British Stalinism and the misnamed “World Socialist Web Site” on the shooting incident in the Black Sea between UK and Russia
By Michael Pröbsting, International Secretary of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 28 June
Last week, a dramatic incident in the Black Sea demonstrated the massive acceleration of the rivalry between the imperialist Great Powers. A British warship entered territorial waters near Crimea which had been annexed by Russia in 2014 whereupon Russian forces fired warning shots and dropped bombs ahead of the vessel.
This was the first time since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 that Moscow acknowledged using live ammunition to deter a NATO warship. Recognizing the significance of this incident, our international organization – the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) – has published several documents which have been translated in various languages. 
It is not without interest to see how the reformist and centrist left has responded to this important event. Well, most tellingly, many left-wing parties and organizations have preferred to keep silent on this issue (at least until now). While this shooting incident has provoked much attention in the bourgeois global public and international media, many opportunists have done their best to ignore it.
This is not surprising, since dealing with this incident provokes two questions:
1) What is the class character of the two states involved – Britain and Russia?
2) What should be the response of socialists, which tactics should be advocated in case of a military clash between the two powers?
Our international organization – the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) – has provided clear and unambiguous answers to these questions. We characterize Britain (and the other Western G7 states) as well as Russia (and China) as imperialist Great Powers.  Hence, this is an inter-imperialist conflict in which all both states pursue reactionary goals. Consequently, we equally oppose both sides and their militarist foreign policy (sanctions, armament, military maneuvers, etc.). In case of a military confrontation, the RCIT advocates a defeatist position on both sides in such conflicts. None is the “lesser evil” for the working class and the oppressed people. The task is rather to utilize such conflicts in order to intensify the class struggle and to ultimately bring down all capitalist ruling classes. 
In contrast, most left-wing organizations imagine that they have a political right to remain silent of which they make an extensive use. So, they take no position – at least not in public – on the first shooting incident between a NATO state and Russia and hope that none will ask them on this issue.
Pro-Russian Stalinists: From London with Love
However, a few others have published articles on this incident. Some took a more or less correct position , others however managed to avoid addressing the most fundamental issues.
The Morning Star, the daily newspaper of the Communist Party of Britain (CPB), published an editorial which was limited to a denunciation of militarist provocations by the Tory government.  Of course, there is nothing wrong with such denunciations but for Marxists it is inappropriate to not say a single word about the class character of the states involved (are one or both states imperialist?). Likewise, they change into a silent frog when it comes to the consequential tactics for socialists in such a conflict (should socialists take any side?).
Of course, this does not mean that the Stalinists have no positions on such issues. The CPB is a long-standing and unashamed admirer of Chinese “socialism”, i.e. of the rising imperialist Great Power in the East. Their publications are full of glowing praise for the achievements of China. 
One just need to take the Morning Star’s issues of the last days. The editors prominently advertise meetings of the “Friends of Socialist China”. They also promote the new book of John Ross called “China’s Great Road - Lessons for Marxist theory and socialist practices”. Ross is a former British “Trotskyist” in the Mandelite “Fourth International”  who became a leading advisor of London’s mayor Ken Livingstone in the 2000s. Since a number of years, he is a Senior Fellow at Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China. He regularly publishes books and articles and is a columnist with the state-run web portal www.china.org.cn. His articles on China’s economy have won several prizes in China (where he is known as Luo Siyi). In other words, Ross is a favored and well-paid academic propagandist for the Chinese monopoly bourgeoise.
Naturally, the British Stalinists sympathize with Russia as it is a close ally of China. Consequently, they support Russia’s military intervention in Syria as well as the brutal dictatorship of Putin’s ally Assad.  Some years ago, the Morning Star caused a scandal when it cynically characterized the conquest of Aleppo by Assad’s militias at the end of 2016 as “liberation”.  In short, the British Stalinists are social-imperialist servants of Russia in the name of “communism”.
The fantasy world of the WSWS
The so-called “World Socialist Web Site” (WSWS) – an online publication of the pseudo-Trotskyist “International Committee of the Fourth International” (ICFI) led by David North – has issued several articles on the skirmish in the Black Sea.  These people don’t go as far as the Stalinists. They do not spare critical words of the Putin and Xi and their policy.
However, they emphatically insist that neither Russia nor China constitute an imperialist state. in a lengthy programmatic statement called “Socialism and the Fight Against War”, the ICFI dedicates several paragraphs to denounce all those who characterize Russia and China as imperialist. Of course, their rejection of such a characterization is not based on a scientific analysis of the class character of these states. It is rather based on a simple assertion: “What political purpose, it must be asked, is served by adding the word “imperialist” to descriptions of China and Russia? In practical political terms, it serves very definite functions. First, it relativizes, and therefore diminishes, the central and decisive global counterrevolutionary role of American, European and Japanese imperialism. This facilitates the pseudo-left’s active collaboration with the United States in regime-change operations such as in Syria, where the Assad regime has been backed by Russia. Second, and even more significantly, the designation of China and Russia as imperialist—and thus, by implication, as colonial powers suppressing ethnic, national, linguistic and religious minorities—sanctions the pseudo-left’s support for imperialist-backed “national liberation” uprisings and “color revolutions” within the boundaries of the existing states.“ 
In other words, the WSWS rejects the characterization of Russia and China as imperialist simply because of the political-tactical calculation that this would make it more difficult for them to justify their siding with these states in any conflict with the US, EU or Japan. Likewise, it would make it more difficult for them to justify their support for these regimes which are brutally suppressing the Chechens, the Syrians, the Muslim Uyghurs and other peoples. At least the WSWS openly admits that their politics is not based on a scientific Marxist analysis but on cynical political calculations!
Some years ago, they even published a lengthy polemic against the RCIT in which they denounced our analysis of Russia and China as “imperialist” as “theoretical charlatanry”. As they were not able to provide a single fact or figure to prove their thesis, they rendered to hysterical accusations like: “The documents written by its international secretary and leading theoretician Michael Pröbsting – notwithstanding references to Marx, Lenin and Trotsky, buttressed by radical-sounding rhetoric – read like strategy papers authored in the foreign and defense ministries and think tanks of the imperialist powers.” 
Their denial of the imperialist nature of Russia and China has not changed since then. In one of their articles on the skirmish in the Black Sea the WSWS characterizes the Putin regime as follows: “Moscow’s policy, combining reassuring statements with reckless stunts, reflects the class character of the Putin regime. It is the heir of the Stalinist bureaucracy that in 1991 restored capitalism and destroyed the Soviet Union, which German imperialism failed to accomplish in World War II. Bitterly hostile to the working class, it relies on both close relations with imperialist finance capital abroad and the ceaseless promotion of nationalism at home; it will use such an incident to appeal to nationalist sentiments and divert social opposition within Russia itself.” 
Let us ignore at this point the therein suggested idea that the Putin regime would have similarities to the Stalinist bureaucracy before 1991 or that the current British provocations would have similarities to the Nazi war against the USSR in 1941-45. By these suggestions, the WSWS intends to provoke the idea that Trotskyists should side with Russia against UK as they were obligated to defend the USSR against imperialism.
The WSWS position contained in the above quote not only adulterates the truth – to put it politely. It also does not adhere to basic standards of the Marxist method. Every regime in a class society rests – and can only rest – on particular classes resp. class fractions. The WSWS article defines as the basis of Putin’s regime “imperialist finance capital abroad” and … “nationalism”. The latter is a particular policy but not a class or class fraction. Hence, according to the WSWS, the only class on the Russian regime relies on “imperialist finance capital abroad”.
Where “abroad”? Obviously, the WSWS means North America and Western Europe (may be also Japan) since they deny that there exist any imperialist states outside of the old “Western” world. So, Putin is a puppet of Western finance capital? Really? So why on earth do the Western imperialist states impose since many years sanctions against their supposed “puppet regime”?! Why does the West protest against Russia’s military intervention in Syria if it is it supposed ally?! Why does NATO regularly stage hostile military maneuvers close to the borders of Russia?! And why does Britain’s Navy stage a provocation against its supposed ally?! Questions upon questions and the WSWS can not answer a single one of these!
A brief look at the nature of Russia’s monopoly capital
As a matter of fact, Russia is not dominated by unspecified “imperialist finance capital abroad” but by its domestic monopoly bourgeoise. We have demonstrated in our studies – mentioned in footnotes above – in much details that powerful Russian corporations have emerged out of the chaotic process of capitalist restoration in the 1990s. We refer to these documents for a more detailed analysis of Russia’s monopoly capitalism.
We limit ourselves at this point to the fact that these monopolies often represent a mixture of state-owned and private shares; hence state-capitalism is an essential feature of Russia’s economy (by the way, the same is true to an even larger degree for China). According to a recent IMF study, the share of the Russian state in the economy (calculated as GDP) in 2016 was in a range of 30-35%. The report continues: “Correcting for the size of the informal sector in value added and employment pushes the Russian state's share significantly up, to almost 40 percent of formal sector activity, and shy of 50 percent of formal sector employment.” 
We see a similar picture in the financial sector. Far from being dominated by “foreign capital”, as the WSWS fantasizes, it is dominated by state-owned banks which are closely intertwined with Russian oligarchs. According to another study “state-owned banks now dominate, distributing more than 65 percent of retail loans and 71 percent of corporate loans in 2016.” 
In contrast to the claims of the WSWS, foreign capital only plays a very small role in Russia. In other words, the social base of the Putin regime is mainly the Russian (not foreign!) monopoly bourgeoisie, also known as the “oligarchs”.
Add to this the well-known and undisputed political and military weight and it should not be too difficult to recognize that Russia is definitely not a vassal or a semi-colony of “imperialist finance capital abroad” but rather an imperialist Great Power in its own right.
Afraid of stating the logical conclusions
However, as the WSWS gets it wrong in analyzing the class character of Russia, it consequently fails to take a defeatist position on both sides. This is not surprising. If it would be true that Russia and China are not imperialist states, Marxists would be obligated to defend these countries in any conflict with Western imperialist states.
True, the WSWS does not state explicitly such conclusions in these articles. In fact, the don’t say a single word about tactics for socialists, about which position to take in a political and potentially military confrontation! (In general, the WSWS is known for being usually silent when it comes to tactics as these sectarians live in an aloof world where ideas have no practical consequences.) Instead, they limit themselves to some very general declarations: “The only social force capable of fighting against imperialist war is the international working class. It is propelled into revolutionary struggles by the same objective contradictions that drive imperialism toward war. Across the world, workers have been radicalized by decades of austerity, war and the experience of the pandemic, and are beginning to fight back. The critical task now is to fight for the establishment of a Trotskyist political leadership for these struggles in the working class through the building of the International Committee of the Fourth International.”  It seems that these sectarians are afraid to speak out the necessary tactical conclusions from their positions.
However, from their emphatic denial of the imperialist character of Russia (and the simultaneously characterization of UK and other Western powers as “imperialist”) it follows logically and unavoidable that the WSWS has to side with Russia (and China) in any confrontation with their rivals. In other words, these “Trotskyist” stay on the same side of the barricade as the Stalinists a la CPB!
As we noted somewhere else, it is not only the WSWS which arrives at such pro-Russia/China social-imperialist conclusions. For example, the Partido Obrero in Argentina and their affiliates in the “Coordinating Committee for the Refoundation of the Fourth International” (e.g. EEK in Greece, DIP in Turkey) arrive at very similar conclusions. 
In summary, we see that it not only Stalinism which serves the ruling class of this or that imperialist Great Power. There are also many pseudo-Trotskyists who race for a place somewhere at the tail end of the entourage of Mr. Putin or Mr. Xi.
 RCIT: Russia Fires Warning Shots against UK Warship in the Black Sea. Down with Cold Warmongering! No support for any imperialist Great Power – neither UK, US nor Russia! 24 June 2021, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/russia-fires-warning-shots-against-uk-warship-in-black-sea/; Michael Pröbsting: “Next Time We Will Bomb the Target”. Shooting incident in Black Sea between UK and Russia shows that capitalism in decay is stumbling towards war, 24 June 2021, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/russia-uk-next-time-we-will-bomb-the-target/; Laurence Humphries: Skirmish in Black Sea: Imperialist Patriotism in the UK, 27 June 2021, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/imperialist-patriotism-in-uk-on-skirmish-in-black-sea/
 The RCIT has published numerous documents about capitalism in Russia. See on this e.g. Michael Pröbsting: Russia and China: Neither Capitalist nor Great Powers? A Reply to the PO/CRFI and their Revisionist Whitewashing of Chinese and Russian imperialism, 28 November 2018, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/russia-and-china-neither-capitalist-nor-great-powers-reply-to-po-crfi/; see also several pamphlets by the same author: The Catastrophic Failure of the Theory of “Catastrophism”. On the Marxist Theory of Capitalist Breakdown and its Misinterpretation by the Partido Obrero (Argentina) and its “Coordinating Committee for the Refoundation of the Fourth International”, 27 May 2018, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/the-catastrophic-failure-of-the-theory-of-catastrophism/; 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. Another Reply to Our Critics Who Deny Russia’s Imperialist Character, August 2014, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/imperialism-theory-and-russia/; Russia as a Great Imperialist Power. The formation of Russian Monopoly Capital and its Empire – A Reply to our Critics, 18 March 2014, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 21, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/imperialist-russia/. See various other RCIT documents on this issue at a special sub-page on the RCIT’s website: https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/china-russia-as-imperialist-powers/
 For our programmatic approach on this see e.g. RCIT: Theses on Revolutionary Defeatism in Imperialist States, 8 September 2018, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/theses-on-revolutionary-defeatism-in-imperialist-states/; see also chapters XVI to XX in our book by Michael Pröbsting: Anti-Imperialism in the Age of Great Power Rivalry. The Factors behind the Accelerating Rivalry between the U.S., China, Russia, EU and Japan. A Critique of the Left’s Analysis and an Outline of the Marxist Perspective, RCIT Books, January 2019, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/anti-imperialism-in-the-age-of-great-power-rivalry/.
 See e.g. an article of the Socialist Workers Party (UK): Charlie Kimber: Reject Tory flag-waving after British and Russian naval clash, 24 Jun 2021, Issue No. 2760, https://socialistworker.co.uk/art/52007/Reject+Tory+flag+waving+after+British+and+Russian+naval+clash
 Morning Star: British warships should not be goading a nuclear-armed state in the Black Sea, 2021-06-25, https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/e/british-warships-should-not-be-goading-nuclear-armed-state-black-sea
 The RCIT has published numerous documents about capitalism in China. See on this e.g. our above-mentioned book by Michael Pröbsting: Anti-Imperialism in the Age of Great Power Rivalry. See also by the same author an essay published in the second edition of The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Imperialism and Anti-Imperialism (edited by Immanuel Ness and Zak Cope), Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, 2020, https://link.springer.com/referenceworkentry/10.1007%2F978-3-319-91206-6_179-1; China‘s transformation into an imperialist power. A study of the economic, political and military aspects of China as a Great Power (2012), in: Revolutionary Communism No. 4, http://www.thecommunists.net/publications/revcom-number-4; How is it possible that some Marxists still Doubt that China has Become Capitalist? (A Critique of the PTS/FT), An analysis of the capitalist character of China’s State-Owned Enterprises and its political consequences, 18 September 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/pts-ft-and-chinese-imperialism-2/; Unable to See the Wood for the Trees (PTS/FT and China). Eclectic empiricism and the failure of the PTS/FT to recognize the imperialist character of China, 13 August 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/pts-ft-and-chinese-imperialism/. See many more RCIT documents at a special sub-page on the RCIT’s website: https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/china-russia-as-imperialist-powers/.
 As the author of these lines – a teenage member of the Mandelite “Fourth International” in the 1980s – remembers well, John Ross was already in his “Trotskyist” days pretty Stalinophile!
 The RCIT has published a number of booklets, statements, and articles on the Syrian Revolution that can be accessed on a special sub-section of this website: https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/collection-of-articles-on-the-syrian-revolution/. In particular we refer readers to the RCIT call Save the Syrian Revolution!. https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/call-save-the-syrian-revolution/; see also two pamphlets by Michael Pröbsting: Is the Syrian Revolution at its End? Is Third Camp Abstentionism Justified? An essay on the organs of popular power in the liberated area of Syria, on the character of the different sectors of the Syrian rebels, and on the failure of those leftists who deserted the Syrian Revolution, 5 April 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/syrian-revolution-not-dead/; Syria and Great Power Rivalry: The Failure of the „Left“. The bleeding Syrian Revolution and the recent Escalation of Inter-Imperialist Rivalry between the US and Russia – A Marxist Critique of Social Democracy, Stalinism and Centrism, 21 April 2018, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/syria-great-power-rivalry-and-the-failure-of-the-left/.
 See e.g. Morning Star statement on the situation in Aleppo, December 13, 2016, https://morningstaronline.co.uk/a-6e18-morning-star-statement-on-the-situation-in-aleppo-1
 Robert Stevens: Russian forces fire warning shots at UK destroyer HMS Defender over territorial encroachment in Black Sea, 23 June 2021, https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2021/06/24/ukru-j24.html; Clara Weiss: The UK-Russian confrontation in the Black Sea: An ominous warning, 24 June 2021, https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2021/06/25/pers-j25.html; Chris Marsden: Leaked documents confirm UK discussed possible military response by Russia to Black Sea/Crimea provocation, 2021-06-28, https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2021/06/28/leak-j28.html
 Socialism and the Fight Against War. Build an International Movement of the Working Class and Youth Against Imperialism! Statement of the International Committee of the Fourth International, 18 February 2016, https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2016/02/18/icfi-f18.html
 Johannes Stern: Behind the designation of Russia and China as “imperialist”: A case study in theoretical charlatanry, WSWS, 14 April 2016, http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2016/04/14/prob-a14.html. See on this also our replies: Michael Pröbsting: The Involuntary Self-Exposure of the WSWS. A Brief Reply to a Lengthy Attack by David North’s WSWS against the RCIT, 18.4.2016, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/reply-to-wsws-short/; Johannes Wiener: In Response to the Self-Proclaimed “Leadership” of the World Socialist Movement. A Reply to the Recent Polemic of the ICFI/WSWS against the RCIT, 30 April 2016, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/reply-to-wsws-long/
 Clara Weiss: The UK-Russian confrontation in the Black Sea
 Gabriel Di Bella, Oksana Dynnikova, Slavi Slavov: The Russian State's Size and its Footprint: Have they Increased? IMF Working Paper WP/19/53, March 2, 2019, p. 13; see also Congressional Research Service: Russia: Domestic Politics and Economy, 9 September 2020, pp. 29-30; Alexander Abramov, Alexander Radygin, Maria Chernova: State-owned enterprises in the Russian market: Ownership structure and their role in the economy, in: Russian Journal of Economics 3 (2017), pp. 1–23
 David Szakonyi: Monopolies Rising. Consolidation in the Russian Economy, PONARS Eurasia Policy Memo No. 491, November 2017, p. 4
 Clara Weiss: The UK-Russian confrontation in the Black Sea
 See the two above-mentioned pamphlets by Michael Pröbsting: Russia and China: Neither Capitalist nor Great Powers?; The Catastrophic Failure of the Theory of “Catastrophism”.
영·러 간 흑해 포격 사건에서: 영국 스탈린주의와 “세계사회주의 웹사이트(WSWS)”
미하엘 프뢰브스팅, 혁명적 공산주의인터내셔널 동맹 (RCIT) 국제서기, 2021년 6월 28일, www.thecommunists.net
지난 주 흑해 포격 사건은 제국주의 강대국 간 패권경쟁이 대대적으로 가속화하고 있는 또 하나의 징표다. 2014년 러시아에 병합된 크림반도 인근 해역에 영국 군함이 진입하고 이에 대한 대응으로 러시아군이 경고사격에 이어 폭탄 투하까지 한 것은 과거 냉전 시대 이후 처음 있는 일이었다. 이 사건의 중요성을 인식하여 혁명적 공산주의인터내셔널 동맹 (RCIT)은 잇달아 몇몇 문서를 (각국어로) 발표했다.
개량주의자·중도주의 좌익은 이 중대한 사건에 어떻게 반응했는가? 분명한 것은 많은 좌파 정당 및 단체들이 (적어도 지금까지는) 이 문제에 대해 침묵하는 쪽을 택했다는 점이다. 이 폭격 사건이 세계 부르주아 언론 속에서는 많은 주목을 불러일으킨 데 비해 기회주의 좌익들 사이에서는 애써 무시되었다.
이는 놀랄 일이 아닌데, 왜냐하면 이 사건을 취급하는 것이 다음과 같은 두 질문을 유발하기 때문이다.
1) 관련 두 국가 ㅡ 영국과 러시아 ㅡ 의 계급적 성격은 무엇인가?
2) 사회주의자들의 대응은 무엇이어야 하는가? 두 열강 간의 군사적 충돌 시 어느 전술이 제창되어야 하는가? 어느 한 측에 대한 ‘방어’인가, 아니면 양측 모두에 대한 ‘패배’인가, 또는 어느 다른 방향인가?
혁명적 공산주의인터내셔널 동맹 (RCIT)은 이 질문들에 모호하지 않은 명확한 대답을 냈다. 우리는 영국 (그리고 다른 서방 G7 국가들)과 러시아 (그리고 중국) 모두 제국주의 강대국으로 성격규정 한다. 따라서 이 충돌은 두 국가 모두가 반동적 목표를 추구하는 제국주의 간 분쟁이다. 그에 따라 우리는 양측에 똑같이 반대하며, 양측의 군사주의 대외정책 (제재, 군비강화, 군사행동 등)에 똑같이 반대한다. 군사 대결 시, RCIT는 양측 모두에 대한 패배주의 입장을 내건다. 노동자계급·피억압인민에게 여기서는 “차악”이 없다. 계급투쟁을 강화하고 나아가 모든 자본주의 지배계급을 타도하는 방향으로 이 같은 대립·충돌을 이용하는 것이 우리의 임무다.
반면 대부분의 좌익 조직들은 자신들이 폭넓게 사용할 정치적 묵비권을 가지고 있다고 상상한다. 그리하여 그들은 나토 국가와 러시아 간 최초의 포격 사건에 대해 아무 입장도 취하지 않으며, 아무도 이 문제에 대해 자신들에게 묻지 않기를 바라고 있다.
영국의 친러 스탈린주의자들
그러나 이 사건에 관한 입장을 낸 조직이 소수지만 있다. 다소간에 올바른 입장을 취한 조직도 있지만, 가장 근본적인 문제에 대면하길 회피한 조직도 있다.
영국공산당(CPB) 일간지 <<모닝스타>>는 영국 보수당 정부의 군사주의적 도발을 규탄하는 것으로 국한한 사설을 실었다. 물론 그러한 규탄에는 아무 문제가 없지만, 맑스주의 입장에서 관련 국가의 계급적 성격에 대해 (한 국가만 제국주의인가, 아니면 두 국가 모두 제국주의인가?) 한 마디도 말하지 않는 것은 부적절하다. 더욱이 그에 따른 사회주의자의 전술 문제 (사회주의자는 어느 쪽이든가 편을 들어야 하나?)로 오면 이 당은 침묵의 개구리로 변한다.
물론 이렇다고 해서 스탈린주의자들이 그 같은 문제에 대해 아무 입장이 없는 것은 아니다. 이 당은 중국 “사회주의”의, 실은 동방의 떠오르는 제국주의 강대국의 오랜 추종자이자 부끄러움을 모르는 팬이다. 그들의 출판물은 중국의 성취에 대한 열렬한 찬사로 가득하다.
그냥 <<모닝스타>> 최근 몇 호만 펴보면 된다. 편집자들은 "사회주의 중국의 벗들"의 회의를 눈에 띄게 광고한다. 그들은 또 존 로스가 쓴 “중국의 위대한 길 - 맑스주의 이론과 사회주의 실천을 위한 교훈”이라는 제목의 새 책을 홍보한다. 존 로스는 한 때 만델 파 “제4 인터내셔널”의 “트로츠키주의자”였다가 2000년대에는 런던 시장 켄 리빙스턴의 수석 보좌관이 되었다.
수년 전부터 그는 중국 인민대학교 청양금융연구원의 선임연구원이자, 중국 국영 웹 포털 www.china.org.cn의 정기 칼럼니스트다. 그의 중국 경제에 관한 기사는 중국에서 상을 여러 개 수상했다. (그는 중국에서 류오 시이라는 이름으로 알려져 있다.) 다시 말해서 존 로스는 중국 독점 부르주아지의 총애 속에서 좋은 보수를 받고 일하는 학술 프로파간다 홍보원이다.
당연히 영국 스탈린주의자들은 러시아에도 동조적이다. 러시아가 중국의 가까운 동맹국이기 때문이다. 그로 인해 그들은 러시아의 시리아 군사 개입과 푸틴의 동맹인 아사드의 잔혹한 독재를 지지한다. 몇 년 전, <<모닝스타>>는 2016년 말 아사드 군대의 알레포 정복을 역겹게도 "해방"이라고 묘사하여 스캔들을 일으켰다. 간단히 말해서, 영국 스탈린주의자들은 "공산주의"라는 이름으로 러시아를 섬기는 사회제국주의적 시종들이다.
WSWS의 판타지 세계
이른바 “세계사회주의 웹사이트”(WSWS)는 흑해 교전에 대한 기사를 여러 개 냈다. (WSWS는 데이비드 노스가 이끄는 사이비 트로츠키주의 조직인 “제4 인터내셔널 국제위원회[ICFI]”의 온라인 매체다). WSWS는 스탈린주의자들만큼 멀리 가지는 않는다. WSWS는 푸틴과 시진핑 및 그들의 정책에 대해 비판적인 말을 아끼지 않는다.
그러나 WSWS는 러시아도 중국도 제국주의 국가가 아니라고 힘주어 주장한다. WSWS는 "사회주의와 전쟁에 맞선 투쟁"이라는 제목의 긴 강령적 성명문에서 러시아와 중국을 제국주의로 성격규정 하는 모든 사람들을 규탄하는 데 몇 개의 문단을 할애하고 있다. 물론 중·러 제국주의 규정에 대한 그들의 거부는 이들 국가의 계급적 성격에 대한 과학적 분석에 근거를 둔 것이 아니다. 그냥 다음과 같은 단순한 주장에 근거한 것이다.
“제기되어야 할 질문은 이렇다. 중국과 러시아에 대한 묘사에 ‘제국주의’라는 말을 덧붙임으로써 어떤 정치적 목적에 봉사하는가? 실제 정치적 면에서 중·러에 대한 ‘제국주의’ 규정은 매우 확실한 기능을 한다. 첫째, 미국·유럽·일본 제국주의의 중심적·결정적인 세계 반혁명 역할을 상대화하고, 따라서 축소한다. 이것은 아사드 정권이 러시아의 지원을 받고 있는 시리아와 같은 데서 정권교체 작전에 사이비 좌파가 미국에 적극적으로 협력하는 것을 용이하게 해준다. 둘째, 그리고 훨씬 더 유의미한 것으로서, 중·러를 제국주의로 규정하는 것은 ㅡ 그리고 암묵적으로 그에 따라 종족·민족·언어·종교 소수자들을 탄압하는 식민 열강으로 규정하는 것은 ㅡ 기존 국가의 테두리 내로 한정된, 제국주의 지원 하의 ‘민족해방’ 봉기와 ‘색깔혁명’에 대한 사이비 좌파의 지지를 허용해준다.”
다시 말해, WSWS는 중·러를 제국주의로 성격규정 하면 미·일·EU와의 대립·충돌에서 자신들의 중·러 편 들기를 정당화하기가 더 어려워질 거라는, 단지 그러한 정치-전술적 계산 때문에 중·러 제국주의 성격규정을 거부하는 것이다. 마찬가지로, 체첸 인민, 시리아 인민, 무슬림 위구르 인민 등을 잔인하게 탄압하고 있는 이들 정권에 대한 지지를 정당화하기도 더 어려워질 것이다. 적어도 WSWS는 그들의 정치가 과학적인 맑스주의적 분석이 아니라 냉소적인 정치적 계산에 근거하고 있음을 공공연하게 인정한다.
몇 년 전, WSWS는 심지어 러·중 제국주의에 대한 우리의 분석을 "이론적 사기꾼"이라고 비난하는 장문의 논쟁 글을 발표했다.