Anti-imperialist voice from the Spanish State on the crisis in Ukraine
In view of the intense international crisis exacerbating the confrontation between U.S.-NATO imperialism and Russia, and in light of the upcoming NATO Summit in Madrid this June, we in Workers World publish this Statement of the Coordinating Committee of Communist Nuclei* in the Spanish State, which is a NATO member. Some of the terms and acronyms are explained at the end. Translation: John Catalinotto.
Once again we must confront confusion. Once again the media owned by the international oligarchy and the big Spanish banks and multinationals — together with the “public” media in the hands of the governments of the Spanish State and the Autonomous Communities, all aligned with NATO and preparing their Summit in Madrid at the end of June — have prepared the story for us: Russia invades Ukraine, then “no to war.”
From their well-financed seats in parliament, the PSOE, Podemos, IU and the PCE*, as government forces preparing to receive with full honors the president of the USA and the rest of the heads of state of the most criminal alliance in history, cry out against Russia for the “invasion” of Ukraine. [Podemos founder] Pablo Iglesias, the same politician who urged us to keep our red flags because they were archeological history, surpasses himself in cynicism and dares to set himself up as a communist icon to camouflage his submission to NATO.
NGOs and other organizations march in step to the same script which, every time NATO or the “international coalition” attacks different countries, have made speeches that have systematically served to whitewash the crimes of imperialism. Suffice it to recall their “Neither NATO, nor Milosevic” — in the war to destroy Yugoslavia, “Neither Bush nor Saddam” when Iraq was ravaged, “Neither NATO, nor Gadhafi” when Libya was annihilated, or the demonization of al-Assad, when Euro-American imperialism sought to add Syria to the basket of destroyed nations to be plundered.
To neutralize the capacity of the workers and popular mobilization in the face of such crimes, the great communication empires provided us with the corresponding media lies. And we must not forget them. We remember these lies: the cormorant soaked in oil because Saddam Hussein was an eco-terrorist; the babies torn from their incubators in Kuwait; Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction; Gadhafi’s trumped-up bombings of his own people; al-Assad’s attacks with chemical weapons, etc.
The working class, and anyone who aspires to have a full idea of what is happening, should never forget that “the dominant ideology is the ideology of the ruling classes” and that the owners of the media, now more than ever, are the same ones who work for them and use them so that the peoples’ — as [Spanish poet Antonio] Machado said — hand would not find [Spain’s] wound.
Therefore, in order to be able to assess the reality of what is happening, it is essential to know the historical process and to situate the events in their context.
How did NATO come into being and what has it done since then?
- After the defeat of German Nazism in World War II, to which the USSR contributed decisively with its 27 million dead — most of them civilians exterminated by the fascist troops — the USA promoted the creation of NATO in 1949, which was joined by the main powers of Western Europe. The Alliance was created explicitly to confront a USSR destroyed by the war, but the objective was also to subordinate the European countries, which would no longer have their own armies, and to subordinate their sovereignty to U.S. interests.
Not until six years later, in 1955, contrary to popular belief, the Warsaw Pact was created, a military alliance of the USSR and allied countries to counter the Atlantist threats.
- The Spanish State, which already had a multitude of U.S. military bases in its territory during the Franco dictatorship, joined NATO in 1982. That same year, 1982, the PSOE* won the elections with the slogan “NATO, NO for starters,” with public opinion mostly against integration into NATO.
In 1986 a referendum was called, plagued by threats if the NO won. The conditions for the YES vote, which won, were: not to be part of the military structure, not to stockpile nuclear weapons in the Spanish State, and to progressively reduce the U.S. military presence in our territory. As it is well known; none of the conditions were fulfilled.
Not only was Spain integrated into the military structure, but [PSOE leader] Javier Solana became its Secretary General; and bilateral treaties with the U.S. were extended and multiplied, which included not asking about nuclear weapons and the increase of military bases.
- After the fall of the USSR in 1991, NATO made a commitment to Russia that it would not expand “one inch” to the East, in exchange for the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact. Once the Warsaw Pact had disappeared, 14 Eastern European countries joined NATO.
- Since then, the wars of destruction perpetrated directly by NATO, or by its member countries camouflaged by what they call the “international coalition,” have multiplied, leaving behind millions of dead, destroyed countries and creating multiple terrorist organizations acting on their orders and whom they finance, arm and train.
The list of horror is long: Iraq (1991), Yugoslavia (1991-2001), Afghanistan (2001), Iraq (2003), Libya (2011), Syria (2011), Yemen (2014). Governments of countries with a criminal record, such as Colombia and Israel, which has not stopped massacring the Palestinian people since 1948, act as de facto members of NATO.
To this must be added the direct or covert participation of the U.S. and European powers in a multitude of coups d’état, instigation of civil wars, destabilization of countries, sanctions and blockades that have caused the death of millions of people, hunger and disease in Latin America, Africa and the Middle East.
- Since Russia and China have opposed the plans of U.S. and EU imperialism, creating alliances and supporting the attacked countries, they have been identified as enemies of NATO and militarily encircled.
What is happening in Ukraine?
- In Ukraine, a country that has direct borders with Russia, a coup took place in 2014, instigated by the U.S. and the EU, which placed fascist organizations in the government, in the army and in the police. These organizations are direct heirs of the Ukrainian Nazis who collaborated with Hitler in the genocide perpetrated against the civilian population of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia during World War II. A good illustration of their nature is the massacre of male and female workers — 50 deaths and 150 people missing — burned alive, in the house of trade unions in Odessa, on May 2, 2014.
- In the face of the fascist coup and the terror unleashed against the Russian-speaking and Russian-cultured population in the Donbass in 2014, the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics were proclaimed. These republics armed themselves to resist the attacks of the fascist Ukrainian government. Since then, the shelling of civilian population, infrastructures such as schools and hospitals, rapes and massacres, have caused 14,000 deaths, as recognized by the U.N.
- In 2015, the Minsk Agreement was signed between Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France. The Agreement included a series of measures for a cease-fire in the Donbass and the settlement of the conflict through dialogue. All of these measures have been systematically violated by Ukraine, which has continued the attacks on Donbass, resulting in massacres that have only increased in the face of the criminal silence of the media and the direct complicity of the U.S. and the European Union.
- The U.S. and the EU have continued to arm the fascist government of Ukraine, which has continued to attack its own people and is preparing the incorporation of this country into NATO. This integration of Ukraine is expected to culminate in the Summit to be held in Madrid next June.
The interimperialist contradictions between the U.S. and the EU
As we said at the beginning, one of the central objectives of NATO since its creation has been and is, especially after the disappearance of the USSR, to assure U.S. domination of Europe. This means preventing, by means of military control of the EU, any alliance or relationship, even commercial, of the EU with Russia. Here are two recent examples:
- The cost of all sanctions against Russia are paid for by EU countries. Right now, all member countries, including Spain, are seeing their exports to Russia closed. Many companies will go under, as is already happening with agricultural companies.
- The closure of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that was to provide Russian gas to the EU, cheaper and of better quality than that supplied by U.S. companies, means gas is 40% more expensive and with greater impurities coming from fracking. How much will the working class of the EU countries pay for energy and all the products that depend on it? Imperialism is not only military domination, but also a guarantee for U.S. business profits, at European expense.
On the other hand, all the governments of Spain [federal and of the regions] have actively participated in the imperialist chain, showing a greater alignment with the U.S. than with other European countries.
Faced with the scenario of open war that is being prepared, what is our responsibility, and what are our immediate tasks?
- Knowing that Russia is a capitalist country and that it is important not to confuse the government of Russia with a communist government, what we workers must not forget is that the only language imperialism understands is that of force. And that, in this case, the government of Russia, supported without exception by all the Russian parliamentary forces, is facing both a fascist government and the most aggressive imperialism represented by NATO.
- Regarding Russia’s decision to recognize the People’s Republics of Donbass and to come to their aid, defending them militarily and carrying out a military intervention in Ukraine, we must analyze it in the context of the war against Russia, prepared for years by NATO, and of the massacre of the population of Donbass by the Ukrainian government, during the last eight years, a government penetrated to the core by fascist organizations.
- The Russian government has only preempted the plans of NATO, which has been using Ukraine as a battering ram. This is the Kiev government that threatened a few days ago to invade Crimea and requested the installation of NATO nuclear weapons. All agreements, such as the Minsk agreement to find a peaceful way out, or the promise not to expand NATO to the East, have long since been trampled on.
- Once again the media, which serve their owners, the big investment funds — we must never forget this — are NATO propagandists, spreading all kinds of lies. As in other wars, they direct the focus of interest to one point, while hiding tragedies and daily aggressions perpetrated by their allies, such as — among others — the daily massacre of the Palestinian people by the Zionist state.
- In the midst of a very serious economic crisis of capitalism, not provoked by COVID-19 but aggravated by the measures adopted by the governments, millions of working families have been plunged into misery, and tens of thousands of small- and medium-sized enterprises have been destroyed.
After the unbearable rise in prices, especially energy prices, a very important increase in military spending is now being announced, with public money and money taken away from social spending. Germany has already embarked on this path. The German Parliament, without institutional opposition, approved on Feb. 28 the astronomical figure of €100 billion for “defense.”
- This fact is reminiscent of the vote on the 1914 war budget [to finance German participation in World War I], supported by the German Social Democracy, which gave rise to the creation of Rosa Luxemburg’s* Communist Party of Germany (KPD).
- The U.S. and EU sanctions, with the freezing of exports to Russia, are ruining thousands of farmers who sold citrus and other agricultural products to Russia. On the other hand, in a more general way, the even greater increase in gas prices as a result of the closure of markets with Russia and the purchase of gas from the USA, which is 40% more expensive and of poorer quality, will have an impact.
All this is shaping a scenario of rapid deterioration of the living conditions of millions of people and of probable social outbursts, which the governments will try to control by intensifying repression and propaganda.
- It is up to the communist organizations and the most conscious sectors of the working class to prepare themselves, so that the workers, especially the youth, and the hardest hit sectors of the people, direct their anger against those who for years have been building a scenario of war in Europe and rubbing their hands in anticipation of the great profits guaranteed by the escalation of armaments.
- The role of organizations like the PCE, IU or Podemos, collaborating in this war strategy at the service of the U.S., mortgaging our sovereignty and placing us as a direct target in a more than likely war scenario, places them, together with the PSOE, as lackeys of imperialism.
- For all these reasons, taking into account those who make up the real criminal organization that has perpetrated and perpetrates the destruction of countries and engendering and supporting fascism, our duty is to confront with all our strength NATO and the government, that in our name and with our money, is going to increase military spending while dismantling and privatizing public services.
- The struggle for the immediate exit from NATO, the dismantling of the U.S. and NATO bases, against the increase in military expenditures and against the participation of the Spanish State in the war, must also be concretized in the struggle against the NATO Summit.
- The probable intensification of the class struggle, involving millions of people whose living conditions are sinking, can allow the working masses to perceive — if we communist organizations resolutely carry out this essential task of ideological struggle — the intimate relationship between capitalist exploitation and wars, and between capitalism and fascism.
- The destabilization and sharpening of the internal contradictions, between the ruling classes that every war entails, have historically opened windows of opportunity for revolutionary processes. Victory inevitably requires the existence of a strategy, a leadership and an organization, today more than ever of an international character that confronts what, objectively, is entwined: capitalism and war. The creation of such an organization is the fundamental task of communists.
March 1, 2022
*The Coordinadora de Núcleos Comunistas is an organization recently formed by comrades from different territories of the Spanish State who have left the organization Red Roja, among them David Ubico and Ángeles Maestro, together with militants from other organizations, as well as people without previous organizational affiliation.
PSOE is Spanish Socialist Workers Party; IU is United Left; PCE is Communist Party of Spain; Podemos is the party that first arose out of the occupation of public square in 2011. The statement’s supporters consider these parties to be social-democratic collaborators with the capitalist Spanish State and subservient to NATO (the PSOE has led many federal governments since the 1978 “transition” following fascist Francisco Franco’s death in 1975, alternating with the openly rightist Popular Party.)
The statement uses the term Spanish State instead of Spain, because the central government rules over different peoples with national identity, for example, Basques, Catalans and Galicians, who have struggled for self-determination.