Translated by Petr Yakovlev
Left-wingers are concerned about the question: should the Communists adhere to the „Leninist position“ and wish defeat for the Russian government in the conflict in Ukraine?
First of all, the following should be noted.
It is one thing to put forward the slogan of defeating our own government in conditions when we have real political power, but another thing is when behind us, like many other left groups, there are neither the masses, nor even an authoritative organization, that is, at least some solid connection with the masses. It is also necessary to take into account the presence or absence of a spontaneous upsurge of the mass revolutionary movement and the degree of its organization.
It makes sense to put forward the slogan of defeating one’s owns government only when there is a real movement of a sufficient mass of politically active citizens capable of supporting the slogan with their actions. Prior to the maturation of such a factor, it is proposed to conduct a deep and broad research and explanatory work, convincing readers of the scientific viability of the developed assessments of current events, on the basis of which is generated an appeal, a proposal promising to achieve a progressive goal, that is the slogan itself.
There is nothing simpler than advancing a heap of slogans. There is nothing more difficult than the guaranteed embodiment of one victorious slogan.
It is obvious, therefore, that, taking into account the already existing support for LDPR (Hereinafter this abbreviation means: „Lugansk and Donetsk people’s republics“ — transl.) among the masses, it is necessary not only to thoroughly theoretically work out the issue on the basis of historical specificity but also to ensure that this is to some extent interested in a relatively wide circle of participants in the process itself, that is, the majority of LDPR citizens. In other words, before putting forward the slogan, that is, to set the target of the struggle, it is necessary to carry out a tense, convincing propaganda campaign to clarify the class balance of power and present a detailed study of subsequent events and steps.
To shake the air with calls, when there is nothing behind the soul, there is a most harmful wildcat. We need to use the situation as it is, the most appropriate way for the purposes of the communist struggle, and not plunge into the sphere of loud but empty statements.
The greatest threat in a sober and mature consideration of such vital political issues is the fear of being accused along the line of any historical analogies.
In essence, this is a fear of moving aside from dogma. For example, to recognize that the influence of the Putin government in the civil war and the power of the „people’s republics“ brings much less blood and suffering than the defeat of the LDPR.
What points do we propose to pay attention to in the studying of the historical conditions of the civil war in Ukraine?
I. Is there a communist party, which is not inferior in quality to the Bolshevik Party, for the implementation of an independent policy of the working class
in a situation of civil war in Ukraine?
II. What specific situation will develop if one or the other side of the conflict is defeated or if both sides are defeated at the same time? Will it be more favorable for the cause of the development of communism in Russia and Ukraine? How will the defeat of the Russian government affect the population, provided that in Ukraine it is not the government play a decisive role, but the bankers, Banderaists and the US embassy?
III. How is the national question in Ukraine and how is the national question in Russia?
IV. What could harm humanitarian aid to LDPR from Russia? What are the „reverse sides“ of the support of these republics from Russia?
V. Is the LDPR population, supported by bourgeois Russia, a defending or aggressive side? Is it a fair war of the LDPR population against the government of Ukraine, Banderaism and the US oligarchs? What attitude from the Russian left-wingers deserves the steadfastness of the population of LDPR and its victims?
VI. Who in the current situation should wish defeat to his government: Russian or Ukrainian communists?
There is no doubt that the government of the Russian Federation is ultimately driven not by concern for the people of Crimea and Donbass, but by a program to strengthen the international weight of Russian capital.
Of course, the position of „a plague on both your capitalist houses“ in this case cannot be considered grossly erroneous and is a normal, healthy wish for any bourgeois states and not only in connection with any war. But it does not exempt from the obligation to consider the whole range of possible consequences and, therefore, from the development of specific tactics in solving this strategic problem.
What needs to be understood first?
First, Russia is ruled by an oligarchy, and the bourgeois state serves to the domination and growth of it. Any bourgeois class is interested only in increasing its profits and maintaining its dominance. The fate of the proletarians to the capitalists is humanly indifferent; they regard the masses of people only as a labor market and consumables for wars, at best as a sales market.
Second, in the case of bourgeois countries, not abstract Russia, Europe, the USA, Ukraine, Turkey, etc. collide in the international arena, as if some peoples organized into states, but the corresponding national detachments of the world bourgeoisie. Moreover, some units are relatively independent and have some power and claim to regional or even world domination, and some are subordinate to the stronger.
Third, therefore, there is no „fatherly concern“ of bourgeois Russia about its own or, even less so, foreign citizens, even if they are even carriers of Russian culture. Any sort of humanistic and humanitarian principle in the politics of a bourgeois state is mainly dust in the eyes, PR, a way to maintain the illusion of stability of the political and economic order, in which huge wealth is concentrated in private hands. Therefore, the only question is whether the participation of the Russian Federation in the civil war in Ukraine is pursuing political goals or are economic interests directly behind it. The government of the Russian Federation, as you know, is quite satisfied with the balance of power that has developed on the basis of the „Minsk Agreements“ and the sluggish positional course of the civil war: „the firsts cannot, the second do not want“.
Fourth, there is an opinion among some left-wingers that the policy of the Russian Federation concerning the Donbass is imperialistic, i.e., predatory. Is this so in reality? Even though state-monopoly capitalism has already developed in Russia, and the policy of the Russian Federation as a whole is imperialist in nature, in this particular case, strictly speaking, the policy of the Russian Federation in the Donbass is not imperialistic but has a defensive nature of political opposition to American imperialism. If Russian capital saw the economic benefits of LDPR, then there would be no „Minsk Agreements“. Besides, the position of such left-wingers completely ignores the will and movement of the people of Donbass itself.
The same with the joining of Crimea. The population of Crimea wanted to be a part of the bourgeois Russian Federation, that is, from the point of view of Marxism-Leninism, the entry of Crimea into the Russian Federation cannot be called as annexation. This, of course, does not honour, first of all, the Communists, who for almost 30 years of capitalism were unable to prove to the proletariat of Crimea the need for a sovereign policy of the working class. The Russian Federation has joined Crimea to itself, not for reasons of profit for the oligarchy, or even more so for the will of Crimeans, but because of a well-known political factor — ensuring the basing of the Black Sea Fleet and preventing the presence of a NATO base on the peninsula.
Of course, it is quite possible that in the Russian oligarchic milieu in the period 2014 — 2015 expansionary sentiment about Ukraine reigned because every bourgeoisie always wants somewhere to snatch something. But they quickly faded after economic calculations. And the strength of Russian corporations for such operations is still not enough.
The problem of many left-wingers is that they misinterpret the well-known Leninist formula that politics is a concentrated expression of the economy. It turns out vulgarity that any action of the bourgeois state must certainly bring direct material benefit to the capitalists. It must be understood that politics under capitalism concentrates expresses the economy as a whole thing, however, one should not confuse a political decision made by a specific person and politics as the main element of the entire bourgeois superstructure in the form of political ideas, political relations and political institutions.
Moreover, at short intervals in history, politics has primacy over the economy and under capitalism. A complete simplification in the analysis of historical phenomena would be to put in the first place only the economic interests of the bourgeoisie, especially the oligarchs of the Russian Federation. Today, the Putin government is not yet the mirror equality of interests of Russian oligarchs. Bonapartism is more characteristic of Putin, implicated in relatively mild nationalism, mild anti-communism, and bloated conceit.
Today, the oligarchs in the Russian Federation have nothing to do with the adoption of several government decisions. And the initiative to fight the Ukrainian government and the joining of Donbass to the Russian Federation comes primarily from the Russian-speaking population, who have to choose between capitalist exploitation in the Russian Federation and Banderaist-capitalist exploitation within Ukraine.
So, in the position of the Russian Federation, political motives are seen first of all.
It has been scientifically established and well known that the bourgeoisie systematically unleashes wars based on their economic interests and competitive urge to redistribute the world. However, did the Russian oligarchs unleash a civil war in Ukraine? It was not even unleashed by Ukrainian oligarchs. The Maidan, the joining of Crimea to the Russian Federation, the formation of LDPR and the civil war, despite the complex and contradictory course of these processes, are primarily a product of the policy of American and European oligarchs. The Russian bourgeoisie, in this case, acted according to the situation, trying not to weaken its position in the face of the loss of influence in Kiev.
The civil war in the Donbass has long been going on, and people die every month. The acute question is how to stop it. Theoretically, there is the prospect of a military victory for the oligarchy of the Russian Federation, at least on the territory of LDPR, and in this case, this turn of events seems to be the most painless form of achieving a long-awaited peace.
For the defeat of which government
Of course, we, as Marxists, in principle, stand on the position of the proletariat of the Donbass to turn our weapons against the bourgeoisie: Ukrainian, Russian, American, European, Donetsk, Lugansk. But such kind of action requires serious preparation, in particular, the formation in the Donbas of an influential Communist Party of the vanguard type and its gaining influence among the masses.
Some left-wingers quite abstractly call on the proletariat to „actively class struggle against the predatory and military policies of bourgeois governments“.
The call to the Ukrainian proletariat to fight against the Ukrainian government and the military operations of the Armed Forces is understandable and logical. But what does this call mean for the proletariat of LDPR? Stand for the defeat of LDPR? To surrender, even bourgeois, Donbass to Ukraine and American fascism?
We, Marxists, are extremely unsympathetic to oligarchic Russia, and we understand that the Russian capitalists are exploiting the proletarians no less than Ukrainian, French, American, etc. But we must be aware that the influence of the Marxists on the masses today is equal to zero. We must answer the question: what is more beneficial for the cause of Communism — the defeat of Russia and the LDPR, or the defeat of fascist Ukraine with its American patrons? The answer is obvious: the defeat of the Ukrainian government is better.
As for peace, there are three ways to force the bourgeoisie to end the civil war in the Ukrainian situation.
I. If a communist revolution takes place in Russia, Ukraine or the Donbass and the dictatorship of the working class resolves the issue peacefully or militarily.
II. If in Ukraine, power passes into the hands of a pro-Russian oligarchy.
III. If the Russian oligarchs need to resolve the issue by military means.
Such is the primary Marxist analysis of the situation.
Now all forces should be devoted to the training of the Communists, to the formation and promotion of the independent position of the working class of Donbass.