Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Union of Communists of Ukraine: On the War and the tasks of the working class

The following statement-analysis by the Union of Communists of Ukraine was originally appeared in Russian language in solidnet.org (27 June 2022). It is the first public statement of the Union of Communists for the imperialist war in Ukraine, while the Communist Party of Ukraine has not so far issued any communique. Both political forces have been banned in Ukraine and are currently facing multiple persecutions.

The full statement is as follows:

The general assessment of the nature of the war launched under the guise of a special military operation (SMO) by the Union of Communists of Ukraine (UCU) generally coincides with the Statement of the Communist and Workers' Parties of February 24, 2022, supported by the UCU.

In this war, two imperialist groups of world capital collided in Ukraine: the international capitalist alliance of countries, led by the USA and NATO, and the international capitalist alliance of countries, led by Russian state-monopolistic capital. A number of major capitalist countries (China, India, etc.) have not yet directly entered the unfolding conflict, but are waiting, assessing the prospects for its development. We agree with the conclusion that the origin of this military conflict lies in the counter-revolutionary destruction of socialism in the USSR and the restoration of capitalism in the post-Soviet space.

The Ukrainian bourgeoisie grew up on the plundering of the economic resources of the Ukrainian SSR, on the seizure of property from the overwhelming majority of the population, just as in Russia, it quickly concentrated this property in the hands of a few oligarchic groups to the level of branch monopolies and, following the country's economy, it "privatized" state power. The contradictory position of these oligarchic groups consisted in the fact that they tried to limit the participation of both Russian and Western capital in the concentration of private property in the country as much as possible. At the same time, the big bourgeoisie simultaneously tried to actively cooperate with Russian oligarchs in economic matters, in the pursuit of high profits through access to Russian energy resources at sufficiently low prices, and to flirt with international capital of the West, as the profits were placed in Western banks and private property in Western countries. To justify ideologically its relative disassociation from "the East" and "the West", the Ukrainian oligarchic bourgeoisie needed the ideology of radical bourgeois nationalism, which also suited the interests of Western countries (especially after the Orange Revolution organized by them in 2004) because of its anti-Russian orientation. It was then that Bandera and Shukhevich began to be glorified as heroes in the public consciousness of Ukrainians.

For the working class of Ukraine and the broad proletarian masses in towns and villages, the restoration of capitalism resulted in an enormous restriction and limitation of their rights in the process of deindustrialization of the country. However, under conditions of political and ideological disorientation, the working class, trade unions, and leftist parties were only capable of rearguard battles. The discrediting of socialism by bourgeois propaganda pushed the proletariat of Ukraine to narrow its struggle only to economic tasks and pushed the most qualified strata to migrate abroad in search of better pay. The UCU was directly involved in these class struggles of the nineties and noughties, striving to preserve the international proletarian revolutionary tradition of the class struggle and trying to counteract the political opportunism in the communist and leftist movement in Ukraine that grew out of the degradation of the working class.

The global financial, trade and industrial crisis of 2008 and its consequences was a direct precondition for the growing confrontation between Russia and NATO countries in Ukraine. The long-term stagnation of the world economy and all efforts of the leading capitalist countries to shift the consequences of this crisis to the working class and the broad proletarian strata, as well as to the dependent capitalist countries, have shown that there is no economic way out of this crisis within capitalism. The leading capitalist countries, led by the USA, to exit the crisis switched to direct robbery of some countries by unleashing a series of coups d’état through "colour revolutions" and local wars under the guise of "democratization" of countries. This led to a large-scale aggravation of international contradictions and the beginning of reformation of imperialist alliances, aggravation of confrontation of these alliances, including in Ukraine, as well as the growth of radical nationalism in its Nazi and fascist manifestations.

The coming to power in 2010 of monopolistic oligarchic groups led by Ianukovich, who was perceived as pro-Russian bourgeoisie, on the one hand increased the cooperation of Russian and Ukrainian monopolies, but only to the extent that allowed Ukrainian oligarchs to keep control of the economy and property in the country. On the other hand, Ianukovich made electoral technology experts from the United States and Great Britain, such as Manafort, his political advisors, who advised him, based on "sociological surveys," to build his campaign for re-election so that in the second round the leader of the Nazi party Svoboda (renamed the Social Nationalist Party) Tiagnybok would be his opponent. As a result, it was the money of allegedly "pro-Russian" oligarchs that allowed the Nazi groups to grow from marginal groups to become political parties. They were given the opportunity to win local council elections in the western regions and get their deputies into the Ukrainian parliament. For this purpose, Ianukovich did not even cancel the decrees of his predecessor Iushchenko granting the titles of "Hero of Ukraine" to Bandera and Shukhevich.

However, Ianukovich's "advisors" played a different card behind his back. Under their leadership, pro-Western oligarchic groups, supported by U.S. and EU imperialism, carried out a coup d'état in 2014. The pro-fascist and Nazi organizations supported by them not only turned out to be the strike force of this coup d’état, but were armed by the new oligarchic power and became its strike troops in the form of paramilitary "volunteer battalions".

The internal political significance of the “Maidan 2014” coup d'état was the completion of the counter-revolutionary destruction of the consequences of the victory of the Great October Socialist Revolution, which gave the people of Ukraine their first national state in the form of a Soviet socialist state. The post-Maidan government destroyed, with a particular hatred, everything realted to the victory of the revolutionary workers' and communist movement on the territory of Ukraine and with the establishment of Soviet power. On the other hand, it extolled those who were defeated and expelled during that revolution and civil war: from Petliura and Skoropadsky to Bandera, Shukhevich and other enemies of the working people of Soviet Ukraine.

The coup d'état marked the beginning of the civil war in Ukraine between supporters of the new nationalist government and its opponents, what led to the separation of Crimea and its absorption by Russia in a referendum, as well as to the formation of the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics (LDPR), which found themselves in a situation of long armed confrontation with the government in Kiev. Although even the participants of this confrontation were not aware of its class nature, but rather as an inter-ethnic one, it was characteristic that all the oligarchic groups supported the post-Maidan government and provided the appearance of legitimacy to this government, through their parliamentary deputies. Moreover, not a single oligarch, even from Ianukovich's group, defected to the side of the LDPR, which had been created during the civil war.

In their social composition, especially in the backbone of their armed formations, the Donbass republics were proletarian in nature. But in their political form, they were bourgeois republics and expressed the interests of both the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, who did not accept the radical anti-Russian nationalism of the post-Maidan government and its pro-Western course.

Since the formation of the LDPR, the UCU, taking into the account their internal contradictions, has been involved in helping the workers' and communist organizations of these republics to form their ideological class position.

The Russian bourgeoisie has taken a contradictory stance with regard to the LDPR: on the one hand, it provided military and economic aid to the Donbass republics, but on the other hand, it did not politically recognize them and did not incorporate them into the Russian Federation like Crimea, but went to recognize the legitimacy of the pro-fascist Turchinov-Poroshenko-Zelensky puppet regime and signed the Minsk agreements with this regime. This did not bring peace to the LDPR and made the war a latent state on the line of contact for eight years, allowing thus the Ukrainian government to create a strong and Nazi-motivated army that became a threat not only to the LDPR but also to Russia itself.

The internal inconsistency of the position of the Russian bourgeois state with regard to the LDPR and the post-Maidan government is related to the fact that its economic interests were closely intertwined with both Western capital and Ukrainian oligarchic capital. Russian politicians scolded the "Maidan authorities," while Russian oligarchs profited together with Ukrainian oligarchs from the use of pipelines through Ukraine (the ammonia pipeline from Togliatti to the Odessa Port Plant suspended its operation only on February 24, 2022), resale of Donbass coal to Ukraine under the "Rotterdam+" scheme, resale of metallurgical and other products.

Exactly the same way, Ukrainian oligarchs, through the mouths of their politicians, were cursing the "Russian aggressor," while they continued to make joint profits. It is the economic interests of the Russian bourgeoisie that explain, first of all, why the LDPR so actively opposed the demands of Donbass workers to nationalize the enterprises owned by Ukrainian oligarchs, and why the military operation against the pro-fascist puppet regime in Ukraine was delayed. And only secondarily was it due to the need to complete the rearmament of the Russian army.

The real reason for the SMO is that the Russian oligarchic bourgeoisie has realized that it will not be able to economically overcome the consequences of the global financial and economic crisis. It has finally decided to sacrifice the small share of profits that it derived from cooperation with Ukrainian oligarchs and Western capital in order to redistribute spheres of influence in the world economy and seize new markets for its goods, as well as to counteract the growing efforts of NATO countries, led by the USA, to seize Russian territory and gain access to its raw material resources.

This war is not in the interests of "Russians," "protection of the Russian-speaking population," or "denazification" of the Ukrainian state, but precisely in the interests of Russian capital, which has sensed the danger and a necessity for the creation of new international conditions to provide further opportunities for profits and the growth of its capital. No interests of Russian, Tatar, Chuvash or Yakut workers, nor of workers of all other nationalities of the Russian Federation, are embodied or protected by this war.

The puppet regime in Ukraine participates in this war in the interests of Ukrainian oligarchs, who have made themselves completely dependent on big capital of the West and NATO, who have turned the Ukrainian army into an advanced military unit of the Western bourgeoisie. The war is not about "the Ukrainian nation," not about "the Ukrainian language and culture," not even about "European values". It is a war for the united interests of the Ukrainian and international bourgeoisie, which coincide in their desire to destroy the economic and political power of the Russian bourgeoisie. No interests or rights of Ukrainian workers are protected by this war. Both Ukrainian and Russian workers in this war have only the right and obligation to go to the front and die so that one group of the world bourgeoisie defeats the other and gains more monopoly rights to oppress the workers, both in their own country and in the defeated countries.

Thus, the military conflict, which began in the form of a civil confrontation and civil war on the territory of Ukraine, with the beginning of SMO escalates into an imperialist conflict and thus becomes the beginning of the world imperialist war. With the beginning of SMO the parties to the conflict actually become: on the one hand, the Russian bourgeois state, and, on the other hand, the NATO block, waging war with the hands of the Ukrainian army, providing it with weapons, ammunition, intelligence, planning of military operations with the participation of its military "advisers", training of this army, information propaganda, cyber support, etc.

Second, the goals of warfare are changing. If at the first stage of the civil conflict the Ukrainian regime aimed to restore state control over the Ukrainian territories, where this control was lost, then at the second stage it aimed to destroy Russia as a condition for the existence of Ukraine. The Russian bourgeois regime at the first stage declared as its goal only to support the LDPR in the conflict with the Kiev regime, while at the second stage it was to secure the international conditions for the capitalist development of Russia, and to overcome, for this purpose, the opposition of NATO. Only in this context do the goals of "denazification" and "demilitarization", declared by the Russian state, acquire real meaning. The demand for "denazification" of Ukraine develops, step by step, into a demand for "denazification" of the Baltics, Poland, Europe and the entire Western world, because "all of them are infected with the Nazism of the West". Similarly, the demand for "demilitarization" will expand in the same direction as the military conflict develops. In fact, both of these demands are merely a cover for the real imperialist aims of the war.

The development of the military conflict in Ukraine has shown that its leading trend is its escalation into an open clash between the two imperialist blocs: Russia and its allies on one side, and NATO on the other side. This means the escalation of the war into a nuclear conflict and the emergence of a real threat of annihilation of humankind. It is quite possible that the rising danger of nuclear war could lead to compromises between the opposing parties to the conflict. In any case, it will be a temporary compromise in favour of one of the parties, which will be only a pause for a new resumption of fighting and military actions.

For the working class of Ukraine, this imperialist war has the most tragic consequences. It lies on the shoulders of the workers the role of "cannon fodder" and the inevitable deaths in the fighting, mass impoverishment, unemployment, complete restrictions of rights and freedoms for the sake of protecting the interests of the Ukrainian big bourgeoisie, the oligarchs and the interests of the Western bourgeoisie in destroying and robbing Russia and seizing its natural resources. This will inevitably be accompanied by the destruction and seizure of Ukrainian industrial and natural resources, including in the case of Russia's success. The same fate awaits the vast majority of the Ukrainian petty bourgeoisie.

The big bourgeoisie has already bought its children out of the war and taken them abroad, just as it took its capitals out. But that is not the main point: the big bourgeoisie is profiting from the war under Zelensky, just as it profited under Poroshenko: stealing finances, making money from reselling weapons, supplying the army with uniforms, food, repair work, humanitarian aid, etc. In war the bourgeoisie makes billions of dollars, while the mobilized people have to be equipped and fed by relatives, friends and volunteers – which is clearly not enough. As in peacetime, but even more brazenly, the bourgeoisie is getting rich off the bones of the working class!

The consequences of this imperialist war will be just as severe for the working class of Russia and the countries of the Russian bloc. They are catastrophic for the proletarian masses of all the countries of the world. A world war cannot but have world consequences: hunger, impoverishment, unemployment, and falling wages are already pacing the planet. But war will drag the armies of many countries into hostilities, turning their workers into "cannon fodder," too!

The consequence of the world imperialist war that began on the territory of Ukraine will be not the liberation from the global financial and economic crisis, but its catastrophic deepening, which in turn (as it already happened in the past) will lead to the emergence of revolutionary situations in a number of countries where contradictions will be exacerbated to the greatest extent. In the context of international economic and political integration, the development of revolutionary situations will lead to the formation of chains of revolutionary uprisings.

The UCU sees the way out of imperialist war for the working class not in abstract calls for peace and disarmament (which, at best, can only provide a reprieve from war for the parties to build up forces for an even fiercer clash), but in the need to eliminate capitalism as a parasitic and destructive social system, in which the competition of capital inevitably leads to crises and wars.

In the struggle against war as a struggle against the power of capitalists who wage wars, we bring forward the task of fighting against the capitalists in each of the warring states.

Our goal is to ensure the defeat of the Ukrainian puppet regime in Ukraine. We appeal to the workers armed by this regime: to point arms against the power of the bourgeoisie in Ukraine and turn the imperialist war for the interests of the bourgeoisie into a civil war of the working class against its bourgeoisie for the destruction of its capitalist domination in a communist revolution.

We appeal to the Russian workers as a fraternal class, bearing all the burdens of war on its shoulders, also suffering from impoverishment, unemployment, and the elimination of fundamental rights and freedoms: seek the defeat of the bourgeois power in Russia, turn your weapons against the Russian oligarchs and their political acolytes. We are ready to fight with you to turn the imperialist war into a class war against the power of capital and for the communist revolution.

We appeal to the workers of the countries belonging to NATO: To stop the threat of the destruction of humankind in the nuclear clash of imperialist war is only possible in a struggle not for abstract peace, but for the overthrow of the power of the bourgeoisie of their countries, who are waging these wars and profiting from them. Work for the defeat of the bourgeois governments and the NATO bloc in this war, put forward the task of turning the war between nations into a war between classes, turn the weapons produced by workers' hands not against the workers of other countries, but against the capitalists of your own countries, against their power.

Capitalism has existed for two centuries as an international system of domination by the bourgeoisie and oppression of workers. The only way to put an end to this worldwide system of exploitation, the source of crises and wars, is to unite the efforts of workers' struggles internationally in an international communist revolution that grows out of a chain of revolutionary situations. The only thing we can oppose to the bourgeois nationalism (and its forms of chauvinism and fascism), which pits peoples against each other in war, is proletarian internationalism.

We understand the complexity and danger of these tasks, which inevitably cause repression on the part of the bourgeois political regimes. That is why workers' and communist organizations will need to develop illegal forms of class struggle along with legal ones in order to set and implement such tasks. The UCU has been forced to conduct its work in illegal forms since 2014.

Many workers' and communist organizations may consider these antiwar tasks impossible because of their organizational weakness and lack of influence on the working class. However, historical experience shows that a correct and honest formulation of the tasks of the working class in conditions of war – real, not momentary tasks – may not yield success immediately, but will yield gains as the revolutionary situation intensifies.

Since the task of destroying capitalist social relations is an international task, the international coordination of workers' and communist parties' actions, including the joint elaboration of tasks for the struggle against the imperialist war of the twenty-first century for the sake of uniting the international struggle against this war, for a communist reorganization of society and world peace, is becoming increasingly important.

Proletarians of all countries, unite! 


(Translation by Srećko 'Felix' Vojvodić)