Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘Fall of the Berlin Wall’ Category

British PSC Trade Union Conference Votes for Solidarity With Ukraine’s Resistance – Supports “calls for an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal of Russian troops from all over Ukraine”

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The PSC Trade Union – the Public and Commercial Services Union – is the sixth largest trade union in Britain. Most of its members work in government departments and other public bodies. More here :

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_and_Commercial_Services_Union?wprov=sfti1

The General Secretary Mark Serwotka identifies strongly with the left wing of the workers’ movement in Britain : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Serwotka?wprov=sfti1

Letter from State Employees Union Ukraine

This is the text of a letter sent to PCS by Yurii Pizhuk, chair of the State Employees Union of Ukraine

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How Can Feminist Solidarity Help Ukraine? (Podcast)

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From the outstanding ESSF http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article62454

How can feminist solidarity help Ukraine?

Since Russia’s full-scale imperialist invasion of Ukraine was launched by Vladimir Putin on February 24, Putin’s speeches, Russian state propaganda and the actual massacres and rapes committed by the Russian army have revealed the genocidal and misogynist character of this invasion. At the same time, the resistance of the Ukrainian people has been heroic. There have been many other expressions of opposition to this war as well, ranging from global protests to humanitarian aid convoys and initiatives by individuals and groups to help the resistance in Ukraine.

Ukrainian feminists have been an active part of the resistance both in actual combat and in various other invaluable capacities such as health care, child care, food production, communications and strategizing through social media as writers, leaders and spokeswomen. Among the more than five million Ukrainian refugees in Europe who are mostly women and children, many women are promoting valuable communication with the world.

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“Four points on the war in Ukraine” – Murray Smith

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Murray Smith writes a very useful review of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24 2022. Some readers of this blog may not agree with parts of the historical analysis, and that is healthy. Debate on such issues is positive, and there is no need to impose a “political line”. For example, Smith’s article contains an implied criticism of the neutrality policy chosen by the southern partitioned bit of Ireland during World War 2. That said, anti-war activists living outside Ukraine today have a duty – an emergency duty – to unite in action around clear and unambiguous practical solidarity policies. Article Source : http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article62344

Murray Smith is a member of the leadership of déi Lénk (“The Left”) in Luxembourg and is one of its representatives on the Executive Board of the Party of the European Left. Information Source : https://internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?auteur11

Two parts of Murray Smith’s analysis deserve emphasis :

Number 1 :

We must insist on the nature of the war in Ukraine. What started the war was the Russian invasion, not NATO. This is a war of national defence of Ukraine in response to this invasion. And it’s a war of the whole people, not just the army bit the territorial defence units, and the trade unions in particular. So, no revolutionary defeatism on both sides, only on the Russian side. Ukrainian side, national defense. And for internationalists in other countries, solidarity with the Ukrainian resistance and the anti-war movement in Russia. And especially with leftist, political, trade union and feminist forces in both countries.

Number 2 :

The fact that Ukraine obtains weapons from NATO countries and elsewhere does not fundamentally change this. In a war situation you find weapons where you can. The Irish rebels in 1916 to Germany to seek arms. Countries threatened by the United States turn to Russia. And Ukrainians look above all to NATO. This does not change the nature of the Russian war in Ukraine. And even if the conflict were to spread, it would not change its fundamental nature. Any analysis that reduces the war in Ukraine to just one facet of an inter-imperialist conflict only serves to weaken solidarity with Ukraine.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine which began on February 24 is not only the biggest armed conflict in Europe since 1945. It is the first attempt of this magnitude to redraw the map of Europe by force. And it is on the initiative of Russian imperialism, not second-rank powers like Turkey or Serbia. It is too early to learn all the lessons and see all the consequences. But we can already say that nothing has happened as Russia had envisioned. We will not list here the weaknesses and mistakes on the Russian side. But the fundamental factor that thwarted Putin’s calculations was the strength of the Ukrainian resistance

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“The Blitzkrieg Failed – What Next?” – Boris Kagarlitsky

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Challenge yourself in these dark days. Vladimir Putin, a far-right ethnic cleanser who who has his hands on a nuclear button, is threatening Armageddon against Ukraine and his own people – he is not bothered about NATO encirclement of Russia. Putin is NATO’s number one recruiting sergeant. Russian left winger Boris Kagarlitsky explains.

Boris Kagarlitsky PhD is a historian and sociologist who lives in Moscow. He is a prolific author of books on the history and current politics of the Soviet Union and Russia and of books on the rise of globalized capitalism. Fourteen of his books have been translated into English. The most recent book in English is ‘From Empires to Imperialism: The State and the Rise of Bourgeois Civilisation’ (Routledge, 2014). Kagarlitsky is chief editor of the Russian-language online journal Rabkor.ru (The Worker). He is the director of the Institute for Globalization and Social Movements, located in Moscow. Source : https://www.counterpunch.org/2022/04/15/the-blitzkrieg-failed-whats-next/?fbclid=IwAR1cUcoJQiRxcmQX1XexskAs7bnDKsU2p5xji5CpwFEifComiG3y1D71stA

The special operation in Ukraine was conceived by Putin and his entourage as a way to turn the political situation around. The Kremlin strategists weren’t the least bit interested in the fate of the people in Lugansk and Donetsk, or even in the future of Ukraine. At a historical impasse, with no way to revive the economy, cope with the burden of growing problems, or raise the approval ratings now rolling into the abyss, they found no better way to solve all their issues at once but with the help of a small victorious war — a classic mistake that governments make when they are not ready to embark on urgent and inevitable reforms.

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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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Russian Socialists Speak : “Against Russian Imperialism”

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During important political disputes it is often necessary to “bend the stick”. This article persuasively calls on the left across the globe to recognise that Vladimir Putin, not NATO, has invaded Ukraine 🇺🇦. In Ireland and other European countries we have a duty to implement solidarity with Ukraine.

Authors : Thursday 7 April 2022, by Russian Socialist Movement (RSD), Sotsialnyi Rukh (Social Movement) Ukraine

Source : http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article62003

Although the majority of the left has condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the left camp’s unity is still lacking. We would like to address those on the left who still stick to “a plague on both houses” position that views the war as an inter-imperialist war.

It is high time the left woke up and carried out a “concrete analysis of the concrete situation” instead of reproducing worn-out frameworks from the Cold War. Overlooking Russian imperialism is a terrible mistake for the left. It is Putin, not NATO, who is waging war on Ukraine. That is why it is essential to shift our focus from Western imperialism to Putin’s aggressive imperialism, which has an ideological and political basis in addition to an economic one.

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UNITE Trade Union (Britain) Call : “Immediate Ceasefire and a Withdrawal of all Russian Forces From Ukraine”

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The British trade union UNITE – which also has a substantial membership in Ireland, has issued a positive statement about the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Unite executive council – statement on Ukraine crisis.

Sharon Graham is the General Secretary of the British Trade Union UNITE

Sharon Graham was elected to lead UNITE in a recent election which produced a surprise result https://www.rs21.org.uk/2021/08/25/sharon-graham-wins-stunning-unite-victory/

The Unite executive council unreservedly condemns Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and stands in full solidarity with the millions of victims of the attack. Unite calls for an immediate cease-fire and a withdrawal of all Russian forces from Ukraine.

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The Irish Cedar Lounge Blog Offers a Great Service to the Anti-War Left – Political Gibberish About the “Nazification” of Ukraine is Forensically Demolished

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A considerable amount of political gibberish is published online claiming that the Ukraine Régime headed by Volodymyr Zelensky is run by Nazis. Some rubbish like this is published by organisations and individuals which are part of the political left. The editor of the Irish Cedar Lounge Blog, part of the civilized and humanitarian left, does a great service to us all with incisive and well-sourced political analysis demolishing this dangerous and irresponsible nonsense. The primary beneficiary of the “nazification” anti-Ukraine racist narrative is the far-right imperialist Russian government headed by the warlord Vladimir Putin. A mass anti-war movement against the Russian invasion of Ukraine is spreading – the fighting left must engage :

Russian Troops Out of Ukraine Now

Here are key extracts from the Cedar Lounge Revolution Blog :

The claim by Russia that its invasion of Ukraine is part of a denazification process was reiterated again by Putin late this last week. There’s very broad condemnation of that line and parties like the KKE (the Greek Communist Party) have argued that it is a ‘pretext’ for Russia’s invasion. And there’s pieces, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and many many other places which note the problems with the Putin line – to pick a few from many more.

Perhaps most powerful is the following:

Leading groups representing Holocaust survivors have condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin’s claim that the “denazification” of Ukraine was one reason he invaded the country.

“The signatories of this appeal denounce the use of the words ‘denazification’ and ‘genocide’ to justify the attack on Ukraine,” reads the statement sent to AFP on Wednesday.

“We cannot accept that these words are tarnished in this way,” it added.

Leading groups representing Holocaust survivors have condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin’s claim that the “denazification” of Ukraine was one reason he invaded the country.

“The signatories of this appeal denounce the use of the words ‘denazification’ and ‘genocide’ to justify the attack on Ukraine,” reads the statement sent to AFP on Wednesday.

“We cannot accept that these words are tarnished in this way,” it added.

Or perhaps this:

Ukrainian Jews expressed outrage Thursday after Russian troops entered their country on a self-declared mission of “denazification” after claims that Kyiv was actively carrying out war crimes against its own citizens.

The claim by Russia that its invasion of Ukraine is part of a denazification process was reiterated again by Putin late this last week. There’s very …

On denazification…

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). 

“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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