Russia-Ukrain crisis: war is capitalisms way of life

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baboon
Russia-Ukrain crisis: war is capitalisms way of life
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I want to agree with the analysis on the Russian/Ukraine conflict above that underlines the permanent tendency in capitalism of war as a fundamental of decadence and continuing this even more dangerous tendency of each for themselves and the irrationality and unpredictability of decomposition.
Though greatly reduced there has been a re-assertion of Russian imperialism which, as the article says, was brought low by the Western Bloc’s offensive during the late 1980’s due to a combination of events including the particular weaknesses of all the Stalinist regimes with Russia at their head, the “integration” of China into the encirclement plans of the Western Bloc and NATO’s policy at the time of “Forward Defence” aimed to push back, harass and provoke Russian forces. This latter policy is now being taken up again by the west on a larger scale and at a deeper level against Russia with its ex-Warsaw Pact allies (more or less) on board this time. While NATO has de facto admitted that it can’t put the boots on the ground that it needs and it can’t stop Russia invading, the recent US/Russian talks only seems to have increased tensions that have made the situation more fraught. Workers in general are not ready to be mobilised for war – see the section on the “War Economy” in the recent report on imperialism - and the above article is correct to denounce both sides, insisting on internationalism; Putin could be in trouble if body-bags start “coming home”. But whether there is a Russian invasion or not, imperialist tensions and activities around this border can only continue. In fact these tensions have been further ratcheted up with the recent cyber attack (by Russia without doubt) on Ukrainian facilities and the strength of this attack is probably greatly under-reported and underestimated.

Since the US/Israeli “Stuxnet” cyber attack on Iran’s nuclear facility at Natanz around 2010 and the even more devastating “Nitro Zeus” cyber weapon due to be used against Iran if it made a direct military response to the attack, it has become clear that rather than a sort of computer-based imperialist add-on, cyber attacks are potentially weapons of mass destruction. Every major industry in the world, power, water, all sorts of manufacture, health systems, financial systems, etc., etc., all rely on programmable logic controllers (PLC’s) – their introduction in the 70’s/80’s was useful in massively reducing the labour force and increasing productivity but they are not only useful in helping to run all major industries, they are absolutely indispensable to any modern economy. These cyber viruses or “worms” like those mentioned above not only take over the logic controllers, they then render them useless by smashing their programmes to pieces. It’s not a matter of “turn it off and turn it on again”, these programmes are destroyed and have to be rebuilt from scratch – a time- consuming and expensive process. The genie is out of the bottle now and all the major (and some lesser) imperialisms have access to this particular form of weaponry. Every aspect of the state is vulnerable: military Command and Control, defence, the internet, transport, all essential or important industries, etc. All of these are now capable of being surreptitiously taken down and broken to bits thus reducing a state to complete chaos and potentially dangerous upheaval without firing a shot. The strength of this weapon was recognised by the US in 2012 with an Executive Order from the US administration declaring that, just like nuclear weapons, cyber attacks could only be unleashed if signed off by the President (subject of a leak by Julian Assange, from memory).
At the moment there seems to be a sort of a “code of conduct” to these attacks in not going too far because they are quite capable of wiping out the entire infrastructure of countries and making sure it lasts. But there’s not even any sort of “arms agreement” here and all the major tendencies are underlined: each for themselves, the militarisation of society and the weakening of the US which has made the use of cyber warfare a present to the world in the context of war as a way of life in decomposing capitalism.

 

joan
Very interesting contribution

Very interesting contribution

With the disappearance of the 2 blocks (East and West) in the early 1990s, a "normal" world war became impossible.

No new blocs were formed capable of starting a world war.

This is quite apart from the willingness or unwillingness of the international working class to go along with an "ordinary" world war.

There are agreements on different weapon systems (whatever they mean, "when it really comes down to it").

But the comrade rightly points out the dangers of the "cyber war" in the most literal sense of the word, a war which is already partly being waged.

We must not be naive and we must be aware that weapons, no matter how cruel, how massively destructive, how hard to imagine they often are, when they exist, can and will be used, if capitalism is not ended.

Therefore, this knowledge of the dangers of a "cyber war" is yet another "wake up call" (next to climate change, next to the pandemic, etc.) to put an end to world capitalism as soon as possible.

Because as the article states "war is capitalisms way of life"

or as Jean Jaures once put it "As the clouds carry the rain, so capitalism carries the war." 

But we know that putting an end to capitalism cannot be done by pressing a “red button”, it requires a long-term, organised, conscious struggle of the working class all over the world.

Fortunately, in the last few months, we can see "struggles in the United States, in Iran, in Italy, in Korea... Neither the pandemic nor the economic crisis have broken the combativity of the proletariat!"

See, among others, the article with the same title : https://en.internationalism.org/content/17091/struggles-united-states-ir...

joan
A small addition.

A small addition.

I write "and will be used".

Of course, that is not quite right.

We do not know, of course, and I do not have a crystal ball in which I can read the future.

But I am thinking of the atom bomb, of atom weapons.

When the first two atomic bombs were dropped by the USA on Hiroshima and Nagasaki it was said: this is a weapon so cruel, so destructive, that it will never be used again.

In the meantime, fortunately, no more atomic bombs have been dropped, but the series of states with atomic weapons or the ability to produce them has always grown longer.

Not only the USA and Russia (ex-"Soviet Union"), but also the UK, France, China, the arch-enemies India and Pakistan, most probably also Israel (in the middle of the spitfire that is the Near East), most probably also North Korea.

Not to mention all those states and organisations that we do not know about.

Forumteam
Don't hesitate to speak out against the imminent war

We want to make an appeal to the readers of our press and the regular participants on our Forum to express themselves on the growing tensions between Russia and the United States in the conflict around Ukraine.

Since Biden became president the US are deploying a new version of the “Forward Defence”. This time, with the former Warsaw Pact allies on board, the aim is the expansion of NATO, the integration of the Ukraine in the sphere of influence and the further confinement (encirclement) of Russia.

Russia has  amassed around 100,000 troops near Ukraine border and also deployed armed forces in Belarus and Kazakhstan in support of both regimes after weeks of large internal protests. Putin is determined to bring the situation under control in these countries in order to prevent them from falling prey to non-Russian geopolitical influences.

In the meantime Ukraine has received arm supplies from ever more countries: Turkey equipped the Ukrainian military with drones, the US has placed a number of its advanced weapons along the Ukraine-Russia border; Great Britain flew short-range anti-tank missiles to Ukraine; the Baltic NATO members sent antitank weapons and air-defence systems; Canada sent a small unit of military specialists as did Great Britain.

This development is “a play with fire”, the Czech Foreign Minister Zaoralek said, and that’s what actually happening!

War is capitalism’s way of life” and under the present conditions of decadence of capitalism it is inevitable that somewhere, somehow, sometime another war will break out. It is at the border of Ukraine and Russia where the situation is the most dangerous at the moment and where the military skirmishes are about to be turned into an open warfare with all the resulting destruction and suffering, in particular for the civilian population.

Faced with the risk of an imminent bloody war, it is the duty of the revolutionaries to take a clear stand and denounce all the parties that are preparing for another barbarian war. Revolutionaries are no pacifists and do not fight for a peace, but for a class war against all imperialist nations, large or small. Take care that their voices shall not be silenced!

The Forum Team

joan
KRAS ?

What about the KRAS-MAT (CRAS-IWA),an anarcho-syndicalist group in Russia, but with internationalist positions with the war in Ukraine in 2014 and earlier with the wars in Chechnya

(1999-2009) , Georgia/Ossetia (2008) and also the 'Great Patriotic War'(= WW 2) ( Note)

 

Is there already a position known from the KRAS-MAT on the current situation at the border between Russia and Ukraine ?

Or is the group unfortunately no longer able to do so, given the heavily repressive climate in Russia against almost every opposition, given the consequences of the decadence and decomposition of capitalism, especially in Russia, given the pandemic?

 

Note - Ukraine 2014 :

Internationalist declaration from Russia

We are publishing a statement produced by the KRAS, an internationalist anarchist group in Russia, and signed by various other groups and individuals.” (from Ukraine,Russia,Moldova, Israel,Lithuania,North America,USA,Romania,Barcelona,Ecuador, Peru, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Uruguay , Venezuela ,France, Britain,Ireland,Croatia,Egypt,...)

 World Revolution No.365, March/April 2014

https://en.internationalism.org/worldrevolution/201403/9565/internationa...

Georgia / Ossetia 2008 :

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

  ICConline - 2008 » July/August '08

https://en.internationalism.org/icconline/2008/08/kras-on-war-in-georgia

Chechnya 2003 :

The communist left and internationalist anarchism, Part 1: What we have in common

...we have cooperated with the KRAS (the section of the anarcho-syndicalist International Workers' Association in Russia), by publishing and welcoming its internationalist declarations on war, notably the war in Chechnya.

 

World Revolution no.336, July/August 2010

https://en.internationalism.org/wr/336/anarchism

 

- ‘Great Patriotic War

(= the name invented by the Stalinist "Soviet Union" to denominate World War 2) :

At several political conferences in Russia, when the subject of the ‘Great Patriotic War’ came up, the comrades of the KRAS had no hesitation about ranging themselves alongside the marxists of the ICC in denouncing the various justifications for this war from Stalinists, Trotskyists, and anarchists, all of whom used the slogan of anti-fascism to justify support for the ‘democratic’ (and Stalinist) camp.

 World Revolution no.287, September 2005

Discussion on web forums: Anarchism and the patriotic resistance”

 World Revolution no.287, September 2005

https://en.internationalism.org/wr/287_anarcho_trenchists.html

 

joan
Latest news : Russian army

Latest news : Russian army attack on Ukraine, as well from the East as from the North ( Belarus) and the South

On the website of the ICC (re)discovered :

Correspondence with groups in Russia 
- ( Southern Bureau of the) Marxist Labour Party (MLP) or Marxist Workers' Party (MWP)

 

 - International Communist Union (ICU) 
One of the most important discussion points in this respect was the now again actual "right of self-determination of peoples".(Note 1)
Therefore the following questions :
-How did these groups evolve (taking into account the circumstances that also apply to the KRAS (the heavily repressive climate in Russia against almost every opposition, the consequences of the decadence and decomposition of capitalism, especially in Russia, the pandemic. See # 5)?
-In a positive sense (both in terms of program /standpoints and in terms of organisation/publication)?
-Rather passive existence ?

-Victim of repression ?

-  Disintegrated ? 
-How is their position today very concrete in relation to the "self-determination" of Ukraine or of the "People's Republics" of Donetsk and Luhansk ?

To be clear, I don't have the idea that the workers or communist thinking people on the spot (in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus) necessarily have a better view on what is happening there. It is often the case that being able to take distance, both in space and in time, leads to a better understanding of the facts.  (Note 2)

 

I think that it is also very important at the moment that the ICC also has a website in Russian (with fairly recent texts (Resolution 24th Congress)).
I hope that the articles on the Russian-Ukrainian conflict will also be published in Russian.
This is without any illusion that any communist organisation today or in the near future can have a direct influence on events in Russia, Ukraine or Belarus, but in order to have a (weak) proletarian internationalist voice heard amidst the nationalist hysteria from all sides and give a heart to the few communist thinking individuals and groups in the region (who do not necessarily have a good knowledge of English or any other language).
I think many if not most people also in Ukraine and Belarus can read Russian.

Right ?

 

Note 1
-Correspondence with International Communist Union: There are no more national liberation wars World Revolution no.254, May 2002
https://en.internationalism.org/wr/254_icu.html 
-Reply to the MLP: Proletarian Socialist Revolution Against the 'Right of Nations to Self-Determination' International Review no.115 - 4th quarter 2003
https://en.internationalism.org/ir/115_mlp.htm 
-ICC public meeting in Moscow: Decadence of capitalism means all national struggles are reactionary World Revolution no.260, December 2002
https://en.internationalism.org/wr/260_moscow.htm 
Note 2
I am thinking here of Lenin and some of those around him in exile in Switzerland, who had a much better view of events in the Russian empire (as is shown , among other things, by the "April Theses") than many Bolsheviks who had experienced the events on the spot and often even helped to "shape" them, but still stuck to outdated schemes and supported, for example, the Provisional Government and the  defense of the fatherland,more or less "critically" and "conditionally". 

 

 

 

 

 

d-man
Russia's position

Putin's speech mentioned that there would be Western boots on the territory of Ukraine already in 2022. This is in reference to the announcement in December 2021:

"KYIV, Dec 14 (Reuters) - Ukraine's parliament approved on Tuesday a draft law that allows foreign troops to take part in military exercises on the territory of the former Soviet republic in 2022, a move likely to infuriate Russia."

The upcoming exercises by foreign (ie US and UK) troops would, according to Putin's speech, be in reality, by their frequency and duration, equal already to the establishment of foreign army bases in Ukraine. This would have meant, even without Ukraine's formal membership in NATO, that a potential conflict of Ukraine with Russia (like eg over Crimea), would find the presence of Western troops on an active battlefield, and thus entail the danger of a far more serious war between the great powers.

The complaint about "Eastward expansion of NATO" is not so much about membership itself in a mutual defense pact by countries like Poland, Estonia, etc., as about the creation of foreign (US, German) army bases in those countries. That is, in my understanding of Russia's position, these countries (and perhaps even Ukraine) can have a "right" to join NATO, but that's not the same as granting, that they therefore automatically also should have the right to station foreign troops on their territory near Russia's border. What "right to self-determination" (in the eyes of Eastern European countries) practically means, is the right to have foreign troops stationed.

The recognition of Luhansk/Donetsk and signing of a defense agreement, meant that any further Ukrainian shelling now made it possible for Luhansk/Donetsk to appeal to Russia to defend the independence of Luhansk/Donetsk from attack (to name the equivalent, this would be like invoking military aid under NATO's article No. 5). There also was apparently a incursion of a couple of Ukrainian military men directly into Russian territory itself.

If it had really been the Russian government's desire to attack the Ukrainian army and overthrow the government, they naturally could have done so years earlier. They didn't do so, because I think there was not yet the immediate prospect of Western troops on the territory of Ukraine.

 

joan
Perhaps it is of little

Perhaps it is of little interest, but this was written before reading the contribution of d-man (#7)

 

The open economic crisis existed before the covid pandemic
(As stated in several ICC articles).
Yet the pandemic was and is presented as the cause of all sorts of cutbacks, salary sacrifices, price increases,inflation,unemployment, and so on.
Finally, according to the "logic" of capitalism, the "money flows" to keep the economy going during the pandemic have to be paid "somewhere", by "someone".
And that "somewhere" and "someone" is of course the working class.
Now with the open war in Ukraine (i.e. almost in the geographical centre of Europe and no longer in the "periphery" (Note 1)), it will be pointed out as an additional explanation, as an additional cause for all sorts of cutbacks, salary sacrifices, price increases,inflation, unemployment, etc.,
And in "the West" (EU, UK, USA, Australia, Japan,...) as well as in Russia and its scarce allies, this will be presented as the consequence of the mutual sanctions and reprisals (import and export bans, etc.) that will be felt all the more with the more than ever global entanglement of the world economy.
Add to that the reception of refugees from Ukraine (almost exclusively women and children, as the men from 18 to 60 have to sacrifice themselves for the "fatherland", either in the regular army or in a kind of "Volkssturm" (as in October 1944-May 1945 in Nazi Germany).
This while as well the open economic crisis, the covid pandemic, the refugee flows and the war in Ukraine are all just expressions of the decay of world capitalism and of the ultimate phase of that decay, the dissolution.
After the covid pandemic, the war in Ukraine is the umpteenth "wake up call" to put an end to world capitalism with all its misery, its unemployment and at the same time screaming shortage of personnel in care, education, environment care , etc., with its famines and at the same time all kinds of diseases caused by obesity, with its climate change , its wars, etc., as soon as possible.

Note 1
Although, is Syria ( neighbouring country of Turkey and Israel), Iraq ( neighbouring country of Turkey), Libya ( in the Mediterranean Sea, opposite Italy and Greece,neighbouring country of Egypt), etc. "periphery"?

 

joan
#7 is a very important

#7 is a very important contribution.

Thank you for that.

The message about foreign (NATO) troops (plan or already more ?) in Ukraine was for me and probably also many others totally new.

So you see again how "free", "objective" and "complete" the reporting is, also in the "free", "democratic" "West" !

It is important to understand something of the point of view of Putin and his "comrades".

To simply declare Putin crazy, as some politicians and opinion makers do, is really too easy. (Note 1)

And to be clear :(trying to) understand is something quite different from agreeing.

Mentioning the fact of approval of the presence of foreign (NATO) troops in Ukraine does of course not mean that one approves of the raid of the Russian army.

In the face of this invasion there is only one answer :

the most resolute rejection of all nationalism, including that of the

"People's Republics" of Donetsk and Luhansk), as well as that of Ukraine, Russia,...as that of "the Slavic brother peoples", "the trinity" of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.

Here only one slogan is appropriate :

"The workers have no fatherland, proletarians of all countries unite !"

(how utopian and unworldly that may sound to so many today (when bombs have fallen on the Ukrainian capital Kiev and Russian troops are advancing on its suburbs))

 

 

Note 1

One must of course be careful not to lapse into all sorts of inappropriate comparisons and equations, but one can also ask oneself the questions :

-were the German generals crazy when they wanted to invade France in August 1914 through neutral Belgium with two “Germans” as king and queen?

- was Hitler crazy when he invaded Poland from the west in 1939 at the same time as Stalin invaded the east or when he invaded France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxemburg in 1940?

- Were the Japanese generals and admirals crazy when they attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941?

-were the Allies crazy when they carried out terror bombardments on Hamburg, Berlin, etc. during WW2? ?

-was USA president Truman crazy when he ordered atomic bombs to be dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 ?

- Was Osama Bin Laden crazy when he ordered the Twin Towers to be attacked in New York in 2001 ?

Many other examples could be given, also always from the "other camp".

But I think that in all these examples, in all these manifestations of capitalist barbarism craziness of individuals is an all too easy "explanation".

In their "logic" and in the "logic" of the interests they stood for, there was nothing crazy about their actions.

d-man
joan wrote: The message about

joan wrote:
The message about foreign (NATO) troops (plan or already more ?) in Ukraine was for me and probably also many others totally new.

To be fair, there have been several exercises of foreign (NATO) troops in Ukraine annually, already for many years, although increasing in size apparently (and further in the future). The new realisation (or what dropped my penny), is the didactic brief remark by Putin, that military exercises function as the equivalent of army bases. I also maybe suspect that hosting foreign exercises on a territory are as, if not more threatening, than just stationing actual foreign army bases. Ukraine doesn't need to wait to become a member of NATO, to already have hosted NATO troops on its territory. I also repeat my pedantic distinction, that it is not so much about an independent country's "god-given right" to join NATO or formal NATO expansion eastwards, as it is about the actual presence of foreign military (via exercises), and this distinction points to the existing option of the West now to de-escalate, without even endangering NATO and the security to Eastern European countries, namely by simply not hosting foreign armies in the NATO countries next to Russia. Besides, the nuclear umbrella is what protects the alliance members, not some symbolic stationing of ground troops.

For approving or agreeing with the action of Russia, this is not done on some abstract level of background analysis like above, but in concrete terms like; who started it, etc. In this case I saw 2 reasons Russia could give for its action; 1 due to creation of defense agreement with Donetsk/Luhansk, it had to defend these allies against Ukrainian aggression (continued shelling); 2 a reprisal for an Ukrainian incursion directly in Russia's own territory (as stated by Russia's head of army directly to Putin in front of camera, and shown in TV footage of the burning vehicle wreckage, with bodies inside). This is the level of immediate events, why it happened in this way, and why Russia's action didn't happen much sooner than it certainly could have already.

baboon
Regarding the build-up of

Regarding the build-up of NATO activity in Ukraine, the article above states: "Through the occupation of Crimea in 2014 and support for Russian-speaking secessionists in eastern Ukraine (Donetsk and Luhansk), Putin hoped to retain control over the whole of Ukraine: "Indeed, he was counting on the Minsk agreements, signed in September 2014, to gain a say in Ukrainian politics through the Donbass republics [the country's federal structure involves a large degree of regional autonomy]. The opposite has happened: not only has their application stalled, but President Volodymyr Zelensky, whose election in April 2019 had given the Kremlin hope of renewing ties with Kiev, has amplified the policy of breaking with the 'Russian world' initiated by his predecessor. Worse still, military-technical cooperation between Ukraine and NATO continues to intensify, while Turkey, itself a member of the Alliance, has delivered combat drones that make the Kremlin fear that Kiev will be tempted by a military reconquest of the Donbass. It would therefore be a matter of Moscow taking the initiative again, while there is still time" (Le Monde diplomatique, February 2022, p.8)."

The irrationality and thus the unpredictability of the general situation of imperialism underlines the actions of the "mad-man" Putin and the need for Russia to "strike out", unsubtely threatening by the way the use of nuclear weapons. The scale and wholesale nature of the attack on Ukraine, effectively exposed beforehand by US intelligence (no need to make up stories about WMD), has nevertheless taken many by surprise forcing a more "coherent" response, though still with inconsistences, of US allies. Apart from countries like Syria and Kazakhstan, very few countries have not denounced Russian actions. Germany has started providing arms to Ukraine and Turkey has been a long-time provider of such as its relations with Ukraine has flourished. The former is now discussing if Russia's invasion is a "war" or a "military action", the first definition meaning the possibilty is open to stop Russian warships from exiting the Black Sea through the Dardenelle Straits. China, whose economic relations with Ukraine was also flourishing, has consistently to now defended the "territorial integrity" of Ukraine.

It's beginning to look like that Putin has bitten off more than he could chew and this could make the situation even more dangerous by the Russian bourgeoisie committing much more force to sudue the regime while avenues of "resistance" are strengthened by other countries and by various campaigns, some supported by anarchists, of the need for a "broad-based resistance", i.e., a "United Front".

MH
The role of the democratic west in creating this crisis

 

Very briefly...

Putin as a ‘mad man’ is becoming a very strong theme of media coverage in the ‘democratic' west and we need to strongly denounce the role of the USA and its western allies in engineering the current situation over the longer term.

Ever since the USSR’s last desperate imperialist throw in Afghanistan the US bourgeoisie adopted a strategy designed to outspend and lend its imperialist rival into the ground and integrate its satellites economically into its own bloc. The eastern European states found themselves in increasing debt to western states and banks, while the USSR was eventually forced to give up the arms race, admitting it could no longer compete with the US ‘Star Wars’ programme.

In this way, the collapse of the economically weaker USSR bloc was deliberately accelerated as part of a geopolitical strategy to ensure US global hegemony.

The ensuing western ‘liberal shock therapy’ administered by the Yelstin faction with the backing of the IMF and World Bank, was more devastating than a war:

- industrial production in the former USSR fell by half

- inflation rose above 200 per cent

- average life expectancy, especially for working-age men, dropped to ‘third world’ levels,

- in some parts of the former Stalinist empire workers were directly mobilised to fight in ethnic and nationalist wars.

This US strategy was very 'successful'. The USSR was deliberately crushed as a world power and isolated. Its former bloc was torn open to become part of the circuits of global capital and the money flowed to the US as the strongest capitalist economy, helping to give the whole system a temporary breathing space – but at the price of a unleashing chaos, especially at the imperialist level, and causing deep resentment at the brutality of this experience of ‘western democracy’, not only in the USSR but eastern Europe, creating the conditions for the rise of authoritarian and right-wing populism (eg Hungary, Poland).

The ’insane’ strategy of Putin does indeed represent the growing irrationality of the capitalist system in the acceleration of its descent (or rather, more correctly, an absence of any real economic rationale), but it is also the product of a chronically weak capitalist regime – albeit one armed with a nuclear arsenal - that has been deliberately cornered and humiliated as part of a ruthless strategy led by the USA and the democratic’ west since the start of the 1980s.

More detail on this can be found here:

Notes on the fall of the Stalinist regimes (markhayes9.wixsite.com)

What effect did Stalinism's collapse have on the class struggle? (markhayes9.wixsite.com)

 

MH
Comments on the leaflets of the ICC and CWO

 

We now have the leaflets of both the ICC and the CWO against the war in Ukraine.

Ukraine: Neither NATO nor Putin! No War but the Class War! | Leftcom

Both, as we would expect, defend a clear proletarian internationalist position against this imperialist war, and should therefore be supported by all those who defend the politics of the Communist Left today.

A few brief comments on the content of these leaflets; first on the CWO’s, which is quite short, clearly warning against the escalation of the situation in the context of the stagnation of the capitalist system:

We are on the cusp of a new phase in the crisis and in history. This is not a new “Cold War” but the precursor of something far more dangerous …  The stage is being set for a wider imperialist war which threatens the future of humanity even more sharply than climate change.”

When it comes to the working class response to this situation, it is sober: the necessary proletarian movement “which can move millions to take strike action to undermine state power ... will not come any time soon”, emphasises the deterioration of workers’ living standards as the basis for the development of this movement, and ends, as one might expect, with an abstract statement of the need for a proletarian political party (“anti-capitalist political compass”).

The ICC’s leaflet is longer, and arguably not quite as sharp, beginning with a long intro before getting to the central message that the war is “a clear manifestation of a world sinking into barbarism.” Strangely, it uses the term “tragedy” to describe the war – not perhaps a term you would expect from the Communist Left.

It denounces the lies of the ‘democratic’ west, but does not in my view fully describe and denounce the active role of the US-led bloc in engineering the current situation – a criticism that could also be levelled at the CWO (see my post above).

My main criticism of the ICC leaflet is the inadequate way in which it describes the current balance of power between the classes. 

The ICC’s approach is to first describe the working class in “this part of the world” as “particularly weak”. But Ukraine is not the ‘Third World’! The Donbass (now of course part of the Russian-controlled ‘eastern provinces’) was a centre of the historic strike of the miners in 1989 – part of the largest wave of class struggle in the then-USSR since the 1917-21 revolutionary wave!

This wave of struggles was drowned with the very active help of the western bourgeoisie through its backing of the Yeltsin faction in its plan to break up the USSR and impose the most brutal austerity (see my post above).

The ICC leaflet simply says “The collapse in 1989 of the regimes that claimed to be “socialist” or “working class” dealt a very brutal blow to the world working class” without any further explanation (actually quite an ambiguous statement on its own).

But the main point is that the ICC entirely avoids making any general statement about the state of the class struggle worldwide today, or of the balance of class forces, and therefore of the opportunities for a working class response. To do so would mean of course dealing with the deep defeat experienced by the proletariat at the hands of the bourgeoisie from the start of the 1980s onwards; a defeat that is still a defining factor in the current situation, and one that revolutionaries still need to understand and draw the lessons of. The avoidance of this key issue leaves the ICC's final call for "the development of massive and conscious workers’ struggles everywhere in the world" just as abstract as the CWO's call for the party.

(edited)

d-man
talks

If I understood Lukashenko's statement yesterday (in response to Zelensky's complaint that Belarus is a belligerent party), he said that he received an insider (from concerned Ukrainian people) info on the evening of February 23, of an impending Ukrainian missile attack against (Russian?) forces stationed in Belarus. And that's why Lukashenko permitted a strike from Belarussian territory on Ukrainian missile installations.

--

Maybe a dumb observation, but the existence of open talks between Russia and Ukraine, via official channels, is possibly a distinctiveness that sets this military action apart from actual "war". For comparison, I doubt the US/West was willing to openly conduct talks with Iraq/Libya/etc. during their military action. But the real talks that Russia seeks is not with Ukraine, but with the US, and the US apparently has continued to refuse this.

baboon
Throughout the history of

Throughout the history of capitalist decadence, as the ICC relates, the strongest imperialisms are always the most aggressive expressions of it, the most active in military preparation and effectiveness, the powers with the best abilities to manipulate the global chessboard to their advantages while, and it comes to the same thing, doing down the rivals and putting them on the back foot. None of this mean s that the lesser imperialisms are any the less voracious in their militaristic appetites but on the contrary it means that they become even more so having to make up for their weaknesses in the face of stronger rivals making it necessary for them to strike out in one way or another. It’s a position that has been amply demonstrated throughout two world wars and numerous wars and “flash-points” across the globe ever since. This imperialist expression of the lesser powers asserting their “own independence” has increased throughout the last three decades of capitalist decomposition and in that general context has been described by the ICC as “centrifugal tendencies” or “each for themselves” characteristic of the particular phase of capitalist decay. There is no “lesser evil” in the present war in Ukraine, no “they started it first”, two elements of the situation that undermines any internationalist perspective. As far as I can see, there is no underestimation by the ICC of the role of the West and NATO – the latter cohering somewhat in the short-term – in the development of imperialist tensions on the borders of Russia, in Ukraine or anywhere else in the world.

 

I don’t think it’s “strange” to describe what’s happening in Ukraine as “a tragedy” – it’s a lot else but in classical terms that’s exactly what it is.

joan
Internat ICC-leaflet -”lesser evil”& “first shoot”- KRAS

1)

A warm welcome to the international leaflet of the ICC “Imperialist conflict in Ukraine Capitalism is war, war on capitalism !

Even though there is some criticism to be made about the content.

But that is - of course - no reason not to help distribute it.

The leaflet is already pubished in English, French, German,Italian, Swedish,Spanish,Turkish,Dutch,Portuguese and Filipino.

 

2)

Baboon wrote (#15)

None of this mean s that the lesser imperialisms are any the less voracious in their militaristic appetites but on the contrary it means that they become even more so having to make up for their weaknesses in the face of stronger rivals making it necessary for them to strike out in one way or another.”

There is no “lesser evil” in the present war in Ukraine, no “they started it first”, two elements of the situation that undermines any internationalist perspective.”

Perfectly correct.

There are many examples of "weaker brothers"(no matter how strong they were/are in themselves ) who "shot first".

-WW1 German empire weak versus British Empire in terms of fleet,also by the late formation of Germany as a more or less unified state (1871) few colonies that also yielded little (except for some Samoa islands in the Pacific, Togo was the only self-supporting German colony) (again in contrast to the British Empire and also in contrast to France and even in contrast to small countries like the Netherlands (especially Indonesia) and Belgium (Congo).

(Note 1)
-WW 2 Germany By the "peace treaty" of Versailles even together with Austria (after 1938) weak against other countries, large parts of territory taken away, no colonies (taken away as "loser" after WW 1 and divided among the "victors" (UK, France,Japan,Belgium and as parts of the Commonwealth South Africa,Australia,New Zealand.

Germany was humiliated up to and including by the "peace treaty" of Versailles, especially by France (Clemenceau).E.g. Article 231 of Part VIII, held Germany and allies, and them alone, responsible for the outbreak of the World War. Also therefore was Germany a breeding ground for a new war (WW 2).

The latter was said immediately after the end of WW 1 by people with such divergent views as Rosa Luxemburg and (even more outspoken) Erich Ludendorff.

Certainly after the defeat of the rev. movement in Germany (1919-1923) with the literal slaughter of Spartakists (Rosa, Luxemburg, Karl Liebknecht, Leo Jogiches, Eugen Leviné and so many lesser known and unknown militants) became Germany the breeding ground for extreme nationalism, revanchism, nazism.
-WW2 Japan weak against USA,British Empire (minerals, petroleum, coal, etc.),previously (1931-1932) the annexation of Manchuria(rich in coal)
-And now again Russia weak (economically = Italy), (idea of) encirclement (both in East (Japan and USA) and West and South (Nato-countries Norway,Turkey, Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania and in addition to the last three also the other ex-East bloc areas Albania, Bulgaria, East-Germany, Hungary, Croatia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Czech Republic (now all NATO-territory); militarily weak towards USA and certainly towards whole NATO.

Sorry for writing the above a bit in "telegram style".
And again: (trying to) understand is certainly not the same as agreeing.

Note 1

For example, for the British Empire, Germany was the aggressor, the one who had "fired the first shot", and shameless anti-German propaganda was made with the example of the violation of the neutrality of "Poor little Belgium", which had been treacherously invaded by "the Huns", name for the Germans, with a reference to Attilla and his Huns. A comparison about which the German emperor and his henchmen should not get too excited, because it was a comparison he himself had made in his "Huns speech" in 1900 in response to the Boxer Rebellion in China (bloody defeat by the united then great powers).

Of course,Germany and especially its ally Austria-Hungary saw it differently.

They saw the aggression, he who had "fired first" in Gavril Principe, (i.e. the assassin of the Austro-Hungarian heir to the throne, Archduke Franz-Ferdinand in Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina, annexed since 1908) in the men of the "Black Hand" and especially in Serbia, which supported the "Black Hand" ,founded by the Serbian army officer Dimitrijević.

Austria-Hungary had given Serbia an ultimatum. Serbia would not fully comply, Austria-Hungary had declared war on Serbia (states did that then), Serbia as a Slavic country had the support of Russia, Austria-Hungary had the support of Germany, Russia had the support of France (Germany's "eternal enemy") and the UK (Compare Article 5 of the NATO ) and so "the ball was in the air" and the 1st World War was born.

As a reminder, the approval of the SPD faction in the Reichstag only came after the declaration of war by tsarist Russia, so that these "socialists" could dress up their approval in a "Marxist" way, referring to Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels and their then in the 19th century right description of tsarist Russia as the bulwark of reaction (see their suppression or cooperation in the suppression of the uprisings in Poland (1830, 1863), Hungary (1848), etc.).

3)

KRAS
In #5 I posed a question about the position of the anarcho-syndicalist org KRAS on the war in Ukraine today, after their earlier internationalist positions in connection with Ukraine in 2014 and earlier with the wars in Chechnya (1999-2009) , Georgia/Ossetia (2008) and also the 'Great Patriotic War'(= WW 2).
Meanwhile I saw their statement :
KRAS-IWA against the War February 25, 2022 - From IWA-AIT
NO WAR! STATEMENT OF THE IWA SECTION IN THE REGION OF RUSSIA / NO A LA GUERRA! DECLARACIÓN DE LA SECCIÓN DE LA A.I.T. EN LA REGIÓN DE RUSIA (Engl., Esp.)
https ://www.anarchistfederation.net/kras-iwa-against-the-war/
I think the internationalist essence of the statement is reflected in the following quotes :
The ruling elites of Russia and Ukraine, instigated and provoked by world capital, greedy for power and bloated with billions stolen from the working people, came together in a deadly battle. Their thirst for profit and domination is now paid with blood by ordinary people – just like us”.

We call on people in the rear on both sides of the front, the working people of Russia and Ukraine, not to support this war, not to help it – on the contrary, to resist it with all their might!”

We remember: NO WAR BETWEEN WORKING PEOPLE OF RUSSIA AND UKRAINE!

(set in bold by me)

 

It is my intention to continue this comment , perhaps more specifically about the 'special military operation', as Putin and his clique would have us call the invasion and war in Ukraine.

 

 

 

 

d-man
military operation

Russia's reasoning for avoidance of the term "war" is, that there is no draft (the active forces are professionals, on contract), and there is no declared battle zone on Russia's territory where military law supersedes regular existing civil law.

On the other hand, what do we call the x years-long conflict in the Donbass? If one is willing to call that a war, then does one recognise that the belligerent sides (Kiev vs. Donbass) already constitute separate states? Or was it still "just" an internal civil war, ethnic conflict (and genocide)? It seems possible to consider the Donbass conflict to have been just an ethnic conflict (that is, "just" a genocide!), but not a war. It is also sometimes pointed out (by Chomsky), when a country bombs some place which is much weaker, that it is not even a war, but a one-sided attack (and massacre); so we shouldn't speak of a "Vietnam war" "Afghan war", or "Iraq war", as that would be still too euphemistic; these countries were just destroyed (did eg Afghanistan declare war on the US?).

Just because something isn't technically a war, doesn't mean it is good or justifiable (it can instead be far worse, eg a genocide).

Obviously also, countries can be officially still in a state of war, without being engaged in active hostilities.

There has also been mention of "hybrid war", cyber war, economic war, information war, etc. so that the boundary between peace and war has become vague.

Was my remark wrong about the noteworthiness of the existence of open, official talks between Moscow and Kiev, during a military operation?

 

joan
Only for information :

Only for information :

I saw on the website of "Controverses,Forum for the Internationalist Communist Left" in French a useful list of positions of various groups and websites related to the current war in Ukraine and historical texts on internationalism,war and imperialism.
Like the whole "Controverses" website the list, the different positions and the evaluation by Controverses are very critical to read.

Not all the groups and websites are of equal value.
Most of the groups and websites mentioned are known to me.
Others are not or hardly known to me.
 

Esclave Salarié Internationaliste 

Groupe International de la Gauche Communiste  = IGCL

Tendance Communiste Internationaliste  = ICT

Institut Onorato Damen 

Parti Communiste International-Le Prolétaire 

Fragments d’histoire de la gauche radicale 

Antonie Pannekoek Archives 

Controverses - FGCI 

Matériaux Critiques 

Guerre de Classe 

Mouvement Communiste 

Barbaria 

Courant Communiste International = ICC  (Of course known to me)

Internationalist Perspective 

Internationalist Voice 

KRAS-IWA 

Parti Communiste International-La Gauche Communiste (Firenze (Italy)

Un internationaliste 

joan
In addition to #9 and also

In addition to #9 and also #11 and 12

"To simply declare Putin crazy, as some politicians and opinion makers do, is really too easy. (Note 1)" (#9)

On the website of Anti-Capitalist Resistance (a site that is sympathising with Trotskyism?) there is an article entitled "Putin is not mad" (“decorated” with a "nice" picture of a horse and macho Putin in bare torso).

The article was also reproduced on the websites of the "4th International"(tendency Mandel) in Dutch (the Netherlands and Belgium), which indicates at least a strong agreement of "the 4th" with the contents of this article.
Of course, we (left communists) do not have to agree with the whole article nor with the positions of "Anti-Capitalist Resistance".

It is my intention to elaborate a little on the content of the article.

joan
Dossier Ukraine

Dossier "Ukraine

 

I think it would be a good idea to start a separate "Ukraine" dossier, in which all texts related to "Ukraine" would be brought together, following the example of the covid-19 dossier.

And this, of course, as with covid-19, in as many different languages as possible.

 

A list of "candidates" for this dossier

 

--Orientation Text

Understanding militarism and decomposition

--Imperialist conflict in Ukraine

The ruling class demands sacrifices on the altar of war

--Capitalism is war, war on capitalism! (International leaflet)

--Imperialist conflicts

Ukraine: the worsening of military tensions in Eastern Europe

--Imperialist conflicts

Russia-Ukraine crisis: war is capitalism’s way of life

--Exacerbation of tensions between the great powers and instability of alliances

--Imperialist tensions

November 2021 Report (partly) 4.1,c) & 4.2

joan
The international leaflet

The international leaflet makes a comparison with former Yugoslavia in the 1990s.
I thought of Ukraine now and the differences and similarities with Hungary 1956 and Czecho-Slovakia 1968.

Apart from the fundamental difference between today (“each for himself”) and then, when the imperialist blocs were still fully standing there is a big common difference with Ukraine now.
Then it was about members of the Warsaw Pact (the counterpart of NATO) and of the Comecon (organisation for economic "assistance"), two organisations led by the "Soviet Union".
Now we are talking about a country (Ukraine),that was an ex-part of the "Soviet Union", but has been an "independent" country for years (since 1991).
Hungary 1956 : difference : there was a workers revolt then too, with a strong similarity to the workers revolt in the former East Germany 1953 ;
likeness : stream of refugees to the west (as far as we can still use that term today, after the collapse in 1989-1991 of both the east and the west bloc)

What are the similarities?
What differences?

d-man
comparisons

joan wrote:
The international leaflet makes a comparison with former Yugoslavia in the 1990s. I thought of Ukraine now and the differences and similarities with Hungary 1956 and Czecho-Slovakia 1968.

I've seen the comparison made with Hungary 1956 from the pro-Russian side itself, because Hungary 1956 was a rightwing-dominated revolt, like Maidan. Another possible similarity (with both Hungary 1956 and Prague 1968) would be, that although there is apparently a violation of the precious bourgeois right of national sovereignty by entrance of Russian troops, this was not yet defined as a war I think even in the Western press (compare the brief invitation of Russian troops in Kazakhstan in January – while in Ukraine it was the Donbass leaders who invited the Russians in).

Incidentally, there has been outrage about this tweet by George Soros, who invoked the siege of Budapest in 1944 by the Red Army: "Brave Ukrainians are now on the frontline and risking their lives in an onslaught that reminds me of the siege of Budapest in 1944 and the siege of Sarajevo in 1993."

Some tried to defend the tweet, by saying that Soros got confused and really meant Hungary 1956. But no, it was not a slip, he really meant the Nazi resistance to the Red Army.

joan
D-man wrote :

D-man wrote :
"I've seen the comparison made with Hungary 1956 from the pro-Russian side itself, because Hungary 1956 was a rightwing-dominated revolt, like Maidan."
I think and hope that what is meant is that the pro-Russian side saw and sees Hungary 1956 as a rightwing-dominated revolt.
Because it wasn't (despite most probably the presence of right-wing individuals and groups).
Hungary 1956 was (also) a workers' uprising, despite all nationalist and bourgeois-democratic influences.
Just as East Germany 1953 and the Polish mass strike 1980 were workers' uprisings, despite all nationalist and bourgeois-democratic and for Poland also religious (Roman-Catholic with the Polish pope Woytila (John-Paul II)) influences.
(Influences is actually not the right word, but I cannot find a better word at the moment).
For Hungary 1956, see in the ICC press among others :
-Hungary 1956: a proletarian insurrection against Stalinism(2006)
-From Russia 1917 to Hungary 1956: October of the soviets (2006)
-50 years since the Hungarian workers' uprising (1976, reprinted 2006)
-Class Struggle in Eastern Europe (1920-70) (1981,reprinted 2009)

To be clear, it is interesting to make comparisons, but Ukraine today is of course a very different situation from East Germany 1953, Hungary 1956, Poland 1980 and even Kazakhstan 2022.
In all these situations (however different) there was always strong workers' resistance,in contrast with Ukraine today.

Forumteam
Parasites don't defend proletarian internationalism

In their post #18, “Only for information” Joan gives us a list of groups and websites defending the internationalist position against the war in Ukraine. Joan introduces the list with the words “Like the whole ‘Controverses’ website the list, the different positions and the evaluation by Controverses are very critical to read. Not all the groups and websites are of equal value.”

But this sentence “Not all the groups and websites are of equal value” is an understatement, because several of these groups should not have been taken up in the list and put on this forum.  Controverses, IGCL, Internationalist Perspective, Matériaux Critiques and some others belong to the parasitic milieu and have nothing to do with proletarian internationalism, even if they write about it and even if they put forward exactly the same position. Their activity is characterised by the sabotage of the communist activities and stands in the way of the possibility of united action by the authentic Communist Left.

The groups that belong to the Communist Left are: Il Partito Comunista, Il Programma Comunista, Instituto Onorato Damen, Program Communiste, Internationalist Communist Tendency, and Internationalist Voice. These groups have not just written about internationalism, but seriously defend the internationalist position in face of the war in Ukraine.

Some groups of the IWA, such as the KRAS (Moscow) and Anarcho-Syndicalist Initiative (Belgrade) also defend an internationalist position. However the internationalism of these groups is not the same as the communist internationalism. In contrast to the Communist Left these groups do not develop a fundamental and systematic denunciation of the pacifist campaigns for peace.

The publication of a list of groups and elements by mixing up the parasites with the authentic groups of the Communist Left, as Controverses has done, must not be imitated on this Forum. And even the warning to read it critically is not sufficient to counter any false identification between the two. While the parasites have every interest in blurring the distinction between the parasites and the authentic Communist Left, we don’t.

Link
It seems to me that Joan

It seems to me that Joan should be allowed to express her opinions. 

Controverses, IGCL, Internationalist Perspective, Matériaux Critiques and some others belong to the parasitic milieu and have nothing to do with proletarian internationalism, even if they write about it and even if they put forward exactly the same position.

And this is the biggest problem with the ICC's condemnation of others.  If these groups say exactly the same thing as the ICC then how can I differentiate let alone workers as a whole. Frankly it is the political perspective that groups present in their activities that is going to make this decision and not the fact that they did something wrong to the  ICC 40 years ago or whenever

How on earth can you accuse some groups of being parasites when you accept that the slaughter of workers in Kronstadt was done by an organisation of the working class?

d-man
Z

joan wrote:
To be clear, it is interesting to make comparisons, but Ukraine today is of course a very different situation from East Germany 1953, Hungary 1956, Poland 1980 and even Kazakhstan 2022.

Understood, and what your proposal to compare Ukraine 2022 to such cases (like Prague 1968) shows is, that one can frame "Operation Z" as something bad (eg a repression of some sorts), but without therefore already classifying it as an instance of war: I feel safe to repeat, that even the Western bourgeois press didn't define the repression of Hungary 1956 as a war. I can add a more recent (non-Western) example, of how during the Arab protests in 2011 Saudi troops entered Bahrain. Thus, obviously, if one's only desire is to condemn and oppose something as "bad", it's not necessary to baptise that something as a war. And to repeat, the refusal to define something as a war, is not necessarily a cheap trick of euphemism, or not even a diplomatic subtlety of international law, but can be a choice based on analytical evaluation. When Iranian general Suleimani was killed by the US in 2020, and in response a US army base in Iraq came under attack from Iranian missiles, this was not declared as a war (between the US and Iran). What does Russia's acceptance of the Donbass leaders' invitation to provide troops change in the conflict, if already for years there have been military hostilities in the Donbass and if Western countries considered the Crimean inclusion into Russia to be an illegal annexation (and violation) of Ukrainian territory? To call it a war, one must have some analytical justification.

--

Btw, Lukashenko repeats that already in the evening of February 23 he launched strikes on 4 targets in Ukraine, and this is several hours before the start of Russia's military operation (in the morning of February 24). I don't think this had been reported in the news.

joan wrote:
likeness : stream of refugees to the west (as far as we can still use that term today, after the collapse in 1989-1991 of both the east and the west bloc)

The stream of the refugees (to the West) is I think not politically neutral. Western leaders (and Kiev) seem to strongly be insisting that refugees don't get passage to Russia. Maybe it's just a worry of propaganda optics, but there might be some other calculation (maybe increasing the number of refugees in the West might make it easier for the bourgeoisie to persuade the Western population to a policy of military escalation).

joan
Please accept my profound

Please accept my profound apologies for my post #18 taking over the list of "Controverses".

The Forum Team wrote :
"The publication of a list of groups and elements by mixing up the parasites with the authentic groups of the Communist Left, as Controversies has done, must not be imitated on this Forum. And even the warning to read it critically is not sufficient to counter any false identification between the two. While the parasites have every interest in blurring the distinction between the parasites and the authentic Communist Left, we don't."

I completely agree.

I must confess that I fell into the trap that "Controversies" in particular is laying by mixing up all kinds of groups and websites, some of which are authentic expressions of the proletarian political milieu and some of which are outright enemies and saboteurs of that milieu.
Marx already said "Ignorance is no excuse" (to Wilhelm Weitling)
What makes my fault so much worse is the fact that I already knew for sure that the IGCL ("War or Revolution") is in word and deed an outspoken anti-ICC-group (made clear in several ICC-texts) and that "Internationalist Perspective", a continuation of the so called "Internal Fraction of the ICC"(IFICC)(had to look it up again), has split off from the ICC on very disputable grounds.

(And this is probably also an understatement).

It is very good that the Forum team once again makes things clear and draws an absolutely necessary line between the groups of the Communist Left and the parasitic and also clarifies the anarchist groups KRAS and the Anarcho-Syndicalist Initiative (Belgrade)(last group was unknown to me(*).

That is ,after all,a positive consequence,the only, of my serious fault .

It is clear that I must pay more attention.

I remember :
Communist Left : next to ICC
Il Partito Comunista,
Il Programma Comunista,
Instituto Onorato Damen,
Program Communiste,
Internationalist Communist Tendency,
Internationalist Voice
Internationalist anarchists :

KRAS(Moscow) and ASI (Belgrade) :

internationalist but not a fundamental and systematic denunciation of the pacifist campaigns for peace.
Parasitic milieu :
Controverses,
IGCL,
Internationalist Perspective,
Matériaux Critiques  
and some others

My apologies again.

(*) I found about the ASI the article "Solidarity with the imprisoned anarcho-syndicalists in Belgrade!".
ICConline,Dec 2009

I just see that 2 contributions have already come after the Forum Team's contribution.(#24).

I have not read them yet.
 

 

joan
D-man wrote :

D-man wrote :
#17

Russia's reasoning for avoidance of the term "war" is, that there is no draft (the active forces are professionals, on contract), and there is no declared battle zone on Russia's territory where military law supersedes regular existing civil law.” (set in bold by me)

In the already mentioned article of "Anti-Capitalist Resistance" (related to Trotskyism)  (2 March 2022)(#19)it is however said "

Demoralisation among Russian troops now firing on their neighbours, who most likely will also speak Russian, and deaths of young conscripts whose families at home will get the news despite the media clampdown, and brave open opposition to the war by a number of left organisations, show Putin has misestimated the balance for forces and the mood for war.” (set in bold by me)
So these two messages seem to contradict each other.
I am strongly inclined to take the information of the usually well-documented d-man for true.
May we know, d-man, what your source is for saying that the Russian troops in Ukraine are only professional soldiers?
Is there no conscription in Russia at the moment?

d-man
Although the Defense Ministry

Although the Defense Ministry meanwhile (9 March) noted that contrary to Putin's order, some conscripts had been found present in Ukraine, the rule is still maintained of avoiding the use of conscripts. Putin repeatedly emphasised this, as the draft is a sensitive issue, that might trigger domestic Russian opposition.

On the other hand, it's I think known, the Donbass forces have mobilised, and they might even present the numerical majority of fighters (they're said to have a reputation of more battle-hardened, than the Russian soldiers).

<a href="http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/transcripts/67913">Putin</a> wrote:
And now I will answer your question about volunteers, conscripts, martial law and the like. Under the law, martial law is declared by a Presidential executive order, which should be approved by the Federation Council, in case of foreign aggression, in particular, in the zones of hostilities.

This is not the case now, and I hope it will not come to that. This is the first point.

Second, about the state of alert. There are several options: martial law or the state of alert, which is also declared by a presidential executive order and approved by the Federation Council in case of large-scale internal threats.

There is also the state of emergency. It is usually declared in a specific region or throughout the country in the event of manmade disasters, natural disasters, etc. Thankfully, this is not the case either.

We are not planning to declare a state of alert on the territory of the Russian Federation. There are no such plans and no necessity for this now.

...

Now, about the martial law. To reiterate, it is usually imposed in case of an external aggression, a military threat. I hope this will not happen, despite irresponsible statements by certain officials.

...

Only professional servicemen – officers and contract soldiers – are taking part in this operation. There are no conscripts, and we are not planning to get them involved. To reiterate, only men who made a very responsible voluntary choice to take part in this operation and to defend their Motherland are participating in this operation. They are carrying out this mission honourably. In my answer to your first question, I provided the reason why this is so and why we are entitled to say this.

The same applies to those who are called up to the training camps. We do not plan to do this with this category, either. They are regularly called up to training camps. They were called up before and they will be called up afterwards. But we are not going to have this category participate in this conflict, in this operation. We have enough forces and means to address the tasks that we have set for ourselves with the use of the professional army.

...

But I repeat that we are not engaging and are not going to engage conscripts or reservists in this military operation. ...

As for volunteers and those young people who come to military recruiting stations, we are grateful to them for this patriotic impulse and the desire to support the country and the Armed Forces. The very fact of their coming does matters, for sure. However, their assistance is not needed for now, and I believe it will not be needed.

I am turning to the cameras so that they will see and hear me say, “Thank you.”

Btw, during a war Lenin did not put forward a pacifist slogan of opposition to draft/conscription. Likely because he calculated that only with mobilisation could a war have the best chance to be converted into a civil war.

--

I also note again the existence of open, official talks, now at very high-level (meeting of foreign ministers of Ukraine and Russia), which, even just on a formal viewpoint, I find is a remarkable aspect of this crisis.

joan
Thank you d-man for your

Thank you d-man for your quick and clear answer regarding professional soldiers and/or conscripts in the Russian army in Ukraine.

But if I understand correctly
1) contrary to Putin's orders, there are some conscripts on the spot ("accidentally", "slipped through the net"), despite the probably very strict rules in the Russian army,
2) is your information that only professional soldiers are participating in this war on the Russian side based solely and only on a statement by Putin.

And then the question is to what extent Putin, this son of a member of the NKVD destruction battalions (Note 1), himself a KGB-officer for 16 years (ended up as lieutenant-colonel), head of the successor of the KGB, the FSB, a power-hungry politician (see e.g. his manoeuvre together with Dmitry Medvedev to become president again (for life)), interventionist in Syria, etc., etc.,etc., is credible.

Much can still be said about
- professional soldiers and conscription in connection with the war in Ukraine,
- Lenin's attitude to conscription during WW1,
- the slogan during WW1 "Turn the imperialist war into a civil war !",
- "the Donbass forces, even present the numerical majority of fighters (they're said to have a reputation of being more battle-hardened, than the Russian soldiers)".

Much can also be said about the open, official talks between Ukraine and Russia as the fighting continues and whether or not such talks are exceptional.
What can/should be decided from this ?

But for now I will leave it at that.

Note 1
Of course, the father need not be responsible for the actions and thoughts of the adult son, any more than the son is responsible for the father.

Thus Marx was not a liberal lawyer like his father.
Thus Lenin was not a law-abiding official like his father.
Thus Niklas Frank did not agree at all with the actions and thoughts of his father, Hans Frank,member of the Thule-Society, member of the DAP-NSDAP, finally as governor-general of Poland responsible for the murder of millions of Poles and the deportation of the Polish Jews to ghettos (nickname "the slaughterer of Poland"), witness his book "Der Vater: Eine Abrechnung ("The Father: A Settling of Accounts")(1987), translated into English as “In the Shadow of the Reich” (1991).

But Vladimir Putin did follow in his father's footsteps.

 

d-man
joan wrote: is your

joan wrote:
is your information that only professional soldiers are participating in this war on the Russian side based solely and only on a statement by Putin.

It's also baed on the Defense Ministry (eg when announcing the number of Russian soldiers KIA, the spokesman took special effort to emphasise only professionals were engaged in this operation), see also my hyperlink (to a JPost article).

Quote:
contrary to Putin's orders, there are some conscripts on the spot ("accidentally", "slipped through the net"), despite the probably very strict rules in the Russian army,

Yes, apparently some reservists (active in logistics).

I also judge Putin's claim as plausible, because, as I think Western commentators remarked, the number of Russian forces employed in Ukraine seems relatively low (or lower than they expected). Also, countries like the US rely only non-reservist forces, so I figure Russia is able to do the same.

Quote:
Much can still be said about
- professional soldiers and conscription in connection with the war in Ukraine,
- Lenin's attitude to conscription during WW1,
- the slogan during WW1 "Turn the imperialist war into a civil war !",
- "the Donbass forces, even present the numerical majority of fighters (they're said to have a reputation of being more battle-hardened, than the Russian soldiers)".

Much can also be said about the open, official talks between Ukraine and Russia as the fighting continues and whether or not such talks are exceptional.
What can/should be decided from this ?

Recall also our conversation about Kronstadt 1921, where I lay stress on the fact of mobilisation/conscription as a likely factor in explaining the rise of revolt among sailors. My guess is that the Russian leadership now is aware of this lesson (likely also from the experience in Afghanistan in 1980s and Chechnya in 1990s).

However, as in the Donbas there has been a mobilisation, then, if may hypothesis is correct, one might assume the Donbas reservist forces are more likely (than the Russian professionals) to revolt/turn the war into the class war. The Donbas forces could also be the most numerical force active, ie larger than the Russian forces (years ago there was a claim they could mobilise 87.000, which is larger than the professional army in many West European countries), although I haven't searched precise figures at the moment. I stress this point also because it keeps the perspective, that despite the Russian intervention, this conflict can be seen as still predominantly fought by Ukrainians internally. On the other hand, maybe the fact that unlike the Donbas reservists, the Russian professional soldiers are fighting not on their own soil, makes them more open to demoralisation.

I make note, that some have stressed the distinction between mere bourgeois defeatism/demoralisation, and a proletarian defeatism (btw, I also just read an ICC article that rejects Lenin's slogan of defeatism).

As for the existence of open, official talks during hostilities, I stress just that formal aspect (maintaining secret contacts is common, though I imagine that too is exceptional during an actual Blitzkrieg type of operation).

 

 

baboon
I may be wrong, but D-man

I may be wrong, but D-man seems to think that the Russian "military operation" taking place in Ukraine is not a capitalist war because they've received an "invitation" from the separatists. After a couple of ambiguous statements above about the Russian-backed breakaway regions he goes on to say in his last post that there's been a "mobilisation" of forces and that these "reservist forces" - in the Donbas - "are more likely (than Russia) to revolt/turn the imperialist war into a class war". It's another oddity above to describe events in Hungary 56 as a "right-wing dominated revolt" which was the line of the Russian state.

I don't think that there should be any ambiguity on here that detracts from the analysis tha this war is imperialist with an equal denounciation of all sides and nor should there be any about the dangerous position that "revolt/class war" can come from a capitalist gang backed by a major imperialism engaged in an imperialist war.

d-man
baboon wrote: I may be wrong

baboon wrote:
I may be wrong, but D-man seems to think that the Russian "military operation" taking place in Ukraine is not a capitalist war because they've received an "invitation" from the separatists.

No, it's just that I think that defining the Russian operation as a war, runs counter to the claim, that there has existed a military conflict, or war, already for several years. That this also happens to be the Russian claim, doesn't by itself refute it (ie that the Donbas conflict has been a continuing war). When a government, or a group of rebels, is willing to invite a foreign power to intervene, it seems their domestic conflict already had reached the scope of a war, regardless of whether (and to what extent, openly) any foreign power accepts the invitation. Or can purported solely domestic military conflicts never  be classified as imperialist wars? (ie does it require the official entrance of a foreign power, to define such conflicts as imperialistic?)

Quote:
he goes on to say in his last post that there's been a "mobilisation" of forces and that these "reservist forces" - in the Donbas - "are more likely (than Russia) to revolt/turn the imperialist war into a class war". It's another oddity above to describe events in Hungary 56 as a "right-wing dominated revolt" which was the line of the Russian state.

I don't think that there should be any ambiguity on here that detracts from the analysis tha this war is imperialist with an equal denounciation of all sides and nor should there be any about the dangerous position that "revolt/class war" can come from a capitalist gang backed by a major imperialism engaged in an imperialist war.

It's an uncontroversial opinion I think, that wars which are lost or going badly (or merely costly), will cause the population (and in the first place, the soldiers, in particular mobilised ones) to become disgruntled. From this observation it doesn't follow, that therefore we should greet wars (as catalysts of revolution). The point of discussion was just, whether hopes entertained by some that a Russian defeat (or mounting casualties) will spark a revolt, are not misplaced, giving the lack of existence of mobilisation among Russian fighting-age men. 

I mentioned, that I heard one Russian pundit himself make the comparison to Hungary 1956 (as a right-wing dominated revolt). But for the purpose of debate, for me the more salient point with such comparisons (to eg Prague 1968) was, that these are not defined as wars, despite the use of tanks. I'm glad to be corrected, if you find these Soviet repressions defined as war in the ICC press or even the Western bourgeois press at the time.

 

joan
A reply to Link (# 25)

A reply to Link (# 25)

A delayed reaction - in fact an unjustified delay - to Link's post.

 

1) Kronstadt 1921 Link wrote : "How on earth can you accuse some groups of being parasites when you accept that the slaughter of workers in Kronstadt was done by an organisation of the working class?"
Welcome to the discussion on Kronstadt 1921 on this Discussion Forum !
For the moment I have stopped for myself the discussion on this subject.
But as I wrote earlier "Of course, my break does not prevent anyone from making further contributions on this subject.

I hope to rejoin the thread as soon as possible."

 

2) But at least as important: the parasitic.
I think Link seriously underestimates the pernicious influence of the parasitics on the proletarian political milieu.
Link wrote : "If these groups say exactly the same thing as the ICC then how can I differentiate let alone workers as a whole."
Herewith 2 remarks.
- It is not only about what one says, but also and at least as important about what one does.
And what e.g. the IGCL systematically did is clearly set out in several articles in the IKS press and can even be read on the IGCL's own website with the "History of the International Secretariat of the ICC 1996-2001" (only in French), a super detailed text with an overflow of names and sayings for which probably all police forces are very grateful to the IGCL.
– I think Link severely underestimates the capacity for differentiation of the working class, which often knows how to distinguish between its real friends and its false ones.
As is well known, I myself have recently fallen into the trap of the parasitic by listing them as quasi-equals together with several authentic expressions of the Communist Left and anarchist internationalists (#18), while I was aware of the deeds of these groups, certainly of those of the IGCL (specialised in slandering and threatening the ICC and its militants).
This makes it very clear, at least to me already, how dangerous these elements are, precisely also by taking or reproducing in "big politics" the same position as that of some real internationalists.
I would also like to refer to the repeated, very dangerous "openness" of the ICT towards parasitic elements, such as the "Círculo de Comunistas Internacionalistas" from Argentina and even towards openly bourgeois organisations such as the UCM from Iran.
I think Link, as a fairly experienced participant in the Discussion Forum, knows - or should know - what it is about when the ICC names a number of groups parasitic and also refuses them on her meetings and on this Forum.
This while in general the ICC is very tolerant (at the moment I cannot find a better word) in her meetings and also on this Forum.
This is also recognised by several anarchists, for whom freedom, freedom of speech, is sacred.
(Strange to say about anarchists, for whom the rule is usually "Ni dieu, ni maitre" (No god, no master)).
I would even say,sometimes the ICC seems to me too tolerant.
E.g. when all kinds of remarks, objections, etc. are voiced that are not sufficiently responded to by the ICC or close sympathisers (lack of time at meetings).
Specifically in relation to the Discussion Forum, I also think of someone like Tagore 2.
How long has Tagore 2 been able to spout his, to say the least, often very strange opinions on a whole variety of topics

on this Discussion Forum, before finally being banned from the Forum ?
Banned not for "having 'different ideas'."(Demogorgon,ICC-member,26 May, 2021), but for "trying to use our forum as a rallying point for an anti-lockdown alliance with organisations of the bourgeois left... "(Forum team 21 May, 2021).

 

 

 

joan
open, official talks between

open, official talks between Moscow and Kiev, during a military operation (d-man #14,#17,#29)
And this not because "accidentally" some shots fall or because the soldiers on the spot have not yet been informed.
The argument of not being informed might have been valid in WW1, but in today's society where messages no longer have to be delivered by couriers or carrier pigeons, this seems to me a very weak argument.
I don't know to what extent open, official negotiations while the fighting continues are really new or exceptional.
I don't think so, although I don't have any immediate examples of this happening.
But contrary to what one might think at first - "it is good that at least there is talk" - this is not a positive fact, not a fact that makes the horrors of the imperialist war less terrible.
It has been said in the media that these protracted talks are to the advantage of the Russian army because it can conquer more and more territories (however slowly and painfully l it may take).
These conquests can then be used as currency in (real) negotiations.
But aren't these protracted talks equally "beneficial" for Ukraine and thus for the "Western camp", thus for the USA?
The longer the fighting lasts, the less the Russian offensive has anything left of a "blitzkrieg", the more the costs rise, the more "body bags" (killed soldiers) will appear. And even if they are "only" professional soldiers, contract soldiers, who "knew what they were getting into" (so they say), they are almost always someone's son, partner, father, brother, etc.
And an ongoing war (even though it may not be called that) with many deaths on their own side is never popular.
These open, official "negotiations" are also "good" for all those who delude themselves and others that the war will not last much longer, that the "peace talks" will soon have results.

d-man
joan wrote: I don't know to

joan wrote:
I don't know to what extent open, official negotiations while the fighting continues are really new or exceptional.
I don't think so, although I don't have any immediate examples of this happening.
But contrary to what one might think at first - "it is good that at least there is talk" - this is not a positive fact, not a fact that makes the horrors of the imperialist war less terrible.

Open, official talks are exceptional during the very first days of an active military operation (this isn't like the Trump-Taliban talks, after decades of stalemate), which is one further reason I hesitate to define this event as an actual war.

Again, the real talks Russia seeks are directly with the US, and this hasn't happened, at least not through open, official channels anyway (apparently since months already).

--

Compare the ICC's description (the only one I could find online from the time) of the 1998 bombings of Iraqi military installations by William Clinton, whose purported goal was likewise "demilitarization", which killed an unknown number of civilians, and over a thousand Iraqi soldiers:

ICC wrote:
Between 16th and 19th December 1998, Iraq was hit by more cruise missiles than during the entire 1991 Gulf War. After threats which were not followed up in February and November 1998, the US has unleashed a new hell on an Iraqi population which has already been subjected to the terrible war of 1991 and the sanctions that followed, bringing in their wake famine, disease, and an intolerable poverty. When the Russian bloc collapsed in 1989, US President Bush announced "a new world order of peace and prosperity". Since then, we have seen increasing chaos, still more war, and an unprecedented chaos, still more war, and an unprecedented spread of poverty throughout the world. The recent bombing of Iraq has only added to the list.

So it seems the 1998 Iraq bombings were defined by the ICC just as "increasing chaos", but not a distinct war. And I don't think the general bourgeois press defined these bombings as a distinct war (distinct from Bush's Gulf War) either.

--

The ICC has called the Ukraine crisis an "imperialist war" already in 2015 (here): "Ukraine: an imperialist war on both sides". The ICC repeated the claims of the West against Russia' involvement, that: 

ICC wrote:
...but, overall, and for the reasons above, it is Russia that is pulling the strings and providing the overwhelming fighting force and material. Latest reports suggest that much of the deadly artillery shelling comes from within Russian territory.

Supposing the Western claims about the presence then of Russian soldiers in Donbass were true, what has now changed qualitatively with the latest military operation? That troops presence is now admitted by Russia? 

During the continuation of a war, there are lulls in fighting, and times of heavy battles. Just because we witness an immediate heavy battle, doesn't make that episode into a new, distinct war.

--

Btw, I tried to find some Trotskyist/leftcom views on the German 1938 invasion of Sudetenland at the time (as this is a very frequent comparison made by bourgeois pundits). I couldn't really find much, that would label it as a war. Maybe at the time not even the bourgeois press in general defined it as a war. The reason the comparison is so often brought up itself though might also indicate this, namely that it represents only a precipitating event about an impending actual war, without being a real war itself yet. A difference, however, is that there was no existing war in 1930s Sudetenland I think (comparable with the running Donbas conflict in Ukraine).

joan
D-man wrote :

D-man wrote :
"Russia's reasoning for avoidance of the term "war" is, that there is no draft (the active forces are professionals, on contract), and there is no declared battle zone on Russia's territory where military law supersedes regular existing civil law." (# 17) (set in bold by me)
The first reason can be adjusted to "as few conscripts as possible".

The second reason I don't quite understand, to be honest.
What exactly is meant by this?
At the moment not in Russia itself, but in Ukraine, officially or not,does not the military law or the law of the strongest, the most decisive rule?

A third reason why the conflict should perhaps not be called a war is the existence of open, official talks between the two direct parties to the conflict (Russia and Ukraine), while the fighting continues. (#14,#17,#29,#36)

But do these three things change anything fundamental about the conflict?
What can one conclude from this?
Is it to be expected that the conflict will end faster because of them?
Or that it will drag on longer?

What do these three things change in the attitude of the working class and its internationalist minorities towards this conflict ?
Is the internationalist attitude of the ICC and others wrong in this conflict ?

 

d-man
joan wrote: The second reason

joan wrote:
The second reason I don't quite understand, to be honest.
What exactly is meant by this?
At the moment not in Russia itself, but in Ukraine, officially or not,does not the military law or the law of the strongest, the most decisive rule?

I quote just again what Putin said:

"Now, about the martial law. To reiterate, it is usually imposed in case of an external aggression, a military threat. I hope this will not happen, despite irresponsible statements by certain officials."

(martial (adj.): late 14c., "warlike, of or pertaining to war,")

Contrast Russia's stance to the US declaration of a "War on Terror", introduction of the Patriot Act (after 9/11), and NATO invocation of Article 5.

Yes, in Ukraine itself (on 24 February) there has been imposed a martial law (btw briefly also in 2018).

I don't think Putin desires to avoid the word solely because he likes euphemistic language. And even if that where his prime reason, then this wouldn't be a uniquely Putinist invention, but simply follow Western practice (post-WWII) in naming their military interventions, as you yourself noted (avoidance of the term "war").

Quote:
A third reason why the conflict should perhaps not be called a war is the existence of open, official talks between the two direct parties to the conflict (Russia and Ukraine), while the fighting continues. (#14,#17,#29,#36)

But do these three things change anything fundamental about the conflict?

These talks (and Russia's position going back to 2014) mean, that at least formally, Russia recognises the Ukrainian government as legitimate.

The more general reason that I hesitate to call this a war (by that precise word), instead of eg a (military) "conflict" (which is a perfectly valid synonym), is, that it is an evocative sensationalist (hyped-up) word in Western bourgeois press, and not an analytically clear word (see my earlier post #17, eg countries can be in a state of war, without active hostilities; or different types of wars, etc.).

joan wrote:
What can one conclude from this?
Is it to be expected that the conflict will end faster because of them?
Or that it will drag on longer?

What do these three things change in the attitude of the working class and its internationalist minorities towards this conflict ?
Is the internationalist attitude of the ICC and others wrong in this conflict ?

I like to ask first to those who seem to put stress on using the word "war", what is added in analytical insight, to describe the Russian operation as a war?

The Russian side (but not only it) sees the Donbas conflict as a continuing war since 2014, which had a poorly-observed cease-fire, with little chance of ending, ie conclusion of a peace. In fact, Russia cite as one of its "justifications" for its intervention now, that there was an imminent Ukrainian plan to launch a renewed offensive against the Donbas rebel-held region.

Some historians, who afford themselves a more long-term view, eg refer to the period of WWI and WWII as in reality just one big war (indeed as I mentioned to Link on another thread, how do we define the start of WWII?). And eg historians speak of the Hundred Years' War. Maybe I'm just pedantic, and not a real scientific socialist, when I ask, if there is a consistent way to use the word "war"?

Your questions about the immediate duration of the present stage of the Ukraine conflict, I think draw attention away from the real issue, which is the conflict between NATO and Russia. Are you (and the ICC) willing to call the Western/NATO-Russia conflict a "war" (considering the Western funding, arms provision, sanctions, etc.)? If not, when would you be willing to call it a war?

 

Forumteam
The key issue

We want to echo Joan’s question to d-man:

“Is the internationalist attitude of the ICC and others wrong in this conflict ?”

 We don’t think that d-man answered this question and we do think that he is being at best "pedantic" about the term; but, more important, quibbling about whether or not to call this clear expression of capitalist barbarity a war entirely fails to distinguish communists from the Kremlin propaganda machine and its parrots in the west (both rightists and leftists).  

 We think these events are too important to get sidetracked into terminological disputes and it’s first and foremost vital that internationalists stand together and denounce all the different varieties of pro-war ideology. Does d-man agree that the Bolshevik slogan "turn the imperialist war into a civil war" applies to the current conflict in Ukraine?

 

Mizar
So we really have an

So we really have an imperialist war. But imperialist wars are different. There are different fighting forces :progressive, less progressive and not progressive at all. Lenin, let me remind you, even in World War I found those for whom that war had elements of justice.

In short, let's look at both sides of the front. On one side is the Russian Federation, a country of almost established national capital - on the other side is Ukraine, where there is a lot of nationalism, but very little of the national capital.

On one side is the Russian Federation, the country with the least degraded scientific and industrial Soviet potential - on the other side is Ukraine, where the Soviet social and scientific-industrial heritage degraded much more.

On one side is the Russian Federation, the country where a majority are state employees, proletarians and petty bourgeois, on the other side is Ukraine, a country where a majority are predominantly lumpenized masses and a petty, even microscopic bourgeoisie.

On one side is the Russian Federation, quite an imperialist center - on the other side is Ukraine, a frankly comprador entity under the direct control of the West.

On one side is  the Russian Federation as a form of the "enlighted bourgeois authoritarianism" - on the other side is  Ukraine, where  we see a completely classic definition of fascism: "The open terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary, the most chauvinistic, the most imperialist elements of financial capital."  Where is this capital in Ukraine?  It is not in Ukraine - it is in the West . In Ukraine there are  only it's clerks and compradors.

Now a summary. So we have two fighting  sides. On one side is the national capital and the "enlighted authoritarianism" of Putin's Russia - on the other side is  the outright comprador fascism of Ukraine under the auspices of the West. I think there is no need to explain for what side this war is progressive?

 I'll add one more thought. It is the national capital of the Russian Federation  who today is the guarantee of maintaining at least some kind of scientific and industrial development. If the West won , any proletariat and any scientific industry will be minimized to a size that allows only the exploitation of natural resources.

 In  February  Putin's regime finally split the world imperialism into openly rival parts. And this is also a progress.

In short, a real Marxist today must understand two main things:

1) The open split of the world imperialism is good.
2) The destruction of fascism is good.

joan
At the moment, I just want to

At the moment, I just want to say that I totally disagree with Mizar's contribution.

Perhaps I will go deeper into it later, but it is not clear to me at the moment where to start in this tangle of erroneous positions, which are far removed from a proletarian internationalist starting point.

d-man
Forumteam wrote: We want to

Forumteam wrote:
We want to echo Joan’s question to d-man:

“Is the internationalist attitude of the ICC and others wrong in this conflict ?”

 We don’t think that d-man answered this question

The internationalist attitude of the ICC is correct. My comments haven't been directed at that attitude.

Quote:
and we do think that he is being at best "pedantic" about the term; but, more important, quibbling about whether or not to call this clear expression of capitalist barbarity a war entirely fails to distinguish communists from the Kremlin propaganda machine and its parrots in the west (both rightists and leftists).

In order to dispel the propaganda machine (of all sides), one has to mention its arguments. As far as I understood the Kremlin's argument, their position is that there certainly does exist a war in Ukraine at the moment, only it didn't start with Russia's operation in 2022 (it started in 2014). The ICC in 2015 called the Donbas conflict an "imperialist war". That conflict was already a war in the eyes of basically everyone (and it wasn't looking like it would be resolved). On the other hand, the Kremlin's reason to avoid calling, in particular and only, this Operation Z, a war, is, – if it were solely due for euphemistic purposes, – not a unique reason, but simply following the naming practice of almost all post-WWII military interventions of the West (as Joan noted). I doubt the sole reason is euphemistic; that may have a role, but, on the other hand, were the Russian state to "honestly" call Operation Z a war, this might have an equal, if not greater, propaganda purpose (eg whipping up a war psychosis in the Russian population).

As for the Western side, it frames the war in Ukraine as a Russian war (of aggression). This will sound again pedantic, but eg; if a foreign power intervenes in a conflict, eg Israel or Turkey in the Syrian war, I would not frame the Syrian war as an Israeli war or a Turkish war.

Quote:
We think these events are too important to get sidetracked into terminological disputes and it’s first and foremost vital that internationalists stand together and denounce all the different varieties of pro-war ideology.

One of the most-cited phrases from Orwell is how ideology tries to convince people that "war is peace", and I understand why you might feel my comments are a literal parody of that. But even in such evidently non-sensical propaganda, there is a relation to truth, for example, one could say that, within capitalism, peace is war, in the sense that a temporary order of peace (pacification) in some region is constructed on the basis, and maintenance, of past (or future threats of) violent conflict.

It's not just a terminological dispute, but involves one's general sense of history (witness the many comparisons that people make), and keeping an eye on diplomatic nuances (btw, eg the official state of war between Japan and the PRC ended only in 1972).

Quote:
Does d-man agree that the Bolshevik slogan "turn the imperialist war into a civil war" applies to the current conflict in Ukraine?

I am sympathetic to Forumteam's point about the urgency of (taking a clear stand in) this situation, and that Forumteam doesn't have time to follow my comments (with a few questions for the ICC). I would say, if the slogan means opposition to pacificism, I endorse it (just as the slogan would apply in general anywhere, eg in the Georgia conflict, or the Armenia-Azerbaijan war).

But I realise that might sound ridiculous, for we are not a Russian revolutionary living during WWI (or are we?). One might again note the absence of mobilisation of Russian men. The proletariat, living in NATO countries, is not enlisted in the Ukrainian war. On the other hand, even the proletariat in (nominally) neutral countries had a duty to oppose WWI. Then, there's the new and different technology (cyber, as mentioned by Baboon, or missiles with hypersonic speed), where in a potential WWIII scenario, with Russia knocking out the West (or vice versa), this would hardly seem to require obtainment of the proletariat's consent in advance (and so leave no time to prevent it).

If my comments detract from the quality of this thread or potential for discussion, I'm fine with "sitting this one out", or bowing out (politely retreating into silence).

 

Mizar
Of course, I have no

Of course, I have no illusions about Kremlin and the current bourgeois power of Russia, but it is a fact that a purely Nazi state, a foothold for NATO and the United States in the heart of Europe has been intensively created for last 30 years and especially for last 8 years  - is this fact  indifferent to the revolutionary movement?

Imagine that the current Kiev regime wins.  It will be praised by the Euro-Atlantic axis as a heroic state, a model  for all other countries, at least in Europe. What does it bold for the communist revolutionary movement? Can you imagine ?

So when I hear that the base of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and NATO in Lvov was attaked by  Russian missile, of course, I wish this missile attack was carried out by  Bolsheviks  from Aurora. But even when the Russian army destroys  NATO Nazi infrastructure - this does not hurt our cause. Quite contrary! I'm  glad about any defeat of NATO, the main enemy of the world proletariat and the revolutionary movement.

edgar
I also disagree with Mizar's

I also disagree with Mizar's contributions. Even if Ukraine was a "Nazi" state - of which it is clearly not - revolutionaries have made it clear that an internationalist position must be taken. What does supporting an imperialist power such as Russia and the destruction of NATO will bring to the working class ? The same thing as supporting NATO or the EU: hurting their class consciousness.

Internationalist organisations and revolutionaries have shown us that since WWI, all countries are imperialist and supporting any of them is just supporting its ruling class.

joan
Request

Request

 

I am working on a reply to Mizar's contributions.

I hope to be able to deliver something as soon as possible.

But maybe comrades who can formulate it faster and more "to the point" than me can already react to Mizar's views, "inspired" at least strongly by Stalinism ?

This “request for help” is made because I find it very important to answer the views expressed by Mizar as quickly as possible.

This also because, to my surprise, many more people, often also sincerely interested in the ICC views, are still (or again ?) contaminated by Stalinist or related views,more than 30 years after the the disappearance of the so-called Soviet Union.

Apologies for this " forwarding " / " delegation ".

Thanks in advance !

At the moment, just this question :
Mizar talks about the "revolutionary movement" three times in contribution # 43.
-"Of course, I have no ...is this fact indifferent to the revolutionary movement ?"
-"What does it bold for the communist revolutionary movement ?”
-"NATO, the main enemy of the world proletariat and the revolutionary movement.”
Is there today, in the phase of decadence of world capitalism, any other revolutionary movement possible than that of the world proletariat ?

 

Here under are some quotes from Mizar's contributions, to which it is certainly " legitimate " to react.

 

 

1. “But imperialist wars are different. There are different fighting forces :progressive, less progressive and not progressive at all. Lenin, let me remind you, even in World War I found those for whom that war had elements of justice.”

2.”Ukraine, a country where a majority are predominantly lumpenized masses and a petty, even microscopic bourgeoisie.”

3.”Ukraine, where  we see a completely classic definition of fascism: "The open terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary, the most chauvinistic, the most imperialist elements of financial capital." “

4.”On one side is the national capital and the "enlighted authoritarianism" of Putin's Russia - on the other side is  the outright comprador fascism of Ukraine under the auspices of the West. I think there is no need to explain for what side this war is progressive? “

5.” It is the national capital of the Russian Federation  who today is the guarantee of maintaining at least some kind of scientific and industrial development.”

6.”In  February  Putin's regime finally split the world imperialism into openly rival parts. And this is also a progress.

In short, a real Marxist today must understand two main things:

1) The open split of the world imperialism is good.
2) The destruction of fascism is good.”
(all #40)

7.”it is a fact that a purely Nazi state, a foothold for NATO and the United States in the heart of Europe has been intensively created for last 30 years and especially for last 8 years  - is this fact  indifferent to the revolutionary movement? “ (See also quote 3)

8.”even when the Russian army destroys  NATO Nazi infrastructure - this does not hurt our cause. Quite contrary! I'm  glad about any defeat of NATO, the main enemy of the world proletariat and the revolutionary movement.” ( nrs.7 and 8 # 43 )

 

 

joan
To d-man

To d-man

Thank you for your contribution # 42, with (again) a number of interesting clarifications and questions.

And sometimes it is more important, more meaningful, more fruitful to ask questions, than to give answers (or what one sees for answers or even the answers).

- Do not fall into the trap of bourgeois propaganda,neither that of "East" (Putin & co),nor that of "West" (Biden & co).

-Interesting comparisons with Turkish and Israeli interventions in Syria (not wars ?)

-Interesting reference "War is Peace" from the book "1984" by George Orwell.

(In 1948, when the book came out, 1984 was still "distant" future).

-the slogan in WW 1 of the bolsheviks (or at least of Lenin and the with him allied group or groups) about imperialist war and civil war

In connection with this the following part is certainly worth reading.

"But I realise that might sound ridiculous, for we are not a Russian revolutionary living during WWI (or are we?). One might again note the absence of mobilisation of Russian men. The proletariat, living in NATO countries, is not enlisted in the Ukrainian war. On the other hand, even the proletariat in (nominally) neutral countries had a duty to oppose WWI. Then, there's the new and different technology (cyber, as mentioned by Baboon, or missiles with hypersonic speed), where in a potential WWIII scenario, with Russia knocking out the West (or vice versa), this would hardly seem to require obtainment of the proletariat's consent in advance (and so leave no time to prevent it)."

 

I would like to elaborate on one or more of the above sub-topics.

But this will probably come later, unfortunately.

d-man
I too leave potential in

I too leave potential in-depth reply to Mizar's posts to others (and pending Forumteam's decision on it), and just observe that one particular line strongly reminds me of the thinking of the "anti-revisionist" (anti-Krushchev) Mikhail Popov, whose position, if I understand it, is that not only Ukraine, but the US is fascist (due to its foreign policy). His recent video interview got +1 million views; one of his theoretical points (he's a professor, Hegel-lecturer), in his support for Russia's action, is eg that "materialists" attach no special significance to (bourgeois) rights (meaning, like violation of borders I suppose). It sounds like a similar argument perhaps, that I remember for the US 2003 invasion of Iraq, made by the (pro-Western) British trotskyist AWL, who argued that the lack of UN approval for the US action (and so violation of international law I suppose), in itself isn't a real basis for opposing it (as socialists).

--

I just want to specify (correct myself), that after 9/11 the US declared a (state of) national emergency, which is still in operation today (always renewed, even under Biden).

The US also declared a national emergence in 2014 over Russia's action in Ukraine, an emergency which in the US has continued all this time, and again was recently extended by Biden. Russia's action (I quote the Order) "thereby constitutes an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States."

How common such (extensions of) state of emergency have become (eg Covid), or eg France (after attack in Paris), but in Russia it apparently has not officially come to that yet.

 

joan
Small, but nevertheless

Small, but nevertheless important addition to my contributions # 41 and # 44.

 

It should actually be completely superfluous, but I would still like to make it very clear that they are not at all directed against the individual Mizar, but only against the positions currently held by Mizar.

Forumteam
Response to Mizar

Mizar considers “NATO, the main enemy of the world proletariat and the revolutionary movement”. We don’t know his reasons for defending Russia against NATO, but it is a very dangerous position, because it subscribes to logic of “the greater evil” and of “the lesser evil”, a logic which has led to the massacre of millions of workers in the different imperialist wars of the 20th and 21st century.

The social-chauvinists defended such a position in WWI, when they said that the Slavic people were inferior, Russia barbaric and Russian Czarism the “greater evil”, threatening German civilisation.

Trotskyism defended such a position during WWII, when they called upon the workers to defend the USSR which they defined as still a workers’ state, even though degenerated. For them Germany was the “greater evil”.

Both currents “critically” defended the need to participate in the war, and actively contributed to the mobilisation of the workers for the interests of capital. They became good soldiers for the bourgeoisie and turned workers into cannon fodder in the imperialist slaughter.

Mizar says that “imperialist wars are different. There are different fighting forces: progressive, less progressive and not progressive at all.”, but he does not give any explanation for his thesis. Does he mean that Russia is a more progressive nation than Ukraine?

In the 19th century the workers’ movement could support certain regimes as being “progressive”. Marx and Engels made a distinction between progressive regimes and reactionary regimes. In so far as certain wars created better conditions for the unification of the world working class struggle, Marx and Engels even supported such wars. Very well known is their support for the war of the Northern Union  against the Southern Confederacy in the US.

Another example is Russia. Marx looked upon Russian absolutismas the backbone of the reactionary forces of Europe, and said that its disappearance would be helpful for the working class’ struggle. Therefore the working class should support a war of Germany against Russia for, as he said, it “will act as the mid-wife of the inevitable revolution in Russia”. (Letter to Friedrich Sorge, 01-09-1870; Marx & Engels Collected Works Volume 44)

But since WWI there are no longer progressive nations. All nations, large or small, have become imperialist and thus counterrevolutionary, which means that no nations can be supported by the working class. And since all nations are imperialist “all parties and organisations which defend even critically or conditionally certain states or certain factions of the bourgeoisie against others (whether in the name of 'socialism', 'democracy', 'anti-fascism', 'national independence', the 'lesser evil', or the 'united front') are agents of capital.” (Platform of the ICC)

Anyone who stands up in support of one imperialist nation against another places itself on the terrain of the ruling class. He or she is morally complicit in the carnage brought about by the war: from the terrorisation of the civil population, the destruction of the achievements of human civilisation to the death of ten thousands or even hundreds of thousands of innocent people.

Mizar makes a big mistake in defending one of the imperialist nations (Russia is also imperialist) and we make an appeal to him to reconsider his position as Lenin did in WWI, when his slogan of “revolutionary defeatism” in his statement that “the defeat of Czarism was the lesser evil”, was criticised by Trotsky for “substituting an orientation (extremely arbitrary under present conditions) along the line of a ‘lesser evil’ for the revolutionary struggle against war and the conditions which generate this war”. (See: Brian Pearce, Lenin and Trotsky on Pacifism and Defeatism)

We do not exactly know what Mizar means by saying “Lenin, let me remind you, even in World War I found those for whom that war had elements of justice”.  But if he means that Lenin supported one of the imperialist nations, some evidence is required.

It is true that Lenin made mistakes during WWI, as we explained in this post. He also thought that wars for national liberation “are not only probable, but inevitable in the epoch of imperialism” (On the Junius Pamphlet) and thus defended the famous thesis of  “the right of nations to self-determination”. But throughout WWI he wrote outstanding texts in support of internationalism and against imperialist war and national defence, condemning German imperialism as strongly as Russian imperialism.

d-man
Above, Forumteam refers

Above, Forumteam refers critically to a statement of Lenin (on lesser evil).

In my post #31 I mentioned an ICC article that rejects (a certain use of) of Lenin's concept of defeatism. For those interested: https://en.internationalism.org/content/3337/polemic-proletarian-political-milieu-faced-gulf-war

ICC wrote:
In particular, we should guard against slogans like "For us, the workers of all countries, the main enemy is 'our' own state", a slogan which is included in the state­ment by the International Bureau for the Revolutionary Party (IBRP) ...

It's no accident that this slogan is the same as 'The main enemy is our own bourgeoisie', which is a leaflet distributed in France by a group called ‘Internationale Ouvriere pour Reconstruire la IVeme Internationale', ie a Trotskyist group. This slogan (which is similar to that of 'revolutionary defeatism') was also put forward during the first world war, notably by the Spartacists in Germany. Today we can see how easily it can be recuperated by the bourgeoisie.

In fact, any slogan addressed to this or that sector of the proletariat, attributing it with tasks that are distinct or different from those of other sectors, is ambiguous and can easily be turned against the working class by the leftists. Even if the world proletariat is separated in to national sectors because of the divisions in bourgeois society itself, its historic struggle has to head in the direction of a world-wide unity. It's precisely the task of revolutionaries to contribute actively to this world-wide unity.

This sound logic for the particular situation of war is also valid in general during normal "peaceful" times; while mobilising workers for the interest of the "their" country's economy/companies is wrong, so is mobilising them for the interests of foreign countries' wealth/companies; anyone who supports their government's social policies is morally complicit in the bourgeoisie's exploitation of workers; no support to the "lesser evil" domestic faction of bourgeois parties; etc.

But in the specific situation of military conflict, are there ideological bourgeois lies that merit a more in-depth, specific rebuttal? What were the greatest contributions Lenin made to the formulation of an anti-war stance?

 

 

joan
In connection with Mirza's

In connection with Mirza's contributions (#40 and 43)

Apologies for the "long wait" (exacerbated by a technical problem).

Most of these comments had already been written (in draft) before the Forum team's contribution. (# 48)
Apologies for the repetitions / overlaps with what the Forumteam wrote.

Meanwhile, there is also the interesting looking, but even more thorough reading contribution of d-man with a reference to the "anti-revisionist" (anti-Krushchev) Mikhail Popov.(#46).

Let's start on a positive note !
Mizar wrote :

(1) "So we really have an imperialist war.

Still something we (meaning Mizar, the ICC and me) agree on !

Mirza wrote :
(2) "But imperialist wars are different. There are different fighting forces :progressive, less progressive and not progressive at all."
Of course one imperialist war is not the other.WW 1 was not the same as WW 2,the Korean war (1950-1953) was not the same as the Vietnam-war (USA&South-Vietnam against North-Vietnam,1955-1975),but still they are all imperialist wars,all wars of imperialism.
And in those wars all the fighting forces are equally reprehensible,there are no more or less progressive forces and from the point of view of the working class no distinction can be made between the different camps.

Mirza wrote :
(3) "Lenin, let me remind you, even in World War I found those for whom that war had elements of justice."
Each camp in WW 1, of course, saw its own actions as perfectly justified, as an "element of justice".
Austria-Hungary felt attacked by Serbia.Tsarist Russia, who backed the "Slavic brother people"(Where have we heard that before ?)in Serbia felt cheated by Austria-Hungary and its allies the German Empire and the Ottoman Empire.France felt threatened as an ally,
France felt threatened as an ally of tsarism by its "arch-enemy" Germany and was all too eager to "revenge" the loss of Alsace-Lorraine in the Franco-German war of 1870-1871, the UK set itself up as a defender of Belgium's violated rights (violation of neutrality by the German army in its passage to France) ("Poor Little Belgium"), etc, etc, etc. (No attempt has been made here to find a solution to the problem).
(No attempt has been made here above to be complete or to have a correct historical chronology ("Who reacted to whom?" or "Who fired first?")
In connection with Lenin in WW 1.
If I remember my reading correctly, Lenin saw only for Serbia an "element of justice" in the sense of a justified "national defence" against Austria-Hungary, but according to him this did not change the fundamentally imperialist character of the whole WW 1.
But first of all it was true even for Serbia that it was not only a part, a plaything in the power game of the big imperialisms, but Serbia itself was not at all so "innocent" as one might think, was not a mere "victim".
The "Black Hand", the organisation that had a hand in the assassination of the Crown Prince of Austria-Hungary, Archduke Franz-Ferdinand in Serajevo on 28 June, was founded by Serbian officers and led by the Serbian colonel of military intelligence, Dragutin Dimitrijević, ("Apis") who had previously been involved in the assassination of the Serbian king. In addition, there was the Narodna Odbrana ("National Defence"), founded in 1908 at the City Hall in Belgrade by Serbian ministers, officials, and generals.
Both organisations worked in parallel and there was an overlap in membership.
 Black Hand members held important army and government positions. 18] The group held influence over government appointment and policy. The Serbian government was fairly well informed of Black Hand activities.(to Wikipedia) (Note 1)

Secondly, and much more important from the point of view of the working class, the great weakness, the great mistake of Lenin and the majority of the Bolsheviks was to insist on the "right of self-determination of peoples" even in the midst of an imperialist war.
This insistence on an outdated point of view would be a source of sorrow for the Bolsheviks, for the working class of the ex-tsarist empire and for the world proletariat, when one by one several regions, supported by Germany or by France, the USA, etc., broke away from the ex-tsarist empire and formed "independent" states (Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Georgia,...and also Ukraine, all outposts against the soviet bastion.
I referred above to the majority of the Bolsheviks, because even within the Bolsheviks there were militants who did not agree with the insistence on the "right of self-determination of peoples".
(Bukharin, Piatakov, Dzerzhinsky, Lunacharsky and others)( Note 2)

I am also thinking here of Marc Chirik, who from an early age opposed the insistence on this "right of self-determination" and was excluded from the 3rd International for his proletarian internationalist stance.

(Note 3)

The correct point of departure was that of Rosa Luxemburg and the SDKPiL, who opposed an attempt to separate the Polish territories from the Tsarist Empire and the formation of a Polish state.
They put everything on the cooperation of the Polish-speaking workers and socialists with the other workers and socialists of the states they were part of (the Tsarist Empire, German Empire, Austria-Hungary).
This is in contrast to that other Polish "socialist" (PPS) Pilsudski, who in WW 1 formed a military unit that fought as part of the Austro-Hungarian army against the Russian army and finally, after the formation of the "independent" Polish state, made it to dictator.

Mirza wrote :
(4) "Ukraine, a country where a majority are predominantly lumpenized masses and a petty, even microscopic bourgeoisie."
So,as I understand it,there is a petty bourgeoisie in Ukraine.
That is, as in all states, the bourgeoisie is small (therefore not microscopic), because by definition the exploiting and ruling class is small in proportion to the exploited and ruled class (or classes).
The majority would be "predominantly lumpenized masses".
And so ... would the slogan "Proletarians all countries, unite!" not apply to Ukraine?
Is that the conclusion that Mizar draws?
And yet I read on Wikipedia , with all reservation for possible errors, euphemisms and exaggerations :
"In 2021 mineral commodities and light industry were important sectors.[301] Ukraine produces nearly all types of transportation vehicles and spacecraft.[302][303][304] Antonov airplanes and KrAZ trucks are exported to many countries." 
"Before the Russo-Ukrainian war the number of tourists visiting Ukraine was eighth in Europe, according to the World Tourism Organization rankings." formidable hospitality infrastructure.
I read about the port of Odessa.
I read :
"Rail transport in Ukraine connects all major urban areas, port facilities and industrial centres with neighbouring countries. The heaviest concentration of railway track is the Donbas region.[310] Although rail freight transport fell in the 1990s, Ukraine is still one of the world's highest rail users.[311]
Ukraine International Airlines, is the flag carrier and the largest airline,[312] with its head office in Kyiv[313] and its main hub at Kyiv's Boryspil International Airport. It operated domestic and international passenger flights and cargo services to Europe, the Middle East, the United States,[279] Canada,[314] and Asia."
"The largest nuclear power plant in Europe, the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, is located in Ukraine."
And I also read (Wikipedia ,Economy of Ukraine)
"Because Ukraine possesses 30% of the world's richest black soil, its agricultural industry has a huge potential. However, farmland remains the only major asset in Ukraine that is not privatized[144]." 
( set in bold by me)

Do all these companies and all these sectors not employ workers?
(Miners (Note 4)(not only coal),industrial workers,personnel in hospitality and tourism(waiters,kitchen,counter,cleaning,etc.etc.),dockers,railway personnel,airport personnel,
flight crews, staff in and around the nuclear industry, farm workers, etc.).
Or do all these companies and all these sectors run completely on robots, which are also completely controlled from outside Ukraine?

Mirza wrote :
(5) "Ukraine, where we see a completely classic definition of fascism: "The open terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary, the most chauvinistic, the most imperialist elements of financial capital." “
This is the definition of fascism that appears in Georgi Dimitrov, The Fascist Offensive and the Tasks of the Communist International in the Struggle of the Working Class against Fascism ,Main Report delivered at the Seventh World Congress of the Communist International
Delivered: August 2, 1935
Source: Georgi Dimitrov, Selected Works Sofia Press, Sofia, Volume 2, 1972 https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/dimitrov/works/1935/08_02.htm.

Thus a formulation coming from the Stalinist degenerate "Communist International".The previous congress in
1928 (7 years earlier !) accepted the formula of "the construction of socialism in one country", in other words the open betrayal of proletarian internationalism.
Now, even Stalinists and Fascists, as well as "democrats" can sometimes say something that is the truth, that corresponds to reality.
But still we must ask ourselves whether there are not better descriptions of fascism, more useful for the best understanding of the defeats and achievements of the working class, than those of the Stalinist "3rd International".

That is all for now.

Not that this says everything about the views expressed by Mizar.
Certainly not.

For example, very little or nothing has been said about the many variants of the proposition

"Ukraine is a pure fascist state".

What is the evidence for this? Is Ukraine fundamentally different from other states?
Please, arguments, proof, facts!

I will try to continue as soon as possible.

Note 1
Serbia and WW 1 :
1878 : Bosnia and Herzegovina (henceforth B-H) is allocated to Austria-Hungary by the Congress of Berlin.
1908 : Formal annexation of B-H by Austria-Hungary.
Serbia also covets the territory.
1914 : In B-H, the "Black Hand" operates, set up by the Serbian colonel of military intelligence, Dragutin Dimitrijevic.
28 June : During a visit to Serajevo, capital of B-H, Franz-Ferdinand, the intended successor of Emperor Franz-Joseph, is assassinated by a member of "The Black Hand".

One can thus, with as much "right", see both Austria-Hungary and Serbia as the instigator, the instigator of WW 1, as "the aggressor".
Note 2

“ Even in the most remote corners of the old Tsarist empire, the issue posed by history was the confrontation between the classes – not ‘democratic rights’ or the ‘completion of the bourgeois revolution’. Nationalist movements became the pawns of the imperialist powers in their struggle to destroy the proletarian threat:

In the midst of this class war, the Bolsheviks were soon forced to accept that the blanket recognition of self-determination could only lead to the counter-revolution: as early as 1917 the Ukraine had been granted independence only to ally with French imperialism and turn against the proletariat. Within the Bolshevik Party there was a strong opposition to this policy, as we have seen, led by Bukharin and Piatakov and including Dzerzhinsky, Lunacharsky and others. In 1917 Piatakov had almost carried the debate in the Party, putting forward the slogan “Away with all frontiers !” (set in bold by me)

(Communists and the National Question, Part 3: The Debate during the Revolutionary Wave and the Lessons for Today ; International Review no.42 - 3rd quarter 1985 :

https://en.internationalism.org/ir/042_natqn_03.html

Note 3

In 1919 during the civil war, Moldavia was occupied by counter-revolutionary Romanian troops. Marc’s family was under threat from the pogroms (his father was a rabbi), and was forced to flee to Palestine. His brothers and elder sister were among the founders of this country’s Communist Party. Here, in 1921, Marc (still not yet 13 years old) became a militant, entering (or rather helping to found) the Communist Party’s youth organisation. He very quickly came up against the position of the Communist International on the national question: a position that, as he put it, “stuck in his throat”.” Because he was steeped in marxism, he was never paralysed by the fear of abandoning it when he criticised the outdated positions of the workers’ organisations. And he first applied this approach against the support for national liberation struggles, which had become a dogma for both the Second and Third Internationals[4].

(Marc, Part 1: From the Revolution of October 1917 to World War II

 International Review no.65 - 2nd quarter 1991

https://en.internationalism.org/ir/065/marc-01

Note 4

The ICC’s approach is to first describe the working class in “this part of the world” as “particularly weak”. But Ukraine is not the ‘Third World’! The Donbass (now of course part of the Russian-controlled ‘eastern provinces’) was a centre of the historic strike of the miners in 1989 – part of the largest wave of class struggle in the then-USSR since the 1917-21 revolutionary wave!” (# 13,MH)

joan
I will add to the quote in

I will add to the quote in Note 3 :

 

The outcome, under Lenin’s influence, was a compromise: self-determination for the working class of each country. This still left all the contradictions of the policy intact.

The group around Piatakov, which held a majority in the Party in the Ukraine, opposed this compromise and called instead for the centralization of all proletarian forces in the Communist International as a way to maintain class unity against national fragmentation. This argument of the Left Bolsheviks was ridiculed by Lenin at the time, but from the perspective of the later degeneration of the Russian revolution, their emphasis on proletarian internationalism appears doubly valid.

 

(Communists and the National Question, Part 3: The Debate during the Revolutionary Wave and the Lessons for Today ; International Review no.42 - 3rd quarter 1985 :

https://en.internationalism.org/ir/042_natqn_03.html )

 

Mizar
You cannot step twice into

You cannot step twice into the same river - Heraclitus. And Marxist dialectics  broadly support this assertion.

What is the use of referring to 1914 if today we have decidedly different situation?

In 1914 we see two imperilist blocks of roughly equal strength - today  there are the dominant imperialist West  on one side and a strange conglomerate of very different forces on the  opposite side . This camp includes formally "red" China, capitalist Russian Federation,  clerical Iran, left regimes of Latin America and other states of anti-imperialist orientation (DPRK, Syria, Belarus). I would suggest that the opposition to Western imperialism of this amorphous force has nothing to do with an inter-imperialist struggle - just because this countries are simply incomparable in terms of their military, financial or technological power with rheir enemy.  Some of these countries including modern Russia can be called "sub-imperialist" but nothing more.

In 1914 in Russia the entire Russian bourgeoisie in anticipation of new profits and markets actively stood for the war. Today a noticeable part of large Russian business is clearly not very impressed with the military operation that has begun and with the sanctions pressure that followed it. They would prefer to negotiate with the West and even give in to it. So the leftists, who decided to repeat the anti-war slogans of the First World War suddenly get situational “allies” like Sobchak, Khodorkovsky,  Yavlinsky and other ardent anti-communists, including the well-known "Decommunization" movement . An uncomfortable neighborhood, indeed.

And finally, in 1914, at least one of the warring countries had a revolutionary proletariat and a revolutionary party. Today there is no such country.

And a summary. The defeat Russia will lead not to the proletarian revolutin, but to the victory of the compradores, and as a result, to the following degradation of the country and the proletarit. The victory of Russia will lead to the fall of the fascist regime in Ukraine wich is in the interests of the working class, to the weakening of the West imperialism, wich is in the interests of the working class too.

 

Mizar
In addition to previous:

In addition to previous:

They say here: where have you find fascism in Ukraine, is Ukraine fundamentally different from other states, from Russia, for example?

 Get real! in Ukraine the communism is ALREADY (!!!) forbidden and persecuted, but in the Russian Federation it is not YET (!!!) forbidden and not persecuted.

After the defeat of Ukrainian regime  Ukrainian communists will have an opportunity to work openly, whereas under the Ukrainian regime the communists will never have it.What will you choose, you left gentlemen ? Will you support the Ukrainian communists or will you not support them?

He who equates Ukraine with Russia in fact has nothing against the ban on communism.

KT
Apologist?

Mizar wrote (#52):

“In 1914 in Russia the entire Russian bourgeoisie in anticipation of new profits and markets actively stood for the war. Today a noticeable part of large Russian business is clearly not very impressed with the military operation that has begun and with the sanctions pressure that followed it. They would prefer to negotiate with the West and even give in to it. So the leftists, who decided to repeat the anti-war slogans of the First World War suddenly get situational “allies” like Sobchak, Khodorkovsky,  Yavlinsky and other ardent anti-communists, including the well-known "Decommunization" movement . An uncomfortable neighborhood, indeed.

Mizar: are you putting today’s internationalists, the communists such as the ICC and ICT, in bed with a large section of the Russian business class, an element of the Russian bourgeoisie? That’s the implication of the above passage, IMO. Who do you mean by “the leftists who decided to repeat the anti-war slogans of the First World War” and are now strange ‘allies’ with the anti-communist business class and others… ?

Is a ‘noticeable part of large Russian business’ calling on workers to ‘turn the imperialist war into a civil war’; to ‘Turn your guns against your officers’? To overthrow the bourgeois state seize power and institute a dictatorship of the workers’ councils? Such were the practical (and successful) proposals of the Bolsheviks aimed not just at Russian workers but Polish, German, British, Ukranian – all those proletarians in uniform being used as cannon fodder…? Of course the businessmen do not defend such ideas. Far from it. And neither do you, it seems. Instead, it appears you are an apologist for the so-called ‘lesser evil’ of Russian imperialism. What organisation do you adhere to? What are its principles or programme? Don’t be shy.

Mizar
To KT:

To KT:

Advancing a slogan inadequate to the situation is not a sign of revolutionary but of something worse.

My advice: read  my post up to the end. I have wrote that there is no revolutionary proletariat and a revolutionary party in Russia and it's defeat will lead not to the proletarian revolutin, but to the victory of the compradores. In this situation leftist sectarians divorced from their class will really pull chestnuts out of the fire for  the compradores.

d-man
Lenin's anti-war slogans

Although Lenin and the Bolsheviks are remembered for promising peace, how prominent and effective really was this anti-war aspect in their ordinary agitation, next to other parts of their agitation (ie land and bread)? How much of the arguments people usually put forth in opposition to war, really are about opposition to war itself "on principle" (and not about more prosaic reasons, eg too much money being wasted on war)? What does it mean to oppose war "on principle"?

One could make the argument that the February 1917 revolution was mostly just about inflation (ie about bread).

Is there not a risk of being swept up in the war-hype narrative (with its exciting grand geopolitical analyses, about a new world order, etc.), like a distraction (even just for simple electoral reasons), from the real concerns workers have (ie attack on living standards)? I don't know how true this sentiment is, but at least I believe this general idea is actually pretty common now.

joan
(This response is also

(This response is also delayed due to technical problems.)

Thanks Mizar for your answer.(# 52)
Although answer is actually not the right word.
Mizar repeats his incantation that the regime in Ukraine is pure fascism, without any argumentation, without any proof, without any facts to clarify.
Of course there are extreme right-wing and maybe even neo-fascist
(Note 1) elements in Ukraine, but they exist in many other states too, for example certainly in Russia.
So why specifically call Ukraine a fascist or nazi state?
We still did not get any answer to that.
Mizar wrote :
"What is the use of referring to 1914 if today we have decidedly different situation ?"
1) Mizar himself referred to Lenin in WW 1 in his post # 40.
 "Lenin, let me remind you, even in World War I found those for whom that war had elements of justice. "
2) But there is a second and much more important reason to refer to WW 1.
The reference to 1914 and to WW 1 is entirely justified, very useful and meaningful.
For WW 1 was the war that clearly indicated that world capitalism had entered its decadent phase, a phase in which for the different capitalisms it was no longer a matter of conquering "virgin" territories, but of taking over each other's territories, of destroying each other's wealth.
It was the war in which the working class and its revolutionaries could no longer decide to support one camp against the other, because the victory of one camp would advance capitalism and thus ultimately the cause of the working class (like the unification of Italy, the unification of Germany (Note 2), and the victory of the North in the American Civil War).
It was the war in which there could be only one duty for the working class : proletarian internationalism against all states and all alliances of states, all of which were pursuing imperialist aims.
And from then on these characteristics would apply to all wars, however different they were and are, of course.
So (to give only a few examples) both for the Italian-Ethiopian war (1935-36) and for the Japanese-Chinese war (1937-45) as well as for WW 2, and for the Korean war (1950-1952), and for the Vietnam wars (1946-54 and 1955-75), and for the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan,. ..as for the wars in Africa (Algeria (1954-62), Angola (1961-1974), Mozambique (1963-1974 )as for the wars in the former "Soviet Union" as for the wars in former Yugoslavia (1991-2001) as for the present war in Ukraine.
I know : I am repeating myself.
But the intention is to make clear that, contrary to what Mizar states, with Ukraine today for the working class and its revolutionaries there is no decidedly different situation from 1914.
Mizar wrote :
"... today there are the dominant imperialist West on one side and a strange conglomerate of very different forces on the opposite side . This camp includes formally "red" China, capitalist Russian Federation, clerical Iran, left regimes of Latin America and other states of anti-imperialist orientation (DPRK, Syria, Belarus).
I would suggest that the opposition to Western imperialism of this amorphous force has nothing to do with an inter-imperialist struggle - just because these countries are simply incomparable in terms of their military, financial or technological power with their enemy. 
Some of these countries including modern Russia can be called 'sub-imperialist' but nothing more.
"

Mizar apparently does not agree with the views of Rosa Luxemburg and the "Internationale" group during WW 1 that in the decline phase of capitalism all states are (or must be) imperialist and that there can be no more national wars.
I also have my doubts whether Mizar agrees with the proletarian internationalist position that several groups also took in WW 2 : the group with Marc Chirik (Fraction Française de la Gauche Comm.International-GCF),the RKD-CR (refugees from Austria in France), the MLLF with Sneevliet and the Communistenbond Spartacus in the Netherlands,the Stinas group in Greece,etc.
Many who in WW 1 took a steadfast proletarian internationalist position, did not do so in WW 2, because of the specificity that WW 2 had for them, because of fascism and nazism, because of the defence of the "Soviet Union".
It seems that this appeal to specificity for Mizar also applies to the war in Ukraine.

Note 1
Perhaps we should speak of fascism and nazism as historical phenomena from the period 1919-1945 (in 1919 creation of both the
Fasci di Combattimento(direct predecessor of the Partito Nazionale Fascista(1921) and the DAP(direct predecessor of the NSDAP (1920)) and the individuals and groups who refer to this after that period, who identify themselves with it; should be called neo-fascist and neo-nazi.
Note 2
This refers to the aim of the movements for the unification of Italy and Germany (to strengthen and accelerate capitalism and thus bring closer the moment when the working class would be able to overthrow capitalism). For the way this struggle was conducted and the final results were not what the revolutionaries of 1848 had hoped and wanted (both in Italy and Germany under the leadership of crowned heads (King Victor-Emmanuel II and Kaiser Wilhelm I) and not republics and in the case of Italy also in alliance with the emperor Napoleon III).

 

joan
First of all, my apologies to

First of all, my apologies to Mizar, your contribution # 53 had escaped me.

Not that it ultimately clarifies much.
Contribution # 53 does clarify something, but not much.
It also raises many new questions.
-Is a ban on communism a characteristic of fascism, does such a ban make a regime fascist?
Wasn't there an actual ban on communism in the USA around 1919 and later in the 1950s?
Around 1919 it was a ban against real communist parties , against sympathy for and support of Soviet Russia, etc.).
In the 1950s it was a ban against so-called communism (actually Stalinism), against sympathy and support for the Stalinist imperialist rival as part of the "Cold War".
-Was the USA around 1919 en in the 1950s a fascist state ?
-What exactly does Mizar understand by fascism (apart from the Stalinist formula, put forward in 1935 by the ex-proletarian and ex-communist Dimitrov) ?
-How does Mizar stand on the ICC analysis of fascism as (also) the result of the defeat of the working class by bourgeois democracy, social democracy in particular, during the international revolutionary wave of 1917-1923 ?
(Think of the “socialist”Gustav Noske and his Freikorps)
-Who does Mizar mean by communists in Ukraine ?
I and many others with me, including the ICC would like to get to know them.
The stronger the communist and thus proletarian-internationalist voice everywhere in the world, in west and east, north and south, openly or necessarily clandestinely, the better.
Hopefully my fear is unjustified, but I presume and fear that Mizar is not talking about real proletarian internationaliss (like e.g. the ICC), but about Stalinists and post-stalinists.t

And also this : just because you write words in capital letters with three exclamation marks behind them does not make them convincing arguments.

joan
I apologise to Mizar.

I apologise to Mizar.

Your name is Mizar and not Mirza, as I called you several times.

That is "just" a stupid mistake of mine, with no intention or ulterior motive.

 

The discussion is difficult enough without writing each other's names incorrectly.

 

joan
Mizar wrote in # 40

Mizar wrote in # 40

February  Putin's regime finally split the world imperialism into openly rival parts. And this is also a progress.

Please can this clarified ?

Thanks in advance.

Mizar
Your position is clear: the

Joan.

Your position is clear: the one just have to learn the commandments and surahs of the classics. One of the surahs says: " in the decline phase of capitalism all states are (or must be) imperialist, therefore all wars are imperialist." So you don't have to think and analyze, classics did it for you. The position is convient but not marxist, marxism has nothing to do with dogmatism.

In the same 1914 Lenin wrote:

"But our attitude towards war is fundamentally different from that of the bourgeois pacifists (supporters and advocates of peace) and of the Anarchists....We Marxists differ from both the pacifists and the Anarchists in that we deem it necessary historically (from the standpoint of Marx’s dialectical materialism) to study each war separately. In history there have been numerous wars which, in spite of all the horrors, atrocities, distress and suffering that inevitably accompany all wars, were progressive, i.e., benefited the development of mankind by helping to destroy the exceptionally harmful and reactionary institutions (for example, autocracy or serfdom), the most barbarous despotisms in Europe (Turkish and Russian)."

So let's study today's  war separately.

I have wrote: 1) The open split of the world imperialism is good.

What situation would you prefer: a sole world domination of the Western imperialist bloc, i.e. a sort of a global Iron Heel? Or a situation when a certain country challenges the supremacy of the Iron Heel? I would prefer the second because the split and the competition between imperialist states leads to their weakening.

Let's take as the example the Japanese-Chinese war (1937-45). The communists in alliance with the reactionary Kuomintang regime, defeated the stronger Japanese imperialism and then single-handedly defeated the weaker Kuomintang. No matter how do you like the Chinese communists, the talk is about the tactic that led to the victory.

So why should not communists today support the weaker enemy against the strongest?

I have wrote: 2) The destruction of fascism is good.

OK, the foreign finacial capital in basis and the caveman nationalism, the glorification of Nazi criminals as fathers of the nation and the prohibiton of communism in superstructure is not fascism for you at all. But isn't it clear that the defeat of such sorts of regimes is in the interests of the working class and the communists?

Clear, one would think.

d-man
fascism without the dictator

Already in a 2014 there were comments on the forum (here) regarding the term fascism in Ukraine.

One of the criteria of fascism, evoked by Mizar, is that of open "anti-communism". This is a reasonable criteria for fascism (regardless of whether the targeted groups are in fact really communists). Putin referred to this element present in the state ideology of Ukraine, of "de-communisation". He retorted, with a grain of irony/sarcasm; "Ok, we'll show you de-communisation"; but actually and officially one of the goals of Russia's special operation is "de-nazification". By the way, it seems the resolution proposed by Russia to the UN (on "Combating Glorification of Nazism, Neo-Nazism and other Practices that Contribute to Fueling Contemporary Forms of Racism"), has been annually voted against by the US already since 2005.

Joan mentions the strong anti-communist sentiment in the "liberal" US. There are of course gradations, so normal liberal repression of "left-wing" groups, gradually morphs into fascism's open and central policy of anti-communism. If one wishes, one could discard the word "fascism" itself, as without any real analytical meaning, but this is just a pedantic/semantic language decision.

I think the most common (unconscious) objection to calling Ukraine fascist, is not so much that its President is Jewish, but that there's no (one-person) dictator. Indeed even Russian pundits themselves don't vilify the Presidency (Zelensky) as a dictator, but rather as a powerless figure (and in Zelensky's case, actor), whose strings are pulled by the US or whose life is in the hands of fascist militia. So this common objection is: can there be fascism, when there's no real (individual) dictator? It's clear, how in the liberal West, this is the most common criteria of fascism, when it calls the leaders of the countries it opposes, Hitler (Milosovic, Saddam, Chavez, Assad, or Putin). (and btw, what about Cromwell, Robespierre or Lenin). Suppose that it is a vulgar definition of fascism, to focus just on the the presence of a dictator. But then should this automatically mean, that there could exist a fascist country, without a dictator? (open question)

 

 

d-man
As to whether a state can be

As to whether a state can be fascist, without having a dictator, I'd point to the possible example of Japan (eg between 1932 and 1945, there were 13 Prime Ministers). That there was still an Emperor is nothing unique (in Italy too under Mussolini there was still a king, Emmanuel III, who even continued to be Italy's formal head of state after Mussolini's fall).

Mizar points to another criteria of fascism, eg "caveman nationalism". But there's an even more obvious criteria of fascism, namely "militarism", that hasn't been mentioned apparently. In Ukraine this should perhaps not be sought in the direct political influence that Ukrainian military leaders have in politics, but in the state's focus on the increase of its simple military power, ie reliance on its armed forces to combat part of its own population (in Donbas), training from the US/Canada/UK, etc. This criteria of "militarism" for fascism would also fit with Russia's claim/description that the sole purpose of the present Ukrainian state is that of preparing its transformation into an "anti-Russia", its sole function is that of being a military bridgehead (for war).

joan
I intended to respond to the

I intended to respond to the points raised by Mizar at the same time as commenting on d-man's remarks (#62).

Meanwhile d-man has elaborated on the characteristics of fascism,in connection with Mizar's claim that today's Ukraine is a fascist state.
And he has found in Japan an exception (confirming the rule ?) to the one-person character, the phenomenon of a clear leader as a possible characteristic of fascism.
A major difference between Japan in 1932-1945 and Germany, Italy, etc.seems to me to be the predominance of religion with the Japanese emperor as god (or at least divine lineage) and leader of the religious ceremonies.
Of course religion was also present and important in Nazi Germany,in fascist Italy,etc,but not in the same uniform way as in Japan with shintoism .I also think of the designation "kamikaze" = “divine wind” for the suicide pilots during WW 2.
- In Nazi Germany there were the "Deutsche Christen" (pro-Nazis within the Protestant Church with a great emphasis on anti-Semitism) but also Catholics and, not unimportantly, paganistic, "Germanic" currents (especially within the SS with Reichsführer SS,Heinrich Himmler).

Catholicism was also important in the recruitment of volunteers for the Eastern Front, aimed at the "godless communism" for the Waffen SS in Dutch-speaking Belgium (Flanders),the with 27. SS-Freiwilligen-Grenadier-Division Langemarck (Flandern No. I), also called "Flemish Legion" with as most striking figure, priest Cyriel Verschaeve).

There were also several official Muslim units in the Waffen SS (13. Waffen-Gebirgs-Division der SS Handschar (Croatian No. 1),21. Waffen-Gebirgs-Division der SS Skanderbeg (Albanian No. I),23.Waffen-Gebirgs-Division der SS Kama (Croatian No.II)) and good contacts with the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Amin al-Husseini.There was even an Indian Legion (with Sikhs among others)(Indische Freiwilligen Legion der Waffen-SS).
- In fascist Italy, of course, there was a strong role for the Catholic Church (Lateran Treaty, including the recognition of Roman Catholicism as the state religion), but also references to the ancient Roman Empire.
- Religion also played an important role for the Croatian (Catholic), Russian (Russian Orthodox) fascists.

 

I summarise , religion seems to me to be important in any fascism, but not in the same unambiguous way as in the Japanese form of fascism.

Below my comment as it was largely written before the reading of contribution # 63 of d-man.
 

d-man wrote :
"Already in a 2014 there were comments on the forum (here) regarding the term fascism in Ukraine."

I would like to read those comments from 2014.
D-man, can you remember or can be found quickly in which thread those comments are to read ?

D-man wrote :
"One of the criteria of fascism, evoked by Mizar, is that of open "anti-communism". This is a reasonable criteria for fascism (regardless of whether the targeted groups are in fact really communists)."

Perhaps it are the exceptions that prove the rule.
But however reasonable "anti-communism" may sound as a criterion for fascism, it is not an absolute rule that fascists, especially the Nazis, were always and everywhere against (collaboration with) "communists",in fact stalinists or proto-stalinists.
-In 1923, for example, the KPD,with Karl Radek, Ruth Fischer and others, with its

"Schlageter -line” sought and partly found a rapprochement with "völkische" circles, In other words, the Nazis.

(Note 1)
-In 1932, for example, the KPD and the NSDAP joined forces during the strike of the Berlin transport company.
-"Last but not least", in 1939 there was the Stalin-Hitler pact or Molotov-von Ribbentrop pact with as practical results the delivery by the NKVD of Jewish KPD-fugitives from Nazi-Germany to the Gestapo of that same Nazi-Germany (See the book by Margarethe Buber-Neumann "Between two dictators") and the division of Poland under Hitler-Germany (west) and Stalin-Russia (east), with even a joint victory parade in Brest-Litovsk !

D-man wrote :
"I think the most common (unconscious) objection to calling Ukraine fascist, is not so much that its President is Jewish, but that there's no (one-person) dictator."

Contrary to what many would think, it is also not an absolute rule that fascists cannot be Jews or Jews cannot be fascists.
This is apart from the question : who is Jewish (Jewish mother, Jewish parents, Jewish ancestors, Jewish religion,...) ?
There are examples of "historical" fascism.
In the beginning there were Jewish members in the British Union of Fascists,led by Oswald Mosley,in the NSB (National Socialist Movement), led by Anton Mussert in the Netherlands (1931-1938) and even in Mussolini's Partito Nazionale Fascista (1931-1938).

And Anastasy Andreyevich Vonsyatsky a Russian anti-Bolshevik émigré and fascist leader was against the anti-semitism of an other Russian fascist, Konstantin Rodzaevsky (Note 2).
In addition, the behaviour of some Zionists (Irgun and Lechi (Stern Group) and the Deir Yassin massacre in April 1948) and possibly also extreme orthodox Jews towards the Palestinian population could be called "fascist".

But perhaps this last remark in particular belongs more in the thread "Israel outwards and inwards".

 

D-man wrote :
“...can there be fascism, when there's no real (individual) dictator?” 

This is perhaps an interesting question.
I don't think so, because one of the fundamental elements of fascism is precisely the leader principle.
Nazi Germany : der Führer, Hitler;fascist Italy : il Duce, Mussolini ; Croatia :Ustase

, Poglavnik (leader),Ante Pavelić ;Russia : Russian Fascist Party :vozhd (leader),Konstantin Rodzaevsky ; Spain,though not "pure" fascism : El Caudillo, Franco.

Note 1
I first thought that it was only in the late 1920's that the “Schlageter-line” was mentioned, but it was already in 1923, the year of the by the 3de International forced workers revolt in Hamburg (like many other revolts or putsch attempts, set up by the 3de International from 1923 on) and the "Bierkellerputsch" of the Nazi’s in Munich.
This policy of unity on a nationalist basis was not the work of the KPD alone;  it was also supported by the Comintern. Radek’s speech to the ECCI on June 20th 1923 is a testimony of this. In this speech he praised the member of right wing separatist circles, Schlageter,[Question : Was Schlageter a separatist,a fighter for the separation of the Ruhr-regio from Germany ?] who had been arrested and shot by the French Army on May 26th during the sabotage of railway bridges near Düsseldorf. This was the same Radek, who, within the ranks of the Comintern in 1919 and 1920, had urged the KPD and the KAPD to expel the Hamburg national-Bolsheviks. “But we believe that the great majority of the masses who are swayed by nationalist feeling, are not part of the camp of capital but of the camp of labour. We want to and we shall look for and find a way to reach these masses. We shall do all we can so that men like Schlageter who are ready to sacrifice their life for a general cause, are not people fighting for a void, but that they become fighters for a better future of all humanity” (Radek, 20.6.23, quoted in Broué, p. 693).

“ Thus R. Fischer propagated anti-Semitic slogans “Whoever speaks up against Jewish capital... is already a class fighter, even if he doesn’t know this...  Fight against the Jewish capitalists, hang them from lamp posts, crush them...  French imperialism now is the biggest danger in the world, France is the country of reaction... Only by establishing an alliance with Russia... can the German people chase French capitalism out of the Ruhr” (Flechtheim, p. 178).” ( International Review no.98 - 3rd quarter 1999

“Germany 1923: The bourgeoisie inflicts a decisive defeat on the working class”

https://en.internationalism.org/content/4030/germany-1923-bourgeoisie-in... )

On Schlageter :

... in March 1919, he joined the Baden Freikorps and fought against the Bolsheviks as a part of the Baltische Landeswehr during the capture of Riga in May during the Latvian War of Independence. After the Landwehr was defeated in the Battle of Cēsis, he joined the German Legion of the West Russian Volunteer Army led by Pavel Bermondt-Avalov.(...)In 1920 he took part in the Kapp Putsch and other battles between military and communist factions that were convulsing Germany. His unit also took part in the Silesian Uprisings fighting on the German side.Already close to Nazis, around the time of the Battle of Annaberg of 1921 Schlageter's unit merged with the emerging Nazi Party.[4] During the Third Silesian Uprising of 1921 Schlageter became infamous for persecuting local people and for terrorist actions against both Poles and Germans whom he and his group perceived as opposing his cause.[5]

Following the French occupation of the Ruhr in 1923 he led a group of nationalists in sabotage operations against the occupying force. The group managed to derail a number of trains. On 7 April 1923 information on Schlageter and his activities was obtained by the French, and he was arrested the following day. Tried by court-martial on 7 May 1923, he was condemned to death. On the morning of 26 May he was executed by firing squad on the Golzheimer heath near Düsseldorf.”(Wikipedia)

Note 2
In a pamphlet published in Connecticut in 1932 titled On Russian Jews, Vonsyatsky had written: "Among the Jews, only the red Jew is our enemy. Do not touch the peaceful Jewish inhabitant, his wife or his children. We are Christians. We do not shed innocent blood, we do not lament the guilty".[1]: 167 

 Oberländer, Erwin (January 1966). "The All-Russian Fascist Party". Journal of Contemporary History1 (1): 158–173. doi:10.1177/002200946600100110JSTOR 259654S2CID 159295789.

(Wikipedia)

d-man
joan wrote: ...he has found

joan wrote:
...he has found in Japan an exception (confirming the rule ?) to the one-person character, the phenomenon of a clear leader as a possible characteristic of fascism. A major difference between Japan in 1932-1945 and Germany, Italy, etc.seems to me to be the predominance of religion with the Japanese emperor as god (or at least divine lineage) and leader of the religious ceremonies. .. I summarise , religion seems to me to be important in any fascism, but not in the same unambiguous way as in the Japanese form of fascism.

Ceremonial worship in Japan took a special form, compared to Abrahamistic-based civilisations. And if we suppose the difference was only a matter of degree, so that eg the German Emperor would be worshiped "almost as if" a God; even if this were the case, we would still not say, that Emperor William I was a "dictator". I'm talking about the presence of a dictator, defined as the single practical leader of the country. I'm not talking about the presence of cult-worship of an individual (although I guess in case of Bismarck, his cultic-following might have been greater than the Emperor's).

The weakness with my example of Japan rather would be, that apparently many don't even accept Japan was a fascist country at all. I guess this view is due in some unconscious part to the vulgar definition of fascism, ie the criteria of having a dictator (since Japan hadn't a dictator, it couldn't be a fascist country).

More philosophically, some Marxists might even question the existence of any real dictator, since these leaders always act/represent the ruling class(es); eg Hitler, like Zelinsky, would ultimately also have been just some puppet (ie of the ruling class).

Quote:
I would like to read those comments from 2014.
D-man, can you remember or can be found quickly in which thread those comments are to read ?

I hyperlinked it in my post above (again, see here).

Quote:
Perhaps it are the exceptions that prove the rule.
But however reasonable "anti-communism" may sound as a criterion for fascism, it is not an absolute rule that fascists, especially the Nazis, were always and everywhere against (collaboration with) "communists",in fact stalinists or proto-stalinists.

Of course fascism made demagogic appeals to workers, including those within socialist parties, claiming that fascism represented the real path to socialism. But then the police, who sends an agent to infiltrates a workers' organisation, could also be said to not absolutely always and everywhere oppose socialism. No, I repeat, it's a very reasonable criteria of fascism, that it is anti-communist.

joan
To d-man

To d-man

Even though it may not have come out as such, I appreciate you trying to clarify the concept of fascism.

D-man wrote :
"And if we suppose the difference was only a matter of degree, so that eg the German Emperor would be worshiped "almost as if" a God; even if this were the case, we would still not say, that Emperor William I was a "dictator".
- Emperor Kaiser Wilhelm II, like Tsar or Czar Nicolas II, may well have been said to be ruler by "divine providence".
But in the period of "historical fascism" (1919-1945), if I am correct, there were no more emperors, except for the Japanese emperor, next to the king of the UK who was also emperor of India.
- From 1916 to October 1918 in Germany, the "dictator" was rather Erich Ludendorff.

 

D-man wrote :

D-man wrote :
"The weakness with my example of Japan rather would be, that apparently many don't even accept Japan was a fascist country at all. I guess this view is due in some unconscious part to the vulgar definition of fascism, ie the criteria of having a dictator (since Japan hadn't a dictator, it couldn't be a fascist country)."
Not having a dictator remains an important difference from the other "Axis powers" such as Germany and Italy.(Note 1)

D-man wrote :
"... some Marxists might even question the existence of any real dictator, since these leaders always act/represent the ruling class(es); eg Hitler, like Zelinsky, would ultimately also have been just some puppet (ie of the ruling class)."
That Hitler too was just some puppet of the ruling class seems to me more in line with Marxism than the idea of a leader who would be "above the classes".
However, also with this not everything is immediately clear.
If Hitler was only some puppet of the ruling class, so if you like of Thyssen, Krupp and other German capitalists ,how could Hitler and the Nazi regime so strong insist on locating, rounding up, collecting, deporting and finally exterminating Jews, even if this contradicted the needs of the war effort?
A (partial) explanation could be the growing irrationality of capitalism in decline.
The invasion of Ukraine by the Russian army is an expression of the same irrationality.

Thank you for the hyperlink to the comments of 2014.
I had not noticed it.
I noticed that there was a lot of writing and discussion about Ukraine back then too,but would have to read the comments more thoroughly.

D-man wrote :
"Of course fascism made demagogic appeals to workers, including those within socialist parties, claiming that fascism represented the real path to socialism. But then the police, who sends an agent to infiltrate a workers' organisation, could also be said to not absolutely always and everywhere oppose socialism. No, I repeat, it's a very reasonable criteria of fascism, that it is anti-communist."
I understand from your example of "the police, who sends an agent to infiltrate a workers' organisation" that you mean that the police cannot have its agents always and everywhere obstruct the activities of the workers' organisation, because then those agents would quickly be "found out" and excluded from the organisation, which would immediately nullify the more or less laborious infiltration work.
But certainly the Stalin-Hitler pact of 1939 and its practical consequences are much more than "demagogic appeals to workers, including those within socialist parties, claiming that fascism represented the real path to socialism" (Note 2).
One can consider this pact as only a short "interlude" between on the one hand the "anti-communist" discourse in "Mein Kampf", the street fights between Nazis (SA) and KPD (Rotfrontkämpferbund), the persecution of KPD-members (concentration camps) by the Nazi regime from 1933 onwards, etc., and on the other hand the invasion of the German army in the "Soviet Union"(22 June 1941).
But I agree with you that "anti-communism” "is a reasonable criteria for fascism (regardless of whether the targeted groups are in fact really communists)."
But still only one among (many) others ?

Note 1
But there were other (more or less "independent") participants in the "Berlin-Rome-Tokyo" axis, were they also fascist states ?
We are talking here about Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, Yugoslavia, Croatia, Serbia, Vichy-France, Finland, Iraq, the Japanese satellite states Thailand, ex-French Indochina, Manchukwo, Mengjiang (Mongolia) and Wang Jingwei (China) and the neutral, but sympathetic to the Axis powers, states Spain, Iran and Monaco.
I don't know if it is interesting and important enough to go into that at the moment.

Note 2
There is the example of the "socialist" and "anti-capitalist" current within Nazism around the Strasser brothers, to which Joseph Goebbels was also sensitive at a certain time.

baboon
My opinion is that the above

My opinion is that the above discussion on the war and surrounding issues around the explosion of tensions over Ukraine is being diverted. The lists of historical issues relating to the war are many and varied and could, perhaps, be the basis for another thread; but here we should use this discussion to focus more on the major questions around the war.

The ICC has expressed a position – which I agree with – which outlines how its thinks that the Putin regime has been lured into this ambush by the Americans. The ground was laid just after the explosion of the Chernobyl reactor when volumes of US “soft power” (including a hefty contingent of Mormons) poured into Ukraine; Secret Services, NGO’s, Republicans and Democrats, ex-Military alike set up joint enterprises, think-tanks, etc., dealing all the time with the nationalist, gangster elite. And soft power turned to harder power the more footholds the US gained in the country, all the time reinforcing its nationalism, weaponry and training and becoming more threatening to a resurgent Russian imperialism.

The US, through the recent statements of the administration, has let it be known that the object is not “regime change” but regime collapse. This is becoming more explicit with the amount of weaponry currently pouring into Ukraine, posing a greater threat to the Putin regime, putting its back further against the wall and releasing all the dangers entailed therein. This has maybe been thought out a lot more by the bourgeoisie than we thought: Putin has long been displayed in the West as a “master tactician”, an ice-cold calculator and so on, built up as a serious statesman just as Saddam Hussein was elevated in a similar way before he became a “mad-man”.

The CWO made an interesting point in its latest article on the war (among some quite turgid stuff) when it pointed out how the Russians had responded to words of agreement by the US during the build up to the crisis last year by reducing their troops close to the border by many thousands. There was a definite response from Russia that could have led to substantive talks. But it is now clear that a deal wasn’t on the cards and the US was on the offensive via Ukraine. The perspective from this is that the war will drag on with further negative consequences.

d-man
The Brzezisnki doctrine might

The Brzezisnki doctrine might not even be so new. One might see a similar strategy already behind the (allegedly purely profit-driven) US investment in 1920-30s Germany: build up, arm and incite Germany to attack the USSR (or UK, France - main US rivals); with the pure goal of destruction (of Europe). If such long-term planning seems implausible, consider Lenin's analysis of US policy (May 1917):

Lenin wrote:
On the question of America entering the war I shall say this. ... multimillionaires ... have the whole of America in their financial grip. ... and will inevitably come to war with Japan over a carve-up of the Pacific. This war has been brewing for several decades. All literature speaks about it. America’s real aim in entering the war is to prepare for this future war with Japan. The American people do enjoy considerable freedom and it is difficult to conceive them standing for compulsory military service, for the setting up of an army pursuing any aims of conquest a struggle with Japan, for instance. The Americans have the example of Europe to show them what this leads to. The American capitalists have stepped into this war in order to have an excuse, behind a smoke-screen of lofty ideals championing the rights of small nations, for building up a strong standing army.

So entering into WWI, as preparation for WWII.

joan
It's not so much to please

It's not so much to please Baboon or to talk down to him.
But I also think it is time to return to the actual topic, the current war (or conflict or "special military operation") in Ukraine, its causes and prospects.
And this although I myself have already gone far in all kinds of reflections on fascism, etc.

Baboon wrote :
"The lists of historical issues relating to the war are many and varied and could, perhaps, be the basis for another thread".
I think this is a good suggestion, even if it is of course always difficult or even impossible to keep the various topics and sub-topics apart.

I will pass on what I am working on in reply to Mizar (in relation to fascism, choosing sides in an imperialist war, etc.) as soon as possible.
As far as I am concerned, that contribution can be placed in another thread straight away.
If reference is made to this thread I see no problem.

I must read the various elements in contribution # 68 again thoroughly.

 

joan
In re-reading the thread, I

In re-reading the thread, I "discovered" the internationalist statement by Edgar #44.
This contribution, which I fully agree with, had "escaped" me.
Shame on me.

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