Source: ‘The Irish Times’
Those socialists in Britain who might regularly read ‘The Guardian’ newspaper, and despair at the wretched propagandistic coverage of the war in Ukraine, should count themselves lucky that that they don’t live in Ireland and avail of the coverage of ‘The Irish Times’.
Unable to contribute to the cause of western imperialism directly, the Irish State has cloaked its contribution in mawkish tones of hypocritical concern, loudly proclaiming that it too supports the war while condemning its inevitable results. Like all western support, from right to left, it considers support for war has nothing to do with its consequences because “Russia started it.’
‘The Irish Times’ faithfully reflects the hypocritical self-righteousness of the Irish State and political establishment. The Russian war is routinely damned and its purported atrocities highlighted but its true horrors, which might include graphic pictures of the dead and dying, are hidden. Even more unsettling, photographs and video of those killed by Ukrainians will not be front page or headline news. War coverage in the West is so routinely censored that its presence is unnoticed.
So imagine my surprise when today’s newspaper includes a column by the historian Geoffrey Roberts, who sets out the dangers of western escalation and its purpose. No doubt the rest of the week will see numerous letters of condemnation.
He notes that the West’s previous red lines on the supply of weapons have been crossed while significant political figures dismiss the possibility of Russian escalation in response. He notes that such escalation ‘would be shocking to those western decision-makers who have become accustomed to the idea that only they can act with impunity when it comes to escalating the Ukraine war.’
Escalation includes main battle tanks and missiles with relatively long-range potential. It also includes direct NATO personnel intervention through intelligence, training and targeting. The provision of main battle tanks will involve significant maintenance support, and possibly NATO tank operators if they are to provide anywhere near their potential impact.
Previously, some left supporters of the Ukrainian state have made a distinction between defensive and offensive weapons and opposed ‘direct military intervention.’ Main battle tanks are clearly offensive weapons provided to Ukraine so it can carry out offensive operations, while missiles already supplied have the potential to hit Crimea, which previously was not simply a province of Ukraine but had autonomous status. Today its population is clearly Russian and is considered by the Russian Federation to be part of its territory. For those claiming justification for the war based on ‘self-determination’ this leaves something of a contradiction.
It is of course open to the supporters of Ukraine to support this state on the grounds that the war as a whole is purely a defensive one, but that does not avoid an existing problem and opens the door to another.
Those partisans of Ukraine who speak of supporting the Ukrainian people have the same problem as someone who recently posted on Facebook ‘victory to the Russian people in their struggle against NATO’. Neither the Ukrainian nor Russian people are fighting this war, although it is they who are dying. They are killing and being killed on behalf of the Ukrainian and Russian states, which are the real parties to the conflict. In neither case is the working class independently organised and fighting in its own interest and for its own objectives.
Either the respective supporters of the Ukrainian and Russian states believe that in this war one of these capitalist states is fighting for the interests of the working class or they can’t tell the difference between a capitalist state and its people, never mind its working class. In neither case can the left supporters of either state be considered Marxist, which as a bare necessity requires the ability to distinguish between a capitalist state and a working class and, having done so, be able to identify and assert their separate and antagonistic interests.
If, on this occasion, they maintain that their interests are the same or aligned they face the question of how such an extraordinary convergence has occurred? In the case of supporters of Ukraine – how did this alignment also include the whole of Western imperialism? Why wouldn’t it happen again and how does this not invalidate Marxism, which teaches the irreconcilable antagonism between the working class and the capitalist state? How often can the working class rely on the capitalist state to defend its interests? Do they know where this idea has led before and, if they do, can they not just do themselves and those of us who oppose this capitalist war a favour and take a short cut to openly repudiating Marxism?
The second, new problem opened up, is that if the character of the war is not to be defined by the infantile argument of who invaded who, then this must widen consideration of its nature to include the cause of the war, including the invasion; the objectives of the warring parties and the political character of these objectives and thus of the war itself. In relation to this the article by Geoffrey Roberts is appropriate:
‘Never has the world witnessed such a proxy war as that being waged in Ukraine by the West, the overarching aim being to cripple Russia as a great power.’
‘In pursuit of this aim the US and other western governments have showered Ukraine with more than $100 billion worth of military, humanitarian and financial aid. Nato has scoured the globe for old Soviet ammunition and weapons systems that can be readily utilised by the Ukrainians. Western financial institutions have seized control of Russian foreign currency reserves and imposed sanctions designed to destabilise the rouble and collapse Russia’s economy. The West is also working to turn Russia into a pariah state internationally.’
‘Without western support Ukraine’s war effort would have collapsed months ago. The continuation of the war has resulted in hundreds of thousands of Russian and Ukrainian casualties. Ukraine’s economy has been laid waste, while millions of its citizens have fled the country, and many more have been displaced internally.’
Roberts is correct that without Western imperialism there would no longer be a war – Ukraine would have negotiated a peace. To therefore pretend that western intervention is secondary is to deny reality.
Roberts presents one potential of the continuation of the war:
‘As Putin creeps closer to some kind of military victory in Ukraine, the voice of those urging western restraint will be needed more than ever. The more territory Ukraine loses, the more casualties it incurs, the greater will be the West’s temptation to take yet another escalatory step towards all-out war with Russia.’
An intriguing exchange of views. Yet the conclusion is predicated on an understanding of something called Imperialism. If a newcomer was to stumble on to the debate, he might ask What is this thing called Imperialism? The quick response would be to refer him to Lenin’s study of Imperialism, yet most students of that work now say that there is no such thing called monopoly capitalism as a new or last stage of capitalism, therefore whatever Imperialism is it can’t be said to have causal link to monopoly capitalism. Then we must spin around and look for an alternative account of Imperialism, not an account found in one special book but in the scattered writings over many years of Leon Trotsky. Yet this is also problematic for Trotsky at least up until his near final days thought capitalism was in its final days. His account of war imperialism is reliant on the idea of an evidential capitalist decline. Yet many of those who have read the scattered remarks of Trotsky happen to think that his idea of capitalist decline has been refuted by the massive successes of capitalism since the end of the second world war and the fall of Communism in the Soviet Union and beyond.
If we don’t possess a theory of imperialism that stands up to the facts as we find them then we are arguing on the basis of ideology and not much else. It is like Catholics and Protestants arguing about Christianity that both sides know to be an ideology based on faith and commitment alone. Apologies to those Catholics who have five proofs that God exists. ( Aquinas )
Maybe we should go back to basics and say Imperialism means political ends pursued by immoral means, the means used does not balk at the use of military force to get to those ends, however they are understood. In respect of the parties involved in this was situation, the ends are only to be guessed at, what goes on in the privacy of the minds of Putin, Biden and others are unknown to us lesser mortals. What is much more evident to us is the means being used to get to those nebulous ends. The weapons of war are obvious and the destruction is open for all to see, this is reason enough to have an international peace movement do some necessary work, if this is not done the next step will likely be a nuclear outcome.
If you listen to john Mearsheimers, recent update that he gave to an audience in Norway, you can follow the logic of the conflict ending in a nuclear strike on Ukraine, for if the Russian side is losing everything they will have only this as their last resort. The more NATO succeeds in crippling Russia the more disastrous will be the military conclusion for Ukraine, this is the crux of his argument. He makes use of the analogy with Japan and shows that only the nuclear intervention brought the conflict to a sudden end. He seems to think that only a Russian nuclear attack on Ukraine will persuade the political hawks in NATO to halt their escalation, short of this they will carry on with their military escalation. Their central belief seems to be ‘We’ can win, because Russia is a weak State.
I do think I have a theory of imperialism – See series of posts starting here – https://boffyblog.blogspot.com/2009/04/imperialism-industrialisation-trade-and.html. Its not what Lenin said which was a theory of colonialism, and its division of the world. Its the development of a global economy and the opposite of dividing it into monopolised areas, though with all the attendant contradictions.
But, I’d add what I have also developed since the 1980’s, which is the understanding of the domination of socialised capital, as the property of the associated producers, and the fact that the global ruling class is NOT a class of owners of industrial capital, but of fictitious capital, which is antagonistic to industrial capital. It is a class of parasitic coupon clippers that derives its revenues from interest/dividends in opposition to the needs of industrial capital to maximise profit of enterprise. It draws those revenues – as well as capital gains – from those financial and property assets owned across the globe. The Russian oligarch, as much as the US billionaire, or Greek billionaire, or Indian or Chinese billionaire draws those revenues and capital gains from their ownership of shares, bonds and property across the globe, and which they can buy and sell at the press of a computer key.
I read a few articles about Alexander Dugin and his connection to President Putin. One thing that is alleged is that Putin and Dugin share a thought out opposition to Liberalism. This opposition to Liberalism is not derived from Marx or Lenin, it has its roots in the Conservative intellectual revival that took place in Germany prior to the rise to power of National Socialism. The main figure in terms of political thought then was Carl Schmitt. His intellectual star has been rising this past three decades, he is important because he opposed Liberalism without falling into National Socialism or Communism, or this is the story that is told.
One thing Schmitt did was two write three books on the political theory of Hobbes. Or
maybe he wrote the same book with the same intention, to critique Liberalism. It so happens that one Leo Strauss wrote a lengthy essay about Schmitt’s effort to critique Liberalism from the Right.
‘ Schmitt’s fundamental thesis is altogether determined by his fight against liberalism;
that thesis can be understood only as a polemical thesis, only from’ the concrete political existence’. Schmitt’s task is determined by the fact that Liberalism has failed. The failure took place in the following manner; Liberalism negated the political; by doing so Liberalism did not banish the political from the world, but only concealed it. Liberalism brought about that politics is carried on by means of anti-political speech. Liberalism has not killed the political, but merely killed understanding of the political and sincerity regarding the political. To clear away the obfuscation of reality which liberalism has caused, the political must be brought out and shown out and to be completely undeniable. Liberalism is responsible for having covered over the political and the political must be brought to light if the question of the State is to be put in full seriousness…..
What is required is to replace the astoundingly consistent systematic of liberal thought, which reveals itself in the inconsistency of all liberal policies, by a different system that does not negate the political.’
Comments on Der Bergriff Des Politischen. 1933.
So the open intention of Schmitt is to Affirm the Political rather than negate the Political, this means recognising the majesty or sovereignty of the State as a first principle. It also implies recognising the origin and purpose of the State as a possible instrument of war and not just of peace.
Russia under Putin has ideological supporters in Europe and America and elsewhere because they have understood what he is sworn to in terms of the revival of interest in Schmitt as a critic of Liberalism, a critique that is not Marxist or even Socialist. I mentioned in a previous post how what was once a Left Wing inspired anti-global protest movement has largely become a Right-wing inspired anti-global movement, often using the same iconography as the preceding Left Wing movement. A Figure like Trump is supposed to be acting on behalf of this Right wing protest movement on the practical side of things.
It is said that Putin is superior to Trump because he has studied and understood the theory, he lauds the necessity of forcing back liberalism, not just in Russia, Putin designs things while Trump is just carried forward by just his pulsating Ego.
We must not be fooled into understanding current events, on the basis of that ‘old time religion’ that seems to persist with respect to Russia. The State and the Political under Putin, make up a very different political animal to the one we used to believe had its development root in Bolshevism. Those who currently support Russia in this conflict are in fact betting on a positive Right wing revival across Europe and beyond. They are almost all firmly on the Political Right and know it.
The anti-globalist movement was always based upon a reactionary, petty-bourgeois agenda, as is most of the “anti-imperialist” agenda purveyed by mostly the same elements, and as is the “anti-capitalist” agenda, manifest in things such as the Stalinist “anti-monopoly alliance”. The fact that many of those involved claim to be “Left-wing”, simply demonstrates the extent to which this Left is ideologically bankrupt and lost.
Its a repetition of the petty-bourgeois socialism of the Narodniks, critiqued by Lenin, as set out in my series of posts on his critique of Economic Romanticism – https://boffyblog.blogspot.com/2020/03/lenin-on-economic-romanticism-main-index.html – which, as he sets out, was a return to the ideas of Sismondi and Proudhon.
A similar thing was seen in the 1920’s and 30’s, when such “Leftists” adopted a similar reactionary stance, as well as collapsing into national socialism, almost inevitably as a consequence of doings so. Indeed, in one of his articles on Narodism, Lenin sets out how its petty-bourgeois socialist ideas, inevitably lead into a rancid economic nationalism, and from there into patriotism. A similar thing could be seen in the ideas of Corbyn during his short time as Labour leader, and after, which were a continuation of his 1970’s anti-EEC position that led large sections of that economic nationalist Left to stand on the same side as Enoch Powell, The Monday Club, and National Front.
It is the same reactionary strand that led Leftists like Nye Bevan to sign up to and support the agenda of Oswald Mosely, and the Mosely Memorandum (a 1930’s version of the AES), which formed the basis of Mosely’s later agenda for the New Party and BUF. None of it has anything to do with Socialism, which is why so many that were drawn into it, like Pilsudski, Mosely, and Mussolini, ended up simply as reactionary nationalists.
As you say who fired the first shot is not the basis of a socialist analysis. The back ground to the war is the US move for regime change in Moscow and the drive to turn Russia into a semi colony. That should be obvious to all.. Trotsky thought that would be the result of the overturn by the Stalinists of the workers state- Russia as a colony of imperialism. Russia invaded in February because the Ukrainian far right was massing on the borders of Donbas and openly stating they were launching an offensive to retake the donbas..That plus a big increase in shelling of civilian areas by the fascists. The Russian intervention on behalf of the Donesk and luhansk republics and their Russian population was a defensive move. The working class in Russia has an objective and immediate interest in defeating the imperialist onslaught on Russia but that implies no political support for the russian capitalist class but rather a communist revolution to confront and defeat imperialism and rewin a socialist democratic soviet union. Putin wants a deal with imperialism. Communists want to end it
Your problem is how you think communist revolution in Russia runs through support for its capitalist state that you purport to want to overthrow. Like the supporters of the Ukraine you fail to distinguish between the current real war, which is between two capitalist states, and the phantasy one you seem to believe is happening – one between the Russian people and western imperialism. The Russian state is no more an ally of the Russian people, or more accurately the Russian working class, than is Western imperialism. Neither the Ukrainian nor Russian working class are independently organised in this war and both are subject of their respective states war and its disastrous effects.
This ‘defensive’ war that you wish to whitewash can only succeed in its objective by the crippling of Ukraine, which is obviously not in the interests of its working class or of workers anywhere. This, of course, cannot justify support for the Ukrainian capitalist state. It is as easy for the supporters of the Ukrainian state to argue that their war is a defensive one as your claims on behalf of Russia.
Your argument must be that if the working class in Russia was separately and independently organised they would be supporting and contributing to the invasion under their own flag. However, the war on both sides is reactionary both in its death and destruction, its creation of mutual enmity between the working classes and the great capitalist geopolitical objectives inscribed in the objectives of each state. The working class on both sides has an objective interest in ending this war through their own anti-war activity. It is a disgrace that many socialists have decided to pick one rotten state over the other.
Your concern for the strength of the Russian state is doubly misplaced since just as Ukraine is caught between western imperialism and Russia, which is acting in an imperialist fashion that no definitional distinction will erase, Russia is caught between western imperialism and the much larger Chinese capitalist state. Win or lose Russia will become more dependent on an alliance with China and China, just like the US, is interested in furthering its own interests. It is still more misplaced because the war will leave Ukraine a semi-colony of either western imperialism or Russia, or more likely a victim of both. I don’t see any expression of concern for this outcome. Your arguments on behalf of Russia are simply the mirror of the arguments on behalf of Ukraine.
You have previously expressed surprise at the collapse of so much of the left into defence of western imperialism but your position in support of Russia is no better.
The only way out of this state competition is not to
Spot on response.
You seem to want to ignore the existence of imperialism and the anti imperialist tasks its existence poses to the working class movement. My example of Venezuela is apt. If it was invaded by the USA would you adopt a plague on both your houses position since both states are capitalist or would you adopt the trotskyist position of supporting the right of Venezuela to defend itself against imperialist attack while giving no political support to the capitalist class of Venezuela.and arguing for the working class in Venezuela to take the lead in fighting the imperialist invasion and building workers soviets and workers militias. if you could answer that question and why you think such an analysis does not apply to the US attack on Russia we might be able to shed some light on our differences
Anyone reading my blog will see numerous posts on the role of western imperialism in the war and my opposition to it. This does not require and should actually exclude support for Russia. I have been accused of defending Russia by those who support Ukraine, which is equally ignoring what I have repeatedly said. The advocates on one capitalist state over the other seem incapable of understanding that an independent working class position requires opposition to both.
You ask why I ‘think such an analysis does not apply to the US attack on Russia.’ You have ignored that this is a war in which Russia has attacked Ukraine and the exact same question could be asked of you. Your seem to think this is irrelevant which actually makes your analogy irrelevant since it would require Venezuela to have attacked and invaded a third state.
Nevertheless, regarding the analogy as you state it. As I have just said, Russia invaded Ukraine so the approach you mention should apply to support for it, or does Ukraine not have ‘the right to defend itself’ and if not, why not? Russia is acting in an imperialist way in this case and no excuse about a ‘defensive’ war by Russia will wash given that it believes it has the right to invade its ‘near abroad’. That this invasion was provoked by Ukraine and the west is equally no justification and nor is playing with the definition of what is meant by imperialism, since armed invasion is a pretty imperialistic thing to do, and Russia is a relatively large and very well armed capitalist state.
The only possible argument I can see not to, is that there is something uniquely reactionary about US imperialism that other capitalist powers must be defended against it; a sort of anti-imperialism that is not anti-capitalist and certainly not socialist. On this it is not clear what your position is. If Russia attacked Venezuela would you defend Venezuela’s ‘right to defend itself’?
In the particular case of an invasion of Venezuela by the US, I would oppose this invasion and call for the Venezuelan working class to organise independently to defeat the invasion and appeal to the working class of the US and the world to support them. I would not rely or support the Venezuelan capitalist class or its state in defending the country and would warn that this class would sooner cut a deal with the US than see its workers independently organise to defend themselves. I would therefore warn that the workers’ movement must be ready to defend itself against its own capitalist class and its state. I would certainly not advocate it invade the US (which makes the analogy a bit of a joke but is even more ridiculous if it is expected that US workers should support such an invasion.) In reality socialists would call for the immediate end to the war with an immediate American withdrawal and would oppose any Russian support to the Venezuelan state with the purpose of keeping it going for its own state interests. Or would you support such an intervention?
What you leave out of your scenario is precisely that you would support the Venezuelan capitalist state on some basis that seems to ignore that the Trotskyist position that democratic tasks cannot be left to the capitalist class, which will either betray them or, as historical experience has demonstrated, carry out a ‘revolution from above’ that suppresses the working class. The class struggle is not suspended by war, not in Ukraine and not in Russia. A point I made recently in relation to Britain during World War II.
“You seem to want to ignore the existence of imperialism and the anti imperialist tasks its existence poses to the working class movement.”
You seem to ignore the existence of capitalism, and the contradictory interests of workers to those of the capitalist class, instead making a fetish of fighting “imperialism” over fighting for Socialism, and leading you to support popular fronts with reactionary capitalist classes and states purely on this superficial basis of their claims to be “anti-imperialist”. It is the anti-imperialism of fools. You continually deny concrete reality in order to create fantastic abstract schema of worlds and struggles that do not exist, in which the actual wars taking place involve non-existent, independent, revolutionary workers militia, as against those wars being actually conducted by capitalist states!
If the actual war being conducted, in your scenario, is one in which it is the Venezuelan capitalist state defending itself against a US invasion, how on Earth can you support its right to defend itself, without, at the same time, objectively, whatever you might say in words, giving political support to that Venezuelan capitalist class and its state! The two things are inextricably linked.
When Trotsky argued a defencist position for the USSR, what he was arguing for was defence of the socialised property relations, and making clear his opposition to supporting the Stalinist bureaucracy. In other words, it was possible to ague to defend the progressive property relations, and to call on workers to organise themselves independently to that end, in opposition to the Stalinists preferably, but side by side with them if necessary.
But, the property relations in Venezuela are capitalist, just as they were in Russia in February 1917, when Lenin refused to adopt the bourgeois defencist position you now propose, on the basis of opposing imperialism as against fighting capitalism. Lenin knew in April 1917, when he wrote the Theses, and Letters on Tactics, that the backward, basically agrarian Russian economy was at risk of being dismantled by German and other imperialism, and turned into a semi-colony of one pr more of them. But, unlike you, he saw that the main enemy was still at home for the Russian workers and peasants, and threatened to split the party if it adopted the defencist position that Stalin, Zinoviev and Kamenev had adopted, and which you propose today. As Trotsky wrote,
“On March 6 he telegraphed through Stockholm to Petrograd: “Our tactic; absolute lack of confidence; no support to the new government; suspect Kerensky especially; arming of proletariat the sole guarantee; immediate elections to the Petrograd Duma; no rapprochement with other parties. In this directive, only the suggestion about elections to the Duma instead of the Soviet, had an episodic character and soon dropped out of sight…
On the 17th of March, through friends in Stockholm, he wrote a letter filled with alarm. “Our party would disgrace itself for ever, kill itself politically, if it took part in such deceit … I would choose an immediate split with no matter whom in our party rather than surrender to social patriotism …” After this apparently impersonal threat – having definite people in mind however – Lenin adjures: “Kamenev must understand that a world historic responsibility rests upon him.” Kamenev is named here because it is a question of political principle. If Lenin had had a practical militant problem in mind, he would have been more likely to mention Stalin. But in just those hours Lenin was striving to communicate the intensity of his will to Petrograd across smoking Europe, Kamenev with the co-operation of Stalin was turning sharply toward social patriotism.”
(Trotsky – History of The Russian Revolution, Chapter 15)
You have clearly already turned to social-patriotism in your ardent support for the reactionary capitalist state in Russia, and its vile representatives in Putin’s clique. Shame on you.
Your even handedness in condemning both the pro Nato left and the anti Nato left is becoming tiresome. If you are not careful you will simply become a tool in the hands of those who want to condemn the anti imperialist left as Putin agents.. Russia is under attack from world imperialism which wishes to break it up and turn it into a semi colony of the USA and friends. The Russian people have a right to resist becoming a colony of imperialism. They will resist most effectively under communist leadership and a struggle to reestablish a socialist soviet union and workers soviets. Putin has attempted to conciliate imperialism and thereby live with imperialism but the US is not interested in allowing any rivals or potential rivals. It wants subordinates under its control. The only class that can defeat and overthrow imperialism is the working class. The working class needs to take power in Russia and Ukraine in order to defeat imperialism. there can be no peaceful coexistence with imperialism . If the USA invaded Venezuela socialists would support the right of the people of Venezuela to resist this invasion. And we would fight for workers power to do so. We would not say a plague on both your houses since you are both capitalist states. We would be for the victory of Venezuela and the defeat of the USA. Same as regards the imperialist attack on Russia. Workers power needed to defeat imperialism. And the working class movements in the imperialist heartlands have an important role to play by opposing imperialist aggression against Russia
Your analogy with Venezuela hardly works since it is Russia that has invaded Ukraine. Why you think the Russian state is worth defending is beyond me and your narrative about Putin wanting to be a part of the world imperialist system is true and is illustration of the mistake in trying to defend his action. How then can his actions be anti-imperialist and how can you support him? It is not, as you appear to imply, a question of the actions of the Russian people simply being more effective than the Russian state. We are not interested in the Russian working class asserting great Russian power in its near abroad.
The reference to the role of the working class is really lip-service since you wish it to rally behind the Russian capitalist state in its reactionary war. If it is true, as you say, that ‘workers power is needed to defeat imperialism’ this really must mean that it is also needed in relation to the Russian state and in defence of the interests of the Russian working class against western imperialism; in which case it is necessary to overthrow the Russian state before these can be achieved. This is more proof that the main enemy of the working class is at home.
Unfortunately your prioritisation of opposition to western imperialism as the immediate task of the working class everywhere means you rally around the defence of this reactionary capitalist Russian state. In arriving at this position you should ask yourself how you got there. It looks suspiciously like the old Stalinist stages theory in which the struggle of the working class is subordinated and postponed to the ‘democratic’ or ‘anti-imperialist’ struggle. If you are saying that the Russian working class should seek to overthrow the Russian capitalist state while simultaneously also supporting its war in Ukraine the contradictions are obvious.
“Russia is under attack from world imperialism which wishes to break it up and turn it into a semi colony of the USA and friends.”
The Russian ruling class is a component of world imperialism, and derives its revenues and power in the same way from “coupon clipping”, and capital gains on its financial and property assets owned across the globe.
“The Russian people have a right to resist becoming a colony of imperialism.”
Which people? As Lenin and Trotsky pointed out the term “people” is a bourgeois abstraction which acts to deny the reality that this “people” is divided into antagonistic classes. Are you then saying that it is the Russian oligarchs and other capitalists that have a right to resist? That sounds like the social-patriotism of WWI, not the revolutionary defeatism of Lenin and Trotsky. Even in relation to existing colonies, Lenin and the Comintern held no such position. They set out that communists only had a responsibility to support the revolutionary workers and peasants in such countries engaged in an anti-colonial struggle alongside their continued struggle against their own ruling class.
“the need for a determined struggle against attempts to give a communist colouring to bourgeois-democratic liberation trends in the backward countries; the Communist International should support bourgeois-democratic national movements in colonial and backward countries only on condition that, in these countries, the elements of future proletarian parties, which will be communist not only in name, are brought together and trained to understand their special tasks, i.e., those of the struggle against the bourgeois-democratic movements within their own nations.” (Theses On The National and Colonial Questions)
Even in colonies the main enemy is at home, and that is the very basis of Trotsky’s theory of permanent revolution! Your position of supporting the nationalist ambitions of amorphous “peoples” devoid of any class analysis, is a mirror image of that of the pro-Ukraine Left, and is based not upon permanent revolution, but on an application of petty-bourgeois Popular Frontism. You claim that you want a socialist solution, but tying the workers in Russia and elsewhere to the Russian capitalists and their state, which is what is actually involved in this war, is facing in the opposite direction to achieving that aim.
“If the USA invaded Venezuela socialists would support the right of the people of Venezuela to resist this invasion.”
Again with the bourgeois idealism, and amorphous “people”, devoid of class analysis. No socialists would not support the “people” of Venezuela in such a struggle, but, as the Theses states, would only support the revolutionary proletariat and peasantry in such a struggle, much as Trotsky advocated in China, in the 1920’s, in opposing the communists being subordinated to the national struggle of the KMT. Show me the revolutionary proletariat in Russia or Venezuela organised independently for such a struggle – which actually runs through their immediate opposition to their own ruling class and state, not alongside it – and I will show you the forces that socialists should support. In the absence of it, the struggle is one conducted by the capitalist state, and your support for it is just social-patriotism, and bourgeois defencism based upon the class collaborationist principles of the Popular Front.
“The working class needs to take power in Russia and Ukraine in order to defeat imperialism. there can be no peaceful coexistence with imperialism .”
Quite true, but there is no chance of winning over Ukrainian workers to that, whilst the Russian capitalist state is bombing them, and whilst they see Russian workers, and other “socialists” supporting that state in carrying out that war against them.
” And we would fight for workers power to do so. We would not say a plague on both your houses since you are both capitalist states.”
Yes, we would say a plague on both your houses, as far as the Venezuelan ruling class and its state is concerned, just as we said a plague on both the houses of France and Germany in WWI. Our responsibility is only to support the revolutionary workers, not capitalist states. For workers to carry out the function you describe requires that such a sizeable, and independent revolutionary force exists, but in neither Russia nor Venezuela does such a force currently exist, and so what your call action means is support for the Russian and Venezuelan capitalists, who if they were successful, would implement a terrible retribution against their own workers, in the manner Marx describes in relation to the Revolutions of 1848. Your position is about as far from permanent revolution as it could be.
“And the working class movements in the imperialist heartlands have an important role to play by opposing imperialist aggression against Russia”
Absolutely agreed, but such opposition does not involve being an advocate for the reactionary, anti-working class, and expansionist regime of Putin either. On the contrary, it involves the direct opposite, in support of both Russian and Ukrainian workers oppressed and attacked by that vile regime.