Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

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Razem: Building a left alternative in Poland – Federico Fuentes interviews Zofia Malisz

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Polish left-wing party Razem (Together) International Office member Zofia Malisz speaks to Green Left’s Federico Fuentes about the party’s history, Polish politics and Razem’s views on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The source is an Australian website, Greemn Left Weekly https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/razem-building-left-alternative-poland

Razem supports the European Network for Solidarity With Ukraine https://ukraine-solidarity.eu/

January 10, 2023

razem zofia malisz

Members of Razem at May Day in Warsaw in 2022. The banner reads: ‘Housing! Jobs! Decent Pay!’. Inset: Zofia Malesz. Photo: @RazemWM/Twitter

Could you tell us about Razem’s history and politics?

Razem was formed in 2015 by a group of leftist activists with years of experience in the Polish green and feminist movements, along with members of the Young Socialists.

The impetus for creating a new party was two-fold.

One was the frustration that emerged under the liberal Donald Tusk government (2007‒14). Whenever voices started to demand the government focus on social spending instead of cuts and privatisations, Tusk’s response was to say Poland was still in its transformation stage [towards a market economy] and that now was not the time to build up a welfare state.

See also

Poland sets up ‘terrifying’ pregnancy register after banning abortion

Poland: Caught between Western and Russian imperialism

Frustration grew as neoliberal policies were implemented at breakneck speed to indulge business elites, while people were denied even modest social benefits and public services were being dismantled.

All this occurred as anti-austerity protests were taking place in Greece, something we supported and that inspired Razem.

The other major factor was the protests against the Iraq war and against Poland’s participation in the occupation of Afghanistan. Several activists who went on to build Razem came from these protest movements.

The revelations of alleged illegal US prisons in Poland used to torture al-Qaeda members created huge outrage. Seeing the Polish government bow down to US imperialism unchallenged — and in fact encouraged by the mainstream, including former Solidarność activists — fuelled frustration on the left.

Razem was formed as an expression of this anger and frustration that had built up during the transformation process.

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Russia’s Road Toward Fascism

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Sunday 1 January 2023, by POPOVYCH Zakhar

Source : https://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article65239

WAR IN UKRAINE is plunging more and more into massacre but possibly the worst is about to come. Mass killings of prisoners and civilians, numerous and systematic rape in Russian-occupied territories are now “normal” news from Ukraine. Millions could be killed this winter by freezing alive in their apartments without heat, water and electricity.

The daily count of dead is far higher than at any moment of the Donbas wars of 2014-2021. According to reports from both sides, the death toll probably exceeds 100,000 from the beginning of the war, and may now be higher than a thousand combatants and civilians daily. [1]

Not just the scale but the cruelty of violence is steadily rising and Russian state propaganda is systematically pushing for escalation. If it is not genocide yet, the ideology for eliminating Ukrainians in the millions is already announced on Russian state TV, and by high-ranking officials.

Russians claim it is “denazification,” but it turns closer and closer to the ideology of fascism and Nazi state practices. [2] It is hard to say how deep Ukraine will dive into this abyss of terror, but it is clear that withdrawal of Russian troops is the best way to “denazify” Ukraine — and possibly Russia.

In October, Russian armed forces began systematic attacks against the Ukrainian electricity grid and civilian infrastructure including water supply facilities of the major cities. These activities don’t have immediate military significance and don’t influence Ukrainian armed forces’ ability to fight. But these attacks are affecting the chances of the civil population to survive this winter.

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Call for solidarity actions with anti‑war activists in Russia – Week of January 19 to 24

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The article below is written by Ilya Budraitskis on behalf of The Russian Socialist Movement. Source : https://anticapitalistresistance.org/call-for-solidarity-actions-with-anti-war-activists-in-russia/

Irish Left With Ukraine will work with other organisations and individuals answering this call.

See also : https://www.tempestmag.org/2023/01/to-remember-is-to-fight/?fbclid=IwAR0WOTwC6AqdjHclwo59krczHCaYZPE39Av4HxNTXW1ZuySXwwI9t9Qhf3g – Tempest shares the call of the Russian Socialist Movement for solidarity with Russian anti-war and anti-fascist activists.

For over a decade, Russian antifascists have commemorated January 19 as their day of solidarity. This is the date when in 2009, in the center of Moscow, the human rights and leftist activist Stanislav Markelov and the journalist and anarchist Anastasia Baburova were gunned down by neo-Nazis.

The murder of Markelov and Baburova became the culmination of the ultra-right terror of the 2000s, which killed hundreds of migrants and dozens of anti-fascists. For many years, while it was still possible, Russian activists held antifascist demonstrations and rallies on January 19 under the slogan “To remember is to fight!”

Today, when the Putin regime has invaded Ukraine and unleashed unprecedented repression against its own citizens who oppose the war, the date of January 19 takes on a new meaning. Back then the danger was posed by neo-Nazi groups, often acting with the connivance of the authorities.

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Social Movement (Ukraine): Looking back at 2022

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Social Movement (Ukraine) [Sotsialniy Rukh] is a left-wing organisation. These comrades have published a review of 2022, which is full of interesting news. The organisation participates in the European Network for Solidarity With Ukraine (ENSU).

Irish Left With Ukraine (ILWU) was honoured to hold a public meeting about Ukraine in November 2022 – the main speaker was Sotsialniy Rukh comrade Yuliya Yurchenko, who was joined on the platform by spokespersons affiliated to the Irish Trade Union movement.

Summing up :

2022 was a difficult year for all of us. We hope that 2023 will be better. We will work just as hard for a social, independent and just Ukraine, and we wish everyone security, victory and social progress in the new year.

January 1, 2023 Source : https://ukraine-solidarity.eu/to-read/social-movement-ukraine-looking-back-at-2022?fbclid=IwAR2pxU3Kl5MegBhKSoDgz37CUalhQJ24sR2izZrMOo8fvO7yjC3eOsNqrTg
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Can Ukraine Achieve National Liberation, and Defeat the Russian Imperialist Invasion in 2023?

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Can Ukraine Achieve National Liberation, and Defeat the Russian Imperialist Invasion in 2023?

1. The short answer is : Let’s Hope So!

What is the role of the the left, the labour movement, and social movements outside Ukraine and Russia?

The short answer is : Back the Ukrainian Left approach on these issues and try to build the best international conditions for them, whatever they decide.

In this context a growing international solidarity movement, including the European Network for Solidarity with Ukraine (ENSU) promotes effective action. https://ukraine-solidarity.eu/

There are no meaningful negotiations I am aware of.

How can meaningful negotiations occur without realistic pre-conditions – the obvious ones being an end to the Russian war-crime bombardments and immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine?

In short, activists should differentiate between 1) Talks 2) Negotiations.

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Excellent statement from French trade unionists, left MPs and others on the issue of negotiations and a just and lasting peace for Ukraine – The French Began, We must join them

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Our comrade Federico Fuentes alerted us to this statement. https://ukraine-solidarity.eu/

Very good statement from French trade unionists, left MPs and others on the issue of negotiations and a just and lasting peace for Ukraine:

An unprecedented humanitarian crisis is threatening the population of Ukraine this winter. The conflict situation that has prevailed in eastern Ukraine since 2014 has become an all-out, “high intensity” war since Putin’s troops invaded Ukrainian territory on 24 February 2022.

The explicit aim of this ‘special operation’ was to overthrow the Ukrainian government and destroy the Republic of Ukraine as an independent entity. The failure of this first objective led the government of the Russian Federation to modify its objectives and to prolong a brutal war of conquest with the proclamation of the annexation of a large part of Ukrainian territory.

The victims are counted in tens of thousands, the displaced in millions, the damage in tens of billions of euros. The invading forces are committing war crimes, and systematically committing crimes against humanity – such as the destruction of vital infrastructure, forced displacement and deportation of people – including children. Not to mention the mass rapes.

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Free Russians Ireland Demonstration, Dublin, December 11 2022 – “We demand that the Russian army immediately Leave Ukraine”

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Irish Left With Ukraine (ILWU) was honoured to receive an invitation to participate in this demonstration organised by Free Russians Ireland. Free Russians Ireland
Free Russians Ireland co-hosted an impressive protest with Iranians in Ireland supporting the current women-led uprising against the brutal Islamic Republic led by Ayatollah Khamenei.

Pictures of the Protest are here : The blue and white flag is based on the Russian flag without a red colour. Free Russians Ireland co-ordinator Olga Popova explained that, for Free Russians Ireland, the colour red in the flag meant blood. A blue and white flag means Russia at peace with a free Ukraine and other neighbouring states. Free Russians Ireland calls for “régime change” in Russia.

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Photo Album – Paris Demonstration December 10 2022 – Russian Troops Out of All Ukraine – “Union banner calls for the withdrawal of troops and the welcoming of any and all refugees”

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We present a photo album of the demonstration in solidarity with the Ukrainian people and for the immediate withdrawal of all Russian troops from Ukraine that took place in Paris – Saturday December 10 2022.
The protest was supported by several French trade unions (CGT, FSU, SUD/Solidaires) the Ukrainian organizations in France, several movements of Russian and Belarusian anti-war activists, a whole host of left-wing organizations and parties, and quite a lot of individual left-wing politicians and intellectuals.

The initiative for the demonstration was taken by our French friends from the comité français du réseau européen de solidarité avec l’ Ukraine. (European Network for Solidarity with Ukraine).

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“Renewal of our solidarity with the people of Ukraine at Dublin’s Russian Embassy, Orwell Road : Nine months of Putin’s war hasn’t broken the spirit & resistance of the people”

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VIGIL OF REFLECTION AND REMEMBRANCE IN SUPPORT OF THE PEOPLE OF UKRAINE

The vigil occurred from 2-4pm outside the Russian Embassy, Orwell Road, Rathgar. Despite awful weather – it rained cats and dogs – over 200 attended, and listened to readings of poetry & prose, as well as music including Christmas carols and traditional Ukrainian songs.

Irish Left With Ukraine (ILWU) activists attended, and were joined by Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald TD (Dublin Central)

ILWU member John Lyons (Independent Left member of Dublin City Council, Dublin Bay North) reports

Source : https://www.facebook.com/search/top?q=councillor%20john%20lyons

A renewal of our solidarity with the people of #Ukraine 2day at the #Russian embassy: 9 months of Putin’s war hasn’t broken the spirit & resistance of the people.

Great to see Sinn Féin Ireland president @maryloumcdonaldsf showing leadership, expressing her solidarity & support for the heroic people of Ukraine.

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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?”