Russia: Moscow May Day march

Socialists harassed by nationalist “left”

The May Day meeting in Moscow also did not pass without incidents. The CWI contingent was joined by women’s rights groups and LGBT activists in a lively protest chanting such demands as: “No to banks and tanks, yes to schools and jobs”, “Less banks, more books”, “Cairo yesterday, Moscow tomorrow”, “Down with exploitation, long live emancipation” and “Raise the red flag against capitalism”.

Throughout we were harassed by the ultra rights, members of the so called “left front” and the official Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF). They talk about defending “all the oppressed” and the “working people” but the platform speeches were interspersed with a band singing Russian patriotic songs such as “Russia pays for everything!” and complaints about fifth columnists attacking the Russian people.

Half way through the march one of KPRF leader Zyuganov’s bodyguards charged into our contingent to seize a placard he did not like – not only did we manage to get it back but also held off the attempt by the riot police to take a comrade under arrest. As we neared the end point for the rally, we were stopped and made to leave the march. This has had a wide resonance in the blogosphere and traditional media.

We were not the only people fighting for our rights who came up against the reactionary, nationalist nature of much of the “official” Russian left. A group of Syrians came with their placards in defense of the current uprising only to leave in disgust when they discovered that the KPRF leaders openly praise the regimes in Syria, Libya and Belarus!

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May 2011