Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘UNITE’ Category

Delegation from the European Network of Solidarity with Ukraine Visits Lviv

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A Ukrainian Correspondent Yuliya Yurchenko – https://www.facebook.com/yuli.yu2010 – reports on a delegation of left wing parties that is visiting Ukraine.

May 5 and 6 2022 : A conference dedicated to the construction of the European Network of Solidarity with Ukraine was held in Lviv.

Words of support were expressed by representatives from Denmark (Red-Green Alliance), Poland (Lewica Razem), Finland (Left Union), France (New Anticapitalist Party, Ensemble), Switzerland (Ensemble à Gauche) and Argentina (Left Front Workers – Unity FIT-U ), as well as an activists from the UK, Germany, Austria, Spain, and Belgium.

Reports from the Ukrainian side were presented by representatives of leading trade unions (medical, railway, mining, energy and other sectors), as well as public initiatives (including feminist, ecological, human rights). Attention was given to the threats of neoliberal reforms and the war of humanitarian problems.

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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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“You either support Russian imperialism or Ukraine’s right to determine its own future, together with its civilians. Period” – Notes from a Correspondent in England

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Mark Findlay reviews the Russian Invasion of Ukraine, and reactions from the left in England. The article comes from Mark’s Facebook Page,

NATO or not NATO?


Much is being said about NATO aid to Ukraine; this morning (11/04/2022), I read from Graham Durham on Facebook:


“It was good to see the pro NATO demo on Saturday, called by the PCS union and disgracefully publicised by the TUC , was a tiny flop.
The warmongering demand to ‘Arm Ukraine ‘ is a disgrace to the trade union movement which should be demanding an end to NATO expansion and aggression . As deadly weapons are sent by NATO countries to extend the war some feeble ‘leftists ‘ argue it is not NATO doing this but individual countries
No to War .Stop NATO warmongering
Monday greetings to all in the 5.38 club”


The above is fairly typical from much of the Left. Frankly, I find it hard even to include such a disgraceful post in my text. Not one word about the role of Putin and Russian imperialism, overwhelmingly the aggressor in the current war. This post neatly summarises the Tankie position. Effectively, they want Russia to win. There is no choice in the matter; either Ukraine fights them off, or it’s game over, and Russia will have won at least a large chunk of Ukraine, perhaps the entire Black sea coast plus much of the East, and Kyiv would still remain at threat. If you don’t allow Ukraine to acquire weapons, you are inviting its defeat. This is war-mongering on behalf of Putin.


Here is an exchange in the comments to the above post:

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News Report : “Greek Railway Workers Refuse to Transport NATO Tanks Towards Ukraine” – the Russian Ethnic Cleanser President Vladimir Putin is Delighted

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Many anti-war comrades have under-estimated the political character of Vladimir Putin’s Russian State, and its invasion of Ukraine.

This leads them to actively opposing Ukrainian armed resistance. A news report tells us :

According to Alexandropoulos port director Konstantinos Hadzimihail, three trains’ worth of NATO equipment have been sent to Poland and Romania through the port to date. At least three NATO ships have entered the port over the past month, including the US-flagged Liberty Passion, and the Hartland Point, a British ro-ro cargo vessel, and the US Liberty King, which is continuing to be unloaded.

The KKE (Greek Communist Party) has been highly active in opposing Athens’ involvement in the crisis between NATO and Russia over Ukraine.

https://dailytelegraph.co.nz/world/greek-railway-workers-refuse-to-transport-nato-tanks-toward-ukraine/?fbclid=IwAR2W8smj2j99KLzEqyDWa3JPflUJ7U2Je9c-OPcNd2Zsim7YQ_veErYMCRk

The story came to my attention via the Facebook page of a respected anti-war veteran, Tariq Ali. At the time of writing, it is unclear to me if Ali approves or disapproves of the action taken by the Greek workers, and the tankie policy of the Greek KKE. A number of correspondents offer some clear thinking.

On April 9 2022) a number of Left wing activists from the UNITE trade union picketed the Embassy of Russia in Dublin’s plush Orwell Road calling for the expulsion of Ambassador Yuri Filatov from Irish Soil.

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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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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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Brendan Ogle’s Challenge – Vladimir Putin’s War Crimes in Ukraine

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Brendan Ogle, an activist who works for the UNITE trade union in Ireland, offers a challenge.

A CHALLENGE….

Here’s a challenge to all those on the left seeking to justify, obfuscate, excuse, confuse or (my favourite) ‘EXPLAIN’ Putin’s war crimes. It comes in 2 steps. Give it a go:

‘Step 1: Look at the picture. Now imagine when you opened your curtains or blinds this morning that this is what you seen. Your neighbourhood was devastated and your neighbours are incinerated.

Step 2: Now imagine that 3,799km away there are people who consider themselves leftists saying that you and your neighbours are NAZI’s and that this happened because Michael Martin was sucking up too closely to Joe Biden/US/EU/NATO.

What would you think of such people?’

Challenge over.

Well, how did you get on?

Brendan Ogle March 25 2020

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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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Sharon Graham Wins UNITE General Secretary Election – What Happens Next?

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Here is an interesting initial analysis of Sharon Graham’s UNITE election victory – the union has a new General Secretary. This is the source : https://www.rs21.org.uk/2021/08/25/sharon-graham-wins-stunning-unite-victory/.

Sharon Graham is the new General Secretary of UNITE, a British Trade Union that has a significant membership on both sides of the border in Ireland.

UNITE has a significant membership on both sides of the border in Ireland, where it operates with a large degree of independence from the British mothership. For example, UNITE in Dublin is a significant participant in the activities of the Dublin Council of Trade Unions, and it has been an active supporter of campaigns for Abortion rights in Ireland.

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Rayner Lysaght has passed away – Limerick Soviet Historian, a parent of modern Irish Trotskyism

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Rayner Lysaght; January 30 1941 – July 2 2021

Most readers of this site probably know the sad news that Rayner Lysaght passed away on Friday July 2 2021. He was born in Llanishen, Cardiff, Wales, on January 30 1941.

Here is a link to the death notice :

https://rip.ie/death-notice/rayner-daniel-o-connor-lysaght-killester-dublin/463010

People can add condolences, if they wish.

A wide range of people from the left and the workers’ movement have written generous personal tributes. A number of them are here https://cedarlounge.wordpress.com/2021/07/02/d-r-oconnor-lysaght/

People in Dublin may wish to join friends and comrades lining the route holding banners and tributes aloft. I will be bringing a Starry Plough and Fourth International banner. People might like to assist.

Rayner Lysaght was a long-standing supporter of the Fourth International, a founder-member of its Irish Section – the Revolutionary Marxist Group, in 1971 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolutionary_Marxist_Group_(Ireland)?wprov=sfti1

The cremation ceremony starts at 2.00pm, so try to get to Glasnevin Cemetery at least 15 minutes before that time.

Anne Conway reports on Rayner’s life and death.

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