“Radical Communists of the Ukraine”

A Statement from the International Bureau for the Revolutionary Party

The International Bureau for the Revolutionary Party wishes to make publicly known that the “group”, which we have been in contact with since 1999, calling itself “Radical Communists of the Ukraine” (RKU) does not exist. Whilst we have not finished our investigations it seems clear that this group has not only no real existence but is also part of a wider scam by one Trotskyist group, Workers Resistance (Robitnychiy Sprotiv, RS) - the section of the Committee for a Workers’ International [CWI] (i.e. the Taafite "Militant" Socialist Party in the UK).

Apparently its leader Oleg, or Oleh, Vernik, hit on the idea to extort money from various foreign political organisations to finance their own political agenda. By “learning” the political framework of a large number of different Trotskyist tendencies (apparently including the AWL, ITO, LRCI, LRP, COFI, IBT, and PTS) they presented themselves as the loyal representatives of those groups in Kiev and received financial assistance from each of them. They did not stop there. They also contacted the anti-revolutionary organisation, the Socialist Party (formerly, the SPGB, but they dropped the “of Great Britain” some time ago), the Groupe Communiste Internationaliste (Belgium) and the IBRP. The majority of the organisations mentioned above (including ourselves) did not take their internet messages at face value but sent actual representatives to check out that these people really existed in Kiev. Each it seems was treated to the same charade as between a dozen and twenty people would be assembled for “discussion” which was always through the one or two comrades who spoke English. Much of our information on the scam comes from the Group of Proletarian Revolutionary-Collectivists (CPRC) who first launched an accusation against the Kiev Militant [CWI] organisation after the RS in Kiev had split and some of the former members revealed the extent of the deception. This is part of their evidence:

The organizer of such activity was the so-called International Department (Mezhdunarodnyy Otdel) of RS. After reading documents on the internet of some Western left-wing organizations (only those which did not have a group in CIS!), the International Department of RS sent them letters from some fictitious Ukrainian groups. Those who read these documents would get the idea that only in these documents was true Marxism presented. After an exchange of letters, a representative of a Western leftist group usually went to Kiev. At the meeting with him the roles of members of fictitious organization were played by the members of RS, instructed by its International Department as to how to speak. At the end of meeting naïve Western leftist gave some money to them (the principle of the actors was: don't ask for money directly, but wait - and the foreign guest will offer money himself!). With this money RS was able to rent its own office in Kiev and carried out other political work (and may be, not just political work). This was the goal of the whole masquerade.
Of course, the Kiev Militantists had to carry out some real acts of collaboration with Western left-wing organisations if RS wanted to convince them in reality of the scenario of these groups created by itself. For example, Militantists translated some texts of the IBRP & the GCI into Russian & Ukrainian. IBRP published these translations on its website: the quality of those Ukrainian translations is terrible!

Quality aside, one of these translated texts was apparently a reasonably accurate version of IBRP politics and was reprinted in Russian by the CPRC, but the first statement of the Bureau on the Iraq War was not even politically accurate. For this reason it has been withdrawn from our website.

The Bureau also did not fall foul of the money extortion racket. Although we may have given a few dollars for immediate use when our delegate was in Kiev we responded to their claims of poverty by offering practical rather than financial help. For example, when they told us they could only print and distribute 50 Bureau statements on the Iraq War we offered to print them in Italy and send by courier. Such responses provoked a decline in interest by these people in contacts with the Bureau. When they later (Autumn 2001) made a mistake in their political profiles they sent us a statement which seemed to imply they had taken part in an anti-fascist rally in Kiev. Our response, questioning this activity, met, first with stalling (the comrade who spoke English was always “away” because of his job), and then with outright silence. The Bureau concluded in May this year that the RKU did not really exist and took the decision to ask them for one final manifestation of life but then to exclude them from any Bureau initiative.

The initial aim of this statement is a warning to any other proletarian forces to take care in any dealings they have with any groups emanating from Kiev. Some have argued that this kind of scam can only be perpetrated on the internet which provides the ideal medium for the emergence of pseudo-groups (and in Britain there is at least one person pretending that he is three different groups) but this is not really the case here. Most of the groups who were conned by the Kiev scam (the SP[GB] have admitted to buying them a computer, whilst some Trotskyist sources have asserted that the total amount of money gained was approaching $40,000!), actually met these people face to face. Rather, the whole episode underlines the total degeneration of Trotskyism which (along with our ancestors in the Communist Left) was once part of an internationalist fight for revolutionary principles in the 1920s but in the 1930s went over to the camp of social democracy and thus supported one faction of capitalism. When means and ends are separated, when reformist demands replace revolutionary preparation, then the road to counter-revolution is open. As our ancestors put it in the 1926 Platform of the Committee of Alliance inside the Communist Party of Italy the key issue is the question of method

"It is mistaken to think that in every situation expedients and tactical manoeuvres can widen the Party base..." (Platform of the Committee of Intesa (CWO Pamphlet p.18

This is the exact opposite of the trajectory of Trotskyism. Entryism became a respectable tactic in the 1930s because Trotskyism (and Trotsky) took the view that it did not matter how they grew in influence but only that they could reach the masses in some form or other whatever the historical circumstances. The CWI (even though they have become more open and left the labourist type parties in a certain number of countries) are the historical propagators of the more modern form of entryism (of Pablo) called "sui generis" (i.e. of a special kind) which is the long term one the Militant organisation practiced in the Labour Party for decades. But in this case, it was the adventurist raiding operation type of entryism first proposed by Trotsky himself in his French Turn (1934-5) where he proposed short term entryism to "plumer la vollaille" (pluck the chickens) of organisations to which they were politically opposed in order to raid and destabilise them (e.g. the Communist League joined the Musteite, Workers Party and then left taking with them many members). In the current case there was no raiding of members but the destabilisation of some organisations was certainly achieved. Our Italian predecessors denounced this type of activity virulently nearly 70 years ago announcing that Trotskyism had “crossed the Rubicon” from the proletarian to the bourgeois camp (see our pamphlet Trotsky, Trotskyism, Trotskyists).

In the current case Oleh Vernik is an assistant lecturer in a Kiev law school. He was also a candidate for the CWI's section in the recent Ukrainian elections and more importantly was, until recently suspended, a member of the international leadership of the CWI. The CWI in its damage control exercise is trying to say that the problem was limited to its Ukraine section but it has now been verified that at least one of the leaders of its Russian section was also actively involved. His name is Ilya Budraitskis. As British members of the CWI were in the Ukraine working with these people, it raises the possibility that the whole international CWI leadership might have been more involved than they have acknowledged.

This is partially confirmed by the inadequate statement the CWI have put out an on the affair (suspending Oleh Vernik but astoundingly claiming that they themselves were the true victims of the scam as it has tarnished their good honour!) for the use for the other leftist groups. Significantly they have yet to put it up on their own international website.

Enough said. We do not want to mire ourselves in the stagnant swamps of Trotskyism. This wasn’t the first time nor will it be the last time when the political atmosphere will be polluted by dishonest schemes of those whose only identification with the working class is in the labels they attach to themselves, but the Bureau refuses to allow such an episode to get in the way of its attempt to nurture and develop the genuine revolutionary forces which are emerging in the fight against this decaying and rotten system of exploitation.

IBRP, 9th september 2003