Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Ukraine and Palestine : “You don’t mean exactly peace talks. You mean capitulation, surrendering….That kind of conversation between the sword & the neck.”

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A correspondent, Mary Scully, explains an important difference.

Wonder why so many demand Ukraine negotiate surrender when it would be absolutely unthinkable to propose the same to Palestinians, Kashmiris, Rohingya & amoral to pressure them to reach an accommodation with their oppressors over their human, democratic, & national liberation rights? As Ghassan says, he has never seen such talks between a colonialist power & a national liberation movement. Under a different leadership, when Palestinians did sit down & talk with Israel & the US, it ended up with the Oslo Accords legitimizing occupation & expropriation & justifying genocide. It turned the Palestinian leadership against their own people. That’s what Ghassan meant about a ‘conversation between the sword & the neck’.

Lastly, we wonder how those who demand Ukrainians negotiate the terms of their surrender to Russia feel about holding the exact same position as Henry Kissinger? Do they believe that the Dr. Strangelove of international mass murder actually has peace & the best interests of the Ukrainian people in mind? Will they ask him to speak at their lilliputian rallies against that NATO proxy war?

Above all in politics, listen to the voices of resistance & human liberation like Ghassan Kanafani & Maqbool Bhat & shout down the monsters of war like Kissinger.

“You don’t mean exactly peace talks”

A correspondent, writing for the Cedar Lounge Revolution (CLR) Blog, dismisses shallow blather in Ireland and abroad following the publication of a Sabina Coyne-Higgins letter calling for a negotiated end to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The CLR author points out that little effort has been made to engage with what was actually said.

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The voters of Kansas USA Favour Abortion – Landslide Victory for the Pro- Choice Movement

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The Wizard of Oz is a brilliant movie, especially when you factor in the time it was made. From top to bottom, with the script, music, performances, …

Follow Kansas

In the state of Kansas, USA, voters have decided to make abortion legal. A referendum produced a landslide pro-choice result : 59 per cent Versus 41 per cent in favour of keeping Abortion as a constitutional right.

Pro-choice activist Mandy La Combre offers this comment from Ireland :

“Go Kansas!! 👏👏👏

profuckingchoice #AbortionIsHealthcare #abortionrights

It seems Judy Garland and the Wizard 🧙‍♀️ of Oz approve.

American blogger Clay Jones celebrates

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Would a Sinn Féin Win at the Next Dublin Dáil General Election Guarantee the Formation of a Left Government?

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Some people are sure a Sinn Féin victory at the next Dáil general election – which must happen by February 2025 – will mean a shift to the left. A perspective is offered : a Left Government. There is no doubt that a left government is very badly needed, and that is the positive policy of People Before Profit.

Election of a left government is not guaranteed – especially if Sinn Féin enters a coalition with right-wing forces such as Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, or the assorted Gombeen-poltroon deputies such as the Healy-Rae’s of Kerry, Michael Lowry of Tipperary, or Verona Murphy of Wexford.

Sinn Féin is keeping its options open – that is clearly shown in the attached newspaper article from five years ago.

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The Brexit Disaster – Have British Voters Rejected It?

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Traffic jams at the English port of Dover are telling us why many voters who ticked the Yes to Brexit box in the 2016 British State Referendum have changed their minds. Anti-Brexit critics, such as the brilliant left-wing comedian Mark Steel, are taking full advantage. So, why are so few British left wing organisations failing to queue up on the winning anti-Brexit side? There is one notable exception : https://anticapitalistresistance.org/nato-expands-kurds-betrayed/

It is starting to look like a no-brainer. The latest reliable data indicate that a new Brexit referendum in the British state would produce a 55 to 45 per cent rejection of a right wing exit from the European Union.

https://whatukthinks.org/eu/questions/if-a-second-eu-referendum-were-held-today-how-would-you-vote/

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The 1914 Howth Gun-Running in Ireland : History Lesson for 21st Century Leftists who oppose a supply of weapons to members of the Ukrainian resistance

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According to many sections of the left in Ireland and abroad, Ukrainians should not be supplied with weapons to resist the Russian invaders. Conor Kostick, an anti-war activist and a historian, labels this policy “Evasionism”. Here are accounts of the July 26 1914 Howth Gun-Running, followed by an introduction to left-wing Evasionism.

Remembering The Howth Gun-Running

On July 26th 1914, guns purchased in Germany for the Irish Volunteers were brought to Howth by Erskine Childers upon his yacht the Asgard.

In Howth they were met by the Fianna Eireann led by Bulmer Hobson & Countess Markievicz with carts and wheelbarrows to unload the guns, members of the volunteers were also present in case the police showed up

The harbour master informed the authorities and the Dublin Metropolitan Police were called out.

The police called for military assistance, so a detachment of the Kings Own Scottish Borderers based in Kilmainham was sent.

A riot ensued between the authorities & the volunteers; the authorities were unable to seize the weapons as during the riot they were quickly led away by the Fianna Eireann.

On their return to the barracks, a crowd had gathered in Bachelors Walk and began heckling the soldiers who responded by firing a volley into the crowd.

Three people were killed instantly Mrs Duffy, James Brennan and Patrick Quinn with thirty-eight injured. One man died later of bayonet wounds.

The Bachelor’s Walk massacre as it became known caused revulsion across Ireland and swelled the ranks of the volunteers.

Source : https://www.facebook.com/101874405569623/posts/pfbid02FXKgrpn6Lr3gTJzmjVdrJDhk476Hypz24RKC7cGw1Py4inE56gXsvf5u4vLfCh9sl/

See also : https://www.theirishstory.com/2014/07/26/today-in-irish-history-july-26th-1914-the-howth-gun-running/?fbclid=IwAR3EkQtFQZdIjQT5vmVA4mhlC9krMLPLKB4UoNnB1h5bXC4MdWh2h_DIOjU#.Yt-0sr3TWf3

Conor Kostick discusses Evasionism :

There is a type of left argument around the war in Ukraine which has arisen in the West. It is one that condemns Putin’s invasion, but refuses to offer practical support to the people of Ukraine in resisting that invasion. It is the position one can read in Jacobin, or in statements by Chomsky, Corbyn, and the Stop the War Coalition in the UK. In Ireland we have the same type of response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine from People Before Profit and the Socialist Party of Ireland.

I will use the label Evasionist Left for this approach. It’s not clear how representative this trend is internationally, as many on the left do pro-actively support the resistance in Ukraine, e.g. parties such Razem in Poland; those associated with the Fourth International like Left Bloc and the Danish Red Green Alliance; and the main left party in Japan, the Japanese Communist Party.

Source : https://tomasoflatharta.com/2022/04/28/evasions-on-the-left-over-ukraine-conor-kostick-independent-left-ireland/

Stop the attack on the labour rights of Ukrainian workers!Demand President Zelinskyy veto anti-worker Laws 5161 and 5371

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Laws 5371 and 5161, were adopted on July 19. The European Network for Solidarity with Ukraine (ENSU) https://ukraine-solidarity.eu/ has published an international petition where people can call on Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelensky, to use his power tonstop this disastrous legislation.

This petition [below] explains how the Laws would destroy Ukrainian workers’ rights and working conditions if they were allowed to come into effect.

They would legalise extremes of exploitation in Ukraine that would also endanger workers’ rights across the whole of Europe.

Since it is vital that Laws 5161 and 5371 not be ratified, this petition calls on President Zelensky to stand with Ukraine’s workers by exercising his presidential veto on both laws.

One man has the power to stop this disastrous legislation—President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy. He can ratify the laws or veto them.

To protect the labour rights of Ukraine’s workers, Zelensky can apply the presidential veto to Laws 5371 and 5161

They must be replaced with measures which would increase the security of workers and enable them and their families to survive the devastation of war and build a new and stronger Ukraine.

You can sign this petition by clicking the link below :

https://chng.it/4NzJvKNLWd.

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End All Immigration Control – a Tale of Ireland and Turkey

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A correspondent, the Great Enabler, writes below about a recent Dublin government decision to stop visa-free travel to Ireland.

It is an excellent thoughtful and passionate post. I note that the main opposition party in Ireland, Sinn Féin, is “not opposed” to the Irish government decision.

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin has said it is not opposed to the Government move to tighten visa requirements for some refugees coming to Ireland.

“Health spokesperson David Cullinane said that the Government should have prepared better for the point when accommodation was tight.

He said the way to avoid such situations is through proper planning and by listening to organisations like the Irish Refugee Council. “. (RTÉ News)

John Meehan, July 23 2022

Immigration Control

Recently I read two news pieces in the Irish media on international travel: One was about the Irish government’s decision to stop visa-free travel to Ireland for refugees already settled in other EU states; the other one was a piece on how the Irish passport ranks very high on the list of “most powerful passports” – most powerful in terms of the freedom of movement it gives to its holders.

The plane I am travelling on is full of Irish people. Either by chit chat or eves dropping, one gathers very quickly that many have places in Turkey, summer homes. These would be very mostly homes, not luxuries villas. Others are holiday makers, excited about sea and sun. I think that’s absolutely great. People deserve holidays, people should see other countries. The powerful Irish passport is a great enabler. It takes 3-clicks and €15 to get your Turkish entry visa online. It may even be removed now.

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Ukrainian workers’ war on two fronts

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Dick Nichols, a correspondent of the Australian Green Left Weekly, tells us that enemies of workers’ rights are active within the ruling Ukraine government headed by Volodymyr Zelensky. Nichols is a supporter of the European Network for Solidarity with Ukraine (ENSU). https://ukraine-solidarity.eu/to-read/ukraine-anti-social-bill-no-5371-has-been-withdrawn-but-the-threat-has-not-disappeared

Source : https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/ukrainian-workers-war-two-fronts?fbclid=IwAR3i1ViCQqd0vl9oTM7Lb4LMpeN0NhkHzvtyJ3jfMZAZ-vm866TtyAfW65U

When Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, social conflict inside the country was not put on hold: any illusion that its defence needs might produce a truce in the class struggle soon vanished.

If anything, embattled Ukraine’s war of resistance against Putin’s “special military operation” has intensified a pre-existing domestic confrontation.

This is due to what could be called a “special politico-legal operation” against worker and trade union rights, waged by the most militant neoliberals within the government of President Volodymyr Zelensky, with the apparent blessing of their chief.

It was launched in 2019 to entice foreign investors to Ukraine but stalled in 2020‒21 when the government’s initial attempt at labour market deregulation was repulsed by trade union protests.

The offensive has sped up since the invasion, but now under cover of martial law and in the name of the sacrifice needed to win the war against Russia.

According to Nataliia Lomonosova, of the Ukrainian thinktank Cedos, the talk in government circles is that the Ukrainian state “cannot afford welfare, employment benefits or protection of labour rights” because of the war.

It seems clear from this experience that, however it defeats or survives Putin, Ukraine’s neoliberal government and its friends in the European Union (EU) are determined to turn the country into a business-friendly playing field as soon as possible — starting the job while the war against Russia is yet to be won.

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NO to NATO, or the identity crisis of the Spanish left

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NO to NATO, or the identity crisis of the Spanish left

http://ukrainesolidaritycampaign.org/2022/04/26/no-to-nato-or-the-identity-crisis-of-the-spanish-left/
— Read on ukrainesolidaritycampaign.org/2022/04/26/no-to-nato-or-the-identity-crisis-of-the-spanish-left/

Elisa Moros writes an interesting article concerning the Ukraine policy of the Spanish left. There are parallels with Ireland.

It is dated April 26 2022

The terrible images reaching us after the withdrawal of Russian troops from the Kyiv region reveal the scope of the Russian offensive. These images force political leaders to unanimously condemn Putin’s attack on Ukraine, including Putin’s natural allies (the far-right). In this context, some of the most radical among us feel the need to express -if only through an aesthetic gesture- their aversion to national unanimity. For example, Members of Parliament (MPs) from the CUP (Catalan pro-independence radical left) and the BNG (Galician nationalist left) as well as the Secretary General of the PCE (Communist Party) refused to applaud Ukrainian President Zelensky when he addressed the Spanish Parliament.

This aesthetic gesture is hardly surprising. Rather, it is the logical consequence of the analysis and positions of the Spanish left on the Ukrainian situation. Albert Botrán (CUP MP) explains the meaning of his gesture in his article “Applauding Zelensky“, in which he begins by stating that “Only Putin is responsible for the Russian occupation of Ukraine”, only to contradict himself in the following paragraph by denouncing the “responsibilities” of the other powers and the Ukrainian state. While only four MPs pushed their logic to its conclusion by refusing to applaud Zelensky, the logic of “Well yes, but actually no” is practically unanimous within the Spanish radical left, which (1) designates the NATO as (at least) co-responsible for the conflict, and therefore (2) opposes any concrete material support to the Ukrainian armed resistance in order to “prevent escalation” and (3) systematically points out (and often exaggerates) all the flaws of the Ukrainian government/state. This then serves in practice as a pretext for these leftists keeping their distance from all sections of the Ukrainian population, and leaving them alone in the face of the Russian imperialist attack. Read the rest of this entry »

Defending the reproductive rights of Ukrainian women in Ukraine, Poland, across and beyond the European Union: a global feminist struggle – An international petition

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This petition is an appeal for action. The initiative is supported by the European Network for Solidarity with Ukraine – you can add your support by activating this web link below and adding your signature :

Web link https://ukraine-solidarity.eu/to-read/defending-the-reproductive-rights-of-ukrainian-women-in-ukraine-poland-across-and-beyond-the-european-union-a-global-feminist-struggle

Since February 24th, Ukrainian women are facing increasing levels of gender based violence as a consequence of the Russian invasion: (1) Russian troops are massively using rape against women and children as a war weapon. (2) Domestic violence against women and children has significantly increased. (3) Women displaced inside Ukraine and abroad, looking for safe shelter face an acute risk of gender-based and sexual violence. Rape and consequent forced pregnancies are present in all these forms of gender-based violence.

Irish supporters include Bríd Smith TD (People Before Profit, Dublin South Central); Brendan Ogle (UNITE Trade Union); Nóirín Greene (Trade Unionist).

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“The right to resist.” A manifesto written by over 100 Ukrainian Feminists and Feminist Organisations

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“The right to resist.” is a manifesto written by over 100 Ukrainian Feminists and Feminist Organisations

This is a Manifesto of Ukrainian feminists. Many Ukrainian feminists have come together with a common statement about their priorities. These include armed and unarmed resistance, and a reconstruction of Ukraine centred on equitable social reproduction, labour rights, equality and democracy. It was published in Commons and other online sites on Thursday July 7 2022.

You can sign at the link below.
 
The authors ask feminists, activists, and feminist collectives around the world to add their names to the document. 
 
https://commons.com.ua/en/right-resist-feminist-manifesto/
The Right to Resist

We, feminists from Ukraine, call on feminists around the world to stand in solidarity with the resistance movement of the Ukrainian people against the predatory, imperialist war unleashed by the Russian Federation. War narratives often portray women* as victims. However, in reality, women* also play a key role in resistance movements, both at the frontline and on the home front: from Algeria to Vietnam, from Syria to Palestine, from Kurdistan to Ukraine

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Bad news for survivors of sexual violence after Ukraine ombudsman discredited

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Accurate reporting during a war is difficult – and it is essential.

Source : http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article63179

The Ukrainian ombudsman Lyudmila Denisova has been sacked for exaggerating the number of rapes by Russian invaders. Her foolishness has done great harm to the struggle for women’s rights in this war. Victims of sexual violence in Ukraine will find it harder to make a complaint. The Kremlin propaganda campaign is also falsely accusing Russian feminists of embezzling funds collected with “fake rape” stories.

In May, the ombudsman for human rights in Ukraine, Lyudmila Denisova, reported hundreds (if not thousands) of cases of rape of Ukrainian civilians by Russian soldiers. Among the cases she described were particularly brutal cases of rape of infants. She received the information from her daughter, who is in charge of the hotline project for such appeals.

Rape in war is always another weapon of war. Several cases of rape and pregnancy after rape (including teenage pregnancies) have already been documented and proven by international organisations.

These heinous crimes are hard to prove and survivors of war rape do not often go public out of fear for the lives of their loved ones.

This is why truth, facts and very balanced statements are always important when talking about war rape.

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“Why is Ukrainian resistance invisible to you?” British writer Simon Pirani explains the case for supporting the Ukrainian resistance

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The debate Simon Pirani describes is occurring everywhere, including Ireland.

Simon Pirani is a British writer, historian and researcher of energy. He is Honorary Professor in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures at the University of Durham. From 2007 to 2021 he was Senior Research Fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies (with a period as Senior Visiting Research Fellow in 2017-19). He writes regularly on themes which interest eco-socialists https://theecologist.org/profile/simon-pirani

http://simonpirani.blogspot.com/p/global-history-of-fossil-fuel.html

Source : http://europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article63091

An appeal to supporters of the Stop the War Coalition

Here are notes I made for a talk at an on-line meeting of the Stop the War Coalition’s Brent (north-west London) branch tomorrow (28 June). I was due to speak alongside Lindsey German, national convenor of the STWC. But last week it turned out that she had an unavoidable clash, no-one else was available, and the event was cancelled.I wrote to Brent STWC to say that I thought the cancellation was “a shame, politically speaking”, because there have been “precious few meaningful exchanges of views between those in the UK labour movement who have a broadly ‘plague-on-both-your-houses’ view, such as Lindsey German, and those who believe support should be given to the Ukrainian resistance, such as myself”.An opportunity for discussion has been missed – while the biggest war in Europe since the middle of the last century rages.

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Irish Journalist Gene Kerrigan Praises British Railway Union Leader Mick Lynch

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A brilliant Gene Kerrigan Column : Source Sunday Independent, June 26 2022

Biting lumps out of hapless Tories and media celebs Writes Gene Kerrigan

It was great fun, watching Her Majesty’s over-confident, under-talented politicians take a hiding. And there was the bonus of watching Her Majesty’s loyal media celebrities making fools of themselves. The Mick Lynch story last week provided social media — here and across the water — with a new hero.

Mick Lynch is a life-long trade unionist, with Irish parentage — his political hero is James Connolly. He was blacklisted for joining a union when he was a young electrician.

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Written by tomasoflatharta

Jun 26, 2022 at 12:33 pm

Abortion is Health Care – Mobilizations Against the USA decision to overturn the 1973 Roe V Wade Judgment – American Women Are Being Pushed Back in Time

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United States Supreme Court Justices have decided, in the words of Congress Speaker Nancy Pelosi that “Women today will have less rights than their mothers or their grandmothers.”

Reporting from New York, Irish-American pro-choice activist Joan McKiernan describes this step backwards in time. Joan notes that USA pro-choice activists often mention the Irish pro-choice referendum victory of 2018 for inspiration. A demonstration has been organised outside the USA Ballsbridge Embassy on Sunday June 26 (see below).

Dublin Protest

National Women’s Council of Ireland

American Women Are Being Pushed Back in Time – by Joan McKiernan

Massive protests took place in cities and towns across the United States immediately after the long expected announcement of the Supreme Court decision revoking the fifty year constitutional right to abortion. Women, activists, and politicians expressed anger and disappointment, much more so than when the decision was originally leaked. For many, it seemed to take them by surprise, though they had enough warning from the leaked decision. It was as if people did not believe it could really happen. Surely, the Supreme Court would not do this, but they really did.

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“The rape of women as a weapon of war is the most heinous of crimes….” “Women present themselves in Poland” but cannot access abortion – Gino Kenny TD speaking in Dáil Éireann

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Gino Kenny TD (People Before Profit, Dublin Mid-West) sets an example for all Irish public representatives. Step up campaigns against Russian war crimes in Ukraine. Support Polish legislators proposing abortion law reform.

Gino Kenny

Gino Kenny

Gino Kenny

Question:

100. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will provide an update to the Houses of the Oireachtas on any engagement he has had with the European Union or the Polish Government on the ban on abortion in Poland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33165/22]View answer.

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“Legal Abortion in Poland Now” – Dublin Demonstration Report, June 23 2022

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The political party Razem is proposing legislation in the Warsaw parliament to make abortion legal in Poland. Solidarity events events were held in various locations. In Dublin pro-choice activists protested outside the Polish Embassy at 4-8 Eden Quay. Supporters included two PBP TD’s (members of the Dáil, Irish parliament) Bríd Smith and Paul Murphy.

Link to Razem : https://partiarazem.pl/aktualnosci/2022/02/27/enough-with-the-struggle-of-superpowers-voices-from-central-and-eastern-europe

Statement issued by the Ukrainian left-wing organization Sotsialnyi Rukh :

Today our comrades from “Razem” party in Poland will be at a hearing during the parliamentary sessions concerning abortion legalization in Poland.

What is the background?

One challenge of immediate concern in Poland is the access to safe and legal abortion. Since January 2021, Poland’s new law on abortion bans all pregnancy terminations except in cases of rape, incest, or if the mother’s life is at risk. Under this law, abortion is permissible only in the case of rape, incest or a threat to the mother’s health and life.
As a consequence of social and political pressures, doctors often refuse to perform the procedure. This directly causes the suffering and deaths of many women.

“Razem” together with national feminist movements drafted the bill “Legal Abortion. Without compromises”. This is a citizen’s bill for which Razem gathered thousands of signatures, forcing Parliament to bring it to a vote.
So here we are and today “Razem” will fight for women right to to decide on their own bodies and life.

Important : many Ukrainian women and children fleeing the war seek refuge in neighbouring Poland where abortion is criminalised and access to contraception is ranked the worst in Europe. Taking into account that in Ukraine we have no problems with this. So it’s a shock for them not to have and access to abortion and be forced to choose between carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term in precarious circumstances or facing significant risks associated with clandestine abortions.

Regarding this Sotsialnyi Rukh underline that abortion legalization in Poland is our our common aim to reach.


We are in solidarity with Razem and women in Poland!

We stand for immediate legalization of abortion in Poland and rights for safe abortion!

legalnaaborcjabezkompromisów

Source : https://www.facebook.com/100064840535229/posts/pfbid0M3jBmZZgWUEQkHdiRL7jjjVje2394wJNS29aEMXFPPFkVjHXNujLYLu9VkmpCHyal/

Legal Abortion in Poland Now – Dublin Protest, Polish Embassy Office, 4-8 Eden Quay, Thursday June 23, 1.00pm

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The Polish political party proposing abortion law reform is Razem which works with the European network in solidarity with Ukraine and against war –

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Poland : Access to Safe and Legal Abortion – Polish parliament debate, June 22 and 23 2022

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In Ireland – especially during the dark days of the anti-abortion 8th Amendment to the Irish Constitution ((1983-2018) – women had to travel abroad to get an abortion. In Ukraine today many women raped by invading Russian soldiers flee to Poland where they cannot get an abortion. The left wing party Razem is proposing legislation in the parliament to end the abortion ban in Poland. We must extend solidarity and support.

Razem reports :

A great challenge of immediate concern in Poland is the access to safe and legal abortion. Women’s rights to decide about their own bodies have been extremely limited in our country. Under current laws, abortion is permissible only in case of rape, incest or threat to the mother’s health and life. Additionally, as a consequence of social and political pressures, doctors often refuse to perform the procedure. This directly causes the suffering and deaths of many women.

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“Macron’s Régime in Disarray” – French Parliamentary Elections Destabilise the government run by President Emmanuel Macron

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The June 19 2022 French parliamentary election has destabilised the government of president Emmanuel Macron. Dave Kellaway offers an initial assessment. We also recommend other assesments available at the Europe Solidaire Sans Frontières website http://www.europe-solidaire.org/

http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article62985

http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article62984

Coalitions and parties2017 seats2022 seats
Macron coalition*345246
NUPES**60142
Rassemblement Nationale (National Rally) Le Pen889
Les Republicans (LR)-UDI10064
Left (non-Nupes.13
Others.23

2022 Abstentions: 53.77 of registered voters

* The presidential coalition includes LREM-Renaissance (160 MPs), François Bayrou’s Modem (48 MPs) and Edouard Philippe’s Horizon (28 MPs).

** New Popular, Social and Ecological Union (NUPES) : La France Insoumise (LFI, France Unbowed ) 72, Socialist Party (PS) 24, EELV (Greens) 23 Communist Party (PC) 12 plus independent lefts (mostly overseas).

Figures updated by ESSF taking into account the labeling done by Le Monde.

There are 13 independent deputies from the left and 9 from the right who may join a parliamentary group in the next few days.

Please join Anti*Capitalist Resistance on Thursday, June 23 2022 at 19:30 BST for a discussion with Penny Duggan of the New AntiCapitalist Party on France After the Elections. Please register here.

All elections reflect political and social reality. Normally this is distorted and does not immediately reveal the relationship of class forces in society due to the power and ideological systems of the ruling class. Undemocratic electoral systems can under-represent or over-represent different political forces. Sometimes elections reveal a lot more of a political crisis or of the conflicts in society. Often the election does not have a very direct impact on the class struggles of society. Yesterday in France the parliamentary elections both exposed the political crisis of the Macron regime and made a difference in the ability of working people to defend their interests.

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For an Ireland Where Trans and Non-binary People are Equal Safe and Valued

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Both states in Ireland – formally independent in the South, controlled by Britain in the North – have a vile creepy history : child abuse, suppression of women’s rights, reactionary religious control of health and education. This “Carnival of Reaction” has deep strong foundations, built following the reactionary partition of Ireland in 1922. In recent decades, especially in the formally independent part of Ireland, popular rebellion has attacked the reactionary carnival – most notably when a constitutional abortion was repealed in a May 2018 referendum.

In days gone by a “Belt of the Crozier” firmly struck by Archbishop John Charles McQuaid was enough to kill Noël Browne’s 1950 Mother and Child Scheme. These days, after a tsunami of child abuse scandals and clerical criminal convictions, far-right causes such as transphobia are, at the popular level, rightly seen as a thin edge of the wedge. They remind us of dark periods we Irish experienced in the recent past.

A media outlet, the Joe Duffy RTÉ Liveline Show, have a mass audience. It is not directly associated with the religious far-right in Ireland. However, it has started to offer an often uncontested platform to government anti-feminist propaganda, targeting the publicly funded National Women’s Council of Ireland.

The broadcaster is not backing down : “I found it deeply disturbing after my 25 years of presenting here to be told that a debate on Liveline was ‘incredibly irresponsible’ in the context of increasing transphobic and homophobic attacks,” the presenter says, referring to a statement from the Irish Council of Civil Liberties, before adding that the censuring was “insulting” to his programme staff and, indeed, his listeners.” (Source Irish Times, June 17 2022).

A coalition Trans Equality Together led by TENI (Transgender Equality Network Ireland), BeLonG To and LGBT Ireland was launched last week with the aim of creating an Ireland where trans people are equal, safe and valued. Pictured: (L-R) Tiernan Arnup from AMACH! LGBT Galway, Jayson Pope, an LGBTQ+ youth activist and Matt Kennedy, of BelongTo. Picture: Julien Behal (Source Irish Examiner)

A number of human rights organizations have come together opposing the reactionary anti-trans offensive. In very measured language they state :

On 9th, 10th and 13th June, RTÉ Radio 1′s Liveline show discussed matters of gender identity. Trans Equality Together, and our members, share a common concern about these episodes, and we support Dublin Pride’s decision to terminate its media partnership with RTÉ and its consultation with Trans Equality Together about this decision.

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Palestine, Tel Aviv : “There is no Pride in the Occupation”

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Thanks to Joan McKiernan for circulating this report.

Source : https://mailchi.mp/refuser/refusers-solidarity-15034809?e=2a6ffdecef

My name is Ayelet. I’m a 16 years old trans teen and an activist in the Mesarvot network, an Israeli Network supporting war resisters and political objectors. Last Friday (June 10th), at the Israeli pride parade in Tel Aviv, I was arrested for holding the Palestinian flag with the slogan “there is no pride in the occupation” in Hebrew (see below picture of my sign).

“There is no Pride in the Occupation”

I made this sign not only to show my objection to the Israeli occupation of the West bank and the Gaza strip, but also to protest the way the Israeli government uses the LGBTQ+ community to justify the occupation. The government uses Pinkwashing – displaying superficial support for LGBTQ+ rights in order to justify horrible actions. In actuality, Israel supports gay rights only when people from our community are supportive of the state’s actions. For example, a trans woman who is a soldier will be able to receive hormonal treatment, but a trans woman who is an army refuser will be sent to a men’s prison for her refusal.

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Marriage Advice for Young Ladies – From a Suffragette – 1918 – Reflections on Bloomsday 2022

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“ Marriage advice for young ladies from a suffragette, 1918. The pamphlet is on display at the Pontypridd Museum in Wales. The suffragette is unknown.”

Source : Bernadette McAliskey’s fb page :

This is Bloomsday 2022 :

A favourite married man is fictional : Dublin’s “Everyman” Leopold Bloom, who had some roots in Hungary, the (anti) hero of James Joyce’s Ulysses, a tale of Baile Átha Cliath in one day.

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Written by tomasoflatharta

Jun 16, 2022 at 9:05 am

War in Ukraine – a view from Greece – “Support the Ukrainian people in their resistance against the war!”

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The Russian invasion of Ukraine has divided opinion on the left in all parts of the world. Here is an interesting contribution from Greece. Source : https://tpt4.org/2022/06/09/support-the-ukrainian-people-in-their-resistance-against-the-war/?fbclid=IwAR2MG80aYrYE17qsDzgSVrVao4Do8wy-Ga4rfNRpkTsPexhGPIaiVal0LsE

War in Ukraine – a view from Greece

Support the Ukrainian people in their resistance against the war!

by Tassos Anastassiadis

[Αναδημοσίευση από το International Viewpoint, 1/6/2022]

[Το πρωτότυπο, στα ελληνικά, στο site μας και στο site της Αναμέτρησης]

Tassos Anastassiadis is a member of “Anametrisi”’s leadership and also a member of the TPT-“4” (part of the Greek section of the Fourth International). Anametrisi (=confrontation), founded in March 2022, is a product of radical left recomposition process in Greece these last years. [1] This text was submitted to the leadership of Anametrisi on 19 May 2022. The original Greek text is published on Anametrisi’s site.


Positions on the Ukrainian war and our stand

1) The Russian invasion of Ukraine is an “imperialist” attack. [2]. Analyses may differ on the source of this “imperialism” [3], on the extent of its dynamics, on the causes of this particular invasion, and even on its function in the capitalist world arena. But what is fundamental is that it is an unjust war of the strong against the weak. [4] And in particular, it is a “national” type of oppression – that is a challenge at gunpoint to the right of a population to exist as a political entity and to decide for itself and freely about its own existence.

2) From this point of view it is a matter of principle [5] for the left to take a clear position on the war being waged: It must place itself on the side of the weak, those who are under attack and fighting back i.e. on the side of the Ukrainian people. The right of a people, a population, a nation, to define itself is a fundamental component of an emancipatory programme.

3) This means that in this war the left cannot be indifferent: it is not a “war” that is simply taking place somewhere out there, without subjects and without responsibilities. It is a military attack and there is contestation and resistance to it. The left must take a stand against the war being waged by Russia, and consequently, in favour of those who oppose it, basically the Ukrainian people but also the Russian left. That means in favour of the war being waged by the Ukrainian people.

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Sinn Féin’s wannabe Stormont boss Michelle O’Neill praises British monarch’s “contribution to peace in Northern Ireland” to mark “Platinum Jubilee celebrations” – Silence from Sinn Féin leaders about royal child abuse crime.

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The British monarch currently shields her “favourite son” Prince Andrew, who actively collaborated with convicted child abuse criminals Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell.

Michelle O’Neill has written to the Queen ahead of the monarch’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations. The Sinn Fein vice-president referred to Her Majesty’s 70 years of “dedicated public service to the British people”, and praised her “significant contribution” to the peace process.

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/sinn-feins-michelle-oneill-writes-to-the-queen-praising-her-contribution-to-peace-in-northern-ireland-ahead-of-monarchs-platinum-jubilee-celebrations-41711625.html?fbclid=IwAR1t5xzGGTVugxYL9ESfYGY4svygEiY9zR7r4pMSxO5hDu4OHwPV-bXNGj0

Forelock-tugging must stop : https://tomasoflatharta.com/2022/01/14/convicted-criminal-ghislaine-maxwell-low-media-standards-an-irish-link-and-a-prince-of-england/

“The priority is to win against Macron’s candidate, but also against the PS candidate, who broke the agreement here“ – Interview about Danielle Simonnet, NUPES Candidate, 20th arrondissement of Paris

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This is a fascinating story from the current French parliament election campaign. Danielle Simonnet is a NUPES candidate in a constituency where Jean Luc Melenchon won 45 percent of the vote in the recent Presidential Election. NUPES brings together many forces based on the left – including the Parti Socialiste (PS), a party like Keir Starmer’s British Labour Party and the Irish Labour Party.

Despite the NUPES agreement, the PS is running against Danielle Simonnet.

Jeremy Corbyn, the former left-wing leader of the British Labour Party, is actively backing the campaign of Danielle Simonnet.

A correspondent observes : “Comrade Jeremy Corbyn, with Danièle Obono, came to support @TAG’s candidacy in the 15th district of Paris. International support from a true socialist, shamefully attacked in England for his positions for Palestine!!!! #DanielleSimonnet #JeremyCorbyn #DanieleObono”

The Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste (NPA), once the agreement with NUPES failed [1] decided to support candidates of different types depending on the local situation. [2] International Viewpoint has already published an article on a broad non-aligned candidacy “Raphaël Arnault, the antifa who wants to be an MP”. This interview with Penelope Duggan, member of the NPA leadership and activist in the 20th arrondissement of Paris, gives a view of NPA involvement in a NUPES campaign.

Can you give us a quick introduction to the candidacy?

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Solidarity with the Ukrainian resistance! The Russia-Ukraine war “is not inter-imperialist”

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The American writer and activist Ashley Smith sums up the policy of the fighting left which supports the national liberation struggle of the Ukrainian masses against the far-right ethnic-cleansing Russian invaders led by President Vladimir Putin. Before the Russian invasion on February 25 2022, Ashley Smith was a featured speaker at an online event hosted by Irish anti-war activists. Unfortunately some of these activists today do not share Ashley Smith’s point of view.

Source :

http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?rubrique2

See also : https://www.tempestmag.org/2022/06/solidarity-with-ukraine-resistance/

Ashley Smith reviews the ongoing Left debates about the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the continuing need to defend Ukrainian resistance as the starting point for rebuilding international solidarity from below.

On February 24, 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine with the expectation of a quick victory over an outgunned army and unpopular government and a successful installation of a puppet regime in the capital, Kyiv. Instead, Ukraine’s military, volunteer Territorial Defense Forces, and mass popular resistance stopped Russia in its tracks.

Humiliated, Russia has retreated from Kyiv as well as the country’s second largest city, Kharkiv, and adopted a new goal—the seizure of Donbas in Ukraine’s east to form a land bridge to Crimea, which Moscow annexed in 2014, followed by a planned partition of the country. The U.S. and NATO, which like Moscow expected the Russian invasion to quickly win, have increased shipments of heavy weapons for the new phase of the war.

[T]he international Left now more than ever must organize solidarity with the Ukrainian resistance, defend its right to secure arms, support the Russian Left and its anti-war movement, and oppose direct U.S. and NATO intervention.

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British PSC Trade Union Conference Votes for Solidarity With Ukraine’s Resistance – Supports “calls for an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal of Russian troops from all over Ukraine”

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The PSC Trade Union – the Public and Commercial Services Union – is the sixth largest trade union in Britain. Most of its members work in government departments and other public bodies. More here :

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_and_Commercial_Services_Union?wprov=sfti1

The General Secretary Mark Serwotka identifies strongly with the left wing of the workers’ movement in Britain : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Serwotka?wprov=sfti1

Letter from State Employees Union Ukraine

This is the text of a letter sent to PCS by Yurii Pizhuk, chair of the State Employees Union of Ukraine

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Poland – Ireland – Ukraine : Parallel Abortion Stories : Two-thirds of Poles Support Legal Abortion in 2022

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According to many reliable reports, a significant number of Russian invaders have raped and continue to rape Ukrainian women, many of whom flee to Poland, where abortion is illegal. The left wing political party Razem, which is represented in the Polish parliament, is taking legislative and grass-roots action. Like Ireland in the years of darkness created by the anti-abortion 8th Amendment to the constitution (1983-2018) – Women are forced to travel to obtain an abortion. The Polish state claims it is supporting the just resistance of the Ukrainian masses against the ethnic cleansing racist invader Putin. This claim is junk when we observe collaboration in action with the rapists in Russian uniform. International solidarity is required.

The left-wing Polish political party Razem reports :

Two-thirds of Poles support legal abortion! Right wing politicians, as usual, represent not citizens, but conservative concrete.

And Poles, just like Germans, Norwegians, Spanish or Ukrainians, have the right to decide for themselves! A right wing politician, priest or conservative should not decide about their bodies!

More than 200 thousand signatures of Legalna aborcja. Bez kompromisów have recently reached the Parliament and the bill will be proceeded before the holidays. It’s still going to be beautiful!

https://www.facebook.com/partiarazem

The European Network for Solidarity with Ukraine ENSU) is a good information source :

https://ukraine-solidarity.eu/to-read/declare-it-to-a-doctor-and-its-over-ukrainian-women-face-harsh-reality-of-polands-abortion-laws

https://ukraine-solidarity.eu/703321b4901643b1bfd8b9e0793c6321

In Ireland – when abortion was illegal – numerous networks helped women to travel abroad to secure an abortion. Today in Poland, women from Ukraine – often raped by Russian President Putin’s brutal invading soldiers – are accessing clandestine pro-choice networks.

Imagine stepping across a border and discovering that reproductive rights you once took for granted are now a crime. For millions of Ukrainians, that discovery happened when they fled the war in their home country and set foot here in Poland. Ukraine has very liberal abortion laws. In Poland, it’s almost entirely illegal. But while Poland’s anti-abortion effort has the weight of the government behind it, there is another movement, one that’s secretive, underground and punishable with prison time. You see it right here on the border if you know where to look.

http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article62574

See also from Razem :

Razem : https://partiarazem.pl/2022/02/resolution-of-the-national-council-of-lewica-razem-regarding-the-russian-federations-invasion-of-ukraine/?fbclid=IwAR2_F6lB9LOqDG5-2qpcbD6PuRnFkLE_vLnT_7AeGO_QkF31uIMr_pCZFLo

“On the 1937 Sino-Japanese War” – Leon Trotsky – Parallels to the 2022 Russian Invasion of Ukraine

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This is simply brilliant. Parallels with the 2022 Russian Ethnic-Cleansing, Imperialist and Racist invasion of Ukraine 🇺🇦 should be obvious to all readers. https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1937/10/sino.htm?fbclid=IwAR0Q41Y8r88mV9n-dpLazaWcnyqnbE1ByhFovRM09yYDn7rTMc9ntAH5lNU. Leon Trotsky wrote a letter to the outstanding Mexican Painter Diego Rivera.

“In my declaration to the bourgeois press, I said that the duty of all the workers’ organizations of China was to participate actively and in the front lines of the present war against Japan, without abandoning, for a single moment, their own program and independent activity. But that is “social patriotism!” the Eiffelites cry. It is capitulation to Chiang Kai-shek! It is the abandonment of the principle of the class struggle! Bolshevism preached revolutionary defeatism in the imperialist war. Now, the war in Spain and the Sino-Japanese War are both imperialist wars. “Our position on the war in China is the same. The only salvation of the workers and peasants of China is to struggle independently against the two armies, against the Chinese army in the same manner as against the Japanese army.” These four lines, taken from an Eiffelite document of September 10, 1937, suffice entirely for us to say: we are concerned here with either real traitors or complete imbeciles. But imbecility, raised to this degree, is equal to treason.

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A new Communist Group in Ireland – Announced on the World Wide Web!

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Many thanks to eagle-eyed activists who write for the Cedar Lounge Revolution. A different source refers to a recent split among the Stals (shorthand for Stalinists). Welcome to PCL – Ireland.

The first item on the agenda is a split – Brendan Behan

“Set up by person(s) who have left Connolly Youth Movement (CYM) I heard. No connection to Anti-Imperialist Action Ireland (AIAI).”

The new party has some novel features.

‘Besides Anti-fascism, These activities are a great way in helping with mental health problems. The simple act of just getting out of the house is a great way to start improving your mental health. The effect that exercise has on the serotonin levels and combatting depression is great. Exercise helps produce serotonin in the brain, helping the person feel great about themselves and helps uplift their emotions in general. Not only does the serotonin level increase during exercise, the willingness to keep doing it also increases. Along with the main point of exercising for mental health reasons, joining groups and making friends is also a great way to combat depression.’

A correspondent claims

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Written by tomasoflatharta

May 17, 2022 at 1:55 pm

How Can Feminist Solidarity Help Ukraine? (Podcast)

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From the outstanding ESSF http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article62454

How can feminist solidarity help Ukraine?

Since Russia’s full-scale imperialist invasion of Ukraine was launched by Vladimir Putin on February 24, Putin’s speeches, Russian state propaganda and the actual massacres and rapes committed by the Russian army have revealed the genocidal and misogynist character of this invasion. At the same time, the resistance of the Ukrainian people has been heroic. There have been many other expressions of opposition to this war as well, ranging from global protests to humanitarian aid convoys and initiatives by individuals and groups to help the resistance in Ukraine.

Ukrainian feminists have been an active part of the resistance both in actual combat and in various other invaluable capacities such as health care, child care, food production, communications and strategizing through social media as writers, leaders and spokeswomen. Among the more than five million Ukrainian refugees in Europe who are mostly women and children, many women are promoting valuable communication with the world.

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‘Declare it to a doctor, and it’s over’: Ukrainian women face harsh reality of Poland’s abortion laws

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This article from the British Guardian Newspaper can be read here : http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article62437. The reporter, Weronika Strzyżyńska, advises :

Leftwing politicians recently suggested amendments to a recent bill passing through the Polish government on the reception of Ukrainian refugees, which would force prosecutors to issue the necessary documentation within a seven-day period. The proposal was rejected by the Sejm, the lower chamber of the Polish parliament.

Solidarity with refugees includes allowing women to access an abortion, especially when a woman reports she has been raped by members of an invading army. Ukrainian women do not have access to this service in Poland. Pressure must be put on the Warsaw government to change itds restrictive anti-abortion laws. The European Network for Solidarity with Ukraine is raising this issue, in conjunction with the polish political party, Razem. Links: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Left_Together https://ukraine-solidarity.eu/

Women turn to aid groups for help, with many unaware their rights to reproductive healthcare have vanished upon crossing the border

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Socialists and Coalition with Sinn Féin – Colm Breathnach, Independent Left

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Colm Breatnach makes an important contribution here

SOCIALISTS AND COALITION WITH SINN FÉIN

Sinn Féin Oireachtas and Stormont Members on the steps of Leinster House, Kildare Street

Is a Sinn Féin controlled left government in the 26 County bit of Ireland possible or likely? Right now, a general election electing the next Dáil can be delayed until February 2025. The current FFFGGG coalition (Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Greens and Gombeens) has a comfortable majority and will not voluntarily cut and run – unless it is forced to change course. Reliable opinion surveys show that, if a general election was held soon Sinn Féin is likely to increase its number of Dáil seats – but the current government would retain a majority. There is more detail on this important “technicality” in a note at the end of this article. John Meehan May 11 2022


SOCIALISTS AND COALITION WITH SINN FÉIN

The experience of Syriza, Greece warns against coalition with Sinn Féin

As the likelihood of a Sinn Féin led government grows, the prospect that the government might include radical left parties as coalition partners looms. But should socialists take up roles in government in coalition with Sinn Féin? Are there circumstances where this might prove to be necessary? Obligatory even? Now is the time to debate this issue, rather than being rushed into hastily made post-election decisions that could have a disastrous effect for the left in Ireland.

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Abortion Rights in the USA Shredded to Bits – Supreme Court Likely to Overturn Historic 1973 Roe V Wade Ruling

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The USA Supreme Court, dominated by far-right Justices such as Donald Trump nominee Amy Coney-Barrett, is likely to overturn the constitutional right to access an abortion. Joan McKiernan, an Irish-American activist, reports from New York.


We Won’t Go Back!

This was one of the slogans shouted by angry protesters gathered in the thousands in cities across the US after the leak of the Supreme Court’s plan to overturn the constitutional right to abortion provided in the Roe v Wade case. We know the Supreme Court as the place to go to fight for rights. But this time the Court is taking away a right – to control our bodies, which is fundamental to the quest for women’s independence. 

Diane Feeley, speaking at a rally in Detroit, explained what we fought for fifty years ago. “Before 1973, the women’s movement called for free abortion on demand, 24-hour childcare available to all, opposition to sterilization abuse and equal pay for equal work. We testified at legislative hearings, brought class-action lawsuits, organized speak outs and tribunals, picketed and marched, built networks of support for those who needed underground abortions, told our stories and reached out to women internationally.” Unfortunately, the middle class dominated feminist movement settled for much less in the Roe decision. This based the right to abortion on the tenuous notion of privacy implied in the 14th Amendment, rooted in the end of slavery and Reconstruction, which prohibits states from depriving “any person of life, liberty, or property without due process”.

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Delegation from the European Network of Solidarity with Ukraine Visits Lviv

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A Ukrainian Correspondent Yuliya Yurchenko – https://www.facebook.com/yuli.yu2010 – reports on a delegation of left wing parties that is visiting Ukraine.

May 5 and 6 2022 : A conference dedicated to the construction of the European Network of Solidarity with Ukraine was held in Lviv.

Words of support were expressed by representatives from Denmark (Red-Green Alliance), Poland (Lewica Razem), Finland (Left Union), France (New Anticapitalist Party, Ensemble), Switzerland (Ensemble à Gauche) and Argentina (Left Front Workers – Unity FIT-U ), as well as an activists from the UK, Germany, Austria, Spain, and Belgium.

Reports from the Ukrainian side were presented by representatives of leading trade unions (medical, railway, mining, energy and other sectors), as well as public initiatives (including feminist, ecological, human rights). Attention was given to the threats of neoliberal reforms and the war of humanitarian problems.

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Ireland’s National Maternity Hospital – Questions over “murky” new company’s role

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Doctor Peter Boylan – a former master of the National Maternity Hospital – and Róisín Shortall TD – co-leader of the Social Democrats party – are leading voices in a chorus of criticism directed against a proposed new Irish National Maternity Hospital. Their detailed policies on this issue are below. The source is the Irish Examiner newspaper, May 2 and 3 2022 issues. https://www.irishexaminer.com/news/politics/arid-40864076.html

These two relentless campaigners have focussed on “murky” Vatican plans to control women’s healthcare in Ireland. A number of Dáil political parties positioned on the left have aligned themselves with Shortall and Boylan’s critical campaign – Sinn Féin, the Labour Party, Social Democrats, Solidarity-People Before Profit, plus others such as Leas Ceann Comhairle Catherine Connolly. A political firestorm erupted this week, which has frightened the Green Party, a junior partner in the ruling FFFGGG coalition headed by Fianna Fáil leader Mícheál Martin. A government plan to finalise Holy See control of the new Maternity Hospital is currently “paused” for two weeks after Green Party TD’s such as Neasa Hourigan (Dublin Central) responded to growing public opposition.

John Meehan May 5 2022

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Prevent Vatican Control of Ireland’s New National Maternity Hospital

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According to an Irish Times report (May 4 2022) the Dublin government is delaying implementation of a scheme to allow Vatican control over a new National Maternity Hospital in Ireland :

two members of the HSE board, Prof Deirdre Madden and Dr Sarah McLoughlin, dissented from a decision to approve the legal documents.

Green Party TDs Neasa Hourigan and Patrick Costello were among dozens of party members who wrote to the party’s Ministers to “implore” them to block the proposed moved.

Opposition politicians yesterday called on the Government to delay approval of the move before an Oireachtas debate on the matter.

Anne Conway reports : “The New Maternity Hospital Deal is rotten to the core. The new St Vincent’s Holdings Company that will run the new hospital being associated with The Panama Papers shows the immorality of it all. The economic brutality of the religious who were involved in instigating the new NMH handover is mirrored in their brutality to women and children in their care in industrial schools,Magdalen Laundries etc. Sexual abuse occured so paedophiles were among them. How can the Government proceed with handing over a 1 billion plus state of the art hospital to these people?”

Marie O’Connor’s detailed article (see below) gives readers the facts – a shady business deal is designed to prevent the new National Maternity Hospital being public and secular.

A public demonstration occurs on Saturday May 7 at 2.00pm outside the gates of Leinster House, Kildare Street – notice is below.

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“Four points on the war in Ukraine” – Murray Smith

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Murray Smith writes a very useful review of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24 2022. Some readers of this blog may not agree with parts of the historical analysis, and that is healthy. Debate on such issues is positive, and there is no need to impose a “political line”. For example, Smith’s article contains an implied criticism of the neutrality policy chosen by the southern partitioned bit of Ireland during World War 2. That said, anti-war activists living outside Ukraine today have a duty – an emergency duty – to unite in action around clear and unambiguous practical solidarity policies. Article Source : http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article62344

Murray Smith is a member of the leadership of déi Lénk (“The Left”) in Luxembourg and is one of its representatives on the Executive Board of the Party of the European Left. Information Source : https://internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?auteur11

Two parts of Murray Smith’s analysis deserve emphasis :

Number 1 :

We must insist on the nature of the war in Ukraine. What started the war was the Russian invasion, not NATO. This is a war of national defence of Ukraine in response to this invasion. And it’s a war of the whole people, not just the army bit the territorial defence units, and the trade unions in particular. So, no revolutionary defeatism on both sides, only on the Russian side. Ukrainian side, national defense. And for internationalists in other countries, solidarity with the Ukrainian resistance and the anti-war movement in Russia. And especially with leftist, political, trade union and feminist forces in both countries.

Number 2 :

The fact that Ukraine obtains weapons from NATO countries and elsewhere does not fundamentally change this. In a war situation you find weapons where you can. The Irish rebels in 1916 to Germany to seek arms. Countries threatened by the United States turn to Russia. And Ukrainians look above all to NATO. This does not change the nature of the Russian war in Ukraine. And even if the conflict were to spread, it would not change its fundamental nature. Any analysis that reduces the war in Ukraine to just one facet of an inter-imperialist conflict only serves to weaken solidarity with Ukraine.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine which began on February 24 is not only the biggest armed conflict in Europe since 1945. It is the first attempt of this magnitude to redraw the map of Europe by force. And it is on the initiative of Russian imperialism, not second-rank powers like Turkey or Serbia. It is too early to learn all the lessons and see all the consequences. But we can already say that nothing has happened as Russia had envisioned. We will not list here the weaknesses and mistakes on the Russian side. But the fundamental factor that thwarted Putin’s calculations was the strength of the Ukrainian resistance

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“Russian state TV shows clips simulating Ireland being wiped out by nuclear weapons” – Expel Ambassador Yuri Filatov!

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Vladimir Putin’s puppet tv channel threatens Ireland with nuclear extinction – Expel Ambassador Yuri Filatov from his plush residence in Orwell Road.! See also https://cedarlounge.wordpress.com/2022/05/05/lets-talk-about-nuclear-explosion-triggered-tsunamis/

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“Ukrainian town fights off Russians and faces down hospital bombing” – Remember that name – Bashtanka.

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Introductory Note :

Daniel McLaughlin is an old-fashioned war-correspondent, who writes for the Irish Times. This report, published on Saturday April 30 2022, illustrates very vividly the real nature of the current war in Europe, the most dangerous conflict on the continent since World War 2.

This is a war of Ukrainian national liberation against a far-right ethnic-cleansing imperialist state headed by Vladimir Putin. The residents of Bashtanka, in the words of the town’s mayor, Aleksandr Berehovyi, decided to fight because “we had no choice”.

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Evasions on the Left Over Ukraine – Conor Kostick, Independent Left (Ireland)

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This is a strongly recommended article. The author is an experienced anti-war activist, an Irish historian and writer living in Dublin. He is the author of many works of history and fiction.. For more information read the information at this link : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conor_Kostick?wprov=sfti1. https://www.leftarchive.ie/people/2778/ Some of Conor’s political writings are here : https://www.leftarchive.ie/people/2778/

Wars are not light topics that can be dispensed of with simple formulas. I, for one, cannot imagine how the success of Russia would further the cause of democracy and socialism around the world. If you do, then say so, openly, so it can be debated in public. But don’t falsify tradition and history and hide behind pathetic slogans. To paraphrase Marx, we Marxists disdain to conceal our views and aims.

John Ganz, Ben Burgis’s Bad History: Jacobin’s anti-Jacobins

There is a type of left argument around the war in Ukraine which has arisen in the West. It is one that condemns Putin’s invasion, but refuses to offer practical support to the people of Ukraine in resisting that invasion. It is the position one can read in Jacobin, or in statements by Chomsky, Corbyn, and the Stop the War Coalition in the UK. In Ireland we have the same type of response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine from People Before Profit and the Socialist Party of Ireland.

I will use the label Evasionist Left for this approach. It’s not clear how representative this trend is internationally, as many on the left do pro-actively support the resistance in Ukraine, e.g. parties such Razem in Poland; those associated with the Fourth International like Left Bloc and the Danish Red Green Alliance; and the main left party in Japan, the Japanese Communist Party.

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Light Relief – Six County Election News from 2 Workers’ Parties

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A correspondent asks if “there are two Group B’s? Group B/Official versus Group B/Provisional? More importantly, who has the image rights to Kim Jong Il?”. In the old days, the Workers’ Party styled itself Official Sinn Féin, associated with an armed wing the party claimed did not exist, the Official IRA. Insiders called the military organisation “Group B”. In 2022 two organisations exist called the Workers’ Party, and one of them is running candidates in the May 5 Stormont Assembly Elections. The other Workers’ Party thinks differently.

See Also https://cedarlounge.wordpress.com/2022/04/15/two-wp-parades/. And for farther information : https://belfastmedia.com/workers-party-split-casts-a-shadow-on-assembly-election?fbclid=IwAR0W4uHrEroNZpeXjqo1K3Vo3eXHVQ_pnngK0RjAAC3vQlgn73bZSPByzQM

Written by tomasoflatharta

Apr 27, 2022 at 7:24 am

Posted in Ireland, Workers' Party

From Managed Democracy to Fascism – Putin’s Imposition of Obedience and Order on Russian Society. – Ilya Budraitskis

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Many western left-wing anti-war activists catastrophically underestimate the far-right ethnic-cleansing and imperialist régime of Vladimir Putin – a régime which promotes huge far-right forces in the European continent such as Marine Le Pen (France) AFD (Germany) Salvini (Italy) – just naming a few. In general, such leftists wildly exaggerate the far-right in Ukraine, make absurd claims that the Russian invasion of Ukraine is an inter-imperialist war, and blame NATO for the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Popular resistance to the Russian invasion is deemed OK, provided the Ukrainian masses do not use weapons. Meanwhile Putin’s ethnic-cleansing army, which is NATO’s number one recruiting sergeant, implements a plan to dissolve the Ukrainian nation – just like, for example, Israel committed a genocide of the Palestinian people in the late 1940’s. It is necessary to engage with the left in Eastern Europe, which shines a light on the far-right reality of Vladimir Putin’s Russia. In Ireland we can respond to this with effective focused solidarity actions directed against the Russian invasion – demanding, for example, the expulsion from Ireland of the Russian Ambassador Yuri Filatov.

John Meehan April 25 2020

Ilya Budraitskis is the author of Dissidents Among Dissidents: Ideology, Politics, and the Left in Post-Soviet Russia. He writes regularly on politics, art, film, and philosophy for e-flux journal, openDemocracy, Jacobin and other outlets. He teaches at the Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences and the Institute of Contemporary Art Moscow. Article Source https://www.tempestmag.org/.

From Managed Democracy to Fascism

Putin’s Imposition of Obedience and Order on Russian Society.


by Ilya Budraitskis

In the aftermath of its invasion of Ukraine, Ilya Budraitskis describes Russia as evolving to a new form of fascism. What had been a “managed democracy” with limited personal freedoms, has become a society and polity which requires unequivocal acceptance of the Ukraine invasion and treats any sign of deviation as treason. The article first appeared in German in Die Wochenzeitung, under the title, “Gruseliges Vorzeichen einer möglichen Zukunft.”

A Russian flashmob in the form of a letter "Z".
Flash mob at the Platinum Arena in Khabarovsk on 11 March 2022, organized by the Central District Management Committee and the United Russia party as part of the “We don’t abandon our own” (Своих Не Бросаем) campaign. Attendees including Young Guard of United Russia members and local residents arrange themselves in “Z” symbol formation. Photo by the City of Khabarovsk.

In just a month and a half since the outbreak of war in Ukraine, Putin’s Russia has entered a new period in its history. The authoritarian regime built over the last twenty years, despite ever-increasing repression, has until recently allowed the existence of limited freedom of speech, party struggle within a so-called “managed democracy,” and most importantly, the right for private life. The latter was a key element in the permanent depoliticization of Russian society: you might be unenthusiastic about government decisions or presidential rhetoric, but you always had a safe haven from “politics” in your daily business or your family circle. Today, with the letter Z, which has become almost an official grim symbol of the invasion of Ukraine, adorning the windows of public transport, schools and hospitals, the cosy space of private life has lost its right to exist.

The regime now requires unequivocal public acceptance of the war from every citizen. Any sign of deviation from this civic duty is condemned as treason, and any dissemination of information about the war other than official Defence Ministry briefs is treated as a crime. Since the war began, dozens of Russians – young and old, residents of Moscow and provincial towns – have been charged with new criminal offences of “discrediting the Russian army.” Not only going into a square with an anti-war poster, but even a pacifist badge on a backpack or a careless comment in the workplace can be grounds for arrest or a huge financial fine. The persecution of dissidents is gradually becoming not only a matter for the police, but also for “vigilantes” who are prepared to write a denunciation about a neighbour or a colleague. All this does not mean, however, that mass nationalist fanaticism has taken the place of depoliticization – on the contrary, propaganda and repression remain the exclusive monopoly of the state.[A]fter thirty years of post-Soviet authoritarianism and neoliberal market reforms, [Russian society] has consistently been reduced to a state of silent victimhood, a malleable material from which a full-fledged fascist regime can be built.

Support for the war is strictly controlled from above and does not allow for any form of self-organisation. For example, the authorities have banned right-wing radicals from organising independent marches in solidarity with the Russian army – such actions can only be carried out by local authorities according to a uniform script approved by the presidential administration from Moscow. Backing for the war can only come in the form of backing for Putin; it must reflect the complete identity of the national leader and his people, and nothing else. Anyone who is not prepared to do so is defined as an abettor of the “Nazis.” This maniacal fixation of official propaganda on the terms “denazification” and “Nazism” seems as if it specifically suggests the right definitions for the changed nature of Putin’s regime.

I think it can already be stated that today’s political regime in Russia is rapidly evolving towards a new form of fascism – the fascism of the twenty-first century. But what are its characteristics? What are its similarities and differences from the European fascism of the first half of the previous century?

A huge body of historical and philosophical literature on fascism of the past has provided a variety of answers about the nature of this phenomenon. I would focus on two largely opposing approaches, one of which can be described as a theory of “movement” and the other as a theory of “move.” The first approach (by historians such as Ernst Nolte, for example) saw fascism primarily as a mass movement aimed at suppressing a revolutionary threat from outside the state, which was too weak to protect the rule of the ruling elite. According to this approach, the fascist movement broke the state’s monopoly on violence against political opponents and then, once in power, transformed that state from within. The fascist regimes in Italy and Germany were, therefore, primarily movements that radically transformed the state and gave it a form of its own.

The second approach, by contrast, viewed fascism primarily as a top-down coup by the ruling classes themselves. This position was most clearly expressed by the sociologist Karl Polanyi, who saw in fascism an aspiration for the final victory of capitalist logic over any form of self-organisation and solidarity in society. The aim of fascism, according to Polanyi, was the complete social atomization and the dissolution of the individual into the machine of production. Fascism was thus something more profound than a reaction to the danger of revolutionary anti-capitalist movements from below – it was inextricably linked to the final establishment of the domination of the economy over society. Its goal was not only to destroy workers’ parties, but any element of democratic control from below in general.Flash mob at the Platinum Arena in Khabarovsk on 11 March 2022, organized by the Central District Management Committee and the United Russia party as part of the “We don’t abandon our own” (Своих Не Бросаем) campaign. Attendees including Young Guard of United Russia members and local residents arrange themselves in “Z” symbol formation. Photo by the City of Khabarovsk.

Modern fascism (or, as the historian Enzo Traverso defined it, post-fascism) no longer needs mass movements or a more or less coherent ideology. It seeks to affirm social inequality and the subordination of the lower classes to the higher classes as unconditional as the only possible reality and the only credible law of society.

Russian society, after thirty years of post-Soviet authoritarianism and neoliberal market reforms, has consistently been reduced to a state of silent victimhood, a malleable material from which a full-fledged fascist regime can be built. External aggression, based on the complete dehumanisation of the enemy (“Nazis” and “non-humans,” as Putin’s official propaganda puts it), was the decisive moment in the “move” made from above. Of course, the Russian regime has its own unique features and was produced by a complex combination of specific historical circumstances. However, it is very important to understand that Putin’s fascism is not an anomaly, a deviation from “normal” development – including in Western societies.

Putinism is a frightening sign of a possible future to which extreme right-wing parties striving for power in various European countries could lead. In order to fight for a different future, we all need to reconsider the very foundations of the capitalist logic, which is quietly but persistently preparing the ground for a “move” from the top, which could happen in a heartbeat. The old and somewhat forgotten dilemma of Rosa Luxemburg, “socialism or barbarism,” has become an urgent reality for Russia and for the world since the fateful morning of the 24th of February.

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Pro- Ukraine Workers impose sanctions : 1. Sabotage in Belarus: railway workers in action 2. Swedish Dockers Block Russian Ships

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A Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign directed against the far-right ethnic cleanser régime of Russia is necessary. This can be a direct imitator the BDS campaign for Palestine against racist Israel – and the past Boycott Apartheid campaign directed against racist South Africa. Workers in states close to Ukraine – Belarus and Sweden – show us the way forward. For more information on active solidarity with Ukraine click here : http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article61759

Railway sabotage in Belarus: railway workers in action

In the aftermath of the Russian aggression against Ukraine, the Executive Committee of the Congress of Democratic Trade Unions of Belarus stated: “We wish to assure you, dear Ukrainians, that the vast majority of Belarusians, including workers, condemn the reckless actions of the present Belarusian regime in tolerating the Russian aggression against Ukraine. We demand an immediate halt to hostilities and the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine, as well as from Belarus.”

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“The Blitzkrieg Failed – What Next?” – Boris Kagarlitsky

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Challenge yourself in these dark days. Vladimir Putin, a far-right ethnic cleanser who who has his hands on a nuclear button, is threatening Armageddon against Ukraine and his own people – he is not bothered about NATO encirclement of Russia. Putin is NATO’s number one recruiting sergeant. Russian left winger Boris Kagarlitsky explains.

Boris Kagarlitsky PhD is a historian and sociologist who lives in Moscow. He is a prolific author of books on the history and current politics of the Soviet Union and Russia and of books on the rise of globalized capitalism. Fourteen of his books have been translated into English. The most recent book in English is ‘From Empires to Imperialism: The State and the Rise of Bourgeois Civilisation’ (Routledge, 2014). Kagarlitsky is chief editor of the Russian-language online journal Rabkor.ru (The Worker). He is the director of the Institute for Globalization and Social Movements, located in Moscow. Source : https://www.counterpunch.org/2022/04/15/the-blitzkrieg-failed-whats-next/?fbclid=IwAR1cUcoJQiRxcmQX1XexskAs7bnDKsU2p5xji5CpwFEifComiG3y1D71stA

The special operation in Ukraine was conceived by Putin and his entourage as a way to turn the political situation around. The Kremlin strategists weren’t the least bit interested in the fate of the people in Lugansk and Donetsk, or even in the future of Ukraine. At a historical impasse, with no way to revive the economy, cope with the burden of growing problems, or raise the approval ratings now rolling into the abyss, they found no better way to solve all their issues at once but with the help of a small victorious war — a classic mistake that governments make when they are not ready to embark on urgent and inevitable reforms.

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Russian Ethnic Cleansing in Action at Bucha : “Those who committed these deeds, up close, must have regarded their prey as something less than human.”

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There are a number of posts on this and other left-wing sources steering readers away from the belief that Vladimir Putin’s Russian invasion of Ukraine can be explained – and in some cases justified – by NATO expansion eastward across the European continent.

This never made any sense to me for one obvious reason, a reason that could be spotted by a small child. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has dramatically increased popular support for NATO across the European continent : especially in countries neighbouring Russia which, before the invasion, were not members of NATO. This category includes Ukraine, Finland, and Sweden.

The governments of Finland and Sweden are planning to drop historic neutrality policies and join NATO. This dramatic turn to the right has been accelerated by Russia’s ethnic-cleansing invasion of Ukraine.

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Can Ukraine Militarily Defeat the Far-Right Russian Ethnic-Cleanser Invader? Is the “Porcupine” Military Resistance Strategy Working?

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At first, since the winter of 2021, many well-educated observers doubted Russia would invade Ukraine. Then many of them expected a quick crushing Russian military victory. Facts, stubborn things, have demolished these predictions.

Writing in the Good Friday 2022 edition of the Irish Times, Brussels Correspondent Naomi O’Leary introduces us to the “Porcupine Strategy” :

The Ukrainian Military Porcupine Strategy

The resilience and effectiveness of Ukraine’s defence, and ability to impose great costs on Russia despite Moscow’s vastly greater numbers, have significance far beyond Ukraine.

It’s a vindication of the so-called porcupine strategy that underpins the defence of many other states that contend with a larger neighbour they suspect of territorial designs.

Estonia (1.3 million), Latvia (1.9 million), and Lithuania (2.8 million) will always suffer a numerical disadvantage compared to Russia (144 million). They have long feared the expansionary ambitions of their large neighbour, particularly since the annexation of Crimea.

Their strategy in response is not to try to match Moscow’s numbers – that would be impossible – but to make themselves indigestible. More trouble to attack than they are worth.

Is it possible that, in months and years to come, the Ukraine policy : militarily resist the Russian invasion – using weapons wherever they could get them – will be hailed as the “common sense” view of all on the left? That might seem unlikely now, but stubborn facts should force a rethink. A selection of left policies, Good Friday 2022 vintage, such as

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Internationalist manifesto against the war – Anticapitalist Organisations of Russia, Ukraine, and NATO Countries

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An excellent initiative.

Source : https://anticapitalistresistance.org/internationalist-manifesto-against-the-war/?fbclid=IwAR1iHwqdg8aV5k106Fodq-vJ7djLfWJ8EQLt0F7d3Ns7qzmcPHqRfkt4X4Y

Anticapitalist Organisations of Russia, Ukraine, and NATO Countries

The criminal war launched by Russian imperialism against Ukraine is the most serious threat to world peace since the end of the Cold War. It brings the world closer to a global conflagration than at any time since Mikhail Gorbachev’s peace initiatives.

The main culprit for this dangerous evolution is US imperialism, which took advantage of the fall of the Soviet Union in order to consolidate its global military network, expand its presence in various parts of the world and launch invasion wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Washington fostered in Russia and Eastern Europe the adoption of a brutal neoliberal program that created conditions for a far-right drift in most of these countries, especially Russia where it supported Boris Yeltsin’s antidemocratic coup in 1993.

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Fighting for Self-Determination – Yuliya Yurchenko explains “For Ukrainians it’s an existential fight. Our country’s identity, territorial boundaries, and our very existence is under attack right now”

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Introduction

Ukraine is fighting a war of liberation against a Russian Ethnic Cleanser state led by a violent far-right imperialist Vladimir Putin. All related issues are discussed in the interview below.

Spectre‘s Ashley Smith talked to Yuliya Yurchenko, author of Ukraine and the Empire of Capital: From Marketization to Armed Conflict (Pluto, 2018). She is a Lecturer in International Business and Researcher at the Public Services International Research Unit, the Centre for Business Network Analysis, and the Political Research Centre at the University of Greenwich.

Material like this is urgently required reading for anti-war activists in Ireland and elsewhere who are in love with the word BUT. “Ukrainians have the right to wage armed struggle” BUT “Oppose Sending NATO Arms to the Ukrainian Resistance – and its right-wing government”. History Lessons are easily unlearned – leading up to the Irish Easter 1916 Rising James Connolly’s left-wing Irish Citizens’ Army proudly promoted a banner : “We Serve Neither King nor Kaiser but Ireland”. Many of the guns used in the 1916 Rising were supplied by German Imperialism.

The Butistas talk as much as possible about right-wing characteristics of the Zelensky Government, throwing in wild exaggerations – and say next to nothing about the far more powerful far-right government of Vladimir Putin : promoter of sinister politicians like French Presidential contender Marine Le Pen.

In Dáil Éireann recently Sinn Féin and Labour Leaders Mary-Lou McDonald and Ivana Bacik called for the expulsion from Ireland of Russian Ambassador Yuri Filatov. The right-wing NATO friendly Dublin government vigorously opposed this call. Radical socialist TD’s made no public comment on this proposal, which is gaining some left wing trade union support. John Meehan April 22 2022

What are conditions like for people in Ukraine now amidst this war? What is the state of the military and civilian resistance to Russia’s invasion?

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We are all Salman Rushdie

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The New York attempt to assassinate the writer Salman Rushdie means statements of solidarity are required.

Two declarations posted below come from the United States of America. PEN America is a branch of the worldwide association of writers which stands for

the principle of unhampered transmission of thought within each nation and between all nations, and members pledge themselves to oppose any form of suppression of freedom of expression in the country and community to which they belong, as well as throughout the world wherever this is possible https://pen-international.org/who-we-are/the-pen-charter

From Ayad Akhtar, PEN America President It is hard to find words to express the emotions occasioned by today’s shocking attack on Salman Rushdie.

As a former President of our organization, Salman means so much to us. His leadership in the wake of 9/11 set the course for the two decades which have followed. He has been and remains a tireless advocate for imperiled writers, for unfettered intellectual and creative exchange, and one of the last half-century’s great champions of freedom of expression. But it is in his own truly seminal, challenging body of work that Salman has stood most powerfully for the values of PEN America—work that has questioned founding myths and expanded the world’s imaginative possibilities, at great cost to himself.

On a more personal note, as a writer whose own work is fundamentally shaped by an early encounter with The Satanic Verses, it is particularly horrifying to me that the nightmare set in motion by the fatwa in 1989 is still with us. We are all thinking of Salman today across the PEN America community, and praying for his recovery.Salman Rushdie delivering the Arthur Miller Freedom to Write Lecture at the 2012 World Voices Festival, which he co-founded. Read his remarks on censorship here.“Originality is dangerous. It challenges, questions, overturns assumptions, unsettles moral codes, disrespects sacred cows or other such entities. It can be shocking, or ugly, or, to use the catch-all term so beloved of the tabloid press, controversial. And if we believe in liberty, if we want the air we breathe to remain plentiful and breathable, this is the art whose right to exist we must not only defend, but celebrate. Art is not entertainment. At its very best, it’s a revolution.” —Salman Rushdie, “On Censorship” 

The second declaration is a publication of Feminist Dissent :

Rushdie’s Right to Write, Our Right to Dissent

As Salman Rushdie lies gravely injured in hospital, Feminist Dissent expresses sorrow at the brutal attack on him and on Ralph Henry Reese in New York state on August 12, 2022, at an event focusing on asylum for writers. It is our fervent hope that Salman will recover to write and live a full life again. We send our love and solidarity to him, his family and friends around the world and to all those whose lives have also been endangered by this renewed threat to freedom.

Many of us are founders of Women Against Fundamentalism (WAF) which defended Rushdie in the wake of the fatwa issued by Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini in 1989 following the publication of his novel The Satanic Verses. Against the demonstrations that attacked Rushdie for having hurt Muslim sentiments and calls for his book to be burnt, WAF argued that women’s right to dissent was deeply intertwined with Rushdie’s right to write.

We knew then as we know now that many calling for Rushdie’s murder were the same fundamentalist leaders who contributed to women’s oppression within communities. We spoke out in the name of our secular traditions, with the banner ‘Our tradition, struggle not submission.’

WAF was equally committed to anti-racist politics that opposed the demonisation of all Muslims as fanatical, as it was to challenging fundamentalism in all religions—Hindu, Jewish, Christian, Buddhist and Muslim. It called out the ways in which fundamentalists were exploiting patriarchal power to control women and sexual minorities.

Unfortunately, the dangers that we warned against then are still among us and yet, too often, they are not named. Authoritarian and fundamentalist forces are stronger than ever.

We are not only devastated by the attack on Rushdie’s life, we are angry. We are angry at the failure of both the left and the right to take a stand for freedom of speech and conscience, and to advocate for the abolition of blasphemy and apostasy laws.

All those who believe in universal values should hold to account states such as Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia which have promoted hate, organised vigilantes to attack writers, and kept alive the concept of blasphemy. 

No individual Muslim should be held responsible for the actions of another. In fact, people of Muslim heritage are often at the forefront of struggles for socialism, secularism and against blasphemy laws, yet too often their struggles are mocked and diminished as pro-imperialist or Islamophobic. We stand with them, and the struggle for secularism everywhere.

We call out Muslim fundamentalist organisations (including those in western countries) that advocate death to blasphemers such as atheist bloggers in Bangladesh, while complaining that any criticism of them is Islamophobic. We need to stop treating them as advocates of human rights.

We call out those sections of the left that see Islamists as anti-imperialist allies and attack Rushdie as a stooge of the West. Organised violence against artists, writers, feminists and free-thinking dissidents has been alchemised by post-truth politics into support for the suppression of ‘offence’. We recall the refusal of many writers to support their own organisation PEN’s award to the murdered journalists of Charlie Hebdo. In refusing solidarity, they helped create a world in which it was possible for writers or teachers to be murdered with barely an eyebrow raised in polite society.

Salman Rushdie has always understood the importance of opposing all forms of authoritarianism and religious fundamentalism. He supports persecuted artists everywhere, from Ukrainians fleeing war to murdered bloggers and cartoonists.

In 1989, about 40 women of Women Against Fundamentalism confronted a huge fundamentalist march demanding death to Salman Rushdie, and the banning of his book. We shouted ‘Salman Rushdie Zindabad’ and today we repeat, ‘Long Live Salman Rushdie’.

Note: The next issue of Feminist Dissent is on Freedom of Expression. Stay tuned. https://feministdissent.org/blog-posts/rushdies-right-to-write/

Ukrainians Reject “Ridiculous” Calls for Negotiations with Putin’s Ethnic-Cleansing Invaders – That should be the Common Sense Policy of the Radical Left

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The vast majority of Ukrainians oppose a policy advocated by many western leftists who call for a ceasefire. Left-wing supporters of the ceasefire policy in Ireland – for example Sabina Coyne-Higgins (wife of Irish President Michael D Higgins) and the left-wing party People Before Profit – do not publicly engage with Ukrainians living in Ireland, who have expressed strong rejection of the recent ceasefire plea published by Ms Coyne-Higgins in the Irish Times. Here is one representative example :

Michael Baskin, who has lived in Ireland for 20 years and leads the Ukrainian Crisis Centre in Ireland, said he had spent time since the letter was published trying “to understand what Sabina Higgins was trying to say”.

“Ukraine never wanted this war. I will give a simple example. Somewhere in Ireland someone came to your house, killed your family, and tried to take it from you. Will you negotiate? Like, take a half of it and let’s live like this. It’s ridiculous.

“We can’t give up our country’s future. If we don’t stop Russia now, Ukraine won’t exist in 20 years.”

Ukrainians bridle over Sabina Higgins’s ceasefire letter
Letter by President’s wife no longer visible on Áras an Uachtaráin website – Irish Times July 30 2022

The PBP publicly backed the Coyne-Higgins Statement, stating she “had done nothing wrong”.

A number of left-wing activists disagree.

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Free Maksym Butkevych, a Political Prisoner – Ukrainian Anti-Fascist and Human Rights Activist Captured by Invading Russian Troops

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Ireland has a history of fighting for the rights of political prisoners. The international workers’ movement, inspired by the work of activists such as Eleanor Marx, has a history of defending anti-imperialist fighters. An account of this proud history follows this Green Left Weekly (Australia) call for action in support of Maksym Butkevych. See also http://europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article63291&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook

There are grave fears for the safety of Ukrainian anti-fascist and human rights activist Maksym Butkevych, following his capture by Russian troops. Butkevych’s parents and human rights campaigners are calling on the international community to ensure he is guaranteed his rights in accordance with the Geneva Convention.

https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/free-maksym-butkevych-russian-troops-capture-ukrainian-anti-fascist-activist?fbclid=IwAR0FYvlN_xisnPkPTLHDEIAUliT–mcCUovnjDREIKndJheGq_qdmqg5Oqk

There are grave fears for the safety of Ukrainian anti-fascist and human rights activist Maksym Butkevych, following his capture by Russians troops. Butkevych’s parents and human rights campaigners are calling on the international community to ensure he is guaranteed his rights in accordance with the Geneva Convention.

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