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On the statement of “In Defence of Communism”; The stance of the communists towards the imperialist war in Ukraine

Although I agree with most general assessments in the statement (conclusion is too vague to comment on), it has quite a few statements that need to be clarified because either they are wrong or open to misunderstanding.

"In Defense of Communism" concludes the war as an imperialist war. This is correct only if it means a war between two or more great powers. So many other statements call it “imperialist war” but then in the statement they switch to a war between Ukraine and Russia

"The present war " says Lenin, " is an imperialist one, and that is its basic feature. An imperialist war is quite a different matter. Socialists who fail to realize that the present war is imperialist, who fail to take a historical view of it, will understand nothing about the war."  (Lenin, Lecture On “The Proletariat And The War" )

Again, he says; " The present war—precisely because it is an imperialist war insofar as both groups of belligerent “great” powers .." (Lenin, The 2nd International Socialist Conference at Kienthal) 

 “In the era of imperialism”, he says, "defense of the fatherland amounts to defense of the right of one’s own bourgeoisie to oppress foreign peoples. This, however, is true only in respect of all imperialist war, i.e., in respect of a war between imperialist powers or groups of powers". Lenin, For or Against Annexations?

If it is a war between Ukraine and Russia, it should be assessed as an “anti-imperialist war “. It would be an “imperialist war” on the side of Russia and an “anti-imperialist war “on the side of Ukraine. That requires the communist to be supporting the Ukrainian government.

A war against imperialist nations is a genuine national war. .. "Defense of the fatherland" in a war waged by an oppressed nation against a foreign oppressor is not a deception. Socialists are not opposed to "defense of the fatherland" in such a war.(Lenin, A Caricature of Marxism and Imperialist Economism,)

For those who claim the war to be an anti-imperialist war, and for those mixing it, it is imperative to note Lenin;

In the political sphere, the imperialist war has demonstrated that from the imperialists’ standpoint it is sometimes much more advantageous to have as war ally a politically independent but financially dependent small nation. It is quite possible, therefore, that parallel with its policy of strangling small nations, imperialism will in individual cases follow a policy of “voluntary” alliance. Lenin, Theses for an Appeal to the International Socialist Committee and All Socialist Parties

Small countries too cannot, in imperialist wars, which are most typical of the current imperialist epoch, defend their fatherland.” Lenin To: G. Y. Zinoviev

And Stalin in reference to finding a bordering country;

"History shows that when any state intends to make war against another state, even not adjacent, it begins to seek for frontiers across which it can reach the frontiers of the state it wants to attack, Usually, the aggressive state finds such frontiers.” Stalin, Interview with Roy Howard (1936).

In all statements the type of war needs to be clearly stated without leaving any room for misunderstanding. In most cases it is not clear what type they really mean the war is.

What comrade Nikos Mottas confuses the minds is in relation to the concept of aggressive and non-aggressive imperialist. In its economic sense and in “peace” time general, communists do not make a distinction between any imperialist countries for it is inherent to imperialism regardless of how small or how large it is. However, in war times, communists do not apply the general principles of theories to each and every war. The question of militarily aggressive policies and practices may come to the forefront. In other words, aggressiveness is related to militarization, militarily aggressiveness and warmongering policy of any given imperialist at any given time. In any given war time, assessments are made with the interests of the working class and of their struggle in mind – not based on the principles of general theories.

In this sense, comrade Nikos Mottas statement “The perception of “supporting the least aggressive imperialist” is totally anti-Leninist and against the popular interests” is wrong because it assumes and makes a general rule that in each situation and condition it is “against the popular interests.” It is wrong for it is against the dialectics of Marxism and denies the necessity of the process of the assessment of each concrete situation to determine a stand that is for the interests of the working class and her struggle.

In reality, that statement itself is anti-Leninist. Here is what Lenin said;

"For Marxist, Clarifying the nature of war is a necessary preliminary for deciding the question of its attitude towards war. But for such an explanation, first of all, the objective and concreteness of the war in question is necessary." But for such a clarification, first and foremost to establish the objective conditions and concrete circumstances of the war in question.  It is necessary to determine the conditions of the war. It is necessary to think about the war in the historical environment in which it is taking place, only then can one determine one's attitude towards it. Otherwise, the resulting interpretation will be eclectic rather than materialistic.

Depending on historical conditions, the relationship of classes and similar data, the attitude towards war must be different at different times. " Lenin, Lecture on the Proletariat, and War         

Based on Leninist theory, Stalin was making this assessment in which he was making a distinction between the imperialists in that given war time;

“history shows that aggressor nations, the nations which attack, are usually better prepared for a new war than peace-loving nations which, having no interest in a new war, are usually behindhand with their preparations for it.... when Japan, as the aggressor nation, proved to be better prepared for war than Great Britain and the United States of America, which pursued a policy of peace.... The reason here is not personal qualities but the fact that aggressor nations, interested in a new war " Stalin, the question of Peace and Security

Stalin was clearly making the distinction between imperialists those who are interested in new war, and those who do not. As a separate war where the memorized slogans and universalized statements cannot be applied, Stalin says;

It is a distinguishing feature of the new imperialist war that it has not yet become universal, a world war. The war is being waged by aggressor states, who in every way infringe upon the interests of the non-aggressive states, primarily England, France, and the U.S.A., while the latter draw back and retreat, making concession after concession to the aggressors.  Stalin, Report on the Work of the Central Committee to the Eighteenth Congress of the CPSU(B.)

Stalin, in his report was complaining about the fact that non-aggressive imperialist is not interfering, not attempting to resist to the aggressor imperialists.

We are witnessing an open redivision of the world and spheres of influence at the expense of the non-aggressive states, without the least attempt at resistance, and even with a certain amount of connivance, on the part of the latter. How is it that the non-aggressive countries, which possess such vast opportunities, have so easily, and without any resistance, abandoned their positions and their obligations to please the aggressors?” Stalin, Report on the Work of the Central Committee to the Eighteenth Congress of the CPSU(B.)

And Stalin was criticizing the non-intervention policy of non-aggressive imperialists;

Formally speaking, the policy of non-intervention might be defined as follows:

"Let each country defend itself from the aggressors as it likes and as best it can. That is not our affair. We shall trade both with the aggressors and with their victims."

But actually speaking, the policy of non-intervention means conniving at aggression, giving free rein to war, and, consequently, transforming the war into a world war. The policy of non-intervention reveals an eagerness, a desire, not to hinder the aggressors in their nefarious work." Stalin, Report on the Work of the Central Committee to the Eighteenth Congress of the CPSU(B.)

As we see, Marxist Leninist Stalin was not saying “The perception of “supporting the least aggressive imperialist” is totally anti-Leninist and against the popular interests”, he proceeded form the interests of working class and of their struggles and concluded that non-aggressive imperialist countries should fight against the aggressive ones and not only supported them but welcomed their successes against the aggressive imperialists.  

"As for the first part of Mr. President's speech on the war in the Pacific Region, we can say: We Russians welcome the achievements that Anglo-American forces have achieved and are gaining in the Pacific. " Stalin, The Tehran Conference 1943

Stalin was not under the illusion that non-aggressive imperialists were fighting for the interests of working class, he was well aware of the fact that they were fighting for their own imperialist interests. He did not characterize them as “anti-imperialist, or anti-fascist” for he was aware that Germany was a product of their finance capital support.

These quotes above debunk Comrade Nikos above mentioned universalized “formula” as well as his following “formula”, because Marxism Leninism doesn’t work with “formulas “, but requires concrete assessments each time, each changing conditions with the interests of working class in mind;

The fundamental conclusion is this: The working class, the people, have nothing to gain from the victory of one or the other imperialist power. Nikos M.

Comrade Nikos comment “Unfortunately, a number of Communist Parties have failed to draw proper conclusions from the inter-imperialist crisis in Ukraine. A few of them went so far as to refer to the Russian invasion as a legal military action” is debatable. In its bourgeois context, yes, it is “legal”, meaning that it is “justified.” If all the US invasions of countries thousands of miles away from its border are justified, then the Russian invasion is justified too. However, from the Marxist Leninist point of view, once it is done, the issue is not “if it is justified or not” (determination of war type already covers that); it is the evaluation of the situation and most likely results in that given particular and in general stemming from the interests of laboring people and of their struggle. What will or may be the positive and negative effects- concrete responses not vague phrases, abstract slogans.

Same “universalized”, “single” approach is applied to the question of “invasion” in almost all the statements; “If it is invasion, it is bad and not in the interests of popular masses.” Whether an invasion is justified or not cannot be determined by memorized slogans but with the assessment of concrete situation and always with the interests of working class and of their struggle in mind.

There were no neo-Nazi governments, neo-Nazi militias, neo-Nazi police who were waging war against the communists and anti-fascists for eight years in Egypt or in Morocco, but there is in Ukraine.

Stalin and the Bolsheviks did not object to the British occupation of Egypt's coastal and canal region;

"Was the British Government right in deploying its troops in Egypt during the war, despite the protests of the Egyptians and even the resistance of some elements in Egypt? It was undoubtedly right... Only the enemies of democracy or the insane could argue that the British Government's action in this situation constituted aggression. " Soviet Information Bureau, Falsificators of History, 1948

Stalin and the Bolsheviks did not oppose the US invasion of Morocco. The Bolsheviks evaluated this invasion as "correct", aiming to establish a front in preventing the expansion of aggressive imperialist Germany.

Was the US right when it landed its troops in Casablanca, despite Moroccan protests and the direct military opposition of the French Petain Government, whose mandate extended to Morocco? Undoubtedly it was right. This was a crucial means of establishing a base in the immediate vicinity of Western Europe to counter German aggression, creating an opportunity for victory over Hitler's troops and thus liberating France from Hitler's colonial oppression. Only enemies of democracy or insane people could view these actions of American troops as aggression." Soviet Information bureau, Falsificators of History, 1948

Lenin was warning us against such practice of applying general principles and rules as prescription for the determination of the tactics and stands to be taken. “Of course, in politics, in which sometimes extremely complicated relationships have to be dealt with, but “it would be absurd to concoct a recipe, or general rule... that would serve in all cases. One must have the brains to analyze the situation in each separate case. Lenin, Left-wing Communism

In Ukraine case too, Marxism requires a concrete assessment of this separate war. The approach to each war cannot be based on the generalization of “era” and prescriptive application of to all. “To hold such a view “says Lenin, “is to reduce the whole thing to an absurdity and apply a ridiculous stereotype in place of a concrete analysis of each separate war. Lenin, A Caricature of Marxism and Imperialist Economism

Comrade Nikos, like most others gives the impression, or insinuation that if Russia did not invade Ukraine, the conflict between the superpowers- US-NATO and Russia-China- would not be escalating.

He states:

The so-called “communist” forces which, openly or covertly, call the working class to side with Russia's aspirations, use the groundless argument that a possible Russian victory in Ukraine leads to a “defeat” (or “retreat”) of NATO, Euro-Atlanticism, etc. Where does this conclusion come from? Even if the eastern expansion of NATO stops, the Russian invasion has already caused a tendency of mobilization in the Euro-Atlantic camp, an increase of military expenditures and the rearmament of Germany.

This argument is as subjective and groundless as the arguments he criticized. Regardless of the invasion, the developments in Asia, Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe were already indicating the escalation of conflict. How will the invasion effect, cannot be assessed objectively without seeing the developments in Ukraine and, if sooner, conclusion of invasion. In addition, we will have to see the developments and its’ effects in regard to Taiwan- China, and Japan-Russia issues. Without concrete data on hand, making a negative or positive statement could only be subjective.

In most generally correct statements, there are no concrete conclusions offered, neither is any evaluation specified as far as the interests of laboring masses is concerned. For some reason – majority with the fear of appearing to be supporting one or the other imperialist- conclusions are vague with abstract phrases.

Erdogan A

March 2022

Article of Nikos Mottas

https://www.idcommunism.com/2022/03/the-stance-of-communists-towards-the-imperialist-war-in-ukraine.html

 

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