Ukrainian Marxists call for a New Zimmerwald
This statement from Ukraine Marxists captures the reality that the war in Ukraine is a continuation of the counter-revolution against the Bolshevik revolution which began in 1918 with the warring imperialists halting their war and re-deploying their armies against their real class enemy, the new Soviet Workers state.
Today when the fascists in Russia and Ukraine unite in ‘decommunizing’ the spectre of the soviets it is proof that the legacy of that revolution still survives as our guide today. So it is appropriate that the call is made to take Lenin’s (and Liebknecht and Luxemburg) stand at 1915: Resolution of the Zimmerwald Left – John Riddell to revive that intransigent revolutionary anti-imperialism and to turn imperialist war into a civil war against capital and for socialism.
Требуем мира! / We demand peace!
(Statement of the editors of the Ukrainian Marxist magazine “Liva” (Left), 7 March 2022)
Comrades, we are destined to live in one of the most dramatic and tragic moments in human history. On February 24, 2022, the lives of millions of people split into “before” and “after”. Already today, the war has claimed the lives of hundreds of people, thousands and thousands of civilians have lost their homes and turned into refugees. But the fact that at any moment it can turn into a conflict of nuclear superpowers, followed by the end of civilization, gives a special horror to the Russian-Ukrainian war that has begun.
Thirty years ago, the capitalists promised us the end of history and common prosperity. Instead, we got poverty, famine, epidemics and wars. And now we are heading towards a global catastrophe. People look in horror and bewilderment at the distraught rulers who depend not on the people, but on the anonymous shareholders of TNCs (multinationals), banks and oligarchs, our “Unknown Fathers”. Communists have always warned of such a development of events to those who believed in the advent of a “brave new world.” The realities of capitalism in the 21st century suddenly turned out to be worse than the most terrible horror stories attributed by the liberals of Soviet history. But the very beginning of the conflict came as a surprise to many and once again split the left movement.
The fact that the war began at the initiative of Vladimir Putin shocked the whole world. No one believed the warnings about the invasion coming from Western politicians and corporate media that were repeatedly found false. Even the Russian liberal opposition was convinced that an attack on Ukraine was not in the government’s interests. But common sense was put to shame by the madness of the system. From a rational point of view, such a move can only be explained by the collapse of the 14-year-old Russian policy of “appeasement” of the West, steadily approaching the Russian borders.
Since 1991, the Russian oligarchy has dreamed of integrating into the global capitalist elite and participating in global robbery. But they were denied this. For Washington and Brussels, Moscow was not a partner, but a prey. By early 2022, Kremlin diplomacy appears to have been cornered. Her ultimatums were contemptuously ignored, and then the Kremlin threw the last trumps on the card table – tanks.
For Ukraine, the tragedy began back in 2014, as a result of which a terrorist ultra-right regime was established in the country, reminiscent of the Latin American regimes of the 80s in the XX century, where under the guise of “democracy” there was a war against their own people, terror against dissidents and leftists and outrages committed by paramilitares. The country actually lost its independence and became a toy in the hands of Western imperialism, which decided to turn it into a battlefield with Moscow.
Xenophobia, anti-communism, barbarism are raised on the banner of the ongoing war. The Ukrainian authorities say they are fighting against the “Soviets”. Putin, who comes from the ranks of the liberal reformers of the 90s, declares that the war is “real decommunization”, the final stage of which, apparently, should be a nuclear mushroom and a return to cave times.
Already now we see that the war in Ukraine is turning into a meat grinder, which at any moment can involve third powers. Troops and weapons are flowing into the combat area in a continuous stream. Incidents at sea happen all the time. But behind Moscow looms the ghost of China, for which the defeat of Russia means the prospect of being left face to face with the US and its satellites. At any moment, many conflicts of the modern world can merge into a raging whirlpool.
Today, millions of honest people are in shock and confusion, and the rascals are triumphant. Millions are paying and will continue to pay a monstrous tribute to the god of war. We cannot stop the running militarist machine, but we must declare our commitment to our principles of internationalism, class struggle and proletarian democracy. In 1914, only a few took an anti-war position. Three years later, millions were on their side. To paraphrase Adolf Joffe: now we all need Lenin’s inflexibility, intransigence and readiness to remain on the right path, even if alone, in anticipation of the future majority, the future recognition by all of the only correctness of this path.