[Marxism] Giving Kagarlitsky a piece of his or her mind

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sun May 4 08:37:33 MDT 2014

A comment on the article that appears at: http://links.org.au/node/3838

Is this supposed to be Marxist analysis?

By the logic of his analysis, which seems to assume the so called 
Donetsk Republic has some sort of legitimacy, Mr. Karglitsky would no 
doubt have supported the "grass roots" "popular" initiatives against the 
Algerian "rebels" in the 1950s and praised the settler-colonist based 
"legitimate" OAS. By his logic he should have supported the Protestants 
and the UDF in the "legitimate" Northern Ireland, and the AWB in the 
"legitimate" White South Africa.

He talks about "double standards" but then fails to make the elemental 
distinction between violence used by a colonized nationality to attain 
national and social liberation, and the violence of the 
settler-colonizer minority-- that he terms "rebellious masses"-- backed 
by the imperial metropole against that national-liberation movement.

Karglitsky can even go so far as to think the mass support that Putin's 
aggression in Ukraine enjoys in Russia is somehow unrelated to the fact 
the mass of Russians have no access to any non Kremlin controlled media. 
That 30% of the population that does use internet, moreover, thanks to 
the new recent laws, will soon have their access severely restricted. 
Indeed, he seems to be criticizing the Russian Putinist ruling class for 
not being more imperialist and showing more support for the puppet 
Donets Republic. Has Karglitsky forgotten that Lenin dismissed the 
Kryvoi Rog republic as a colonialist joke and ordered it dissolved?

Mr Karglitsky makes some vague assertions about the middle class and 
then writes:

"the task of the left is to work toward the formation of a broad social 
bloc in which the middle class with the majority of society, and above 
all with the working class. Otherwise, the political agenda of the 
middle class becomes reactionary, and the left, in serving this agenda, 
not only finishes up misleading and confusing its comrades, but 
objectively (and not only objectively) furthers the interests of reaction."

But this superficial assertion ignores the role of the middle class and 
the left in national and colonial question and what the leftists in 
these countries should do about the problem of national liberation. 
Should he be surprised that the right monopolizes the national 
liberation issue in Ukraine, if what there is of an independent radical 
left in the country, like him, also totally ignore the national-colonial 
question? Moreover, in so far as the middle class does monopolize the 
national liberation issue at the moment should not the radical left 
support it? Did not Trotsky distinguish the pre 1917 Russian bourgeoisie 
from the Chinese because the latter was a colonized dominated class, 
while the former was a ruling imperialist class? Did not Marx condone 
such a temporary alliance?

Specifically, with respect to Ukraine, Karglitsky seems to think Ukraine 
is actually independent as he makes no mention of Putin's revived 
Russian imperialism in Ukraine nor his vile exploitation of a part of 
the Russian population and their very real socio-economic grievances as 
a fifth column. He offers no analysis of this numerical but politically 
and culturally still dominant minority and does not tell us if it is a 
"creole" type separatist or "loyalist" imperialist sort, or if both 
exist and are now at odds with each other -- as some reports from 
Luhansk seem to suggest. There is no analysis or mention of any 
extremist pro- Russian groups, whose ideological roots go back to the 
early 20th century Black Hundreds, whose financial roots come from the 
Kremlin's RUSSYI MIR and whose advisors come now, as they did then, from 
the Russian Secret Police. Karglitsky's account of the "popular masses" 
in eastern Ukraine fails to reveal, in how own words: "who played the 
dominant role within the crowd, exercising ideological and political 

If Mr. Karglitsky has any doubts about the still dominant position of 
Russians in Ukraine let him compare the status of the 3-4 million 
declared Ukrainians in Russia with that of the declared Russians in 
Ukraine. How many schools, churches, journals, media hours, civil 
associations, political parties and audio visual products do the former 
have in Russia and the latter in Ukraine?

Last but not least, he does not mention loyal Russians and Russian 
speakers who support Ukrainian national independence and the present 
transition government whose socio-economic position, moreover, is not 
better than those of who do not. These patriotic Ukrainian-Russians, 
unlike the "masses" of the "Donets Republic" do not think their "rights" 
include things like not having to learn or use Ukrainian in Ukraine.

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