N°23 avril 2022 The evolution of the situation in Ukraine is a cause for major concern for peace in Europe and in the world, as the ongoing military escalation day after day points to a high-intensity war of which we know neither the duration nor the limits,
but whose consequences weigh and will weigh heavily and for a long time on nations and peoples.
This reality leads us to return to the origin of the events(1) and to analyze their root causes and their meaning.
Historical experience shows that capitalism and especially that of monopolies and therefore its development into an imperialist system entails within it competition and fierce struggles for the control of markets, resources, means of communication and the labor force. These clashes caused the last two world conflicts. While the first world war saw the emergence of the USA as a major power of imperialism, it also saw, because of the Russian revolution of 1917, the emergence of a State which became the USSR in 1922, built on anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist foundations. The USSR, which made the major contribution to the crushing of Nazism, became at the end of the war the designated enemy of imperialism which organized itself around its dominating pole the USA in NATO. What was called the Cold War was ultimately marked by the disappearance of the USSR in 1991 and the re-establishment of capitalism in Russia and in the former republics of the USSR. Russia, led by B. Yeltsin initially opened the country wide to the penetration of foreign capital. The very question of the dismantling of Russia was posed and whetted the appetite of foreign powers. The nascent capitalist oligarchy, which took control of social property, sought the socio-political consolidation of its power while handing over part of the country's wealth. It thus avoided an open confrontational front with the West. It turned a blind eye to many measures taken by the US and EU that were promoting the interests of their own monopolies in the region of Europe and Eurasia.
This stage was closed when B. Yeltsin was ousted and V. Putin took power in 1999. Since then, with a strengthening of the state and of its military power, the Russian capitalist forces have sought to regain the ground lost in the competition with the Western monopolies and their imperialist alliances, NATO and the EU. Since 1999, Russia has intervened, militarily or otherwise, in its immediate environment to consolidate its presence. This has resulted in military alliances like the Collective Security Treaty Organization, the CSTO, which brings together around Russia five former Soviet republics that have remained in its “preserve”: Belarus, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. This is the force which recently broke the popular revolt in Kazakhstan(2). It has also established economic alliances like the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), giving a wider space to the action of Russian capitalism.
It is in this context that Ukraine, located as its name indicates on the border between Western and Eastern Europe, is of paramount importance for the State and the capitalist oligarchs running Russian monopolies because of its geostrategic position but also its agro food and industrial capacities. In recent years, they have implemented a series of capitalist unification plans in certain territories of the former USSR, where the presence of many common cultural traits is still strong and where there is a large population of Russian people and Russian speakers as is the case in Ukraine. Thus, until 2014 and the coup d'etat (3) led by the United States of Obama, which expelled the oligarch V. Yanukovych linked to Russian interests, Russia dominated Ukrainian politics. The installation of a power hostile to Russia, tutored by the USA and the EU and even relying on openly fascist organizations, opened a path of political and military penetration to the USA and to the imperialist alliances that are NATO and the EU to complete a military encirclement of Russia already well under way with the accession to NATO of ten countries that were Soviet Republics (Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia) or people's democracies (German Democratic Republic because of its integration into the Federal Republic of Germany, Poland, Czechia, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania); and this despite the promises made by Western leaders to Gorbachev during the reunification of Germany not to extend NATO's perimeter in Europe. The 2014 crisis paved the way for the annexation of Crimea by Russia and the secession of part of Donbass. It meant an acceleration of the liquidation of social property and an increased repression against the forces that oppose it and especially the Communist Party of Ukraine which will end up being almost banned.
To understand the importance of Ukraine in the clashes within imperialism, it must be remembered that in the military doctrine of the USA, Russia and especially China are the designated adversaries of US imperialism and its allies. This is linked to the fact that the capitalist development of Russia and China which has become the second world power, collides head-on with the dominant but relatively declining character of the USA. Thus, on a global scale, their monopolies, mainly energy for Russia and more diversified for China, are formidable competitors that challenge the hegemony of the USA. These monopoly interests are fighting on all continents, in Asia, Africa, Europe and even America. As a result the USA which is increasing its military budget, is demanding a reinforcement of the armament efforts of its allies and from this point of view, the war in Ukraine provides a ready-made pretext for this. Suffice it to see the recent commitment of Germany to add 100 billion euros to its military budget and of France to increase its armament effort in recent years. These clashes within imperialism that today directly affect Europe – which makes the population more susceptible to them, are not however the first. For years regional wars have been a means of directly or indirectly asserting the domination of the biggest imperialist powers and in many cases they have been fought under the aegis of NATO: Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Yemen, Western Sahara, the Sahel bear witness to this. What is happening in Ukraine is an imperialist war(4) and the peoples have everything to lose if they align themselves with the leading forces of their respective countries. As we wrote in our previous article: "In the complex conditions of the possible rise towards an armed confrontation within imperialism over the question of Ukraine, many workers are wondering what they should do in this situation. We tell them that they have nothing to gain by taking one side over another and following behind their ruling forces. On the contrary, they must denounce the looming imperialist war, demand France's exit from the imperialist alliance which is NATO and the destruction of it, and amplify the class struggle for peace and socialism".
Russia has not been able to negotiate on what it considers to be its security requirements has therefore decided on a massive military intervention which is nothing other than an aggression against a sovereign country. This aggression was supported by an intervention by V. Putin denying the national reality of Ukraine by placing the responsibility for its existence on Lenin and the Bolsheviks. In the immediate future, we demand an end to the fighting and the opening of negotiations to put an end to this conflict and we warn that this war today serves as a pretext for the militarist reinforcement of the European Union and US-dominated NATO. We express our solidarity with the Ukrainian and Russian peoples who are the first victims of this imperialist war.
There will be no real collective security in Europe without a struggle for another society, a society that is not dominated by a great power logic based on the endless pursuit of profit and the private appropriation of resources. It is in this fight that we call on the workers of our country to engage!