“THE WORKING PROTEST MOVEMENT OF BELARUS WILL STILL SHOW HIMSELF AND STAND IN FULL GROWTH!”
Today, the Resistentiam editors talk with a member of the Central Committee of the Belarusian Party of the Left “FAIR WORLD” – our comrade Pavel Katarzhevsky – about the true role, place and prospects of the left socialist movement in the oppositional mass processes of the modern Republic of Belarus.
Comrade Katarzhevsky, as a representative of a serious left opposition political camp, please try to predict in the format of our interview, politically defining the form of the state socio-political system into which the Republic of Belarus will finally be transformed after August 2020?
Since 1996, an authoritarian-bourgeois regime has been established in Belarus with all the characteristics typical of such regimes, which can be briefly expressed by the formula “neoliberalism plus the absence of political democracy”. Given the massive protest mobilization and the crisis of legitimacy, the regime has only one chance to proloToday, the Resistentiam editors talk with a member of the Central Committee of the Belarusian Party of the Left “FAIR WORLD” – our comrade Pavel Katarzhevsky – about the true role, place and prospects of the left socialist movement in the oppositional mass processes of the modern Republic of Belarus.ng its agony – fascisation or, if you will, “pinochetisation.” Any attempts to soften the political system will lead to further erosion of authoritarianism, but it is also worth noting that the authorities also lack the resources to “tighten the screws”. The regime has no good or at least some acceptable options for transformation.
Lukashenko plans to: a) lead the Republic of Belarus along a symmetrical path with Putin’s RF, which may result in some new form of interstate capitalist integration ?; b) trying to create an autonomous conservative-liberal capitalist state formation in the center of Europe?
The second option seems to me the most probable. If we look at the previous years that Lukashenko was in power, we can see that the regime very easily forgets about its promises and constantly behaves like a chameleon, as soon as it receives from its partners all the benefits that were necessary for the implementation of domestic political goals. It is not excluded that Lukashenka will once again try to “deceive” Putin, but the Kremlin is unlikely in the long term to get involved with an “ally” who has lost the credit of trust within the country and even among some middle-class elites.
What role, in your opinion, does the Russian ruling bourgeois class of the Kremlin really play in the political processes of your country in the present and in the future, accustomed to socio-political manipulations?
The solidarity of the autocrats plays a role, and the fact that Moscow recognized the Belarusian elections does not mean that the disagreements with the official Minsk have completely disappeared. Of course, Russia will try to get its own benefits and push Lukashenko to a symbolic transition of power. Neither Moscow nor Brussels needs a third player at the chessboard.
Primary protest mass actions of the Belarusian opposition on June 19-20, their brutal suppression – as it seems to us, from here, once again revealed the nazification-police nature of the class and repressive state apparatus of Mr. Lukashenko. I am interested in the question: of those Belarusians who are now taking part in opposition actions against the August presidential elections, are only members of opposition political formations, how does the official media represent a Russian citizen? Or – did the ripening serious discontent of the people play a role?
The old opposition turned out to be not ready to mobilize against the dictatorship and, in fact, remained out of work. In addition, members and supporters of the institutionalized opposition do not constitute a significant percentage of the population. Meanwhile, up to 300,000 citizens took part in the protests in Minsk. Obviously, such a mass character could not be the result of the political work of even a very influential political force. People came out to protests because of the deteriorating living standards, police terror against ordinary citizens and the lack of ability to influence political decision-making. By the way, many protesters emphasize that they were previously apolitical people. And the left opposition certainly has a huge field to work with.
Did the anti-government tendencies of the ordinary non-party population also show themselves in the next, more powerful protest wave in Belarus? Did any of the neutrals earlier, back in June, support you, the left opposition forces?
At the current protests, the left has great prospects in general. This is due to the fact that the agenda is purely democratic and social in nature, despite all efforts, the extreme right-wing and liberal programs do not find support from the protesters. Even media personalities like the single protest candidate Tikhanovskaya enjoy symbolic support rather than real and do not have much influence on the demands of the protesters and the development of the popular movement.
Even 5-10 years ago, the Republic of Belarus among the population of the Russian Federation had a certain illusory areola of the “solid skeleton of the Soviet Union” (for “nostalgists”), and some directly called Lukashenko a competent successor to Comrade Masherov’s managerial talents … However, when my comrades and I visited Minsk in the summer of 2019, in addition to the impoverishment of the population, we were struck by the beginning of direct Nazification, which means, in the near future, the fascization of the country?
Yes, it is quite possible. Many Russian leftists try to compare Lukashenko with Masherov and almost Allende. However, he looks more like characters unpleasant for the left, like Pinochet, Salazar, Franco or Orban. I can hardly understand how Lukashenko, who destroyed benefits for socially vulnerable segments of the population, introduced a slave contract system of hiring and destroyed the democratically elected Supreme Soviet with a strong communist faction, can be considered left.
In Belarus, in response to the strengthening of the state’s consciousness, the manipulation of the common people’s consciousness and the expansion of repressions against dissidents, the process of consolidation of the once scattered Belarusian so-called. “Red political front”? If so, are there any organizations in the Republic of Belarus that are now ready to blockade, despite the intensification of repressions, with the Belarusian Party of the Left “Fair World”? If such an opposition left coalition is formed in Belarus, how complete it can be in the near future, in your opinion, from the inside?
For a long time now, our party has not been looking for meaningless alliances and coalitions that are created solely for the sake of the alliances and coalitions themselves. We tried to invite the largest leftist parties to adopt a joint declaration in connection with the situation in the country, but the other leftists were unable to agree at this stage. However, there are examples of successful cooperation between leftists from different parties and organizations at the local level. At the moment, many of our slogans about the democratization of the political system and the restoration of social guarantees coincide and interaction at one level or another is simply inevitable.
By all objective parameters, when in the Republic of Belarus Mr. Lukashenko is striving for an endless presidential term, who in some ways wants to parody the “eternal state of Putin”, does the left Marxist opposition have a certain promising resistant program paradigm of further political action in the state? Will the reactionaries in power take the path of toughening measures to combat any political dissent?
Every opportunity always contains two realities, and we cannot say unequivocally that the left will have to act in the future under the conditions of a dictatorship. But even if the coming political winter turns out to be long and cold, the situation, taking into account local peculiarities, will nevertheless not be unique. Many Communist parties were forced to gain popularity on the brink of survival and working in completely unbearable conditions.
Can you announce approximate or real numbers of missing citizens in the August trials of Belarus for our resource? Are there independent initiative groups, or some civil initiatives, which are currently investigating specific state crimes of the Lukashenko regime?
According to the information released by the UN, at least six people are missing. Some of the missing were previously found dead in completely unexpected places and under strange circumstances. In addition, five people were killed, about 450 cases of torture were recorded.
Pavel, already your release, when the “Fair World” came out with red flags to the resistance square, protesting against the detention of left-wing activists – together with the bearers of white-red flags, these two protesting flanks had common ground, except for the civil struggle against the Lukashenko regime”? Do groups of people under white-red flags have a systemic political consciousness, clear ideology, programmatic guidelines? Who are they for the most part – bearers of right-liberal views, or who temporarily succumbed to the general mood, picking up and supporting the general wave of indignation against the Lukashenko dictatorship that has expired all terms, but is grabbing for power in Belarus?
Today, the white-red-white flag is perceived by citizens as a symbol of civil resistance, and not as a symbol of nationalism. Although, of course, it is also worth remembering that the white-red-white flag is historically a symbol of the Belarusian social democracy. I think that if a bucket was depicted on the banner of protest, it would have no less popularity.
Red banners and Soviet symbols do not cause any rejection among the protesters. The appearance of our banners revives people of socialist views, who have not yet seen other leftist organizations participating in the protests.
It would be very interesting for us to know your (or yours, Pavel) objective opinion on the origin, political content, actions and prospects of the phenomenon of Mrs. Tikhanovskaya?
In place of Tikhanovskaya, there could have been the “bucket” I have already mentioned, and even it would have gained more votes than Lukashenko. Tikhanovskaya became an aggregator of protest sentiments, and this is not surprising at all. She does not have clear ideological guidelines, although we understand that Tikhanovskaya expresses the position of that part of the ruling class, which was denied entry into the ranks of the ruling class. It is already obvious that Tikhanovskaya and her entourage would not have dared to carry out their own program, and representatives of her headquarters had previously stated about the possibility of some “compromise option” for the transfer of power.
Going out to a mass protest of tens of thousands of representatives of the working class, as if on a common signal – and very well organized, perhaps by local honest trade unions, on the basis of the class rage of workers accumulated over the past 2-3 years – this is, in your opinion, a tendency, which will expand? We observed how readily people came out at once to the squares and streets of Belarusian cities. Will the repressive state machine and the possible support of the Russian Federation intimidate them, or is their patience already running out, especially after the recent events?
I think the labor movement will still show itself and stand up to its full height. At the moment, the authorities have managed to partially intimidate the leaders of the strike committees and suppress the strike mood, but the working class has already gained some experience of self-organization and against the background of the impending economic catastrophe, the workers will lose what they were threatened to take away from them in case of participation in strikes. Then there will be no restraining factors and any attempts to lull or intimidate workers simply will not remain.
How would you comment on the notorious mass theory that has flooded the Russian informational social-patriotic segment: that “workers are unconscious masses who do not really put forward any demands, which, according to the manipulative opinion of the Russian media, were prepared by the eternal“ pro-Western political technologists ”who do not know What have the external elements that have taken root in large Belarusian enterprises have promised and said?
This is the eternal argument of all counter-revolutionaries, they are constantly looking for the guilty and blame external enemies. Since the 19th century nothing has changed in their propaganda. The workers, by the way, are making demands that are quite progressive – ensuring the activities of independent trade unions, democratizing the political system and abolishing the contractual system of hiring.
A very important and extreme question: for our part, we, the international network social-communist organization International of Combat Social Action SOUTH-EASTERN STAR, with political stakes-cells in a number of countries in Europe, Asia and America – completely and completely, openly, publicly want to fully support you, our comrades and like-minded people!
Your “Fair World” Party skillfully, in our opinion, conducted skillful explanatory activities and took an active part in the class struggle in the country, where the inhuman capitalist terror against its own people began, and this ended in even greater repressions that took place before our eyes in Belarus! Dear comrades, tell us how we can provide real support – now or in the near future, perhaps – broader informational support, using our foreign network rates, – to the repressed left political camp fighting against the inhuman regime of Belarus?
The best support at the moment is the dissemination of objective information about the activities of the independent left forces. Lukashenko invests huge propaganda resources to represent himself as a socialist and almost a communist, and the solidarity of the left forces with the fight against his dictatorship is hard on this artificially created image. Today, the authorities have to look for microscopic pseudo-communist sects, divorced from reality, which are being led to the Belarusian state propaganda, since the majority of left-wing parties have taken a constructive position and condemned terror and falsifications. Now it is really necessary to knock out the last stool from under the feet of Lukashenko’s propaganda machine.
Thank you, Comrade Katarzhevsky, for an honest, important and timely conversation. We are together. The fight continues!