Tomás Ó Flatharta

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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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Germany’s Die Linke on verge of split over sanctions on Russia

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Russia’s imperialist invasion of Ukraine is re-shaping the left across Europe and other parts of the globe. In Germany, the die Linke party (the Left) seems on the verge of a damaging split.

For continuous coverage of these events see this and other articles on the ESSF site : https://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article64000

Leftwing party’s future in balance after series of resignations, as former co-leader calls coalition ‘stupidest government in Europe’

Germany’s Die Linke could split into two parties over the Ukraine war, as the ailing leftwing party’s indecisive stance over economic sanctions against Russia triggered a series of high-profile resignations this week.

The German Left party’s future has hung in a precarious balance since it snuck into the national parliament last autumn under a special provision for parties that win three or more constituency seats. Should three of its 39 delegates resign from the party, Die Linke would lose its status as a parliamentary group and attached privileges over speaking times and committee memberships.

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“When more than 70,000 demonstrators gathered in Prague on 3rd September, two different stories immediately emerged” – The Art of Telling Stories and A Wake-Up Call for the Left

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In 2022, Previously stable political certainties have been shredded on the European Continent. One example comes from Prague, capital city of the Czech Republic. It is dramatic. The far-right : anti-vaxxers, anti-Ukrainian racists, fans of ultra-racist imperialists Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin – led the demonstrators. Vivek Prokop explores “a wake-up call for the left”

Source : http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article63953

Czechia: the crowd on Wenceslas Square

Sunday 11 September 2022, by  PROKOP Vítek

Czech Republic/Czechia

They say that politics is an art: the art of compromise, the art of getting along with people, but also the art of telling stories. When more than 70,000 demonstrators gathered in Prague on 3rdSeptember, two different stories immediately emerged. According to one story, it was an action by the Russian fifth column, according to the other story, it was a protest by desperate citizens. So what was really happening on Wenceslas Square?

At first glance, it seems that everything important about this “Czech Republic First “protest has already been said. For example, the fact that one of the organizers, Ladislav Vrabel, has big debts, and that the money to organize the protest was sent to a non-transparent account belonging to his wife. Another key organizer, Jiří Havel, has become famous for recommending chlorine dioxide, which is otherwise used as bleach, for the treatment of covid. Both men are members of the anti-globalisation movement “Restart World Freedom,” which was launched by the American investment banker and Donald Trump supporter Catherine Austin Fitts.

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Support Ukrainian Resistance and Disempower Fossil Capital

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Several left-wing authors co-operate here arguing for support to Ukrainian Resistance against the Russian imperialist invasion. The authors come from several different parts of Europe.

This is the source : http://europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article63931

Thursday 18 August 2022, by BUDRAITSKIS Ilya, DUTCHAK Oksana, ETZBACH Harald, GEHRKE Bernd, GELINSKY Eva, HÜRTGEN Renate, KOWALEWSKI Zbigniew Marcin , LOMONOSOVA Nataliia, PEREKHODA Hanna, PILASH Denis, POPOVYCH Zakhar, SCHMID Philipp, WÄLZ Christoph, WIELGOSZ Przemysław, ZELLER Christian

Similar debates are occurring on the left in Ireland : https://tomasoflatharta.com/2022/08/22/a-strange-policy-is-reviewed-support-ukraines-resistance-against-an-imperialist-russian-invasion-politically-but-oppose-giving-arms-to-the-resisters-a-critique-of-iri/

On June 9, Heino Berg, Thies Gleiss, Jakob Schäfer, Matthias Schindler, Winfried Wolf published a detailed statement in Junge Welt in which they advocated an “anti-militarist defeatism” and the abandonment of Ukraine’s military resistance to the Russian war of occupation. [1] We take her article as an opportunity for a fundamental response about a necessary anti-imperialist ecosocialist perspective committed to global solidarity. We are appalled at the way they bend the reality of war in this article and ultimately argue in favor of Putin’s oligarch regime. Paternalistically, they recommend that the Ukrainian population submit to Russian occupation in order to end the war. The authors make not the slightest reference to socialist, feminist, and anarchist forces in Ukraine and Russia. They argue from a distinctly German perspective. They are not alone in this. Many statements of the old peace movement turn against the “escalation of the West” and “forget” that Russia has already escalated long ago and wants to systematically destroy Ukrainian society. The statement of the five authors ignores anti-imperialist solidarity to such an extent that we consider it appropriate to set our arguments against it.

Reversal of Responsibility

The statement of the authors reads like many contributions from the old peace movement and a one-sided sham anti-imperialist left. Of course, at the beginning of the text they condemn the invasion of Ukraine “without any reservation or relativization.” But afterwards they do exactly that: they relativize the aggression of the Putin oligarchy. Under the title “No Interest in Ceasefire,” they explain in detail why NATO is much worse than Russia and that the West, first and foremost the U.S., does not want an early ceasefire but is primarily using the Ukrainian battlefield to weaken Russia.

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“The biggest and most destructive war in Europe since the Second World War. A war waged for more than four months against Ukraine, the second largest country in Europe, by Putin’s Russia, the largest country in Europe!” – Demands that the left should put forward

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The author of this report is Stefan Bekier, a former left opposition activist in Poland against the dictatorship of the “Communist” Party and an activist of Ensemble! in France https://fourth.international/fr/europe/88.

Source : https://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article63883

See also : https://blogs.mediapart.fr/stefan-bekier/blog/070922/la-gauche-en-france-doit-sortir-de-son-silence-sur-la-guerre-en-ukraine

The majority of the left in France – we’ll leave aside the sectors that openly support Putin – condemns this war of aggression by Russian imperialism, demands the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine. But at the same time, it remains paralysed and voiceless, abandoning the field of defence of Ukraine to Macron, to the bourgeoisie.

A deafening, shocking silence

Presidential and parliamentary elections are traditionally the moment when strategic priorities are debated and compared, including those concerning the international situation. But, for most of the left in France, it is clear that Putin’s Russian war against Ukraine was not part of its strategic priorities during these elections. Probably, to avoid the very important divergences on this issue between the different components of the left-wing coalition Nupes from coming to light during the election campaign and weakening the very promising new alliance. In particular, in relation to the very controversial positions of part of the left on Ukraine and Russia since the annexation of Crimea and the invasion of Donbass in 2014. So much so that during the elections the subject practically disappeared within the left

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Ireland Fought for Freedom against an Empire – Now we on the Irish Left Support Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom – Leaflet Published by Irish Left With Ukraine (ILWU)

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The ILWU is a new solidarity organization based on the following points of agreement :

Basic Principles :

◦ Russian Troops Out of Ukraine Now

◦ Refugees Welcome Here

◦ Self-Determination for the Ukrainian People

◦ Neither Moscow nor Washington

The ILWU supports the European Network for Solidarity With Ukraine (ENSU) https://ukraine-solidarity.eu/

This is the first public leaflet issued by the ILWU. A Ukrainian translation follows the English text.

Ireland Fought for Freedom against an Empire – Now we on the Irish Left Support Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom


We are a group of trade unionists, socialists and anarchists who want to express our full support to you and help you organise to obtain all your rights while you are in Ireland.

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A Strange Policy is Reviewed – Support Ukraine’s Resistance Against an Imperialist Russian Invasion “Politically” – But Oppose Giving Arms to the Resisters – A Critique of Irish Left Evasionism

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International solidarity between socialists and anarchists in Ukraine and Ireland is growing. We are united in a desire to see Russia defeated, which will be a blow to the right everywhere. We are equally united in our opposition to Western imperialism and the global capitalists circling Ukraine ready to exploit the country after the war.

One of the disappointing developments of the war is that so many socialists in the West have failed to offer such solidarity. The group we are most familiar with is People Before Profit, and analysing the think piece published in August 2022 by John Molyneux explains why. We offer this critique of John’s article in the hope that there are members of People Before Profit who can save it from its current convergence with the ‘campists’. We hope this can happen in time to make a difference to the growth of practical solidarity between Irish and Ukrainian socialists.

 

Molyneux’s essay begins with an attempt to categorise the debates among the left into three positions:

1. the ‘campists’ in favour of a Russian victory, 

2. those who are for a Ukrainian victory without reservations about NATO and western imperialism, and

3. those who are neither for a Russian victory nor for one for Western imperialism (‘neutrality’)

 

This schema has been derived by working backwards from John’s understandable desire to portray People Before Profit as fundamentally different to the campists, while doubling down on their criticisms of the Ukrainian resistance. For a supposed Marxist analysis it has a deep and irreperable flaw: it has sprung from the head of its author and not from the reality of the situation. Frankly, the left doesn’t have time to ignore reality in this way any more.

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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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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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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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