Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘Left Unity’ Category

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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French Presidential Elections – left eliminated from first round…again

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Dave Kellaway provides his initial analysis on the first round of the French presidential election results.

Source : http://europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article62053&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook. Also : https://anticapitalistresistance.org/french-elections-left-eliminated-from-first-roundagain/

  Contents  


[First Round results based on the latest estimates (21.00 CET): Not reproduced here.]

Results:

Emmanuel Macron: 27.8 %
Marine Le Pen: 23.2 %
Jean-Luc Melenchon: 22%
Eric Zemmour: 7.1
Valérie Pécresse: 4.8%
Jadot: 4.6%
Jean Lassale: 3.1%
Fabien Roussel: 2.3%
Dupont-Aignan: 2.1%
Anne Hidalgo: 1.8%
Philippe Poutou: 0.8%
Natalie Arthaud: 0.6%

An important conclusion : It would be irresponsible and very dangerous if people who voted for left and progressive parties stayed at home for the second round. Roussel for the CP has called for a vote for Macron to stop Le Pen. Melenchon has already called in his post-election address for his supporters to give not a single vote at all to Le Pen. Excellent. He combined this with a clear call for all the struggles to continue. Phillipe Poutou, candidate of the anticapitalists, has called, like Melenchon, for not one vote to be cast for Le Pen. He called for the biggest possible mobilisation against the far right on the 16 and 17 April.

 A re-run of 2017?

Sometimes history does repeat itself. The incumbent president, Macron, will face a re-run of the 2017 second round against the far right Marine Le Pen. He has continued to hold on to the blocs of ex SP voters and some moderate conservatives from the right wing Republicans party. Melenchon has by a significant margin has been the most voted candidate on the left. His score is two points better than last time and puts his movement in a strong position in relation to the rest of the left. He is the undisputed leader of the left although he is now likely to take a step back, since he will not stand again for president.

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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

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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Ukraine – Left without a voice, anti-war Russians pen open letters to Putin

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Anti-War activists in Ireland and other parts of the world should extend solidarity to anti-war activists in Russia. A remarkable report comes to us via Europe Solidaire Sans Frontières (ESSF).

http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article61107

See Also https://fourth.international/en/566/asia/418

Highlighted Extracts

Many of the more than 150 signatories are well-known in Russian intelligentsia circles : leading activists, artists and intellectuals who in recent years have formed a small but vocal minority against the Kremlin’s increasingly repressive politics.

More surprising was another anti-war letter published shortly after. It was signed by Leonid Ivashov, a retired colonel general widely known as a saber-rattling nationalist with anti-Western views.

Then, on Sunday, another voice joined in — Yabloko, a small, liberal opposition party that has been sidelined from mainstream politics. As U.S. officials warned an all-out war could begin any day, the party said it would be gathering signatures against the war online and at its offices throughout the country. A day later, the online petition had some 4,000 names.

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Public Meeting – Uprising in Kazakhstan

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Uprising in Kazakstan
Zoom meeting ‒ Report, Questions & Answers, Discussion

Zoom meeting, Saturday, January 22nd, 10am PT / 6pm UTC / 19h CET Ainur Kurmanov, Socialist Movement Kazakhstan – with a report, Q&A and discussion. Sign up at → tinyurl.com/uprising2022

Public Meeting- Solidarity with the Kazakhstan Uprising

Please sign up here to get the login details for our Zoom meeting with Ainur Kurmanov (Socialist Movement Kazakhstan), with reports, Q&A and discussion on Sat, Jan 22, 10am PT / 6pm UTC / 19h CET.
https://tinyurl.com/uprising2022

Since January 2, the uprising in Kazakhstan has offered an inspiring chapter in the global revolt against oppression, endemic poverty, and yawning wealth inequality. We are excited to hear from Ainur Kurmanov from the Socialist Movement Kazakhstan about the background to this uprising, recent developments, and the fight for working-class power.

While different factions of the old regime are trying to exploit the anger and unrest, the striking oil workers and miners provided a glimpse of working-class power. We stand in solidarity with all the people arrested, protesting the hundreds of killings that reportedly took place at the hands of an armed Russian intervention and brutal state repression.

This meeting is organized by AntiCapitalist Resistance (England and Wales), ControCorrente (Italy), ecosocialist.scot (Scotland), Internationale Sozialistische Organisation (Germany), Lernen im Kampf (Germany), Reform & Revolution caucus in DSA (USA), Republican Socialist Platform (Scotland), Russia’s Socialist Movement (Russia), RISE (Ireland), SAP ‒ Antikapitalisten (Belgium).

Aufstand in Kasachstan

Veranstaltung mit Ainur Kumarow
von der Sozialistischem Bewegung Kasachstan

Internationale Online-Veranstaltung 
am Samstag, 22. Januar 2022, 19 Uhr
auf Russisch und Englisch

Mitveranstalter: 
Anti*Capitalist Resistance (A*CR, England und Wales), 
ControCorrente (Italien), 
ecosocialist.scot (Schottland), 
Internationale Sozialistische Organisation (ISO, BRD), 
Lernen im Kampf (BRD), 
Reform and Revolution ‒ Caucus in the DSA (R&R, USA), 
Republic Socialist Platform (RSP, Schottland), 
RISE (Irland), 
Rossiskoje Sozialistitscheskoje Dwishenije (RSD, Russland), 
SAP – Antikapitalisten (Belgien)

Bitte hier anmelden:
https://tinyurl.com/uprising2022

Uprising in Kazakhstan ‒ Zoom meeting

Please also consider signing our international statement of solidarity with the uprising in Kazakhstan, https://tinyurl.com/KazakhstanSolidarity

Solidaritätserklärung auf Deutsch:
https://sozialismus.ch/international/2022/internationale-solidaritaet-mit-dem-aufstand-in-kasachstan/

Kasachstan: Farbrevolution oder Aufstand der Arbeiterklasse? Interview mit Ainur Kumarow
https://sozialismus.ch/international/2022/kasachstan-farbrevolution-oder-aufstand-der-arbeiterinnenklasse/

Internationale Sozialistische Organisation (ISO), Sektion der Vierten Internationale in Deutschland

iso@intersoz.org
www.intersoz.org
http://facebook.com/intersoz.org

Improving Science Literacy – And Supporting Mass Vaccination to Fight CoVid-19

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This blog offers two very good quotations and an illustration to act as a helpful political and personal guide. Origin of the quotations? I do not personally know the authors. I wish to thank a Greek comrade, Kostas Skordoulis, who started the relevant Facebook discussion. The cartoon is just brilliant.

No. Most lay people don’t have the tools to “question the science”. They are just deluding themselves. Just look at any flat earther video. The emphasis should be on improving science literacy so people can learn to identify media misrepresentation of studies, or how to spot weak or obviously flawed studies, or to follow trustworthy sources, instead of thinking they are some modern day Galileo.

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Rupture magazine: Issue 6, Winter 2022

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Special feature: Home sweet home Green gaffs for all, by Nicole McCarthy & Des Hennelly Mica & the fight for 100% redress, by Kiran Emrich The …

Rupture magazine: Issue 6, Winter 2022

Special feature: Home sweet home

  • Green gaffs for all, by Nicole McCarthy & Des Hennelly
  • Mica & the fight for 100% redress, by Kiran Emrich
  • The North’s housing crisis, by Amy Merron
  • Expropriate the big landlords, by Nelli Tügel

Features:

  • Fascism & the algorithm, by Méabh French
  • “Learn from each others’ struggles: Interview with Laurence Cox, by Brian O’Cathail
  • Tax haven Ireland – the inside story, by Brian O’Boyle
  • Feeding an insatiable monster: Data centres in Ireland, by Diarmuid Flood

What is to be done?

  • The feminist challenge to traditional political organising, by Penny Duggan
  • Keep it in the ground, by Sarah Frazer
  • Permanent revolution: Myths, reality & relevance, by Sami El-Sayed
  • Lighting the way: Transitional demands & the struggle for socialism, by August Thalheimer

Rupture Regulars

  • The Tipping Point by Jess Spear
  • Lesser-spotted comrades: Walter Rodney, by Emma Finnamore
  • Gaslighters, Ghouls, and Gobshites, by Des Hennelly

RUPTURE is produced by RISE, a network within People Before Profit. Paul Murphy TD, Dublin South-West is a member. https://rupture.ie/. See also : https://www.letusrise.ie/

‘There’s a pandemic!’ Covid mandates, restrictions and the left

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Guest post by Des Derwin

We can all agree that a raft of things are required that the system is reluctant to give and that we must campaign for: vaccine justice towards the global south, wage support for closed jobs, real ventilation in workplaces, an end to deforestation and desertification and intensive farming leading to zoonotic crossovers, provision of personal protective equipment, decent health services, etc., etc.

I’m bending the stick and splitting from what seems a widely held miscalculation on the international left about immediately responding to this massively lethal pandemic.

I support mandatory and legally enforceable public health measures and restrictions when necessary, just like I support workplace safety legislation.

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Workers’ Solidarity Movement (Ireland) has come to an end

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I developed a lot of political respect for comrades of the WSM, who worked well with political rivals on political campaigns where common objectives were sought.

I think particularly of referendum campaigns opposing various pro-austerity European Union treaties, and referendums on the Irish abortion ban which was finally removed from the state constitution in 2017. Also, many WSM comrades worked in a collaborative way with other revolutionary left activists in trade union activities and the mass boycotts of water charges and the property tax. The political difference which could never be resolved was : participation in state elections. Once the Irish revolutionary Left made a small but significant electoral breakthrough – moving from margins to better connection with mass struggles – the political writing was on the wall for electoral boycott anarchism. In my opinion that trend began – we are still living through it – when Joe Higgins scored an extraordinary by election success in Dublin West in 1996, running as an anti Water Tax candidate, and as a member of the Socialist Party. Higgins lost that contest by a very small margin, but comfortably won a Dáil seat in the following 1997 General Election, unseating then Labour TD and coalition minister Joan Burton.

The political difference which could never be resolved was : participation in state elections.

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