KPRF blocks desire of left forces to unite on centenary of October: How the united action for November 7 was broken
On August 30, 2017, at the initiative of the United Communist Party (OKP), a meeting of parties and movements of the non-system left opposition was held in Moscow. The meeting was attended by representatives of the OKP, Russian Communist Workers’ Party (RKRP), ROT-FRONT, Communists of Russia party, Left Front, Revolutionary Workers’ Party, New Communist Movement, Other Russia, Union of Communist Youth (SCM), All-Union Communist Party-Bolsheviks (VKPB) and other organizations.
At the meeting, an organizing committee was created to prepare a mass action dedicated to the centenary of the Great October Socialist Revolution.
In meeting the aspirations of the left forces to demonstrate unity on such an important date, the meeting accepted a proposal from Sergei Udaltsov to organize negotiations with the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF). A contact group was created to conduct the negotiations, which included representatives of the OKP, RKRP and Left Front — Vladimir Lakeev, Yuri Vershinsky and Sergei Udaltsov.
However, for nearly one-and-a-half months, the leadership of the KPRF declined to conduct negotiations under various pretexts. The meeting finally took place on October 12, 2017. At this meeting, neither the leader of the Moscow City Committee of the KPRF, Rashkin, nor the one in charge of mass actions, Deputy Chair of the KPRF Central Committee Kashin, were present as previously promised. The KPRF was represented by Vladimir Savin.
At the meeting with Savin, proposals were made to include representatives of the organizing committee of the left forces in the notification of the joint action, to give the floor to two or three representatives of the organizing committee, and the possibility of a co-chair from the organizing committee at a united rally of left forces.
After considering these proposals, the KPRF rejected them. Representatives of the organizing committee were told that the notice for the action will be submitted only from the KPRF and no co-chair will participate in the rally. As for the provision of speakers at the rally, the leadership of the KPRF, refusing to give a direct answer to the question, made a vague promise to consider the possibility of “at best” including Udaltsov as a speaker. “Maybe we will give the floor to Udaltsov,” the representative of the KPRF said at the meeting.
In this situation, the organizing committee of the left forces, at its regular meeting on October 19, 2017, decided not to participate in the KPRF action. It was decided to submit an application to hold its event on November 7 separate from [Gennady] Zyuganov’s party [the KPRF].
“The leadership of the KPRF once again showed that it does not desire any unity of the communist and leftist movement,” said the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the OKP, Vladimir Lakeev, commenting on the situation. “Conveniently embedded in the bourgeois political system of Russia, the KPRF is aware of its self-sufficiency.”
Radical communists and non-system leftists are sometimes blamed for being inflexible, reproached for making unacceptable demands on the KPRF. “But what is unacceptable in the request to include our representatives in the application for the march and rally?” asks the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the OKP. “We, therefore, suggested a degree of mutual responsibility. If we do not have an authorized representative on the application, and if we, for example, bring a banner that says ‘Russia without Putin!’, then Zyuganov, who disagrees with this, will have the full opportunity to block those who carry such a banner. Do we need such a compromise?”
According to Vladimir Lakeev, cooperation with other left organizations frightens the KPRF. “Zyuganov’s party needs to constantly justify its own opportunist policies. It’s easier to ignore everyone else, to think of themselves as the only leftists in the country, and to declare that the rest are spoilers created by the regime in order to weaken the influence of the KPRF. But the exact opposite is true. The inconclusive talks that took place on the eve of the October centennial confirmed this.The real spoiler that serves the regime and weakens the left movement in our country remains the Zyuganov leadership of the KPRF.”
Press service of the Central Committee of the OKP
Translated by Greg Butterfield