Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘Migration in Europe’ Category

How Can Feminist Solidarity Help Ukraine? (Podcast)

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From the outstanding ESSF http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article62454

How can feminist solidarity help Ukraine?

Since Russia’s full-scale imperialist invasion of Ukraine was launched by Vladimir Putin on February 24, Putin’s speeches, Russian state propaganda and the actual massacres and rapes committed by the Russian army have revealed the genocidal and misogynist character of this invasion. At the same time, the resistance of the Ukrainian people has been heroic. There have been many other expressions of opposition to this war as well, ranging from global protests to humanitarian aid convoys and initiatives by individuals and groups to help the resistance in Ukraine.

Ukrainian feminists have been an active part of the resistance both in actual combat and in various other invaluable capacities such as health care, child care, food production, communications and strategizing through social media as writers, leaders and spokeswomen. Among the more than five million Ukrainian refugees in Europe who are mostly women and children, many women are promoting valuable communication with the world.

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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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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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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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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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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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Learn to Think About Aiding the Ukrainian Resistance in 2022 – Russian Troops Out Now

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Revolutionary Socialists in Ukraine (Sotsialnyi Rukh (Social Movement) Ukraine) are thinking for themselves – making proposals which comrades in Ireland and elsewhere should examine very sympathetically.

Confiscate the property of Russian AND Ukrainian oligarchs, for the benefit of the people of Ukraine!

Since the beginning of Russia’s war in Ukraine, many European parties and organizations, including many people on the left, have demanded the confiscation of Russian oligarchs’ property abroad. Indeed, the yachts and real estate of Russian rich people have already been confiscated in Great Britain and France.

Nevertheless, this and all the other sanctions are half-measures against the economy of the Russian Federation, its dictatorship and the parasites that constantly enrich themselves at the expense of ordinary Russians.

In the context of this all-out war against the aggressor, we, Social Movement (Ukraine) insist that Ukraine needs the funds obtained rom the confiscation and sale of Russian capitalists’ property abroad. Only this would be genuine aid, since, at the moment, the proceeds from confiscation of assets of Putin’s henchmen does not benefit the common people of Ukraine.

In this context, it should be noted that our comrades from the Razem party (Poland) made a correct proposal: “Confiscate the property of Russian oligarchs: yachts, apartments in London, cottages in the Alps and villas on the Cote d’Azur. Profit from this will be given to Ukraine so that it can defend itself from the aggressor”

As Social Movement (Ukraine), we also believes that the realisation of Ukraine’s strategic interests and increasing economic stability is impossible without the nationalization of the Ukrainian oligarchs and the prohibition of any offshore operations by Ukrainian businesspeople. The implementation of such measures becomes more likely after the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian Parliament passed Bill 7122, which created a legal basis for the forcible seizure of Russian property in Ukraine on grounds of public necessity.

Turn the capital of Russian oligarchs against their state! Let’s restore justice!

Source : http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article61445

Let’s learn a little history, and learn to think a bit more :

April 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland

Arms are supplied to the rebels by German Imperialism. James Connolly’s Irish Citizens’ Army Slogan “We Serve Neither King nor Kaiser but Ireland”

February 1917 Russian Revolution begins in St. Petersburg

Women march demanding Bread and Peace – Cossacks mutiny. Russians start to desert the Czar’s World War 1 army. Exiled Bolsheviks in Zürich including VI Lenin strike a deal with German Imperialists, who provide a “sealed train” that travels through German occupied Eastern Europe to St. Petersburg’s Finland Station. October 1917 – Soviets, Workers’ Councils, establish a new revolutionary state in Russia.

Reviewing these events later – with the benefit of a historians’s 20-20 vision – British imperialist Winston Churchill observed that the Bolsheviks’s sealed train injected a “bacillus plague” into the heart ❤️ of the global capitalist system. A leader of the Russian Revolution, Leon Trotsky, addressed similar problems in 1938 :

“Let us assume that rebellion breaks out tomorrow in the French colony of Algeria under the banner of national independence and that the Italian government, motivated by its own imperialist interests, prepares to send weapons to the rebels. What should the attitude of the Italian workers be in this case? I have purposely taken an example of rebellion against a democraticimperialism with intervention on the side of the rebels from a fascistimperialism. Should the Italian workers prevent the shipping of arms to the Algerians? Let any ultra-leftists dare answer this question in the affirmative. Every revolutionist, together with the Italian workers and the rebellious Algerians, would spurn such an answer with indignation. Even if a general maritime strike broke out in fascist Italy at the same time, even in this case the strikers should make an exception in favor of those ships carrying aid to the colonial slaves in revolt; otherwise they would be no more than wretched trade unionists – not proletarian revolutionists.”

https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1938/05/think.htm

Leon Trotsky, ‘Learn To Think’ (1938). 

War against Ukraine: Intervention on the political orientation of the Party DIE LINKE (Germany) – Bernd Riexinger

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Introduction :

The content of this article is tremendously important. It strikes to the heart of significant dilemmas many activists have never before imagined, but which they cannot walk away from.

Can we be in favour of arming the popular resistance fighters in Ukraine without playing into the hands of NATO? Do we favour a Ukrainian victory over the Russian invaders? A strongly recommended article. Source : http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article61396

The invasion of Ukraine by the Russian military is an act of aggression that causes untold suffering for the Ukrainian population and cannot be justified by anything. The bloodshed also affects Russian soldiers and the population in Russia will have to pay bitterly for the war costs. Both the resistance among the Ukrainian population and the first signs of Russian protests against the war therefore deserve our full solidarity.

It is good that the party and parliamentary group strongly condemned the war of aggression by Russia and demanded an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal of Russian troops. Also, the humble admission that our party did not believe the war by Russia was possible was correct and looks credible. Only a few days before the first bombs fell, individual party members had called for a rally under the slogan “Security for Russia means security for Germany,” relegating warnings of an invasion to the realm of storytellers. What a devastating misjudgement. The dispute over relations with Russia has preoccupied the party since its founding. The role of the Red Army in the liberation from fascism, the 27 million deaths caused by the fascist war and terror, hardship and deprivation imposed on the people of the then Soviet Union were not forgotten worldwide in the left. Especially in times of the Cold War, this was not a popular stance. Parts of the party also moved in the line of tradition of Soviet-influenced “real socialism,” which still shapes its attitude toward Russia today. Regardless of the justified criticism of many leftists of the character of this system, a neoliberal-influenced transformation to capitalism has taken place in Russia. The Putin regime embodies an authoritarian oligarch capitalism that goes hand in hand with a strengthened nationalism. This system has nothing to do with leftist ideas; on the contrary, it falls far short of the standards of even bourgeois liberal democracies. Under Putin, Russia has once again taken a more active role in world politics. This involves hard-nosed interests that are also being enforced militarily. Tommaso Di Francesco of il manifesto, who already assessed Putin’s decision to recognize the independence of Lugansk and Donetsk as an “act of violence” and an adventurous harbinger of a new war, describes Russia as “driven by its ideological and military expansion”.

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