Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘Eastern Europe’ Category

The War in Ukraine – How Should Socialists Respond?

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

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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:

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“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?”

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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?”

Ukrainian socialist and academic, Yuliya Yurchenko, speaks at a public meeting ‘Ireland – Ukraine International Solidarity of the Left’ in Dublin on Monday November 21 : Teachers’ Club, 36 Parnell Square West, Dublin 1.

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Ukrainian Socialist Yuliya Yurchenko to speak at Solidarity Meeting in Dublin :

Ukrainian socialist and academic, Yuliya Yurchenko, speaks at a public meeting ‘Ireland – Ukraine International Solidarity of the Left’ in Dublin on Monday November 21.

The meeting is organised by Irish Left With Ukraine, which says that the purpose of the meeting is to extend solidarity to the Ukrainian people as they continue to resist the Russian invasion of their country – and to amplify the voices of Ukrainian socialists and trade unionists.

Statement – Meeting Chairperson Nóirín Greene

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

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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.

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PANEL: UKRAINIAN AND RUSSIAN ACADEMICS DISCUSS THE WAR – Broadcast by the Real News Network

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Debates over the proper approach to the Russo-Ukrainian War have dominated much of the year. Yet discussions within the western left have not always featured the perspectives of Ukrainians and Russians themselves. The Real News Network board member Bill Fletcher, in partnership with Haymarket Books, hosts a panel with Ukrainian and Russian academics.

Link : https://therealnews.com/panel-ukrainian-and-russian-academics-discuss-the-war?fbclid=IwAR2rLkZ0rerziSQgyPsEf4mb7_F-yrHa0TQCHpQPtA8gtNjuq-U2hOKByjs

Bill Fletcher, a long-time trade union and human rights activist from the USA hosts a discussion with Yuliya Yurchenko, Ilya Budraitskis and Alona Liasheva
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The Fallacies of the Call for “Negotiations” Between Ukraine and Russia – Charles Pierson

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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.

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Statement by Ukrainian Feminists in Solidarity with Iranian Women

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Ukrainian Feminists offer solidarity to their sisters in Iran. The Teheran and Moscow régimes are reactionary allies.

the Iranian state is not only oppressing its own citizens. It also provides support for other oppressive and imperialist regimes. During the last few weeks, Iranian drones employed by the Russian army have killed tens of civilians and destroyed countless housing and critical infrastructure objects in Ukraine.

We, Ukrainian feminists, express our solidarity with Iranian uprising, triggered by the brutal murder of Mahsa Amini by the Iranian Morality Police. Thousands of women responded to this crime by going out on the streets, cutting their hair and publicly taking off and burning hijabs as a symbol of their oppression. What started as a protest against police brutality and obligatory hijab, quickly transformed into a general resistance of the Iranian people against the patriarchal and dictatorial mullah regime and the authoritarian form of capitalism that it represents. The grassroot mobilization is today being joined by schoolgirls, students, trade unions, ethnic minorities, and people from other social groups affected by the economic crises, high food prices, social cuts, and privatization. This new wave of struggles thus continues and expands the series of uprisings against socio-economic inequalities, political oppression and ethnic disctimination that shook Iran during the last decade. 

Source : https://femwork.org/en/fm-news/solidarity-with-iranian-women-eng/

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

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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

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Ireland should welcome Russians who don’t want to kill Ukrainians – North and South

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The article below comes from Sweden via the USA based Ukraine Socialist Solidarity Campaign.

Link : https://www.facebook.com/groups/307530784861174/?ref=share

The same issue arises in the Irish state – like Sweden, a member of the European Union, which is under pressure to draw down a new Iron Curtain partitioning the European continent.

See Also, from the European Network for Dolidarity With Ukraine :

Open the borders for Russians refusing military service!

https://ukraine-solidarity.eu/

Latest news from the anti-conscription movement in Russia : https://ukraine-solidarity.eu/9c8950df16724719b875eece066b3912?v=3bc1cb6bcdb84da2b0a88fdb3783cfdc

OPINION: Sweden should welcome Russians who don’t want to kill Ukrainians

In a situation already tragic beyond the imagination, banning Russian draft dodgers would only add to the tragedy in Europe.

An iron curtain is descending across Europe. But in contrast to the beginning of the Cold War, the curtain is being drawn down by EU countries – not Russia.

Any day now, Finland is poised to ban Russians from entering the country on tourist visas, to keep out men who want to avoid being drafted to fight in Ukraine. Announcing the policy, the country’s foreign minister said Finland was becoming “a transit country for Russians who want to leave their homeland for fear of being forced into war, and this traffic could harm Finland’s international position”. Opinion polls put 70 percent of the public in favour of a ban.

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