Nazi Backed Coup Govt Drives Ukraine to War – Again

A view of Crimean Bridge across the Kerch Strait closed for the passage of civil vessels after three Ukrainian Navy vessels illegally crossed the Russian border into Russia’s territorial waters. (Alexei PavlishakTASS via Getty Images)

Nazi Backed Coup Govt Drives Ukraine to War – Again

02-12-2018 – In a world which was not upside down, open military provocations against a neighbouring country which threaten catastrophic war near the European landmass would be universally condemned. When the targeted country happens to be Russia, however, any provocation, however hostile, is justified. Defying basic logic, such taunting can even be twisted to be presented as a “Russian attack”.[1] Such is the world of the Western corporate media, official mouthpieces for the behemoth of US imperialism.

What actually occurred was an open and reckless provocation by the Kiev based Ukrainian government against Russia, acting as a cat’s paw for US/EU/NATO imperialism. Three ships were ordered to deliberately enter Russian territorial waters by crossing the Kerch Strait, without the required notification to Russian maritime authorities. How do we know this? Because the Ukrainian sailors have already admitted as such.[2] Not only that, the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU), have also admitted that it had two agents aboard the Ukrainian naval ships which were detained by Russia for ignoring warnings to cease their dangerous manoeuvres.[3] Throwing away even a semblance of an independent mask, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko then publicly appealed for NATO ships to patrol the Sea of Azov to “provide security”[4].

Martial law?

Continuing the charade, Poroshenko then declared martial law – inside Ukraine – supposedly to deter hostile acts from Russia. As others have pointed out, declaring martial law within Ukraine, for something that happened out at sea, is highly suspicious.[5]  Yet more dubious actions have followed. On November 30, Poroshenko banned Russian males between the ages of 16 and 60 from entering Ukraine. He claimed that this was to prevent Russians forming private armies which, he claimed, act as directed by the Russian Federation.[6] He outrageously claimed that these “armies” aim to finish what started in 2014.

Working people need to be clear. What actually occurred in 2014 in Ukraine was a US/EU/NATO backed fascist coup against an elected government. It was this fascist coup in February 2014 which brought Poroshenko and his cronies into “government”. While the Poroshenko government just barely stops short of being an organised fascist movement, his government relies on support from literal pro-Nazi Ukrainian fascists who are viscerally anti-Russian, anti-socialist and pro-US. In response to this fascist backed coup, Ukrainian areas in the East bravely declared independence in opposition to the Kiev based fascist coup government. They formed the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic. Given their refusal to submit to NATO armed fascism, they deserve the support of workers worldwide.

Once again on Crimea

Ever since 2014, the Western corporate press has repeated a falsehood over and over and over again – that Russia “annexed” Crimea. Such language harks back to pre-World War I rhetoric, and provides an ominous presage to World War III. What occurred was that Crimeans voted by an undisputable majority – over 95%[7] – to secede from Ukraine and to join the Russian Federation. Crimea is overwhelmingly ethnically and linguistically Russian, but even that was only part of the reason why a reunion with Russia was the almost universal choice. Crimeans voted to join Russia because the alternative was to live under the rule of NATO armed fascists.  Barely a word of this essential truth ever appears in the corporate media of the US Empire and its vassal states. No amount of desperate fairy-tale retelling of events by Washington, London, Paris and Canberra can unmake this fact.

For the imperialists, war is the only way out of the economic and political crisis which is almost entirely of their own making. The collapse of “free enterprise” capitalism in the US, Europe, Japan and Australia, and the subsequent vicious attacks on the workers which result, means that the Western elites must have a scapegoat and a target, lest they face open revolt at home. Russia is the easy target, what with a century of anti-Soviet propaganda already hammered into the psyche of a suffering Western working class. Hence, Russophobia makes a dramatic return, and is then ramped up to hysterical levels. As we have mentioned previously, the Russophobia of today contains a combination of racism and anti-communism, even despite the overthrow of socialism in the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in 1991-2.

This is why it is in the vital interests of the word’s workers to defend Russia against US imperialism, despite the capitalism restored in Russia since that time. This is why also it was necessary to stand by Russia as it effectively defeated the ISIS mercenary death squads in Syria. In fact, the US led war for regime change in Syria was in part a proxy war against Russia. In the same way, the NATO backing of fascists in Ukraine is in some ways an even larger proxy war against neighbouring Russia. While the foreign policy of the Russian state can sometimes be highly questionable, e.g. maintaining good relations with dubious states such as Israel and Saudi Arabia, at the same time the Russian state is one of the only entities which is currently preventing Wall Street from launching a catastrophic war which could potentially incinerate hundreds of millions of people. In fact, Russia today effectively takes on the responsibility – which it did not ask for – of holding the US/EU/NATO juggernaut in check.

The Russian state today, with its strategic military strength, will need to be a temporary ally in the struggle for socialism of the world’s working people, insofar as it acts to stay the hand of a marauding and dangerous US imperialism. At the same time, pro-socialist workers within Russia need to recruit to their own banner, in the course of linking with other pro-working class forces internationally, in the struggle to prevent the US Empire from launching World War III. Australian left parties especially, need to utterly reject all facets of Russophobia, and act to combat its dissemination amongst working people.

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO Box 66  NUNDAH  QLD  4012

 

 

[1] https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-11-26/whats-next-after-russia-and-ukraine-tensions-rise/10554870 (27-11-18)

[2] https://thesaker.is/ukrainian-sailors-confirm-that-they-deliberately-entered-russian-waters/ (01-12-18)

[3] http://tass.com/world/1032816 (01-12-18)

[4] https://www.euractiv.com/section/defence-and-security/news/putin-defends-seizure-of-ukrainian-ships-poroshenko-invites-nato-in-azov-sea/ (01-12-18)

[5] http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2018/11/ukraine-provokes-russia-to-what-end.html (01-12-18)

[6] https://www.kyivpost.com/ukraine-politics/ukraine-bans-russian-men-between-16-and-60-from-entering-country.html (01-12-18)

[7] https://www.rt.com/news/crimea-vote-join-russia-210/ (02-12-18)

No to World Nuclear War! US/UK/FRA: Hands Off Syria!

No to World Nuclear War! US/UK/FRA: Hands Off Syria!

14-04-2018 – There is no longer any pretence, if there ever was. After failing for seven years to bring down the Syrian Arab Republic by arming and funding barbaric mercenaries and letting them loose inside Syria, the governments of the United States of America, the United Kingdom and France are now openly using their respective state military forces to attempt to salvage what has been, for them, a lost war. The US President Donald Trump announced air strikes have reportedly already been largely shot down by Syrian Arab Army air defences, though some appear to have hit the capital Damascus.

This comes after weeks of openly provocative, and barely comprehensible, actions by London, Paris and Washington. The alleged poisoning of a former Russian double agent in London was blamed on the Russian government without a shred of proof being put forward, and no confirmation of the current whereabouts of Sergei and Yulia Skripal being offered. Their false case, a blatant and dangerous war provocation, collapsed for lack of evidence.[1] Directly linked, now an even more obviously false flag chemical weapons “attack” in the town of Douma in Syria has been blamed on the Syrian government and their ally Russia. Russian military general staff have stated that these fake attacks have been carried out by the White Helmets, who are notorious for aiding and assisting terrorist groups in Syria.[2] The “White Helmets” are Al Qaeda linked, and, like ISIS and all other terrorist groups operating in Syria, are funded by Western governments, especially the UK. The French government, alongside the US and Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Israel and others, have acted to support these terrorist forces, in their vain attempts to overthrow Syria, as a stepping stone to wars on Iran, and ultimately Russia.

Reports say that the White Helmets had been pressured by the Western governments for some months to stage yet another false flag chemical weapons attack, in order to enable another turn in the US/Israeli led war on Syria. A sign that the false flag “poisoning” of the Skripals in London was linked to the false flag chemical weapons stunt in Douma, are indications that British Special Forces have been captured in Douma by Syrian and Russian troops – a claim the UK government denies.[3] What credibility the UK government would have after publicly accusing the Russian government of espionage on UK soil without any putative proof, and after refusing repeatedly to display what evidence they had, is anyone’s guess.

Canberra, as always, has played the part of loyal lieutenant to Washington and London, expelling some Russian diplomatic staff, following the lead from other NATO countries. These extremely dangerous games constantly bring the world to the brink of full scale nuclear war. It is less than 12 months since US President Donald Trump almost triggered nuclear war against the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – “North Korea”). This was foiled by heroic resistance yet again from the DPRK, and also desperate moves by Republic of Korea (South Korea) President Moon Jae-In, culminating in a relatively friendly Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. Rebuffed there, the imperialist powers revert to another of their war fronts.

Working people of the world must be clear – the threat of nuclear war remains, and the threat is only emanating from imperialism – the ruling classes of the US, UK, France, Germany, Australia and their allies. Standing in the way of Western imperialism unleashing a nuclear war which could terminate human life on planet Earth, are the non-imperialist powers and their allies – Russia, China, Syria, Iran, the DPRK and so on. While workers can and should retain their own political critiques of the governments of the non-imperialist bloc, they must stand with this bloc against NATO-led imperialism in the interests of preserving the chance for future generations to live and prosper. This is scarcely an exaggeration.

Workers internationally, and especially Australia, must also be aware that the prospect of imperialist launched global nuclear war against Russia and China are not only an expression of systemic meltdown, but a direct link to it. The capitalist private profit system tanked in 2008, and has barely recovered. Poverty, unemployment and homelessness are rapidly increasing. There are ongoing funding cuts to education and health care. Aged care has been privatised, along with child care, making both prohibitively expensive. Those who remain in work currently endure the lowest wages, in terms of purchasing power, in Australian history. They are often pushed to the limit of human endurance, through undoable workloads, compromising elementary health and safety.

Working people should also note that not one Australian Union official has spoken out against these war threats, giving the game away as to exactly whose foreign policy they actually serve. Conservative Union officials have been followed by almost every ostensible left party, which in one way or another have fallen in behind the imperialist wars on Libya and Syria. Some have lined up with “their own” ruling class by falling silent in the face of barely concealed threats of war against China and Russia.

There is a crying need for political leadership in these dark and foreboding times. There are handfuls of activists who have been actively opposing the war threats against Syria, Russia, China and the DPRK, but they must be joined by a serious anti-war movement. Yet it must be an anti-imperialist anti-war movement, one which must squarely take aim at the source of the threats of war – Washington, London, Paris, Canberra. It needs to be joined by a workers movement released from the stifling conservatism of its leaders, restraining workers from defending themselves against unscrupulous employers and war-mongering politicians alike. Bound up with this task is the formation of a Marxist vanguard – a workers party which fights for a workers government. Imperialist war against Syria, or anyone else, will be impossibility with workers in power. NO WAR ON SYRIA!

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO  Box  66   NUNDAH  QLD   4012

 

[1] http://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/03/no-patients-have-experienced-symptoms-of-nerve-agent-poisoning-in-salisbury.html (14-04-2018)

[2] http://tass.com/defense/999108 (14-04-2018)

[3] https://www.activistpost.com/2018/04/reports-claim-syria-russia-capture-british-troops-in-douma-uk-govt-denies.html (14-04-2018)

The aftermath of an Israeli air strike on the Mezzeh air base near Damascus in Syria. Image from Press TV

 

No Boycott of the World Cup! Hands Off Russia!

No Boycott of the World Cup!  Hands Off Russia!

27-03-2018 – Once again, the world teeters on the brink of nuclear war. The trigger for this situation is barely believable. Western governments, without a shred of evidence, are blaming Russia for the alleged poisoning of a double agent in the United Kingdom several weeks ago. The governments of the UK, France, Germany and the United States of America, without any proof being provided, jointly found Russia “guilty”. The lies behind this obvious falsehood are brazen, and they are lies told by London, Washington, Paris and Berlin with utter contempt for human life, and the future of human civilisation on planet Earth. The word irrational barely describes the actions of the world’s pre-eminent imperialist powers.  Now Canberra has joined this transparent and limitlessly reactionary crusade, by expelling two Russian diplomats,[1] and has hinted at a possible boycott by the Australian Socceroos of the World Cup. Although Foreign Minister Julie Bishop appears to have backed away from a full boycott, “further options” are apparently still being considered.[2]

Ironically, Australia narrowly qualified for the football World Cup by only just squeezing past Syria. If Syria had defeated Australia and qualified, arguably poetic justice would have been served. The Australian government joined with the governments of the US, Saudi Arabia, the UK, France, Israel and others in a vicious attempt to overthrow the Syrian Arab Republic using their own military in support of the ultra-barbaric ISIS and Al Qaeda mercenaries, whom they also sustained with their own funds. Thankfully, this atrocious attempt at regime change in Syria was thwarted by the heroic resistance of the Syrian armed forces, who were aided by military support from Russia, Iran, Hezbollah and some Palestinian militias. Primarily it was Russian military power which turned the tide. Invited into Syria by the Syrian government, superior Russian air power almost single-handedly destroyed ISIS, and effectively defeated what US, British and French imperialism assumed would be a fait accompli.

Smarting from being defeated on the battlefield, the UK cooked up an obviously fabricated incident which could be blamed on Russia directly in the lead up to the Russian Presidential Elections. No recent photos of Sergei Skripal have been produced, no statement of where he is now, no indication of what hospital he may be in – nothing. The immediacy with which the Western powers said “Russia did it” – before any investigation could even be started – gives the game away. It was a crude attempt to de-legitimise the Russian presidential elections, which Vladimir Putin was always going to win, and win easily. It was also an attempt to undermine the prestige Russia will gain by hosting the World Cup later in June – the world’s largest sporting event. In the end, the blatant lies and baseless allegations hurled towards Russia probably resulted in an increased vote for Putin!  As it turned out, Putin received over 76% of those votes which were cast.[3] It barely needs repeating that no Western politician – in an era where capitalism is in universal political and economic crisis – could conceive of anything even approaching 70% support. This is one more reason for the impetuous acts of the West.

Hysterical Russophobia

Western corporate media, playing the mouthpiece role of the depraved governments they serve, are once again stoking hysterical Russophobia, on a level which defies description. Without any probative evidence, they have blamed Russia for invading Ukraine, shooting down Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, “annexing Crimea”, bombing civilians in Syria, meddling in the 2016 US Presidential Election, delivering mass cyber virus attacks, doping their Olympic athletes and much more. When the Western governments are asked to provide the proof they have for these wild allegations, they invariably reply that it cannot be released for national security reasons. In the case of the alleged poisoning of the double agent Sergei Skripal, they have refused point blank, several times, to provide samples of the nerve agent allegedly found – a basic requirement of chemical weapons conventions. The fact that leading British politicians have yet to follow the most basic due legal process which arguably underpins Western civilisation – that one is innocent until proven guilty – exposes their entire system as having reached an impasse. Apart from being ugly and unsightly, it is yet another marker of the irreversible decline of the era of “liberal democracy”.

Liberal democracy was always capitalism, and it is capitalism which is seeking a way out of its long slump. It is prepared to risk world nuclear war rather than agree to coexist with other nations. Yet as throughout history, force alone is not enough to wage fratricidal war. Especially in modern times, where the majority of the population have access to instant news, intensive and pervasive propaganda is needed – as is the crushing of any dissenting views. In addition, the imperialist powers (the UK, France, the US, Germany, et al) cannot wage war in 2018 without dramatic racism, alongside a relentless demonisation and dehumanisation of the “enemy” – which is supposed to be Russia. This is the real purpose of Russophobia – the preparation of the world’s working people for the horrors of war. This is so that working people will either support, or at least not oppose, unspeakable crimes against the human ethos.

A climate is created in which anything Russian becomes suspect, in which any questioning of the anti-Russian narrative becomes treason. Mass hysteria is conjured into existence, where critical thinking often is simply bypassed. As one rightfully concerned commentator noted, the current political atmosphere that prevails in the West traces the course of Nazi Germany in the 1930s. The ideology and the targets differ, but the trajectory is exactly the same.[4] The lack of opposition to government lies, perhaps out of fear, but more due to an almost complete absence of working class leadership, enables the accrual of the forces of darkness. This was how Germany, with all its thousands of years of culture, with its towering intelligentsia and prodigious achievements in science, engineering and the arts, under similar conditions, fell under the control of fascism, with barely a scuffle in the street. The world is in danger, and the alarm must sound.

Hypersonic Weapons

On March 1, President Vladimir Putin addressed the Russian Federal Assembly and unveiled some of the achievements of Russian military technology in the ballistic missile sphere. Russia now has hypersonic missiles, which makes most US anti-ballistic missile defence essentially useless. Russia’s Zircon anti-shipping missile, already in use, is more or less uninterceptable – not even the US navy could really defend itself. But now, the Kinzhal (Dagger) missile exceeds it. With a range of 2000 kilometres, the Kinzhal effectively makes any surface naval fleet of destroyers obsolete. Russian ballistic missile technology, which is now capable of practically unlimited range, and launching missiles with 20 warheads each travelling at around 20 times the speed of sound, is a reality. It is a game changer – it will likely take decades before the US or any Western government has a chance of matching it. Some frightened Western commentators have claimed that this means that Russia now has military parity with the West, but this is false. Russian military technology is now several planes ahead of the West, and it will likely take the West decades to catch up.[5]

Putin was also clear on the reasons why Russia has undertaken the development of these frightening weapons. In 2002, the US government, under the George W Bush administration, unilaterally withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, and never again engaged with the Russians on this topic. This was despite Russia making repeated attempts to warn the US government of its entirely legitimate concerns over US missile “defence” installations in Europe and elsewhere. For sixteen years under Bush and Obama, the US has relentlessly provoked Russia by expanding NATO, backing Georgia in a war in 2008, aiding a fascist-backed Nazi coup in Ukraine and almost destroying Syria. In response, Russia has had little option but to develop an effective deterrent. It mirrors the situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, or “North Korea”), where the DPRK had no option but to develop nuclear weapons after being labelled part of the “Axis of Evil” by George W Bush in 2003. In both cases the US elite are now reaping what they have sown.

Left parties fold under the wave of Russophobia

No leftist makes any claim that the Russian government is aiming to once again lead the world’s workers in a struggle for international socialism. However, insofar as the Russian government defends itself against precipitous US/NATO provocations, Russia must be defended in the name of human survival. In reality, Russia’s nuclear and hypersonic weapons – developed due to the hostile aggression of US imperialism and their vassal states – are currently a guarantor against a nuclear holocaust. This does not mean at all that this situation will remain in place. The dire economic situation of the profit and private property system in the West ultimately means that war is its only way out. The US ruling class attempted this in Syria for seven years, but were ultimately blocked by Russia’s military power. As we go to press, the Syrian Arab Army has liberated all of Eastern Ghouta, which had been held hostage by Western and Saudi armed and funded death squads since 2011.[6]

Reeling from this defeat, the wounded beast of the US Empire screeches and attempts to lash out at the force which comprehensively out-manoeuvred it in Syria. Wave after wave of Russophobia bombards workers around the world, often with comical and pathetic attempts to prove Russian malfeasance. Russophobia contains a toxic mix of racism and anti-communism despite the restoration of capitalism in Russia over 25 years ago. Unfortunately, many Australian left parties fall prey to the sheer intensity of imperialist propaganda, even if they can see through it on other issues. Socialist Alternative are perhaps the most stridently anti-Russian, explicitly stating that “old” anti-imperialism targeting only the West is no longer adequate. Their moral equivalence between the US and Russia in practice means targeting only Russia, while letting the US off the hook.[7] Solidarity are even less restrained in their fanciful claims of Russian “imperialism”.[8] The Socialist Alliance rallies behind “anti-corruption” candidate Alexei Navalny,[9] while remaining blind to Navalny’s own documented record of convictions for corruption, opposition to government funding for poorer regions of Russia, and using direct funding from the US State Department’s National Endowment for Democracy (NED) to establish his ironically named “Democratic Alternative”.[10] The Trotskyist Platform’s inherent disdain of Russia leads it to vilify anyone or any group which defends Russia from immensely dangerous imperialist provocations, for alleged acquiescence of “fascism”.[11] All of these left parties therefore make the error of stunting opposition to NATO.

While it is the case that the Communist Party of Australia (CPA)[12], the Socialist Equality Party[13] and the Spartacist League[14] have a position of opposing war provocations against Russia on paper, their chronic abstention from political activity effectively renders their words a dead letter. Predictably, there has not been one Union official who has uttered a word of dissent against a pack of lies on a par or even greater than the infamous “weapons of mass destruction” fabrications which led to the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The conservative Union bureaucracy works ceaselessly to shepherd workers behind the foreign policy of Australia’s ruling elite, who willingly play an auxiliary role to the US Empire.

No War on Russia!

There is some opposition to the war drive against Russia, which has been active with consistent opposition to the regime change wars in Libya and Syria. Groups such as Hands Off Syria, anti-imperialist individuals involved in DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) solidarity work, dissident CPA members and genuine anti-war activists have been a lone voice in a sea of political paralysis. These courageous individuals largely remain scattered throughout the country, and need to be joined by a working class led mass anti-war movement. This is a political as well as a practical struggle, which could best be assisted by the formation of a serious workers’ revolutionary party. Marxism’s basic precept is that humanity marches forward, or falls backwards, in direct proportion to the state of the leadership, organisation, and politicisation of the working class in line with its own interests. For humanity to survive in this period, workers of the world need to unite to prevent nuclear war. HANDS OFF RUSSIA!

WORKERS   LEAGUE

E:workersleague@redfireonline.com
www.redfireonline.com

PO  Box  66
NUNDAH  QLD  4012

[1] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-27/russian-ambassador-says-diplomats-being-expelled-are-not-spies/9593800 (27-03-18)

[2] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-27/socceroos-world-cup-participation-in-doubt-russia-stoush/9592344 (27-03-18)

[3] https://sputniknews.com/russia/201803181062667521-presidential-elections-2018-preliminary-results/ (27-03-18)

[4] https://thesaker.is/what-happened-to-the-west-i-was-born-in/ (28-03-18)

[5] http://www.unz.com/article/the-implications-of-russias-new-weapons/ (30-03-18)

[6] https://www.rt.com/news/422867-syria-ghouta-cities-liberated/ (01-04-18)

[7] https://redflag.org.au/node/5559 (01-04-18)

[8] http://www.solidarity.net.au/imperialism/imperialist-rivalry-and-putins-russia/ (01-04-18)

[9] http://www.links.org.au/putin-russia-elections-left (01-04-18)

[10] https://www.liberationnews.org/alexei-navalny-agent-of-big-money/ (01-04-18)

[11] http://www.trotskyistplatform.com/defend-syria-against-u-s-australian-imperialism-and-their-proxies-australias-left-in-multi-sided-disarray-over-syria-issue/ (01-04-18)

[12] http://www.cpa.org.au/guardian/2018/1816/11-stoking.html (02-04-18)

[13] http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/03/28/pers-m28.html (02-04-18)

[14] http://www.icl-fi.org/english/asp/223/crimea.html (02-04-18)

Map showing the location of venues for the 2018 World Cup, hosted by Russia. Image from Sky Sports

Hands Off Russia! No to Nuclear War

Hands Off Russia! No to Nuclear War

18-03-2018 – Lies, lies and more lies. Lies which could ignite a world war. It is a cliché that truth is the first casualty of war, but the lies spewing forth from the governments of the United Kingdom, the United States of America, France and Germany over the circumstances of the poisoning of double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia go beyond the standard lies we come to expect from Western politicians. These lies test the rational discourse necessary to operate a society on a basis which is even half civil. Capitalism has long since ceased to be civil, if it ever was. And now it pushes humanity towards the brink of the unthinkable – a mutually destructive nuclear holocaust. The prime movers towards this unthinkable are none other than the ruling classes of the supposedly “advanced” West. Russia is but the scapegoat.

Gulf of Tonkin like incident

Former UK parliamentarian for the Labour and Respect parties George Galloway has poignantly stated that the response by the Western governments to the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the English town of Salisbury is eerily reminiscent of the lead-up to the unforgivable US/UK/AUST invasion of Iraq in 2003. Then, partially on the basis of a UK government “dodgy dossier” which claimed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction which were able to be deployed within 45 minutes, the US and its Western allies carried out an unprovoked invasion, slaughtering up to 1 million innocent Iraqis. He also stated that the blaming of Russia for the poisoning of Skripal will go down in history as one of the great hoaxes, a “Gulf of Tonkin” incident.[1] The Gulf of Tonkin incident occurred in 1964, where the US destroyer USS Maddox exchanged shots with North Vietnamese torpedo boats. Two days later, the US government claimed the Maddox came under fire again. Although most historians now agree this second attack never happened, the pretext was set, and within 12 months 180 000 US troops were on the ground in Vietnam. The war dragged on for years, and slaughtered 3 million Vietnamese and changed 20th century history. This time, the West’s target is not a small country in Asia, but the world’s largest country by landmass – Russia.

As usual, the Australian government has already given an assurance that it will back the provocateurs, as it has done in every real and potential imperialist war for decades. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has stated that “there is no other plausible explanation” that the Russian government ordered the attack, or allowed others to use its chemical agent stockpiles for the attack.[2] Predictably, Bishop stated that the Australian government would back moves by the UK to send weapons inspectors to Russia. That is, in the same manner as in the lead up to the Iraq war in 2003, the West proposes to send chemical weapons inspectors into Russia, when not a shred of evidence to support their wild allegations has been put forward. Arguably 90% of the world’s population strongly opposed the US led war on Iraq in 2003, because they did not believe attempted government justifications for war. Where is world opinion now?

Mother of all distractions

As others have noted, Sergei Skripal was a double agent, and thus had a lot of enemies. He was tried and convicted of handing over the names of 300 Russian agents to foreign powers, and sentenced to 13 years in prison.[3] In 2010, he was able to escape to the UK as part of a spy swap deal. Given the relatively light sentence for treason that Russian courts handed him in 2004, the Russian government seemingly did not recognise him as a major threat. Russia has consistently denied any involvement in the poisoning of Skripal, and has repeatedly asked for samples of the alleged nerve agent used, as provided for in the conventions of the Organisation for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The British government refused these requests by Russia point blank, while issuing absurd ultimatums to Russia. The discourse from the UK government and its assistant corporate media is childish and pathetic, but there is some basis for their warped behaviour.

The UK, and the imperialist West generally, needed a distraction from the upcoming Russian presidential elections. In these elections, it is almost assured that President Vladimir Putin will win, and win hands down, especially considering his approval rating hovers around the 80% mark. This astronomically high figure can be largely attributed to the fact that Putin and his backers pulled Russia back from the brink of complete social, economic and political catastrophe which followed the capitalist counterrevolution in the Soviet Union in 1991-2. During the 1990s, Russian life expectancy plummeted, leading to Russia’s population shrinking. Economic output more than halved. Alcoholism skyrocketed, as despair set in. From around 1999, Russia with Putin at the helm, started to claw back some of the state owned enterprises which had been privatised during the 90s. Ironically, Putin’s government, despite remaining capitalist, used nationalisation and not privatisation to re-boot the Russian economy. In the process, Putin had to take on and defeat some of Russia’s known oligarchs who had grown rich on the basis of massive and almost unfettered corruption – such as Mikhail Khodorkovsky.[4]

The concept of a Russian leader being overwhelmingly popular, and being endorsed heartily by its citizens, is simply too much for the West to bear. Add to this the fact that the soccer World Cup will in a few months be held in Russia, which will inevitably add at least some prestige to the Russian government on the world stage – and you have a scenario which is tailor made for a Western manufactured “false flag,” of which there have been many over the last several years. Western politicians are arguably universally loathed by working people themselves, due to decades of government funding cuts, austerity, joblessness, homelessness and relentless attacks on living standards. While working people internationally cannot completely endorse the domestic or international politics of the Russian government, working people do have an interest in defending Russia against hysterical attacks from the ruling classes of “their own” countries. In defending itself against the dangerously provocative actions of NATO and Western imperialism, the Russian government takes measures which safeguard the international working class – if only temporarily.

Western defeat in Syria

As the Western governments make lamentable attempts to blame Russia for everything, while presenting no proof, the final stages of the liberation of Syria from the hordes of Western armed ISIS and Al Qaeda mercenaries is taking place. In days past, the Syrian Arab Army announced it had retaken 70% of the areas controlled by terrorist groups in Eastern Ghouta.[5] This follows years of occupation by US/UK armed barbarians holding Syrian civilians hostage, starving them, and shooting at them if they tried to escape. Russia was key to the defeat of the US and the UK in Syria (which was backed by Canberra), which created, funded and trained unhinged cutthroats in an effort to effect regime change. If the West had have succeeded in overthrowing the Syrian Arab Republic, Iran would almost certainly be next on the list, likely followed by Russia itself. In defending itself against this barely concealed aggression, Russia performed a service for humanity which is barely recognised. This is similar to the virtual non-recognition of the Soviet Union’s defeat of Nazi led fascism in the Second World War.

Russia almost single-handedly destroyed the West’s creation – ISIS. The practice of Wall Street employing a barbarian proxy army, who could carry out regime change while the US, UK, French and Australian governments claimed “plausible deniability” was derailed by Russia, in a masterful act of military and political brokering. Russia checkmated the West by taking on all terrorists active in Syria, and inviting the West to help them do so. The West could not join such a campaign – exposing them as the ultimate sponsors. In response the West attempts to whip up a pathological hatred of Russia, which arguably eclipses standard Russophobia. The government of the West are creating an atmosphere of thinly veiled racism against Russians, and an almost unbound dehumanisation of Russians, not just the Russian government or its leader – although there is plenty of that. The dehumanisation of an entire people is meant to sanitise the most horrific depredations against them – including the destruction of millions of innocents through nuclear war. The worlds’ working people must be alert to what is occurring.

Consistently evidence free narrative

The US Empire, backed by its allies in London, Paris, Berlin and Canberra cannot act using force alone. Heavy and sustained propaganda must be used to fool the working people internationally, lest they take political action to force an end to insane war provocations. On every issue where the West has attempted to point the finger of blame squarely at Russia, at the Russian government, and at Putin himself, there has consistently been a distinct lack of any probative proof.

The Russian government was blamed for shooting down Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 – with no proof. The Russian government was blamed for invading and “annexing” Crimea – with no proof. The Russian government was blamed for meddling in the 2016 US Presidential election – with no proof. The Russian government was blamed for invading Ukraine – with no proof. The Russian government was blamed for a state sponsored doping program of its Olympic athletes – with no proof. And on and on it goes. The West and their allies don’t need proof – this is not the way the New McCarthyism works. All that is needed is smear and innuendo, baseless allegations from the “authorities” with no substantial evidence. The relentless repetition of what is essentially slander is rained down upon working people in the West. It is assisted by liberals, bought and paid for academics, principle free journalists, conservative Trade Union bureaucracies and some left parties. Genuine anti-war activists are thus faced with an enormous task.

Russian “imperialism”

Unfortunately, some left parties buy into the plainly absurd theory that Russia today is “imperialist”. Such claims are laughable, but it allows them to tail after NATO and the US into war after war, even while they claim they are anti-war. For one thing, Russia today is halting imperialist wars, rather than prosecuting them. Arguably Russia should have intervened in some way to block NATO’s obliteration of Green Libya. But since then, Russia drew a line in the sand in Syria, and skilfully brought the imperialist war machine to a screeching halt. If Russia actually was imperialist, it would not be tactically blocking the advance of NATO, it would be joining in its abominable wars. It has not done this, and neither did it sponsor even one terrorist sent into Syria, in stark contrast to the governments of the US, UK and France. Ironically, the governments of the US, France and Germany have now joined the UK in holding Russia responsible for an alleged murder plot (of the Skripals) on British soil. This very act rebuffs those left parties claiming Russian “imperialism”, and demonstrates precisely just who the imperialists are.

The debate on Russian “imperialism”, such that there is one, requires a separate study. Suffice to say that Russia – a middle ranking capitalist economy at best – cannot be imperialist even if that was the desire of its rulers. An imperialist economy is one totally dominated by finance or bank capital – which necessitates an expansionary foreign policy – either through economic subordination or through outright war. But the only thing which is expanding in relation to Russia is NATO. NATO’s relentless expansion to the East, taking in countries of the former Soviet bloc, in violation of express affirmations that it would not do so, mean that Russia must take more countermeasures.[6] These countermeasures are then painted as “Russian aggression”. One look at a map of Europe will show NATO countries which now include Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey – all lie on the border with, or in the immediate vicinity of, Russia. Russian encirclement by NATO countries strongly suggest that Russia is a target of the imperialists – rather than being one itself.

As if to further underscore the case, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov recently announced that US, British and French Special Forces are on the ground in Syria, and their governments no longer deny it.[7] That is, military forces of the West who were not at any stage invited into Syria, as Russia was. Syria remains a flashpoint for a potential reckless mistake which could spark a world war. Working people internationally need to stand foursquare in the defence of Russia should such a conflict break out. At the same time, workers need to understand that the threat of war will remain as long as the real imperialism, led by Washington, exists. All efforts must go not only into ending the threat of war, but of ending the profit system which creates these threats in the first place. HANDS OFF RUSSIA!

WORKERS LEAGUE

Sergei Skripal (behind bars) and his daughter Yulia. http://www.abc.net.au

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO Box 66  NUNDAH  QLD  4012

http://www.redfireonline.com

[1] https://sputniknews.com/analysis/201803141062501430-skripal-poisoning-responsibility-mystery-investigation/ (18-03-2018)

[2] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-18/australia-meets-with-russia-over-ex-spy-poisoning/9560102 (18-03-2018)

[3] https://meduza.io/en/feature/2018/03/06/a-hundred-grand-and-hundreds-of-betrayed-agents (18-03-2018)

[4] https://qz.com/161135/how-russias-once-richest-man-hid-his-last-170-million-from-vladimir-putin/ (18-03-2018)

[5] https://sana.sy/en/?p=130716 (18-03-2018)

[6] https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/putin-says-russia-planning-countermeasuresto-nato-expansion/2016/11/21/83f5673c-afe1-11e6-ab37-1b3940a0d30a_story.html?utm_term=.caab842cc6e3 (18-03-2018)

[7] https://www.rt.com/news/421582-lavrov-foreign-special-forces-syria/ (18-03-2018)

The Liberation of Syria – a Victory against the Empire

17-12-2016 – As we go to press, the Russian and Syrian armed forces are on the verge of the complete liberation of Aleppo from being held hostage by Western backed mercenaries. This is after five years of arguably the most criminal war waged against a sovereign country in modern history. It is an open secret that the governments of the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar have armed, funded, trained and in some cases directed tens of thousands of barbarous mercenaries from over 80 different non-Syrian countries, and let them loose. In this historically unprecedented crime, they have been backed by the governments of Australia, Canada, Denmark, Israel and others. The leader of this Empire is centred in Washington, yet as we saw in September this year, and by its own admission, Canberra is a willing partner.[1]

Countless corporate media outlets, from CNN and ABC in the US, to the BBC in the UK, to France 24, and including the ABC and SBS in Australia, have played an ignominious role in reproducing pro-war “news” and continue to do so, even as we potentially see the end of the war on Syria in sight. This litany of lies about the war has confused many of those who opposed the war on Iraq in 2003, and has seemingly fooled a whole swathe of parties which claim to be “socialist”. Some in the Refugee Action Collective have also taken the bait. In the Western corporate media narrative, unspeakably barbaric Western backed mercenaries are called “activists” or “rebels”. The legitimate Syrian government is referred to as a “regime”. The slaughter of innocents by ISIS and Al Qaeda groups, which frequently change their names, is blamed on Russia, without a shred of evidence.

The liberation of Aleppo from ISIS and Al Qaeda should be compared to the liberation of Saigon in 1975. In fact, Syria is arguably the first major defeat for US imperialism since their defeat in Vietnam. For the US Empire, it wasn’t supposed to be this way. It was supposed to be yet another textbook case of the US arming death squads and overthrowing the state which they viewed as too independent from Washington. After Libya, the US elite perhaps believed that no one would stand in their way. In Syria, however, other powers saw that the endless US game of regime change would soon enough target them if they did not act. Russia was the most aware of this and acted accordingly. Iran joined them, and China at least gave some support in the United Nations. As Syrian Presidential and Media Advisor Dr. Bouthaina Shabaan commented, the liberation of Aleppo from US backed Al Qaeda groups will not only turn the face of the war, but change the balance of power regionally and internationally. Russia and China now lead the international scene, not the United States.[2]

Consider the position of the US ruling class at this moment. The virtually limitless propaganda about a supposed “Syrian revolution”, led by “moderates”, has been exposed for all to see. No matter which way they attempt to spin it, the whole world can simply do their own research to discover that it is the US ruling class which long ago had designs on regime change in Syria, long before 2011. The whole world can do their own research and without much difficulty, establish that it was the US Empire and their allies, which armed, funded, and in some cases fought alongside,[3] the very ISIS groups they claimed to be fighting against. The whole world can also see who was really serious in ridding the world of the scourge of ISIS, and who by far did the most about it – the Russian government. At the request of the Syrian government, Russia intervened on September 30, 2015, and decisively turned the proxy war against the US Empire. For this service to humanity, Russia has been demonised and subjected to propaganda that makes the original Cold War seem like child’s play. In fact, some sections of the US ruling class were willing to go to war with Russia over Syria. If Hilary Clinton had won the US presidential election, a third world war was a definite possibility. It could still be, despite US President elect Donald Trump potentially being able to pull the US back from a full scale war, at least with Russia.

A few short years ago, ISIS was the hot issue of the day. It allegedly threatened all of humanity with imminent destruction and “we” .i.e. Western governments, had to go to war to “protect” us from ISIS. At the same time, working people the world over had to accept the shredding of even nominal democratic rights, such as the right to not have your communication with others spied upon. In France the right to public assembly to protest against draconian labour law changes was all but abolished. Now, where is the threat from ISIS? Working people the world over can see that it is no longer there, and, regardless of your political opinion of the Russian government, it was largely Russia which eliminated ISIS. Can the US use the ISIS bogey again? Will the people of the world believe it a second time? To ask this question is to answer it.

We can be sure, however, that the US Empire will again attempt, in some form, to at least manufacture a confrontation, if not a major war, with those who they see as standing in their way. This is not primarily a result of recklessness, though there is plenty of that. Ultimately it is produced by the world capitalist economies’ prolonged economic decline, if not outright recession. Working people have an acute need obviously to avoid a catastrophic war, but also for decent paying jobs, reliable public services, and a climate which does not threaten them. Only with a socialist system will the possibility of addressing these serious social problems present themselves. To lead a struggle for this society as well as an end to imperialist wars, working people need their own party. VICTORY TO SYRIA!

—————————————————————————————————————————————-

Workers League

PO Box 66 Nundah QLD 4012

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

www.redfireonline.com

[1] https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/australian-jets-participated-massacre-syrian-soldiers-deir-ezzor/ (17-12-16)

[2] http://sana.sy/en/?p=96389 (17-12-16)

[3] https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/aug/09/pictures-appear-to-show-british-special-forces-on-syrian-front-line (17-12-16)

NATO: Troops Out of Eastern Europe! Lift the Sanctions! Hands Off Russia!

03-05-2016 – In a rational world, a fleet of warships belonging to country A patrolling 50 miles from the shore of country B would be seen as a considerable threat to the security of country B. Not so if you happen to be a part of the Western corporate media, and country A is Russia, and country B is the United States of America. In that case, Russia is seen as a hostile provocateur, and the US is seen as waging a heroic struggle to contain an aggressive rogue state. The massive and ongoing mobilisation of US and NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) troops on the borders of Russia, far from being seen as unwarranted, is seen as a necessary amassment to prevent the evil Kremlin plotting against Europe.

Needless to say, the world labouring under the hegemony of US imperialism, is not rational, and won’t be until the dragon is slayed. Thankfully, some of the actions of the Russian state are staying the hand of the US imperialist dragon, but this is something which the arrogant hegemon cannot forgive. An example is the Russian intervention on the side of the Syrian Arab Republic against the atrocious proxy war being waged against it by the US and its allies Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and backed by Israel. At the invitation of the Syrian government, from September 30 last year, the Russian military began taking out the US proxy ISIS forces, and other armed mercenary groups committing barbaric acts against civilians across Syria. The actions of the Russian government, supported by Iran and Hezbollah, tipped the balance decisively in favour of elementary justice – the right of a sovereign state to exercise its own policies independently of imperialism. At the same time, the Russian moves thoroughly exposed the US role in funding and arming jihadist barbarians and trucking them into Syria. The US could not openly defend its own monsters, for even the most blind would clearly see what is an open secret.

Even if Russia had not come to the material aid of Syria, however, Russia would still be relentlessly targeted, and indeed, surrounded on many sides. In an important sense, the US war for regime change is not just directed at Syria, but Russia. It’s not difficult to see that the US/NATO backing of a fascist coup in Ukraine in 2014 was and is another front aimed at Russia. On top of this, Pentagon officials have recently announced plans to deploy 4000 troops, 250 tanks and 1700 pieces of wheeled military hardware to Eastern Europe.[1] It is thought that the Britain and Germany will contribute to these four new battalions. NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander General Philip Breedlove is being replaced by US Army General Curtis Scarapotti. Scarapotti reportedly told a US Senate hearing that Russia was displaying “increasingly aggressive behaviour that challenges international norms, often in violation of international law”.[2]

Such rhetoric is scarcely credible. And what should be the response of Russia when NATO essentially occupies Europe? One would think a natural response would be one in which Russia makes every move to defend itself against what could potentially be a dire threat. And this is apparently what has occurred – Russian military troop movements and exercises in the vicinity of the borders with the European countries. Yet the US responds by claiming that the Russian troop movements are “extraordinarily provocative”. The US has sent its troops and advanced military hardware thousands of miles to be stationed on Russia’s borders. In response, Russian troop movements – on Russian territory – are regarded as “extraordinarily provocative”.[3] Welcome to the upside down world of the New Cold War.

Why a New Cold War? 

The reasons for the reigniting of the West’s New Cold War against Russia are relatively easy to identify. The capitalist counterrevolution which destroyed the Soviet Union was only the first step for the US. At first, during the 1990s, the US rulers could quite easily work with a pro-US drunkard, Boris Yeltsin. The catastrophic decline in industry, manufacturing, and life expectancy in Russia at that time was largely facilitated by Yeltsin and other oligarchs, who handed US capital, in a financial and political sense, more or less open access. None of this shock treatment had any effect other than to make the dire economic conditions dramatically worse for the majority of Russians. Consequently, Yeltsin and his accompanying “democracy” was almost universally detested in Russia.

Beginning around the turn of the 21st century, the rise of Vladimir Putin and his cohorts saw a vast change in direction for Russia. Putin sought to nationalise some resources, arrested and tried some of the more corrupt oligarchs, and slowly the economy began to pull itself out of the doldrums. Conditions are still not rosy, but by most measures an improvement on the devastation of the 1990s. This is one reason for the popularity of Putin domestically. Another is the fact that under Putin, Russia has sought a path independent of, and not subordinate to, the US behemoth. This alone is enough to enrage the US elite, and they have responded by demonising Putin and Russia itself in endless media propaganda. A string of newspapers and magazines depict Putin as a new version of Stalin.[4]

Yet the more Putin stands up to the US, the more admiration he receives both from Russians within and others internationally, including those who do not at all have left-wing sympathies. The view is prevalent that Putin is a leader who at least, “knows what he is doing”, as opposed to Western politicians who are unable to do anything about their collapsing economies or declining living standards for the majority. Therefore the propaganda of the media scribes in the West becomes ever more shrill, and ever more extreme. In response to some Russian Navy ships sailing in the vicinity of Australia during the G20 Summit in 2014, the Murdoch tabloid the Herald Sun hysterically headlined “The Reds are Coming” complete with Putin in a Navy uniform and a hammer and sickle![5] Tabloid newspapers in the West are not refined publications admittedly. However the tone of the propaganda was alarming. In fact, one could say that the relentless Western corporate propaganda against Putin and Russia, despite Russia being capitalist for the last 25 years, is a distorted form of anti-communism. It is therefore in the interests of working people to reject it entirely, and seek to combat it.

Of course, working people should not seek to politically endorse Putin, as he is no socialist, and does not seek to lead an anti-imperialist revolution domestically or internationally. The Russian government cannot be extended political support either, as it does contain some particularly objectionable positions, not the least of which is a seeming defence of Zionist Israel. Nonetheless, to the extent that Russia resists the world dominance of the US, and resists the infractions of NATO on its own doorsteps and elsewhere, the world’s workers find themselves in a temporary bloc with the Russian state. Like all political blocs, it not permanent and it is conditional, but for the interim it needs to be real. For example, Russia’s actions in the defence of Syria have arguably prevented a wider regional war. In Ukraine, despite the non-intervention of Russia to back the anti-fascist resistance in Donetsk and Lugansk, the threat of it probably stayed the hand of the US from pushing its proxy ultra-nationalists to wage all-out war on the east against Russian borders. And this is before we even begin to discuss the increasingly independent economic agenda of Russia, in joining forces with rising non-Western nations such as the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).

While Yeltsin was pro-US, Putin is not. Putin and his backers seek to protect Russia’s interest not in terms of socialism, but in terms of capitalism. For the US Empire, however, the rejection of socialism in Russia in practice means very little. As Eric Zuesse writes, for the US led West:

“….jihadists are just a side show. The main event is Russia. The end of communism, and of the USSR, and of the Warsaw Pact, doesn’t really make any difference to them. They want the land, and its resources. They don’t care about the people on it – anywhere.”[6]

Moreover, Putin and his cohorts are not willing to subordinate themselves to the US, and are not willing to be controlled by them. Perhaps naively, they may have imagined that the US would welcome them into the family of capitalist nations if they abandoned socialism. Yet this is not the way imperialism works. Imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism, demands total subservience, which means zero independence. For the Putin led wing of the Russian rulers, this is unacceptable. They believe they have a right to form independent relations with other nations, to engage in trade, cultural and diplomatic relations with any other country, from the first or third world. Yet to even think this, let alone begin to carry it out, is to enrage that entity which arrogates to itself the title of world leader. The fury of the US Empire vents itself in a veritable storm of anti-Russian and anti-Putin propaganda, almost all of which is based on barely concealed lies.

The left and “imperialism”

Many fall for this base level Western propaganda. This is to some extent to be expected, for without significant and strong workers parties in the West, many working people never hear a view opposing the US line. Yet this excuse cannot be claimed by the left parties which exist – for they should know a lot better. Unfortunately, for some of them Russia today is the Soviet Union of yesterday, which even at that time they opposed. Some others hesitate to back Russia out of supposed concern over classic middle class issues such as the lack of “democracy” and limitations on homosexual relationships – as important as these are. Some others subscribe to the absurd theory which claims that Russia is “imperialist”, and is therefore simply competing with the US to divide up the world. All of these positions in the end amount to a capitulation to capitalist propaganda – even if on other issues such groups can see through corporate spin.

The left party Socialist Alternative, publishers of Red Flag, are perhaps the most strident in putting forward the “Russia is imperialist” fantasy. They hold to a type of moral equivalency between the US and Russia, which dates back to their forbears during the 1980s, who proclaimed “Neither Washington nor Moscow but international socialism”. In the same way in which “Neither Washington nor Moscow” in previous decades meant in practice support for Washington, today the “Russia is imperialist” furphy in practice means embracing the US empire, albeit with little conviction. In the case of the proxy war on Syria, Socialist Alternative thus sees the Russian assistance to the Syrian government as “imperialist” intervention.[7] Needless to say, if it was it would be the first imperialist intervention in history where the invaded country issued a formal invitation to its subjugator!

Solidarity, the estranged sister organisation to Socialist Alternative, likewise see Russia as simply a rival imperialist vis-à-vis the US. For them, NATO’s installation of a fascist backed government in Kiev in February 2014 was some kind of justifiable uprising. The real culprit, according to them, is Russian intervention. The “Russia is imperialist” theory immediately paints Russia as world enemy number one, while US imperialism is seen as something minor, or even benign. At times, it even lends itself to covert calls for US intervention. Referring to Crimea’s vote to re-join Russia, which was passed by over 90% of Crimeans, as an annexation (!), Solidarity then go on to lament the lack of action by the US Empire, and their allies:

“The West has denounced Russian intervention in strident terms. But they have been reluctant to take any serious action. Both US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have ruled out sending troops into Ukraine.”[8]

This is because the NATO backed fascists have done the work of imperialist troops! Better to arm proxy forces, even if fascist, than to send in your own uniformed mob. Solidarity here are pining for the West to take “serious action”. It illustrates well the political direction the “Russia is imperialist” theory pushes you – in the direction of the Oval Office in Washington.

The Socialist Alliance, publishers of Green Left Weekly, equivocates on the question of Russian “imperialism”. It appears to be a case of trying to hold on to some fragments of one’s heritage, while also partially chiming in on the anti-Putin/anti-Russia corporate bandwagon. Some of their leading members hold different public positions within the organisation. For example, Chris Slee subscribes to the Russia is “imperialist” theory,[9] while Renfrey Clarke opposes it.[10] Yet Green Left Weekly largely orients itself to real US led imperialism in retrospectively supporting the “independence” of Ukraine in 1991.[11]

Needless to say, what occurred was not “independence” as such, but a capitalist counterrevolution which destroyed the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), arguably the greatest setback for the world’s working class to have ever occurred. “Independence” for Ukraine meant the recreation of capitalism, which in turn led to social and economic catastrophe, which ultimately led to the intervention of NATO and a fascist-led coup. In fact, if the USSR had not been overthrown by capitalist counterrevolution, there would be no basis for fascism in Ukraine today. Working people can well do without such “independence”.

The Socialist Equality Party (SEP), to their credit, continually warn about the dangers of a US led war on Russia. Their World Socialist Web Site (WSWS) is full of well researched information on the ongoing military, political and diplomatic brinkmanship and war being carried out by the NATO countries against Russia. They are also skilled at noting how propaganda weapons such as allegations of Russian athletes being on state sponsored doping programs, are used at precise times which coincide with the geopolitical objectives of the US ruling class. They correctly observe that the current unproven allegations against Russian athletes are aimed at getting Russia banned from the Rio Olympics as well as attempting to prevent Russia from holding the soccer World Cup in 2018.[12] However, the SEP in practice are known to be reclusive, and rarely take part in political activity where other left parties are involved.

The Communist Party of Australia (CPA) has quite good positions on the question of Russia and Ukraine, at least on paper. They do stand in opposition to the NATO installed fascist-led government in Kiev in February 2014. They also have defended the right of the Communist Party of Ukraine (KPU) to operate, and defended them against persecution by the ultra-nationalists – despite some of the actions of the KPU. The CPA noted that the KPU sought governmental and parliamentary alliances not only with Victor Yanukovych’s Party of the Regions, but also with reactionary nationalist Yulia Timoshenko, who is now a part of the fascist Kiev junta.[13] However, the CPA, like the SEP, is known for abstention and lack of activity on many fronts, and the anti-war sphere is another one.

One left group which is very active, however, was inactive on the whole question of the US led fascist coup in Ukraine. Trotskyist Platform (TP), which ordinarily puts forward a class struggle perspective on most issues, fell in with other left groups which were paralysed by the events and the aftermath of the events in Ukraine in 2014. The cardinal error which TP commits is that it takes seriously the claim that Russia is “imperialist”. Although, in their lengthy article on the situation in Ukraine, they do not mention the word imperialist in relation to Russia, they do state that Russia is a “rival” to the imperialist West.[14] But for Russia to be any kind of “rival” to the imperialist powers – the US, Britain, France etc. – which are backed by Canberra – it would have to be “imperialist”. But this is plainly false.

This topic would need a separate study in itself. Suffice to say, for Russia to be “imperialist” a number of factors would have to be proven. Firstly, it would have to be proven that finance capital completely dominates the Russian economy. Secondly, it would have to be proven that the Russian state aggressively uses its military power to prize open markets in foreign countries by threats, invasions, occupations and wars. Thirdly, it would have to have a network of military bases in many parts of the world, OR it would have to co-operate its military alongside the United States, Britain, France, Germany and so on. Clearly, none of these factors exist.

Russia’s economy only began to recover from the total devastation of the 90s when Putin and his allies began re-taking parts of it back into state hands. The military conflicts the Russian state has been involved with have been primarily defensive, actions which defended Russia in a territorial or political sense. And in recent times it is quite obvious that Russia is the military target of the US-led West, despite necessary agreed ceasefires where Russia and the US are both militarily active – though for different sides, in Syria.

TP does correctly raise the demand for the lifting of Western sanctions on Russia. However, on other issues such as the US led bombing against Libya in 2011, TP were vociferous in their opposition to NATO. Yet in relation to Russia, their mention of NATO is negligible. In Ukraine, the NATO powers, later backed by Canberra, were instrumental in the installation of a fascist-led government in Kiev. This is while NATO for years has been completing a military encirclement of Russia. In the last couple of years, this military encirclement has pushed the region to the brink of war. The latest US provocation was the switching on of an $800 million missile “shield” in Romania.[15] Just imagine if Russia had moved ANY troops anywhere near the US, let alone surround it, let alone set up missile bases on their doorstep. This is the reality for Russia today. Yet it appears that TP cannot mention NATO’s extremely dangerous provocations against Russia. If they did, it would tend to undermine their claim that Russia is merely a “rival” to the US led West. The reality is that despite Russia being capitalist, it is still enemy number one, alongside Red China, as far as the US empire is concerned. The left needs to defend Russia despite its socio-economic system and despite its political leadership. Working people have a side where Russia defends itself against NATO.

The struggle against fascism

TP seems to view the conflict in Ukraine as one between Ukrainian fascists and Russian fascists, and therefore tries to apply a “plague on both your houses” position, albeit with words backing the Donbass “self-determination” struggle. They raise the reports of attacks on Roma people in Ukraine, and attribute them to what they call the “pro-Russian” side.[16] However, some reports have stated that while some assaults of Roma people in Ukraine were carried out, there is no hard evidence that these were in fact carried out by the “separatists”.[17] It is of course a huge concern that the Eastern Ukrainian resistance included some with pro-monarchist, pro-tsarist and even pro-Nazi political views, in amongst pro-Soviet, pro-USSR, pro-Lenin political views. It is a massive contradiction, born of the rift between the loss of living standards that accompanied the destruction of the former USSR, and the rejection of bureaucratic and politically repressive rule that occurred during those times. In the process of rejecting the lack of workers’ political rights in the former Soviet Union, some turned to nationalism, tsarism and even fascism.

TP is correct to call for a political struggle within the Donbass resistance for the victory of internationalist, pro-working class politics, which overcomes backward political views. Yet the contradiction is that those within the resistance with shady political views are in practice fighting back against US and NATO backed fascism. The principal axis of the struggle there is the one against US imperialism, which in the case of Ukraine is backing real fascism. The resistance in the East of Ukraine was not, as TP claim, one of “self-determination”. The Eastern Ukrainians did not desire self-determination as such – they simply refused to live under a fascist government – and thus were forced to declare their own regional republics. They did this by taking up arms, and with incredible bravery, facing shelling and missiles from the NATO backed Kiev military. The dynamic of the Donbass struggle is overall a struggle against a fascism which hails its origins with fascists who fought with the Nazis in World War II. This is its character despite the presence of some tsarist and anti-Semitic views amongst those who have joined the anti-fascist resistance.

TP is also correct to note that Canberra has played its own role in backing the US/NATO juggernaut in Ukraine, and by extension, Ukrainian fascism. At the time Liberal PM Tony Abbott openly embraced US backed Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, and jetted to Ukraine to join his “advisory council”.[18] Canberra also blasted Russia, without a shred of evidence, for the downing of Malaysian airlines flight MH17. This appeared to be a part of the US plan to destabilise Russia, by any means. Yet while TP makes muted calls to oppose Canberra’s “meddling” in Ukraine, the best way to do that would be to oppose fascism in Ukraine, while defending Russia against NATO. Yet this is precisely what TP did not, and cannot do. Such actions would undermine its view that Russia is merely a “rival” of the US. And since no one doubts the US is imperialist, labelling Russia a rival is tantamount to labelling Russia as imperialist also. For only an imperialist power can “rival” another imperialist power.

Without formally endorsing the right-wing “Russia is imperialist” theory, TP tips their hat in this direction, placing them in the company of those who they correctly criticise for their opposition to Red China – groups such as Socialist Alternative, Socialist Alliance and Solidarity. They all of a sudden go very quiet with their opposition to NATO, which is marked because they were at the forefront of opposing NATO’s criminal actions against Libya. It is notable that they have also been silent on Russia’s intervention against the US proxy ISIS forces in Syria. Even outright opponents of the Russian state cannot openly disapprove of Russia’s jet fighters taking out the genocidal ISIS mercenaries. If they were consistent, they might claim that such actions were intended as part of “rivalry” with the US.

The moment a left group utters the word “imperialism” in relation to Russia, they are propelled into the camp of NATO, despite their intentions. There is only one imperialism, and it is led by the US. Any mention of Russia as “imperialist” or as a “rival” of the US, immediately lets the US Empire off the hook – its monumental crimes are lessened or forgotten, and it even begins to attract some sympathy – as if it is being targeted by “evil” Russia. Workers can start believing US propaganda about the deployment of huge military arsenals in Eastern Europe as “routine exercises”. US planes on the borders of Russia being warned away can start to be seen as “Russian aggression”. This is how the US aggressor can, through sophisticated corporate propaganda, be seen as “just doing its job”. This is how imperialist wars begin. Left parties, more than others, should know better.

 

In practice, TP was a part of the left’s silence on the imperialist war provocation against Russia, which included the arming and political backing of fascists in Ukraine. They joined with the Socialist Alliance, Socialist Alternative and Solidarity in either quietly backing, or attempting to remain neutral, on NATO backed fascists and ultra-nationalists taking power in Kiev. The underlying reasons lay either in original opposition to the Soviet Union, OR, falsely ascribing “imperialism” to the current Russian state. In practice, they meant the same thing – a deathly silence when Russia and the anti-fascist resistance in Ukraine desperately needed international solidarity. At best, at least they did not hail the fascist coup as a “revolution” – despite some of them using this label for similar activity in Libya and Syria. At worst, it meant tacit endorsement of yet another US sponsored effort at regime change – an effort which could have sparked World War III.

No to NATO

The central axis of the West’s confrontation with Russia is the use of NATO, what should be a Cold War relic, to aggressively strengthen US imperialism vis-à-vis Russia. While workers cannot politically endorse the Russian government or the Russian state, workers internationally have an enormous stake in defending Russia against NATO and against US led imperialism. Washington, with Canberra’s backing, seeks the destruction of any semblance of independence from Russia in any sphere – political, diplomatic or military. The world’s workers have a vital interest in pushing back against a rapacious US imperialism, which is lashing out in inverse proportion to its economy’s prospects. The US Empire is prepared to ally with, or arm, anyone – even Nazis – to further its goals.

The main political line in Ukraine for workers is to see the defeat of NATO and its fascist forces. In practice this will mean forming a temporary bloc with pro-Russian forces, but only insofar as they are combating Western aggression. There should be an internal political struggle amongst the anti-fascist resistance for genuinely internationalist and socialist aims. International workers and left parties can assist this struggle by resolutely standing with the anti-fascist resistance against US backed Nazism. Ultimately, there needs to be a political movement for workers’ power and for socialism in Europe and Russia, as the only ultimate prevention of war. Hands off Russia!

Workers League

PO Box 66 Nundah QLD 4012

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

http://www.redfireonline.com

[1] http://www.pravdareport.com/world/europe/12-04-2016/134143-usa_troops_europe-0/ (08-05-2016)

[2] http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-nato-russia-idUSKCN0XT1ZR (08-05-2016)

[3] http://russia-insider.com/en/nato-wants-put-german-troops-russian-border/ri14170 (08-05-2016)

[4] http://rinf.com/alt-news/featured/propaganda-success-u-s-govt-reveled-success-lying-propaganda/ (09-05-2016)

[5] http://www.crikey.com.au/2014/11/13/media-briefs-tabloids-battle-the-reds-abc-line-up-audiences-desert-tv/ (09-05-2016)

[6] http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2016/05/06/america-biggest-of-all-big-lies-ii.html (10-05-2016)

[7] https://redflag.org.au/article/left-can-oppose-russian-intervention-syria-without-capitulating-our-own-rulers (12-05-2016)

[8] http://www.solidarity.net.au/imperialism/imperialist-rivalry-and-putins-russia/ (12-05-2016)

[9] http://links.org.au/node/3795 (12-05-2016)

[10] http://links.org.au/node/4629 (12-05-2016)

[11] https://www.greenleft.org.au/node/56944 (12-05-2016)

[12] http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2016/05/14/dope-m14.html (14-05-2016)

[13] http://www.cpa.org.au/guardian/2014/1665/15-culture.html (14-05-2016)

[14] http://www.trotskyistplatform.com/down-with-natoaustralian-meddling-in-ukraine/ (18-05-2016)

[15] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-05-13/us-missile-shield-starts-up-in-romania-to-russian-fury/7410566 (18-05-2016)

[16] http://www.trotskyistplatform.com/down-with-natoaustralian-meddling-in-ukraine/ (19-05-2016)

[17] http://khpg.org/index.php?id=1397936989 (19-05-2016)

[18] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-03-21/tony-abbott-visits-ukraine-joins-international-advisory-council/7262822 (19-05-2016)