The International Labour Network for Solidarity and Struggles plans to send a second convoy of the Workers’ Aid Campaign to Ukraine for the month of October.(I)
Defined in its 4th Meeting held in the city of Dijon, France, between April 21 and 24, 2022, this campaign is becoming an important act of international solidarity between workers from different countries, besides being one of the main internationalist campaigns carried out by the International Trade Union Network in its ten years of existence.(II)
The first convoy was sent in April. About 800 kilos of humanitarian aid (mainly food and power generators) were delivered directly to the Kryvyi Rih Miners’ and Metallurgists’ Union and a conference on the dimensions of the war was held on May 1, International Workers’ Day, in the city of Lviv, prepared by the Ukrainian organization Sotsyalniy Rukh. (III)
The strengthening of this campaign of workers’ solidarity is expressed in the expansion of the participating organizations and also in the volume of humanitarian aid. In addition to the trade union organizations present in the first convoy – Solidaires from France, CSP-Conlutas from Brazil, Iniciativa Obrera from Poland, ADL-Cobas from Italy and Grupo 1o de Mayo from Lithuania -, the organizations L’Émancipation from France, Co.bas from Spain as well as members of the International Trade Union Network in the United Kingdom will join this second convoy. The organizers plan to deliver to the Trade Union of Miners and Metallurgists of Kryvyi Rih two tons of humanitarian aid (mainly first aid materials and also power generators) from donation and fundraising campaigns in several countries, highlighting the collection made by Solidaires in France.
This convoy will arrive in the country seven months after the beginning of the Russian aggression launched last February 24. Atrocities and devastation mark the Russian military offensive. The discovery of mass graves shows the cowardly massacre of civilians in Bucha and Izium. These are war crimes. The expulsion of the Ukrainian population from the Donbass region and the country’s coastline – through massacres such as the one perpetrated against the population of the city of Mariupol – constitutes a process of ethnic cleansing – a crime against humanity – and demonstrates that even the Russophone population opposes the aggression and occupation led by Vladimir Putin. (IV)
The massive resistance of the Ukrainian working class has so far prevented Putin from achieving his aim of conquering Ukraine, annexing territories and imposing a dictatorship subordinated to Moscow. The adhesion of hundreds of thousands of volunteers to the territorial defense units and to the regular army, with the support of the population of each city, has already imposed two important defeats to the Russian aggressors, in the north of the country around the cities of Kiev and Kharkiv, while the workers and popular resistance grows in the important southern city of Kherson.
Against the backdrop of the strengthening Ukrainian resistance, the Zelensky government enacted anti-worker labor laws, including laws that:
- exempt enterprises from paying wages to workers enlisted in the army or volunteering in the territorial defense forces;
- exempt enterprises with fewer than 250 workers from complying with labor rights or negotiating with trade unions, reaching 70% of the Ukrainian working class;
- suspend labor contracts, and enable companies to unilaterally extend or reduce working hours;
- create a “zero-hour” employment contract, i.e. without a defined working day and therefore without guaranteed pay.
In addition, the government did not take any measure to guarantee the supply of basic products at cost price without the intermediation of speculators linked to the capitalist oligarchy that runs the country and that seeks to profit in the midst of the war.
Both the new anti-worker labor laws and the speculation of commodity prices demoralize the whole effort of the Ukrainian working class in the defense of the country. (V)
U.S. and European imperialism do not deliver the weapons needed for Ukrainian victory
Despite Western propaganda about U.S. and European imperialism’s “support” for Ukraine, the fact is that the U.S. and European governments are not providing the weapons necessary for Ukraine to win the war. The announcements of new military budgets serve the arms race of each imperialist country and not support for Ukraine. (VI)
Western imperialism does not want a full Russian victory, which would provoke more crises in the world order. Nor does it want a Russian defeat, which could unleash workers’ uprisings in Russia, Chechnya, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Syria, threatening the business of the big international corporations and destabilizing a whole region of the planet, with worldwide repercussions. (VIII)
The international left divided between Putin and neutrality
Most of the reformist left forces around the world close their eyes to the Ukrainian people’s right to self-determination and, directly or indirectly, side with Putin “against NATO.” They understand that the Ukrainian workers’ resistance constitutes only the “ground forces” of NATO. They say nothing about the character of the Russian regime, a capitalist and autocratic regime in the service of the Russian oligarchy and based on the political police.
There are even pacifists, supporters of neutrality, or even those who advocate the withdrawal of Russian troops, but are against sending arms to Ukraine. This is the case of a manifesto launched by international feminist personalities which was rejected by Ukrainian feminist and LGBT organizations, resulting in a counter-manifesto for their right to resist.(VIII)
Strengthening international solidarity
The International Workers League (Fourth International) – IWL-FI, stands on the side of the Ukrainian resistance against the Russian aggression and for the recovery of all Ukrainian territory, including the regions of Donbass and Crimea taken by Russia in 2014.
We demand the delivery of all necessary weaponry so that the Ukrainian people can defend themselves and expel the aggressor troops. At the same time, we denounce the hypocrisy of the imperialist countries and their arms race, whose aim is to maintain their domination and the plunder of the peoples of the world, as well as the labor reforms of the Zelensky government in the service of the Ukrainian oligarchy.
We support the initiatives of international solidarity directed to the Ukrainian working class that is at the forefront of the resistance, in particular the Campaign of Workers’ Aid to Ukraine promoted by the International Labour Network for Solidarity and Struggles as a living example of proletarian internationalism, which is more necessary than ever to build a workers’ alternative to the capitalist disaster.