Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘Westplaining’ Category

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

leave a comment »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Irish Left With Ukraine: Solidarity Meeting With Ukrainian Socialist Yuliya Yurchenko – Podcast of the Meeting

with one comment

Introduction by Conor Kostick :

I’ve posted the audio from the recent Irish Left With Ukraine public meeting here:

Irish Socialist Podcast

Also here : https://media.publit.io/file/KillianRaynor/ILWU-24-11-2022-08.19.mp3

On 21 November 2022 Irish Left With Ukraine – a campaign of anarchists, socialists and trade unionists united in support of the left in Ukraine – organised a solidarity meeting at the Teachers Club in Dublin. The chair of the meeting was Nóirín Greene, former executive member of the ICTU and the speakers were (in order of how they appear in this Irish socialist podcast version of the event) David Joyce, ICTU International Officer; Seamus Dooley (NUJ, guest speaker) and Yulia Yurchenko, Ukrainian socialist.

So much of the left in Ireland and internationally has a blind spot when it comes to listening to the voice of the left in Ukraine. But not to do so is to violate a fundamental principal of activism from below: nothing about us, without us. Taking a position on the war in Ukraine without listening to what the left in Ukraine are saying would be like taking a position on a strike without listening to any of the strikers. Here’s a chance to listen to an English language account of a socialist who is part of Sotsіalniy Rukh (SR; The Social Movement).

Read the rest of this entry »

On Ukraine, 8 Months, 4 Weeks – A post published first on the Cedar Lounge Blog

leave a comment »

This article is strongly recommended.

Source : https://cedarlounge.wordpress.com/2022/11/24/on-ukraine-8-months-4-weeks/

Ukraine news continues to arrive – in some ways so rapidly changing as to make posts redundant by the time they are published. Tomás Ó Flaharta carries a very interesting piece here. Consider though the numbers above. 8 months, 4 weeks and 3 or so days since the start of the war. 

An excellent analysis of the flaws in the ‘realist’ analysis in international political science here from Fred Kaplan in Slate. One aspect of that analysis, along with others, is how incoherent it all is, and contradictory too. Russia acted because it was exercised over NATO expansion, but as Kaplan notes:

Read the rest of this entry »

“If 9 months into this thing you are still blaming NATO, Nazis, and Zelensky for this war, you aren’t ever going to be sensible about it, are you?”

leave a comment »

A correspondent, James Doyle, took three weeks off social media – recommended therapy for many of us! He thinks that political differences among the left have deepened.


There was me thinking that everything that happened in Ukraine/Russia during my three weeks off social media might have led to some revaluations on the pro Putin/Campist “left”, but if anything it seems the delusional have simply gotten more detached from reality and the sympathetic have decided stubbornness is the better part of valour when it comes to deciding which “camp” to stick your flag in, which team to support.

I mean, we’ve had the retreat from Kherson and the illustrative response of the people who (apparently) voted 95% to be annexed by Russia there, Human Rights Watch reports of hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians (and thousands of them unoccupied children) being forcibly deported into Russia, the offical self-outing of the Wagner Group as the main (and deliberate) agitators of sectarian violence in Donetsk and Lukhansk in preparation for Russia’s first invasion back in 2014, the deliberate and -frankly – genocidal targeting of civilian infrastructure in Ukraine to freeze/starve the population to death during this Winter, the public statements in the Duma re: Russia’s plans to create millions of refugees from Ukraine and provoke racism and division in Europe, more unhinged messianic death cult sermons from Medvedev, UN warnings of war crimes in Kherson etc etc ad nauseum…

But still some on the left want to talk about the bridge in Crimea, Russian accusations of surrendering soldiers being executed (forgetting of course one of the “surrendering soldiers” actually opened fire first) and fake concerns over what the war stretching into Winter means for all of us in the West and our radiators while millions of Ukrainians are being targeted for freezing to death by an invading force.

But I suppose, “If 9 months into this thing you are still blaming NATO, Nazis, and Zelensky for this war, you aren’t ever going to be sensible about it, are you?”

Ireland – Ukraine International Solidarity of the Left – Teachers’ Club, 36 Parnell Square West, Dublin 1, 7pm – 9pm – Monday November 21 2022

with one comment

Yuliya Yurchenko – an active supporter of the European Network for Solidarity with Ukraine (ENSU) – speaks at this Dublin meeting. https://ukraine-solidarity.eu/

Find out more about Irish Left With Ukraine here :

https://www.facebook.com/groups/466892938791354/?ref=share

The meeting will be chaired by Nóirín Greene (Former member of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions [ICTU]) Executive. The other speakers are : David Joyce (ICTU International Officer); Séamus Dooley (National Union of Journalists, Guest Speaker); A Ukrainian socialist refugee who is living in Ireland.

Find out more about Yuliya Yurchenko here :

https://www.gre.ac.uk/people/rep/faculty-of-business/yuliya-yurchenko

://www.plutobooks.com/author/yuliya-yurchenko/

Yuliya Yurchenko is a Senior Lecturer in Political Economy at the Department of Economics and International Business and a researcher at the Political Economy, Governance, Finance and Accountability Institute, University of Greenwich, UK. She is the author of Ukraine and the Empire of Capital (Pluto, 2017). She researches state, capital and society relations as well as public services, with a regional focus on Europe and Ukraine.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Fallacies of the Call for “Negotiations” Between Ukraine and Russia – Charles Pierson

leave a comment »

The following article was submitted to the USA journal Counterpunch replying to the article mentioned in the paragraph below. Counterpunch refused to publish it.

We wish to thank the New York based Irish-American activist Joan McKiernan who brought the article below to our attention. This vital discussion is occurring in many parts of the world, including Ireland. If you wish to actively participate in principled left-wing solidarity with the Ukrainian masses we recommend the European Network for Solidarity With Ukraine (ENSU). The ENSU’s Irish supporters work with Irish Left With Ukraine (ILWU), which has organised a public meeting in Dublin taking place on November 21 2022. The main speaker is ENSU activist Yuliya Yurchenko.

John Meehan November 10 2022

Links :

ENSU https://ukraine-solidarity.eu/ ILWU : https://www.facebook.com/groups/466892938791354

“Victory against Russia,” is the wrong goal in Ukraine, writes Binoy Kampmark (“Vicarious Zeal: Fighting to the Last Ukrainian,” Counterpunch, Jul. 15, 2022). Kampmark, a frequent contributor to Counterpunch, worries that Ukraine and the West are demanding what amounts to Russia’s “unconditional surrender.” Instead of demanding Russia’s surrender, Kampmark recommends peace talks. A negotiated peace, he writes, will shorten the war and save lives. Unfortunately, “Hard-headed peace talks, let alone anything approximating to negotiations have … become taboo.”

I respect Binoy Kampmark. I believe this is the first time I have disagreed with something he has written, but I do disagree. Strongly. Here’s why.

Russian-Ukrainian Peace Talks Since the Russian Invasion
Kampmark appears to have bought into the myth propagated by the “anti-imperialist left” that Ukraine refuses to negotiate. That puts the onus on Ukraine for rejecting peace. The truth is that negotiations between Russia and Ukraine began even before Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. Russia and Ukraine, together with France and Germany, met in January and February to attempt to defuse the growing crisis.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sinn Féin 2022 Árd Fheis Policy on the Russian invasion of Ukraine – “Immediate Withdrawal of all Russian armed forces”

with 2 comments

Credit where credit is due – the Sinn Féin 2022 Árd Fheis has adopted a very good policy statement. This policy compares very well against the policy of People Before Profit and the Dublin South-West TD Paul Murphy – who need to think again.

The Sinn Féin policy statement is also a welcome contrast with Kremlin-inspired wild conspiracy stories issued by various parts of the traditional Irish anti-war movement – for example, the Peace and Neutrality Alliance (PANA).

The SF Árd Fheis resolution is silent on some key issues. It does not directly refer to the right of the Ukrainian masses and their government to defend themselves and their sovereign territory by any means necessary. It also does not refer to the Ukrainian government’s recent anti-Labour neo liberal law, which has been heavily criticised by genuine Ukraine Solidarity organisations (see in particular a statement issued by Central European Trade Union Federations). Link here https://ukraine-solidarity.eu/to-read/ukraine-resolution-of-the-central-european-trade-unions

Street Art in Lyon, France. Thanks to Judit Kinszki and Katalin Jánosi (Budapest, Hungary) for circulating the photo.

Here is the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis Resolution on Russia’s far-right invasion of Ukraine :

Read the rest of this entry »

Two tweets, a ‘Phoenix’ fable and a hatchet to the bud of left solidarity with Ukraine.

leave a comment »

Guest post by Des Derwin

The Phoenix piece (below) from 5th May 2022- re-posted in the ‘Left Links’ Facebook group on 3rd October 2022 – is a case of accusation through association, and association through juxtaposition, seeking to identify Ukrainian activist and academic Nadia Dobrianska with the far right.

In the Facebook group ‘Left Links’ the Phoenix piece was re-posted (3rd October 2022) with the demand for “some kind of explanation why socialists in Dublin would be hosting an event with Nadia Dobrianska who, if not a fascist, would certainly appear to be aligned with them”. There is no evidence provided for these innuendos and claims. There is possibly ground for a case of defamation from Nadia Dobrianska.

The flyer for the public meeting organised by Irish Left With Ukraine  (with additional speakers’ names covered to keep them out of the present controversy).

Two tweets referring to Russian refugees from Nadia Dobrianska were also posted on ‘Left Links’ (29th September). If these tweets are genuine they – or one in particular – are problematic for her and for a speaker at a left public meeting on Ukraine. These will be discussed later but for now it should be noted that they do not offer evidence that she is fascist, or far right or even has an anti-immigrant position in general.

The general political background to a piece on Ukraine in the Phoenix is that the magazine tends, like much ‘left-leaning’ commentary in Ireland on Ukraine, to blame the US and NATO for the invasion and to portray the Zelensky government as oppressive, right wing and particularly objectionable.  

The Phoenix piece is headed “Azov Human Rights”.  Azov is a sea to the South of Ukraine. It is also a signal for the imputation of fascist politics to Ukraine’s resistance to the invasion, extrapolated from the common propaganda claim that the far right Azov paramilitary organisation reflects the viewpoint of the Ukrainian government. The claim usually denies that Azov has been depoliticised and incorporated into the Ukrainian National Guard engendering the departure of its leaders to found new independent political organisations. Indeed the claim is exactly repeated later in this Phoenix article where it says: “The Azov Battalion is a unit of the National Guard of Ukraine which has as its core white supremacist and neo-Nazi members and ideology.”

The first sentence in ‘Azov Human Rights’ contains a gratuitous claim that Nadia Dobrianska “has become quite the Irish media darling”. This is another signal to those who object to the mainstream media’s support for Ukrainian defence and who would see it as the same as the usual media bias and misrepresentation in favour of the West on Palestine, Iraq, Julian Assagne, etc.

The Phoenix article begins:

Irish-speaking Nadia Dobrianska works for a human rights organisation in her native Kyiv and has become quite the Irish media darling. Dobrianska works for ZMINA, which ‘aims to promote human rights, the rule of law and the ideas of civil society in Ukraine’ … one of the high profile cases is that of Serhiy Sternenko… “former head of the regional branch of the Right Sector’ [which] has been widely described as neo-fascist [and] has been linked to attacks on journalists, left-wing party members and offices.

A second case of ZMINA support for a rightest is then offered. Note she works for ZMINA. That is, she does some of the work that ZMINA does and would not presumably be involved at all in every case that ZMINA takes up, such as for instance the two cases cited by Phoenix.

Read the rest of this entry »

Double-Standards: The Destroyed Kerch Bridge in Crimea, Russia’s Bombing of Civilian Targets – How will the Westplainers on the Left React?

leave a comment »

Russia is losing the war in Ukraine – that is clear. The principled left is for solidarity with Ukraine and favours Immediate Withdrawal of the Russian military forces from Ukraine – also, clear. https://ukraine-solidarity.eu/

Two cartoons and a satirical meme sum up some options :

Two correspondents offer observations

Read the rest of this entry »

“Russian Fossil Fascism is Europe’s Fault” – OLEKSIY RADYNSKI

leave a comment »

Since February 24, when Russia’s ethnic-cleansing army invaded Ukraine, the activist European Network for Solidarity with Ukraine (ENSU) has promoted analyses rooted in the east of the European continent. We found this article thanks to the diligent work of the European Network for Solidarity with Ukraine (ENSU) and Europe Solidaire Sans Frontières (ESSF), which are cold houses for Westplaining.

Links : https://ukraine-solidarity.eu/. http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?rubrique2

About the Author :

Oleksiy Radynskiis a filmmaker and writer based in Kyiv. His films have been screened at International Film Festival Rotterdam, Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen, Docudays IFF, the Institute of Contemporary Arts (London), and S A V V Y Contemporary (Berlin), among others, and have received a number of festival awards. After graduating from Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, he studied at the Home Workspace Program (Ashkal Alwan, Beirut). In 2008, he cofounded Visual Culture Research Center, an initiative for art, knowledge, and politics in Kyiv. His texts have been published in Proxy Politics: Power and Subversion in a Networked Age (Archive Books, 2017), Art and Theory of Post-1989 Central and East Europe: A Critical Anthology (MoMA, 2018), Being Together Precedes Being (Archive Books, 2019), and e-flux journal.

Article Source : https://soniakh.com/index.php/2022/10/04/russian-fossil-fascism-is-europes-fault/?fbclid=IwAR1a2ADRu8jwGM_eedaEGKT755N23YnEJj0M2Yut_zl0dQu-AmTjIT6rr0Q

As it often happens in history, an informal agreement between the two imperial powers has been thrown into disarray by one factor that remained out of reach of these imperial designs: Ukraine’s popular resistance. As we now know, Western predictions about the swift collapse of Ukrainian resistance proved to be completely false, since they were themselves based on neo-colonial, technocratic logic, which is usually very poorly informed when it comes to the complex dynamics of the societies it is trying to comprehend. For Ukrainians, it was clear from the start that a potentially occupied Ukraine promised something different than what Minister Lindner could probably imagine: it meant mass killings, brutal counter-insurgency, establishment of concentration camps and, most likely, genocide on a scale not seen on the European continent since WWII. The popular effort to aid the Ukrainian army saved innumerable lives that would definitely have been lost had the Russians (whose invasion arsenal included equipment for the mass disposal of dead bodies) been able to take control of Ukrainian territory as predicted by Western analysts.

Read the rest of this entry »