Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

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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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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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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French Presidential Elections – left eliminated from first round…again

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Dave Kellaway provides his initial analysis on the first round of the French presidential election results.

Source : http://europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article62053&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook. Also : https://anticapitalistresistance.org/french-elections-left-eliminated-from-first-roundagain/

  Contents  


[First Round results based on the latest estimates (21.00 CET): Not reproduced here.]

Results:

Emmanuel Macron: 27.8 %
Marine Le Pen: 23.2 %
Jean-Luc Melenchon: 22%
Eric Zemmour: 7.1
Valérie Pécresse: 4.8%
Jadot: 4.6%
Jean Lassale: 3.1%
Fabien Roussel: 2.3%
Dupont-Aignan: 2.1%
Anne Hidalgo: 1.8%
Philippe Poutou: 0.8%
Natalie Arthaud: 0.6%

An important conclusion : It would be irresponsible and very dangerous if people who voted for left and progressive parties stayed at home for the second round. Roussel for the CP has called for a vote for Macron to stop Le Pen. Melenchon has already called in his post-election address for his supporters to give not a single vote at all to Le Pen. Excellent. He combined this with a clear call for all the struggles to continue. Phillipe Poutou, candidate of the anticapitalists, has called, like Melenchon, for not one vote to be cast for Le Pen. He called for the biggest possible mobilisation against the far right on the 16 and 17 April.

 A re-run of 2017?

Sometimes history does repeat itself. The incumbent president, Macron, will face a re-run of the 2017 second round against the far right Marine Le Pen. He has continued to hold on to the blocs of ex SP voters and some moderate conservatives from the right wing Republicans party. Melenchon has by a significant margin has been the most voted candidate on the left. His score is two points better than last time and puts his movement in a strong position in relation to the rest of the left. He is the undisputed leader of the left although he is now likely to take a step back, since he will not stand again for president.

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“You either support Russian imperialism or Ukraine’s right to determine its own future, together with its civilians. Period” – Notes from a Correspondent in England

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Mark Findlay reviews the Russian Invasion of Ukraine, and reactions from the left in England. The article comes from Mark’s Facebook Page,

NATO or not NATO?


Much is being said about NATO aid to Ukraine; this morning (11/04/2022), I read from Graham Durham on Facebook:


“It was good to see the pro NATO demo on Saturday, called by the PCS union and disgracefully publicised by the TUC , was a tiny flop.
The warmongering demand to ‘Arm Ukraine ‘ is a disgrace to the trade union movement which should be demanding an end to NATO expansion and aggression . As deadly weapons are sent by NATO countries to extend the war some feeble ‘leftists ‘ argue it is not NATO doing this but individual countries
No to War .Stop NATO warmongering
Monday greetings to all in the 5.38 club”


The above is fairly typical from much of the Left. Frankly, I find it hard even to include such a disgraceful post in my text. Not one word about the role of Putin and Russian imperialism, overwhelmingly the aggressor in the current war. This post neatly summarises the Tankie position. Effectively, they want Russia to win. There is no choice in the matter; either Ukraine fights them off, or it’s game over, and Russia will have won at least a large chunk of Ukraine, perhaps the entire Black sea coast plus much of the East, and Kyiv would still remain at threat. If you don’t allow Ukraine to acquire weapons, you are inviting its defeat. This is war-mongering on behalf of Putin.


Here is an exchange in the comments to the above post:

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Old schemes and new schisms

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Guest post by Des Derwin

There are two general templates, one for each side of the divide on the war that is now congealing on the left, and which will mark it for the next period. Views on the war, often backed up with evidence and argument, often, and increasingly, assuming one or other of the templates and theories, spring from those assumptions, with the assumed basic starting point being increasingly advanced as a premise, even a common sense argument. People on the left are now beginning to settle into talking past each other on Ukraine, with some accompanying denunciation and insult. 

Expressing it simply and analogously, one template is a war like a gang war, like the Kinahan-Hutch feud  toward which any reasonable and sociable person would be neutrally hostile to both sides, against both sides and for the war to end; a war between two sets of robbers and murderers to end, full stop, right now. 

The other template sees the invasion of Ukraine as an aggravated burglary in which a modest house is broken into, the occupants assaulted, older people beaten and the place ransacked almost beyond repair. If some at home could defend themselves no reasonable person would object to that, or say they should stop and allow their house to be wrecked and their relations beaten. If you could help the defender you would, even to the extent of handing them a weapon or joining with them if you could. You would, horror, probably call the cops.

There are sub-templates of course, as some believe that one of the gangs in the first template, the Hutches perhaps, are better in one way or another. Are pressed and provoked by the Kinahans, who are the dominant gang, and it would be better by far if the Hutches – who have actually struck first and spectacularly, struck a weaker neighbour friendly to the Kinahans – won and weakened the Kinahans. A few don’t see the Hutches as a gang at all and want them to win. Another variant is that there are two levels to the war, the gang feud (an inter-imperialist war), and simultaneously brutal shootings in homes and neighbourhoods when innocent ‘civilians’ get killed (a war of imperialist aggression and national defense). Some recognise both levels, prioritise the first and warn against defensive help to the victim in case it escalates all the way to Armageddon.

These schematic starting points invest the attitude of the myriad of left groups and individuals. Many base their approach on evidence, many base it on a precooked or underlying geopolitical worldview, with evidence, and sometimes with little evidence; many (non-political) people quickly reach their own spontaneous conclusions based on their own common sense and decency, and some reasonable credibility in the mainstream news media. 

These broadly rival templates overlap and operate within previous great gulfs like stalinism, trotskyism, anarchism and even left social democracy. They are the tip of previously developing and now hardening differences in political weltanschauung.

For the record I fall broadly under the second template. The war is a brutal invasion by an imperialist power. There is a context of rival imperialisms certainly, as there are several contexts for everything political and military: class exploitation, regional political and material interests, particular histories, workers’ internationalism, the climate crisis, etc, etc. 

There are fallouts which our local rulers will seek to use in the usual ‘shock doctrine’ way, which we need to resist, in Ireland’s case ending or diluting formal neutrality and initiating expensive militarisation. Maybe neutrality might paradoxically be the issue on which the Irish left can universally agree and unite on in common activity. But maybe not after the risen temperatures of our own civil war within the war. 

Written by tomasoflatharta

Apr 10, 2022 at 6:20 pm

Ukraine : On-the-Spot Reports by Good Correspondents are Invaluable : Tony Connelly (RTÉ) and Daniel McLaughlin (Irish Times)

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Every major war tests news sources. Blizzards of disinformation should not deter us from seeking the truth. We can identify good and bad journalists. Two excellent war reporters are quoted here. Tony Connelly of the Irish State Broadcaster RTÉ, and Daniel McLaughlin of the Irish Times. We need them. We are attempting to rescue the reputation of the international revolutionary anti-war Left. In this respect the quotations below from two outstanding chroniclers of World War 1 and the 1917 Russian Revolution – John Reed and Leon Trotsky, are extremely good guides for activists combatting the Russian Ethnic Cleanser invasion of Ukraine in dark days of 2022.

Tony Connelly in Ukraine – as of noon Irish time, Sunday February 27 2022 – Day Four of the Invasion and Some Predictable Conclusions Already

It’s day four of the invasion and some predictable conclusions already. A civilian death toll – over 200 killed. But I suppose a more surprising element to this is a strong sense that this is going to be a lot harder than Vladimir Putin had expected.

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News Report : “Greek Railway Workers Refuse to Transport NATO Tanks Towards Ukraine” – the Russian Ethnic Cleanser President Vladimir Putin is Delighted

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Many anti-war comrades have under-estimated the political character of Vladimir Putin’s Russian State, and its invasion of Ukraine.

This leads them to actively opposing Ukrainian armed resistance. A news report tells us :

According to Alexandropoulos port director Konstantinos Hadzimihail, three trains’ worth of NATO equipment have been sent to Poland and Romania through the port to date. At least three NATO ships have entered the port over the past month, including the US-flagged Liberty Passion, and the Hartland Point, a British ro-ro cargo vessel, and the US Liberty King, which is continuing to be unloaded.

The KKE (Greek Communist Party) has been highly active in opposing Athens’ involvement in the crisis between NATO and Russia over Ukraine.

https://dailytelegraph.co.nz/world/greek-railway-workers-refuse-to-transport-nato-tanks-toward-ukraine/?fbclid=IwAR2W8smj2j99KLzEqyDWa3JPflUJ7U2Je9c-OPcNd2Zsim7YQ_veErYMCRk

The story came to my attention via the Facebook page of a respected anti-war veteran, Tariq Ali. At the time of writing, it is unclear to me if Ali approves or disapproves of the action taken by the Greek workers, and the tankie policy of the Greek KKE. A number of correspondents offer some clear thinking.

On April 9 2022) a number of Left wing activists from the UNITE trade union picketed the Embassy of Russia in Dublin’s plush Orwell Road calling for the expulsion of Ambassador Yuri Filatov from Irish Soil.

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Russian Socialists Speak : “Against Russian Imperialism”

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During important political disputes it is often necessary to “bend the stick”. This article persuasively calls on the left across the globe to recognise that Vladimir Putin, not NATO, has invaded Ukraine 🇺🇦. In Ireland and other European countries we have a duty to implement solidarity with Ukraine.

Authors : Thursday 7 April 2022, by Russian Socialist Movement (RSD), Sotsialnyi Rukh (Social Movement) Ukraine

Source : http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article62003

Although the majority of the left has condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the left camp’s unity is still lacking. We would like to address those on the left who still stick to “a plague on both houses” position that views the war as an inter-imperialist war.

It is high time the left woke up and carried out a “concrete analysis of the concrete situation” instead of reproducing worn-out frameworks from the Cold War. Overlooking Russian imperialism is a terrible mistake for the left. It is Putin, not NATO, who is waging war on Ukraine. That is why it is essential to shift our focus from Western imperialism to Putin’s aggressive imperialism, which has an ideological and political basis in addition to an economic one.

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Ukraine: Democratic socialists challenge Zelensky’s attack on workers, political parties

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The source of this article is the consistently reliable site Europe Solidaire Sans Frontières ((ESSF). http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article61872

The ESSF site consistently argues for a Ukrainian victory against the reactionary Russian invasion. This is a war of national liberation. Does this mean that supporters of Ukraine in this war must support all actions of the Zelensky government? The answer to that question is No. The ESSF is reviving the internationalist solidarity tradition of Critical Support. In that context, note the balanced conclusion of this article on the real significance of the Zelensky government ban on 11 political parties

“As leftists, of course, we are particularly concerned about restrictions on the left and that the decree will create the perception that everything connected with the left and with socialism is part of some Russian strategy against Ukraine.

“At the same time, while many foreign comrades are currently asking us whether left-wing thought is now banned in Ukraine and if this is the start of a broader repression of the left, I don’t think it’s that categorical. Rather than an attack on the left per se, the government seems to have been guided by fairly vague ideas of what is ‘pro-Russian’ and ‘pro-Ukrainian’.

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European Network Solidarity with Ukraine and against war Basic consensus

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All readers and activists are encouraged to support this network. Source : http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article61759

We, collectives of social movements, trade unions, organisations and parties, from Eastern and Western Europe, oppose war and all neo-colonialism in the world, want to build a network from below, independent of any government.

Click here to join the network: https://framaforms.org/membership-form-for-the-european-network-solidarity-with-ukraine-and-against-war-1647460588

Contents

FOR

1. The defence of an independent and democratic Ukraine!

2. The immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from all Ukrainian territory. The end of the nuclear threat posed by the alerting of Russian nuclear weapons and the bombing of Ukrainian power plants!

3. Support for the resistance (armed and unarmed) of the Ukrainian people in its diversity, in defence of its right to self-determination

4. Cancellation of Ukraine’s foreign debt!

5. The non-discriminatory reception of all refugees – from Ukraine and elsewhere!

6. Support for the anti-war and democratic movement in Russia and the guarantee of political refugee status for opponents of Putin and for Russian soldiers who desert!

7. Seizure of the assets of Russian government members, senior officials and oligarchs in Europe and around the world; and financial and economic sanctions – protecting the disadvantaged from their effects.

Beyond that, we are also fighting, together with like-minded currents in Ukraine and Russia:

8. For global nuclear disarmament. Against military escalation and the militarisation of minds.

9. For the dismantling of military blocs

10. To ensure that any aid to Ukraine is not subject to IMF or EU austerity conditions

11. Against productivism, militarism and imperialist competition for power and profit that destroy our environment and our social and democratic rights.

At the end of the First World War, the ILO was founded on a universal statement: “A universal and lasting peace can only be based on social justice.” Today, we must add environmental justice and the rule of law: we fight for peace and equality, democratic freedoms, social and climate justice, through cooperation and solidarity between peoples.

Brendan Ogle’s Challenge – Vladimir Putin’s War Crimes in Ukraine

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Brendan Ogle, an activist who works for the UNITE trade union in Ireland, offers a challenge.

A CHALLENGE….

Here’s a challenge to all those on the left seeking to justify, obfuscate, excuse, confuse or (my favourite) ‘EXPLAIN’ Putin’s war crimes. It comes in 2 steps. Give it a go:

‘Step 1: Look at the picture. Now imagine when you opened your curtains or blinds this morning that this is what you seen. Your neighbourhood was devastated and your neighbours are incinerated.

Step 2: Now imagine that 3,799km away there are people who consider themselves leftists saying that you and your neighbours are NAZI’s and that this happened because Michael Martin was sucking up too closely to Joe Biden/US/EU/NATO.

What would you think of such people?’

Challenge over.

Well, how did you get on?

Brendan Ogle March 25 2020

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Alain Krivine has left us – “leading figure of May 1968 in France, has just died aged 80. All the French media have commented on his passing”

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Dave Kellaway writes an excellent tribute. source : https://anticapitalistresistance.org/krivine-who/?fbclid=IwAR0w7ZABo272oR3iPRsZIVjcdt2NqoqSrSQBU4QO3k-z4NYa-Qar28_g9X8

Five things we can learn from the life of Alain Krivine.

Alain Krivine, a leading figure of May 1968 in France, has just died aged 80. All the French media have commented on his passing. Current presidential candidates like Melenchon, who leads the left in the polls with 11%, Roussel, standing for the French CP and Nathalie Arthaud for Lutte Ouvriere have all issued statements yesterday. Former members of Krivine’s organisations who are now MPs in Melenchon’s party or leaders of the Socialist Party also made public their respect for his contribution to the left.

For people of my generation whom he inspired or who worked with him it was a sad day yesterday. Leading members of the British left such as Alex Callinicos for the Socialist Workers Party, John Rees for Counterfire or his former comrade in arms, Tariq Ali,  have all publicly mourned his passing. 

But for many activists reading this who are not over fifty the name might not mean a great deal. If we are to build a deeper and broader political culture of a fighting left then it is important we remember those who went before us. Their lives are sometimes rich with lessons for us today. We learn not just from some of their smarter moves but also from where they may have got it wrong.

What can we learn from Alain?

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UNITE Trade Union (Britain) Call : “Immediate Ceasefire and a Withdrawal of all Russian Forces From Ukraine”

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The British trade union UNITE – which also has a substantial membership in Ireland, has issued a positive statement about the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Unite executive council – statement on Ukraine crisis.

Sharon Graham is the General Secretary of the British Trade Union UNITE

Sharon Graham was elected to lead UNITE in a recent election which produced a surprise result https://www.rs21.org.uk/2021/08/25/sharon-graham-wins-stunning-unite-victory/

The Unite executive council unreservedly condemns Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and stands in full solidarity with the millions of victims of the attack. Unite calls for an immediate cease-fire and a withdrawal of all Russian forces from Ukraine.

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Russian Embassies Unwelcome in Dublin and Budapest – Ireland and Hungary stand with Ukraine – Russian Troops Out Now

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An international campaign renaming streets where Russian embassies are located is taking off. Two notable examples come from Ireland and Hungary.

Gergely Karacsony, Mayor of Budapest, Reports : “A group of artists is initiating renaming the Bajza street metro stop near the Russian Embassy to the “Ukrajna” stop.”

“This is an international action. The aim is to rename the streets where Russian embassies are located in as many cities as possible in the world.”

The Mayot of Budapest Continues : I knew about this initiative in advance and I can promise that until the conflict ends, the employees of the Capital Local Government will not remove the inscription. #Budapest (Photo: https://www.facebook.com/ArcMagazin )

Similar action is happening outside the The Russian Embassy in Ireland, currently situated in Orwell Road, Dublin. The relevant local authority has voted unanimously for a new street name : Independent Ukraine Road. https://www.thejournal.ie/russian-embassy-orwell-road-independent-ukraine-road-5706473-Mar2022/ One citizen, Desmond Wisley, took the initiative – he reversed his truck into embassy gates, smashing them to pieces.

Written by tomasoflatharta

Mar 11, 2022 at 6:35 am

Learn to Think About Aiding the Ukrainian Resistance in 2022 – Russian Troops Out Now

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Revolutionary Socialists in Ukraine (Sotsialnyi Rukh (Social Movement) Ukraine) are thinking for themselves – making proposals which comrades in Ireland and elsewhere should examine very sympathetically.

Confiscate the property of Russian AND Ukrainian oligarchs, for the benefit of the people of Ukraine!

Since the beginning of Russia’s war in Ukraine, many European parties and organizations, including many people on the left, have demanded the confiscation of Russian oligarchs’ property abroad. Indeed, the yachts and real estate of Russian rich people have already been confiscated in Great Britain and France.

Nevertheless, this and all the other sanctions are half-measures against the economy of the Russian Federation, its dictatorship and the parasites that constantly enrich themselves at the expense of ordinary Russians.

In the context of this all-out war against the aggressor, we, Social Movement (Ukraine) insist that Ukraine needs the funds obtained rom the confiscation and sale of Russian capitalists’ property abroad. Only this would be genuine aid, since, at the moment, the proceeds from confiscation of assets of Putin’s henchmen does not benefit the common people of Ukraine.

In this context, it should be noted that our comrades from the Razem party (Poland) made a correct proposal: “Confiscate the property of Russian oligarchs: yachts, apartments in London, cottages in the Alps and villas on the Cote d’Azur. Profit from this will be given to Ukraine so that it can defend itself from the aggressor”

As Social Movement (Ukraine), we also believes that the realisation of Ukraine’s strategic interests and increasing economic stability is impossible without the nationalization of the Ukrainian oligarchs and the prohibition of any offshore operations by Ukrainian businesspeople. The implementation of such measures becomes more likely after the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian Parliament passed Bill 7122, which created a legal basis for the forcible seizure of Russian property in Ukraine on grounds of public necessity.

Turn the capital of Russian oligarchs against their state! Let’s restore justice!

Source : http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article61445

Let’s learn a little history, and learn to think a bit more :

April 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland

Arms are supplied to the rebels by German Imperialism. James Connolly’s Irish Citizens’ Army Slogan “We Serve Neither King nor Kaiser but Ireland”

February 1917 Russian Revolution begins in St. Petersburg

Women march demanding Bread and Peace – Cossacks mutiny. Russians start to desert the Czar’s World War 1 army. Exiled Bolsheviks in Zürich including VI Lenin strike a deal with German Imperialists, who provide a “sealed train” that travels through German occupied Eastern Europe to St. Petersburg’s Finland Station. October 1917 – Soviets, Workers’ Councils, establish a new revolutionary state in Russia.

Reviewing these events later – with the benefit of a historians’s 20-20 vision – British imperialist Winston Churchill observed that the Bolsheviks’s sealed train injected a “bacillus plague” into the heart ❤️ of the global capitalist system. A leader of the Russian Revolution, Leon Trotsky, addressed similar problems in 1938 :

“Let us assume that rebellion breaks out tomorrow in the French colony of Algeria under the banner of national independence and that the Italian government, motivated by its own imperialist interests, prepares to send weapons to the rebels. What should the attitude of the Italian workers be in this case? I have purposely taken an example of rebellion against a democraticimperialism with intervention on the side of the rebels from a fascistimperialism. Should the Italian workers prevent the shipping of arms to the Algerians? Let any ultra-leftists dare answer this question in the affirmative. Every revolutionist, together with the Italian workers and the rebellious Algerians, would spurn such an answer with indignation. Even if a general maritime strike broke out in fascist Italy at the same time, even in this case the strikers should make an exception in favor of those ships carrying aid to the colonial slaves in revolt; otherwise they would be no more than wretched trade unionists – not proletarian revolutionists.”

https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1938/05/think.htm

Leon Trotsky, ‘Learn To Think’ (1938).