Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘Fortress Europe’ Category

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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Stop the bombing! Russian troops out! Solidarity with the Ukrainian resistance! – Global Week of Action Against the Russian Invasion of Ukraine and for Solidarity with Ukraine – February 20-26 2023

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The European Network for Solidarity with Ukraine (ENSU) and its Irish supporters (Irish Left With Ukraine) are working with other organisations and individuals for a full Russian withdrawal, and social Justice for Ukraine.

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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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Local politicians Smile for the Camera with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in the North of Ireland – Don’t mention the Elephant in the Room – Brexit

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John Hurson brought this parody real picture to our attention. He chose a very appropriate James Connolly quotation to describe the scene.

“Yes, ruling by fooling, is a great British art with great Irish fools to practice on.”
James Connolly

“Yes, ruling by fooling, is a great British art with great Irish fools to practice on.”

James Connolly

John Hurson hits the nail on the head – this gaggle of politicians cannot agree a formula to restore Stormont. The reason is Brexit, which is opposed by a large majority of people living in Ireland.

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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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“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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Solidarity With Palestine, Solidarity With Ukraine – Sotsialniy Rukh (Ukraine) Compared With People Before Profit (Ireland)

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If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, South African Anti-Apartheid Activist

Sotsialniy Rukh Statement on Palestine and Ukraine (in English and Ukrainian)

📣 November 29 since 1978 has been celebrated as the Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people. For 44 years, the world officially talks about the Palestinian tragedy that has no end.

This day reminds us of Palestine’s ongoing struggle for life and freedom. Despite condemnation of Israel’s policy, which leading human rights organizations say fits the crime of apartheid under the Roman Statute, the de facto Palestinians and Palestinians still have neither protection nor independence. Their homes are being taken, cities bombed, and their lives are totally in vain.

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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?”

PANEL: UKRAINIAN AND RUSSIAN ACADEMICS DISCUSS THE WAR – Broadcast by the Real News Network

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Debates over the proper approach to the Russo-Ukrainian War have dominated much of the year. Yet discussions within the western left have not always featured the perspectives of Ukrainians and Russians themselves. The Real News Network board member Bill Fletcher, in partnership with Haymarket Books, hosts a panel with Ukrainian and Russian academics.

Link : https://therealnews.com/panel-ukrainian-and-russian-academics-discuss-the-war?fbclid=IwAR2rLkZ0rerziSQgyPsEf4mb7_F-yrHa0TQCHpQPtA8gtNjuq-U2hOKByjs

Bill Fletcher, a long-time trade union and human rights activist from the USA hosts a discussion with Yuliya Yurchenko, Ilya Budraitskis and Alona Liasheva
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