Global conflicts and the Left

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak

The division of Left political positions and ideological formulations over the Russian invasion of Ukraine are disturbing. It sends the wrong message to the working-class politicians across the globe. It is imperative for the Left to reflect on how its political confusions provide ideological justifications for different forms of wars and conflicts.

Wars and conflicts are different from class struggles.

Class struggles are ideologically driven by the working class to uphold their interests while changing society for the better whereas wars and conflicts uphold ruling and non-ruling class interests represented by states and governments. Class struggles enable progressive and democratic transformations in the society whereas wars and conflicts maim, kill, control, create and domesticate a large army of unemployed, marginalized, homeless and displaced people. Wars and conflicts destroy civilizations and societies to uphold the interests of the powerful and marginalizes the masses. It creates the republic of refugees. Deaths and displacements are twin outcomes of wars.

The theaters of war and conflicts are slaughterhouses for the most committed, dedicated, idealist, skilled and healthy youth. The war propaganda cripples the abilities of people to think rationally in the name of nationalism, territory and motherland. Science and technologically driven modern wars kill scientific thoughts.

Therefore, the unconditional opposition to Russian invasion of Ukraine, NATO and the neo–Nazi Azov battalion in Ukraine is central to left politics for peace, solidarity and internationalism. It is ideological bankruptcy and reactionary politics to choose one over the other in the name of fighting the enemy and protecting the territorial sovereignty.

Whose enemy? Whose territory? Whose sovereignty?

Defending people irrespective of their national origin is central to left politics and internationalism. Territorial nationalism is a ruling class ideology, which is shaped by colonialism, and promoted by states, protected by governments and consolidated by military power and wars. The wars for the homeland create homelessness.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine serves war mongering American and European imperialists, and oligarchs of Russia and Ukraine. There are no culturally relativist and ideologically expedient arguments available in favor of Russian invasion of Ukraine. The struggle of peace, citizenship rights, equality, liberty, democracy and socialism are core values of left politics. These ideals can never be separated from each other. The opposition to Russian invasion is the first step towards peace and working-class politics of internationalism.

Left politics is almost dead in India

In spite of electoral defeat, right-wing politics continues to enjoy a significant support base in Karnataka. The BJP has secured 36% of the total votes, which highlights the reactionary political, cultural and economic to the people of Karnataka and to their secular society. The BJP is going to be more reactionary to consolidate their higher caste Hindu vote bank after their electoral defeat.

The decline in vote share of left parties in the Karnataka assembly election is a disturbing outcome.

These parties lost elections in all their strongholds. Some lazy political analysis attributes this to weak trade union movements and identity politics. The left parties have engaged in internal conflicts and formed political alliances without a clear direction, prioritising personal differences over ideological class positions.

This decline in the left’s vote share is disastrous for the working people of the state and sends a negative signal to national politics. The political disunity among left parties is a clear example of missed opportunities in working-class politics and the promotion of radical political consciousness.

Prof. Bhabani Shankar Nayak is a political economist working as Professor at University of Glasgow, UK.

Disclaimer: The views expressed are not necessarily those of The South Asian Times  

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