[Marxism] Ukraine

turbulo at aol.com turbulo at aol.com
Sat Apr 26 09:30:32 MDT 2014

Proyect wrote:

Well, the CPGB put a heading on it that stated the Tea Party was 
"threatening the interests of capitalism itself." This, of course, is 
absurd. If you understand that it is absurd, I have no beef.

For people like you, John Rees, the Marcyites, Boris Kagarlitsky, et al, 
there is no national question. Lenin compared the Ukraine to Ireland. It 
was a colony of the Czars and afterwards of the USSR during the "heroic 
days" of the Comintern. The great Bolshevik Christian Rakovsky said that 
there was no such thing as a Ukrainian nation. That territory was simply 
destined to be part of the Great Russian experiment in building socialism.

Donetsk was always a Russian enclave. As I pointed out in one of my 
articles, the men who worked the mines and those who managed them were 
ethnic Russians. Plus, as Putin pointed out--and he was correct--it was 
not part of the historic Ukraine. It became part when the Bolsheviks 
decided that it made no difference since the Ukraine was effectively 
being absorbed by the USSR.

It is pointless to debate these issues with you since you have 
absolutely no awareness of the national question. You are one of those 
advocates of imperial economism who Lenin denounced in 1920. After his 
death, of course, Stalin was free to push ahead with the national 
domination that continues today under Putin's firm hand.


The Weekly Worker editors did in fact write this headline. For the record, I don't
think the Tea Party poses any systemic threat to capitalism. But some of their threatened actions,
especially their initial refusal to raise the ceilng on government borrowing last fall, could seriously
gum up the works for international finance capital. This is why the Republican establishment
is turning against them.  

A personal note. My father's uncle was an IRA captain in what is now Northern Ireland
during the war of independence and civil war in the 20's. Another of his uncles was murdered 
by Protestnant militiamen. My own uncle (before he became Communist) ran guns for the IRA
in Scotland during the same period, and my father (before he became a Communist) was briefly
an IRA volunteer in the north. My mother also belonged to what was until recently another nationally 
oppressed group: the Jews. Family background certainly doesn't dictate my politics,
but it does condition my  political and social sensitivities. So I don't think it quite fair to say that I have
"absolutely no awareness of the national question".
It is true, though, that I think the current Ukrainian crisis is much more complex than a simple case of resistance 
by an oppressed nation to an imperial power's bullying. Ukraine was oppressed in the past, and anti-Russian 
attitudes are still very much alive as a result. But, due in part to its geographical position, Soviet
domination drove some prominent and currently celebrated Ukrainian nationalists into the arms of other imperialist powers 
which the Russian people have certain historical reasons to dislike. Ukraine has also been independent since 1991, 
and I don't think its economic difficulties are mainly the resullt of Russian domination. Nor do I think that the reaction 
of Russian speakers to events in Kiev is primarily a case of a nationally privileged group reacting against a threat to 
its superior position. The current situation, IMO, is best understood as the resultof great powers exploiting historically 
rooted enmities to expand (US, EU) or defend (Russia) their respective spheres of influence. I don't deny that these 
enmities would exist without the meddling of the great powers. But it is the latter that makes Ukrainian events an
 international crisis, as opposed to a merely local one, and I don't think either of the opposing national groups at this 
point has the ability or the will to chart a course independent of great-power politics. And, in conflics among 
imperialist powers, Marxists (if they wish to avoid the fate of the Second International) should avoid taking sides.  





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