[WSF-Discuss] Ukraine: "Solidarity is the most important weapon we have"

peter waterman peterwaterman1936 at gmail.com
Sat May 17 02:20:53 CDT 2014


Mikael:

Was not the collapse of the Soviet Union, the end of the Cold War and 'The
End of History', the major reason for the loss of public concern with
nuclear disarmament?

The revival of END? I would have thought that its remit would be too
narrow. Maybe a campaign based on the idea that 'Another Europe is
Necessary', and then spelling this out in terms of a 'Europe of the
Peoples' and further specifying the complete range of principles,
institutions and processes that this would imply.

Peter


On Sat, May 17, 2014 at 8:30 AM, Mikael Book <book at kaapeli.fi> wrote:

>
> Dear Tord,
>
> freely, your proposal to create an all-European solidarity movement for
> peace and solidarity with movements in Ukraine is worthy of consideration,
> but don't you think it should mention disarmament and, in particular,
> nuclear disarmament?
>
> "The true realist dies in the pragmatic, "realist" politician, but what
> kind of a strange creature is the latter in this Nuclear Age?", wrote Harry
> Martinson in "Views from a Tuft of Grass", written in 1963. I have been
> thinking of what he meant. Maybe the true realist in them dies because
> they, the politicians, have had "to get into the habit of discussing
> nuclear bombs and daycare in approximately the same tone and the same
> absence of tremor in their voices", as Martinson himself explained.
>
> And was it then so that peu à peu they stopped talking about nuclear bombs
> altogether? Because not even they were longer able to talk about them "in
> approximately the same tone"?
>
> Except Barack Obama, who said something and was then immediately given the
> Peace Nobel.
>
> But how come that we, WE, kept silent?
>
> Well, you know and I know one of the reasons for our silence. The military
> might of the USA and the NATO has seemed to be so overwhelming that somehow
> we feel that it is necessary that Russia maintains their nuclear deterrent.
> But it is not, really. This was one of the worst mistakes of the leaders of
> the USSR, that they built their nuclear deterrent. However, it takes an
> Einstein to understand it. Less brainy people like uourselves let their
> brains be washed. Or, what do you think?
>
> Don't you think that European Nuclear Disarmament (END) would be the
> starting-point of an all-European movement for peace and solidarity with
> movements in the borderland between the four winds?
>
> We'll meet again,
>
> Mikael
>
> Mikael Böök * book at kaapeli.fi * gsm +358(0)-44 5511 324 *
> http://www.kaapeli.fi/book/  * http://blogi.kaapeli.fi/book/ *
> http://blog.spinellisfootsteps.info/
>
>
> On Sat, 17 May 2014, Tord Björk wrote:
>
>  To all popular movements in Europe
>>
>> What chance is there to develop an All-European solidarity movement for
>> peace and solidarity with movements in Ukraine? Those predicting further
>> escalations towards an unevitable civil war are many, those focusing upon
>> geopolitical actors are even more.
>>
>> In Sweden as in many other parts of Europe the main stream politicians and
>> media including quite a few alternative media have been seeing the
>> conflict
>> in the light of Great Russian imperialism. Actually the foreign minister
>> Carl Bildt has been one of the most anti-Russian EU actors since long
>> before the actual crisis in Ukraine. His first reaction on Twitter to the
>> Odessa massacre were 42 people died when the trade union building they
>> were
>> trapped in was set on fire was to claim "Seems to have started with
>> pro-Russian attempt to get control of buildings." Even afterwards Carl
>> Bildt continued to claim the victims as responsible for the massacre, "It
>> was to be expected that the pro-Russian destabilization attempts would
>> reach Odessa as well and now they did with a very tragic outcome" (TV4 May
>> 3). Carl Bildt has also been notoriuos for not mentioning the role of
>> fascists in the uprising against Janukovitch and their presence in the
>> present government while meeting with Svoboda politicians. Notorius is
>> also
>> that some activists from theneo-Nazi Party of the Swedes has been sent to
>> Ukraine to take part in the struggle together with the Right Sector.
>>
>> How is then popular movements reacting to the situation? There has been
>> links with Ukrainian movements opposing the earlier Janukovitch government
>> both among Euromaidan and Antimaidan forces. The radical syndicalist trade
>> union as well as several other newspapers related to popular movements and
>> the left have sent reporters to the conflict giving a more balanced view
>> than the biased given by main stream media. Left organizations and
>> liberals
>> of all strands have their direct connection to not talk about Ukrainians,
>> the author of this text is an environmentalist having connections to the
>> different groups in Ukraine after the European Social Forum in Malmö 2008.
>> But organizations in general with a few exceptions as Transnational
>> Foundation for Peace and Future Research, Anti Fascist Action (Autonom
>> group) and some very small left wing parties have voiced strong concerns
>> about the Odessa massacre and acted in solidarity refusing to take part in
>> the lack of empathy for the victims or the many attempts to blaim the
>> victims as guilty of causing their own death.
>>
>> Thus the participation in solidarity actions has been minimal. From the
>> beginning mainly organized by ad hoc Russian speaking Ukrainians and
>> Russians groups but on May 9 with a bit broader participation. In spite of
>> its smallness one can hope that there is a beginning of a kinf of
>> coalition
>> necessary for building an internationalistic solidarity movement with
>> those
>> politically oppressed in Ukraine beyond the lack of empathy and siding
>> with
>> Russian, EU or US imperialist interests.
>>
>> This hope can eminate from the set of speakers at the solidarity action in
>> Stockholm on May 9. Here were key actors from different strands quite
>> often
>> politically opposing each other and furthermore in many parts of Europe
>> tending to be very sceptical about the role of Russia and Stalinism or
>> Putin´s authoritarian government. Hence Mathias Wåg, on of the editors of
>> Brand (Fire) the oldest Anarchist newspaper still published in the world
>> started in 1898, and activist in environmental, anti fascist, autonom and
>> Right to the City movements who recently has written exensively on the
>> role
>> of fascism in Russia and how Western European right wing extremism sees
>> Russia as their ally made a strong contribution in support of solidarity
>> of
>> those under threat of terror in Ukraine now.
>>
>> Mathias Wåg, call "Odessa a challenge to the solidarity" - "the most
>> important weapon we have." He continous: "We know that it is a country
>> that
>> is in the middle of a geopolitical conflict, where Russia has its
>> interests, Europe has its. We know that the country is being torn in two.
>> We
>> also know that the Maidanprotest is legitimate, as well as the anti -
>> Maidan movement protest.  ... Borotba (a left wing party on the
>> anti-Maidan
>> movement) are extremely vulnerable now,  they will be singled out as a
>> target . They will suffer the harshest repression :
>> - It is therefore our solidarity must cut right through these divisions.
>> We
>> need to see the working-class and left-wing forces that are beyond
>> them. Without
>> releasing the space available in these protests. We should not allow
>> ourselves to be driven out and crushed by the fascists. This will always
>> mean that we can not stay clean, we need to make our hands dirty. We will
>> find ourselves in situations where reactionary forces either attack us or
>> try to ally themselves with us to take over the questions.
>>
>> The interesting moment, says Mathias Wåg, is what will happen when the IMF
>> demands will be put on the Kiev regime and they have to enforce an even
>> harder neoliberal policies :
>> - When it becomes apparent that even the anti-Maidanprotesters that
>> support, or have a support of Russia, realize it's the same neoliberal
>> policies there. When it becomes clear that the fascist forces allied
>> itself
>> with neoliberal policies. It is then solidarity enters. That's when we
>> have
>> to see the groups fighting for everyday demands, class demands, the
>> explosive. The only fascists can set against them is the split that leads
>> to a civil war."
>>
>> The article about the solidarity event in Stockholm organized by the
>> trotskyist party Socialist Justice Party (CWI), Workers' Power (5th
>> International) and Students Against Racism. The article was written in the
>> weekly Internationalen issued by the Socialist party (4th International).
>> Among the speakers were Mathias Wåg, anarchist and antifascist, Aleksej
>> Sachnin, Left front Russia, anti-Putin activst and political refugee in
>> Sweden and Maj Wechselman, film maker and Left party activist.
>>
>>
>> "Solidarity is the most important weapon we have"
>>
>> May 16, 2014
>>
>>
>> After Odessa.
>>
>> Ninth of May. A small crowd at Sergel's Square in Stockholm. It's a week
>> after the unions house were set on fire and human life was extinguished in
>> Odessa, Ukraine. It's overcast and drizzle and a Sweden where the media
>> image of what is happening in what is usually called for Europe's
>> breadbasket, gladly presented itself as, but not been very objective.
>> Marked
>> by a black and white thinking. The manifestation at Sergel Square is more
>> honest with its position: it renounces violence.
>>
>> That should be easy to undersign that nobody should have to die the way
>> people died in Odessa. It should also be easy to take a stand against that
>> now there are fascists in the government of Ukraine. And against the
>> extreme fascist group Right Sector "special forces". Without legitimizing
>> the doings of Putin. But the picture of all the forces that have been a
>> part of and emintaed from Maidan uprising want democracy and peace seems
>> to
>> sit molded into very many, especially journalists and politicians. In
>> their
>> eyes, the only threat comes from the pro-Russian forces. The protest at
>> the
>> square, organized by Socialist Justice Party, Workers' Power and Students
>> Against Racism, oppose fascism. End of story.
>>
>> "Never again Odessa" the posters say. There are several speakers on the
>> list. All express concern over the development and are clear to renounce
>> all forms of fascism and nationalism, criticizing both Angela Merkel,
>> Barack Obama, and Vladimir Putin. Elin Gauffin from the Socialist Justice
>> Party are one of those who initiated the rally :
>> - We have gathered to have passed out a call for solidarity, anti-fascism
>> and internationalism, against the increasingly horrific developments in
>> Ukraine. There is no doubt about the terrible fact that 46 people,
>> including many active anti-racists and socialists, was killed by a mob of
>> fascist elements. Socialists have described that this massacre was a
>> revenge for people in Odessa had had the courage to march on May Day.
>> She points out that Angela Merkel and Barack Obama had a press conference
>> shortly thereafter, without mentioning the murders in Odessa with a word.
>> She
>> also recalls that Putin heaping on extra devastating nationalism just
>> today, Ninth May, when the end of the Second World War is celebrated in
>> Russia:
>> - It was not Russian leaders or Stalinist generals who gave the Nazi a
>> death blow, it was the ordinary soldiers of the Red Army. We the ordinary
>> workers and young people across Europe must realize today that the fascist
>> groups are again on the rise . Ukraine now has the most right-wing regime
>> in any European country since the Second World War. Svoboda pushing anti
>> feminism, a policy against abortion rights, rape is virtually impossible
>> according to them, it always depends on how the woman is dressed. They
>> stand for the national language to be promoted despite multiculturalism,
>> it
>> is the only language to be spoken in public workplaces.
>> Several other right- wing groups have distanced themselves from Svoboda ,
>> says Elin Gauffin. But they work with the Party of the Swedes (a neo-Nazi
>> party).
>> Regarding Carl Bildt's role in it all , she says that the Left in Ukraine
>> calls him the country's new interior minister.
>>
>> Elin Gauffin also stresses that the Kiev regime is extremely neoliberal.
>> That
>> the deal with the IMF means that Europe's second poorest country
>> prescribed
>> an acid test that is unparalleled. Gas prices are raised immediately by
>> 40-50 percent. Salaries and pensions reduced drastically. While all prices
>> rise across the country when the currency falls freely :
>> - There is no lifeline to Ukraine, rather a lifeline to the banks in the
>> West.
>> She will also discuss the Right Sector , an umbrella of fascist violence
>> groups which emerged as a defense force for Maidanrörelsen :
>> - Of the new regime , they are used as police troops. Now , they are sent
>> to Odessa with the aim to purge the city from the opposition. Ukraine is
>> slipping ever closer to a total of devastating civil war. The imperialist
>> interference from the West and from Russia, is like gasoline on the fire .
>> The common class interest is what Elin Gauffin think could counterattack
>> from fascism , the workers join together and call for the nationalization
>> of the oligarchs' assets. She ends with a greeting from Athens. There,
>> many
>> people believe that had it not been for the anti-fascists so had golden
>> dawn patrolled the streets by now .
>> - There is a way out of this and it is internationalism. The best weapon
>> against fascism and Nazism. Let these murders be answered with our pledge
>> to become more and more powerful in the fight against racism, fascism,
>> militarism and capitalism.
>>
>> Aleksej Sachnin, a political refugee from Russia. Member of the Russian
>> party Left Front, and one of those who organized massive protests against
>> Putin in 2011-2012. He has friends in the Ukrainian Anti-Fascist Socialist
>> Party Borotba. He explains that he was a left activist in Russia. That he
>> is part of the anti-Putin movement. That he barely believe their ears when
>> people are now beginning to accuse him of supporting Putin, even to be
>> Putin's agent, just because he is highly critical of the new regime in
>> Ukraine. At the beginning of the Maidan, he proposed his Ukrainian friends
>> in Borotba to participate in the Maidan square though they were skeptical,
>> that he regret now:
>> - We live in the propaganda war logic right now. Liberal media in Russia
>> accuses me also to be for Putin. Because I talked about the victims of
>> Ukrainian fascists who are against Putin. Unfortunately, Putin is not the
>> only evil force in this world. I agree that we should not be part of the
>> Russian propaganda machine, but does that mean that we should not protest
>> when people are murdered ? We should be against the killings, even if
>> Putin
>> would also be there.
>>
>> Aleksej Sachnin talks about one of his friends in Ukraine. A Ukrainian
>> socialist journalist who has written about right-wing extremism and fought
>> against fascism in the country, not just in the last three months, but in
>> ten years' time . Two days ago I called the friend. He was scared. The
>> violent, fascist group Right Sector had written about him and his family
>> on
>> the Internet. He was worried that all of them would fall prey to group
>> violence.
>> - Today we have reached by the news that armed police have entered his
>> apartment. They were looking for him. To my ears it sounds as though the
>> Nazis tell the police what to do , and they do it within two days. Is not
>> it enough for us to demonstrate? Is this not it enough for us to prove
>> that
>> we did not agree to live in such a world? Is it legitimate to use Nazi ,
>> paramilitary troops to protect their regime? He believes that neither
>> Putin
>> or the West will help the people of eastern Ukraine. No camp seems to have
>> even little interest in it .
>>
>> Mathias Wåg, from the Network Everything for everybody, call Odessa a
>> challenge to the solidarity of the left. He believes that it should be
>> easy
>> to have an opinion concerning that 46 people have been killed in a fire.
>> But
>> the complicated situation puts our solidarity to the test :
>>
>> - It is also here our solidarity is the most important weapon we have. The
>> solution that we can use to enter the conflict going on in Ukraine. We
>> know
>> that it is a country that is in the middle of a geopolitical conflict ,
>> where Russia has its interests, Europe has its. We know that the country
>> is
>> being torn in two. We also know that the Maidanprotest is legitimate, as
>> well as the anti - Maidanmovement protest.
>> We need to keep two things in the head at the same time and we need to
>> understand what fascism is, he explains. That it is a double threat
>> against
>> the left. A physical - it hits the working class structures and try to
>> divide it, Right Sector chased away the left, trade unions and feminist
>> forces from Maidan - and socially :
>> - It's always a struggle for hegemony and we can not let them take over
>> the
>> protest movements .
>>
>> He points out that it is the same with the anti- Maidanmovement and the
>> separatist and federalist forces that exist within it. Also, there are
>> reactionary forces trying to drive out the Left. Borotba are extremely
>> vulnerable now, he says, they will be singled out as a target . They will
>> suffer the harshest repression :
>> - It is therefore our solidarity must cut right through these divisions.
>> We
>> need to see the working-class and left-wing forces that are beyond
>> them. Without
>> releasing the space available in these protests. We should not allow
>> ourselves to be driven out and crushed by the fascists. This will always
>> mean that we can not stay clean, we need to make our hands dirty. We will
>> find ourselves in situations where reactionary forces either attack us or
>> try to ally themselves with us to take over the questions.
>>
>> The interesting moment, says Mathias Wåg, is what will happen when the IMF
>> demands will be put on the Kiev regime and they have to enforce an even
>> harder neoliberal policies :
>> - When it becomes apparent that even the anti-Maidanprotesters that
>> support, or have a support of Russia, realize it's the same neoliberal
>> policies there. When it becomes clear that the fascist forces allied
>> itself
>> with neoliberal policies. It is then solidarity enters. That's when we
>> have
>> to see the groups fighting for everyday demands, class demands, the
>> explosive. The only fascists can set against them is the split that leads
>> to a civil war.
>>
>> Text and photo:
>> Emma Lundström
>>
>> The article with photos in Swedish:
>> http://www.internationalen.se/2014/05/solidaritet-ar-det-
>> viktigaste-vapen-vi-har/
>>
>
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