On Saturday 17 December, CPGB-ML vice-chair Joti Brar spoke at an international anti-imperialist meeting attended by representatives of more than 30 organisations from across the world, organised by the New Communist Party of Yugoslavia (NKPJ) and the Union of Communist Youth of Yugoslavia (SKOJ) in cooperation with the World Anti-Imperialist Platform.
At the meeting, the second meeting to date of the members of the World Anti-Imperialist Platform, Comrade Joti delivered our party’s position on how we should understand the current imperialist crisis, and how we should be responding to the imperialists’ efforts to resolve this crisis through a global war.
Comrades, greetings from Britain. it is a great honour to be participating in this important meeting, which is bringing together anti-imperialist forces from around the world at a time when great hardships are being endured by our peoples as a result of the global capitalist crisis of overproduction.
We are coming together in a historic city, one in which the scars of imperialist aggression are still visible, and where the ongoing war drive threatens once more to engulf not only Serbia, but much of the world.
Remembering the Yugoslav war
Standing here today in Belgrade, it is impossible not to recall the fascistic, genocidal war that was waged by the imperialist powers against the Yugoslav people. We cannot forget that that war, which was waged in the name of ‘humanitarianism’, caused the worst humanitarian disaster in Europe since the second world war.
We cannot forget that that war, which was waged in the name of ‘democracy’ and ‘human rights’, was in reality a war to destroy what remained of the pride and independence of the Yugoslav people; to finish the job of breaking apart their country, which had begun in Slovenia in 1991, and to impose puppet regimes throughout the former Yugoslavia’s territory.
We cannot forget that that war, waged in the name of defending the ‘sovereign rights’ of the Kosovan people, was in reality a war to establish a narco-terrorist Nato protectorate on your country’s soil.
We cannot forget that, besides wanting to establish a base for its military aggression against Russia and its subjugation of eastern Europe, the imperialists wanted the Kosovo region for its own sake. The mineral wealth contained in its lignite, lead, zinc and coal mines alone are sufficient to explain imperialism’s wish to prise Kosovo out of Serbia’s grasp.
We cannot forget how, to achieve its ends, US and European capital directed millions into creating the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), just as they are today pouring billions into the training, arming and support of their proxy army in Ukraine.
We cannot forget that the war against Yugoslavia was aimed not only at the people of the Balkans, but as a warning to all independent-minded nations. Like a mafia punishment beating, it sent a message from the USA to the world: keep in line or you will be next!
Enforcing US hegemony
Today’s war in Ukraine is the latest in a string of aggressive wars that were launched at a time when US imperialism felt confident in having no serious military or economic opposition to its global domination, and was determined to use that power to destroy every vestige of independence or resistance. In every one of these wars, the imperialists wanted to control and dominate vital resources, to make vast superprofits through looting other countries rather than allowing them to use their natural wealth as a source of development and prosperity to their own people.
For imperialism, in its never-ending and desperate quest to find new sources of profit, money spent in developing the infrastructure and raising the living standards of ordinary workers is money wasted.
Having completed the destruction of Yugoslavia in 1999, the warmongers moved on to Afghanistan in 2001, to Iraq in 2003, to Libya and Syria in 2011. These open aggressions have been accompanied by a string of economic and proxy wars in other countries – against Cuba, Iran and the DPRK; against Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan; against Zimbabwe and Congo; against Palestine, Lebanon and Yemen; against Venezuela, Colombia and Nicaragua.
In fact, there is hardly a country in which the USA is not exerting military, economic or political pressure in order to maintain its domination of the planet. Wherever a movement arises that represents the masses’ striving for independence and freedom, a corresponding movement of imperialist suppression, sometimes open sometimes covert, is bound also to appear.
In every one of these wars it is the imperialists and their functionaries in the media, political and military machines who are the real criminals. Those who rained cluster bombs and depleted uranium on Yugoslavia in 1999 are the ones who should have been indicted, not the leaders who dared to stand up to imperialist bullying and defend their people’s right to independence. Likewise in Ukraine today, the criminal aggressors against the people of the Donbass, mercilessly bombarding civilians for the last eight years, are the ones who should be on trial, along with those who fund, train and arm them in the west.
Clarifying the question of imperialism for the working class
The essence of every country’s struggle against these Nato-led wars has been their just defence of sovereignty and independence against imperialist aggression and domination.
As socialists, our role is to understand this and to help workers understand it too. Our job is to explain to the masses that they have no interest in supporting the aggressive actions of their own class enemies, and every interest in working actively for the defeat of the imperialist war machine and the victory of the anti-imperialist forces of resistance.
This contradiction between the imperialist powers and those who oppose them is the defining feature of today’s world. This means we have a duty to side with all those who are objectively fighting imperialism, no matter who is leading or involved in those forces, and no matter what ideology they claim to be guided by.
We cannot fall into the trap of conceding legitimacy to those who have enrolled themselves as proxies in the imperialist war drive. From Kosovo to Ukraine, from Poland to Taiwan, from Kurdistan to south Korea, many workers have been groomed into becoming willing foot-soldiers in the various fronts of a war which is ultimately aimed at saving the crisis-ridden imperialist economic system from total collapse by destroying the independent existence and territorial integrity of all those who oppose its hegemony, in particular Russia and China.
These two countries are seen as a mortal threat to imperialism because they have the military, economic, industrial and technical strength to withstand the bullying of US imperialism; because they are home to vast resources the imperialists want to loot; because they are home to vast numbers of workers the imperialists want to exploit; and because they are increasingly working together and acting as a pole of attraction to other countries who wish to break free of imperialist economic and military control.
There are those in the international working-class movement today who are failing in their task of clearly identifying the nature of the war that is unfolding; who are failing to explain this essence to the workers in their countries. They are failing to identify the real aggressor, and instead are finding socialist-sounding excuses to justify the actions of this or that imperialist-aligned proxy force, some of which are being hurled against Russia and China, others of which are being used against smaller nations around the world that have the temerity to resist US imperialist control, such as Syria, Iran, Venezuela and the DPRK.
In making these vital concessions to imperialist war propaganda, which long ago learned to cloak its aggressive intent behind popular-sounding phrases, they are betraying the interests of their own working classes.
Those who join with prestigious bourgeois economists in opining about the ‘aggressive’ and ‘expansionist’ aims of Russian and Chinese ‘imperialism’, who join with imperialist politicians in branding every leader who stands up against imperialist brigandage as a ‘dictator’, are, whether they mean to or not, facilitating the imperialist war drive.
They are helping to spread confusion where they should be bringing clarity, and they are disarming the forces that they should be mobilising to join the fight against the imperialist war machine.
Opposing the spread of Nato’s war
As we stand in Belgrade today, we are well aware that the imperialists will bring war to these streets once again if they can. Our party stands in solidarity with our comrades in the New Communist Party of Yugoslavia, who are under increasing attack from EU-backed fascist thugs.
We condemn the neo-nazi attacks against the Yugoslav communist headquarters, and we condemn the ongoing provocations in Kosovo, which aim to turn the country into another front of the war against Russia.
We condemn the creation of a two-tier apartheid in Kosovo, where ethnic Serbs are discriminated against and oppressed by the fascistic west-backed junta just as ethnic Russians were being persecuted by the fascistic west-backed junta in Ukraine.
As in other parts of eastern Europe, the Serbian state has facilitated the rise of these imperialist-aligned fascistic forces. It has implemented EU legislation and allowed CIA-imposed historical revision across media and education, which is rebranding WW2 fascist collaborators as ‘heroes’ and Soviet liberators as criminal oppressors.
Comrades, neither the Azov battalion in Ukraine nor any of the other fascistic thugs strutting around the streets of eastern Europe appeared out of nowhere; fascism has been the imperialist tool of choice across this region since the 1930s – aimed at misdirecting workers’ anger, dividing their resistance and suppressing the rise of socialism.
Neo-nazi forces, reintroduced into Ukraine in the 1990s, were unleashed in full force during the 2014 Euromaidan coup. They targeted the most progressive elements of the Ukrainian working class to facilitate the imperialist acquisition of Ukraine’s huge natural and industrial resources – and, as Angela Merkel herself recently admitted, to prepare the ground for Nato’s proxy war against Russia.
As they come to terms with the inevitable defeat of the Kiev regime and the destruction of their proxy forces in Ukraine, Nato’s leaders are doing everything they can to extend and prolong the war. Workers in Poland and the Baltic states are being prepared to provide further cannon fodder for this effort as the west tries to find a way to keep Russia fighting.
The imperialists desperately hope they can win out in the end by wearing Russia down and causing her economy and society to collapse.
The imperialists’ hypocritical talk of ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ is being exposed for what it is – talk, and nothing more. We cannot forget that Nato imperialists defending ‘freedom of speech’, bombed Yugoslavia’s state-run broadcaster here in Belgrade, describing its patriotic journalists and presenters as “legitimate targets”.
Comrades, our best defence against the rising tide of fascistic forces, trained to be used as shock troops in the defence of a failing imperialist system, is the building of a strong anti-imperialist movement, which can explain the true nature of the system to workers and unite their efforts in standing against it.
All imperialist intervention in Kosovo must be vigorously opposed. As Lenin put it more than a century ago: “The powerful European bourgeoisie are afraid of real freedom both in their own countries and in the Balkans; their only aim is profit at other people’s expense, they stir up chauvinism and national enmity to facilitate their policy of plunder and to impede the free development of the oppressed classes of the Balkans.”
Comrades, we must unite the maximum possible forces to oppose Nato’s war drive, which is against the real interest of every worker. That is why we say:
Solidarity with the progressive, anti-imperialist forces in Serbia!
Defeat for Nato imperialism!
Victory to the resistance!