An international leaflet by ‘Le Prolétaire – Proletarian’ (March 8, 2022)
The following statement treats the, foremost, humanitarian campaigns that are permanently waged in the Western hemisphere, notably in a Europe that has to cope with a massive influx of refugees, mostly women and children, elderly and “foreign nationals”, who escape from the war in Ukraine. There is a real concern among the populations in Europe with those desperately displaced who often not only have fled from their homes, but most tragically also have left their relatives and friends behind, of whom the adult men are drafted into the Ukrainian military. The leaflet attempts to lift the veil of democratic humanitarianism that the ruling classes in the West throw over the grim reality of a barbaric inter-imperialist carnage they are deeply co-responsible for.
The invasion of Ukraine by the Russian army and the emotion it has aroused among people is used by the governments and the media of the Western countries to carry out a large-scale propaganda campaign; under the pretext of “solidarity with the Ukrainian people” fighting for their “freedom” it is in reality a pro-imperialist warmongering campaign in support of the Western imperialisms against Russian imperialism
The media present the Russian invasion as an initiative triggered by Putin alone (whose mental health is also in question); but a large-scale military intervention, involving not far from 200,000 troops and [an impressive] equipment, and with the certainty of exposure to sanctions and negative economic effects, cannot be taken by a single man or a handful of leaders: it can only be the work of powerful economic, social and political forces, of which Putin is only the instrument at a given moment.
This military attack is furthermore taking place in a situation where the most serious economic crisis of world capitalism in decades has inevitably exacerbated all the inter-imperialist tensions and all the internal and international contradictions of the bourgeois established order. In particular Ukraine, a zone of rivalry between Western and Russian imperialism was the scene since 2014 of a so-called “low-intensity” war pitting the Ukrainian army against the Russian-backed separatists of Donbass, which is said to have resulted in more than 20,000 deaths and the departure of more than one million people. The Ukrainian army is supported by the United States which, according to official American statements, has given it more than a billion dollars in aid over the past year; this aid has accelerated since December to enable it to “wage a hybrid war against Russia”. (1)
The European and American states were outraged by the Russian state’s recourse to war – “politics of another age”; but since the end of the last world war these same states have not ceased to start wars or to participate in them in anywhere in the world: the “peace” that followed 1945 was marked by an endless series of murderous conflicts. It is true, however, that these conflicts took place far from the “democratic” and “peaceful” imperialist metropolises that were often the instigators and beneficiaries of them – and their victims could quietly be turned back at the European borders as suspect migrants…
In reality, if Russia is the invader, it is the whole world capitalist system which is responsible for the outbreak of military conflicts as a consequence of the ever more acute clashes of interests which it provokes, and not a particular “war monger” which it would be enough to bring to reason or to put out of action. It is capitalism that must be fought!
Campaigns in support of the Ukrainian people are used to justify not only economic sanctions against Russia, but also military measures; thus, after the [big] pacifist demonstrations in Germany, the German government announced an historic increase in its military budget and the European Union, where its voice is predominant, decided, for the first time in its existence, to supply arms to a belligerent country. While this last decision is partly symbolic, various European states (including traditionally neutral states like Finland) have announced arms deliveries. The United States is of course not to be outdone: a veritable “air bridge” has been set up to Poland with NATO resources to supply the Ukrainian army with U.S. weapons, while soldiers from NATO countries have been sent to countries close to the conflict, such as Romania.
As for the economic sanctions, which are of “unprecedented” importance, they are part of a logic of economic warfare (2) – even if they carefully avoid anything that might jeopardize the supply of Russian gas and other raw materials to European states. These sanctions, which aim to “suffocate the Russian economy”, could lead, with the cost of the war, to a fall of 7 to 8% of the country’s GDP in 2022, or even more. (3) This real collapse will inevitably have harsh repercussions on the population and especially on the proletarians, who are always the first victims of crises and wars.
As far as other countries and the world economy are concerned, the shock of the war in Ukraine is likely to scupper the economic recovery: the soaring prices of gas, oil and other raw materials (including wheat) are as many blows for an international economy which was more and more shaky; already are multiplying the appeals to the proletarians to accept “unavoidable” sacrifices: from this point of view, the war in Ukraine is a war against the proletarians of the whole world!
The proletarians must not let themselves be taken in the trap of a so-called “humanitarian solidarity” which only serves the imperialist aims; they do not have to take sides with one or the other camp in conflict which are both its adversaries. Their solidarity must be reserved for the proletarians of all nationalities, exploited, oppressed and bombed by the bourgeoisies and their states in conflict.
The war in Ukraine is a warning of what capitalism has in store for the proletarians of countries still at “peace”.
In order to fight against the war in act or in preparation, they must not have any confidence in the hypocritical “good will” of the rulers whose sanctions are already acts of war, nor must they follow the illusory way of bourgeois pacifism; they must return to the classical principles of revolutionary defeatism and proletarian internationalism:
No to the defense of bourgeois countries and states! No to national union and nationalism!
Union of proletarians over borders and war fronts! Resume the independent class struggle against capitalism in all countries!
Reconstitution of the revolutionary communist, internationalist and international party to lead the proletarian struggle towards the world revolution!
Proletarians of all countries, unite!
International Communist Party (‘Le Prolétaire’ / Proletarian), March, 8th 2022.
1 “As war loomed, U.S. armed Ukraine to hit Russian aircraft, tanks and prep for urban combat, declassified shipment list shows”, Washington Post, March 4, 2022.
2 The French Minister of the Economy, Mr. Le Maire, spoke of a “total economic and financial war”; although he has publicly retracted these remarks, they nevertheless express the bellicose state of mind of French and European political leaders.
3 The American bank JP Morgan even anticipates a fall of 20% (at an annual rate) in the second quarter of this year!