Another Example of the Flirt of Stalinist Parties with the Plague of Arch-Reactionary Chauvinism
by Michael Pröbsting, International Secretary of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 13 December 2018
Preface of the Editorial Board: The following article is an edited excerpt from a chapter of a forthcoming book by Michael Pröbsting. The author analysis in this book changes in the modern system of imperialism. As an important component of these, he discusses the accelerating Great Power Rivalry, the decline of the U.S. and the rise of China and Russia as new imperialist powers. He criticizes the fundamental flaws in the analysis of various reformist and centrist left tendencies and answers their arguments. Furthermore, Michael Pröbsting elaborates the Marxist program of revolutionary defeatism in the struggle against imperialism and compares this with the positions of the left. The RCIT looks forward to publish this book as an important contribution to the theory and strategy of Marxism which shall help to defend it against its falsifiers and diluters.
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A few weeks ago we reported about the KKE and its adaption to vulgar Greek chauvinism directed against neighboring countries like Macedonia or Turkey. We demonstrated by quoting a number of sources that the Greek Stalinists deny national rights to the Macedonian people and promise in public statements to “annihilate any foreign intruder who dares to attack Greece”. (1)
In the following article we will show that it would be entirely wrong to imagine that such chauvinist outbursts are a kind of peculiar issue of the Greek KKE alone. No, adaption to chauvinism of oppressor nations is in the political DNA of Stalinism. When it serves the interests of a ruling bureaucracy or allied states, the Stalinists have always been willing to support the oppression of national minorities and to preach chauvinism. Stalin’s policy of making Great Russian chauvinism the official policy of the USSR and the horrific deportations of Caucasian people in 1944 are well known. (2)
The Stalinists continue to adapt to chauvinism also many years after they lost the citadel of their bureaucratic power by the collapse of the regimes in Eastern European and the USSR in 1989-91. We have already given the example of the Greek KKE. Here is another actual example.
Many Stalinist parties support until today the Serbian expansionist claim to Kosovo (Kosova in Albanian language). 36 Stalinist parties, attending the 20th annual IMCWP congress in November 2018, have published a joint statement which we reproduce here entirely:
“Support for Kosova [sic] as an Integral Part of the Republic of Serbia
The Party “Communists of Serbia” is asking for support from Communist and Workers’ Parties of the world to support Kosovo as an integral part of the Republic of Serbia, which has been under occupation of NATO since 1999 and a subordinate regime of Albanian separatists.” (3)
Likewise, the Austrian Stalinists, the Party of Labour (Partei der Arbeit) which also participated in this congress, published a report about their activities in which they referred to the Kosova in the same Serbian chauvinist spirit (“the Serbian province of Kosovo”). (4)
This is a shameful scandal given the fact that Kosovo is populated by a 90% Albanian majority. They had been nationally oppressed by Serbia since the beginning of its colonial occupation in 1913 and had always desired independence from Belgrade. Throughout the entire history of the occupation the Kosovo Albanians resisted and attempted popular uprisings which were brutally smashed by the Serbian occupation forces. Finally, an armed insurrection which began in 1997 succeeded and the Kosovo Albanians got rid of the Serbian tyranny.
However, the Kosovars’ legitimate liberation struggle which was led by the petty-bourgeois nationalist UÇK was hijacked by NATO imperialism in 1999 and exploited in order to occupy the new republic.
The RCIT respective our precursor stood for the victory of the uprising and called for a Kosova workers republic. We gave no political support to the UÇK leadership and defended Serbia against the NATO bombardment. Our Austrian section participated in solidarity activities with the Albanian community during the uprising in 1997/98. Today the RCIT unconditionally support the Kosova people’s desire to get rid of the NATO/EU occupation and to have a fully independent state which, in our opinion, should be a workers republic. While supporting minority rights for the Serbian population in Kosova, we sharply denounce any attempts of the Serbian state to reoccupy the country. (5)
Some decades ago, the Stalinists justified their support for Serbian chauvinism by referring to the “socialist” character of the Tito regime in former Yugoslavia. Naturally, this was no legitimate reason to suppress the Albanian desire for independence. However, such support for Serbian claims under today’s conditions lacks even such pseudo-justification. There are no Tito and no Yugoslavia anymore and Serbia has become a capitalist state. Even more, Serbia is ruled by the government of Aleksandar Vučić and his SNS, a split from the semi-fascist Chetnik party SRS led by the notorious war criminal Vojislav Šešelj. These arch-reactionaries justify their historic claims by referring to the so-called Battle of Kosovo Field, an event in 1389 shrouded in myth.
However, all these facts are no obstacle for the Stalinists to adopt a joint statement in which they call “to support Kosovo as an integral part of the Republic of Serbia” and to denounce the “Albanian separatists”. This is nothing but unashamed support for reactionary Serbian expansionism against the will of more or less the whole people of Kosovo!
Of course, the logic of the Stalinists is as transparent as reactionary. In their view, only the U.S., the EU and Japan are imperialist while Russia and China represent allegedly “socialist” (or at least “progressive”, “anti-imperialist”) forces. In consequence, the Stalinists support all regimes and forces – including e.g. the monarchists, fascists and semi-fascists in the Donbass – which are allied with Russia and China.
In contrast to these Stalinists, the RCIT and all authentic Marxists recognize the imperialist character of all Great Powers – those of the West as well as those of the East. (6) Hence, revolutionaries don’t support any of these imperialist powers – neither the U.S., the EU and Japan, nor China or Russia. Lenin’s program of revolutionary defeatism has to be applied against all Great Powers! (7)
It is symbol that this statement has been signed by the Assad-bootlicking Syrian Communist Party, various Russian Stalinist parties (e.g. Zyuganov’s KPRF and Tyulkin’s RKRP-RPK), the Greek KKE, the German DKP, the Communist Party (Italy) and others.
Finally, we also have to point out that by supporting Serbian chauvinism the Stalinists share the company of various ultra-reactionary forces. All Great Russian chauvinists, including the White Russian monarchists, support Serbia’s claim to Kosovo. The same is true for various radical right-wing parties in Western Europe. For example, the Austrian FPÖ has always declared that Kosovo is part of Serbia. Its leader, HC Strache, proudly wears the so-called Brojanica on his wrist, a Serbian-orthodox rosary. (8) What an unholy alliance of “left-wing” and right-wing chauvinists!
All this proves once more: Stalinism never was, is not and never will be a working class internationalist force. It is organically corrupt and chauvinistic. In the current age of Great Power rivalry, the Stalinists inevitable serve as lackeys of one or the other imperialist Great Power. Revolutionaries must merciless expose this bourgeois reformist trend!
(1) Michael Pröbsting: Stalinist Chauvinism: The Example of the Greek KKE. Is “Defending the Sovereign Rights of Greece” against Turkey and Macedonia Legitimate? Marxist Internationalism versus Bourgeois Social-Chauvinism, 12 November 2018, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/the-greek-kke-and-stalinist-chauvinism/
(2) See on this e.g. William Flemming: The Deportation of the Chechen and lngush Peoples: A Critical Examination, in: Ben Fowkes (Ed.): Russia and Chechnia: The Permanent Crisis. Essays on Russo-Chechen Relations, Macmillan Press Ltd 1998, pp. 65-88; Alex Marshall: The Caucasus under Soviet rule, Routledge, London 2010, pp. 244-271; Brian Glyn Williams: Inferno in Chechnya, University Press of New England 2015, pp. 46-75; John Dunlop: Russia Confronts Chechnya. Roots of a Separatist Conflict, Cambridge University Press 1998, pp. 46-74; Amjad Jaimoukha: The Chechens. A handbook, RoutledgeCurzon 2005, pp. 60-73
(3) 20 IMCWP, SUPPORT FOR KOSOVA AS AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE REPUBLIC OF SERBIA, 12/10/2018 http://www.solidnet.org/article/20-IMCWP-SUPPORT-FOR-KOSOVA-AS-AN-INTEGRAL-PART-OF-THE-REPUBLIC-OF-SERBIA/. It is a funny anecdote that the stupid Stalinists have not recognized that they unintentionally wrote the name “Kosovo” in the title in its Albanian version (Kosova)! Or maybe the translator of the original text into English language expressed his or her disgust about this statement in this way?
(4) 20 IMCWP, Informative note of Party of Labour of Austria, 11/19/2018 http://www.solidnet.org/article/20-IMCWP-Informative-note-of-Party-of-Labour-of-Austria/, http://parteiderarbeit.at/?p=5020
(5) See e.g. Johannnes Wiener and Ime Berisha: Freedom and Self-Determination for Kosova! Down with the Government of Isa Mustafa Hashim Thaçi, Lackeys for the Rich and Imperialism! 31.01.2015, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/freedom-for-kosova/
(6) On the RCIT’s analysis of Russia and China as emerging imperialist powers see the literature mentioned in the special sub-section on our website: https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/china-russia-as-imperialist-powers/. Concerning China, we refer in particular to Michael Pröbsting: The China-India Conflict: Its Causes and Consequences. What are the background and the nature of the tensions between China and India in the Sikkim border region? What should be the tactical conclusions for Socialists and Activists of the Liberation Movements? 18 August 2017, Revolutionary Communism No. 71, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/china-india-rivalry/; Michael Pröbsting: The China Question and the Marxist Theory of Imperialism, December 2014, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/reply-to-csr-pco-on-china/; Michael Pröbsting: China‘s transformation into an imperialist power. A study of the economic, political and military aspects of China as a Great Power, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 4, http://www.thecommunists.net/publications/revcom-number-4.
Concerning Russia, we refer in particular to Michael Pröbsting: Lenin’s Theory of Imperialism and the Rise of Russia as a Great Power. On the Understanding and Misunderstanding of Today’s Inter-Imperialist Rivalry in the Light of Lenin’s Theory of Imperialism, August 2014, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/imperialism-theory-and-russia/; Michael Pröbsting: Russia as a Great Imperialist Power. The formation of Russian Monopoly Capital and its Empire – A Reply to our Critics, 18 March 2014, Special Issue of Revolutionary Communism No. 21 (March 2014), https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/imperialist-russia/.
(7) See on this e.g. RCIT: Theses on Revolutionary Defeatism in Imperialist States. Resolution of the International Executive Committee of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency, 8 September 2018, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/theses-on-revolutionary-defeatism-in-imperialist-states/
(8) See e.g. "Solidarität mit Serbien": Jubel für Strache in Belgrad, Der Standard, 5. Mai 2008, https://derstandard.at/3290627/Solidaritaet-mit-Serbien-Jubel-fuer-Strache-in-Belgrad