Tomás Ó Flatharta

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Can Ukraine Militarily Defeat the Far-Right Russian Ethnic-Cleanser Invader? Is the “Porcupine” Military Resistance Strategy Working?

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At first, since the winter of 2021, many well-educated observers doubted Russia would invade Ukraine. Then many of them expected a quick crushing Russian military victory. Facts, stubborn things, have demolished these predictions.

Writing in the Good Friday 2022 edition of the Irish Times, Brussels Correspondent Naomi O’Leary introduces us to the “Porcupine Strategy” :

The Ukrainian Military Porcupine Strategy

The resilience and effectiveness of Ukraine’s defence, and ability to impose great costs on Russia despite Moscow’s vastly greater numbers, have significance far beyond Ukraine.

It’s a vindication of the so-called porcupine strategy that underpins the defence of many other states that contend with a larger neighbour they suspect of territorial designs.

Estonia (1.3 million), Latvia (1.9 million), and Lithuania (2.8 million) will always suffer a numerical disadvantage compared to Russia (144 million). They have long feared the expansionary ambitions of their large neighbour, particularly since the annexation of Crimea.

Their strategy in response is not to try to match Moscow’s numbers – that would be impossible – but to make themselves indigestible. More trouble to attack than they are worth.

Is it possible that, in months and years to come, the Ukraine policy : militarily resist the Russian invasion – using weapons wherever they could get them – will be hailed as the “common sense” view of all on the left? That might seem unlikely now, but stubborn facts should force a rethink. A selection of left policies, Good Friday 2022 vintage, such as

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Fighting for Self-Determination – Yuliya Yurchenko explains “For Ukrainians it’s an existential fight. Our country’s identity, territorial boundaries, and our very existence is under attack right now”

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Introduction

Ukraine is fighting a war of liberation against a Russian Ethnic Cleanser state led by a violent far-right imperialist Vladimir Putin. All related issues are discussed in the interview below.

Spectre‘s Ashley Smith talked to Yuliya Yurchenko, author of Ukraine and the Empire of Capital: From Marketization to Armed Conflict (Pluto, 2018). She is a Lecturer in International Business and Researcher at the Public Services International Research Unit, the Centre for Business Network Analysis, and the Political Research Centre at the University of Greenwich.

Material like this is urgently required reading for anti-war activists in Ireland and elsewhere who are in love with the word BUT. “Ukrainians have the right to wage armed struggle” BUT “Oppose Sending NATO Arms to the Ukrainian Resistance – and its right-wing government”. History Lessons are easily unlearned – leading up to the Irish Easter 1916 Rising James Connolly’s left-wing Irish Citizens’ Army proudly promoted a banner : “We Serve Neither King nor Kaiser but Ireland”. Many of the guns used in the 1916 Rising were supplied by German Imperialism.

The Butistas talk as much as possible about right-wing characteristics of the Zelensky Government, throwing in wild exaggerations – and say next to nothing about the far more powerful far-right government of Vladimir Putin : promoter of sinister politicians like French Presidential contender Marine Le Pen.

In Dáil Éireann recently Sinn Féin and Labour Leaders Mary-Lou McDonald and Ivana Bacik called for the expulsion from Ireland of Russian Ambassador Yuri Filatov. The right-wing NATO friendly Dublin government vigorously opposed this call. Radical socialist TD’s made no public comment on this proposal, which is gaining some left wing trade union support. John Meehan April 22 2022

What are conditions like for people in Ukraine now amidst this war? What is the state of the military and civilian resistance to Russia’s invasion?

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Old schemes and new schisms

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Guest post by Des Derwin

There are two general templates, one for each side of the divide on the war that is now congealing on the left, and which will mark it for the next period. Views on the war, often backed up with evidence and argument, often, and increasingly, assuming one or other of the templates and theories, spring from those assumptions, with the assumed basic starting point being increasingly advanced as a premise, even a common sense argument. People on the left are now beginning to settle into talking past each other on Ukraine, with some accompanying denunciation and insult. 

Expressing it simply and analogously, one template is a war like a gang war, like the Kinahan-Hutch feud  toward which any reasonable and sociable person would be neutrally hostile to both sides, against both sides and for the war to end; a war between two sets of robbers and murderers to end, full stop, right now. 

The other template sees the invasion of Ukraine as an aggravated burglary in which a modest house is broken into, the occupants assaulted, older people beaten and the place ransacked almost beyond repair. If some at home could defend themselves no reasonable person would object to that, or say they should stop and allow their house to be wrecked and their relations beaten. If you could help the defender you would, even to the extent of handing them a weapon or joining with them if you could. You would, horror, probably call the cops.

There are sub-templates of course, as some believe that one of the gangs in the first template, the Hutches perhaps, are better in one way or another. Are pressed and provoked by the Kinahans, who are the dominant gang, and it would be better by far if the Hutches – who have actually struck first and spectacularly, struck a weaker neighbour friendly to the Kinahans – won and weakened the Kinahans. A few don’t see the Hutches as a gang at all and want them to win. Another variant is that there are two levels to the war, the gang feud (an inter-imperialist war), and simultaneously brutal shootings in homes and neighbourhoods when innocent ‘civilians’ get killed (a war of imperialist aggression and national defense). Some recognise both levels, prioritise the first and warn against defensive help to the victim in case it escalates all the way to Armageddon.

These schematic starting points invest the attitude of the myriad of left groups and individuals. Many base their approach on evidence, many base it on a precooked or underlying geopolitical worldview, with evidence, and sometimes with little evidence; many (non-political) people quickly reach their own spontaneous conclusions based on their own common sense and decency, and some reasonable credibility in the mainstream news media. 

These broadly rival templates overlap and operate within previous great gulfs like stalinism, trotskyism, anarchism and even left social democracy. They are the tip of previously developing and now hardening differences in political weltanschauung.

For the record I fall broadly under the second template. The war is a brutal invasion by an imperialist power. There is a context of rival imperialisms certainly, as there are several contexts for everything political and military: class exploitation, regional political and material interests, particular histories, workers’ internationalism, the climate crisis, etc, etc. 

There are fallouts which our local rulers will seek to use in the usual ‘shock doctrine’ way, which we need to resist, in Ireland’s case ending or diluting formal neutrality and initiating expensive militarisation. Maybe neutrality might paradoxically be the issue on which the Irish left can universally agree and unite on in common activity. But maybe not after the risen temperatures of our own civil war within the war. 

Written by tomasoflatharta

Apr 10, 2022 at 6:20 pm

Ukraine : On-the-Spot Reports by Good Correspondents are Invaluable : Tony Connelly (RTÉ) and Daniel McLaughlin (Irish Times)

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Every major war tests news sources. Blizzards of disinformation should not deter us from seeking the truth. We can identify good and bad journalists. Two excellent war reporters are quoted here. Tony Connelly of the Irish State Broadcaster RTÉ, and Daniel McLaughlin of the Irish Times. We need them. We are attempting to rescue the reputation of the international revolutionary anti-war Left. In this respect the quotations below from two outstanding chroniclers of World War 1 and the 1917 Russian Revolution – John Reed and Leon Trotsky, are extremely good guides for activists combatting the Russian Ethnic Cleanser invasion of Ukraine in dark days of 2022.

Tony Connelly in Ukraine – as of noon Irish time, Sunday February 27 2022 – Day Four of the Invasion and Some Predictable Conclusions Already

It’s day four of the invasion and some predictable conclusions already. A civilian death toll – over 200 killed. But I suppose a more surprising element to this is a strong sense that this is going to be a lot harder than Vladimir Putin had expected.

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

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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.

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Russian Socialists Speak : “Against Russian Imperialism”

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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.

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European Network Solidarity with Ukraine and against war Basic consensus

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All readers and activists are encouraged to support this network. Source : http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article61759

We, collectives of social movements, trade unions, organisations and parties, from Eastern and Western Europe, oppose war and all neo-colonialism in the world, want to build a network from below, independent of any government.

Click here to join the network: https://framaforms.org/membership-form-for-the-european-network-solidarity-with-ukraine-and-against-war-1647460588

Contents

FOR

1. The defence of an independent and democratic Ukraine!

2. The immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from all Ukrainian territory. The end of the nuclear threat posed by the alerting of Russian nuclear weapons and the bombing of Ukrainian power plants!

3. Support for the resistance (armed and unarmed) of the Ukrainian people in its diversity, in defence of its right to self-determination

4. Cancellation of Ukraine’s foreign debt!

5. The non-discriminatory reception of all refugees – from Ukraine and elsewhere!

6. Support for the anti-war and democratic movement in Russia and the guarantee of political refugee status for opponents of Putin and for Russian soldiers who desert!

7. Seizure of the assets of Russian government members, senior officials and oligarchs in Europe and around the world; and financial and economic sanctions – protecting the disadvantaged from their effects.

Beyond that, we are also fighting, together with like-minded currents in Ukraine and Russia:

8. For global nuclear disarmament. Against military escalation and the militarisation of minds.

9. For the dismantling of military blocs

10. To ensure that any aid to Ukraine is not subject to IMF or EU austerity conditions

11. Against productivism, militarism and imperialist competition for power and profit that destroy our environment and our social and democratic rights.

At the end of the First World War, the ILO was founded on a universal statement: “A universal and lasting peace can only be based on social justice.” Today, we must add environmental justice and the rule of law: we fight for peace and equality, democratic freedoms, social and climate justice, through cooperation and solidarity between peoples.

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

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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

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

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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.

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Russian Embassies Unwelcome in Dublin and Budapest – Ireland and Hungary stand with Ukraine – Russian Troops Out Now

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An international campaign renaming streets where Russian embassies are located is taking off. Two notable examples come from Ireland and Hungary.

Gergely Karacsony, Mayor of Budapest, Reports : “A group of artists is initiating renaming the Bajza street metro stop near the Russian Embassy to the “Ukrajna” stop.”

“This is an international action. The aim is to rename the streets where Russian embassies are located in as many cities as possible in the world.”

The Mayot of Budapest Continues : I knew about this initiative in advance and I can promise that until the conflict ends, the employees of the Capital Local Government will not remove the inscription. #Budapest (Photo: https://www.facebook.com/ArcMagazin )

Similar action is happening outside the The Russian Embassy in Ireland, currently situated in Orwell Road, Dublin. The relevant local authority has voted unanimously for a new street name : Independent Ukraine Road. https://www.thejournal.ie/russian-embassy-orwell-road-independent-ukraine-road-5706473-Mar2022/ One citizen, Desmond Wisley, took the initiative – he reversed his truck into embassy gates, smashing them to pieces.

Written by tomasoflatharta

Mar 11, 2022 at 6:35 am