By Miguel Lamas, International Correspondence magazine, UIT-CI . 4/3/2014
With the fall and flight from the country of President Viktor Yanukovych a great revolutionary mass mobilization has triumphed. The people’s mobilization, together with the political crisis, began in November. In the middle of winter, with temperatures 20 degrees below zero, people never left the square and the streets, despite bloody repressive attacks that left hundreds dead and wounded. Now a new political moment opens. Russia intervenes militarily in Crimea.
The demonstrations began repudiating the Yanukovych government’s decision to cancel the association agreement with the European Union (EU) and reaching another financial agreement with Russia. The bosses opposition to Yanukovych’s government, headed by pro-European former Prime Minister Julia Timoshenko (who was in prison), demanded entry to the EU. Popular sectors supported this because they have illusions that this could improve the catastrophic economic situation and they expect it will be easier to migrate to Western Europe.
Triumph of a Revolution
The mobilization quickly exceeded its initial demands and overcame its neoliberal pro-European Union leaders to raise democratic and economic claims: work and decent wages, health, education, against the oligarchs and, finally, for Yanukovych to go.
This is the triumph of a revolution akin to the revolutionary upheavals in North Africa and the Middle East who made immense revolutions to overthrow their oppressive government. In Ukraine also triumphs a democratic revolution that achieves the fall of the reactionary and pro-Russian Yanukovych.
As part of the great mobilization, it was important the active participation of organized workers sectors such as the Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine (KSPU), headed by the powerful Independent Union of Miners, the NPGOU (the union which led the great mining strikes of 1989-1990). From mining cities, buses came bringing thousands of miners to the Maidan, the central square of Kiev.
If for now it does not go any further, it is because it does not have a revolutionary socialist leadership. But the strength of the people’s mobilization has been so powerful that it overflowed its bourgeois pro-EU leadership. On February 21, President Yanukovych and the opposition, under the auspices of the EU with the presence of the German, French and Polish ministers of foreign affairs, signed an agreement for Yanukovych to continue and for the call to elections in December. The agreement was applauded by the U.S. and Russia. The opposition leaders went to the square to announce it. But 200,000 people shouted at them «Traitors! Traitors!». The next day the police disappeared from the streets of Kiev and Yanukovych fled. One hundred police asked on their knees for forgiveness to the protesters in Maidan Square. Parliament «unanimously» ousted Yanukovych (a quarter of the members had already fled) and appointed a new government, a day after the list of ministers was submitted to the verdict of the protesters on Maidan (who even rejected some names).
The New Government and the Position of the Revolutionary Socialists
As they did with the Arab or the Syrian revolution, many «leftists» and especially the Castro-Chavist supporters claim that in Ukraine everything is a conspiracy of European and American imperialism, and they defended the Yanukovych’s regime.
They rely on the true fact that in the leadership of the movement there are bourgeois sectors which have already been in government, as Timoshenko’s party and even pro-fascist nationalist groups. But hundreds of thousands took to the streets because they hated the previous government, as they hate Putin and his support for adjustment plans. They came to repudiate low wages, unemployment and Yanukovych’s undemocratic dealings. Unfortunately the opposition right managed to be at the head by the extreme weakness of the revolutionary left. But as we did in the Arab revolution, we support the revolutionary mobilization of the masses, while denouncing the pro-capitalist leaders who head it and while still asserting that neither an agreement with Russia nor an agreement with the European Union will be a solution.
The neo-liberal pro-European Arseni Yatseniuk, member of Tymoshenko’s party is the brand new Prime Minister and members of Svoboda, the fascist party, are part of the government. It called for general elections on May 25 and it dissolved the riot police. The people cannot expect any solution from this new government or from the government which will result from the elections, which will be led by the pro-European parties of the oligarchy. They have already announced they are negotiating adjustment plans with the IMF.
Out with Russian military intervention! Let’s continue the fight for workers’ and popular program!
A revolutionary process has opened in Ukraine. The crisis will remain open, the social problems will remain with no solution in sight, and the democratic gains and civil liberties will be at risk if the revolution does not advance to break the power of the capitalist oligarchy. This is why it is urgent the unity of leftist and workers organizations, to build a workers and popular alternative in the perspective of continuing the struggle for a workers’ and people’s government, which can impose substantive solutions.
Meanwhile, it is essential to call for a vote on the squares of the rebellion for a program capable of removing Ukraine from the crisis. On the other hand, Russia has militarily intervened in the autonomous province of Crimea, in order to drive a wedge seeking to reverse the triumph of the masses. Obama and the UN will just make statements looking not to disturb their ally Putin. It is the organized Ukrainian people which will oust the Russian troops.
The group Left Opposition issued a manifesto in Maidan Square, in which it calls to fight «for non-payment of debt and a break with the IMF, to nationalize metallurgy, mining, chemical, energy, transport and communications, which, under control by workers, must contribute to the common good». Additionally it calls for millionaires to pay taxes and not to hold public office, for free public health and education, for the dissolution of repressive forces and to fight for «authorities to be elected by regional representative committees and who may be dismissed if they fail their mission». Along with this, there is an urgent need to fight for job security and wage increases. The revolutionary socialists and workers of the world must support the struggle of the workers and the Ukrainian people, but without any support to the neoliberal government in Kiev.