50.000 Chinese workers on strike

More then 50.000 workers who work in sport shoe factories owned by Yue Yuen Industrial Holdings in Dongguan went on strike. It was one of the biggest strikes in the ''People's'' Republic of China, Workers demanded payment of millions of yuan in unpaid social insurance and pension contributions. Already the Chinese capitalists of Yue Yuen Industrial Holdings have lost 60 million U.S dollars thanks to this strike. It shows how powerful workers can be if they understand their own strength. But the capitalists have two very powerful allies, the Chinese ''Communist'' Party and the Chinese ''People's'' Police. Government officials have called for a quick settlement, because the state-capitalists of the CCP fear that this strike could cause more problems for the already deeply unpopular government. Chinese shoe workers do not trust them and say they will not resume work unless the money is paid to their bank accounts!

The ''People's'' Republic of China is a state-capitalist dictatorship disguised as a socialist republic. Its police forces have a lot of spies working inside enterprises to identify  potential strikers. These spies are also trying to undermine the strike at the sport shoes factories. Because China has no free trade unions, workers have nobody to turn to. The official trade unions are controlled by the state and independent trade unions are not allowed. Official trade union bureaucrats even work with the capitalists against the workers who strike!

The strike in Dongguan was spontaneous and not too well organized. Chinese Workers did it themselves and showed what potential they have. Unfortunate win out a revolutionary vanguard of workers, a strike can be destroyed by government and capitalist force. We saw this in Poland were right-wing forces took over the Solidarity Trade Union and turned it into a capitalist weapon. When stalinism collapsed, the leaders of Solidarity never gave power to the working class. Polish workers who started the Solidarity Trade Union in 1981 were mislead by people like Lech Wałęsa. The original workers movement against stalinism was hijacked by anticommunists to build a capitalist Poland. We see the results of capitalism in today's Republic of Poland!

Between 1990 and 2000 more then 33% of all Polish workers ended up in massive poverty. Today about 6,5% of the population lives in poverty, but this only counts those who are very poor. The average wage in Poland is still low, although right-wing forces promised wealth and prosperity under capitalism. Because Poland lacks a workers party, the conservatives are able to win most elections. Voter turnout during elections is very low. Only 48,92% choose to vote during the 2011 parliamentary elections. Poland lacks a socialist alternative to the forces of capitalism!

In China, workers have become a slave to capitalism since Deng Xiaoping took power. By 1997, many capitalist enterprises were build. Workers rights were often abused, many Chinese capitalists became millionaires because of very low wages. The 
Chinese ''Communist'' Party became a party for the new bourgeoisie. In 2013 the Congress of the party called for more de-regulations and privatizations, this says a party who claims to be Marxist-Leninist and Maoist. Revolutionary socialists see in the CCP a classic example of Stalinist degeneration!

Chinese workers do not trust the communist party or their capitalist bosses. They have learned that the party does not represent them. In 2010 this became clear when the All-China Federation of Trade Unions ( controlled by the state ) called on workers to end a strike. However angry workers destroyed copies of a letter send by the ACFTU, which demanded an end to the strike. Striking workers know that the ACFTU is not on their side. Indeed, the All-China Federation of Trade Unions stands with the government and the capitalists. Their goal is to keep the workers in line with the capitalist system of China, which the CCP uses to become rich. Workers have demanded free and independent trade unions, this puts fear into the hearts of the ruling party bureaucrats and their capitalist allies!

The Chinese single party dictatorship shows two faces. Many times the ''communist'' party leadership agrees that laws were broken by the bosses. Capitalist bosses who do not pay social insurance and pension contributions are called ''wrongdoers''. But local party officials side with the bosses many times during strikes. This is because these officials are bribed by the capitalists. In 
Dongguan, government bureaucrats are supportive of the company’s views. Also the police has not arrested the bosses of the shoe factory, although the company broke the law by not paying social insurance and pension contributions to its 50.000 workers!

Police forces were also used by Yue Yuen Industrial Holdings, to prevent workers from taking their strike to the streets. Police officers took control of the shoe factories and ordered all workers back to work. Anybody who dared to fight was arrested and jailed. “We have no choice but to go back to work. What can you do if a man with shield, baton and helmet is standing next to you?” a striker told China Labour Bulletin on 25 April 2014. Although the bosses broke the law and refuse to pay social insurance and pension contributions, the police stands with them. This shows the capitalistic nature of China and the criminal face of the 
Chinese ''Communist'' Party!

Chinese workers must understand that under this state-capitalist system there is no hope. Only a revolutionary workers party on a socialist program can destroy the 
Chinese ''Communist'' Party and all who support the rule of the bourgeoisie. The PRC is not a socialist republic and only anticommunist idiots with no brains keep calling China a socialist nation. Revolutionary socialists call for free trade unions and freedom of speech for all Chinese. We call for a second Tiananmen Square, one that puts fear into the hearts of the government and its international capitalist allies. Chinese workers have nothing to lose, they have everything to win!

Workers of China, Rise Up!

Revolutionary socialists in Hong-Kong support the strike
at the shoe factories of Yue Yuen Industrial Holdings!

Syria's continuing civil war

Since 2011, the Syrian Arab Republic is in a state of civil war. What started as peaceful demonstrations against the authoritarian Ba'ath government, ended in shootings and killings. Dictator Bashar Al-Assad ordered his army to open fire on demonstrators who rejected his rule. Some soldiers in the Syrian Arab Army refused to murder their own people and defected. These soldiers created the Free Syrian Army, the first opposition army against Al-Assad. However the secular nationalist Free Syrian Army was soon rivalled by Islamic militias. The Syrian Islamists are armed with weapons paid by the reactionary monarchs of the Arab world. As the Syrian uprising turned into a civil war, the government used brutal methods of eliminating its opponents. This fuelled anger and hatred among the Syrian rebels, who started to use violence and sectarian hatred against the supporters of the Ba'ath Party, mainly members of the Alawite tribe!  

The Syrian civil war shows some similarity with the Libyan civil war. In Libya the people also rose up against dictator Muammar Gaddafi who ruled since 1969. However unlike Syria, the Libyan Islamists were never able to dominate the struggle against Gaddafi. Maybe this is because the Armed Forces of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya were very poorly armed and lacked fighting moral. Gaddafi had not upgraded his army and only gave modern tanks and guns to special units. Bashar Al-Assad's Syrian Armed Forces are better armed and have a good reason to defend the secular Syrian Arab Republic. They fear a Islamic victory and the creation of a theocracy in Syria, much like Afghanistan in 1992!

Gaddafi's Jamahiriya collapsed after the capture of Tripoli by rebels in August 2011. Because the Libyan Armed Forces were underpaid and underdeveloped, most soldiers defected to the rebels once the capital was taken. Only Gaddafi's tribe in Sirte stood behind the green banner of the Jamahiriya until the city of Sirte fell. However the Syrian situation is different. Although rebel soldiers took some towns and captured a few districts of major cities, the Syrian Armed Forces were able to fight back. Although reduced by at least 50.000 soldiers, the government of Bashar Al-Assad was able to rally many secularists, Arab nationalists and anti-imperialists to their side. They exploit the fear of Islamism and use this as a powerful weapon against the opposition!

Since the civil war began, many armed groups have been created. Unfortunate most rebel groups are Islamic and reject a secular democratic Syria. We have counted more then 24 Islamic armed groups, fighting in Syria against the government of Bashar Al-Assad. Four Islamic groups are linked to Al-Qaeda. The biggest of them is the Al-Nusra Front. Jabhat al-Nusra ( full name ) is made up of 15.000 to 20.000 militants. Only a year ago, their numbers were between 6.000 and 10.000 armed men. In only a few months the Al-Nusra Front has gained a lot of new recruits, many are young men who want to fight for a Islamic theocracy!

However the Islamic militias are not united. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant ( ISIL ) rejects the other Islamic forces and also the secular forces. With more then 15.000 armed men in both Syria and Iraq, the ISIL is among the most active Islamic fundamentalist groups in the Middle East, fighting for a theocracy. Like the Al-Nusra Front, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is Sunni-Muslim, they reject Shia-Islam and believe in the supremacy of Sunni-Islamism. Bashar Al-Assad and his Alawite tribe are Shia-Muslims. Because sectarianism is now part of the conflict, the Shia-Islamists of Hezbollah in Lebanon, have joined Bashar Al-Assad in their fight against the Sunni-Muslims and secular rebels. The Syrian civil war is no longer a pure political conflict. It has grown into a sectarian war between Sunni-Muslims ( Al-Nusra & ISIL ) and Shia-Muslims ( Alawites & Hezbollah )!

Other Shia-Islamic forces who support Bashar Al-Assad are the Liwa Abu al-Fadhal al-Abbas Badr Organization, the Haidar al-Karar Brigade and the Promised Day Brigades. But not only Shia-Muslims support the president/dictator. Because the Sunni-Islamists are paid by reactionary Arab kingdoms, many anti-imperialist nationalists have rejected the opposition and joined up with Al-Assad. These secular nationalists claim that foreign imperialists try to take control of Syria. One nationalist political party that support the Ba'ath Party is the Syrian Social Nationalist Party. Unlike the Ba'ath Party and other Arab-nationalists, the Syrian Social Nationalist Party is pure Syrian nationalist and not Pan-Arabic. They reject Pan-Arabism and fight for a Greater Syria ( Syria, Jordan, Israel and Palestine ). The SSNP has been called a fascist party for its extreme Syrian nationalism and antisemitism!

The National Progressive Front was the only allowed political umbrella of political parties supporting the Arab-Socialist Ba'ath Party - Syrian Region. The National Progressive Front was established by Hafez Al-Assad in 1972 and united all so called ''progressive'' and ''anti-imperialist'' parties. The Syrian Arab Republic under Hafez Al-Assad ( 1971-2000 ) modelled itself on the political system of the Stalinist; German Democratic Republic. The ruling Ba'ath Party allowed other parties to operate, but only under the umbrella of the NPF. Also they had to be either socialist or Arab-nationalist, right-wing political parties were banned. Hafez Al-Assad legalized the Syrian Communist Party on the condition it joined the NPF. Communists who refused to bow down to Al-Assad were arrested and jailed. In the end the communist party joined the National Progressive Front, only to split in 1986 between conservative stalinists and supporters of Soviet leader Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev. Today Syria has two communist parties, both are members of the NPF and loyal to Bashar Al-Assad!

Until the new Syrian Constitution of 2012, the National Progressive Front ( NPF ) was the only allowed political entity in Syria. Bashar Al-Assad changed the constitution from a single party state into a multi party state. Although this gives opposition parties more freedoms, the current situation in Syria is so unstable that elections cannot be free and fair. Presidential elections are to be held in June 2014, most likely the Ba'ath Party will win because the opposition is boycotting the elections. After opposition parties were allowed to operate outside the National Progressive Front, the Syrian nationalists of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party created the Popular Front for Change and Liberation. Although this political movement stands in opposition to the Ba'ath dominated NPF, it supports the government against the Free Syrian Army and Islamic rebels! 

There are four main groups who participate in the Syrian Civil War as of April 2014! 

- The ''Axis of Resistance'', Shia-Islamic and secular supporters of Bashar Al-Assad

- The ''Syrian Opposition'', anti-Ba'ath rebels dominated by Sunni-Islamic militia's
- The ''Kurdish Self Administration'', Kurdish forces who control more then 300 towns 
- The ''Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant'', Sunni-Islamists who reject the other rebels

The ''Axis of Resistance'' is a reference to George W. Bush, who's diplomat John Robert Bolton added Syria to the American list of ''evil'' nations. Supporters of Bashar Al-Assad have called all groups who support the president of Syria, to be part of the ''Axis of Resistance''. With resistance they mean resistance to terrorism, because for them the Syrian opposition is made up of terrorists. In a way they are right about this, the Sunni-Islamic militants of Jabhat al-Nusra, the Islamic Front and the fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant have committed acts of terrorism. But the same can be said about the Syrian government, who started this civil war when they opened fire on unarmed demonstrators in 2011!

Since the start of the civil war in 2011, more then 150.000 Syrians have been killed. Between four and five million civilians have fled their homes. Many have ended up in refugees-camps in Jordan, who has taken up 600.000 Syrian refugees. Yet more then 900.000 Syrians have fled to Lebanon, a tiny nation with a population of 4,8 million people. Now with almost 1 million Syrian refugees, the Lebanese Republic is facing a social dilemma. Lebanon is still very poor after their own civil war ended with the removal of Syrian troops in 2005. The Lebanese civil war turned the nation into a capitalist hell on earth. Good for big business and vulture capitalists, but bad for workers and poor people. Now with 900.000 Syrians entering Lebanon, old sectarian hatred is returning. Between 1990 and 2005, the Syrian Arab Republic occupied parts of Lebanon and oppressed those Lebanese who opposed them!

Like Syria, the Lebanese Republic has a mixture of religions. Shia Islamists are led by the Party of God or Hezbollah. This party wants to build a Shia-Islamic Republic of Lebanon on the model of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which is also a Shia-Islamic nation. Christians make up 41% of the population, the highest percentage of any Arab nation. Islam is dived between Sunni-Islam and Shia-Islam in Lebanon with 27% Shia-Muslims and 27% Sunni-Muslims. Because Syria occupied large parts of Lebanon for more then 15 years, many Lebanese do not like the Syrian refugees. They flood the labour market which is good for capitalists, who have now 900.000 potential new workers. Because Lebanon lacks a genuine workers party, hatred of Syrian immigrants is growing!

Kurdish rebels were able to profit from the uprising in 2011. The Kurdish Self-Administration took over more then 300 ethnic Kurdish towns from Ba'ath rule. Kurds are led by the Democratic Unionist Party ( PYD ) a Kurdish nationalist and reformist socialist party. The PYD can be seen as the Syrian Kurdish PKK ( Kurdistan Workers Party ). PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan is the ideological leader of the Democratic Unionist Party. Although the PYD calls itself democratic socialist, they do not use socialism in their propaganda. The PYD describes itself as believing in social equality, justice and the freedom of belief as well as pluralism and the freedom of political parties. It describes itself as striving for a democratic solution that includes the recognition of cultural, national and political rights and develops and enhances their peaceful struggle to be able to govern themselves in a multicultural, democratic society. But nothing is said about democratic planning of the economy, class struggle and socialism in general!

The Free Syrian Army ( FSA ) is now a minority in the struggle against Bashar Al-Assad. This is because they lack funding, ammunitions and recruits. Most of their soldiers came from the Syrian Arab Army in 2011. But few of these original troops are still fighting. Many have been wounded or killed in the three year struggle against the Syrian government. While the Islamic rebels are on the payrolls of Arab monarchs, the FSA lacks money to buy weapons and equipment. Turkey has been a limited supporter of the FSA, but most western nations have not aided the secular rebels with war materials. They fear that weapons would end up in the hands of radical Islamists, who's goal is to destroy the western world. NATO nations fear another Al-Qaeda situation. The terrorist network that is Al-Qaeda, was founded in 1988 with American money and weapons. Osama Bin Landen was a Saudi-Arabian who fought in Afghanistan against the Soviets. Thanks to American weapons like the M16 assault rifle and billions of dollars, he created Al-Qaeda in 1988!

Because the Islamic rebels have outnumbered the secular rebels, the Syrian government has been able to portray the whole Syrian Opposition as ''terrorist''. This tactic has been very effective in Alawite circles, who fear the dogmatic Sunni-Muslims. But also Christians and Druzes are worried about the growing fundamentalist outlook of many rebels. Bashar Al-Assad and his government can now claim that they are the lesser evil in this civil war. Among western ( Stalinist ) anti-imperialists, Bashar Al-Assad is some kind of hero. Fighting against reactionary islamism and western imperialism. But he is not a working class hero as some would call him. Bashar Al-Assad worked very close with western imperialism. His father Hafez Al-Assad joined the American camp during the first Gulf War in 1991. After his death in 2000, Bashar Al-Assad carried out massive privatisations and deregulations, forcing Syrian workers into poverty as few benefited from the capitalist revolution!

The Al-Assad family share many similarities with the Gaddafi family. Both families took power during the hight of the Cold War. Muammar Gaddafi took power in 1969 and Hafez Al-Assad in 1971. Both started out as Pan-Arabists on the formula of Egypt's president Nasser. Gaddafi abandoned Arab-nationalism for his Jamahiriya in 1977. Hafez Al-Assad also never tried to reunite the Arab world after the failed Federation of Arab Republics. The only remnants of Pan-Arabism in Al-Assad's Syria was the nation's flag. This flag used to be the banner of the United Arab Republic. Syria readopted the colours of Nasser's state in 1980. Although the Syrian flag has been called a Ba'ath banner by the opposition, this is not true. The flag of Syria used by the Syrian government is the former banner of the United Arab Republic!

After Hafez Al-Assad died, his youngest son Bashar became president. Originally his older brother Bassel Al-Assad, should have become president after the death of Hafez. However the successor to the Syrian ''throne'' died in a car crash in 1994. Bashar Al-Assad became president in waiting for six years until Hafez Al-Assad died in 2000. Like the Gaddafi family, the Al-Assad family enjoy special privileges. They own luxurious houses, have access to expensive western products and use the state bureaucracy to get what they want!

Revolutionary socialists reject both the Syrian government and the opposition. Because both groups are committing acts of terrorism against the population. Government soldiers rape, murder and kill all who they call a ''terrorists''. Islamic rebels rape, murder and kill anybody who opposes their Islamic theocracy. Revolutionary socialists say that Syrian workers must act independent of the government and the armed opposition groups. The Kurdish People's Protection Units are a good example of popular defence groups. However the Kurdish forces are limited to the north of Syria. Also the Kurds fight for their own people and not for all workers of Syria!

We say:

No to imperialist intervention! Withdraw of all the foreign troops from Syria and the region!

Against all oppression, the people should democratically decide their own destiny!

For the building of united defence committees, to defend the workers and the poor against sectarian attacks from both sides.

For a Revolutionary Constituent Assembly in Syria!

Implementation of democratic and nationality rights for all, acknowledging the right of self-determination of the Kurdish people.

For the building of independent trade unions

Build a worker’s party, with a programme that fights for land rights and socialist programme of public ownership and workers’ control of the key sectors of the economy

For a democratic and socialist confederation of the Middle East and North Africa.

Armed groups who participate in the Syrian Civil War
as of April 2014

The Donetsk People's Republic vs Ukraine

Russian speaking separatists in Donetsk have established a separatist state called the Donetsk People's Republic. This ''people's republic'' wants to leave Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. Like the former Autonomous Republic of Crimea ( now a federal republic of Russia ) the Donetsk People's Republic has been created by Russian speaking Ukrainians who oppose the nationalist Kiev government. Meanwhile this government is preparing its army to intervene in their eastern provinces. At the same time, Ukrainian nationalists are using violence and intimidation against those who oppose their nationalist agenda. Presidential candidate Oleg Tsarev was severely beaten by angry right-wing Ukrainians, after he gave an interview. The nationalists hate him for his federalism and opposition to the Kiev nationalist government. This is what our ''democratic'' leaders are supporting, an unelected government made up of violent nationalists, oligarchs and right-wing liberals!

But the Russian speaking Ukrainians in the Donetsk Oblast and other eastern provinces, make a big mistake if they think that by joining Russia, they will have a better life. The Kremlin is ruled by a former KGB officer and his oligarch friends. Vladimir Putin is no alternative to the those who rule Kiev since February. Pro-Russian demonstrators took control of some government offices in the Donetsk Oblast. But not all districts are under separatist control. Only the north eastern districts of the Donetsk Oblast are now under what is called the Donetsk People's Republic!

The separatist movement in eastern Ukraine began in February 2014. After president Viktor Yanukovych was removed from power, pro-Russian Ukrainians began to fear the Kiev nationalists. Major Russian television networks have portrayed the Ukrainian Revolution as a '''fascist coup'', since most ethnic Russians in Ukraine watch Russian television, they are let to believe that Kiev is now pure fascist. This is not true however, sure the Kiev government is 1/3 nationalist, but the other 2/3 are not. In fact the prime minister of Ukraine is a member of the liberal conservative party, also many ministers are ''Euromaiden'' activists and not at all fascist. However it is  true that the Kiev government opposes Russia and wants to move closer to the European Union. This is rejected by the ethnic Russian majority in eastern provinces. As said before in previous socialist documents, this conflict is the result of 24 years of deep hatred between ethnic Ukrainians and ethnic Russians. While most of Ukraine is ethnic Ukrainian, the eastern provinces and the Crimea, have a Russian speaking majority who do not identify themselves with Ukrainian culture and history!

Then there is Ukrainian nationalism and anticommunism. After the collapse of the USSR, the new Ukrainian state turned anticommunist and portrays the Soviet-Union very negatively. Russians in Ukraine have always rejected this, unlike the ethnic Ukrainians the Russians see the former USSR as mostly positive. Revolutionary socialists can understand both the Ukrainians and Russians. For Ukrainians the Soviet-Union was a Russian dominated state, a totalitarian dictatorship that enforced Russian chauvinism. But for Russians the USSR was a nation that fought against fascism and kept capitalism out. They refuse to listen to the dogma's of anticommunism that are spread by the Ukrainians. Revolutionary socialists say the both Ukrainians and Russian are right and wrong. The USSR was indeed a Russian chauvinist state after Stalin's complete takeover in 1928. But it was also a state that destroyed fascism and kept 1/3 of the world free from capitalist exploitation for 70 years. Ukrainians are led by anticommunist lies and Russians are led by Stalinist propaganda. The Union of Socialist Soviet Republics was not a socialist nation, but a degenerated ''workers'' state!

The Donetsk Oblast is made up of 26,517 km2. Its population is 4,356,392 and 71% speak Russian. This would mean that at least 3 million people in Donetsk are ethnic Russian. Because Russians are the ethnic majority, they did not seem to oppose the separatists who took over the offices of the Ukrainian government. Deep in their hearts most Russian speaking Ukrainians hate the ethnic Ukrainians, for their anti-Russian views and their support for nationalist fighters who opposed the USSR during world war 2. The separatist Donetsk People's Republic wants to separate the Donetsk Oblast from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation like the Republic of Crimea did. This is something the Kiev nationalist government will not allow. They were unable to stop Russia from taking the Crimea, but it is unlikely they will remain pacifist!

Pavel Yurevich Gubarev is the so called ''people's governor'' of the Donetsk People's Republic. He declared himself leader of the separatist state on 6 March 2014. The same day he was arrested by Ukrainian secret agents. It is reported the Gubarev is taken to Kiev to be tried for treason. Ten days later, the Donbass People's Militia attacked the government offices and called for the release of Gubarev. On 15 April 2014, the Ukrainian Army had started its operation against the separatists in the Donetsk Oblast after the Donbass People's Militia refused to surrender their weapons. If the conflict escalated into fighting, Ukraine could face a civil war! 

The Russian Federation has warned Ukraine that violence against Russian speaking Ukrainians, would not be tolerated by the Kremlin. The world fears that Vladimir Putin will use the separatist crisis to invade the eastern provinces of Ukraine including the Donetsk Oblast. At this moment the situation is very alarming. If the Donbass People's Militia chooses to fight the Ukrainian Armed Forces, then other separatists will fight too. Eastern Ukraine would become a battlefield, which could lead to ethnic cleansing. Because Ukrainians are a minority in the Donetsk Oblast. They make up 29% of the population and will support the Ukrainian military. This would anger the Russian speaking majority who support the separatists. We revolutionary socialists fear that racial hatred and ethnic cleansing are possible in this atmosphere of nationalism and chauvinism!

We call workers to reject the poison that is nationalism and chauvinism. Kiev and Moscow are battling for power. Workers have nothing to win by joining with either the nationalist Ukranians or the Russian separatists. Ukraine must become a socialist workers state, a democratic socialist nation for all workers. This is what Lenin and Trotsky wanted. They rejected the bourgeois leaders who in 1917 tried to build a nationalist republic. Workers councils created the Ukrainian People's Republic of Soviets in opposition to the Ukrainian National Republic. However the first socialist state in Ukraine was destroyed in March 1918 by nationalist forces. It would take another year before the workers councils ( soviets ) were able to rebuild a socialist Ukraine with support from Soviet Russia!

Unfortunate because of Stalinist degeneration, the Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic never became a genuine socialist nation. In 1990, nationalist forces were able to win the elections and reestablish capitalism. They allowed oligarchs to become rich at the expense of workers. 24% of all people live in poverty because of capitalist exploitation. Those who do not live in poverty, still have to struggle under capitalism in Ukraine. Because the IMF and the Kiev government have already agreed to massive austerity. A workers party is needed to fight the nationalists and the Russian chauvinists. The alternative is not Brussels or Moscow, but Marxist socialism!

The Donetsk People's Republic was founded in a assembly hall  
of a occupied regional government building in the Donetsk Oblast! 

Workers between Ukraine and Russia

The working class of both Ukraine and Russia are dragged into a sectarian conflict between the two nations. After the Crimea separated itself from Ukraine, now other provinces with a large Russian speaking population are falling victim to Russian chauvinism and Ukrainian nationalism. The nation that is Ukraine is deeply dived between ethnic Ukrainians, from who many are anti-Russian and ethnic Russians who oppose the current nationalist government in Kiev. In the Crimea, the Russian speaking majority was able to join the Russian Federation thanks to Russian troops who entered the former Autonomous Republic of Crimea. Now the other east Ukrainian provinces are in turmoil. But the main reason behind the sudden rise of Russian chauvinism and Ukrainian nationalism is 24 years of capitalist exploitation and the way both ethnic groups look at Soviet history! 

Russian Ukrainians in both the Crimea and some eastern provinces of Ukraine, have never been accepted by the more nationalistic Ukrainians. After the collapse of the USSR, the new Ukrainian government started to rewrite history in favour of nationalists who fought the Soviet government in both the civil war era and the second world war. For many Ukrainians ( especially the younger generation ) the bourgeois leaders of the first Ukrainian People's Republic ( 1917-1921 ) were the true founding fathers of modern Ukraine. But the Russian speaking Ukrainians see the Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic as the founding state. Then there is the Stalinist period ( 1924-1991 ), the period of Russian cultural dominance over Ukraine. During this period the Russians were the ones who controlled the nation. Those who opposed Stalin's Russian chauvinism were called ''anticommunist'' and ''counter-revolutionary''!

After Stalin's death, the Russian leadership in Moscow made some reforms, but kept all political power centralized in the Russian capital. Nikita Khrushchev was a Ukrainian by birth, but as a Stalinist he supported the chauvinist Russians. It was only after Stalin's death that he gave the Crimea to Ukraine, which was a pure bureaucratic move, because the Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic was controlled by Moscow, like the other republics of the USSR!

When stalinism collapsed, Ukrainian nationalism rose again. Russians who lived in Ukraine were suddenly forced to adapt to Ukrainian cultural traditions. For many this was unacceptable. After years of being the supreme culture and ethnic group of the Stalinist USSR, most Russians refused to call themselves Ukrainian. This resulted in ethnic conflicts with Ukrainian nationalists, who are deeply anti-Russian. The nationalists point at the crimes of Russian leaders, both Czarist and Stalinist. Russians counter-react to the crimes committed by nationalist forces during the second world war. Since 1990 the two ethnic groups are involved in sectarianism. The current escalation is only the final spark in a conflict which is 25 years old!

In the absence of a genuine workers party, the proletariat of Ukraine is divided. The official Communist Party of Ukraine support Russian chauvinism and the legacy of Joseph Stalin. They are called a ''Russian'' party by the right-wing nationalists and liberals. But the stalinists are not the only pro-Russian political party. Conservative Ukrainians also reject the anti-Russian liberals for their support of western governments. The former president of Ukraine was a conservative, but also pro-Russian and against the western world. When the working class started to rebel against the authoritarian and corrupt Yanukovych government, they were dragged into the anti-Russian camp as nationalists, liberals and pro-western activists took power in Kiev. This new government totally rejects Russia and its supporters have vandalized many Soviet memorials!

Because of these vandals and right-wing nationalists hate speech against ethnic Russians, the Kremlin has now turned its propaganda machine against Ukraine. Telling its own people that the Ukrainians government is ''fascist'' and pure evil. Many Russians now believe that Kiev is fully under control of the same fascists who supported the Germans in 1941. Although far-right forces are part of the government, most members of the ''Euromaiden'' movement are not fascist, nor hard-core nationalist. They only wanted an end to the corrupt Yanukovych regime. Because there was no workers party to lead both working classes, the bourgeoisie and oligarchs took power. The Kiev government has appointed many oligarchs as governors of provinces, replacing democratic elected ( mostly pro-Russian ) officials. The Dnepropetrovsk governor is Igor Kolomoysky, Ukraine’s third-wealthiest man, with an estimated fortune of $2.4 billion. New Governor of Donetsk Region is Sergey Taruta, who is estimated to worth around $2 billion, putting him among the top-10 wealthiest people in Ukraine!

The United States of America and the European Union are fully supportive of the new Kiev nationalist government. They blame Russia for the unrest in the eastern provinces of Ukraine. The western world is playing the old Cold War game. They need a pro-western government in Ukraine to strengthen the might of western imperialism against Russian imperialism. Because this is what the USA and Europe wants, they want to limit the influence of the Kremlin in Eastern Europe. This is a classic imperialist game, were capitalist government are turning against each other. The western nations say they do it for ''democracy'' and ''freedom'', while Russia says it is ''protecting'' its civilians against vandals and hooligans. But both sides are of the same coin, the coin of world capitalism. Both Ukrainian and Russian oligarchs will profit from this conflict. Just look at the capitalist reforms in the Crimea, which the Kremlin is carrying out. Also the Kiev government has agreed to massive austerity under orders of the International Monetary Fund. Workers do not benefit from either supporting Kiev or Moscow!

In the city of Luhansk, ethnic Russians have stormed the building of the Ukrainian Secret Service. They raised the Russian Czarist banner and destroyed the symbols of Ukraine. The government in Kiev claims they are separatists, supported by Russia. As of 8 April 2014, they have still occupied the building. In other cities with a large ethnic Russian population, there have been chauvinist demonstrations. Russian Czarist flags and few Soviet banners are side by side, showing how the banners of the Soviet-Union are abused for Russian chauvinism. Indeed, the statues of Lenin have become a rally ground for ethnic Russian Ukrainians, who wave with the banner of Imperial Russia next to the statue of a man who hated chauvinism, imperialism and capitalism! 

Revolutionary socialists reject the pro-Russian demonstrators. We reject those who think that Russia is the alternative. But this does not mean we are in the camp of western imperialism. For us the Kiev government is a tool of the IMF and the oligarchy. A workers party on a socialist program must be build. Such a party would unite the Ukrainian and Russian working classes against nationalists, chauvinists, oligarchs, liberals and conservatives. Because the official communist party support Russian chauvinism, the ideology of Marxist socialism has been called a ''Russian'' ideology by nationalist politicians. But the only reason ethnic Russians rally at Lenin's statues, is because the old USSR was a Russian dominated nation. Workers in today's Ukraine have no class consciousness, this is the result of nationalist and chauvinist propaganda. 70 years of Stalinist rule are also fresh in memory. The struggle for genuine socialism will be difficult in Ukraine and Russia!

Czarist eagles and flags are used by armed Russian chauvinists,
who have occupied the Ukrainian Secret Service building in Luhansk!

Struggle, Solidarity, Socialism

Struggle, Solidarity, Socialism