Tomás Ó Flatharta

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Archive for the ‘Eastern Europe’ Category

The 1914 Howth Gun-Running in Ireland : History Lesson for 21st Century Leftists who oppose a supply of weapons to members of the Ukrainian resistance

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According to many sections of the left in Ireland and abroad, Ukrainians should not be supplied with weapons to resist the Russian invaders. Conor Kostick, an anti-war activist and a historian, labels this policy “Evasionism”. Here are accounts of the July 26 1914 Howth Gun-Running, followed by an introduction to left-wing Evasionism.

Remembering The Howth Gun-Running

On July 26th 1914, guns purchased in Germany for the Irish Volunteers were brought to Howth by Erskine Childers upon his yacht the Asgard.

In Howth they were met by the Fianna Eireann led by Bulmer Hobson & Countess Markievicz with carts and wheelbarrows to unload the guns, members of the volunteers were also present in case the police showed up

The harbour master informed the authorities and the Dublin Metropolitan Police were called out.

The police called for military assistance, so a detachment of the Kings Own Scottish Borderers based in Kilmainham was sent.

A riot ensued between the authorities & the volunteers; the authorities were unable to seize the weapons as during the riot they were quickly led away by the Fianna Eireann.

On their return to the barracks, a crowd had gathered in Bachelors Walk and began heckling the soldiers who responded by firing a volley into the crowd.

Three people were killed instantly Mrs Duffy, James Brennan and Patrick Quinn with thirty-eight injured. One man died later of bayonet wounds.

The Bachelor’s Walk massacre as it became known caused revulsion across Ireland and swelled the ranks of the volunteers.

Source : https://www.facebook.com/101874405569623/posts/pfbid02FXKgrpn6Lr3gTJzmjVdrJDhk476Hypz24RKC7cGw1Py4inE56gXsvf5u4vLfCh9sl/

See also : https://www.theirishstory.com/2014/07/26/today-in-irish-history-july-26th-1914-the-howth-gun-running/?fbclid=IwAR3EkQtFQZdIjQT5vmVA4mhlC9krMLPLKB4UoNnB1h5bXC4MdWh2h_DIOjU#.Yt-0sr3TWf3

Conor Kostick discusses Evasionism :

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.

Source : https://tomasoflatharta.com/2022/04/28/evasions-on-the-left-over-ukraine-conor-kostick-independent-left-ireland/

Stop the attack on the labour rights of Ukrainian workers!Demand President Zelinskyy veto anti-worker Laws 5161 and 5371

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Laws 5371 and 5161, were adopted on July 19. The European Network for Solidarity with Ukraine (ENSU) https://ukraine-solidarity.eu/ has published an international petition where people can call on Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelensky, to use his power tonstop this disastrous legislation.

This petition [below] explains how the Laws would destroy Ukrainian workers’ rights and working conditions if they were allowed to come into effect.

They would legalise extremes of exploitation in Ukraine that would also endanger workers’ rights across the whole of Europe.

Since it is vital that Laws 5161 and 5371 not be ratified, this petition calls on President Zelensky to stand with Ukraine’s workers by exercising his presidential veto on both laws.

One man has the power to stop this disastrous legislation—President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy. He can ratify the laws or veto them.

To protect the labour rights of Ukraine’s workers, Zelensky can apply the presidential veto to Laws 5371 and 5161

They must be replaced with measures which would increase the security of workers and enable them and their families to survive the devastation of war and build a new and stronger Ukraine.

You can sign this petition by clicking the link below :

https://chng.it/4NzJvKNLWd.

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Free Maksym Butkevych, a Political Prisoner – Ukrainian Anti-Fascist and Human Rights Activist Captured by Invading Russian Troops

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Ireland has a history of fighting for the rights of political prisoners. The international workers’ movement, inspired by the work of activists such as Eleanor Marx, has a history of defending anti-imperialist fighters. An account of this proud history follows this Green Left Weekly (Australia) call for action in support of Maksym Butkevych. See also http://europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article63291&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook

There are grave fears for the safety of Ukrainian anti-fascist and human rights activist Maksym Butkevych, following his capture by Russian troops. Butkevych’s parents and human rights campaigners are calling on the international community to ensure he is guaranteed his rights in accordance with the Geneva Convention.

https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/free-maksym-butkevych-russian-troops-capture-ukrainian-anti-fascist-activist?fbclid=IwAR0FYvlN_xisnPkPTLHDEIAUliT–mcCUovnjDREIKndJheGq_qdmqg5Oqk

There are grave fears for the safety of Ukrainian anti-fascist and human rights activist Maksym Butkevych, following his capture by Russians troops. Butkevych’s parents and human rights campaigners are calling on the international community to ensure he is guaranteed his rights in accordance with the Geneva Convention.

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Ukrainian workers’ war on two fronts

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Dick Nichols, a correspondent of the Australian Green Left Weekly, tells us that enemies of workers’ rights are active within the ruling Ukraine government headed by Volodymyr Zelensky. Nichols is a supporter of the European Network for Solidarity with Ukraine (ENSU). https://ukraine-solidarity.eu/to-read/ukraine-anti-social-bill-no-5371-has-been-withdrawn-but-the-threat-has-not-disappeared

Source : https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/ukrainian-workers-war-two-fronts?fbclid=IwAR3i1ViCQqd0vl9oTM7Lb4LMpeN0NhkHzvtyJ3jfMZAZ-vm866TtyAfW65U

When Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, social conflict inside the country was not put on hold: any illusion that its defence needs might produce a truce in the class struggle soon vanished.

If anything, embattled Ukraine’s war of resistance against Putin’s “special military operation” has intensified a pre-existing domestic confrontation.

This is due to what could be called a “special politico-legal operation” against worker and trade union rights, waged by the most militant neoliberals within the government of President Volodymyr Zelensky, with the apparent blessing of their chief.

It was launched in 2019 to entice foreign investors to Ukraine but stalled in 2020‒21 when the government’s initial attempt at labour market deregulation was repulsed by trade union protests.

The offensive has sped up since the invasion, but now under cover of martial law and in the name of the sacrifice needed to win the war against Russia.

According to Nataliia Lomonosova, of the Ukrainian thinktank Cedos, the talk in government circles is that the Ukrainian state “cannot afford welfare, employment benefits or protection of labour rights” because of the war.

It seems clear from this experience that, however it defeats or survives Putin, Ukraine’s neoliberal government and its friends in the European Union (EU) are determined to turn the country into a business-friendly playing field as soon as possible — starting the job while the war against Russia is yet to be won.

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“Providing Ukraine With Weapons is a Moral Act”

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Yuliya Yurchenko, a supporter of the European Network for Solidarity with Ukraine (ENSU), has posted a message written by her comrade Andrij Zinchenko.

My dear European and American friends, what you see at this image shows that providing Ukraine with weapons is a moral act.

If you do not date to unblur this picture, let me explain what is there. Remanats of a child dead after Russian missile attack in the center of my hometown – Vinnytsya. One of these hundreds of children killed by Russian and Belorusian armies.

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NO to NATO, or the identity crisis of the Spanish left

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NO to NATO, or the identity crisis of the Spanish left

http://ukrainesolidaritycampaign.org/2022/04/26/no-to-nato-or-the-identity-crisis-of-the-spanish-left/
— Read on ukrainesolidaritycampaign.org/2022/04/26/no-to-nato-or-the-identity-crisis-of-the-spanish-left/

Elisa Moros writes an interesting article concerning the Ukraine policy of the Spanish left. There are parallels with Ireland.

It is dated April 26 2022

The terrible images reaching us after the withdrawal of Russian troops from the Kyiv region reveal the scope of the Russian offensive. These images force political leaders to unanimously condemn Putin’s attack on Ukraine, including Putin’s natural allies (the far-right). In this context, some of the most radical among us feel the need to express -if only through an aesthetic gesture- their aversion to national unanimity. For example, Members of Parliament (MPs) from the CUP (Catalan pro-independence radical left) and the BNG (Galician nationalist left) as well as the Secretary General of the PCE (Communist Party) refused to applaud Ukrainian President Zelensky when he addressed the Spanish Parliament.

This aesthetic gesture is hardly surprising. Rather, it is the logical consequence of the analysis and positions of the Spanish left on the Ukrainian situation. Albert Botrán (CUP MP) explains the meaning of his gesture in his article “Applauding Zelensky“, in which he begins by stating that “Only Putin is responsible for the Russian occupation of Ukraine”, only to contradict himself in the following paragraph by denouncing the “responsibilities” of the other powers and the Ukrainian state. While only four MPs pushed their logic to its conclusion by refusing to applaud Zelensky, the logic of “Well yes, but actually no” is practically unanimous within the Spanish radical left, which (1) designates the NATO as (at least) co-responsible for the conflict, and therefore (2) opposes any concrete material support to the Ukrainian armed resistance in order to “prevent escalation” and (3) systematically points out (and often exaggerates) all the flaws of the Ukrainian government/state. This then serves in practice as a pretext for these leftists keeping their distance from all sections of the Ukrainian population, and leaving them alone in the face of the Russian imperialist attack. Read the rest of this entry »

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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‘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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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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“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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