Tag Archives: Communist Party of the Russian Federation

Russian Socialist Movement: “Let the Streets Speak!”

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The most boring election campaign in the past twenty years has ended with a crushing moral defeat for the establishment. It hardly matters whether United Russia will gain a super-majority in the Duma or has to share seats with LDPR or A Just Russia. What matters is that, despite all the invocations of stability, all the clever scenarios and vote rigging, the Russian people have loudly declared their right to change. The elections have powerfully demonstrated a lack of confidence in the entire political system as embodied by the “party of swindlers and thieves.” Amidst the suffocating atmosphere of stagnation and hopelessness something new can be sensed in the air. Is it a quickly passing Thaw? An Arab Spring? A February Revolution?

From now on, we are faced with an old regime that is unpopular and illegitimate in the eyes of the active part of society, a regime that will inevitably attempt to govern in the old way even as this becomes more and more problematic. On the other hand, we see a huge mass of people who hate the party of swindlers and thieves. What is more, these people publicly humiliated the regime on December 4, only to be cruelly deceived once again. Finally, we have an utterly false and impotent “systemic” opposition, an opposition that people voted for according to the “anyone but them” principle, and whose electoral success was bad news even for itself. As part of the establishment, the systemic parties will undoubtedly seek to form blocs and coalitions with United Russia. The only question is whether they will be able to settle on a price. Echoing Dmitry Medvedev, Sergei Neverov, secretary of the United Russia General Council Presidium, has already said that the party is counting on forming strategic alliances with LDPR and A Just Russia. “This will be […] a parliament in which there is serious discussion,” he said. “The opposition are not enemies. The opposition are people who have an alternative opinion, a different opinion. And if this opinion coincides [with ours] on certain questions, then they’re welcome! We’re ready to cooperate,” said Andrei Vorobyov, chair of United Russia’s central executive committee. He opened wide his liberal arms even as police on the streets of Moscow and Petersburg were beating up demonstrators protesting election fraud.

“Politics is the art of compromise, an art that allows one to find a balance between different political groups,” Nikolai Levichev, the chair of A Just Russia, diplomatically declared a few hours after the vote. “Vladimir Putin has spoken of the need to overcome social inequality. We agree with this, but everything depends on what paths are proposed. If these paths don’t suit us, then there will be no coalition.” Hence, the head of the “party of swindlers and thieves” is pursuing the same good ends as A Just Russia, only the paths taken are a bit different. Well, well, we’ll see what happens next.

Igor Lebedev, leader of the LDPR faction in the Duma, is even more straightforward, engaging in outright bargaining, without any ideological embellishments. “We are ready for conversation and reasonable dialogue, but only as equal partners, not as stooges.”

It is obvious that, with such an “opposition,” working people should not expect any progressive changes in their lives. There has never been and never will be anything in the histories of these parties, including the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, other than treachery. The handful of trade unionists and social activists who have made it into the Duma and the regional parliaments on the Communist and Just Russia lists will be unable to affect the essence of their policies. The most they can do is to lend support as they are able to the extra-parliamentary movement, as such people as Oleg Shein, Oleg Smolin, and several others have done in past Dumas. At a time when genuine trade unions and civic movements are weak, and pressure from the repressive security forces will grow, this is important albeit secondary.

Now the streets must become the arena of political struggle. Russia will either take its place in the global anti-capitalist movement, or again sink into apathy and stagnation. Voting for “anyone but them” should be replaced by the struggle for clearly perceived social interests. New, independent political forces must replace the old corrupt parties. If the left wants to be such a force, it must become a party of action. We must confront nationalist populism, which derives political capital from anti-immigrant rhetoric, with the simple, clear idea of the struggle against the bourgeoisie and the parasitic bureaucracy inseparable from it, against the rich bastards who have commissioned the hideous farce known as Russian politics!

The Russian Socialist Movement’s appeal: “Everyone into the streets! Russia for working people!”

These should be your demands:

Cancel the results of the fake elections!

An end to repression: the police and the army on the side of the people!

The president and government must resign!

No coalitions and agreements between opposition parties and United Russia!

Free elections involving all parties and social movements!

Freedom of rallies, marches and strikes!

Free education and healthcare: suspend Federal Law No. 83 and other anti-social laws!

Nationalization of banks, oil and gas resources!

Progressive taxation: let the rich pay for their crisis!

Price controls on consumer goods!

Worker control in the workplace: worker participation in management and distribution of profits!

Revolution – Democracy – Socialism!

December 6, 2011 

Russian Socialist Movement

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Filed under leftist movements, open letters, manifestos, appeals, political repression, protests, Russian society

Ilya Budraitskis: A Lone Red Flag

If the social upheaval that has just begun ends with the dismantling of the current regime — and I have no doubt that this will happen sooner or later — it will not only be Putin, United Russia, and Vasily Yakimenko and his lads who are sent to the rubbish heap. The final, irrevocable end will also come to the rotten political system built on the ruins of the parliament [the Supreme Soviet and Congress of People’s Deputies] that was executed in October 1993.

It was back then that this insulting set of false alternatives — Zyuganov, LDPR, Yavlinsky, and the “center-left” shit that constantly changes its dull leaders — was approved.  All of them have been an integral part of “managed democracy,” established by Yeltsin and brought to its present perfection by Putin over the past decade. And all of them must share with it responsibility for the privatization, impoverishment, and trampled rights and dignity of our unhappy, downtrodden population.

And of course, the most cynical and depraved part of this campaign has been the leadership of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF). The degree of their contempt for their own people, their thousands of honest, dedicated rank-and-file activists, and their millions of sincere voters is beyond belief. While United Russia and its predecessors falsified and stole votes from other parties, the Communist Party bosses sold the votes of their own supporters. They sold them for comfortable and predictable seats in the Duma, for the opportunity to huff and puff on TV while continuing to pose as the “only real opposition.” They sold them so as to avoid responsibility for anything whatsoever.

They did it in 1993 by running in the infamous elections on the ashes of the [Russian] White House [seat of the first post-Soviet Russian parliament]. They did it in 1996 by handing over their victory to Yeltsin and, in 2000, by submitting to Putin. And finally today, they are again ready to take their seats in the new Duma.

Yesterday, before going to Chistoprudny Boulevard [for the opposition rally] I went to the Communist Party rally, where rosy-cheeked mandarins were “recapping” the election results. It was like some incredibly perverse mockery of common sense. Half of our votes were stolen, they (Rashkin and Klychkov) said. There were gross violations [of election law] at almost every polling station. These elections are illegitimate, criminal. But even in these difficult conditions we have been able to increase the number of our seats in the Duma, and now we are ready to fight for the rights of working people with renewed vigor and even more effectively in the new parliament.

I stood there and thought about how doubly, triply disgusting this deal was, this deal carried out for the umpteenth time under the red flag, under the name “Communist Party,” which was deftly privatized in the wild nineties by a gang of petty grifters.

An hour later, already standing amidst the crowd on Chistoprudny, I suddenly saw a lone red flag shoot up, a flag emblazoned with the hammer and sickle, with the words “Communist Party.” And this struck me as genuinely important, for more than seeing Zyuganov and his accomplices before the tribunal of history, I would like to see the once-deceived rank-and-file members and supporters of the Communist Party alongside me on streets risen in rebellion.

Ilya Budraitskis is an activist with the Russian Socialist Movement.

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