Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘NATO’ Category

The War in Ukraine – How Should Socialists Respond?

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Jill Stein : Fake Anti-War Activist, Apologist for Russia’s Imperialist Invasion of Russia – Green Party (USA) Split Down the Middle

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Jill Stein has form. Mary Scully, an Irish-American activist and blogger, explains below.

The Green Party (USA) is split down the middle on this issue.

This party’s 2020 Presidential candidate, Howie Hawkins, endorses the policy of the European Network for Solidarity with Ukraine (ENSU) and its Irish supporter Irish Left With Ukraine (ILWU).

Here is an extract from a Howie Hawkins post dated March 2022 :

People are not going to respond to a call for no US war with Russia when they plainly can see that the shooting war is Russia’s assault on Ukraine. If we are not clear that we oppose Russia’s aggressive war in Ukraine, we won’t be able to get a public hearing about opposing the expansion of NATO to Russia’s doorstep as a precipitating factor in this war, as well as opposing the many “low-intensity” and economic wars that the US and NATO are fighting around the world.

I would like to suggest some more particular demands we should make and actions we should take under these two slogans of Russian Troops Out and No NATO expansion.

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Two tweets, a ‘Phoenix’ fable and a hatchet to the bud of left solidarity with Ukraine.

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Guest post by Des Derwin

The Phoenix piece (below) from 5th May 2022- re-posted in the ‘Left Links’ Facebook group on 3rd October 2022 – is a case of accusation through association, and association through juxtaposition, seeking to identify Ukrainian activist and academic Nadia Dobrianska with the far right.

In the Facebook group ‘Left Links’ the Phoenix piece was re-posted (3rd October 2022) with the demand for “some kind of explanation why socialists in Dublin would be hosting an event with Nadia Dobrianska who, if not a fascist, would certainly appear to be aligned with them”. There is no evidence provided for these innuendos and claims. There is possibly ground for a case of defamation from Nadia Dobrianska.

The flyer for the public meeting organised by Irish Left With Ukraine  (with additional speakers’ names covered to keep them out of the present controversy).

Two tweets referring to Russian refugees from Nadia Dobrianska were also posted on ‘Left Links’ (29th September). If these tweets are genuine they – or one in particular – are problematic for her and for a speaker at a left public meeting on Ukraine. These will be discussed later but for now it should be noted that they do not offer evidence that she is fascist, or far right or even has an anti-immigrant position in general.

The general political background to a piece on Ukraine in the Phoenix is that the magazine tends, like much ‘left-leaning’ commentary in Ireland on Ukraine, to blame the US and NATO for the invasion and to portray the Zelensky government as oppressive, right wing and particularly objectionable.  

The Phoenix piece is headed “Azov Human Rights”.  Azov is a sea to the South of Ukraine. It is also a signal for the imputation of fascist politics to Ukraine’s resistance to the invasion, extrapolated from the common propaganda claim that the far right Azov paramilitary organisation reflects the viewpoint of the Ukrainian government. The claim usually denies that Azov has been depoliticised and incorporated into the Ukrainian National Guard engendering the departure of its leaders to found new independent political organisations. Indeed the claim is exactly repeated later in this Phoenix article where it says: “The Azov Battalion is a unit of the National Guard of Ukraine which has as its core white supremacist and neo-Nazi members and ideology.”

The first sentence in ‘Azov Human Rights’ contains a gratuitous claim that Nadia Dobrianska “has become quite the Irish media darling”. This is another signal to those who object to the mainstream media’s support for Ukrainian defence and who would see it as the same as the usual media bias and misrepresentation in favour of the West on Palestine, Iraq, Julian Assagne, etc.

The Phoenix article begins:

Irish-speaking Nadia Dobrianska works for a human rights organisation in her native Kyiv and has become quite the Irish media darling. Dobrianska works for ZMINA, which ‘aims to promote human rights, the rule of law and the ideas of civil society in Ukraine’ … one of the high profile cases is that of Serhiy Sternenko… “former head of the regional branch of the Right Sector’ [which] has been widely described as neo-fascist [and] has been linked to attacks on journalists, left-wing party members and offices.

A second case of ZMINA support for a rightest is then offered. Note she works for ZMINA. That is, she does some of the work that ZMINA does and would not presumably be involved at all in every case that ZMINA takes up, such as for instance the two cases cited by Phoenix.

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“Putin is talking about the desire for peace again? Amazingly. Because ‘conflict resolution’ is extremely simple. Immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from the entire territory of Ukraine.” – Mykhailo Podolyak, Senior Adviser to Ukraine’s President Zelensky

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Allowing for the fog of war and incomplete exaggerated or inaccurate media reports – convincing evidence suggests that the invading Russian army is losing the war in Ukraine :

Mykhailo Podolyak, a senior adviser to Mr Zelenskiy, said in response: “Putin is talking about the desire for peace again? Amazingly. Because ‘conflict resolution’ is extremely simple. Immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from the entire territory of Ukraine.”

The astute analyst Mary Scully notes that Russia’s few powerful allies, Modi and Xi Jinping – leaders of India and China, are offering grim advice to Kremlin boss Putin :

“Supporters of Putin’s war are looking pretty damn foolish now that no less a war criminal than Modi publicly confronted Putin telling him to end the war against Ukraine & Putin acknowledged that China’s Xi Jinping privately expressed the same position. Russia has been able to sustain western sanctions only because India & China provided a financial lifeline by increasing trade, especially the purchase of oil & natural gas, from Russia.

It will be interesting to watch the song & dance of the war mongering progressives as they try to coordinate their apologetics with China & India’s realpolitik.”

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The 1914 Howth Gun-Running in Ireland : History Lesson for 21st Century Leftists who oppose a supply of weapons to members of the Ukrainian resistance

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According to many sections of the left in Ireland and abroad, Ukrainians should not be supplied with weapons to resist the Russian invaders. Conor Kostick, an anti-war activist and a historian, labels this policy “Evasionism”. Here are accounts of the July 26 1914 Howth Gun-Running, followed by an introduction to left-wing Evasionism.

Remembering The Howth Gun-Running

On July 26th 1914, guns purchased in Germany for the Irish Volunteers were brought to Howth by Erskine Childers upon his yacht the Asgard.

In Howth they were met by the Fianna Eireann led by Bulmer Hobson & Countess Markievicz with carts and wheelbarrows to unload the guns, members of the volunteers were also present in case the police showed up

The harbour master informed the authorities and the Dublin Metropolitan Police were called out.

The police called for military assistance, so a detachment of the Kings Own Scottish Borderers based in Kilmainham was sent.

A riot ensued between the authorities & the volunteers; the authorities were unable to seize the weapons as during the riot they were quickly led away by the Fianna Eireann.

On their return to the barracks, a crowd had gathered in Bachelors Walk and began heckling the soldiers who responded by firing a volley into the crowd.

Three people were killed instantly Mrs Duffy, James Brennan and Patrick Quinn with thirty-eight injured. One man died later of bayonet wounds.

The Bachelor’s Walk massacre as it became known caused revulsion across Ireland and swelled the ranks of the volunteers.

Source : https://www.facebook.com/101874405569623/posts/pfbid02FXKgrpn6Lr3gTJzmjVdrJDhk476Hypz24RKC7cGw1Py4inE56gXsvf5u4vLfCh9sl/

See also : https://www.theirishstory.com/2014/07/26/today-in-irish-history-july-26th-1914-the-howth-gun-running/?fbclid=IwAR3EkQtFQZdIjQT5vmVA4mhlC9krMLPLKB4UoNnB1h5bXC4MdWh2h_DIOjU#.Yt-0sr3TWf3

Conor Kostick discusses Evasionism :

There is a type of left argument around the war in Ukraine which has arisen in the West. It is one that condemns Putin’s invasion, but refuses to offer practical support to the people of Ukraine in resisting that invasion. It is the position one can read in Jacobin, or in statements by Chomsky, Corbyn, and the Stop the War Coalition in the UK. In Ireland we have the same type of response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine from People Before Profit and the Socialist Party of Ireland.

I will use the label Evasionist Left for this approach. It’s not clear how representative this trend is internationally, as many on the left do pro-actively support the resistance in Ukraine, e.g. parties such Razem in Poland; those associated with the Fourth International like Left Bloc and the Danish Red Green Alliance; and the main left party in Japan, the Japanese Communist Party.

Source : https://tomasoflatharta.com/2022/04/28/evasions-on-the-left-over-ukraine-conor-kostick-independent-left-ireland/

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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