Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘War’ Category

We need to talk about Volodymyr

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Guest post by Des Derwin

The international solidarity movement with Ukraine, together with the left within Ukraine, needs to begin having a conversation about Zelensky.

We are well aware of our political and class differences with Zelensky. They have been overlooked or put aside by the international solidarity movement, or at least left without emphasis, in the interests of supporting the defensive war effort of the Ukrainian nation. This effort is widely seen as being outstandingly led by Zelensky. I am reminded how a united left rhetorically backed Ho Chi Minh throughout the Vietnam War without the left of the left making too much of a fuss about some of his highly objectionable actions. Hence Zelensky’s neoliberalism, his forelock-tugging of the West, his anti-worker legislation, his apparent tolerance for some manifestations of the far right in Ukraine, his new concession to property developers, etc., are not made an issue, except to offer solidarity to our socialist and trade union comrades in Ukraine who are fighting the anti-labour laws in particular.

However there is one area where I feel we – the international solidarity movement and the Ukrainian left – can no longer keep public silence about Zelensky. And that is Israel.

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Stop the bombing! Russian troops out! Solidarity with the Ukrainian resistance! – Global Week of Action Against the Russian Invasion of Ukraine and for Solidarity with Ukraine – February 20-26 2023

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The European Network for Solidarity with Ukraine (ENSU) and its Irish supporters (Irish Left With Ukraine) are working with other organisations and individuals for a full Russian withdrawal, and social Justice for Ukraine.

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“Wallace’s sympathy for Iranian regime strips bare his faux radicalism” Critique of speech delivered by an Irish Member of the European Parliament, Mick Wallace (Ireland South) – Justine McCarthy, Irish Times, December 9 2022

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Two Irish MEP’s Mick Wallace (Ireland South) and Clare Daly (Dublin) have created a serious problem for themselves, the left in Ireland, and the left abroad. They analyse international conflicts using a politically poisonous method.

This politically poisonous method stalks the mainstream radical left and established anti-war organisations. That poison has a name : Campism. Justine McCarthy accurately observes that the Ireland South MEP is using “victim blaming… the lowest form of defence”. Many readers have not heard the term campism, and do not know what it means. Other readers do know what it means, but do not want us to learn anything more – because they know they use a less obvious version of the same poison and see nothing wrong with this chosen political method. Mick Wallace has given us a chemically pure example of this political poison by denouncing the feminist inspired uprising in Iran. Other practicioners on the left prey on ignorance and prejudice by – for example – refusing to engage in active solidarity with Ukraine – the victim of a violent imperialist, ethnic cleansing, and genocidal Russian invasion.

Pierre Rousset wrote an extensive article on this subject in October 2014. It is recommended reading today.

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Solidarity With Palestine, Solidarity With Ukraine – Sotsialniy Rukh (Ukraine) Compared With People Before Profit (Ireland)

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If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, South African Anti-Apartheid Activist

Sotsialniy Rukh Statement on Palestine and Ukraine (in English and Ukrainian)

📣 November 29 since 1978 has been celebrated as the Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people. For 44 years, the world officially talks about the Palestinian tragedy that has no end.

This day reminds us of Palestine’s ongoing struggle for life and freedom. Despite condemnation of Israel’s policy, which leading human rights organizations say fits the crime of apartheid under the Roman Statute, the de facto Palestinians and Palestinians still have neither protection nor independence. Their homes are being taken, cities bombed, and their lives are totally in vain.

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The War in Ukraine – How Should Socialists Respond?

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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?”

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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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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Statement by Ukrainian Feminists in Solidarity with Iranian Women

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Ukrainian Feminists offer solidarity to their sisters in Iran. The Teheran and Moscow régimes are reactionary allies.

the Iranian state is not only oppressing its own citizens. It also provides support for other oppressive and imperialist regimes. During the last few weeks, Iranian drones employed by the Russian army have killed tens of civilians and destroyed countless housing and critical infrastructure objects in Ukraine.

We, Ukrainian feminists, express our solidarity with Iranian uprising, triggered by the brutal murder of Mahsa Amini by the Iranian Morality Police. Thousands of women responded to this crime by going out on the streets, cutting their hair and publicly taking off and burning hijabs as a symbol of their oppression. What started as a protest against police brutality and obligatory hijab, quickly transformed into a general resistance of the Iranian people against the patriarchal and dictatorial mullah regime and the authoritarian form of capitalism that it represents. The grassroot mobilization is today being joined by schoolgirls, students, trade unions, ethnic minorities, and people from other social groups affected by the economic crises, high food prices, social cuts, and privatization. This new wave of struggles thus continues and expands the series of uprisings against socio-economic inequalities, political oppression and ethnic disctimination that shook Iran during the last decade. 

Source : https://femwork.org/en/fm-news/solidarity-with-iranian-women-eng/

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