Our activist delivered three key messages during the international session of the Congress. First, Sotsialnyi Rukh was introduced to the delegates, with an emphasis on our anti-capitalist and democratic socialist agenda. Second, and most importantly, our anti-war stance was outlined. While Sotsialnyi Rukh is grateful to CPIML for its open solidarity with the Ukrainian people, it rejects such flawed, in our view, positions and opinions as: whataboutism, reduction of the war to inter-imperialist rivalry, condemnation of weapons supplies to Ukraine, and the call to lift sanctions from Russia. In conclusion, our representative expressed the support of Sotsialnyi Rukh in fighting all forms of oppression both in India and beyond.
In its press release “Resolution on International Situation and Climate Change”, dated February 19, CPI(ML) “condemned the Russian aggression towards Ukraine as fascistic and called for an end to the war.” At the same time, the party “recognized NATO as a vehicle of US imperialism and called for its dismantlement.” We, members of the Sotsialnyi Rukh, strongly emphasize that Ukraine has an absolute moral and legal right to defend its territorial integrity, political sovereignty, and people, including with the help of the Western-supplied weaponry, the responsibility of NATO in Russian invasion is in lack of actions to support Ukraine militarily and diplomatically before the war including multiple stances of cooperation with Russia in times when Russian imperialism invaded other states.
Once again, it is pointless to compare imperialisms when the survival of our people and our liberation from Russia’s domination is at stake. As highlighted repeatedly by CPIML’s life-long member and activist Kavita Krishnan, ordinary Ukrainians are putting their lives on the line to fight the actual war of resistance against. Those few voices among the Indian Left that are sympathetic towards Ukraine’s struggle ought to remain critical in their analysis of the international situation and avoid reproducing Putin’s propaganda.
With absolutely pro-Russian and pro-authoritarian stances of Modi-led BJP government, we think that Indian people should support Ukraine, agitate for complete break from Modi’s economic, diplomatic and political cooperation with increasingly fascist imperialist state of Russia, for supporting Ukrainian struggle against Russia, and for supplying weapons, including from India, to Ukraine. We are calling for increased sanctions to Russia from India, and to adopt a position based on international solidarity. The world we want is not the world of multipolar or unipolar imperialisms, but of a democratic cooperation between states.
We therefore sincerely hope, in the spirit of mutual solidarity and internationalism, that our participation in the Congress will encourage the CPIML and the Indian Left to re-evaluate their positions on the Russian invasion and the Ukrainian resistance.
The transcript of the speech is attached below.
***Speech at the international session of the 11th Congress of CPI(ML), February 17th, 2023***
Dear Delegates of the Congress,
Thank you for inviting us to the 11th Congress of CPIML. As a growing left-wing political organization in Ukraine, we are always glad to connect with like-minded movements across the world. While Ukraine and India are very distinct and unique countries, they are facing similar threats: the ongoing neoliberal offensive, the rise of neo-nationalism, the assault on labour rights and social security, multiplied by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the looming ecological catastrophe. On top of that, Ukraine has been fighting against a brutal Russian military aggression for a year now. In this struggle, our country seeks not just abstract peace, but independence, self-determination, and liberation from the Russian colonial, imperialist, and increasingly fascist regime.
There are three key messages that I would like to convey today on behalf of the Sotsialnyi Ruh. First of all: who are we? Sotsialnyi Ruh (“Social Movement”) is a Ukrainian left-wing political organization that promotes an anti-capitalist and socially oriented agenda. The organization was founded in 2014 in the wake of the Euromaidan, or the Ukrainian Revolution of Dignity. As stated in one of our programmatic texts:
“We believe the problems behind the numerous Ukrainian protests of last decades (poverty, striking inequality, social injustice, lack of democracy, corruption and vested interests in politics, police violence, and attacks on civil and social rights) could be solved only by a genuine social revolution – namely, replacing the existing system of oligarchic capitalism with democratic socialism.”
While our political vision includes a canopy of anti-capitalist positions – from democratic socialism to eco-socialism, from social democracy to direct democracy, from socialist feminism to radical socialism – the unifying theme is to put people over profit. As political activists, we have followed this vision through defending Ukrainian workers, providing legal support, opposing deregulation and the IMF-driven neoliberal reforms, standing up for women’s rights, or rallying against ultra-nationalist violence. We are also active in the trade union movement and international cooperation initiatives.
Secondly, let me communicate our anti-war message. With the onset of the Russian invasion on February 24 – and even earlier – we have repeatedly asked the international Left to admit the revival of Russian imperialism, instead of continuing to blame NATO and the US for this war. It is absurd to choose which empire is “better” when a struggle for survival is at stake. It is obvious that the progressive cause of our organization can only be served if Ukraine and its people win this battle for independence and decolonisation, as a crucial pre-requisite.
As you know, India has adopted a “diplomatic balancing” approach to the conflict due to a number of political, economic, and historical reasons. In this regard, we are grateful to CPIML for standing openly in solidarity with the Ukrainian people against the war, and for demanding that Russia stops bombing Ukraine and withdraws its military. At the same time, we do not accept CPIML’s call for the US to withdraw the sanctions against Russia, and for NATO to stop its alleged expansion. We resolutely reject whataboutism, as expressed in the statements like “interference and warmongering by the US and NATO.”
Let me make it clear. In Sotsialnyi Ruh, we are absolutely aware and critical of the Western imperialist and capitalist objectives, whether in the past or present. We also condemn and fight the neoliberal policies of our own government. However, they absolutely do not justify the imperialist aggression of Russia. Furthermore, we request that Ukraine’s agency in this struggle is acknowledged. This cannot be done when the war is reduced to an imperialist rivalry between the West and Russia. Let us recollect that, more than a century ago, Lenin recognized Ukrainian sovereignty precisely because of the dangers of the “Great-Russian chauvinism.” No wonder this irritates Vladimir Putin so much.
Finally, let me conclude that Sotsialnyi Rukh is in full solidarity with CPIML’s mission to fight oppression both in India and beyond. As CPIML seeks “to rescue India from the clutches of fascism,” Ukraine is fighting an external fascist threat coming from its neighbour. Importantly, a “combination of fear and hate, victimhood and supremacy,” as correctly pointed out in the Draft Resolution for the 11th Congress of CPIML, is present in Russia as much as in India.
We agree that “corporate plunder and fascist aggression” need to be resisted by all means, and fully support CPIML’s call for “the broadest possible unity and cooperation among all democratic forces and ideological streams.” For that matter, Sotsialnyi Ruh is open to dialogue on joint initiatives and coordination of our efforts in solving mankind’s most pressing issues caused by the current socio-economic order.
Let peace, equality, and social justice prevail.
Thank you very much for your attention.