Ukrainian Uprising

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meerov21
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Jan 24 2014 22:05
Ukrainian Uprising

Maidan Talks

"All are building barricades. No superiors and subordinates. They do it not for Europe and not for Russia. They do it for the sake of the common good. For a free Ukraine..." "No matter how you lived, it is important how you die". "Here you can find all kinds of people.... football fans, pensioners, office plankton. An old woman pours Molotov cocktail for a nationalist, and the manager of a large company brings ammunition to a student. The burning barricades of hundreds of people to throw out the anger accumulated over the years. For cops' lawlessness, unfair trials, for corruption, the "golden toilets", stupid and corrupt officials. An old man, 80 years old, comes to the young men in masks and asks for a bottle with an incendiary mix. They say, " Grandpa, why, you won't be able to throw it! 'Give me one, sunny, I'll show that animals they can't treat me like that anymore".

What about the opportunities of emigration and work in Eurozone? Is that a factor in the protests?

One of. Millions of Ukrainians work in Europe, especially those originating from Western Ukraine. But we must not forget that a part of Ukrainians work in Russia. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why the majority of Ukrainians supported the European integration. Also it is important to take account of the regional division of Ukraine. Culture of Western and Central Ukraine aspires to the Union with Europe. East of Ukraine is more focused on Russia - this Russian-speaking region and its residents fear violent Ukrainization. Maidan represents primarily the Central and Western regions of Ukraine.

...But now situation is fundamentally different. It is no longer about Europe. Million of Ukrainians went to the Maidan, many of them have no interest in Europe. After State kidnaps and kills the protesters, they can't retreat.

Deep Causes of the Uprising

First and foremost, it is the economic situation in Ukraine. Economy is stagnating, prices are rising, and, of course, many Ukrainians are dissatisfied with all of that. The protesters, many of whom are students, couldn't expect anything good after graduation. Many construction and many other temporary workers came to Kiev from all over the country in search of work and some of them take part in Maidan. (Here is the fundamental difference from the movement of the "white ribbons" in Russia. There construction workers usually come from other countries, they are migrants, and they, unfortunately, are socially passive. So they do not participate in the protests. One of the reasons for this passivity is that they are in absolutely powerless position and Russian police subjects them to repressions). Many teachers, doctors, specialists are dissatisfied with the working conditions, salaries and prices.

Another big layer of protesters is petty and average bourgeoisie, owners and managers of different companies. This layer is dissatisfied with the arbitrariness of bureaucracy, the police, the bureaucratic control, the need to pay bribes to officials. A vivid example - "AutoMaidan" and "Road control". The leader of the last one, Andrey Jinja is now arrested. This is a movement of car owners who are struggling against police harassment and bribes on the roads. Many journalists are disgruntled at strengthening of censorship under Yanukovich, threats to deprive them of work.

Another important element of the movement is a part of Ukrainian oligarchs. Elite of Ukraine has never been united. There are lots of ruling clans. This partly explains the more lively (in comparison with Russia and Belarus) political landscape. But in recent years the regime of Viktor Yanukovych attempted to change the situation. Using political pressure, Yanukovych, his relatives and friends ("family") began to step in to grab all profitable businesses of Ukraine. Hence negative reaction on the part of the oligarchs, who finance the three largest political parties of the opposition (liberals and nationalists).

Maidan is an inter-class forum. It is the same as the Egyptian Tahrir. It has the same idea of democracy. Proletariat is involved in these activities together with the opposition's bourgeois factions and clans who fight against absolutism or dictatorship. Maidan gives working class a big experience of self-organization and rebellion. But on the other hand, it prevents the development of pure class socio-revolutionary slogans. Such is the dialectics of the situation.

Far-right danger?

It exists. There should be neither exaggeration, nor underestimation of this fact. But the idea that "The ruling class that the 'fascists' are fighting against is also 'fascistic'" is an erroneous hypothesis. The idea of democratization prevails on the Maidan absolutely, as in Tahrir Square in Egypt. There is an incredibly high level of self-organization of tens of thousands of people, direct democracy and the system of horizontal interaction of groups and individuals, perfectly organised system of defense, a supply camp with all necessary things. The camp maintains perfect order, all are fed, clothed, people collect money for everything. One of the dead heroes of Maidan is an Armenian refugee.

What is important? People of the Maidan are tolerant to far-rightists and this far-rightists play an important role in clashes with the police. This can be dangerous in the modern conditions, when the leaders of the liberal opposition are losing popularity. This is not the libertarian socialist revolution. It is an inter-class movement. This movement should be treated calmly and critically.

Perspectives for socio-revolutionary implementation

Masses of people are advocating for democracy, trying to organize themselves in this or that form. It is a creative experiment, in which the workers are trying to change reality and form the instruments of direct democracy. Their actions are imperfect and many workers are infected with xenophobia and inter-classism. But no other worker's class exists in Eastern Europe. And I don't understand, how can people learn to carry out social revolution, not revolting against the regime? So if you want to change something, you have to work with what you have. All you can do today is to persuade the participants of the movement to support class ideas and to maintain their self-organization and also to be critical to xenophobia.

Revolutionary syndicalism is practically absent in Ukraine and Russia. In the last 25 years, all attempts to create it led to a zero result. There are several dozens of supporters of anarcho-syndicalism. Self-activity of the working class is very weak in comparison with Egypt (with its endless wild-cat strikes). Few strikes in Russia and Ukraine are in most cases controlled by the reformist trade union bureaucracy interested in social partnership with business. So these strikes are also inter-class movements. Unfortunately I can't see anything like the IWW (beginning of 20th century) in the countries of Western Europe and America as well. The only example of mass protests there falling under this category is the Occupy movement. It is not much different from Maidan.

I'm afraid that we have retreated into the distant past, to something like early bourgeois-democratic revolutions. Much time will pass before the working class realize that parliamentary system and even the direct inter-classist democracy do not solve its problems. May be the Maidan experience will allow Ukrainian workers to make class maidans at the factories in future. But before this can happen, the working class will go a long way, full of errors and failures.

meerov21
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Jan 24 2014 22:08

This is blog of ukranian anarchist and member of Autonomous Workers’ Union.
After some protestant have been killed by Yanukovich regim this anarchist write:

"...Or the country will be a real police regime like Belorussian or Russian, or worse, or the power will change... In the epicenter of events is now present on both the left and anarchists. This is not only a matter of conscience, it is a question of political expediency. In this state... there is no place for any of us. Fascism of Party of Regions (Ruling party) is now much more real then fascism of "Freedom" or "Right Sector" " (far-raight groupes, part of opposition)

http://shiitman.net/2014/01/23/pid-brukivkoyu/

I'm not saying that I fully agree with his reasoning.
And this is site of Autonomous Workers’ Union http://avtonomia.net/2014/01/23/awu-statement-current-political-situatio...

meerov21
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Jan 25 2014 00:29

I get it as privet letter from one person and want to publish that here:

Father Christmas wrote: “ I agree with Khrystyna that the uprising is representative of the people’s frustration with the corrupt government but allying with, or passively accepting the presence of fascists is, imho, irresponsibly playing with fire.” Unfortunately, in strikes, riots, occupations and any other form of struggle, those who want to see the abolition of the state and the commodity form are few. As meerov21 says on another thread about the Ukraine: “Masses of people are advocating for democracy, try during the revolt of those or other forms, organize themselves. It is a creative experiment, in which the workers are trying to change reality, form the instruments of direct democracy. Their actions are imperfect and many workers are infected with xenophobia and inter-classism. But other workers class does not exist in Eastern Europe. And I don’t understand, how can people learn social revolution, not revolting against the regime? So if you want to change something, have to work with these” I am 99% sure that on demonstrations or other situations, people considering themselves anti-statists find themselves alongside Leninists, for example. And the social effect of Leninism has been as devastatating as fascism. I suspect that, even if fascists were involved in the destruction of the statue of Lenin, it was a popular move because it expressed a hatred of any alliance with the ex-KGB scumbag Putin and a hatred of the past connection with state capitalism. Of course, this is not to say those who want a genuinely anti-hierarchical revolution should remain silent about the fascists, but one has to recognise that fascism, like Bolshevism and Keynesian Welfare-stateism, were methods by which revolutionary perspectives were coopted into different forms of capitalism (Hitler often referred positively to “revolution”). And even “anarchism” has been coopted in Ukraine, in the form of money with Makhno’s picture on it. Given the utter confusion which capitalism conditions people with, it is no surpirse that people react to various dominant dogmas to form or ally themselves with other dogmas in their reaction. Many of those who call themselves anarchists are usually no better. It should be obvious that the vast majority of people, myself and yourself included, are not always aware of our own interests. The task of a revolution is the process of becoming aware.

***

Low ranking fascists can – and do – change. I met someone who, in the 1970s, had given a student member of the National Front a copy of the situationist text “The Poverty of Student Life”. He liked the text, split from his party and managed to sabotage the local bureaucracy of the National Front so it was unable to function for a year. But some Trots ignored this action of his, which was clearly far more anti-fascist than anything they had done. Instead, they attacked him and broke all of his fingers, a particularly nasty thing to do considering the guy played the piano, on occasions professionally (which they knew). I have also heard of young members of the National Front leaving the party in 1981 and joining with blacks to attack the cops during the riots there.

****

The article that Foristaruso put a link to is crap. It has nothing useful to say about the reactionary and radical aspects of this movement. It merely promotes an anarcho-syndicalist dogma from on high to replace the existing dogmas. Marx said over 170 years ago: “We must try to help the dogmatics to clarify to themselves the meaning of their own positions…Then we shall confront the world not as doctrinaires with a new principle: “Here is the truth, bow down before it!”.…We do not say to the world “Stop fighting! Your struggle is of no account We want to shout the true slogan of the struggle at you.” We only show the world what it is fighting for, and consciousness is something that the world must acquire, like it or not” And that is something that must be applied to Ukraine, and anywhere else, regardless of which stupid capitalist illusion is held by those participating in the social explosions."

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Steven.
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Jan 25 2014 12:03

admin: thread locked. Already a thread on this topic here: http://libcom.org/forums/news/protests-ukraine-02122013

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