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Theses on the significance and consequences of the imperialist war in Ukraine

(March 2nd 2022)

We publish the following text without waiting for the next issue of our journal. Yet, it is neither a leaflet of immediate intervention, nor a communique, although it can also serve as such. Indeed, the seriousness of the situation, the war in Europe and the upheavals it is causing at all levels, requires that we establish as soon as possible points of reference and orientation in the tornado that is rising. Shock, incredulity and the feeling of powerlessness in the face of war are factors of confusion, disorientation, panic, which can lead to demoralization and despair, even to the abandonment of class positions. Our document is presented in the form of a few theses, in themselves quite modest and limited, but which we consider it our duty to present as a text and orientations of reference and to submit to the criticism of all. In this case, and despite the extreme weakness of our forces – and the whole proletarian camp is not much better at this level – they constitute an effort to develop "party method and work". Finally, let us point out that these theses were written while the war in Ukraine is still going on and the Russian troops have not yet entered Kiev. Whatever the future and the final outcome of this war, it is already possible and above all necessary to draw a certain number of lessons and milestones marking the new situation and the whole period that is coming. They already mark the road that the proletariat will have to take to face the massive confrontations between the classes that the whole of the dominant capitalist classes are inevitably engaging today for the needs of imperialist war. We therefore submit them to the reflection and criticism of all the communist forces that remain faithful to the principle of proletarian internationalism; and as a point of reference and orientation for all, political groups and isolated and, perhaps, disoriented militant individuals.

« Socialists have always condemned war between nations as barbarous and brutal. But our attitude towards war is fundamentally different from that of the bourgeois pacifists (supporters and advocates of peace) and of the Anarchists. We differ from the former in that we understand the inevitable connection between wars and the class struggle within the country; we understand that war cannot be abolished unless classes are abolished and Socialism is created. »

(Lenin, The Principles of Socialism and the War of 1914–1915)

1) The historical alternative of revolution or war, the main factor of the situation

The thesis of communism – communism being the negation of all forms of socialism in one country in the Stalinist or Maoist fashion – according to which capitalism is war, as a principle in itself, is now becoming a reality. A dramatic reality. It is murderous for millions of Ukrainians and tens of thousands of young Russian conscripts and their families; economically devastating for the Russian proletariat and population; heavy with sacrifices for the whole of the European proletariat which, already paying for the crisis, will have to pay for the generalized rearmament of the ’old continent’; and finally, the consequences of the war in Europe will aggravate the economic crisis of capital with greater generalized misery on all continents. We can take up Lenin’s 1915 thesis for today:

“The period of a relatively peaceful capitalism has passed, never to return. Imperialism has brought the working class unparalleled intensification of the class struggle, want, and unemployment, a higher cost of living, and the strengthening of oppression by the trusts, of militarism, and the political reactionaries, who are raising their heads in all countries, even the freest.” (Lenin, Draft Resolution of the Left Wing at Zimmerwald [1], 1915)

For all those who continued to ignore it despite the aggravation of imperialist tensions and the growing militarization, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the war in Europe lift the veil on the reality of the capitalist world today and the future it offers to humanity: that of generalized imperialist war. The year 2020 had marked the historical break, making the aggravation of the crisis – and thus of the exacerbated economic competition – the accelerating factor of imperialist tensions and polarization. In this sense, the degree reached by the crisis and the resulting impasse for capital, makes the dynamics of the generalized imperialist war, which was until then only a perspective playing an indirect role – if one can say so – in the course of events, a direct, immediate factor today of the policies, decisions, reflections of the governments and capitalist classes of each nation and imperialist powers. The war in Ukraine is its first clear and obvious illustration for all. It is also at the center of the concerns and policies of all governments. It becomes thus a direct factor of the policies led by each bourgeoisie against the proletariat, therefore a concern for all proletarians and an additional factor, become direct, of the class struggle.

The war in Europe confirms another fundamental thesis defended and carried by most groups of the international Communist Left. Humanity, subjected to the capitalist mode of production and to the dictatorship of the capitalist class, is faced with the following historical alternative: international proletarian revolution or generalized imperialist war.

2) Actuality of the imperialist war in Europe

"It seemed too unlikely that there could ever again be a war in the heart of Europe." (the German newspaper Der Spiegel, 25/2/22)

Imperialist war is at the center of Europe. The imperialist war comes to strike directly at Europe, the historical heart of capitalism, and therefore at the fractions of the proletariat that have the most historical experience. The real and undeniable Chinese-American central imperialist polarization of the last few years seemed to have shifted the central historical stakes, both imperialist and revolutionary – the class struggle – to the Indo-Pacific zone, with the old European continent marginalized and relegated to the background. The war in Ukraine and the consequences that it will have, and has already, on the international and particularly European proletariat brings Europe back to the center of the historical situation... both in terms of the imperialist war and of the class struggle. Because, not only the war in Ukraine touches directly, including on their flesh, the proletariat of Russia and Ukraine, but it will also affect very quickly the proletariat in Europe. If only by an aggravation of the crisis provoked this time directly by the war, only a few months after the recovery – which was already running out of steam – of the world production after the lock-down because of Covid.

Crisis and war feeding each other and vice versa, in a spiral that is now going to accelerate, becomes today a reality lived directly by the international proletariat and, with it, by the populations. The relationship between the proletariat and the war becomes as direct as with the capitalist crisis, therefore an element and a factor of the situation and of the historical course. Due to the fact that it is now directly confronted with the war, that it is taking place in Europe, and due to its historical experience, the proletariat of Europe has and will have a particular, central responsibility in the massive confrontations that are taking shape.

3) Actuality of nuclear war threats in Europe

"Following his meeting with Emmanuel Macron on February 8, [Putin] explicitly brandished the threat to use nuclear fire: ‘We do not have the same power as NATO. However, we do have nuclear weapons.’ On February 24, the day of the invasion of Ukraine, he warned: those ‘who would try to interfere with us must know that Russia’s response will be immediate and will lead to consequences that you have never experienced before.’ To which the French Foreign Minister responded with a ‘Vladimir Putin must also understand that the Atlantic Alliance is a nuclear alliance’.” (French newspaper Le Figaro, 24 February)

The imperialist war that directly strikes the historical center of world capitalism brings the threat of nuclear war to the old continent. From being a weapon of deterrence as it was during the Cold War after the Second World War until the implosion of the Eastern bloc and the USSR, the possession of nuclear weapons by Russia, NATO, France and Great Britain is now becoming a weapon of threat.

It is all the more credible and terrifying because the existence of so-called tactical nuclear bombs, with a short range of action and consequences, provides a whole range and progression of its use which could ’authorize’ one of the nuclear powers losing ground in conventional warfare to venture to resort to it. The way to a catastrophic escalation to the destruction of humanity as a whole would then open up. The taboo of the use of nuclear weapons in Europe has thus fallen. “We must completely reorient ourselves, says one NATO military official. Not just with conventional forces, but also with our doctrine of nuclear deterrence.” (Der Spiegel, op.cit.)

The question that is posed to the proletariat is not therefore its relation to the imperialist war in general, but its relation to the generalized and nuclear imperialist war; its relation to the perspective and to the social forces that carry the generalized war, that is to say the forces of capital, starting with the apparatuses of the capitalist state.

4) Dynamic of increasing imperialist polarization

“On the fourth day of the war he unleashed on Ukraine, Vladimir Putin already had two feats to his credit on Sunday, February 27: he gave NATO back its raison d’être and he led the European Union to transform itself into an organization capable of providing military aid to a foreign country.” (French newspaper Le Monde, editorial of February 28)

The war in Ukraine confirms and reinforces the imperialist alignments that were already underway. Given the unanimity of the Western powers against it, Russia can only move closer to China, its only (relative) support on this occasion, and strengthen the alliance already established with it based on common economic and geo-political interests, in particular vis-à-vis the United States and NATO [2] – we will leave aside Assad’s Syria or Iran; as well as the prudent neutrality of India, another nuclear power. Nor does it mitigate the global imperialist contrasts, those of the new world polarization East-West in the making. So much so that the US Navy felt obliged to dispatch a warship immediately to the Taiwan Strait, thus warning China that, despite the war in Europe, US imperialist power was not letting its guard down in the Indo-Pacific area. [3]

But more importantly, the countries of Western Europe, including those most in favor of a European sovereignty independent, or distinct, from American influence, were forced to side with the United States and Great Britain, to the point of coming together, or even being forced for a country like France, to act under the banner of NATO. Militarily, politically and ideologically – Western democracies against "illiberals", or even dictatorships, in the East – the war in Ukraine accentuates this ongoing polarization, thus blocking any immediate desire for European autonomy, or even distance from the United States. Without prejudging the future of imperialist alignments, the current polarization dynamic, in its turn accelerated, constitutes a step – a particularly significant additional moment – towards generalized war.

If the war in Europe has already led to an acceleration in the general dynamics of polarization, it has also provoked a turning point in the alignment of the continent’s European powers. It is too early to know whether this turning point, an alignment behind the United States within NATO, including France, is short or long term. Even if it should prove to be short-term, momentary, the fact remains that the present polarization in the face of the Russian invasion of Ukraine represents an important step in the dynamics towards the constitution of imperialist blocs for generalized war. Indeed, history teaches us that this process is never linear, nor definitive, until the outbreak of war itself. The German-Soviet pact – or Ribbentrop-Molotov – was signed only on August 23, 1939, just a few days before September 1, 1939, the German invasion of Poland and the beginning of World War II, and marked a complete reversal of the USSR’s policy of alliance with France and Great Britain in the name of anti-fascism. In this sense, it is not totally excluded that, in the long run, a European imperialist pole could finally emerge and propose another configuration than the one, the most probable today, organized around the Sino-American polarization, with a view to generalized war.

According to the imperialist configuration and its fracture lines, each proletariat, whether it is American, Chinese, European, or from other continents, will be subjected to attacks whose pro-capitalist, anti-proletarian nature will be the same, but whose intensity, terms and grounds will be differentiated. The war in Ukraine and the polarization against Russia that it provokes on the “old continent” implies primary responsibilities to the proletariat of the continent in front of the war and distinct stakes and possibilities, depending on whether it is from Russia, Ukraine or Western Europe.

5) The dilemma of the European bourgeoisies

“These spectacular German and European reversals will have long-term consequences. Faced with the tragedy of war on its doorstep, Europe is finally giving itself the means to behave as a geopolitical power. It is up to the Member States to consolidate this position: they are going to need it terribly.” (idem.)

Before the war broke out, the main European powers found themselves trapped, caught in a pincer movement, by the American-Russian polarization over the Ukraine issue. Once the Russian invasion underway, the countries of the European Union could only rally behind the United States within NATO. France, the country that most aspires to European sovereignty that is not dependent on America, took the lead by maintaining dialogue with Putin and speaking firmly, threatening Russia with nuclear fire in return. Taking advantage of the French presidency of the European Union and the command, since January, of NATO’s Rapid Reaction Force, France is at the forefront of military measures and looking to impose a certain leadership on its European allies.

For the time being, the war in Ukraine has forced Europe to unite, overcoming the differences between the former Eastern bloc countries, anti-Russian and pro-NATO, and Western countries. The dynamics of polarization between China and Russia on the one hand, the so-called illiberal countries – a ready-made ideological theme to mobilize the proletariat of America and Europe –, and the Western democracies around the United States on the other hand, are reinforced by the war in Ukraine. For all that, and in front of the Russian military advance and threats, the European contradictions, in particular those of Germany hesitating to assume its historical role of world imperialist power, that is to say mainly on the military level, seem to be in the process of being overcome. The reflection and the choices that the German bourgeoisie will have to take, and seem to take with urgency, in the months to come will have heavy consequences for the America-Europe relation, the imperialist configuration to come and... for the European proletariat.

One of the difficulties for the bourgeoisies of Western Europe, i.e. of the historical center of capitalism, is to impose on the fraction of the international proletariat with the greatest experience of workers’ struggle against the crisis and also against the imperialist war, the degree of submission indispensable to march to war. There is no doubt that this is also the main difficulty of the German bourgeoisie, due to its particular history. But the same is true for the other European powers, especially since the proletariat in these countries is not ready to accept the aggravation of misery and capitalist exploitation, nor the sacrifices necessary to develop the war economy and other war efforts. In an immediate way and as first consequence of the war in Ukraine, the proletariat of Western Europe is going to undergo the effects of the increase of the energy prices, of the gas in particular indispensable to heating, of an even stronger revival of the prices and of the effective fall of the wages. The immediate stake will be in the capacity of the proletariat of Western Europe to rise and react against this immediate impoverishment.

6 ) The rearmament of German imperialism

“In just 30 minutes on Sunday, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz discarded decades of foreign policy tradition. His speech to German parliament marks an epochal shift.” (Der Spiegel, February 28th)

The brutal decision to break with the foundations of German imperialist policy since 1945 was made in just a few days. Reluctant to face French pressure to clear the way for a European military power and hesitant about its consequences, in particular dedicating a large part of its budget to arms expenditure, the Russian invasion of Ukraine precipitated the decision of the German bourgeoisie. On February 25, the German newspaper Der Spiegel already headlined on the "Military and Political Disaster : The Calamitous Errors of Germany’s Russia Policy." [4] Its editorial of the same day defended that "Europe must also strengthen its military power. A joint European defense policy is long overdue, also to make us less dependent on protection from the United States. (…) The Europeans must now defend ourselves by developing what French President Emmanuel Macron calls ’strategic autonomy’." Then, three days later only, the decision to rearm German capitalism was adopted. "Germany will increase, following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, its defense spending to reach more than 2% of its gross domestic product (GDP) per year, more than what NATO requires, announced Chancellor Olaf Scholz Sunday. ’We will from now on, year after year, invest more than 2% of our gross domestic product in our defense,’ he said in the Chamber of Deputies, while the German army has suffered for years from under-equipment.” (Radio France Internationale, February 27)

The Russian invasion of Ukraine puts the German bourgeoisie under the obligation to assume its imperialist ’responsibilities’ in a more decisive way: breaking with what the international press calls a taboo, Germany has decided to send weapons directly to the Ukrainians, anti-tank rockets and Stinger surface-to-air missiles. "This decision by Germany marks a political break. Berlin has been heavily criticized in recent weeks by the Ukrainian authorities for its refusal to deliver arms. The German government has always defended itself by invoking the restrictive policy followed by the country since the post-war period, banning exports of ’lethal’ equipment to conflict zones. However, this position has become less and less tenable politically since the Russian army invaded the country." [5]

The rupture and the decision are therefore historic for German capital. There is no doubt that German economic power will enable it to rapidly acquire a substantial military force that will allow it to hold the imperialist rank that history has endowed it with and, at the same time, deprived it of because of the two World Wars. This German rearmament already raises a number of questions, new contradictions: what will be Germany’s place in NATO and vis-à-vis NATO? There is little doubt that this decision will push to resolve the dilemma of NATO or European strategic autonomy, as desired and pushed by France. Which choice of arms industry, European or American? What is the respective place of the German and French arms industries – to name but two – in European preparation for generalized war? What about the European programs, mainly German-French, of fighter aircraft and tanks of the future – the SCAF and MGCS programs? And finally, German rearmament will not fail to raise the question of the development of its own nuclear weapon, which no one doubts it will be able to acquire very quickly. The announced rearmament of Germany, if it were to be confirmed, would inevitably raise the prospect of an imperialist pole autonomous from the United States and therefore, in the long term, a rival to the latter.

From the point of view of the configuration of imperialist alignments and polarization determined and fed by the perspective of generalized war, the return of war to Europe and German rearmament put Europe back at the heart of the world situation, both on the imperialist level and in terms of the class struggle. For it is primarily the proletariat in Germany that will pay for the new imperialist and military policy of its bourgeoisie.

7) The European proletariat and war

"A real economic isolation of Russia will inevitably provoke in return a rise in inflation, a fall in growth, disturbances on the financial markets. (...) The truth must be told to European public opinion. (...) To think that we can influence Russia without sacrifices is an illusion. While the Ukrainian army, leaders and civilians are putting up heroic resistance to the Russian invader, the time has come for European political leaders to clearly face up to the price of solidarity and to prepare public opinion for it." (Le Monde, editorial of February 26th 2022)

The bourgeoisie, in particular in these countries, will not be able to save itself, or avoid, confronting the working class frontally and massively. The announcement has already been made: the European proletariat will pay for this war, its consequences and implications, and therefore for those to come and to be prepared. The proletariat of Ukraine and Russia already pay it, including with their flesh. For the rest of the proletariat of Europe already struggling with the bill of the crisis, aggravated by the paralysis of the production linked to the periods of lock-down in front of the Covid, the war in Ukraine is going to be the occasion for the bourgeoisie to accentuate even more sacrifices, over-exploitation and misery in the name of solidarity with the “Ukrainian people”, to prevent any future aggression of Russia, “for the defense of democracy against the dictator Putin” and for national unity.

If the international proletariat is as much affected by the crisis and by the necessities of preparation for the war which are imposed on each national capital, the proletariat in Europe finds itself in the first line because of the war in Ukraine. What is at stake in the immediate situation? The very beginning of the dynamics of workers’ struggles against the effects of the crisis and the increase of the expenses of armament and infrastructures, concretizing itself by a growing inflation, the fall of real wages and the abyss of gigantic state deficits that it will be up to the proletariat to fill, will it be confirmed in front of the first consequences of the war, the increase of the prices of energy, therefore of the heating and the gasoline? Or will these first reactions be stifled by the shock and incredulity, if not terror, at the outbreak of war in Europe and the nuclear threats, then by the calls for national solidarity in times of war, including by the denunciation as unpatriotic, selfish, even terrorist, as it has been the case late November during the metal workers strike in Cadiz Spain? This is what is at stake in the immediate situation. In this sense, the question of war also plays directly on the class struggle. By doing so, as a factor of the immediate situation, it becomes also potentially a factor of proletarian consciousness and struggle. The war in Ukraine and its implications become an element of the massive confrontations between the classes that is on the agenda of the world situation.

The international proletariat, particularly in Europe, risks to be momentarily paralyzed by the outbreak of this war and to delay somewhat to return to the way of the struggle. This is the most probable hypothesis because of the omnipresence of the media, in particular of humanitarian order provoking a legitimate emotion in front of the massacre of the Ukrainians, and the hype of the democratic and war ideology. However, if it were to come to pass, the aggravation of the crisis, itself accelerated by the war, carries with it massive confrontations between the classes, if only because each national bourgeoisie cannot save itself from attacking and constraining its own proletariat, nor even leave it any respite or space. The imperialist war and its preparation force a total and totalitarian control and submission of the proletariat and of the whole population. The current imperialist war in Europe will precipitate massive class confrontations.

8) The proletariat in Ukraine and Russia in face of war

In our leaflet of February 20th, before the outbreak of the war, while trying to identify what could be the immediate proletarian answers to the war, we foresaw that the anti-war sentiment which seemed to animate the proletarians, and even the populations more widely, of Ukraine and Russia, would “not be enough to stop the military confrontation if it should happen.” Unfortunately, this was the case. At the very moment when the country is invaded, when the Russian tanks and air force crush everything that stands in their way, and when a nationalist resistance is imposed on the Ukrainian society, a fortiori if this resistance seems to win successes of the “little chickens against the Russian ogre”, any proletarian reaction in Ukraine itself is highly improbable. At least in the immediate future and as long as the war lasts. Nevertheless, the slogans for the proletariat in Ukraine remain the same as those for the rest of the international proletariat, knowing that they can only be against the current and not very audible for the moment. The slogans of rejection of national unity and rejection of defense of the Ukrainian nation are at least, and already, milestones for the awakening of the proletariat in Ukraine.

Even if unlikely at the time of writing, we cannot totally exclude that it will be different in Russia, including in the short term. If the Russian proletariat has not manifested itself in the last decades as an advanced fraction of the world proletariat, the adventure in which the Russian bourgeoisie with the Putin clan at its head has launched itself can provide it with the opportunity to wake up and intervene directly in the conduct of this war, that is to say to slow it down, or even to force Putin to stop it if it were to last because of the Ukrainian resistance. Certainly, if the country is in great danger of being totally invaded and militarily defeated in the coming days, the proletariat of Russia will not have the opportunity to intervene in the war itself. But, given the circumstances and the Ukrainian resistance, Putin will be forced to maintain a substantial armed force, and in fact an occupation, on the spot. In other words, the war will continue, in one form or another. So, the conditions for an awakening and an intervention of the proletariat in Russia, essentially if not only from the defense of its living and working conditions which will be inevitably and strongly aggravated even more by the war effort and its consequences, weakening its own bourgeoisie and putting into action the communist principle of revolutionary defeatism, will be facilitated.

Already, and even if they are not proletarian reactions, the capacity of thousands of pacifists to mobilize and demonstrate in the streets of the Russian cities, in spite of a violent and systematic repression, illustrates the weakness of the Russian state apparatus and the lack of enthusiasm, to say the least, of the population in general. And, indirectly, the hesitations and divisions that run through the ruling class. How many enthusiastic demonstrations to defend the ’motherland’? To our knowledge, none. Putin and the Russian bourgeoisie, at least the fraction gathered around the Putin clan and the current oligarchs, have embarked on an adventure whose magnitude and risk they had probably not assessed. At the time of writing, the invasion of Ukraine is getting bogged down, at least meeting unexpected – including by Western military and experts – military resistance and every day that passes weakens the power in Moscow. It is still too early, seven days after the beginning of the war, to know if the announcement of a thousand Russian soldiers killed is verified or not. But there is no doubt that if the number of casualties increases and the war is prolonged, the situation in Russia will quickly become explosive.

In this hypothesis, which is probable even if not certain, the proletariat in Russia, with its miserable living conditions, would then have an opportunity to fight both for the defense of its living conditions and to slow down, if not paralyze, the armed and bloody hand of its own bourgeoisie.

Today, and contrary to what the Russian military offensive might suggest, the weakest link in the chain linking imperialisms, including opposing ones, has become Putin’s Russia.

9) Workers’ struggles and communist slogans in face of war

Today, if the international proletariat is powerless in an immediate way to stop the war in Ukraine and, more broadly, the dynamics of imperialist polarization and generalized war, it is nonetheless part of the equation that the bourgeoisie will have to solve. The imperialist war and the nuclear threat strike at the very moment when anger and revolt against the aggravation of misery and capitalist exploitation emerge everywhere and are expressed in workers’ struggles, which are certainly still too timid and limited. Crisis and war appear at the same time. In this way, the bourgeoisie will not be able to play one to justify the other to counter any revolutionary wave, if it is to develop: pacifism at the price of economic sacrifices as was the case in 1918-19. Prosperity – the end of mass unemployment – at the price of war as in 1939. It is in this that we can say that capital and the bourgeoisie find themselves in a situation of historical fragility. Recognizing this historical weakness does not take away from the reality of the strength of state power and the weakness of the reactions and dynamics of proletarian struggles today. On the contrary, this historical impasse confronting capital can only make the dominant classes even more determined to defend their class power at any cost, including the worst, and make class struggles into bitter and bloody confrontations.

There is only one way to face the dynamics towards the generalized imperialist war: that of the workers’ struggles against the crisis and the implications of the march to war on the proletarians’ living and working conditions. In an immediate way, as we said, the Russian war effort and the economic sanctions of the Western powers will aggravate the situation of the proletariat in Russia, which was already strongly deteriorated. If, at the time of writing, no dynamic of particular struggles seems to emerge in Russia, it remains that the divisions which appear within the Russian society in front of the invasion of Ukraine, including within the bourgeoisie, and even within the state apparatus, can favor the outburst of workers’ struggles... on the condition that they are not deviated onto the democratic ground of an anti-Putin, anti-dictatorship opposition, which can appear at any moment.

The main slogans? In Russia? No to the sacrifices and the war effort against Ukraine! In the face of the explosion of prices due to the war, massive struggles and strikes! Solidarity with the proletarians of Ukraine under the bombs! Proletarians of Russia: remember the strikes and demonstrations of February 1917! Against the imperialist war led by its own bourgeoisie, revolutionary defeatism!

In Europe ? No to the sacrifices imposed by the crisis and the preparation for generalized war! No to the sacrifices for the rearmament of Europe! Against inflation, misery and over-exploitation, present and future, mass workers’ struggles! Against the war in Europe and the nuclear threat, extension and international generalization of struggles and strikes! Faced with the false alternative of war for democracy and against the Russian dictatorship of Putin, only one alternative: the revolutionary perspective of communism! Long live proletarian internationalism!

On the other continents: capitalism is preparing and leading us to imperialist and nuclear war, only international workers’ struggles and the perspective of communism can oppose it. In the immediate future, we must follow the example of the petrochemical workers in Iran, or of Kelloggs or John Deere in the United States, strikes and extend to all sectors for class demands. All united for the defense of our living and working conditions, whatever the corporation or the sector, whatever the color of skin or gender distinction. No alliance or unity with our own bourgeoisie, whether in the name of the defense of democracy or national unity! Extension and generalization of struggles!

10) The war in Europe and the need for the communist party

The outbreak of the war in Europe already provokes, and will provoke even more, the awakening of new revolutionary forces and a political and militant decantation within those that already exist. Groups, circles and individuals of the revolutionary camp, the one that succeeds in reaching the principle of proletarian internationalism, and of the proletarian camp, the one that expands proletarian internationalism to revolutionary defeatism against its own bourgeoisie, to the workers’ insurrection and to the exercise of the dictatorship of the proletariat, are experiencing, and are going to experience, a verification of their revolutionary political commitment and convictions and a verification of the validity of their political positions in the face of the war and the historical situation. Already, within the proletarian camp, and more particularly within the Communist Left, the currents and groups [6] that reject the alternative of revolution or war and any danger of generalized imperialist war, find themselves largely powerless and disoriented in the face of the situation that is opening up. For the time being, the only thing they have left is the abstract affirmation of the principle of internationalism. The contradiction due to the forgetfulness of fundamental Marxist principles can only be overcome by internal crises, or even explosions, or by the more or less rapid agony of what will inevitably become – if it is not already the case – small sects.

In the opposite direction, the war in Ukraine has allowed the forces of the Communist Left which could still remain sometimes evasive, hesitant, not fully convinced, as for the historical alternative and, even, as for the perspective of generalized imperialist war, of Third World War, to recover and to clearly display the stakes of the current situation. The war, today the war in Europe, is a factor of consciousness for the proletariat, and also a factor of political clarification for the communist groups. A process of decantation and selection within the proletarian camp is thus opened, which can only lead in the long run to its reconfiguration, an indispensable prerequisite to the constitution of the world political party of the proletariat. It is particularly significant to note that the line of division between the forces fighting for the party, the pro-party forces as Lenin called them, and the anti-party forces, overlaps the line opposing those who continue to defend the position of principle according to which the alternative that capitalism presents is that of international proletarian revolution or generalized imperialist war and those who turn away from it, ignore it, or reject it.

The war, just like the crisis, as most of the groups of the proletarian camp underline it, affects now directly the proletariat as much on the level of its conditions of life and exploitation as on the level of the conditions, timing and ground, of its struggles. The immediate demands and objectives of the workers’ struggles are going to be directly determined by the question of the war, in front of the demands of sacrifices in the name of national effort and unity and for the necessities of the generalized armament and of the revival of the war economy. Now, the concrete answers, orientations of struggle and adapted slogans, as well as the evaluation of the immediate relations of force allowing the choice of these demands according to the possibilities of fight they offer, raise the question of the minorities of proletarians able to define them, to carry them and to defend them, in the struggles, in the strikes, in the assemblies, in the demonstrations; that is to say, in the period which has opened and which the war in Europe comes to confirm: that of the massive confrontations between the classes. Given the presence of the war in Europe, each dominant class of the "old continent" can only engage a frontal offensive against its own working class; that is to say, against the fractions of the international proletariat having the most historical experience in front of the war and in front of the revolution, knowing undoubtedly more than the others the traps of democratism and anti-fascism and, above all, having at their disposal the main – to this day – communist minorities and who are the most attached to the communist program and to the historical experience of the proletariat.

From theoretical and general, the existence of the party and its capacity to make its orientations and slogans adapted to the situation, to its stakes – in particular the imperialist war – and to the relations of forces between the classes, be taken in charge and realized by the proletarian masses in struggle becomes a practical political question. And which will not be long in becoming urgent, at the risk, in case of impotence and absence, of precipitating the historical defeat of the international proletariat, a physical and bloody, political and ideological defeat, and of opening wide the highway towards the generalized holocaust. Let there be no doubt about it: the terror and the bombardments under which Kiev, Kharkov or the cities of Donbass are today, the bloody massacres that are falling on the population of Ukraine will become the norm and the common lot of all humanity.

The war in Europe begins to specify the conditions and the terms of the decantation of the forces which must fight for the constitution of the party. It makes this struggle the priority.

The IGCL, March 2nd 2022