The people are the victims of the imperialist conflict
The developments regarding the conflict in Ukraine are dramatic. In order to follow them properly, from the class point of view of the workers, the poor popular strata and the youth, we must, first of all, shield ourselves against the crusade of propaganda and ideological terrorism that the bourgeois governments and forces have unleashed along with the media of the west imperialist camp (US-EU-NATO).
The Imperialist Invention of Russia.
First of all, we have to look at the aims and the course of the Russian invasion, beyond the unhistorical and despicable, anti-communist and anti-bolshevik statements of Putin. And, of course, we have to look beyond the sorrow, the anxiety and the fury caused by the drama of another people suffering the horrors of war, after the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Palestine…
Russia, reconstructed after the collapse of the USSR and the painful decade of 1990-2000 that followed, had made it clear since 2008 (with the war in Georgia, where Abkhazia and South Ossetia became independent) and later with its reaction to the fascist Maidan coup in Ukraine (annexation of Crimea, support for Russian speaking people in the east, etc.) that it would not accept a further suffocating encirclement by the US and NATO.
Taking into account the deep crisis of the Western imperialists, which worsened after 2020 (economic crisis, defeat in Afghanistan, internal divisions in the US and the EU), Russia demanded commitments concerning Ukraine’s exclusion from NATO, as well as the creation of a “security zone” on its west borders. It aspired to turn the favorable shift of relations into tangible results or even to transfer the pressure to the Western imperialists, especially the Europeans and Germany, aiming at their further division. At the same time, it was ready – as it turned out – to intervene when its claims were ignored.
The major goal of Russia’s imperialist intervention is – as it seems – to hamper its encirclement and NATO expansion into Ukrainian territory. Another intent is to impose, in practice, the ” security perimeter”, which the Western imperialists along with their mouthpiece – the semi-fascist regime in Kiev – refused to provide. This could mean the division of Ukraine. As things stand, this is probably the most likely development, without anything being categorically ruled out.
For what it is worth, we can say that Russia would reasonably like to avoid a total war (no matter how appalling the Western imperialist propaganda about Russian “barbarism”, forgetting the crimes of their own “free world”).
On the contrary, under the pretext of highlighting “Putin’s barbarism, “it is the United States that are preparing the worst for the whole world by guiding their puppet Zelensky and the fascist pack that surrounds him and by using “his” people as a shield.
Arsonist Νο1: The American Imperialism
The war in Ukraine (contrary to the propaganda of the Western imperialists as well as the confusion that has spread to a large part of the left) did not “start” with Putin’s address in the early hours of Thursday 24/2.
Although in an imperialist war the matter is not who the “first attacker” is, it is a fact that the initiative of the movements on the front of Ukraine has belonged for more than 15 years to the American imperialism, which dragged its European imperialist “partners” behind it. In 2004, with the “Orange Revolution”, they imposed a change of leadership in the country. In 2014, orchestrating the Maidan fascist-style coup (with the leading role of the current US ambassador to Greece, Jeffrey Payat), they launched an overt offensive in an attempt to gain full control of the country, while a semi-fascist regime was set in Kiev, in which far-right and Nazi organizations act uncontrollably based on their significant networking throughout the country, their inclusion in the Ukrainian army and support from the CIA. This was done despite the serious voices inside the US (including that of the “guru” of international policy, Kissinger) that the further expansion of NATO is wrong, because Russia will be forced to react -as was the case in the annexation of Crimea and the control of the eastern Russian-speaking regions (these also required that Putin suppress the most class-radical elements of the 2014 anti-Maidan uprising, who also had a communist-internationalist reference). Subsequently, the US continued to incite tension, canceling any compromise attempt (Minsk Agreements between Russia-Ukraine-Germany-France), constantly waging a civil war against the eastern regions, with thousands of casualties.
Two other factors contributed to the US decision to take advantage of the situation and push things to an immediate escalation: a) In the years 2020 and 2021, in the vortex of the pandemic, it became clear that the economic crisis was leading to further degradation of Western imperialists and the strengthening of China. b) One year of Biden ‘s rule showed the failure of any alternative policy and burdened the crisis with additional failures and defeats (Afghanistan, etc.), leaving open only the way of a flight forward, to war “solutions”.
That’s why, all this last period of time, (after some retrogressions by Trump), especially after Biden’s democrat hawks took over the presidency, the United States have been preparing quickly: reinforcement oftheir bases and NATO in Eastern Europe, exercises of encircling Russia in the Black Sea and coup attempts in countries of its influence (Belarus, Kazakhstan, etc.). It seems that they had already decided to sacrifice Ukraine or part of it (besides, as a country and a regime, it was a “black hole” ) in order to use the “Russian threat” as a blackmail to achieve three things: 1. Full alignment or rather submission of the European imperialists. 2. NATO’s revival. 3. A favorable shift in the energy map, by forcibly cutting off Russian energy.
After all, the brainwashing of public opinion by the Western media not only with false concepts like the “heroic resistance led by Zelensky ” or the “legions of foreigners and volunteers” (which are, in reality, all kinds of mercenaries, extreme rights and scums from around the world) or for a liberating guerrilla war in Ukraine, shows that whatever the current outcome of military operations, the US war in Ukraine will continue. Moreover, after the potential division of the country, the western part will probably join the EU and NATO with concise procedures.
In other words, seeing that time was running out, American imperialism aggressively opened the game of the “final solution”, of the subjugation of Russia, keeping always in sight its next conflict with China.
The EU a “Dark Continent”
The speed at which the European imperialists lined up behind American imperialism and unfolded their answers shows that these plans had been long ready, at least for their most determined, belligerent wing, which, at least for now, appears to be dominating, as the new doctrine “we must prepare for war” shows. The EU, this “holy family” of the “liberal democracies” (!) has been preparing the fiercest anti-labor attacks, the darkest state of emergency with the most severe restrictions on democratic freedoms (censorship, etc.), the most unbridled pro-NATO policy and the most frantic militarism. Apart from the ideological and political dominance of fascism that they attempt to impose, through the anti-Russian hysteria pogroms, the epitome is the Scholz’s decision (apparently known only by few) to re-arm Germany. Once again in history, the European Social Democrats (along with the “progressive” Greens) are fiercely doing the dirtiest job as an agent of American imperialism. Once again, the war gives European imperialists a chance to try and crush the “internal enemy”, the labor movement, thus trying to find a way out of their crisis.
However, their position is dire. Their complete submission to American imperialism means that they will be the first to pay, heavily, for the economic crisis. The “awakening” and re- militarization of Europe, celebrated by all sorts of “We live in Europe” proponents, will not mean some autonomy, but that the EU will become a NATO component for good. The European imperialists, after being constantly left behind (economically, technologically, culturally, etc.) for almost 20 years, sinking into the impasses of their divisions ( Brexit , etc.), unable to devise their own strategy for the US-China conflict which was shaping and at the same time shaped the future of the world, are now heading towards their final degradation into a regional power. This course will widen the divisions within them, although they seem -for the time being- to have been set aside. But the price to be paid by the workers and the people of Europe is truly immesurable.
A New Cold War?
Comparisons with the Cold War are misplaced, for several reasons: a) There are no two different social regimes: Russia is a capitalist economy (with whatever peculiarities) and so is China, b) The Cold War was based on a reconstruction of Europe, with American imperialism in the role of the hegemonic, global “restraining force”. In contrast, today there is a long wave of recession of the global capitalist economy (lasting 50 years already), while the EU has been receiving an attack of a historic degrade -by American imperialism as well. c) Western imperialists, even after the post-war collapse of the old colonial empires, could rely on the structures of neo-colonialism. Today, this whole structure of the imperialist system is being shaken from top to bottom, in an unprecedented way in history, if it has not already been overthrown to their detriment, as shown especially by the rise of China and the emergence of other major or regional powers. d) During the Cold War, time passed in favor of the European and American imperialists (who had great economic superiority), allowing them to push the stalinist regimes (“existing socialism”) -through the constant pressure they exercised (arms race)- to collapse due to the outbreak of their inner contradictions.
However, the reference to “Cold War 2” is useful to Western imperialists as an element of an intimidating ideological attack on the labor movement. On the one hand, to blur the world-historical changes that have taken place against them, preserving any illusions of Western supremacy. On the other hand, and above all, to subjugate the labor movement to a polarized perspective and to a tolerance or alignment with their plans, invoking Putin’s “absolute evil” and “Asian despotism”, or the plans for the “revival of the tsarist empire”- as they had been invoking the “communist threat” in the past. At the same time, of course, they erase their own historical crimes against humanity: colonialism, fascism, imperialist wars and interventions, the “war on terror”, etc.
Anxiety about Nuclear Weapons
It is a fact that Russia’s nuclear armory is a threat to all the people, especially when it is in the hands of an authoritarian, reactionary, and nationalist leadership, which was established on the humiliation of Russian society after the collapse of the USSR.
But it is not only Russia (where the international media is focusing) that has nuclear weapons, it is also -and foremost- the United States and other Western imperialists and their allies. Recently, the US, under Trump, had refused to renew the agreement for the reduction of nuclear weapons in Europe, as proposed by Russia – a refusal which allows them to deploy nuclear weapons at NATO bases scattered throughout Europe (and of course in Greece). This is also true for Germany, where the decision on its monstrous re-armament poses the threat of acquiring nuclear weapons, always under the pretext of “defense” against Russia.
Nuclear catastrophe is the absolute limit for humanity, therefore for labor movement’s struggle for socialism. The slogan «NO to Nuclear Weapons» is now firmly on the forefront of workers’ and people’s struggles.
Sanctions and Global Economy
There is no doubt that the sanctions will hit Russia hard (withdrawal of Western companies, restriction of banking and trade, etc). This is another reason why Russia does not want to get bogged down in Ukraine. The problem is not so much the Russian ” oligarchs ” (the big capitalists and multinationals of the West, who pretend to be virtuous businessmen, will of course snatch, as in any war, a part of the loot they used to gladly share with each other), but the suffering of the Russian people.
However, sanctions are a double-edged sword. Since 2014, Russia has prepared significant defenses, accumulating large reserves, making a serious turn (with all the necessary limits that this has) to some “self-sufficiency”, while its debt is only 1/3 of GDP (there is no comparison with the levels of 100% and above of the western imperialists).
In general, the financial crisis has already intensified. After the continuous sharpening of economic nationalisms for more than 10 years, the world economy is now moving rapidly towards a vertical division, in which Western imperialists can only feel unsafe when their economies falter. In Asia, on the other hand, not only is the center of gravity of the world economy shifting, but also a colossal rival bloc is forming, as Russia (cut off from any hope of compromise and any other way out, due to the raging aggression of US imperialism) leans further and further to the “depths” of China.
The new arms race in Europe and the US will also have this goal, to reheat the capitalist economies, which are sinking into inflation and stagnation, with the working class and the people bleeding from high prices, unemployment, poverty, anti-labor and anti-democratic attacks.
Against the Imperialist War
Mankind has entered a dark period and is experiencing hours of great tension. The people suffer and anguish they reject the unfair, imperialist war and they have no interest in siding with any of the reactionary, imperialist forces that are in conflict. But this is not enough. More than ever, the conflict is not just about the tragedy of the Ukrainian people or their national rights. Nor are we especially benefited by general, abstract or pacifist sermons such as “the people do not need protectors” or “we do not choose an imperialist, we are with the people”.
We need a policy of class independence, truly anti-imperialist and internationalist, according to which every working class must fight “the enemy within its own country”. In Greece and Europe, this means that we must extract the anti-war sentiment from the hypocritical, insidious, dirty, belligerent hands of the government, the Greek bourgeoisie and the US-EU-NATO imperialists, who want to turn it into our subjugation to their own war against Russia-China. Only in this way are we really going to contribute to an international anti-war anti-imperialist movement, which is a precondition for the survival of humanity today.