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The Meaning of the Crisis in Ukraine

We should first set the parameters of how to properly discuss this kind of a question. It isn’t as if Ukraine exists independently of the rest of the world, or the situation in Ukraine exists independently.

The first thing we have to do is understand the context for what is happening in the world today. Basically speaking, that context begins from the reality that war is a political inevitability under capitalism. The goal of the U.S. is to weaken and isolate Russia, in order to attack China. It isn’t as if the U.S. has to plan to go to war. They have a plan that includes war. They can’t avoid it.

Isolate Russia, Attack China

China is at the center of this international motion going on today. As long as China was either producing for the United States market, or consuming the production of the U.S., it was looked upon as a friend and ally by the U.S. But China broke free from imperialist restrictions on their production and distribution, and now it is the second largest economy in the world. They are becoming a real competitor to the U.S., instead of simply a supplement to U.S. production. The U.S. capitalists are faced with the choice of either chopping China back down to its previous position as that supplement to American production, or having the U.S. lose its dominant position in the world.

The development of the so-called “emerging markets” is forcing the U.S. to organize the leading Western nations into the creation of economic blocs. The U.S. never wanted to be part of such blocs, but rather has always wanted to be the leading economic force in the world, dependent on no one.

The creation of these blocs is laying the foundation for international polarization. This process of polarization happens in political life all the time. Alliances are created, and these alliances force everyone into making alliances where there weren’t any before. This is what is happening economically and politically in the world today.

As these emerging nations developed, they stopped simply being suppliers of raw materials to the U.S. As they began to try to stand on their own feet, they came into competition with the U.S. They had to form economic blocs in order to be strong enough to resist the power of the U.S. Otherwise they would be crushed.

There are a number of other smaller blocs being formed around the world, such as Mercosur (comprised of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN.)

But it is the potentially tremendous productive and financial grouping called the BRICS (comprised of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.)  that is the most dangerous bloc to the U.S. The BRICS has created a development bank, for example, that has $60 billion available for investment in infrastructure and other projects. This available capital is allowing for the development of infrastructure in the BRICS own member countries, which in turn allows them to accelerate their productive capacities and to distribute that production. It also makes capital available to invest in other countries.

This is a tremendous step. China and India are one half the world’s population. China is growing at almost 8% a year and India at about 11%. The U.S. economy is growing at a rate of .7% a year. If the U.S. does not stop these countries, the world center of economic gravity is going to shift into the world’s heartland. Whoever controls that heartland controls the world.

These countries are finding the ways and means of settling old differences. While there are forces in India who are being brought over to the Americans, it is also true that India had long-standing ties to the Soviet Union, and still now relies on Russia.

China and Russia have more or less settled their differences. The fear of American domination is greater than any contradiction between Russia and China. China understands they cannot achieve their economic and geopolitical goals without Russia. If they are going to build their “Silk Road,” it is has to go through Russia. So, China has to make peace.

We can see that the context for the conflict around Ukraine isn’t Ukraine. It’s this vast huge process that is taking place, and at the core of it is the alliance of Russia and China. The U.S. has to break that alliance some way or another.  Even though their real goal is crush China, they can’t do that without isolating Russia. If the U.S. attacks China, Russia will take the side of China. The U.S. believes that it can chop back Russia little by little, and China will go along with it. China has already signaled otherwise.

The U.S. is faced with the same question they have faced over the last fifty years, which is the necessity to separate Russia from China, to separate Russia from India to the extent they can, and to use NATO as their instrument, rather than the U.S. itself being out in front. But here the U.S. is also having problems. Some countries in NATO, such as Germany, don’t want war.

So the meaning of Ukraine is the isolation and weakening of Russia, so the U.S. can attack China. The specific incidents we read about are important, but they are not the main thing. The important thing is to look at what is driving this process.

Why Now?

There are many factors operating. It’s hard to describe all of them, because they are so interconnected and embedded in other, related processes. But first of all, the world is on the verge of financial collapse. The U.S. economy especially is in serious danger.

The most important development in the last fifty years is the shifting of the world economy from productive capital to an economy based in trading money. All that money is going in one direction, with extreme poverty going in the other direction.

Half the world can’t afford to eat properly. Even in the U.S., 48% are just barely above the poverty line.  People are only able to buy food, clothing and shelter if that. They don’t have enough money to buy the results of these gigantic productive forces. This situation cannot continue for long without some kind of collapse.

Russia also has serious economic problems, and has never been stable since the Soviet Union was overthrown.

And on top of it all are the ideological aspects. The Donbas area in eastern Ukraine, for example, with its coal mines and steel mills was one of the foundations of socialism. The other half of Ukraine fought on the side of Germany in both WWI and WWII. There is a history of hatred and fear because in WWII, western Ukrainians slaughtered the Ukrainians from the east, and the eastern Ukrainians have not forgotten it. Most of WWII was fought in Ukraine, and fascism has a long history there. Further, Ukraine has a century’s old history of being divided and fought over by surrounding countries, such as Poland, Germany and Romania. It was only consolidated in the 20th century under the Soviet Union. So, there is this deep historical antagonism on top of the current objective situation.

Heading for War

The truce is being broken. The U.S. has sent in combat troops. Add the wars and instability in the world, and the explosive situation in the Middle East, and the world is facing a very difficult situation.

The American people have no comprehension of how close we are to war. Adolph Hitler let everyone know that sooner or later he was going to attack the Soviet Union, so they were somewhat forewarned. But there is no warning that the U.S. is going to attack Russia.

The Russians have given fair warning that they consider U.S. moves in Ukraine and in the Baltic States, a direct threat to their national security and will act accordingly. Russia recently announced that it has developed a fuel that will allow missiles to fly five times the speed of sound, and plans to develop hypersonic missile systems. The U.S., India and China are also in the process of developing such systems. There would be no way to defend the U.S. or any other country against this kind of attack. It is within the realm of possibility that we could wake up one morning and London is gone, Moscow is gone. There is little chance that any country could stay out of such a war with the interconnected economy we have today.

All it will take is the death of American soldiers and the politicians will be screaming, “Defend America.” It will be like the battle of the Alamo in the Mexican War. The Alamo was in Texas, Texas was part of Mexico. The politicians kept screaming. “American blood has been shed on American soil!” Abraham Lincoln kept getting up to say, “Will you please tell me where blood was shed!” So for propaganda purposes, Ukraine will become part of America.

The important thing to grasp is that war is an objective thing. It’s not a matter of somebody saying, “Let’s go to war.” War becomes so entangled as an instrument of policy that if the policy is going to be put forward, war becomes the inevitable means of developing and implementing that policy. This is why war is inevitable. There is no way back.

Report of the LRNA Central Body, March 2015

May/June 2015 Vol25.Ed3
This article originated in Rally, Comrades!
P.O. Box 477113 Chicago, IL 60647 rally@lrna.org
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The age-old vision of a world without scarcity, without exploitation, class domination, organized violence, and stultifying labor has been the dream of millenia. The new completely socialized labor-eliminating means of production ... sets the basis for its realization. Now human history can begin, the light of the individual shining in the full brightness of liberated life, that can only be realized within true equality and cooperation: communism, a cooperative society.

'Without Vision, the People Perish'
Rally, Comrades ! May/June 2011

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