Monday, March 7, 2022

War and the dirty role of social democracy

From left to right: Olaf Scholz, Alexis Tsipras, Pedro Sanchez.
The following article is based on a piece published in the weekend edition (5-6 March, 2022) of "Rizospastis", the daily newspaper of the CC of KKE, under the title "Social democracy's dirty job in times of war":

“If you had picked up the phone to call the party leaders, I might have told you my opinion, but not now after the fact, like the other political leaders. I would tell you that it would be better to send humanitarian aid, it would be better to send non-lethal equipment, like Spain and Italy did”. 

That is what SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras said last Tuesday, addressing the Prime Minister, in his effort to claim that there can be a “positive” involvement in the imperialist plans that are unfolding in Ukraine.

Of course, by the time he said this, it was known that Spain had sent 784 troops to Eastern Europe, tanks, soldiers, armor, fighter jets in Latvia and frigates in the Black Sea. A few hours later, the social democrat Prime Minister of Spain Sanchez was putting the record straight by clarifying: “As I see that there are political groups which question the government's commitment” to participate in providing military assistance to Ukraine, “I want to announce that Spain will send offensive military equipment to the Ukrainian resistance”.

It is, that is to day, the European social democracy and the... “progressive governments” like SYRIZA in their familiar dirty job: Being the power which on one hand drags the people to the imperialist slaughterhouse and at the same time, with the other hand, dresses the imperialist interests with all sorts of “peaceful” and other pretexts.

It did it in Yugoslavia, in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Syria but also on other fronts (just to refer only the last 20 years) and now it does it again in the case of Ukraine...

The European social democracy not only did not remain “inactive” for a moment, but took an active role immediately on the “vanguard” of the European capital, towards the direction of escalating the confrontation with Russia; a confrontation the cost of which will be paid dearly by the people of Russia, Ukraine and all of Europe.

With the governments of SYRIZA's like-minded social democrats and the much-publicized progressive governments in the leading roles, the EU member-states “beat the drums of war”, announce greater involvement in the escalation of war with large-scale warfare budgets and immense increases in military spending, by sending military equipment to Ukraine and strengthening the armed forces, with new sanctions and everything that add more fuel to the fire, with incalculable risks for the people.

Germany, under social democrat Chancellor Olaf Scholz, moves towards unprecedented military spending in its post-war history, which cost 100 billion euros (!), an amount that will correspond to the 2% of the country's GDP in 2024. At the same time, he announced the decision of Germany to deliver weapons to Ukraine for the first time and to provide enhanced assistance within NATO. It sends to Ukraine 1,000 anti-tank systems, 500 “Stinger” missiles, 9 “Howitzer” self-propelled guns, 14 equipped vehicles, 10,000 tons of fuel, anti-airfract missiles. In fact, on Thursday, citing a government source the German agency DPA wrote that Germany considers the possibility to supply 2,700 soviet-made anti-aircraft missiles (from the reserves of the East German army) to Ukrainians.

Following an announcement by “centrist” Prime Minister Mario Draghi, Italy declared a state of emergency for at least three months, while it was decided to allocate 174.4 million euros for the increase of its military presence within NATO.

The social democratic government of Denmark has given the “green light” to those “volunteers” who want to join the military corps that Ukraine seeks to form, in order to fight against the Russians. As Prime Minister M. Frederiksen said “it is a choice one can make. This certainly applies to all Ukrainians living here, but also to others who think that they can contribute directly to the conflict”. At the same time Denmark will send to Ukraine a gift of 2,700 anti-tank weapons.

Sweden sends 5,000 anti-tank weapons to Ukraine, while Finland is going to send 1,500 rocket launchers, 2,500 assault rifles and 150,000 rounds of ammunition. Both countries have expressed their desire to abandon the so-called “neutrality” in order to join NATO.

The social democratic government of Portugal was one of the first that offered military support to Ukraine. “Following a request of Ukrainian authorities, Portugal will provide military equipment such as bulletproof vests, helmets, night-vision goggles, grenades, ammunition of various calibers, full portable radios, repeaters and automatic G3 rifles”, reads a statement of the country's Ministry of Defense.

That's what they do best... European social democracy has, after all, shined in governmental positions not only in leading the war, but also in assisting all the pretexts under which the US-NATO-EU imperialist interventions are carried out, dressing the imperialist plans with a “popular” and “progressive cloak” in order to integrate popular forces more actively.

Social democrat NATO chief J. Solana with Bill Clinton, 1999
When the imperialist intervention in Yugoslavia took place under the pretext of “ethnic cleansing by Milosevic”, the then President of the EU Commission was Romano Prodi. The bombs that destroyed Yugoslavia had been sent by the European social democracy which ruled in many EU member-states back then: Schröder in Germany, D'Alema in Italy, Jospin in France, Simitis in Greece, orchestrated by the US government of Democratic Clinton and social democrat head of NATO Javier Solana.

In the war in Afghanistan, social democracy promoted the slogan “no to the war, no to terrorism” in order to send, within the NATO framework, thousands of troops in the imperialist intervention.

In the war against Iraq they followed a double-face policy, by participating in the war in the morning and by... protesting against the war at night.

For the record, we recall that if there is one party that linked its own existence with all the three interventions (Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq) that was the British Labour Party. For this party, Alexis Tsipras was pointing out during his visit in London back in 2013: “It is one of the few parties in power with which we share many common positions and we are in constant communication”.

Following the “Arab Spring”, the social democratic governments participated actively in the imperialist interventions in Libya and Syria. In 2013, under the pretext of “combating islamic extremism”, another imperialist attack, headed by Francois Hollande and with the support of NATO and the EU, was unleashed against Mali.

Europe's social democracy “worthily” continues its historic traditions on the issue of imperialist war. The first world war in 1914 marked its failure as a political labour movement. Its “great betrayal” is lasting. What we hear today by social democratic forces sound identical and undifferentiated with what prominent social democratic leaders were saying in the past. The war is being waged for “democracy”, “freedom”, the “liberation of Serbia” or the “independence of Belgium”, the confrontation of “Tsarist dictatorship”, the “right to nations' self-determination”, etc. They were talking according to the imperialist camp their country participated and according to the aspirations of their own bourgeoisie. In fact, it was back then that the social democrats either joined the war governments or voted the war budgets, also playing a major role in leading the trade unions to support their countries' participation in the war. Where they have governed they have proved to be “war hawks”. Wherever they remained in opposition they support the pretexts of war and cultivate illusions that a war can simply be succeeded by peace, as if they were two children who fight and then become friends again, without focusing on the causes that generate the war.

The historical conclusion is that the struggle against the imperialist war is directly linked with the struggle against social democracy, with the unveiling of its dirty role and the demolition of the illusions about “peaceful” progressive governments.