Submitted by ajjohnstone on January 23, 2022

Tensions are rising between Russia and NATO and there is a military build-up as a confrontation and conflict becomes increasingly a reality.

The media is serving their respective masters with their due diligence and people receive misinformation as governments shape the propaganda messages.

Time for a topic where we can counter the war-mongering.

This article offers an insight into the Russian perspective

https://original.antiwar.com/ted_snider/2022/01/05/six-things-the-media-wont-tell-you-about-ukraine/

adri

4 months 4 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

It is strange how figures like Makhno have been propped up as nationalist heroes by the far-right in Ukraine over the years, re-writing Ukrainian/Russian history to create some nationalist narrative. Putin may also be wrong that Russia is the true heir of Kievan Rus' and that Ukraine and Russia are one, but of course that doesn't have to lead to supporting Ukrainian independence or any other nationalist movement. I'm not really familiar with every detail of the current Ukraine situation, but I don't guess an anti-imperialist and anti-nationalist perspective is really popular with anyone there (except for some communist/anarchist groups).

R Totale

4 months 4 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Audio interview with Ukranian comrades:
https://a-dresden.org/2022/01/24/elephant-in-the-room-37-anarchists-and-war-in-ukraine/

Auld-bod

4 months 4 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

adri wrote:
'I don't guess an anti-imperialist and anti-nationalist perspective is really popular with anyone there (except for some communist/anarchist groups).'

Sorry, I don't understand. Do you think some communist/anarchist groups will support imperialism or nationalism? I would say that's a negative on both counts.

adri

4 months 4 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sorry, I don't understand. Do you think some communist/anarchist groups will support imperialism or nationalism? I would say that's a negative on both counts.

No? I was just observing that an internationalist perspective (against Ukrainian nationalism and Russian imperialism) seems far less common in Ukraine except among some communist/anarchist groups.

Khawaga

4 months 4 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

No? I was just observing that an internationalist perspective (against Ukrainian nationalism and Russian imperialism) seems far less common in Ukraine except among some communist/anarchist groups.

Is this really a surprise? It seems to me that this is the situation everywhere.

adri

4 months 3 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Khawaga

No? I was just observing that an internationalist perspective (against Ukrainian nationalism and Russian imperialism) seems far less common in Ukraine except among some communist/anarchist groups.

Is this really a surprise? It seems to me that this is the situation everywhere.

No, and I never claimed my initial comment to be some breakthrough analysis (it was more in the spirit of keeping a relevant conversation alive, but I think I should have let it die). I'm not sure what your problem is and I'm also not really interested.

Khawaga

4 months 3 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

How on earth is it possible to get that defensive based on a simple observation, that FYI, wasn't an attack on you? .

adri

4 months 3 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Khawaga

Is this really a surprise? It seems to me that this is the situation everywhere

Khawaga

How on earth is it possible to get that defensive based on a simple observation, that FYI, wasn't an attack on you?

Sure, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. However I'm not sure why you felt the need to make such "simple observations" on my comments to Auld-bod, clarifying some passing remarks I made about there being too few internationalists in Ukraine. Also, asking people rhetorical questions does often come off as "attacking them," so I'm not quite sure what other response you were expecting.

Khawaga

4 months 3 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I was,lamenting the sorry state of affairs everywhere. And I wasn't expecting any response tbh.

adri

4 months 3 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Changing the topic, I found this piece interesting as it relates to attempts to re-write Ukrainian history to support a Ukrainian-nationalist narrative, such as making Makhno and others out to be nationalists,

Federalist, regionalist and autonomist political thought in general is likely to be one of the casualties of an overly nationalist rewriting of the past that posits a sovereign, national state as the teleological outcome of history.

Ukrainian nationalists today take issue with calling the history of Ancient Rus "Russian" history and push their own self-legitimizing accounts. Russia itself hardly has any "historical claim" to its own lands, mostly acquired through violence (e.g., Russians pushing aside/subjugating Indigenous peoples in Siberia and Alaska, all there before them, as they expanded eastward, much like American westward expansion—Russia in fact sold Alaska to America, etc.). It would be nice if there were more class-based interpretations of eastern European history (a people's history of Ukraine/Russia I guess), rather than these competing nationalist/statist narratives. I suppose that would also be complicated by the fact that the lower-classes have never really been harmonious among themselves, and often actually supported rulers/causes that were contrary to their interests, as reflected today with some Ukrainians wanting closer ties with either the West or Russia and not recognizing their class-interests lie elsewhere.

R Totale

4 months 2 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

https://crimethinc.com/2022/02/03/ukraine-between-two-fires-anarchists-in-the-region-on-the-looming-threat-of-war

noslavery

4 months 1 week ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Time for a topic where we can counter the war-mongering

from both sides.
I agree.
ACG article is a good article to begin with.

ajjohnstone

4 months 1 week ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Scott Ritter has this opinion of Putin's motive

https://consortiumnews.com/2022/02/11/the-ultimate-end-of-nato/

Russia’s goal is not to destroy Ukraine—this could be accomplished at any time. Rather, the goal of Russia is to destroy NATO by exposing its impotence

epk

4 months 1 week ago

In reply to by libcom.org

> It is strange how figures like Makhno have been propped up as nationalist heroes by the far-right in Ukraine over the years

Not strange. While it's true his movement fought against the White Ukranian nationalists of the time, but:

1. He's a regional hero.
2. He and his movement formed an armed organization.
3. He and his movement mobilized the population into action.
4. He and his movement fought against (some of) the Russians (some of the time).

That's good enough. They can ignore all the rest.

Actually, I would not at all be surprised if a lot of the Makhnovist supporters were somewhere on the spectrum between nationalistic-but-not-the-white-kind and actual committed anarchists. Or "non-denominational insurgents"

epk

4 months 1 week ago

In reply to by libcom.org

> Sorry, I don't understand. Do you think some communist/anarchist groups will support imperialism or nationalism?

Oh, that's sure to happen. I've seen this since 2014 already, where some people I knew as Anarchists suddenly got very nationalistically-sympathetic to the Ukraine.

It's a bit like how in the first world war many socialist movements and parties supported their own state in the war, because obviously the other guys were evil / enemies of the working class while "their" own states are somehow just defending themselves etc.

R Totale

4 months 1 week ago

In reply to by libcom.org

New text from Ukranian comrades:
https://crimethinc.com/2022/02/15/war-and-anarchists-anti-authoritarian-perspectives-in-ukraine

ajjohnstone

4 months 1 week ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The view of a US career diplomat and ambassador to the USSR 1987 to 1991

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_F._Matlock_Jr.

From

https://usrussiaaccord.org/acura-viewpoint-jack-f-matlock-jr-todays-crisis-over-ukraine/

Maybe I am wrong—tragically wrong—but I cannot dismiss the suspicion that we are witnessing an elaborate charade, grossly magnified by prominent elements of the American media, to serve a domestic political end. Facing rising inflation, the ravages of Omicron, blame (for the most part unfair) for the withdrawal from Afghanistan, plus the failure to get the full support of his own party for the Build Back Better legislation, the Biden administration is staggering under sagging approval ratings just as it gears up for this year’s congressional elections. Since clear “victories” on the domestic woes seem increasingly unlikely, why not fabricate one by posing as if he prevented the invasion of Ukraine by “standing up to Vladimir Putin”?

Spikymike

4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The linked text in post 19 from a mixed 'group' of anarchists' is well worth reading as a useful summary of the build up to the present 'crisis' conditions in Ukraine from the period of the Maiden to today and reflects the tensions, frustrations and apparent 'impossible' choices faced by many individuals with a variety of radical political views including those (anarchists or not) who perceive of themselves as primarily no more than the radical wing of a wider ''democratic camp' and aligned to a vague 'anti-imperialism'. Comparisons with choices made by Kurdish radicals in northern Syria are made for some of the same understandable reasons but with no more justification. Hard not to avoid sympathy for the personal dilemma's faced by the writers but they are a long way from any libertarian or left communist analysis or statement of political principles.

R Totale

4 months 1 week ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yeah, after all their criticisms of the earlier "pro-Russian/pro-Ukrainian" split in about 2014, a bit surprising to find them essentially endorsing a new "pro-Ukranian" stance at the end. See here for an earlier text on that split: https://libcom.org/news/end-antifa-28112014 - although looking at it again now, the first few paragraphs of that seem a bit weird too. But easy to judge from a distance when it's not us having to weigh up the possibilities of a Russian invasion, I suppose, and a worthwhile counterbalance to some of the Russia Today-flavoured "anti-imperialist/anti-fascist" shit I've been seeing elsewhere of late.

Scallywag

4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Did the authors of the article in post 19 speak with any anarchists/anarchist groups in Russia?

R Totale

4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Wasn't involved in it myself, but they say they did: "Besides us, the text was edited by more than ten people, including participants in the events described in the text, journalists who checked the accuracy of our claims, and anarchists from Russia, Belarus, and Europe. We received many corrections and clarifications in order to write the most objective text possible."

baboon

4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Latest position of the ICC on the Ukraine crisis: https://en.internationalism.org/content/17144/ukraine-worsening-military-tensions-eastern-europe

adri

4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

epk

> It is strange how figures like Makhno have been propped up as nationalist heroes by the far-right in Ukraine over the years

Not strange. While it's true his movement fought against the White Ukranian nationalists of the time, but:

1. He's a regional hero.
2. He and his movement formed an armed organization.
3. He and his movement mobilized the population into action.
4. He and his movement fought against (some of) the Russians (some of the time).

That's good enough. They can ignore all the rest.

Actually, I would not at all be surprised if a lot of the Makhnovist supporters were somewhere on the spectrum between nationalistic-but-not-the-white-kind and actual committed anarchists. Or "non-denominational insurgents"

That's ignoring quite a bit, like him saying "I'm an anarchist of the Bakunin-Kropotkin stripe," but I guess if all that's pushed aside then it's not so strange. He's also popular with actual anarchists (scroll down to see anarchists marching with banner) within Ukraine, so it is a bit odd how he's celebrated simultaneously by both ends of the political spectrum. Maybe it's not so strange for Ukraine/Russia, since I hear conspiratorial thinking/misinformation is quite bad there compared with other places, though I don't know how true that is.

Scallywag

4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

R Totale

Wasn't involved in it myself, but they say they did: "Besides us, the text was edited by more than ten people, including participants in the events described in the text, journalists who checked the accuracy of our claims, and anarchists from Russia, Belarus, and Europe. We received many corrections and clarifications in order to write the most objective text possible."

I thought if they had spoken with Russian anarchists across the border they might have come to a different conclusion. I guess not.

I don't really get it. Why would they not take a 'no war but class war stance' rather than side with Ukrainian military against a Russian invasion. I guess its easy to judge when I am as far away from it as Scotland though.

I was also hoping that if this does actually come to war then it would be almost impossible to get the working class to fight it. I guess all they have to do though is say peace, freedom and democracy is om the line so go fight for your country against the invaders, whilst at the same time taking the mask of peace, freedom and democracy off and forcing us to fight it.

ajjohnstone

4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Putin blames it all on Lenin

Putin criticises the former communist leader Vladimir Lenin, calling him the “author and architect” of Ukraine. He says he “disadvantaged” Russia.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3416914/Putin-accuses-Soviet-founder-Lenin-placing-time-bomb-Russia-drawing-borders-based-ethnic-lines.html

R Totale

4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I mean, I'm not 100% sure how I feel about it myself, but in the context of the previous Maidan events, where the Ukrainian far-right gained a great deal of legitimacy by presenting themselves as the force most willing and able to challenge Yanukovych, I can see why they'd be concerned about a further round of conflict benefitting Ukranian nationalists more than anyone else, and having the desire to set themselves up as an alternative pole of attraction for people wanting to resist a possible occupation.
Anyway, we now have a statement from Autonomous Action, which in some ways sounds closer to that Ukranian article than to what I'd think of as a classical nwbcw position:
https://libcom.org/news/against-annexations-imperial-aggression-22022022
"We urge you to counter the Kremlin’s aggression by any means you see fit. Against the seizure of territories under any pretext, against sending the Russian army to the Donbass, against militarization. And ultimately, against the war. Take to the streets, spread the word, talk to the people around you—you know what to do. Do not be silent. Take action. Even a small screw can jam the gears of a death machine.

Against all borders, against all empires, against all wars!"

Although I guess "We urge you to counter the Kremlin’s aggression by any means you see fit" maybe reads differently if you interpret it as addressed to Russian proletarians rather than Ukranian ones?

R Totale

4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Fwiw, avtonom also published this, which as the title suggests, is probably more straightforwardly pro-Ukranian than that Ukranian article:
https://avtonom.org/en/author_columns/why-should-we-support-ukraine

ajjohnstone

4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

A full-scale assault on Ukraine.

Hopefully, it will not lead to a wider war or the nightmare of a nuclear exchange.

R Totale

4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Translation of a statement from the Italian FAI:
https://organisemagazine.org.uk/2022/02/24/against-the-war-about-situation-in-ukraine-statement/

ajjohnstone

4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The SPGB blog

https://socialismoryourmoneyback.blogspot.com/2022/02/another-war.html

R Totale

4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

https://peopleandnature.wordpress.com/2022/02/24/russian-and-ukrainian-voices-against-putins-war/

Appeal from ABC Dresden:
https://abcdd.org/en/2022/02/24/support-anarchist-community-in-ukrain-during-war/

Spikymike

4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Short response from the ACG here:
https://anarchistcommunism.org/2022/02/24/their-war-or-class-war/

ajjohnstone

3 months 4 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Al Jazeera reporting anti-war demonstrations in Russia and the crack-down on them.

https://www.aljazeera.com/amp/news/2022/2/24/ukraine-crisis-hundreds-detained-in-anti-war-protests-in-russia

ajjohnstone

3 months 4 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

A broader anti-war analysis by another SPGB blog

https://socialist-courier.blogspot.com/2022/02/our-declaration-of-peace.html

R Totale

3 months 4 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

New audio interview: https://thefinalstrawradio.noblogs.org/post/2022/02/25/anarchists-in-ukraine-against-war/

See also: https://crimethinc.com/2022/02/24/russia-and-ukraine-grassroots-resistance-to-putins-invasion

ajjohnstone

3 months 4 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The World Socialist Movement blog statement

https://www.worldsocialism.org/wsm/2022/02/26/no-war-between-peoples-no-peace-between-classes/

also an online open meeting

Sunday 27 February, 10 AM

SUNDAY MORNING DISCORD DISCUSSION

RUSSIA INVADES UKRAINE

The event that a lot of us thought and hoped wouldn’t happen, and the repercussions it is likely to have on workers in Ukraine and elsewhere

Hosts: Paddy Shannon / Adam Buick

If you’d like to participate in the talk, just contact [email protected] for a special invite or email [email protected] All welcome.

noslavery

3 months 4 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I can think of this generalized strategy if I be in the situation that Russians and Ukrainians anarchists are in:
Assuming anarchism is understood properly in theory,
- Concept of foreign invaders doesn't exists for me, because local rulers are as bad. How they treat my collective is important.
- I build my anarchists collective environment against the environment that is forced to me, no matter what kind of authority is forcing that to me.
- If my collective is weak, I try to find ways to become strong. If my collective is strong, I go to action in order to expand my territory. This is what authoritarians do too!

adri

3 months 4 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Ukrainian men being forced to "stay and fight":

"It is only women and children (coming through) because for men it is forbidden. We leave all our fathers, men, husbands at home and it feels like shit," said Ludmila, 30. When asked if she was worried about her husband, Ludmila broke down in tears.

Ukrainian rules restrict men aged 18-60, who could be conscripted, from crossing the borders.

sherbu-kteer

3 months 4 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Statement by Australian anarchist-communists on the invasion:

https://www.redblacknotes.com/2022/02/26/no-war-but-the-class-war/

R Totale

3 months 4 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Anarkismo statement:
https://www.anarchistcommunism.org/2022/02/25/ukraine-international-statement/

noslavery

3 months 3 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I like articles form sherbu-kteer and Totale, thanks. Also, thanks for the interview link from Totale,

About the interview,

I like the interviewee's approach in confronting Russia's invasion. I add, if the situation is frustrating, I agree fleeing is not a good idea, but doing nothing could be a good approach if the risk is high.

He doesn't see the role of western powers in creating the situation there. I think he should. Fake revolution is not always obvious or even not necessarily through agents, it could be completely politically cultural. Propaganda always creates false hope in order to influence in better situation in future. You will realize how you have been tricked when the pacts, alliances and contracts come.

His request for financial support in emergency cases must be taken seriously. As anarchists, we are absolutely outnumbered, we only have each other.

R Totale

3 months 3 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Two new texts from Russian anarchists:
https://crimethinc.com/2022/02/26/russian-anarchists-on-resisting-the-invasion-of-ukraine-updates-and-analysis
The interview posted above has now been fully transcribed:
https://thefinalstrawradio.noblogs.org/post/2022/02/25/anarchists-in-ukraine-against-war/

Also, another international statement, signed by various groups including Plan C, LabourNet, IP in Poland and others: https://thefinalstrawradio.noblogs.org/post/2022/02/25/anarchists-in-ukraine-against-war/

Black Guard

3 months 3 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Mutual Aid operations are currently being conducted via Operation Solidarity, which is taking donations to help refugees.

The Resistance Committee has reportedly established an Anti-Authoritarian Detachment in Kyiv, currently fighting within the Territorial Defense. They are also accepting donations for equipment and international volunteers.

sherbu-kteer

3 months 3 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

R Totale I think you posted the wrong link for the third thing

Reddebrek

3 months 3 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

A retired Belarusian airborne colonel who had taken part in the servicemens protests against police and military violence against demonstrators in 2020(possibly)* released a video appealing for soldiers and officers to resist involvement in the war and to refuse their orders.

https://youtu.be/9NYgKRlS0vs

*Spoken to some Belarusians, he is who he says he is and is a retired/reserve colonel, and was involved in the protests in 2020 in Brest. However, his role was to negotiate between the authorities and the protesters, and most of them accuse him of stalling and being an obstacle. He had close connections to Viktor Sheimin a powerful and ruthless key Lukashenko ally. Curiously, he fled the country soon after and hasn't been back since. So this video could be one of three things, he's had a genuine change of heart, he's convinced his old bosses are doomed and is trying to appeal to the opposition, or he still has contacts with some key Belarus officials and is using his platform to reflect opposition within it to being sucked into a bloody conflict.

noslavery

3 months 3 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

About ICT statement,
imperialist war doesn't do anything with capitalism being in crisis or even with capitalism in particular. Imperialist rivalry has always been part of human culture. It has always come with lies. It is not the case that capitalism was progressive then after monopoly formation capitalism became reactionary. Capitalism and Imperialism grew hand in hand. Capitalists were even slave owners. I have read reports of tribal wars by anthropologists. When a tribe invade another tribe, that is imperialist rivalry too, in small scale and as non developed form of it. We can say capitalism is continuation of that but not that capitalism is cause of that. Also, creating international Marxists organization to confront imperialist rivalry is a good idea, but Marxists must explain the failure of their past internationals. I don't think Marxists can create a new international because of credential of Marxism in theory and practice. Marxism won't grow properly anymore.
The best way to confront Russian invasion is to form anarchist community against any forces that act as enemy to that community. Differentiating between good evil and bad evil is bad idea. Also, anarchist communities should be peacefully expansionist not isolationist, like religious groups who agitate and penetrate. We are different from religious group because we see the world scientifically.

adri

3 months 3 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The best way to confront Russian invasion is to form anarchist community against any forces that act as enemy to that community.

Speaking of nonsense, have I mentioned how silly it is to continually cheerlead for "Ukrainian anarchists" as if non-anarchist communists didn't exist, and as if non-anarchist communists wouldn't be part of any revolution? While I'm not opposed to Ukrainian anarchists/communists taking up arms, I'm also pretty skeptical about "forming anarchist communities to confront Russians (and Ukrainian nationalists?) who are better-equipped and have more nukes," which seems sort of reckless to me; this isn't the Russian Civil War. It is already a disgrace that Ukrainian men are being forced to "stay and fight" (being fed that "old lie" that it is sweet and fitting to die for one's country) as opposed to flee like the rest of their families have already done.

Battlescarred

3 months 3 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

THe statement signed by among others, Plan C, is here:
https://www.transnational-strike.info/2022/02/24/no-to-war-for-a-transnational-politics-of-peace/?fbclid=IwAR1u1Rh28YQZye1-v7QuupXSfCTsgNSmLvXDobAjNTblD81RcKqV7WWypTY

Dyjbas

3 months 3 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

noslavery

About ICT statement,
imperialist war doesn't do anything with capitalism being in crisis or even with capitalism in particular. Imperialist rivalry has always been part of human culture. It has always come with lies. It is not the case that capitalism was progressive then after monopoly formation capitalism became reactionary. Capitalism and Imperialism grew hand in hand. Capitalists were even slave owners. I have read reports of tribal wars by anthropologists. When a tribe invade another tribe, that is imperialist rivalry too, in small scale and as non developed form of it. We can say capitalism is continuation of that but not that capitalism is cause of that. Also, creating international Marxists organization to confront imperialist rivalry is a good idea, but Marxists must explain the failure of their past internationals. I don't think Marxists can create a new international because of credential of Marxism in theory and practice. Marxism won't grow properly anymore.
The best way to confront Russian invasion is to form anarchist community against any forces that act as enemy to that community. Differentiating between good evil and bad evil is bad idea. Also, anarchist communities should be peacefully expansionist not isolationist, like religious groups who agitate and penetrate. We are different from religious group because we see the world scientifically.

Just quickly a few points: imperialism has not "always been part of human culture"; we mean something specific by imperialism, not just conflict in the abstract; capitalism did have an ascendant phase (which doesn't mean it was "good"); Marxists have explained the failure of previous Internationals (see e.g. this for a start); the struggle of the global working class, not the formation of some intentional communities, is the only real solution to the horrors of capitalism.

R Totale

3 months 3 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yep, that transnational-strike one is what I was meaning to post.

Steven.

3 months 3 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Commentary from a libcom adjacent perspective in Ukraine here: https://twitter.com/problemicist

Scallywag

3 months 3 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Are the media reports true that the Russian advance has been slower than they wanted, that around 4,000 Russian soldiers have been killed and that troops are mutinying and refusing to fight, or is this just the western media exaggerating? Absolutely tragic as well if that many people have already been killed.

ajjohnstone

3 months 3 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Should we be surprised by the Labour Party?

Starmer has warned his MPs that any of them who attempt to attack Nato or indulge in “false equivalence” with Russian aggression will be kicked out of the party.

There would be “no room” in Labour for anyone who seeks to place any blame on NATO for Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. It follows the reprimand of 11Labour MPs who were threatened with the loss of the party whip if they didn’t pull support for a Stop the War letter criticising Nato

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/starmer-labour-mps-nato-russia-b2025240.html

baboon

3 months 3 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ICC leaflet on the war:
https://en.internationalism.org/content/17148/capitalism-war-war-capitalism-international-leaflet

ajjohnstone

3 months 3 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

We all said that Fortress Europe was practising racism and bigotry in excluding Syrian and other refugees. Poland and Hungary, the main recalcitrant countries to accept refugees now welcome them with open arms...if white and Christian.

Reports still come that Ukrainian residents who are non-white are being refused entry at the borders as they flee.

And all those trapped in the Greek Islands, in Turkey and in Libya now realise the reason they have to risk their lives to reach safety.

ajjohnstone

3 months 3 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Кто виноват?

Dual language article

https://socialismoryourmoneyback.blogspot.com/2022/03/who-is-to-blame.html

From a WSPUS comrade proficient in the Russin language

Also translated now an earlier SPGB blog-post

Еще одна война для осуждения

https://www.worldsocialism.org/wsm/2022/03/01/

(I wish we had someone who knows Ukrainian for balance)

noslavery

3 months 3 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Speaking of nonsense, have I mentioned how silly it is to continually cheerlead for "Ukrainian anarchists" as if non-anarchist communists didn't exist, and as if non-anarchist communists wouldn't be part of any revolution? While I'm not opposed to Ukrainian anarchists/communists taking up arms,

Yes, this is the way I think. I think only anarchists are truly revolutionary because they are truly against authoritarianism which has divided humans culture into two form of oppressors and victims. Only those non anarchists communist are revolutionary who accept principle or non-authoritarianism in forming group work, group work in any form. Few Marxists has accepted that principle.
If anarchists are not equip to confront occupiers or the local authoritarian state or fascists elements, they can chose not flee, they can stay among ordinary people and form their group patiently until anarchist culture develops.

noslavery

3 months 3 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Just quickly a few points: imperialism has not "always been part of human culture"; we mean something specific by imperialism, not just conflict in the abstract; capitalism did have an ascendant phase (which doesn't mean it was "good"); Marxists have explained the failure of previous Internationals (see e.g. this for a start); the struggle of the global working class, not the formation of some intentional communities, is the only real solution to the horrors of capitalism.

You invent your definition of imperialism, I make mine. By my definition, invading any other group is imperialism. Modern imperialism is evolution of that behavior long long time ago. The goal, no matter capitalistic or feudalistic or for slavery is to collect and control material and human resources for invader.
It is better Marxists explain their own failure of trying to lead communist movement and leading it to a form of fascist state capitalism. Marx concept of progress is obstacle to communism. In his concept, capitalists are not reactionary while exploit workers, they only become reactionary if technical requirement is satisfied!!! With that concept, any repression could be justified. In my view of anarchist, imperialism is not technical, it is human, real, it is invading to control material and human resources for invader. Soviet Union leaders were perhaps the first imperialists who invented "color" revolution by promoting state capitalist ideology as revolutionary.

noslavery

3 months 3 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

[Mutual Aid operations are currently being conducted via Operation Solidarity, which is taking donations to help refugees.

The Resistance Committee has reportedly established an Anti-Authoritarian Detachment in Kyiv, currently fighting within the Territorial Defense. They are also accepting donations for equipment and international volunteers.

Donation must go through known channel through face to face friendship. It is hard, but must be done.

bastarx

3 months 3 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Black Guard

Mutual Aid operations are currently being conducted via Operation Solidarity, which is taking donations to help refugees.

The Resistance Committee has reportedly established an Anti-Authoritarian Detachment in Kyiv, currently fighting within the Territorial Defense. They are also accepting donations for equipment and international volunteers.

Donate to the anarchist wing of the Ukrainian national front comrades!

rat

3 months 3 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Odd article on Freedom's site:

Fuck leftist westplaining.
https://freedomnews.org.uk/2022/03/04/fuck-leftist-westplaining/

radicalgraffiti

3 months 3 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

bastarx

Black Guard

Mutual Aid operations are currently being conducted via Operation Solidarity, which is taking donations to help refugees.

The Resistance Committee has reportedly established an Anti-Authoritarian Detachment in Kyiv, currently fighting within the Territorial Defense. They are also accepting donations for equipment and international volunteers.

Donate to the anarchist wing of the Ukrainian national front comrades!

whats that mean?

radicalgraffiti

3 months 3 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

rat

Odd article on Freedom's site:

Fuck leftist westplaining.
https://freedomnews.org.uk/2022/03/04/fuck-leftist-westplaining/

whats odd about it? are you surprised people are pissed with how much of the western left as behaved? the things the article complains about make sense to me

sherbu-kteer

3 months 3 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I think that article sucks too, I don't know if my reasons are the same as Rat's but the thing is pretty bad. You get this ridiculous patronising stuff about how "you, the Westerners, will never get it", it just goes on and on like that complaing about tankies, third-worldists, Assadists, etc. I hate them too, but you have to balance that with the (much louder, at this point) sentiments going in the opposite direction. An idiot holding an SSNP flag at May Day in 2017 is annoying and offensive, but so is the prospect of nuclear war. Not only are the bourgeois press, politicians, etc trying to drum up war against Russia, you also get people within anarchist and left-wing cirlces trying to justify a position of "national defense", under whatever banner they can find – anti-imperialism, anti-fascism, whatever. I can understand why social-democrats would flock to such awful positions but in this very thread you have the example of some kind of "anti-authoritarian" militia being formed as a component of the Ukrainian military reserve.

For me one of the most important elements of the political tendency I belong to, that libcom more or less represents, is that of an intransigent opposition to all capitalist war, even in impossibly hard circumstances (like WWII). Of course, this means being critical of Putin apologia, but it also means being critical of apologia for western imperialism. I am genuinely quite surprised this article was printed in Freedom at all, and am even more surprised that this person is actually an editor of Freedom. The stuff about NATO is just sheer nationalist garbage, talking about "we" and "us" in terms of the geopolitics of governments with regard to NATO, as if national populations are just classless blobs. At one point the author begins pleading for leftist Westerners to outline an alternative defense pact for Europe to replace NATO:

We see NATO in a completely different, and I dare say much more nuanced way. We are not fans of it, and we can agree with you on many, many reasons to criticise it. But when you say “Fuck NATO” or “End NATO expansion”, what I hear is that you do not care about the safety and wellbeing of my Eastern European friends, family and comrades [...] Further, you talk about how you desire to stop “NATO expansion” but you don’t really mention what, exactly, would be a viable alternative to it. This is not acceptable at all, it just shows your privilege of growing up in a country where your life story was not littered with, how exciting, tantrums and aggressions of various scales of this great, unpredictable force that assumes it can throw its way anywhere where there is no NATO. So tell me, how exactly will you assure our safety? What is this NATO alternative you are advocating for?

(I should add I find the author's attempt to paint themselves as a victim of Orientalism to be pretty silly, borderline offensive as an Arab myself; not only is their definition of Orientalism something like "when Western Europeans are patronising and rude to me", they also don't seem to realise that they're a Polish person who has apparently lived in the UK since 2004. Has anyone ever considered Kraków to be part of the Orient?)

I am personally perfectly happy to take "no war but the class war" as my guiding principle, and find equivocating around it on the part of leftists who should know better to be pretty nauseating. I sympathise with ordinary working-class people in Ukraine more than I do anyone else, but I can hardly look positively at the way people are rallying around the Ukrainian state. At best, people are doing this out of desperation, but that shouldn't be mistaken for positive politics.

bastarx

3 months 3 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

radicalgraffiti

bastarx

Black Guard

Mutual Aid operations are currently being conducted via Operation Solidarity, which is taking donations to help refugees.

The Resistance Committee has reportedly established an Anti-Authoritarian Detachment in Kyiv, currently fighting within the Territorial Defense. They are also accepting donations for equipment and international volunteers.

Donate to the anarchist wing of the Ukrainian national front c omrades!

whats that mean?

It means I'm taking the piss out of all the moronic anarcho-trenchists who have fallen into line behind Ukraine and its NATO backers. At least in Rojava there was a fake revolution as an excuse for lining up with the USA.

Scallywag

3 months 3 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

With the Freedom News article I disagree with it and think the no war but class war approach is the only one that can be taken and is the only moral one as well. I think I still get where they might be coming from though.

From over here its easy to say fuck all wars when we are not facing the reality of having our cities bombed and invaded by another power. We would never really have to worry about this because our countries have powerful militaries, nuclear weapons and are part of NATO. None of those things make the world any safer and they are ultimately just Western countries asserting their imperialist ambitions on the world, but it does deter any attack on them and so we who live in these nations are pretty much ensured relative peace and security and get to enjoy more civil liberties than would in more autocratic and dictatorial countries. I can understand why someone from outside would want to be part of this is all I am saying, although don't get why 'leftists' would be writing an article supporting NATO membership.

There is no really any easy position to take though. Ideally I'd say Russian Soldiers should mutiny, Russian citizens should revolt. Ukrainians should do the same and together they should sabotage the ability of all sides to wage war on each other. But thats a lot easier said than done, meanwhile what are we in the west to do?

rat

3 months 3 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I agree with you there sherbu-kteer.

Serge Forward

3 months 3 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Christ, that Freedom article was fucking awful, chock full of sub-nationalist, pro NATO (with reservations) and spurious idpol garbage. It amazes me that it was in Freedom (though they have had some really bad articles in the past).

That said, I understand why the no war but the class war position can sometimes seem inadequate, particularly when someone is more directly or personally affected or connected to an unfolding tragedy such as this. But being understanding is no excuse for jettisoning basic class struggle revolutionary internationalism.

Oh, and sherbu-kteer's response was top notch.

ajjohnstone

3 months 2 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

https://truthout.org/articles/war-is-forcing-ukrainian-leftists-to-make-difficult-decisions-about-violence/

“When the enemy is attacking you, it is very difficult take an antiwar pacifist stance, and this is because you need to defend yourself,” Ilya said.

And from the experience of its own members in "popular" wars of WW1 and WW2, the SPGB understands how easy it is to condemn war in peacetime and how difficult it is to maintain that policy in war conditions.

A useful source on media coverage
https://www.medialens.org/2022/doubling-down-on-double-standards-the-ukraine-propaganda-blitz/

noslavery

3 months 2 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

As an anarchist I think antiwar movement must be against all three parties of the war. Ukrainian anarchists can do whatever they want to protect themself wisely except collaborating with reactionary forces. It is better to flee than collaborate. I would stay with ordinary people and do nothing but carefully discussion the truth of the situation. I have almost been in this situation and I stayed for two years and did nothing but taking about the truth of the war. Who says taking is not action? Whatever takes energy from us is action. We have different forms of actions in different situations.

noslavery

3 months 2 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I hope NATO and Ukraine state accept Russian conditions to finish this bloodshed. What stupid Russian capitalists demands are not that bad and is easy to accept. I have not studied WW II carefully. I guess there were no demands but murdering Jewish people and forcing submission. Here we have Russian demands that are reasonable under authoritarian rules. Many large states separated from USSR, they didn't say anything. They just want three small regions and neutrality.

Auto

3 months 2 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

(I don't know if this belongs here or in a different thread, feel free to bump it if so).

Given it looks like some pretty big economic shocks are potentially on the way (food prices, energy prices, etc.), do anarchist groups around the world need to start looking into doing more organisation in this area more generally?

If things continue as they are I could see a massively increased need for mutual aid in the coming months (on top of humanitarian assistance related to the war itself).

Serge Forward

3 months 2 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I notice that Freedom has now airbrushed out some of the virulently xenophobic shite, but it's still an utter arse of an article that should never have seen the light of day on an anarchist website. Disgusting, but that's where idpol takes you.

Here's the text pre airbrush, with offending parts emphasised:

    some observers are voicing their concerns about the sort of patriotism we can see in Ukraine, but Ukrainian resistance to Russia is not the same sort of nationalism we get nervous about in the UK. From the outside, seeing crowds waving national flags, joining armed forces, and defending state borders might appear to be the sort of harmful violent devoted patriotism we’ve spent our lives campaigning against. But this isn’t comparable to the UK. Here, we can be justifiably anxious about flag-waving and militaristic language around “defending our land”. The English and the Union flags have both been backdrops to street and state-level fascism. They each conjure up mental images of the EDL, Combat 18, bricks through Muslim families’ windows, “send the Bulgarians back to where they came from”, tories and poppy shaggers, Morrissey, the Brexit campaign, This is England, and that one day last summer when everyone fucking hated Italy. Whether you’re foreign or not, many of us have no time nor tolerance for any sort of pride in this country. And we’re right to oppose it; British nationalism is and has always been a vehicle of absolute fucking cruelty across the world.

We can’t risk assuming the same logic applies when Ukraine and the UK are incomparable. While the latter is literally an imperialist force, nationalism or patriotism (or however we feel most comfortable defining it in English) can be empowering and important for people who are under threat of imperialist invasion. Around the world, the fights for citizenship, autonomy, and self-determination come alongside asserting certain flags, languages, religions, and cultures. This isn’t the same as far-right, neo-nazi groups who do it on behalf of somewhere like England. Fascism punches down, resistance is not the same. From Ukraine to Scotland to Western Sahara to Palestine to Tatarstan, we stand with the people resisting imperialism.

Bad-faith accusations of Russophobia are corrupting our ability to properly criticise how pointless it is to arbitrarily ban everything Russian. I get that Russian people often get tied closely to the actions of the state and it makes sense, Russians have famously played a big part in the formation and destruction of governments. Russians and Russian things are often seen as political even if they’re not. Everything is pushed through some ideological prism and used for endless manipulations of the political spectrum. And while it is truly understandable that many people hate Russia and Russians and anything to do with Russia, and more power to them, part of the narrative Putin is giving to Russians is that he is the only person on their side. “It’s us against them”. He says the rest of the world hates us, watch how they treat us. He says Ukrainians are Russophobes (imagine). The insular, exceptional nationalism which Putin has been carefully nurturing and weaponising will only become more effective if the rest of the world turns its back on Russian people.

It also isn’t anti-left to be Russophobic
, but taking Russian bands off festival line-ups also isn’t going to help anyone.

Scallywag

3 months 2 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

https://www.anarchistcommunism.org/2022/03/04/the-only-war-to-end-all-wars/

Another statement outlining the no war but class war position.

I am going to sound a grump for saying this, but I'd like to see something thats a bit of a longer read than all these articles filled with slogans and basically just outlining the anarchist position. A lot of them make one or two really good points but then its not discussed in any more detail. Like with the one above mentioning how wars have been going on all over the world since the 2nd World War, that its systemic to capitalism and the only reason we've had peace in the west is because superpower conflicts have been thought by proxy wars in Africa, South America and Asia.

So ok but how exactly is imperialism and war systemic to capitalism and what's NATO's role in this?

I know the issue is complicated but its where we need really solid analysis to build and strengthen an anti-war anti-imperialist movement.

I'd write this myself if I could but I too only really get the bare bones of the argument and struggle to grasp the detail of how this all unfolds.

ajjohnstone

3 months 2 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Scallywag, I fully sympathise with the sentiments you express that there must be a fuller explanation of the war. But as I see it, the problem is not about content but the audience.

Our message simply does not receive the coverage and even within the anti-war sector, it is pushed out to the fringes. We are drowned out on the web by the prolific internet chatter.

I have tried my utmost to convey this situation to my own organisation and suggested joint projects, putting aside any periphery differences, without much success, sadly.

I have said if we are to get even our slogans heard, much less, any deeper analysis that we all share - consensus - class war is the only good war - and a clear anti-nationalist anti-patriotic case - we need to unite our voices so that it is as vocal as it can be.

Even then it won't surpass the mainstream media who excel in soundbites but it may reach those who already express an anti-war attitude. But to even get a hearing from pure pacifists we need to be much louder.

Scallywag

3 months 2 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

@Dyjbas, thanks for sharing that I never noticed it first time, this is sort of stuff I am looking for.

@ajjohnstone, yeah I understand and don't mean to sound ungrateful either to the people who take the time and effort to write. Just think we need a lot more.

Tbh I think when we put the word anarchist or anarchism on anything then we've already put a lot of people off. Its maybe helpful to have a few things where that's toned down a bit or maybe placed at the end in the form of links to more information. It makes it easier to share it with people and hope that it will be read.

I've been relooking at the Against Nationalism AFED pamphlet. It was one of the 1st things shared with me on this site and was useful in trying to understand why capitalist states go to war with each other.

Could do with having something like that updated for the situation in Ukraine. Maybe call it Against Imperialism.

https://libcom.org/library/against-nationalism

Rob Ray

3 months 2 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Oh you're moaning on here as well. Good-oh. For reference (not that you asked of course) the author of that article is part Russian and it was intended in a similar vein to an English person saying "yep, totally understand why you'd hate the English." I don't agree with everything in there, but it's also a personal view piece expressing frustration with a particular Western viewpoint, not a Freedom editorial.

We did subsequently change a couple of bits as people picked them out (sure, must be "airbrushing" - reason 4965 why I can't fucking stand these sorts of arguments) because fair enough, not in line with our views and could provide cover for people harassing Russians, but ffs the rest of that paragraph reads:

"... part of the narrative Putin is giving to Russians is that he is the only person on their side. “It’s us against them”. He says the rest of the world hates us, watch how they treat us. He says Ukrainians are Russophobes (imagine). The insular, exceptional nationalism which Putin has been carefully nurturing and weaponising will only become more effective if the rest of the world turns its back on Russian people."

So it's quite clear what the actual intent is, yet "don't turn your back on Russian people" becomes a headline of "nationalist xenophobic Idpol."

Why does everything have to be framed as a fucking gotcha with you and spread around whatever platform will listen like a declaration of hostilities? JFC.

Serge Forward

3 months 2 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The original article was appalling and contained nationalistic and xenophobic comments. And for you to use someone's nationality (identity) as a reason to justify this only makes it worse, so you'd do well to stop digging here.

"Not that you asked of course."

The ACG national secretary emailed Freedom about the article. To the best of my knowledge, the natsec didn't get a reply. After we posted the article, no one from Freedom informed us that the most egregious bits had been removed either. We were subsequently met with responses from third parties pretty much saying "but it doesn't say what you said it does!" So we added the original unedited text for context.

"Why does everything have to be framed as a fucking gotcha with you people?"

There's no "gotcha". I agree with you that "airbrushed" is probably over-egging the pudding, and for that I apologise. But a simple admission that you'd published a fucked up article and binned it off (rather than quietly editing it well after the balloon's gone up) would have sufficed. Instead, we got silence, and now, you're doubling-down on the article. It's not a good look.

Rob Ray

3 months 2 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

for you to use someone's nationality (identity) as a reason to justify this

I have no interest in justifying anything, I'm telling you the context, if you decide to fit that into your "everything wrong in the world is idpol" crusade that's your business. Frankly if you're at the point of denying that it might be relevant that the person saying "I get that you don't like Russians" is in fact Russian then that sounds like a you thing. And you still haven't admitted that maybe the specific line saying "don't turn your back on Russians" in the offending paragraph might indicate that maybe the Russian author is not coming from a place of "nationalistic xenophobia" against Russians, as your own actual headline suggests.

The ACG national secretary emailed Freedom about the article.

You emailed us the same aggy article that you'd put out in public. "Hey you nationalist xenophobes" is less a conversation opener than a thrown pint, and I'm not surprised the editor didn't reply.

a simple admission that you'd published a fucked up article and binned it off

So basically, having done your best to create a public online shaming rather than have a reasonable conversation starting from a position of good faith, us changing the text without making a similar public fuss about it has annoyed you and you want a youtube mea culpa.

Oh we are so very sorry, we were rongs, pleaz don't cancels us, tears stream down face.

etc etc.

Oh and re: Gotchas:

We have long warned that the danger of identity politics was that it was leading the unwary into right wing territory. And now we have evidence

When ACG finally stops obsessing over Finding The Evidence about idpol it'll be a damn good thing, imo, might mean you can start approaching the chaotic state of political conversation as it actually exists rather than trying to fit it all into one easy giant silo.

Serge Forward

3 months 2 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Okay, I'm not going to carry this row on. I like Freedom, I've been an occasional reader for decades and a one time subscriber. And if you are who I think you are, I've never had any beef with you.

Freedom and the ACG are political groups. Sometimes we don't agree. But political criticism and polemic is what we do and our response to your article is in line with that. In this instance, we felt that the original article seriously needed to be politically criticised. There's no editorial "no go" areas because Freedom is a fellow anarchist group.

Anyway, in the spirit of comradeship, I accept your explanations, though I don't necessarily agree with them.

Rob Ray

3 months 2 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Fair enough.

ajjohnstone

3 months 2 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

https://brooklynrail.org/2022/03/field-notes/Ukraine-The-Economic-Consequences-of-the-War

A longer piece on Ukraine by Michael Roberts

Ukraine has become a pawn in this confrontation between Western imperialism and Russian crony capitalism. It is suffering like all small states in geopolitical confrontations—such is the intertwining of politics and economics.

ajjohnstone

3 months 2 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

https://critisticuffs.org/texts/stop-conflating-ukraine-and-its-inhabitants

noslavery

3 months 2 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I am just an observer, I don't belong to any organization.

nationalism or patriotism (or however we feel most comfortable defining it in English) can be empowering and important for people who are under threat of imperialist invasion. Around the world, the fights for citizenship, autonomy, and self-determination come alongside asserting certain flags, languages, religions, and cultures. This isn’t the same as far-right, neo-nazi groups who do it on behalf of somewhere like England. Fascism punches down, resistance is not the same. From Ukraine to Scotland to Western Sahara to Palestine to Tatarstan, we stand with the people resisting imperialism.

I do not agree. We shouldn't understand anti-imperialism unconditionally, otherwise we must justify Hamas murdering ordinary Israelis. We should only support those whose resistance against imperialism is anti-authoritarian. All those fight for citizenship ... are manipulated, nationalistic, authoritarian concepts rather than anarchist concept. People have those concepts because their mind is under control by those who rule them.

And while it is truly understandable that many people hate Russia and Russians and anything to do with Russia, and more power to them, ...

"Understandable"? It depends how! Those who hate Russia and Russian are not understandable. They hate because their mind do not work right, how manipulated minds are understandable. They should love Russians and hate Russian authoritarian rulers as well as their own.

I think Ukraine is not under attack, the entire Western power is under attack. This war is between Western power vs Easter power. Ukraine is just the place that this is happening. So, Ukraine is different from UK, is not a good thinking.

I think anarchist must not simply stick to workers against capitalists, they should analyze people mind and state of their mind. If their mind is bought, they are authoritarians’ collaborator until we be able to change their mind. The whole "class" struggle is about changing people mind not give in to it.

Scallywag

3 months 1 week ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Does anyone think the sanctions are likely to work and provoke regime change in Russia?

I say 'regime change' as opposed to revolution because is a change in the government of Russia even something we would want if that just means some other form of neoliberalism or another type of Putin?

ajjohnstone

3 months 1 week ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Germany has warned that an immediate boycott of Russian gas and oil supplies could hurt its own population more than Vladimir Putin, bringing mass unemployment and poverty.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/14/russian-gas-oil-boycott-mass-poverty-warns-germany

So Russia's main source of income, oil and gas, will continue.

The cost of the war will bring austerity policies and there may be a rise in strike actions.

But from the experience of trade embargoes on Venezuela, Iran and North Korea, it would seem that it is more likely to lead to more State repression.

Are there any politicians within Putin's entourage capable of replacing him? We will only know when he puts his head above the parapets. His main opposition Alexie Navalny is presently in gaol advocating for street protests but he is relatively powerless to Putin.

Fozzie

3 months ago

bump

hedgehog

3 months ago

Here are some links on the war – from a wide range of sources - that libcom readers may have missed:

‘John Mearsheimer on why the West is principally responsible for the Ukrainian crisis,’Economist:

The main cause [of the recent conflict] was that Ukraine was becoming a de facto member of NATO. The process started in December 2017, when the Trump administration decided to sell Kyiv ‘defensive weapons’. … Other NATO countries got in on the act, shipping weapons to Ukraine, training its armed forces and allowing it to participate in joint air and naval exercises. … Unsurprisingly, Moscow found this evolving situation intolerable and began mobilising its army on Ukraine’s border last spring to signal its resolve to Washington. But it had no effect, as the Biden administration continued to move closer to Ukraine. …

Mr Putin may have misjudged Russia’s military capabilities, the effectiveness of the Ukrainian resistance and the scope and speed of the Western response, but one should never underestimate how ruthless great powers can be when they believe they are in dire straits. America and its allies, however, are doubling down, hoping to inflict a humiliating defeat on Mr Putin and to maybe even trigger his removal. … If the West not only thwarts Moscow on Ukraine’s battlefields, but also does serious, lasting damage to Russia’s economy, it is in effect pushing a great power to the brink. Mr Putin might then turn to nuclear weapons.

‘Ukraine could turn into another endless war, especially if Nato decides more than just peace is needed’ – Patrick Cockburn, Inews:

Russia has not been militarily defeated and it can keep pounding Ukrainian cities into rubble even though it cannot easily capture them. It is unlikely to agree to serious peace talks until it has made some significant gains on the ground and these may be a long time coming. Already large parts of these Ukrainian cities look like opposition areas in Damascus and Fallujah …

The likelihood of [a nuclear exchange] occurring has increased for two reasons .... First, the Russian army has shown itself much weaker than anybody expected, increasing the chance of the Kremlin using tactical nuclear weapons to even the odds. Second, Putin’s historic blunder in starting an unwinnable war in the first place shows that the Kremlin is a very poor judge of the situation on the ground in Ukraine. Equally important, the Kremlin wholly underestimated the furious reaction of the US and the rest of Europe to the invasion. The danger is that these serial misjudgments would in future extend to the prospect of Russia using nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. ...

The killing of Ukrainian civilians and destruction of their homes by Russian firepower shown every night on Western television will raise the pressure on politicians to do something about extending war aims from defending Ukraine to regime change in Moscow. This would guarantee a longer war with more blood spilt by the day and an ever-decreasing chance of a compromise peace.

‘The risk that the war in Ukraine escalates past the nuclear threshold,’Economist:

The chances of a conflict escalating into a nuclear war are greater than they have been for more than half a century. … One fear is that Russia might directly attack arms depots or shipments on the soil of a NATO member state, such as Romania or Poland. Russian spies have covertly attacked such depots in Bulgaria and the Czech Republic in recent years. On March 12th Sergei Ryabkov, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, said arms convoys were ‘legitimate targets’. If the country thus attacked called on its allies to treat the aggression as a trigger for Article Five, the alliance’s mutual-defence clause, NATO might decide to respond with reprisals against Russian forces in Ukraine, if not against forces in Russia itself. …

‘Manifesto against the war’ - Sergio Bologna, Karl Heinz Roth et al:

We cannot be passive spectators. If the escalation continues, we could face the horrors of war in the coming weeks just as the Ukrainian civilian population currently does. ... We therefore propose as first steps to mobilise resistance:

1. The halting of all arms shipments to Ukraine and the other war zones of the world through boycott actions.

2. The launch of a campaign to refuse military service in all armies directly or indirectly involved in the Ukraine war: defiance of conscription, refusal of orders, desertion from combat and supply units, whether Russian, Ukrainian or NATO. Development of a solidarity movement abroad for conscientious objectors.

3. Participation in relief operations in support of all refugees from Ukraine as well as all other areas of war and civil war, without distinction.

The time has come to take a stand against the disorientation of the peace and protest movement. The mass demonstrations all over the world and the interests of the working classes are directed against all imperialist powers and must not take sides. … The time has come for the opponents of war in all countries to unite before it is too late. The danger of using nuclear weapons is real. We must do everything we can to prevent it. This is our responsibility to our children and grandchildren!

… and here’s some criticism of this manifesto: ‘Is this monstrous war of aggression really between two equal sides?’ - Simon Pirani

'Stopping the war is the absolute priority’ - Volodymyr Ishchenko,Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung:

I fear that if sanctions and arms deliveries remain the dominant response, it means that the West is actually interested in this war. Putin cannot afford to lose, so he will wage war for as long as possible. That will mean a huge number of dead and the complete destruction of Ukrainian cities.

'Turning Ukraine into another Afghanistan would be a disastrous idea,' - Branko Marcetic, Jacobin:

There is no military solution to this war that doesn’t make things much, much worse. It may not sound as viscerally satisfying, but the solution to this is the same one that was rejected in the lead-up to this invasion, that numerous leading foreign policy voices urged, and which looks better every day this horrible war goes on: a mutually acceptable negotiated settlement that guarantees Ukraine’s territorial integrity (and gives Moscow a road back from what at this point looks like a disastrous miscalculation) while addressing Russia’s long-standing security concerns.

‘Why did Ukraine suspend 11 ‘pro-Russia’ parties?’ - Volodymyr Ishchenko, Al Jazeera:

Zelenskyy’s government suspended 11 Ukrainian political parties citing their alleged ‘links with Russia’... One of them, the Opposition Platform for Life, came second in the recent elections … One year ago, the government sanctioned Viktor Medvedchuk, a personal friend of Putin, soon after polls started to show that his party may have more public support than Zelenskyy’s ‘People’s Servant’ party and could overtake him in a future election. At the time, the sanctions against Medvedchuk and his TV stations were also endorsed by the US Embassy in Ukraine. Several analysts have since speculated that those sanctions may have been among the factors that led Putin to begin preparations for the war, by convincing him that Russia-friendly politicians would never be allowed to win an election in Ukraine. ...There is little reason to expect the suspension of the parties to be lifted once the war is over.

‘Is Putin heading toward a partition of Ukraine?’ - Zoltan Grossman, Znet:

In the same way that Ukrainian and Russian ultranationalists have reinforced each other’s messages of hate, Putin’s aggressions and NATO’s expansions have fed off of each other’s messages of military might. They actually need each other, to generate fear among their own people

Like many western leaders, Putin’s main goal is to stay in power, especially in the face of economic crises at home, and a good way to always is stoke fear and xenophobia abroad. An independent Ukraine simmering with anger would enable Putin to continue to scare his own people with ‘NATO and Nazis,’ and exploit Russia’s historical traumas associated with threats from the west. Without an enemy abroad, he may not be able to maintain control at home. So although partition would hardly placate Ukrainians, it might be the outcome he needs to keep ruling over Russians.

‘Russia’s war shows the chaos in the world order’ – Branko Milanovic, Jacobin:

Between 1987 and 1993, Russian GDP ... fell by about 40 percent. ... If you were in the lower part of the Russian income distribution, not only would you lose 40 percent of your income, but because inequality went against you, you would lose 60 or 70 percent. … Life expectancy in Russia declined at the fastest pace ever in recorded history during peacetime. Put all this together and you have a total societal collapse. …

In the 2000s, the situation improved for many reasons, including the stabilization of the ruble, increased oil prices, higher agricultural output, and Putin’s own contribution in the sense that he got rid of many of the oligarchs who were fighting each other and dragging the country close to the civil war. …

Putin makes these big geopolitical decisions, and then the technocrats have to find a way to somehow soften the economic blowback of such big decisions. Putin doesn’t seem to take an interest in how they would do it: he basically treats the government the way some people treat people who clean up their home: clean up the mess I made.

Kuba Wrzesniewski's twitter feed is also well worth checking out, for example: https://mobile.twitter.com/DrKuba2/status/1504588254158286866

rat

2 months 4 weeks ago

An article by Anarchist Communists Meanjin responding to that 'Fuck Leftist Westplaining' article in Freedom News:

Now Isn't the Time to Shut Up About NATO: Responding to Freedom News.

https://www.acmeanjin.org/articles/now-isnt-the-time-to-shut-up-about-nato

Spikymike

2 months 3 weeks ago

An extended follow-up article from IP exposing the absurdities of war propaganda and delving into the contradictions of inter-imperialist war in the globalised capitalist economy in the 'nuclear era' here:
https://internationalistperspective.org/dont-fight-for-your-country/

Alf

2 months 2 weeks ago

A common statement by some groups of the communist left who agree on the need for revolutionaries to come together to defend basic internationalist positions.

https://en.internationalism.org/content/17159/joint-statement-groups-international-communist-left-about-war-ukraine

hedgehog

2 months ago

Here are some more links on the war – from a wide range of sources - that Libcom readers may have missed:

New Left Review has three informative pieces by Tony Wood, Volodymyr Ishchenko and Susan Watkins:

It was in part to maintain its strategic hegemony over Berlin that Washington engineered the expansion of NATO ... NATO was a vehicle for extending American power deep into Europe, creating a corridor of Atlanticist powers in between Germany and Russia …

Covert fomenting and arming by Moscow of breakaway ‘republics’ in the Donbas, following its take-over of Crimea, was from the start another matter, leading to a bloody civil war within Ukraine. In military terms, it would in due course be outmatched by a concerted US military training and armament programme. In 2016 Obama redoubled American military aid and appointed John Abizaid, the commanding general in Iraq during the early years of its occupation, as senior adviser to Ukraine’s Minister of Defence in a planned five-year partnership. Abizaid’s executive officer, a veteran of special-forces operations in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq, has described the American makeover of a ‘decrepit’ Ukrainian military into a professionalized Western army, with US-organized command-and-control systems, operations planning, it and logistical infrastructures, plus significant anti-aircraft capability. As Stephen Kotkin would rejoice in the Times Literary Supplement, Ukraine might not be in NATO, but NATO was in Ukraine.

Noam Chomsky, ‘US Policy Toward Russia Is Blocking Paths to De-escalation in Ukraine’

[US policy] is to 'fight to the last Ukrainian for Ukrainian independence' while offering no way to save Ukraine from further tragedy. Even worse, current policy undermines such hopes by informing Putin that he has no way out: It’s The Hague or proceed to destroy Ukraine.

The quote and the opinions just paraphrased are those of one of the most astute and widely respected US diplomats, Ambassador Chas Freeman, who goes on to spell out the options, and to remind us of the history. Like anyone who cares in the least about the fate of Ukrainians, Ambassador Freeman recognizes that the only alternative to Russian destruction of Ukraine — which, with their backs to the wall, Putin and his narrow circle of siloviki [strong men] can implement — is a negotiated settlement that will be ugly, offering the aggressors an escape.

Niall Ferguson (right-wing but, sometimes anti-war, historian), Bloomberg Opinion:

‘The only end game now,’ a senior administration official was heard to say at a private event earlier this month, ‘is the end of Putin regime. …’ I gather that senior British figures are talking in similar terms. There is a belief that ‘the UK’s No. 1 option is for the conflict to be extended and thereby bleed Putin.’ Again and again, I hear such language. (22/3/2022)

At the end of his speech in Warsaw last Sunday, Joe Biden uttered nine words for the history books: 'For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.' … US officials almost immediately sought to walk it back. But read the whole speech, which made repeated allusions to the fall of the Berlin Wall and of the Soviet Union, positing a new battle in our time 'between democracy and autocracy, between liberty and repression, between a rules-based order and one governed by brute force.' There is no doubt in my mind that the U.S. (and at least some of its European allies) are aiming to get rid of Putin. (3/4/2022)

Patrick Cockburn, Inews:
‘The threat of nuclear weapons being deployed is greater now than it ever was in the Cold War’

The Russian conventional military machine turns out to be weaker than anybody expected, unable to defeat the small Ukrainian army and therefore unlikely to stand up against NATO forces. The only way the Kremlin can even up the balance of military power will be through its nuclear arsenal and, in particular, through its 1,000 to 2,000 tactical nuclear weapons. ...

In recent decades, the emphasis in the US and more especially in Russia, has been on the development of smaller nuclear devices with a third or half the power of the Hiroshima bomb. The purpose of this reduction in destructive capacity is to make it feasible to deploy such weapons on a battlefield to destroy a convoy or an enemy stronghold. This is dangerous and untested military terrain, since nobody knows how the other side would react, and an exchange of tactical nuclear missiles in open countryside might swiftly escalate into the apocalyptic destruction of cities by Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles. … A further factor which makes the second cold war against Moscow more dangerous than the first is that the previous dread of a nuclear Armageddon has largely evaporated. The fact that it never happened has fostered a feeling that it never could have happened – though any realistic risk assessment suggests that the danger today is greater than it ever was in the past.

'War crimes will only make things worse for Russia as Ukrainians prepare for a fight to the bitter end'

[Russian] atrocities were the more-or-less inevitable outcome of this ill-conceived invasion plan, rooted in wishful thinking and carried out by ill-disciplined and ill-trained troops. Poor-quality soldiers like this facing a hostile population are particularly dangerous in my experience, because they quickly come to believe that they are being spied on, sniped at and generally betrayed by the local population. …

The Russian retreat and the revelations about atrocities and possible war crimes will impact the way other nations view the war, tipping the balance towards those who want to see Russia defeated in Ukraine ... Such a furious reaction to the latest butchery may be understandable, but it will not necessarily be good for the 44 million Ukrainians. Monstrous though the killings are, the war could get a lot worse yet if Russia engages in so-called 'meat-grinder' tactics in south-east Ukraine, pounding cities into submission or destruction. ... The only way to stop atrocities in Ukraine is to end a war which is unlikely to produce a clear winner.

Alexander Watson, ‘“Unheard-of Brutality”: Russian Atrocities against Civilians in East Prussia, 1914–1915,’ Journal of Modern History

The way that Russian atrocities are being used to justify more war is nothing new. Just as, in 1914, German atrocities in Belgium were used to persuade Allied populations to support the war, Russian atrocities in Prussia were used to rally support for the German war effort. There were also other similarities. As Alexander Watson says:

The Russians’ violence in East Prussia was motivated, like that of the Kaiser’s military in Belgium and France, primarily by fears of facing a ‘people’s war.’ … The tsarist army [had a] preoccupation with spies … The army’s utterly inadequate logistical preparation for the campaign meant that troops were often hungry, and the need to requisition food offered an excuse to enter dwellings and then to steal, rape, or murder.

German Social Democratic newspapers justified their support for ‘national defence’ on the grounds that 'We do not want our women and children to become victims of Cossack bestiality'. Russian atrocity propaganda further strengthened this support. (Of course, Word War One wasn’t ended by the German Social Democratic Party or it’s policy of ‘national defence’, it was ended by revolutions initiated by proletarian women’s protests all across Europe. For various sources see the ‘Uprisings Led by Women’ Wikipedia Page.)

Igor Ilyash, ‘Why Belarus is yet to join Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,’ Open Democracy

Alexander Lukashenka’s regime has acted as an accomplice to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine since February, providing its territory as a staging ground for the invasion. But the Belarusian military itself is yet to directly enter into the conflict. The main deterrent? Belarusian society’s total rejection of the prospect of participating in the war. … In response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a wave of sabotage swept across the country: people who oppose the war have tried to render the railways unusable, preventing Russian military equipment from moving through Belarusian territory.

hedgehog

1 month 3 weeks ago

With Washington proposing to send another $20 billion of weapons to Ukraine, the war is becoming an unprecedented open conflict between the US and Russia. These articles provide useful background to this worrying situation:

'US intel helped Ukraine protect air defenses, shoot down Russian plane carrying hundreds of troops,’ NBC

As Russia launched its invasion, the U.S. gave Ukrainian forces detailed intelligence about exactly when and where Russian missiles and bombs were intended to strike, prompting Ukraine to move air defenses and aircraft out of harm’s way .... ‘There has been a lot of real-time intelligence shared in terms of things that could be used for specific targeting of Russian forces,’ … ‘There has been a very robust relationship between U.S. intel agencies and the Ukrainians for the last eight years,’ the official said.

Fears Are Mounting That Ukraine War Will Spill Across Borders,' New York Times

Talk of a diplomatic resolution or even a cease-fire has died out.... ‘Putin is not willing to back down, nor are the Ukrainians, so there is more blood to come,’ said Robin Niblett, the director of Chatham House ... Seth G. Jones, who directs the European Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said on Wednesday that ‘the risk of a widening war is serious right now.’ ‘Russian casualties are continuing to mount, and the U.S. is committed to shipping more powerful weapons that are causing those casualties,’ Mr. Jones said. Sooner or later, he added, Russia’s military intelligence service might begin to target those weapons shipments inside NATO’s borders.

‘Calibre of global leadership is at a historic low,’ Patrick Cockburn

The Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss, made a speech at the Mansion House in London expressing enthusiasm for maximum war aims. ‘We will keep going further and faster to push Russia out of the whole of Ukraine,’ she said, which would mean backing a Ukrainian counter-offensive to retake Crimea and the Russian-backed separatist republics in the Donbas. These are objectives that any Russian leader, regardless of whether or not Vladimir Putin remains in the Kremlin, is likely to resist…. [If Russia’s war in the Donbas] fails, and Ukraine launches a counter-offensive, then Putin may have little choice but to declare a general mobilisation rather than face a defeat that would probably be the end of his regime…

‘Behind Lloyd Austin's call for a “weakened” Russia, hints of a shift,’ New York Times

When Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III declared Monday at the end of a stealth visit to Ukraine that America’s goal is to see Russia so ‘weakened’ that it would no longer have the power to invade a neighboring state, he was acknowledging a transformation of the conflict, from a battle over control of Ukraine to one that pits Washington more directly against Moscow ... [There is a] risk: that if Mr. Putin believes that his conventional military forces are being strangled, he will turn to stepped-up cyberattacks on Western infrastructure, chemical weapons or his arsenal of tactical, ‘battlefield’ nuclear weapons. It is a possibility that was barely conceivable eight weeks ago, but is regularly discussed today.

‘The horrible dangers of pushing a US proxy war in Ukraine,’ Anatol Lieven

There is no sign that Russia wants to or indeed could invade any other countries. As far as an attack on NATO is concerned, the miserable performance of the Russian military in Ukraine should have made absolutely clear that this is a fatuous chimera. If Russia cannot capture cities less than 20 miles from Russia’s own border, the idea of an attack on NATO is ludicrous. …

A U.S. strategy of using the war in Ukraine to weaken Russia is also of course completely incompatible with the search for a ceasefire and even a provisional peace settlement. It would require Washington to oppose any such settlement and to keep the war going. And indeed, when in late March the Ukrainian government put forward a very reasonable set of peace proposals, the lack of public U.S. support for them was extremely striking.

‘Will the Invasion of Ukraine Lead to Nuclear War?’ Michael Klare [23-28 mins]

In 2018, [Putin] gave a speech in which he said when nuclear weapons would be used. And he included ‘an act of aggression against us with the use of conventional weapons that threatens the very existence of the state’ would justify the use of nuclear weapons. …

The massive battle now taking place in eastern Ukraine [is] going to be like World War II with thousands of tanks and heavy armor on both sides and massive artillery. Putin is committing everything he has to this. … His life, his prestige, hangs on the success of this offensive. It's clear that the US and its allies are now going to try to seek to defeat that offensive by providing Ukraine with the weapons to do so. …

This is precisely the kind of situation that could trigger in Putin's mind a situation if his forces face spectacular defeat on the battlefield (and remember he's not talking about Ukraine, he's talking about Russia; as far as he's concerned, that area is Russia, not a foreign country), and he said that in the event that there is a catastrophic threat to our conventional forces we will reply with tactical nuclear weapons.

‘The return of the 20th century’s nuclear shadow,’ Financial Times

Without most people being aware of it, the world is entering its most dangerous period since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. … Russians are being told every day that they are in a fight for national survival against western-backed Nazis. This level of rhetoric exceeds anything from the cold war. The concept of mutually assured destruction, which took hold after 1962, is that each side has a clear window on the other’s routines and thinking. Most of the information-sharing that was put in place has been abandoned in the past decade. ...This means the two adversaries, which account for 90 per cent of the world’s warheads, are far more ignorant of each other’s signalling than they were in the 1970s and 1980s.

Paul Mason is, yet again, one of the most fanatically pro-war commentators:
'Russia must be defeated so it can rebuild without Putin,' The European

Everyone I speak to on the inside of defence, diplomacy and Russian studies fears that Putin might drop a tactical nuclear weapon on Ukraine. ... [But] Russia has shown itself beatable. ... Since its leaders have threatened to nuke us unprovoked, that is a rational goal for the western democracies to pursue. …

If Spanish and Belgian left MPs want to halt arms supplies to Ukraine, it is – in part – because the voters who support them accept the pacifist argument that ‘arms only prolong the suffering’. There is, in short, the same kind of fear, defeatism and desire for appeasement among parts of the electorate as there was over Hitler in the 1930s. …

Putin’s stated aim is to destroy western democracy. If he is able to smash a democracy of 41 million people and cancel the existence of their national identity, the only rational question is: who’s next?… We should resist the ‘No Arms to Ukraine’ movement being built by Putin’s allies and admirers. We should respect the agency of Ukrainians – a people who are showing the rest of us how precious democracy and sovereignty are.

hedgehog

10 hours 9 min ago

'Let Them Kill as Many as Possible': The Roots of US Militarism in Russia and Around the World,’ Brian Terrell

In April 1941, four years before he was to become President and eight months before the United States entered World War II, Senator Harry Truman of Missouri reacted to the news that Germany had invaded the Soviet Union: "If we see that Germany is winning the war, we ought to help Russia; and if that Russia is winning, we ought to help Germany, and in that way let them kill as many as possible."

Truman was not called out as a cynic when he spoke these words from the floor of the Senate. On the contrary, when he died in 1972, Truman's obituary in ‘The New York Times’ cited this statement as establishing his "reputation for decisiveness and courage." "This basic attitude," gushed ‘The Times’, "prepared him to adopt from the start of his Presidency, a firm policy," an attitude that prepared him to order the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with "no qualms." Truman's same basic "let them kill as many as possible" attitude also informed the postwar doctrine that bears his name, along with the establishment of NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the CIA, the Central Intelligence Agency, both of which he is credited with founding.

A February 25 op-ed in ‘The Los Angeles Times’ by Jeff Rogg, "The CIA has backed Ukrainian insurgents before - Let's learn from those mistakes," cites a CIA program to train Ukrainian nationalists as insurgents to fight the Russians that began in 2015 and compares it with a similar effort by Truman's CIA in Ukraine that began in 1949. By 1950, one year in, "U.S. officers involved in the program knew they were fighting a losing battle … In the first U.S.-backed insurgency, according to top secret documents later declassified, American officials intended to use the Ukrainians as a proxy force to bleed the Soviet Union." This op-ed cites John Ranelagh, a historian of the CIA, who argued that the program "demonstrated a cold ruthlessness" because the Ukrainian resistance had no hope of success, and so "America was in effect encouraging Ukrainians to go to their deaths." …

‘Welcome to a Science-Fiction Planet,’ Noam Chomsky

In 1997, Clinton invited the so-called Visegrad countries — Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania — to join NATO. The Russians didn’t like it but didn’t make much of a fuss. Then the Baltic nations joined, again the same thing. In 2008, the second Bush, who was quite different from the first, invited Georgia and Ukraine into NATO. Every U.S. diplomat understood very well that Georgia and Ukraine were red lines for Russia. They’ll tolerate the expansion elsewhere, but these are in their geostrategic heartland and they’re not going to tolerate expansion there.

To continue with the story, the Maidan uprising took place in 2014, expelling the pro-Russian president and Ukraine moved toward the West. From 2014, the U.S. and NATO began to pour arms into Ukraine — advanced weapons, military training, joint military exercises, moves to integrate Ukraine into the NATO military command. … [In 2021] Biden announced a program, a joint statement to accelerate the process of military training, military exercises, more weapons as part of what his administration called an “enhanced program” of preparation for NATO membership. …

So, criminality and stupidity on the Kremlin side, severe provocation on the U.S. side. … There’s only one way to bring it to an end. That’s diplomacy. Now, diplomacy, by definition, means both sides accept it. They don’t like it, but they accept it as the least bad option. It would offer Putin some kind of escape hatch. That’s one possibility. The other is just to drag it out and see how much everybody will suffer, how many Ukrainians will die, how much Russia will suffer, how many millions of people will starve to death in Asia and Africa, how much we’ll proceed toward heating the environment to the point where there will be no possibility for a livable human existence. Those are the options. Well, with near 100% unanimity, the United States and most of Europe want to pick the no-diplomacy option. It’s explicit.

‘Will the Ukraine War End Without Destroying All Life on the Planet?' Patrick Cockburn

I find it one of the most amazing things about this amazing war, is that [nuclear war is] not taken more seriously. In the ’50s and ’60s, people were really worried about a nuclear war, a nuclear exchange. This time around, the likelihood is actually much higher, but nobody … You don’t see any demonstrations about it. People don’t even seem particularly worried about it…. It seems very clear to me that if Putin and the regime are in genuine difficulty, they think they might go, then sure, they’ll only threaten to use these. But once you make a threat, to make that threat effective, you have to really, in part of your mind, be willing to follow through on the threat. …

So, the comparison here is between the atmosphere in 1914, at the beginning of the First World War and now, that the German invasion of Belgium, various atrocities committed by German troops, the great wave of hostility to Germany and patriotism. Turned almost all the political parties who’d been previously anti-war, into advocates of fighting Germany to the finish. I think it’s quite a real comparison. … [And] if there is a regime change in Russia, then there’s a very good chance it’ll only be a much tougher, more militaristic regime, not one that’s going to run up the white flag. … The Russians are likely to double down on trying to get a victory out of this. ...

‘Farewell to Life, Farewell to Love… Ukraine, War and Self-Organisation,’ Tristan Leoni

The first videos of locals ambushing and defeating Russian convoys created the illusion that if the Ukrainian State was collapsing, the Russian army was going to be challenged by a vast popular guerrilla made of autonomous groups each acting in its own area: groups certainly mostly patriotic, but in the middle of which anarchists might finally manage to play an influential role… This is forgetting that an armed resistance can only be successful if it is structured, disciplined, as well as financed and supported by other States (unless the invader or occupier is beset from within by desertions and mutinies – which is not the Russian army’s case).

What happened was that, after a few days of fighting with spectacular acts of techno-guerrilla by small units of professional soldiers (specifically trained by Americans), encounters very quickly took on a more classic form : a confrontation between large heavily armed units, in which coordination, movement, artillery duels and ammunition and fuel supplies play a vital role. What became of the anarchist “squads” in such a maelstrom? It is unlikely that it helped them obtain more autonomy. … Until now, we have seen a real militarisation of society, media censorship, a ban on left-wing opposition, and a hunt after draft-dodgers.

‘“In this war, the ordinary infantryman is nothing”: Ukrainian soldiers in Donbas feel abandoned and outgunned,’ Canadian Broadcasting Organisation

Now, under ceaseless bombardment and after immense casualties, some Ukrainian troops say they are feeling abandoned by their leadership — left to die in hopeless conditions. … Two fighters — Nikita, 35, and his companion, Mikhail, 56, both members of a Ukrainian army unit stationed nearby — just returned from the front line east of Bakhmut, about five kilometres from the city. …

"In this war, the ordinary infantryman is nothing," said Nikita. "Now it's all artillery and heavy weapons. The average soldier, he can't do anything." "We are just cannon fodder," Mikhail interjects…. "You have to understand that there are two castes in this country," [Nikita] said. "There's the upper caste, and then there's us: the lower caste. We are just pawns. Nothing more. The upper caste gets the money, and we get the command: 'Forward!'”
"That's how it's always worked here [in Ukraine]," he said, before emphasizing that he doesn't expect anyone to believe him. "No one here wants to hear the truth," said Nikita. "They just want the beautiful story of how Ukraine is united. But here, we're f—ked."

In a bit of good news, a recent joint report by Ukrainian and Western intelligence officials says that on the Ukrainian side “cases of desertion are growing every week.” Meanwhile, ‘The Wall Street Journal’ confirms that hundreds have also deserted on the Russian side.

For those interested in Paul Mason's political trajectory, he's not only trying to become a Starmerite Labour MP but seems to be attempting to work with the British state in order to further attack the anti-war left: ‘Mason's Mad Mind Map,’ Novara