In bright summery sunshine, thousands of workers and young people demonstrated on the streets of Moscow today. The demonstration, organised by the CPRF and other Communist and Left organisations included a column of over two thousand young communists that united different youth organisations, including supporters of the Russian Marxist paperRabochaya Demokratiya, who played an active role in the preparations, distributing 12,000 stickers all over Moscow.
The mood of the young communists was extremely radical, as reflected in the slogans. The most common ones were: "Putin out!" "Revolution!" "Capitalism is rubbish!" "As long as we are united we cannot be defeated!" "Our fatherland is the USSR!" "Long live the worldwide proletarian revolution!" and "Death to the bourgeois!"
The general mood was cheerful and comradely. When the demonstrators approached the city centre, a large number of onlookers applauded them and expressed their agreement with the slogans - even the most radical of them!
This is not surprising. The mood of anger among the population is increasing by the day. The attempts by the bourgeois government of Putin to attack living standards and workers' rights have reached the point where people are simply not prepared to take it lying down.
Having introduced a reactionary anti-trade union law (the notorious Kzot), and a law of land privatisation, he is now trying to force people to pay "economic rents" and to pay for things like electricity, gas and central heating that were always free since Soviet times. This is the most serious attack on the conditions of or ordinary Russians yet. Many people will not be able to pay the increases out of their meagre earnings. And the effects of having your heating cut off in a land where in winter temperatures normally drop to twenty or thirty degrees below zero can be easily imagined. This is one attack too many!
On April 11 a mass protest demonstration organised by the official trade unions (FNPR) and the CPRF in the city of Voronezh ended in something like an uprising, when the angry people, instead of listening to the speeches of the organisers at the end, broke away to attack government buildings, leading to violent clashes with the police. This was a serious warning of what is being prepared!
The increasingly radical mood is finding its expression in the ranks of the CPRF. The speaker of the Duma, Seleznyov, was recently expelled from the party. There is growing pressure from the CP rank and file demanding that the party begin to present a serious opposition to Putin and the bourgeoisie.
The final meeting was held in Revolution square in front of the statue of Karl Marx, with the Bolshoi Theatre at the opposite end of the square. It is difficult to calculate the exact numbers but the square was practically full, so there could have been anything up to 100,000 present.
The speech of the leader of the Moscow District Committee, Alexander Kuvaev, at the end of today's demonstration was consequently very radical: "On this day of the world working class, we must form a united revolutionary front of workers against the common enemy - international Capital and US imperialism," he began. After denouncing the so-called reforms that were an attack on the living standards of the masses, he added:
"We cannot accept the policies of any capitalist government. We must not waste time seeking agreement with this government. We must get rid of those elements of the party justify a policy of agreement with Putin on the grounds of so-called higher reasons of state. Do not pay any attention to Putin's 'patriotic' speeches! Down with the anti-popular President - the agent of imperialism! We must be the left opposition!"
Kuvaev's speech was well received, but this was not the case when Zyuganov spoke. Some sections displayed open discontent, and there was no enthusiasm in general for what he had to say. Unfortunately, some of the young people present began to chant and interrupt him - which only caused irritation amongst the CPRF members. Later on there was a disagreeable incident when the platform refused to allow the leader of Trudavaya Rossiya, Viktor Anpilov, to speak from the platform.
This kind of incident is not useful for the cause of the Communist movement in Russia, which must be united on a common platform of struggle against the common class enemy. But in the course of the day it was a secondary episode. The mood of the working class is for the maximum unity in the struggle, and the workers of Russia will impose their point of view. What is needed now is a clear programme of struggle and a revolutionary perspective. This is being fought for by the Russian Marxist tendency represented by the Revolutionary Workers' Party and Rabochaya Demokratiya who are working together with the rest of the Communist movement and the trade unions to achieve this end.