Protests in Ukraine

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MJ
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May 4 2014 21:52

yeah proletarian. i mean the ruling class media, both out of 'moscow' and 'kiev,' but more to the point how many people i see adopting one or the other worldview. here in the states i hear a majority perspective of "russia is building up for a world war" with a minority that inverts it, seems to be watching RT etc, and is talking about the interim government as a fascist coup. spending time trying to get an accurate picture of what's happening in different parts of ukraine is difficult but in doing so i see mistruths propagated by both blocs, which i find terrifying because i still have a liberal attachment to an idea that there is a universal and inherent value in coming to consensus on the facts of events, and that without any faction trying to do that & both sides invested in instrumentalizing information down to a very small scale it seems like the conflict can only deepen.

does anyone see factors that could lead to the deescalation of the conflict on national terms?

teh
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May 5 2014 00:45
MJ wrote:

does anyone see factors that could lead to the deescalation of the conflict on national terms?

None. The US has gone too far to back down and Russia won't accept a hostile Ukraine on its border. Also with around a dozen military bases defecting to anti-government forces in Donbass and the massacre in Odessa, Ukraine is disintegrating to the borders of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (and it is no coincidence that these two latter countries hold the most adversarial EU position towards Russia in the conflict http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-mWfna7QjMCU/U05_wool9tI/AAAAAAAABJA/aTH7YjWzj2M/s1600/dh+scale+2.jpg ). This will be a violent process of course, as the Ukrainian government has no desire to become landlocked. Particularly concerning is talk of the Western Oblast of Zakarpattia rebelling after the 11th of May, as its surrounded by the strongholds of the Ukrainian Neo-Nazi and fascist movements and any massacres there will pull in if not the Hungarian government then at least Jobbik and other Hungarian fascist movements into the conflict because of the ethnic Hungarian minority population there.
As for Ukrainian workers, they've been debilitated by 25 years of liberalism and 75 years of Bolshevism so they can only assert their interests within each nationalist camp. (like the strikes in Donbass). This is reflected in the split between leftist groups in the country along nationalist lines.

Spikymike
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May 5 2014 17:01

proletarian, In relation to my comment above post 166 please also check out the other 'report from a visit in Kiev' post and the linked text from the AWU.

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May 5 2014 17:10

AWU-Kiev Statement on the Odessa Tragedy

Quote:
[...]
Members of AWU wish to express their deepest mourning for the victims. They fell prey to the interests of the forces that consistently try to instigate a civil war in Ukraine. Sadly, large parts of the working class are disoriented and serve as merely blind puppets in the hands of such forces, giving their lives for utterly stupid and meaningless things and ideas. The immediate effect of the escalation of this tragically pointless conflict is the split of the working class in Ukraine. While some workers are threatening with a political strike in support of the Antimaidan, several members of the (pro-Maidan) Confederation of Free Trade Unions are being kidnapped by Antimaidan forces. Instead of taking a united stance against the neoliberal policies of the government, proletarians are busy fighting each other for the interests of various bourgeois cliques.
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The final result of such policies will be a civil war in Ukraine, which will mean an ultimate catastrophe for the working class. We are not pacifists and will be at the side of the working class whenever it fights against the bourgeoisie, no matter what forms this fight takes — but this is not the case in Ukraine nowadays. The disoriented and weak proletariat will be busy engaging in self-destruction; the outcomes will be drastic fall of life standards, rise of unemployment and criminal activities, and loss of huge number of lives. All prospects of working-class self-organization and mobilization will be buried for some time.
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We can see that this scenario is being pushed forward by the alliance of various right-wing groups, nazis, conservatives and Stalinists. It is important to understand that Antimaidan cannot be considered a “working-class social protest”: the typical demands of this movement in various towns are dictated by the most reactionary clerical conservatives (abolition of electronic IDs because they include “the Number of the Beast”; banning of vaccination; etc.) and have little to do with the interests of workers.
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On the other hand, we are disgusted by the reaction of the right-liberal and patriotic general public which takes delight in the Odessa deaths. However wrong the killed people might have been, they shouldn’t have died in this brutish accident. As Ukrainian workers side with various warring right-wing movements, they are sliding further from socialism to barbarism. The cure is well-known: we should realize our own class interests, organize at workplaces and direct our rage against the real enemy, not at each other. In days like these global workers’ solidarity means very much. The global working class is doomed to eliminate itself: either in the process of social revolution and construction of a classless society or in the process of a barbaric all-out war.
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No gods, no masters, no nations, no borders!
baboon
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May 5 2014 17:55

I agree that Antimaidan is not a "working class social protest" but I don't think that Maidan was either - they are both two sides of an imperialist coin and the working class has not been strong enough to impose itself on either of these forces and I don't think that that's a surprise.

I tend to agree with teh on the perspectives. Ukraine is in a state of decomposition. It's riven by imperialist forces, bankrupt and its political leadership, which includes local warlords, is weak and at each others throats. It starkly demonstrates the perspectives of socialism or barbarism, being yet another example of the spread of the latter with the potential for more disasters and chaos. US troops are still crossing Russian territory for and from Afghanistan but tensions are obviously worse between the two. Russia could well move closer to China now with whom they held large-scale military manoeuvres just before this crisis broke out.

proletarian.
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May 5 2014 20:09

I find the anarchist AWU statement disgusting. They blame the people who were burnt alive, suffocated or beaten to death and then give their sincere condolences.

teh
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May 5 2014 20:38
ocelot wrote:
AWU-Kiev Statement on the Odessa Tragedy
Quote:
[...]

.
On the other hand, we are disgusted by the reaction of the right-liberal and patriotic general public which takes delight in the Odessa deaths. However wrong the killed people might have been, they shouldn’t have died in this brutish accident.
..

This is what I was saying in the previous post about nationalist blocs. The Odessa 'deaths' were recorded (including live) by numerous people and witnessed by thousands in person, the people who took part bragged about it on their social media accounts, and even Ukrainian politicians with a posture of mainstream like Tymoshenko congratulated the perpetrators. Yet AWU wants to present the deaths as an "accident," which I take means that they are saying that the anti-maidan set themselves on fire- accidentally- and are themselves to blame for their deaths. This is in line with the AWU saying they provided protection to Kiev militias- which they themselves say consisted of conservative or far-right outfits- in hospitals during the government overthrow. Did they think that the new order of Svoboda occupying government buildings and squares in the capitol and being brought into an unelected government would have the same reaction in the Western oblasts, where they received 1/3 of the vote last election, or Kiev, where they got 17%, and a region like Lugansk where the Communist Party got 25% of the vote last election and Svoboda 1%? Their only reaction to anti-maidan is to call them "utterly stupid and meaningless" and "the alliance of various right-wing groups, nazis, conservatives and Stalinists" that are "push[ing] forward" the country to Civil War, and not the coalition in Kiev that is using the military for hit and run operations against the populations in Donbass and has organized a "National Guard" of oligarch militias from the West because it doesn't view the regular army as trustworthy. Which is understandable, but one can't talk about being for no nations while implicitly supporting those preserving of the territorial integrity of Ukraine against populations which don't particularly care for the central authority or even the Ukrainian state.

Just to give a sense of where Urkaine is right now, US Congress-run Radio Free Europe is publishing light humor pieces about exterminationist rhetoric by its faction:

Quote:
Now, with a current crop of "koloradi" to worry about, many Ukrainians have created their own Soviet-style campaigns, producing online posters alerting viewers to the current "distribution" of Colorado beetles in Crimea, Kharkiv, and Donetsk, and depicting the bugs happily nibbling on a leafy plant and proudly defending themselves as potato "self-defense" forces.

A current insecticide ad running on Channel 5, the station owned by Ukrainian presidential candidate Petro Poroshenko, has even raised chuckles among some Ukrainians with its promise to kill Colorado beetles "on the spot" -- although in this case, the enemy in question are the actual bugs, which remain an annual threat.

Other observers seem to be taking the "koloradi" nickname in their stride. Moscow-based analyst Grigory Trofimchuk chided Russian propagandists for using heavy-handed labels like "fascists."

He urged them to try "light irony" instead, suggesting that Ukraine's Right Sector nationalists, with their red-and-black insignia, bear more than a passing resemblance to another kind of a bug -- klop-soldatki, or firebugs, which he noted mischievously, "tend toward cannibalism."

This is the English Radio Free Europe, it's Ukrainian affiliate Radio Svoboda is posting pictures of easter eggs covered in fascist flags on its twitter account.

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May 6 2014 13:46

Not just after this statement it is quite evident that the syndicalists of the AWU are in direct complicity with the "Euromaidan" movement. If you read their translated texts regarding the situation in Ukraine closely it is clear that - despite all their distanciations which are nothing but hypocritical rhetoric - they are not equidistant towards the competing "movements" (Maidan/Antimaidan), rival factions of the Ukrainian ruling class, nationalisms and imperialisms in or outside the Ukrainian territory.

baboon
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May 6 2014 15:35

Germany has now stated that the situation in eastern and southern Ukraine is heading towards war and, on the face of it, events are spinning out of control. In order to keep up the destabilisation and unnerve Kiev, Russian imperialism doesn't have to do anything but move its troops around on its side of the border. As the threat increases and destabilisation deepens it's all the more necessary to be clear about groups like the anarcho-nationalist AWU and its support for the Maidan movement, the latter being a strong factor of the imperialist push of the west. It was a toxic movement for the working class to get involved in and it's getting more dangerous.

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May 6 2014 16:00

xref:

Libcom: Darkness in May: a socialist eye-witness in Odessa

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May 6 2014 16:01

A sort of knowingly naive question, but how do groups obtain weaponry capable of shooting down military helicopters?

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May 7 2014 16:58
Quote:
Germany has now stated that the situation in eastern and southern Ukraine is heading towards war and, on the face of it, events are spinning out of control. In order to keep up the destabilisation and unnerve Kiev, Russian imperialism doesn't have to do anything but move its troops around on its side of the border. As the threat increases and destabilisation deepens it's all the more necessary to be clear about groups like the anarcho-nationalist AWU and its support for the Maidan movement, the latter being a strong factor of the imperialist push of the west. It was a toxic movement for the working class to get involved in and it's getting more dangerous.

I agree on your comment except their characterisation as anarcho-nationalists. Under no circumstances their positions can be described as anarchist (or revolutionary) as they are just cryptonationalist syndicalists. As all stupid left populists this group did everything to diminish the totally reactionary and - regarding its class composition - petty bourgeois character of the Euromaidan protests, the "new" regime and the role of collective "Western" imperialism as the rival of Russian imperialism. So far these idiotic cretins did not say anything about the coming attacks on the working class in Ukraine except in very few negligible remarks.

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May 6 2014 16:10
Quote:
A sort of knowingly naive question, but how do groups obtain weaponry capable of shooting down military helicopters?

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union there are enough weapons circulating in the former republics - including Ukraine (and especially Crimea). > just one example: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/24/protesters-ukraine-weapons-cache-mine

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May 6 2014 16:17
Shorty wrote:
A sort of knowingly naive question, but how do groups obtain weaponry capable of shooting down military
helicopters?

Is this an "asking for a friend" type question? wink

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Shorty
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May 6 2014 16:41

Haha, no, more the external/internal flow of weaponry. It really does look like it's heading towards war.

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May 6 2014 16:35

Gah, I don't even know whom to trust anymore on these questions!

Is this a long-standing beef between AWU and Borotba, and if so, what was its source? Or did it only grow out of the current crisis?

It would be really nice to clarify what the correct working-class stance outside of Ukrainian and Russian nationalists should be, and if there is anybody in Ukraine who is currently representing that perspective.

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May 6 2014 16:59

AWU consciously refused to sign this internationalist declaration because it denounced the "new" oligarchy and the Euromaidan as well and was directed against all nationalisms involved in the conflict. Screw them!

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RebelRising
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May 6 2014 17:24
subprole wrote:
AWU consciously refused to sign this internationalist declaration because it denounced the "new" oligarchy and the Euromaidan as well and was directed against all nationalisms involved in the conflict. Screw them!

Well, that's definitely a mark against their record.

So are their allegations of Borotba's collaboration with rightist actors ungrounded, or is it more complicated than that?

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May 6 2014 17:46
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So are their allegations of Borotba's collaboration with rightist actors ungrounded, or is it more complicated than that?

Borotba seems to support the idea of a class collaborationist "anti-fascist people's front" which would include all types of nationalists. But I don't rely on any information by AWU since they have lost any credibilty in my perspective..

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subprole
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May 7 2014 12:11

Translation from a German language interview with an AWU member (published on a website from an "anti-German" group) that further illustrates their delusional or at least extremely naive analysis of the situation:

Quote:
The occupation of Crimea demonstrated the almost pacifist position of the Ukrainian government that does not want war even if it looses a part of its territory.

Could be a comment from the US foreign ministry..

baboon
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May 6 2014 20:29

I take your point subprole about describing the AWU as "anarcho-nationalists" it's a sloppy description. I don't know about cryptonationalist syndicalists though. From futher information that you've provided on this group I think that one might just as easily describe them as bourgeois.

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May 7 2014 03:16

Baboon, I would generalize that syndicalism and anarchism are an expression of petty bourgeois idealism. An analysis based on formal categories (tyranny, liberty, federalism, centralism, various identity groups) is consistent with bourgeois ideology. In this light, I don't understand the ICC's opening up to anarcho-syndicalists. I grant that many anarchists are not illiterate when it comes to dialectical materialism (especially the class struggle anarchists) but the ones that I have spoken with are eclectic in their approach to politics. Another word for that is opportunism. But at least they're not as bat-shit and dogmatic as other leftists (Stalinists, Maoists, Trotskyists) so there's always the hope that militants will come to the positions of left communism. After all, many (most?) people who arrive at left communism went through anarchism at some point.

Spikymike
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May 7 2014 10:45

Yes the reference to the AWU's non-appearance on the other widely distributed 'internationalist declaration' is telling (for those of us less familiar with them) in terms of an otherwise less obvious sympathy for Ukrainian nationalism alongside other 'on-the-face of it' internationalist statements in various other of their texts and perhaps means my earlier request for caution in relying on Barotba for political analysis of events should apply to this group as well! Though a good deal of the discussion here also reveals more about the previously unstated 'ideological' formalism and allegiances of the contributors than it does perhaps about those in the Ukraine.

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May 7 2014 11:41

http://internationalist-perspective.org/blog/2014/05/05/baiting-the-russian-bear/

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Anyone who had any doubt that the mass media (from CNBC to Fox, from CNN to public television) constitutes the organ of mass manipulation of capital, needs to seriously consider the coverage of events in Ukraine. They are “All In” from Fox to the Nation. The government in Kiev (or Kyiv) — even how you pronounce or spell the name of the capital city is politicized today — is presented as a democratic redoubt vainly struggling against the Stalino-fascist and thuggish Putin regime in Moscow, determined to crush a weak democracy in a valiant Ukraine. Meanwhile, not a word about the power of the oligarchs in Kiev, who prefer Exxon to Gazprom, and NATO to the Kremlin, in a geopolitical struggle between capitalist states and blocs. Not a word about Svoboda or the Right Sector, who control the Maidan in Kiev, and who are the lineal descendants of Stefan Bandera, and the fascists who sought an alliance with Nazi Germany in June 1941, and assisted in the mass murder of Jews, and who today wrap themselves in the mantle of “democracy” and Western values (weren’t they the same values that Hitler defended as his armies swept through Ukraine in 1941, killing Jews and “communists”?), even as they demand a racially pure Ukraine? But this is not just about the deceitful role of journalists and the mass media in the West. It’s really about the fact, which “progressives” cannot accept, that nationalism in all its ideological forms today is reactionary; that in the present epoch nationalism – like democracy – is the watch-word, the clarion call, of capitalism as it seeks to generate mass support for its underlying social and production relations. And beyond Ukraine, that clarion call evokes a response on the “left” as anyone who has watched Al Sharpton or Ariana Huffington over the past several weeks can attest: a call that seconds the efforts of the Obama administration to build popular support for a tough sanctions regime, and arms for Kiev. We may not be on the brink of war, nuclear or otherwise, in Ukraine, but we are certainly seeing a significant heightening of inter-imperialist tensions, even as the left seems to be only choosing sides over who is the real aggressor.
ajjohnstone
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May 7 2014 13:14

Remember the National Bolshevik grouping in Germany?

Or the German Communist Party sympathising with the death of Nazi (and later having joint picket lines with the Brownshirts.)

Doesn't Russia have any fascists? All those attacks on immigrants and non-Russians over the years, was part of my imagination.

Neither Kiev Nor Moscow, seems the most rational position, to take.

Tragedies, accidental or deliberate atrocities, are part and parcel of wars and civil wars are the most vicious of all, according to the most seasoned of war correspondents.

While the American hypocritical attitude rightly deserves our disgust, we have not forgotten about Chechnya and the total destruction of its capital Grozny as Putin's response to breakaway states (and when it comes to conspiracy theories, those Moscow bombs blamed on Chechens to spark off another offensive has always been suspect.) Obama or Putin, their hypocrisy stinks and both are up to their arm-pits in the blood of innocents.

But how can i shed any more tears for yet another heart-breaking catastrophe, just one more on the list of countless others, that sadly the working class/socialists/anarchists are incapable of doing anything about other than what we do now...agitating at home, educating ourselves and others. Our role is not taking sides but linking its causes to capitalist rivals vying for economic spheres of influence.

How frustrating it is to be waving our fist at the TV and tearing up the newspapers we read . Propaganda lies make us angry, especially when they are so obvious and blatant, and assume we are all cretins with memories of a goldfish. But whether in London New York Moscow or Kiev...it is all lies and that means we have to try and unravel as much of the truth as we can, knowing we won't be 100% successful, even if we had our own reporters and camera teams on the scene. So we will continue to generalise as accurately as we can. Sometimes we will get certain details wrong and maybe we will be mistaken when we apportion blame particular in that cliche fog of war, in the battle of propaganda.

Rant over and out

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May 7 2014 13:49

Skim read this which looks pretty good..

Ukraine slides towards civil war: don’t choose a side in battle of reaction

Picture circulated by Russian 'anti-fascists' before May 2nd..
http://www.dreamdeferred.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/odessa-2-may-calling-600x412.jpg

dreamdeferred.org.uk wrote:
We know that the pro-Ukrainian activists involved in the horrendous clashes in Odessa on 2 May, many of them from football “ultra” firms who used a football match as a pretext for a planned battle, included Right Sector fighters – the fascist organisation is mourning the death of one of them.

But an image distributed by the Odessa Antimaidan “Southern Front” group, urging “concerned residents” to mobilise on 2 May and “defend Odessa together”, portrays masked fighters with the black, gold and white flag used by Russian fascists.

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May 7 2014 14:25
Spikymike wrote:
Yes the reference to the AWU's non-appearance on the other widely distributed 'internationalist declaration' is telling (for those of us less familiar with them) in terms of an otherwise less obvious sympathy for Ukrainian nationalism alongside other 'on-the-face of it' internationalist statements in various other of their texts and perhaps means my earlier request for caution in relying on Barotba for political analysis of events should apply to this group as well!

Mike, such caution is obviously necessary, given how little we know from this distance. However, in relation to that "internationalist statement", it would mean signing up to the judgement that:

Quote:
the ["old" ologarchs] used including ultra-rightist and ultra-nationalist formations for making a state coup in Kiev.

Which, rightly or wrongly, has not been the AWU assessment of what happened in Maidan from Nov to Feb. So to sign up to that would be inconsistent.

It is, however, pretty much the official Russian line on what happened, it should be said.

edit: also, for the record, no Anarkismo affiliated groups were approached to add their names to the statement prior to its publication. Given the relations between AIT and Anarkismo affliated groups, this is not particularly remarkable in itself (neither do Anarkismo groups routinely ask AIT groups to sign their international statements), but the categorisation of the statement as "widely circulated" should not be taken as meaning that all class struggle anarchist or left communist groups were asked to sign, by any means.

Battlescarred
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May 7 2014 16:13

"edit: also, for the record, no Anarkismo affiliated groups were approached to add their names to the statement prior to its publication. Given the relations between AIT and Anarkismo affliated groups, this is not particularly remarkable in itself (neither do Anarkismo groups routinely ask AIT groups to sign their international statements), but the categorisation of the statement as "widely circulated" should not be taken as meaning that all class struggle anarchist or left communist groups were asked to sign, by any means."
Perhaps one should ask, why not?

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May 7 2014 18:49
Esty wrote:
I grant that many anarchists are not illiterate when it comes to dialectical materialism

Always deeply reassuring.

teh
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May 7 2014 19:29
ajjohnstone wrote:

Doesn't Russia have any fascists? All those attacks on immigrants and non-Russians over the years, was part of my imagination.

Russian fascists are not occupying Red Square and government buildings in the capitol and are not holding ministerial positions in an unelected government nor are used by it as paramilitary forces. In that sense Russian fascism fits the world norm.

Quote:
While the American hypocritical attitude rightly deserves our disgust, we have not forgotten about Chechnya and the total destruction of its capital Grozny as Putin's response to breakaway states (and when it comes to conspiracy theories, those Moscow bombs blamed on Chechens to spark off another offensive has always been suspect.) Obama or Putin, their hypocrisy stinks and both are up to their arm-pits in the blood of innocents.

Yeltsin was the perpetrator in Chechnya as well as the main instigator of the conflict. Putin played the secondary and clean up role. I know you're speaking in jest but this gets repeated a lot by right and left liberals who view Yelstins oligarch rule and Western clientelism as a model not only for their own societies but for countries around the world. They shouldn't be allowed to attempt to rehabilitate him.