A couple of anti-imperialist readings on the Russia / Ukraine conflict – 3.3.22

Establishment of the boundaries of the Ukrainian SSR in 1917-1928 (Image: Hellerick/Wikimedia Commons)

When we post up links to readings, it’s not always an endorsement of the position that’s being put forward. When it comes to getting a grip on the dynamics of the conflict between Russia and the Ukraine, we’re reading material from a wide range of sources with an equally wide range of perspectives. It’s only by going through this process that we can come to some kind of nuanced understanding of what’s a complex situation.

It’s in this spirit that we present the two readings below which are from the far left of the political spectrum. As anarchists, we’re obviously not going to fully agree with their perspective. However, in our view, there’s enough in the way of interesting and useful analysis to justify us giving them an airing.

We’re going to continue with this exercise of putting up readings about the crisis in the Ukraine as part of a bid to reach a nuanced understanding of what many would describe as a clusterf**k. Soon we hope to be posting up readings from an anarchist perspective which when it comes to the ‘national question’ will be at odds with the material posted below. We believe in people reading a wide range of views, applying critical thinking and analysis to all of them and then drawing their own conclusions.

Understanding the situation, as far as is possible in the fog of war, is essential in formulating the strategy and tactics needed for the long term. Having said this, there are a lot of grassroots initiatives and actions underway aimed at relieving the immediate humanitarian crisis in the region which we obviously wholeheartedly support.

Dave – the editor

Ukraine and the ‘national question’ – Niall Mulholland | Committee for a Workers International | March 2, 2022

The ‘national question’ is one of the most challenging and complex issues facing socialists and the workers’ movement today. As capitalism enters a new phase of deepening crisis, national tensions and national oppression will worsen. Conflicts and wars can break out, as we see in Ukraine, where the rights of nations and national sovereignty, and self-determination for oppressed nationalities are invoked by all sides.

To analyse these processes, and to formulate a programme for the workers’ movement on the national question, we need to start by looking at the ideas and programme of the great Marxist thinkers on this question, not least Lenin. “Whatever may be the further destiny of the Soviet Union,” Lenin’s co-leader during the October 1917 revolution, Leon Trotsky, wrote in 1930, “the national policy of Lenin will find its place among the treasures of mankind.”

Ukraine: imperialism beats the drums of war – Bob Shepherd | Revolutionary Communist Group | February 16, 2022

Three days of talks in early January on the Ukrainian crisis during three different Summits – the US and Russia, NATO and Russia and a full meeting of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) – failed to reach agreement on the future relationship of Ukraine to NATO. At first glance the issue appears simply to be whether Ukraine should or shouldn’t become a member of NATO. The underlying issue though is the growing pressure from imperialism on the borders of Russia and what Russia will, or can, do to defend its own capitalist interests in the region.

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