No to the ban on Communist Party of Ukraine! Hands off anti-fascists!

Communist_party_of_ukraine_logoWorkers World Party condemns the Dec. 16 Kiev District Administrative Court ruling banning the activities of the Communist Party of Ukraine (KPU) throughout the country. We stand with the members of the KPU, and with all Ukrainian communists and anti-fascists, in their struggle against the U.S.-backed ultraright regime.

The court’s ruling, affirming a lawsuit brought by the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice, was a foregone conclusion. But it cements Ukraine’s role as a laboratory for the growth of political repression, violent fascist elements and anti-communist ideology in Europe, under the watchful guidance of the International Monetary Fund, NATO and U.S. imperialism.

Communist Party leader Petro Simonenko announced that his party will appeal the court’s decision to the European Court of Human Rights.

It’s no coincidence that the decision came just days after U.S. Vice President Joe Biden made his fourth high-level visit to Kiev on Dec. 7-8, where he spoke before the Parliament. Since the February 2014 coup that overthrew the legally elected Viktor Yanukovych government, Biden has taken on the role of colonial governor, delivering money, talking points and marching orders to the junta headed by oligarch President Petro Poroshenko and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk.

Biden’s visit and the anti-communist ban also come in the context of increasing aggression by Kiev against the independent Donbass people’s republics, whose people continue to heroically resist in the face of shelling of civilians, economic blockade and international isolation.

The ban on the KPU is an attack on all communists, socialists, anti-fascists and anyone who dares speak out against the regime. We recall the long list of crimes perpetrated against the left in Ukraine, including the massacre of 48 people at the House of Trade Unions in Odessa on May 2, 2014; violent assaults against the KPU and other opposition marches and protests, including against elderly people and veterans; the arrest, kidnapping and disappearance of hundreds of activists and journalists; the de facto outlawing — under threat of death or imprisonment — of the revolutionary Marxist organization Union Borotba (Struggle), whose members were forced into exile or underground, and other Marxist groups; the banning of the victory flag and communist symbols prior to the 70th anniversary of the Soviet defeat of Nazi Germany on May 9, 2015; and the regime’s elevation to national heroes of Stepan Bandera and other fascist quislings who collaborated with Hitler and carried out atrocities against the Ukrainian people.

And, of course, there is the illegal, criminal and genocidal war against the multinational, primarily Russian-speaking population of the Donbass mining region — who refused to acquiesce to a regime that demonized workers and Russian speakers, and voted for independence in a democratic referendum in May 2014, establishing the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics.

The U.S.-funded and -armed war against Donbass has cost at least 9,000 lives thus far, according to the latest United Nations report. Throughout December, the war crimes of the Ukrainian army and fascist “volunteers” have again escalated, as the junta continues to build up military power for its war of conquest in defiance of the Minsk ceasefire agreement.

Following Wall Street’s dictates, the Obama administration, Sen. John McCain, and the leaders of both the Democratic and Republican parties are united in their desire to establish a military foothold on Russia’s western border to further their domination of the region economically, politically and militarily.

The events in Ukraine also provide further evidence of the U.S. ruling class’s increasing dependence on fascist-type movements to maintain its rule in the midst of a deepening global capitalist crisis — from the white supremacist Donald Trump campaign and police terror against people of color in the U.S., to ultraright forces in Syria and Venezuela.

While the eyes of the world are focused on the escalating war in Syria and the Middle East, where U.S. “regime change” plans also target Russia, the workers of the world must not forget the other front in this war: in Ukraine and Donbass. We must do all we can to build solidarity with the heroic struggle against the Kiev regime.

U.S. imperialism out of Ukraine! Hands off the Communist Party, the Donbass republics and all anti-fascist forces!