3 Million March on May Day in Former USSR
By Mike Davidow, People's Weekly World, 13 May 1995, p. 15
Three million march on May Day in former USSR - this was the estimate of the trade unions of Russia which marched with the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) in Moscow and other cities.
In Moscow, 50,000 marched in bitter cold under the blue streamers of the Independent Trade Unions and the red banners of the CPRF. It was the most significant demonstration thus far of labor, Left, Left of Center solidarity. Moscow's unions, representing all sections of the capital's industries, were followed by the massed membership of the 50 city Party organizations and the followers of the Agrarian party, Union of Social Democrats, Greens and patriotic organizations.
Heading the parade were Genady Zuganov, chair of the CPRF, and Mikhail Schmakov, president of the Independent Trade Unions of Russia. Both addressed the huge demonstration in Sverdlov Square. Zuganov, who had just returned from the flaming borders of Tajikistan, under attack by Afghan and Tajik Islam fundamentalists, noted the dangers menacing the Russian state as a result of the Gorbachev-Yeltsin destruction of the USSR. He declared, "We are ready to form a patriotic bloc that will represent the interests of all the people. And for that, the unity of the working people is most important." He was greeted with cheers. Zuganov concluded, "Such a people's bloc can emerge victorious in the December parliamentary and June 1996 presidential elections."
Schmakov stated, "Only together can we solve our common problems."
Gen. Nechayev recalled the enthusiasm of May Day 1945. "With that spirit, we restored the ruins of our country in short time. Now, we veterans, are heartbroken to see what kind of country we and our children live in today. There is only one way out," he concluded, "revive the people's unity of the Great Patriotic War to remove the government that took away from us the fruits of our socialist life. Let us make this jubilee year (50th anniversary) a turning point."
Andrei Issaev, Union of Social Democrats, stressed that the "key to victory lies in a Left, Left Center bloc supported by the trade unions." The meeting ended with Russian folk songs from the plafform and dancing in the streets.
The other Communist Parties marched separately and held their meeting on the same square. Here was reflected the unfortunate lack of unity that still confronts the left. The CPRF was criticized by some speakers as "opportunist."
In the last six weeks, rents increased three times and food prices tripled. Frightened by the spector of a victorious bloc of Left-Left Center patriotic forces, the Yeltsin-Chernomyrdin regime has come up with a Russian variant of our two capitalist party trap: two twin party blocks are being formed, one led by Chernomyrdin, the Prime Minister, the other by Speaker of the Duma, Ivan Rybkin. The aim is to break away the Left Center from an alliance with the Left-patriotic forces and to isolate the latter.
Rybkin is a would-be Russian Clinton in alliance with Yeltsin and Chernomyrdin. The "heads I win tails you lose" Chernomyrdin Rybkin blocs are U.S. capitalism's alternative to Yeltsin, the played out man in Moscow of the U.S. ruling class.
Now in the U.S., Rybkin is very likely promoting his alternative. Russia's compradore-capitalist-criminal alliance is drawing upon the rich experiences of their U.S. backers in the "art" of clinging to power. To form what could be a winning Left-Left of Center patriotic bloc will demand, especially of the CPRF, great skill and perseverance in overcoming the all-out resistance of Russia's new capitalist ruling class, which knows it will never get a second chance. And it will put to the test all Communists. As Olga Dmitrevna Ulyanova, Lenin's niece, stated at the second May Day meeting; "Lenin said Communists must be together."
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