Ukraine: Borotba's Statement on the Minsk Antiwar Declaration

The antiwar meeting of leftists from Ukraine, Belarus and Russia in Minsk has been dubbed "the new Zimmerwald." In Zimmerwald, as you know, there was the anti-war Socialist Conference in 1915. But, as is known, the participants were divided into moderate and pacifist "Zimmerwald left" (Lenin, Zinoviev, Platten, Hoglund, Radek, Berzin, Borchardt, Nerman). 

The undersigned have decided to declare our position, which may be called the "Minsk left." The statement is open for signature.

On June 8 in Minsk, representatives of several left-wing groups and organizations of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia adopted the following declaration. We, the undersigned, support this initiative, but with some reservations, which are below:

Such a declaration would have been nice for a broad anti-war movement, which includes not only the left. If this is the position of the left, then it is too moderate.

Firstly, there are characteristics of the Kiev junta regime having at least some of the key features of fascism, according to the classical definition of Georgi Dimitrov Now the Kiev junta is now the chief evil which must be fought against and which should be destroyed. While the junta there, the world will not - this follows from the nature of the political class and the Kiev junta. If earlier it was possible to have the illusion that there was a split among the oligarchy, the latest facts, such as full support of the Ahmetov clan for the junta and the actual perfidy of Donetsk big business with the junta against the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR), leaves no room for these illusions. All Ukrainian oligarchs as a class are on the side of the junta. This formulation cannot be considered leftist. And this fact does not allow us to keep "neutrality," the spirit that permeated some aspects of the declaration.

Secondly, the left should support the self-determination of the people in the Donbass. This right was actually implemented in referendums in the Donetsk and Lugansk region. And while the conditions in which the referendums were held may not be ideal, this is not the fault of the DNR and Lugansk People’s Republic (LC), but of the Kiev junta, which strongly prevented the will of citizens from being expressed. At the same time, this does not necessarily mean support for the political and military leadership of DNR and LC. Of course, and sadly given the working class composition of the region, the left could not lead the anti-oligarchic and anti-fascist movement in its struggle. Pro-Russian patriots were more organized than the left, so they were at the head of the movement. This is an occasion for self-criticism of the left, and not to criticize the DNR and LC.

Thirdly, for the Russian left, of course, it is very politically correct to put Russia in the first place among the intervening parties, but it is a sin against the facts. In fact, there is almost no support from Russia, except for private initiatives. Recent actions of the Russian authorities say more about a willingness to surrender the rebels of Donbass, as soon as they throw up some offers such as "partial payment for gas." Here, Kagarlitskiy,  is probably closer to the truth, when he said that if Russia was truly a democratic regime, the Russian tanks would already be near Kiev. The Russian regime should be criticized not for intervention but for non-interference, bordering on the actual betrayal, which is accompanied by deafening patriotic and anti-fascist propaganda.

Fourth, there is the abstract call "to disband armed groups." Which groups? Everyone, including the Ukrainian army and police? Or just part of it? What part? Disband the people’s militia or recognize it as the legitimate armed force of DNR and LC subordinate to the democratically elected authorities of the Republic, which will be elected after the ceasefire? We believe that the latter option would provide more freedom and democracy in the Donbass than the surrender of the militia, while maintaining the army of the Kiev junta.

Activists and supporters of Borotba from 18 regions of Ukraine 

June 15, 2014