By Fighting Words Editorial Staff
The Communist Workers League critically supports the Russian military intervention in Ukraine, which de facto defends the existence of the two worker states in the Donbass region: the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics. For eight years these two states, under constant fire from Ukrainian pro-NAZI militias, have been a beacon of hope for both the Russian and Ukrainian working class.
Russian intervention is also a direct result of decades of relentless U.S. policy to expand the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) aggressively eastward toward Russia. If Ukraine joined NATO, as threatened, U.S. troops, military bases and missiles would have been placed right along the 1200 mile border that Ukraine shares with Russia. This is clearly unacceptable to Russia.
We call for the dissolution of NATO, a military instrument of U.S. Imperialism designed to maintain Wall Street’s hegemony over not only Europe but also over the rest of the world.
We also call for the ending of all of Biden’s sanctions against Russia, designed to punish and impoverish the Russian people, but which will also further reduce the living standards of the workers and oppressed both in the U.S. and Europe, already racked by record-breaking inflation, gasoline price spikes, rent hikes, termination of child tax credits, wage stagnation, and much more while at the same time pouring trillions into the vaults of the war industry, the oil and gas giants, and the collection of 750 parasite billionaires that currently set policy in this country.
A February 23 New York Times editorial carried this statement that contains an astounding amount of hypocrisy:
But no, there is absolutely no justification for a brazen invasion of a weaker neighbor. To answer Mr. Biden’s anguished question, nobody and nothing have given Mr. Putin the right to seize territory or decide the fate of neighboring nations.
Perhaps the Times believes that its sentiment will resonate with the people of Mexico, or Grenada, or Panama, or Iraq, or Afghanistan, or Honduras, or Chile, or the Philippines or all the other places that U.S. Imperialism has plotted coups, invaded and / or occupied to enrich its capitalist ruling class. Some like Cuba and Venezuela have already announced support for the Russian intervention and denounced NATO expansion.
Vladimir Putin is no communist or socialist, despite what the U.S. corporate media, particularly the “liberal” portion like CNN and MSNBC proclaims. When Putin announced the Russian “special military operation” into Ukraine, he said:
So, I will start with the fact that modern Ukraine was entirely created by Russia or, to be more precise, by Bolshevik, Communist Russia. This process started practically right after the 1917 revolution, and Lenin and his associates did it in a way that was extremely harsh on Russia — by separating, severing what is historically Russian land.
No, Lenin’s principled stand for the oppressed nations’ right to self determination was not a cause of the current crisis. Instead, it was a bulwark for the success of the Russian Revolution. Combined with the Marxist analysis of capitalism and imperialism, it brought unity to the struggle to overturn the Tsarist regime and create the first successful socialist state that the world had ever seen. Millions of Ukrainians and Russians as well as other nationalities in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.) perished fighting together to defeat the NAZI onslaught in World War II.
The power of that principle has sustained anti-colonial and national liberation struggle around the world and is an integral part of the oppressed communities struggles here in the U.S., from the Black Panthers to the Young Lords, from the American Indian Movement to the Black Lives Matter Movement.
So what is the cause of the current conflict in Ukraine, where the Russian-speaking residents now feel threatened by the extreme Ukrainian nationalist and fascist militias that determine government policy?
In February 2014, the U.S. funded, to the tune of $5 billion, and supported a right-wing coup that ousted democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych, who fled for his life. He had committed the “crime” of choosing to make an economic deal with Russia’s Common Union instead of the European Union. This U.S. gambit was directed by State Department Assistant Director Victoria Nuland and then Vice-President and current President Joe Biden.
In May of 2014, the pro-NAZI Right Sector group attacked Russian-speaking residents protesting the government as they sought shelter in a union building in the city of Odessa. A May 2nd, 2014, article from the Guardian reported:
Odessa’s large Soviet-era trade union building was set alight on Friday as the pro-Ukraine activists mounted an assault as dusk fell. Police said at least 31 people choked to death on smoke or were killed when jumping out of windows after the trade union building was set on fire.
Bodies lay in pools of blood outside the main entrance as explosions from improvised grenades and Molotov cocktails filled the air. Black smoke from the building and a burning pro-Russia protest camp wreathed the nearby square.
That same weekend, NAZI militias began their “ethnic cleansing” campaign in Ukraine’s east region by conducting vicious pogroms against Russian-speaking communities there. In response, miners and other workers in that region established two “people’s republics” to defend themselves against these fascists. That struggle has lasted eight years and cost 14,000 lives.
Ukraine’s current president, Volodymyr Zelensky, won his election by promising to bring peace to the country. Yet as a February 9th New York Times article points out, armed fascist groups play an outsized role in setting policy:
Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, has few cards to play in any talks with Moscow. Perhaps his strongest is the threat of an insurgency by nationalist groups like Democratic Ax and the even more influential Right Sector in the event of a Russian invasion.
But the groups are a two-edged sword, threatening not just the Kremlin but also the Ukrainian government, which could be rocked and possibly overthrown by them if Mr. Zelensky agrees to a peace deal that in their minds gives too much to Moscow.
Ukraine’s foreign minister and defense minister have both said in recent days that the greatest risk the country faces is internal destabilization under the threat of a Russian invasion, not an actual attack.
And in a country whose citizens have twice taken to the streets in the post-Soviet period and unceremoniously booted out governments seen as doing Moscow’s bidding, this is no idle threat. Analysts say that Mr. Zelensky would be taking extreme political risks even to entertain a peace deal, which is why he is so careful not to talk about possible avenues for negotiations.
When Zelensky dropped out of the Minsk Agreement negotiations last Spring, he announced that the only “solution” to bring peace was NATO intervention, music to the ears of Wall Street and the Pentagon.
No war with Russia! Dissolve NATO – End U.S. Imperialism! Defund the Pentagon! End Sanctions Against Russia, Cuba, Venezuela and other nations! Money for health care, education, jobs, housing … Not Wars Abroad!