Communism and the national question

Communists must move beyond the same old phrase mongering and critically look at the national question. 

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US imperialism must be defeated through global communist revolution for national oppression to be abolished.

The national question is one of the most controversial debates within the field of marxism. Whether one agrees with the Austro-Marxists, Kautsky and Lenin, or Bukharin and Luxemburg, it is undeniably a complex question. One could say that we need a better framework for understanding the national question in an era of decolonization of global US imperialism. In this piece I’ll attempt to sketch out an outline as to how to best approach the spectre of nationalism.

The national question refers to a series of arguments, all which generally seek to address the question: What is the best way to end the inequalities between nations? As Communists, we ultimately aim for the abolition of the nation-state in favor of a worldwide community of humanity, where the social conflicts that create national oppression have been eradicated. This is a vision that pretty much all actual communists accept. Yet the aspect of “how we get there” has often meant either making concessions to nationalism (like the Marxist-Leninists) or essentially ignoring the problem of national oppression completely as if communist revolution will make the political reality of national oppression take care of itself (various left communists).

The position I am arguing for is not going to base itself on the principle of “self-determination for nations”. While sometimes self-determination is appropriate to take up as a slogan, it entails that nations as such have an inherent right to a vague notion of self-determination. What defines a nation is a product of collectivities that are cross-class in nature, as national identities are socially constructed in a way that calls for a unity that transcends class conflict. In other words nations are bourgeois projects, and saying that they have an inherent right to self-determination (which can be defined in a way making it open to abuse) is not feasible to uphold as a principle if one wishes to do away with the bourgeois order.

This is not an argument that the revolutions of national liberation were not historically progressive and that the world wouldn’t be better without colonialism. Colonial oppression itself made proletarian organization very difficult with its attacks on democratic rights and enforced economic backwardness. While it is true that the national liberation revolutions were not proletarian movements that led to socialism of any kind, they did establish important democratic rights for many nationalities. However what resulted however was not an equality of nations, but what some have called “neo-colonialism”. I prefer to call it simple what it is, which is capitalist imperialism, based on the hegemonic military power of the USA and its allies in the world which allows it to regulate the rules of global capital to their benefit.

As long as the world is organized in a hierarchy of competing nation states where some are more powerful than others and able to dictate their interests upon weaker states through sanctions, trade deals, proxy wars, etc. there will be an inequality of nations. While many national liberation revolutionaries were aware of the problems of the the national bourgeoisie, they sought the Stalinist plan of “socialism in one country” as an answer to this problem. By existing as autarkies in the capitalist system nations could opt out and produce a system where the state “served the people”. Yet the promise of autarky can hardly live up to realities of the global imperialist system, especially after the collapse of the soviet bloc. Hence attempts at socialism in one country as a form of national liberation have been returning to market systems and cooperating with US imperialism (Cuba, China, Vietnam).

Therefore one cannot separate the problem of abolishing capitalism from the problem of abolishing the world system of nation-states. This entails going beyond the form of the nation state, which is not accomplished by national-liberation revolutions or socialism-in-one-country. We aim for the worldwide cooperative commonwealth, where all of the world’s people are able to fully flourish as individuals to the maximum capacity. This means ending the “war of all against all” that results from the competition for resources between humans, hence a central world government that can make economic and political decisions at the world level. We want a system where as much of humanity as possible is united in a common process of planning its social reproduction. Therefore it makes sense to prefer larger, centralized bodies as opposed to secession and balkanization. Continental, and then World, republics that unite as many nationalities as possible should be our aim. And of course we should build Communist Parties that prefigure this vision.

The “right to self-determination” essentially is promising something communists don’t actually want to ultimately deliver on, because our aim is not national independence but internationalist cooperation. Yet what if a national grouping, with a historic legacy of oppression from a state undergoing revolution, aims to secede from a broader socialist republic? Can they simply be invaded and annexed by the workers state?

My initial answer to this is no, as it would simply be a form of “red imperialism” where communists are complicit in furthering a historical legacy of national oppression. While some secessionist movements are clearly reactionary and should be ruthlessly crushed (like if white nationalists tried to form their own state in the Pacific Northwest) we have to deal with each movement according to its specific historical and immediate circumstances. For example, if revolution happened in the USA and Puerto Rico chose to secede, would invading the population be ok? As Communists we believe in basic republican equality – that no one group has an intrinsic right to rule over another group. Because of this we aim to destroy the world hierarchy of imperialist states and end all forms of national oppression, an action like annexing Puerto Rico would go against these basic principles. One does not need to believe in the “right to self-determination” as a principle to agree with this but simply the principle of national equality between peoples.

Yet if we do believe (like all marxists should) that class contradiction in the end will be more decisive than national antagonisms then it would expected that workers in a state seceding from a workers republic will eventually revolt against the national bourgeoisie. As Communists our job would be to aid these workers and agitate for international communism, essentially pursuing a “foreign policy” of promoting international revolution in the workers movement, arguing for class independence from the bourgeois nationalists and pushing for world-wide cooperation through communism as a solution to the problems of class society. This could go as far as arming and sending in international brigades to help workers overthrow a corrupt government, which would not be some equivalent to imperialist interventionism but an express of class solidarity beyond national borders.

To promote co-operation, Communists must recognize the democratic rights of oppressed nationalities and fight for them, for example the right to participate in civil society in your own language. We must prove that communism is not only economically superior, but also politically, that people will not lose their rights and culture if they are a part of the workers republic. While obviously this shouldn’t mean conceding any basic rights seen as universal, the historic oppression of national groups needs to be addressed in a way that doesn’t reproduce great-nation chauvinism like the Stalinist USSR.

Ultimately it will be through a process of cultural exchange that is unprecedented in history that a new world culture that whithers away nations will be developed by worldwide social revolution. Cultural exchange where all are equals in a human community that wouldn’t be tainted by xenophobia would would see a world where national distinctions become more and more irrelevant, a world without borders where humans do not own land but are ensured to have access to housing and basic needs. Communism can provide this; nationalism cannot except perhaps in undesirable forms of “barracks socialism” which have their own class distinctions. A world party, where communists of all nationalities coordinate the revolution, will act as a preparation for the kind of international cooperation needed for communism.

My aim here is not to find a one size fits all solution to the national question, but rather to provide an alternative way of thinking about national rights that does not rely on the notion of “right to self-determination” which is often simply means “the right for the bourgeois to rule”. Communists must push for class independence from nationalists of all kinds, first and foremost those of their own nation. As Karl Liebknecht said, “the main enemy is at home”. It is important to promote the notion that the workers movement in all parts of the world must pursue class independence from the national bourgeoisie and not get caught in promoting anti-imperialist fronts with various military dictators and bonapartists. Yet as revolutionaries in the USA, the main hegemon of imperialism, our primary aim is to promote the defeat and removal of US forces in all cases of intervention. We must uncompromisingly take this position, especially in an era where imperialist agendas are presented under a “humanitarian guise”. The historical track record shows US imperialism is not progressive in any way but rather contributes to the scale and deadliness of global conflicts. So even if the idea of “exporting democracy” were morally justifiable, it would fail regardless. Democracy today (the real kind that puts power in the hands of the proletariat as opposed to the liberal-constitutionalism of the US gov) can only come through the organization of the proletariat regardless of nationality.

Hopefully I have brought clarity to some of the issues at stake in the national question rather than just indulging in the same old phraseology common among marxists. The 20th Century showed the difficulties that nationalism of many varieties posed to the communist movement and the role they played in its failure. So addressing nationalism is no small task. My hope here is to spark some debate and polemic with comrades on the topic that can help us move into a more programmatic approach from the typical leftist phrase mongering and displays of moral righteousness.

Debs: The Last Presidential Candidate Worth Voting For

Bernie Sanders’ attempts to appeal to the legacy of a true class militant like Eugene Debs are laughable and pathetic, writes Anton Johannsen. 

Jeb? DEBS!

Jeb? DEBS!

I’m an anarchist. I’m a communist, too. Don’t worry. I’ve read my Marx, and I keep the faith. I know the differences between a socialist, an anarchist and a communist, or the supposed ones anyhow. I know that Albert Parsons felt he had exhausted Chicago’s corrupt and ensnaring local system of political governance, and this drove him toward political anarchism. I know that nothing short of revolution can deal with the antagonisms inherent in capitalism. This and many other historical lessons have made me very skeptical of electoralism.

But I always said I would vote for Eugene V. Debs. A founding member of both the IWW, and the Socialist Party of America, Debs was born in Indiana in 1854. He got work in younger years in rail car painting, and as he began a local political life in the Democratic party, also became a member of the existing Railway unions.

By the 1890’s he helped form one of the first examples of industrial unionism, the American Railway Union. Shortly thereafter, he took up leadership of the Pullman Strike, and was arrested on charges of interfering with the U.S. Post (as the railcars produced by Pullman were meant to carry mail).

While in jail for this for 6 months, Debs read Kautsky, Marx, and other socialist authors and became enamored with the ideas.

“…I began to read and think and dissect the anatomy of the system in which workingmen, however organized, could be shattered and battered and splintered at a single stroke. The writings of Bellamy and Blatchford early appealed to me. The Cooperative Commonwealth of Gronlund also impressed me, but the writings of Kautsky were so clear and conclusive that I readily grasped, not merely his argument, but also caught the spirit of his socialist utterance – and I thank him and all who helped me out of darkness into light.”

By 1897 he began to openly advocate for socialism, and work to develop a socialist party.

Pullman Railway Workers Confront Illinois National Guard

Pullman Railway Workers Confront Illinois National Guard

The Debs of this period actually quite embodied the conservative, anti-immigrant politics of the Democratic party of the time. He regarded immigration as a burden on the American worker, who would be in competition with low-wage workers. However, as Debs himself latter reflected that during the Pullman Strike he was “…baptized in socialism in the roar of conflict.” Before reading Marx, the ARU and Debs were faced with uniting Railway workers who had been historically divided by craft unions that had no qualms scabbing on each-other. This practical task is that to which Deb refers, along with the brutal putting down of the strike by the National Guard, Federal Troops, and Grover Cleveland, the Democratic President. As a result of these experiences Debs would move away from his anti-immigrant, pro-Democratic Party stance.

Further, Debs’ development makes the cynical, ignorant, self-interested ideology of Bernie Sanders and his “socialist” advocates so strikingly clear. Unlike Sanders’ xenophobic line on immigration, or trade with China, torn straight from the failed ideology of AFL-CIO bureaucrats, Debs refused to support any proposal to limit immigration while running for President:

“Having just read the majority report of the Committee on Immigration. It is utterly unsocialistic, reactionary and in truth outrageous, and I hope you will oppose with all your power. The plea that certain races are to be excluded because of tactical expediency would be entirely consistent in a bourgeois convention of self-seekers, but should have no place in a proletariat gathering under the auspices of an international movement that is calling on the oppressed and exploited workers of all the world to unite for their emancipation. . . .

Let those desert us who will because we refuse to shut the international door in the faces of their own brethren; we will be none the weaker but all the stronger for their going, for they evidently have no clear conception of the international solidarity, are wholly lacking in the revolutionary spirit, and have no proper place in the Socialist movement while they entertain such aristocratic notions of their own assumed superiority.

Let us stand squarely on our revolutionary, working class principles and make our fight openly and uncompromisingly against all our enemies, adopting no cowardly tactics and holding out no false hopes, and our movement will then inspire the faith, arouse the spirit, and develop the fibre that will prevail against the world.”

Later, in 1916, the SPA’s central committee drafted the National Program to accompany Debs run for President. Instead of the usual party convention used to draft a program, the SPA decided to save funds and have it drafted by the more conservative executive committee, and then put it to referendum. Debs suggestions embody clearly three principles from which so many “socialists” have strayed far from these days:

First: The class struggle should be more clearly and specifically stated and more emphatically declared…
Second: The platform should declare in positive and unequivocal terms in favor of revolutionary economic organization, and state the reason for it. (Here is referring to, for example, the IWW)…
Third: I am opposed with every drop in my veins to the two declarations in favor of war. If these are permitted to stand the party might as well declare openly in favor of militarism…”

The second two reasons are the most important for us today. Since the failure of the Bolshevik revolution, most “socialists” have been bouncing around the globe trying to support third-world bonapartist dictators and nationalist uprising. Aside from integrating emerging capitalist countries into the foreign policy designs of the USSR, this terrible digression demoralized the world working class, and at every turn impeded a basic socialist principle: Capitalism is served in it’s inevitable and intermittent crises by recourse to bloody, destructive and terrifying war; civil war, guerilla war, imperialist competition, coup d’etats. If the working class is to be anything like an organized force to combat capital, it must abandon it’s mythological national heritages, and stand for the world.

I would vote Debs because he was relentless in his critique of the corrupt, reformist, craft-oriented AFL. The second argument, that socialists ought to support not reformist, bureaucratic unions, but fighting, ideologically socialist, or class unions is certainly one of the most unpopular ideas of today. There is no shortage of preening, “secret” communists who “go where the workers are”, those 7-8% that still are in “unions” to pursue William Fosters grand strategy of “boring from within” (and it sure is BORING!). This isn’t to say workers in those places ought not to fight tooth and nail to put communist revolution on the agenda. Indeed it is to say they must do so purely on an understanding that capitalism cannot dispense with class struggle, that the only hope for humanity is that workers dispense with capitalism, by winning the class war!

Cheap, dime-a-dozen politicians trying to reinvigorate the base of a war-mongering, dyed-in-the-wool capitalist racket like the Democratic Party might occasionally appeal to some vague notion of Debs. Debs himself, however, was unequivocal, uncompromising, and a true working class leader.

Eugene Debs Speaking

A final example: Debs spent the years leading up to US involvement in WWI railing against “preparedness” as promulgated by militarists and industrialists. When the war came, Debs continued to condemn it. Doing what any real socialist ought to, he encouraged draft dodging and resistance on the part of working people everywhere. For this, he was charged with sedition, and sentenced to 10 years in prison as well as being “disenfranchised for life.” Debs spoke in his defense during the trial:

“Your honor, I have stated in this court that I am opposed to the form of our present government; that I am opposed to the social system in which we live; that I believe in the change of both but by perfectly peaceable and orderly means….

I am thinking this morning of the men in the mills and factories; I am thinking of the women who, for a paltry wage, are compelled to work out their lives; of the little children who, in this system, are robbed of their childhood, and in their early, tender years, are seized in the remorseless grasp of Mammon, and forced into the industrial dungeons, there to feed the machines while they themselves are being starved body and soul….

Your honor, I ask no mercy, I plead for no immunity. I realize that finally the right must prevail. I never more fully comprehended than now the great struggle between the powers of greed on the one hand and upon the other the rising hosts of freedom. I can see the dawn of a better day of humanity. The people are awakening. In due course of time they will come into their own. When the mariner, sailing over tropic seas, looks for relief from his weary watch, he turns his eyes toward the Southern Cross, burning luridly above the tempest-vexed ocean. As the midnight approaches the Southern Cross begins to bend, and the whirling worlds change their places, and with starry finger-points the Almighty marks the passage of Time upon the dial of the universe; and though no bell may beat the glad tidings, the look-out knows that the midnight is passing– that relief and rest are close at hand. Let the people take heart and hope everywhere, for the cross is bending, midnight is passing, and joy cometh with the morning.”

While in prison, Eugene Debs ran for President another time. He was not a scheming politician. He was not lapdog to the Democrats and their moneyed-masters. He was a socialist, committed indefatigably to the millions of workers of the world, not only in the U.S., but everywhere because a socialist has no country. 

Debs Convict for PresidentTrue, Debs like many socialist of the period had a tendency to paper over deep and long running racial tensions that fractured U.S. society. Then again at times he could be exceedingly lucid:

“As a social party we receive the Negro and all other races upon absolutely equal terms. We are the party of the working class, the whole working class, and we will not suffer ourselves to be divided by any specious appeal to race prejudice; and if we should be coaxed or driven from the straight road we will be lost in the wilderness and ought to perish there, for we shall no longer be a Socialist party….

There never was any social inferiority that was not the shrivelled fruit of economic inequality. The Negro, given economic freedom, will not ask the white man any social favors; and the burning question of “social equality” will disappear like mist before the sunrise.

I have said and say again that, properly speaking, there is no Negro question outside of the labor question—the working class struggle. Our position as Socialists and as a party is perfectly plain. We have simply to say: “The class struggle is colorless.” The capitalists, white, black and other shades, are on one side and the workers, white, black and all other colors, on the other side….”

What seems like a genuine thrust for equality, was likely hamstrung by taking races as given, instead of seeing racism as the social process by which racist relations are “objectified” in race. It is certainly true that there is no intrinsic difference between people of different races, but there are pernicious and complex social relations which often take cover in the guise of flesh.  Neverless it seems to me that Debs, in many of his principles, has plenty to offer socialists of today.

If you want a career politician like Bernie Sanders to “broker” a better deal for “American Workers” with the capitalist class, at the expense of struggling workers in Mexico, Korea, China, etc. then go for it. And in 4 years or so all the pensions and benefits, paltry as they are, that are granted to you for shirking your own class, will be wiped out by another capitalist crisis. Trumka, Sanders, Clinton, will all come back around to pander to you and tell you how hard they’re working to harmonize the interests of labor and capital yet again.

I’ll be keeping an eye out for the next Debs.

“I am not a capitalist soldier; I am a proletarian revolutionist. I do not belong to the regular army of the plutocracy, but to the irregular army of the people. I refuse to obey any command to fight from the ruling class, but I will not wait to be commanded to fight for the working class. I am opposed to every war but one; I am for that war with heart and soul, and that is the world-wide war of social revolution. In that war I am prepared to fight in any way the ruling class may make necessary, even to the barricades.” – Eugene V. Debs

Works Referenced or otherwise worth reading:
Class Unionism
The Negro Question in the Class Struggle
John Brown America’s Greatest Hero
A Letter from Debs on Immigration
On the Proposed National Platform
Canton Ohio Anti-War Speech
Statement to the Court 1918

What is happening in Ukraine? Interview with International Secretary of KRAS-IWA

This is a translation of an interview made by Chinese anarchist blog “emblack.wordpress.com” with international secretary of KRAS-IWA, an anarcho-syndicalist union in Russia. Posted from here

Ukraine

How would you explain what is happening in Ukraine? What happened in Ukraine to bring it to such a war situation now?

The Ukrainian crisis is a multi-level phenomenon. It developed against a background of bad social and economic situation of working people arose from continuous neoliberal reforms after the end of “Soviet Union”. This situation led to deep discontent in the society. But it is not this social discontent which produced the so-called Euromaidan protest in 2013, but the political games in the ruling elites of Ukrainian “oligarchic democracy”. The protest actions for integration in the EU were started by a little bunch of youths from the “middle class”, and they obtained a organizational, financial, political, medial etc. support from the oppositional tycoons and parties which wanted to depose their competitor, the little group around President Yanukovich. It was from the beginning not a social protest but a clear political multi-class movement with no less reactionary characteristics than the Yanukovich regime. During the long and violent confrontation on the streets between the opposition and police forces, the protesters begun to arm themselves, and the openly ultranationalist and neofascist forces and groups conquerred a hegemony on the street and in the discourse. After the violent overthrow of Yanukovitch in Kiev, a counter-movement arose in the East of Ukraine, at first, with the federalist demands, and then under the banner of Russian nationalism and separatism as a counter-play to Ukrainian nationalism of Maidan. This movement is also under the leadership of bourgeoisie, and the pro-Russian ultra-rightists and neofascists playing a very significant part here. The separatist regimes in Donbass are no less reactionary then in Kiev. And there is a civil war between them.

The intervention of foreign powers is another decisive factor in the crisis. The USA, the states of EU, the NATO and the Russian state have manifold interests in Ukraine: economical, political, strategic and military. The worldwide struggle for a new repartition of World between the capitalist powers continues, and they wage a “substitute” war on the soil of Ukraine. Western powers supported from the beginning the Euromaidan and then the new, the NATO-oriented regime in Kiev, giving to new rulers money, consultants, weapons and dictating the politic designed by IMF. On the other hand, the Kremlin used the situation of quasi “failed state” in Ukraine to annex the Crimea and to help to Eastern separatists, directly and indirectly. In such a way, the foreign powers struggling each other using their puppets in Ukraine.

Ukraine actually has a long anarchist tradition, people were telling me that everybody in Ukraine has known or heard something about anarchism, did any anarchist movement really root in the society today, if not why, if yes how?

This tradition existed of course, but it was interrupted by Bolshevist and Stalinist repressions as in other parts of “Soviet Union”. It`s true that almost everybody in Ukraine heard about Nestor Makhno, but people consider him as a “popular hero” rather as an anarchist. This leads to very strange phenomena. Both Ukrainian nationalists and people from East of Ukraine take now Makhno as their “own”, without having any real understanding or knowledge about Anarchism and about it aims.

So we can`t say that anarchism has more roots in the Ukrainian society than anywhere. The society in Ukraine is atomized as in the other countries of ex-“Soviet Union”, and the workers haven`t a class or libertarian consciousness.

What about the anarchist history in Ukraine, was it only Nestor’s army or was there other existing anarchist faction, what were they like, if they are now existed in any other different way?

Properly speaking, the Makhnovist army was not anarchist; it was rather a formation of local / regional self-defense, consisted mainly of peasants. Among the political active people, there were not only anarchists therein, but also members of “Party of Left Social Revolutionaries”, non-party people or sometimes also rank-and-file Bolshevists. And this army didn`t have any “anarchist program”: it declared only that it aimed to liberate the population of dictates from outside and to give to it a possibility to organize life how people wanted. There were only a few socialized industries or agrarian communes; the traditional structures of peasants self-administration dominated in the countryside. But it`s true that the anarchists played a key role both in the army and in the constructive work in the liberated areas. The principal anarchist organization was the “Confederation of Ukraine`s Anarchists “Tocsin””. It was surely a most attractive anarchist association which participated in the Russian Revolution 1917–1921. It militants (Voline, Aron Baron etc.) had most developed and radical revolutionary ideas, combining anarchist communism as the goal, syndicalism as the means and anarchist individualism as a philosophy, and they proposed to all anarchists to unite themselves on this ground. The militants of “Tocsin” organized worker unions / syndicates, initiated the building of free Councils and their Congresses, made a school, cultural and propaganda work, and they struggled also in the army of Makhno. This organization was destructed by the Bolshevik State simultaneously with the suppression of Makhnovist movement; some militants were arrested and later executed, the other get in foreign exile. But there were several attempts to rebuild the “Tocsin” in the underground, up to the beginning of 1930s. The repressions of the State were terrible.

Unfortunately, this tradition was interrupted. The new libertarian movement in the Ukraine emerged in the time of Soviet “Perestroika”, in the beginning as a part of an Union-wide movement. Like the most libertarian groups in Russia, it was rather “moderate”, sometime supporting the ideas of a “market socialism without state” or some other strange things. In the 1990s, two principal centers of movement appeared. The first, the so-called “RKAS Makhno” had it strongholds in the East, in Donbass. Despite some allusion to anarcho-syndicalism, this organization was more or less “platformist”, i.e. it advocated a building of a centralist “anarchist” party for leading unions or other social movements. There were also some moments of a quasi-religious sects in it: there was a real leader who was in the same time a teacher of martial art Wing Chun, and the trainings went hand in hand with the mental influence of “anarchist” postulates. In the 2000s, the leaders of the group tried to build a new “platformist” International, with the groups or people from Ukraine, Russia, Georgia, Bulgaria, Germany, Israel etc., but this project failed after a short time. After the beginning of actual civil war in the Ukraine, the RKAS ceased it activities: some militants supported the Ukrainian state, some others get to separatist army units, and the leaders declared the organization “frozen”.

The other center of movement was in Kiev. It was from the beginning more “new leftist” or sub-cultural, partly with intellectual semi-marxist interests. In the 1990s and 2000s, they animated a semi-syndicalist student union “Direct action”, together with the Trotskyists and some other Marxists. The group didn`t have any clear conception of anarchism, mixing together some platformist, syndicalist and neomarxist elements. Then they proclaimed creation of an “adult” organization, “Autonomous Workers Union” (AWU), which contacted the Swedish SAC and other reformist syndicalists abroad. After the beginning of the actual crisis, the more important figures in the AWU supported the Maidan, declaring it a “bourgeois revolution”. They defend the Ukrainian “national liberation” and the actual regime in Kiev against Russia, rejecting the internationalist position against all states, governments and nations and welcoming the NATO. Some members of the AWU consider such position “too nationalist”. They consider themselves “internationalist” and created a group “Black Rainbow”, but they miss until now to reject Maidan and to break definitely with the nationalist leadership of AWU.

Ukraine in recently years has had a lot of politically active groups appear. When we say political, it says it is almost a pan-political trend of people thinking if they act under the name of the “nation” or a certain big name such as “feminist” or such they are rather promoting a democratic or post colonial change (reflects the culture imperialism they have faced in such political-economical weakness in Europe) under its acute political/economic situation. What do you think are the real interests of the people in this? Are they facing such a difficult time that they are using a lot of names to confuse people about what are the real problems? And what is the reason it brought such an revolt with the people?

It`s a very important point. This problem exists not only in Ukraine, it is worldwide. In the last years, we see a lot of movements in different countries (from Egyptian Tahrir to “movement for free elections” in Russia or “umbrella protest” in Hong Kong), where there are no social and economical demands but only striving for removal of some politicians and for replacing them with others. Moreover, because the demands for any real different social politic are absent, these new rulers obtain in the fact a “carte blanche” for the continuation of the same (or for the carrying out of even worse) politics against working people. These movements are usually multi-classist and occur under the hegemony of bourgeoisie and oppositional politicians. The active political or non-governmental groups mentioned by you consist partly exactly of such people with “middle-class mentality” who think that the existing authorities, corruptions etc. hinder them to go upstairs. Sometime they name themselves a “creative class”. But it`s true that sometime there are also working people who participate in these movements. The grounds are various: the democratic illusions, the lack of class and libertarian consciousness, the personalization of politics (with an identification of system problems with concrete politicians), the absence of any alternative idea about how the society can be reorganized etc.

Unfortunately, some libertarian groups and militants incline to participate in these “pure political” movements “for the democracy”. Some share in the reality a Marxist concept of “stages in the revolution”: first the bourgeois democracy and only then a social revolution. Some other are simply too “movementist”: for them, the principal thing is to do something, and what concretely – it`s secondary. We say in jest about activist “adrenaline-dependence” in such cases. And some activists are afraid “to cut adrift from The People”: as though “the People” are always right… Some try to find the elements of “self-organization” even in reactionary and nationalist mass movements, forgetting that even the fascism can be “self-organized” and that exactly a coincidence of form and content is important…

In our opinion, this is a very dangerous trend. We can and must participate only in the broader movements which promote an independence of working people from ruling classes and politicians, which help to destroy illusions and not to strengthen them. So pure “political-democratic” movements, without any real social demands and under the leadership of politicians, aren`t interesting for us as Anarchists. A normal decisive strike challenging a capitalist or any real social conflict in the neighborhood is a thousand times more important for the possible awareness-building of working people.

How would you explain why it would bring such a war situation politically and what does it mean to ordinary people?

Both sides of the war don`t want to make any serious concessions, because they don`t want limit their power hunger. Both desire to have all. And the puppeteers from Brussels, Washington, Berlin, Moscow etc. incite them to this stubbornness. At the same time, the working people in Ukraine are too disorganized and have less consciousness to stop this war through mass actions or strikes. It`s true that there is a massive local resistance against mobilization and conscription (at least, in the regions under the control of Kiev; unfortunately, we don`t have a such information from Donbass). But it was not enough for stop the war.

The toils of war and the suffering hit the population, ordinary people. This are not only immediate consequences of the war: several thousands of killed, more than 1 million refugees, destroyed houses, schools, hospitals, infrastructure… Also a humanitarian catastrophe (lack of foods and medicaments in the war zone), and a social one (much workers and retirees don`t have their money since months)… The economic suffers from the war, and this makes the hardest economic crisis deeper and only heightens the dependence from IWF, EU and USA, in one side, and from Russia, in the other. And also mental and ideological impact of bestial nationalism will poison the conscience for several coming years if not decades…

Those anarchist outside who went to join the ANTIFASCIST army seem to have simplified what is happening in Ukraine, and it seems that they are also reflecting their failure in their own local that they search a war to fight against the visualized enemy, rather than the rooted enemy – state/capitalist in their own country. Would you give some example about what the Russian people think, and how this reflects their own life struggle?

I agree with your appraisal: this is unfortunately a very serious problem for activists of solidarity movement in the whole world and especially in the so-called “First World”, where many generations of leftists were educated politically in the sense of a “collective guilt” complex against the “Third World Peoples” as whole. So they see in the other parts of the World often only what they want to see. A good example is f.ex. the appreciation of PKK regime in Syrian Kurdistan as a “libertarian revolution”.

For some libertarian people in Europe and America the “antifascism” is a magical word which can justify everything. Also a very active role of ultra-rightists under the so-called “antifascist” spectrum. Thereby they don`t want to see the presence of many Russian and pro-Russian neofascists in the armed forces of Donbass, speaking only about the neofascists on the Ukrainian side. Or they consider it not important at all because they think, the NATO / US imperialism is the “greater evil” etc. This reflects also the leftist ideas about “national liberation”.

And you have right: for some people it is also a kind of compensation for the inability to fight “at home”, against local state and capital!

As to reaction of ordinary people in Russian… I must recognize that not a few people were carried by nationalist, patriotic sentiments and supported the annexion of Crimea etc. The nationalist hysteria organized by the state aimed also to distract the attention from the economic crisis in Russia. But little by little, in process of deepening of crisis, the number of people ready to suffer the real worsening of their situation for the sake of Crimea etc. decreased perceptibly. The population is discontent with low wages, high prices and other social problems (in health, education etc.). But it remains passive in majority: the level of social atomization is too big.

Lets called off the international support of the anarchist of the world in this war? Are they fighting this “for the ordinary people of Ukranie”? What is your personal idea toward Ukraine issue, what do you think what is the real thing that we can do in this ????

I think, the anarchist must not support any of belligerent sides in this war and any of imperialist state power or bloc. Of course, anti-war protests are important and necessary, but they must be equidistant, against all sides and states. And of course do not participate in such joint actions with ultra-rightist only because they are against USA (as it occurs for example in Germany). It would be very good to support the deserters and conscription evaders and also strike movements and social protests in both sides of Ukraine. And if people want to send a humanitarian aid, it is strictly necessary to not give it to organizations close to any of the belligerent sides: there is no guarantee that this aid will reach ordinary people. Such sending makes sense only through real independent organizations, with the possibility to prove the just repartition at place.