A matter of great concern today is the superficial and light-minded attitude towards the approaching world war, which we can see both in the left (first of all, the Bolshevized left) and in the working environment. The Kerch conflict on November 25, 2018 between the Russian government and the Ukraine, the subsequent imposition of martial law in the Ukraine, the mutual pull-up of troops, the growth of all weapons in the Donbass region — all that people seem to be just watching on TV. The guns are already pressed against the ribs of working people of our countries, and we still think that war is something far off, not in our homeland.
Meanwhile, there are many signs of the last stage of the preparation of a broad regional war. No, so far the Ukrainian and Western oligarchies do not officially declare war on Russia, but yes, we are well aware that it is not necessary to declare a war in order to start one. For 100 years, imperialism has shown that wars are more often something to crawl into, than to join all efforts at once in overwhelming fight preceded by diplomatic notes. Regional wars have been flaring up gradually, and the ongoing fifth year of the positional war in the Donbass is just a smoldering ember that can easily be blown to the scale of half of Eurasia.
Yes, in 2014, the Russian bourgeoisie seized the Crimea and part of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions. Formally, it was first to start it. But it does not matter much who is first to start in an imperialist war, since it is not the primacy that matters, not the fact of the beginning of the war, not who and where leads the troops or where one shoots. What really matters is the essence of all the policies that the member states and classes have been waging within their countries long before the war. What is important is the policy that the outbreaking war continues with brutal means.
Is it only the Russian Federation who is waging a war of conquest today?
In the epoch of imperialism, all powerful states, such as the United States or the current Russian Federation, are waging the world brigandage more or less independently. Those states that are not able or not yet ready for an independent imperialist policy and its military continuation, adjoin or are drawn by fetters to such strong states, find themselves in voluntary or forced alliances and coalitions with them, and, therefore, also wage the policy of imperialism and war (in line with their opportunities and in their own directions).
Is it safe to say that until spring 2014, the Ukrainian bourgeois state has been “virgin” in terms of the redistribution of the world financial capital? Has it not waged its policies against Russia to that effect, has it not tried to oppress national minorities inside the country and struggle with revolutionary and democratic movement of workers and other laboring people?
Certainly, not, one cannot say so. Following the line of American and European imperialism, the Ukrainian governments, one after another, to one degree or another, have been pursuing precisely such home and foreign policy in various forms, defending the interests of the Western monopolies in their struggle with the growing Russian capital, which badly needed new political markets in Europe, the Balkans, Western Asia, in the former Soviet republics.
The difference between the predators is that the Ukrainian bourgeoisie has hoped to profit from the seizures and robbery in alliance with Russia’s powerful opponents – in exchange for the position of the Ukraine as a semi-colony and US military puppet. The Ukrainian oligarchy would be satisfied with share participation in the robbery – according to its place and success on the “eastern” front against the Russian Federation. We do not know whether the new Ukrainian government would unleash (even if there were no obvious reasons, that is, Crimea and Donbas) a war against Russia in 2014, but it would definitely continue and strengthen all preparations for such a war, and at an opportune moment when, in the opinion of the world financial oligarchy, it would be most advantageous to strike across Russia from the south-west, the Ukraine would receive an order to deliver such a blow.
That was what the entire foreign policy of the Ukraine was aimed at in respect of the Russian Federation. For almost 30 years, this policy has toughened up, then somewhat softened, depending on which interests of the Ukrainian oligarchy’s groups were expressed by the government. But with all the deviations, the constant vector of the Ukraine’s foreign policy has been the struggle against the claims of the Russian bourgeoisie, and its intensity has been determined, among other things, by the struggle of the groups of the largest Ukrainian bourgeoisie among themselves for the state apparatus, for the domestic market of the country, for control over property, including for control over the “pipe” – the transit gas pipelines from Russia to Europe, as well as over the entire internal gas transmission and gas distribution system of the Ukraine.
At the same time, the Ukraine is entangled by thousands of threads of financial exploitation and dependence. They are the loans that the government received from the global financial capital under the predatory percentage, and the unprofitable trade, and the control of Western corporations over 80% of the domestic market of the Ukraine, and the looting of the Ukrainian mineral wealth and land. And the main thing: the brutal exploitation of the Ukrainian proletariat and all other working people by the world capital.
Therefore, the national government of the Ukraine had the “right to life” and the right to plunder its people only as long as it acted in full accordance with the interests of the largest Western banks and corporations. No doubt, the Yanukovich government and the group of the Ukrainian oligarchy that stood behind and above him did have some common interests with the big Russian bourgeoisie. However, the period of late 2013 to early 2014. showed that with respect to the Ukraine, the Western oligarchy was much quicker and stronger than its Russian competitors and their partners from Yanukovych’s entourage. The coup d’état in Kiev, the open transition of the regime from curtailed democracy to fascism, a sharp increase in militarist, anti-communist and anti-Russian propaganda in December 2013 through March 2014 (before the annexation of the Crimea and the seizure of future LDPR territories ) proved that the Ukraine as one of the clerks of the United States and Germany was preparing and deploying for a future war with Russia, for ousting the latter from the European and Asian markets, and at the same time with the aim of robbery of its territory and property.
For its part, the Russian Federation, having acquired a convenient moment in the winter – spring of 2014, with the power in Kiev not yet established, and with the local lurches in the form of all sorts of regional “autonomies” and some forced separatism (the end of January through the first decade of March 2014)., rapidly and covertly increased the contingent of the army, the FSB and federal officials in the Crimea, to ensure the “headquarters” of the administration and the material prerequisites for intercepting power, property and the relatively peaceful capture of the entire peninsula from the Ukraine weakened by the coup. The war was not excluded at all, but was assumed by the Kremlin and the general staff of the RF Armed Forces, but the specificity (political, geographical, military, cultural-national) of the peninsula, connected to the mainland Ukraine by one narrow isthmus, contributed to the fact that the Crimea, with military and maritime weakness and some political confusion of the new government in Kiev, was quickly isolated and “sealed” from the Ukrainian state.
Moreover, it was isolated and “sealed” not by a referendum (it is a decoration for the naive!), But by force – by a mass of organized armed people, the very fact of the presence of this armed mass, the threat of weapons, the seizure of the most important production facilities, control centers, military units, with interception of power, that is, with the establishment by way of accomplished fact of laws and sovereignty of the Russian Federation on this Ukrainian territory.
But even here the central point was not the robbery and redistribution of markets usual for imperialists. The current state of capitalism requires the most extreme and radical measures to save it from the revolution. Having seized the Crimea, later – part of the Donbass, bourgeois Russia did not so much harm the Ukraine or itself as brilliantly fulfill the task that the world financial capital – the real owner of Russian and Ukrainian politics – had set for the Russian government. The task was to split and set to fight the working class of the two leading republics of the former USSR, weaken and grind it in a fratricidal war, strangle its organization within the countries with fascist methods, and thereby slow down and weaken the revolutionary labor movement in the two sectors most dangerous for capital and most likely to unite in one revolutionary force.
It is clear that the Ukraine was to play a special role in these plans of the world capital. As the events have shown, at the turn of 2013–2014. the interim result of all the previous “defensive-national” policy of the Ukrainian state in relation to the bourgeoisie of the Russian Federation was finally summed up. The isolation (economic, political, cultural and language, etc.) of the “independent” Ukraine from “independent” Russia, the protection by the Ukrainian bourgeoisie of the seized domestic market of the former USSR from stronger Russian capitalists, the growing predatory appetites of the parties – all these processes have inevitably led these bourgeois states, contiguous and economically more or less developed, to endless clashes and, ultimately, to an imperialist war.
But Russia can still conduct military seizures on its own, relying so far on the internal forces and supplies, whereas the Ukraine will not endure a long “independent” war with the Russian Federation. And therefore, the Ukrainian government, starting from 2014, has been waging not just the traditional hostile policy against Russia (“ordinary”, without war), but already a definitely military policy of the bloc, headed by the US imperialists.
But such a policy means that the Ukrainian government gives up all its people to the full military use of the world capital, gives it up as serf expendables to war. In the conditions of the bourgeois-democratic system, this is quite difficult to do: the masses do not need war, the army is not prestigious, and the conditions for communist and anti-war propaganda are better. Therefore, the bourgeoisie is moving from democracy to state terror and open dictatorship.
It is doing it with a threefold goal. Firstly, since the living conditions of the working people deteriorate sharply, it is necessary to suppress the political organization of the proletariat, the growing class struggle, the anti-war mass movement, along with the broad democratic movement of workers against fascism and all kinds of terror (political, economic, ideological).
Secondly, for the purpose of continuous receipt of maximum profits by the financial oligarchy, with the profits being ruthlessly and cruelly squeezed out of the entire exploited mass of working people, bringing its privation and disasters to incredible heights. In such conditions, to keep the people in slavery, the bourgeoisie has only the last and most extreme resorts of suppression, terror and police regime: firing squads, Gestapo style, prisons, court trials, concentration camps, etc. The national bourgeoisie under the slogans of “defending the fatherland”, “unity of the nation” and “combating national treason” opens a real “hot” war against the working class and the majority of the people of their country.
Thirdly, since the maximum profit is to be obtained in the conditions of a severe overproduction crisis, with no financial magnate going to give up a meter of the controlled territory, or a corner shop, or a kilo of oil or ore for somebody else, the groups of major international robbers gradually move from peaceful competition for markets and raw materials – to its further development, to the military continuation of this struggle. But since the bourgeoisie is trying to rob each other not personally, not with its own hands, but with the hands of its states, i.e. with the help of mass armies (no matter that today, at the beginning of the fight, relatively small mercenary armies are fighting), the capital inevitably drives its poor slaves – the working class and the rest of the working people of Russia, Ukraine, etc. to the war for new billions.
But the majority of our workers do not want to fight; therefore, the bourgeoisie has to not only fool and stun the consciousness of the masses with its propaganda of “protecting the national fatherland”, but also suppress by force of the state and the fear of reprisal all resistance to the recruiting, all anti-war opposition, from the calls for rooting the war out by snatching it up to destroy capitalism and private property, to liberal-pacifist movements against the war “in general”. And what is best and most convenient for getting over to the proletariat “the duty of defending the national fatherlands” and for terror against all movements for peace, is the fascist armed dictatorship and its powerful ideological apparatus of total and universal lies.
Who is fighting for what?
A “normal” predatory war of the imperialists must be judged not by its specific forms (bloody or relatively bloodless, maneuverable, with tank battles and shelling, or positional, with quiet seizure of territory, power, property — with the support or neutrality of the local population), nor by declarations of politicians at its beginning, but by the totality of events that have led to the war, as well as its actual results.
In the Donbass, where in spring 2014 the situation was different from the Crimean one (high concentration of productive forces, valuable raw materials, important transportation hubs, a favorable strategic position, a flat continental territory, no narrow necks or sea isolation, the lack of a permanent military base for the Russian Federation to deploy a war, weak separatist, but rather high leftist sentiments in the working masses, traditional bilingualism and multiculturalism of the local population), with Kiev having completely politically recovered after the annexation of the Crimea, In addition to the massive anti-Ukrainian propaganda, intimidation and “referendum”, RF now needed not just a demonstration, but the direct use of armed force against the Ukrainian state. The government of the Russian Federation needed a military consolidation of the occupied territories, with the organization of two supposedly independent regimes, two state formations, which in fact are new semi-colonies of the Russian Federation.
But before the war, all of the Ukraine was a semi-colony, which was exploited not only by Western, but also by Russian financial capital. It is a fact. But for the bourgeoisie of the Russian Federation such an “unequal” position was not enough, and therefore the Russian oligarchy physically “tore off” a bold pieceof this semi-colony all to itself. And the war that started in the Donbass between the Russian Federation and the Ukraine has a real, classical nature of a war for markets and colonies.
But this war is unique in a way. First, the West is still fighting with Russia for the return of lost markets and supplies of production by the hands of the Ukraine itself.
Second, the victory of the Ukrainian side in the Donbass and the return of the LDPR territories to the Ukraine will mean the “final” redistribution of Ukrainian markets and large property between the groups of Ukrainian oligarchs in favor of the Kiev-Lviv group, focused on Western financial groups, rather than on the owners of Gazprom, Rosneft, VTB, etc., etc.
Third, the “liberation” of the LDPR by the Ukraine will mean a sharp deterioration in the life of the working class and the working people of these regions, since the Ukrainian bourgeoisie will certainly use the formal pretext of “betrayal of the motherland” and driving the working class into labor camps for slave labor. Here two birds are killed with one stone: the concentration camp is stopping for a time the class struggle and the revolutionary movement; and the same camp conditions are needed by the bourgeoisie for the abolition of wages, that is, for squeezing the maximum possible profit out of the workers.
Fourth, this war has the formal signs of an aggressive war on the part of Russia and a fair war of liberation on the part of the Ukraine. This is widely used by the Western and Ukrainian bourgeoisie to replace the essence of the war with its external forms: the working people of Ukraine are suggested that the very fact that the Russian Federation was the first to start makes the war in the Donbass a progressive, national liberation war for the Ukraine, in which all Ukrainian people must participate, forgetting about the main enemy – “its own” bourgeoisie, class struggle and its slave position in its own country.
But, as we are already aware, it is not politically relevant who has started, in what form the armed force has been used in the Donbass, whom it “personally” includes, what it is using or how it is organized. What does matter is that on both sides the war is waged by the bourgeoisie, the reactionary and obsolete social class. The war would have a progressive character if in the Donbass slaves would fight with slave owners, if the Ukrainian workers, who had taken power at home, would fight with the attacking Russian imperialism. In this case, no matter what atrocities, calamities and tortures such a war would bring to the peoples, it would be fair and lawful for the Ukraine, since with its help a part of the world working class would clear the way to socialism for all of humanity and destroy dangerous and harmful capitalist institutions both at home and in Russia – the aggressor.
The war in the Donbass would be progressive and fair in the event if the victorious proletariat of Russia went to war against the reactionary bourgeois government of the Ukraine. Then the main content and historical significance of this war would be the liberation of the Ukrainian proletariat and the rest of the working people from capitalist slavery.
Finally, it would be possible to recognize the war of the Ukraine against the Russian Federation as a fair defense of the fatherland, if the Ukraine were an oppressed, dependent, incomplete state with no national sovereignty, in which the Russian monopolies would completely rule and where the Ukrainian people were oppressed by capital and state of the metropoly. Certainly, in this case, the national liberation movement would embrace all classes of the society, and the war would be fair, despite the fact that this war would be led by the national bourgeoisie (which can hardly be the case in the era of imperialism).
But since there is no hint of these conditions, the entire current “national liberation struggle” for the Ukraine is nothing but struggle of the imperialists for markets, for raw materials, for means of production. Some capitalists, with, say, trillions of capital, are at war with other capitalists, whose capital is calculated so far by hundreds of billions – and they are at war with each other for a “fairer” distribution of this capital. The Russian oligarchy, which has trillions, wants to “distribute” to itself also the billions that the Ukrainian bourgeoisie is rolling in. The process is triggered by the overproduction crisis and the law of maximum profit. Similarly, the Western and Ukrainian oligarchies believe that the trillions of Russian “Gazprom” are distributed unfairly, and therefore they need to be distributed in a new way, i.e., taken away from the Russian monopolies and for themselves.
But since such “justice” cannot be established peacefully, at the negotiating table, a war begins. And in order for the Ukrainian and Russian people to go to this war, the bourgeoisie manpulates them with the “national” ideology of “defending the fatherland”, “defending the Russian world against fascism”, etc. But, as already mentioned, the Donbass war is waged by modern capitalist slavocracy not for “fatherland” or “worlds”, but ultimately, for the strengthening and reinforcement of world capitalist slavery.
This is exactly the case: the war in the Donbass strengthens and prolongs the wage slavery, because our proletariat (Ukrainian and Russian, above all) is still split and crushed, and capitalists are winning both ways by profiting from the war, poisoning peoples with national prejudices and strengthening the fascist reaction. The governments on both sides see in the war a means to divert the attention of the working people from the situation inside our countries, to shift the attention of the workers from the class struggle with “their own” bourgeoisie to the “external enemy”. For the Russian oligarchy, the seizure of the Ukrainian territories is an additional factor in strengthening its position, since the seizure of other people’s wealth and the receipt of 2.5–3 million new slaves temporarily stabilize the capitalist stagnation of the economy, allowing capitalism to win some time not by developing the productive forces, but by plunder and brutal exploitation of these new slaves.
And this is what we have: capitalism has turned from a once living and progressive into a corpse, into an extremely reactionary social system and a backward, one might say, ancient way of production. Over the years of its existence on the planet, it has greatly developed the productive forces of labor. But these forces no longer endure the old, stifling capitalist private property relations. They wither, capitalism is forced to periodically destroy some of its productive forces. At the same time, the imperialist wars are the sharpest expression of the contradiction between the demands of the normal development of the productive forces of society and capitalist property relations that are stifling humanity and pulling it into the grave.
Another such war has already begun, and its worldwide expansion is on our doorstep. And we will either have to overthrow capitalism and go over to the socialist system, or, if we do not understand what is happening, if we are cowardly and “do not want upheavals”, to rot for dozens of years, to survive for decades the global armed struggle of financial capital groups for the artificial preservation of capitalism.
In other words, the question we are facing is this: either to put an end to the terrible era of imperialism, with no inevitable victims, cruelties or deprivations to stop us, or to die painfully in the long horror of world crises and wars.
Whom did the Donetsk proletariat “betray”?
For the working class and the rest of the LDPR workers in 2014–2017 there has been just a change of some slave owners and exploiters to others. The Ukrainian bourgeoisie has driven out by competitors from the Russian Federation from the territory and markets of part of Donbass. The power has remained in the hands of the capitalist class. The mode of production and social order in the DPR and LPR has also remained the same, capitalist. The exploitation of labor has increased, little has remained of the already abridged democratic rights and freedoms. Slowly, in stages, but real wages of workers are steadily decreasing, military disasters are aggravated by growing need.
So what “social revolution in Donbass” was in question or the yellers of 2014–2015, the opportunists from parties like RCWP (Russian Communist Workers’ Party) and CPRF (Communist Party of the Rssian Federation), given the key issue of any revolution – winning the political power by the advanced class was not on the agenda to be solved?
On the other hand, what is supposed to be the “national treason” the Ukrainian bourgeoisie is blaming the LDPR of? What have they betrayed?
One slavery, one chain and a muzzle were replaced for them by others. Both kinds of chains are no better and no worse than each other, both becoming more and more heavy and painful with time. Which is surely quite clear for the ideologists of the Ukrainian bourgeoisie, which makes the yelling about the “treason” still louder. No wonder: when slaves along with the land and production tools are taken away from one slave owner, it only remains for the “robbed one” to blame the competitor for the robbery, and the slaves for the betrayal of the “native” whip. Well, and prepare for the “liberation” campaign on the arrogant neighbor.
What could the workers of the captured areas of Donbass determine in 2014?
They could really have determined their fate, but only in one case: if they had taken full control of the political power in the country, that is, they would have accomplished a socialist coup. What with oligarchy in power, it is not the people, but only it — the highest and richest stratum of the bourgeoisie — who does decide how the peoples shoud live, who does determine the entire policy of their governments. Saying the opposite means openly deriding the truth.
It should be born in mind that in 2014–2015. the majority of Donbass workers, unorganized, fooled by propaganda on both sides, confused and politically inconspicuous, did not consider the Russian state to be a foreign and hostile aggressor state. This is another feature of the war in the Donbass: if, for example, the areas of the current LDPR were captured by the troops of Poland or, say, Turkey, then the population of these areas would definitely consider that there was aggression, occupation, military seizure, which must be answered with a fair national war of liberation.
But in 2014, the workers of Donbass believed that it was Russia that “saved” the population of Crimea from fascism, mass slaughter and concentration camps. So, against the background of skillfully created hysteria, pictures on TV, in which vandalism, corpses and excesses of the “Kiev junta” were shown, the inhabitants saw the only salvation of their life and property either in joining the Russian Federation as soon as possible, or in its army entering into the borders of Donetsk and Lugansk regions as a guarantor of security, and at the same time – as a guarantor of the wide autonomy of these regions within the Ukraine.
The peculiarity of the war in the Donbass is that it is waged by the “national” bourgeoisie heading the two former USSR republics, and that representatives of one social class are fighting each other, and they are also former citizens of a single socialist state, who spontaneously realize the abnormality of this condition. In both countries, the working people have a strong desire to unite, to bring back socialism and to restore the USSR. Hence, among the working masses, the war of the two fraternal peoples is perceived as a nightmare, as a terrible misfortune, although not yet openly discussed in the autonomy of these regions within the Ukraine.
This situation was taken into account by the bourgeoisie in the ideological preparation of the war. In particular, when the Russian government conducted propaganda “about returning the Crimea home” and “protecting the Crimeans from the fascist massacre” or about “protecting the Donetsk brothers from the Ukrainian fascism”, this is how the territorial seizures were presented:
- in the Crimea – as the beginning of gathering the great country together, and, therefore, as the beginning of restoring “the new USSR in the new conditions” on the basis of huge Russia, capable “by the very fact of presence of gas, oil and all conceivable natural riches, to provide Crimeans with prosperous and cultural life”, Which could not be given by “the evil and greedy Ukraine “.
This was also brought to consciousness in this way: that the Kremlin’s decisive step in the Crimea is the very first step towards socialism that people have been waiting for 27 years. Like, once Russia has decided to gather pieces of the former USSR around itself, then this should automatically mean that the restoration of socialism has begun.
This picture was well in line with the aggravation of conflicts with the West : the competitive struggle of the Russian and Western monopolies seemed to the naive citizens a continuation of the “cold war” between the USA and the USSR, where the Russian Federation plays for the USSR party. The very fact of the struggle between the capitalist monopolies of the United States and the Russian Federation was presented and interpreted so that the Russian Federation had “suddenly turned” into the USSR and acquired the same class and political essence as the first country of socialism;
- in the Donbas – almost as a socialist revolution, as “the beginning of the construction of a new happy life for all the working people of Donbass”. Allegedly, the Ukraine had previously prevented this with its economic, political and national oppression of the rich region having all conditions for a normal life. But the bourgeois propagandists and their Menshevik parrots from the very first days of the Ukrainian coup d’etat had stated that it was not by way of a revolution of the working class that socialism should have “appeared” for the workers of Donbass – “God, save us from revolutions!” but by way of a mechanic separation from the Ukraine and a transition under the protection of the Russian army, to the “Russian world”. Socialism was obtained quickly and simply for Russian opportunists and propagandists — within the framework of the imperialist state of the Russian Federation and without any class struggle. And I must say that many of our workers believed in this political nonsense, the more so because the Ukrainian bourgeoisie, for its part, tried its best to strengthen and consolidate this total deception of workers in the Donbass.
Such was, in general terms, the huge lie of the Russian bourgeoisie, with the help of which it conducted its seizures in 2014.
From the Kerch Incident
On November 25, 2018 in the Kerch Strait, the maritime forces of two bourgeois states — the Ukraine and Russia — collided. From this point on, the likelihood of a big war in the Black Sea region, and consequently, a global scale war, has greatly increased.
As we mentioned above, the Russian and Ukrainian oligarchies have one main owner – Western financial capital. But if so, what should its vassals share?
The matter is that the internationalization of capital does not eliminate a bit of most brutal struggle of national capitals among themselves for markets, raw materials, for external influence, for control over other, weaker states. Although, say, Morgan and Vanderbilt banks have controlling stakes in many of the most important “national” enterprises in Russia, still, the Russian co-owners of these enterprises would like to receive “full stakes”, and in addition, to move off Morgan and Vanderbildt on a number of markets, primarily on the oil and gas and financial ones.
Hence: the younger Russian partners, being also vassals in relation to the largest American banks and financial groups, and at the same time their fierce competitors, in one area relatively peacefully share profits, and in the other – fight for profits to death. The class of the Russian financial oligarchy, albeit with an eye on it, still has its own views on world markets. Therefore, every war in which it is already participating or intending to participate (by the hands of the working people) must be viewed as a continuation of its class policy, which the bourgeois state of the Russian Federation pursues and defends.
The war in the Donbass, or a new big war, for which Russia and the Ukraine are preparing today, is a war where bourgeois governments are participating or will participate on both sides. This war does not liberate the working class of our countries, but, on the contrary, aggravates its enslavement. Such a war on both sides will be an unjust and predatory one.
Are there “just” aggressors and “just” “defenders of the fatherland” in such a war?
The Ukrainian and Western bourgeoisie are unanimously shouting about Russia as the “instigator” of not only the Donbass war, but also any other war that could flare up around the Ukraine and the Black Sea. Every day, the Ukrainian people are told that “they have attacked us, and we are simply defending ourselves,” and therefore the interests of all working people demand repulse to the Russian aggressor.
But let our workers not judge by the external form, but look into the core of the issue. So far, Russia and the Ukraine, as well as all those states that are going to fight against Russia, are capitalist, imperialist states. Imperialism is a competition between groups of the largest bourgeoisie for a large share of world production, it is the desire of capital to split and suppress the labor movement on a world scale, the desire to postpone the world socialist revolution. Capitalism is fighting for the remnants of its life, and an imperialist war (with all its attributes) in this sense is the latest and most radical expression of all the class interests of the modern big bourgeoisie. There are no interests of the working class and all the exploited workers in such a war, except for the fact that a world war objectively brings an end to the era of capitalism.
Therefore, the main objective of the looming war remains in the continuation of the policy of imperialism, that is, the struggle against the revolution, the repartition of world wealth, the plundering of foreign countries and nations. Is it important in this case, who will be the first to shoot? In all countries that are preparing for war, the bourgeoisie uses the fascist dictatorship and nationalist ideology to strengthen its rear, to fool the broad masses and set the proletarians of one country on the workers of other countries.
Is it worth for Ukrainian workers to defend their bourgeois fatherland?
The defense of such a “fatherland” is the defense of “its own” bourgeoisie, its right to plunder, the defense of workers’ slave position, which disfigures and breaks the normal connection of the Ukrainian worker with his homeland. From the protection of the bourgeois “fatherland”, the Ukrainian worker does not become the master of his land, but falls into even more and more severe slavery. On the contrary, the military defeat of the government contributes to the destruction of the bourgeois state and the seizure of power by the proletariat. Only the victory of the working class can give the Ukrainian working people their real homeland, freedom and all material and cultural benefits.
Therefore, it is impossible to defend one’s own country otherwise than by fighting by all revolutionary means against the capitalists in one’s country, since it is they who are the main and worst enemies of both the Ukraine and Russia. It is clear that no conscious worker can wish victory to any of the robbers. The task of the proletariat of our countries, quite the contrary, is to take advantage of their struggle and destroy capitalism in their homelands.
It is a completely different matter after the victory of the Russian or Ukrainian proletariat over their bourgeoisie. Then the question of the defense of the fatherland no longer has quotes and is put directly: the workers are obliged to protect their acquired homeland, in which they are the complete masters and where all social wealth belongs to the working people, and not to the capitalists. In this case, all workers become the most solid and irreconcilable defenders of their country. Yes, the victorious working class continues to fight with the imperialists of different countries, but under no circumstances these fair wars can boil into unfair ones, because such wars of proletariat do not bear seizures all the working people, but peace and liberation from capitalist slavery and exploitation.
Once again: will the war that is being started be fair on the Russian or Ukrainian part? No, because fair wars are always a continuation of the policies of progressive, revolutionary classes. Such wars always express the interests of the working people. But in the state of the Russian Federation or in the Ukraine, so far it is the reactionary bourgeoisie that is the ruling class, not the progressive working class. Therefore, Russia, the Ukraine and the United States express the will of their reactionary classes and are preparing for an unfair, predatory war directed against the peoples, against progress.
This means that the political content of a war, its true nature is also determined by the fact that an unfair war is always led by those who struggle with the revolutionary movement, who go against the interests of the working class, against the socialist revolution. Moreover, if the victorious working class of any of these countries would start a war against bourgeois Russia or bourgeois Ukraine, this would be the fairest and most justified war of the historically progressive class.
But one should not think that the future big war will by itself lead to a socialist revolution. The reactionary war, the total lie of the bourgeoisie of all countries, which covers the predatory goals of a “national” ideology or “defense of the fatherland”, the incredible military disasters of the masses – all this will create both objective conditions and prerequisites for a revolutionary situation and revolutionary sentiments in the working class of Russia and the Ukraine . But these prerequisites and moods will need to be clarified, brought to the minds of the masses, strengthened and properly shaped. Without a conscious vanguard, without the political organization of the working class, without the proletariat, properly propagandized and organized for the class struggle against the bourgeoisie, it is impossible to turn an imperialist war into a civil war against “their own” governments. The spontaneous movement of workers against war and oppression, not permeated by the Bolshevik political leadership, although it is of paramount importance, will still suffer defeat after defeat.
This does not mean that the working class and its growing vanguard must be left alone against the looming war. It is against a big war that the broadest popular front is needed, with all the anti-fascist, peace-loving and democratic forces of Russia and the Ukraine united in it. Moreover, these fronts will need to merge, unite in a single movement, without any regard for borders, national frameworks and all sorts of government bans of the bourgeoisie. It is clear that the leading and guiding force of this united front should be the working class of our republics, whose revolutionary nature is dictated by the conditions of their life, united through all their organizations, legal and illegal. The anti-war and anti-fascist front itself can and should become the main force of the bourgeois-democratic stage in the development of the working class revolution.
Whether the bourgeois-democratic revolution is to be all-round, so it would sweep away the fascist dictatorship and establish wide bourgeois freedoms, or whether somewhere the revolutionary situation will require the proletariat to take power immediately, without intermediate stages, we don’t know. But we do know for sure that the victory of the socialist revolution requires the struggle for democracy, the struggle against fascism and against war.
Hence it is clear that the successful struggle against the criminal predatory war of the world oligarchy, as well as the very destruction of its domination, directly depend on how quickly and well we in the Ukraine and Russia can create a workers’ party of the Bolshevik type, uniting and bringing to the “working” condition those of its rudiments we have. This task cannot lie only on the Russian or only on the Ukrainian communists, this is our common task, from which no conscious left-winger can get away and has no right to, no matter how hard it may be, no matter how scared all of us are of punishment for “high treason” . Creating such a party is the main task of the day.
Another thing is that under the conditions of terror on the part of the police (SBU, MGB, FSB, etc.), all the work or a part of the work of circles and cells cannot be done legally. But the Bolshevik work in the conditions of war is almost 100% illegal. So what? These are the normal conditions of the class struggle during the war period, when governments issue and implement all sorts of draconian measures to strengthen the rule of the bourgeoisie, suppress the labor movement and suply the war with cannon fodder. There will be no other conditions, milder or more liberal, in wartime in any country in the war, no matter how democratic it may seem before the outbreak of war. The bourgeoisie itself very often violates legality and its own laws, it sneezes at the foundations of its own constitutions. Then why is the working class obliged to honor bourgeois laws? – Once the experience has very long since shown that it is impossible to lead to a mass revolution without creating an illegal organization to message, discuss, evaluate, prepare revolutionary means of struggle.
But it also follows from this that the struggle for democracy and civil rights and freedoms should also be the task of a broad anti-war front; the struggle against the fascist dictatorship. Anti-war slogans themselves are of little value if a popular movement led by class-conscious workers is not politically enlightened, does not fight against the true causes of war, and does not try to achieve the necessary conditions for the success of such a struggle. The pacifist world is a utopia, since an end to wars is impossible without proletarian revolutions. Therefore, the Communists must explain to the working people that it is impossible to limit themselves to concessions to the bourgeoisie, to stopping and postponing war, this delays the slaughter and the ruin of countries only for a short time, after which the war begins with a vengeance. For workers and their families in the Ukraine and in Russia there is no salvation outside the revolutionary overthrow of “their own” governments, and therefore the defeats and difficulties of these governments in the war should be used precisely for this purpose, and not at all to sympathize with “their own” bourgeoisie or help it.
The mood of the working people in favor of peace can and should lead to the beginning of a broad protest, outrage and awareness of the reactionary nature of war. We must use this mood. The advanced workers, the circle members, the most conscious leftists are obliged to take part in every movement and in any demonstration against the war, but they have no right to deceive the people to the effect that the root of wars will be removed as a result of meetings and declarations and demonstrations alone, without a hard revolutionary struggle, without defeat and overthrow of the government. Such a deception, although it will be pleasant for the opportunists and some of the working people, but it will be quickly revealed and exposed by an outbreak or a further expansion of the current war.
A couple of words to our fellow workers from the Western Ukraine. We have repeatedly explained to them that the international affair of modern Bolshevism is not anti-national, not anti-Ukrainian. Our comrades, speaking out against the violent Russification and oppression of the population of the Western Ukraine, so far haave put their class interests under national control, they mechanically transfer the conditions of Tsarist Russia to the present day and believe that the Russian working class has the same goals in the Ukraine as the Russian imperialists.
What we say is that the fundamental class interests of the Lvov, Donetsk and Rostov workers are the same. What should we share? Do workers in Ternopol and Lvio live a full, prosperous and cultural life? No, they live in poverty and degradation, just like the workers in Donetsk or Rostov. Are not the Lvov workers called to defend their poverty and degeneration, are they not sent to slaughter for the power and wealth of their bourgeoisie? They are, exactly as in Donetsk or Ryazan the slaves of capital are forced to go to war for power and profits of the imperialist slave owners.
We say that the national question for the workers is a question subordinated to a class question. We say that the real flourishing of the Ukrainian national culture and language is possible namely and only under socialism, when there is no private property in society and there is no class interested in mass political and general darkness of consciousness, nationalism, hostility of peoples, and when the victorious proletariat of the Ukraine itself, and where all the workers will solve the question of the sovereignty of their new socialist state, based on their own class interests, and not on the interests of a small group of private owners.
All the wealth of Ukrainian folk customs and traditions is not an obstacle to the revolution and our common class struggle. Quite the contrary: the protection of national culture from vulgarization and degeneration is an additional weighty reason to fight with one’s own and any other bourgeoisie that directly destroys these traditions, deadens, distorts them, and hinders the mutual cultural enrichment of our peoples. The revolutionary demolition of private property and exploitation, the demolition of political and national barriers, badly needed by every “own” bourgeoisie, will cause real growth and flourishing of our national cultures, which will be socialist cultures in their content and will no longer have any obstacles to their growth and development.
The workers of the Western Ukraine cannot fail to recognize the nature of the war in the Donbas, imperialistic, robbering for all the warring parties. To blindly consider the Ukraine to be a “victim of aggression” means to support one’s own oppressors, justify them, strengthen one’s slavish position, and willingly or unwittingly to fight the international labor movement on the side of the bourgeoisie. This means, after all, it is precisely anti-national, anti-Ukrainian policy. The only correct national policy in the course of the imperialist war can only be the common socialist, revolutionary policy of the working class of the Ukraine and Russia.
In the era of the imperialist war, there can be no salvation either for the Russian working people or for the Ukrainian people, except for the common revolutionary action of the proletariat of both nations. This action suggests that the advanced parts of the national working class in their struggle against the bourgeoisie resolutely go beyond any framework of nationality, break this framework and together beat and overthrow both their national and international bourgeoisie. This means that since every “own,” that is, national, bourgeoisie is today national only in name, the struggle and victory of Donetsk and Rostov proletarians is important and necessary for Lvov and Ternopol workers. The overthrow of the bourgeois government, for example, in the DPR (let’s imagine it today), will objectively strengthen the class struggle in the Ukraine and accelerate the fall of the bourgeois government in Kiev, and the victory of the revolution in Kiev can become a prologue and overture of the collapse of the Russian oligarchic state. Therefore, the whole question today is in political organization, solidarity and unity of actions of the working class of our countries. With all this the days of capitalism are numbered.