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Discussion: Fourth International needs to oppose the war and austerity drive against Ukrainian people

Far-right militia parade openly in Kyiv.

More on developments in Ukraine HERE.

By Roger Annis and Renfrey Clarke

June 27, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On June 7, the leadership bureau of the Fourth International adopted a statement on the crisis in Ukraine. It was adopted unanimously, with one abstention vote. The text was translated and published in English on June 16, and has also been published without comment in the weekly Presse-toi à gauche (Move Left!) online bulletin in Quebec.

The statement (original French version here) is deeply disappointing, showing that this Marxist political association continues to draw all the wrong conclusions from the grave attacks against the people of Ukraine, attacks that have escalated over the past four months. We can only hope that the Fourth International will correct its course. Opposition is growing in Ukraine and internationally to the right-wing regime that came into power in Kyiv in late February, to its war in the east of the country, to the suppression of democratic rights taking place throughout Ukraine, and to the key support role of the NATO military alliance.

The past four months have seen the Kyiv regime launch a war on the population in the south-eastern provinces in order to block progressive demands for political and economic autonomy, including the demand for provincial governors to be elected instead of appointed. The autonomy movement is also driven by the threat posed to the region’s economy by an economic association agreement that the regime in Kyiv has now signed with the European Union. The regime has also accepted International Monetary Fund-dictated austerity measures. These were a condition of loans it asked for and began receiving in March.

The association agreement will see the abolition of protective tariff barriers for agriculture and industry. It will disrupt and weaken Ukraine’s considerable trading relations with Russia. Already, Ukraine has lost the discounts on natural gas imports that Russia was providing before the overthrow in late February of Ukraine’s elected president.

The dream of closer ties to Europe is predicated on the belief that cheap labour costs in Ukraine will bring large-scale investment from the West. Supporters of closer ties also argue that the dropping of tariff barriers will make existing Ukrainian products competitive.

But Europe is beset by economic stagnation. Large quantities of European goods lack buyers. There is little incentive for European capitalists to invest in modernising Ukrainian industry when their own products have trouble finding markets. Further, demolishing Ukraine’s tariff walls will do little to boost export sales if the country’s trade offerings do not correspond to European tastes, or if quality is inadequate. Attractive European products, though, will flood across the border into Ukraine, driving local producers out of business.

Commentator Viktor Shapinov, of the Ukrainian left political association Borotba (Struggle), recently summed up the likely effects for the country of the association agreement:

European economic integration’ will lead to:

Drop in production or complete destruction of production beyond the narrow mining sector (mainly ore) and possibly the steel industry. Ukrainian production in aircraft, automotive and chemical industries cannot compete with European manufacturers, which get cheaper credit and government support …

Ukrainian agriculture, which … requires a high degree of processing, cannot withstand competition with European manufacturers, whose competitiveness is supported by huge subsidies, non-tariff regulation and flexible mechanisms.

Introduction of European standards of production (which are aimed at shielding the protectionist EU producers) will close businesses that are not able to comply with these regulations…

Disruption of economic ties with Russia and countries of the Customs Union will destroy the industry built on the basis of cooperation in the framework of the former USSR.

Tight EU monetary requirements in the field of "budget savings" (similar to the requirements of the IMF) will force the Ukrainian government to cut social spending, which will aggravate the social situation in the country.

Closure or reduction of production in key sectors of the economy will lead to a catastrophic rise in unemployment, comparable with what has troubled peripheral EU countries – i.e., to a level of about 40% ...

For the mass of Ukraine’s working people, the effects of the association agreement are likely to amount to an economic holocaust. To this onslaught by Western imperialism against Ukraine’s status as an industrialised country, the Fourth International statement devotes a total of just four lines. Much more important, according to the statement, are the supposed menaces to Ukraine of the Russian state – whose bail-out offer of loans and energy concessions last November included no austerity measures at all.

The rise of violent, ultra-right political currents in Ukraine is a concern of the first order. Representatives of ultra-right parties have served as ministers in the government, at times controlling the ministries of the police and armed forces. (See note below on current situation.) Fascist gangs attack left-wing political groups with impunity, and are organising militias to fight alongside the Ukraine army in the east. Some even direct army operations, as in the city of Mariupol in early May.

Trade unions in Ukraine are under attack. On June 26, a right-wing mob attacked a meeting in Kyiv of the Federation of Independent Unions (video here).

Astoundingly, the Fourth International statement of June 7 says nothing about the war in the east. The regime’s assaults have caused hundreds of deaths and the displacement of tens of thousands of people. Pro-government neo-Nazi militias stage attacks on working-class communities with authorities making no detectable moves to stop them. The regime’s own armed forces shell residential districts of eastern towns, and bomb targets in densely populated city centers.

No military intervention in these regions by armed forces of the Russian state has yet been demonstrated. Yet the Fourth International statement in its opening section posits a Ukraine “held hostage between the pressures of Russian and Euro-Atlantic [NATO] imperialism”. In its conclusion, the statement calls for a “withdrawal” of Russian military forces. The statement says not a word about the NATO military build-up in eastern Europe or the training and equipping by NATO of the Ukrainian armed forces.

On June 3, the Fourth International’s affiliate in France, the New Anticapitalist Party (NPA), published an article by a writer in Russia that at least acknowledges the regime’s offensive in the east. But the writer goes on to draw a false “equal” sign between the Kyiv regime’s military offensive and the Russian reaction: “As Russian and Ukrainian socialists, our demands should be the suspension of the ‘anti-terrorist’ operation of the Kyiv government in the Southeast and the complete halt to escalation of the conflict by Russia.”

A June 12 article by the NPA accuses Russia’s president Vladimir Putin of “aiding and abetting the pro-Russian separatist [sic] uprising in the provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk”. As many news reports and analyses make clear, it is simplistic and misleading to describe the political uprising in eastern Ukraine as “pro-Russian separatist”. The people of that region have a variety of views on their political future; despite the war, many still favour some form of autonomy status with Ukraine. The main duty here for Marxists is to defend the right of this people to freely choose their future without being bombed and attacked or threatened with economic reprisal.

In a particularly dishonourable section, the June 8 statement calls the massacre by right-wingers and fascists of more than 40 anti-fascist demonstrators in Odessa on May 2 a “drama”, moreover, that served to incite a “radicalisation of anti-Maidan propaganda”.

The statement’s characterisation of the protest movement that came to a head on the Maidan square in Kiev in February is superficial and incoherent. It notes the movement was “a combination of revolutionary (democratic, anti-elitist, self-organized) and reactionary elements”, and regrets that “the movement has not expressed social demands; it has done very little to mobilize the industrial working class”. The only “program” of the movement, the statement says, was to secure the overthrow of elected Ukraine president Viktor Yanukovych.

No attempt is made to proceed beyond these disconnected generalities and to analyse the movement’s class composition. The Maidan program consisted of much more than the demand for the removal of Yanukovich; equally central was the demand that the Ukrainian government sign onto the economic association agreement offered by the European Union. That this agreement would be accompanied by harsh austerity terms was never any secret.

Sounding echoes from last year’s political tragedy in Egypt, the statement goes on to lament that the overthrow of Yanukovych in late February was“hijacked” by far-right forces. But this hijacking should not have been a surprise when the movement lacked any important working-class component and embraced neoliberal perspectives. Indeed, a far-right hijacking was precisely the goal of many of those who joined and led the movement, and certainly of those among the economic elite who financed it.

In contrast to the Fourth International statement, an informed analysis of the competing class interests in the Maidan movement was provided recently by Borotba’s Viktor Shapinov, who concludes:

The Euromaidan is…a movement initiated and controlled by the largest oligarchs. Its political base consists of radical nationalists and to a lesser degree of pro-Western liberals, while its social base is made up of petty-bourgeois and declassed elements.

By contrast, the resistance movement in the south-east is more proletarian in its composition, as independent observers have noted. Nor is it an accident that resistance to the junta of oligarchs and Nazis that came to power as a result of the Maidan has appeared primarily in the most industrially developed regions, where there is a preponderance of the working class in the population.

Articles by other members of Borotba have effectively explained that the way to win working-class sections of the Maidan movement to a progressive program is not by pandering to their illusions in European capitalism or to the reactionary dreams of right-wing Ukrainian nationalism but instead by projecting a united struggle for progressive social and economic goals.

The Fourth International statement criticises Borotba for opposing the reactionary demands of Maidan and for standing outside it. But the statement ignores the fact that the ascendancy of fascist and other rightist groups on the Maidan square, and increasingly throughout the country, closed off the political and physical space in which this resistance might have been mounted.

Meanwhile, the statement says not a word about the role Maidan should play in present circumstances. In reality, whatever progressive impulse may once have existed in the Maidan movement has long since been forcibly pushed aside or silenced. The challenge today is to win the working-class movement across Ukraine to the kind of anti-austerity, pro-democracy sentiments that are animating the autonomy movement in the east.

On the deadly economic turn to Europe that Ukraine's rulers are making (with all the related consequences for military alliance with NATO), the Fourth International says hardly a word. The statement’s description of the goals and interests of Western imperialism in Eastern Europe is near to indecipherable.

But on Russia’s role, the statement is very firm. The Fourth International dismisses the plebiscite vote in Crimea in March to secede from Ukraine, arguing unconvincingly that the vote was not representative of mass opinion. Not a word is said about the threat of a Kyiv-sponsored civil war that convinced so many Crimeans to vote in favour of association with Russia. The plebiscite and the events surrounding it are written off as “annexation” by Russia.

Throughout the statement, we find a willful or naïve downplaying of the rightist and fascist danger in Ukraine. There is no mention of the role played by the extreme right in the government and in organising militias. Nor is there any mention of the attacks on democratic rights, including the trashing of the offices of left-wing and working-class organisations such as Borotba, the violent attacks on people attempting to hold protest demonstrations, and so forth. The statement’s very last sentence says: "In the nationalist camp, there are emerging currents that, taking advantage of the marginality of the socialist left, wish to appear in the eyes of workers as an alternative to capitalism." But the “emerging” of the rightists took place spectacularly last year and early this year. They have since become firmly established.

In sum, the statement fails to define adequately the class interests that should be defended in Ukraine, or to suggest how this defence might be mounted. It adapts to the right-wing nationalism dominant in the country by offering only one potential course of action: “The unity of Ukraine requires military neutrality, the withdrawal of Russian troops [no mention of NATO advisors, spies and armaments!] and a rejection of antisocial government policies.”

Let us hope that in the coming weeks, wiser counsel prevails in the ranks of the Fourth International and that it joins in the anti-fascist campaigning now initiated by bodies such as the Solidarity with the Antifascist Resistance in Ukraine group in Britain.

[Roger Annis resides in Vancouver Canada and publishes the website A Socialist in Canada. Renfrey Clarke resides in Adelaide, Australia, where he is a member of the Socialist Alliance. He translates articles from Russian for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal.

Note on the political right and far right in the Ukraine government and executive cabinet

There are currently three ministers from the extreme-right Svoboda Party in a 19-member cabinet. None of them have any direct sway over the “power ministries”-- defence, security, law enforcement, justice. There are no Right Sector ministers in the government.

The military campaign against the autonomist movement in the south-east is controlled or at least heavily influenced by an individual with a history as a fascist--Andriy Parubiy. He is secretary of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine (not a cabinet post). He was a co-founder in 1991 of Svoboda, known at the time as the Social National Party of Ukraine. He is now a member of the Fatherland Party along with of Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and former prime minister and defeated 2014 presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko.

All the leading figures of the government regime in Kyiv are extreme right-wing politicians. They all endorse ruthless military violence against the autonomist movement in eastern Ukraine. And none have done anything to stop the fascist gangs.

Comments

Factual correction

The Bureau of the Fourth International conducts its discussions in English. The resolution was posted some time after the meeting because the International Viewpoint website was down over that period.

Fourth International on military operation

I am not sure on Ukraine, but what is obviously odd is that Viewpoint International/Fourth International picked an Awami Workers Party statement that does not oppose ongoing military operation in Pakistan. see: http://internationalviewpoint.npa2009.org/spip.php?article3421

On Ukraine, the International has lost its way

I agree with the article by the comrades, except it doesn't go far enough, in my opinion, to discuss the theoretical problem which has caused the International to lose its way. That is, the International has an orientation which strives to maintain "the unity of the Ukraine" and its bourgeois state.

If one reads the statements of the so-called "Left Opposition", a group of Ukrainian left nationalists headed by Zohar Propovich, a scoundrel driven out of the Committee for a Workers International after he and a group of poseurs tried to scam various international left groupings out of money by pretending to be members of their Ukrainian organisations, you will see statement after statement declaring that the aim of their opposition to the uprising in the Donbass is to preserve the unity and integrity of the Ukrainian state.

While the article mentions the NPA as having a despicable line on the Donbass uprising, this is nothing compared to the craven pandering of the British section to those of the International Socialism tendencies. Declaring in their major statement about Ukraine that the Russians are the problem, this has been followed up by statements of leading members like Duncan Chapel that he is not in solidarity with Borotba or the other left organisations of the Donbass because, in his words, "they have made terrible mistakes." In addition, Chapel has made statements like "The Fourth International doesn't support nationalist struggles" (try telling that to the Sandinistas or the Algerians), or that there is no attack on Russian language rights. All this is a matter of record and can be seen on the discussion section of the SR website.

With this kind of viewpoint, is it any wonder that instead of calling for the overthrow of the oligarchs and their government, and of supporting the nascent proletarian uprising in the Donbass, which succeeded in destroying the national bourgeois state structures and establishing provisional state structures whose foundations are rooted in quicksand, the comrades of the International leadership have gone vastly adrift.

With Borotba under attack from the American puppet government and its fascist allies, when government ministers openly call for the banning of the Ukrainian Communist party, we have heard not heard one word of elementary solidarity from the International leadership. This comrades is disgraceful!

What I don't understand is why, when the Bosnian workers are rising and beginning to establish nascent forms of dual power; when the mass movement is on the rise throughout many of the former deformed worker states in Eastern Europe; when the struggle in Greece is beginning to spill over its borders into Turkey and Macedonia; how can the International leadership not see that Ukraine could be the detonator for a series of explosive events, not least of which is would include Russia itself.

Comrades of the International, be absolutely clear about this: we don't want to maintain the unity of the bourgeois Ukrainian state, we want to destroy it and replace it with a federation of socialist states, throughout Europe, starting with what existed in Ukraine after the great October revolution when five soviet socialist states appeared, including three in the South and East of Ukraine. That is the goal of revolutionary Marxism: not some pious and petite bourgeois appeals for peace,but a stirring and clarion call for class war to crush the Ukrainian and Russian oligarchs and to smash the Ukrainian state. That is the revolutionary Marxism as was taught to me by the writings of Lenin and Luxemburg, Trotsky and Cannon, Mandel and Moreno.

One more thing, I feel I must add. The statement of the leadership of the International doesn't represent the position of all the sections. The work of the Socialist Party, the Swedish section, has been exemplary in supporting Borotba and the other left organisations now effectively banned by the Kyiv puppet government. The solidarity in action by the comrades of the Greek section, and the coalition of the revolutionary Greek left, Antyrsa, with Borotba in the struggle against Ukrainian and Russian fascism needs to be applauded. Similarly, the work of the RSM and the Left Front in Russia raising the banner of peace and non-support for Russian intervention, should have our gratitude.

These comrades understand that the oligarchies in both Ukraine and Russia represent a weak and unstable social layer, emerging as they have out of the bureaucracy a scant twenty five years ago, and who have deposited their ill gotten gains not in a reinvestment program within their countries, but have exported their capital abroad to engage in unproductive speculation, thus limiting the network of social ties which bind older nationalist capitalist classes together. The oligarchs of Ukraine and Russia have their links with international finance in the City of London or Malta and Switzerland.

While the leadership of the International seems not to understand this, thousands of Trotskyist militants around the world do, whether inside or outside of the International; and here I include the thousands of militants in Latin America who come from the Morenist tradition; and furthermore understand that the leadership is squandering an opportunity to build a movement against NATO and US imperialism.

It is indeed odd that the statements broadcast by the pro-Ukrainian left nationalists of the Fourth International, have not carried the analysis of comrade Boris Kagarlitsky who tends to be much closer and much clearer to the mark than the Duncan Chapels and Penelope Duggans of the world. Why has the Russian Socialist movement been shut out of the debate? Why has the International not carried the statement of the Swedish and Greek comrades? Why has not some of the fine analysis appearing on the LIVA website not been reproduced? Why is the International leaning on the nationalist ravings of discredited personalities in the Left Opposition group? Where is comrade Boris!

So many questions, so few answers.

As someone who has been a supporter of the FI for more than 45 years, I have never seen an issue of such importance given so little coverage of differing points of view. Maybe it is a question of resources but I don't think so. Perhaps comrade Duggan, a member of the Bureau, can enlighten us as to the answer to these questions.

The Ukrainian civil war and ‘leftist’ advisors of the far-right

The Ukrainian civil war and ‘leftist’ advisors of the far-right Kiev government

July 2, 2014

By Lev Krasnovoyn, translated from the Greek and published on the Facebook page of Solidarity with the Antifascist Resistance in Ukraine, July 2, 2014

While civil war continues unabated in Eastern Ukraine, with the army using phosphorous bombs against cities in Donbass, the leader of the so-called “Left Opposition” Zakhar Popovich issues a statement on war on behalf of his organization. His position is generally in favour of a ceasefire, which is the request of a large majority of the Ukrainian society, but this is not done from a left perspective, but it is rather reminiscent of an advisor of the far-right government, promoting a more “realistic” policy to deal with the crisis which has spun out of control (article in Ukrainian, and here in English).

A first glance at the captions of the photos accompanying the article (in the Ukrainian text) reveals the kind of proposed “solutions”. The caption of the first photo reads: “The creation of corridors for the evacuation of civilians can be negotiated with the “warlords” of terrorists”. With the term “terrorists” he refers to anti-government militias!. And in the second photo: “The conditions under which the terrorists will leave Ukrainian land are the only questions that ought to be negotiated with them”.

As we read in the statement, there should be a cessation of hostilities because, “The victory [of government forces] is not possible without massive civilian casualties in the region and, even if it is achieved, it will increase the hatred of the local population not only against the government troops but also the government itself … it will diliver the final blow to the confidence in the Ukrainian state institutions and the de facto disintegration of the contemporary Ukrainian state”. Thus, the main problem for ‘Liva Opozitsia’ is not the continuing slaughter of civilians as such, but that this “will increase the hatred of the local population against the government” and “the disintegration of Ukrainian state” .

As for the so-called “antiterrorist operation” (ATO), Mr. Popovich considers that “ATO forces have on no occasions fired directly at residential buildings, however in a densely populated place in the Donbas it is impossible to avoid ACCIDENTAL CASUALTIES”. Really, how “accidental” are facts such as the use of illegal phosphorous bombs (like those used by Israeli army in Gaza)?

Continuing on how to achieve a ceasefire, he writes, “The first task to be agreed, if necessary with the devil, is to prevent casualties among the civilian population, people who have now become hostages of the terrorists… it is necessary to conduct negotiations even with those we consider to be the worst terrorists. Such questions as a ceasefire and creating a humanitarian corridor for the evacuation of civilians and the delivery of humanitarian aid can all be agreed with, among others, the real “warlords” of terrorists… the release of hostages and the conditions under which the terrorists will leave Ukrainian land are the only questions that ought to be negotiated with them”.

This is a full alignment with the far-right Kiev regime: The people’s militias, which enjoy the massive support of the local population and will be constantly labeled as “terrorists” by pseudo-’trotskyist’ government advisors, have only one choice: “to leave the Ukrainian land.” If that happens, the National Guard and the fascist militias of Right Sector will gain full control and the choice of any “dissidents” (ie the vast majority of the population) is to abandon the “Ukrainian land” or to die, or – those who have not been proscribed as “enemies of the nation” totally surrender to the fascists.

To blunt the edge and not be blamed for open chauvinism, Mr. Popovich admits that “It’s no secret that a significant portion does not trust the Ukrainian army. Naturally, people are frightened and find themselves under the influence of lying Russian propaganda. However, there are also objective reasons for such mistrust. There are many members of Ukrainian ultranationalist and even openly neo-nazi organisations in the ranks and leadership of newly formed Ukrainian military units. And unfortunately the government has increasingly been relying on such units… The actions of such semi-autonomous battalions are often provocative and tend to consolidate the local population around the terrorist groups, which are then regarded, paradoxically, as their ‘defenders’.” So, it’s not disputed that there are fascists in the National Guard, but this is supposedly exaggerated by “lying Russian propaganda” which terrorizes the locals.

Even if he had come from planet Mars, Mr. Popovic would have known, as there is ample evidence even in Western media, that the NATIONAL GUARD IS CONSISTED ENTIRELY OF RIGHT SECTOR FASCISTS, WHO COMMIT MASS MURDER AGAINST CIVILIANS. In the following article and photos below we can see what exactly the National Guard is and the Nazi emblems that its uniforms bear: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article38672.htm, namely, the swastika, the Wolfsangel, which is an SS sign used by many neo-Nazi organizations, including by Greek ‘Golden Dawn’ nazis until 2009, and the occult ‘Black Sun‘ sign, which also relates to the German Nazi SS.

Fascist violence is an adequate factor itself, and there is no need for “lying Russian propaganda” to make local population support the people’s militias. On the contrary, even sections of the military and the police have defected and joined the insurgents or refuse to follow orders and say they will not “shoot their brothers.” Therefore, the only reliable forces for the Kiev regime are the fascists of the National Guard and those of the professional staff of the army that have remained loyal (e.g. aircraft pilots). In order to ensure their loyalty to the regime, they are paid very high salaries (up to 1,700 US$ per month, when the average salary is around 180 US$.

Concluding, in order to add a “leftist” tinge to his statement, Popovich tells us that “trade union representatives, which are independent of the oligarch-owners on the one hand and clearly distanced from radical nationalist organisations, both pro-Ukrainian and pro-Russian, on the other hand, can also become the guarantors of agreements made between the conflicting sides in the Donbas. Therefore we call upon the independent trade unions and strike committees to form their own self defense brigades and use all acceptable means to bring these sides to an immediate ceasefire”.

It seems that after all his maneuvers, advice to the far-right regime and cover-up of the role of fascists, there has been some plain speaking and perhaps he hopes to… deceive the class enemy and allure them with his “cunning”… “Bolshevik line”…

But Mr. Popovich is not naive. Instead, he tries once again to deceive international audiences – as he cannot expect that such an appeal may have actual recipients in Ukraine – and perhaps, he succeeds to some extent with the aid of a considerable part of the European left which, though they know very well about him,* continue to present him as an “expert” on Ukraine.

What Mr. Popovich “forgot” to tell us that the “independent union” that he supports is the employer’s ‘Union of Independent Trade Union of Miners of Ukraine’ (ITUMU). This union, chaired by Mikhail Volynets, former MP of Tymoshenko’s party, proclaimed a “strike” when the People’s Republic of Donetsk threatened the oligarchs who refused to pay taxes with nationalization of the mines. However, the miners themselves went on strike in late May, spontaneously demanding a stop of bombings and evacuation of the government troops and the fascist National Guard.

Apart from the class character of the one or the other trade union, the main question remains: can the trade unions, at least in their current form, take the initiative to establish workers’ militias that have martial ability to confront the armed-to-the-teeth fascists? As far as I know, this task, cannot be fulfilled by the unions. Only in Spain during the civil war, the anarchist CNT union, along with its political arm, FAI, played a leading role in forming workers’ militias. But CNT has nothing to do with the current western European unions, let alone employers’ unions.

The task of a classic union is to negotiate the terms of exploitation of the working class, restricting its activities on economic issues. The current trade unionist crisis is due to the fact that bosses do not negotiate the terms of improvement of living conditions, but instead, they impose the terms of impoverishment of the working class. Consequently, if political issues in general – and in particular the main one: which class appropriates the produced wealth – is not on the unions’ agenda, how can the latter play a leading role in organizing workers militias, especially in conditions of civil war? As the international experience has shown, this duty lies with the political organizations and parties of the working class.

Of course, Mr. Popovich’s reference to this issue is merely a smokescreen. What he basically says is that the existing people’s militias must be disbanded and their members (the vast majority of whom are residents of the rebel regions) must “leave Ukrainian land.” When this is done, the fascists will be able continue their work unhindered and Mr. Popovich will be whistling indifferently.

On this point, one may have some objections–that the people’s militias are not “red” and there are also pro-Russian nationalists involved. In fact, citizens across the political spectrum participate in the militias with a common unifying element: their opposition to the far-right Kiev regime and its fascist storm troops. Recently, volunteers from abroad started arriving, including retired soldiers of teh Israeli armed forces who arrived to defend Ukrainian Jews from neo-Nazis.

The situation is very volatile politically and as civil war continues, “Kalashnikov decides for all,” as Sergey Kirichuk, a leading member of Borotba wrote in a recent article. This article states, “The only hope for the people of Ukraine today is that the war of the ‘West’ and ‘East’ will turn into a united front of Ukrainians – from the Carpathians to Lugansk – against a handful of cynical thieves robbing our country and all its citizens, regardless of the language they speak.”

In my opinion, as long as civil war continues and the Left lacks the potential to assume the leadership of the insurgents and organize workers militias, it must continue to use a united front policy with multiple targets, which so far has been successful, as it has managed to spread its political influence. Therefore, left forces should support the antiwar campaign for an immediate end of hostilities, but should not seek the disarmament of the rebels and spread illusions about the Kiev regime. Demonstrations where mothers and wives of conscripts demand the return of soldiers from the front show that the antiwar movement, albeit in embryonic form, exists in Central and Western Ukraine. An urgent task is its further politicization and connection with the movement of the people in Southeast, the main victim of military operations. Other central issues are the self-determination of oppressed nationalities and the battle against the oligarchs, under the slogan of nationalization of all large enterprises under workers control.

Only a militant left with such demands and action may have the opportunity to influence events decisively and assume the political leadership. This kind of left deserves immediate political and material support from every conscious worker. As for Mr. Popovic and his likes, they will definitely continue their pro-government work, but I hope that this will no longer be done with the support of a part of the European left.

Popovic does not support the ATO. Campaign did not publish this

This article is an astonishing slander. Zakhar Popovich does not support the ATO, as is claimed. He OPPOSES it, as can be seen from this article: http://observerukraine.net/2014/06/11/what-compromise-are-we-prepared-to...

Jorge Martin, from the Solidarity with the Antifascist Resistance in Ukraine campaign, assure me that this article was not posted on its facebook page. That campaign does not support any of the charges against Zakhar Popovich.

The Issue is the Ukrainian State

Duncan, you really should learn to read before you try to defend a left nationalist like the scoundrel Popovich. The article you refer to entitled "What Comromises Are We Prepared to Defend" is almost exactly word for word as that quoted by the Greek section of the Fourth International, of the Ukrainian language addition.

In the English translation he says exactly what the Greek comrades says he says.

Popovich calls the resistance movement in the South and East "terrorists", using the same language as that of the American puppet regime. So revolutionary Marxists like the comrades of Borotba are now terrorists in your eyes are they Duncan? Are they terrorists in the eyes of Allan Thornett as well?

Popovich openly defends the Ukrainian state, a bourgeois state propped up by American and EU imperialism, a state massacring their own citizens. Here are his words:

"In our view, such a “victory” is not possible right now without massive civilian casualties in the region. And even if it is achieved, it will lead to the growth of a completely justifiable hatred on the part of the local population not just towards the pro-government army but in general to the Ukrainian state itself."

These are the same words as quoted in the article above, Duncan. Popovich is speaking to the puppet government and telling them to use a different strategy in dealing with"the terrorists", so that a "victory" will be possible in the future.

What kind of victory does he envision? Why, exactly the same "victory" which the far-right puppet regime wants. Nothing can be clearer than Popovich's own words:

"A Ukrainian authority established by way of terror will not be strong and will never be accepted by the eastern Ukrainians as their own. But it is precisely down this path that extremists on both sides of the conflict are pushing us. In the end this particular path leads to the complete loss of faith in these regions in Ukrainian state institutions and the de facto disintegration of the contemporary Ukrainian state. This is precisely the scenario that anti-Ukrainian forces want to see; they want to prove above all the incapacity of the contemporary Ukrainian state and the inability of Ukrainians to exist as a political nation."

Read these words carefully Duncan. Popovich wants the establishment of a strong Ukrainian authority; one which promotes Ukrainian institutions and can prevent the disintegration of the bourgeois Ukrainian state. Popovich wants to save the "contempory Ukrainian state". Those are Zahar Popovich's words, not mine or the comrades of the Greek section.

Further more, those who are opposed to this program are by definition "anti-Ukrainian". So where does that leave the Russian speaking working class of the South and East, and the Crimea may I add, who want nothing to do with this "strong" and "contemporaryy Ukrainian state"? So Duncan, do you believe that the workers' resistance to the puppet regime of imperialism and the oligarchs makes them "anti-Ukrainian"?

By "anti-Ukrainian", do you mean to say that the Russian speaking workers of the Donbass and Crimea don't embody the highest values and traditions of Ukraine, crystallised and represented in that classless wonder, the contemporary Ukrainian state? Wonder of wonders, how Popovich turns the mostly densely-populated, most proletarian part of the population into "anti-Ukrainians", simply by waving his nationalist wand.

What are the political implications of what he says here. No need to guess, he is quite clear about them.

"Such questions as a ceasefire and creating a humanitarian corridor for the evacuation of civilians and the delivery of humanitarian aid can all be agreed with, among others, the real “field commanders” of the terrorists – Girkin-Strelkov, Abwehr, Bis, others. At the same time, the release of hostages and the conditions under which the terrorists will leave Ukraine are the only questions that ought to be negotiated with them. On the other hand, any questions concerning political decision making should be considered solely with representatives of the local communities and not with fighters who have come here from abroad."

Once again, using the language of the imperialists, Popovich says that those who are resisting the puppet regime and its fascist allies, upon which the weak and broken down state structure rests in the persona of the National Guard, must leave the country.

Does that include the comrades of Borotba, the left anarchists, the members of the Ukrainian Communist party, of which there are hundred of thousands, are these all "terrorists", Duncan? What about the Russian speaking members of the Red Army who have returned home to form part of the militias? Are they to be expelled as well

Or what will be done to those members of the Ukrainian armed forces who have quit the army rather than wage war on their brothers and sisters in Donetsk, Lugansk, Maripol, Karkiv, and so on, soldiers like the 400 members of the 25th Airborne regiment. Will these people be cleansed from the lands of the east and south?

Those are the real implications of what the scoundrel Popovich says. But wait Duncan, lets get to the real meat of what your comrade in arms is promoting; the maintenance of the repressive forces so as to crush the resistance and the working class:

"The question can also be raised about returning Ukrainian military units to their permanent bases, but there can be no question about removing all Ukrainian military forces from the territory of Lugansk and Donetsk oblasts. Units of the armed forces of Ukraine have been here ever since the armed forces were created, which happened right after we gained our independence."

And further:

"Its no secret that a significant portion (if not the majority of the urban population) does not trust the Ukrainian army. Naturally, people are frightened and find themselves under the influence of lying Russian propaganda. However, there are also objective reasons for such mistrust. There are many members of Ukrainian ultranationalist and even openly neo-nazi organisations in the ranks and leadership of newly formed Ukrainian military units. And unfortunately the Government has been relying all the more on such units, which are more inclined to decisive action, which still do not have a clear status or clearly defined authority. The actions of such semi-autonomous battalions are often provocative and tend to consolidate the local population around the terrorist groups, which are then regarded, paradoxically, as their “defenders”. "

So here it is, the real political program of the "left" nationalists like Popovich, and their allies in Socialist Resistance and the right-wing of the Fourth International ,in all its radiant glory: maintain the army, which the majority of the population (how about "almost all the population") fears, and which includes whole units composed of fascists, neo-nazis, and ultra-nationalists; in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions; precisely those areas where the resistance to the puppet regime in Kyiv is the strongest.

"Maintain the forces of repression to defend the bourgeois state and crush the resistance to the puppet regime of imperialism and the oligarchs!" That is the banner being raised by Popovich and now, it seems, you and the right-wing of the International as well.

You see Duncan, the article presented by the Greek comrades is entirely representative of Popovich's views. It is bourgeois Ukrainian nationalism, pure and simple and as such, has nothing to do with Marxism.

The Ukrainian puppet regime is in crisis, economically and politically. Its ruling class of oligarchs is split between those with an orientation to Europe, and those with an orientation to Russia.

The petite bourgeois and its "civil society" NGO's bought and paid for with American dollars, has a European dream, wanting to become a respectable and well off middle class, like those in Surrey.

The working class, concentrated in its great majority in the South and East, and historically connected via language and socialist politics with Russia, knows that the oligarchs and their regime have nothing but bad things ahead for them- more or less "Greece heavy", and they want nothing to do with it.

Marxists stand with the working class and against the oligarchs, Duncan. Marxists don't defend the bourgeois state, and certainly don't call for its repressive apparatus to be stationed where the working class is coming off its knees, like you seem to be doing.

Most importantly, Marxists know, like the Greek comrades know, that working class organisation in times of great crisis depends on the political struggle, and that it is political leadership, not a reliance on workerist and economistic notion of what constitutes class struggle.

To put it clearly, when the fascists come marching with their battalions bought and paid for by the oligarchs, its is probably not a good time to tell the workers, who want to fight the fascists, that they should instead demand that the boss pay them 5 pounds more a week and forget about that armed worker militia stuff.

So you see Duncan, the Greek comrades are entirely right in their analysis of Popovich's real political program and intentions. I certainly hope comrade Jorge Martin posts their article on the Solidarity with the Anti-fascist resistance website, and not get into the usual IMT sectarianism.

You should hope for that as well, comrade Chapel. Nothing like a good debate about real and critical issues, such as the nature of bourgeois nationalism, the state and revolution, and so forth, to theoretically equip and deepen the understanding of revolutionaries. Word to the wise: "Without revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary movement".

You are simply lying, He does not support the ATO.

A quick comment on the bus to work: you totally duck the question. You claim he supports the ATO, but the article you link to shows him clearly opposing it. You can pose as many questions as you like about other things but he is for an end to the ATO now. And that is the key point: why lose lies, or out words in my mouth or Alan's? You just cannot distract attention so easily from that fact that you are totally misrepresenting the views of your opponents. We agree about more than you admit.

PS Your reply really shows one of the very worst things about part of the far left. You have climbed into some straw doll playhouse where, because he does not say what you want him to say, you just debate what you think are his "real" positions, rather than the ones that he actually believes. That is not good debate: it's the opposite. It's neither good, nor is it debate. You have to engage with Zakhar's actual opposition to the ATO, rather than claim he supports it. Alan and I obviously have not called anyone terrorists, so don't pretend that we do an argue with that. Debate our real, actual positions rather than lie.

Duncan Chapel Misses the Point

Duncan Chapel accuses Bob Lyons: "You are simply lying, He does not support the ATO".

It is correct that Popovich does not support the ATO, but that is not Lyons' argument. The argument is that Popovich supports the AIMS of the ATO, but counsels that the ATO is the wrong method of achieving them. And, having read Popovich's article, I have to say I agree. He has exposed himself as simply a Left nationalist - or, at best, an opportunist engaged in craven capitulation to nationalism in order to secure an audience. I have never read such nationalist rhetoric from a supposed Leftist outside a Maoist publication.

That said, I cannot agree with the political characterisation that Bob Lyons and Lev Krasnovoyn make of the rebel forces in Eastern Ukraine. The accounts I have seen of them, while not comprehensive, indicate that a large part of the control of the rebel bodies is itself in the hands of the far Right - only a pro-Russian far Right, rather than an anti-Russian one. The fact that the mass workers' organisations of Eastern Ukraine have maintained their distance from the rebels should stand as a warning, since since if the rebels were qualitatively better than the Kiev regime, they could be expected at least to defend them against the ATO.

The "Anti-Terrorist Operation" should indeed be called off, but for reasons quite different from those advanced by Zakhar Popovich. The working class of Ukraine needs to unite, not to protect the territorial integrity of the Ukrainian State, but to overthrow that State and take power in its own right and its own name. In the struggle for this, both factions of the Ukrainian capitalist class are enemies, as is the Russian capitalist class. All their representatives, and most especially their Fascist stormtroopers, must be fought.

Addendum

Hmmm. The above demonstrates the risks one plays with posting in haste late at night. I left out something that I shouldn't have.

What I left out, of course, belonged in the final paragraph. I should have added that the capitalist classes of the United States and the countries of the European Union are also enemies just as much as the capitalists of Russia. While, unlike many on the Left, I have no objection to any country joining the EU per se (European unity is a good and necessary thing and the path to a federation of European Workers' Republics can be beaten just as easily within the EU as without), I oppose any conditions upon its entry which constitute attacks on the working class. And, of course, I oppose NATO unconditionally.

Political Characterisation

I have made no political characterisation of the resistance movement other than calling it a mass movement, with a highly proletarian composition.

Politically, this resistance movement encompasses everybody from revolutionary Marxists like Borotba and the left anarchists, to ultra-right Russian nationalists linked to anti-Semitic groups in Russia. The majority of the population tends towards identification with either the Ukrainian Communist party or the Party of Regions, as a political regerence.

The form the rebel forces of the armed popular militias take includes former Red Army officers to armed women's' militias defending their villages.

Yes, the Ukrainian working class needs to unite. It is a sociological fact that the Ukrainian working class, its proletarian heart, is located in the regions where the resistance to the strongest to the Kyiv puppet regime.

It is also a fact that the Ukrainian working class is predominately Russian speaking. Kyiv for example, was 60% ethnic Russian at the turn of the 20th century. The Crimea is still 57% ethnic Russian.

These are the historically produced factors which makes the intersection of nationalisms and class compositions so unique in Ukraine, and why an understanding of Ukrainian nationalism as an historical reactionary force (as is Russian nationalism-in Russia) is so important to impart.

Supporting the ATO

Yes Duncan, Popovich supports the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO). What do you think the ATO is, a game where a magic wand is waved and the resistance disappears?

No, the ATO is an exercise of repression carried out by the Ukrainian army with the aim of disarming the popular militias.

Popovich says that under no circumstances are the army to be withdrawn from Donetsk or Luhansk. (Try to deny that he says this, Duncan. Its there in black and white).

Who do you think the Ukrainian state wants to carry out this operation of repressing the popular militias? The Ukrainian army. Who does Popovich insist that under no circumstance be withdrawn from the areas where the resistance is strongest? The Ukrainian army.

So who is lying Duncan? I quoted long parts of Popovich's article verbatim in order to not take what he says out of context, and so as not to twist his real intent. I understand it. The Greek comrades understand it. The Swedish comrades understand it. Thousands of Trotskyists around the world understand it. Why can't you? Don't be so pig-headed, it only makes you look foolish.

Oh Dear!

No sooner do I post an argument that Bob Lyons was not saying that Popovich was supporting the "Anti-Terrorist Operation" (and this is still correct, if you go back and read his previous posts), than he goes the extra step and makes that argument.

Looking at Popovich's statement (linked above), it is easily seen that he is calling for the ATO to be called off. Lyons now seems to be relying on Popovich's opposition to the withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from the rebel oblasts. A fair reading of Popovich's statement, however, is that he is calling for Ukrainian troops usually stationed in Eastern Ukraine to return to their barracks and for other Ukrainian troops to withdraw. His opposition to the Fascist militia auxiliaries to the Army is stated openly.

Popovich has adopted the aims of the ATO, but pleads for them to be achieved peacefully. That, in itself, is reason enough to disown him. Putting words into his mouth is both unprincipled and unnecessary.

Neither does he call the resistance movement terrorists

Honestly, it's not worth the time to go through each thing you wrote and shows how far it's made up, but I just want to give an example. You accuse Zakhar of calling the opposition to the ATO "terrorists". Now, one might imagine that sounds odd, since he also opposes the ATO. Indeed, he does use that term but only, and quite clearly, to refer to the foreign fighters led by Igor Girkin ("Strelkov") and his deputy Zdriulik ("Abwehr"). These are 'retired' officers of Russian army units specialising in counter-intelligence and guerilla warfare. There's a huge difference between describing himself and the other opponents of the ATO as terrorists (which you claim he does) and whether these two and the mercenaries they have imported from Russia are terrorists. If you want to debate that, then debate it, but how can we possibly have that debate when you ascribe to him false views on ATO and terrorism.

All I can do is this: some readers don't care about the truth. That's their choice. But if anyone really wants a debate they must not assume that any view you ascribe to anyone is their true opinion.

Popovich does not differentiate between resistance movement

Duncan, Popovich does not differentiate between the resistance movement in the Donbass, and some of the Russian speaking, nationalist and ultra-nationalist "heads" of the Donetsk People's Republic. He labels all those in the militias as terrorists. Show me in his article where he refers to the resistant movement as a resistance movement. He doesn't. You can't.

The issue under debate is not whether you can interpret what Popovich writes as supporting or opposing the ATO. His position is so ambiguous that either interpretation is valid.

What is under discussion, what the real issue here is Popovich's and your (meaning Socialist Resistance, including Allan Thornett's) support for maintainimg the bourgeois Ukrainian state.

If you agree with Popovich's analysis, which at its heart is based on some notion of Ukrainian national liberation struggle from Russia, then the support of left nationalists like Popovich and others for the maintenance of
"the contemporary (bourgeois) Ukrainian state" is a logical conclusion for nationalists, but not for revolutionary Marxists.

Why I say that you and Popovich share the same analysis and share the same political bed is based on the article- "Ukraine-the Russians are the aggressors" -published as Socialist Resistance's statement analysis of the situation in Ukraine. The words are pretty clear there, are they not? No need for confusion here.

Your position has been pretty clear since the start of the crisis in Ukraine. You have taken a line which, as far as I and many other Trotskyists around the world, differs not one iota from the line of the left nationalists like Popovich. I really don't feel that I or the Greek comrades or the Swedish comrades or the Argentinian comrades or the Venezuelan comrades can misrepresent your views.

You don't support the mass resistance movement of the people of the Donbass and Crimea, you like Popovich support the territorial integrity of "the contemporary Ukrainian state".

You don't support the right of self determination of the Crimean peoples, or those of the Donbass. You say that the Crimea was "annexed" by the Russians, once again using the language of the imperialists. The list goes on and on.

What you really don't like though, is having your mealy-mouthed empiricist analysis being reframed in revolutionary Marxist terms, where the political program of Socialist Resistance is shown to be indistinguishable from that of the left nationalists. No nuancing or attempting to deflect the debate from this issue will cover this up.

There's Differentiation for Some

Bob Lyons says: "Popovich does not differentiate between the resistance movement in the Donbass, and some of the Russian speaking, nationalist and ultra-nationalist 'heads' of the Donetsk People's Republic."

One might as well say: "Lyons does not differentiate between the Maidan movement in the West, and some of the Ukrainian speaking, nationalist and ultra-nationalist 'heads' of the Pravy Sektor". It reads just as accurately. And it is correct not to differentiate between the members of the Right Sector and the Kiev regime's militia on the one hand, and the known Fascist leadership of them on the other.

If Bob Lyons wants to argue that the rebel militias in the Donbass are not Fascist, he needs to demonstrate the political diversity in the leadership and command of them. It's clear enough that at least some of them are throwbacks to the White Guards and even the Black Hundreds and that there are "ex"-Russian officers playing a role in the rebel movement. In addition, the rebel movement in the Donbass is a distinct minority of the population, as shown by the small size of its mobilisations and the distance from it maintained by the unions. If you join a militia led by Fascists, you demonstrate that, at the very least, you are willing to be a footsoldier for Fascism.

So, how diverse is the leadership of the militias in the Donbass?

Statement on Ukraine-OKDE-Spartakos

I am here posting the statement of the OKDE-Spartakos, Greek section of the Fourth International, as a matter of interest and comparison.

Readers can contrast this clear statement of support with the Donbass resistance movement to that of the left nationalists of "the Left Opposition" like Popovich, or to an equally nationalist position taken by the leadership of Socialist Resistance, the British section in their statement entitled "Ukraine-the Russians are the aggressors".

Смерть фашизму, свобода народу!

Death to fascism, freedom to the people!

A day after the protests on May Day, the storm troops of the neo-Nazi “Pravy Sektor”(Right Section) arrived in Odessa sent by the far-right Kiev regime to suppress the protests of residents in the southeast.

“Pravy Sektor” neo-Nazis along with those of the fascist party" Svoboda "(Freedom) were the largest and most effective part of “self-defense” in the Maidan. It was those who actually undermined the agreement
of Yanukovych government, expressing the interests of pro-Russian oligarchs, with the pro-West opposition of Yatsenyuk (Tymoshenko’s party), Klitschko and the fascist “Svoboda”. After Yanukovych’s flight and his party’s capitulation to the opposition, the fascists occupied positions in six ministries, as well as the general prosecutor’s office. The leader of the “Right Sector” became undersecretary of the Council of National Security and Defence, with superior Paruby, also a fascist and founding member of “Social National Party”,
predecessor of “Svoboda”.

At the same time, gangs of “Right Sector” began victory parades through the
streets of Kiev and other cities and launched pogroms against political opponents, especially of the left, as well as violent attacks against public officials in an attempt to put under their control public prosecutors and
TV stations. In an attempt to control the most hardline elements, but also to recruit trusted armed forces, the government established the new National Guard, exclusively composed of members of Maidan “self-defense”
bands (i.e. members of “Svoboda” and “Right Sector”).

The growing fascist violence, the proposed drafts for the abolition of Russian as an official state language along with Ukrainian, the emergence “Right Sector” neo-Nazis in Kharkiv, Odessa and other cities
in the southeast, where the majority of the population is Russian-speaking , the appointment of hate oligarchs as local governours ( many of whom supported the previous Yanukovych government), the payment delays, cuts in wages and rapid price and duty rises were the reasons that triggered the “Anti-Maidan”
movement in the southeast, which raised issues of recognition of national rights, such as the language status,as well as social and economic demands.

The confrontation escalated with the referendum in Crimea, where
the overwhelming majority voted secession from Ukraine and annexation to the Russian Federation, and the referendum movement in the southeast, demanding more autonomy and federalization of Ukraine.

The autonomist movement embraced all southeast and in Donetsk, where much of Ukrainian industry is concentrated, armed militias were formed. However, the proletarian heart of the country is Kharkov, the second largest city after Kiev, where the influence of the left, especially the Union “Borotba” (Struggle) in the movement is strong, as it is in Odessa.

The Kiev regime immediately sent troops to suppress the movement, rejecting the demand for a referendum. However, the massive mobilization of residents and the reluctance of soldiers and large parts of local police to beat the people led Kiev regime to a dead-end and an open admission that they do not control the situation. This in turn exacerbated the friction with the most extreme elements of the “Right Sector” and escalated the pressure of Western imperialist mentors, who meanwhile had reached an IMF agreement loan
of 17 billion dollars, and now demanded immediate action.

These developments led to a new flare up of the conflict, when Kiev resorted to the fascist National Guard and “Right Section” paramilitaries to suppress the rebellion. That’s how we were led to the events of the 2nd of May.

As “Borotba” writes, “Under the pretext of the so-called march ‘For unity of Ukraine’paramilitary squads of Ukrainian nationalists were brought together to Odessa from all over the country...Local residents of Odessa were the minority among them, while the majority – far-right paramilitaries that were brought together from all over Ukraine... The majority of police were ordered to guard the building of the Department of Home Affairs.

Thus, the entire city was delivered into the hands of neo-Nazi paramilitary”. After intense fighting in the city center, the fascists marched to the Kulikovo square, where there was a camp of 200 antifascists and set fire to the tents. The antifascists barricaded themselves in the nearby “House of Trade Unions” and fascists burned the building with cocktail Molotov bombs. “The fire spread throughout the building and people began to jump out of the windows trying to escape the fire. But on the ground, they were finished off by nationalist paramilitaries“. Thus, a member of “Borotba”, Andrey Brazhevsky, was murdered.

“Over 40 activists were burned alive, poisoned by smoke or murdered by the Nazis, while trying to escape from the burning building”.

The massacre in Odessa, and slaughters of scores of people in other cities, such as Slavyansk,Lugansk and Kramatorsk, where the fascist National Guard murdered among others the twenty-year-old nurse Yulia Isotova and three other members of the nursing staff who provided first aid to the wounded, was
methodically arranged by the far-right Kiev regime.

The next day, the Odessa police instead of arresting the neo-Nazi murderers, they arrested 63 antifascist survivours (to be released later by residents of Odessa who stormed the police station), while Tymoshenko congratulated those who “contributed to the suppression of separatists” and promised to suppress any further protest. As it is correctly pointed out by “Borotba”, “The
massacre in Odessa reveals that Kiev regime of nationalists and oligarchs is rapidly grows into the outright terrorist dictatorship of the fascist style”.

But the massacres unleashed by the far-right regime with the blessings of USA-NATO-EU cannot provide a solution. Many military units still do not obey and arms are transferred massively to the militias. This clearly shows that the accusations of Kiev regime that the uprising is “triggered by Putin” is hollow
propaganda.

Similarly unfounded are the accusations, unfortunately swallowed and reproduced by various “leftish”, “anarchists” and other “progressive Europeanists”, that “Borotba” and all those involved in the movement are “subservient to Putin”. Such despicable wretchedness, as well as the deafening silence of the Western media and the liberal “leftish” who have not yet seen the “invisible” fascists who are now mass murdering people, and they have still not come to a “verdict” on who is responsible for the slaughter in Odessa, is nothing but an alibi for the far-right Kiev regime and its storm troops that continue the slaughter of the left and the antifascist movement in the southeast.

As for Putin and Russian imperialists, they have already secured what they always had, i.e. their bases in Crimea, and now they have no interest in the victory of the anti-fascist insurrection of popular masses. On the contrary, their intervention in April was towards an agreement with Kiev regime, the USA and the EU for the disarmament of all armed groups and evacuation of occupied buildings, an agreement that the insurgents do not recognize.

Putin leverages developments to consolidate his position in Russia and
suppress internal opposition easier. Simultaneously, Russian imperialism attempts through this process to extend its economic and political influence in the region, coming into direct conflict with the interests of US and EU imperialists. The risk to ignite all-out war in the region is nightmarishly visible.

In order to rid the movement of illusions for Putin and reflections of pro-Russian nationalism, as a result of the bloody repression, it is necessary to strengthen the influence of the left and help the movement to gain confidence in its own strength. This process is not easy, but neither wishful thinking.

It is already in progress, because “Borotba” intervenes dynamically and its influence steadily grows, while, at the same time, there is a rapid progress in the formation of militias, as the rebels have understood very well that neither Putin nor any other “saviour” will stop the fascist hordes, but only their own forces.

Concludng, the Organisation of Communists - Internationalists of Greece – “Spartakos”, Greek section of the Fourth International, stands in solidarity with the comrades of the Union “Borotba” and the antifascist
movement in Ukraine and condemns the far-right Kiev government and its imperialists mentors of USA-NATO-EU who have unleashed the hordes of neo-Nazi murderers in Southeast Ukraine. We urge all the left to do the same and act directly with mass demonstrations at the Ukrainian embassies all around the
world.

The struggle of comrades in Ukraine is our struggle and their victory will be ours, too.

- Down with the far-right Kiev regime!
- Crush the storm troops of “Right Sector” and the fascist National Guard!
- No to imperialist interventions! USA-EU-NATO out now! No illusions for or confidence in Russian imperialism!
- Solidarity with “Borotba” and Ukrainian antifascists!
- Victory to the rebellion in Southeast! Recognition of the right of self-determination in these areas!
- Common struggle of all workers of Ukraine against fascists, oligarchs and all imperialists!

OKDE – SPARTAKOS, Greek section of the Fourth International

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