CPUSA sends protest letter to President Obama on Ukraine

The following is a letter of protest to President Barack Obama from the Communist Party USA regarding the political and violent attacks in the Ukraine by the Right Sector against the Communist Party of the Ukraine, the Ukrainian Jewish communities and other minorities and progressives.

May 14, 2014

Dear President Barack Obama,

We write to you because of our grave concern over recent events in the Ukraine. On May 2, reports state, 1,000 extreme right-wing thugs attacked their fellow Ukrainian citizens in Odessa, setting fire to a union hall to which many had fled.  At least 40 people perished in the blaze. A few days later on May 6, members of parliament from the Communist Party of the Ukraine – a party that had won 32 seats in Ukraine’s Rada (federal parliament) in the 2012 election – were banned from the legislative chamber, according to news reports. Under the leadership of the Right Sector, the drive to outlaw the Communist Party and “communist ideology” is underway with a push for legislation that would implement such anti-democratic measures.

This comes on the heels of anti-Semitic attacks on Jewish Ukrainians and synagogues, attacks on other minorities, and attacks on the central office of the Communist Party in Kiev, which was ransacked and burned, and on regional Communist leaders and activists. The list of outrages could go on.

U.S. policy in the Ukraine purports to uphold democracy, yet reports in the German publication Bild indicate that FBI and CIA operatives are active with Ukrainian “security” forces, including these far right wing forces. How is it democratic to purge a legitimately elected party from parliament? How is it democratic to violently target Communists and others in the Ukraine who disagree with the direction of the right-wing-led acting government? Besides violating the basic premise of national sovereignty, U.S. policy is aiding and abetting the most violent and reactionary forces to grab power all in the name of fighting the Russians.

The United States has its own sordid anti-democratic history of banning the Communist Party and conducting witch hunts against Communists and any person suspected of holding left-wing and progressive political views.  During the Cold War McCarthy era people went to jail for the simple act of thinking these thoughts – in the legal terminology it was called “conspiracy to teach.” The persecution of left and progressive people during this period has been widely considered a deep stain on the democratic ideals of freedom of speech and freedom of association.

The Communist Party of the Ukraine is a legitimate political party that represents a constituency in that country. The chair of the party is a candidate for president in the U.S.-supported May 25 elections. The party advocates for keeping the Ukraine’s territorial integrity through “the widest possible dialogue between all political forces” and offers a program of “federalization and increase[ing] the powers” of the country’s regional governments as a way to end the current crisis and move forward. The Communist Party of the Ukraine also opposes the “oppressive role of foreign intervention” that includes Russia as well as the United States and any other outside actor.

We urge that your administration take immediate steps to communicate to the Right Sector, Svoboda and their allies that their violent and anti-democratic actions will not be supported by the United States. In fact, the United States government, and individual U.S. politicians and officials, should cease to associate themselves with such elements.

The Communist Party USA, in numerous statements and articles, has said that the overall present U.S. policy in Ukraine is detrimental to the interests of the peoples of Ukraine, Russia and Europe, as well as the United States, as this policy has increased instability and violence that could very easily spiral out of control. The current policy and anti-Russia narrative is reminiscent of the Cold War. We recognize and oppose Putin’s strong-arm tactics in the dispute over Crimea and appeals to reactionary nationalism, but the onus of rectifying this dangerous situation remains on your administration. Russia responded to a provocative policy hatched and executed in Washington, namely the encirclement of the country’s western borders by NATO.

The atrocious incident in Odessa was a predictable result of this policy of turning a blind eye to the active fascist presence in Ukraine. The Communist Party USA expresses its outrage at this incident and its solidarity with the families and friends of the victims of this atrocity.

The CPUSA will continue to work for peace in the Ukraine and express its total solidarity with the Communist Party of the Ukraine, with the Ukrainian Jewish community and with all others who are endangered by the extremist upsurge.

On behalf of the National Board of the CPUSA,

Sam Webb

CPUSA chair

Photo: This map shows the results of the Communist Party of Ukraine in the 2012 elections. (Wikipedia)