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Against the Russian-Ukrainian imperialist war, only the proletariat in Russia, in Ukraine and in Europe can respond with its class struggle, with its struggle against the warmongering poison of the respective bourgeoisies and their national interests, and against the pacifist delusion



The “special military operation” that Russian imperialism has unleashed against Ukraine to prevent it from joining NATO, joining the Western Euro-American front, as the former so-called People's Democratic Republics of Eastern Europe had already done, has turned into a war that has been going on for more than two years now, with tragic consequences for the Ukrainian population, and not least for the Russian-speaking population of  Donbass and Crimea, as well as for the Russian soldiers who have been sent to the slaughter to defend the imperialist interests of the oligarchies ruling in Moscow. To date, according to official estimates by various governments, the number of dead and wounded between Russians and Ukrainians is thought to be more than 500,000: a huge carnage, while a large part of south-eastern Ukraine has been destroyed.

All the Western media and governments claim that the causes of the conflict that has broken out in Ukraine are to be found in the will of oligarchs or potentates who want to dominate other countries or even the world and thus destroy the peaceful course of business development defended by Democracy, of which the United States of America and the countries of Western Europe, starting with Great Britain, France, Germany and followed by all the others, proclaim themselves to be the absolute champions. So if war breaks out, it is because that “dictatorship”, that “autocracy”, that “totalitarianism”, in short, the new Hitler and Mussolini, wanted it so…

From Russia's point of view, the cause of the conflict should be sought in the Nazi-like and militaristic policy of Ukraine, supported by the US and European NATO countries, which want to encircle, weaken and isolate Russia, thus threatening its national security. Should such arguments be lacking, they are ready at any time to come up with other arguments: “international terrorism”, of course, Islamic one…

But the causes of this war, like all wars, must be sought in the development of imperialist capitalism, which is holding all the countries of the world in its death grip. Capitalism, in order to develop, needs to attack every country with all kinds of violence, both potential (political, diplomatic, cultural, religious) and “kinetic” (economic, financial, military), because it represents a potential market for its commodities and capital, a strong or weak point in the conflict of interests which every bourgeois state defends by all means, and the military ones are certainly not secondary.

After the collapse of the USSR, all the satellite countries of the Soviet Union seceded to no longer depend on Moscow's military and economic power; but in the imperialist phase of capitalism, if a country secedes from a power bloc, it inevitably ends up in an opposing bloc, either because it seeks protection and support for its own national interests, or because the economic and financial interests of each national capitalism are increasingly intertwined with the economic and financial interests of the great powers that dominate the international market, or because the imperialist powers, although divided into different interest blocs, cannot leave any corner of the planet outside their control.




At the same time, the collapse of the USSR meant a general crisis of the world order constituted at the end of the Second World Imperialist War, a crisis which, especially in Europe ‒ where the Russian-American joint domination had to some extent guaranteed post-war reconstruction and the “peaceful” and accelerated development of national capitalisms, albeit in any case under the supervision of the Americans with military bases in Germany and Italy in particular ‒ undermined all the points of equilibrium that had been built up to then. And it also meant, of course, the demise of the Warsaw Pact military alliance, which at the time had formed in opposition to the North Atlantic Alliance, that is, NATO. With the disappearance of the military power represented by the Warsaw Pact, that of NATO ‒ which years ago was even considered to be moribund ‒ remains as the sole nuclear-armed ruler in Europe and the de facto ruler of Europe. Thus, the United States, which emerged from the Second World Imperialist War as its real victors and which financially supported and directed the “post-war reconstruction” in Europe, reinforcing the leverage of its imperialism from Europe to the Far East, presented themselves to the world as the guarantors of world capitalism and its economic and political order, in which post-Stalinist Russia was also finally and undisguisedly incorporated, confessing in actual fact that it had definitively put an end to the false socialism of Stalinist stamp.

The phase of wars that had hitherto concerned other continents, in which the Russians and the Americans fought against each other via “national liberation” struggles, finally engulfed the European continent: the wars in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, with the direct intervention of NATO, i.e. the United States, marked the beginning of a new phase of aggression by American and European imperialism in areas where Russian imperialism had had a decisive influence. And the expansion of NATO to the countries of Eastern Europe is further proof that American and Western European imperialism had and has not the slightest interest in giving Russian imperialism the time and space to reconstitute its past power in Europe. Every imperialism craves even a single square kilometre of economic territory on which to exert its domination, and given the situation that has prevailed in the world for more than a century, any crisis that plunges the capitalist economy into recession and barbarism, pushes the strongest imperialisms to gobble up the square kilometres of economic territory taken from their weaker opponents, not necessarily with their ground troops, but in the first instance with their capital.

The attack on Ukraine's “sovereignty” was, in fact, simultaneously waged by Moscow and Washington, London, Berlin, Paris, politically, economically, financially and ultimately militarily. NATO, betraying its promises to Moscow after the collapse of the USSR not to incorporate countries neighbouring Russia, has instead thrown itself right up against its borders. To date, after incorporating almost all of Moscow's former satellites in Eastern Europe between 1999 and 2020, only Belarus and Ukraine remain outside NATO. Needless to say, Ukraine is the most important strategic morsel, and it is logical that the United States made a bet on it after the collapse of the USSR, also considering the nationalist contrasts that have characterised their common history. Could Russia ‒ whether headed by Putin or any other figure ‒ keep calm if there were a continuous front of NATO military bases with nuclear missiles on its western border? Obviously, the answer is negative, and it is even more negative now that Finland, which borders Russia to the far north, has joined NATO and taken Sweden into along with it afterwards. Russia's European encirclement manoeuvre is thus almost complete. Ukraine presently, mainly because of the course of the war with Russia, remains at stake.

Could the course of the Russo-Ukrainian war have been different from what it has recently turned out to be, i.e. a war that paves the way for other wars in Europe and the world?

A little over a month after the military invasion of Russian troops into Ukrainian territory on February 24, 2022, Kyiv and Moscow were, according to the international media, on the verge of negotiating a treaty by which Kyiv would pledge not to join NATO, not to affiliate with the European Union, and to cease its repression of the Russian-speaking population of the Donbass by granting them genuine autonomy, as promised in the Minsk agreements. Because of these negotiations, it seemed possible that the conflict ‒ which in fact began eight years earlier with Kyiv's repression of the Russian-speaking movement in the Donbass and Moscow's annexation of Crimea ‒ would not spread as it actually did, and, above all, that the NATO powers would not become directly involved, albeit not by sending troops but by providing significant military and financial support. It was London and Washington that stopped Zelenskyy with the promise of enormous and continuous support, including from NATO countries, billions of dollars and supply of modern weapons, so much so that they launched a massive propaganda campaign about the danger that Russia, after invading Ukraine, would proceed to invade the whole of Europe; a propaganda campaign claiming the possibility of bringing the Russian economy to its knees through a series of economic and financial sanctions and, ultimately, defeating Russia militarily by reconquering all the territories it had occupied, including Crimea.

All the mouthpieces of Euro-American warmongering continued to proclaim their undying support for Ukraine's warmongering to defeat Russia's warmongering militarily and economically; all the spokesmen of the West continued to speak of a war that will last a long time as they will do everything possible to isolate and defeat Russia, push it back to the 1992 borders of the Russian Federation and destroy its economy. However, things have turned out differently: sanctions put the Russian economy in crisis but did not break it much, while its exports of oil, gas, grain and other raw materials ‒ albeit in smaller quantities than before and at lower prices ‒ to other markets (notably China and India) continued, and increased arms production was initiated not only to replenish stocks of those that have been and will be used in the war in Ukraine, but also with a view to other war fronts, as indeed all the major imperialist countries are doing, starting with the United States, which has increased the Pentagon budget to $886 billion for 2024 alone, followed by the countries of the European Union, China, India and Japan. Thus, the future of open warfare looms on the global horizon.

Just as the pharmaceutical multinationals made billions of dollars in profits during the Sars-Cov2 pandemic, at a cost of more than 16 million deaths between 2020 and 2021, so too during the Russian-Ukrainian war and Israel's subsequent war against Hamas and the Palestinians, as well as in all other wars, are the big arms multinationals, grinding out profit after profit, while social welfare policy, which for many decades formed the backbone of the class collaboration politics of the most advanced capitalist countries and trade union and political organisations of the proletariat, with its huge systems of social shock absorbers, has increasingly begun to yield to militarist politics. War is an integral part of capitalist development and an indispensable part of the foreign policy of all imperialism. As long as capitalism exists, there will never be peace; every truce and every period of peace following a period of war is nothing but a temporary ceasefire to reorganise for the resumption of war or for the next war.

The bourgeois and imperialist war not only causes death, injury and disability among the soldiers and the civilian population purposefully targeted for demoralisation at the front, but also causes long-term consequences in the form of misery and devastation; while in the imperialist countries, when their national territories are not directly affected by war, peace takes on the appearance of “normal” social and working life, in countries where, on the contrary, conflicts between the imperialists are constantly taking place, a situation of general insecurity, poverty and hunger emerges, and the inevitable phenomenon of forced migration ‒ from Africa, the Middle East, Central and Far Asia and Latin America itself ‒ takes on colossal proportions.




Against the carnage of civilian casualties in Ukraine and Palestine, the voice of pacifism has once again been raised, the ideology that turns to the very architects of the war and asks them to stop it, to stop the massacre of defenceless civilians, to lay down their arms and come to the table, to agree on a ceasefire and to start peace negotiations. Needless to say, the supreme spokesman for this ideology is the head of the Church of Rome, an internationally recognised financial power.

The horrors of war should compel the governments involved to suspend it and bring it to a decisive end. In fact, pacifism has never prevented or stopped war, for very specific material reasons: war is a continuation of the foreign policy of every state, carried out by military means. To what does the foreign policy of states correspond if not to the interests of the national capitalism of any country, which the national bourgeois state defends by all means, including military means? What is imperialism in the era of developed capitalism if not the policy of economic and financial power of the largest economic-financial powers and states, defending their interests throughout the world? And what is the aim of such a policy, if not the division of domination over the world market, in an ever-changing order corresponding to the changing power of individual states?

War is an integral part of this policy, it is not an option among many, it cannot be avoided, because the ruling bourgeois classes obey not the “conscience” of each of their individual members, but the material interests of the economic system of which they are the representatives and the only ones who benefit from it.

As long as the economic and financial interests of capitalism prevail, every bourgeoisie has no alternative: it must defend these interests vigorously by all means, legal and illegal, peaceful and violent because its very existence depends on it.

That is why pacifism, precisely because it does not question the capitalist economic and financial system, is completely powerless against bourgeois and imperialist war. It does, however, have a political and social role equal to that of reformism and class collaborationism, that is, to divert the movement of resistance against the war away from the class terrain on which the struggle of the only class that has no immediate and historical interests in this society and in imperialist war, to defend ‒ the class of the wage-workers, the proletariat ‒ has the possibility of breaking the terrible cycles of imperialist wars by turning the anti-militarist, anti-bourgeois struggle onto the ground of the anti-capitalist and therefore anti-bourgeois revolution.

Pacifism, in fact, has the same function as opium: it stupefies and dulls the minds of the proletarian masses; it tells them that they can escape the horrors of the war situation by transporting themselves into an imaginary, unreal world in which each individual is virtually detached from the economic and social relations that bind him to society, and rises above them, free from the sorrows of the world; such an individual is, however, destined to fall back into the terrible reality into which capitalism plunges the whole of humanity.




The world, which finds itself in the grip of the frantic pursuit of profit by ever more gigantic capitalist powers, is also affecting the daily life of the proletarians in the Western bourgeois countries with an ever stronger barrage of various restrictive measures, lay-offs, worsening working conditions and widespread impoverishment affecting ever wider layers of the proletarian class, which for many decades has completely lost its class orientation. The proletarians of the rich West can no longer recognise themselves as the antagonistic class par excellence to the ruling bourgeois classes of their own countries; they are unable to draw the first effective social lesson from the growing tragic misery that is beating and suffocating them, for resistance and reaction to the overwhelming exploitation to which they are increasingly subjected: to unite in a common struggle against the common enemy, i.e. the bourgeois class of their own country! The bourgeoisie, by privileging the upper strata of the proletariat, turns them into a veritable working aristocracy and accustoms them to live in the style of the petty and middle bourgeoisie (which rely on small and medium-sized private property and the privileges derived from the general exploitation of wage labour) and uses them to spread among the broader proletarian masses the illusion that they can improve their living conditions by collaborating with the bosses, with the bosses' state, in short with the ruling bourgeoisie, with the class that exploits, starves, crushes with toil and massacres them in wars. And this collaboration ‒ of which the unions and parties sold out to capital are the most vicious and effective vehicles ‒ is only possible by renouncing the struggle in defence of exclusively proletarian class interests (which are objectively opposed and in stark contrast to the interests of the bourgeoisie), by renouncing the struggle by classist means and methods, i.e. methods and means which are neither compatible with class collaboration nor with social cohesion, nor have anything to do with the immediate and future objectives of the bourgeoisie. The bourgeois class thus increases its strength, also thanks to all the social forces of class collaboration that support it, and appears in this way invincible, but only because the proletarian masses, instead of recognising themselves as an opposing antagonistic class ‒ as a united force struggling in unison for objectives clearly opposed to the bourgeoisie ‒ consider themselves as part of the “people”, as part of a “national community” in which they have completely lost their historical class identity.

The proletarians, under the illusion that they will gain better protection and greater strength if they place themselves in the hands of the bourgeoisie and its servants, if they “participate” in the “common welfare” by renouncing the demand for more tolerable conditions of existence for themselves despite exploitation, they will eventually find themselves as beasts of burden, “robots” in the service of capitalist profit, only to be thrown away, cornered or left to die when they are no longer useful for profit production.

And when an economic and financial crisis firmly grips the capitalist system, as it cyclically does, the bourgeoisie tries to save itself as the ruling class and individual owners of capital by turning a significant proportion of its proletarians into cannon fodder. The war of competition which the bourgeoisie wages constantly in the world thus becomes a war against countries which are at that time considered enemies to be defeated “whatever it takes”. That the price of such a war will be paid above all by the proletariat and the civilian population, both of friendly and enemy countries, is already well-known.

What, then, prevents the proletariat from breaking this “social contract”, signed by no one, but which has come into force thanks to the political, economic and military power of the bourgeois capitalist state, and thereby regaining its class independence and autonomy?

There is the fear of losing one's job, and thus one's wages; the fear of being left alone and without help, of having to provide subsistence for oneself and one's family without resources; the fear of losing one's life savings, one's home, one's family's favour, once one loses one's job and thus one's livelihood; the fear of being left at the mercy by social organisations and the state, which used to present themselves as guarantors of support in times of hardship in the national and corporate economy, hardship which was always declared to be temporary, surmountable, and which, as it grew, required further sacrifices. Decades of politics of class collaborationism that have characterised political and social life in every country have accustomed the broad proletarian masses to delegate the defence of their immediate interests to trade union and political bodies, which have proceeded, in effect, to completely obliterate ‒ after having transformed them ‒ the general and historical interests of the class to which the proletarians belong, replacing them with the interests of “economic growth”, “competitiveness”, “productivity”, the defence of the “national economy” and the “fatherland”. And the proletarians of the Western countries, like the proletarians of Russia or China, of the Arab countries or Latin America, of the Asian continent or Africa, hear in their own ears the same calls, the same words, the same “demands”, with which the capitalist class and bourgeois power address them to achieve not only their spontaneous and convinced collaboration (ready to secure it by force if the proletarians prove reluctant), but also the sacrifices of their lives with the knowledge that today they may die at work and tomorrow on the war fronts.

The bourgeois know, because they too have drawn lessons from the history of class struggles, that proletarians, after crossing a certain threshold, can no longer materially, physically endure unbearable conditions of existence and work; they know that that powerful volcanic magma incarcerated in the productive forces represented by the wage labour force not of this or that country, but of whole continent, if not of the whole world, will erupt at a certain level of social pressure and make way even for hitherto unrecognised forms of struggle, as happened to the Parisian communards in 1871 or to the Russian proletarians in the soviets in 1905 and then in 1917. The history of the proletarian struggle in Paris or Saint Petersburg in those years seems so distant that it has fallen into oblivion, which the bourgeois propaganda has crowned with extolling its modern capitalist civilisation and democracy, based on those noble words ‒ liberty, equality, even fraternity ‒ but actually materialised in the most bestial exploitation that man has ever had to endure: even slaves have been spared life, while modern proletarians have become so “free” that they are not even masters of their own lives.

The horror of the world wars, the horror of all the wars that have taken place in recent decades, magnificently amplified by the ultra-modern media of bourgeois civilization, is one of the weapons of bourgeois propaganda useful for sowing fear, for spreading horrors, to subject the proletarian masses to the will of their numerous tormentors, increasingly dressed in suits and ties and incessantly spreading fine words about “freedom” ‒ while oppressing ever greater masses of human beings ‒, of “fighting” against inequality and hunger in the world ‒ while fighting against each other to intensify inequalities and starvation of billions of human beings everywhere ‒ of “peace”‒ while multiplying wars by making them a constant part of the daily life of entire nations and continents ‒, of “sovereign people” and “homeland” ‒ while nations are plundered, starved and massacred, and their homelands are oppressed and torn apart as spoils of war to be pounced upon by the marauders of the world.

Capitalism, as it has developed, has led mankind to the most vast inhumanity possible; it has revolutionised previous modes of production; it has brought, yes, extraordinary progress in associated labour and social production, but at the cost of raising the exploitation of man by man to a level never achieved in previous societies, at the cost of bringing the destruction means of the very productive forces it has developed to their maximum efficiency; he has forcibly and violently “liberated” the great masses of peasants from isolation and from the meagre patch of land on which they were trying to survive, and turned them into proletarians, into people without reserves, without property, without homes. It has transformed them, in fact, from a historical and global point of view, into people ready to revolutionise the whole of society, shackled by the capitalist laws of profit and wage labour, of money and the market, and transforming it into a society in which the productive forces will no longer be cyclically destroyed by bourgeois crises and wars because they will correspond to a rational economic planning that considers the whole human species, in harmony with itself and with nature.

But the road to this historical goal is extremely rough and seems impossible given the power that the bourgeoisie and its society still wield. The bourgeois power is largely due to the political impotence of the proletarian class, i.e., its general bowing to the existential exigencies of capitalism and the ruling bourgeoisie; even to the slaves of two thousand years ago, the future seemed destined to last forever, and even to the serfs of a thousand years ago the future seemed set for good. In both cases, however, the development of the productive forces at some point broke the apparent stillness of history; then came the bourgeois revolution, which opened the door to a society that was universally organised based on the same economic laws of capitalism; a society that could not but produce apart from industrial technology and associated labour also proletarians, i.e. those who produce all the wealth of society, possessing nothing but their labour power, which they are forced to sell for wages if they wish to survive. In fact, as Marx and Engels' manifesto states, “the condition for capital is wage-labour. Wage-labour rests exclusively on competition between the labourers. The advance of industry, whose involuntary promoter is the bourgeoisie, replaces the isolation of the labourers, due to competition, by the revolutionary combination, due to association. The development of Modern Industry, therefore, cuts from under its feet the very foundation on which the bourgeoisie produces and appropriates products. What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its own grave-diggers”, which is precisely the proletariat. This historical view of the struggle between the classes indicates how materially the development of the productive forces and their revolution is the motor of the development of human societies; this was the case until the society of capital, and it will be even more so in the society of the future, the communist society, in which there will no longer be classes, but only a society capable of making free and rational use of the development of the productive forces, which the bourgeois society, to keep itself alive, is also forced to destroy in every cycle of crisis.

The proletariat therefore has a historical task as the revolutionary class; but to become the revolutionary class, it must break the political and social ties that bind it to the fate of capitalism, to its crises and wars. This means that from being class for capital ‒ as the bourgeoisie wishes it to remain, and uses every means to keep it that way ‒ the proletariat must become class for itself, that is, precisely the revolutionary class. The road to go back on the terrain of classist struggle is long and arduous, but it is the only road indicated by the development of the productive forces and by the very history of their development. It is a path that will only open up on the condition of a break with class collaboration, that is, by fighting against competition between proletarians: without this qualitative leap, the proletarians will never find their own class direction, the path to their emancipation from the yoke of capital. The struggle will certainly be long and hard because the bourgeoisie will resist with all its strength the resumption of the proletarian class struggle: it will try in every possible way to prevent it, to divert it, to repress it because it is perfectly aware that from the development of this struggle the proletariat's confidence in its own class strength will be reborn, and that in the development of this struggle the proletariat will come into contact with its class party, its political and theoretical guide, without which ‒ as has happened in previous history ‒ the proletariat will become disoriented, will lose the meaning and the real objectives of its class struggle, will fall into confusion, and will be so demoralised by the defeats it will inevitably experience on its way that it will again postpone the historical chance of its emancipation to the distant future.

Against the present wars in Ukraine, in Palestine, or anywhere else in the world, the slogan with which communists should naturally come out towards the proletariat is this: revolutionary defeatism, i.e., to fight against the regimentation of the proletarian masses in the bourgeois war to unleash the class war, the war against the bourgeois ruling class. The problem today is that the proletariat in general, in any country, not only in Ukraine, Russia, Palestine or Israel, where it is systematically massacred, does not yet have the strength even to wage the classist struggle for its immediate interests on the ground of economic defence. If it lacks this experience of struggle, if it lacks the experience of independent classist organisation which is necessary not only to wage class struggle but also to be able to endure on this terrain in the long term and to develop class solidarity with proletarians in other sectors and other countries, then it is a mere illusion that the Ukrainian or Russian, Palestinian or Israeli, British or German, Italian or French or Spanish, Chinese or American, Egyptian or Iranian, or the proletariat of any other country can directly go over to the struggle for its class war, i.e. for the proletarian revolution. For the communists, the proletarian revolution is the historical objective of the class struggle of the proletariat in any country, but the proletarians ‒ and this is true even of the communists themselves ‒ must prepare themselves, must have direct, physical experience also of all the mistakes that are inevitably made in any preparation for struggle, must test their own strength and know the strength and moves of their opponents. As Lenin said, the proletarians must engage in the classist struggle of immediate defence because it is a “school of war”. This does not mean hiding the great objectives of the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat, much less the real difficulties of achieving them, and certainly not the objective difficulties of the struggle of immediate defence itself. The class enemy certainly cannot be overestimated, but neither can it be underestimated. Ultimately, it is the proletariat, starting with its most militant and most sensitive to the class struggle sections, which must find the strength to react independently to bourgeois pressures and repression, and in this, no party can replace it.


March, 26th 2024



International Communist Party

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