Marxism and the war in Donbass
By Victor Shapinov
Union Borotba (Struggle)
Borotba is often criticized for supporting the Donbass people’s republics, for the fact that our comrades fight in the militia and assist the peaceful nation-building in Lugansk (LC) and Donetsk (DNR). This criticism is heard not only from those former leftists who succumbed to nationalist fervor and supported first Maidan, then Kiev’s war of conquest in the Donbass. Others criticize us and from the standpoint of “Marxist pacifism,” calling themselves “the new Zimmerwald.”
“War is nothing more than the continuation of policy by other means,” wrote the military theorist Carl von Clausewitz. This statement is recognized approvingly by the classics of Marxism.
What are the policies continued by Kiev and Donbass? To justify a “neutral” position, the imaginary “Zimmerwaldists” try to prove that these policies are the same. “All cats are gray” – that’s the apex of their “Marxist” wisdom.
The World War of 1914-1918 was really a continuation of the same policies by Britain, France, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Russia – policies of colonial plunder, the struggle for colonies and markets, the fight for the destruction of imperialist competitors. The Russo-Japanese war of 1904-1905 was a continuation of the same policies.
However, it would be foolish to argue that there could be a civil war where the parties are continuing the same policy. The essence of civil war is to impose one’s policies on the enemy, to break the political force and suppress the social classes or layers that conduct this policy. North and South Vietnam carried out different policies, resulting in a civil war. Different policies are also carried out, for example, by the regime of Bashar al-Assad and the Islamic State, Al-Qaeda and other Islamists in Syria. Different policies guided the Spanish Republic and Franco in the years 1936-1939. Different policies were pursued by Muammar Gaddafi and his opponents in the civil war in Libya in 2011.
So the civil war in Ukraine is not a continuation of the same policy. What are the different policies of Kiev and Donbass?