We repost this article by Resistencia in Brazil, published on February 25.
The world wakes up, once again, with news of the war. And with its immediate consequence: images of despair of workers and the Ukrainian population seeking shelter and refuge from this war fueled by imperialist disputes. As usual, the Ukrainian population will be called upon to pay the price of this anti-people war. Thousands of dead lives destroyed, waves of refugees in sub-human conditions – this is what these imperialist wars have to offer the workers and peoples of the planet. In our times, this is what the capitalist system offers to people of the entire planet, war, unemployment, and misery.
The dispute in Ukraine, involving NATO and Russia, is not an isolated conflict. It reflects the current geopolitical crisis between US imperialism (and its partners: British and European imperialism) and an emerging imperialist bloc, led by China, with Russia as an associated regional power. It is a dispute between powers (USA x China) for the hegemony of the world capitalist order. Neither side represents freedom or self-determination for workers or people anywhere on the planet – let alone “anti-imperialism”.
NATO, led by the Western powers mentioned in the previous paragraph, continues its expansion project to the East, getting closer and closer to Russian borders, with the clear intention of isolating Moscow from Europe and stopping the advance of its influence in the region. Despite the different tones of speech of the American (Biden) and British (Boris Johnson) government with their German (Scholz) and French (Macron) counterparts, reflecting different degrees of economic-commercial relationships with Russia – the policy of these imperialist blocs facing the expansion of NATO and the China/Russia bloc has been following the same tone. We defend the end of NATO and its imperialist interference in the sovereignty of the peoples.
This, however, does not mean that the Russian invasion plays any progressive role in this process. Russia is a capitalist country – under an authoritarian, right-wing government – that wield strong (and oppressive) regional influence, especially in regions that were part of or influenced by the former USSR. Putin claims the expansionist and oppressive project of the old tsarist Russia inspired by “Peter the Great”, whose photo he has in his living room. That is why, when invading Ukraine, he says that the world will see what true “decommunization” is. From the former USSR, the Moscow regime inherited a military power that is superior to the country’s power of influence in the economic sphere and puts it at the service of its project. The consolidation of the geopolitical alliance with China, further enshrined in the recent joint declaration between the two countries signed at the opening of the Winter Olympics in Beijing, shows that there is an attempt to form a bloc to fight against American imperialism, even if the Russia does not have the same economic potential as Xi Jinping’s country.
Both NATO (USA, GB and EU) and Russia (and China) fight for the potential to exploit other countries, other peoples. Socialists denounce this war as a dispute between the bourgeoisies of these countries on the regional geopolitical board and over who will exploit resources and oppress workers and nationalities around the world, at the cost of the lives of thousands of workers who are always the biggest victims of these conflicts.
The global left cannot adhere to the propaganda of Western imperialism or the Russian invasion
In this conflict, the left must avoid two mistakes:
The first mistake would be to absolutize Putin’s oppressive role, and the fact that he initiated the military aggression itself, placing himself on the side of NATO and western powers, as if they were on the side of the self-determination and freedom of the Ukrainian people. An example is the stance of the new leader of the British Labor Party, Keir Starmer, who even visited NATO headquarters in Brussels to show support for such an imperialist endeavor.
In fact, NATO (the main imperialist military alliance) seeks to expand its influence in the Eastern European region by placing new military bases around 1000 km from Moscow, as it has already done in Poland, and incorporating countries from the former socialist bloc. The global left must denounce this expansionist policy on the region as a driving element of the conflict that we are witnessing now.
Second, and which part of the left seems more susceptible, is to see Putin (or the China/Russia bloc) as an anti-imperialist camp, therefore progressive. This is mixed with the symbolism of both countries having been, in the last century, workers’ states – and currently putting themselves in conflict with the hegemonic imperialism in the world (even if decadent), the USA.
Putin is far from being an anti-imperialist leader, neither progressive nor left-wing. Contrariwise, as we said, his “Grain Russian” Project is to expand Moscow’s domination throughout the region, in the economic and military fields, oppressing nationalities and individual rights – as he does within Russia itself, persecuting activists, opponents, oppressed nationalities and the LGBT+ community. Russian apparatus acts against popular mobilizations in countries under its influence, as it did recently in Kazakhstan, stifling demonstrations demanding freedom and better conditions for workers in those countries.
Putin’s recent speech, saying that the dismantling of Ukraine would be “part of the process of decommunizing the country” and the unreasonable claim that Ukraine would be “an invention of Lenin” show what the “Grain Russian” project is: conservative and reactionary.
“War is the continuation of politics by other means” (Clasewitz). The Ukrainian population cannot be used as cannon fodder in a war in favor of the interests of the great powers.
NATO AND PUTIN HANDS OFF UKRAINE!
SELF-DETERMINATION OF THE UKRAINIAN PEOPLE!
RUSSIAN ARMY GO HOME!