The division of Left political positions and ideological formulations over Russian invasion of Ukraine are disturbing. It sends a wrong message to the working-class politics across the globe. It is imperative for the Left to reflect on how its political confusions provide ideological justifications for different forms of wars and conflicts. None of the bourgeoisie wars and conflicts serve working class interests. There is no nobility and national glory in deaths and destitutions.
Wars and conflicts are different from class struggles. Class struggles are ideologically driven by working class to uphold their interests while changing society for better whereas wars and conflicts uphold ruling and non-ruling class interests represented by states and governments. Class struggles enable progressive and democratic transformations in the society whereas wars and conflicts maim, kill, control, create and domesticate large army of unemployed, marginalised, homeless and displaced people. Wars and conflicts destroy civilisations and societies to uphold the interests of the powerful and marginalises the masses. It creates the republic of refugees. Deaths and displacements are twin outcomes of wars.
The theatres of war and conflicts are slaughterhouses for the most committed, dedicated, idealist, skilled and healthy youth. The war propaganda cripples the abilities of people to think rationally in the name of nationalism, territory and motherland. Science and technologically driven modern wars kill scientific thoughts. Working class people die and surrender their interests whereas elites prosper in all wars and conflicts. The imperialist military industrial complex make super profits at the cost of human lives and livelihoods.
Therefore, the unconditional opposition to Russian invasion of Ukraine, NATO and the neo–Nazi Azov battalion in Ukraine is central to left politics for peace, solidarity and internationalism. It is ideological bankruptcy and reactionary politics to choose one over the other in the name of fighting the enemy and protecting the territorial sovereignty. Whose enemy? Whose territory? Whose sovereignty? Defending people irrespective of their national origin is central to left politics and internationalism. Territorial nationalism is a ruling class ideology, which is shaped by colonialism, and promoted by states, protected by governments and consolidated by the military power and wars. The wars for homeland create homelessness.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine serves war mongering American and European imperialists, and oligarchs of Russia and Ukraine. There are no culturally relativist and ideologically expedient arguments available in favour of Russian invasion of Ukraine. The struggle of peace, citizenship rights, equality, liberty, democracy and socialism are core values of left politics. These ideals can never be separated from each other. The opposition to Russian invasion is the first step towards peace and working-class politics of internationalism.
Bhabani Shankar Nayak, University of Glasgow, UK