STATEMENT of IWL(FI)
Written by IWL-FI
Thursday, 29 May 2014 04:49
The revolutionary process initiated in Ukraine starting with the overthrow of Yanukovich is now living its second act.
After signing the sinister agreement with the EU and the IMF, the new Yatseniuk-Turchinov administration launched a vicious attack against the toiling masses as whole.
This caused the strengthening of the separatist movement in the Ukrainian east region that is supported by the legitimate feeling of rejection felt by sectors of masses in the south east for the sell-out Ukrainian government. Kiev reacted sending troops and tanks to repress the population of the area.
The way it happened in Maidan Square where ultra-right forces of neo-Nazis and pro-imperialists have acted, now reactionary forces of the East (Russian chauvinists and Stalinists) are diverting the necessary struggle against the oligarchic government in Kiev towards a reactionary separatist movement that pretends to divide workers of Ukraine and leads to the partition of the country. It is necessary to fight against this movement to uphold the unity of Ukraine and its working class.
The Ukrainian government as well as Moscow shares the policy of unloading on the backs of the workers the crisis that they themselves had caused and so put an end to the revolutionary process. Both are agents of imperialism. But, within this framework they contest their share of the exploitation and looting of Ukrainian resources. And bearing this in mind, they have dragged the people to the threshold of a fratricide confrontation.
The Popular Republic of Donetsk is a regressive secessionist movement for “independence” that drags a part of the workers from the east dividing Ukrainian proletariat and threatening with a division that would liquidate Ukraine. And Kiev launches their tanks to drown in blood not only the separatist movement but also any possibility of reaction of workers’ class in the most industrialised region in the country.
Now both are trying to halt what they had spawned, but the issue has slipped out of their hands. Only the organised working class, with their own methods and struggle can confront the pro-imperialist stack from Kiev and Putin.
We are not in the political camp of Kiev administration or in the political camp of Putin and his separatist agents of the People’s Republic that are just another mechanism for the same colonisation of Ukraine. Neither offers a future of independence or a solution to social problems in Ukraine. We are against the Kiev tank offensive as well as against the criminal separation that conceals the trap of the People’s Republic of Donetsk.
We defend the unity of the working class in Ukraine against both bourgeois projects. We stand for a united and independent Ukraine, splitting away from the historical Russian oppression as well as from the project of colonisation boosted by the EU and the IMF as well as by Putin.
We fervently welcome the emergence of processes of the working class in the eastern provinces for they confront the sinister pro-Russian separatism as well as the pro-imperialist Kiev administration. They are the hope of the entire Ukraine.
Ukraine, a history of national struggles defeated by counterrevolutionary leaderships
Ukraine is one of the countries of greatest tradition of national struggles. Unfortunately, it has also suffered many defeats facilitated by counterrevolutionary leaders. At present we can revisit this dilemma between revolution and counterrevolution underway.
“The Fourth International should clearly understand the importance of the Ukrainian question not only for the east and south-east of Europe but for Europe as a whole. It is a people who has proved their own viability, numerically equal to the population of France and that occupies an exceptionally rich territory that is, furthermore, of greatest strategic importance.” numerically equal to the population of France and that occupies an exceptionally rich territory and is, furthermore, of the greatest strategic importance”. 
It was on the base of the revolutionary policy of defence of national self-determination that in 1922, Bolsheviks could build an unprecedented historic experience with the creation of the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics, en example for all the oppressed nationalities in the world of how diverse nationalities could be united in a federation with common objectives by conviction and not by imposition.
“In the conception of the old Bolshevik Party, Soviet Ukraine was meant to become a powerful axis round which other sections of Ukrainian people would join. During the first period of their existence, there is no doubt that Soviet Ukraine was a powerful force of attraction where nationalities were concerned and it stimulated and it stimulated the struggle of workers and peasants and revolutionary intelligentsia of Western Ukraine enslaved by Poland.
Unfortunately, bureaucratisation of the USSR caused its transformation into a new prison of peoples. Russian oppression struck down with Stalinist brutality on the other nationalities of the federation, once more generating extremely strong centrifugal trends.
“Bureaucracy also strangled and plundered the people of the Great Russia. But in the Ukrainian question, things became more complicated due to the massacre of national expectations. Nowhere else did restriction, purges, repressions and – in general all kinds of bureaucratic truancy assumed such murderous dimensions as in Ukraine as in Ukraine when efforts were made to squash the powerful yearnings for more freedom and independence deeply rooted in the masses. As far as the totalitarian bureaucracy was concerned, Soviet Union had turned into an administrative division of an economic unity and of a military base of the USSR.” 
These centrifugal national trends exploded with the fall of the Stalinist dictatorship that led to the dissolution of the USSR between 1990 and 1991.
At present, there is a new expression of a revolutionary process on the one hand and the colonising contest over the country on the other by two bourgeois blocks: On the one hand the imperialism of the European Union and the USA and, on the other hand, the oppression by the Russian bourgeoisie (also pro-imperialist) with Putin, who appeal to nationalism in order to conceal their domination.
Neither of these alternatives is useful to build a free and independent Ukraine. Nor can any other bourgeoisie alternative ensure this. The different sectors of the Ukrainian bourgeoisie are divided into two projects (with more or less Russian influence) meaning the same dependence. We must confront the historic Russian dependence as well as the current EU-IMF outposts to the bitter end. Only a proletarian and revolutionary can advance towards unity and independence of the country.
The first moment of the revolutionary process
The fall of Victor Yanukovich was the expression of the revolutionary process affecting one of the weakest links of European capitalism. The economic crisis, with a quarter of the population in absolute poverty and unemployment that reaches three million people pushed Ukrainian masses into action. This material base came hand in hand with examples of the world revolution.
Yanukovich’s fall has been an enormous victory of the revolutionary mobilisation of the Ukrainian people and divided the forces of repression and drove the main institutions of political power to collapse. This was a double democratic victory. On the one hand it toppled the government and weakened the Bonapartist regime. On the other hand, it deposed Yanukovich, an agent of the European Union and of the Russian oppression even if towards the end he had opted for Moscow and halted the drift towards the EU.
As we mentioned above, we cannot understand the national question out of the international context of class struggle. Unlike what the pro-Stalinist world left, the el repudiation of the Russian oppression played a progressive role here for the world revolution.
However, the weakening of the Russian oppression cannot solve the national question of the country.
The outcome of the mobilisations was deeply affected by the absence of a revolutionary leadership. That vacancy was occupied by other sectors – bourgeois and pro-imperialist as well as by fascist trends. The heroism of the Ukrainian masses was blurred by the expectations regarding the European Union. Contradictorily, the result of the first stage of the revolutionary process spawned the administration of another, even more pro-imperialist bourgeois gang. Yanukovich fell but the Bonapartist regime – even if much the worse for all this tear and wear – continued under the interim Yatseniuk administration. The revolutionary action of the masses weakened the Russian domination but, contradictorily, direct imperialist domination became more intense, this time under the direct command of EU and IMF.
The interim Yatseniuk administration signed an agreement with the IMF, something that is a qualitative step for the colonisation of the country and its submission to the EU. The plan includes an extremely tough attack against Ukrainian people as well as the restructuring of its armed forces directly by the CIA, creating the National Guard, incorporating the Nazi hordes that had acted in Maidan Square into the state repressive apparatus.
The national question has not been solved. The contrary is true: it became more serious due to a much more direct colonisation of the EU and the IMF without annulling the strong elements of Russian domination in areas of Ukraine.
However, the balance sheet of this first moment cannot be limited to this alone. What matters most is that a revolutionary process started that new government cannot hold back. The masses marched into action, with all their gigantic confusions, with the vacuum of any revolutionary leadership, but the days of stability are over; revolution and counterrevolution stand face to face in a complex and confusing manner, but with unprecedented intensity. For long years now, nothing of this type could be seen – not only in Ukraine but in the entire Europe.
The episode of Crimea
The fall of Yanukovich also meant a direct defeat of Putin inasmuch as the former Ukrainian president, while still remaining a pro-imperialist oligarchic agent became a direct agent of Kremlin in the country. Putin reacted with a military aggression against Ukrainian sovereignty sending his troops to invade the Crimean peninsula, where thousands of Russian soldiers occupied Ukrainian airports, public buildings and neighbouring military bases.
Actually the Crimean peninsula is a Russian enclave. There has been a brutal Russification in the area, boosted by Stalin with ethnic cleansing from Tartars, the historic population of the peninsula. More than 190 000 Tartars were deported to Uzbekistan, Mari, Kazakhstan and other Russian provinces. The Tartar population of Crimea was decimated and driven away from their own land, and then substituted by Russian settlers. We can therefore assert that today’s Russian “majority” comes from the days of Russification started in the early XVIII and, especially from the gracious genocide of 1944 – 1945.
This is a region of enormous importance for Moscow from the economic point of view (gas pipelines and massive internal tourism) as well as from the military perspective. That is where the gigantic Sebastopol, headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet naval base, is to be found.
With the support of this Russian social base and by means of military aggression, Putin imposes the farce of a referendum that led to a separation of Crimea from Ukraine and its annexation to the Russian Federation.
The Crimean “national” question, used by Putin, did not play any progressive role. It was a reactionary answer to the defeat of Maidan Square, supported by the social grassroots of an enclave with no right to self-determination.
The second moment of the revolutionary process
When the Kiev administration downloaded the deep crisis in which the country is submerged onto the backs of the workers they revealed their real personality and started a new moment in the struggles of the toiling masses.
Even if the campaign of disinformation boosted by the media presents the demonstrations in the south-east of Ukraine as a movement headed by “separatist forces” and “pro-Russian”, the truth is that it is a much more complex movement.
Ukrainian south-east is the most industrialised region in the country, especially the province (oblast) of Donetsk. It is there that we can find everything, from mining, through to metallurgic chemical industries and it is the most important proletarian concentrations in the country.
With the cracking of the Ukrainian economy, national currency lost more than 50% of its value in two months. This alone would have sufficed great loss of the already low wages. The crisis forced unemployment to soar and the packet of measures that IMF demands and the servile Kiev administration applies makes gas 50% more expensive while salaries of public servants freeze and there is a general increase of prices. This was the spark that threatened with an explosion of popular struggles with an important participation of workers. The increase of the price of gas – which keeps home warm in a region where temperatures reach -20° – marks the limit between life and death for many families.
This is the deeper aspect of the plan that makes the masses move. According to a press correspondent, “in Donetsk, the protagonists are the engineers of factories that are out of work due to lack of orders and miners from mines that are closing or crumbling down. That is why one of the main demands today is nationalisation of industry and the recent packet offered by the government tends to make the social collapse even deeper.” 
After the capitalist restoration and the looting on state property, the region also spawned the most outstanding fortunes in the country. Rinat Akhmetov, the richest man in Ukraine and one of the greatest fortunes in Europe, built his fortune by taking over state-owned mines and then by opening the path for metallurgic industry and banks.
There is a split in the Ukrainian bourgeoisie: the great oligarchs in the East and the West. Some owners of the great companies are not interested in the annexation to Russia, because their companies are direct competition for Russia, especially in the agro-food sectors in chemistry and car building and metallurgy. This is what explains the fact that even such a pro-Russian oligarch as Akhmetov, member of the same party as Yanukovich should have refused to become part of Customs Union proposed by Russia letting the campaign for agreement with the EU run freely. The possibility of getting associated to the imperialist capitals even if it meant the destruction of the country seemed more attractive for him.
A nationalist trap hinders a necessary and progressive rebellion of workers
There is a progressive national struggle in Ukraine as an oppressed nation that goes against the historic Russian oppression as well as against imperialism. This struggle must go on and is expressed today in the confrontation between the Kiev administration and the policies of EU-IMF and Moscow.
This has nothing to do with the current secessionist attempt expressed by the Popular Republic of Donetsk and the criminal attempt secessionist attempt headed by the organisation that held the referendum on 11th May that must be rejected by the working class in Ukraine and in the world.
Several obstacles lie between the political radicalisation against the Kiev administration and the struggle for the unity of Ukrainian working class. Other political forces – just as reactionary as those who usurped the result of the popular mobilisation in the Kiev Maidan sprang into action and channeled the anger and the hatred of the class against the Kiev government.
The national question in the East of Ukraine id, in this case a trap to push a deep social problem aside. Ukrainian proletariat must fight against the pro-imperialist government of Kiev and the project of colonisation of the IMF.
But this social hatred is being diverted into a national pro-Russian issue. In that region about 70% of the population speaks Russian. The Russians cannot be regarded as an oppressed nationality in Ukraine. The contrary is true: they are an oppressing nationality. As a rule, revolutionary Marxism stands for the defence of self-determination of oppressed nationalities, not of the oppressing ones.
However the revolutionary victory at Maidan Square did not install the government of a leadership that would seek to incorporate the Ukrainian people as a whole. The contrary is true Yatseniuk combined a fierce social attack with the IMF plan with the Buonapartist provocative measure against the Russian nationality annulling the use of that language as the second official one in the country. Before these measures, separatist trends did not have massive influence in the region. It was these measures what shoved a sector of the proletariat into the reactionary separatist channel.
The necessary struggle of the main sector of Ukrainian proletariat and the other workers in the country against a government supported by the entire European and American imperialism was channeled towards the false policy that the solution for their lives is independence of their region and the separation of Ukraine the referendum and the foundation of the RPD and even the policy of annexation to Russia and not the proletarian unity against the Kiev government.
In the Ukrainian East there are nationalist pro-Russian ultra-right and anti-Semitic organisations getting busy, such as Oplot, who contest for the grassroots under tsarist denomination of this regions as Novorussia, deviating them towards a reactionary, suicidal cause, such as separation. In Maidan, organisations such as Svoboda and Pravy Sektor, ultra-right and anti-Semitic pro-Kiev that had to mount on a progressive mobilization that toppled Yanukovich so as to be able, later on, prevent the mobilisation to continue against oligarchs. Now, their pro-Russian twin sisters will contest every inch for the awareness of workers so as to prevent the shots to be aimed at the real enemy: Russian and Ukrainian bourgeoisie and world imperialism.
In April, The Geneva Accord evidenced that Putin has a central concern to maintain the conquest of Crimea and will try to negotiate round the East of Ukraine. That is why the agreement was to deactivate the conflict and put an end to the occupation of public buildings that is to say: the withdrawal of the fighters in the East. For precisely this reason, Putin proposed to “postpone” the referendum for the independence in the region and not to interfere in the elections of on May 25th in Kiev.
Putin cannot act in Ukrainian East the same as in Crimea because he fears lest the revolutionary process unleashed there pollutes the Russian situation also affected by the economic crisis. But this is precisely the reason for which he cannot manage to control what is going on in the region: there has been no disarmament and no vacating of public buildings and the referendum was held in two of the most important regions in the country.
The referendum of Donetsk and Lugansk was an initiative of separatist sectors – expression of minor bourgeois sectors that depend for business on their relations of dependence with Russia – so as to deviate the social struggle of the masses against the Kiev administration.
According to its organisers – and this is impossible to verify – there was massive participation: between 70% and 80% of the population that manifested a standpoint of a vast majority (they talk of 90%) for independence of the regions. The question (for or against independence) intentionally does not define the way in which this independence is to be carried out because the support for annexation is of a minority. It was a tricky referendum; the question was “yes” or “no” to “independence” but once the outcome was known, the pro-Russian leadership of the RPD manifested their intention of going for unity with Russia and this, according to inquests, has not been the intention of most voters.
With this referendum, pro-Russian leaderships were recruiting the masses for a reactionary pro-independent position, pushing aside the unity of Ukrainian proletariat necessary to fight against the pro-imperialist Kiev government. It is necessary to reject this deceitful referendum with all our might for it conceals a criminal policy for Ukrainian workers.
The pro-imperialist government in Kiev tried a military offensive against the rebellious East; it was a huge failure. Regular Army forces refused to shoot and handed their weapons over to the people. However, the army was substituted by new forces of repression (National Guard and Alpha Division) reorganised with the help of imperialism and recruited from the ranks of neo-Nazi organizations.
Military operations charged again in a redoubled manner and the siege on rebellious cities was also redoubled. We must also act against the possibility that the repressive apparatus of Kiev may launch a massacre against the population of the East.
Emerging proletarian processes: a hope for the future of the revolution in Ukraine
However, these are not the only forces that are moving. There are expressions that there is space in the working class for a posture that differs from pro-Russian nationalism and for the union of Ukrainian for a confrontation with the Kiev regime. The workers of the Kryvyi Rih (in Russian Krivoy Rog) who had supported Maidan Square rebellion now stand for a “proletarian Maidan”. Last April, they demonstrated in the streets to the EVRAZ Sukha Balka plc and tossed coins of lowest value as a protest against the fictitious “increase” in wages.
They also made a call, “simultaneously we request from the authorities to legitimate miners’ self-defence and to arm miners’ brigades. Organisation of workers and self-defence of workers are stabilising factor that may prevent the ascent of violence in Ukraine. Wherever workers are in control of the situation, the activity of the masses is not expressed in massive murder. Workers defended Maidan in Kryvyi Rih” And Independent Miners’ Trade Union addressed British workers requesting an international campaign. 
They are not the only case. Just like in Kryvyi Rih self defence was organised in areas such as Cherno Hrad – Lviv district – workers nationalised the electric central mill that belongs to the oligarch Rinat Akhmetov. And in Krasnodon – Lugansk district – in a regional general strike, miners took over the control of the city and refused to be allied to the separatists and to support the oligarchs of Kiev. They put up their own Maidan of workers, with their own demands of social justice: higher wages, the end of outsourcing labour and with a political movement that posed the unity of workers of different sectors, so strong that they overtook the city without a single shot and with nobody resisting, not even passively . As an expression of this other process, metallurgic workers of Akhmetov factories, employing 280 000 workers in the East of Ukraine joined the action. Seemingly under the orders of the great bourgeois who fears he might lose his market if the separation of the East overcomes, workers took over five cities, including Mariupol, and chase the pro-Russian militias who controlled them. For his purpose, they formed pickets that drove the separatists away, cleaned the streets from barricades “re-establishing order”.
There is no future at all for Ukrainian proletariat under the rule of Putin or Yatseniuk-IMF and let alone Akhmetov but right now it is important to see that the reactionary pro-Russian leadership has not been consolidated. And in a more general sense, these events prove that a real possibility that the workers may overtake things in their own hands and confront the pro-Russian separatists and the pro-imperialist government in Kiev.
No to the partition of Ukraine or to the surrender to the IMF!
Neither EU-IMF nor Putin! For the unity of Ukrainian working class! For an independent and socialist Ukraine!
Ukraine is a country historically oppressed by Russia. Due to its economic decadence, centrifugal forces arouse among bourgeois sectors that are oriented towards different variants: within an agreement of greater dependence on imperialism, they drift nearer to or farther from Russia.
During the first act of this revolutionary process, the masses chased the bourgeois caucus that used to control the state apparatus submissive to Russia.
Now, during this second act, the proletariat of the East must face the separatist trap of the RPD and make headway in the unity of Ukrainian working class and fight against the Kiev administration and against every other kind of oppression and so achieve a united and independent Ukraine.
We offer our support for the struggle of the Ukrainian workers in the southeast of the country against the new government and the measures dictated by the IMF. We stand for their right to preserve their Russian language while we struggle for the unity of Ukrainian working class and against the division of the country. But we do not stand for their independence nor do we consider that their right to national self-determination in jeopardy for it is based on a Russian majority that is not an oppressed nationality in Ukraine. That is why we reject the RPD and the 11th May referendum.
Again, the national question can only be understood in the light of the international situation of class struggle.
The victory of separatism and the partition of Ukraine would doubtlessly be a defeat for the workers of the country and the oppressed nation; it would destroy all possibility of an independent Ukraine and would strengthen the dependence each one of the parts on imperialism as a whole, apart from strengthening the continuity of Russian oppression over the east of the country.
Union achieve through the massacre by tanks of the Kiev administration would spell doubtless defeat of Ukrainian and European proletariat. It would strengthen the administrations of Germany and France – apart from Obama relentless supporters of Yatseniuk-Turchinov. It would help to colonise the country with the imposition of the IMF plan.
Ukrainian revolution is closely linked to the union of its proletariat. Counterrevolution has two heads: two bourgeois camps of the EU and Putin
Out with the U.S. and Putin from Ukraine!
No to the separation of the East, no to RPD! Confront the secessionist!
No to the federalisation or separation or annexation to Russia!
Down with the IMF-Yatseniuk! Out with the pro-imperialist government!
Nationalisation of factories and mines now!
For a united and independent and united Ukraine!
For a National Constituent Assembly that will decide the democratic form of organising the country and the regions!
For a proletarian and socialist government!
“The Ukrainian Question”, 1939
See; http://elcomercio.pe/mundo/actualidad/ucrania-podria-perder-185-su-territorio-mayo-noticia-1726191: According to the inquest of the Institute for Social Research and Political Analysis published by the British newspaper The Guardian, only 27% of the population was for joining Russia one way or another.
Steel and iron and mining multinational Corporation based in the UK operating in Russia and Ukraine among other countries
Statement of the Left Opposition – 15-5-14. See: observerukraine.net/2014/05/08/for-an-independent-social-movement-for-a-free-ukraine/