War in Ukraine: The Other Attack on the Working Class

The blue and yellow flags may now be tattered and torn, and the war in Ukraine may now make only fleeting headlines on UK news networks, but the violence rages on, as does Western support for Ukraine. Given the nature of the Kremlin regime which murders Russian journalists and dissidents, and given the brutality of the invasion, it is an easy sell. It is however a mistake to just see this war in isolation. Behind the Russian-Ukrainian confrontation lies a much bigger conflict – that for imperialist control of the planet. The war in Ukraine is only the precursor of a wider war to come. The US has been sending billions of dollars in aid to Ukraine against Russia, whilst at the same time stepping up its propaganda and military manoeuvres against … China. China has made no secret of its ambitions – replacing the US at the top of the world order by 2049 is the goal. The war in Ukraine is thus just the start of a process which – unless the powers-that-be are stopped in their tracks – will lead sooner or later to yet more war and destruction. That is why we are:

Against Imperialism East and West!

This war, like those in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, etc., is another proxy war, but one closer to the centres of imperialist power in Moscow, Brussels and Washington. It is no accident that it comes at a time of transparent global economic crisis which spares nowhere on Earth. As economic options narrow, imperialist tensions are rising so no-one even pretends any more that international problems (including climate change) can be solved by negotiation. The consequence is that a hard divide is developing in the world global order. Russia, China and Iran may all have their own imperialist agendas but the US has driven them to make common cause.

On the other side, 2022 has been a good year for US imperialism after the debacle in Afghanistan. Not only has more than $50 billion in US aid (mostly arms) given Ukraine the weaponry to roll back February’s invasion but it has effectively ensured that its previously uncooperative European allies have now knuckled down under its leadership in NATO. The Alliance looked like falling apart only four years ago but now is expanding to further encircle Russia with the imminent accession of Sweden and Finland. The very thing that provoked the Kremlin’s desperate gamble in invading Ukraine in the first place.

Western propaganda portrays defence of Ukraine as “defence of democracy” but it is in fact the culmination of a three decades’ long power struggle between the West, in the form of the EU and US, and Russia. NATO troops, despite the repeated reassurances given by US administrations to Russia, have been standing on its borders for almost two decades. The accession of Ukraine to NATO and the EU would be the final blow for Russia. As we all now know, Ukraine is one of the breadbaskets of the world besides being a top supplier of key mineral resources, and provides a strategic access point between the East and West. In a time of such a huge capitalist crisis, the importance of clinging onto trade power and regional monopolies cannot be underestimated. The war is not just about Ukraine and Russia but about the material struggle between the ruling classes of the great powers for control of a planet which in the meantime is becoming a less and less sustainable place to live. And it is clear that if the Russians cannot keep Ukraine in their orbit they will destroy its value to the West. And then what?

No War but the Class War

Why is it important to understand that this war is only the first episode in more wars to come? Because it is being used to prepare us ideologically to support “our side” in the next war. We must not be conned by those who claim the fight is just about the liberation of Ukraine or an anti-fascist struggle (there are “fascists” on both sides) nor that we are simply defending our homes. Workers have no homeland and modern total war is imposed on us. Our only way to fight back is through a mass movement which refuses to fight the bosses’ wars.

In Ukraine as elsewhere, workers on both sides are the principal victims whether massacred where they live or indirectly via the attack on living standards. At the front line we get dragooned into a war by the contending ruling-classes to fight for their interests. Neither Putin nor Zelensky, their oligarch friends, ministers or international alliances, care one bit for the working class lives lost in the process. The warmongers fight for capital, whether in blue and yellow, or in white, blue and red. We oppose both sides, but not as pacifists. To end imperialist war we need to end the system that produces it which means stepping up the class war internationally in the face of a growing economic crisis.

The deeper capitalism sinks into crisis, the harder and tighter the bosses squeeze us. While they may fight amongst themselves over who gets to squeeze whose profit, we should fight only against them, as workers in Iran and Ecuador have been demonstrating. Even here in the UK (see accompanying article), we are seeing more and more strikes, including actions organised by the workers themselves. And whilst Russian and Ukrainian workers face conscription and compulsion to fight, an increasing number are deserting the war thus giving a lead to others not only there but across the world.

We need to build on this and go further. The No War but the Class War (NWBCW) initiative serves as a

reference point for all who see the need for workers’ struggle against both the economic attacks of capital and its descent into imperialist rivalry: those who hold no illusion of pacifism or the possibility of going through capitalist institutions to avert capitalism’s imposition of barbarism. We instead recognise that the only adequate response to this is the independent working class struggle. The defensive struggles of our class against capital’s attacks must be transformed into a political offensive against the system of capitalism itself.

NWBCW Montreal, leftcom.org

The fundamentals of NWBCW include opposition to all capitalisms, nationalisms and imperialism, including those of ‘lesser evils’ or national liberation causes; opposition to attacks that imperialist wars unleash on the working-class; support for an alternative communist society in which production is for need and not for profit; and commitment to self-organised working-class struggle. NWBCW groups now exist, or are in the process of formation, across the world. Join us, spread the internationalist message!

The above article is taken from the current edition (No. 61) of Aurora, bulletin of the Communist Workers’ Organisation.

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Aurora (en)

Aurora is the broadsheet of the ICT for the interventions amongst the working class. It is published and distributed in several countries and languages. So far it has been distributed in UK, France, Italy, Canada, USA, Colombia.