Statement by the KRAS (Russia) on the war in Georgia

Printer-friendly versionSend by emailWe are publishing here the position distributed from the very outset of the conflict in Georgia in the summer of 2008 by the comrades of the KRAS, a small group in the anarcho-syndicalist movement, mainly based in Russia. Although there are differences on a certain number of questions between our two organisations, the ICC maintains fraternal political relations with the KRAS, relations cemented by the internationalist positions that we share. As the reader will see, this statement, in the wake of several previous ones, notably during the war in Chechnya, is an example of the clear internationalist position defended by the KRAS:
  • Denunciation of the entirely capitalist and imperialist aims of the various national government and of their rapacious nature, especially the big powers
  • No support to either of the camps in this capitalist and imperialist war
  • Calling on the workers of all belligerent countries to show their class solidarity across frontiers and to wage a struggle against their respective exploiters

This is why we give our full support to the essential parts of this statement.

We want however to say that the slogans addressed to the soldiers at the end of document (disobeying officers' orders, turning their guns against them, etc), while perfectly correct from a historical point of view (they were put in practice in the Russian revolution of 1917 and the German revolution of 1918) cannot be an immediate possibility, since there does not exist, either in the region or on the international scale, sufficient force or maturity in the struggle of the working class. In the present context, an attitude of this type by the soldiers would expose them to the worst kind of repression without being able to count on the solidarity of their class brothers.

This said, we salute the comrades of the KRAS for their intransigent defence of internationalism and the political courage they have shown for some years in particularly difficult conditions, with regard both to police repression and the weight of the mystifications, especially nationalist ones, which continue to weigh on the consciousness of the workers of Russia, a result of the Stalinist counter-revolution which reigned there for decades. We have made a few minor corrections to the English of the original version as published on www.libcom.org


NO TO THE NEW CAUCASIAN WAR!

The eruption of military actions between Georgia and South Ossetia threatens to develop into a large-scale war between Georgia supported by NATO on the one hand, and the Russian state on the other. Thousands of people have already been killed and wounded - principally, peaceful inhabitants; whole cities and settlements have been wiped out. Society has been flooded with muddy streams of a nationalist and chauvinist hysteria.

As always and everywhere in conflicts between states, there is not and cannot be a righteous side in this new Caucasian war - there are only the guilty. The embers which have been fanned for years now have caused a military fire. The Saakashvili regime in Georgia keeps two thirds of the population in poverty, and the greater internal discontent in the country this causes, the more it desires to find a way out from the deadlock in the form of a ‘small victorious war' in the hope that it can write everything off. The government of Russia is full of determination to keep its hegemony in the Caucasus. Today they pretend to be the defender of the weak, but their hypocrisy is abundantly clear: in fact, Saakashvili only repeats what the Putinist soldiery did in Chechnya 9 years ago. Ruling circles of both Ossetias and Abkhazia aspire to strengthen their role as exclusive allies of Russia in the region, and at the same time to rally the impoverished population around the tested torches of the ‘national idea' and ‘saving the people'. Leaders of the USA, the European states and NATO, on the other hand, wish to weaken the influence of their Russian rivals in the Caucasus as much as possible to ensure control over fuel resources and their transportation. Thus, we became witnesses and victims of the next coil of the world struggle for power, oil and gas.

This fight does not bring to working people - Georgians, Ossetians, Abkhasians or Russians - anything, except for blood and tears, incalculable disasters and deprivation. We express our deep sympathy to the friends and relatives of the victims, to the people who have been left without a roof over their head and without any means of subsistence as a result of this war.

We shouldn't fall under the influence of nationalist demagogy which demands unity with ‘our' government, flying the flag of ‘defending the homeland'. The main enemy of the ordinary people is not their impoverished brothers and sisters on the other side of the border or of other nationalities. Their enemies are the rulers and bosses of all kinds, presidents and ministers, businessmen and generals, those who generate wars for the sake of multiplying power and riches. We call on the working people in Russia, the Ossetias, Abkhazia and Georgia to reject the bait of nationalism and patriotism and to turn the anger on rulers and the rich on both sides of the border.

Russian, Georgian, Ossetian and Abkhazian soldiers! Do not obey the orders of your commanders! Turn your weapons against those who sent you to war! Do not shoot the soldiers of your ‘opponents' - fraternise with them: a bayonet in the ground!

Working people in the rear! Sabotage military efforts, leave to go to meetings and demonstrations against the war, organise yourselves and strike against it!

No to the war and to its organizers - rulers and rich men! Yes to solidarity of working people across borders and the front lines!

Federation of Education, Science and Technical Workers, CRAS-IWA

(August 2008)