Editorial of Workers’ Tribune (French POID’s weekly) by Daniel Gluckstein, France, coordinator with Namiath Vasudevan (India) of the International Workers’ Committee against War and Exploitation, for a Workers International (IWC). February 22, 5 pm.
At the time of this writing, no one knows what the outcome of the escalation toward war in Eastern Europe will be. Anything is possible. But there are a number of things that we do know.
We know that the peoples have no interest in a confrontation. The Russian worker is not the enemy of the Ukrainian worker, who is not the enemy of the Russian worker. The French worker is not the enemy of the Russian worker, nor of the Ukrainian worker, nor of the U.S. worker.
It is known that all governments are pushing for the escalation toward war. At the origin of the conflict, there is the determination of the U.S. administration to strengthen the military encirclement of Russia by pushing Ukraine to join NATO. This membership is considered by the Russian government as a threat, since Ukraine is the largest and most populous country in Europe bordering Russia. On this basis, the escalation began – an escalation in which Putin took a new step with the entry of Russian troops into the Donbass.
It is also known that this is not about the rights of the peoples to self-determination. U.S. imperialism has shown what such “rights” mean in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Libya and everywhere else — where its interventions have dislocated entire countries, allowed the massacre of civilian populations, and forced millions upon millions of people into exile.
The Russian government has nothing to envy U.S. imperialism, and has proved it on many occasions – in particular, a month ago, when Russian troops intervened in Kazakhstan to crush the workers’ revolt. It is noteworthy that neither Biden, nor Macron, nor any of the capitalist powers protested against this bloody crushing of workers who rose up against the consequences of privatization. It’s a fact that in order to implement privatizations in Kazakhstan – as in Russia, France or the United States – Biden, Putin, and Macron are ready to make common cause.
To justify the intervention of his troops, Putin denounces the existence of Ukraine as a consequence of the 1917 revolution. It should be renamed « Ukraine Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, » he stated ironically. This is an involuntary tribute paid to the workers’ revolution in Russia by this former nomenclaturist – an agent of the political police of Stalinism who today frolicks in the spoils of mafia privatization. It was, indeed, the Russian Revolution that liberated the oppressed nationalities of the former tsarist empire and opened the way to an independent Ukraine. With this reminder, Putin is telling the Western capitalist powers: « We are in the same camp, that of the oppression of the peoples and the anticommunists. Do not mistake your adversaries.”
We know that it is not a matter of defending democracy and freedom either, because, from Saudi Arabia to Qatar, through many dictatorships, we are familiar with these allies of the « Western democracies. » As for Macron, who was recently driven out of Mali after years of bloody and costly intervention, we know that he is capable – in the small place that U.S. imperialism still reserves for him – to play his part in the great orchestra of military interventions against the peoples, in Africa, but not only in Africa.
Finally, we know that the escalation of war in Eastern Europe is a godsend for the arms industry, which is experiencing a considerable boom the world over, thanks to constantly expanding military budgets, especially in the United States. It’s a boom, as well, for the U.S. gas and oil multinationals, and their shale gas production.
For all these reasons, anyone who claims to be in the camp of peace and democracy – in the camp of the workers and oppressed peoples – must fight resolutely against the escalation in progress and against the warmongers who are organizing it.
In France, once again, a kind of “sacred union” is being formed behind Macron. In this common denunciation of Putin, we find all the institutional parties, of the right as well as the left, the Socialist Party (PS) and the Greens, but also Fabien Roussel, candidate of the French Communist Party (PCF), who supports Macron’s position to the point of declaring, “I consider that he [Macron] is taking all the necessary initiatives to encourage dialogue, to have a frank, loyal and direct dialogue with all the stakeholders.” Less enthusiastic about Macron, JeanLuc Mélenchon [France Unbowed] joined the general consensus in accusing « Russia [which] bears responsibility. It must be condemned in our own interest.”
We must condemn Russia alone, which bears responsibility for the situation, says Mélenchon… We must outright support Macron, says Roussel. … Macron, in fact, has just demanded that sanctions be taken against Russia, taking his cue, as usual, from the directives of his masters in Washington. What about sanctions? We know what they are and how devastating their consequences have been for working people in Cuba, Iran, Venezuela…
Can we support Macron, who demands sanctions and claims to defend the interests of workers and peoples?
In all circumstances, Macron acts in the service of the multinationals, especially today of the merchants of war — and of the oil and gas industries. Just as he has served the capitalists for the past two years by offering them 600 billion euros that they use to lay off workers and speculate. In this month of February 2022, we find the same combination of “sacred union,” which, on March 19, 2020, saw all the parties in the National Assembly vote to earmark 343 billion euros for the capitalists.
The enemy for the French working class is first of all its own government, the Macron government – a government that is at war abroad with the workers and peoples and at war at home – a social war – against the workers and youth.
The only position in the interests of the working class and internationalism is this: Not a penny for the warmakers, not a cent for the military adventures in Eastern Europe, Mali or elsewhere! French troops out of Mali, out of Romania and out of all theaters of foreign operations! Out with Macron and his government of war and exploitation! No to the sacred union! For free and fraternal cooperation between the workers of the whole world, for the withdrawal of France from all military and diplomatic alliances against the interests of the peoples, for a government that is at the service of only the working class majority!
To fight for these demands, join the Independent Democratic Workers Party (POID), member of the International Workers’ Committee against war and exploitation, for a Workers’ International (IWC).
February 22, 5 pm