With Lenin or with the Empire?

With Lenin or with the Empire?

In the rhetoric of preparation for the invasion of Ukraine, Putin used an argument that should cast doubt on those on the left who continue to support the warmongering escalation.

Alberto Matos 2 mar 2022, 10:51

Via Esquerda.Net

In a review of history, it was stated that “independent Ukraine is a creation of Lenin and his comrades”, responsible for the dismemberment of the Russian empire”.

In fact, Ukraine should be called the Ukraine of Lenin, its author and architect. Coming from whom it comes from, the accusation sounds like praise. But let us invoke history to unravel who is who.

The dismemberment of the Russian empire was a consequence of its involvement in the First World War. The Bolsheviks were among the minority who maintained an internationalist opposition to the imperialist war, along with Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht in Germany, James Connolly, hero of the Irish liberation struggle, and other honorable exceptions.

Lenin and the internationalists remained faithful to the Basel Manifesto of 1912, which exhorted the workers of all countries to wage a determined struggle for peace, “counterposing to capitalist imperialism the force of the international solidarity of the proletariat.” And the first internationalist duty is the struggle against “its” own imperialism: “the transformation of the present imperialist war into a civil war is the only proletarian slogan just in the conditions of the imperialist war among the highly developed bourgeois countries”.

In “The War and the Russian Social Democracy” (September 1914) Lenin denounced: “The aim of the English and French bourgeoisie is to conquer the German colonies and to ruin the competing nation, which is distinguished by a more rapid economic development. And for this noble end the ‘advanced’ and ‘democratic’ nations help savage tsarism to further suffocate Poland, the Ukraine and to crush the revolution in Russia.”

With the triumph of the October Revolution of 1917, Soviet power recognized, not only out of necessity, but out of conviction, the independence of Finland, Poland, Ukraine and other nations chained in the “people’s prison” of the defunct tsarist empire. Lenin defended the independences as an indispensable step towards the emancipation of the proletariat of these countries from the bourgeoisies that tended to lead the national cause, in a notable polemic with another “eagle” of Marxism, Rosa Luxemburg.

After the end of the civil war against the “Whites” and the invasion of several imperialist countries, in 1922, the Soviet socialist republics of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Transcaucasia formed the USSR which gave rise to 15 independent republics in 1991. It was a chequered history: Lenin’s warnings against the “Great Russian spirit” and centralist brutality in the treatment of other nationalities, such as Georgia, are well known.

Stalinism and the one-party system trampled on a democratic and egalitarian relationship between peoples, even after the joint trial by fire and the heroic victory against the Nazi invasion. The policy of Russification of the various republics, carried out until the last days of the USSR, is responsible for the creation of pro-Russian regional majorities such as those of the “Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics”, today a pretext for the invasion of Ukraine, an eerie parallel to the “Sudetenland question”, invoked by Hitler to annex Czechoslovakia.

Significantly, it is Lenin and not Stalin who is the target of Putin’s criticism, the former KGB and aspiring “Tsar of all the Russias”, who has not ceased to threaten the Ukrainians: “Do you want to be decommunized? We are ready to show you what decommunization of Ukraine really means.” There is the practical demonstration, in less than 48 hours.

In the championship of “decommunization”, the most absurd is the position of the PCP (Portuguese Communist Party) which fails to have a word to condemn the invasion of Ukraine. There is NATO, of course, which should have been dissolved at least since the extinction of the Warsaw Pact – by the way, it should never have existed, since the fascist Salazar regime was one of the founders… NATO did not prevent the tragedy that befell the Ukrainian people. NATO is Putin’s best pretext, just as Putin is NATO’s pretext. I am more and more proud of having advocated for decades “NO TO NATO, NO TO THE WAR PACT”.

Any confusion between the Russian oligarchic regime and some remnants of socialism has vanished with Putin’s words – a pide is always a pide*…- and with the military action to “de-municipalize” Ukraine. Hope is today in the Ukrainian civil resistance and in the Russian internationalists who dare to demonstrate against the war in Pushkin Square.

What is it, comrades: are we with Lenin or with the empire?

  • Author’s reference to PIDE, the political police of the Portuguese Salazar regime.

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