Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘Revolutionary History’ Category

Ukraine: Democratic socialists challenge Zelensky’s attack on workers, political parties

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The source of this article is the consistently reliable site Europe Solidaire Sans Frontières ((ESSF). http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article61872

The ESSF site consistently argues for a Ukrainian victory against the reactionary Russian invasion. This is a war of national liberation. Does this mean that supporters of Ukraine in this war must support all actions of the Zelensky government? The answer to that question is No. The ESSF is reviving the internationalist solidarity tradition of Critical Support. In that context, note the balanced conclusion of this article on the real significance of the Zelensky government ban on 11 political parties

“As leftists, of course, we are particularly concerned about restrictions on the left and that the decree will create the perception that everything connected with the left and with socialism is part of some Russian strategy against Ukraine.

“At the same time, while many foreign comrades are currently asking us whether left-wing thought is now banned in Ukraine and if this is the start of a broader repression of the left, I don’t think it’s that categorical. Rather than an attack on the left per se, the government seems to have been guided by fairly vague ideas of what is ‘pro-Russian’ and ‘pro-Ukrainian’.

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Alain Krivine has left us – “leading figure of May 1968 in France, has just died aged 80. All the French media have commented on his passing”

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Dave Kellaway writes an excellent tribute. source : https://anticapitalistresistance.org/krivine-who/?fbclid=IwAR0w7ZABo272oR3iPRsZIVjcdt2NqoqSrSQBU4QO3k-z4NYa-Qar28_g9X8

Five things we can learn from the life of Alain Krivine.

Alain Krivine, a leading figure of May 1968 in France, has just died aged 80. All the French media have commented on his passing. Current presidential candidates like Melenchon, who leads the left in the polls with 11%, Roussel, standing for the French CP and Nathalie Arthaud for Lutte Ouvriere have all issued statements yesterday. Former members of Krivine’s organisations who are now MPs in Melenchon’s party or leaders of the Socialist Party also made public their respect for his contribution to the left.

For people of my generation whom he inspired or who worked with him it was a sad day yesterday. Leading members of the British left such as Alex Callinicos for the Socialist Workers Party, John Rees for Counterfire or his former comrade in arms, Tariq Ali,  have all publicly mourned his passing. 

But for many activists reading this who are not over fifty the name might not mean a great deal. If we are to build a deeper and broader political culture of a fighting left then it is important we remember those who went before us. Their lives are sometimes rich with lessons for us today. We learn not just from some of their smarter moves but also from where they may have got it wrong.

What can we learn from Alain?

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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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“No to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine! Support to the Ukrainian resistance! Solidarity with the Russian opposition to the war!”

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Statement of the Executive Bureau of the Fourth International

Source : https://fourth.international/en/566/europe/426.

1. Before dawn on 24 February 2022 the Russian army began its invasion of Ukraine, bombing the interior of the country and crossing the northern, eastern and southern borders of the country, heading for the capital Kiev. This aggression has already resulted in many deaths, both civilian and military. The Ukrainian army and population are defending themselves, several cities are holding out against the aggressor. Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians have gone into exile, but the resistance continues. The Ukrainan people are resisting, with and without arms.

The Kremlin’s recognition three days earlier of the “independence” of the so-called “people’s republics” of Donetsk and Lugansk and the official entry of the Russian army into their territory was only the prelude to the invasion aimed at the total submission of the neighbouring country.

It is a military invasion of the territory of a former oppressed nation by a capitalist oligarchic, autocratic and imperialist regime whose aim is the reconstruction of the Russian empire.

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“Putin’s War is an Imperialist Adventure” – Statement by Independent Left (Ireland)

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This is an excellent statement, reproduced here in full.

Source : https://independentleft.ie/statement_ukraine/?fbclid=IwAR169Szy23jqdCOt_L6kKF5vPoekgKKrpt2d9sdQe4WSz1MbwEa-9N7XjZM

Independent Left condemns the Russian invasion of Ukraine; Putin’s war is an imperialist adventure. We support the demand for complete withdrawal of Russian forces from all of Ukraine.

We support the right of the Ukrainian people to resist the Russian invasion by all means necessary – armed and civil resistance. We defend the right of the Ukrainian working class to arm themselves so as to resist conquest by the Russian army. If they are able to do so, despite extraordinary disparity of military equipment, the defeat of the Russian army will inspire resistance to imperialism of all forms, whether US-led, Chinese-led, or by any other major power tempted to use force to further their interests.

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Home Truths About Ukrainian Resistance to the Russian Imperialist Invasion

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“Marine Le Pen’s party is binning its 8-page electoral tract, which features a picture of her shaking hands with Vladimir Putin. Apparently that’s not a vote-winner any more! 1.2 million copies had been printed.”

Hint to Left-Wingers in Anti-War War Movements everywhere :

Russian Troops Out of Ukraine Now!
Solidarity with the Ukrainian Resistance!

Adopt a policy proposed by Noam Chomsky :

Noam Chomsky is the author of more than 150 books on topics such as linguistics, war, politics, and mass media. Ideologically, he aligns with anarcho-syndicalism and libertarian socialism. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noam_Chomsky?wprov=sfti1

“The Russian invasion of Ukraine is a major war crime, ranking alongside the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the Hitler-Stalin invasion of Poland in September 1939, to take only two salient examples.

Meanwhile, we should do anything we can to provide meaningful support for those valiantly defending their homeland against cruel aggressors, for those escaping the horrors, and for the thousands of courageous Russians publicly opposing the crime of their state at great personal risk, a lesson to all of us.”

https://truthout.org/articles/noam-chomsky-us-military-escalation-against-russia-would-have-no-victors/.
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Confused About Ukraine and Russia? A Fable Sparks Debate “Ukraine used to be in an Abusive Relationship with Russia”

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We wish to thank Sandra Kavanagh for circulating a brilliant fable :

“For anyone that’s confused about what’s happening in Russia and Ukraine, here it is in layman’s terms:

Sandra Kavanagh

-Ukraine used to be in an abusive relationship with Russia, feeding him, letting him use her car, and giving him whatever he asked for until she built up the confidence to call it quits back in 1991.
-Since then, Ukraine has been working on herself, becoming a strong independent woman with help from friends like France, America, Poland, and others. They give her support, loan her money, and are helping her find her way.
-Ukraine has been enjoying being single for 30 years and looking forward to continuing to grow and create new friendships.
-Now Russia, being the toxic ex that he is, wants her back, and doesn’t want her meeting new people or creating any new relationships.
-A couple of weeks ago Russia started sitting in the front of Ukraine’s house & when her friends ask him what was he doing there, he said “Oh nothing, just getting a little bit of exercise in, that’s all.”
-After her friends told her that Russia was potentially getting ready to do something bad to her, he said “They’re lying, they just want you to be scared of me and that’s not what it is.”
-Yesterday Russia broke into Ukraine’s house, beat her up & “took advantage” of her while live-streaming and double dog dared any of her friends to do something about it. She’s still waiting for help.”

Solutions :

The Russian man should be shackled with an effective barring order, backed up with aggressive legal sanctions. The house of the Ukrainian woman must be fortified. Concretely during this war : the anti-war movement must declare: Russian Troops Out of Ukraine Now!

John Meehan March 1 2020

Paul Murphy TD Denounces Putin’s War Against Ukraine, Dáil Éireann, March 1 2022

We Are All Ukrainians Today – Everywhere on this Earth : Left Wing Parties, Progressive Social Movements, Labour Movement Activists Oppose the Barbaric Russian Invasion of Ukraine

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A new mass international anti-war movement is emerging in 2022. There is one test :

Demand : Russian Troops Out of Ukraine Now!

Remain up-to-date by visiting this site :

http://www.europe-solidaire.org/

Michael Taaffe, SIPTU Trade Union Researcher, Dublin : “At times, the debate over the Russian invasion of Ukraine reaches the bottom of the rhetorical barrel. Some commentators portray an informed and intelligent discussion as an apology for one side or the other. If you criticise NATO policy over the last two decades, you are a tool of Putin. If you criticise Putin, you accept the many US-led abuses. It is reminiscent of Albert Camus’ observation: when I criticise Franco, I’m called a communist; when I criticise the invasion of Hungary, I’m called a stooge of Western powers”. https://notesonthefront.typepad.com/politicaleconomy/

In this spirit we continue to reproduce and report on solidarity actions and statements. The first comes from Die Linke (The Left) in Germany, which is represented in that country’s parliament the Bundestag with 39 seats. .https://www.bundestag.de/en/parliament/plenary/distributionofseats This war is producing seismic changes on the international left. Some, like Die Linke, have origins in the old pre-1990 communist parties of Eastern Europe – but have shifted to to the left, confronted with the criminal 2022 Russian imperialist assault on Ukraine.

Die Linke Statement :

DIE LINKE strongly condemns attack on Ukraine, Russia must immediately cease hostilities!

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Against Russian Imperialism, Hands Off Ukraine – Statement from the RSD (Russian Socialist Movement)

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Statement from the RSD – Russian Socialist Movement. (Thanks to Peter Saxtrup Nielsen). The Russian Socialist movement was founded in March 2011 by two organizations, the Socialist Movement Vperiod (“Forward”), Russian section of the Fourth International, and Socialist Resistance. It is part of the Left Front, an alliance formed during the protests against the falsification of the elections in 2011 and 2012.


Against Russian imperialism, hands off Ukraine!

Putin’s address to the Russians has just ended. The man who calls himself president began his speech with an anti-communist panegyric and said that the creator of Ukraine is Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, and its existence in its current form is the result of the national policy of the Bolsheviks. By accusing the Bolsheviks of “cultivating nationalists,” Putin is covering up the most terrible and disgusting kind of nationalism – Great Russian chauvinism. Against this background, Putin threatened the Ukrainians to show what “decommunization” is. Given the context of his speech, one can perceive these words only as a threat of direct intervention on the territory of Ukraine. Not surprisingly, in criticizing the Leninist nationality policy, Putin threw stones at the planned economy, nationalization and complimented Stalinism.

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