It now appears that the Russian Federation has launched a full-scale attack upon Ukraine.
The World Socialist Movement is not concerned with the so-called rights and wrongs of this war, whether the niceties of international law were breached or the sovereignty of Ukraine was violated. As workers, we are painfully aware that it will be fellow workers who will pay the blood price of the geopolitical games played out by the Great Powers.
Ukraine isn’t the ‘democracy’ that Western politicians and media like to give the impression it is. In fact, the political and economic superstructure of Ukraine is not very much different from that of Russia. Both countries are dominated by a few wealthy oligarchs. So the argument that Ukraine is ‘democratic’ while Russia isn’t and that ‘we’ must support Ukraine in order to defend ‘democratic values’ is false.
The history of conflicts between states have left a legacy of antagonism between different groups, so they identify with their ‘nation-state’ and the interests of its rulers rather than with their fellow workers in other states. Ukrainian nationalism has an ugly history. Before WW1 what is now Ukraine was divided between the Austrian-Hungarian and the Russian Empires and after it between Poland and Soviet Russia. Lviv, the center of the pro-West faction in Ukraine, was a major Polish city. During this period the Ukrainians were discriminated against by the Polish government. Under the Nazi-Soviet Pact the Polish part was annexed by Russia. When Germany invaded Russia in 1941 many Ukrainians living in this part welcomed the Germans as liberators. Many fought on the German side. Some served as concentration camp guards.
The trouble for our fellow workers in Eastern Europe is that history has dealt them a bad hand. They have no choice but to be dominated either by the European Union and the United States or by Russia. It seems that the population of Ukraine is still divided over which is worse, thereby providing both sides with pawns to play to further their interests.
Once again, it is incumbent upon ourselves to affirm that not a drop of working people’s blood should be shed in supporting either side of this capitalist conflict over which bloc can claim territory as part of its sphere of influence. Whether it is the Ukrainian nation or the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, it is not worth the sacrifice of our fellow workers’ lives. Who cares which parasitic class claims to own which patch of dirt?
Capitalism operates according to its own logic and confrontation among capitalists is a normal process that has been taking place since the emergence of the capitalist system.
The WSM condemns the attitude of all those prepared to see towns and cities littered with the corpses of hundreds or thousands of working men, women and children. For what? To prevent what would be in the main merely a change of rulers. Unlike others, we are willing to conceive of Ukraine losing its ‘independence’ if it means that our Ukrainian and Russian fellow workers are not sacrificed for such spurious concepts as ‘democracy’ and ‘freedom’.