Published here is Part 2 of a series of interview of activists involved with the new left ‘Social movement’ party recently established in Ukraine. Part one is available here: INTERVIEW WITH ACTIVISTS OF THE NEW LEFT PARTY ‘SOCIAL MOVEMENT .
“Borotba”, who said, “Fyodor Ustinov, one of the leaders of the “Social movement” party, was a member of the punishments section of the “Tornado” battalion?
Fyodor Ustinov (social activist, Khmelnitsky):
The information that I have regarding the “Tornado” battalion is that it is just a lie made up by shabby politicians who feel very comfortable working for Russian imperialism. I, Fyodor Ustinov, an ordinary member of the “Social movement” party, am not and never have never a fighter in the “Tornado” battalion, although yes, I was in the counter-terrorism operations area in July 2014. “Borotba” members know me personally, but did not bother to verify and substantiate the information. The group’s infamous official Victor Shapinov is suffering from the crisis and isolation of his organisation as a result of his adventurist spirit, and he hastily prepared the text about the new party of the Ukrainian left in general and myself in particular. This whole story about the “rapist and murderer Ustinov” shows exactly what kind of a journalist and politician is this citizen of the Russian Federation, Shapinov. I have already published a detailed rebuttal of this lie on my Facebook page and I repeat once again that is just a lie aimed at slandering our party.
I don’t want to answer just by analysing a dirty lie. So I think I should state my own opinion about the war.
I think that the military intervention in the Crimea and the instigation of the military conflict in Donbass suits the Kremlin, its protégés in LNR and DNR, and the miscreants in power in Kiev. The existence of an external threat stabilizes their power and to some extent reduces the risk of new maidans, but with a social focus. In addition, to some extent the controlled instability of the latent conflict in the region is good for Western countries, as they can use it as a means of putting pressure on the Kremlin.
What the people of Ukraine and LNR / DNR have to do is to stop the war and focus on domestic social problems. All the Russian and Ukrainian left need to do now is to build bridges between waged workers in Ukraine and Donbass. We can not entrust the conversation to Putin, Poroshenko and Zakharhenko. Negotiations and the search for means of peaceful integration should take place between the groups of workers in companies that are still part of a common economy.
During the mass protests in Kiev and at the start of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, anti-oligarchic voices could be heard. And if it were not for the ghosts of the past that got involved in the situation and in the end took a hold of the masses, the situation would not have become so dramatic. There are no wars without torture, kidnapping or rape. At the end of the day any war is a crime against living peacefully. I believe that stopping the war is the way to stop the growth of our own “Putinism” in Ukraine today in the shape of an ultraconservative order, political censorship, and the omnipotence of “forces” and oligarchs.
Lately we give us if it is difficult to distinguish the Stalinist Shapinov of anarcho-fascist Volodarsky. Both rain with false statements about various serious crimes having the sole purpose of preventing the creation of a genuine workers’ party left. But the truly serious crime is on the activities of these subjects. They, being outside Ukraine, risk those trying to expose the leftist movement from the dark labyrinths of sectarianism.
Our party will unite people with different experience. Among them there are people who fought on the side of Ukraine, people motivated to fight against Russian imperialism. And workers must learn to manipulate the weapon. We can not allow this habit is privilege of the fascists and oligarchy. At the same time we are pleased that our partners are not tainted by the relationship with military crimes. According to eyewitnesses soldiers they were sometimes victims of crimes coming under the control humiliation and aggression.
The attacks on the newly created broad left party by all kinds of “old left” are expected. The old forces left behind his political capitulation during the recent events in Ukraine following its dissolution in one or another imperialist camp, fail or are able to understand the role of the party. They are used to living in their small sects. We see clearly sectarian practice and unite with the opportunists to fight our healthy company. Certainly our party consolidated these personalities represents a direct threat. At the end of the day, our first militant workers and they begin to open their eyes and understand that especially the absence of a powerful organisation is because of the defeat of progressive forces left the revolutionary situation in the years 2013-2014 in Ukraine .
Our current critical period in the years 2013-2014 deliberately gave up the growing revolutionary situation, “immobilized” to their own members, they disrupted the people sympathetic to the left and almost left the protest in the hands of right-wing eaters. Unlike, for us there is no confusion since the early days of the protest. We take every opportunity to develop our initiative in Maidan and beyond. From the first days trying to start creating a third force because we understood that both sides are reactionary. We saw clearly that US imperialism, European and Russian based their hopes on the most reactionary forces in Ukrainian society: liberal and conservative Russian and Ukrainian nationalists. Imperialism has invested thousands of dollars and abort the revolutionary situation in Ukraine waging war.
At that time the confusion also occurred in the minds of some left who considered their main enemy, comfortable with either imperialism. Especially in Ukraine then the social-patriots were two courses. The Socialists declared and actually chauvinists. In the end these forces became satellites of imperialism, rather, in the same puppets. Some “left” stood in the queue of the Ukrainian oligarchs Ukrainian nationalists and pro-Russian others. And of course at a time when the impression created artificially good perspective of the social-patriots. It seemed that this left through a small economic aid and political situation are able to stick to the ground each in its segment. They had failed yesterday and today in any way try to stop the ongoing process of creating a viable organisation left in Ukraine.
Going volunteer at Donbass, Fyodor Ustinov took not the right decision but it was his. So did many anarchists who are acquaintances. It was his view at that time. And at least he saw what was happening and soon passed the point of view anti-military. The fact that people can have their own opinion and make independent decisions come to us is a good sign. The process of formation of the party is a truly progressive process which can not stop anyone.
– Will the “Social movement” take part in the elections? How do you assess the chances of the left?
I think the match will be present in any elections based on the interests of labor and social movement. If the party’s participation will strengthen the positions of our grassroots movement we presented. If there will be no benefit to the movement of workers we do not present ourselves. In any case we will carefully analyze the situation in each context of social-political situation. We can only be stated that the actual changes in society are not made through elections. The elections solve little. But it would be a blunder reject the use of this tool to consolidate and strengthen the grassroots movement. So my opinion is that the “anti-parliamentary cretinism” not unlike the parliamentarian.
We can often hear the argument that MPs are torn from the masses. it’s like that. You are informed of this we must understand that only constant control of the masses can prevent the transformation of the deputies. And not just them. Often betray transform and party officials, journalists, public volunteers and even activists.
Now the threat is not actual transformation of our future members that currently do not have, and who simply do not have to go to the Department of the Interior to take away the militants. They threaten the state apparatus of repression against leftists. And that’s what we have to pay attention. We must focus on the need for furthering our grassroots movement. And deny this fomentation with one of the possible tools as participation in elections is unreasonable.
I think in the case of progress in the party constitution we can in the next elections promote our representatives to members of local administration bodies. This would allow the whole movement the podium to receive widely spread progressive ideas and develop an effective social struggle.
– Does the law “decommunización” mean for your activities? What is the threat from the far right?
Of course they will try to stop us by social pressure and censorship. The right-wing black simply do all the work by the “gentlemen” (ie, liberals) who only dream of it. Decommunización laws as any other law in the population cause a conformist thinking, gregarious: If something is prohibited by law, case solved. These laws are part of formation of a consent in society. They dictate to us to speak, to think, to do. To hell! For the reasonable sense of a free person this is unacceptable. We have to run all kinds of consensus with the state. We have to remember what was communism for Marx: “real movement up the situation”, ie the exploitation suspended, private property, state. In this sense communism it is still current. If forbid, is that fear.
Decommunización laws are simply populism and mystification of the current regime. They are simply incitement of discord and division based on history and culture. The task is not only to the persecution of communists, but discredit the idea, which the oligarch to try to associate the perception of the masses with Stalinism. What they say now that the law will chase people simply because of their communist conception it is unlikely. It is the struggle to the crime of thought … The law is absurd per se, although there is stupidity that can not realize capitalism.
The main threat of persecution now comes from the state apparatus. Pretty advertising and activity level left severely limit the potential threat from right-wing lackeys of the oligarchs to individual attacks. We must be prepared to face planted it in front of each centimetre of social struggle and being at the core of the movement of the masses.
– What political forces are your main rivals today?
We do not have competition. Our main rival is ourselves. I think the main danger in creating wide left in Ukraine is where it was at the time of creation of the famous “left political subject” a few years ago. As we all remember, at the time the consolidation process was initiated by the flank “Borotba” ex “Marxist organisation”. As the process began to develop as a flood, the small group of the initiators of the creation of the “subject” realized that the consolidation process is no longer controlled by him. And they did not want to be minority. To understand the “Borotba” part of the former “Marxist organisation” the process went quickly and I think his little sect “Borotba” a small organisation but well controlled by the group of founders. What came out of this we know perfectly and it was natural, they became puppets of Russian imperialism and self-destructed.
The same risk is the consolidation process now. And we must oppose this transformation possible scenario of future wide left on a small project controlled by either spree Kyiv or any other maximum transparency, public and democratic process. Only then we can achieve something.
We must put the future of Ukraine wide left outside the danger of any scenarios of its transformation into an ordinary political project of the bourgeoisie. For this reason we must take into account the danger of bureaucratic transformation of the leading circles in the capital and that such a transformation can occur in the early stages of building this force. We from Odessa, Dnepropetrovsk, Cherkassy, Khryvyi Rih, Khmelnitsky, Lviv and Kyiv will fight for the consolidation of a truly democratic party and left from the beginning to the end. We are prepared to fight.
For us, this organisation is not a goal per se, but a tool that must function effectively for the good of the Ukrainian workers. And if it will work for the benefit of a small group, we will create a new instrument more effective. We have nothing to hide nor do Zala. In this complicated and delicate process can not be any prepared script. We are now reserved and optimistic at the same time. I, for one, think that the future revolutionary vanguard without which no revolution will the new party “Social movement” rather than micro-sects. Time will show whether our decision was correct. As he said after the congress consolidation one of its most famous participants, the human rights activist Volodymyr Chemerys, “in a few months we will see if it works our party.” We hope it will work and we will strive to achieve.
In Adelaide Arias (SMOT Belarus)
By correspondent in Belarus Anatol Aporrea.org Matsveenka