Voices from Russia

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Russian Left Explores United Front


The closer the presidential elections approach, the more active the opposition becomes. Sergei Udaltsov, the leader of the Left Front movement, said that the left should form a united front under the red banner for the next rally on 4 February, urging all leftists to form a united anti-capitalist party.

At the Forum of Left Forces in Moscow this Saturday, some 300 Communists, Stalinists, Maoists, and Trotskyites from all factions of the left discussed ways to overcome the differences that have plagued them for the past 20 years. They’ve repeatedly attempted to unite, but efforts at union always failed. Their objective is to “build a humane and classless society, recognise the principle of public ownership of the means of production, and a multi-lateral approach to international affairs”. Their joint declaration affirmed the priority of “replacing the presidential system with a parliamentary one, the affirmation of the rights of freedom of speech and assembly, the right to a free education and healthcare, and the protection of cultural and human rights”. They insisted on the nationalisation of the commodity sector and banks, imposing control on foreign trade in “strategic products, and the replacement of the current 13 percent flat tax with progressive rate taxation.

Vladimir Lakeyev, the leader of the Moscow branch of the KPRF said, “The left mustn’t remain on the sidelines of political life… the massive protests against the rigged elections to the Gosduma should goad us to unite. We’ll join the marches against electoral fraud on 4 February. As Lenin said, we must always be with the masses. At the same time, we must never forget who are the keynote speakers of the planned protests… Boris Nemtsov, Konstantin Borovoi, Aleksei Kudrin, Mikhail Gorbachyov, and those like them. Today, they call for fair elections, but in the ‘90s, they seized power. They call for new elections because the people refused to back the rightwing parties in the 4 December elections. Yabloko, for instance, failed to make it into the Gosduma. The same is true of Right Cause, which won a meagre 2 percent of the vote. The other right-wing groups weren’t even on the map. All of them oppose corruption only because they don’t have the opportunity to ‘milk’ the budget. Therefore, today, they plot to return to power using bourgeois-democratic catchwords and slogans. We must be on our guard against these gents, and not unwittingly help them to regain power”.

Sergei Udaltsov spoke about plans for much more than a simple electoral protest on the day of the march, saying, “Today, leftwing ideas are popular in society. The latest Gosduma elections in Russia revealed a popular shift away from the liberals {“conservatives” in Anglosphere terminology: editor} and the nationalists in the direction of the left. Indeed, the Communists and Just Russia were among the biggest vote-winners. An anti-capitalist coalition’s emerging, which has the entire Putin system, rather than Vladimir Putin himself in its crosshairs. This system’s flawed and it’s dangerous for the country and for our people. We must develop a coherent plan of action. Firstly, we have to understand our role in the popular movement that started on 4 December. Some say that we shouldn’t join rallies with liberals and ‘Orange Revolution’ proponents. You never make a real revolution in crisp white gloves. You can’t do that, you only wear that sort of thing at funerals. Therefore, on 4 February, in Moscow and many other Russian cities, we need a massive turnout of people marching under the red banner”.

For the first time, the presidential election will take place in a setting of mass rallies. Both the authorities and the opposition are rolling out mass events. Latest reports say there’ll be two rival sets of marches and rallies on 4 February, one led by the opposition, and the other by followers of Vladimir Putin. However, Moscow will see when the left marches…

28 January 2012

Lada Korotun

Voice of Russia World Service



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