solidarity with the Ukrainian resistance!

John Reimann

Bobby MacVeety counterposes "the idea of a borderless earth with free movement of the united workers" to the struggle for national rights and the right to self determination. But we have to look at the matter concretely. Putin, whose threat from fascism is greater than any other head of state, has whipped up chauvinism in Russia, including within the working class. On this basis, he is trying to spread a renewed Russian empire. That is what his invasion is all about. The free movement of a united working class is only possible if the working class of the dominant imperialist nation supports the rights of the oppressed nation. That includes the right to speak what language they like, study history in the way they want, etc. Of course, all of this will be influenced by the domestic capitalist class, but it exists nevertheless. Ignoring this is the same as calling for working class unity of white and black workers in the US while the white workers ignore, the racial oppression of all black people, workers or not. It is similar to the call of Labour Zionists for working class unity in the old Palestine Mandate when Jewish workers went on strike. And all the while they ignored the oppression of the Arab workers and peasants. We will never get even close to the free movement of all workers on this basis.

Sartesian asks about the different forms of the class struggle under the condition of the invasion, and specifically the position on Ukraine joining NATO and the EU. Whether Ukraine wants to join either of those unions is up to the people of Ukraine. As far as NATO, it is purely a military alliance and I think socialists should oppose its very existence. The EU is slightly different. As I see it, its formation represented an attempt to overcome some of the inherent contradictions of capitalism itself, a futile endeavor if there ever was one, and I think we probably should have opposed it at that time. However, the calls for leaving the EU today - of which Brexit is the foremost example - are entirely nationalist and reactionary. It's a bit like the issue of "free trade" - I think socialists can neither support free trade nor the alternative - tariffs.

But in Ukraine today, Social Movement has opposed the latest neoliberal laws which attack workers rights. Among other things, they explain that these laws will actually hinder the effort against the imperialist invaders. In that sense, the class struggle is explained somewhat differently. It is explained by the fact that leaving the capitalist class to its own devices weakens the struggle against the imperialist invader. In a way, it is a hint of the theory of permanent revolution - that the struggle against imperialism and the struggle against capitalism itself are interlinked.

John Reimann

“Science and socialism go hand-in-hand.” Felicity Dowling
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David Walters

that is interesting. I agree with John on his understanding of the threat Russia represents to the people of Ukraine and *specifically* the working masses there. The class struggle under occupation always takes on the issue of worker independence from their native capitalists in the government and the capitalist state itself. But the actual enemy under occupation is clear: the invader. In every situation in the world I'm aware of, the focus is always on getting rid of the occupier. It was in Poland, France and all of Europe during WWII. Why would it be any different today in Ukraine? Workers *should* organize in their own  formations (political and military) where possible. Struggling for political independence is especially hard but it can occur, even if in limited format. In Ukraine, this means for the very small number of working class militants means joining the Territorial Guard, which allows, it seems, some political space to do this. Again, the reason: to beat back the Imperialist occupier that is intent on ending Ukraine and it's people as an independent nation. That is why we want to see the working class take the lead in this.


Where I disagree with with John is the EU, where he is dead wrong, IMO. The EU is the method by which the capitalists are trying to defend their ownership of property and roll back the gains made by working people on a national basis throughout Europe. IT is a thoroughly reactionary organization of Imperialism that all working class organizations should fight. IMO, it represents a far greater threat than NATO does which, while actually more than a military alliance (it has all sorts of economic and political policies as well), doesn't really effect everyday life the way the EU does with it's "regionalization" and "fiscalization" policies; the rolling back of labor rights across the board. Like many socialists in the UK, I supported Brexit and would oppose, if I were British, re-entry into the EU.

[John and I had a public debate on this issue in Berkeley several years ago with two other participants taking pro- and anti-Brexit positions].


I do agree with John that this is up to the working class of Ukraine to decide, for or against.



On Wed, Jun 22, 2022 at 07:32 PM, John Reimann wrote:
Sartesian asks about the different forms of the class struggle under the condition of the invasion, and specifically the position on Ukraine joining NATO and the EU. Whether Ukraine wants to join either of those unions is up to the people of Ukraine.
And that's JR's answer to how the class struggle changes?  Passivity, silence, and "it's up to the "people"?  What people?  This isn't a change in class struggle. It's abandonment, capitulation.  Oh yeah we're all supposed to get behind the battling Ukrainian govt so the "people" can self-determine themselves right into the arms of imperialism.