English translation of the italian text Ucraina: domande sull’internazionalismo e la «comunità».
Following the two articles of this blog, The truth in wartime [“La verità in tempo di guerra“] and The mobilization that does not exist and the internationalist expectation [“La mobilitazione che non c’è e l’aspettativa internazionalista“], some sporadic events are happening in the stalemate of an ongoing military conflict (stalemate that incubates more uncertainty than motivates of tranquility ) within a nationalist river that risks overflowing the edges:
groups of anarchists occupy in the heart of the London City a property of a rich Russian billionaire with the aim of demonstrating how to apply sanctions and expropriations from the below that the British government would do only in words;
the generalized support and sympathy towards this “resounding” gesture; a group of workers at the Pisa airport who cross their arms because they do not intend to load the weapons that Italy is sending to the Ukrainian government, but are available for loading and unloading only basic primary goods;
the Western clamor about the arrests in Russia of anyone who publicly disagrees with the war in Ukraine;
the attempt by the United States to steer the conflict towards a negotiation that Zelensky should yield according to Israel’s suggestions (because since the conflict continues, all the contenders, first of all the United States, have a lot to lose in the long run).
In previous articles, this blog has insisted that the war in Ukraine erupts for ungovernable reasons of the crisis of world accumulation, certainly supported by the major Western powers, which get out of the control of those who just got in the way.
In this article it is wanted to return to thinking about internationalism, without ever forgetting the given context, the current historical phase of the capital relationship and the fundamental assumption that the proletariat is absent as an autonomous, independent class and so on, especially it is wordless and passive in the West.
The reasoning takes its cue from a comment received from a collective of anarchist comrades [who share the public disclosure of the correspondence that took place and who report their comments anonymously]. It is clear that the question that the comrades ask is sincere and have the advantage of asking it without any problem, while many groups of the most extreme left avoid taking it head on, avoiding the question by hiding behind theoretical questions of principle about Lenin’s position on the right of self-determination of nations, or behind the question that the Ukrainian government is in the hands of neo-Nazi political and social forces financed by The Pentagon.
The question that flows spontaneously.
From the anarchist collective
Dear Alessio, I have read your piece very carefully. When you speak of “the first splinters of real madness of anarchist internationalism” what are you referring to? To the positions of some Ukrainian anarchists (which Crimethinc published without any criticism)? We too felt it right to make them known, but how worrying it derives. What do you think of our (quick) thoughts on this? It doesn’t seem to me that we say very different things. Once we have analyzed the impersonal forces of capital of which war is a structural dynamic, I do not think it is wrong – in ethical terms and above all in perspective – to ask ourselves: what would be the position-behavior to assume if we were in Ukraine?
From Alessio (Noi non abbiamo patria)
Asking to some US comrades to send them, I took the trouble to approach it in a frank but direct way towards CWC (Crimethinc – Collective Ex-Workers Collective), but they are charging with their heads down.
Then let’s face it, it is not only anarchist areas, but also Italian workerist areas (operai contro) or Troskyyste (for example Trosky was against making peace in Brest in 1918), here there’s PCL (Communist Party of Workers in Italy).
Today I participated, listening only, in the assembly promoted by SI COBAS against the war, in fact an avant-garde half-workerist re-edition of the already known Pact of Action for an Anticapitalistic Working Class United Front [Patto d’Azione per un Fronte Unico di Classe Anticapitalistico].
The problem is all here. Having made the analysis on the causes of the war (that we do not want to understand the phase of capital, therefore what determined it and the truth protected by the wall of lies), we do not want to take note of the evidence:
– the decline of the West, of the USA and the swan song of Europe;
– that the guns fire not to compete for space in Syria, but are aimed, “for defense”, against the West from a military point of view and (and as a consequence) from an economic, financial and productivity point of view both.
“We are at war”, says the Italy Prime Minister Draghi and he applies the state of emergency and the thing is perfectly rational.
Paradoxically, we have nothing to say about what we would do if we were in Ukraine. Asking the problem is the result of an impersonal pressure exerted in a state of affairs: Italy is in a scenario of war and the enemy is the Russia.
If there was a widespread mobilization against the war we would be like in 1917/1918 Brest-Litvosk: separate peace at all costs with the enemy!
Ukraine? It is stuffed into a meat grinder because it felt thought to realize its self-determination in the West, it came out of debt (even before Euromaidan) and into a Balkan landscape. Five million people even before this crisis had to look abroad for what to live and their Balkan fate here and there could only be less worse if a mobilization against the war goes in the direction of wanting to betray the alliance that Italian imperialism achieves in the war today. In fact, even there it would be the only decent thing to do.
Solidarity with Ukraine under the bombs is compulsory forced solidarity, which is required (like towards Salvini) to wear the anti Putin t-shirt which is an Italian war uniform. Our solidarity can only be towards those who flee and denounce the martial law that exists there, denounce the meat grinder into which the West has driven them. At first we will be unpopular, “traitors” of the Ukrainian people seen as Putin’s friends. But you cannot address them saying we are “against Putin and against NATO“, because NATO is the military alliance that they see inconsistent, because wearing the anti-Putin shirt is in fact in contradiction with the “separate peace with the enemy“.
That is, the road is the practical experience of the Russian revolution which in 1918, thanks and only for the mobilization of the very poor peasant masses, of the Mugiks who wanted the land, and those workers, did not think of having to continue it because the Russian troops were at that point under the command of the Soviet government and in fact the revolution “betrayed” the war.
Trosky, on the other hand, claimed to continue it to defend the revolutionary homeland. The Mensheviks and Socialists around the world in the war chariot saw it as a betrayal of the French, Italian, Belgian, British and American workers. The “transformation of the imperialist war into a revolutionary war” is a hoax, it passes through the betrayal of war. And about the specificity of Ukraine, there is martial law, if a comrade does not want to be shot by “friendly fire” he must play the game of pigeon shooting against the Russian soldier.
At the roots of internationalism and the social community in the market.
Further response to the anarchist collective comrades.
It is possible to bet that both the Troskyists (who merged into the communist formations that separated from the Communist Party of Zuganov’s Russian Federation) and the anarchists in Russia will most likely participate at the “tail manner” in the initiatives that Navalny is trying to organize during these days. Why does it happen, due to tactical errors? We have to go back in time.
In 1918, both Trosky and the Socialist Revolutionaries, hitherto allied with the Bolsheviks, vigorously contested the Brest Litvosk agreement. Trosky aligned himself with the revolution later, the Socialist Revolutionaries broke their alliance with the Bolsheviks.
So will today’s Troskyists and today’s anarachists do it because they inherit the same attitude from the past? No it’s not like that and we still have to go further back in time. But first I need to add something.
First of all we should understand what Navalny’s initiative is, what he expresses. Even before verifying it on the political level, we should analyze it on the material level of the economic structure. It will be a real mobilization against Putin’s war. It represents a minority of the country. Which minority?
Of course there are popular social sectors and workers especially in Asian Russia that animate a social opposition to Putin even in the streets. But there is also a productive middle class that has benefited from the increasingly interdependent integration with the world market. Not only the big capitalists have gained (who are called oligarchs here to hide the reality of an economic and social structure that has developed internal class relations in a liberal sense).
There too, through the dissolution of the USSR (imagine an immense capitalist restructuring which necessarily sacrificed dry branches and was necessarily reduced to the Russia alone), the enormous balance of the USSR’s debt to Western private financial institutions (the Club of Paris) through its production of raw materials and the formation of a bourgeois economic staff in flesh and blood called oligarchs, a productive middle class has also developed especially in recent years.
It was a popular celebration day when the first Mc Donalds opened in Russia, and the other day there was a huge line of people at the Mc Donalds before the business temporarily will close all over Russia. Can this set determined in and through the market be a part of it that is anti-war? yes, of course, as it can be for how Trump’s people are doing. The former in solidarity with the reasons of the Ukrainians, the latter after all with the reasons of the Donbass and even of Putin.
Let’s take another step back in a really long time. My blog is called – if you want by mistake – Noi non abbiamo patria [We have no country]. Why by mistake? Because it suggests something different from its intention, it has nothing to do with the passage of the Communist Party Manifesto, I chose a name that generates misunderstanding, but now the omelette is done:
The working men have no country [political idealism]. We cannot take from them what they have not got. Since the proletariat must first of all acquire political supremacy, must rise to be the leading class of the nation, must constitute itself the nation, it is so far, itself national, though not in the bourgeois sense of the word. [ideological expectation, because in another sense it is contradicted by the historical course in which the proletariat and the bourgeoisie concur to create a community in the market, in capitalism and therefore in the common nation obviously in a conflicting position inside the production of value].Marx / Engels – Manifesto of the Communist Party
Let’s face it, workers have a nation, they determine themselves precisely through the development of the market and within it. Their conflict is within the capitalist mode of production and they reproduce their own organization within it. I was referring to a new proletarian monster, where the market actually takes away a nation from them, that is, a formal right of citizenship. It does not expel them from the market but takes away their citizenship, but this does not automatically make them a revolutionary subject. And it must be admitted that they are doubly exploited for this very reason and fight for that right of citizenship that capitalism denies most of them. They struggle to be fully recognized as part of the people who produce.
We support them because the counter-altar is the white worker racism that is determined in the market through the nation community and in which it defends its privilege. Nonetheless, their struggle is a lever (you understand, I am referring to immigrants, a component not only in the West, but throughout the world within the social division of labor and in the production of value. Immigration into the West is the smallest part of a general movement that remains in Africa or the adjacent subcontinents. It seems that about 20% of the Ukrainian refugees who arrived in Berlin are other immigrants who were already there in Ukraine before). But in fact I was not referring in any way to that passage from the Manifesto. It is a common trait between Marxism and historical anarchism to believe that the proletariat has no country. Yet it can only be determined on the level of the internal relationship to the capitalist mode of production and therefore to the market. And the market realizes the capitalist nation.
The second statement, if you like, is more correct when it speaks of national class, but it is subjectivist and gradualist . Let’s see some historical things (facts) specifically about war and internationalism. It is commonplace of subjectivism (of any theoretical derivation) to attribute internationalism to the fact that the proletariat and the working class achieve its own transnational programmatic association: that is, it elevates itself to a national class, constitutes a nation – albeit not in the sense of the bourgeoisie -, and through this passage it makes the internationalist jump according to the historical forms that have been determined: the so-called formal party according to Marxist (not completely Marxian) definition.
Proletarian internationalism is therefore made to coincide with the various formal representations of the communist internationals (the first in common with the anarchists), socialists and again communists (the Third, the Fourth, the Fifth, and so on). Was it internationalism or was it a transnational alliance functional to the conflict that’s inside to the capitalism and in every nation where the workers’ movement had risen to a nation class in the phase of the general expansion of accumulation and of the world market?
The new proletarian monster that will be determined, and it will not be determined by us, will offer us clarity on this question.
But we should have the courage to take the bull by the horns, if we really want to ask ourselves what we would do in Ukraine or Russia, what can we do to help the workers who are under the bombs? First of all we understand that they are defending themselves, even if they do not have a workers’ party, as a class that becomes a nation because it is part of a historical process which is the market and the capitalist mode of production that determines it and has determined it in “post Soviet” Ukraine.
But then does proletarian internationalism not exist?
At the time, we try to separate the substance from the form, because we can see that always before the appearance of the so-called formal party certain unexpected events suddenly occurred earlier. If you want, these are events that led Marx to be one who tried to say that the Manifesto of the Communist Party was an outdated text (and if you want ideological), to be a supporter of the dissolution of the First Communist International, to argue that class analysis made by him and Engels in the period from 1844-1848 was completely wrong (because if you come to say that you have argued bullshit about the Irish working class and its relationship with the English proletariat in the class struggle, it is not a simple detail just think about the marxism eurocentrism).
What were the momentums of proletarian internationalism in its practical substance if there were?
Marx notes that after 1848 two revolutionary events, even more revolutionary than February 1848, occur in the world. One is decidedly cheap and will forever change subsequent history (the discovery of immense gold deposits in California and then also in Australia). The other is the struggle and revolt of black slaves in the former colonies, the struggles of the sepoys in India and those of China. The approach of Marx’s analysis also changes about the so-called supremely revolutionary role of the bourgeoisie and of the market too steeped in positivism and progressivism (which gave the theoretical support to Eurocentric, nationalist, chauvinist and white supremacist socialism).
Well, in that context, not even a few years before the foundation of the first international in London and England, the first no war movement, against war, in capitalist history and perhaps of all humanity took place. Which is completely overlooked by all the revolutionary theory we inherit.
Britain, which on the one hand through Canada was founding itself facing an industrial capitalist competitor in the former colonies, on the other hand its manufacturing industry needed slaves’ cotton so to make more productive, competitive and cheap goods to break down the various market walls of the Great Moguls and Chinese Mandarins, it was about to organize the direct intervention in the American Civil War, to send the arm navy and troops in support of the southern states. The mobilization was such, for the time, that that entry into the war did not happen.
The first movement of social struggle against the war that actually stopped it. Frankly, that mobilization of workers was contrary to the immediate need of the English working class to determine itself as a nation (albeit in a different sense from the bourgeoisie), because its better wage, its capacity for union and political association was precisely possible by virtue of the robbery and of the exploitation of the black slaves. In that momentum the workers acted in the opposite direction to Marx’s assertion, showing that the historical process poses a contradiction, that his idealistic and ideological prediction is put to the prove of the history.
What does it mean? That is, it is not through its class struggle accumulated in the previous course that it then reaches internationalism, it is not the end point of a process in which it rises to a national class. At this point there is nowhere to go unless the pillars on which it was erected collapse.
Marx writes about it – London, January 28th, published on Die Press February 2nd March – “An assembly of London Workers”:
The misery that the stoppage of the factories and the shortening of the labour time, motivated by the blockade of the slave states, has produced among the workers in the northern manufacturing districts is incredible and in daily process of growth. The other component parts of the working class do not suffer to the same extent; but they suffer severely from the reaction of the crisis in the cotton industry on the other industries, from the curtailment of the export of their own products to the North of America in consequence of the Morrill tariff and from the loss of this export to the South in consequence of the blockade. At the present moment, English interference in America has accordingly become a knife-and-fork question for the working class….
The working class is accordingly fully conscious that the government is only waiting for the intervention cry from below, the pressure from without, to put an end to the American blockade and English misery. Under these circumstances, the persistence with which the working class keeps silent, or breaks its silence only to raise its voice against intervention and for the United States, is admirable.
Proletarian internationalism does not represent itself through an ideological and programmatic affirmation or statement, but rather in an action that goes against the trend with the process that had characterized the workers’ movement up to that moment. He acts in a unanimous motion to be against the British intervention in the American civil war and in support of the Confederate States of the South, essentially against the immediate interest determined by the market and capitalist accumulation.
Immediately afterwards the English working masses flowed back on the path of the national class and, therefore, which has an immediate interest, a homeland, a nation to defend. When the Northern states won against the Southern states, the expansive capacity of American industry and the powerful development of the productive forces put the chain back to the neck of the former black slaves and the very revolution of property relations of country lands (which brought the very poor settlers former Irish and other European nations – and not slaves owners – to desert the southern front, sometimes unite with the rebellion of blacks behind the front lines) did not happen: the famous 40 acres of land that the Union of Northern States would have granted to liberated blacks as well as to the very poor and not slave owners settlers; the southern lands were already impoverished by the intensive cultivation of cotton and the blacks were increasingly bred as animals to be then sold on the market and used in other sectors of production and the economy of the north as a slavery workforce (but the northern masters believed make a man work with a chain on his ankles incompatible with the productivity of the workforce); poor white peasants received the worst and least fertile lands; most were drawn into the race to the west or the Hispanic American wars.
The First International took place after and even in the period of the ebb of that determined movement across the Atlantic and with its direct implications in England. There are prefaces to subsequent editions of the Communist Party Manifesto where the Marx-Engels couple exalts that from the first draft the proletariat of other nations, in particular from the United States, became part of the International (sections of other countries which means members of other working class in the nation). They write these things while they cannot omit that in some respects the manifesto was out dated. All this takes place while Marx and Engels begin to recognize they have not understood a sledgehammer about class analysis in England and about the Irish working class and proletariat. These are the years in which (1867) Marx wrote a very hard open letter to the American workers’ movement about his perception of the white worker racism is still living.
These are the years in which Marx on the Irish question writes that the English working class, despite its mass trade union and political organizations, moves behind the bourgeoisie and British imperialism. Now how can there be an internationalism that is expressed within the First Communist International when the English working class, the American one, when the lessons of 1848 and the class struggles in France go in the opposite direction?
The First International is the formal party’s realization of a momentum of the real movement that abolishes the present state of things, but into its phase of ebb. That is, in the determination of the working class and of the proletariat inevitably – because the capitalist mode of production, accumulation, value production and the world market expand powerfully – internally as a nation-class and capitalist community, albeit internally conflicting.
Marxism as a historical theory swerves with this thing, and anarchism also swings into it every time it sees the action of the calloused worker given within a community, mistaking it for something else (read this article of orthodox workerism from here, “Il Cero e la Molotov” https://www.operaicontro.it/2022/03/06/il-cero-e-la-molotov/), but it is precisely that being determined as a national class and nation that the market impresses.
If you read the witnesses of the Ukrainian anarchists those say “oh well, the Zelensky government is right-wing, nationalist and neo-liberal, but the people in defending Ukraine from the aggression of Russia collaborate from below in a self-organized manner“.
And still other political areas of the extreme left including Marxists, workerists or Troskyists in the face of the finding that the Zelensky government has imposed martial law, they reply: “Yes, the government is applying martial law, but the popular, poor and working masses participate from below in the defense against military invasion, they are realizing their own self-determination within the conflict“.
If we make a subjectivist fetish we end up at the tail of the market and of the capitalist concentration that is attracting them, the Ukraine masses, to its needs, as well as into the rest of the West and in Russia. It is not the spontaneous act of throwing oneself into a swollen river that makes the difference, but the course of the river and into which sea it inevitably flows.
But then is proletarian internationalism possible? Yes, but let us still understand the meaning of the question that does not live in the programs and proclamations. Communist Marxism – everything – has talked too much about the historical party and the formal party, where according to theory the historical party always lives sometimes into the form of smallest communist cores. In essence, the historical party always lives without a solution of continuity in capitalist history, it is only the formal party that is determined at intervals and that would have the solutions of continuity.
Conversely, it is precisely the historical party that does not always live without a solution of continuity. We have moments in which there is an unprecedented expression – as it is possible in the general historical context of the phase – of what we can call the real movement that abolishes the present state of things. It is not necessarily the international class revolution, it does not necessarily open the door to the anti-capitalist revolution in the immediate context, it does not find its expression in a program, if anything, in a gesture and in a precise action over time, which takes place within a time window as long as the impersonal forces of the motion of capital allow it before reabsorbing it.
It was the mobilizations against Great Britain’s entry into the war that supported the Confederate states of the South, it was October 1917 that carried out that reform of the relations of production in the countryside that the American revolution was not able to carry out, while the French one did so in the form of swindling and robbery against the poorest peasants freed from serfdom. And it was precisely the wish to achieve the peace of Brest Litvosk at all costs by refusing to defend the revolutionary homeland as a community and nation in the face of the enemy and within the world war.
And if we want, the gesture was still recently carried out, perhaps I exaggerate, in the iconoclasm towards the history of colonialism in half the world not even two years ago and in which a minority part of a white youth proletariat escaped from its being a white community, that in the meantime survives and how into the people of Trump. Then, however, as it appears, it ebbs, until one is pushed in front of the abyss, a terrifying abyss for which the material force of 500 centuries of capitalism pushes us to run after its shelter, under the market and under that type of community that in the historical course it proved to be the most advanced: the capitalist community.
But we know that the capitalist community is a fierce representation of the ruthless competition on the world market, it is violence and endless plunder. But within the war capitalism achieves the highest moment of the community in its capitalist community, precisely for this reason war (without meanings and without having to add capitalist or imperialist) is reactionary. Nonetheless, it creates a “community” within which the proletariat is attracted to it because it could exist and determine itself in this historical process.
What was the Italian partisan resistance if not a community of this type, nourished under the pressure of the military, therefore economic and financial strength of the United States of America? Was it not a community of the working class (which rises to a nation) which determined result of the working class as a capitalist community but that wants to realize it in a different position on the world market but as part of it?
This is why whoever looks at the historical community as a subject that is capitalist in Ukraine intrudes behind Zelensky, in Russia will follow Navalny [and for the most part behind the capitalist needs according to the community of which Putin interprets them – see national commemoration of the return of Crimea as part of the Russian Federation on March 18] and if you like others in the community of the people of the Freedom Convoy of Canada or of the People Convoy of the United States of America. The laborer and the worker from being an individual producer rises as a capital class, it remains attracted by the spontaneity of individual producers (therefore individuals on the market) that take place in the capitalist community. We look at the subject and at the subjective possibility of orienting those masses that are in certain situations determining themselves in a different community relationship but always as part of the market and with even more aggressive and reactionary forms. It has little to do with whether there are right-wing fascist or neo-Nazi political forces are leading them. That is not the discriminating factor that characterizes it as a community at the mercy of a reactionary capitalist course in the face of its crisis. The discriminating factor is in the process against the relationship of that same community with the world market, which does not deny the national community, but rather exalts it.
Here, too, we should understand the lies of the Empire of Toni Negri and Hardt, which precisely that type of community was stolen from the multitudes through globalization. They were the theorists of sovereignty movement who then arrived and they were able to grasp it well and a lot of the leftists are attracted to that kind of movement.
What will be the next act of this momentum that will reveal to us again what proletarian internationalism is enucleated in? To see it we will have to witness certain passages of the general crisis that are happening quickly, at a supersonic speed, whose facts that we cannot have the time to reflect them with due necessity.
It is certainly not through, as far as European nations are concerned, the principle of self-determination right of nations. It does not depend on us and our will. It will be a mass gesture, a precise and determined action over time, which will be given out of necessity and which will make us glimpse something. It will surprise us if we are not lost on the search for unlikely communities through its formal programs which draw us into the market rather than against it.
If we look at the formal representation of a subject and through the lens of a formalized program we will always take a stake in the front, because the proletariat as a subject does not exist (as indeed all social classes are object and not subject), but there is a process that by necessity he will have to force him to carry out actions, ask himself those questions to which an answer is possible and at a certain point in the abyss of the capitalist mode of production he will be able to escape from the deterministic realm to that realm of reason.
Meanwhile, let’s collect the genuine gestures that go towards a boil and the real course of the crumbling of society based on the production of value and for the exchange of commodities through the extorted social value.
The program is in fact a blunder very often or almost always. We should really meditate on this sentence from Marx that I reported in the article on internationalist expectation.
Just as one does not judge an individual by what he thinks about himself, so one cannot judge such a period of transformation by its consciousness, but, on the contrary, this consciousness must be explained from the contradictions of material life, from the conflict existing between the social forces of production and the relations of production. [Karl Marx – 1859]
The proletariat cannot be judged by its program, but by its position within the capitalist mode of production and in the social division of labor in a general relationship with the precipitating capitalist world and its specific action. It is the world that is precipitating to be the revolutionary subject and even unprecedented proletarians are beginning to feel it. Yesterday at the assembly of 13 March against the war promoted by SI COBAS and other marxist communist groups, an immigrant porter, probably from the Maghreb, said with simplicity one thing that we do not have the courage to support: “what I see is that Europe is in difficulty and will make the workers pay for this difficulty. then I see that it is a growing difficulty and that the West is isolated. The whole West, including Russia, does not even reach a billion people and the rest of the world does not want this war, the peoples of the majority of the world do not want it” and which side to take is really simple.
The replica and the therefore.
The comrades answer me, but it is clear that this question is not posed only by the anarchists, it is the entire class left in the West that poses it in various ways, hiding it behind various ideological devices. These comrades have the advantage of being frank, something that other groups with a Marxist tendency do not have the courage to face properly.
Your long discussion, largely acceptable, remains rather abstract with respect to the concrete question: what to do when you are caught between Russian bombs and Western “solidarity”? It is not the media manipulation of my emotions that leads me to formulate that question. We have comrades there, and we certainly cannot suggest that they reread this or that revolutionary “classic”. You either leave, or you get organized – and both choices will have a bearing on your future. A hug.
Dear comrades, I believe I have answered the question that you continue to ask, without realizing that it is the question itself that is wrongly posed.
1) It is misplaced and it is contradictory first of all due to the fact that it is posed here, in that part of the world which, if we truly agree in the analysis, the aggression against Ukraine has been carrying on for at least more than a decade. and that – look at the table at the bottom of the notes on the article “La verità in tempo di guerra” – has increased the military aid to the Ukrainian state in geometric progression. Ukrainian army state that from a few tens of thousands of personnel, in addition to being equipped with modern defense and offense systems, now has more than 200 thousand troops (without considering the Azov battalion which has numbers ten thousand times higher than the sum of all communists and anarchists around Ukraine) on a population of 44 million inhabitants (including those who have emigrated). The offensive was then waged through debt and finance making Ukraine one of the poorest countries in Europe, from where more than 5 million people had to emigrate as a very cheap labor force, almost half to Russia. and the rest in Europe and the West.
So if the West – for all the reasons you say you agree with – if it is not primarily responsible for what is happening, at least it fully shares its objective responsibilities, in fact today it insists and beats on this same terrain of aggression: from a on the other hand by helping the Ukrainian people in arms, destining them to massacre in a war through intermediaries, that is, for Western interests (which we try to explain), on the other not even in a coherent way because limited by an objective weakness and because all in all a Ukraine that bleeds against Russia will then be easier to eat.
Now I ask the question to all the comrades – and I assure you there are plenty of them, including those who do not want to tackle the subject through a thousand and more acrobatics, getting lost in the principles of self-determination of nations or in the declination of convenience “against NATO and against Putin“, you have the advantage of putting it openly and without frills: what sense does it make to denounce the war for which Italy is responsible and to counter its further imperialist aggression there, therefore for a firm no to war by Italian imperialism and then to indicate to the Ukrainian people that they must continue it to the death against the Russia? Italy could stand by and watch how the Chinese does it on the yellow river waiting for the corpse of his enemy passes and pocket the resulting Ukrainian stew. Or not?
A coherent stance here against the war requires the necessary denunciation of the West which has pushed – via finance, via market, via debt, via military aid force – the Ukrainian people into a meat grinder.
And if this is true and must be denounced, if we had the strength, that is, if there was a real mobilization against the war and someone who listens to us, we should also tell the working masses of Ukraine: you are fighting a war that is not yours and for other interests! This we should say about the working and poor masses of Ukraine. We should also say this to the Ukrainian immigrants already present here and to those who will be sipped and shared between the EU countries still on the border.
Would we be seen as “traitors”? Patience, we must know that this is the case because the war, dear comrades, does not suddenly open up revolutionary prospects, but is a general reaction that draws the working masses to the chariot of capital. Let’s not turn around too much.
In an article that you can read on sinistrainrete.info it is rightly stated about internationalism:
“We are not with the “heroism” of the Ukrainian people in the service of the Western powers! To get him out of the crisis and continue in barbarism.” [Michele Castaldo – War and Proletarian Internationalism].
That is the question you ask, below intends to support what is happening there, which means precisely this: to support the resistance, which is a war through intermediaries, a greater massacre in Ukraine with the result of greater colonization via the Balkan model of Ukraine itself. Or to assign them that role aimed against the working masses of the whole of Eastern Europe and Russia and towards the raw materials that, vice versa, Israel assumes in the Middle East. Is this what we want, and to this that we want to reduce Italy’s position of opposition to the war here? That is, “we get out of it” but do we support the sacrifice of the Ukrainian people at war there? At this point, the Ukrainian immigrants would have ten times the right to spit in our faces and maybe even shoot us.
2) If referring to “if we were there”, the question is even more misplaced. It is because it suggests a context of the situation that is – let me tell you – a liar. In other words, the question presupposes that the people and the working masses in Ukraine do not know what to do in the face of the invasion of Russia. Unfortunately, dear comrades, they know very well what they have to do and are doing it. What are they doing?
They did not have the strength to oppose a general policy and the general forces that were dragging the whole of Ukraine – as a capitalist community – into the meat grinder of imperialism, they remained at the mercy of a growing nationalism without the ability to decently oppose the impoverishment of the country. They hoped that the West would support them and then reward them. This is not new. Saddam Hussein’s Iraq did the same thing and behind him the Iraqi people: they were induced and not even just explicitly to begin a long war – for other Western interests and the United States – against Iran which had made a real revolution (not Euromaidan) by driving out the Shah who then turned in on itself by repressing the insurgency of the workers of Iran and Iran’s Kurds. So it is not the first time that a poor country, all in all at the mercy of the forces concentrated by imperialism, allows itself to be self-determined. The result is that while Ukraine has continued to arm itself in recent years actively supported by the United States, while in recent years it has actively – always supported by the United States – insisted on the Donbass line of war (where even there – unless we want to believe in the self-styled socialist workers’ parties of the Donbass – the dynamic is that of the reactionary Balkan of a country that has in fact known relative independence and autonomy, in its secular history – only those few years in which it was part of the former USSR and I thank the pagan gods that that expectation has collapsed as part of the general crisis) and the war has come but the West does not demonstrate the consistency of the premise.
The working masses and the people recognize themselves in that community linked to the market that has sought its “self-determination” through an illusory and suicidal perspective. He is consistently pursuing it and most of them play the game to the end, consistently bypassing the United States of America and the West. But the “blame” – but it is not a question of blame because the universe is deterministic and there is no free will, if the blame existed it would be assigned to all the Western, European and Italian workers (with whom we miserable flies share it jointly).
Dear comrades, the question “what would we do if we were in Ukraine“, therefore either assumes that in Ukraine the people, the majority of workers do not know what to do and expect some residual communist or anarchist force to suggest it. Viceversa it is on the contrary, it is the “capitalist community” – of which we see only the “community” side – to show us what to do and it is they who impose a choice on us.
Zelensky says so, he applies martial law and consistently realizes the diktat that one must arm oneself. The class dynamics are not new to the fact that once the masses are urged into the flood of capitalism, which is struggling in its crisis, then they themselves can consequently override the reactionary head in an even more reactionary manner. Do the facts on Capitol Hill tell you anything when Trump retreats to the White House and vice versa his troops complete the reactionary path indicated by his leader who deserted the field?
The terrain traced is that which Zelensky represents the coherence that Western imperialism – due to the objective weaknesses of the crisis – is unable to put into practice. Zelensky speaks on behalf of the people and the working classes. They do not ask what to do, they already do it and turn the question to the doubters who bear the same question to us, which is not a question but a de facto exclamation of the economic forces of the West: enlist!
Dear men and women comrades, not everything is entangled and soaked in the mighty river of capitalist barbarism. The same masses involved in it will be forced to burn on their skin the dramatic experience which they are forced to go through in a determined way. We have 3 million people fleeing Ukraine hindered by both Russian tanks but also by the friendly fire (or do we really want to believe that the American journalist or the families who got shot up near the Irpin broken bridge were the Russians able to to strike hidden behind a checkpoint of the Ukrainian army and civilian militias?).
Furthermore, it is evident that not all young mothers and young children are thrilled by the desire to prepare homemade Molotov cocktails. Let me say that the enthusiasm of some American anarchists or Italian workerists about the images “how nice mothers and children making Molotov cocktails” is a reflection of barbarism.
What is the horizon of liberation if the weapons of the army are placed in the hands of young women and teenager girls and boys? In Palestine, it is the kids who do it, but no one in those occupied and colonized lands sends state manuals on how to do and how get shot by the enemy. If Islamic gangs do it, comrades rightly denounce this shitty practice. Now why do the comrades, who are in Ukraine and have decided to arm themselves together with the people, do not insist at the bottom of their demands that international solidarity be organized for the escape of those who do not want – for fear – to fight?
How many days have the Western democratic press regretted that the so-called truces for the evacuation of civilians are not working? Either the comrades are few and are unable to provide them with the construction of a safe corridor for the escape, or they are doing something else that they consider a priority and more valiant, or they too do not agree the choice of a minority part of the population and of those workers who intend to escape.
Now not all mothers and not all children receive the message of enlistment, they do not intend to remain even as an auxiliary support force behind the front lines, and run away. The escape in itself does not imply any anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist orientation and certainly such escape is not welcome by the armed Ukrainian capitalist community, those are escaping continue to hate the Russians, but harboring a grudge against Westerners.
It is here that we could specifically do something in the direction of the workers of Ukraine, there and here, as long as there was a real mobilization that would support the expectation of peace with the enemy at all costs in the West.
Now what should we do if we were there?
The same we should do here, denounce the real reasons and causes of the war, admit the mistake of not having first opposed the Ukrainian government and its growing armament policy, because the rot was already on the way from before Euromaidan and after it. is only strengthened, therefore denouncing its frenzied policy of arming Ukraine and enlisting in NATO, which therefore, once omitted, we should fight as soon as possible with a generalized mobilization – if there is the possibility – for an immediate peace at any condition, starting with the opposition to the martial law, starting with the disarming of the check points during the hours agreed for the escape of civilians.
Comrades, this would be a betrayal of the Ukrainian armed community but it would be adherence and consistency in staying all the way with the Ukrainian working masses and also with the Russian ones and against barbarism. We should take into account, if we were there, that this policy is even more risky than taking the rifle, because immediately you would be under the bullets of friendly fire.
Unfortunately, there is no real immediate space for open action against the imperialist war and “autonomous and independent” action. Not wanting to admit it makes ridiculous the claim of those areas of socialist, marxist, communist, workerist and anarchist comrades to want to practice class autonomy by actively participating into the war.
Evidently the comrades in Ukraine and in the Donbass who ask us the question, in fact, they had already given an answer and are only looking for an “opportunist justification” for their decision to be dragged by the capitalist community (of the people and of the workers) that does not belong to those immediate and future interests of the proletariat [which they believe to represent in this way], and the Ukrainians are direct spokesmen for Zelensky and his coherence that the capitalist and imperialist states currently lack. So either they are really unaware or out of unconsciousness they have decided to play a reactionary game.
 The complete passage from Marx and Engels’ Communist Party Manifesto regarding the ideological claim that the working class has no nation is as follows:
“The working men have no country. We cannot take from them what they have not got. Since the proletariat must first of all acquire political supremacy, must rise to be the leading class of the nation, must constitute itself the nation, it is so far, itself national, though not in the bourgeois sense of the word.
National differences and antagonism between peoples are daily more and more vanishing, owing to the development of the bourgeoisie, to freedom of commerce, to the world market, to uniformity in the mode of production and in the conditions of life corresponding thereto.
The supremacy of the proletariat will cause them to vanish still faster. United action, of the leading civilised countries at least, is one of the first conditions for the emancipation of the proletariat.
In proportion as the exploitation of one individual by another will also be put an end to, the exploitation of one nation by another will also be put an end to. In proportion as the antagonism between classes within the nation vanishes, the hostility of one nation to another will come to an end.“[Marx Engels –Manifesto of Communist Party (II. Proletarians and Communists)]
Fortunately, with Marx repairing himself after 1848 in England, the two overcame this ideological approach, all in all idealistic about the development of the market and the class struggle, which vice versa nailed the formal representations of the workers’ movement to provide the ideological justification of being at the tail of capitalism, colonialism, white supremacist racism of civilized peoples and imperialist wars and robberies.