Stefan Engel, Gabi Fechtner, Monika Gärtner-Engel

Stefan Engel, Gabi Fechtner, Monika Gärtner-Engel

The Ukraine War and the Open Crisis of the Imperialist World System

Von RW-Redaktion


1. The Ukraine war and the acute danger of a Third World War

2. The foreign policy of the imperialist countries in preparation for a Third World War

3. Interaction between fascism and war

4. Transition to global economic warfare

5. The Ukraine war accelerates the development into a global environmental catastrophe

6. The transition of opportunism to social-chauvinism

7. A new phase of accelerated destabilization of the imperialist world system

8. Active resistance against the Third World War

1. The Ukraine war and the acute danger of a Third World War

With the massive invasion of Ukrainian territory by Russian troops, the conflict that has been smoldering for years between NATO and Russia escalated on 24 February 2022 into an open war in the middle of Europe.

On the very same day, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock/”The Greens” demagogically declared the “delusions” of Russian President Vladimir Putin to be the cause of the war, saying they could not be accepted by the “global community.”1 On 27 February 2022, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz identified as cause of the war “one reason alone: the freedom of the Ukrainian people calls his own [Putin’s] oppressive regime into question.”2 Putin in turn demagogically justified his invasion on the pretext that the war objective was “to demilitarise and denazify Ukraine.”3

However, none of these explanations and attempts at justification gets to the heart of the matter: it is an unjust war on both sides, between new-imperialist Russia and capitalist Ukraine. Spurred and armed by NATO, led by the USA, Ukraine is acting as proxy for this imperialist military alliance. Ukraine strives to join the EU and NATO in order to realize power ambitions of its own. The real social cause of this war “lies in the uneven economic and political development of the imperialist states, which is the motor for redividing the spheres of influence.”4 War, according to the classic of military science, Carl von Clausewitz, is “the continuation of policy by other means.”5 Consequently it is necessary to analyze “all the data on the basis of economic life in all the belligerent countries and the whole world”6 leading up to the Ukraine war.

Struggle for the redivision of the world

The collapse of the social-imperialist superpower Soviet Union and the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA) in 1990/1991 led to a unified world market. It entailed the reorganization of international capitalist production. This process of the economic and political reordering of the world radically changed the entire previous imperialist world system.7 All imperialist countries and the leading international monopolies of the world engaged in bitter rivalry for supremacy in the newly emerged world market.

In the meantime, in China and several populous, formerly neocolonially dependent countries, domestic monopolies and state-monopoly structures had evolved. They led to the emergence of a number of new-imperialist countries. By 2017 at least 14 new-imperialist countries already were in existence. More than half of the world population was living in them.8 They increasingly competed with the USA, Japan, and the EU countries for sales markets and spheres of influence. Some of these countries established a regional imperialist hegemony. They include India, Turkey, Russia, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, and Brazil. They pursue visions of their own imperialist supremacy, are developing rapidly growing military power structures, and are forming ideological-political power centers worldwide to manipulate public opinion. This was accompanied by a dangerous rightward shift of the governments of all imperialist countries, temporarily culminating in the years 2016 to 2020 in the US presidency of the fascist Donald Trump.

The internationalization of production and trade was followed by the internationalization of the class struggle and of social movements. A growing international industrial proletariat emerged which now comprises around 746 million9 men and women industrial workers. From then on it took the lead in strikes and class disputes of global significance. The militant women’s, youth and environmental movements also surged forward again internationally, and the struggle for democratic rights and freedoms unfolded.

The inter-imperialist rivalry intensified dramatically after 2020, above all in the wake of the world economic and financial crisis that began in 2018, in interaction with the devastating corona pandemic. Once the only superpower, economically and politically the USA fell clearly back. China, on the other hand, rose to the status of an economic superpower and was poised to take over first place from the USA. China strives to play this role also in the political and military fields. This is the aim of its Belt and Road Initiative, the mammoth project which it has pursued since 2013. The rivalry between the USA and China meanwhile is generally dominant among the inter-imperialist contradictions, the development of which at the same time is multipolar in character. The imperialist bloc of the EU also increasingly is positioning itself as a rival to the USA, but to China as well. Within Europe, the EU and Russia are contending for political supremacy.

Russia bases its distinctive profile as new-imperialist power on the one hand on a huge wealth of mainly fossil raw materials. On the other hand, it retains the military strength preserved from the days of the social-imperialist Soviet Union, as one of the two biggest nuclear powers in the world. Since 2008 it has further expanded this strength. In contrast to this, Russia is still economically weak. Its industrial output in 2020 was less than half of Germany’s. The Russian imperialists are aware of the fact that their dream of a Great Russian superpower only can come true if they incorporate the potential of former Soviet republics. As early as 1997, former US security adviser Brzezinski wrote: “Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be a Eurasian empire.”10

Since that time at the latest, Ukraine has been a focus of the inter-imperialist power struggle. Both the US and the EU as well as Russia concentrate the strategic expansion of their European spheres of influence on Ukraine.

Russia’s imperialist power politics

In 2014, Western countries promoted the overthrow of the pro-Russian Yanukovych government. Under the pro-Western government of Prime Minister Yatsenyuk, Ukraine became associated with the EU. This led in 2016 to a free trade area EU-Ukraine.11 The privatization of hundreds of state-owned companies, mainly in mining and agriculture, increasingly integrated Ukraine into the sphere of influence of US and EU imperialism. At the same time, taking advantage of the oppression of Russian sections of the population there, Russia provoked a war with the aim of annexing the resource-rich part of the Donbass in eastern Ukraine.

In fundamental contrast to the socialist Soviet Union, Russian imperialism systematically interferes in the domestic affairs of other countries: In 2008 Russian troops marched into Georgia, whose government was looking to the West. Russia occupies a part of the country since then. In 2014, following a military invasion Russia annexed Crimea and now can control the entire Black Sea from there. In 2015 Russia rushed to the aid of the beleaguered Assad regime in Syria, not only rescuing the regime’s power with inhuman aerial attacks, but also extending its own strategic influence in the Middle East. Russia maintains so-called security agreements or cooperates in other ways with some 40 of the 54 African states.12

Russia’s successes led to a strategic weakening of US imperialism and other NATO powers, also in consequence of the Iraq war unleashed in 2003 by the USA, which never managed to achieve its aims, and the failed Afghanistan campaign of NATO from 2001 to 2021. In 2015, together with Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Armenia, Russia founded the Eurasian Economic Union under its leadership. Ukraine’s refusal to join this alliance was a severe setback for the great-power ambitions of Russian imperialism.

The rivalry of the imperialist powers China and USA

Coincident with the Ukraine war a fierce struggle is developing between the USA and China for supremacy in the Indo-Pacific. The US magazine Foreign Policy wrote on 18 February 2022, shortly before the start of Russia’s imperialist aggression: “Washington Must Prepare for War with Both Russia and China.”13

In a speech in March 2022 US President Joe Biden asserted that the war in Ukraine is part of the “great battle … between democracy and autocracy, between liberty and repression, between a rules-based order and one governed by brute force.”14

However, the “rules-based order” praised by Biden is nothing other than the dictatorship of international finance capital under the leadership of the USA in concert with its Western allies.

Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng made reference to the Ukraine war when he issued this warning in March 2022:

[The] Indo-Pacific strategy [of the USA] … is as dangerous as the NATO strategy of eastward expansion in Europe. If allowed to go on unchecked, it would bring unimaginable consequences, and ultimately push the Asia-Pacific over the edge of an abyss.15

To support its striving for world power, China meanwhile has built up the numerically largest army in the world. The military alliance Shanghai Cooperation Organisation,” headed by the nuclear powers China and Russia, is directed mainly against the influence of NATO.

The threat to Russia from NATO

Since 1990 the USA and NATO had constantly advanced their eastward expansion – despite undisputed promises to the contrary. As a result, in many places NATO troops have advanced as far as the Russian frontier; short-range missiles directly threaten Russian territory. Following the NATO membership of the Baltic countries and of Poland, the Czech and Slovak republics, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria, Slovenia, Albania and Croatia, Montenegro and North Macedonia, the USA attempted also to integrate Ukraine in NATO. This initially failed due to the resistance of the EU, particularly Germany and France, which did not want to endanger their economic and political relations with Russia.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg boasted at the 2022 World Economic Forum in Davos about the measures taken by NATO for the war over Ukraine:

Today, we have over 40,000 troops under direct NATO command backed by significant air and naval assets. We doubled the number of multinational battlegroups from the Baltic to the Black Sea. And we have 100,000 troops on high alert. … We have stepped up our exercises…, and for the first time ever, a US Amphibious Ready Group has been placed under NATO command.16

The reactionary essence of Ukrainian society

Ukraine now has essential prerequisites for developing into a new-imperialist country. It is the second-largest country of Europe with extensive mineral resources, broad expanses of fertile black soil, a well-trained working class, and monopolies that are partly state-owned and partly concentrated in the hands of oligarchs.17 Ukraine has become a serious competitor right on the border of Russian imperialism.

The USA, in particular, provided arms and military training to Ukraine on a massive scale after the annexation of Crimea by Russia. Ukrainian troops have taken part in joint NATO exercises. The arms expenditures of Ukraine rose between 2012 and 2021 by 142 percent.18 In early 2019 the Ukrainian parliament included the goal of joining NATO and the EU in the constitution. In August 2021, in a fit of cocky chauvinism Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky declared, from now on the “countdown for the de-occupation” of Crimea is running.19

In April 2022, to a gathering of the world press Ursula von der Leyen/CDU, President of the EU Commission, elevated Ukraine’s President Zelensky to a hero in the struggle for freedom and democracy:

Finally, we are with you as you dream of Europe. … my message today is clear: Ukraine belongs in the European family.20

Whereas infighting is the rule under the surface of the European family idyll, in courted Ukraine there is really no essential difference to the realities of the oligarchy in Russia. As late as 2020 the bourgeois “Democracy Ranking” of the University of Würzburg classified Ukraine as a “hybrid regime” between “democracy” and “autocracy,” rating it even behind the “deficient democracies.”21

For example, the wealthiest Ukrainian, Rinat Akhmetov, has private assets of 7.6 billion US dollars. As longstanding Putin friend he now supports NATO and the EU to save his empire, which includes “steel and pipe mills, coal mines, combined heat and power plants, windfarms, telecommunication companies, a shipping line, banks, insurance companies, television stations, newspapers, department stores, logistics centers, farming operations, and Shakhtar, the club of his heart.”22 Other “magnates” are “shipowner Andrey Stavnitser or agro-industrialist Vadim Nesterenko.”23 In Western reports these oligarchs become almost invisible behind the shining light Zelensky. On 23 February 2022, one day before the Russian invasion, the 50 wealthiest monopoly lords of Ukraine and Zelensky vowed to each other that they “will do everything to strengthen national unity and prevent the occupation of the country.”24

The prospects for a “liberated” people of Ukraine integrated in NATO and EU appear less paradisiacal. This is shown by the reality of other countries that already have “benefited” from this liberation: bombed-out cities in Serbia following the 1999 NATO war, neocolonial subjugation and integration of large parts of the Balkans into EU imperialism, a free rein for Taliban rule in Afghanistan; poverty, chaos and corruption in EU-supported Kosovo25; promotion of monopolies, oligarchs, and right-wing administrations as their governors in Poland or Hungary; rampant poverty and sellout of public property by the crisis programs dictated by the EU in Greece. The admission of Ukraine to NATO and the EU would not be a humanitarian act, but is so valuable to the Western imperialists because it would mean a considerable weakening of Russian imperialism and would lend more weight to their own alliances.

2. The foreign policy of the imperialist countries in preparation for a Third World War

The essential method for reorganizing international capitalist production was to carry out the rivalry with a policy of cooperation and coordination on the basis of mutual economic penetration. International monopolies and imperialist states strove in this way to gain economic dominance or political supremacy. Ideologically they put a gloss on this with the phrase “change through trade.” In 1994 NATO and 23 European and Asian countries, also Russia and other NATO non-members, initiated a “Partnership for Peace.” NATO announced the good tidings at its Brussels Summit on 10 January 1994:

This Partnership is established as an expression of a joint conviction that stability and security in the Euro-Atlantic area can be achieved only through cooperation and common action.26

The German Federal Agency for Civic Education (bpb) candidly divulged in 2009 that this partnership and the NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council of 1997 were meant only to pacify, but never as actual concessions:

Giving up NATO enlargement was out of the question for them. They complemented it with a new form of consultation and cooperation with Russia at NATO Headquarters in Brussels.27

The book Twilight of the Gods – Götterdämmerung over the “New World Order” from 2003 fittingly remarks:

The actual development disproves every conception which assumes that economic interpenetration as the main method of imperialism renders wars unnecessary and that a peaceful imperialism can exist.28

The diplomatic initiatives lauded in advance of the Russian invasion of Ukraine likewise were not conducted with a serious willingness to find compromise solutions either by NATO or by Russia. Obviously, the shift in the balance of power had reached a point where the conflict of imperialist interests could be resolved only by war. This marks a qualitative leap from imperialist peace policy to imperialist war policy. During the First World War Lenin pointed out the following law-governed connection:

Under capitalism the smooth economic growth of individual enterprises or individual states is impossible. Under capitalism, there are no other means of restoring the periodically disturbed equilibrium than crises in industry and wars in politics.29

The escalation of the Ukraine war was accompanied by the turn of almost all imperialist countries to openly aggressive foreign and military policies for preparing the Third World War.

All NATO countries massively increased their armaments after the beginning of the war, drastically raising their military spending and sending additional troop contingents to Eastern Europe. Within a few months, up to 10 May 2022, the NATO countries in particular granted Ukraine at least 34 billion euros for weapons and military aid. At least another 33 billion euros in financial and “humanitarian” assistance for Ukraine’s war effort came from the USA, United Kingdom, EU, UN, and World Bank.30 The manipulation of public opinion acquired the character of psychological warfare and at times went over to overt warmongering.

NATO provoked Russia once more with its “north expansion” when Finland and Sweden abandoned their decades-old policy of military neutrality and nonalignment and applied for admission to NATO. With that the direct confrontation between NATO and Russia was extended by 1,300 kilometers of frontier. Other imperialist countries outside NATO also geared their foreign policies to the new situation – in keeping with their respective interests. More than 40 countries31 came to a meeting on 26 April 2022 at the US military base in Ramstein, Germany, to support the military strategy of NATO. A new anti-Russian military alliance with NATO as core under the leadership of US imperialism emerged; monthly meetings in this form were agreed.

New-imperialist India rejects sanctions against Russia and treads a line between cooperation with Russia and the NATO countries. Shinzo Abe, former Prime Minister of Japan, has thrown “nuclear sharing” into the public debate, calling a present Japanese policy taboo into question. New-imperialist Turkey, a member of NATO which has close relations with both Russia and Ukraine, is trying to distinguish itself as mediator between the warring parties.

The “watershed” of German imperialism

With its decisions of 26/27 February 2022, the German federal government also made a U-turn to an openly aggressive imperialist foreign policy. Forget about the Coalition Agreement of the new SPD/Green/FDP government, just a few months old, which pompously promised a “disarmament policy offensive” and “restrictive arms export policy.”32 However, in implementing the “watershed,” the term used by Chancellor Scholz for the change of course, sharp contradictions unfolded in the government coalition, within the government parties, and between various parties in the Bundestag, the federal parliament. Also among the ruling monopolies and among the masses, contradictions to the government grew. These contradictions as well as Germany’s great dependence on fossil fuels and on the global export of capital and goods led to initial delays in the delivery of weapons to Ukraine and in implementing the sanctions against Russia.

When Russian imperialism failed with its “special military operation” to achieve its objective of a quick “decapitation strike” and the installation of a Russia-friendly government in Kiev, it concentrated its forces on the rapid annexation of east and south Ukraine. That opened a second phase of the war.

In these parts of Ukraine there is a particularly heavy concentration of steel production, coal deposits, untapped gas fields for fracking, nuclear power plants, monopolistic large-scale agro-industry, and well trained workers. With the capture of strategically important port towns like Mariupol and Odessa, Russia seeks to create a land connection with the annexed Crimean peninsula as well as block access to the Azov Sea and the Black Sea, a move designed to lastingly weaken Ukraine’s export economy.

Changed objective of NATO in the Ukraine war

The successful resistance of the Ukrainian forces against the capture of Kiev by the Russian invaders changed the strategic objective of NATO in its support for Ukraine, on pressure from US imperialism: from the initial “stop to the hostilities” to “victory over the Russian invaders.” At a joint meeting hastily organized with Volodymyr Zelensky together with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on 24 April 2022 in Kiev, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin proclaimed:

We believe that they can win, if they have the right equipment, the right support…. We want to see Russia weakened to the degree that it can’t do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine.33

Of course, the world’s masses rightly wish that something like the invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces never happens again. However, what now became apparent was the real goal of NATO, packaged in humanitarian terms: the strategic weakening of new-imperialist Russia and thus also of its “Shanghai Cooperation Organisation” with China. But these goals are not achievable without massive arming of the Ukrainian army through the supply of heavy NATO weapons and through training of the Ukrainian army in NATO countries, and ultimately without the direct intervention of those countries. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine produced the desired constellation for US imperialism to assert its own strategy and get the EU imperialists in line to back its aggressive course to war.

The relevant forces of German monopoly capital abandoned their initial strategy – limiting the war and ending it as quickly as possible – and decided to support the intensified war drive of the USA and NATO. On 28 April 2022, the German Bundestag, in a “very big coalition,” approved the delivery of heavy weapons to Ukraine.34 With that, Germany’s participation in the Ukraine war took on a new quality.

In response to the delivery of heavy NATO weapons to Ukraine, Russia promptly declared them to be targets for attacks by the Russian army.35

Russia threatened to use tactical nuclear weapons. Use of them already had been consciously included in the calculations of the Russian National Security Concept of the year 2000, which called for “strengthening its [Russia’s] position as a great power.”36 NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg prepared the notice of termination of the NATO-Russia Founding Act, in which NATO had pledged, among other things, not to station nuclear weapons in Eastern Europe.

When as late as May 2022 NATO and the German federal government averred that they did not want to become a party to the war under any circumstances, it was a hypocritical lie. In contrast to this, an expert opinion of the Research Services of the Bundestag, dated 16 March 2022, emphasized, in confusing German legalese, that the instructor function entailed by the weapons deliveries could be regarded under international law as entry into the war, because:

Only if, in addition to the delivery of weapons, instruction or training of the conflict party on such weapons were also an issue, would one leave the secure area of non-warfare.37

The German army officially began training 18 Ukrainian gun crews on the self-propelled howitzer PzH 2000, an offensive weapon, on 11 May 2022 in Idar-Oberstein, Germany.38 NATO already now is placing the blame on Russia for a possible escalation into a nuclear world war, but the changed strategy of the enlarged NATO alliance willfully prepares the widening of the war into a Third World War. The participants in such a conflict no longer can control its dynamics; they must reckon with all options – including even a devastating exchange of hostilities using nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.

3. Interaction between fascism and war

Imperialist war and fascism are like Siamese twins. Willi Dickhut stated:

Fascism is not only a form of rule of darkest reaction, of utmost oppression within a country against one’s own people, but also means murderous aggression to the outside, against other peoples. Fascism means war!39

The bourgeois law of war legalizes killing, destruction and devastation after the beginning of a war against a military opponent. It is usually accompanied by a simultaneous domestic state of emergency.

In the interest of Russian finance capital, Russian President Putin had been building up his position of power with proto-fascist methods for years. He had the government-critical opposition neutralized, freedom of the press dismantled, and critical media brought under government control. Genuine Marxist-Leninists are persecuted, and their work is massively impeded.

Vladimir Putin cultivates varied and close cooperation with proto-fascist and fascist persons and organizations in Europe, like Golden Dawn in Greece, AfD in Germany, Rassemblement National in France, or Fidesz in Hungary. Proceeding from Russia, “troll farms” spread reactionary conspiracy theories, racist anti-refugee hate-mongering, and chauvinist propaganda a millionfold in the “social media.”

Upon Russia’s entry into direct warfare, the reactionary development in Russia took a qualitative leap. The ICOR40 organization Marxist-Leninist Platform (MLP) Russia aptly comments:

In Russia, a fascist dictatorship has been established.41

With the two-thirds majority of Putin’s party, United Russia, and the uncritical support of the imperialist war policy by all parties represented in the State Duma,42 Putin can rule absolutely even without formally declaring martial law. Subsequently, the work of nearly all critical media was rendered impossible. The Internet and “social networks” could only be used for pro-government propaganda. The censorship agency Roskomnadzor prohibited referring to the invasion of Ukraine as a “war.” Since 4 March 2022, “discrediting the use of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation” as well as spreading “false information” about the Armed Forces are subject to most severe punishment. Repeat offenders face up to 15 years in prison. Already in the first ten days of the Ukraine war, at least 13,000 anti-war protesters were arrested and severely punished, among them many Marxist-Leninists who participated in the courageous protests.

Anticommunism in the Ukraine war

In order to gain a benevolent mass basis among the Russian people Putin demagogically trivializes Russia’s war of aggression by declaring it to be a “special military operation” with an antifascist motive.

The Russian Communist Worker’s Party (RCWP), member of the neorevisionist SolidNet, exposes this hypocritical justification:

From the class viewpoint, the Russian ruling powers, as well as those of the USA and the EU, do not care in the least about the working people in the Donbass, or those in Russia and Ukraine. We have no doubt that the true objectives of the Russian state in this war are entirely imperialistic….43

The revisionists of the German Communist Party (DKP), by contrast, in 2017 still attested that Russia “acts objectively anti-imperialistically.”44 After the outbreak of the war they invented stories about the legitimate “prevention of an imminent attack.”45

Not even the fact that Putin himself moves open anticommunism to center stage to legitimize his attack shakes this absurd opinion of the DKP. Three days before the imperialist invasion of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin gave a policy statement attacking the socialist nationalities policy of the Bolsheviks, namely of Lenin46 and Stalin47. He stated that

modern Ukraine was entirely created … by Bolshevik, Communist Russia. … Lenin and his associates did it in a way that was extremely harsh on Russia….” He attributed this to the “idea of what amounted in essence to a confederative state arrangement and a slogan about the right of nations to self-determination, up to secession,” on which “Soviet statehood” was based.48

Indeed, the socialist nationalities policy under Lenin and Stalin and the imperialist Russian war of aggression are as different as fire and water. The voluntary association of the socialist nations in the USSR, the promotion of the respective languages and cultures, and the internationalist coexistence of all Soviet republics and their ethnicities were its living guiding principle. The Great Patriotic War and its victory over Hitlerite fascism was borne by all Soviet nationalities.

How stupid and impertinent are the anticommunist scribblers in Germany who, in mantra-like repetition, accredit Putin with being in the tradition of Stalin. The capitalist newspaper Handelsblatt, for instance, asserts about Putin:

He is a Stalin, who suffered from paranoia and massacred his people at will.49

It rather seems that the bourgeois opinion makers suffer from paranoia, fearing the attraction to socialism and to the achievements of Stalin’s governance that came into discussion because of Putin’s attacks! It was precisely the high command under Stalin that spearheaded the successful liberation of Ukraine from Hitlerite fascism. The Red Army, together with the heroic partisans, defeated the German Wehrmacht. On behalf of German finance capital, the Wehrmacht murdered four million people in Ukraine, made ten million people homeless, destroyed 16,150 industrial plants and 400 mines, razed 714 towns and 28,880 villages to the ground. Miners who refused to collaborate with Hitlerite fascism were thrown down the mine shafts alive.50

Ukrainian fascist organizations like the one led by Stepan Bandera, by contrast, did collaborate with fascism. It is a scandal that this man can today still be venerated with impunity as a “hero”51 by the Ukrainian ambassador in Germany, Andriy Melnyk, a friend of fascists. Bandera was an ardent anti-Semite and, alongside the Hitlerite fascists, jointly responsible for the deportation and murder of 800,000 Jews in Ukraine in the Second World War.52 Not a word of protest is heard from the holy crusaders against anti-Semitism in the bourgeois parties in Germany when Melnyk spreads his provocative warmongering!

The liberal way of dealing with the fascists in Ukraine and their partly systematic promotion up to the incorporation of the fascist Azov Regiment into the Ukrainian army serve Putin as one of the lines of justification for his invasion of Ukraine. Combining truths, half-truths and lies, he demagogically takes up the legitimate pride of the Russian and Ukrainian masses in the victory of the socialist Soviet Union over Hitlerite fascism. He thereby diverts attention from the true motive of the war of aggression: the current struggle of Russia’s new-imperialism for supremacy in Europe.

Ukraine – a thoroughly reactionary capitalist state

It is cynicism when Chancellor Olaf Scholz/SPD asserts: Russia’s war against Ukraine is directed “against everything that constitutes democracy.”53 In truth, everything that constitutes bourgeois democracy was already oppressed in Ukraine in the years before under the rule of the oligarchs and also under the government of Volodymyr Zelensky. In 2015 communist symbols were banned; workers’ struggles were suppressed, also after the Zelensky government took office. For years the EU declined the accession request of Ukraine because it did not fulfill essential accession criteria like a “stable democracy based on the rule of law, but … also … a functioning and competitive market economy.”54 In September 2021, long after Zelensky was elected President in 2019, the European Court of Auditors (ECA) still attested that “grand corruption remains a key problem in Ukraine.”55 Already in 2021, the organization humedica stated about the social situation in Ukraine:

A monthly income of about 350 euros and living expenses on West European level – today more than 45 percent of the population are considered poor. … Who depends on medical help in the Ukraine, who gives birth to an ill or disabled child, often faces financial ruin.56

On the other hand, in 2021 the seven richest men of the country alone had a private fortune of 11.9 billion US dollars.57 In January 2022 a racist language law came into effect in Ukraine, discriminating the Russian language in the public sphere – even though 40 percent of the Ukrainian population speak Russian in their private surroundings.

Right at the beginning of the war, martial law was declared in Ukraine, and all democratic rights and freedoms were abolished. Force became the main method of rule: forced labor, expropriation, restriction of the freedom of movement, complete ban on assemblies and strikes, party bans, censorship of the media, universal military service, internment of foreigners, or suspension of elections.

Every opposition against the Zelensky regime is persecuted now with charges of “pro-Russian activities” and eliminated. On 18 March 2022, the president banned by decree the activities of eleven oppositional parties, among them the Block of the Left Forces, the Left Opposition, and the Socialist Party of Ukraine. This was followed on 20 March by a decree providing for the merging of all national news stations under the control of the government.

The ICOR organization Coordination Council of the Workers’ Class Movement (KSRD) reports of especially intensified attacks on the working class:

At the same time, Ukrainian authorities have tightened labor law under martial law. … dismissing workers is significantly easier, the weekly working time has been increased from 40 to 60 hours, and public holidays have been abolished. … Strikes of any kind are prohibited.58

It is hard to outmatch the hypocrisy of how Volodymyr Zelensky – perfectly staged in an olive green t-shirt and with a three-day beard – acts the part of the brave champion of freedom and democracy in the mass media internationally.

The working class and the broad masses in Ukraine have every right to defend themselves with weapons in their hands against Russia’s imperialist aggression. However, in the struggle for immediate peace this government is no honest partner. And all the more in the struggle for social liberation, a victory over their own government, the overthrow of the reactionary Zelensky regime, must also be achieved. In this complicated war on two fronts the Ukrainian masses deserve the full solidarity of proletarian internationalism.

The war accelerates the global development to the right

On 24 May 2022, after having hurriedly pushed through an amendment to the constitution in parliament, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán declared the state of emergency in his country for the third time,59 arguing that the war in Ukraine represented a “constant threat to Hungary.”60 His emergency government is equipped with a rich arsenal of reactionary measures: suspension of laws or of their enforcement,61 ban on strikes, reduction of company business taxes by half, self-service from the public purse,62 penalization of unfavorable reporting with up to five years in prison.63

However, not only governments universally known to be reactionary, like that of Viktor Orbán, are tightening their course. In Germany, too, as in most European countries and the USA, the rightward development of society is being pushed ahead, and militarization and fascistization of the state are increasing.

In Germany, martial law already comes partly into effect in the casus foederis64 and completely in the so-called state of defense according to Article 115a of the Basic Law. Already when Germany is “imminently threatened”65 with an armed attack, the Bundeswehr (the German Armed Forces) can be deployed in the interior, and the whole arsenal of the emergency laws takes effect. That means: ban on assemblies and strikes, massive restriction of free speech and the media, confiscation of property, compulsory conversion of production or forced labor, and immediate arrest of a person “if there are substantial or actual indications for suspecting that the person performs, promotes or instigates acts which are punishable as high treason, sedition, treason, offense against national defense….”66

From all this speaks the undisguised fear of those in power of the inevitably emerging resistance against poverty, unemployment, and the consequences of war and crises. For the international working-class and people’s movement it is indispensable to combine the struggle against war and fascism with the struggle to preserve and extend democratic rights and freedoms as a school of the struggle for socialism.

4. Transition to global economic warfare

The NATO states imposed massive sanctions on Russia as a weapon of war. The first package of EU sanctions on 23 February was followed by five more through 3 June 2022. Further sanctions were applied by many individual countries like the USA, the UK, Canada, Japan, or Switzerland.

Firstly, measures like the freezing of assets and entry bans are directed against initially 1,091 persons and 80 organizations, among them oligarchs as well as the Foreign Minister of Russia, Sergey Lavrov, or President Vladimir Putin.

Secondly, companies and banks are targeted: Among other things, shares of Russian state-owned enterprises cannot be traded in the EU anymore. Russian banks, including the Russian Central Bank, cannot lend or borrow money in the EU any longer. Seven large Russian banks have been expelled from the payment system SWIFT.

Thirdly, the sanctions are directed against the imports and exports of the Russian economy. The Western states under the leadership of NATO stopped the newly completed natural gas pipeline Nord Stream 2. They also prohibited the importation of Russian coal, the activity of Russian and Belarusian freight forwarders in the EU, and the entry of Russian-flagged ships into EU ports. Furthermore, there are targeted bans on exports to Russian high-technology sectors totaling ten billion euros, extended import bans, and Russia is barred from public contracts and European funds. With the sixth package of sanctions, the EU passed an oil embargo, which, however, only applies to oil tankers, not to pipelines.

The sanctions in their entirety have taken on the character of a global economic war with corresponding effects on the political economy of the imperialist world system. Contrary to the absurd promise that economic sanctions could stop the war, they have no immediate influence on the concrete course of the war.

For CDU chairman Friedrich Merz the purpose of the sanction policy against Russia is “to break the backbone of Russia’s industrial-military complex.”67

So, strategically, the main concern is to ruin Russia’s economy and stop the country’s further rise as a new-imperialist power.

Under the condition of internationalized production, and owing to the fact that 154 countries of the world – among them big countries like China, Brazil, India, Mexico, Indonesia, and even NATO member Turkey – so far do not participate in sanctioning Russia, NATO will hardly be able to achieve its goals. The financial sanctions, for instance, are circumvented with CIPS, the Chinese alternative to SWIFT, as well as by the SPFS system developed by Russia, to which 400 Russian banks are connected. India, for example, which has to import 80 percent of its oil needs, made a deal for “the importation of more than three million barrels of crude oil from Russian production”68 right around the time of the decisions on sanctions. Many countries in Asia, Africa, or Latin America engage in trade with Russia as a perceived ally in the struggle against the neocolonial exploitation of their countries by the USA. Some also want to foster their own imperialist ambitions.

Moreover, the cooperation with the necessary substitute suppliers of energy for Europe proceeds anything but smoothly. Shortly after alternative gas deliveries were agreed with Qatar, the reactionary emirate demanded guaranteed purchases at outrageous prices for at least 20 years.69 By that time, however, Germany already wants to have almost completely abandoned fossil energies.

Contrary to all high-sounding statements of intent of Western governments, it is the Russian masses who bear the brunt of the imperialist sanction policy – and precisely not the primarily responsible warmongers and oligarchs. In Moscow alone, 200,000 employees have lost their jobs because foreign companies ceased their operations and international supply chains have largely been cut. In March 2022 inflation in Russia already rose to 17.3 percent.70

In mid-April 2022, Russia – until 2021 Germany’s favored trade partner and supplier of 55 percent of the gas consumed by Germany – still was delivering natural gas with a capacity of 2,400 gigawatt-hours daily. Additionally, Germany purchased around 50 percent of its imported coal and around 35 percent of its mineral oil from Russia.71

Mainly the German energy, chemical and steel corporations, which so far have particularly benefited from the economic relations with Russia, do not want to carry the sanctions to extremes. BASF CEO Martin Brudermüller sternly warned the German federal government against embarking on a stoppage of Russian gas deliveries: Such a measure “could bring the German economy into its worst crisis since the end of the Second World War and destroy our prosperity.”72

Contrary to the bourgeois propaganda of the great unity between NATO and the EU, already on 7 March 2022 Siegfried Russwurm, head of the monopoly association of German industries (BDI), brusquely rejected the US government’s demand for a decoupling of the German economy from China and Russia:

We were not and will not be a recipient of orders from the American government. … (Putin’s) crimes are not the end of global trade and global division of labor. Exchange, not isolation, remains our principle.73

Chancellor Scholz echoes the threat that a gas embargo “would plunge Germany and the whole of Europe into a profound recession if we were to do this overnight.”74 The fear of mass political protests and the development of the proletarian class struggle against the shifting of the burden of crisis and war onto the backs of the masses is one driving force of the federal government’s crisis management.

However, with the change in strategy of NATO, agreed no later than the end of April, the federal government also lost its previously existing inhibitions. It imposed the burdens of crisis and war on the masses more and more openly. Speculation with foodstuffs, raw materials of all kinds and energy products, fueled by the sanction policy, by itself massively forces up inflation. The so-called “relief packages” for part of the population enacted by the coalition government of SPD, “Greens” and FDP only have a short-term damping effect. Cynically, Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck justifies the oil embargo against Russia with these words:

This … will mean an imposition … when the prices go up afterwards. … And that is the price that can … and must be paid.75

The propaganda for class collaboration and sacrifices became an essential element of the psychological warfare. The Internet portal Telepolis revealed:

The assertion that the current inflation is the product of the Ukraine war is therefore simply a hoax. One evident point is that not one harvest has failed yet in Ukraine or Russia because of the war…. Gas and oil, too, flow from Russia to the West at the agreed prices. … Pricing is not determined by the present costs, as is usually assumed, but is geared to future profit expectations.76

Logical that the magazine WirtschaftsWoche enthuses on 18 March 2022:

The market for crude oil is … ideally suited to invest money. … Those who laid their bets … on oil in the past twelve months, for example, were able to almost double what they wagered, measured by the price of one barrel of crude oil.77

This, of course, foils the effect of the sanctions. In spite of the embargoes, Russia therefore reckons this year with additional receipts of 13.7 billion euros for the export of fossil fuel.78

Open crisis of the reorganization of international production

More important than the immediate economic repercussions of the sanctions are the global and therefore strategic shocks in the framework of the reorganization of international production. Their import can hardly be foreseen yet. Unlike the US monopolies, which manufacture and sell their products chiefly in the huge domestic market, the German international monopolies manufacture mostly abroad and realize their maximum profits there.79 The economic war of the Western world against Russia has an effect that cuts both ways. For at the same time it pushes Russia to develop even more resolutely the extension of the “friendly relations” with the countries opposing sanctions, and mainly with new-imperialist China, into an economic, political and military bloc.

Thus, the sanction policy of NATO and EU provokes the end of the unified world market, the key economic condition for the reorganization of international production. Already there are indications that the erupted global economic war will expand in future. At the World Economic Forum in Davos in May 2022, for instance, under the demagogic slogan “Freedom is more important than free trade,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg demanded a decoupling of the economy from China.80 The existing international division of labor is called into question, while at the same time it remains an indispensable necessity for monopolistic industrial production yielding maximum profit. Important integrated production systems are torn apart, and entire industrial sectors are cut off from raw materials and primary products and plunged into permanent crises. Restricting or even completely cutting off previously open sales markets also impedes the sale of the supermonopolies’ increased mass production. The consequences for the global economy are not yet foreseeable, all the more because this development meets with a logistics, energy and raw material crisis, which emerged already prior to the war, as well as escalating trade wars. With a sense of foreboding, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock predicted a future “hurricane of crises” in the world.81

In the global economy an open crisis of the reorganization of international production has arisen, which further accelerates the destabilization of the imperialist world system enormously. The transition to global economic warfare intensifies to the utmost the major contradiction between the revolutionary internationalized productive forces and the national-state power and the organization of the capitalist relations of production. This promotes the danger of a Third World War. The book, Twilight of the Gods – Götterdämmerung over the “New World Order,” states:

That imperialism can introduce the reorganization of production, but, because of its insoluble inner contradictions, will never be able to create a world state, makes it evident that imperialism has come to a relative limit of its historical development. The modern productive forces demand relations of production which correspond to their international character, but these can only be realized in the united socialist states of the world.82

5. The Ukraine war accelerates the development into a global environmental catastrophe

Already before the Ukraine crisis, the transition to a global environmental catastrophe was accelerating. More or less all imperialist countries announced sweeping environmental protection measures, mainly in response to the global environmental mass movement, especially among the youth. But shortly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, they declared a paradigm shift in environmental policy. Henceforth, climate protection, the previous top goal, would have to be subordinated to “security interests,” in other words preparing for a Third World War. On 31 March 2022, US President Biden announced:

We need to choose long-term security over energy and climate vulnerability.83

Thus the willful destruction of the unity of humanity and nature takes on a new quality. Biden’s demagogic slogan received support from the German armaments industry. In late 2020 the managing director of the Federation of German Security and Defence Industries, Dr. Hans Christoph Atzpodien, already formulated the new “system-relevant” principle that “security [is] the ‘mother’ of sustainability and the corresponding prosperity.”84 It was the task of Olaf Scholz and his government team to get the environmental movement also in Germany to embrace the new foreign and environmental policy course. To growing criticism, also from the Grüne Jugend (Green Youth), philosopher and Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection, Robert Habeck, demagogically responded by coining a new expression: “ecological patriotism.”85

Habeck’s “ecological patriotism,” however, is nothing but a new variant of social chauvinism.86 Except this time the workers and the broad masses are supposed to renounce their justified social, economic and political demands as well as accept drastic intensification of the environmental crisis, without resistance.

US imperialism’s U-turn in environmental policy is also linked to its goal of becoming an energy superpower. In connection with the US import ban on Russian oil, coal, and gas,87 imposed on 8 March 2022, the New York Times commented:

President Biden has largely stopped making the case for his ambitious plans to fight climate change and has instead focused on pumping as much oil and gas as possible.88

Biden also wants to increase Europe’s dependence on the US and regain lost ground in the global economy, as well as regain the waning trust in his administration among the US population. In the US alone, the Department of Energy plans to increase fracking by 15 percent89 by 2030. The Gas Exporting Countries Forum even wants an increase in the global rate by 66 percent.90

In Germany, the “Greens” in particular have been proving to be a compliant ally. The Green Federal Minister of Economics, Habeck, massively expedited the construction of liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals in Brunsbüttel, Stade, and Wilhelmshaven in order to be able to import fracking gas from the USA, which his party had always fiercely opposed. To give the project an ecological veneer, these terminals supposedly also will be usable later for hydrogen imports.

Natural gas and fracking gas damage the climate not only through the CO2 produced during their combustion and the chemicals pumped into the ground, but also through the massive release of the greenhouse gas methane from boreholes and pipeline leaks. Methane has more than 20 times the global warming potential of CO291 and in 2019 already caused 16.4 percent of global warming.92

Under the demagogic banner of never again funding human rights violations of a Vladimir Putin, the German government restructured not only the gas supply, but also oil supply; it entered into supply contracts with the government of Qatar. It is a mockery when Finance Minister Christian Lindner declares “We want to have trading partners who are also value partners.”93

Truly the right people for that, the ultra-reactionary sheikhs of Qatar with their feudal-fascist regime! What do Lindner and Habeck care about the systematically perpetrated human rights violations, the blatant support of the fascist IS terrorist organizations, and Qatar’s ideological and political affinity to the fascist Taliban regime in Afghanistan? One can become a “value partner” for Germany’s bourgeois democrats simply by being on the “right” side in the global economic war against Russia, meaning against the current main imperialist competitor.

By contrast, the expansion of renewable energies propagated by Robert Habeck and the EU remained highly fragmented or was strictly oriented towards the monopolies. Article 8 of the EU Taxonomy for Sustainable Activities, for example, stipulates that wind turbine projects by companies are promoted as “green” if they have more than 500 employees and are oriented to the capital market.94

As early as the beginning of 2022, Federal Minister Habeck advocated the classification of natural gas as a “bridge technology95 particularly worthy of support, as bridge to renewable energies. The EU Commission promptly approved – and included the promotion of nuclear energy.96 The interests served by this eco-political disaster are revealed by the demand of the Federation of German Industries (BDI), openly voiced after the start of the war, that

without ideological reservations, an extension [should] be considered of the three nuclear power plants still in operation and the three sites that were last shut down.97

In plain language, “without ideological reservations” means to unconditionally support the imperialist plans to maintain and expand nuclear energy and to willfully and seriously endanger the health of the population.

Nuclear power plants pose incalculable dangers. All nuclear plants depend on a secure power supply to cool their fuel elements. If this is interrupted by war or natural disasters, for example, there is a risk of uncontrollable meltdowns.98 The historical examples of Chernobyl and Fukushima are bywords for this.

The promotion of nuclear power plants is closely linked to the military use of nuclear power. Candidly, French President Emmanuel Macron stated:

Without civilian nuclear power, no military nuclear power, and without military nuclear power, no civilian nuclear power.99

The pursued renaissance of nuclear power is unmistakably also directed at arming Europe with nuclear weapons. The same applies to strengthening Germany’s “nuclear sharing” as part of NATO. This is reflected in the acquisition of US F-35 aircraft suitable as nuclear weapon carriers.

The growing danger of nuclear war

In 2021, nine imperialist nuclear powers together had about 13,080 nuclear weapons. In purely mathematical terms their destructive potential would be sufficient to destroy the present earth’s biosphere several times.

The imperialist military strategists of both NATO and Russia again are developing the criminal concept of a limited nuclear war – as in the 1980s.

Russian President Putin has been blatantly threatening to use nuclear weapons,100 and President Biden has been reaffirming the US right to first use of nuclear weapons.101 The nuclear-equipped hypersonic missile “Dark Eagle” can reach and destroy Moscow from Germany in 21 minutes and 30 seconds.102 US soldiers have been training with this system since March 2022.103 Until now, the rejection of nuclear war has been a taken-for-granted consensus in the environmental and peace movements. Now an article by Greenpeace, of all organizations, on 31 March 2022 awarded the “possibility of ‘limited’ nuclear war”104 a downplaying eco-label:

If a tactical nuclear weapon were to be deployed ... the heat wave, shock wave and radiation would probably be limited to a few kilometers.105

In reality, every single nuclear weapon – even tactical ones – brings immense destruction, vast damage, and mass deaths over hundreds of square kilometers. Nuclear expert Nina Tannenwald puts the record straight on the absurd nuclear war games:

Even a “small-yield” nuclear weapon (0.3 kilotons) would produce damage far beyond that of a conventional explosive.… Radioactive fallout would contaminate air, soil, water and the food supply….106

Nuclear weapons downplayed as “mini-nukes” do not make a nuclear strike less dangerous, but make it even more a real option – with the consequence of uncontrollable escalation.

It is a prevalent but highly dangerous illusion that the good sense of the imperialists would not permit a nuclear war. All environmentalists and peace fighters are called upon to combine their struggle to save the environment with the struggle against imperialist war and to enforce the demand for the ban and destruction of all ABC weapons worldwide.

Dangerous rivalry over the energy and resource base

The global environmental movement has been able to wrest some promises and concessions from monopolies and governments regarding the expansion of renewable energies. Today’s abundant energy, which can be industrially produced at low cost on the basis of wind, solar and other alternative energies as well as energy storage, is part of the comprehensive material preparation of socialism in the unity of humanity and nature. Under the rule of the monopolies, however, this potential of scientific and technical progress does not come to fruition; on the contrary: it mutates into a maximum profit bringing business oriented towards the striving for world market leadership.

Currently, 98 percent of all solar cells are manufactured in new-imperialist Asian countries, 77.7 percent by Chinese monopolies alone,107 while the share of US and EU monopolies has shrunk.108 Producing wind turbines, the EU monopolies Vestas, Siemens-Gamesa, Nordex, and Enercon account for 29.7 percent of the world market, but lag behind China, which produces 54.6 percent. Here, too, the USA is far behind with only 11.7 percent.109 With the Ukraine crisis, the inter-imperialist rivalry for the energy and resource base is culminating.

Open crisis of imperialist environmentalism

The previous variants of imperialist environmentalism entered into an open crisis. Their credo was the alleged “compatibility of ecology and capitalist economy.” The propagandistic worship of the maximum 1.5 degrees Celsius global warming target of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement – a target missed a long time ago – also failed overtly.

Even the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a body that on other occasions is more likely to downplay matters, has been warning since 2021 about a hot age on earth that threatens humans with deadly heat waves.110 In February 2022, it predicted the danger of uncontrolled “chain reactions” that would acutely endanger 3.6 billion people. However, this leaves the international energy and raw materials monopolies completely cold. They would not dream of refraining from further exploration and increasing exploitation of fossil energy sources. In 2017, 100 supermonopolies alone caused 71 percent of all industrial greenhouse gas emissions in the world.111 From 2008 to 2020, global coal production increased by 16.6 percent,112 oil production by 4.1 percent,113 and natural gas production by 27 percent.114

Deliberately caused food and hunger crises

Russia and Ukraine together produce 64 percent of the sunflower oil, 23 percent of the wheat, and 18 percent of the corn (maize), and thus a significant share of the world’s food exports.115 Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine has destroyed and plundered the production and distribution of these globally vital foodstuffs. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), by the end of April 2022 alone, nearly 25 million tons of grain were stuck in Ukraine, blockaded by the Russian army and mined ports.116 Additionally, the imperialist sanctions policies have severely restricted the export of these existentially necessary foods to many countries in Asia and Africa.

Thus the rampant food crisis is rapidly escalating into an international hunger crisis with far-reaching economic, political and social consequences. Worldwide, 811 million people are already starving and two billion suffer from malnutrition.117 Since February 2022, food prices have exploded around the world.118 To exploit the shortage of staple foods for themselves, EU agricultural monopolies are pushing to expand their grain production and are excessively increasing food prices.

To serve this purpose, “onerous” requirements for environmental protection in agriculture are to be dropped. The goals for the preservation of biodiversity proclaimed in the coalition agreement of the current federal government disappear into a drawer: for example, the plans to farm 25 percent of agricultural land ecologically by 2030, to leave four percent of farmland fallow from 2023, and to halve the use of pesticides.119 This is devastating in view of the dramatic extinction of species, with more than one million species threatened by extinction worldwide.

Overexploitation of natural resources

The globally increased armament, with more than two trillion US dollars in arms expenditures in 2021,120 and even more so the war, are decisive factors of the environmental crisis. Not only have tens of thousands of lives and the living conditions of millions of people been destroyed, but the biosphere also is being destroyed at an accelerated rate, raw materials are wasted, and global warming is exacerbated.

The US forces alone emit more CO2 than an average industrialized country like Sweden.121 In addition, resources are wasted and land and water are polluted and desolated by military bases and military transports.

A regional environmental disaster is developing in Ukraine with the war. The Donbass region is one of the most polluted areas on earth, with 900 large industrial plants, including 248 mines, 177 hazardous chemical plants, and 113 plants using radioactive materials.122 By 2021, widespread contamination of groundwater had already developed, primarily through flooding of mines, leaving approximately 3.4 million people without access to clean water.123 The bombing of steel works, as in Mariupol, has released enormous amounts of super toxins and heavy metals. Entire regions can thus become uninhabitable for a long time.

In the ecological world crisis the whole decay and obsoleteness of the imperialist world system is revealed. It is crucial that the masses recognize and consciously process this development so that they take up a society-changing environmental struggle under the leadership of the working class with the perspective of genuine socialism.

6. The transition of opportunism to social-chauvinism

Since early 2022, the manipulation of public opinion with psychological warfare began worldwide in order to win over the masses for an imperialist war.

With the beginning of the Ukraine war, international social chauvinism as a round-the-clock influence took on a new dimension. Via its monopolized mass media, each imperialist country enforced a downright war for disinformation, up to open warmongering. The book, The Crisis of Bourgeois Ideology and of Opportunism, proves:

In crises, when their costs and burdens are passed on to the masses, when the bourgeoisie fights revolutionary developments or is on course for war – in short, when the contradictions intensify, as a law of development opportunism turns into social-chauvinism. Its guiding principle is the propagation of the complete subordination of the working class to the national class interests of the bourgeoisie.124

At the Munich Security Conference on 19 February 2021 – a good year in advance of the Ukraine war – US President Joe Biden committed the US and other imperialist NATO countries to “standing up for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.”125 Biden has not abandoned Donald Trump’s “America first” policy, a fact that most bourgeois analysts gloss over, but has systematized it into a strategy and tactics of the hegemonic claim to power by the US. To cover up this core of his policy, he sells the project with chauvinist and social-chauvinist hypocrisy as a mission for the Western democracies.

This led to a new stage in the spread of the petty-bourgeois social-chauvinist mode of thinking: The international working class should in any case identify itself patriotically with imperialist exploitation and warmongering in its respective countries. Instead of pursuing its proletarian class interests, participating in active resistance to the preparation of the Third World War, and turning to the preparation of the international socialist revolution, it should come to terms with the “lesser evil”: the “democracy” of US or West European imperialism, which supposedly is so much better than the Russian or Chinese variety.

Russian President Vladimir Putin also fomented the petty-bourgeois social-chauvinist mode of thinking of the masses in Russia long before the invasion of Ukraine. In an article “On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians” he spread with völkisch126 demagogy:

Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarusians are all descendants of Ancient Rus, which was the largest state in Europe.127

With such Great Russian chauvinism, Putin prepared not only the invasion of Ukraine ideologically, but also more conquest campaigns. In his völkisch nationalist delusion, however, he overlooked the historical fact that the Kievan (old) Rus was a union of mainly Ukrainian tribes into a feudal state. Later, the Russian tsars pressed the non-Russian peoples and territories into their empire and turned Russia into a prison of nations.

To all those who defend either of the two warring imperialist parties, take good note of what Lenin unmistakably remarked about the misleading explanations of the origin of imperialist wars:

The question of which group dealt the first military blow or first declared war is immaterial in any determination of the tactics of socialists. Both sides’ phrases on the defence of the fatherland, resistance to enemy invasion, a war of defence, etc., are nothing but deception of the people.128

The propaganda machinery of US imperialism affects more than a billion people in 212 countries, mainly through the news channel CNN International.129 Via Russia Today (RT), Sputnik, and through targeted messages on social networks – also called web brigades – the Russian new-imperialists glorify their war of aggression in more than 100 countries.130 RT has nearly 30 million followers in Latin America alone. The “German … points of view”131 are disseminated especially by Deutsche Welle in 32 languages among 289 million “user contacts” on five continents.

Journalists from all over the world report “live” from the center of the war from dawn to dusk: Horrific images of bombed-out houses and distraught Ukrainian children, photos of atrocities committed by the Russian army, interviews with those affected – all this gives the impression that one is being objectively informed and is up close to the action. Never does one hear anything about the Ukrainian military operations, except that the soldiers are “heroically” resisting.

At the same time, the media focus primarily on mobilizing emotions. Weapons deliveries suddenly became a purely moral issue and an expression of compassion, empathy, and solidarity, without any alternative.

New in Germany was a general militarization of the news and talk shows. Interviews with high-ranking military officers were given daily as a matter of course, involving the masses in the strategic considerations of German imperialism’s war course. For weeks, the bourgeois media censorship banned representatives of any critical, progressive or pacifist viewpoint. If they were admitted sporadically, they were usually bawled out as “friends of Putin.” The “critical inquiries” of the talk show hosts usually came from the right. For the most part, they uncritically conveyed the inflammatory agitation of Volodymyr Zelensky and his ambassador in Germany, Andriy Melnyk, for massive arms deliveries.

With the transition to the social-chauvinist course, in all reformist parties crisis processes unfolded: “The Greens” in their program for the 2021 Bundestag elections still promised to “put an end to European arms exports to … war zones.”132

But the new government responsibility required them to “shape” the change in the strategy of German foreign policy. Anton Hofreiter, previously known as an exponent of the “left” wing of the “Greens,” turned out to be one of the biggest hawks. He demanded “realpolitik in its most brutal form” from German imperialism in response to the “ruthlessly brutal nature” of Russian new-imperialism.133 His reactionary pragmatism transformed the former anti-nuclear campaigner134 Hofreiter into an unrestrained warmonger in a very short time.

Honestly concerned, justifiably but unsuccessfully 89 members of the “Greens” warned the party leadership: “What will you do in case of further escalation…? Will NATO then use nuclear weapons against Russia?”135

The left-wing reformist party DIE LINKE staggered into an existential crisis after its years-long downplaying of new-imperialist Russia had openly failed. Contradictions raged within the party over the federal government’s rearmament program, which – contrary to the vote of the party’s parliamentary group in the Bundestag – some leading representatives eagerly supported.

For example, Bodo Ramelow/DIE LINKE, Minister-President of Thuringia, said at a peace demonstration in Gera on 2 March 2022: “We are at war…. Now we have to act militarily.”136

He vehemently criticized the still numerous war opponents in his party: “Simple NATO bashing doesn’t solve any problem here.”137

A “left-wing” minister-president thus demonstrates his unconditional loyalty to German imperialism. Without a qualm, he laid a floral arrangement at the grave of Karl Liebknecht, co-founder of the KPD, on 14 January 2019, with widespread media coverage.138 Inseparably connected with Liebknecht’s name is the highly topical slogan today, “Not a man and not a penny for this system!”

The spread of chauvinism goes so far that even in media often considered as left-liberal, fascism is massively downplayed. For example, on 20 May 2022, Ukrainian Ambassador Andrij Melnyk was given a full-page interview in Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland, in which he was able to portray the fascist Azov Regiment as completely harmless and as “brave fighters.”139 Not to forget, a regiment that uses fascist SS symbols, has been involved in war crimes against people in the Donbass since 2014, and whose first commander, Andriy Biletsky, only a few years ago openly professed fascist and anti-Semitic views on the “crusade” of the “white races of the world … against Semite-led Untermenschen [subhumans].”140 The main financier of the Azov regiment is the second largest Ukrainian monopoly capitalist and oligarch, Igor Kolomoisky, who also decisively supported Zelensky’s election141 and who made him big in the first place on his private TV channel 1+1.

Finland’s accession to NATO is justified mantra-like in talk shows: the history of Finland’s heroically fought war against the Soviet Union in 1939/40 allegedly speaks for it. At that time, the reactionary Finnish government – albeit on behalf of pro-fascist and imperialist governments – had refused to agree to serious negotiations with the socialist Soviet Union on border corrections that were absolutely necessary for the Soviet Union and advantageous for Finland. This was a matter of protecting Leningrad, in particular, from the imminent invasion by the Hitlerite fascists. Finland had instead attacked Russian border troops. The Soviet Union, after defeating the Finnish military led by the arch-reactionary General Mannerheim, refrained from occupying the country. The Finnish government “repaid” this merely a year later by participating in Hitler’s fascist war against the Soviet Union.

Only the proletarian class standpoint serves as a compass to see through the chauvinist, social-chauvinist and anticommunist arguments, spread with much pathos, so that the right conclusions can be drawn. The longer the war lasts, the greater the sentiment against it and its expansion. In mid-March 2022, polls showed that 67 percent of Germany’s population still approved of arms deliveries to Ukraine.142 By 3 May, only 46 percent still were in favor of supplying offensive weapons.143 Critical voices about NATO and against the German government’s war policy are increasingly becoming public.

Those in power are not able permanently to win the masses for the imperialist war! Not even with their claim that refusing to supply weapons is “neglected assistance” and leaves the Ukrainian people to the unbridled rage of the Russian aggressor! No matter how complicated the situation is, wars of imperialist nations and their alliances have never been waged with the aim of helping and showing solidarity to the peoples! There is only one alternative: the revolutionary struggle of the exploited and oppressed of these countries, both Ukraine and Russia, against their governments, which are waging this war with the aim of destroying their respective enemies. In the midst of the First World War, Lenin impressed upon the international working class a key insight for the ideological struggle against opportunists and social-chauvinists:

The bourgeoisie and its supporters in the labour movement … usually pose the question thus: Either we recognise in principle our duty to defend the fatherland, or we leave our country defenceless. That presentation is fundamentally wrong. This is how the question stands in reality: Either we allow ourselves to be killed in the interests of the imperialist bourgeoisie, or we systematically prepare the majority of the exploited, and ourselves, … in order to put an end to … war.144

7. A new phase of accelerated destabilization of the imperialist world system

For the first time since the end of the Second World War, in 2022 a military confrontation among imperialist powers and power blocs escalated directly. It put an end to more than seven decades of imperialist peace. Until now, there had certainly been invasions by troops of imperialist countries or proxy wars, but regardless of all their brutality, destruction of human lives, production sites and living environments, they played only a limited, minor role in terms of world politics.

With the Ukraine war and the acute threat of a Third World War, a new phase of accelerated destabilization of the imperialist world system emerged within the framework of the general crisis of capitalism. It prepares the ground for a revolutionary world crisis. Thus the general crisis-ridden nature of imperialism takes on a new quality. All major contradictions of the imperialist world system are intensifying by leaps and bounds.

The open world crisis

With the Ukraine conflict an open political, economic, ecological and military world crisis broke out. This new starting situation abruptly changes the task of the revolutionary class struggle.

1. Politically, the open world crisis becomes evident in a universal and uncontrolled disruption of the previously multipolar structure. This fundamentally questions the existing imperialist world order and its institutions. The laboriously formulated articles of international law, human rights, and internationally valid disarmament treaties suddenly were not worth the paper they are written on. International organizations such as the UN, NATO, or the EU got into more or less open crises as a result of the emerging antagonism145 between the national interests of individual countries. On 24 March 2022, for example, 53 of the 193 UN member states refused to approve a resolution of the General Assembly on the immediate cessation of Russia’s hostilities against Ukraine.146 The USA, of all countries, still the world’s No. 1 warmonger, brings the establishment of a US-dominated “alliance of democracies” up for discussion as an alternative to the paralyzed UN.147

2. Economically, an open crisis of the reorganization of international production emerged on the basis of the world economic and financial crisis that broke out in 2018 and has since further deepened.

3. Open world trade is called into question. A trade war broke out. With the sanctions against Russia it escalated into a world economic war, in which more or less all imperialist countries are directly or indirectly involved.

4. Ecologically, the qualitative leap consists in the fact that so-called “security policy” explicitly is given priority over the environmental policy practiced so far. With the imperialist war, this orientation dramatically aggravates all aspects of the transition to the global environmental catastrophe.

5. The military world crisis derails international diplomacy and its previous premise of pacifism and imperialist peace. It is replaced by the more or less open active preparation for a Third World War by almost all imperialists.

6. This is connected with a massive rightward development, from the fascistization of the state apparatuses to the transition to fascism in a number of countries.

7. For the first time in decades, both Russia and the USA/NATO are actively preparing a nuclear war, deliberately bringing it into discussion and coolly accepting the danger.

8. The transition to the active preparation of a world war also intensifies the societal contradictions in Germany, both within German finance capital and in the government and the bourgeois parties. The crisis of confidence of the masses in the government and the bourgeois parties is also growing.

9. The crisis of bourgeois ideology is intensifying, above all as an open crisis of fundamental fictions previously considered incontestable: for instance, that of “a foreign policy aimed at peace,” that of “change through trade,” or the numerous variants of imperialist environmentalism. Newly elaborated fictions of the German government, such as the promise of a “social-ecological transformation,” wear out shortly after being invented.

10. The existing crises intensify each other: the world economic and financial crisis, various structural crises in the reproduction process, the debt crisis, the accelerated transition to a global environmental catastrophe, the crisis of bourgeois refugee policy and the crisis of the bourgeois family system, the hunger crises in more and more countries, the drastically increasing inflation, or social crises on a world scale. They coalesce into an international tendency toward general societal crises in most countries of the world.

11. The fundamental contradiction of our era between capitalism and socialism is acutely pressing for solution on an international scale. This is the objective foundation of the transition to class struggle in the true sense.

Lenin stated about the general characteristics of a revolutionary situation:

We shall certainly not be mistaken if we indicate the following three major symptoms: (1) when it is impossible for the ruling classes to maintain their rule without any change; when there is a crisis, in one form or another, among the “upper classes”, a crisis in the policy of the ruling class, leading to a fissure through which the discontent and indignation of the oppressed classes burst forth. For a revolution to take place, it is usually insufficient for “the lower classes not to want” to live in the old way; it is also necessary that “the upper classes should be unable” to live in the old way; (2) when the suffering and want of the oppressed classes have grown more acute than usual; (3) when, as a consequence of the above causes, there is a considerable increase in the activity of the masses, who uncomplainingly allow themselves to be robbed in “peace time”, but, in turbulent times, are drawn both by all the circumstances of the crisis and by the “upper classes” themselves into independent historical action.148

The transition from the stage of the non-revolutionary situation to the stage of the acutely revolutionary situation is at first initiated mainly by the objective factors. Correspondence of the subjective factor with the objective factors does not take place abruptly. Due to the crisis-dampening measures and the manipulation of public opinion it develops as a more or less protracted, first political, then revolutionary ferment. The unfolding of a revolutionary world crisis depends decisively on the development of the class consciousness of the international industrial proletariat. The international industrial proletariat must acquire the ability to coordinate and revolutionize its struggles internationally, and take the lead of the active resistance of the popular masses. The emergence and strengthening of Marxist-Leninist parties with influence on society as a whole is the decisive factor for the goal-directedness, depth, and stability of this process.

However, revolutionary vigilance also requires reckoning with the possibility of a reactionary or even fascist basis developing among sections of the masses with low consciousness. The intensified contradiction in the field of world outlook between reactionary anticommunism and future-oriented scientific socialism becomes evident in this.

Nobody can foresee the concrete course of the imperialist war in Ukraine. But the deliberate escalation of the war by the warring parties as well as the war’s own dynamics are factors that can make the military clash end up in the transition to a Third World War. Clausewitz already revealed the law underlying this:

War is an act of force, and there is no logical limit to the application of that force. Each side, therefore, compels its opponent to follow suit; a reciprocal action is started which must lead, in theory, to extremes.149

There are in principle only two options in this phase of accelerated destabilization of the imperialist world system: the outbreak of a Third World War or the international socialist revolution.

This assessment follows the laws of social development and criticizes the obtrusive downplaying of the gravity of this development in the manipulation of public opinion. It is also possible that this phase will be stopped by the resistance of the masses, because of contradictions among the imperialists, or because of the capitulation of one or the other warring party. Even then, however, there would be no simple return to the time before the Ukraine war. But as long as this phase lasts, the general strategy and tactics of the international socialist revolution must be directed against the acute danger of a Third World War and aims at accelerating the transition from the stage of the non-revolutionary situation to the stage of the revolutionary situation on a world scale. The active preparation of the world war by the imperialist governments, the accelerated destruction of the environment, and the shifting of the burdens of crisis and war onto the backs of the masses will increasingly bring the masses into open contradiction to the imperialist world system and provoke their struggles.

Marxist-Leninists in the entire world must do everything in their power to make use of the open crisis of the imperialist world system to revolutionize the international industrial proletariat and the broad masses.

8. Active resistance against the Third World War

Consciousness, organization, and fighting experience of the working class and the broad masses today doubtless do not yet keep abreast of the accelerated destabilization of the imperialist world system. The imperialist core countries still possess significant material resources for their crisis management, for disorientation, disorganization, and demoralization through the internationalized system of the petty-bourgeois mode of thinking as main method of government in most countries. However, they also take advantage of the weaknesses of the revolutionary parties and of their international cooperation.

The raising of consciousness about the necessity and development of active resistance against the imperialist war, and the organizing of this active resistance, will open up the way to bring the objective and subjective factors into agreement for preparing and carrying out the international socialist revolution.

Active resistance is necessary for the construction of a new peace movement. Its core must be the united front against imperialism, fascism, and war, under the leadership of the international industrial proletariat.

The new peace movement impressively became manifest in Germany on 8 May 2022 with a demonstration from Essen to Gelsenkirchen and a rally with more than 1,500 participants. 24 organizations, with the Internationalist Alliance as nucleus, and many individuals had issued a call for this demonstration and the rally. The construction of the new peace movement encompasses cooperating with all honest forces of the former peace movement.

Worldwide fighting experience of the international industrial proletariat

In Europe, mainly Greek and Italian workers in the beginning courageously took the lead of the struggle against the imperialist war. Already on 14 March 2022, at Galileo Galilei airport in Pisa Italian workers, together with their union, Unione Sindacale di Base (USB), successfully refused to load military air cargo camouflaged as “humanitarian aid” for Ukraine.

This was followed on 6 April 2022 by a general strike in 70 Greek cities against the reactionary government and NATO’s conduct of war. The Port of Piraeus stood still. There were mass demonstrations and strikes, among others at important large enterprises, ports, in public transport and in retail chains of the country. The dock workers of Alexandropolis refused to transfer heavy weapons for the Ukraine war from ships to freight cars.

On 20 May 2022 Italian grassroots unions in Bologna organized a general strike under the slogan: “Get Out of the War! Increase Wages and Social Expenditures!” Simultaneously there were demonstrations in front of NATO bases in more than 20 cities.150

But too many times these struggles are still isolated from one another and have no unified fighting program. The necessary active resistance requires anti-imperialist and antifascist cross-border cooperation and coordination.

Pacifist illusions must be overcome

The general desire for peace and the antifascist consciousness are deeply rooted among the masses of the population in Germany. Immediately after the outbreak of the Ukraine war roughly 835,000 people demonstrated for peace in Germany. It is necessary, however, to develop the readiness for active resistance against this imperialist war and all warmongers. To achieve this, peace-loving people must overcome a widespread underestimation of the acute danger of a Third World War and all kinds of pacifist illusions.

The revisionist forces are still mourning the bureaucratic-capitalist Soviet Union of the time before 1990/91. They one-sidedly blame imperialist NATO for the escalation, uncritically adopt Putin’s justification, or spread pacifist illusions. The revisionist party “Communists of Russia” (CPCR) declared:

As communists and patriots of our homeland we support the decision to carry out a special military operation in Ukraine.151

What a miserable submission to Russian new-imperialism! Was it not just a short while ago that Vladimir Putin spit the communists Lenin and Stalin in the face and reproached them for having given Ukraine the right of self-determination?152

Although the chairwoman of the Socialist German Workers Youth (SDAJ), Andrea Hornung, regards Russia as an imperialist country – in contrast to the DKP leadership – she warns:

We must draw a clear line to every “equal distance” position, according to which Russia and NATO are equally aggressive.153

Of course, the concrete analysis of the concrete situation requires a differentiated position, but primarily a clear one. The warning of an alleged “equal distance” must not have the consequence, as in Andrea Hornung’s statement, that Russia is sold as the better imperialist:

Russia is on the defensive versus NATO, however, and we as Marxists cannot be indifferent to this.154

Offense and defense in a war are two forms of motion that cannot be separated. Is it a just war for the simple reason that it pretends to be defensive? Someone who protects an imperialist because he is “on the defensive” at the moment denies the class character of imperialism and of imperialist war. They throw the door wide open for a course of defending one or the other imperialist in certain circumstances, thus lapsing into a social-chauvinist position.

Oskar Lafontaine, long-standing party chairman, first of the SPD and later of the party DIE LINKE, doubtlessly impresses by making a realistic analysis of the current imperialist war; obviously he belongs to the camp of its resolute opponents. But when he justifies his withdrawal from the party DIE LINKE on 17 March 2022 with the words “now the Left’s peace principles, too, are being eliminated,” at the same time he spreads the illusion that imperialism could manage without war.155

These “peace principles,” however, have never been anything else but petty-bourgeois pacifist illusions about an imperialist peace which supposedly comes about through a “balance of interests” between imperialist powers. But since imperialism is characterized by the uneven development of the single countries, it is a law-governed process that when a certain situation arises, the much-lauded balance of interests ceases to work. Then the struggle of the imperialist powers for world domination is fought out by violent means in an imperialist war. Someone who wants to abolish imperialist wars must be willing to eliminate their law-governed root causes and overcome imperialism.

A deep understanding of the changes in the imperialist world system today requires the knowledge of essential political and ideological foundations of active proletarian resistance. The activists must understand that several new-imperialist countries have emerged and that ideological immunity is necessary against the petty-bourgeois social-chauvinist, petty-bourgeois anticommunist and petty-bourgeois opportunist modes of thinking.

Strategy and tactics of active resistance

The strategy and tactics of active resistance against the danger of a world war aims at the transition of the strategic defensive of the international working class to the strategic offensive, up to the socialist revolution. This was achieved for the first time in the October Revolution of 1917 in Russia. Active resistance requires that the Marxist-Leninists further develop their ability to directly move and lead masses.

Active resistance differs qualitatively from protests. The Program of the MLPD states:

The development of active people’s resistance … is characterized by militant mass actions against monopolies and state.156

Active resistance must be systematically promoted and developed:

To make it easier for the masses to take steps toward active resistance, resistance activities in factory and neighborhood must be organized that are compatible with the prevailing state of consciousness; the unity of action must be strengthened and resistance groups organized.157

Active resistance only develops in connection with the raising of consciousness:

  • From rejection of the war, fright, mere displeasure, moral indignation, paralysis and passivity to practical activity.
  • From spontaneous condemnation of the unjust war to the insight into its law-governed causes in the imperialist world system.
  • From the effects of the disorientation, disorganization and demoralization wrought by the social system of the petty-bourgeois mode of thinking to taking up a proletarian class viewpoint.
  • From mere defensive measures to offensive forms of struggle.
  • From coping with the manipulation of public opinion by the psychological preparation for war and psychological warfare, proceeding to active education and the raising of consciousness about the societal causes of the war.
  • From coping with anticommunism to active participation in the movement “Don’t give anticommunism a chance!”
  • From spontaneous activity against the war to organization in the active resistance and in the struggle for socialism.

The working class and the broad masses need practical fighting experience so that they can understand the situation with the help of the Marxist-Leninists. They will gain experience with the massive shifting of the crisis and war burdens to the masses, the deployment of Bundeswehr forces to war missions, the calling up of reservists, the abolition of democratic rights and liberties, and so forth.

Among the youth, the antimilitarist struggle becomes especially important. It combines practical activity, for example against the Bundeswehr’s advertising campaigns in schools and against the militarization of research and education, with schooling and educational work. The struggle over the mode of thinking against the penetration of militarist propaganda, völkisch demagogy, and fascist ideology is essential.

The militant women’s movement is challenged to unite the masses of women against imperialist war and to work as decisive link between the working-class movement and active people’s resistance.

Active resistance is closely linked with the struggles for preserving and extending social gains, against the shifting of war and crisis burdens, and with the struggle for democratic rights and liberties of the masses.

The active resistance necessary today aims not least of all at unswerving solidarity with the working class and the broad masses in Ukraine, who are suffering from a high death toll in the struggle against Russia’s imperialist aggression, but also as people who have to risk their necks for NATO and the EU.

Active resistance needs a program with clear demands:

  • Active resistance against the preparation of a Third World War!
  • Immediate end of Russia’s aggression and withdrawal of all Russian forces from Ukraine!
  • Russian reparations for all war damages and unyielding punishment of human rights violations!
  • Military neutrality of Ukraine and a demilitarized zone at the border between Ukraine and Russia!
  • Withdraw all NATO forces and weapons stationed in Eastern Europe!
  • Dissolve NATO and other war alliances as well as counterrevolutionary rapid-reaction forces like CSTO158!
  • No weapons deliveries and no logistic support for unjust wars!
  • Cancel weapons embargoes against anti-imperialist liberation movements!
  • Binding renunciation of a first nuclear strike option – ban and destroy all ABC weapons!
  • The plans for an arms build-up of the Bundeswehr must be scrapped – no “100 billion euro special fund”!
  • Withdraw all German troops from abroad!
  • No shifting of crisis and war burdens to the masses! Fight for supplementary wage increase!
  • Drastic immediate measures to protect the environment! Save the environment from the imperialist profit economy and war!

Indispensable for active resistance are principles of cooperation on an equal footing, like broad democracy, no regard for political affiliation, openness in regard to world outlook on an antifascist and internationalist foundation, democratic culture of debate, and financial independence.

Active resistance against imperialist powers and blocs must be developed and organized with the prospect of achieving a force superior to imperialism. The order of the day is the further building and strengthening of a worldwide antifascist and anti-imperialist united front, as conceived by the joint call of ICOR (International Coordination of Revolutionary Parties and Organizations) and ILPS (International League of Peoples’ Struggle).159

The revolutionary world organization ICOR took a clear position in its resolutions before and after the beginning of the war.160 In many countries, not least in Ukraine and in Russia, its member organizations promote anti-war activities, actively carry out educational work about imperialism, and strengthen the forces of socialism. For example, the headline of the declaration passed by an extraordinary meeting of the International Coordinating Committee (ICC) of ICOR in May 2022 read:

Let us prevent World War III by strengthening the forces for socialism!”

But also the unity of ICOR and the forces of the united front must be achieved through struggle. They must cope successfully with the effect of the petty-bourgeois social-chauvinist mode of thinking or the underestimation of the preparations for a Third World War, as if it were an issue whose significance is restricted to Europe.

ICOR’s decisive baptism of fire will be the achievement of a new quality of proletarian internationalism in deed in worldwide cooperation. This includes the strengthening of the ICOR organization and the higher development of practical cooperation and coordination in connection with the building and considerable strengthening of revolutionary parties in more and more countries.

For every revolutionary Marxist-Leninist, in this situation there is only the way forward as Lenin described it:

Unless it is linked up with the revolutionary class struggle of the proletariat, the struggle for peace is merely a pacifist phrase of bourgeois who are either sentimental or are deceiving the people. … Consequently, we must help the masses to overthrow imperialism, without the overthrow of which there can be no peace without annexations. Of course, the struggle for the overthrow of imperialism is an arduous one, but the masses must know the truth about that arduous but necessary struggle. The masses should not be lulled with the hope that peace is possible without the overthrow of imperialism. 161