Ukraine: Zakhar Popovych on Trotskyism

Dear friends, as some of you are interested in my participation in the Workers’ Resistance group ( two decades ago, I should confirm it. It is true that I had tried to be simultaneously a member of all Trotskyist Internationals. It was due to my deeply wrong ultra-left position of the time that all Trotskyist organizations should either join one true International or are not “true” Trotskyist by themselves. The outcome was opposite to reunification – growing of mistrust and degeneration of meaningful discussion among effected Trotskyist organizations and discreditation of Trotskyism in Ukraine. This behavior was the consequence of our political and geographical isolation, the lack of political and life experience (most of us were twenty years old or younger), naivety, marginalization of the whole society. But I don't want to defend this rough political and personal mistake.

You can’t reunify small Marxist sectarian groups by just convincing them with good arguments and exposing them to the objective reality. It’s not how it works. Moreover, there are some structural problems in almost all these organizations that make them not interested in what is really going on in other countries and often disconnected from grassroot movement even in their own. Unconscious postcolonial way of building the “International” where central leadership in some imperialist country of the Global North “knew better” what is going on in your country is unfortunately very typical. This is now becoming obvious in discussion about Ukraine among people who never visited it, never attempted to learn the language, never study situation on the ground in any detail, but have the “true” geopolitical analysis that states mainly that struggle of Ukrainian workers is not that important and could be sacrificed for maintaining the opportunistic belief that their political position was generally right, and they can safely continue to do nothing.

The support Workers’ Resistance obtained from some international groups 20 years ago was composed of material donation in value of around $7K was very small and was almost entirely and immediately used to support day to day activities of the organization. And activities were unfortunately turning more and more from grassroot Ukrainian work towards deep dive into meaningless inter-sectarian discussions. And of course, I spend much of my personal funds to support the Workers’ Resistance and never obtain any financial benefits from it.

My reflections on the political mistakes of early 2000s persuaded me that true grassroot internationalism should be built on the bases of honest, transparent and respectful political discussion and true desire to hear the voice of the grassroots of all countries, and first of all voices of the working class on the Global South that is suffering the most from imperialist aggression and exploitation.