By Satyaki Chakraborty
The communist parties of the world, mainly the communist parties of the western countries including the United States, the Britain, France and Germany are facing difficult choices after Russian President Putin’s official declaration of attack against the Ukraine on February 24. Earlier, the western parties, especially of USA have been exposing the NATO and US machinations in Ukraine and found some justification in the Russia’s advance actions near the border.
But after February 24, the scenario changed completely as the CPs did not expect such sudden aggression by the Russian side defying the international norms. These parties finally came out with statements condemning Putin’s misadventure but at the same time pointing out that the NATO and the US president had to share the responsibility for precipitating the present war situation.
The CP of USA in its statement issued by the highest body, the National Board called on the U.S. people to demand the Biden administration change course immediately. War is never an acceptable solution and must be rejected in the strongest terms. At the same time the Party called on Russia to withdraw troops. All sanctions must be ended and borders secured and respected. Significantly, the CPUSA statement mentioned that Russian invasion of Ukraine threatens catastrophic consequences.
According to the statement, there is no doubt that the longstanding attempt by U.S. imperialism and NATO to bring Ukraine into the military alliance has heightened tensions. In the recent period, this effort along with providing military supplies combined with Cold War rhetoric is a backdrop to the crisis. A lasting peace is not possible unless Ukraine remains outside of NATO. Further Russia’s ruling circles have their own national designs and the outbreak of the war will only make matter worse.
It is to be mentioned that right now, the CP of USA may be small in membership but its impact on the domestic politics is much more since the party workers collaborate with the left wing of the Democratic Party led by Bernie Sanders at the grassroots level. President Biden has been following a policy of conceding of many demands of the working class including the right to form unions in some key areas of the industries. All these have been welcomed by the trade unions. Bernie Sanders who plays an important role in policymaking under Biden administration always identified Putin as authoritarian along with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Turkish Prime Minister. He has been critical all along of Putin’s hyper nationalism. At the same time the war mongering moves of NATO.
The US Communist Party is taking into account the stand of the Sanders group in arriving at its decision and therefore the attack on President Biden has not been that forceful. Already President Biden’s popularity is waning and the Democratic Party is not all that strong to face the midterm elections in November this year with confidence. Former President Donald Trump has thrown a big challenge to Biden and the right-wing consolidation is taking place. It seems that the US communists are cautious during this period and they will focus more on their demand for ending the war immediately and solution through negotiations.
The Russian Communist Party (CPRF) leadership led by Gennady Zyuganov issued a statement on Ukraine on Tuesday calling for settling the crisis through talks as soon as possible.
“We sincerely hope for an early cessation of hostilities and a political settlement through negotiations. And we are contributing to this as much as possible,” the statement reads.
The document said that the CPRF stands against bloodshed and very much hopes “that it will be possible to avoid serious losses not only among servicemen of the Russian army, but also soldiers and officers of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, among whom there are many Russian people and deceived Ukrainians.”
In effect, the CPRF has not condemned Putin’s attack on Ukraine and also did not make any mention of Putin’s derogatory remarks against Lenin and Bolsheviks in his speech on February 21 justifying the Russian recognition to the two provinces of Ukraine as independent. The Russian CP leader Zyuganov is facing protests in the party and already many CP members have come out against highly anti communist remarks of the Russian President.
The Communist Party of Britain, has called for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine, a halt to all military operations, and the beginning of negotiations to bring about a just settlement of the Ukraine question.
Where necessary and by agreement, UN peacekeeping forces should be stationed in Ukraine to protect communities from further attack. Western governments in the organization should reverse their withdrawal of observers from the country.
Sanctions against Russia will not only make any progress more difficult. They will also damage the well-being of the peoples of Russia, Ukraine, and the rest of Europe including Britain, while making Europe more dependent on energy supplies from U.S. corporations and Middle East dictatorships. As regards the situation inside Russia, the official Communist Party of Russian federation led by Zugyanov supported the Putin misadventure and virtually endorsed the call of the Russian President on the basis of hyper nationalism. But this was not a unanimous decision of the leadership, it seems. A few senior leaders of the CP disagreed to this official line and spoke for immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine. Many CP members are participating in antiwar rallies and one organization has called for a radical change in the country’s whole political system and end to the war mongering by Putin.
The French Communist Party has always been Eurocentric. France is going for national elections in April this year and French Communist Party is putting up a candidate in the first round though its popular support is only around 5 per cent. There is a general fear among the Frenchmen about war in Europe and the general sentiment among the CGT unions led by Communists, is also hostile against Russia. The French CP has to condemn Putin in strongest terms.
As regards the Communist Party of Germany, the Party suffered a setback in the last national elections in September 2021 The Social Democrats are now running the Government and Germany, despite its economic relationship with Russia on gas supplies, is solidly with NATO. The German CP party leadership is divided between two charismatic women leaders one against the NATO and the other looking more for domestic issues affecting the German working class, overlooking the issue of NATO. The German party has its domestic compulsions as it tries to improve its strength. (IPA Service)