the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist
“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx
Mar 14, 2022
What follows is the editorial that appeared on the front of all SPARK’s workplace newsletters, during the week of March 7, 2022.
Thousands of people have been killed, tens of thousands more injured, well over a million thrown into the world’s desperate pool of migrants—this is part of the human cost of two weeks of war in Ukraine.
Putin chose this war, a fratricidal war, pitting neighbor against neighbor, relative against relative. Ukrainians and Russians—who for centuries lived intermixed, occupying the same areas, communicating in each other’s languages, intermarrying—these two peoples, bound to each other by history, are now called upon to shoot each other.
As for Zelensky, he calls on Ukrainians to hate not just Putin, but also the Russian people. Both peoples—Ukrainians and Russians—are held hostage in a war whose price they will pay, perhaps for decades.
Others will also pay. Ukraine and Russia together provide one quarter of the world’s wheat. This war cuts production of a basic food staple. In a world already stalked by starvation, more people will die, particularly in Africa and the Middle East, which depended on Russia and Ukraine.
Putin may have chosen to start this war, but the grounds for it have been laid by decades of policies carried out by U.S. imperialism, supported by Britain, France, and Germany. Their goal had always been to strangle whatever remained of the Russian workers revolution of 1917.
The Soviet Union, produced by working class revolution, was invaded by 22 countries, including the biggest. It was limited by restrictions that cut the country out of the world’s markets, and harmed by a bureaucracy that grew up because of this isolation. It was invaded again by Germany in World War II. In 1949, the war’s winning imperialisms, led by the U.S., set up NATO as a military alliance directed against the Soviet Union.
And yet the Soviet Union was able to survive for 74 years.
In 1991, the bureaucracy sought to open a door for themselves into the world’s financial system. In an attempt to appeal to U.S. imperialism, the bureaucracy dissolved the Soviet Union into 15 parts, Russia being the largest and most important.
Ripped apart like that, the economic foundations of the country were destroyed. The Soviet Union collapsed. Its financial system was bankrupted. Russia’s ties with the nations surrounding its borders were torn up.
Like a pack of coyotes circling a wounded cow, NATO sought to rip apart the sinews binding the economies of these nations together.
In 1999, NATO, led by the U.S., began to gobble up countries with which Russia had once been joined. NATO troops and bases were placed in the countries on Russia’s borders, their weapons aimed at Russia’s heartland. In 2014, NATO announced its intent to integrate Ukraine—the last piece needed to finish the encirclement of European Russia with hostile forces. The U.S. “invested” three billion dollars in Ukraine’s military. Money poured into Ukraine to build up fascist bands whose roots went back to World War II. In 2019, the U.S. tore up the Intermediate Missile Treaty, which had banned medium range missiles from Europe. It was a statement that Russia would now be targeted directly by missiles.
The Russian people, whether in Ukraine or in Russia, will not be saved by Putin’s war. Nor will the Ukrainians be saved by NATO and the U.S., which shares responsibility for this catastrophe.
Today, we are called on to “stand with the Ukrainians.” The only meaningful way for us to do that is to take on the ruling class of our own country, which has pushed wars on the whole world. Our real solidarity is with the peoples of the whole world, including BOTH Ukraine AND Russia, including Africa and Asia as well as Europe, including the Southern Hemisphere as well as the Northern.