Tomás Ó Flatharta

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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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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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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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Your Man Over There Thinks the Anti-Franco Republican Forces Should Not Have Sought Weapons from the Brits, Yanks and French Imperialist Hypocrites during the 1930’s Spanish Civil War – A Proxy War if Ever I saw One!

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In this respect the British writer Paul Mason is correct :

Imagine an alt-history of the Spanish Civil War where, after some initial reversals, the anti-fascist side starts winning. They drive back Franco’s armies largely because France, Britain and the USA reject “non-intervention” and send in heavy weapons, offsetting the support coming from Hitler and Mussolini. In this scenario, does anyone seriously think the global left would have pulled its support for the Republican side because of “imperialist aggression”? Would they have denounced the Spanish conflict as a “proxy war”. Would they have convened an international conference calling for the end of all arms supplies to the anti-fascists in the name of “Peace”? Would they have called for negotiations with Franco, advocating a settlement “acceptable to all”?

https://ukrainesolidaritycampaign.org/2022/12/20/ukraine-which-side-are-you-on/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook

The same point is made here, drawing on an example from the actions of Irish revolutionaries during World War 1 – the Easter 1916 Rebels launched an uprising against British Imperialism using weapons supplied by the German Kaiser.

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A 1936 Obituary : The first known Irish Supporter of Trotsky’s Left Opposition – TJ O’Flaherty (Tomás Ó Flatharta) – passed away on Inis Mór ( one of the Aran Islands)

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Gort na gCapall, Inishmore, Aran. Home of the Ó Flaithearta family.

Des Derwin drew our attention to this fascinating obituary.

Source : https://revolutionsnewsstand.com/2022/11/23/t-j-oflaherty-dead-from-new-militant-vol-2-no-22-june-6-1936/?fbclid=IwAR08oP2REQBBFNs2tWByO1-U3tWdwtjv7-OXax_0Ljm3ycJkB2IrK67FO-g

‘T.J. O’Flaherty Dead’ from New Militant. Vol. 2 No. 22. June 6, 1936.

The New Militant learns with great sorrow of the sudden death in Ireland of comrade T.J. O’Flaherty, an adherent of “Trotskyism” from the first days of the formation of the Left Opposition in the United States and a firm supporter to his dying day of the movement for the Fourth International. On his deathbed all his thoughts and interests were with his comrades in the United States and to the last he had hopes to recover his health and to return to the States to function actively in the movement. He gave full support to the Workers Party of America upon its formation and viewed it as the first step in the process of unification of the genuine revolutionary elements who based themselves on the teachings of Lenin and Trotsky.

His sister, Anna Johnson, in a letter to comrade Martin Abern, writes from the Aran Isles, Ireland:

Letter from His Sister

“You will be surprised to hear that Tom has passed away. He died on May 19 from heart trouble. He came back here on January 15 after 18 months between Dublin and England. He was ill when he got back and got worse every day. You know he always suffered from heart trouble.

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The Fallacies of the Call for “Negotiations” Between Ukraine and Russia – Charles Pierson

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The following article was submitted to the USA journal Counterpunch replying to the article mentioned in the paragraph below. Counterpunch refused to publish it.

We wish to thank the New York based Irish-American activist Joan McKiernan who brought the article below to our attention. This vital discussion is occurring in many parts of the world, including Ireland. If you wish to actively participate in principled left-wing solidarity with the Ukrainian masses we recommend the European Network for Solidarity With Ukraine (ENSU). The ENSU’s Irish supporters work with Irish Left With Ukraine (ILWU), which has organised a public meeting in Dublin taking place on November 21 2022. The main speaker is ENSU activist Yuliya Yurchenko.

John Meehan November 10 2022

Links :

ENSU https://ukraine-solidarity.eu/ ILWU : https://www.facebook.com/groups/466892938791354

“Victory against Russia,” is the wrong goal in Ukraine, writes Binoy Kampmark (“Vicarious Zeal: Fighting to the Last Ukrainian,” Counterpunch, Jul. 15, 2022). Kampmark, a frequent contributor to Counterpunch, worries that Ukraine and the West are demanding what amounts to Russia’s “unconditional surrender.” Instead of demanding Russia’s surrender, Kampmark recommends peace talks. A negotiated peace, he writes, will shorten the war and save lives. Unfortunately, “Hard-headed peace talks, let alone anything approximating to negotiations have … become taboo.”

I respect Binoy Kampmark. I believe this is the first time I have disagreed with something he has written, but I do disagree. Strongly. Here’s why.

Russian-Ukrainian Peace Talks Since the Russian Invasion
Kampmark appears to have bought into the myth propagated by the “anti-imperialist left” that Ukraine refuses to negotiate. That puts the onus on Ukraine for rejecting peace. The truth is that negotiations between Russia and Ukraine began even before Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. Russia and Ukraine, together with France and Germany, met in January and February to attempt to defuse the growing crisis.

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‘A Workers Republic for Ireland’ by Thomas J. O’Flaherty from The Toiler. December 17, 1921.

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This blog is named after Tomás Ó Flatharta, the first known Irish supporter of the 1920’s Left Opposition which opposed the policies pursued by the Russian Bolshevik government headed by Josef Stalin. Ó Flatharta was a prolific writer, and wrote this fascinating article previewing the partition of Ireland in December 2021. Ó Flatharta looks at “official” Irish-American support for Ireland’s cause, and points out its limitations and hypocrisies. He endorses the policies pursued by the revolutionary marxist James Connolly, a leader of Ireland’s Easter 1916 Rising who was executed by the British imperialists.

Here is a flavour of Ó Flatharta’s analysis, which has a lot of contemporary relevance.

When Connolly led the revolt in Dublin in 1916 some of his comrades in other countries did not understand why he lined up with the Nationalist elements. They claimed that Connolly. lost his original Marxian purity. These elements could not see in the revolutionary opportunism of Connolly the tactic that is today the guiding star of every revolutionary party in the world. Connolly’s idea was to mobilize all the available discontent in Ireland and hurl it at the enemy. Out of the inevitable sacrifice which the Easter Week Revolution entailed would spring a new movement inspired by the example of the martyrs of Easter Week. Connolly knew quite well that national independence alone would never give Ireland independence until the Empire was overthrown, therefore every move made to overthrow the Empire tended to bring about the inevitable revolution. The Citizen Army composed of members of the Trade Unions was pledged not alone to strike for Irish freedom but for the Workers’ Republic. The Nationalist Volunteers had a certain contempt for the men of the citizen army. The former were carried away with their hostility to England into a feeling of sympathy with Germany. The citizen army, however, was just as much opposed to the Kaiser as to King Gorge and hung over its headquarters the banner with the inscription “We serve neither King nor Kaiser.”


When Eoin MacNaill, the leader of the Nationalist Volunteers, issued the countermanding order which kept the full force of the members of that body from participating in the Easter Week revolution, Connolly called out his citizen army. The army of the workers was the backbone of the rising and according to Seamus MacManus in his “Story of the Irish Race,” it was Connolly’s insistence on making a fight that ultimately carried the motion for the insurrection. But since Easter Week Irish labor has been relegated to obscurity and the Irish middle class have been given credit on American platforms and in the Irish journals for the great struggle that has been carried on against British tyranny.

Revolution’s Newsstand

‘A Workers Republic for Ireland’ by Thomas J. O’Flaherty from The Toiler. December 17, 1921.

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