Date: Tue, 20 Feb 1996 12:37:31 CST
Interview with Viktor Anpilov: Russian Communists seek united struggle
By By Bill Doares, Workers World, 22 February 1996
Moscow - On Jan. 27, hundreds of worker delegates from around Russia gathered in Moscow for the congress of Workers' Russia, the activist mass organization of the Russian Communist Workers' Party (RKRP).
Debate at the congress centered on whether to support the candidate of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF) in the June presidential elections. The KPRF is larger than the RKRP, but its program is more conciliatory to capitalism.
After a Jan. 25 meeting between RKRP and KPRF leaders, the RKRP central committee voted Jan. 26 not to field its own presidential candidate. The Workers' Russia congress, however, voted to collect signatures to run Viktor Anpilov, RKRP secretary and Workers' Russia leader, for president.
Many delegates to the congress criticized KPRF leader Gennady Zyuganov for supporting a "mixed market economy" and Western investment. Zyuganov's economic program was echoed by KPRF leaders interviewed by WW.
At the congress, however, Anpilov urged the left wing of the communist movement to unite with the KPRF in the elections while maintaining political independence.
Representatives of the KPRF, the Union of Communist Parties of the Soviet Union and the Russian Party of Communists also spoke at the congress, as did RKRP first secretary Viktor Tyulkin. A solidarity message from Workers World Party was delivered.
WW interviewed Viktor Anpilov on the results of the congress.
WW: HOW DO YOU SEE THE UPCOMING PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS IN RUSSIA?
VA: The December parliamentary elections showed that the working people are against capitalism; they want socialism. They want an end to hunger and poverty and unemployment and rising prices.
They want to bring back the rights we had under socialism: the right to a job, to free housing and health care and education and security. They want to stop the colonization of Russia by U.S. monopoly capital.
More than 20 million people voted for the Communist Party of the Russian Federation; 3,157,000 voted for our bloc-- Communist Workers of Russia for the Soviet Union. Those are official figures. We must find a way to unite these forces for the anti-capitalist struggle.
We want a united left front in the presidential elections, and we are meeting with the KPRF to see if it is possible. The masses want unity. They don't understand the differences between communist parties. They will blame the communists if there is not unity, and Yeltsin wins the election.
The KPRF rank and file genuinely want socialism. They are to the left of Zyuganov. In many regions we cooperate. But we must fight for a real communist program, for the unequivocal restoration of Soviet power and socialist ownership of the means of production. We fight for unity on that basis.
WW: HOW CAN THESE GOALS BE ACHIEVED?
VA: We must mobilize the workers for struggle, by the millions and tens of millions. Not only those who can vote. The hardest, low-paying jobs in Moscow are done by Ukrainian workers. Every day they come to our party offices.
They can't vote in Yeltsin's Russia, but they are part of our working class. They were Soviet citizens and want to restore Soviet power.
Millions voted for us in December despite of our complete lack of media access and a campaign of slander against us. We were called "bandits" and "extremists." They said we want bloodshed.
Zhirinovsky came to Belokova, where I ran for the Duma, to speak against me. He said a vote for Anpilov is a vote for civil war.
We don't want war, but war is happening now. Capitalism means war.
Old people and children are dying of malnutrition and disease. Our population has fallen by millions. It is a "velvet" war.
In Chechnya the war is open. The regime is massacring the Chechen people. It is a capitalist war, and we must defend the Chechen people. We stand for Lenin's principle of the right of nations to self-determination, including secession.
To stop these wars we must act strongly to restore Soviet power and socialist property. The struggle cannot wait for the elections. People are dying now.
The KPRF fraction in parliament should act to impeach Yeltsin and to end the war against Chechnya. So far they have been silent. In parliament, Zyuganov called for patience; [KPRF fraction leader] Gennady Selyeznov called for understanding between all branches of power. This is wrong. The task of communists in parliament is to intensify social contradictions, not to smooth them over.
We don't have electoral illusions. The capitalist regime has shown it is capable of anything. We must coordinate electoral work with mass action in the plants, and collective farms. We must organize inside the army.
We must prepare for a general political strike if the elections are canceled or the results are falsified. We must also be ready to struggle if Zyuganov is elected and fails to wage an anti-capitalist struggle.
We will fight until power and the wealth of society are restored to the working people.
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