Recently, the National Defence and Security Council decided to temporarily suspend the activities of a number of Ukrainian political parties. The list includes both major opposition parties and lesser-known ones that use the words "progressive", "left" or "socialist" in their names. President Volodymyr Zelensky accused them of “connections with Russia” but did not back the claims with any legal basis.
We realise that at least some members of these parties, and particularly their leadership:
- Downplayed the danger of Russian chauvinist ambitions and bordered on justifying the aggression, if not directly worked with the Kremlin;
- Misdirected popular frustration caused by neoliberal policies of the governments into fighting the caricature image of “the West” destroying “Slavic civilisation”;
- Spread xenophobia, anti-semitism, homophobia and hatred.
Thus, even those using, but in fact hijacking, left-wing phraseology in reality just served the oligarchic consensus.
Nevertheless, any possible cooperation of the aforementioned organisations — as well as of their individual members — with Russian imperialists has to be investigated, and tried in court. People involved in sabotage of the popular resistance have to bear individual responsibility for their actions. We recognise the importance and symbolism of democratic freedoms and believe that indiscriminate party bans have no place in today’s struggle.
We have already seen how the government tried to abuse the situation of war to attack the labour rights of Ukrainian workers — now its actions are aimed at limiting political and civil freedoms. We cannot support this.
Moreover, we warn against any attempts to stigmatise the left and social movements in general by automatically linking progressive agendas to the Kremlin. Left and union activists today are fighting the aggressor as members of the military force and territorial defense; as volunteers involved in the provision of equipment, food and medical supplies, evacuation and accommodation of the refugees and internally displaced people; and as groups building international solidarity and demanding to write off the foreign debt, seize the assets of the Russian state, and stop tolerating offshoring.
We appreciate numerous left movements around the world that have already voiced their support, recognised Ukraine’s right to self-defense and continued pressuring their governments to take concrete steps.
The people of Ukraine — not the capitalists who have always used them to extract value and store it abroad — are bearing immense hardships today, and they deserve a fairer tomorrow. Socialism is the best way to bring more justice into our society and pursue common aims. That is what we, Sotsialnyi Rukh, stand for!
[Sotsialnyi Rukh (Social Movement) is a socialist organisation of Ukrainian workers and students. This statement was originally published on its website.]