Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘Britain’ Category

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

leave a comment »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

“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

with one comment

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:

Read the rest of this entry »

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

leave a comment »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Russian Socialists Speak : “Against Russian Imperialism”

leave a comment »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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

with one comment

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

Read the rest of this entry »

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”

leave a comment »

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?

Read the rest of this entry »

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

leave a comment »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

British Anti-War Movement : “Attack on Gilbert Achcar only divides anti‑war Left”

with one comment

The British organization Anti-Capitalist Resistance (ACR) responds to Lindsey German’s recent Counterfire Weekly Briefing that unfairly characterised Gilbert Achcar.

Source : https://anticapitalistresistance.org/attack-on-gilbert-achcar-only-divides-anti-war-left/?fbclid=IwAR18xt1jaIbaHSYvPMGu_XJEOTe0O57r11fIVMlDdDP2A9AaPGq6m3Vfkpg

Who is Gilbert Achcar? “Gilbert Achcar grew up in Lebanon. He is currently Professor of Development Studies and International Relations at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London. His most recent books are Morbid Symptoms: Relapse in the Arab Uprising (2016) and The People Want: A Radical Exploration of the Arab Uprising(2013). Other books include The Clash of Barbarisms (2nd expanded edition 2006); dialogues with Noam Chomsky on the Middle East in Perilous Power: The Middle East and U.S. Foreign Policy (2nd edition 2008); and The Arabs and the Holocaust: The Arab-Israeli War of Narratives (2010)” Achcar left the British Labour Party after Sir Keir Starmer started his Blairite turn. He is now a member of the ACR. Readers can judge his politics from this recent article published on the International Viewpoint site. https://internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article7530

At a time of impending conflict between Russia and NATO over Ukraine, with each side driven by internal needs to intensify austerity and repression in their own spheres of influence, revolutionary socialists will need to be standing shoulder to shoulder in activity to stop the war machine. This will be at home, where we face our most immediate enemy, and internationally, in solidarity with our comrades and with those facing occupation and brutal calculated military action.

This will be a time of joint struggle against imperialist war and intense debate on the left, with different assessments of the situation and our tasks. In this context the recent comment by Lindsey German in a Counterfire weekly briefing (reproduced in the Morning Star) about our comrade Gilbert Achcar, accusing him of siding with imperialism, was a dishonest and unfair representation that sows division among the anti-war Left. It should be retracted and there should be an apology.

Gilbert is described by Lindsey German as someone who has gone over from the Left to supporting imperialism, along with Christopher Hitchens, Nick Cohen and Norman Geras. Anyone familiar with the names invoked and with Gilbert Achcar’s writings would know that putting him in the same category with the former is both slanderous and preposterous.

Lindsey German herself, in the name of the Stop the War Coalition, recently rebutted Keir Starmer’s slanderous attack in The Guardian. This makes it even more important for her to respect the conditions of honest and comradely debate when arguing with other comrades of the radical left. If Lindsey German is willing to have such a debate in public with our comrade, he would be very happy to oblige.

We urge all comrades on the antiwar and anticapitalist left to refrain from unfounded accusations and conduct debate constructively.

A good friend and comrade Paul Stewart adds this context :

For those, so many good, solid comrades, many indeed who have fought imperialism, its not too later to stand not just against NATO but also Putin, to stand with the people of Ukraine. No more parsimonious mealy mouthed, “yes Putin is bad too”, while spending your time showing pictures of Ukrainian fascists while ignoring Russian fascists’ support for invasion. It will be salutory to know that throughout Europe from the north to the south, it’s the far right who support Putin……Le Pen and Eric Zemmour in France, Farage in Britain….and so on …

Paul Stewart

John Meehan February 24 2020

Left Wing Solidarity Delegation from Wales and England in Ukraine

leave a comment »

A solidarity delegation from the left in Wales and England is underway in Ukraine. A copy of a press release is below. Two members of the Welsh Senedd (Assembly) – Plaid Cymru (The Party of Wales) leader Adam Price MS and his colleague Michael Antoniw MS – are part of the fact-finding team. Initiatives like this belong to the best traditions of international anti-war movements connected to the left and the Labour movement. Wales, like Ireland, is a small nation with a history shaped by Great Power Domination made in London. The parallels between Ukraine and Russia were highlighted by Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, the first leader of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (1917-22) RSFSR after the successful October 1917 Socialist Revolution. Source : http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article61199

The history – VI Lenin compares relationships : Ireland and England – Ukraine and Russia. 100 years later – much the same starting point?

The delegation has already met with activists of the Sotsialny Rukh, Human Rights Activists from East Ukraine, and the Federation of Trade Unions of Ukraine.

Read the rest of this entry »

No to war – Russia hands off Ukraine!

leave a comment »

This is a very clear statement – Russia Hands Off Ukraine! Source : http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article61191 – where readers can view a long list of people and organizations endorsing the statement. Sign the statement here : https://ukrainesolidaritycampaign.org/2022/01/28/russia-hands-off-ukraine-2/

The Ukraine Solidarity Campaign in Britain released this call to action.

Broken glass. Source: Wiki Commons.

Readers may also like to read this recommended article written by Volodymyr Ishchenko, who explores the possible consequences that would flow from a successful Russian military invasion of Ukraine. https://lefteast.org/russian-invasion-could-destabilize-russias-political-order/

Volodymyr Ishchenko is a research associate at the Institute of East European Studies, Freie Universität Berlin. His research focused on protests and social movements, revolutions, radical right and left politics, nationalism and civil society. He authored a number of peer-reviewed articles and interviews on contemporary Ukrainian politics, the Euromaidan uprising and the following war in 2013-14, published in Post-Soviet Affairs, Globalizations and New Left Review, among other journals. He has been a prominent contributor to major international media outlets such as The Guardian and Jacobin since 2014. He is working on a collective book manuscript, The Maidan Uprising: Mobilization, Radicalization, and Revolution in Ukraine, 2013-2014. Source : https://lefteast.org/russian-invasion-could-destabilize-russias-political-order/

We, socialists, trade unionists, scholars, activists for human rights, social justice and peace, stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine against Russian imperialism.

The international left and labour movement must vigorously oppose Russia’s threats against Ukraine.

We say neither Washington nor Moscow. We oppose the policy and manoeuvrings of the big Western powers and NATO.

But currently it is Russia that is threatening the Ukrainian people’s right to self-determination and challenging their legitimacy as an independent nation.

Read the rest of this entry »