Internationalism versus Hypocrisy, Demagogy, Racism and Centrism

Yossi Schwartz, ISL the RCIT section in Israel/Occupied Palestine), 08.03.2022

The invasion of Russia to Ukraine has exposed once again not only its imperialist nature but the danger for the survival of the human race by all the imperialists. In addition, it exposes the reactionary nature of the Ukrainian ruling class, the heroic resistance of the people of Ukraine, the opposition to the invasion by many Russians, a massive movement against the danger of world war, the cynicism and hypocrisy of the ruling classes of Western imperialism, the possible use of biological weapons, the social imperialism of some of the Stalinist parties and the lack of revolutionary programs by centrists (mis)calling themselves Marxists.

On Russian invasion

When the Soviet Union and the Stalinist states in East Europe collapsed Russia was not yet an imperialist state. The American and European imperialists accepted the new capitalist states in East Europe to NATO to encircle weak Russia. Now that Russia is an imperialist state Putin as the head of Russian imperialism wants to occupy not only Ukraine but East Europe to expand the power of Russian imperialism. Thus, the invasion of Ukraine is an inter-imperialist war. Russia uses weapons while the Western imperialists use the weapon of unheard-of economic sanctions, that is a huge economic war, that can lead to WWIII that can annihilate the human race.

While Putin claims that the Ukraine may use biological weapon Robert Pope, the director of the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program says that the pathogens with which the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program labs work are generally kept frozen but if the electricity loses power, the pathogens in the freezers warm up and the pathogens are able to escape the facility, then they can be potentially infectious in the region. [0]

There are some Stalinist parties like the Russian CPRF whose leader Gennardy Zyuganov describes the Ukrainian government as ‘vassals’ of the United States (which by itself is true) but he added like typical social imperialists that his party is prepared to support Putin’s government in defending the two breakaway states in Ukraine, and echoed the Russian propaganda line that Ukraine was committing genocide against Russians [1]. He also said: “There are accusations of Russia’s intention to act as an occupier. The cause of the crisis is that the Washington puppeteers of the Kyiv leadership and the fascist forces there are persistently trying to organize a massacre in the Donbas region. For the sake of solving their geopolitical tasks, they are ready to arrange another large-scale bloodshed” [2]. This line echoes the political line of the social democrats in WWI when each social-imperialist party supported its imperialist ruling class with the rationale that the other imperialist state is the real enemy. Lenin’s position in that war was that the real enemy is at home in all imperialist states and to turn the imperialist war into the socialist revolution.

“First, all-embracing propaganda extending to the army and the theatre of war, propagating the socialist revolution, and the necessity of using weapons not against one’s brothers, the hired slaves of other countries, but the reactionary and bourgeois governments and parties of all nations; The absolute necessity of organizing illegal cells and groups in the armies of all nations for carrying on this propaganda in all languages; A ruthless struggle against the chauvinism and “patriotism” of the petty bourgeoisie and bourgeoisie of all countries without exception; An appeal to the revolutionary consciousness of the toiling masses, who bear the full burden of the war and who in most cases are hostile to opportunism and chauvinism, against the leaders of the present International, who have betrayed socialism” [3]

The nature of the Ukraine ruling class

To understand the political nature of Ukraine under President Volodymyr Zelensky’s regime it is important to study this regime before the Russian invasion before western propaganda turns this Bonapartist into a great humanitarian.

“Zelensky’s political education has been steep and uneven over the past two years, and he has not avoided the strong centralizing tendencies that are characteristic of other post-Soviet states” [4]

Ukraine is one of the top corrupt states in the world: “Over the last year, Ukraine’s indicators in the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) increased by 3 points. With 33 points out of a maximum of 100 km. Russia stood near it with 30 points, Belarus with 47 points and Poland with 56 points.” [5]

Like in all East European states extreme right-wing forces including pro Nazis forces are active in Ukraine and have some influence in the army. This however does not mean that the regime is Nazi or the majority of the Ukrainian soldiers fighting the Russian invasion are Nazis.

“On Monday, Ukraine’s national guard tweeted a video showing Azov fighters coating their bullets in pig fat to be used allegedly against Muslim Chechens – allies of Russia – deployed in their country. Azov is a far-right all-volunteer infantry military unit whose members – estimated at 900 – are ultra-nationalists and accused of harboring neo-Nazi and white supremacist ideology. The unit was initially formed as a volunteer group in May 2014 out of the ultra-nationalist Patriot of Ukraine gang, and the neo-Nazi Social-National Assembly (SNA) group. Both groups engaged in xenophobic and neo-Nazi ideas and physically assaulted migrants, the Roma community, and people opposing their views. The unit was led by Andriy Biletsky, who served as the leader of both the Patriot of Ukraine (founded in 2005) and the SNA (founded in 2008). In 2010, Biletsky said Ukraine’s national purpose was to “lead the white races of the world in a final crusade … against Semite-led Untermenschen [inferior races]” The SNA is known to have carried out attacks on minority groups in Ukraine. The unit received backing from Ukraine’s interior minister in 2014, as the government had recognized its military was too weak to fight off the pro-Russian separatists and relied on paramilitary volunteer forces. In January 2018, Azov rolled out its street patrol unit called National Druzyna to “restore” order in the capital, Kyiv. Instead, the unit carried out pogroms against the Roma community and attacked members of the LGBTQ community. “Ukraine is the world’s only nation to have a neo-Nazi formation in its armed forces,” a correspondent for the US-based magazine, the Nation, wrote in 2019.” [6] In 2019 Zelenskyy, was already the president.

“A controversial topic has landed in front of politicians in the Ukrainian parliament and is getting international attention. Seventy-eight Ukrainian lawmakers from all sides of the parliament have proposed to give the title ‘Hero of Ukraine’ to controversial figures such as Stepan Bandera and Roman Shukhevych. they are anti-Semitic war criminals who took part in the mass killings of up to 100,000 Jews and Poles during WW2 in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia. The proposal also asks the Ukrainian Parliament and the country’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy to commemorate the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, UPA, operating from the 1940s and into the 1950s, on their 80th anniversary in October next year It also includes the suggestion of constructing memorials and the issuing of coins and stamps, “dedicated to the 80th anniversary of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, as well as to Stepan Bandera, Roman Shukhevych, and other UPA commander These forces were privately funded by oligarchs – the most known being Igor Kolomoisky, an energy magnate billionaire and then-governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region” [7]

What is the nature of this force, what can we learn from the following paragraphs?

“Thousands of Arab nationals, mostly students based in Ukraine, have sought refuge in Poland as their governments scramble to evacuate them Al-Attar and a group of nine friends – all Arab students at the University of Dnipro – each paid $150 to a bus driver who promised to take them to the Polish border The nine-hour trip to Horodok, a small city just outside of Lviv in the west of Ukraine, was largely uneventful apart from frequent stops at army checkpoints. But about 40km (18 miles) from Poland, everything changed. Ukrainian army soldiers stopped their bus of 50-something foreign passengers and forced them to alight. “They just pointed in a direction and said: ‘That’s where Poland is. Now walk,” recounted al-Attar, adding the soldiers said foreigners would not be permitted to continue further in a vehicle. Then they packed our bus with Ukrainians, and it carried on to the border. Along the way, an endless stream of vehicles filled with Ukrainians queued on the road to Poland. Cars were moving at a snail’s-pace and so people opened their homes to fellow Ukrainians, Meryem Saber, also part of the group, told Al Jazeera by phone from Warsaw. “They offered them [Ukrainians] food, water, and a place to rest,” said the 21-year-old Moroccan pharmacy student. “But when they saw us, they’d just turn their faces.” [8]

A Military United front

This behavior of these soldiers no doubt reflects racism and possibly are influenced by Azov and the Ukrainian’s high command brings to mind the question of a military united front with an army of a reactionary regime. First of all, it is necessary to form an independent working-class militia with an internationalist outlook. This militia will have a military united front not only against the Russian army but opposes any manifestation of racism. For this, it is also important to work inside the regular army to influence the simple soldiers to shoot the racist officer. This without giving any political support to the reactionary government. This tactic was used by Lenin when general Kornilov prepared a coup against Kerensky’s reactionary government. This was the position of Trotsky during the Spanish revolution. 

This line was also correct when imperialist France was occupied by imperialist Germany in WWII. Fighting against the German invasion to liberate France by the socialist revolution opposing the restoration of imperialist France.

While the regime is corrupted oppressive and integrated some Nazi forces into its army Putin’s propaganda of fighting a Nazi regime distorts reality to justify an imperialist invasion. He said: “The purpose of this operation is to protect people who for eight years now have been facing humiliation and genocide perpetrated by the Kyiv regime,” he said, according to an English translation from the Russian Mission in Geneva. “To this end, we will seek to demilitarize and denazify Ukraine, as well as bring to trial those who perpetrated numerous bloody crimes against civilians, including against citizens of the Russian Federation.” [9]

Even if it was true that Zelensky’s regime is a semi-fascist regime (which is not the case) revolutionary Marxist are obliged to stand with the resistance of a non -imperialist state against the worse enemy-imperialism 

Trotsky wrote on this subject: “It is clear to me at any rate that the internal tasks of these countries cannot be solved without a simultaneous revolutionary struggle against imperialism. The agents of the United States, England, France (Lewis, Jouhaux, Toledano, the Stalinists) try to substitute the struggle against fascism for the struggle against imperialism. We have observed their criminal efforts at the recent congress against war and fascism. In the countries of Latin America, the agents of “democratic” imperialism are especially dangerous, since they are more capable of fooling the masses than the open agents of fascist bandits. I will take the most simple and obvious example. In Brazil there now reigns a semi-fascist regime that every revolutionary can only view with hatred. Let us assume, however, that on the morrow England enters into a military conflict with Brazil. I ask you on whose side of the conflict will the working class be? I will answer for myself personally—in this case, I will be on the side of “fascist” Brazil against “democratic” Great Britain. Why? Because in the conflict between them it will not be a question of democracy or fascism. If England should be victorious, she will put another fascist in Rio de Janeiro and will place double chains on Brazil. If Brazil on the contrary should be victorious, it will give a mighty impulse to the national and democratic consciousness of the country and will lead to the overthrow of the Vargas dictatorship. The defeat of England will at the same time deliver a blow to British imperialism and will give an impulse to the revolutionary movement of the British proletariat. Truly, one must have an empty head to reduce world antagonisms and military conflicts to the struggle between fascism and democracy. Under all masks, one must know how to distinguish exploiters, slave-owners, and robbers!” [10]

Zelensky is pushing for WWIII by calling on his Western masters to intervene militarily and create a no-flight Zone. “In a fiery speech, Volodymyr Zelensky said the West’s reluctance to intervene had given Russia “a green light” to continue bombarding towns and villages. On Friday, NATO’s secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, warned that the introduction of a no-fly zone could lead to a “full-fledged war in Europe involving many more countries” [11]

On the Sanctions on Russia

Never in history, such sanctions have been used. Western imperialists have frozen the assets of Russia’s central bank, limiting its ability to access $630bn (£470bn) of its dollar reserves. “The US, the EU, and the UK have also banned people and businesses from dealings with the Russian central bank, its finance ministry, and its wealth fund. Selected Russian banks will also be removed from the Swift messaging system, which enables the smooth transfer of money across borders. The ban will delay the payments Russia gets for exports of oil and gas. Other sanctions by the UK include major Russian banks being excluded from the UK financial system, stopping them from accessing sterling and clearing payments. All Russian banks will have their assets frozen. Major Russian companies and the state will be stopped from raising finance or borrowing money on UK markets; a limit will be placed on deposits Russians can make at UK banks. The EU also said it would target 70% of the Russian banking market and key state-owned firms, including defense firms. Western governments have imposed sanctions on some individuals, including a “hit list” of powerful, wealthy businessmen and women close to the Kremlin known as oligarchs. Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov have also been sanctioned. Their assets in the US, EU, UK, and Canada will be frozen. The US has imposed a travel ban on both of them” [12]

These sanctions are a form of a war (Commercial war) that can lead to WWIII. The real victims will be the Russian working class and the poor and they will not stop the invasion.

“Sanctions were imposed on Russia in 2014 when President Vladimir Putin annexed the Crimea region of Ukraine. Those sanctions didn’t force Russia to back down on its annexation. They pushed many Russians to support Putin. Following the post-Crimea sanctions imposed in 2014, the Central Bank of Russia developed an alternative international payment platform, the so-called System for Transfer of Financial Messages (SPFS) — the Russian equivalent to SWIFT. SPFS is not a perfect substitute for SWIFT, but it will allow some continuity in international exchange. Although western sanctions are unlikely to force Putin to abort his invasion of Ukraine; Russian citizens will certainly be hurt. The damage to civilians, particularly the poor populations of sanctioned countries, are too often ignored” [13]

In addition, working people and the poor all over the world will suffer from an even greater rise in prices of basic commodities, “If the West bans Russian oil, international crude prices could skyrocket to $150 per barrel, analysts say” [14] 

It brings to mind the bombing of cities by imperialist Germany and imperialist Britain and the US in WWI on working-class neighborhood in WWII.

These sanctions bring up the question of why these sanctions are imposed on Russia over the invasion of Ukraine and not over Russia’s massive bombing of Syria? Why not Israel that commits so many war crimes against the Palestinians? In the case of Syria, it is because in Syria the Russian imperialists helped to smash the revolution and the Syrian are Arabs not European of a pro-Western imperialist regime. In the case of Israel, it is because Israel is in the front line of the imperialists in the region. 

The only way to end the Russian invasion and prevent WWIII is a socialist revolution in Russia, as part of a world socialist revolution. For such a program you can read: Defend Ukraine against Putin’s Invasion! Defeat Russian & NATO Imperialism! War Platform for Socialists in Russia & Ukraine Issued by Russian & Ukrainian Activists of RCIT [15]


Imperialist China is playing the same game that US imperialism played in WWII. Sitting from the side and watching how Russia and the Western imperialist’s Ukrainian servants are bleeding hoping to become the most powerful imperialist state. 

“China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi signaled that it was ready to play a role in mediating a ceasefire. State media here reported that Mr. Wang “reaffirmed China’s unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty” and assured his counterpart of China’s readiness to make every effort to end the war… through diplomacy”. China’s government also recently expressed “regret” about the military action, saying it was extremely concerned about the harm to civilians. China has also done one other thing of note. Alongside India, it was one of 34 nations that abstained from voting on a United Nations resolution condemning Russia’s invasion – something analysts say has come as a surprise. Many had expected China to vote alongside Russia” [16]

In the politics of the imperialists, they behave like sharks when one shark is bleeding and the others eat him.


For Israel, the war in Ukraine is a blessing. First of all, it brings refugee Jews from Ukraine. ” As a huge wave of refugees flees after Russia’s invasion, Israel will ease the path for Jewish Ukrainians to immigrate, but the policy has one significant caveat. The country’s Interior Ministry has announced that only ‘halachic’ Jewish Ukrainians – those who are born to Jewish mothers – would be accepted into the country, it has been reported. Previously, under Israel’s Law of Return, every grandchild of a Jew is eligible to immigrate to Israel with their family and be granted citizenship Revealing the decision during a session by the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee on Monday, the Interior Ministry decided that it would allow non-Jewish Ukrainian partners and children only if they’re Jewish by the religious law This is the first time I can remember that the Law of Return creates two different categories of eligible individuals,” Haaretz quoted Gilad Kariv of the Labour Party, the Knesset committee chair saying. “Until now, eligible individuals have always enjoyed the same rights,” he said.” [17] This decision is not only against non- Jews refugees but against reform Jews. 

“The racist practices of the state of Israel have become a source of anger and frustration for Ukrainian officials who are seeking safe passage for their citizens fleeing Russia’s invasion of their country. With Europe facing another refugee crisis following Moscow’s decision to invade its neighbor, EU states by and large have opened their doors. Israel’s response, however, has been slammed as racist. Ukraine’s Ambassador in Tel Aviv, Yevgen Korniychuk, is reported by Haaretz as saying that turning non-Jewish refugees away is “completely insane”. He urged the Israeli authorities to accept non-Jews from Ukraine.

Hundreds if not thousands of Ukrainian Jews fleeing the war in their homeland are expected to be granted the right to stay in Israel. Non-Jewish Ukrainians, however, will not enjoy the same privilege and face being forced to return to their home country” [18]

Some of these Jews are likely to join the settlers in the West Bank and we as revolutionary Marxists are against this immigration to Israel. They should be allowed to enter other countries especially the other East European states and the imperialist states in the West.

Thus, the Zionist state is repeating the same policy of the US and Canada during WWII of closing the gates to Jewish refugees. 

“Despite this openly full pledge, the Prime Minister of Israel is acting as another possible mediator between Russia and Ukraine.” Former Israeli ambassador to the US, Michael Oren, said that “Bennet’s action is bold but also risky. Russia is in a different position today, and Putin may be looking for a way out of his predicament,” Oren said. “Naftali Bennett may just supply the ladder” [19]

Israel and Russia, both imperialist states, have an agreement allowing Israel to attack Iranian positions in Syria even though Iran is an ally of Russia.

The imperialist media characterize Palestinians who throw Molotov cocktails and stones on the oppressive Zionist army and the armed settlers as terrorists or militants, not as freedom fighters:Three Palestinian men accused by Israel of carrying out a spate of attacks have been shot dead in an Israeli operation in the occupied West Bank. The military wing of the Palestinian Fatah faction confirmed that the dead men were its members and said they were killed in “a cowardly assassination”. Israeli police said they were armed and were killed during clashes with an undercover unit in the city of Nablus. It is the highest single death toll in an action of this kind for months. In September, five Palestinians were killed in an Israeli operation in the West Bank. Israel said all five belonged to the Gaza-based militant group Hamas, which said four were members.” [20]

“‘This media praises Zelensky’s call on the civilians to arm themselves with Molotov cocktails’. The country’s former president is patrolling the city streets with a civilian defense force, armed with an AK-47. Civilians have been called to find their weapons and make Molotov cocktails — a type of crude, homemade explosive named, mockingly, after a former Soviet foreign minister” [21]

The Western imperialists and art

Various Russian musicians performing in the western imperialist states are forced to resign unless they condemn Putin.

A prominent Russian conductor said on Sunday that he would resign from his positions with two orchestras — at the storied Bolshoi Theater in Moscow and in Toulouse, France — after facing intense pressure to condemn President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The conductor, Tugan Sokhiev, had faced demands from French officials that he clarify his position on the war before his next appearance with the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse later this month. In his statement on Sunday, in which he said he would “always be against any conflicts,” Mr. Sokhiev said he felt he was being forced to pick between the two ensembles.” [22]

Russian conductor Valery Gergiev has been forced to resign as honorary president of the Edinburgh International Festival after failing to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine” [23]

The centrists

There is a general tendency among the centrists to oppose the war and to oppose both the Russian invasion and US-NATO. However, one has to read carefully the arguments and their tone to see in what direction they tilt.

While the IMT of Woods refuses to take a revolutionary position in this war and tilts in favor of Russian imperialism 

Refusing to call it imperialist, The ISA tilts in favor of the USA: “Many Ukrainians have been justifiably angry that the western institutions have not stepped up with measures that could act effectively to stop the Kremlin’s aggression. Zelensky’s office reported that the US has offered him a flight out of Ukraine. Once again, the west is demonstrating its callousness — other Kyiv residents will be left to face the Russian assault” [24]

Other sections of the ISA like the Swedish section Rattvisepartiet Socialisterna take a pacifist line: “No to war! The labor movement emerged in the fight against militarism and war. A shining example of this is when the Swedish labor movement managed to stop the plans for war against Norway in 1905, using the slogan “Down with the weapons”. When the social democratic leadership promised social peace (support for the government) during the First World War, the left and the youth union responded with a campaign against the war… regardless of the development of the war over the next week, everything and everyone will be affected for a long time to come: consciousness, power relations, and the economy. For all who are against the war, it is important to analyze and mobilize against the war and the global capitalist system.”

While the British SWP characterizes correctly that Russia and NATO as imperialists and opposes both sides and says something that has value: “Despite occasional objections about particularly bloody methods, Western governments publicly backed Russia’s first war in Chechnya between 1994 and 96. And they refused to recognize Chechnya’s claim of independence. This war saw up to 100,000 civilians killed” [25] As typical, it does not offer a program to win a socialist revolution in Russia and Ukraine.

The Mandelists, the so-called Fourth International, published a statement by the Left East that condemned Putin’s Imperial War Against Ukraine and the role of the US and NATO. At the same time, they have come up with a pacifist program: “We call for an immediate ceasefire and return to the negotiating table. The interests of global capital and its military machines are not worth one more drop of the peoples’ blood. Peace, land, and bread!” [26]

The International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) Led by North opposes the war and oppose both Russia and US-NATO as imperialists but their focus is denouncing what they call anti- Russian hysteria a tilt in favor of Russia: “This opposition, rooted in the struggle to unify workers in Ukraine, Russia, and internationally in a global anti-war movement, does not require that one adapt to the predatory interests of the imperialist powers or cover up the role of fascism in Ukraine. It does not oblige one to maintain a shameful silence about the fact that among the NATO powers’ allies in their battle for a “democratic and independent Ukraine” are far-right nationalists and fascists whose political forefathers collaborated with the Nazis during World War II.”

But if there were no right-wing forces in Ukraine and East Europe would NATO be better?

Turn the imperialist war to a class war!

Defend Ukraine without any political support for the regime!

For workers governments in Russia and the Ukraine!

Oppose the sanctions and the Anti- Russian chauvinism!

For humanity to live all imperialism must die!



[1] See his speech on February 16 2022

[2] Ibid 

[3] The Tasks of Revolutionary Social-Democracy in the European War”, September 1914
























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