Ukraine: Resistance to Russian aggression & the class struggle

The resistance to the Russian aggression becomes the world epicentre of the class struggle; it speeds up the crisis of the world order.


Sept. 7, 2022 — After Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, the war of resistance waged by the Ukrainian people has been going on for six months, and puts Eurasia at the epicentre of the class struggle worldwide.

The growing intervention of the U.S. and, to a lesser extent, European imperialism, and the policy of sanctions and military aid do not in themselves change the character of the war: a war of national liberation against aggression by Russian military power.

The Ukrainian armed resistance—of working-class and people’s social composition—despite the limits imposed by its bourgeois leadership (Zelensky), has been prolonged in time and has surpassed the predictions of Putin’s regime and imperialism. This extension of the war has clear consequences for the class struggle inside Ukraine.

The armed resistance of the Ukrainian people accelerates multiple contradictions:

1 – It clashes with the objectives of the imperialist states involved in the conflict and their alliances: on the one hand, it foments internal rivalries within the NATO bloc (between the USA and Germany), on the other hand, it unifies them towards a “swift” solution of the conflict; that is, to impose on Ukraine the loss of its territorial integrity. This struggle between NATO and Russian interests in Ukraine accelerates the process of semi-colonization and has strong repercussions on the global dispute between the U.S. and China.

2 – With each passing day, the workers and people’s resistance in Ukraine clashes with the semi-colonial Zelensky regime and government, which conspires against the possibility of a military victory of the Ukrainian people against Putin’s invading troops. The two anti-worker labour reforms imposed by the Zelensky government are aimed at strengthening the legal mechanisms of coercion that assure the exploitation of the Ukrainian workers during the war and release the capitalists from their legal obligation to pay wages for the workers who have gone to the front lines to defend the country. The struggle of the workers and people for national liberation has a fundamental centre in the struggle against the measures of the Zelensky government.

The war against the invasion and occupation has developed the process of arming the masses and the growing organization of a partisan movement in the occupied areas, which are not totally controlled by the bourgeois military leadership. This produces growing fears in the ruling classes and the imperialist powers, as the war is training the working class in the handling of heavy and modern weaponry.

4 – The war in Ukraine launched, at first, an energy crisis, since the military confrontation initiated an economic sanctions war centred on a dispute over energy markets (especially NG) and the zones of influence of the different powers. As a consequence of this competition waged by the capitalist monopolies and their states, the prices of fossil fuels have skyrocketed, generating a worldwide inflationary peak, and a brutal fall in the proletariat’s purchasing power of wages in all countries.

5 – Secondly, the war has triggered a serious food crisis on a global scale. Ukraine has been called “the breadbasket of the world” as it is a major supplier of grain to Europe and Africa, and also of fertilizers. The prolonged blockade of ports, which has prevented the export of grain, has caused a first wave of inflation in the food staples. But more worrying is the fact that there has been no sowing this year, so the war will entail the prolongation and worsening of the food crisis.

6 – Another dimension of the contradictions of this war is the interaction between the energy crisis and the growing climate crisis. The way out of the energy crisis being proposed by the European and U.S. imperialist bourgeoisie is the rapid increase in the production of fossil fuels, which are responsible for the climate collapse: the restart of fracking to produce gas, the launching of new deep drilling oil projects, and the reopening of coal-fired power plants. At the same time, river transport is complicated by the effects of drought, which also affects hydroelectric production in several European countries. In short, the capitalist solution to the energy crisis accentuates the environmental crisis and vice versa. In this context, it is worth highlighting the risk posed by the Russian takeover of the Energodar Nuclear Power Plant in Zaporizhzhia, from where they fire missiles at the rest of the Ukrainian territory, provoking a response from the armed forces and the resistance.

The qualitative factor that conditions and exacerbates all of the above is the heroic Ukrainian workers and people’s resistance, which, despite the inequality in armaments, prevents the consolidation of the occupied areas. Putin will hardly be able to consolidate his objectives as an occupying force against the hostile population that resists the enemy. It is necessary to analyse all the ramifications and consequences this will bring to Russia and its periphery. We must not underestimate the slow but deep unease of the Russian masses at the growing evidence of the bogging down of the “special military operation” a euphemism for “war” because this word is outlawed in Russia.

At the same time, the peoples of Belarus and Kazakhstan are called to continue their struggle to throw out Putin’s puppet governments. We must prepare ourselves for the possibility of social outbursts or mobilisations in the region of the former Soviet Union, a product of the contradictions of the war, and also for an acceleration of the process of “bonapartisation” of their governments. There are even pockets of military tension, such as the Russian enclave in the Transniester region on the Moldova border with Ukraine on the Dniester River.

Today, despite sympathy with the Ukrainian people, independent mass action in support of the Ukrainian resistance – be it in Europe or on a global scale—is blocked, on the one hand, by the action of the bureaucratic apparatuses, especially the neo-Stalinists and Castro-Chavists transformed into Putinists, with their supposedly anti-imperialist “campism”. On the other hand, by the policies of the governments, which constantly appeal to “national unity” and try to convince the proletariat to trust their governments and intentions, with declarations of “intentions to help” the Ukrainian people. It is up to the revolutionaries to expose the hypocritical imperialist policy and to put forward that the proletariat in each country must seek to express its internationalist solidarity with the Ukrainian resistance with class independence vis-à-vis their governments.

Contradictions within imperialism

The crisis of the Russian-German energy alliance, the disruptions in the supply of gas and oil, their economic and social effects on the European masses in the coming winter, and the rising costs of production for the German export machine are fuelling the rivalry between different imperialisms.

During this first period of the war, American imperialism managed to impose itself—despite its divisions—as the political and military leadership of the conflict. The declaration by the Madrid summit issued by NATO heads of state in June expressed this hegemony. However, the basic contradictions within the now expanding NATO bloc have not disappeared but are actually being accentuated.

The rearmament of the imperialist states and China and NATO’s now explicit plan to contain China’s advance also point to the fact that the war may evolve in the direction of a wider recomposition (and break-ups) of alliances between the world and regional powers on a global scale.

The working class must take the leadership of the resistance to the invaders into its own hands

The Ukrainian armed workers’ and people’s resistance increasingly clashes with the semi-colonial regime and government that represents capitalist and imperialist corporations and the various oligarchic groups’ interests. As we have pointed out, the political leadership of the military confrontation, embodied in the Zelensky government, conspires against the victory of the Ukrainian people: the working class must take into its own hands the leadership of the resistance to the invaders, raising a revolutionary programme. We are faced with the necessary combination of the war of national liberation with the struggle for the political independence of the working class for its social liberation.

The centre of our programme, which we have raised and must continue to develop in Ukraine, is the expropriation of all the assets of the Russian oligarchs and enterprises associated with the Putin regime, the nationalisation and centralisation in state hands of the economy, in the service of national defence, under workers’ control, and the centralisation of territorial defences as well as the organisation of workers’ militias that favour the trend towards independence from the government. We must call the defence of national sovereignty at the expense of capitalist profits and defeat layoffs, forced suspensions, and guarantee full employment, as part of a national defence plan, with a policy of demanding and denouncing Zelensky’s concrete policy today.

At the same time, we must advance the process of independent working-class organisation, politically and militarily, because only the Ukrainian working class, allied with the rest of the world proletariat, can ensure these tasks of national defence, taking them into its own hands.

For this gigantic and urgent task, revolutionary workers’ leadership is necessary, drawing on the international revolutionary movement and its best traditions. The CSP-Conlutas of Brazil, together with other European trade-union organisations, has proved to be a fundamental lever in the impulse of the solidarity campaign and in broadening the dissemination of and support for the resistance. A first Workers’ Convoy in support of the Ukrainian resistance has already taken place and a second one is being organised. We put all our forces at the service of this task.

One comment

  1. It seems like US imperialism is downplayed here. US and Western elites aren’t just intervening after the Russian invasion, they set the stage with decades of military build up and support for far right elements. They orchestrated the coup in 2014 where those far right elements gained more power and led the attack on ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine, causing a civil war. They refused to use their considerable influence to get the Ukrainians to back a peace accord that would have prevented the invasion. They also built up NATO in countries surrounding Russia in a bid to destabilize it in the decades after the Soviet Union was dissolved (they of course played the major role in that too). They knew Russia would respond military as they had repeatedly been warned. This does not justify the invasion but it’s a very different picture from the one you present and a Marxist analysis needs to take this into consideration.

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