12/06/2014 by socialistfight
Statement by the Liaison Committee for the Fourth International June 2014 (long version)
It is first of all necessary to establish what the geopolitical strategic war aims of US Imperialism in the Ukraine are as part of their global strategy. The following quote is part of an introduction by Eric Zuesse in Global Research to a documentary, US support of violent neo-Nazis in Ukraine: Video Compilation, which outlines those and exposes the Goebbels-style lying propaganda of the western mass media in that political context:
However, in order really to understand this documentary, one needs first to understand the background of the effort that was started by U.S. President Bill Clinton, and that’s now being continued (in overdrive) by President Barack Obama; to surround Russia with U.S. and other NATO missiles, basically so as to complete what President Ronald Reagan had started with his “Star Wars” missile-defence program, which started as little more than a boondoggle for U.S. military contractors, but which now has become an authentic technological possibility: to encircle Russia (originally the USSR) with U.S. weapons, in order to impose an unchallengeable mono-polar, 100% U.S.-aristocracy-controlled, world, so that the U.S. aristocracy will control all foreign aristocracies and thus all nations’ economies.
…But there is a still-deeper level that’s not touched upon in this film: Maintaining control by the U.S. aristocracy requires two things: U.S. military control of the world (as just mentioned), and also continuation of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency — the currency that’s used in international corporate transactions. If anything, the U.S. aristocracy is even more concerned about the latter than the former. Each of these two factors will now be discussed in turn.
The U.S. is the world’s number-one spender on the military, and spends as much on the military as do all the next nine nations in the top ten. That includes (in order, after the U.S.): China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, France, Britain, Germany, Japan, India, and South Korea. Except for numbers 2 & 3 on that list, all of them are U.S. allies; and the U.S., France, Britain, and Germany, constitute 4 of the 28 member-nations in NATO.
NATO is, essentially, the club of purchasers of the weapons and services provided by U.S. military contractors. Military contractors are an enormous lobby in Washington, and they need continual war, in order to be able to satisfy their stockholders. Expenditure of that military budget is spread throughout the U.S., so virtually every member of Congress relies upon the military lobbies, not only for re-election funds, but also for keeping unemployment down in his or her district or state.
As the reformed former CIA operative Ray McGovern documented on 15 May 2014, above all else, Russia doesn’t want to be surrounded by NATO missiles and troops in Russia’s adjoining countries (now NATO-members) of Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and now, especially (though not yet NATO-member), Ukraine (the latter being especially important as it’s the pipeline route for transit of Russia’s gas supplies to Europe, as well as being the long-established base for Russia’s crucial Black Sea fleet).
This long quote is necessary because it sets the background to the political justification for either supporting the project of US Imperialism as outlined above or for taking a neutral stance via a version the justification advanced by Max Shachtman after his famous struggle against Trotsky in the US SWP in 1939/40 as recounted in the volume In Defence of Marxism; “Neither Washington nor Moscow but International Socialism”. We explore this split between centrist right and the centrist middle and the struggle for consistent revolutionary Trotskyist against both below. However we must bear in mind the necessity to differentiate between these two currents now that they have clashed so sharply over the Ukraine.
Russia and China are NOT Imperialist states
We need to tackle the ideological justification advanced by both the pro Imperialist side and the fence-sitting third campist “neither Moscow nor the US/EU/Nato but the international working class” side; that both Russia and China are Imperialist states (“Eastern Imperialism”). Therefore any conflict between either or both of them and US-dominated global Imperialism (“Western Imperialism”) is a conflict between rival Imperialist powers and therefore revolutionary socialists should support neither in that war. We should advocate revolutionary defeatism for ourselves and for the Russian/Chinese working class, i.e. they should seek the defeat of their own bourgeoisie in order to combat the imperialist chauvinism that sweeps the masses in wartime via its main conduit in modern times, the Labour and trade union bureaucracy.
We contend that this is fundamentally wrong, that neither Russia nor China are Imperialist powers in the Marxist sense and that therefore in any conflict between Imperialism and these states it is necessary to form an Anti Imperialist United Front with them either singly or together if both are simultaneously attacked.
The balance of forces internationally is nothing like in the periods before WWI or WWII when roughly equal Imperialist power blocs faced each other; now the economic and military power is overwhelmingly on the side of US Imperialism and its NATO allies. In WWI three semi-feudal empires were involved in the conflict, the Russian Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Ottoman Empire, all of them with regions of advanced capitalist development and overdue bourgeois revolutions. The other major contestants were the major finance capital powers of Britain, France, USA and Germany. Other contestants were minor Imperialist powers allied to one or the other. The Austro-Hungarians and Ottomans were allied with Germany, itself both a semi-feudal state and a major capitalist power at the same time, Russia was allied with Britain, France and the USA.
Bourgeois revolutions were looming in four major combatant states but with a working class that was also pressing its case. This put the socialist revolution on the cards in Russia, Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire in particular. And unresolved national questions demanded the right to self-determination in all but Germany combined with Britain’s “Irish problem”. So Trotsky’s theory of Permanent Revolution was the only revolutionary road forward for them all, combined with Lenin’s rights of nations to self-determination, even if no one, not even Lenin or Trotsky, had worked that out their global applicability at the time. However the Leninist tactic of revolutionary defeatism in all the major combatants was a least a vital part of the correct revolutionary path at the time. But Russia had the Bolsheviks who were the only revolutionary party sufficiently steeled in theory from Lenin’s struggles and the experience of the defeat in 1905 to lead a revolution.
By WWII bourgeois revolutions were no longer on the agenda for any major power. The USA had emerged as by far the greatest benefactor of WWI and Japan had allied with Germany, the latter quickly conquered most of Europe and the former quickly overran South East Asia. This made for a far more complex conflict, five inter-related conflicts according to Ernest Mandel:
Bearing this in mind, the overall character of the Second World must be grasped as a combination of five different conflicts:
- An inter-imperialist war fought for world hegemony and won by the United States (though its rule would be territorially truncated by the extension of the non-capitalist sector in Europe and Asia
- A just war of self-defence by the Soviet Union against an imperialist attempt to colonize the country and destroy the achievements of the 1917 Revolution.’
- A just war of the Chinese people against imperialism which would develop into a socialist revolution.
- A just war of Asian colonial peoples against the various military powers and for national liberation and sovereignty, which in some cases (e.g. Indochina) spilled over into socialist revolution.
- A just war of national liberation fought by populations of the occupied countries of Europe, which would grow into socialist revolution (Yugoslavia and Albania) or open civil war (Greece, North Italy). In the European East, the old order collapsed under the dual, uneven pressure of popular aspirations and Soviet military-bureaucratic action, whereas in the West and South bourgeois order was restored – often against the wishes of the masses – by Western Allied troops.
By ‘just wars’ are meant wars which should have been fought, and which revolutionaries supported then as they do now. This categorization avoids the political ambiguity of the formula according to which the forces active in the war are divided into ‘fascist’ or anti-fascist’, the division being based on the notion that – because their specific nature – the German, Italian and Japanese forms of Imperialism should have been fought in alliance with the ruling classes of Britain, the United States, France, etc.
The politics of ‘anti-fascist alliance’, whatever the semantic meaning of the words involved, amounts in reality to systematic class collaboration: the political parties, and especially the Communist parties which maintained that the Western imperialist states were waging a just war against Nazism, ended by forming coalition governments after 1945 wherein they actively participated in the reconstruction of the bourgeois state and the capitalist economy. In addition, this incorrect understanding of the character of Western states’ intervention in the war led to a systematic betrayal of the colonial populations’ anti-imperialist struggles, not to speak of the counter revolution in Greece.
We need not accept that the capitalist property overturns post WWII were “socialist revolutions” or the failure to charge Stalin and Stalinism for the defeats of the post WWII revolutions to appreciate the value of this quote. And he does not evaluate the tactics of the US in advancing its own interests against it Allies, Britain and France during the war which accelerated after the war. Revolutionary defeatism had to be far more nuanced in these circumstances and could be easily used as a fifth column tactic to undermine a legitimate national liberation struggle to benefit one imperialist power or another.
Trotsky’s Proletarian Military Policy attempted to apply transitional demands such as trade union control of military training and the election of officers to transform the imperialist war into a revolutionary struggle against Nazism and this was exactly the correct policy. It did not advocate, as Max Shachtman did, that the Russian working class seek the defeat of the Red Army in the war against the Nazis but it sought to turn that war and the struggles in occupied Europe and Asia into revolutions in situations where bourgeois governments had already been defeated by the Nazis or Japan, a section had collaborated with the victorious Nazis or Japanese and a “patriotic” section sought to protect capitalism from socialist revolution. Shamefully the Stalinist collaborated with the “patriotic” bourgeoisie in popular fronts in six European governments and the colonies like India and Vietnam and turned on the revolutionary masses and the Trotskyists to put down revolutions in metropolitan northern Italy and Greece in particular.
Now we say that in this conflict today in the Ukraine revolutionary defeatism is equal to national chauvinism in western imperialist countries because neither Russia or China are Imperialist countries, as we have shown politically. We caution newer comrades against bandying about the term “Imperialism” as groups like the AWL does in imitation to how it is used in the bourgeois mass media. In Marxist terms “Imperialism” has a precise meaning and this is the rule of finance capital. We take this quote from Trotsky in 1939, when the old semi-feudal empires of pre-WWI were in the dustbin of history, to make that point:
History has known the “imperialism” of the Roman state based on slave labor, the imperialism of feudal land-ownership, the imperialism of commercial and industrial capital, the imperialism of the Czarist monarchy, etc. The driving force behind the Moscow bureaucracy is indubitably the tendency to expand its power, its prestige, its revenues. This is the element of “imperialism” in the widest sense of the word which was a property in the past of all monarchies, oligarchies, ruling castes, medieval estates and classes. However, in contemporary literature, at least Marxist literature, imperialism is understood to mean the expansionist policy of finance capital which has a very sharply defined economic content. To employ the term “imperialism” for the foreign policy of the Kremlin – without elucidating exactly what this signifies – means simply to identify the policy of the Bonapartist bureaucracy with the policy of monopolistic capitalism on the basis that both one and the other utilize military force for expansion. Such identification, capable of sowing only confusion, is much more proper to petty-bourgeois democrats than to Marxists (our emphasis).
Michael Pröbsting’s damn lies and statistics
But what about economically? Michael Pröbsting of the Austrian-based RCIT has produced a big pamphlet to prove, on behalf of the whole third campist crew, how wrong the LCFI are and that the both are imperialist. He even calls his work, Russia as a Great Imperialist Power, with a front cover cartoon of Uncle Sam facing a very angry Russian bear which is clearly just about to rip his head off. We would suggest that this is an illegitimate use of imperialist propaganda in a self-proclaimed Marxist magazine.
The work is replete with extensive charts and tables to statistically prove his point that Russia and China are the new rising Imperialist powers about to dominate the planet and the USA is the declining power, soon about to be eclipsed by these bear-like and yellow menaces, which are our own and everybody’s enemies and the real danger. Much of the work proves only that these are unequal societies, as were the former deformed and degenerated workers’ states, though not anything like as unequal as their successor capitalist states are now. But even the more relevant statistics and charts are one sided and very misleading (damn lies and statistics) as to the real economic relationships between Russia and China and global imperialism and who poses the military dangers.
In sum, in less than two decades a number of Russian monopolies have been formed which exert a total grip on the country’s economy. Russia’s capitalism is probably more monopolized than most other imperialist economies. As we will see below in more detail, these monopolies are involved in all forms of businesses – starting with oil and gas extraction, metal mining and manufacturing, and up to finance. Lenin’s definition of an imperialist power is obviously applicable when it comes to Russia’s monopoly capital.
But we must ask who owns these “Russian monopolies”? The energy giant Gazprom is just over 50% state owned but most of the rest of the shares is in the hands of foreign capital. And most of the rest of the major “monopolies” in Russia and China which are listed as “state owned” are considerably less than 50% state owned, 25% being typical and as low as 13% in some cases. Of course western imperialists complain bitterly that this is grossly unfair, that they should be allowed free access to all shares and not just to the “B” shares that are freely floated. And Pröbsting can point to foreign direct investment (FDI) inward and outward and the “round tripping” of oligarch’s funds to Cyprus etc so they can reinvest them in Russia tax free but always he avoids the entire global picture in his eagerness to make his imperialist point.
For instance China and Japan are by far the two largest holders of US government stocks and bonds, which they are obliged to buy to offload their dollar surpluses and keep open the US consumer market, by far the largest in the world. But these stocks and bonds only pay between 1% to 2% interest whereas the FDI of the US in Russia and China yields over 20% interest. And the dollar as the trading currency for not only oil but most other commodities in the planet gives the US a huge advantage; some would say the most important of all its holds over the global markets. The continued threat to this global monopoly can be reasonably designated as the prime cause for the war against Iraq in 2003, against Libya in 2011 and against Ukraine in 2014. If the US loses this immense advantage their empire’s days are indeed numbered.
Combined with that are the successive bouts of Quantative Easing, i.e. devaluing the dollar which reduces the value of the dollar holdings of these two countries in particular, but also Japan, the Gulf States, Brazil and others. And there is the question of the gold holdings. It is rumoured that the US looted Libya’s gold reserves at the end of the war in 2011, it has not returned to Germany its gold bullion as Merkel requested in the end of 2012 and it has just looted the entire gold reserve of the Ukraine on 7 March 2014, some $1.8 billion worth. By these mechanisms the whole world is forced to subsidise the US economy.
A large portion of that subsidy from unwilling foreign trading partners goes on the US military which in turn is used to menace and/or invade any country that seriously threatens that monopoly. US military spending is kept high by the powerful military industrial complex (MIC) which President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned of in 1961:
This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
The MIC is now far more powerful than they were in 1961 and every US Senator and almost all Representatives are in the pay of the MIC lobby, which needs constant wars to keep profits and shareholders’ dividends high and their employees in work, as Eric Zuesse noted above.
Today the Russian state-capitalist sector is crucial for the economy. It plays a decisive role among many Russian monopolies. For example, the state has retained Golden Shares in 181 firms. 15 State-backed companies account for 62% of Russia’s stock market.
But according the Russia beyond the Headlines:
Foreign investors continue to have a decisive influence over the Russian stock market. According to Sberbank KIB analysts, they own about 70 percent of free floating Russian shares. But Russian investors are still wary of the stock market after the 2008-2009 crash.
One third of investors active in Russia are U.S. funds; another third are funds from continental Europe; and the remaining third are U.K. funds. The biggest foreign investor (more than $5 billion) has turned out to be the Norwegian Government Pension Fund, followed by Vanguard Emerging Markets Stock Index Fund (about $4.7 billion) and the Oppenheimer fund (with slightly less than $3 billion invested in Russian stocks).
This makes quite clear that far from being Imperialist powers both Russia and China are no more than semi-colonial countries, albeit very large and advanced ones. They are not linked to the global web of US Imperialism in the same way as minor imperialisms like Holland and Belgium or allied to it in a more equal though still subordinate way like Japan, Germany, Italy, Spain and Canada. No, they are in the upper level of semi-colonial countries and recognise themselves as such by allying as the BRICS; Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
The political basis emerges for a principled United Front in defence of the organised working class of the Ukraine
Om 7 May 2014 Boris Kagarlitsky wrote:
Nevertheless, spontaneous violence during street clashes is one thing, while acts of vengeance, permitted and approved by the authorities and justified through propaganda, are something very different. Such phenomena are a distinctive mark of a totalitarian political movement and of its ideology. While a democratic movement condemns such excesses and strives to overcome them, fascism elevates them to the heroic, justifying and even institutionalising them. This is what we saw in Odessa on May 2 and 3.
The massacre of 48 civilians in Odessa on 2 May by fascists sent by the CA-Imposed Kiev regime and protected by Ukraine security forces is a turning point in the international class struggle. Some have chosen to take the right fork in this road and to defend their own bourgeoisie, even in this employment of fascist murderers against the organised working class. These groups today include the USFI (Fourth International, though the Irish, Swedish and Greek sections had opposed), the CWI, the SWP/IST, the ISO [USA], and the LIT-FI.
For some it was a wake up-call, a sudden realisation after conceding so much to the current neo-liberal offensive of US Imperialism that began in Libya in February 2011 and continues in Syria that they had gone too far. Supporting a US sponsored fascist assault on the working class internationally was a crossing of class lines for which they could never be forgiven.
We note that some groups of Trotskyist origin who have taken a pro-imperialist position on the US offensive up to now have adopted a far better position on the Ukraine although most of them are still adopting a syndicalist, third camp position of a false equation between US-led “Western Imperialism” and Chinese/Russian “Eastern Imperialism”. These forces include Workers Power/the League for the Fifth International, the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), the Liaison Committee of Communists (USA, NZ and Zimbabwe) , Socialist Action/the International Marxist Tendency, the Workers International Vanguard Party (WIVP) of South Africa and (some others from South America?). Also many groups internationally of Stalinist/Maoist origin and/or orientation have take a principled stance, notable the Union Borotba in Ukraine, Democracy and Class Struggle, the Young Communist League of Britain and no doubt many others internationally. We do not know what to say to those comrades, like one of our own, who took the correct position on Libya and Syria but who has now allied themselves with the pro-Maidan forces in Ukraine.
Lastly there is a third grouping who have taken a much closer political position to our own with whom we would want to form a closed alliance. With the second and third groups it is surely necessary and possible to form an International United Front in defence of the organised working class and poor in East Ukraine. The statement by Workers Power “Condemn the fascist pogrom in Odessa” seem to us to be supportable and a very useful starting point. Boris Kagarlitsky is a signatory of that statement as is Socialist Fight, the British section of the LCFI.
But first it is necessary to be clear on the political difference before entering into any such alliance. Boris Kagarlitsky and others may never admit that they have abandoned their previous orientation and now are confronting the onslaught of US-led Imperialism for the first time in decades. Some may be brave enough to repudiate their positions on Bosnia, Kosovo, Libya and Syria, others may not. Or the further development of the class struggle may reveal that their conversion is shallow and purely temporary.
This indeed is the very purpose of the tactic of the United Front, never a vehicle for capitulating to temporary allies as the Stalinists did with Purcell and Hicks in the British General Strikes of 1926, with Chiang Kai Check and the Kuo Ming Tang in 1927 and in the Popular Fronts in France and Spain in 1936, Indonesia in 1965, Chile in 1973 and countless others, all of which resulted in terrible defeats and many in appalling massacres (over 500,000 in Indonesia) of revolutionary fighters. And the quote from Ernest Mandel above shows the “anti-fascist front” during and after WWII was used in this popular front way to form alliances with the bourgeoisie in western Europe and in the colonies like Indochina (Vietnam) to betray revolutions there and save capitalism for a mobilised and insurrectionary working class.
We will therefore maintain our political independence and not withdraw a word of our class analysis of the collapse of the Soviet Union, the wars in Ex-Yugoslavia, and the US onslaught on Libya and Syria and the role of centrist forces and others with whom we may be allied by excusing or defending these betrayals. “March separately, strike together” was the watchword of the revolutionary Comintern under Lenin and Trotsky, it is communist tactic of the united front and the Trotskyist Transitional Programme; it is the very methodology of communism itself and it is therefore ours.
We will take the positions of Boris Kagarlitsky as outlined in his Reflections on the Arab revolutions in November 2011 as typical those who ideologically capitulated before Imperialism and the contrasting article from Global Research, Ukraine and America’s “Global War on Terrorism”. Is US-NATO Applying the “Syria Model” in Ukraine? By Prof Michel Chossudovsky May 2014 as typifying those who consistently opposed it so we can see the sharp contrast.
Boris Kagarlitsky wrote in a typical humanitarian and non-revolutionary analysis in 2011:
There is no doubt that imperialist interests preconditioned the decisions that were taken; it is simply that this did not occur in the spirit of the primitive geopolitics imagined by dogmatists who live according to the ideas of the mid-nineteenth century. The strategy of the Western countries in this case was not one of attack but of defence; these countries were not out to seize particular markets or resources, but were trying to prevent them from being lost…
The criticism by leftists of the Western intervention, and the unmasking of its true imperialist motives, has been completely justified and necessary. Nevertheless, the moral questions that have arisen in this context cannot be dismissed. It would of course have been more “correct” from an ideological point of view, and even from that of the social and political dynamic of the process, if the revolution had proceeded without foreign interference or influence. But unfortunately, this factor has inevitably been present in all revolutionary conflicts, starting with British support for the Latin American war of independence.
Are we to consider the loss of thousands of lives that would have been inevitable in the case of the battle for Benghazi, a preferable variant? Should we put a revolutionary development at risk for the sake of concerns about its “purity”, or for the purpose of testing our theoretical hypotheses? In this regard the remarks made by one of the revolutionary leaders, Azeddin el-Sharif, in an interview with the French Marxist journal Inprecor are particularly telling. The participants in the uprising knew perfectly well what Western intervention in Palestine, Afghanistan and Iraq had led to; it was “wrong to suppose that Libyans were illiterate.” But it made no sense for Western leftists to criticise the rebels for collaborating with NATO “without suggesting some concrete alternative.”
It seems by this quote that despite understanding the motives of western Imperialism in attacking Libya he nonetheless supported it because of… moral considerations! The “loss of thousands of lives” was avoided, it seems, by the humanitarian intervention of NATO! So he has no doubt that US Imperialist propaganda was telling the truth when it said that Gaddafi was about to massacre the citizens of Benghazi so they had to start bombing. Boris makes bitter complaints that they did not bomb enough and no shame that US Imperialism’s main export, chaos, had engulfed another semi colonial country, one that like Syria, whilst cooperating with them, was keeping just too much of the proceeds of its economy away from the vaults of the US banks and transnational companies. And was moreover encouraging other to do the same, and, crimes of crimes, was considering a substitute for the petro dollar, like Iraq had done before it and which resulted in swift and terrible destruction of the county.
We see here that Kagarlitsky has a typical Russian petty bourgeois attitude to Libya; so what if US Imperialism bombs it, we can’t stop them anyway? No question it is a “revolution”, for what, where is it going, where is it today? It does not look very much like a revolution now, does it? And just look at the vile reactionary politics of those “revolutionaries”! Fair enough Kagarlitsky does not claim to be a revolutionary but his defence of Imperialism above is typical of the pro-Imperialist left. It is entirely different when US Imperialism comes after Russia itself, however.
Now we will look at an integrated, geopolitical global outlook on US imperialism to show that is adopts that same tactics in every land. One of the better known quotes from William Blum makes the point:
From 1945 to the end of the century, the United States attempted to overthrow more than 40 foreign governments and to crush more than 30 populist-nationalist movements struggling against intolerable regimes. . . . In the process, the US caused the end of life for several million people, and condemned many millions more to a life of agony and despair.
It really did not start with Ukraine 2014, Boris. Prof Michel Chossudovsky, writing in May 2014 outlines the links between Libya, Syria and the Ukraine in Ukraine and America’s “Global War on Terrorism”:
Neo-Nazi mobs in Odessa were involved, with the support of the Kiev regime, in a terrorist operation geared towards the killing of innocent civilians. There was nothing spontaneous or accidental in this diabolical and criminal undertaking which consisted in the mass murder of federalist activists inside the House of Trade Unions. The building was set on fire quite deliberately as part of a carefully planned paramilitary operation.
..Is US-NATO Applying the “Syria Model” in Ukraine?
Both Al Nusrah and Right Sector have links to US intelligence. In both Syria and Ukraine, Washington’s intent is to destabilize and destroy the institutions of a sovereign country. Killing civilians is a means to create social divisiveness, thereby curtailing the development of a mass movement against US-NATO.
What is at stake is a process of destabilization and societal destruction. From the outset of the conflict in Syria in mid-March 2011, US-NATO sponsored mercenaries were involved in the killing of civilians as well as acts of arson. Amply documented, Al Qaeda affiliated mercenaries were recruited and trained by the Western military alliance. The paramilitary agenda was to wreak havoc and enforce a process of regime change.
Al Nusrah is to Syria what Right Sector is to Ukraine. They are the foot soldiers of the Western military alliance. While Al Nusrah is trained in Qatar and Saudi Arabia, Right Sector is trained in Poland. In both Ukraine and Syria, Western Special Forces are involved in overseeing terrorist operations. In both Syria and Ukraine, the deaths of civilians are blamed on the victims.
The Emergence of Borotba
The name of Borotba appeared internationally as militant anti-fascist fighter soon after the crisis emerged at the end of 2013. According to the Wiki article they went with the “Stalinist” wing of the “Organization of Marxists” when they split with the “Trotskyist” wing over three years ago. And the quotation marks are well advised because these “Trotskyist” then joined the “Left Opposition”, which is led by some of the criminal gang that scammed over a dozen left organisations when members of that other “Trotskyist” international the CWI and who also have such an appalling line of the Ukraine which is the very opposite of revolutionary Trotskyism. We quote from the League for the Revolutionary Party on where they are now:
Ukraine Fraudsters Again – League for the Revolutionary Party April 2014
Reports on the events in Ukraine in recent months have mentioned three activists whose names some readers may recall: Oleg (Oleh) Vernik and Zakhar Popovych in Ukraine and Ilya Budraitskis in Russia. In the early 2000s, while members of the Committee for a Workers International (CWI), they conspired to assume multiple fake personal identities as representatives of several fictitious socialist groups in Ukraine. Under these disguises they posed as supporters of a number of far-left groups in North America and Europe, from whom they stole funds, time and other resources. Their crimes further corrupted the reputation of a socialist movement already burdened by mistaken association with the heinous crimes of Stalinism.
We reported on this political and financial scam in CWI Group Guilty of Ukraine Fraud (Proletarian Revolution No. 69, Winter 2004), and we posted personal identifying information at Photos of the Perpetrators on this website. A list of many other articles on the affair at the time is at Statements from various sources on the Ukrainian fraud (wwww.bolshevik.org). A summary of the fraud, the CWI’s response and the current activities of these perpetrators was recently posted on the website of the Greek organization Communist Revolutionary Action. See Maidan and Ukranian Story of a Lasting Fraud.
The perpetrators of the fraud have not to our knowledge ever issued any explanation of, or apology for, their political, personal and financial dishonesty. Today Vernyk is chairman of the All-Ukrainian independent trade union “Zakhyst Pratsi” (Labor Defence). See tradeunion.org.ua.
Budraitskis belongs to the Socialist Movement of Russia, which is affiliated with the organization long known as the United Secretariat of the Fourth International (USec). See for example his article Ukrainians fighting for a better society.
Popovych belongs to “Left Opposition” in Ukraine whose views are also disseminated by the Usec’s magazine International Viewpoint. See A mass revolt for democracy. He also made a widely reported visit to London where he spoke about the Ukrainian events. See for example Russian and Ukrainian socialists speak out. A video of Popovych speaking at a public meeting at the House of Commons is at Crisis in the Ukraine (House of Commons Meeting) – Videos. By comparing this video with the photos of Popovych in the original articles about the fraud, one can see that today’s activist is the same person as yesterday’s fraudster.
We warn the left in Ukraine and around the world: these people are not to be trusted in their political, organizational and financial adventures.
Now this puts the context to the Statement of left and anarchist organizations about “Borotba” organization in its context. This was signed the fraudsters of the Left Opposition and at this stage it is surely reasonable to speculate if the hand of the CIA is not present in this provocation. On 25 May Borotba issued a statement warning of the continuing activities of the fraudster Popovych:
We have learned that international swindler Zahar Popovich, who is famous for deception of some international left organizations, is in London slandering our comrade Andrew Brazhevsky who was murdered by the Nazis in Odessa.
Popovich claims that Andrew was a Russian monarchist and nationalist or was in such an organization. This is a blatant lie. Andrew Brazhevsky was a convinced Marxist and communist and could not have any relationship to nationalism.
The Odessa defence brigade which Andrew participated in was not a nationalist organization. It was created after the nationalist ultras came to power in Kiev to protect peaceful protest rallies by the resistance. The Odessa brigade included people of different views. Most were ordinary people from Odessa, and consisted of a lot of leftists, including members of Union Borotba and the Communist Party.
We are struck by the cynicism of the liar Popovich , who is trying to slander a dead comrade. We hope that no one on the left in London or in other cities will be taken in by this imposter.
Here is an excerpt from the letter by Gerry Downing Secretary of Socialist Fight published in Weekly Worker of 8 May 2014:
On 3 March 2014 a “Statement of left and anarchist organizations about “Borotba” organization” in Ukraine was circulated among the left in Britain and Internationally by many leftists, including some leaders of the Labour Representation Committee and others, condemning Borotba in the following terms:
“We, the collectives and members of Ukrainian leftist and anarchist organizations, announce that “Borotba” union is not a part of our movement. During the whole time of this political project’s existence, its members tended to be committed to the most discredited, conservative and authoritarian “leftist” regimes and ideologies, which do not represent the interests of working classes in any way.
…The signatories included the Autonomous Workers Union, Independent Student Union “Direct Action”, Editorial board of Tovaryshka, Anarchist Black Cross – Ukraine, Anarcha-feminist collective Good Night Macho Pride, Anti-Fascist Action Ukraine and the Left Opposition. They proudly announced they “stand on antifascist positions” and that they did not “support some of the Maidan’s ideas” but:
“The representatives of “Borotba” take an extremely biased stance concerning the composition of protest movement, which is represented both on their own web resources and in the media commentaries. According to them, the Maidan protests are supported exclusively by nationalists and radical right, and were aimed only at a coup d’etat (“fascist putsch”).”
Never has a statement been proved so wrong so quickly; the signatories of this document have been condemned by history, they are the pro imperialist reactionaries and the Borotba are the justified heroes of the revolution. On 3 May Borotba revealed the full extent of the progress of “some of the Maidan’s ideas” by outlining the terrible details of the Odessa Massacre.
The left in Britain and internationally is split by these events. Leaders of Socialist Resistance Duncan Chapel and Liam Mac Uaid (Russians are the aggressors!) and their bogus “Fourth International” have blood on their hands for their defence of this illegal coup regime (only “some of the Maidan’s ideas”, of course) as have all those who defended the Maidan as some kind of “contradictory” movement and tried to tell us the working class of the eastern Ukraine was just as bad. When you cannot take a clear and unequivocal stance against fascists who are, in Trotsky’s famous words, “the storm troopers of finance capital” you have crossed red class lines.
Now the task of the genuine revolutionary left is to organise international solidarity campaign with the revolution in the eastern Ukraine and defend it against these fascistic assaults by the regime installed by the CIA. It will need to gather food, medicine, money and every other kind of assistance. And it will need to demand support from the Labour and TU leaders, beginning with the leftist candidates for the RMT General Secretary; Steve Hedley, Alex Gordon, John Leach etc. And Ken Loach will surely put his shoulder to the wheel in this the most testing issue for the global working class since the Spanish Revolution.
So well we might ask; where lies revolution and where counter-revolution? We are unhesitatingly with the Borotba in this conflict, whilst acknowledging that many differences exists between us, as is inevitable from our separate political histories and evolution.
The bogus “Ukrainian Socialist Solidarity”: White Terror is now the “the Anti-Terrorist Operation of the Kyiv Government”
A British campaign was launched in 12 May “to support Ukrainian workers”. It quickly became clear that Ukrainian workers had to fulfil certain stringent criteria before they could earn the support of this campaign. Although just ten days after the horrific Odessa Massacre the Convenor of this group, Chris Ford, can find not words of condemnation for the self proclaimed fascist perpetrators of this heinous crime or word of sympathy for the relatives of the 48 dead and hundreds of injured and wounded. Nor indeed a word of criticism of the coup that was sponsored by the CIA to the tune of $5 billion or the fascist flags now proudly flying and the portraits of Stephan Bandera, Ukraine’s new “National Hero” Nazi collaborator in the murder of 900,000 Jews as well as Poles, Roma and Red Army soldiers. They have not arranged to picket the Embassy of the Ukraine to protest the White Terror now unleashed against the organised working class and the whole population which has driven all left wing organisations underground and sees constant assassinations and kidnappings by right sector thugs.
Indeed no, this mass terror is described in language that would be envied by Hitler’s propaganda chief Doctor Joseph Goebbels himself: “The meeting discussed the increasingly tense situation in Ukraine. Participants noted that, while much attention has been focussed on the Anti-Terrorist Operation of the Kyiv Government and the separatist movement in the eastern oblasts…” The description of the cold-blooded murder of those 48 anti-fascists as an “Anti-Terrorist Operation” and the acceptance of the CIA-fascist coup regime imposed on Ukraine as “the Kyiv Government” could not but make the blood of every sincere socialist and militant anti-fascist boil. Then follows the parade of shame, those who had abandoned the internationalism of the workers’ movement and gone over to the class enemy on this question:
Participants in the meeting included members of several trade unions and representatives of the following organisations: Labour Representation Committee, Socialist Workers Party, Revolutionary Socialism 21, A World To Win, and Socialist Resistance (Fourth International).
But there were some workers who apparently took their pro-Maidan line in Ukraine itself and these workers had to be supported above all other because:
Miners’ communities in Krasnodon, Kryviy Rih and Chervonohrad have recently drawn attention to the sharp fall in real wages and disintegrating communal services, which is generating much of the desperation and uncertainty on which extremist politics now thrives.
So that’s it then, nothing to do with the crisis of capitalism globally, the subversion of the CIA on behalf of US Imperialism, the sharply posed class struggle now descending rapidly into open civil war. The problem was workers were not paid enough and if they were “extremist politics” would not thrive. The analysis is just about as idiotically syndicalist as you can get and the purpose is to hide the real politics of the organisers, to garner support for the Kiev government and to promote “National Communism”.
But if we Google a little wider the purpose becomes clearer. In an interview with Mykola Tsikhno, coordinator of the National Communist Front, taken by Chris Ford, 16 May 2014 has the following:
Should socialists in the West support the separatist, pro-Russia movements in Donbas?
If “socialists” support imperialism, chauvinism, interclass co-operation, military dictatorship and terrorism then we could understand their support for the separatists in Ukraine. But if socialists stand opposed to such things they should support us – those who come out against splitting the working class of Ukraine, those who want to continue to build a civil society in Ukraine, to continue to build the ideas of the Maidan in a socialist direction.
In the first place we might wonder what a National Communist Front might be at all? A modern version of a National Socialist Front? Or a National Bolshevik organisation more likely, given the region we are dealing with. And given the ability of Mr Tsikhno to make black into white, to baptise fascists as socialists and socialists as fascists that we can justly conclude that this is just what he and his interviewer are too. And don’t you just love the notion of “build(ing) the ideas of the Maidan in a socialist direction”? We are just approaching the 80th anniversary of the murder of Gregor Strasser and all the others by Hitler’s Schutzstaffel (SS) and the Gestapo in the Night of the Long Knives on 30 June 1934; all National Communists should watch their backs lest the heirs of Stepan Bandera are assassinated by the real Nazis and not by the heirs of the KGB this time.
And what of this miners’ union itself? Is it just a case of disillusioned workers? Not that whole story by a long caulk reckons Paul Demarty in Weekly Worker 111 22 May 2014:
…As for the others, they find reassurance in the emergence of ostensibly leftwing or working class voices presenting this sort of world view. Things on this front, alas, are murky. Much has been made of the miners striking against the Russian firm, Evraz. The most prominent advocate for the miners is one Mikhail Volynets, leader of the Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine, who previously was a parliamentary deputy for the ‘Yulia Tymoshenko bloc’, a now defunct alliance of parties in support of the eponymous oligarch-politician. His present political sympathies are obscure; but past associations are hardly encouraging. Certainly, we are not dealing with the equivalent of South African platinum miners here.
We have outlined the development of three distinct current within the far left, the right which has taken a pro-Maidan position on the Ukraine, the most extreme examples are the signatories of the Statement of the Ukraine Socialist Solidarity Campaign of Chris Ford; Labour Representation Committee, Socialist Workers Party, Revolutionary Socialism 21, A World To Win, and Socialist Resistance (Fourth International) and a few more internationally like the CWI and the LIT (FI). The centre ground we have listed, some of whom had shifted sharply to the left over the Ukraine and those more consistent revolutionary Trotskyists who have taken a strong anti Imperialist line on Libya and Syria from the beginning. We have outlined out theoretical, economic and political rejection of the theories of the international class struggle being driven by the inter-Imperialist conflicts between Western US-led Imperialism and Eastern Imperialism of Russia and China (even Venezuela where the conflict is the result of the incursions of China into the US backyard the LCC ridiculously propose).
We have proposed an international solidarity campaign to defend what is now the new Novorossiya Union of eastern Ukraine and its organised working class led by the Borotba Union and the Communist Party of the Ukraine. We have also proposed an Anti Imperialist United Front with the “devil and his grandmother” including Putin himself as the demands that working class should make on Russia to defend it against the fascist onslaught from Kiev. Lastly this orientation is primarily designed to build a new revolutionary socialist working class leadership as part of a reforged Fourth International.
- Defend the Novorossiya Union against the fascist attacks, smash the illegal kivregime installed by the USA/CIA!
- Form armed workers Militias to defend the premises and organisations of the working class!
- No faith in the corrupt oligarchs, nationalise their factories, transport systems and land!
- Smash the reactionary, pro-Western imperialist regime in Kiev!
- For an anti Imperialist United Front with all forces now fighting the fascists!
- Demand material assistance from Putin in arms and troops to defeat the US global conspiracy against Russia and China, Syria, Iran and Venezuela!
- Forward to the building of a Ukrainian revolutionary socialist leadership, a section of the reforged Fourth International!
- US support of violent neo-Nazis in Ukraine: Video Compilation, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-RyOaFwcEw
- How the Ukrainian Civil War Started, By Eric Zuesse, Global Research, May 26, 2014. http://www.globalresearch.ca/how-the-ukrainian-civil-war-started/5383982.
- Ernest Mandel, The meaning of the Second World War, Verso, 1986, pp 45-6
- Leon Trotsky, In Defence of Marxism, Again and Once More Again on the Nature of the USSR, (October 1939), http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/idom/dm/04-again.htm
- Russia as a Great Imperialist Power, The formation of Russian Monopoly Capital and its Empire – A Reply to our Critics, By Michael Pröbsting, Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 18 March 2014, http://www.thecommunists.net
- Russia as a Great Imperialist Power, The formation of Russian Monopoly Capital and its Empire – A Reply to our Critics, By Michael Pröbsting, Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 18 March 2014, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/imperialist-russia/
- Major foreign holders of treasury securities in billions of dollar, holdings at end of period March 2014, 1. China, Mainland, 1272, 2. Japan, 1200, 3. Belgium, 381.4 (note the huge gap between China and Japan and number 3, Belgium. http://www.treasury.gov/ticdata/Publish/mfh.txt
- Understanding China’s High Investment Rate and FDI Levels: A Comparative Analysis of the Return to Capital in China, the United States, and Japan Introduction, Wenkai Sun, Renmin University of China Xiuke Yang, Peking University Geng Xiao, Columbia University (undated but seems to have been written in 2009)
“Over the last decade and a half, China maintained an investment rate higher than that of more advanced economies, including both Japan and the United States. Over the same period, foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows to the Chinese economy grew at an average rate of 19.97 percent per year, increasing from $3.5 billion in 1990 to $92.4 billion in 2008 …What made China so attractive to investors? In the past few years, this question has been heavily debated. China’s National Development and Reform Commission (2005) concluded that rapid industrialization, a high savings rate, a low consumption rate, and a low efficiency of investment led to the high investment rate. Subsequent studies by Li (2007), Hu (2007), Yu (2008) and many others have further explored the high investment rate and the low consumption rate in China. Fan (2009) discussed the same topic, comparing the political systems of China and the United States, and concluded that China’s local governments always paid more attention to the interests of capital and less to those of labor, resulting in a high investment rate and a low consumption rate.
…Return to Capital in China
As shown in figure 1, the return to capital in China varied between 23.17 percent in 1978 and 21.82 percent in 2006, averaging over 20 percent during this 28-year period. However, there was a drastic fluctuation in the return to capital in China between 1992 and 1994, with a sharp increase in 1993 and a rapid decline in 1994. The spike in 1993 was likely due to a sharp increase in the growth rate of investment goods prices in 1993, which rose from 15.52 percent in 1992 to 29.35 percent in 1993. The rapid drawdown in the return to capital in China in 1994 was likely due to a rapid decline in the growth rate of investment goods prices in 1994, which fell from 29.35 percent in 1993 to 10.25 percent in 1994.” United States International Trade Commission, Journal of International Commerce and Economics. http://www.usitc.gov/journals/06_SunYangXiao_UnderstandingInvestmentFDI.pdf
- Silver Doctors Where is the German Gold? http://www.silverdoctors.com/where-is-the-german-gold/
- Ukraine’s Gold Reserves Secretly Flown Out and Confiscated by the New York Federal Reserve? The Spoils of War and Regime Change, By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, April 19, 2014. http://www.globalresearch.ca/ukraines-gold-reserves-secretely-flown-out-and-confiscated-by-the-new-york-federal-reserve/5373446
- Dwight D. Eisenhower, Speech on Military Industrial Complex, 1961: http://coursesa.matrix.msu.edu/~hst306/documents/indust.html
- Source: Russia Beyond the Headlines – January 22, 2014 Anna Kuchma, http://rbth.com/business/2014/01/22/who_owns_the_russian_stock_market_33437.html)
- Boris Kagarlitsky: The ashes of Odessa, 7 May 2014 — Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal, http://williambowles.info/2014/05/08/boris-kagarlitsky-the-ashes-of-odessa/
- Workers Power Statement on the Ukraine, http://www.workerspower.co.uk/2014/05/statement-condemn-the-fascist-pogrom-in-odessa/
- Reflections on the Arab revolutions, By Boris Kagarlitsky, translated from Russian by Renfrey Clarke, http://links.org.au/node/2629 November 28, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal.
- William Blum Wikiquote, http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/William_Blum
- Prof Michel Chossudovsky May 2014 , Ukraine and America’s “Global War on Terrorism”. Is US-NATO Applying the “Syria Model” in Ukraine? http://www.globalresearch.ca/ukraine-and-americas-global-war-on-terrorism-is-us-nato-applying-the-syria-model-in-ukraine/5380611
- Ukraine Fraudsters Again, League for the Revolutionary party, April 2014, http://lrp-cofi.org/statements/ukraine_fraudsters_again.html
- Zahar Popovitch slanders Andrew Brazhevsky a member of Borotba murdered in Odessa, Monday, May 26, 2014, http://democracyandclasstruggle.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/zahar-popovitch-slanders-andrew.html
- Weekly Workers 2009 8 May 2014, http://weeklyworker.co.uk/worker/1009/
- British campaign launched to support Ukrainian workers, http://observerukraine.net/2014/05/13/british-campaign-launched-to-support-ukrainian-workers/
- An interview with Mykola Tsikhno, co-ordinator of the National Communist Front. Taken by Chris Ford, 16 May 2014; translated by Marko Bojcun http://observerukraine.net/2014/05/19/behind-the-lines-ukrainian-leftists-in-the-donbas/comment-page-1/#comment-20
- National Bolshevism, From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia, National Bolshevism is said to have roots in World War I Germany, where nationalist writers such as Ernst Niekisch and Ernst Jünger were prepared to tolerate the spread of communism as long as it took on the clothes of nationalism and abandoned its internationalist mission. This tendency, although minor, continued into the 1930s when it became associated with the National Socialist Combat Movement, a dissident breakaway movement from the Nazi Party which espoused left-wing economics and which was led by Hermann Ehrhardt, Otto Strasser (brother of Gregor)and Walther Stennes. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Bolshevism
- Ukraine: Economistic wishful thinking, There is far more at stake than wages, says Paul Demarty http://weeklyworker.co.uk/worker/1011/ukraine-economistic-wishful-thinking/