Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Solidarity With Palestine, Solidarity With Ukraine – Sotsialniy Rukh (Ukraine) Compared With People Before Profit (Ireland)

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If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, South African Anti-Apartheid Activist

Sotsialniy Rukh Statement on Palestine and Ukraine (in English and Ukrainian)

📣 November 29 since 1978 has been celebrated as the Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people. For 44 years, the world officially talks about the Palestinian tragedy that has no end.

This day reminds us of Palestine’s ongoing struggle for life and freedom. Despite condemnation of Israel’s policy, which leading human rights organizations say fits the crime of apartheid under the Roman Statute, the de facto Palestinians and Palestinians still have neither protection nor independence. Their homes are being taken, cities bombed, and their lives are totally in vain.

🚩Since the start of the victorious Russian invaders, Ukraine has drawn attention worldwide: many countries, left-wing political forces and volunteers are helping Ukrainians in their fight for independence. However, you should not forget the similarity of the situation of Ukraine and Palestine: both Russian and Israeli propagandists do not want to recognize the bloody consequences of the occupation and justify the “military efficiency” shelling of peaceful Ukrainian and Palestinian whoa a population. The struggle of both nations does not fit into the logic of imperialistic centers of influence. Therefore, we want to express solidarity and wish the Palestinian resistance success in choosing the right to self-determination. After all, a better fair world can be when there is no oppression left!

📣 29 листопада ще з 1978 року відзначається як День солідарності з палестинським народом. Вже 44 роки в світі офіційно говорять про трагедію Палестини, якій немає кінця.

Цей день нам нагадує про тривалу боротьбу Палестини за життя і свободу. Незважаючи на засудження політики Ізраїлю, яка, на думку провідних правозахисних організацій, відповідає визначенню злочину апартеїду за Римським статутом, де-факто палестинки та палестинці досі не мають ані захисту, ані незалежності. Їх домівки захоплюються, міста бомбардуються, а їх життя повністю знецінюється.

🚩З моменту початку віроломного вторгнення російських загарбників, на Україну звернули увагу по всьому світу: багато країн, лівих політичних сил та волонтерів допомагають в боротьбі українців за незалежність. Проте не варто забувати про подібність становища України та Палестини: як російські, так і ізраїльські пропагандисти не бажають визнавати криваві наслідки окупації та виправдовують “військовою доцільністю” обстріли мирного українського та палестинського населення. Боротьба обох народів не вписується у логіку імперіалістичних центрів впливу. Тому ми хочемо висловити солідарність та бажаємо палестинському опору успіхів у виборюванні права на самовизначення. Адже кращий справедливий світ може бути тоді, коли не залишиться гноблення!

This statement can be compared with a Richard Boyd-Barrett TD (People Before Profit) Dáil Éireann speech directed at European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen.

There is a Gap Between Words and Actions

Boyd-Barrett’s speech, shredding EU hypocrisy, is superb. Except of course for one thing : the condemnation of the criminal invasion of Ukraine with no action on that. In contrast to, for instance, the continual and admirable agitation on Palestine. No action, and a contiguous and contradictory position that the invasion is just one side of a proxy inter-imperialist war in which no side should be supported.

The Politics of Socialist Denunciation

Socialist Denunciation of European Union hypocrisy and double-standards is admirable. But socialist practical words and activism must follow, as night follows day. On the left in Ireland today we need to favour humanitarian and military measures to assist Ukrainian citizens. For example, we should favour assisting the Ukrainian citizens and their state to clear Russian mines from previously occupied territories. In Ireland, that assistance can be provided by Irish military experts. This is a concrete – small and significant – measure backing up passionate humanitarian words with practical action.

Richard Boyd-Barrett’s Dáil colleague Paul Murphy evades the concrete issue :

How can mine clearing training be provided? Murphy dodges this issue. He scores anti NATO points at the cost of Ukraine. This is an example of passive socialist denunciation.

A sincere pacifist could argue that Irish non lesthal military aid such as mine clearing could be provided but minimising cooperation with third countries. Meaning that either the Irish do it in Ukraine or the Ukrainians come to Ireland. Zoom being presumably acceptable for the theoretical part of the training. Experts can advise how many Irish troops could do this job. It is irrelevant if that number is 500, 5,000, or 15,000.

Irish Neutrality or Irish Non-Alignment?

A passive “not my problem”policy of “neutrality” is promoted by People Before Profit TD’s to justify ineffective opposition to Russia’s imperialist and ethnic-cleansing invasion of Ukraine. It is badly flawed.

Number 1 : A policy, in the present day, of opposing membership of competing military alliances such as NATO and Russia’s “collective security” network – which we should all agree with – is better described as “non-alignment”.

Number 2 : The well-known South African activist Desmond Tutu stated

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.

Number 3 : the Irish State Neutrality policy exists because of World War 2. The De Valera government – a product of a bitter civil war which ended in 1923 – partially ending an 800 year old British occupation of Ireland – decided it would not allow the British imperialist military apparatus back into the 26 county bit of partitioned Ireland. Very simply, the Dublin Régime did not trust British warlord Winston Churchill – “Perfidious Albion”. The Northern six county state had already become “a Protestant State for a Protestant People”. The 26 county bit of Ireland was an equally counter-revolutionary state. De Valera’s government concluded that British military re-occupation would have ignited a new War of Independence. Contemporary claims that Britain was “fighting for freedom” rang distinctly hollow in Ireland. A very small Irish Trotskyist current, during the war years, argued for the Irish neutrality policy – which, however, they said should have been explicitly anti-fascist.

John Meehan December 2 2022

More about Sotsialniy Rukh here :

Source :

The Social Movement was based on the Assembly of Social Revolution initiative, created in the wake of the 2013-2014 Euromaidan protests by activists of social, trade union and left-wing movements, in particular the anti-Stalinist Marxistorganization “Left Opposition” (not to be confused with the party of the same name). The latter originated from the Trotskyist wing of the Organization of Marxists joined by independent leftists, for instance, former members of Direct Action syndicalist student union.

During the Maidan protests of 2013-2014, representatives of the Left Opposition circulated the “Ten Points” of social demands, which declared the cause of the country’s unresolved problems to be the system of oligarchic capitalism, and came to the conclusion about the need for a political force of the left-democratic base, which would promote a socially oriented agenda in the interests of the working class of the entire country crossing over regional or language divisions. Individual candidates of the Assembly of Social Revolution ran for the Kyiv City Council in the 2014 local election, but the main activity was in the area of street politics and protest performances.

The congress on May 1, 2015 visited by May 68 veteran Alain Krivine laid the foundation for the organizing committee of the future party called “Social Movement” and the public organization of the same name, which was registered on June 8, 2016. The Social Movement was conceived as a broad association open to various members of Ukrainian New Left — including democratic, libertarian, and revolutionary currents of socialism ranging from social democrats to anarchists. Among others, some of the editors of the critical left-wing publications Commons (Spil’ne) and Politychna Krytyka also take part in it.

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