It cannot be repeated enough : if it were not for the profound resistance of the Ukrainian people to the general offensive of the Russian army from February 24, 2022, the disappearance of Ukraine as an independent nation would have been written off by all the imperialisms of the planet, all of them being primarily concerned with preserving their economic and financial links with Putin’s Russia. At most, they would have made a few solemn declarations and decided on a few economic sanctions that Russia could have easily circumvented.
The Crimean precedent
The proof on the other hand is given by the reactions of European imperialisms and American imperialism when in 2014 Russian imperialism annexed Crimea and then organized the secession of easternmost territories of Ukraine. There were protests. There were economic sanctions which Russia had little difficulty in circumventing. Then (imperialist) life resumed its course : the annexation of Crimea and the invention by Kremlin agents of two ’autonomous republics’ in eastern Ukraine did not prevent Merkel’s Germany from imperturbably pursuing the construction of a second construction of a second gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea to import more Russian gas (the company owning the first pipeline (the company that owns the first pipeline is chaired by Schröder, a former German Prime Minister). It did not prevent the Renault group (in which the French government holds a fraction of the capital) from continuing its investments in Russia, as well as Total, Auchan and many others. It did not prevent American companies from continuing their business in Russia, such as Mac-Do. As for Macron, he did particularly well by rolling out the red carpet in Versailles, as soon as he was elected in 2017, for the new master of Crimea.
An unexpected resistance
But the resistance of the Ukrainian people, defeating the first offensive of the Russian army engaged on 24 February 2022, saving Kyiv from the clutches of Russian imperialism, changed everything, surprising Putin, but also surprising the other imperialist leaders of the world (as well as a number of commentators, some of whom sometimes claim to be revolutionary).
It was this resistance that forced these leaders to provide significant support, military and financial, to Ukraine.
A significant, but measured support : just what was necessary to resist but insufficient to defeat the to defeat the aggressor.
A Limited support
This is how the French media keeps on emphasizing the efficiency attributed to the Caesar guns delivered by the French government... but Macron is the object of mockery in Kyiv, as it is known that French aid is very small, far from equalling that of Poland, for example (as of October 3, French military aid is estimated at 220 million euros, that of Poland at 1.82 billion). In relation to its own GDP, all aid combined - military, financial, humanitarian, etc.-, French aid is exceptionally low, one of the lowest in in Europe : 0.04% of its GDP, far from the 0.2% of Slovakia, 0.49% of its GDP, far from Slovakia’s 0.2%, Poland’s 0.49% and Latvia’s 0.92%.
Macron justified himself by explaining on May 9 in Strasbourg that it was necessary ’not to give in to the temptation of humiliation’ vis-à-vis Russia and, on June 3, that it was appropriate ’not to humiliate Russia’ and to offer Putin ’ an exit and to offer Putin ’a way out’... But no one is fooled. This is evidenced by the Polish President about these discussions, which only legitimize the aggression against Ukraine. In an interview with Bild on June 9, Andrzej Duda pretended to wonder. ’Did anyone talk to Adolf Hitler in this way ? Did anyone talk to Adolf Hitler like this during the Second World War ? Did anyone say that Adolf Hitler should save face ? That we should do it in a way that is not humiliating for Adolf Hitler ?’ But Macron, ashamed of himself, prefers to encourage Putin to persevere rather than to put French interests in Russia in further difficulty.
And German Chancellor Olaf Scholz did not hesitate to follow suit : he too picked up the phone to call Putin, while refusing to ’report on the nature of my talks with the Russian president. with the Russian president’. Sometimes Macron and Scholz phoned together, as on May 28. Other meetings took place : Sergei Shoigu, the Russian Minister of ’Defense’, met on October 21 with Lloyd Austin, his American counterpart, on 23 October with the Englishman Ben Wallace and on 24 October with the Minister Lecornu.
The next day, October 25, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier went to Kyiv, which was hit by Russian missiles, to declare : ’You can count on Germany !’ But on November 4, it was Chancellor Scholz flew to Beijing to greet Xi Jinping, who makes no secret of his support for Putin.
Biden, Macron and Scholz are multiplying their declarations of support for Ukraine. But actions are slow to follow. It is no coincidence that the German foreign minister ended up ranting on September 15, demanding that Germany finally send the promised tanks. And it was necessary that the inhabitants of Kyiv to be deprived of water and electricity for the media to take the measure of the the weakness of the air (and anti-missile) protection given to Ukraine, protection that Ukrainians have been insisting on for months.
But even on the language field, double talk prevails.
A short while ago, while the Ukrainians kept on reaffirming that no negotiation is possible with Putin, especially as long as the Russian army is present in Ukraine, Macron reminded them Putin, especially as long as the Russian army is present in Ukraine, Macron called them to order : ’it is up to the Ukrainians to decide’... when it is appropriate ’for a negotiation’. (October 12 on France 2). For Macron, there will have to be negotiations anyway : ’At some point, it will be in the interest of Ukraine and Russia to negotiate’.
And Biden in turn shows concern for Putin : ’How can he get out of this ? How can How can he position himself so as not to lose face, nor lose a significant portion of his power in Russia’, he asked during a public meeting on October 7.
A turnaround is always possible
At the same time, in the United States, a growing number of voices - mainly Republican - are calling for a reduction in aid to Ukraine.
This was in the run-up to the midterms. But it is not only Republicans who want to reconnect with Putin. In the Democratic Party - the other historical party of American imperialism – thirty members of parliament published an open letter to Biden - before withdrawing it - in which they asked him to couple ’military and economic support’ for Ukraine with ’vigorous diplomacy’ aimed at ’seeking a realistic framework for a ceasefire’ : a thinly disguised call for direct negotiations with Moscow. The Ukrainians should be under no illusion : if they deem it necessary, and possible, the European powers and Washington will impose Ukrainians to negotiate with Putin, on their terms.
Following their Imperialism
Among these thirty or so Democratic elected officials are prominently featured the elected officials of the so-called left wing of the Democrats, - as if there could be a left wing of imperialism ! - with the four elected women from “The Squad” group, including a well-known figure linked to the Jacobin newspaper and the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) : Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (these elected officials had voted, in the spring, for the Biden’s funding request for Ukraine).
In France, the Left Party and France Insoumise (with J. L. Mélenchon and C. Autain) carefully turn their backs on any support for the Ukrainian resistance, in the continuity of the declarations made on March 1 by J.L. Mélenchon who declared : ’I regret that the European Union has decided to provide the arms necessary for a war’. He then tried to qualify his statement, but this orientation is reaffirmed by the resolution of the Left Party (P. G.) of October 2, which denies the will to resist of the Ukrainian people who would be ’taken hostage by a president’ described as ’to the end’.
This is also the case of the POI (Independent Workers’ Party), which demands in particular : ’No delivery of arms, because this is part of the escalation of war’. (Appeal of the European meeting organized in Madrid on June 25).
As for the POID, it sends Putin and the Ukrainian government back to back. Convening ’a meeting against the war’ on 22 October, the POID explains that ’Putin is not the only one responsible for the war’ and that ’the offensive of the Ukrainian army, overarmed by NATO, has pushed in (the) flight forward of the Russian regime’.
And we even see, on the occasion of the national congress of the SNUipp-FSU on June 14, 2022, the delegate of a sectarian current demanding ’the stop of the delivery of arms to Ukraine’.
It is the right of the Ukrainian people to seek weapons
If the international labor movement decided to send arms to the Ukrainians who ask for them, and if it had the possibility of such shipments, one could make light of the repeated demands made by the Ukrainians to the imperialist governments. But this is not the case.
The demands made by the Ukrainians are therefore perfectly legitimate. On the other hand, the responsibility of the workers’ organizations is to give all possible help to the Ukrainian workers’ organizations, independently of any government, be it the French government or the Zelensky government. This is all the more necessary as the Ukrainian proletariat constitutes the big battalions of the Ukrainian fighters on the front, with the active support of active support of its trade unions. And it pays a heavy price for this engagement. On October 21, for example, Yevgen Mykolaivych Tkachenko, a lathe worker at LLC Foundry and Mechanical Plant in Kryvyi Rih, member of the Independent Miners’ Union of Ukraine, and deputy head of the main branch of the NPGU in his company was killed in combat.
And this is even more necessary because of the anti-worker policy of the government Zelensky government, which is using the war to attack what remains of legislation protecting workers’ rights, the labour code, a policy rejected by the Ukrainian trade unions and a policy against rights, the labor code, a policy that the Ukrainian trade unions reject and against which several French trade union centres, the CGT and Solidaires in particular, have protested.
From this point of view, the activity of the RESU (European Network of Support for Ukraine) in which the Solidaires confederation among others confederation Solidaires and the inter-union current Émancipation, the NPA, Ensemble, L’insurgé, etc., deserves to be known. In the same way, the inter-union convoys – (from trade unions to Ukrainian’s trade union, as it was the case of the convoy organized by the RISL (International Network of Solidarity and Struggle), should be encouraged (members include : Conlutas - a Brazilian confederation -, Solidaires and Emancipation). Other solidarity convoys are organized by the CGT, FO, FSU, Solidaires intersyndicale, CFDT, CFTC, CFE-CGC, UNSA.
’The urgency is to support the popular resistance in Ukraine and the courageous disobedience in Belarus and Russia’, this is what trade unionists and activists of social movements in Ukraine keep repeating. That’s why Sotsialnyi Rukh (Social Movement) welcomes the ’support of the largest trade unions and parties of the democratic left to the demands for the supply of weapons to Ukraine and in the struggle against anti-labor laws ’
Certainly, on the scale of the material needs of the Ukrainian people in their struggle, this looks like a drop of water. But from a political point of view, it is not only a precious help and appreciated as such, the expression of an internationalist solidarity, but it is a question of principle. The positions taken by everyone in this battle are and will remain decisive and indelible.
November 5, 2022