Workers: Beware of NATO-fascist false ‘friends’
More than 100 coal Miners in the town of Antracita in the People’s Republic of Lugansk (RPL), workers who had been on strike at the Komsomolskaya mine for a week since June 6, have won their demands and the company will pay them backpay due to them. After the ‘crackdown’ last week by RPL authorities, with about 25 arrests of miners and left-wing activists, the government has pledged not to prosecute the strikers.
This appears to be a considerable victory by miners in Eastern Ukraine against the oligarchs who own and control the mines. This is a local instance of class struggle between workers and capitalists that takes place within another international conflict between Russia and NATO imperialism (US – EU). The second conflict is permeated by the defense of national self-determination and resistance against the NATO-backed fascist elements who seized power in the 2014 Maidan coup.
The regime in the mainly Russian-speaking region has not hesitated to turn on its own working class with repression, from arrest and torture of some leading militants in the struggle, to interfering with social media and trying to block strike supporters from using it to organise support. The government of the Lugansk People’s Republic (RPL) used the excuse of the Covid-19 pandemic to try to prevent working class organisation and action.
We as Marxists and anti-imperialists obviously support the maximum international solidarity for workers in struggle against their capitalist oppressors everywhere that such resistance is waged, including in the Russian speaking regions that seceded from Ukraine in the aftermath of the pro-NATO, fascist dominated Maidan coup in 2014, that brought to power a regime in Kiev that sought to bring the whole of Ukraine, including its Russian-speaking population in the more industrial regions in the East of the country, into NATO and the European Union.
We note that while many of those who are making a big issue of supporting the Lugansk miners denounce the ‘separatism’ of the Russian-speaking republics, and therefore are implicitly supporting the regime in Kiev, formerly of Poroshenko, now of Zelensky, who appears to be Trump’s man, and are denouncing the Lugansk leadership for its repression of the miners. Well this repression certainly needs to be denounced. But workers need to be alert against some wolves in sheep’s clothing, we referred to those who opposed the self-determination of all eastern Ukrainian people, including the Komsomolskaya miners, and who supported a NATO coup d’état that carried out a bloody massacre of trade unionists in May 2014, where 48 militants were burned to death when the Trade Union House in Odessa was torched by a fascist-led mob of supporters of the pro-NATO Maidan movement.
In the conflict between NATO imperialism and its puppets and satraps, the supporters of NATO expansion into the former USSR, we are militarily on the side of those resisting NATO and US-led imperialism. But we give no political support to those bourgeois forces resisting imperialism. Indeed as is shown by the job cuts, closures and wage cuts that provoked this strike and occupation, the capitalist forces in Russia that support Putin and his own nationalist project of building up a stronger Russian capitalism, also oppress their ‘own’ working class and do not embody any systemic alternative to the imperialists who would like to conquer and subjugate them.
Indeed one of the key reasons for the continued drive to expand NATO into the former USSR is the belief that the proletariat of Russia, which was the driving force of the October Revolution, has not been sufficiently deprived of its class consciousness as to make impossible a revival of the Communism that the Western ruling classes dread. The conservative Russian nationalism of Putin does not reassure them; they consider his sort too weak. They want direct rule by their outright agents and puppet to endure that the Communist spectre is fully exorcised from Russia and the proletariat remains servile and powerless.
We seek the exact opposite; we seek the political revival of Communism in the former USSR through international solidarity with workers’ struggles even when the immediate oppressor is bourgeois forces that are currently at odds with imperialism. Why is that? Because the social force that materially and objectively has the real class interest in destroying imperialism is the class-conscious proletariat. We in Socialist Fight/Trotskyist Faction and the LCFI have been involved with anti-fascist and Communist groups since 2014 both internationally and in Ukraine itself, such as Borot’ba, and we call on these groups to organise a solidarity effort with this and future workers’ struggles that clearly opposes Maidan and the NATO- expansionist social-imperialism that would seek to use workers struggles in Eastern Ukraine to try to garner support for the worst enemies of the working class.