International Socialist Center “Christian Rakovsky” and RedMed
The Emergency Anti-War International Conference against the NATO proxy war in Ukraine called by the International Socialist Center “Christian Rakovsky” and RedMed.org web network on June 25-26, 2022 was undoubtedly an important international political event.
The decision for the Conference was taken in the Preparatory Meeting of the Rakovsky Center on May 22, 2022, and consequently, the Invitation issued by the Rakovsky Center on June the 1st addressed a large spectrum of the revolutionary left and communist Parties, organizations, movements, Marxist theoretical journals and independent militants from different traditions from all over the world found an impressive response. It is reflected in the large number of dozens of participants from all the Continents (Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia) and from 26 countries that joined the Conference in two days of intensive work.
First of all, those Marxist parties, organizations and militants in countries involved or affected directly in the current war front of the international conflagration dramatically changed the political configuration scene of the world: from Ukraine and the Russian Federation, as well as Belarus and countries of the former Soviet space and bloc, from Central/Eastern Europe Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, to the Caucasus and Central Asia, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan.
From Europe as a whole, Finland, Italy, France, the Spanish State, Britain, and Greece.
From the Americas: the United States, Cuba, Venezuela, Brazil, and Argentina
From Africa, the Middle East and Asia: South Africa, Algeria, Lebanon, Palestine, Iran, and Turkey.
From the Antipodes: Australia.
A great variety of views were represented freely, in the best traditions of workers' democracy. With the same spirit, all written documents submitted to the Conference will be published, and a video with the recording of the two days of the Conference will be available.
A Declaration of the Conference was decided to be published, based on the initial Political Report presented to the Conference on behalf of ‘Christian Rakovksy” Center’s policy on the NATO proxy war in Ukraine. An overwhelming majority supported the Draft Declaration. A number of amendments were included. Others need further discussion in the following period, in the context of the preparation of another International Conference on the war decided to take place later in 2022.
It was decided also to issue a statement for the liberation of the Palestinian political prisoners as well as for thousands of leftists in Ukrainian prisons and against the repression of communists in Russia.
On the road towards the next International Conference, a Manifesto will be elaborated.
The International Socialist Center “Christian Rakovsky” and RedMed
International Anti-Imperialist and Anti-War Declaration
1. The devastation of the war in Ukraine has continued for more than four months with no visible signs of ending. Millions of innocent people in Ukraine and all over the world are paying a huge price. The end of the tragedy is prevented by the main instigators of the war, US imperialism and NATO.
Calls for a ceasefire and efforts for diplomatic negotiations are sabotaged by the principal culprits. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has called against “Ukraine fatigue” and for “a war lasting for years”. The British PM Boris Johnson visiting Kiev the same weekend made a similar statement for “a long war”. The declared aim of US, Britain and NATO is prolonging the war “to see the Russian military weakened”, as US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said during his visit to Kiev on April 25, 2022, and imposing a regime change in Moscow, as US President Joe Biden let escape, during his infamous public speech in Poland when he said “for God’s sake, this man cannot stay in power”.
Prolongation of the war does not mean simply a long war of attrition or a protracted stalemate. It means, above all, an increasingly brutal process of escalation, of further international expansion of the war, leading finally to a thermonuclear catastrophe of life on Earth.
The war in Ukraine marks a dramatic inflection point of history, driven by the escalating global crisis of decaying imperialist capitalism, and is changing the political and social configuration of the world. It has brought humanity to the brink of the abyss, opening the gates to a Third World War and a nuclear Armageddon. The first and urgent task of the international working class and of the oppressed is to stop the imperialist war drive to global annihilation, turning it into a revolutionary struggle for universal emancipation, world Socialism.
2. It is well known that the first casualty of war is the truth. But rarely the Big Lie of the principal culprit of the war has taken such monstrous dimensions as today.
a- This is not a “local” war between a “Great Power”, Putin’s Russia, and a “small sovereign State”, Ukraine, which it is invading, as the US/NATO/EU imperialists, their willing allies and the mainstream bourgeois mass media present it. Actually, the military conflagration has global causes, dynamics, dimensions and implications, involving, in an uneven but combined development, the entire capitalist world, from Europe and Asia to the Americas, Africa and Australia. Ukraine is the epicenter now but the centre itself of the crisis is situated at the centre of global capitalism, the US and its declining world hegemony.
b- It is not a military conflict about the national self-determination of Ukraine, as a big part of the international Left claims, thus justifying NATO’s aggression, the arming of a Ukrainian army controlled by Nazis and trained by NATO, and imposing sanctions to destroy the Russian economy, and, thereby, the poorest populations in the world.
The truth is that it is a NATO provoked, proxy war, where the Ukrainian people is used as cannon fodder for US imperialism’s goal to fragment and colonize the former Soviet space and subjugate the countries that it officially considers as its main international “strategic antagonists”, Russia and China.
Post-Soviet Ukraine has been reduced by its oligarchs and foreign capital into a poor, financially bankrupt, fractured, semi-colonial dependency of the Western capital and the IMF and an advanced springboard for war in the service of the NATO aggression against Russia. It is run by Quislings, corrupt oligarchs and Neo-Nazis, linking their own comprador interests to the interests of the US, Britain and the EU, cruelly robbing the working population of Ukraine of all its social and national rights.
c- It is not an “unprovoked” war as the mainstream imperialist discourse claims, one that started out of the blue with a Russian invasion in Ukraine on February 24, 2022. The result cannot be separated from the process leading to it: the 2014 Maidan coup, the 8 year-long “hybrid” war in Donbas killing 14 thousand people, and obviously the non-stop expansion of NATO to the borders of Russia. As a matter of fact, the historic origins of the war should be located in the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Immediately after the collapse of the Soviet Union in December 1991, in February 1992, Pentagon’s Defence Planning Guidance document, drawn up by Paul Wolfowitz, formulated as the main US strategic aim the prevention of any possibility for post-Soviet Russia to rise again. The Grand Chessboard by Zbigniew Brzezinski, published in 1997, implied in essence that the US should adopt the strategic goal of fragmenting Russia and colonizing the entire post-Soviet space with the help of pro-Western stooge regimes. Ukraine was supposed to play a prominent role in this scheme.
The expansion of NATO to the East pursues this goal. In 1999, the NATO war in former Yugoslavia and the fragmentation of the country coincided with the expansion of the imperialist Atlantic alliance to Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. The Bucharest 2008 NATO Summit clearly put on the agenda the NATO membership of Ukraine and Moldova. The “colour” counter-revolution and the 2014 Euro-Maidan events were instrumental to serve the advance of NATO, which now includes 14 former Eastern European states as members. NATO has thus approached the Russian border, becoming able to hit Moscow in a few minutes by missiles from Ukraine.
d- It is not a conflict of “inter-imperialist” or “Great Power” rivalry, as another part of the international Left claims, thus taking an “equidistant” position, based on a false, ahistorical approach running counter to the historical specificity of the conflict and of the social nature of the clashing forces. Its apparent “neutrality” is, actually, a crude adaptation to the pressures of world imperialism in its war campaign and hence accommodation to bourgeois public “opinion”.
3. The explosion of war in Ukraine in 2022 is the latest barbaric manifestation of the spiral of the insoluble global crisis of capitalism unfolding from the 2008 world financial crash onward, followed by a depression in the world economy and then the 2020 global pandemic shock, another kind of warning for the advancing climate catastrophe. Even before the war, it was clear that there was a rapid worsening of the crisis combining the return of a global inflationary tsunami with a further fall into a worldwide depression, exacerbation of debt crises and new defaults, more financial volatility and crashes. We are just at the beginning of a dramatic degradation of an already destabilized world situation generating a new wave of social upheavals, political disorder, popular rebellions, liberation struggles and social revolutions both in the Global South and the Global North.
The global capitalist crisis is both the driving force of the imperialist war and at the same time, the force undermining the imperialist metropolitan centres and their war campaign.
Biden’s imperialist America, the centre of the global capitalist crisis and the protagonist of the war, is trying to overcome the political and economic decline of its world hegemony through the use of its dominant military might. But its military capabilities have not prevented dramatic reverses such as the debacle in Iraq and the Vietnam-type humiliating defeat in Afghanistan after a 20-year disastrous war.
The attempts by the Biden Administration to renew the US alliances and leadership in Asia and Latin America against China and Russia, with the recent ASEAN Summit and the Summit of the Americas, have failed miserably.
The official discourse to misrepresent the war against Russia, and eventuallyChina, as “a clash between democracy against autocracy” collapses as a farce. Not only because of the past record of brutality, repression and aggression of US imperialism all over the planet, but also again now, for example with its alliance with Saudi Arabia ruled by Mohammed Bin Salman’s murderers of dissidents and perpetrators of genocide in Yemen. Last but not least, there is a devastating verdict: January 6, 2021, fascist coup on Capitol Hill, Washington DC, looms large at the political center of the dying US-American liberal democracy.
America is plunging into an economic crisis, deeply divided socially and politically. The popularity of Biden and his Administration is rapidly shrinking, despite the war jingoism, foreshadowing that the mid-term November 2022 elections will be a Waterloo for the Democratic Party and a new revanchist upsurge for the fascistoid pro-Trump Republicans. But neither the Democrats nor the Republicans can establish a solid social majority to overcome a regime crisis, which goes along the twilight of the post-World War II Pax Americana. The neocon Robert D. Kaplan, who, at the dawn of the 21st century had hailed the imperial hegemony of “Hobbesian America” against the irreversible decline of “Kantian Europe”, now, facing the historic decline of US world hegemony, sees “after Pax Americana the Global Chaos”.
Europe in general, as the direct war battlefield, and the imperialist European Union, in particular, has received the biggest immediate blows from the effects of the war and the worsening economic crisis. The backlash of the imposed sanctions, the stopping of Russian gas provision to many European countries and the obstacles to grain and edible oil trade created by the war itself have escalated the energy and food crisis destabilizing the political and social situation in every European country, hitting particularly harshly the EU’s industrial heartlands, Germany, France, and over-indebted Italy. At the same time, at a time when the working population is facing the disastrous impact of the rising inflation and deepening recession on living conditions, military budgets are rising to astronomic heights. Germany is extensively militarized, with a military budget of 100 billion euros per year, for the first time after its defeat in the Second World War. Similarly, Japan, with the war in Ukraine, broke the post-Hiroshima nuclear “taboo” and is getting ready for nuclear arms targeting China and North Korea.
By accepting the US orders, the EU imperialists – as well as Japan, Canada and Australia - have demonstrated again their own weakness and relative subordination to the declining American world superpower. But the fragility of the alliances and growing divisions among the Western metropolitan capitalist centres are already visible and will be brought out forcefully in the near future.
A divided Global North has become now even more vulnerable to the rising upheavals in the Global South. Nobody should forget that not only putative strategic allies of the US such as India, a member of the Quad alliance against China and Russia but also the representatives of the vast majority of the human population in the Global South abstained from or voted “no” during the anti-Russian vote at the General Assembly of the UN.
4. In the context of the historic impasse in which imperialism finds itself, with the ever-expanding spiral of its global systemic crisis, after the implosion of finance capital globalization, it is accelerating its war drive to fully re-absorb the two countries where the world socialist revolution had broken out in the past in its weakest links, but where the revolution turned later to the road of capitalist restoration: Russia and China.
The defeat of the US/NATO led imperialist war is the primary, necessary and urgent task for all forces fighting for emancipation from capitalist slavery and imperialist bondage, first of all the international working class and its revolutionary vanguard. No communist, no socialist, no fighter of the anti-imperialist struggle can be “neutral” or “equidistant” in the ongoing military conflagration that started in Ukraine.
Superficial references to “Russian” (or “Chinese”) “imperialism”, often embellished by formal Leninist quotations taken out of context, lack any scientific, dialectical Marxist analysis. The central nucleus of Lenin’s insight is this: imperialism is not a policy or simply national-military expansionism but the latest historical stage in the development of world capitalism, the epoch of its imperialist decay. Claims about “Russian imperialism” in 2022 not only are empty but also echo the war propaganda of the actually existing Western imperialism.
Our anti-imperialist line does not mean that we abandon our firm opposition to the capitalist restorationists, the Russian oligarchs and to Putin’s Bonapartism.
It is the collapse of the Soviet Union and the turn to capitalist restoration that has opened the gates to imperialism’s offensive and a war of fragmentation and colonization of the former Soviet space, as well as of China.
The process of capitalist restoration, in an epoch of global decline and a crisis of the capitalist system itself, clashed constantly with its own internal and external contradictions: from the mass theft of the Soviet public wealth by a bureaucratic nomenclatura turned into oligarchs and the chaos of the 1990s under Yeltsin, leading to Russia’s default in 1998 to a very relative fragile stabilization in the early 21st century based on the re-nationalization of strategic sectors of the economy and the growth of the state ending in a protracted economic stagnation after the 2008 world crisis. This Long Stagnation made Russia and its hybrid economy extremely vulnerable to Western imperialist pressures and today’s “economic-technological Iron Curtain” imposed by the West – more effective than the sanctions, themselves amounting to a double-edged sword hurting deeply the world capitalist economy.
The overgrowth of an absolutist state apparatus, its repressive measures against popular freedoms, and the repetitive attacks against communists, Lenin and Bolshevism are the product both of the increasing pressures from a more advanced, aggressive capitalist West and of insoluble inner social contradictions blocking an incomplete transition. The only way out of this blind alley, for renewed, vigorous social development has to break these internal and external obstacles. A radical change of orientation is needed involving the active participation of the masses themselves: a new revolutionary turn away from capitalist restoration to the path of Socialism.
Restorationist regimes and oligarchs are neither able nor even willing to defeat the imperialist offensive. They seek an improbable compromise and an impossible accommodation with the aggressor enemy of their peoples, in the name of “international cooperation”, “multipolarity”, a “win-win agreement” etc., all avatars of the old failed formulas of “peaceful coexistence” and of the bureaucratic “socialism in a single country”.
Without any support for restorationist regimes, oligarchs or Bonapartes, the international working class and its vanguard should not remain neutral in the face of imperialist aggression but to fight to defeat it. A military victory by US/NATO-led imperialism against Russia today (and China tomorrow) will be a catastrophe, not solely for the peoples of Russia, Ukraine and of the entire Eurasian region, reduced into fragmented semi-colonies, but for humanity as a whole. A decisive strategic defeat of world imperialism, on the contrary, not only will advance the world struggle against capitalism and imperialism but will create the best conditions for defeating capitalist restoration as well.
This is the anti-war, anti-imperialist revolutionary policy of the International Socialist Center “Christian Rakovsky”, which calls the international working class to act urgently on this general line.
It has to manifest solidarity in action supporting an independent political mobilization of the masses of Russia and Ukraine themselves to secure their future.
We are not pacifists. We should declare and wage by all means war against the imperialist war. But imperialism cannot be defeated only by the military means of a Bonapartist state. Despite huge problems, after the October Revolution, the Red Army defeated the invasion of 14 foreign imperialist armies and the White counter-revolution thanks to the revolutionary mobilization of the masses. And, despite the bureaucracy and its crimes, in the Great Anti-Nazi War, it was the initiative, courage, mobilization and enormous sacrifices of millions of Soviet people, inspired by the defense of the Land of Red October that gave the victory to the Red Soviet Army over Nazism and imperialism.
It is the intervention of the masses that makes the anti-imperialist struggle victorious. It is necessary to not be trapped in a blind nationalism serving the ruling elites, the Bandera fascists and the Great Russian chauvinists, both in Ukraine and Russia. The road to victory lies in socialist proletarian internationalism in action. The revolutionary mass struggle has to acquire a permanent character. In the same way, in which capitalist restoration has opened the road to imperialist aggression, the defeat of imperialist aggression could and should open the road to the defeat of the capitalist restoration process itself, for the expropriation of oligarchs, and socialist reconstruction of the economy under workers’ control.
All power to genuine soviets without bureaucrats! Full workers' democracy, for Socialism, and an active internationalist policy of support to all revolutionary and liberation movements in the world!
5. In this revolutionary internationalist spirit, our battle cry is:
Not a single penny, bullet or soldier for NATO’s war!
War on imperialist war! The enemy is at home!
Stop making the Ukrainian people cannon fodder for the interests of imperialism!
Fight the policy of imperialist countries to prolong the war for their own benefit!
No sanctions against Russia! No to armaments! No to occupation!
Stop NATO expansion in Eastern, Northern and Southern Europe!
Workers of NATO countries, exit NATO, but also fight for the dissolution of NATO and the dismantling of US bases all over the world!
Down with the imperialist European Union, for the socialist unification of the European Continent, for a new Union of Soviet Socialist Republics without oligarchs, capitalists and bureaucrats, from Lisbon to Vladivostok!
Recognise the right to self-determination for the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics!
Down with capitalist restoration that opened the door to imperialism, war, and prospective colonization of the former Soviet space!
Fight the rise of fascism wherever it rears its head!
For a new anti-war Zimmerwald Conference!
For the refoundation of the revolutionary International of Lenin and his comrades!
For the world socialist revolution!
The Emergency International Anti-War Conference
of the “Christian Rakovsky” International Socialist Center and RedMed, June 25-26, 2022