerdo-con-china-para-modernizar-el-belgrano-cargas-43223.html.  

In short, in the last 10 years, Chinese economic interests have grown throughout the national territory oriented above all to the expansion of the country’s productive base in complementary areas of those in China itself, aimed at making Argentina – or the Argenchina – an external and overseas economic province of China.  Also, at the mining level China does not stop growing in Argentina.” in San Juan, the Chinese company Shandong Gold, owner of 50% of the operation in the Veladero mine together with the Canadian Barrick Gold, committed $ 145.5 million to extend the useful life of the deposit until 2030, which will allow the recovery of 1.2 million ounces of gold. In 2017, the Chinese acquired half of Veladero for $960 million. Before the pandemic, Shandong Gold had planned to create 1,100 jobs and his plans also show comparing Pascua Lama to Barrick.

In Jujuy, Ganfeng Lithium disbursed $160 million to  Vancouver-based Lithium Americas for 50% of the Caucharí-Olaroz lithium project, currently under construction. The Chinese company agreed on a financing schedule, which includes an investment of up to $400 million.

In La Rioja, London-based ECR Minerals sold its Argentine subsidiary Ochre Mining to China’s Hanaq Argentina, which also specializes in lithium but at the same time controls the Sierra de Las Minas gold project.  https://argenchina.org/radiografia-de-las-inversiones-chinas-en-energia-argentina/

In Entre Ríos, the National Corporation of Technical Import and Export of China (CNTIC) is carrying out an investment of US $ 200 million to build 50 km of gas pipelines, a high voltage line of 132 kw and an extension of optical fiber, which will allow to conclude the energy closure of the north of Entre Ríos.  https://argenchina.org/radiografia-de-las-inversiones-chinas-en-energia-argentina/

This expansion of the productive base – especially in the  provinces of the interior of the country – hand in hand with the Chinese expansion brings a certain economic dynamization that constitutes an alternative to the financialization promoted by imperialism. But we must bear in mind that Chinese investments aim to make Argentina as we said an external economic province of China Faced with this,  the national demands that may emerge – such as those that point to a development of the productive base rather than as a complement of China –  can  be framed as progressive in the hands of the working class but taking into account that China does not constitute an imperialist center.

The “third world”, the capitalist unity of Latin America and the “emerging” semi-colonial countries are farces, none of the other BRICS effectively has economic independence from imperialism. In relation to the Anglo-Saxon-Zionist bloc. British imperialism needs to constantly proclaim that it won in 1982 to negotiate with the geostrategic advantages that give it control of the key to the South Seas, in addition to enjoying the economic resources to negotiate on better terms within the Anglo-Saxon-Zionist bloc.

In future it is possible for nationalism in Argentina to be linked to the expansion of the Russian-Chinese pole and within that junction include relying on the Russo-Chinese pole itself in the face of the Malvinas question. That would be progressive since it makes the claims of the oppressed nation like Argentina, but we must not lose sight of the fact that this progressiveness has the limit that both Russia and China are capitalists although with a growing state capitalism.

The contradictions and betrayals of the pseudo-Trotskyist left confronted with the Falklands War

Pseudo-Trotskyist currents such as the Morenoist LIT, claimed to stand in the military camp of the Argentine dictatorship against imperialism in the Falklands War. But in Libya, Syria and Ukraine, in the name of the struggle against dictatorship, they joined the imperialist war propaganda, taking the imperialist camp against the current oppressed nations under attack.

Recently that was reinforced in relation to the NATO-Russia conflict in Ukraine with which they favor imperialism.  These parties, like Morenoism in the 80s, demonstrate that their anti-imperialism is nothing more than Latin American nationalism or patriotism; a “feeling” that, despite being progressive, being the nationalism of the oppressed nation, has nothing to do with the anti-imperialism and anti-colonialism of Marx, Lenin and Trotsky. Today the matter is worse,  the heirs of the LIT and pseudo-Trotskyism in general are all the more adapted to public opinion manufactured by imperialism that they cannot even be criticized for any nationalism as we did with the LIT in the 1980s.

The revisionist currents ICL-FI, IMT, CWI and Lambertism originating in the United States, England and France have taken a defeatist, third-camp position, a position that objectively serves their own bourgeoisies against the oppressed nation. These parties capitulated to their own imperialist bourgeoisie, under the fallacious justification of supporting the “self-determination of the Kelpers”, “fighting against the diversionary maneuver of the bloodthirsty Argentine dictatorship”, or because supposedly “Argentine sovereignty was not at stake”.

For the Trotskyists the only principled position must be the struggle for the defeat of imperialism, the distrust in the military junta, for the armament of all the people, the expropriation of imperialist capital in Argentina, the Bank of London and the ignorance of all the Argentine external debt with England. Today, the government of Alberto Fernández, which with its “diplomatic” tactics is objectively more servile and impotent than Galtieri was, while imperialism advances in its colonization of the South Atlantic and Antarctica from the Falklands. Revolutionaries must claim the relevance of the anti-imperialist struggle for the Malvinas, Haiti, Libya, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Brazil, Bolivia, Venezuela, Kazakhstan, Ukraine. We must fight in a united front with all the political forces that are resolute for the expulsion of imperialism. At the same time, we must also denounce the collaborationism of the semi-colonial bourgeois governments that pave the way for recolonization. In this struggle, revolutionaries do not feed illusions in their bourgeois allies and demand internationalist and workers’ unity to defeat the imperialist pirates all over the world.

CF leaflet: No vote to Nazi-loving Zionist New Labour!

NATO’s Nazi-Lovers Would Starve Workers in Britain and Russia!

The media-driven war frenzy against Russia over Ukraine is linked to starving and freezing ordinary people and privatising and destroying our basic public services, smashing what is left of the system of social security, and wrecking the National Health Service in favour of privatised medicine. The pandemic has been used as a wedge for that, and now all public health protection against Covid has been junked and healthcare put under massive strain yet again. This was all going on before the war frenzy got underway, but the media-driven hysteria has given the capitalists the cover to put their foot down hard on the accelerator.

The huge rise in fuel costs, which is pure profiteering, likewise was going on before the media war frenzy began but the threat now is that the sanctions (a war measure) against Russian oil and gas will mean prices that have effectively doubled for many, may double again. On top of the cut in Universal Credit, and the NI-rate rise due in April, Inflation is already coursing through the system and increased fuel costs are driving up many other commodity prices, including those of food. The government’s ‘emergency’ response to this this, from Council Tax Rebates to raising NI allowances, is pitiful and will as usual, benefit the wealthy. And we see capitalist ideologues like Adair Turner, former CBI chief and now ‘green’ capitalist ideologue, calling for ordinary people to ‘sacrifice’ for the war drive:

“Putin thinks the west is rotted by liberalism and won’t make the smallest sacrifice to stand up to him. We need to reduce energy consumption to make an impact,” he said, citing a reduction in speed on major roads to around 55mph and turning down thermostats by several degrees as examples of how that could be achieved.”

These parasites won’t need to freeze or starve of course. That is for the oiks. We’ve seen similar garbage from Biden and other leading American politicians, from EU bigwigs like Ursula van den Leyden, from Tory MPs. Meanwhile Keir Starmer, aka Dür Stürmer, has gone from smearing Labour opponents of ethnic cleansing of Palestinians as Jew-haters, to covering up for NATO’s support for Nazis and threatening anyone who questions NATO’s supposed ‘moral’ nature with expulsion from Labour. Starmer won’t fight the government over this cost-of-living attack any more that he did over the pandemic, where he did nothing to oppose the repeated sabotage of public health measures the public forced on Johnson. For Starmer and Johnson, profits came before health. In 2020 he supported Johnson in forcing kids into unsafe schools against union opposition, which undoubtedly created the conditions for the deadly, super-infectious Alpha variant which massively increased the death toll in Britain and spread around the world.

Labour grovels to the Tories on virtually everything because it supports neoliberalism and capitalism as a system: within that system there is no room for reforms anymore, only attacks. Blair’s government pioneered many of the current government’s attacks, launched predatory imperialist wars like Iraq, and even began the privatisation of the NHS through PFI hospitals. We advocate that no-one should vote for Starmer’s Labour in local elections or at all: socialists and trade unionists should form a new party to stand for a programme and strategy for abolishing capitalism, not trying to save it at our expense.

The capitalist media is covering up for the large-scale influence of outright Nazis in Ukraine. Like the Azov Regiment, part of the Ukrainian army, which uses the Wolfsangel, Death’s Head and sometimes the Swastika as its symbol. The birthday of Stepan Bandera, a WWII Nazi collaborator whose militia slaughtered numerous Russian and Ukrainian anti-fascists, and 200,000 Jews, is celebrated in Ukraine as a public holiday. The cover-up of these things is especially true in the liberal media, who some might expect to have some conscience about such things. But no, the BBC and the Guardian, who have in the past run exposés of the power wielded by Nazis in Ukraine, today systematically hide this, and suppress discussion. Even their agitation in support of refugees is racist, as the EU gives asylum to Ukrainians because they are white, and their cause is pro-imperialist. Non-whites and victims of imperialism generally are treated like dirt.

The banning of Russia Today is to suppress understanding of this, part of regimenting the population to make ‘sacrifices’ for the capitalist-imperialist war drive against Russia. The middle-class media luvvies have woken up to the fact that their lords and masters, big capital, now regard outright Hitlerites as useful to them. So, these foul hypocrites about-turn and become the most demented in shouting down everyone who questions NATO expansion, its support for Nazis and the obvious fact that NATO deliberately provoked this war.

Why do they hate Russia? Because under Putin, Russia has retreated from neoliberalism and renationalized a large part of the Russian economy that was privatised under Yeltsin. With the massive privatisation ‘shock treatment’ in Russia in the early 1990s, the life expectancy of ordinary Russians fell by six years between 1987 and 1994. That has been reversed because much of neoliberalism has been reversed. Putin’s Russia is not socialist, its still capitalist but the form of capitalism in Russia is out of step with the neoliberal world project of subjecting every country to plunder and profiteering.

US capital and its British and EU servants want to defeat, colonise, partition and plunder Russia, and then move on to China. They are quite prepared to risk nuclear war in doing so, as well as rowing back on even the totally inadequate concessions they have made to combatting climate change to try to screw Russia with sanctions. Russia and China are too big for that, this will likely just fragment the world economy and backfire against the Yankee dollar. But they are desperate enough to risk that also. Profits and plunder come before human survival for imperialist capital. The fall in profit rates that the capitalist system produces creates a desperate hunger for profit from anywhere at all, even if they must risk everything to get it.

Neoliberal capitalism has plundered and destroyed so many of the social gains previously won by organised labour in Western countries and around the world, waging brutal and genocidal wars against anyone who resists, from Iraq to Venezuela to Syria to Libya. It is in the interest of workers in the West to defend Russia and defeat the imperialist war drive, for Russia to defeat NATO and its Ukrainian liberal-Nazi proxy coalition, and to solidarise with the working class of the Donbass, who have been resisting these attacks since 2014, defending themselves against a Nazi war that has killed over 14,000 people.

Freeze/Starve, or Fight to Defeat the Profiteers and Warmakers

No to Austerity! No to the War Drive! Defend Russia! Fight for Working-Class Power!

Transcripts from “Marxists Speak Out on the Conflict between Russia and Imperialism” International Meeting

Presentations and floor contributions

Presentations in order of speaking

1. Ian Donovan (Consistent Democrats – Great Britain, and LCFI)

By way of introduction, recently I was confronted by a typical NATO ‘left’ apologist who actually expressed the view that, in seeking the dismemberment of Russia, NATO were seeking to destroy something terrible: the “Russian Empire”.

What Russian empire? The Russian Empire was smashed in 1917 and its monarch put up against the wall. The US, Britain and every imperialist around the world invaded Russia and fought to restore capitalism and the empire. 

Fast forward to 1991 and after. They were happy about Yeltsin and even initially Putin when they were convinced that they were doing the job for them.

But their sheer world-predatory behaviour, extending NATO to the East, gradually caused a rift.

Much of the ex-Soviet oligarchy began to back away from neoliberalism, through a process of polarisation, which is continuing, to this day, and used the technological and military power that survived from the USSR, to keep imperialism at bay.

That’s what this new Cold War is about – they still have not eliminated every trace of what grew out of 1917 and other social revolutions derived from it. Its more obvious with China because the regime even still clings on to elements of its old ideology.

But the issues are the related. This imperialist cold war is still directed against residues of 1917.

As with feudalism after the defeat of Napoleon and the restoration of Louis XVIII, restoring capitalism after it has been torn out by the roots and crushed for decades is easier said than done.

That does not mean that capitalist restoration has been reversed. But it does mean that the form of capitalism that exists here is so marked by its origin in a workers’ state that the imperialist bourgeoisie considers it to be fundamentally untrustworthy.

Perhaps in a way analogous to the way the bourgeoisie once suspected its Jewish component of being surrogates for ‘communists’

That is why Hitlerism has been recreated in Ukraine under US sponsorship. The US is still trying to do what Hitler tried and failed to do. Like the Third Reich, the US and NATO need to be smashed.

Our position on this war is that we are for the defence of Russia, and we give military support to Putin’s forces based on the stated objectives of Putin, which we consider defensive.

(1) to defend the rights to self-determination of the Russian and Russophone population in the east of present-day Ukraine where they are the majority, of the two Donbass republics (and Crimea of course) but not just there.

(2) to De-nazify Ukraine, which must mean simply to defeat and root out the current neo-Nazi currents from dominance in Ukraine. This may well involve the defeat of Zelenskyy’s regime and its replacement by something more conciliatory. And (3) a neutral Ukraine, barred from joining NATO.

Those demands are supportable in defensive terms, but they are not our aims. We are for a Ukraine free of imperialist control financially and militarily. For the legalization of leftist and workers’ parties and the banning of Nazi and 2014 coup parties.

 For expropriation of imperialism’s multinationals, controlled by the workers,

For democratic referendums be held emulating those of the people’s republics, for whatever status its inhabitants decide.

We do not support the prolonged occupation or annexation of territory where Russians are not the main population: that would be both wrong in principle, and dangerous. But those do not appear to be Putin’s war aims.

We could defend Russia on the grounds that it is a backward capitalist economy, not imperialist, and a semi-colony therefore. But that would not be quite correct. Firstly, because Russia is very advanced in some things, from military technology to medicine, more so in some cases than the US. It is not uniformly backward, but rather uneven.

It is certainly not imperialist. We totally reject the rationalisation of the third campists, and others who have made errors on this (e.g. the IBT). It is clear that Russia does not derive its economic strength from the continuing exploitation of backward countries, as do the US, Britain and all the imperialist countries, in the last analysis.

But it is also true that Russia is more independent of imperialism than any semi-colony. This is partly because as part of the retreat from neoliberalism, the degree of statification in the Russian economy has massively increased since the days of Yelstin’s mass privatisation.

This is a classic means by which dependent and semi-colonial countries defend themselves against imperialism – there are many examples of this from Iraq to Ireland. But in the case of Russia, this is massively enhanced by the military and technological might that it inherited from the USSR.

That is what has happened, and as NATO began to go on the offensive at the end of the 1990s, the central element of the oligarchy retreated from neoliberalism. We have an anomalous form of capitalism here, that is out of step with imperialism; its power to defy imperialism is still indirectly a product of the revolution. The degree of Russia’s dependency is sharply limited by this.

Trotsky’s permanent revolution posited that democratic gains, including genuine national independence, can only be established by overthrowing the bourgeoisie. But capitalist restoration does not automatically reverse that as both Russia and China show.

Which raises the question of China. Trotsky himself said that if a counterrevolution happened in the USSR, the new regime for a prolonged period would have to retain much of the nationalised economy. This is more applicable to China than Russia, as things turned out.

Those who maintain that China is a workers’ state have to realise that it has more billionaires than the US. In that sense, the position that it is a workers’ state denies reality in a symmetrically opposite sense to Gerry Healy’s denial that a deformed workers’ state had come into being in Cuba after 1960.

But China’s billionaires are much less wealthy than those in the US. And they are not a fully consolidated bourgeois class. They are a hybrid oligarchy, much more cohesive and disciplined than the oligarchy in Russia. And the degree of statification in China is considerably greater.

But China is not imperialist any more than Russia, it requires the same revolutionary defence. Again, somewhat similar to semi-colonies. But China looks even less like a semi-colony than Russia does.

This war is partly about revenge for Syria. Because Russia was key in defeating imperialism in Syria, and they know it. But it is not predetermined that they will not be defeated here also.

Those who say that Russia (and China) are not imperialist … YET … are also somewhat deterministic. There is no teleological reason why they should become imperialist in future. This is not determined in advance.

This whole phenomenon is an unforeseen consequence of the delay of the world revolution, and then the counterrevolution of 1989-91. It may be that imperialism is not capable of ultimately consummating these counterrevolutions. It may be that these contradictions may themselves create opportunities for resuming the world revolution.

2. Robert Montgomery (ClassConscious – Australia & US)

Good afternoon comrades and friends. I am glad to join with you at this auspicious historical moment. I’m old enough to remember The Cuban Missile Crisis almost 60 years ago when all the adults in my life thought the world was about to end in the mushroom cloud of nuclear war. And today we may be heading towards that brink again. I’m Robert Montgomery speaking from Rhode Island for ClassConscious. We are a small Marxist website based in Australia and the US.  Our 3-person editorial board has between us a combined 70 years of involvement in the Trotskyist movement. We have published work on the character of China, Marx’s theory of crisis, the threat of war and fascism, a history of policing, ZeroCovid, and cultural reviews. All our material can be accessed at classconscious.org.

For today’s purposes I would refer you to our two recent documents published by Davey Heller and myself:

Setting the Record Straight on Imperialism: Russia, Ukraine and the US

Imperialism Harnesses the anti-war movement to prepare for World War 3.

I’ll be paraphrasing these documents to keep my remarks short.

Firstly, we see today’s events within the context of the deep crisis of world capitalism. The law of value is asserting itself in long-term falling rates of profit on a world scale, and most acutely, in the US. The thirst for increased profitability has turned into a ravenous hunger driving the US and its allies to redivide the world in search of expanded markets for the export of its capital and to capture for itself an increased the share of available surplus value.  In response to its crisis of valorisation US capitalism is intensifying its attack on the working class at home and abroad. Today it is positioning itself geopolitically against Russia. The aim of the war is to reduce Russia to neo-colonial status to open its vast mineral, agricultural and energy resources to unhindered exploitation by imperialist capital. The ongoing mobilization of military and economic power against Russia is reminiscent of the Nazi Operation Barbarossa 80 years ago.

The regional war in Ukraine cannot be separated from the US drive to crush both its strategic rivals, Russia and China in order to maintain its declining global economic hegemony. US hegemony is under threat, both from its own internal contradictions and from the rising economic strength of China.

Recently, the US has been stymied by a combination of semi-colonial and lesser capitalist states acting in concert as we saw in Syria. Having failed in its regime change war in Syria due largely to Russian and Iranian military assistance, the US wants to remove the Russian thorn from its side.

The inner logic of events is unfolding towards a massive military confrontation between NATO and Russia that could draw in all major powers and result in a nuclear holocaust. The conflict in Ukraine is not between “poor little Ukraine” and Russia. To be clear: this is a proxy war between imperialism led by the US, and Russia.

We see once again, as we did a century ago, the case of a peace movement that supports imperialist war.

The demand for “action to save Ukraine” gives political cover to the war, as do all the anti-war groups campaigning under the banner of “no to Moscow and NATO”.

To demand peace in Ukraine is simply to join the chorus demanding that Russia and China submit to the Pax Americana and open themselves up to the untrammelled looting of their material, natural and Human Resources.

The mistaken assumption of the peace movement is that war can be avoided by allowing US and Western imperialism to exploit the world’s resources without limit. This is a delusion. The only real anti-war position is to fight US imperialism’s effort to dominate the globe, including by encircling and dismembering Russia, and to support the right of all countries in the cross hairs of imperialism to defend themselves.

We extend critical support to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This is because we classify Russia, not as imperialist, but rather as a nationalist and dependent bourgeois regime in conflict with imperialism. We support Russia’s right to defend its national sovereignty against imperialist aggression on its borders, up to and including the use of military force. 

We extend military but no political support to the reactionary, nationalist Putin regime. We call for the Russian working class to oust Putin and the oligarchs he represents. Should Russia be defeated by, or capitulate to imperialism, it will mean a “double chain” for the working class as it toils under the dual domination of its own ruling class, and that of imperialist capital.

The same imperialist knife at the throat of Russia is at the same time also menacing Nicaragua, Venezuela and Cuba. The ultimate target of this military and economic eruption is China. And as always the butcher’s knife is at the throats of all the working masses of the Global South.

We believe a military victory by Russia against imperialism would be a blow against imperialism everywhere.

I suspect that these sentiments are shared by those here who agree on the high stakes involved in imperialism’s proxy war in Ukraine.

So, once again the question is before us: “What is to be done?” Or conversely, “What must be Undone?” As all the rotten opportunist groups bend the knee before bourgeois public opinion. And as they give their objective support to the imperialist onslaught against Russia we need to ask, “Is it time for a Zimmerwald Manifesto for the 21st century?”

In the teeth of the ongoing onslaught against Russia it is our hope that we can move forward in a united front of all revolutionary forces to call for the defeat of imperialism without qualification or equivocation. For an end to all war, violence and fascism and for an abundant life for all, forward to the world socialist revolution!

3. Alan Gibson (Bolshevik Tendency)

I would like to start my remarks by briefly outlining how the Bolshevik Tendency understands the current situation.

For us the recognition that Russia is not an imperialist state is central to our understanding of the current conflict. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia emerged as a capitalist, regional power, with an economy that is primarily centred on energy exports, not the extraction of super profits from other countries.

American imperialism has reneged on its assurances made to Gorbachev that there would be no NATO expansion into Eastern Europe and has instead continued to up the ante to the point of trying to include Georgia and Ukraine in the bloc. The ultimate objective of US imperialism, expressed by Dick Cheney among others, is to chop up Russia into several smaller more manageable states and gain control of its immense natural resources.

Since the 2014 US sponsored right-wing Maidan coup, the various Ukrainian governments have effectively been US puppet regimes run from Washington. We therefore regard the current war as being fundamentally between US/NATO imperialism and non-imperialist Russia. Unfortunately, these events take place in the absence of an organised revolutionary workers movement able to pose the question of power: in this context Marxists favour the victory of non-imperialist Russia over the Ukrainian proxy of the US/NATO imperialists.

The section of the left that considers Russia to be imperialist (with all the varied political content they give the term) either sides with Ukraine (and therefore US/NATO) or they are neutral and call for revolutionary defeatism on both sides.

There are also those who regard Russia as non-imperialist but who do not favour victory of the Russians (like the Spartacist League and the Internationalist Group) this is ostensibly because they do ot consider this a conflict essentially between the US/NATO imperialists and Russia but rather one of capitalist Russia invading capitalist Ukraine.

Then there are anarchists, who argue that even if there is a distinction between imperialist and non-imperialist, it makes no difference as they are both capitalist—although in many cases they side with poor innocent Ukraine.

What they all share in common is a failure to grasp the central importance of defeating the rapacious imperialists.

The role of the fascists in Ukraine needs to be addressed. It is clear that the fascists were key shock troops in the 2014 coup and as a result were able to lodge themselves inside the state apparatus. They have played a criminal role in the 8 years of violence against the Donbass Peoples’ Republic and the Lugansk Peoples’ Republic which has resulted in some 14,000 casualties.

However, for us the presence of the fascists in the Ukrainian military and wider state apparatus is secondary to the role of the US/NATO imperialist military alliance. For us the key issue for revolutionaries in this conflict is opposing US/NATO imperialism.

A related question to this is recognising what fascism is and the danger it poses for the left and workers’ movement. Ukraine provides us with valuable lessons in this regard.

If for instance we were to compare the activity of the dangerous, organized fascist formations in Ukraine to the incoherent rightist populism of Donald Trump, who riled up his base (which included a minority of fascists and other ultra-rightists) in a riot aimed at overturning the results of the US 2020 election on 6 Jan 2021, I think the difference is clear.

The fascistic elements in the Jan 6 Capitol building riot would have wanted to have come out of that process as something equivalent to the Right Sector and Azov Battalion following the 2014 EuroMaidan protests and subsequent coup. But they did not. They were not the decisive factor in that event and there was never any question of them having significant influence over the state machinery or even the movement itself, unlike The Azov Battalion and other formations in Ukraine, who are heavily armed and organised fascists.

We view this meeting as a small step in affirming the Bolshevik understanding of the role of imperialism in the world against the barrage of war propaganda coming from the bourgeois mass media. There is always huge pressure to adapt to prevailing forces as we unfortunately see in the response of most of the left.

It is also important to see the current conflict in the wider geo-political context of the imperialist, particularly the US, desire to destroy the Chinese deformed workers’ state and open it up to direct and punitive exploitation. The cancer of capitalist social relations has been allowed to take root in China. The bureaucrats heading the deformed workers state are playing a dangerous game trying to contain the interests of capital while at the same time maintaining living standards of the working people. This tension will have to be resolved and the danger of a capitalist counter-revolution is great – however that has not yet happened, and China remains a deformed workers state which must be defended.

Going back to the current conflict. The Russians so far seem to have pretty much done what they intended to.

It was all about ensuring that Ukraine will never join NATO, degrading the fascistic elements within the Ukrainian military who threaten Russia, solidifying/expanding the DPR and LPR to encombass most of the Donbass, and creating a land bridge to Crimea and as part of that, opening up security of water supply to Crimea. Some 75,000 or so Ukrainian soldiers are surrounded in what the Russian’s are calling cauldrons and over the next week or so those soldiers, many of them Nazi sympathizers, will either surrender or be liquidated.

The Russians have complete control of the air (hence the calls for NATO to enforce a no-fly zone) and could have levelled any city had they wanted to. Yet apart from Mariupol, which was a stronghold of the fascistic Azov Battalion, they have attempted to minimize damage to urban areas. For instance, all the civilian infrastructure (water, electricity, heating gas, communications etc) remain operational in Kyiv and Kharkiv. I don’t know if people saw the Newsweek report, from and American intelligence expert, who was arguing this very case, that Russia was not attacking civilians. Continuing the war will only bring more chaos and suffering for ordinary Ukrainians.

The refusal of the Ukrainian government to settle the conflict by acceding to the Russian proposals can only mean more needless suffering—although this seems likely to be what the US and its NATO allies are aiming at. By continuing to enflame the situation and prolonging the conflict they are playing with the possibility of this war turning nuclear a prospect that could mean the end of human civilisation.

We welcome the chance to participate in this event alongside other leftists who understand that the central question is opposition to US/NATO imperialism.

It is necessary to seek to regroup and reorganize those forces that are seriously committed to the difficult struggle to reforge a viable mass revolutionary workers’ organization on an international basis. But this desire cannot be achieved by papering over significant programmatic issues in the interests of projecting a degree of unity which is not real.

Comrades might have seen that at the beginning of the week Left Voice called for a new Zimmerwald. What we really need in this circumstance is a Zimmerwald Left based on intransigent opposition to imperialist aggression—whether directly or through its proxies. Such a formation would necessarily see that US/NATO aggression against Russia through their Ukrainian proxy is occurring in the wider framework of increasing imperialist hostility towards the Chinese deformed workers’ state.

For those unfamiliar with our organisation, the BT stands in the tradition of the revolutionary Spartacist League of the 1960s and 70s before its programmatic degeneration into a braindead obedience cult. This political heritage would frame any discussions on a more substantive unity.

For people wanting to know more about our wider programmatic perspectives you can visit our web site bolsheviktendency.org

4. Communist Revolutionary Action (KED – Greece)

Hello comrades, I hope that you can hear me clearly and on behalf of the Communist Revolutionary Action – Avant-Garde I would like to say thank you for inviting us to the present discussion. It is an honour to be among other comrades in the world having the same internationalist stance on the context of the latest developments.

I would like to start my talk with a small excerpt from our history. It was when the convention of Zimmerwald took place the remaining international socialists that participated there. Trotsky made a small comment while they were going towards the village. The internationalists that participated in Zimmerwald said Trotsky could fit in inside a small horse-drawn carriage. He was making fun with the other comrades saying that how crazy it was that the whole second internationalists, the only internationalists that survived from the second international could just fit in inside a horse-drawn carriage.

Well, if I could make this parallel between this moment and us, I would say that I’m very happy to be part of this present digital carriage between us. So okay let me now continue with the more serious part of my intervention today

The problem regarding Ukraine from a left-wing perspective is actually a problem of a historical, thus political essence. What I would like to say is that what is happening right now in the majority of the communist and socialist organisations in the world is that they are trying to mechanically project previous situations, of the past, into the context of today’s problems.

What I mean right now is that most communist organizations, what they are doing is copy-pasting the line regarding the first world war and they say that the situation is the same, is just a fight between two imperialists, so defeatism is the proper line. We take no part between either imperialist.

The issue that is that the reason why they are leading to towards this very simplistic copy paste is because of a much deeper issue. Which is the fact that they are mechanically trying to use Lenin’s five famous criteria for designating a country as imperialist. So the rationale is very simplistic in a way. What they are saying is Russia has financial capital oh Russia has exports of capital so in a very simplistic way they are defining Russia as an imperialist nation.

The problem regarding that is that if we take the same rationale and project it to other nations, we could also say that Iran, Syria, China is imperialist, or even Mexico is imperialist, and from a logical perspective if we define that, we say right now that the whole the whole world is full of imperialists. Then the interpretational value of the word “imperialism” loses its value. Because if everything is imperialist then nothing is imperialist.

This logical problem: in our opinion there is a somehow like a falsification of Leninism and the issue is that they are not truly Leninists, the people who are using this kind of rationale. The five criteria are not actually used.

What is inherent in their methodology is actually a very classic liberal understanding of designating nations. what they are actually using is explicit violence as a criterion so what they are saying in in our opinion is that whoever invades anyone is actually an imperialist and it’s not by chance that the same people, the same organizations who are defining right now Russia as imperialist, in the past they have said that Iran is an imperialist, that Syria wages an imperialist war against other nations,

etc. So what we believe is that in essence there is a liberal thought of how they are designating countries an externalist, a phenomenological aspect, not an essential and with this criterion they’re actually breaking from historical materialism.

So, the issue is that this liberalism works as somehow a hijacking of their thought. So, to the extent that their thought is hijacked by this liberal thinking, the political issues that they are that they raise, are a leftist expression of bourgeois politics. They are implementing bourgeois politics in the left-wing expression.  And due to that that thing even though these comrades might say that they are internationalists, communists and I don’t know what else, in essence they are sovereigntists. they are social sovereigntists because sovereigntism is expressed in in the dire moments of the existence of an imperialist system. In the most problematic, the most critical stance of a system is sovereigntism truly expressed.

But let me continue with the next part of my intervention because it’s not enough to criticize other organizations, it’s very important to positively define what is imperialism today, and I will try to do so in in a few sentences

In our opinion there is a very dire need for redefining how the map looks like. It’s very important to define how modern imperialism is expressed, is structured,

etc. The viewpoint that best describes ours is the notion of Empire. This is the historical analysis that we make. After World War II Western imperialism joined with each other and created one singular bloc, one singular imperialist front, which was used against communism, and to fight for the survival of colonial structures. Right now, NATO, the IMF, the World Bank, the EU, the OECD are aspects of the structure of this empire.

The petrodollar is actually a very strong tool of the Empire. All these are mechanisms and part of the structures of the Empire, and of course this empire is called the American empire. it’s because the American government is the primal organiser of this modern imperialism and represents its core. So, what is defined today is imperial. We don’t need to use all these five criteria of learning. But whoever participates in this system is part of the imperialist structure. So, in our opinion the EU, America, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand are the only nations which can only be defined today as imperialist. All others are not imperialists. And we can also see that by also following a very close-minded economistic analysis by saying per capita income, who exploits the world today? Of course, these are the nations.

So, in the context of this analysis, what we are seeing right now in Ukraine is actually part of the general plan of the American Empire and its proxies to generalize its authority and power to unconquered lands. After the dissolution of the USSR, NATO and the US have been engaged in trying to establish orange revolutions, groups and invasions all over the Earth, and we in Greece have also experienced that in our close neighbourhood by seeing the dissolution of Yugoslavia, and of course the orange revolution in Syria.

We see Ukraine right now as the latest plan of imperialism of balkanizing one of the last adversaries on Earth, which is the Russian Federation. Other comrades also discussed about this part, but Russia, by inheriting from the USSR this powerful military, this is why it is still capable of surviving, of having some kind of independent political life. So, what we are seeing right now in Ukraine is only the result of imperialist aggressivity. So the staging of the Maidan coup, the strengthening of the Nazi militias, the rewriting of history: all these are part of NATO’s plan of doing to Russia what they did to the Middle East and Yugoslavia. And they tried to do that in the past with a not very well-known conflict in Chechnya, and in the Caucasus region in general.

Many organizations have a problem using this kind of rationale. We could also use some other criteria. Do these organizations recognize that right now we’ve had almost 15 000 dead Russophones in Donbass and Ukraine in general? Isn’t that defined as a genocide? Because the west defined as a genocide other mass-murders which were less gruesome than this one. Like in Bosnia for example, yes?

So, what I’m trying to say is that we should not we don’t have to get too fine. We could also use Lenin’s criterion of the right of the nations to self-determination and we should respect the decision of these populations for self-determination, and the Marxists who are proclaiming themselves as Marxists and they do not acknowledge these criteria for these populations are actually sovereign, they are representing the rights of their own bourgeoisie.

So, in our opinion internationalists, communists and of course all the progressive people of the world should want the crushing of the enemy. We should want the crashing of the Ukra-Nazi militaries, who have stolen the right to represent the Ukrainian people. Another important fact is who are fighting in Donbass or who are supporting Donbass. it is not without chance the fact that we have seen Iranians, people from Africa wanting to fight in Ukraine because they understand the historical and world significance of this fight for their own countries. They are more conscious of the global implications of the destruction of the NATO hunt in Ukraine than internationalists in the first world. These people who might also not be communists are more conscious of the implications of this issue in their own country and this is why they want to fight them.

So, I would also like to close by saying that this fight is also very significant for us, people who are in the first world, people who are part of the privileged part of the world. Because as history has shown when imperialism’s plans are defeated, then the defeat is internalised. It comes home and it’s not without chance the fact that May 68 in our analysis was a product of Vietnam, and of the defeats in Algeria, in Morocco. So, in our opinion the best possible scenario would be the destruction of the Ukraine Nazis and the NATO militias because this will not only facilitate the survival of the people of Donbass, but it will also facilitate the maximization of class struggle in Europe, in the US, in Australia, etc. This is what I wanted to say. Again, thank you very much for inviting us. Comradely regards to everyone. Hope we have a good struggle. Thank you, a lot.

5. Greg Butterfield (Socialist Unity Party – United States)

Good afternoon comrades from here in New York, and whatever time it is where you are in the world right now, we want to thank the organizers for inviting us to participate in this important event.

As Davey said at the beginning of the meeting, there are turning points in history, where the principles of organizations and individuals get tested and clarified, and this is one of those moments. It’s been coming for a while and some of us who have been deeply engaged in the struggle around Ukraine and Donbass over the last eight years have been trying to put up an alarm around it. And certainly, here in the US it’s been very difficult to get any traction, and now we’re seeing the consequences of that. In the past month we’ve seen so many anti-war and left formations bow to the intense pressure of imperialist propaganda and putting catering to the cowardice of funders and fellow travellers ahead of anti-imperialism, and the interests of the workers and oppressed.

The other side of that coin is that the war crisis is separating the wheat from the chaff. Leaders and organizations that have coasted through recent years and decades on past accomplishments are now forced to show where they really stand. And at the same time, I think as this as this forum is an example, groups that maybe were separated by historical differences and secondary issues may now find a new basis to work together and learn from each other.

The Socialist Unity Party and Struggle/La Lucha newspaper called for the victory of the Donbass republics and Russia in their defensive joint military operation to de-nazify and demilitarise Ukraine. What this really means is to end the eight-year genocidal war against the people of Donbass. To remove the Neo-Nazi boot-heel from the neck of the Ukrainian people. To reverse Ukraine’s transformation into a NATO war base that poses a constant threat to Russia, and return it to the formerly neutral status before the coup of 2014. We call for the defeat of US imperialism which instigated this war and is a combatant in it as surely as it is in Yemen or anywhere else.

Washington’s proxy wars are carried out. After this week’s NATO summit the imperialists are moving closer to direct intervention which of course could as we all know precipitate an unprecedented global war. We think it’s very important to elevate the struggle of the people of the Donbass region, the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. Too often their struggle is ignored by the left, or following the lead of the corporate media is written off merely as Russian separatists or Putin’s proxies.

But such a view can only be argued by people who are completely ignorant of the Donbass and the anti-fascist struggle of the people there over the last eight years, how they’ve persevered through constant terror by the Ukrainian armed forces and the Neo-Nazi battalions. How they’ve survived through very brutal blockade. How it draws upon the deep traditions of internationalism and anti-fascism inherited from the Soviet people and how that resistance found an echo in Russia. Or it’s argued only by those who know better but are adapting their views to the needs of imperialism which is much of what we see in the movement right now.

Revolutionary Marxists look below the surface to understand the class forces and contradictions at work. Those who focus on Putin and the Russian capitalists’ reactionary ideology ignore the dialectical relationship between Russia’s struggle to maintain its sovereignty against the US and NATO, and the anti-fascist struggle in Donbass and Ukraine. that same dynamic exists on a global scale. Looking at it purely on the surface level of political pronouncements, you could come to the conclusion that there’s little difference between Russia and Bolsonaro’s Brazil or Modi’s India, but unlike those countries whose ruling classes are fundamentally tied to imperialism, the life and death struggle of Russia not to be dissected and swallowed up by imperialism has pushed it into the camp of countries and movements resisting the US. Including Venezuela, Cuba, China, the DPRK, Syria, Yemen and Iran.

With our modest forces here in the US we’re doing what we can to clarify the issues and bring a genuine anti-war position to the working class. We’ve launched a campaign called ‘Stop the War Lies’ which is aimed at exposing the US/NATO role in Ukraine. Exposing imperialism’s cozy relationship with the Ukrainian fascists. Educating about the cause of Donbass and exposing how Wall Street, Big Oil and the military industry profit from the war at the expense of people here.

We and allied groups have been getting out into communities with fact sheets, holding picket lines and speak outs. Just last night our comrades in the City of Baltimore held a rush-hour banner drop, and leafleting action. Today folks in New Orleans and San Diego are doing community outreach, and for next weekend on April 2nd, which is the anniversary weekend of Martin Luther King’s assassination, we’re building protests in New York and Los Angeles. Also tomorrow, March 27th we’re organizing a webinar featuring speakers from Donbass to help inform the anti-war movement and the left in the US about the reality of the US-Ukraine war, and we’re planning and working on a speaking tour for this spring.

Those are some of the actual, concrete things we’re working on right now. We invite organizations here on this call to join in this effort. We’re open to collaborating with groups here in the us and internationally. This is a moment to overcome secondary differences and build a united front against imperialism and war that can lay the foundation for future revolutionary struggles.

Thanks again.

6. Gerry Downing (Socialist Fight – Great Britain)

Okay, can I say first that this is a very inspiring meeting, and being that I’m speaking last after the main speakers most of the stuff I was going to say has already been said, so I can’t actually repeat it all, so I’ll make some observations that I think are relevant.

First of all, on the question of the united front. The Socialist Fight has actually participated in three versions of the united front up to now. We’ve got our own Socialist Fight leaflet that that you can see which calls for “No to NATO Aggression, The Main Enemy is at Home”. We have the Socialist Labour who are people who were in the Labour Party but have now been expelled actually, and it has the same headline, and the “Victory to the anti-fascist forces of Donbass and their Allies” jointly with the Consistent Democrats, the New Communist Party and the Posadists, so those are three united fronts.

But I do endorse Robert Montgomery’s position and the ClassConscious position, the call for a new Zimmerwald. Certainly, I think that that should be the top of the agenda to draw together everybody that recognizes US imperialism as a global hegemonic imperialist power that organizes all the other imperialists

Biden has just boasted that never was NATO so united as they are at the moment. Then those people that recognize that it is the main enemy of all oppressed humanity and the working class, then I know Zimmerwald is necessary so that would be the fourth united front but we’ve just heard the call for the left Zimmerwald. Well we do remember the left Zimmerwald fitted into a horse carriage apparently. Well we would mention that that in the left Zimmerwald there was there was Lenin, Trotsky Zinoviev and then Karl Liebknecht, to mention a few. Now I don’t know who here is the Lenin and who is the Trotsky and the Zinoviev or the Liebknecht, but but I’m sure somebody will want to fill those roles in and as the struggle develops.

A few other points. The sanctions on Russia are very severe but there are people that are questioning how these sanctions are going to work and if in fact the impositions of these sanctions on the banks and everything will in fact bring into question the global hegemonic position of the dollar itself. If Russia and China are supposed to, are forced to collaborate together closely using their own currencies. Russia is now saying that that it will only accept payment in roubles at the moment we have peculiar phenomenon developing. And in that we have India took a neutral position on this and although Boris Johnson and Biden put all the pressure they could on Saudi Arabia, it did not promise to increase its oil supplies and a whole swathe of third world countries are not accepting the imposition of US domination to the extent that’s necessary. So, it would be a very interesting development if the whole question of what that hegemonic power is built on which is basically the dollar as the world trading currency and the world’s reserve currency and its ability to sanction whoever it wants…

Oh, by the way I have differences with Alan about whether China is a deformed workers state or not, but at the same time I’m quite certain that it’s not an imperialist power. It cannot do any of that stuff that that the United States does in terms of sanctioning other people. It cannot, it doesn’t dominate the International Monetary Fund and it doesn’t dominate the World Bank it is not at all in that position although it is a part of the World Trading Organisation.

Just a few more points quickly. I would have thought that the question of who are the outright supporters of imperialism on the left, well that that accolade undoubtedly goes to the Ukraine Solidarity Campaign. This is Chris Ford’s baby, and I would mention that the Weekly Worker have a very interesting article today by Paul Houston: “A toxic operation” but he mentions of course like we mentioned back in 2014 when that that whole Maidan coup thing broke out that actually Chris Ford’s origin was in a an organisation that was funded by the CIA in London. As it happened while people say he was a willing idiot and he didn’t know, well if you’re in an organization that the CIA is prepared to fund then you’re definitely moving in absolutely the wrong direction.

Of course, we have the other participants. The AWL. Well who would expect anything else from the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty’s Sean Matgamna, a man from the County Clare in Ireland who supports basically the loyalist community in the North of Ireland against the nationalist community, well we wouldn’t expect any, but by the way he says proudly “I am a Zionist”. And poor old Martin Thomas who’s the second in command, the secondary leader he said well “I’m a bit of a Zionist” not the full shilling, but just a bit of a Zionist, so that’s that organisation. Unfortunately, also in there is the USec group, the Anti-Capitalist Alliances as they are now:  Fred Leplatn who spoke at Labour Representation Committee, they participated in in this as did a number of other former leftists so it is a very nasty situation

Lastly then on the question of the influence of fascism within Ukraine. Well, they say the Svoboda only got something like 1.25 percent in the last election as compared to the vote that Marine Le Pen got in France. But I’m sure Marine Le Pen would give her right arm for an organization within the armed forces such as the Azov Battalion to back up her politics. Knowing that at a certain point a coup was possible against the Jewish president and the Jewish president of course is very careful that he doesn’t upset the far right. He promised that at the beginning to bring the country together but he didn’t bring it together too much. As soon as the Azov Battalion let him know where he stood in the situation.

And lastly a word of warning Putin also has far-right scoundrels within his camp. He’s got the National Bolsheviks, and he’s got the Wagner group. Now they tell us that the Wagner group has got 40 assassins ready to assassinate Zelenskyy, his family and the leaders. I would suggest that these 40 assassins their main task would be to watch out for any revolutionary movement within the working class in Ukraine and assassinate them. We must never forget uh as anti-imperialism is our main slogan what happened to the Shanghai Soviet back in April 1927 when they abandoned the defence against the bourgeois nationalist Chiang Kai-shek, and how he dealt with them. So going too far and in that direction is something we must be very careful about. Thank you.

Additional Contributions (from the floor, in effect)

1. Devrimci İşçi Partisi (DIP) – Revolutionary Workers Party – Turkey

I’m participating for the Revolutionary Workers Party (DIP).  Hello everyone. Well while as the DIP (Revolutionary Workers Party) we are here as observers, I want to thank Davey and all the organisers for letting me take the floor to briefly introduce the position and activities of the Revolutionary Workers Party on the strategic issue that is the war between imperialism and Russia, and I would also like to thank Class Conscious and Davey for making this very important event happen.

Let me start by underlining that as a revolutionary Marxist party in the region, DIP has been long paying attention to the evolution of the situation in Ukraine, well before the recent acceleration of events turned it into a global hotspot, and this attention includes included numerous articles in Turkish from our monthly paper Gerçek, which is the Turkish namesake of Pravda (Truth). As well as an international campaign we organized along with numerous organizations and individuals on the occasion of the fascist massacre in Odessa in 2014. The text published for this last campaign and many others could be found in English on RedMed, a website publishing in in a dozen languages, that we run with our comrades from the EEK (Workers Revolutionary Party) in Greece. And therefore, in mid-February before the outbreak of war, we published a joint statement bringing together the Christian Rakovsky international socialist centre, and RedMed web network uniting revolutionary organizations from Turkey, Greece, Russia, France and Finland.

The call of the statement was built around the slogans of: workers of the NATO countries work to destroy NATO, and in case of war, work for the defeat of imperialism. Throughout the last period leading to the open war between Russia and Imperialism, DIP underlined that Russia was not an imperialist country, has been fighting a defensive war, and the Revolutionary Workers Party ran its

political campaign around the slogan of: Out of NATO, Destroy NATO. The initial statement of DIP on the issue of war when the open war started stated clearly that the way to peace is through the military defeat of NATO and its proxies. It affirmed that the war is not between Russia and Ukraine, but rather the Zelenskyy government is but a proxy of NATO, and Ukraine is only fighting a proxy war in the name of imperialism. Accordingly, both in Turkey and on an international scale DIP organised several events and demonstrations as a part of its bid to bring about the defeat and destruction of NATO.

To begin with on February 18th, which was the 70th anniversary of turkey joining NATO, DIP had been one of the initiators of a demonstration that brought together several revolutionary and left groups under the slogan of: Out of NATO and Close imperialist bases. The rally took place in a historically charged place where the revolutionary youth of Turkey had once thrown the Navy men of the US Sixth Fleet into the sea. accordingly the slogans of the demonstration included: imperialists and lackeys do not forget what happened to the sixth fleet.

Also, on March 11th the English edition of our theoretical journal Revolutionary Marxism organized a webinar on the issue of war which brought together revolutionary Marxists from Turkey, Greece and Russia. Finally DIP along with several other groups in Turkey commands the political campaign under the title: ‘The Nemesis of World Peace is NATO and Imperialism’, and in this recently started campaign we have so far organised a nationwide petition with the participation of organisations, militants, trade union leaders and artists. But more is to come, and we the DIP, the Revolutionary Workers Party, are undeterred to fight for the defeat and destruction of NATO, the biggest terrorist organization known to humankind.

Thank you, comrades.

2. Bolshevik Group – South Korea

After the outbreak of war in Ukraine, outrageous anti-Russian racist sentiment is raging over the regions under US influence.

Only handful of left-wing organizations point out the march of NATO eastward, led by US, as the cause of the war and call for “the defeat of NATO and the victory of Russia.”

Perhaps most of the organizations gathered here today belong to this category.

I don’t know if all the organizations gathered here will go along together, but the political line shared today by the comrades gathered here will be one of the core programmes of the new international.

In this regard, this meeting is meaningful.

And we welcome comrades from BT for joining this ranks.

Although it was not announced, BT comrades, along with us, took a position of supporting Russian victory in the 2008 Georgian War. And today in 2022, these comrades also submitted a position almost similar to our position that the Ukrainian war is a “war of self-defense conducted by neo-colony Russia, Belarus and Donbass.”

But there’s something I have to point out. It is a question of position regarding the Euromaidan movement, which changed Yanukovych regime into a pro-NATO regime in 2014.

We believe that we should have formed a united front with Yanukovych regime against the pro-NATO coupsters at the time. Ukrainian coup in 2014 was a pro-imperialist regime change operation which shares the same characteristics with Libya in 2011, Syria in 2011, Egypt in 2013, Turkey in 2016, and impeachment of Brazilian president in 2016. If the working class under the leadership of the revolutionary Party at the time had taken the line, it would have avoided the destruction of the left-wing labor movement by the pro-imperialist Nazi regime and the suffering of the people due to the 2014-2022 civil war.

At that time, BT knew that Ukrainian Euromaidan movement was a pro-imperialist regime change operation and a fascist movement that will wipe out the labour movement. Nevertheless, neutrality was proposed as a conclusion.

The correct response should be coordinated with the correct analysis of the cause. However, they analysed the cause correctly in the first place, but immediately suggested an erroneous conclusion. Then, they labelled those self-contradictory, anti-working-class conclusions as “Marxist”.

The same logic can be found in the 2011 Libyan and Syrian war. We believe that this opportunistic neutralist line is a reflection of Anglo chauvinism based on the super profits of US-British imperialism, which has enjoyed hegemony for more than 100 years.

How do you think about it?

Can BT’s correct position on the 2022 Ukrainian war today be considered as the beginning of self-reflection and correction on the past opportunistic neutralist lines, including position on Ukraine in 2014?

Bolshevik group in South Korea

Our thoughts on Ukraine, Russia, NATO and left opportunism Russian military action is a just retribution against provocations of NATO puppet regime

https://bolky.jinbo.net/index.php?mid=board_ArAZ48&document_srl=12524

3. Liga Comunista/LCFI – Brazil

Revolutionary greetings from the Communist League of Brazil. It is with great pleasure that we organize and participate in this forum. 8 years ago we denounced the Nazi Euromaidan revolution, and defended the people’s republics of Donbass. Putin recognized them and started defending them very late, after nearly 15,000 dead.

We are very happy to be able to share a broadcast and video with comrades like Greg from La Lucha newspaper, we follow the good work they do in defence of the people of Donbass and fighters like those of Borotba. I agree with you that the war is separating the wheat from the chaff, as the first and second wars also did. We will join the SUP’s “stop the lies of war” campaign.

We were happy to see comrade Gerry Downing again, even though we are in different organizations today.

It is once again a pleasure to be with my comrades GM from Argentina and Ian from the UK.

We were happy to see the comrades of the Greek KED again, and I thought the criticism that the comrade from the Greek has just made of the liberal leftist mechanism of transposing, too lazy to think, the situation of the first war to the present time, was brilliant.

Welcome to the comrades of the South Korean Bolshevik group, and we are pleased to meet the comrades of the Turkish DIP.

Unfortunately I don’t speak English and comrade Vinícius from Brazil is here to help me, as is my new friend Davey. Before I forget, we will support Robert Montgomery’s position for a new Zimmerwald, I think my LCFI comrades are in full agreement with that.

And it’s a great pleasure to meet comrade Alan from BT.

We consider that the characterization that Russia is waging a just and defensive war (as the Turkish DIP comrade has just stated) against imperialism can only be born of organizations that learned best from the method of Trotskyism, that were born in the revolutionary defencism of Trotsky in his political battles against the petty bourgeoisie within the Trotskyist movement at the beginning of the 2nd world war.

Now we are on the eve of the 3rd World War and we find it necessary to strongly rescue the revolutionary defence legacy, now that we need to unmask the imperialist war propaganda, propaganda also propagated by the petty bourgeois and pro-imperialist, pro-NATO and pro-AUKUS fraction of Trotskyism.

30 years ago, we were inspired by the IBT’s audacious and defensive stance in August 1991. From 2008 onwards, the IBT capitulated to the pressure of Anglo-Saxon imperialism and began to characterize Russia as an imperialist nation. But Russia is a backward and dependent country. Russia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the size of Brazil’s GDP, after Brazil suffered a coup d’état, a pandemic and a Bolsonaro government that sank the Brazilian economy. Russia does not exercise imperialist domination over any people. For us, Russia is not even a capitalist power, because after all, it does not exercise power over other peoples for its capital, but for the dependence that the world has on the energy matrix of oil and gas. But Russia is not the same as Brazil or India because when it returned to capitalism, it had solved tasks that semi-colonial countries like Brazil and India did not solve, and this makes it a different capitalist country, albeit a capitalist one where a new revolution is needed. Social.

The IBT is probably one of the forerunners of the characterization that Russia is imperialist in Trotskyism, a low trick not to oppose imperialism, it puts an equal sign between the oppressed and the oppressor, a trick as low as that of renouncing defence of Iraq, Libya or Syria against imperialism on the grounds of the supposed undemocratic character of these governments. This has nothing to do with Marxism, Trotsky said he would even stand with the semi-fascist Getúlio Vargas against democratic England. So, what interests us here is not the Putin regime, against which the workers will have to rise up one day to resume the course of the 1917 revolution, but cannot be manipulated by the CIA, which can even resort to trade unionism, in order to create yet another colour revolution.

From the LCFI we recognize the important role of BT as the progressive heir of the IBT, in its stance on the August 1991 coup. We also recognize the advanced position of BT comrades in opposing imperialism today. Doubly advanced positions coming from within the imperialist countries themselves and bearing the pressure. But we need to record that the IBT disbands after 25 years without having progressed organically during this period and I think that the fact that it did not create sections beyond the imperialist centres is due to the pernicious legacy of the pro-imperialist policy of Spartacism that failed to win over the communists in the semi-colonies and for that reason he was organizationally trapped in a kind of conservative sectarianism.

So, as we understand in the LCFI, we need to understand the issue of the current war from the point of view of revolutionary anti-imperialist defencism and the conceptions of revolutionary permenantism in the 21st century, as my comrade GM from Argentina will better explain.

For the end of NATO, death to imperialism and long life to revolutionary Marxism!

4. Bolshevik Militant Tendency/LCFI – Argentina

Greetings, I am GM of the Bolshevik Militant Tendency of Argentina, a member of the LCFI

We consider that in order to understand the war and the conflict between imperialism, on one side, and that of China and Russia, on the other side, it is necessary to use Trotsky’s method in the thesis of permanent revolution. In that sense, let us consider that it is necessary to use the method of permanent revolution to understand the current situation. What we consider central to the permanent revolution to understand today’s dynamics is the conception that the pending bourgeois tasks can only be carried out with methods of proletarian dictatorship. The bureaucratized proletarian dictatorship of the USSR overcame the pending tasks of backward Russia.

I want to emphasize that for us from the LCFI the cases of Russia and China for having been workers’ states advanced in the pending bourgeois tasks. That is why when they returned to capitalism they did not return to the previous stage, from 1917 or 1949. Rather, they returned with industrial development, energy sovereignty, nuclear independence, etc. That makes them something qualitatively different from the set of semi-colonies on the planet. Nor are they imperialist countries.

 Therefore, the cases in which we are dealing with Russia and China have to be understood according to the interpretation of the permanent revolution in the 21st century. That is, as a by-product of the cycle of proletarian revolutions of the 20th century. that gave rise to the mega-worker states of the Soviet Union and People’s Republic of China. It should be clarified that this is more evident in the case of China. In Russia, with the capitalist restoration there was a strong setback in the 90s with Yelstein and under the shock doctrine similar to the one that was imposed in Chile under the Pinochet dictatorship and neoliberalism was founded, they dragged the USSR to a semi-colonial condition or colonial for a decade. State planning had been abandoned and leading to the economic collapse of the country.

But the setback was as brutal as the dialectical reaction of the Russian economy to defend itself from the deep robbery, and the former bureaucrats now turned into new bourgeois, aware of the Russian wealth and that a little nationalization would allow them the logic of the capital accumulation at a higher level than Yeltsin’s neo-liberal neo-colonization propelled the Putin era. In a later period, the lived experience of the Soviet Union of having completed the pending bourgeois tasks led to the remnants of the workers’ state, especially at the arms level, which allowed the Russian Federation to consolidate itself as a dependent country after 2000. In other words, qualitatively different from a semi-colony taking advantage of the advances of its heritage as a workers’ state at the nuclear, spatial, etc. level.

For this reason, to defend itself from this robbery and the siege of Russia, the Russian capitalist economy defended itself by returning to certain elements of sovereignty conquered by the USSR, re-nationalizing the military-industrial and energy complex, about a third of the economy, to keep a greater part of the Russian wealth and military power, which imperialism does not admit and that is why it advances in the offensive and in the NATO encirclement of Russia.