Last February 24th, the Russian army invaded Ukraine by order of Vladimir Putin’s regime, which, having military superiority, expected to win a quick victory. It was met, however, with heroic resistance from the Ukrainian people.
By International Workers’ League – Fourth International
The war continues, despite the extreme cruelty of the tactics used by the Russian troops against the civilian population and the “ethnic cleansing” they are carrying out, especially in the Donbas region. It is undoubtedly one of the most important political events of the 21st century, in the heart of Europe, with a great impact on the world situation and which brings to the fore many of the contradictions of this situation.
Faced with this invasion, the world’s political left is divided. One sector, the neo-Stalinist currents and some bourgeois movements, based on a mistaken analysis of the world context and with arguments that falsify reality, support Putin’s invasion and defend his atrocities. Another, with a mistaken analysis of the political meaning of the conflict, adopts the policy of “we have no side” and calls for a merely pacifist action, which ends up favoring the invader.
Meanwhile, we, the IWL-FI, and other organizations maintain that the primary content of the conflict initiated by the Russian invasion is the military aggression of a stronger and more powerful country (Russia) against a weaker one (Ukraine). This takes place in the framework that, except for a short period at the beginning of the Soviet Union (when the policy of free self-determination of peoples proposed by Lenin, then fought by Stalin, and now strongly criticized by Putin), Russian governments always considered Ukraine as “their backyard”. For this reason, we support the struggle of the Ukrainian workers and people against the invasion and we are for the defeat of the Russian troops in this war. This position does no more than follow the criteria and orientations of our revolutionary Marxist leaders (Lenin and Trotsky) in the face of wars of similar political significance
At the same time that we support the Ukrainian resistance, on the one hand, we do not, for any instance, hesitate to say No to imperialist NATO, denouncing its colonizing intentions. We call to fight for its dismantling and we position ourselves against the rearmament of the imperialist countries. On the other hand, we denounce the bourgeois character of the government of Volodymyr Zelenski and their management of the war with those class criteria which, among other measures, attacks the conquests of the workers which sustain a great part of the effort of the resistance, and limits the armament of the workers outside its control and that of the Ukrainian army. We believe that the war of liberation against the occupiers can only succeed if it develops more and more as a war of the working class and the Ukrainian people. In Russia, we support and encourage the mobilizations and expressions against the war and the invasion, which Putin’s regime represses harshly.
The historical and current significance of May Day
For more than a century, May Day has been the International Workers’ Day of Struggle, in honor of the Chicago Martyrs, immigrant workers who were hanged in retaliation for a great struggle to achieve 8 hours of work per day. Since then, it continues to be a day when workers around the world raise our claims against capitalism in large events and demonstrations. Claims and demands that are permanently renewed because the capitalists and their governments deteriorate or directly eliminate conquests achieved in the past, with hard struggles, such as the 8-hour working day, the basic minimum wage, job stability, retirement, etc.
Daily life of the working class was already very hard, but it was worsened by the Covid-19 pandemic. This pandemic is clearly a consequence of capitalism for the deterioration it provokes in nature, for having fought it with “a tied hand”, given the deterioration of public health systems, for having prioritized the profits of private pharmaceutical companies in that fight and because, due to its greed for profits, it promoted the criminal policy of “new normality”.
Until a few days ago, according to official data, there were more than 500 million infected and 6 million dead according to statistics from the WHO (although more realistic data, such as the scientific journal Lancet, estimate more than 18 million). These figures do not take into account the after-effects of this disease on those who have overcome its acute phase. It is very clear that it has been the workers and the people who have suffered the most from its impact.
In addition to this direct impact, the pandemic aggravated and made the capitalist economic crisis take a leap, which was already brewing in 2019. This was expressed in a huge decrease of the world GDP in the first half of 2020. Faced with this situation, and to recover the level of exploitation and profit, imperialism, governments and national bourgeoisies responded in two ways. The first was the impulse of the “new normality” (“everyone to work”), which provoked new waves of the pandemic. The second was to deepen the attacks on wages and labor conquests. There was a great expansion of precarious work with a considerable increase in the so-called “uberization” of various branches of the economy, in addition to a great growth of freelance labor through apps.
In the second half of 2020, a weak recovery of the global economy began. However, they are not willing to give back what they have stolen. On the contrary, with the complicity of most political and trade union organizations, they maintain and deepen their attacks. For example, through high inflation, which deteriorates the purchasing power of the workers and the masses to the extreme.
In its lower echelon, misery grows: capitalism pushes millions of human beings to barbarism, submerged in hunger and extreme misery. It is no longer just precarious labor, but pure unemployment without prospects; it is not only loss of purchasing power, but the most basic needs unsatisfied, famine, disease, infant mortality, environmental crisis and deterioration of nature…
With particular viciousness, this crisis is unloaded on the most oppressed sectors of society. Immigrants, working women, black people, and other oppressed sectors of society are, among the workers and the people, those who bear the brunt of the attacks.
However, the struggles and the workers’ and popular resistance have not ceased. Even during the pandemic itself, they are still intensifying their resistance. A brief review of the last two years shows intense struggles of diverse characteristics in countries of all continents: USA, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Peru, France, Palestine, Sudan, Angola, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka… Faced with these struggles, the bourgeoisies of some countries respond with dictatorships and coups d’état. In many others, they do it with “institutionalized” repression and judicial persecution of the fighters, while seeking to divert the struggles to the sterile path of bourgeois elections.
Let us organize active solidarity with the Ukrainian resistance!
To the extent of its possibilities, the IWL-FI plays all its forces in support of the Ukrainian resistance. What proposals do we make to the workers and the masses of the world? In the first place, to mobilize to publicly manifest this support, as has been happening in Europe and other parts of the world.
This is a war in which we support the resistance of a people who are fighting their enemy under very unequal conditions. Therefore, the question of armaments and military supplies becomes a central issue. As expressed in various statements of the IWL-FI, we actively support the efforts of the Ukrainian people to obtain arms and supplies to defend themselves and win the war. Therefore, we believe that it is absolutely correct to mobilize to demand from the governments (especially from the imperialist countries) to deliver to the Ukrainian resistance the weapons and all necessary materials directly and without any conditions. We reiterate, we are totally against the entry of NATO into the conflict, and we demand its dissolution. What we say is that these governments must be required to hand over weapons to the Ukrainian resistance directly and unconditionally.
In particular, we support and encourage the actions that workers decide to take through their organizations. For example, workers at the Ellesmere refinery port in Cheshire, England, refused to unload oil from Russia, replicating what had been done by workers at the Kent gas terminal and in ports in the Netherlands. According to the information, “a wave of such protests is spreading through European ports in response to the invasion of Ukraine”.
An example of this international solidarity that we are promoting is the Convoy of Workers’ Aid to Ukraine, which is heading for that country, organized by the French trade union center Solidaires, the CSP-Conlutas of Brazil and the Inicjatywa Pracownicza (Workers’ Initiative) of Poland. They are supported by the Ukrainian organization Sotsyalnyi Rukn to strengthen class resistance in Ukraine against the Russian invasion. The convoy is a response to the international call made by Yuri Samoilov, chairman of the local trade union of the Independent Miners and Metallurgists of Krivoy-Rog.
Ukrainians are fighting heroically against the invasion ordered by the Putin regime and the atrocities it is carrying out in Ukraine. They have already inflicted significant defeats on it. They have shown that the Russian war machine can be defeated and, with it, defeat a major collaborator of the counterrevolution in the world. That is why the struggle of the Ukrainian people is not only for their country. A defeat of Putin’s regime in this invasion would give a great impulse to the struggle of the workers and the masses in the region and throughout the world. This is today the struggle of all the workers of the world and that is why it must be taken as a central point in the acts of this May Day.
Long live the workers and internationalist May Day!
Long live the resistance of the Ukrainian people! Weapons for the resistance!
Out with Putin and his army!
Hands off, NATO, the EU and the USA!
Let the capitalists pay for the crisis!
For a revolutionary and socialist solution!
For the construction of the International Party of the revolution!
May 1st 2022