As Russian forces enter and place military pressure at a number of strategic points in Ukraine outside of the recently recognised Luhansk and Donetsk republics and Crimea, Russia has embarked on a highly dangerous and irresponsible course of action which will lead to the loss of many lives and create a fusebox of conflict that could escalate to cause widespread instability in the region. In this inter-capitalist conflict between the great imperialist league of NATO, and the whittled down remains of an ex-soviet state, three fundamental principles stand out which must be underlined, due to their frequent contradictory citation by different actors.
One is the right of nations to live undisturbed without foreign interference in their domestic affairs or physical violations of their territorial sovereignty.
Second is the right of peoples to democratically determine their own future and the course their society will take in its national and social development.
Third is the right to safety for nations through security guarantees preventing encirclement and embargo.
Russia has been a nation under embargo since the collapse of the USSR. In the final years of the Soviet Union, a specific security guarantee was made by the Western powers headed by Reagan to Gorbachev that they would not expand beyond Western Germany. They violated this promise, which was intended to create a new peaceful post-cold war order, similar to the role of the UN in the aftermath of World War 2.
Without security guarantees and the ability to avoid encirclement by a hostile alliance of NATO bases, Russia’s self-determination must have a permanent question mark hanging over it. If the Communist Party was to return to power in Russia, and NATO, which is fundamentally an alliance aimed at reinforcing and ensuring the supremacy of global capitalism, had forts past the Dnieper, it would not take long in crushing the will of the people. It must be remembered that while the Commonwealth of Independent States is a small grouping whose primary purpose is regional stategic interests, NATO is a globe-spanning superpower whose mission statement overtly demands the hegemony of the United States and Capitalism.
The mission purpose of NATO is to replace the states of the world one by one with pro-American plutocracies. The goal of CIS, by meagre contrast, is to secure Russia’s niche in the world, despite the much more threatening long-term motivations ascribed to CIS of a “Greater Russia”. NATO’s relationship to capitalism is fundamentally different to other imperialist nations because their role in the develop of hyper-capitalism through new markets and the constant regime change and destruction of non-aligned countries are explicitly and inextricably linked. All socialists must struggle to defeat them first and foremost as a pre-conditions for any global unity of the working class struggle.
In places where self-determination, security, and territorial sovereignty clash, the contrast between the strong and the weak must be taken into account. The Luhansk and Donetsk republics are young, small states which are repeatedly shelled by the Ukrainian government and raided by the Neo-Nazi Azov battalion. Selected for its brutality and armed with Western weapons, if it was not for Russian protection, these Nazis would continue their rampage far beyond the border zone and turn Donetsk, Luhansk, and even Crimea too, into a gigantic, stinking abattoir.
The Minsk Protocols, with Russian support, called on Ukraine to cease shelling upon taking effect, and legislate federal standing within the Ukrainian nation to these autonomous republics. The Ukrainian government, under pressure from the far-right and with the vocal backing of NATO, refused to implement these protocols, including refusing the inclusion of a UN peace-keeping force in the area under threat from Ukraine.
The acceleration towards membership of NATO could have been prevented, and with it the violence today, through diplomacy.
The partition of Luhank and Donetsk by Ukrainian neo-nazis far out of control from their western-backed puppet government could have been prevented, and with it, violence today, through diplomacy.
The Minsk protocols could have been implemented, giving the Russian language speaking minority in Ukraine protection and recognition, through diplomacy and legislation.
The CYM condemns the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It condemns the loss of life, violation of the norms of ethics and international law, and calls for the immediate withdrawal of Russian troops to the existing administratives borders of the Donetsk and Luhansk autonomous republics, now that the direct threat to these republics by the Azov battalion has been removed.
Why are we at this point? Why could all of this grandstanding not have been resolved through diplomacy?
The answer is that there is blood on the hands of the Irish government, just as there is on many others, and every Irish person has a role to play. Our neutrality has been eroded time and time again in a slow death of a thousand cuts. Membership of PESCO, expulsion of foreign ambassadors in line with US state department priorities, seeking of vast increases of military expenditure to build up towards eligibility of Ireland for candidacy for NATO membership, it all culminates in inclusion in the vast terorrist Western military bloc that prowls the world with blood dripping from its claws. Just as defence contractors and media companies salivate at the prospect of any war, with the commercial opportunities that follow its wake, our media and capitalists have betrayed the nation of Ireland and made a mockery of the principles of peaceful non-alignment we abided by for generations.
The current situation of a working class which is not merely cannon fodder to play generals with stings them deeply. They would like nothing more than to bring neutral Ireland into the sphere of imperialist nations, and through driving, supporting and whipping up a frenzy for international contact, feeding the maws of that inhuman industry with the corpses of the developing world and the children of our class. This attitude, throughout the capitalist world, has sabrerattled and pushed relentlessly to bring Ukraine into NATO’s orbit, has pushed relentlessly for a war that benefits only capitalists in the US and Britain, and turning to Ukraine, devestates what were once two people with their arms clasped in friendship during the Soviet era, replacing mutual benefit, peaceful co-existence, and shared humanity with hatred and death.
We call on Ireland to give voice to the humanitarian spirit of its people, whose own struggles sent them in mourning and in penury to all shores, to give refuge to the homeless and endangered of Ukraine and Russia, to those psychologically impacted by the realities of conflict. We should engage in these acts all the more readily based on our own experiences, where the many wounded and traumatised by our conflict with Britain are not even today given official recognition that they were in a conflict.
Let us reject the conniving viciousness of the likes of Simon Coveney, and the rest of Fine Gael, Labour, Fianna Fáil, the Greens, and their ready partners in the British government and Stormont. We have always been a proud people who have lived, and survived, in the worst of conditions, without yet having the blood of innocents on our hands. Let’s not change that now to line the pockets of the same people lining the streets with those forced out of housing.
If this war escalates, the CYM calls on all right-thinking people in Ireland and the world to engage in a campaign of resistance and civil-disobedience to prevent the tools of war and destruction, the weaponry, bombers and tanks, from passing to the conflict zone through the Irish government’s facilitation of US use of Shannon Airport. The workers of all nations are our brothers and sisters, and we must risk our own lives to prevent machines of death from passing through our country to kill them. Let us peacefully drive the American warmakers out of our country and never again be an accessory to mass murder.
We give our hope to the world that the youth of Ukraine and Russia will turn their weapons on those using them to fight for the division of capitalist profits. We hope they will know lifetimes of peace, protected and free to choose their own futures and political governance.
CYM International Officer