jump to navigation

On Ukraine December 6, 2022

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
trackback

Tomás O Flaharta notes a vigil of reflection and remembrance in support of the people of Ukraine on Orwell Road at the Russian Embassy and notable developments at same.

The vigil occurred from 2-4pm outside the Russian Embassy, Orwell Road, Rathgar. Despite awful weather – it rained cats and dogs – over 200 attended, and listened to readings of poetry & prose, as well as music including Christmas carols and traditional Ukrainian songs.

Irish Left With Ukraine (ILWU) activists attended, and were joined by Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald TD (Dublin Central)

ILWU member John Lyons (Independent Left member of Dublin City Council, Dublin Bay North)  [noted] “Great to see Sinn Féin Ireland president @maryloumcdonaldsf showing leadership, expressing her solidarity & support for the heroic people of Ukraine.”

Then there’s this, an overview of how the US right has prominent figures aligned with Russian tropes on the invasion and war.  

It is hardly news that they see common cause and a geopolitical ally in Putin and his ever increasingly reactionary approach to myriad issues. What’s fascinating and telling is how mainstream some of those involved appear to be. 

Some of the Kremlin’s most blatant falsehoods about the war aimed at undercutting US aid for Ukraine have been promoted by major figures on the American right, from Holocaust denier and white supremacist Nick Fuentes to ex-Trump adviser Steve Bannon and Fox News star Tucker Carlson, whose audience of millions is deemed especially helpful to Russian objectives.

 

On a more political track, House Republican Freedom Caucus members such as Paul Gosar, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Scott Perry – who in May voted with 54 other Republican members against a $40bn aid package for Ukraine, and have raised other concerns about the war – have proved useful, though perhaps unwitting, Kremlin allies at times.

That this has such luminaries tying themselves up in conceptual knots is almost neither here nor there:

Fuentes infamously dined with Trump at Mar-a-Lago last month despite his long record of cozying up to Putin and his antisemitic and white supremacist remarks. Back in March, Fuentes said on his podcast: “We continue to support czar Putin in the war effort.” Fuentes also falsely claimed the Russian war in Ukraine was “not aggression” and its goals were “not unreasonable”, repeating the Kremlin line that Moscow is trying to denazify Ukraine.

Meanwhile Mark Galeotti’s always useful podcast, In Moscow’s Shadow looks at the prospect for peace and the nature of that peace. As always he raises important issues – seeing the retaking of Ukrainian territory fully within the area demarcated by its borders, apart from Crimea (which he has some interesting thoughts on) as a plausible outcome. He also suggests that under Putin any ‘peace’ would be nominal, in the sense that while military action would have ceased other forms of conflict would persist. Well worth a listen from a voice that has always had a strong critique of the Kremlin while retaining a deep attachment and sympathy for Russia and Russians. 

As to latest developments? Interesting that Ukraine appears to be behind a spate of attacks on Russian military installations within Russia. The Guardian notes that:

Kyiv does not always tell its allies before it conducts certain types of risky military operations, western officials said. They believe the Ukrainians deliberately avoid disclosing attacks the west might try to dissuade them from carrying out, having previously come under pressure to abandon certain strikes. Attacks deep inside Russian territory are an area of particular sensitivity.

The Biden administration has indicated it is wary of coming into direct military conflict with Russia and fearful of nuclear escalation. The Kremlin says it is already at war with the US, and the west – and considers Ukraine to be a US-run puppet state. The White House has supplied Kyiv with almost $20bn in military and security assistance so far, but has refused to deliver long-range munitions that would allow Kyiv to strike Russia directly.

Instead Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s government has used its own technology for special operations. They include an attack in October on the Russian bridge across the Kerch straight linking Russia with occupied Crimea. And in April the dramatic sinking of the Moskva battle cruiser, carried with two Ukrainian anti-ship Neptune missiles. Both were humiliating blows to Russia’s prestige.

It seems perverse to prevent Ukraine pushing back against military targets – but there are clear dangers involved in same and it makes sense that such supplies as are provided are not turned to that end, though what Ukraine does with its own resources are a matter largely for it to determine. 

Comments»

1. yourcousin - December 6, 2022

Couple things on this one.

Very much love Galeotti, been listening since 2014. But here’s the thing, he’s a Russia guy (this is actually what I live about him as he challenges me to challenge my own views), but his view that Crimea must have self determination is problematic. Do Tatars get votes in line with their traditional areas of occupation? I mean 8 years of Russian occupation will have an impact on the population, both in Crimea and Donbas. We can’t pretend that people didn’t vote with their feet. Certainly they have a right to vote? But what if they’ve been killed since then in the illegal Russian invasions in 2014 (well then that would essentially be a vote for Russia). I don’t pretend this is a simple question. What about people who moved to Crimea after the occupation (like say one Regis Tremblay?). How to reintegrate those territories will be difficult but also it seems that Galeotti is alright with accepting the Russian propaganda that Crimea is eye brow raising. Although of course being Galeotti it’s not that simple and it’s wrapped in a cloak of realpolitik. Theres also the idea that Ukraine must be ready to accept that there will never justice for things like Bucha or the litany of Crimea Russia has been committing in any sort of international court due to the absence of a just peace settlement. Which I feel is true. There will be no reckoning for Russia other than what Ukraine is able to do itself.

There’s also the idea of western support faltering.

So two things on that. One of the many things that’s interesting is that the former imperial centers of France and Germany are very interested in peace due to convenience while the former Russian “spheres of influence” are the most hawkish. Would anyone consider, the Czechs, the Baltic states, Poland, Norway etc as the centers of empire? In all honesty this should the approach the west takes. Help without meddling. Because then there is the US and the UK. Now I don’t doubt the sincerity of most British folks, but I do feel that Boris jumped in with two feet to extend his political life, and doing so cheapened the cause and yet for many (not on the left) his Ukrainian chapter May well be his last redeeming act. But the reality of a that Britain and the US were security guarantors in the Budapest accords. So the question then becomes is the support of these two powers charity or is it simply the fulfillment of the promises made in the 90s?

Just some thoughts before running off.

Like

WorldbyStorm - December 6, 2022

Yeah, it’s interesting that Galeotti takes that line. I can’t help but think that his is a pragmatic as well as a principled view. If Crimea has a population that is overwhelmingly in sympathy with Russia then Ukraine expending energy on that may be counterproductive seems to be his line. Donbas is perhaps a different matter due to a different history? But we’re a long way out from any tangible actions on foot of this. I wonder though if the situation in Europe is quite as stark as Eastern Europe hawkish and Western Europe more dovish. Macron certainly doesn’t seem like he’s going to break with the overall thrust of European policy, and Germany seems on board. Certainly more so than some commentators feared over the Summer. I’m sure with regard to your last question it’s a mixture of many things. Some of it principled, some pragmatic, some entirely utilitarian and self-serving.

Like

yourcousin - December 6, 2022

What makes Crimea different from transcarpathia? Other than it’s initial change was done at the barrel of a gun. Is it predicated on linguistics? Ethnicity? Political feeling? I get it’s an all of the above type answer. But to be honest international law if it is to mean anything must return Crimea to Ukraine as well as Donbas. Knowing full well that they will only be returned in a meaningful fashion when Ukraine drives out the Russian Federation.

Let’s be honest. Most of us were hoping for Ukraine to last a month (at best). It has shown such determination, grit, heroism that it has brought me to tears at times. Above all this remains a terrible tragedy on a human level and regardless of the outcome it will leave many loose ends and contradictions that leave many folks/groups/countries unhappy. It is good to start acknowledging these realities. But it is dangerous if we make them a self fulfilling prophecy by choking off western support.

Would agree with your point about the examples being much more blurred. iPhones on boats are not great for nuance on substantive issues!

Like

WorldbyStorm - December 6, 2022

Yeah, just wondering how one moves forward on that issue. Galeotti made the point that he cannot see a clean resolution of all this that it will all be messy and contingent, not least that while Putin remains in power it will be impossible for a settled peace to take hold whatever the dispensation arrived at (or not). perhaps some sort of autonomy deal for Crimea within Ukraine with an option to a referendum with international observers in the realisable future on its future at some point further down the line, but again all this is predicated on Ukraine going into and taking Crimea back. I wonder if a more plausible outcome is a long term frozen war there until Putin is ultimately seen off.

Like

yourcousin - December 6, 2022

Yeah the point is that If a Ukraine can strike Crimea they will. If they can get close to target the land bridge and keep the Kerch bridge in play then they can starve Crimea. And if they are strong enough to, then they will, and if they take it, it won’t be up for negotiations. Very much like the Russians did, “tut, tut” all you’d like, but for Ukraine their territorial integrity and their existence as a country is worth fighting for. Why would they stop? What more can Russia do to them?

Ukraine sees victory when the Russian army is foisted off of Ukraine. The state of play after that is almost immaterial.The point is now Ukraine (not necessarily the West) determines the tempo of this conflict. Full well acknowledging that the Ukrainian ability to wage war is predicated (for now) on Western support.

The Ukraine war may be tied to Putin, but Ukraine is not responsible for Russian democracy. They will have their hands full rebuilding Ukraine. Russia is for the Russians to figure out.

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - December 6, 2022

Well it’s a bit like the presumably Ukrainian attacks on Russian military bases. The Russians were straight out the gate complaining about terrorism and it did strike me that that was a most curious line for them to use given their own actions. And really given those actions in general who could blame Ukraine for seeking as full a victory as is achievable. The only question is whether Ukraine can indeed retake all its territory, even with assistance from outside. A lot depends on how weakened Russian capacity to wage prolonged campaigns are by sanctions, etc. Should have some sense of that by mid-next year.

Like

yourcousin - December 6, 2022

All valid points. I will return after some snorkeling to ponder further!

Liked by 1 person

2. Jim Monaghan - December 7, 2022

Roger Cole posted the usual, give Putin a chance letter.
“Never fear to negotiate
Tue Dec 6 2022 – 00:06
A chara, – Pana, the Peace and Neutrality Alliance, has called for a ceasefire and UN-chaired negotiations from the very start of the war in Ukraine.

We therefore welcome the statement from US president Biden that he would be willing to have talks with Russian president Putin and so help reduce escalating tensions between these nuclear powers.

His remarks were made at a recent press conference in Washington, during a bilateral summit with French president Emmanuel Macron.

This is a major foreign policy change with the Biden administration now expressing the need for diplomacy to end this horrific war.Let us encourage these moves and recall that President Kennedy in a speech on January 20th, 1961, said: ” Let us never negotiate out of fear. But never fear to negotiate”, a political perspective that helped solve the Cuban missile crisis in October 1962. – Yours, etc,

ROGER COLE,

Chair,

Peace and

Neutrality Alliance,”

This got this quite on the ball riposte.”Airy waffle is no help to Ukraine
Empty moral posturing
Wed Dec 7 2022 – 00:05
Sir, – Roger Cole’s assertion that US president Joe Biden’s recent remarks on negotiating with Vladimir Putin mark a “major foreign policy change” is factually incorrect (Letters, December 6th). Mr Biden was reiterating the policy line the US has held since the start of the war – that negotiations can occur if and when Putin demonstrates a willingness to end the war and remove Russian forces from Ukraine.

While ignorance of what US foreign policy actually consists of is par for the course for the Peace and Neutrality Alliance, it is telling that Mr Cole neglected to include the Russian response to Mr Biden’s speech, which was to reject the possibility of negotiations outright.

Time and again Pana has refused to acknowledge Russian agency in initiating and continuing the invasion of Ukraine, in favour of knee-jerk anti-Americanism and airy waffle about a “ceasefire” (which would allow Russia to rearm and reorganise for a renewed offensive) and “negotiations” (under a UN format which does not exist, and which would presumably involve ceding Ukrainian territory without Kyiv’s consent, in violation of the most fundamental principles of international law).

This is not a constructive contribution to the dialogue on how to end this brutal conflict; it is empty moral posturing.

Mr Cole ends his letter by quoting John F Kennedy. He would do better to listen to the words of Archbishop Desmond Tutu: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” – Yours, etc,

DARAGH McDOWELL,

London.”

Like

Former reader - December 7, 2022

Do you share Mr. McDowell’s contempt for “anti-Americanism”, Jim? Because that’s very much the trajectory you people are on.

Like

Jim Monaghan - December 7, 2022

Kneejerk anti-Americanism. As in the idea that the USA and its allies are the source, the main source of all the evils in the world. Like everyone else, or so it appears, I support the Palestinians. I, also, support the Kurds, Rohyingas, Uyghurs, Crimean Tatars etc. I oppose not only Western Imperialism but Russian and Chinese Imperialism. I support the brave women of Iran and indeed secularists across the world. (and am shocked, if not surprised, to see Mick Wallace come to the defence of the regime)
Many, many of the evils in the world are not the responsibility of US imperialism.
I do not know Mr McDowell, but the letter makes points, I agree with. And I felt it would be of interests to some here.

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - December 7, 2022

+1 Jim

Another pointless insult against those of us who support the groups named there. The politics of anti-Americanism is not merely unprincipled, it is also so transparently lacking in utility. People see through it immediately because it is fundamentally inconsistent and incoherent. It demonstrates a partisan approach that prevents engagement with myriad struggles globally. And it robs agency of all those, like in Ukraine, Palestine, etc who are resisting those who oppress them.

Like

Former reader - December 7, 2022

Is the United States of America the hegemonic global imperialist power, yes or no? Is the United States of America well-intentioned in its foreign policy, yes or no? Does the United States of America play a progressive role in global politics, yes or no?

Like

WorldbyStorm - December 7, 2022

But those questions are pointless reductionism because they lack all context. They’re the geo-political or ideological equivalent of someone who drags out the Laffer Curve as the ‘proof’ that taxation is maximised at lower levels. The answers aren’t simple yes or no’s – it depends on the specific context.

The US can be both a hegemonic global power and also have challengers and rivals who are able in some instances to compete in some areas toe to toe with it or some which will equal it or surpass it in some areas. It can have a foreign policy approach that contains a multiple of aspects – from deeply negative to some being positive. It can play a positive or negative role in global politics simultaneously depending upon the areas. And there’s contradictions and problems and so on built in to all of this. This is basic stuff.

I’m not a Trotskyist, but he made an excellent point when he noted that simply because the bourgeoise place a plus beside something doesn’t mean the immediate response of Marxists should be to place a negative against it. That too is futile reductionism.

Like

Former reader - December 7, 2022

What will the outcome of an unambiguous NATO victory in eastern Europe look like? What has it looked like so far? What part of the tearing down of Soviet statues, the rehabilitation of Nazi war criminals and their militias, the attempt (by FG, UK Labour, the Democrats, the CDU, the whole cavalcade of rancid political scum) to silence critics of NATO and US imperialism, the falsification of history in favour of fascism and liberalism, has redounded to progressive ends? The US war aim in Ukraine is to end any prospect of sovereign policy-making in Europe and isolate China, to solidify the rule of capital – administered by the US and its criminal military – over the world. I’m still trying to gauge the extent of the rightward march here, so I’ll ask another “reductive” question – why do you imagine the US is supporting Ukraine so fervently?

Like

Jim Monaghan - December 7, 2022

“What will the outcome of an unambiguous NATO victory in eastern Europe look like?”. Well what do you mean by this. Ukraine’s aims are defensive. A return to the internationally recognised borders of Ukraine. Which were guaranteed “According to the three memoranda,[5] Russia, the US and the UK confirmed their recognition of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine becoming parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and effectively abandoning their nuclear arsenal to Russia and that they agreed to the following:

Respect the signatory’s independence and sovereignty in the existing borders.[6]
Refrain from the threat or the use of force against the signatory.
Refrain from economic coercion designed to subordinate to their own interest the exercise by the signatory of the rights inherent in its sovereignty and thus to secure advantages of any kind.
Seek immediate Security Council action to provide assistance to the signatory if they “should become a victim of an act of aggression or an object of a threat of aggression in which nuclear weapons are used”.
Refrain from the use of nuclear arms against the signatory.
Consult with one another if questions arise regarding those commitments.[7][8]”
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budapest_Memorandum
Even the most fervent Ukrainians have no intention of laying claims on say Rostov.
“The US war aim in Ukraine is to end any prospect of sovereign policy-making in Europe”. The country whose sovereignty is facing being eliminated is Ukraine.
“and isolate China”. Even in a globalised world, China is a few miles further on.
That Russia is being weakened is t eh fault of the Putin clique. Rather than say follow China with modernising the economy etc. they opted for military adventurism. I think China has a huge democratic deficit, but it has a real economy. Russia’s economy is on a par with Spain, a much smaller country. Intra imperialist rivalries persist and have not ended.

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - December 7, 2022

Again, this is almost breathtakingly simplistic on your part ‘former’ reader. What do you think was the result of almost a half century of imposed Communism across Eastern Europe? Are you so naive as to believe that that wouldn’t have a visceral response on the people there in respect of their attitude to the Soviet period? I don’t have to condone any or all of those acts you describe to understand how this all worked, any more than I have to condone attitudes to British rule here to understand later responses to that rule on the part of the peoples here. It’s not about progressive ends and only the most sheltered view would believe that there would be no responses or that they would be uniformly or even overall regard that period with any attachment.

The old tedious stuff trying to make an equivalence between fascism and liberalism is pointless – and again even for a political point of view has no utility. You sound frankly entirely detached from objective political reality. People get NATO isn’t a shining saviour but they assess the situation as one where Russia is in the immediate worse. What’s the idea, that this conflict would weaken the US? But weaken the US and strengthen a reactionary Russia? Or a reactionary PRC? People look at what these states are and laugh at that idea. And rightly so. You think in this it makes sense to support a power that is viciously homophobic, misogynistic, reactionary, that has tame workers unions that can’t stand up for themselves and so on? That’s where your ‘progressive’ politics has taken you? A power that supports openly far right parties across Europe? And you call the FG or the BLP ‘scum’.

And ignoring that Russia is hyper-capitalist and imperialist with a significant dose of reaction now baked in, in fact your inability to see that, speaks volumes. Why is the US supporting Ukraine so fervently, for its for its own self-interest, of course. So what? Why is Russia beating the living shit of Ukraine, ditto. But the point isn’t the US or Russia, it is Ukraine.

Liked by 1 person

Colm B - December 8, 2022

So Former Red is “still trying to gauge the extent of the rightward march here” eh?

Look no further than yourself – no one here supports US imperialism but you’re clearly a fan of every murderous ultra-right anti-working class regime as long as they are “anti American”.

Unlike you, us socialists are able to pat our heads and rub our tummies at the same time – we support all peoples fighting oppression, in Palestine, Ukraine, Iran etc etc regardless of who the oppressor is.

Like

Colm Breathnach - December 9, 2022

So that’s all you can come up with, Former Reader, is it? We are all burnt out leftists who, having spent years in the wilderness, now paddle into safe shores to feel good about ourselves, in contrast to your great condescending self, who is, in between, Putinising on this site, out there on the barricades every day?

Speaking for myself, I can definitely say that you are talking utter b******s. I am not disillusioned or worn down, I am as committed to revolutionary socialism as I ever was and that’s why I support, in whatever way I can, all struggles against capitalism and imperialism in all their forms.
That’s exactly why I actively support the Ukrainian left and trade unions in their participation in their country’s struggle against Russian imperialism, that’s why I actively support the Palestinian people’s struggle against apartheid Israel and US imperialism. That’s why I am a trade union activist and work for Scottish independence and so on.
I have always opposed US imperialism (Seeing as you are so interested in Iraq, I was on the IAWM steering committee that organised the anti–Iraq war demo in Dublin – probably the largest in recent history) and I continue to do so. The difference between me and you is that I oppose all oppression and exploitation, regardless of the source and you do not.

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - December 9, 2022

+1

Like

Former reader - December 8, 2022

Okay, so, to be absolutely clear. Is your position now that?

* Nazi revanchism in eastern Europe is understandable/justifiable due to your characterisation of the Soviet Union?

* That the increasing convergence between fascism and liberalism along the axis of neoliberalism and observable everywhere, from the UK to Scandinavia, and accelerated by the anti-communist hysteria unleashed by the war, is “tedious old stuff?”

* That China (overseas body-count zero, Covid body-count heavily constrained by state action) is reactionary in a way that the United States (overseas body-count several hundred thousand in the past 20 years, domestic repression and murder routine, a million dead from Covid) is not?

* That Fine Gael and the UK Labour Party do not deserve the appellation “scum?” What of the hundreds of thousands dead in Iraq under the hard-right faction which controls the Labour Party? Are they less human, or their murderers less deserving of contempt, than Ukrainians?

By the way – talking about assumptions – I absolutely do not support the invasion, or the reactionary regime of Russia (the fruits of the capitalist restoration Europe longed for).

Like

Colm B - December 8, 2022

To be absolutely clear – I don’t answer a bunch of leading questions from some Stalinist fanboy of the anti-working class klepto-capitalist dictatorship that rules China.

Like

Former reader - December 8, 2022

To be absolutely clear, no-one was talking to you. If I want your opinions, I’ll read them in the Irish Times, I’m sure.

Like

Colm B - December 8, 2022

Ho ho, how droll. You’re talent is truly wasted on us old CLR dad’s, you should really use it on a site that’s more appreciative – maybe try Grayzone or even Fox News, I’m sure Tucker would give you a slot.

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - December 8, 2022

First up you don’t seem to understand former reader how this all new fangled internet stuff works. If you post a comment on a site then that is seen as a tacit invitation for others to engage. You don’t get to determine who engages or not, no-one does (within the constraints of content moderation).

Secondly it’s a bit late in the day now after multiple interaction to state that you don’t support the invasion or the reactionary regime in Russia. Sure even Putin and the crew in the Kremlin probably don’t support it now. Your framing from the off has been one couched in NATO and the US. It is disingenuous to insult people on here for being supportive of Ukraine (not NATO, not the US, but Ukraine) posit any success on Ukraine’s part as a NATO victory, something that you have been clear you are in opposition to and try to pull a bait and switch at this stage.

As to to the rest.

What Is my position now? Couldn’t be clearer – I’m not justifying, any more than a historian justifies, I’m pointing out basic dynamics in human interactions at certain mass and societal levels. In contexts where for one reason or another radicalism of the left is blocked off unfortunately it tends to go rightwards. For those who lived through that experience it is a history of occupation. That they would in some instances glom onto the far right or fascists as exemplars of national identity is abysmal, but there’s a statue not a quarter of a mile from where I live where people gather to commemorate Sean Russell including some who I know and probably you too who are staunch anti-fascists That’s in Ireland where the war touched us glancingly for the most part. What do you think it’s like in Lithuania or Ukraine or Poland or wherever? Or Russia come to think not it which itself is no slouch in terms of seeing far right, authoritarian monarchist and Nazi like thinking rise to the fore?

I can detest neoliberalism without thinking it fascist. It’s deeply implausible for example the EU as a whole or the memberstates as a whole are convergent with fascism. You’re the one rightly criticising the horseshoe theory (though just on that there’s a former candidate for a certain left party who not that far from where I am is trying to make hay for the far-right. What were the clues, who could have known that persona trajectory, perhaps their social conservatism, perhaps their membership of political parties tenuously if at all connected to the left? Yeah, it’s was a real puzzle to all of us who spent more than five minutes in that persons company at the time) yet out you drag your own equivalent. This isn’t to deny there are serious issues if we only look in our immediate area, Italy, Hungary, and so on. We see the seeds of a far-right coup in Germany this week. But agency belongs not just to neoliberalism but to the irrationals of the far-right too.

As for anti-communist hysteria. What anti-communist hysteria? Who believes that Russia is communist? Next to no-one.

I don’t have to defend the PRC, but as noted before there are multiple aspects to this. It’s not just about body counts and it’s not just about Covid (for example the PRC has just reversed its previous position leaving open the possibility of mass deaths – see yesterdays papers for same, something raised last week on this very site). Only a comment or two back I pointed to the fact that there are multiple factors at play, on some yardsticks the US and the PRC, both of which for example support state sanctioned executions are more reactionary than other states, using other yardsticks one or other will be less so, but in the round I would tentatively argue that the US is a less reactionary state if only because there remains some purchase for ordinary people on its political systems and structures, on unions, on communities, on their autonomy – note ‘less reactionary’, not not reactionary. That could change, that could improve further. It’s not a static situation.

I don’t think those parties deserve the appellation scum in any serious discussion about politics. I think individuals in the BLP deserve deep condemnation for the Iraq invasion and the deaths that occurred (as for Fine Gael, like I dislike Fine Gael intensely politically. I live in a working class community where I’ve been at meetings where the FG Cllr was the only one standing up for social housing. I won’t ever vote for that Cllr but ignoring that complexity doesn’t come close to addressing the lived experience of people in such communities and talking about scum doesn’t push a political needle an inch in that context).
In all this what is telling to me is that there’s not a word about class politics, not a word until your last comment about the actual people dying in Ukraine today, whether Ukrainian or Russian, mostly working class, all because of rank adventurism initiated in Moscow.

If your primary yardstick is anti-NATO, anti-US and indifference to all other imperialisms or power centres, and that leads you to support tacitly or otherwise authoritarian and reactionary regimes, then while you have every right to an opinion others have every right to suggest that it is not left wing politics and it fairly immediately leads to contradictions which many of us do not want to have to face. I don’t support a state or regime that supports the far-right – I don’t support Moscow. But then I don’t have to support Washington either and I don’t. I have no illusions on the score.

Liked by 1 person

Former reader - December 9, 2022

Look, I get it. I understand entirely what has led the Centre-Left Revolution demographic to this point. I know how it feels to bang your head against that brick wall for your entire adult life, to swim against the tide, to be the freak insisting that the United States has no business in Iraq, that its leaders are war criminals who belong in the Hague. Year after year, decade after decade, defeat after defeat.

And then – blessed deliverance! – the Good War hoves into view. And this time you don’t need to be the contrarian. Oh, the joy – the relief!

At last, to cheer on the boys in uniform with all the rest, without a pang of conscience, all past ills forgotten, all pals and comrades together in the great war for civilisation. To nod along and agree – truly, sincerely, in your soul – that Putin IS Hitler, just like Gadaffi was Hitler, just like Saddam was Hitler, just like Noriega was Hitler.

And, sure, the Azov stuff doesn’t look great, wouldn’t be YOUR thing, but weren’t O’Duffy and Mulcahy part of our own liberation? And the Blueshirts begat Fine Gael, and Fine Gael aren’t ALL bad, surely. Don’t you know a sound Gaeler yourself?

Putin WANTS us at each other’s throats. Finding common cause with Fine Gael, with NATO, THIS is actually the radical position. This is normal. This is all absolutely normal. Your politics haven’t changed. Circumstances have changed, that’s all.

Ah, the clarity! All that tedious old stuff about “imperialism”, “class”, “self-emancipation” – faced with the glory of that fluttering blue and gold flag, that icon of human dignity, that avatar of liberation – all that stuff seems rather small, rather foolish, doesn’t it? It feels good to be back in the fold, and to be accepted and lauded for it. It feels…like coming home.

I get all this. I understand it all. I sympathise with it all. Given a few rough years, I might end up there myself. But, my erstwhile comrades, it is not socialism. It is not leftism. It’s not even lefty-ism. And it would be better for everyone if you’d just embrace your politics for what they are, not for what you once imagined they were.

Like

yourcousin - December 9, 2022

FR,
What the fuck are you on about? No one here is happy this happened. I would rather go on being wrong and defeated for all eternity than see what has happened to Ukraine. Catch yourself on.

Like

Former reader - December 9, 2022

I’m sure that’s true, yourcousin. I don’t think for a second anyone except the likes of Putin and Dugin and the US security state actually wanted this war. But it’s a relief for a certain demographic to find itself “on the right side of history” for once, when catastrophe strikes once again.

Like

WorldbyStorm - December 9, 2022

Is that the best you’ve got, ‘former’ former reader? More condescension and insults even when people do you the courtesy of engaging with you on a point by point basis? It’s always the same with your sort, trolling stuff of the right usually but one or two on the left sadly. It starts with insults and it ends with insults. That the insults are in this instance so thread-bare and frankly remarkably immature is all too typical of the dynamic.

Who here would advocate any alliance with Fine Gael – I literally – quite literally said I wouldn’t support an FGer who actually had some cop on about social housing! Who is saying Putin is Hitler? Or that Saddam was or whoever you mention? Who is cheering on the ‘boys’ in uniform (I guess we can add sexism to your childish jibes about ‘dads’ and your explicit ageism).

As for the right side of history. What does that mean? Either the invasion is right or the invasion is wrong across a range of metrics. This is a tragedy in Ukraine but it is one initiated and continued by Moscow. Those who die, Russian and Ukrainian (and both are victims) die because Putin and a clique want it so. And as noted above by me young working class people are the ones who are doing the dying. You can sit and loftily dismiss our clear support not for the US or NATO but for Ukraine, and push your little counters around on your abstract geopolitical board. But those young working class people are still dying whatever you do tapping away at your keyboard. Solidarity is what it’s about. There’s no one on the right who is writing down our positions and noting them and nodding their heads in agreement with us – we don’t have an audience on the right, they have always attacked us on this site and outside of the site I’ve better things to be doing than wondering what random right wingers think (in fact the reality is that the right is conflicted about this – as we see in the US where it trends into the far-right, and is all in with Putin).

As for ‘tedious’ I didn’t say class politics was tedious – I said that making an equivalence between fascism and liberalism was tedious stuff, which it is, in fact you didn’t mention class politics at all whereas I did. Again go back and see what I wrote and don’t misquote me lazily for effect.

As for defeats. Here’s where you’re clearly wrong. There’s been material gains for the left slowly but surely, we’re winning arguments across the board economically and socially. It’s painfully slow but it’s getting there. Oh it’s not perfect, but the idea of proper social welfare, shorter working hours, feck it even unionisation. And on and on. And progressive areas – attitudes to unity, feminism, lgbtq issues, etc, all moving in a general direction with setbacks here and there, yep, but still progress. Do I want transformational change, I absolutely do, and have since I was a teenager. It’s not going to happen in my lifetime but I’ve not given up hope. But I don’t have to justify anything to some randomer online who thinks insults are a substitute for actual discussion.

There’s a groundswell of people who see what is happening in Ukraine for what it is and that is a seriously good thing, not just for Ukrainians but for those of us who look at Palestine and Israel and want the same yardsticks applied there, who look at Iraq and Afghanistan and want no more invasions from here on out. We’re being consistent.

Our position is coherent. What’s yours as you what – you can’t even articulate your position clearly. Are you in favour of the invasion, you say not, but you do all you can to diminish any responsibility on Putin et al for it. You don’t offer any solidarity with Ukraine (indeed you do the old hinting that they’re fascists – not explicitly, but close enough). You complain about NATO and the US and make out they’re the real problem. But it’s not NATO forces that invaded Ukraine and they somehow seem determined to stay out of it or Russia. I could go on but I’ve actual work to do because I’m a worker.
The rest is some confection in your mind – though given we’re entirely open about our politics I can’t see how you could arrive at that confection. Well, that’s not true – I think perhaps I understand – you have to justify the inconsistency of your position some way and the best way you clearly think to do that is by attacking those who would point out that inconsistency and incoherence (you’re not the first to do that by the way and no doubt you won’t be the last). I don’t think it’s the best way forward but you do you.

Like

3. Jim Monaghan - December 7, 2022

A contribution by Brendan Ogle. “A chara,

Roger Cole of PANA quotes President Kennedy and cites the Cuban missile crisis in calling for negotiations with President Putin to be aided by the UN.

Putin’s imperialist war is very different to the Cuban missile crisis where two nuclear powers vied for position on the small Caribbean island. In essence the crisis ended because both Kennedy and Khruschev were pragmatists. Kennedy kept his ‘hawks’ (including his own Brother) at bay and kept a cool head when his Chiefs and many advisors wanted a military strike which would have certainly heralded a nuclear war. Khruschev on the other hand did share at least one thing with Putin, he initially grossly overestimated his own countries’ military and weaponry. Once he realised he had done so however he too showed great patience and fortitude in brokering a peaceful and balanced outcome. In summary a nuclear war was averted because the two people in charge were skilled, rational pragmatists.

There is no evidence that Putin is anything other than an imperialist thug with a God complex who is prepared to use (if not yet deploy) nuclear weapons to threaten humanity. Whatever the wrongs that led to the Cuban missile crisis the type of inhumanity that Putin has used on his Ukrainian neighbours was not at issue. The Cuban Revolution and the Bay of Pigs were bloody yes, but there was no Mariupol like scenario in Cuba. There was no wanton rape and torture of innocents.

It is for those who are genuinely anti-war, as opposed to some who seem to be only anti-US/NATO war, to work out whether rewarding Putin or beating him is the best course to a more peaceful world. There seems to be ample evidence that the man is not logical. He has presided over the slaughter of his own army, his invasion has unified his enemies and added countries to NATO who had no previous interest in it, and he has made the nation he leads a pariah on the international stage.

As a person who has opposed US imperialism my entire life, and very much so in Cuba, I believe Putin had legitimate cause for concern about Ukraine and what the US did in 2014, as well as NATO expansionism, but his behaviour in Syria and his disastrous invasion since last February make him the greatest threat to world peace that exists at present.

We all want, and need, this war to end but history also tells us that appeasing an imperialist aggressor doesn’t end the aggression. It feeds it. In this regard we might find more lessons from Germany 1939 than from Cuba 1962.

Sincerely

Brendan Ogle

Swords

Co. Dublin”

Liked by 1 person


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: