Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘Revolutionary History’ Category

Did Lenin Сreate Ukraine? On the Right of Nations to Self-Determination and Marxism

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Why do Marxists defend the right of nations to self-determination? What does the struggle for national liberation have to do with the workers’ struggle? Social researcher Grusha Gilaeva analyzes the positions of Marx and Lenin on the national question and explains why the left movement must support the anti-colonial struggle of Ukraine

Did Lenin Сreate Ukraine? On the Right of Nations to Self-Determination and Marxism

Grusha Gilaveva’s fascinating article comes from the Russian left-wing publication Posle. Gilaveva argues, in a very convincing manner, that Marx and Engels started out in the 1840’s opposing the rights of small nations to self-determination – inspired by a blanket opposition to all nationalism – but changed their policy after 1867. Marx and Engels were heavily influenced by Ireland’s struggle for liberation from the British Empire, and the Phoenix like rise and fall of the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB), the Fenians. Policy divisions on the question of self-determination for small nations continued within the Marxist second and third internationals in the twentieth century. Bolshevik leader Vladimir Ilyich Lenin championed a policy favouring the rights of small nations and nationalities – and was opposed by revolutionary comrades such as Karl Radek and Rosa Luxemburg. Once again Ireland featured strongly in the debate among revolutionary Marxists. The Easter 1916 Rising in Dublin, although it was militarily crushed by British artillery, inspired socialists all over the globe who were fighting against the barbaric World War 1. The impact was brilliantly described by the famous North American feminist revolutionary Louise Bryant in “The Masses”, published in July 1916. “The Masses” can be accessed here : https://www.marxists.org/history/usa/pubs/masses/index.htm

Louise Bryant Describes the Global Impact of the 1916 Rising in Ireland

An alliance between the descendants of the IRB (the Irish Volunteers led by Pádraig Pearse) and a brand-new working class actor fighting for Irish Freedom, James Connolly’s Irish Citizen Army (ICA), inflicted devastating wounds on the most powerful empire the world had ever seen in those early years of the 20th century.

The 1917 Russian Bolshevik Revolution began to go badly wrong in the 1920’s. An early sign that all was not well was Great Russian chauvinist suppression of smaller nations such as Ukraine. We live with and suffer from terrible consequences today. We cannot change history, but we can learn from it.

John Meehan January 25 2023

Grusha Gilayeva

Did Lenin Сreate Ukraine? On the Right of Nations to Self-Determination and Marxism

Source : Posle https://posle.media/language/en/was-ukraine-created-by-lenin-once-again-about-marxism-and-the-right-of-nations-to-self-determination%ef%bf%bc/

Why do Marxists defend the right of nations to self-determination? What does the struggle for national liberation have to do with the workers’ struggle? Social researcher Grusha Gilaeva analyzes the positions of Marx and Lenin on the national question and explains why the left movement must support the anti-colonial struggle of Ukraine

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The Strange Rebirth of Stalinism – Colm Breathnach (Independent Left)

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THE STRANGE REBIRTH OF STALINISM

THE STRANGE REBIRTH OF STALINISM

The editors of this blog offer recommended reading – an article By of the Irish Left-Wing organization Independent Left.

Source : https://independentleft.ie/rebirth-of-stalinism/

A more colourful literary description of this phenomenon was offered by Yuliya Yurchenko at a November 2022 Dublin public meeting organised by Irish Left With Ukraine. The Ukrainian Marxist and Feminist offered us the idea that the USSR is dead – it is not coming back. The worst features of the dead ☠️ USSR have been imported into a new capitalist-imperialist-genocidal monster headed by Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin. The good bits have been discarded and killed off permanently. Think of Stephen King’s horror story Pet Sematary :

A well-tended path leads to a pet cemetery(misspelled “sematary” on the sign) where the children of the town bury their deceased animals.

A cat called Church dies, then :

after Church is run over outside his home around Thanksgiving. Rachel and the kids are visiting Rachel’s parents in Chicago, but Louis frets over breaking the bad news to Ellie. Sympathizing with Louis, Jud takes him to the “sematary”, supposedly to bury Church. But instead of stopping there, Jud leads Louis farther on to “the real cemetery”: an ancient burial ground that was once used by the Miꞌkmaq Tribe. There, Louis buries the cat on Jud’s instruction. The next afternoon, Church returns home; the usually vibrant and lively cat now acts ornery and, in Louis’s words, “a little dead”. Church hunts for mice and birds, ripping them apart without eating them. He also smells so bad that Ellie no longer wants him in her room at night. Jud confirms that Church has been resurrected and that Jud himself once buried his dog there when he was younger. Louis, deeply disturbed, begins to wish that he had not buried Church there.

WHAT IS STALINISM?

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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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Tributes to Arend van de Poel, Librarian at the International Institute for Research and Education (IIRE)

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I met Arend van de Poel on a small number of occasions. He was great company. He is pictured below with his IIRE colleague Alex de Jong. Colleagues and Comrades who knew Arend much better than me have written warm and interesting tributes – see below :

John Meehan, January 7 2023

Alex De Jong and Arend van de Poel, with books donated by the late Hungarian Marxist George (György) Hodos – at the International Institute for Research and Education (IIRE)

Maral Jefroudi :

We lost our dear comrade, librarian at IIRE, Arend van de Poel last Wednesday.
He was one of a kind (nevi şahsına münhasır in Turkish) person.
I am glad I could enjoy his friendship (Enjoy?! he would be surprised)- his reactions could be compared to the famous grumpy cat.
He hated vegetables, loved cats, and didn’t enjoy hospitals…
We would talk about a lot of random stuff besides politics, from jogging to playing piano and he would listen to my ventings periodically.
Also he was one of the few old white men who understood the current debates on race, gender, and sexuality and managed to be an anti-racist, anti-sexist socialist being at the right side of the debates.

I will miss him a lot…

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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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Irish Left Archive Podcast Number 44: Vincent Doherty: Official Sinn Féin, International Marxist Group, Troops Out, People’s Democracy, H-Block Committee, Sinn Féin – reblogged from The Cedar Lounge Revolution

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I first met Vincent Doherty in the late 1970’s via People’s Democracy and the Fourth International. Since then we travelled on different political paths, while remaining on very good personal terms. In 2022 Vincent and me – along with a group of left-wing activists who come from different but complementary streams of the Irish Left – have been working actively together in the Irish Left With Ukraine organization.

The comrades who publish the Cedar Lounge Revolution Blog come from a stream of the Irish Left which is different from Vincent Doherty and me. But we converge politically in 2022 on a very decisive issue – the genocidal imperialist Russian invasion of Ukraine.

On the left nothing stands still. There is a strong mistaken current dominant of the Irish Marxist left which does “what if” interpretations of historical events. This interview avoids that approach. It is much better to accept the past, warts and all. We cannot change the past, but we can with 20-20 vision learn from our history. We can apply that knowledge to the present day and the immediate future – which we can influence.

Rayner Lysaght Tribute – Irish Labour History Society Event

Rayner Lysaght RIP (January 30 1941 – July 2 2021) was a close comrade of Vincent and me for many years in People’s Democracy and the Fourth International. The Irish Labour History Society staged a commemorative tribute in honour of Rayner on May 14 2021. I delivered the speech below, which also deals with some of the events described by Vincent Doherty.

John Meehan January 2 2023

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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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Voters in the British State Reject Brexit – The Emperors Have No Clothes

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Lots of recent data tells us that voters in the British state – in the nations of England, Scotland, Wales (and in the statelet called Northern Ireland) – reject Brexit. Here is the latest graphic :

Rejecting Brexit – Well Outside the Margin of Error

The polling expert John Curtice publishes lots of interesting information on this and other related subjects.

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Christmas Subversion 2022 – by Sarah Springer

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Trotskyist Subversion Again – “By far the favorite of all the miniatures I’ve made: my Merry Marxmas house!”. – Sarah Springer.

Readers might like to see and read more articles written by Sarah Springer. I recommend this short essay “Literature from a Marxist Perspective”.