[pdf http://126.96.36.199/cpgb-ml/wp-content/mediadonbass_20150319.pdf 700 800]The British army, fresh from participating in provocative Nato ‘exercises’ in Ukraine, is now going back in, in a supposedly ‘advisory’ capacity.
This brings Britain into lockstep with the US, which is due to begin its own ‘training exercises’ there shortly, and highlights the frustration of anglo-american imperialism over the repeated failure of its fascist proxies in Kiev to bring Ukraine lock stock and barrel under imperialist control.
Meanwhile, contradictions are growing within the imperialist camp itself. Germany and France have refused to send lethal weaponry to Kiev and given only lukewarm support to further sanctions against Russia – a trade partner which they can ill afford to lose.
And while Cameron may derive a false sense of security from sheltering under Obama’s wing, the reality is that imperialism is taking the British people into the most direct confrontation with Russia since 14 imperialist armies were pitted against the fledgling Soviet Republic in 1919.
[b]Winter offensive collapse[/b]
The welcome rout of Kiev’s short-lived winter offensive by the self-defence forces of the Donbass followed much the same pattern as the earlier attempt to impose jackboot rule last summer. In both cases, the Nato-backed junta, which has been illegally foisted onto the people of Ukraine, had a massive advantage in both numbers and equipment.
But having thrown everything into a frontal assault, sown death and destruction on a huge scale and uprooted at least a million people from their homes, the fascist regime was ultimately defeated by the people’s resistance.
So how could this have happened? The BBC will tell us, with no scrap of evidence, that it was the secret hand of the Russian army which achieved this marvel. The truth is much simpler, however. The resistance forces are fighting a [i]people’s[/i] war, a [i]just[/i] war, and a [i]war against fascism[/i].
And they are fighting a demoralised enemy comprising a motley combination of bullied conscripts and crazed volunteers (the latter inspired by the vile fascist tradition whose great ‘hero’ was the Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera).
These present-day Banderistas would prefer to forget how their great ‘heroes’ (backed by the Nazis) were comprehensively routed, just as they themselves (backed by Nato) are likewise staring catastrophic defeat in the face.
The militias of the people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, by contrast, are made up of volunteers dedicated to the defence of their homeland and the struggle against fascism. They adopt flexible, guerrilla tactics and take inspiration from the anti-fascist struggle of their Soviet partisan forebears.
This is how the resistance has sustained its morale through the darkest hours – and how it has been able to prevail over a stronger, better-equipped enemy.
On paper, much of the latest ceasefire agreement (‘Minsk 2’) reads just like the last one (Minsk 1): withdrawal of heavy artillery, ceasefire, negotiation on autonomy for the Donbass region.
Yet much has changed. The speed of the winter offensive’s defeat stands in marked contrast to the long and bloody struggle that preceded Minsk 1. And economic crisis has in this time further deepened in Europe, compounded by the economic blowback to the EU’s economy from sanctions against Russia.
Splits in the imperialist camp have also deepened. Whilst Cameron and Obama were engaged in ‘loud thinking’ about running guns to the fascists and sending in the marines, Merkel and Hollande were busying themselves with Putin’s peace initiative. Only once Minsk 2 had been signed did Kerry creep back to damn it with faint praise.
Britain’s [i]official[/i] contribution to the US’s war in Europe may as yet be relatively small, but there is no doubt that a significant section of our ruling class is backing it to the hilt.
While Cameron speaks soothingly of a mere ‘75 British soldiers’, posted far from the front line and providing only medical, logistics, intelligence and infantry ‘support’, workers would do well to remember that, in these days of privatised warfare, there will by now also be an extensive network of ‘unofficial’ spies, mercenaries and private contractors on the British and US payroll.
Cameron’s escalation of hostilities, coming at the very moment when resistance forces were withdrawing heavy weapons from the front line as required by Minsk 2, effectively gave notice that Britain intends to stick with the US warmongers, distinguishing herself thereby from fainter hearts (or wiser heads) in the Nato ranks.
By sending troops to Ukraine, British imperialism is taking a major, grave and dangerous step towards a possible war with Russia. Such a war could have catastrophic consequences not only for British workers, or even just for Europeans, but for people all over the world.
[b]Support the resistance[/b]
When ‘protesting’ against Britain’s [i]other[/i] wars of national oppression, neither the trade unions nor the anti-war movement have yet been prepared to advance beyond timid demands to ‘bring the troops home’, and for ‘welfare not warfare’.
Most of the cowardly ‘leaders’ of our working-class movement have never dared to raise the essential point that British workers have a [i]duty[/i] to give [i]active solidarity[/i] to those who are standing up against the violence being exported by British imperialism.
These leaders have refused to give full support to the forces of resistance, and refused to organise the workforce to disrupt and sabotage the war machine at home. But when we neglect these duties towards our brothers and sisters abroad, we are also weakening our own ability to fight back against capitalist austerity at home.
So it felt like a breath of fresh air when the RMT union put up a resolution in support of the anti-fascist resistance in the Donbass and got it passed at last year’s TUC conference – thus making it official TUC policy. Demonstrations and meetings in solidarity with the Donbass resistance immediately sprang up in London, Bristol and elsewhere.
For the moment, these healthy developments remain on a small scale and mostly symbolic, but they are a tiny chink in the carefully-constructed separation wall that divides workers in the imperialist homeland from their oppressed brethren abroad.
Let the unions now turn that TUC policy from a pious hope into a concrete reality by organising a campaign of [i]total non-cooperation with the war[/i] that anglo-american imperialism is courting with Russia.
Let media workers refuse to go on churning out the endless vilification of the anti-fascist resistance and of Russia. Let workers in the armed forces refuse to go to Ukraine in support of a neo-Nazi junta. Let armaments and transport workers black all war materiel destined for the Ukraine.
[i]In short, let workers remember the power they have, and learn to use it![/i] The lesson is urgent.