Translator’s note: I made an error in judgement yesterday by posting this statement without proper context, which resulted in misunderstandings and slanders. The recent demonstrations in Moscow and the government’s response have been generally seen only from the standpoint of U.S. imperialism or the Russian government. One of the main goals of “Red Star Over Donbass” has always been to make available in English perspectives that would otherwise go unheard here — namely anti-imperialist and also revolutionary Marxist views.
The United Communist Party has been a consistently anti-imperialist, anti-fascist force in solidarity with the struggle in Donbass, Ukraine, Venezuela, Syria, etc. Its members and supporters have fought in the Donbass militias and even served in official posts during the early days of the people’s republics.
They have also not hesitated to fight to defend and expand the rights of the workers under Russian capitalism and to challenge the Russian government’s frequently inconsistent positions vis-a-vis imperialism. They certainly have the experience to be able to judge whether or not it is possible to do communist work in a particular demonstration or movement.
It’s worth noting that even during the Maidan demonstrations in Kiev in 2013-2014, revolutionary communists tried to intervene and be heard with an anti-fascist message. The fact that they were not allowed to do so, and were forcibly ejected, was an indication of the utterly reactionary character of the movement.
Unlike so many leftists in the U.S. and elsewhere, these comrades have a nuanced understanding of their tasks and responsibilities on all fronts, including the fact that best guarantee of Russia’s continued sovereignty is the power of the working class. They understand that one does not negate the other.
Even if you disagree with the OKP’s approach on this question, their views deserve serious consideration. – Greg Butterfield
Statement by the Presidium of the Central Committee of the United Communist Party (OKP)
The cynical removal of a number of opposition candidates and their supporters from participation in the elections to the Moscow City Duma and the organs of local government of St. Petersburg has caused another wave of protests.
The authorities have reacted customarily with a ban on mass events and with police violence, completely out of proportion to the degree of threat to the rule of law.
However, the scope of the speeches showed that they could lead to a serious national political crisis. The essence of this crisis is not the problem of dishonest elections. The problem is deeper. It lies in the ability of citizens to jointly defend democratic rights and freedoms violated by the authorities.
The rallies have again polarized the country’s main political forces. The scatter of opinions range from uncritical support of the liberal opposition leading the protests to demands to “crush the foreign intelligence agents.”
On the left flank of the political system, once again, a wing of reactionary “socialists” stood out who saw in the protests the manifestation of the “Orange Leprosy” (Zyuganov) and actually solidarized themselves with the ruling class’s repression of the protests.
Understanding that the initiative of the protests at this stage is in the hands of the bourgeois opposition, we nevertheless believe that the communists have no right to distance themselves from the struggle for political rights. It is impossible to influence the character of a mass movement by watching from the sidelines.
On the contrary, the left should be at the forefront of the democratic movement, and put forward more radical demands for the dismantling of the Bonapartist regime. Not limited to the slight slogan of “fair elections,” the communists should advocate for expansion of the powers of representative institutions, subordination of executive bodies to representative ones, elimination of the presidential autocracy, election of judges by the population, registration of all political parties, drastic reduction of the official bureaucracy, release of all political prisoners, elimination of political searches, and abolition of draconian legislation on rallies and meetings.
It is unacceptable that a huge capital city has a representative body of 45 deputies, and municipal councils in cities of federal importance are deprived of any serious powers. An anti-democratic municipal filter, blocking the way of the election of candidates not approved by the party in power to regional leadership, is unacceptable. It cannot be reconciled that almost all the judiciary of Russia is appointed by one person – President Putin.
It is unacceptable to repeat the lies of the police socialists who, in unison with the Kremlin media, frighten workers with the threat of the “Orange Leprosy.” The struggle for political, cultural and environmental rights is not, and strictly speaking, never has been, the prerogative of the liberal bourgeoisie. On the contrary, it was the inclusion of the broad proletarian masses in the struggle for democracy beginning in the middle of the 19th century that ensured such popular conquests as universal suffrage, freedom of conscience, the rights of women and youth, and national equality. Under the onslaught of the workers and left forces of different countries, the most reactionary monarchies collapsed, and the colonial system was destroyed. It is impossible to erase from history the communists’ feats in the struggle against fascist and military-police regimes.
Our Russian predecessors never shied away from the struggle for democracy. It was through the efforts of the Russian workers in February 1917 that tsarism was defeated. It was the communists who formed the core of the resistance to the destruction of constitutional rights and democratic institutions in September-October 1993.
The communists of the 21st century, if they do not want to be thrown to the sidelines of history, if they do not want the liberal opposition to lead the protests, if they do not want the proletariat turned into a simple appendage of bourgeois democracy, must accept the challenge posed by the latest political crisis in the country. As correctly noted in the resolution of the Third Congress of the OKP, “any communist, Marxist, anti-capitalist propaganda or other political action is such if they expose the main executor of the dirty repertoire of capitalism — the current regime of the Russian Federation.”
Based on this, the United Communist Party cannot stand aloof from the ongoing protests caused by the criminal activity of the authorities in preparation for the elections on September 8, 2019.
It is the duty of communists to use any and all occasions of open political action of the people to put forward truly radical democratic demands, to develop the self-consciousness of the working people, to organize them during such actions into an independent force that inextricably links the struggle for democracy with the revolutionary socialist perspective.
Moscow, August 6, 2019
Come to a rally against electoral fraud, repression and police lawlessness! Stand up under the Red Banners! Moscow, Sakharov Avenue, August 10, 2:00 p.m.