Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘Fall of the Berlin Wall’ Category

“Russian president Vladimir Putin held meetings with the Official IRA during two visits to Belfast in the 1980s.” – Intriguing Report on the Cedar Lounge Blog

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Are past events in Ireland a guide to current events?

From the Irish News.

Source :

Russian president Vladimir Putin held meetings with the Official IRA during two visits to Belfast in the 1980s.

The former KGB intelligence officer was part of two separate delegations from the Soviet Union that visited Ireland in 1986, sources linked to the Official movement have claimed.

On both occasions Mr Putin travelled north where he met with representatives of the republican paramilitary group.

Could it be true?

Did Vladimir Putin Meet the Official Irish Republican Army (IRA) in Dublin in the 1980’s?

How about this?

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“Learning at the Teachers” – Anthony McIntyre Reports on a Meeting about Ukraine in Dublin

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Anthony McIntyre 🏴‍☠️ I was just about to leave a premises on North Strand Road last Monday night to make my way to a public discussion in the Teachers’ Club when I heard news that dismayed me. 

Immediately, I felt the words of Bertold Brecht throb in my head.

Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world has stood up and stopped the bastard, the bitch that bore him is in heat again.

A friend told me that just a few hundred yards from where we sat, a rally was taking place on East Wall against migrants. It later prompted the satirical headline from Waterford Whispers,Woman Proud That First Time She’s Ever Protested Was Against Refugees

According to the Sunday Times the protest was “seized upon by some of Ireland’s most vocal right-wing activists.” They are as opposed to helping people in need of accommodation as the people I was going to listen to are in favour of welcoming them. The event in the Teachers’ Club was organised by Irish Left With Ukraine – “a campaign of anarchists, socialists and trade unionists united in support of the left in Ukraine.” During the course of the evening I would gladly hear calls for people to maintain an open door policy towards refugees. 

I arrived slightly late, having stopped along the way to assist a foreign woman attending to an inebriated Irish man who had collapsed on his bottles of beer and was bleeding from a head wound. The meeting was already under way, chaired by Nóirín Greene, former executive member of the ICTU. On the panel of speakers were David Joyce, ICTU International Officer; Seamus Dooley from the NUJ and guest speaker Yulia Yurchenko, a left wing Ukrainian activist.

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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?”

Ireland – Ukraine International Solidarity of the Left – Teachers’ Club, 36 Parnell Square West, Dublin 1, 7pm – 9pm – Monday November 21 2022

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Yuliya Yurchenko – an active supporter of the European Network for Solidarity with Ukraine (ENSU) – speaks at this Dublin meeting. https://ukraine-solidarity.eu/

Find out more about Irish Left With Ukraine here :

https://www.facebook.com/groups/466892938791354/?ref=share

The meeting will be chaired by Nóirín Greene (Former member of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions [ICTU]) Executive. The other speakers are : David Joyce (ICTU International Officer); Séamus Dooley (National Union of Journalists, Guest Speaker); A Ukrainian socialist refugee who is living in Ireland.

Find out more about Yuliya Yurchenko here :

https://www.gre.ac.uk/people/rep/faculty-of-business/yuliya-yurchenko

://www.plutobooks.com/author/yuliya-yurchenko/

Yuliya Yurchenko is a Senior Lecturer in Political Economy at the Department of Economics and International Business and a researcher at the Political Economy, Governance, Finance and Accountability Institute, University of Greenwich, UK. She is the author of Ukraine and the Empire of Capital (Pluto, 2017). She researches state, capital and society relations as well as public services, with a regional focus on Europe and Ukraine.

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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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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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Sinn Féin 2022 Árd Fheis Policy on the Russian invasion of Ukraine – “Immediate Withdrawal of all Russian armed forces”

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Credit where credit is due – the Sinn Féin 2022 Árd Fheis has adopted a very good policy statement. This policy compares very well against the policy of People Before Profit and the Dublin South-West TD Paul Murphy – who need to think again.

The Sinn Féin policy statement is also a welcome contrast with Kremlin-inspired wild conspiracy stories issued by various parts of the traditional Irish anti-war movement – for example, the Peace and Neutrality Alliance (PANA).

The SF Árd Fheis resolution is silent on some key issues. It does not directly refer to the right of the Ukrainian masses and their government to defend themselves and their sovereign territory by any means necessary. It also does not refer to the Ukrainian government’s recent anti-Labour neo liberal law, which has been heavily criticised by genuine Ukraine Solidarity organisations (see in particular a statement issued by Central European Trade Union Federations). Link here https://ukraine-solidarity.eu/to-read/ukraine-resolution-of-the-central-european-trade-unions

Street Art in Lyon, France. Thanks to Judit Kinszki and Katalin Jánosi (Budapest, Hungary) for circulating the photo.

Here is the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis Resolution on Russia’s far-right invasion of Ukraine :

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Double-Standards: The Destroyed Kerch Bridge in Crimea, Russia’s Bombing of Civilian Targets – How will the Westplainers on the Left React?

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Russia is losing the war in Ukraine – that is clear. The principled left is for solidarity with Ukraine and favours Immediate Withdrawal of the Russian military forces from Ukraine – also, clear. https://ukraine-solidarity.eu/

Two cartoons and a satirical meme sum up some options :

Two correspondents offer observations

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“Russian Fossil Fascism is Europe’s Fault” – OLEKSIY RADYNSKI

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Since February 24, when Russia’s ethnic-cleansing army invaded Ukraine, the activist European Network for Solidarity with Ukraine (ENSU) has promoted analyses rooted in the east of the European continent. We found this article thanks to the diligent work of the European Network for Solidarity with Ukraine (ENSU) and Europe Solidaire Sans Frontières (ESSF), which are cold houses for Westplaining.

Links : https://ukraine-solidarity.eu/. http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?rubrique2

About the Author :

Oleksiy Radynskiis a filmmaker and writer based in Kyiv. His films have been screened at International Film Festival Rotterdam, Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen, Docudays IFF, the Institute of Contemporary Arts (London), and S A V V Y Contemporary (Berlin), among others, and have received a number of festival awards. After graduating from Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, he studied at the Home Workspace Program (Ashkal Alwan, Beirut). In 2008, he cofounded Visual Culture Research Center, an initiative for art, knowledge, and politics in Kyiv. His texts have been published in Proxy Politics: Power and Subversion in a Networked Age (Archive Books, 2017), Art and Theory of Post-1989 Central and East Europe: A Critical Anthology (MoMA, 2018), Being Together Precedes Being (Archive Books, 2019), and e-flux journal.

Article Source : https://soniakh.com/index.php/2022/10/04/russian-fossil-fascism-is-europes-fault/?fbclid=IwAR1a2ADRu8jwGM_eedaEGKT755N23YnEJj0M2Yut_zl0dQu-AmTjIT6rr0Q

As it often happens in history, an informal agreement between the two imperial powers has been thrown into disarray by one factor that remained out of reach of these imperial designs: Ukraine’s popular resistance. As we now know, Western predictions about the swift collapse of Ukrainian resistance proved to be completely false, since they were themselves based on neo-colonial, technocratic logic, which is usually very poorly informed when it comes to the complex dynamics of the societies it is trying to comprehend. For Ukrainians, it was clear from the start that a potentially occupied Ukraine promised something different than what Minister Lindner could probably imagine: it meant mass killings, brutal counter-insurgency, establishment of concentration camps and, most likely, genocide on a scale not seen on the European continent since WWII. The popular effort to aid the Ukrainian army saved innumerable lives that would definitely have been lost had the Russians (whose invasion arsenal included equipment for the mass disposal of dead bodies) been able to take control of Ukrainian territory as predicted by Western analysts.

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Up to a Million People are Deserting Putin’s Imperialist Army – Crimea’s Kerch Bridge Destroyed – Russia is Losing the War in Ukraine

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Vladimir Putin is losing the war launched in Ukraine on February 24 2022 – symbolised by the destroyed Kerch Bridge linking Russia to Crimea, captured by an ethnic-cleansing army in 2014 :

The attack on the Kerch Strait Bridge has highlighted that nowhere is Russia invulnerable.

Despite heavy security, innovative defences and dire warnings of retaliation if targeted, this symbol of Russian pride and engineering — at 19km (12 miles) the longest bridge in Europe — was severely damaged by what Russia said was a Ukrainian truck bomb.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/10/10/bridge-too-farwhy-the-attack-on-bridge-bodes-ill-for-russia

This is the assessment of experienced war reporter Patrick Cockburn :

Russian missiles fired at Ukrainian cities and infrastructure are aimed at demonstrating to the world that Russia is still a power to be feared. But the barrage will not erase the impression of Russian weakness created by the blowing up of the Kerch Bridge.

As with other Russian setbacks, the response of President Vladimir Putin is to escalate the conflict, but he shows no signs of having a plan to change the balance of forces on the battlefield.

The partial severing of the bridge linking Russia and the Crimean peninsula may be more important politically than militarily. It will further persuade countries such as China and India that Russia is losing the war and that they need to avoid becoming collateral damage. Russian allies in Central Asia and the Caucasus will see it as further evidence of Russia’s decline as a regional power.

https://inews.co.uk/opinion/destruction-of-the-kerch-bridge-is-more-important-politically-than-it-is-militarily-1904476?ico=most_popular

Over 83 missiles hit Ukraine on the morning of October 10 2022, targeting homes, streets, hospitals and power stations. Half of Ukraine is now without water and electricity. For many in Ukraine it is again February 24 2022. Putin wants the people of Ukraine to be afraid, but they are not afraid.


At very short notice, almost 200 protesters gathered at the Kremlin HQ in Ireland, the Embassy of Russia located at 186 Orwell Road.

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