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Ukraine: rogue CWI group deceives international left
International Secretariat, LFI, 22 August 2003

Investigations that the League for the Fifth International have carried out over the past three weeks reveal that individuals claiming to be a Ukrainian section of the League are in fact members of the Committee for a Workers International (CWI). No section of the LFI in fact existed in Ukraine. In an unprecedented political fraud these people &Mac246; numbering up to 20 - infiltrated the LFI and pretended over three years to be members through a series of elaborate lies and deceptions.

We were alerted to this by an accusations made on a web discussion group towards the end of July, and by the subsequent identification, by an LFI member who recently visited Kiev, of a leading figure in the CWI (Oleg Vernik) pretending to be a member of our section.

Consultations with the CWI and the International Bolshevik Tendency enabled us to confirm that a number of CWI members were involved in an elaborate confidence trick that included a series of meetings with international socialist organisations both in Kiev and abroad. The deception took place on a considerable scale, involving attendance at international demonstrations, other meetings and congresses, meetings held in Kiev with foreign visitors, the production of publications, writing polemical articles against other tendencies (including the CWI).

The fraudsters acted in a highly co-ordinated fashion, ensuring that many of them expressed and expounded the views of the tendencies in question in a relatively sophisticated manner and with apparent complete conviction.
The number of tendencies deceived in this way, and the sheer level of activity required to sustain the deception, suggest that this grouping could have had little time for anything else, let alone systematic activity in the working class movement. We await a full explanation as to how the Ukraine CWI, which is formally part of the CIS section and which profited financially from this scam, could play these games over three years without sounding the alarm bells with their leadership in Moscow and London.

In short, over the last period, when socialists of all countries were mobilising against capitalism and war, these people busied themselves defrauding anticapitalist and antiwar organisations.

The only two motives imaginable for such a deception could be monetary advantage&Mac247; in plain terms theft&Mac247; or a conscious attempt to discredit revolutionary internationalism.

The exact reasons for what was in fact a very elaborate confidence trick must await further evidence&Mac247; since no large sums of money were involved, at least on the part of the LFI. Of course the sheer number of tendencies defrauded, could lead to he sums involved being considerable. Given the difficulties which distance, very limited resources and language barriers place in the way of common daily work, such deception is always a possibility. Fortunately it is a rarity.

We understand that they deny such motives and maintain they are loyal to the CWI! However nothing can justify taking money from another organisation within the workers movement under false pretences.

Any misappropriation of funds contributed by working class people and socialists is quite simply a crime against the working class as a whole. It undermines the necessary trust for the collection of resources and funds for organising and waging the class struggle.

When people claiming to be "revolutionaries" and even "Trotskyists" do such things they give a weapon to the class enemy. Even if they really believe they are serving their own political tendency they are in fact engaging in criminal adventurism. For short term material gains they drag their own political banner through the mud, ensuring no one will ever trust them again.

Of course it is possible that what we have here was a conscious attempt to discredit the whole idea of international comradeship and collaboration. What could be the motive for this? This would serve the interests either of a bourgeois nationalist or national-centred currents in the workers&Mac226; movement (Stalinism or Social Democracy). Last but not least there is the possibility of the intervention of the state itself.

The CWI has said publicly that it is investigating this. Other tendencies are doing likewise. We will co-operate with them to expose this fraud fully and completely. The CWI have suspended them. If the individuals concerned have any shred of revolutionary honour they will now make a full and complete confession. If not they, and all their accomplices, should be fully exposed to the entire Ukrainian and international left. We are willing to play our full part in doing this.

As a consequence the LFI immediately suspended RV-MRM and severed all connections with it pending the next meeting of our International Executive Committee, which alone has the power to expel a section.

Doubtless those tendencies that have always opposed attempting to build an common international organisation in general or claimed it was necessary to "postpone" it until large and stable mass organisations are built on a national basis, will claim they are vindicated by such incidents.

Unhappy the "principle" that sees itself validated by extraordinary acts of criminality! Let us see how such organisations, each totally adapted to their specific national conditions, can possibly succeed in developing an international strategy for revolution.

For our part we will continue to seek to seek out relationships of political solidarity and common action with militants in countries not "blessed" with stable capitalist democracy, because only on this foundation can a truly internationalist organisation be built.

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