Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

March 9, 2014

Thoughts triggered by Max Blumenthal tweets about Ukrainian fascists

Filed under: anti-Semitism,Fascism,imperialism/globalization,Russia,Ukraine — louisproyect @ 8:14 pm

So I think I am getting the hang of this twitter thing. Basically it allows a wide range of “personalities”, whether from Hollywood or those who write for the Nation, to keep their followers (literally, that’s what they are called) to keep track of their comings and goings, or their musings—the sort of thing that used to be found on lavatory walls. Like this:

Screen shot 2014-03-09 at 2.01.30 PM
Just as importantly, it allows the latter group of personalities to make observations about current events without taking the trouble to explain themselves, after all 140 characters does not give you much room for thoughtful analysis. The strategy is to post a link to a picture, a Youtube clip, or an article (probably in descending order) that speaks for itself. When I have asked one of these people for further explanation, they ignore me. Who can blame them, I guess.

Of all the personalities I follow, none epitomizes this form of communications more than Max Blumenthal who has unleashed a steady stream of links to Youtube clips, etc. that would lead any sensible person to conclude that Ukraine is roughly equivalent to Germany after Hitler’s election in 1932. This is typical:

Screen shot 2014-03-09 at 2.09.59 PM

If Max had a blog like Richard Seymour, another personality into twittering, then it might be possible to engage with him. I suppose if I had a big megaphone like Blumenthal, I wouldn’t put up with disagreeable riffraff myself. But then again, thinking about what a prick I can be, I probably would.

Although I admire Max and consider him one of the leading lights of the liberal left, I have to wonder how much grounding he has in Marxism. Probably none, I’m afraid. Nazism and all the other forms of fascism were defense mechanisms against a rising proletarian resistance to economic ruin. Once fascists come to power, they break the back of the socialist left and the trade unions by imprisoning or killing its leaders and members alike. You know how Martin Niemüller put it: “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Socialist; Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Trade Unionist.”

While there are theoretical debates among Marxists about whether fascism was a meaningful threat after WWII (for reasons too complex to go into here), you can say that the Greek junta of 1967 and the Pinochet dictatorship had many of the same characteristics of classical fascism, first and foremost the need to destroy a militant left and trade union movement.

So I wonder what exactly this has to do with the Ukraine. I can’t imagine that the fascists have any enemies in the Western half of the nation since people like Blumenthal probably regard them as having the same mindset as most Israelis. I can just see him going down the streets of Ukraine with his video camera getting somebody chosen at random to blurt out how much they love Stephen Bandera, the patron saint of the Ukrainian right.

One wonders how much success he would have in finding such people given the findings of a scholarly poll on attitudes toward the armed forces during WWII. It turns out that 75 percent of Ukrainians would have backed the Soviet Army while Bandera’s Ukrainian Insurgent Army was a choice of only 8% of the respondents. You can read all about it here.

I’ve heard from one well-known leftist that fascism was not so much a threat against the Ukrainian working-class but against Russia. I tried to picture what that meant, that fascist gangs would pour across the border and launch storm-trooper type attacks on a working class that is not particularly well-known for general strikes and the like? From what I can gather, it is not so much that but fears—particularly those raised at places like Global Research—that a united front of the EU, NATO, the Obama White House, John McCain, Nicholas Kristof and Ukrainian fascists is plotting to provoke a war that will open Russia up for imperialist penetration after the fashion of the wars in Yugoslavia. They see Putin as a Milosevic type figure mounting a nationalistic defense of his nation’s assets. I have heard this argument repeatedly from the Global Research left whenever something like Chechnya or Georgia crops up. Even when Western imperialism shows little interest in going to war (or even gives its benediction to the suppression of the Chechen revolt), nothing changes. WWIII is always on the horizon.

Do any of these people have any idea of the character of the Russian economy? Here it is from Russia Today, the horse’s mouth:

Russia in world’s top 3 recipients of foreign investment for first time – UN

Published time: January 29, 2014 14:55

Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Russia reached a record $94 billion in 2013, a leap of 83 percent on the year before according to a United Nations report. Russia follows the US and China as the third most attractive country for investors.

The Global FDI research published by the UNCTAD – the UN agency responsible for international trade and development – has Russia jumping 6 places from its 9th spot in 2012.

The shift was primarily caused by the UK’s BP taking an 18.5 percent stake in Rosneft as part of Rosneft’s $57 billion acquisition of TNK-BP.

“FDI in the Russian Federation is expected to keep pace with its 2013 performance as the Russian Government’s Direct Investment Fund [RDIF] – a $10 billion fund to promote FDI in the country – has been very actively deployed in collaboration with foreign partners, for example funding a deal with Abu Dhabi’s state-owned Mubadala Development Company to invest up to $5 billion in Russian infrastructure,” the report says.

The RDIF sealed 6 long-term investment contracts worth above $8 billion last year, which also included deals with the Japan Bank for International Cooperation, France’s Caisse Des Depots International, Italy’s Fondo Strategico Italiano and the Korea Investment Corporation, the fund said in the e-mailed press-release.

As Blumenthal’s daily diet of “the fascists are coming” tweets arrived, a ring of familiarity set in. Hadn’t I heard of such a spurious amalgam before? And, bingo, I finally figured out the origin this morning,

That’s Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, and Der Fuhrer. For decades now, enemies of the Palestinian people have tried to smear all forms of resistance to the Zionist state as sympathetic to Nazism and/or anti-Semitism.

Zionists love to bring up what Hitler said whenever they debated people like Max Blumenthal:

Germany stood for uncompromising war against the Jews. That naturally included active opposition to the Jewish national home in Palestine….Germany would furnish positive and practical aid to the Arabs involved in the same struggle….Germany’s objective [is]…solely the destruction of the Jewish element residing in the Arab sphere….In that hour the Mufti would be the most authoritative spokesman for the Arab world. The Mufti thanked Hitler profusely.

They pull the same crap with Hezbollah. A photo of one of their rallies has made the rounds on many Zionist websites:

Screen shot 2014-03-09 at 3.23.47 PMThe NY Sun, an arch-reactionary an arch-Zionist newspaper, is fond of slinging mud at Hezbollah:

Hezbollah’s Nazi Tactics

By STEVEN STALINSKY | July 26, 2006

“Just like Hitler fought the Jews, we are a great Islamic nation of jihad, and we too should fight the Jews and burn them.”

— Hisham Shamas, political science student, at a symposium hosted by Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV at Lebanon’s largest and only government-run university, Université Libanaise, November 29, 2005

Hezbollah celebrates Holocaust denial, as well. “Jews invented the legend of the Holocaust,” the leader of Hezbollah, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, said on April 9, 2000. During an appearance on Al-Manar on February 3, Sheik Nasrallah called Europe’s leading Holocaust denier, Roger Garaudy, “a great French philosopher.” On February 23, Sheik Nasrallah appeared on Al-Manar and praised another leading European Holocaust denier, David Irving, for having “denied the existence of gas chambers.

(I defended Hezbollah against the charge of anti-Semitism here https://louisproyect.org/2007/02/06/is-nasrallah-an-anti-semite/.)A

Hamas gets the mud slung at them as well. Here’s a photo of a recent rally:

The picture of Sisi and Hitler carry the words: “Hitler killed the Jews for his people, al-Sisi kills his people for the Jews.”

I think that Hezbollah and Hamas make all sorts of mistakes but linking them to fascism is a filthy slander that only Zionism is capable of, especially offensive considering how Gaza has become Israel’s Warsaw Ghetto.

Although I doubt that this will make much difference to Blumenthal or any other liberal who has made up his mind that the Ukrainians are scary, beady-eyed monsters ready to lynch the first Jew they get their hands on, this is what Ukraine’s official Jewry had to say about the fascist threat:

An open letter to Vladimir Putin from prominent Ukrainian Jews has accused the Russian president of using false claims of ultra-nationalism and anti-Semitism to legitimise intervention in Ukraine.

“Historically, Ukrainian Jews are mostly Russian-speaking,” begins the letter, dated Friday March 7, which calls on Putin to withdraw his forces from Crimea.

“Our opinion on what is happening carries no less weight than the opinion of those who advise and inform you.”

The signatories, among them scholars, scientists, businessmen, artists and musicians, firmly reject the line put forward by Putin in a press conference on Tuesday that the protest movement that removed president Viktor Yanukovich was made up of “anti-Semitic forces on the rampage”.

“Your certainty about the growth of anti-Semitism in Ukraine, which you expressed at your press conference, does not correspond to the actual facts,” the letter continues. “Perhaps you got Ukraine confused with Russia, where Jewish organisations have noticed growth in anti-Semitic tendencies last year.”

And while the signatories accept the existence of “some nationalistic groups” in the anti-Yanukovich protest movement, they insist that “even the most marginal do not dare show anti-Semitism or other xenophobic behaviour”.

“And we certainly know that our very few nationalists are well-controlled by civil society and the new Ukrainian government – which is more than can be said for the Russian neo-Nazis, who are encouraged by your security services.”

Finally, and even more incontrovertibly, there’s the statement made by highly reputable researchers on the Ukrainian and East European far right:

We are a group of researchers who comprise specialists in the field of Ukrainian nationalism studies, and most of the world’s few experts on the post-Soviet Ukrainian radical right. Some of us publish regularly in peer-reviewed journals and with academic presses. Others do their research within governmental and non-governmental organizations specializing on the monitoring of xenophobia in Ukraine.

As a result of our professional specialization and research experience, we are aware of the problems, dangers and potential of the involvement of certain right-wing extremist groupings in the Ukrainian protests. Following years of intensive study of this topic, we understand better than many other commentators the risks that its far right participation entails for the EuroMaidan. Some of our critical comments on nationalist tendencies have triggered angry responses from ethnocentrists in Ukraine and the Ukrainian diaspora living in the West.

While we are critical of far right activities on the EuroMaidan, we are, nevertheless, disturbed by a dangerous tendency in too many international media reports dealing with the recent events in Ukraine. An increasing number of lay assessments of the Ukrainian protest movement, to one degree or another, misrepresents the role, salience and impact of Ukraine’s far right within the protest movement. Numerous reports allege that the pro-European movement is being infiltrated, driven or taken over by radically ethnocentrist groups of the lunatic fringe. Some presentations create the misleading impression that ultra-nationalist actors and ideas are at the core or helm of the Ukrainian protests. Graphic pictures, juicy quotes, sweeping comparisons and dark historical references are in high demand. They are combined with a disproportionate consideration of one particularly visible, yet politically minor segment within the confusing mosaic that is formed by the hundreds of thousands of protesters with their different motivations, backgrounds and aims.

Here are some of the researchers who signed this statement, starting from the top:

  • Iryna Bekeshkina, researcher of political behavior in Ukraine, Sociology Institute of the National Academy of Sciences, Ukraine
  • Tetiana Bezruk, researcher of the far right in Ukraine, Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Ukraine
  • Oleksandra Bienert, researcher of racism and homophobia in Ukraine, PRAVO. Berlin Group for Human Rights in Ukraine, Germany
  • Maksym Butkevych, researcher of xenophobia in post-Soviet Ukraine, “No Borders” Project of the Social Action Center at Kyiv, Ukraine
  • Vitaly Chernetsky, researcher of modern Ukrainian and Russian culture in the context of globalization, University of Kansas, USA

Now maybe all of them are secretly in cahoots with the ultraright. I guess we’ll have to wait for the next intercept of a phone call between one of them and a Svoboda goose-stepping thug to prove that. Let’s see when the Russian security forces come up with. My only advice is to read it very carefully since they have a way of slinging the bullshit around.

63 Comments »

  1. Hi,

    Hope all is well.

    You wrote “When I have asked one of these people for further explanation, they ignore me.” I am one of those people who engages and challenges you in your perceptions of some of the issues you write about, but you ignore us! Can you explain this?!

    Be well,

    Comment by mansoor — March 9, 2014 @ 8:53 pm

  2. In the Yugoslav war, Louis, your position was that you supported the Yugoslav government against NATO and the Bosnians and Croats attacking them, I think? Your view was that NATO was trying to destroy Yugoslavia for continuing economic holdovers and independence from its socialist period.

    Perhaps there are some similarities to the situation in Ukraine? NATO and the IMF targeted its government for trying to take a stance that would keep it out of the IMF and EU debt? Meanwhile, Ukrainian society is divided between East and West halves of the country, not dissimilar to how Yugoslavia was divided into warring countries. Perhaps one could at least take a view to support neither the East or West “sides” of the country, while opposing the Euromaidan’s demands to join the EU? After all, isn’t the anti-globalist position pretty skeptical about the EU and IMF as globalist powers?

    In other words, why not support many of the Maidan protestors’ personal desires for greater democracy and an end to corruption, while opposing its main and announced demands for EU integration and IMF debts? Why not support the democratic process instead of demanding an elected president be forcibly removed? Why side with the eastern or western populations of the country? Why not recognize a lack of pro-worker programs among the Maidaners and note that worker and economic exploitation are main problems there? When one considers foreign roles in coups that have taken places around the world, why not be very skeptical about what exactly happened? I am not ascribing any of these views to you or asking that you accept them, just some things to think about.

    Comment by H. Smith — March 10, 2014 @ 12:02 am

  3. To compare Milosevic to Yanukovych is obscene. Milosevic was struggling to preserve the remnants of Titoist socialism. Yanukovych was an oligarch who was all set to cut a deal with the EU until Putin stepped in at the last minute with a better one. Putin’s Eurasian Union is a bloc of capitalist countries. Russia is an imperialist nation, even if a weaker one. In fact that describes Czarist Russia as well, getting its ass kicked by Japan. Try harder next time.

    Comment by louisproyect — March 10, 2014 @ 12:20 am

  4. You are right that Yanukovych was capitalist, while Milosevic was overseeing an economy with socialist remnants. Yes, this is a noticeable difference.

    Nonetheless, under Yanukovych there were some limited social reforms that were still in place like welfare benefits. You may know that the IMF demands of Ukraine a policy of capitalist austerity, including gutting social programs. Forbes magazine reported that Arsenyuk will be modeling his policies after Greece.

    The case is made about South American countries that we do not want the IMF or foreign policymakers coming in and demanding austerity policies, or forcing out elected presidents and replacing them with new ones who will perform that austerity. Perhaps Ukraine then is not wholly different in that respect?

    Comment by H. Smith — March 10, 2014 @ 8:09 am

  5. The evidence that the leaders of Svoboda and the Right Sector have fascist sympathies is undeniable.
    See Blumenthal’s article here:-
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article37752.htm

    It’s also undeniable that since the “Orange Revolution”, there has been a succesful campaign to rename monuments and streets after Konovalets, Melnyk, Bandera, and Shukhevych and Ukrainian members of the SS “Galichina” Division.

    Whereas there are almost no monuments to the Holocaust in Western Ukrainian towns.

    Which makes it so sickening that US neo-cons like Victoria Nuland (Nudelman) collaborated with Svoboda. Or that an oligarch with dual Ukrainian-Israeli citizenship, Ihor Kolomoyskyi, has been appointed as governor of Dnepropetrovsk

    But here is no particular contradiction in such an alliance.
    The Ukrainian nationalists and Zionists formed alliances with each other in the early 20th century for practical purposes.

    Both movements sought backing from rival empires to pursue their own agendas.
    Both opposed the socialists operating in their own sphere of influence.

    The participation of fascists in the Ukrainian interim government doesn’t mean fascism has won. But they’ve certainly been useful shock troops for the pro-NATO and EU stooges in suits and ties.

    Are you going to deny that they’ve roughed up Leftists who naively tried to join the Maidan protests alongside them? That they’ve ransacked the offices of the Ukrainian Communist Party (which never supported Yanukovych) Or that Yarosh wants to launch a European “Reconquista” from the Ukraine, once he’s dealt with the “Moskali”?

    Comment by prianikoff — March 10, 2014 @ 10:03 am

  6. `To compare Milosevic to Yanukovych is obscene. Milosevic was struggling to preserve the remnants of Titoist socialism. Yanukovych was an oligarch who was all set to cut a deal with the EU until Putin stepped in at the last minute with a better one. Putin’s Eurasian Union is a bloc of capitalist countries. Russia is an imperialist nation, even if a weaker one. In fact that describes Czarist Russia as well, getting its ass kicked by Japan. Try harder next time.’

    The Serbian President Milosevic launched a red-brown alliance to land-grab from Bosnia whilst he restored capitalism in Serbia and dismembered Yugoslavia. Like the `anti-imperialists’ of today you supported Stalinist counter-revolutions against mass popular movements instead of seeking to elaborate a programme for political revolution thereby guaranteeing that they would result in bourgeois over turns of the property relations. It is good to see that you have moved away from such neo-Stalinism in the meantime but by trying to rationalise the past you are undermining the good work you are doing around Syria and Ukraine. There is no obscenity in comparing Milosevic and Yanukovyth. The obscenity is rather in pretending they are in any meaningful sense different. And `Titoist socialism’?!? What the fuck was that?

    Comment by davidellis987 — March 10, 2014 @ 11:12 am

  7. Like clockwork Louis swoops in to rationalize yet another western intervention. Is anyone really surprised at this point?

    Comment by Bill J. — March 10, 2014 @ 11:19 am

  8. There were some limited social reforms under Yanukovych? I am not sure what that means. Did he enact them or were they in place before his election? More to the point, it was poverty and corruption that was driving the protests. You think that the protests were a conspiracy organized by the EU and the US State Department. I do not. I understand why you think that way. You have become a crypto-Stalinist with a preference for paternalistic authoritarian states that have a thin veneer of 1917, like Lenin Statues. This is very common on the left, especially among people uncomfortable with contradiction.

    In terms of the safety net, retirement pensions are less than 90 euros a month. I think you have a somewhat uninformed take on this supposed bulwark against EU austerity. Social scientists in Ukraine see it this way:

    A functioning social security system is necessary to cushion individuals against harsh misfortune, real hardships and to reduce poverty. While many social risks can be dealt with efficiently through insurances (pension, unemployment etc.), there is a broad consensus even in the most market-oriented economies, that a tax financed basic social safety net (social welfare) should be available for those in need. In this paper we will focus on social welfare1.

    The present social privileges system in Ukraine still resembles more the defunct Soviet model, based on many `social privileges ́, most of which are provided in kind. Accordingly, prices and tariffs for numerous goods and services are regulated and cross subsidized. Social privileges are often provided by enterprises. But social privileges were never intended to provide social security but to reward special individuals and groups for their loyalty to the Soviet system. So instead of providing targeted services to the poor the main recipients of social privileges are social and occupational groups (pensioners, veterans of labour, civil servants etc.). Despite the substantial increase of social privileges and entitled groups after Ukraine’s independence the social system could not prevent the massive spread of poverty. The present social privileges system is ill-suited to buffer individuals against risks in a market economy. Hence, Ukraine needs to introduce a social welfare system. Effective poverty reduction at lowest cost possible will require the introduction of targeting social welfare to the poor and improving welfare coverage by means testing. Financing of reforms and social welfare could come from reductions of untargeted social privileges.

    read the entire article here: http://www.ier.com.ua/files/publications/Policy_papers/German_advisory_group/2006/V2_eng.pdf

    Comment by louisproyect — March 10, 2014 @ 11:23 am

  9. Are you going to deny that they’ve roughed up Leftists who naively tried to join the Maidan protests alongside them?

    No, but the point of this article is that the Ukraine is not like Germany in 1932. People like to cherry-pick their evidence to support whatever thesis they have. My analysis is based on an assessment of the class dynamics in Ukraine today. Without a powerful radicalized labor movement, such as the kind that existed in Chile under Allende, all this talk about the looming fascist threat does nothing except tilt the scales in favor of continued Russian dominance. Having read Prianikoff for over 20 years on the net, this is what I would have expected.

    Comment by louisproyect — March 10, 2014 @ 11:31 am

  10. Regarding NATO’s role in Serbia in the late 90’s vis-a-vis Milosevic a CIA Analyst guest on McNeil-Lehrer New Hour spelled it out bluntly when Jim Lehrer asked perplexed why exactly the Pentagon was bombing Serbia? The Analyst replied: “Our goal is to eliminate the last bulwark of Planned Economy on the Continent.” Thus the alleged land grabs, ethnic cleansing, & mass rapes were irrelevant to Uncle Sam as they were merely pretexts akin to WMD in Iraq and the Gulf of Tonkin incident in Vietnam.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — March 10, 2014 @ 2:31 pm

  11. Unfortunately BillJ your intervention is as useless as ever. Louis supported Milosevic. Back then he was a neo-Stalinist or an `anti-imperialist’. In terms of the Syria and Ukraine debates he has found himself on the right side of the argument standing up for the revolutions and not, as you lyingly say, schilling for Western intervention. The only Western intervention there has been in Syria since the Arab Spring is an arms embargo and the wretched Genevas 1 and 2. In the Ukraine little more than bluster so far. The problem is not that once again he is rationalizing Western intervention but that he is still in denial about his previous neo-Stalinist bullying of those who defended Bosnia against a wretched fascist militia backed by Serbia.

    In actual I would not oppose a Western intervention that objectively helped a revolution against a tyranny such as the supply of arms or even the impositon of a no-fly Zone such as in Syria. Why would I? However I would not call for it as it is very rare that the self-serving interests of imperialism coincide with a revolution. I certainly would not support the neo-con plan to take on Russia in the Ukraine at the expense of millions of dead Ukrainians. That certainly would not help the revolution anymore than a million dead Iraqis resulting from the illegal invasion was good for Arab democracy.

    The revolution is what should concern us but you and the neo-Stalinists have swapped any concern for that in favour of becoming the foreign desk of the Putin kleptocracy.

    Comment by davidellis987 — March 10, 2014 @ 3:26 pm

  12. It is good that the consciously anti-Trot BillJ openly backs the neo-Stalinist position. It is also good that the unconsciously pro-Trot Louis Proyect doesn’t.

    Anyway enough of that. The job of Marxists is to oppose the illegal annexation by the war criminal Putin of Crimea, oppose any attempt by the West to use Ukraine as the location of an unspeakably violent `Stop Russia War’ (althout it is far more likely that the West would like nothing more than to see Putin bogged down in an unwinnable war against the Ukrainian people) and to agitate for the transformation of the popular revolution against Ukrainian gangster capitalists into a workers’ revolution and its spread across Europe.

    Comment by davidellis987 — March 10, 2014 @ 3:36 pm

  13. 10. Seems Karl Friedrich that the `alleged’ land grabs and mass rapes were just as irrelevant to you as they were to imperialism. Still at least they were able to do something about it even if it took them three years to be bothered.

    As for eliminating the last bulwark of planned economy 1. it was never a planned economy but a command economy and 2. Milosevic was selling the whole thing off in any case. But for his Bosnian land grab they liked him as they liked Gadaffi but ordinary people did not like seeing innocents bombed.

    Comment by davidellis987 — March 10, 2014 @ 3:47 pm

  14. Those who see events in Ukraine as some sort of Western-backed fascist coup are either psychotic, Putin supporters, neo-Stalinists or the type of people Lenin pointed out would never recognise a revolution because they thought that when it came it would simply be good people versus bad people.

    Comment by davidellis987 — March 10, 2014 @ 3:51 pm

  15. It’s often difficult to assess the political loyalties of a crowd protesting; but in the aftermath it’s much easier to count up who is in a coalition government & key state positions. The conclusion drawn from the evidence of Maidan is that liberal democrats lost, & the winners were either presumed supporters of ‘structural adjustment’ or of a continuing nationalist revolution.

    Things are not always what they seem, as illustrated by Oleg Shuplyak:

    I take it that most commentators here, & Louis, don’t read Ukrainian so we rely on others. Some store has been placed in the Umland ‘liberationist, not extremist’ statement by academics & analysts that argued that the ‘far right’ influence in Maidan shouldn’t be exaggerated. Well, that undated statement, perhaps published late January, was an assessment of the relative strength of political persuasions, & with the fall of the Yanukovich regime we now have evidence of the transformation of the protest into state appointments.

    So what do we have? Yulia’s party, Batkivshchyna (Fatherland), is in the lead, Klichko’s party, Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform, UDAR (Punch), is absent, unlike the third party signing the agreement with Yanukovich, Svoboda (Freedom). These parties were second, third & fifth at the last general election, October 2012. Those missing, #1 & #4, are Yanukovich’s Party of the Regions, & the Ukrainian Communist Party. Importantly Maidan did not create an organisation that could rank with the political parties, it failed to achieve independent status.

    The top of the government tree has 19 posts: a Prime Minister, 3 Vice-Prime Ministers, & 15 Ministers. Fatherland has 5 of the 19: Prime Minister, & 4 Ministers (Internal Affairs; Justice; Social Policy; Infrastructure). Freedom has 4: a Vice-Prime Minister (Sych); & 3 Ministers – Defence (Tenyukh), Farming & Food (Shvaika), & Ecology & Natural Resources (Mokhnyk).

    The remaining 10 posts: 3 Maidan protesters (Health; Culture; Youth & Sport) & presumably 7 ‘technocrats’ (2 Vice-Prime Ministers; Economy; Energy & Coal; Finance; Foreign Affairs; Education & Science). The last mentioned, Kvit, was a middle-ranking leader of Trident, & Borotba calls him an “open nazi”, but Ishchenko disagrees.

    So the ‘far right’ has 4 or 5 posts in government. It also provides the chief prosecutor (Mokhnytsky, Freedom), & the deputy of the National Security & Defence Council (Yarosh, leader of Pravy Sektor – Right Sector). One can also add the head of the NSDC, Parubiy, not least because he commanded Samooborona (Self-Defence), &, although a Fatherland People’s Deputy, in the early 90s he co-founded the Social-National Party as a copybook fascist group with Tyahnybok, the current Freedom leader. That makes either 7 or 8 leading posts. It’s a greater penetration than ever achieved in a west European liberal democracy, & that includes Fini’s National Alliance (the old MSI) in the second Berlusconi government, 2001-6, that led to boycotts at EU meetings.

    And what has been the response by opponents of the ‘far right’ to this, from the Maidan crowds that were ‘liberationist’? Nothing, according to the mainstream media. In alternative media there are a few reports from tiny ‘far left’ groups but to be honest one also looks in vain. The silence is deafening.

    Given this passivity are we all watching parliamentarians trying to please any of a number of big capitalists? Well, some are not waiting for representatives, for on Sunday, 2 March, two were appointed in the east as governors, Kolomoysky (Dnepropetrovsk) & the satisfied Taruta (Donetsk).

    Between them they are said to be worth $4.5bn, which to put it in some perspective is 25% of the state’s foreign reserves, so low it pays for only two months’ imports. The Real News has just done a two-part report entitled ‘A Struggle Amongst Oligarchs in Ukraine’ (with Buzgalin, Moscow State Uni, a professed Marxist who recently had an article published by International Viewpoint, the Fourth International site). But it is an unwarranted reduction to deem political manoeuvring as necessarily the enacted furthering of perceived economic interests: politics has its own powers & susceptibilities.

    So what was Maidan? It was a protest against miserable lives, a capitalist misery. To what extend was it a protest movement? For it to have that character it would need to have created institutions that outlived the protest. Are there any? Where are they? What have they said & done since Yanukovich ran away? I haven’t read a report of any such bodies – has anyone else? Indeed, what has happened to the Maidan Council in Kyiv? Has it met? Given all the political developments what statements has it issued & what demonstrations or occupations has it organised? What has it said about the government’s composition?, about the hopes invested in the three Ministers drawn from Maidan’s non-‘right’?, about the Rada’s revocation of Russian language rights?, about the appointment of oligarch governors?, about the Russian invasion & occupation of Crimea?, about the appalling violence & humiliation dished out in Kharkiv on Saturday, 1 March?

    In the internet age, with no statement or action from the former protesters, we can only presume that the Maidan protest has not left an institutional legacy: we must conclude that it was a protest that failed to turn into a protest movement. The legacy of Maidan is in fact quite different: an exuberant ‘far right’ tempered through street-fighting, & a ‘left’ that proved incapable of growing amongst peeps who got off their asses & stood day after day in the severe cold, at the end even risking being shot.

    The ‘liberationist’ statement spoke of “the confusing mosaic that is formed by the hundreds of thousands of protesters with their different motivations, backgrounds and aims” – & unfortunately that is how it has largely remained, amorphous. Successful political activity is organised, focused, institutionalised, it’s not just attending protests – in a word, political success is the result of work. The ‘far right’ came organised, they formed fighting units, they controlled a significant portion of the square, not least by issuing passes. In the October 2012 general election Freedom went from 0 to 37 People’s Deputies with 2.1m votes. Now they are in government & in other strategic state positions. Right Sector will change their name at a conference this Saturday & will also run Yarosh for President. In all this the only good news is that they will split the Freedom vote, even if only by perhaps 10-15%.

    Comment by Jara Handala — March 10, 2014 @ 3:54 pm

  16. @ #9: “[. . .] the point of this article is that the Ukraine is not like Germany in 1932. People like to cherry-pick their evidence to support whatever thesis they have. My analysis is based on an assessment of the class dynamics in Ukraine today. Without a powerful radicalized labor movement, such as the kind that existed in Chile under Allende, all this talk about the looming fascist threat [. . .]” (Louis)

    Which is why my above comment always had scare-quotes encasing ‘far right’: for a group to be fascist it has to have necessary conditions, mostly beyond its own making. In the Ukraine reports I have read, only one referred to an attack on workers’ organisations by a group that would count as ‘far right’. To a large extent the ones I named are wannabe fascists, they don’t have an organised working class to struggle against. From what I can gather they are most accurately termed xenophobic nationalists. And even then there are few black people, Chinese traders, Jews, Poles, & Russians to attack.

    Comment by Jara Handala — March 10, 2014 @ 6:48 pm

  17. #15 In the internet age, with no statement or action from the former protesters, we can only presume that the Maidan protest has not left an institutional legacy: we must conclude that it was a protest that failed to turn into a protest movement.

    That’s true of the Occupy movement, the Spanish Indignados, and most of the protests in the MENA as well. If Ukrainians put up with the new government’s austerity programs like sheep going to the slaughter, then it would be most unfortunate. A large part of the failure of these protests to turn into a protest movement has to do with the utter collapse of the Marxist movement. The Trotskyists and Maoists live in their own little sectarian dreamworld and the CP, as evidenced by both Ukraine and Syria, attaches itself to a utterly discredited state power that has a thin veneer of leftism–symbolized in the first instance by Lenin statues and in the second memories of the 1970s when the USSR and nonaligned movement were a really big deal. Sad, really.

    Comment by louisproyect — March 10, 2014 @ 6:58 pm

  18. Hello, Louis.

    I value your opinions, which one reason why I comment. What I hear you saying is that (1) you see mass movements in Syria and Ukraine that include a secondary left component, and the movements want increased democracy and less corruption. For you it seems that it means that those movements should achieve their objectives, and (2) you don’t see much difference between Western or Russian capitalism, so the counterarguments are not worth it.

    I agree with those facts, except that I think the neocon “reforms” planned for Ukraine are worse than what they had.

    Two things however prevent me from drawing the same conclusions, particularly in Ukraine: my concern for a working class analysis and my concern for democracy.

    First, the main demand and motivation of the Euromaidan movement was to achieve Ukraine’s entrance into an austerity agreement with the IMF that would follow the pattern of economic destruction, debts, and slashing welfare programs that is demanded of Latin American countries. Achieving such an agreement is far worse from a working class analysis

    Second, since I do care about democracy, I am reluctant to support an undemocratic overthrow. Yanukovych, while a poor president, had not run his term yet, and people were not banned from electing another president when the time came. If one is going to support an undemocratic overthrow, there should be an urgent reason for it and the new president should be far more socialist/welfare-oriented and/or democratic in order justify such an undemocratic act.

    So in terms of both economic democracy and political democracy, I actually see the overthrow of an elected leader for the main demand of obeying IMF austerity to be at best unworthy of requiring forced “regime change”, and at worst a setback for both democracy and welfare policies.

    Comment by H. Smith — March 10, 2014 @ 7:53 pm

  19. Louis why you are quoting that elitist left academic horse shit I don’t know, given your normal distaste for characters like that, they spend a lot of time in one of their statements telling the rest of us to shut up, and listen to them, cos they have jobs at universities, and receive funding to write journal articles. I prefer links to anarchists and syndicalists on the ground, who I may not agree with but who are activists like us. It seems like Ukraine is much like the west, most “Marxists” are in the university departments and their sole contribution seems to be to fuck Marxism up.

    For those who want to read the full letter from some Jewish leaders and see the signatories, their names are not familiar to me obviously not being Ukrainian
    http://eajc.org/page32/news43672.html

    Of course not are there anti-Semites amongst Ukrainian nationalists, but with Russian nationalism growing on the other side anti-Semitism is surfacing in Crimea, though it appears not to the same extent. Of course everyone should be already aware of the ex- IDF members who were part of a Euromaidan defense squad who took orders from a Nazi, who they said wasn’t anti-Semitic. We all saw Kerry walking around with one of the chief Rabbis in Ukraine, though the guy is from Brooklyn and moved a couple of decades ago. I’m not building any conspiracy theories here just saying Israelis and Americans may well have certain political leanings (there aren’t many of you left wingers, be honest).
    It seems some local Jewish leaders take a very anti-Russian line including at least one oligarch, I presume they are mostly in the western parts. Others, mostly in Crimea seem to be saying Jewish leaders should shut up about Crimea and just call for peace, whether that makes them pro Crimea autonomy or just scared I don’t know. Outside of Crimea there are some rubbing their hands saying all 15000 Crimean Jews should move to Israel for safety. Who knows maybe the “Pure Ukraine” nationalists can cut a deal to export their Jewish problem without too much violence and maybe some aid money from Israel?
    The Tartars have nowhere to go, so some of their leaders binding them to the Euromaidan almost guarantees they will be further victimized by Russian nationalism; the absence of any independent workers movement makes things look very bleak.

    The biggest financial losers look to be the EC, they have been maneuvered by Obama into bearing the costs of some really stupid American policies, while the US will pay little towards this western debacle. Maybe that was the conspiracy all along for the US to say FUCK the EC?

    Finally well done Louis for arguing this out, the only people I don’t respect are the leftists with nothing to say about the biggest crisis in the world today.

    Comment by Harry Monro — March 10, 2014 @ 8:43 pm

  20. I think other comments made here confirm what I am saying. Regarding Neo-Stalinism, it looks like some ideas you and I share can be mislabeled that way by our critics. Namely, you and I did not think it was worth conquering Yugoslavia, due to the fact that Yugoslavia had some major social policies left over that the IMF would in fact take apart with neoliberalism. Since those social policies existed during what our critics would label “Neo-Stalinist” periods, they in turn label us “Neo-Stalinists.”

    I disagree with the label because our concern is not really for Joseph Stalin or dictatorship but for social policies or socialist elements of society. Personally, in the mild standoff between Yugoslavia and Stalin in the 1940’s, I would support the former, even if it was not fully in Stalin’s “camp”, since while they both had socialist societies, Yugoslavia was far more democratic.

    As to Milosevic and Yanukovych, the commentors’ remarks also show similarities- to some degree they were both defending some social reforms and also privatizing others away. Yanukovych may have lived in a luxury mansion with a mini-zoo, but he did not seem dedicated to turning his country into a Greece-style ashtray- or else he would have signed the economically-enslaving IMF debt agreement to hold onto political power. Instead, he became a wanted refugee for a sniper attack that it is increasingly doubtful that he committed.

    So while I disagree with our critics about the bombing of Yugoslavia, I think they are right about how an analysis of the two cases lines up. Actually, I think one can make some better arguments for removing Milosevic than removing Yanukovych. Milosevic and his Bosnian and Kosovo opponents were both involved in ethnic attacks on communities, while Yanukovych was not nearly so harsh. But anyway, the NATO bombings were directed against cities and civilians too, so NATO does not exactly have the moral high ground on that one as it portrays itself.

    Another counterargument can be that there rally are Marxist forces that are a tiny part of the Maidan and Syrian revolts. However, that should not stop us from making our own analysis of what is happening, even though it is a major factor we must consider. Plus, it is likely that you will find Marxists on both sides of those conflicts. Those dissenting Marxist forces naturally and correctly protest against Assad and Yanukovych. But should they find the IMF and globalist groups better allies? I think not. At the least, Marxists in both places must be in opposition to both “sides’. Further, based on an anti-globalist view, I find Yanukovych’s “side” at least somewhat preferable to the IMF one, which is not to support either. It must be remembered that Socialists were divided about WWI and Trotskyist groups were divided about the Cold War. I am sure there are democratic socialists in Ukraine and Syria who are divided about those issues too, so the mere “alliance” of some of the Marxists in one place does not require us to absolutely support that overall side as preferable. We cannot wish small Marxist groups to be defeated in their work, but neither would we have to support decisions to support globalist movements like some did in WWI or the Cold War. This is what I think- I could support socialist groups, but not their work on behalf of a mass movement demanding destructive EU and IMF policies.

    Comment by H. Smith — March 10, 2014 @ 9:01 pm

  21. So in terms of both economic democracy and political democracy, I actually see the overthrow of an elected leader for the main demand of obeying IMF austerity to be at best unworthy of requiring forced “regime change”, and at worst a setback for both democracy and welfare policies.

    Who are you trying to con with all this high-falutin’ lip-service to democracy and socialism. You are just like one of so many people on the left that joined the CP in the 30s or 40s except that they could at least be excused for backing what they saw as socialism. Like farce following tragedy, people like you are committed propagandists for people like Bashar al-Assad and Yanukovych but don’t have the balls to come out and say it. Instead you pussyfoot around with all this garbage about how evil the jihadists and the Ukrainian fascists are. There are people much better at this then you. You are so transparent and even more insufferable with your Pecksniffian commitment to “true” socialism.

    If I had been your age when I got involved with the left and saw myself going in your direction, I would have reversed course and taken up horticulture or glass-blowing. Then I would have been able to look at myself in the mirror.

    Comment by louisproyect — March 10, 2014 @ 9:03 pm

  22. The piece got the year wrong – 1933, not 1932. Besides, Hitler was appointed Chancellor by Hindenburg in a rather constitutional fashion, as opposed to having risen to power (by theoretical comparison) following the SA creating a 3-month long mayhem & burning Alexanderplatz down.

    Comment by EUR1069 — March 10, 2014 @ 9:36 pm

  23. So all that the west has provided for the proto-fascists and neo-nazis of the Ukranian putchists has been only bluster you say David? So, what was Victoria “Fuck the E.U” Nuland going on about when she bragged about the 5 billion in seed money spent so far in cause of “democracy promotion” or those snipers who managed to pick off both police and protestors?

    I’m really curious about something, how the fuck did you think Russia would respond to this transparent attempt to move NATO bases even closer to her borders? This in Ukraine no less, the highway through which the West has invaded Russia for centuries. Grow up.

    Comment by Bill J. — March 10, 2014 @ 10:31 pm

  24. I second Bill’s comment. NATO has been salivating after Ukraine’s geo-strategic position for the last 20 years – apparently now they felt that the time has come to bag it. On a more cheerful note & just for the sake of argument, imagine a scenario whereby a motley crew of rabid Teapartyers, racist KKK & armed anti-govermnet militias (incidentally fed up with “corrupt politicians”, no less) – shutting Washington D.C. down, attacking police with Molotov cocktails, occupying and/or burning down government buildings AND Sergey Lavrov would show up with suitcases of cash, encouraging speeches in favor of the “protesters”, complete with a personal appearance at the ground zero of the mayhem, offering snacks to the aggravated hoi polloi a’la Mrs. Ashton. Time to sit back & reflect, eh?

    Comment by EUR1069 — March 10, 2014 @ 10:55 pm

  25. NATO has been salivating after Ukraine’s geo-strategic position for the last 20 years – apparently now they felt that the time has come to bag it.

    Another Moon of Alabama/DissidentVoice/Global Research type troll. I have no idea why they come here. They surely must know that I have little patience for this sort of thing.

    Comment by louisproyect — March 10, 2014 @ 11:00 pm

  26. No name calling please. I came to this page with respect. Manners, man. If you disagree, please yank out something proving that NATO has no interest whatsoever in setting up bases in Ukraine.

    Comment by EUR1069 — March 10, 2014 @ 11:09 pm

  27. as an aside, for me, the main value of Twitter is its ease of use and the ability to pass along information through the links to articles, video and pictures, I’ve never thought it was a good way to have conversations with people (perhaps, this is sinister purpose of it, to, quoting Baudrillard, to create the simulacrum of conversation)

    anyway, what people have to say about the linked information is secondary to what is linked, hence the 140 character limit, much maligned by people like Jonathan Franzen, misses the point entirely

    its simplicity makes it preferable to Facebook

    my opinion of Twitter changed from negative to positive several years when some guy bought Blair’s biography hot of the presses and tweeted out the flaws of it as he read it page by page, a brilliant use of new technology

    Comment by Richard Estes — March 10, 2014 @ 11:19 pm

  28. ‘Numerous reports allege that the pro-European movement is being infiltrated, driven or taken over by radically ethnocentrist groups of the lunatic fringe. Some presentations create the misleading impression that ultra-nationalist actors and ideas are at the core or helm of the Ukrainian protests. Graphic pictures, juicy quotes, sweeping comparisons and dark historical references are in high demand. They are combined with a disproportionate consideration of one particularly visible, yet politically minor segment within the confusing mosaic that is formed by the hundreds of thousands of protesters with their different motivations, backgrounds and aims.’

    Now if the Maidan protesters were overwhelmingly non-fascist if not openly anti-fascist, and if the far-right was just an insignificant corner of the protest movement, how is it that the far-right has been given several plum jobs in the new Ukrainian cabinet? Have there been protests by the protesting majority against the perversion of their protests? I hope that there have, because the presence of outright fascists in any government should be a matter of great concern for progressively-minded people, not least in respect of the dangers that the parallel rising tides of Ukrainian and Russian nationalism pose in Ukraine, but I’ve not seen any evidence for this so far.

    Comment by Dr Paul — March 11, 2014 @ 12:04 am

  29. Have there been protests by the protesting majority against the perversion of their protests?

    Ukrainians, like all other human beings, respond to economic shocks not moralistic appeals on “rejecting” bad ideas. If the government pushes ahead with its austerity drive and the far right members of the government accede to it, that will be an acid test of the soul of the nation. In the meantime, this relentless “exposure” of all the bad people in Maidan square and their prominence in the new government strikes me as objectively pro-Russian propaganda.

    Comment by louisproyect — March 11, 2014 @ 12:10 am

  30. If you disagree, please yank out something proving that NATO has no interest whatsoever in setting up bases in Ukraine.

    You are in my living room, not Hyde Park. If you are here for no other reason than to put me on the defensive as the new Christopher Hitchens, you will get the boot in the twinkle of an eye.

    Comment by louisproyect — March 11, 2014 @ 12:12 am

  31. “You are in my living room, not Hyde Park. If you are here for no other reason than to put me on the defensive as the new Christopher Hitchens, you will get the boot in the twinkle of an eye.”

    No more evasive no answer-answers, Mr. “Unrepentant Marxist”. Come clean & state your true purpose.

    Comment by EUR1069 — March 11, 2014 @ 12:39 am

  32. #6 David Ellis asks: `Titoist socialism’?!? What the fuck was that?
    ______________________________________________________

    It was a planned economy of cooperation that shared enough social assets among historically antagonistic ethnicities that all were at peace for 5 decades unlike the previous 5 centuries.

    The social property cooperation of Titoist socialism was the only thing that prevented real genocide in that region.

    Titoist socialism produced new cars (Yugo) that masses around the world could buy new for $2900.

    Titoist socialism produced the best $1.99 bottle of red Cabernet wine (Avia) the world has ever known. Back in the early to mid 80’s it was on the shelves of almost every Chicago grocery store and even one famous 5 Star Armenian restauranteur that served Mid-Eastern cusine picked it up after I turned them on to it.

    Many of the traditional anti-Leninist left, you know, the DSA & New School academic types, used to commend “Titoist Socialism” as something different & better than Stalinism insofar as it tried to blend “actually existing socialism” with the market (something I personally was always skeptical of as it left it vulnerable to imperialism & counterrevolution).

    But I will concede that David Ellis may be right that the pressures of being the last planned (even command) economy on the Continent certainly could lead Milosevic down the road of selling everything off and perhaps the unravelling of that Titoist cooperative balance which then set the whole fucking thing ablaze.

    Of course that theoretical inevitability was too slow for the Pentagon which, after the collapse of the Soviets, had to show it was the world’s sole hegemon and test out some new laser guided weaponry to boot, their guiding philosophy to this day being: “kick them while they’re down” be it friend or foe.

    Understanding that Uncle Sam is a congenital predator has been one of the greatest divides on the Left, that and the inability to understand the dialectical interactions of social forces at a given moment in history are always fluid.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — March 11, 2014 @ 12:47 am

  33. “Although I admire Max and consider him one of the leading lights of the liberal left, I have to wonder how much grounding he has in Marxism. Probably none, I’m afraid.”

    Bourgeois liberals aren’t Marxists? Gee, you don’t say.

    What other difficult political nuts did you crack in your decades of deep political inflection?

    Comment by Mikey — March 11, 2014 @ 5:27 am

  34. “Understanding that Uncle Sam is a congenital predator has been one of the greatest divides on the Left, that and the inability to understand the dialectical interactions of social forces at a given moment in history are always fluid.”

    Understanding that EVERY capitalist country is imperialist is nature (the smaller ones are limited only in potential to expand, not desire — irredentism is HUGE in some of the world’s weakest countries), and that the global capitalist system is imperialist, has been one of the greatest mistakes of those who have fallen in with the Leninist party-dictatorship model. No excuse really either, since Rosa exposed the error a century ago.

    Comment by Mikey — March 11, 2014 @ 5:31 am

  35. Despite all the seeming differences above, one thing that’s not in debate amongst the class conscious is Proyect’s truism that: “Yanukovych was an oligarch who was all set to cut a deal with the EU until Putin stepped in at the last minute with a better one. Putin’s Eurasian Union is a bloc of capitalist countries. Russia is an imperialist nation, even if a weaker one. In fact that describes Czarist Russia as well”…

    Only lunatics imagine that after the Czarist flag was raised over the Kremlin back when Yeltsin paved the way for Klepto-Czars like Putin, you know, the Ghoul of Chechnya who spent billions of rubles worth of state propery levelling an ethnicity, would have any progressive role in history. Rue the day an erstwhile leftist defends Putin as something other than a degenerate war criminal of the most shallow variety.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — March 11, 2014 @ 5:45 am

  36. “No, but the point of this article is that the Ukraine is not like Germany in 1932.”. Agreed. But I mentioned that is more like the 1923 Munich Beer hall putsch as far as the neo-Nazi involvement was concerned, that is, they will likely go into retreat for the time being, as did the early Nazis.

    One thing that has not been clearly observed is – on the assumption that the far right (Svoboda) together with the Neo-Nazi Pravy Secktor played a vanguard role in the street fighting that led to the flight of Yanukovich – that this marks a breakthrough on the effectiveness for the far right on the European scene. The question is what will happen once the IMF/EU economic demands start biting. I bet the post-fascist Svoboda leaves the government in protest (if they are smart), and the Neo-Nazis will be presented with another opening to make political hay and build on their fighting reputation, if they have one.

    Don’t agree on Milisevic – he was just another capitalist restorationist, but I do agree on defending Serbia (capitalist or not) against the savage (and cowardly) NATO aerial assault.

    The poll on Ukrainians’ attitudes on WW2 is interesting, and not surprising. Yeah sure, the vast majority of Ukrainians want Neo-Nazis to come to power. :-p

    And you can be sure that Silicon Valley capitalists won’t look kindly on a “new Cold War” with Russia. The love hiring Russian engineers, they are highly organized team players that get things done, unlike their more expensive American counterparts inured in individualistic office politics backstabbing and knowledge hoarding for job security. US computer capitalists routinely raid each others’ caches of Russian engineers. How do I know? I work in this industry and work with Russian engineers on a daily basis.

    However there are various US and Triad capitalist factions in contention with each other in the political system, and sometimes when the elephants dance they stomp on each others’ toes. We’ll see who has the biggest stomp.

    Comment by Matt — March 11, 2014 @ 7:34 am

  37. Jara Handala’s perspective is good. And of course this is the nub of the problem: “A large part of the failure of these protests to turn into a protest movement has to do with the utter collapse of the Marxist movement. The Trotskyists and Maoists live in their own little sectarian dreamworld…”

    Comment by matthewrusso9 — March 11, 2014 @ 8:17 am

  38. Bill J: `I’m really curious about something, how the fuck did you think Russia would respond to this transparent attempt to move NATO bases even closer to her borders? This in Ukraine no less, the highway through which the West has invaded Russia for centuries. Grow up.’

    That you are now an open supporter of imperialist annexation is absolutely no surprise to me. I remember having a long argument with you about Kronstadt and how you supported the uprising that would have handed the White Russians and their imperialist puppeteers guaranteed military victory over the revolution. You’ve come a long way from Permanent Revolution but have you really? What you actually rejected was not Trotskyism but your own distorted version of it. You made it up then slagged it off. You are now in the pockets of semi-colonial tyrannies and Russian imperialism operating the Popular Front on an international scale. It’s you and some mass murderers against the West. Such a progressive. Tosser.

    Comment by davidellis987 — March 11, 2014 @ 9:46 am

  39. #32 `Titoist socialism produced new cars (Yugo) that masses around the world could buy new for $2900.’

    You’re a fucking idiot.

    Comment by davidellis987 — March 11, 2014 @ 9:58 am

  40. The Committee for a Unified British Section of the Fourth International proposes the following resolution on the situation in the Ukraine. If you support this resolution let me know. If you oppose it let me know. If you want to amend it or completely re-write it let me know. At the moment however it is official policy of the Committee as it stands:

    Victory to the Ukrainian National Democratic Revolution

    1. A schism in the Ukranian gangster capitalist class that seized property and power following the collapse of the Stalinised Soviet Union has made possible a popular democratic movement against it and its military-police tyranny.

    2. This movement forced the kleptocrat-in-chief Yanukovytch to flee to his Russian imperialist sponsors who then launched a pre-planned, criminal annexation of Crimea.

    3. The abdication of Yanukovytch left the corrupt bunch of gangster-capitalist politicians that infest the Ukraine parliament temporarily in charge.

    4. The official response of the United States to the annexation of Crimea has so far been appeasement. Putin is very much seen as part of an alliance of great powers in the so-called War on Terror not to mention a location for lucrative investment and a source of billions in stolen capital currently propping up Western stock exchanges, banks, football leagues and property markets. There is, however, a very vocal but currently impotent group of hard right neo-Conservatives who would like nothing more than to confront Russia militarily over the corpses of the Ukrainians. Still others would like to see Russia bogged down and preoccupied Iraq-style in an unwinnable and resource-sapping invasive war. None of these actors have the interests of the revolution or the Ukrainian people at the forefront or even the back of their minds.

    5. The revolution and the international labour movement must oppose the annexation of Crimea. Revolutionaries must urge the revolution to sweep aside the gangster-capitalists whether they be pro-Russia or pro-EU and their rancid Parliament of Sycophants and Lackeys.

    6. The future of Ukrainian workers or indeed any worker does not lie in one imperialist `trading’ block or another. Russia has proved that its relationship with the Ukrainian people is that of a thief to a blind beggar whilst the EU, though many will see it as a potential bulwark against the lawlessness of the gangster capitalists, eyes the Ukraine in the way that a plague of locusts views a field of corn.

    7. The revolution must pursue policies that will unite East and West Ukraine under a revolutionary democracy. It has no interest in a futile confrontation with Russia simply to make the Parliament of Thieves and Lackeys look good or in hosting an inter-imperialist war in which millions of its citizens will die for the satisfaction of US Senator John McCain. It must however defend its territorial integrity as it stands and demand the withdrawal of Russia from Crimea.

    8. Ukraine proves that the spectre that has long haunted the European elites is coming back to life. That spectre is the working class and it is they who must lead the struggle for democracy. The Ukrainian national democratic revolution must be made permanent or it will collapse to fascist land grabs in the East and the West that will put an end to the democratic aspirations of the Ukrainian people for many years to come.

    Comment by davidellis987 — March 11, 2014 @ 10:57 am

  41. `3. Oppose all direct foreign military intervention, whether it is from western imperialist countries, Russia, regional powers or Hezbollah.’

    The FI has put out a very good resolution on Syria that is up until the above demand which basically overturns the rest of it. It is the demand that allows them to conciliate with the neo-Stalinists of the StWC and participate with them in demonstrations such as the one where they demanded Gadaffi be allowed to bomb Benghazi with impunity or the one where they walked side by side with Assad’s henchmen in London. It is the un-noticed little paragraph that allows them to go around describing the votes in the US Congress and UK Parliament to abandon the Syrian people to Assad’s butchery as victories for the anti-war movement and these vile bodies as centres of anti-imperialism. It is the catch all phrase that demonstrates that they are themselves captives of the neo-Stalinist centrist world view.

    Comment by davidellis987 — March 11, 2014 @ 2:42 pm

  42. It is a particularly revolting clause when the only actual Western intervention has been first an arms embargo against the revolution whilst Assad was freely armed by Putin and then the disgusting Genevas 1 and 2 acting as a cloak for mass murder.

    I would remind our colleagues of the so-called FI that Trotsky advised that striking dock workers in a fascist imperialist country should lift their picket to allow weapons destined for an anti-imperialist movement fighting one of its enemies semi-colonial regimes even if that enemy was a democratic state.

    The blanket principle that we put a minus where the imperialists put a plus and simply thoughtlessly oppose every form of imperialist intervention is Stalinised de-politicised formula Marxism in the service of a popular front with tyrants against the developing world revolution.

    Comment by davidellis987 — March 11, 2014 @ 2:59 pm

  43. #29 “[. . .] this relentless ‘exposure’ of all the bad people in Maidan square and their prominence in the new government strikes me as objectively pro-Russian propaganda” (Louis)
    ——————————————————————————-

    Louis, what is the reasoning for your assertion? (It’s also not an “‘exposure'”: Western mainstream media at first ignored the ‘far right’ until Putin self-interestedly started drawing attention to it.)

    What was both said by Paul Flewers #28 (of Revolutionary History journal) & myself #15 should not be described as “objectively pro-Russian propaganda”, as supporting the imperialist politics of Russia’s president. Significantly, I notice that you didn’t say we had spoken any falsehoods.

    We described the evidence we have seen. Why label any of it “propaganda”? How can the public quiescence of former Maidan protesters be “objectively pro-Russian”? The current lack of protest is simply evidence that Maidan, a protest, was unable to transform itself into a protest movement – & this is demonstrated most markedly by the lack of public reaction to two big-big capitalists being appointed governors to the most important oblasts of east Ukraine (only Kharkiv compares).

    Concerning oneself with the facts can never be propaganda or delusory: knowing facts is sobering, not least because facts are obdurate, they are the representation in words of reality.

    Comment by Jara Handala — March 11, 2014 @ 4:14 pm

  44. “It is the un-noticed little paragraph that allows them to go around describing the votes in the US Congress and UK Parliament to abandon the Syrian people to Assad’s butchery . . . ”

    I question any political perspective based upon the assumption that the US and UK would do anything to help the Syrian people against any internal or external enemy, ujnless, of course, it facilitated their goals.

    Instead of objecting to the predictable actions of imperialist powers, it might be better to evaluate the Syrian effort to get rid of Assad in terms of its domestic failures, after all, revolutions and rebellions in other countries have faced equally difficult challenges and succeeded, yet, in Syria, Assad remains in power after we were frequently told in US and European media that his defeat was imminent.

    Comment by Richard Estes — March 11, 2014 @ 4:21 pm

  45. Likewise drawing attention to the ‘far right’s’ success in securing state positions should not be described as “objectively pro-Russian propaganda”. It is the first necessary step in addressing the current political difficulties faced by not just workers, retirees, socialists, & anarchists but also liberal democrats. All rational political response has to be grounded in facts – never in wishful thinking or illusions.

    nothing is lost, & everything is gained, in recognising that for the first time in Ukrainian history Ukrainians themselves have voted (in the parliament) to give the ‘far right’ crucial posts in government & other key state bodies.

    Comment by Jara Handala — March 11, 2014 @ 4:25 pm

  46. #44 Well it’s obvious why Assad has survived. It’s because he is brilliant.

    Comment by davidellis987 — March 11, 2014 @ 7:26 pm

  47. “Well it’s obvious why Assad has survived. It’s because he is brilliant.”

    Is that the new line at the NYT and the Guardian? Haven’t had time to keep up.

    Comment by Richard Estes — March 11, 2014 @ 8:01 pm

  48. What is the most crucial lesson for self ascribed “marxists” to learn from the drawbacks of the protests and revolutionary movements in Egypt, Ukraine, Libya AND Syria (lets not pretend Syria is the original sin here) is the catastrophic failure of the radical-left movements to present the people with any viable alternative to the system they have been suffering under.
    So please lets not divert the blame on the people for settling (for the time being) for the right after decades of seeing their hopes dashed with various historic “revolutionary” tendencies who have been siding with their oppressors.

    Comment by Michael T — March 11, 2014 @ 9:06 pm

  49. Lou P says of I and others who are not enamoured by the current Ukrainian government: ‘In the meantime, this relentless “exposure” of all the bad people in Maidan square and their prominence in the new government strikes me as objectively pro-Russian propaganda.

    Yes, I know. Just as those of us who were concerned that the opposition to Assad in Syria contained extremely nasty religious sectarians who, if they won out over progressive elements, would make life for Syrians in the areas they control worse than it was under Assad’s repressive regime, were written off as ‘objectively pro-Assad’ (and sometimes even worse), although what we warned has unfortunately come true. We are no more in favour of Assad than Putin, but we are very aware that what has been happening in Syria and what is happening in Ukraine has been putting the democratic content of the original movements against a vicious dictatorship in Syria and a corrupt, repressive regime in Ukraine in jeopardy.

    Our romantic uncritical supporters of these oppositions ignored the very real dangers that religious sectarians posed in Syria until it was too obvious for them to ignore. Until that point, those of us who were aware of this growing danger were written off, quite slanderously, as ‘Islamophobic’; as if left-wingers have no right to warn of what are vicious enemies of progressive politics and movements. It’s been 35 years since Khomeini in Iran gave proof of what religious fundamentalists think of people like us and of democratic, progressive policies in general.

    And now, in Ukraine, a government has appeared in which there are several fascists, really vicious fascists, not the pale imitation we usually encounter, in several posts and also in certain important state jobs. Now although I feel that it is quite wrong to view the Maidan protests in Ukraine as either a manifestation of fascism on the rampage or a Western plot (despite very real fascist involvement and Western interference), the results cannot be cheering for any left-winger. It appears that most of the protesters were largely concerned with the high-handed, corrupt nature of Yanokovich’s government and had illusions in the EU’s ability to offer some sort of economic rescue package to Ukraine and in the EU as a democratic outfit. The protests were certainly legitimate in their complaints about the government, and I feel that the Ukrainian left-wingers who tried to intervene in the protests were correct to do so, rather than merely write them off as reactionary or naive.

    What we have before in Kiev us is a government majority that has openly declared in advance its acceptance of austerity as a quid pro quo for EU assistance, has attempted to impose restrictions upon language rights (retracted after receiving EU advice), and given several ministerial posts and state jobs, some of which are not at all ornamental, to outright fascists. All this should be setting off alarm-bells in our heads: the Maidan protests have given rise to a result which, whilst surely not the intention or desire of the bulk of the demonstrators, cannot be seen as anything other than problematic.

    Having stated that, I also feel that the Russian intervention in the Crimea should be opposed, just as its war with Georgia and its interventions in Chechnya should have been opposed, as big-power bullying. That, however, does not mean that one should support the opposing regimes or movements.

    The rise of both Ukrainian and Russian nationalism in Ukraine poses a great danger. The break-up of the Soviet Union led to what were administrative borders becoming national ones: for several decades prior to 1991, the border between Russia and Ukraine was little more than that between two US states or British counties; it made little practical difference whether the Crimea was in Ukraine or Russia. Now Moscow and Kiev have different currencies, foreign policies, trade relations, etc; the dynamic of international relations is pulling them apart.

    Russians and Ukrainians have been mixing socially in Eastern and Southern Ukraine for decades; there have been many mixed marriages and friendships, there has been the rise of an unofficial linguistic mix of the two languages, Sirzhik (disliked by nationalists on both sides). One could be a Russian within Ukraine; a Russian-speaking Ukrainian; and so on without bother. The tragedy here is that now, with an assertive Ukrainian government that includes ultra-nationalist, anti-Russian fascists facing an assertive Russian one, people are being forced to choose between identities that were of little or no significance in the past. Ethnic/national identity is becoming more important. We saw what this led to in Yugoslavia: do we want this in Ukraine?

    Ukrainians and Tartars in the Crimea are feeling decidedly uncomfortable with the surge of Russian nationalism; the rise of Ukrainian nationalism, not only fired by fascists but by so-called liberals who wished to restrict language rights for non-Ukrainians and to promote Bandera as a good patriot (this was Yushchenko’s shtick a couple of years back) will have the result of making non-Ukrainians in Ukraine feel insecure.

    In the short term, I feel that the Crimea question will most likely be settled by Putin accepting a concession by the Rada of wide-ranging autonomy for the peninsula, with an increased stay for the Russian fleet, and at least formal guarantees for non-Russians. It will effectively be a Russian exclave in Ukraine. I suspect that the big Western powers are quietly trying to get this accepted in both Moscow and Kiev. This will prevent things blowing up in the short term, although the hard-line Ukrainian nationalists will cry it’s a sell-out. I think that Putin will deal with any stick from Russian ultras.

    In the longer term, however, this rise in rival nationalisms will have a poisonous impact upon Ukraine and lead to outright chauvinistic government policies, militant nationalist activities and responses, and persecutions of minorities (and there are others besides Jews and Tartars).

    That is why I feel that left-wingers should not support either the Russian or Ukrainian governments: both are playing an incendiary role. It is now that left-wingers must oppose all forms of nationalism and take a stand against the rise of rival chauvinisms that threaten to turn one citizen of Ukraine against another. The current government in Kiev is a big a problem in this respect as Putin’s in Moscow. That the Kiev government is offering austerity gives the left in Ukraine a chance to promote class politics: and it is class politics that offer a positive alternative to the rise of divisive, poisonous nationalism. To call this anti-nationalist, pro-class standpoint ‘pro-Russian’ is silly.

    Comment by Dr Paul — March 11, 2014 @ 9:21 pm

  50. Dr Paul

    “In the short term, I feel that the Crimea question will most likely be settled by Putin accepting a concession by the Rada of wide-ranging autonomy for the peninsula, with an increased stay for the Russian fleet, and at least formal guarantees for non-Russians. It will effectively be a Russian exclave in Ukraine. ”

    The problem Putin’s approach is that it’s based on the secession of Russian speaking areas of Ukraine.
    But why would Russia accept concesions in Crimea that offer it the status quo?
    Particularly as the referendum is almost certain to have a majority in favour of Crimea uniting with the Russian Federation.

    Russia won’t recognise the Ukrainian interim government, which as you say, is:-
    “a government .. in which there are several fascists, really vicious fascists …in several posts and also in certain important state jobs.”

    If so, there is no basis whatsoever for giving it any political legitimacy.

    One analogy would be with the Doumerge government, which took power in France after the fascist-led riots in February 1934 .

    This included such future leaders of the Vichy regime as Philippe Pétain, Albert-Pierre Sarraut and Pierre Laval. Another cabinet member was Adrien Marquet, who moved towards the national socialist far right, after being expelled from SFIO in 1933.

    The response of the SFIO and PCF to this government was to form a Popular Front, which took power in 1936. This had serious political flaws, which have been written about extensively, but it kept out the flood-tide of fascism for a time.

    Comment by prianikoff — March 12, 2014 @ 12:28 pm

  51. One analogy would be with the Doumerge government, which took power in France after the fascist-led riots in February 1934.

    —-

    This analogy, like all I have heard from the crypto-Stalinist left, falls apart at the slightest nudge. In the 1930s fascism was becoming the solution adopted by a significant wing of the European bourgeoisie. Today the EU and the USA have zero interest in seeing anything bearing the slightest resemblance to fascism in Ukraine. In fact, there is scant evidence that the new government has anything like the fervent following that crypto-Stalinists like Prianikoff ascribe to it. People went into the streets because they were sick of corruption and poverty, not because they wanted a racially pure Ukraine. That the far right played a key role in the street-fighting does not determine the political character. Were there mass demonstrations led by Svoboda? Were its leaders afforded the same kind of credit as Polish Solidarity? Fascism was a mass movement in Europe in the 1930s. It was an attempt to win the middle-class and layers of the working class with demagogic anti-capitalist rhetoric. The far right in the Ukraine is ensconced in a government that is poised to cut pensions and wages after the fashion of the Greek government. Let’s see how that will sit with a people who revolted over exactly such austerity.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/01/urkaine-crisis-maidan-idUSL6N0LY0SM20140301
    While the new government has not made direct calls for protesters to leave, many on the square distrust the new leadership to enact the kind of reforms they want and have vowed to stay.

    Protesters on the square universally tell tales of the wild riches that ordinary parliamentarians gain – one confidently talked of the “millions” a member of parliament can get for voting correctly during a debate. They reckon that the leaders of the opposition-turned government, such as acting President Oleksander Turchinov and Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk will enjoy such benefits.

    http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21597974-can-ukraine-find-any-leaders-who-will-live-up-aspirations-its-battered-victorious
    None of the politicians, including the three opposition leaders Arseny Yatsenyuk, Vitaly Klitschko, a former boxer, and Oleh Tyagnibok, are trusted by Maidan. Witness the reaction to Ms Tymoshenko’s appearance on Maidan after her release from prison. In the Orange revolution she was treated like a messiah. This time, while people were glad to see that she had been freed, they knew better than to put their fate in her hands—or those of any other politician for that matter.

    http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304255604579407421341927360
    Ukrainians distrust, with good reason, the entire political class. Mr. Yanukovych wasn’t the only greedy or incompetent pol here. But the Maidan crowds can’t rule the country, and in the past five days, parliament has assumed that role. On Wednesday night, the names of those who would lead a proposed new transitional government were announced before thousands packed in at the Maidan. Some were booed, others were cheered.

    Behind closed doors, the politicians are “trying to recreate the old system,” says Mustafa Naim, an Afghan-Ukrainian journalist, furious at the signs of deal-making by the same old faces. “You can see it in their eyes. We may need to go out on the Maidan again.” He says Ukraine needs to clean the whole political slate by scheduling a parliamentary election to coincide with the planned presidential vote in late May.

    Mr. Naim started all this in late November by calling a meeting on the Maidan to protest Mr. Yanukovych’s decision to abandon an EU “association” pact. Now he hosts a show on a new television channel, Hromadske, created out of the Maidan movement and funded by donations. “I think it’s very good that people don’t believe the politicians,” he says. “It means they won’t allow them to disappoint us again.”

    Nine years ago, the Orange Revolution here overturned a fraudulent election result but failed to change Ukraine’s political ways. The recent revolt pitted a grass-roots movement against a Kremlin desperate to save its favorite embezzler in Kiev. The Maidan won. Another hard battle has just begun, but I wouldn’t bet against these determined people.

    Comment by louisproyect — March 12, 2014 @ 12:45 pm

  52. When Yanukovytch fled the bunch of useless dogs in the Ukraine parliament accidentally found themselves in power overnight. They released Timoshenko and sent her out to address the crowds. They booed her corrupt ass. This is not even a government yet let alone a Domergue Government. The gangster capitalists remain on the run and their fascist reserves are either organising counter-revolutionary militias to fight alongside the Russian troops they so desparately want to invade in the East or in the West still obliged to pretend to be on the side of the popular revolution. Of course like the Islamofascists who participated in the Arab Spring or the Iranian revolution all those years ago or even initially in the February 1917 Russian Revolution they are waiting their chance to attack the democratic masses and make their own bid for power but that time is not now. The revolution for the time being is on the up and though the lack of a serious working class political formation is a big worry there is also no Stalinist party with any credibility to sell them out through timidity and compromise whilst the fascists pose as the radicals. With a correct policy East and West Ukraine can be unified under a revolutionary democracy directed against the gangster capitalists and the fascists who propose their own version of gangster capitalism plus `morals’ can be marginalised and repulsed.

    Comment by davidellis987 — March 12, 2014 @ 1:27 pm

  53. On how to characterise the nasty nasties in Ukraine, I used the scare-quoted ‘far right’ phrase. The ‘fascist’ label is too readily bandied about, & given the paucity in English of the programmes, policies, & actions of these organisations one cannot conclude that they are indeed fascist. Fascists combat not just an organised working class but, as noted in this thread, one that is strongly challenging the state; that is obviously not today’s Ukraine. I have called them wannabe fascists, & also xenophobic nationalists, but this is perhaps questionable given an opinion I’ve just come across, that of Stephen Velychenko, who seems to consider himself a Marxist & is nearing retirement at Toronto Uni. Here he criticises Volodymyr Ishchenko:

    “Ishchenko is inexplicably obsessed with a Stalinist notion of ‘fascism’ and the far right. It is true that there are less than intelligent leaders associated with the right (but not extremist right) wing party Svoboda who very stupidly refused trade union activists access to the Maidan stage and even beat up activists. But this should not lead anyone to lose sight of details. Svoboda, unlike other EU right parties, condemns Russian imperialism. Does Ishchenko think the Ukrainian proletariat benefited from this imperialism? He does not seem to have ever condemned it – as did the Ukrainian Communist Party during the 1917-22 revolution. While the Right Sector does have a neo-Nazi fringe – the ‘White Hammer’ and ‘Social-National Assembly’ – the main group behind it is ‘Tryzub.’ These people are neither neo-Nazi, racist nor anti-Semitic. Their ideology is rather national conservative. Svoboda may be more extreme than the French National Front or the Freedom Party of Austria, but it is less extreme than Hungary’s Jobbik, the NPD, Golden Dawn, Tricolour Flame, or the BNP.

    “Finally, even if certain members of Svoboda are in the current government, one should understand that this government is transitional and will hardly start building a Nazi state. To call de facto conservatives ‘radical nationalists’ or ‘extremists’ is absurd and only adds credence to Putin’s anti-Ukrainian propaganda. Ukraine’s new bourgeois government must deal with one key problem at hand: Putin’s neo-imperialism and his fifth-column. Unlike De Gaulle who supported Algerian independence and ultimately refused to support the pro-imperial settler-organized OAS, Putin has chosen to support the discredited political Russian extremists in Ukraine. And, it is precisely the anti-Ukrainian pro-Kremlin policies followed by the Yanukovych regime these groups supported, that generate support for Svoboda – and not any innate right-wing Ukrainian radicalism.

    “Ishchenko seems to be unaware of these crucial nuances. He offers no viable alternative and thus adds credence to the Kremlin’s neo-imperial aims against independent Ukraine. Ishchenko does make a statement about an all-national movement against the ruling class, with mass participation from the east and the south of culturally divided Ukraine. This might indeed happen. But only after a viable Ukrainian national state ruled for the historical moment by a national capitalist bourgeois class within the EU has established itself.”

    http://www.spectrezine.org/comments-ukraine-liberals-and-%E2%80%98democratic%E2%80%99-and-%E2%80%98anti-stalinist%E2%80%99-left (Thursday, 6 March 2014 – one week after the Rada’s approval of the government)

    Velychenko, like David Marples, didn’t sign the ‘liberationist, not extremist’ open letter published end of January by Andreas Umland at change.org. His forthcoming book is Painting Imperialism and Nationalism Red: the Ukrainian Marxist Critique of Russian Communist Rule in Ukraine, 1918-1923

    A final note: The Real News Network uploaded to YouTube on Monday the first part of ‘Svoboda & the History of Ukrainian Nationalism’, an interview of Per Rudling:

    He wrote an interesting essay on Svoboda (Freedom) in late summer 2012. He draws attention to People’s Deputy Yuri Mikhalchishin, the 31 year-old ideologist advising Svoboda’s leader. No doubt he draws upon his doctorate: Transformation of a Political Movement into a Mass Political Party of a New Type: The Case of NSDAP and PNF (Comparative Analysis) – yes, the parties of Hitler & Mussolini. He’s a public-spirited fellow, Svoboda’s 2010 candidate for mayor of Lviv:

    http://www.academia.edu/2481420/_The_Return_of_the_Ukrainian_Far_Right_The_Case_of_VO_Svoboda_in_Ruth_Wodak_and_John_E._Richardson_eds._Analyzing_Fascist_Discourse_European_Fascism_in_Talk_and_Text_London_and_New_York_Routledge_2013_228-255
    http://uk.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%9C%D0%B8%D1%85%D0%B0%D0%BB%D1%8C%D1%87%D0%B8%D1%88%D0%B8%D0%BD_%D0%AE%D1%80%D1%96%D0%B9_%D0%90%D0%B4%D1%80%D1%96%D1%8F%D0%BD%D0%BE%D0%B2%D0%B8%D1%87 (Yuri M’s wiki entries are Ukrainian, Russian, & Polish only; also find his vids at YouTube with his Cyrillic name)

    Comment by Jara Handala — March 12, 2014 @ 7:11 pm

  54. 1. A schism in the Ukranian gangster capitalist class that seized property and power following the collapse of the Stalinised Soviet Union has made possible a popular democratic movement against it and its military-police tyranny.

    I havent seen a schism between the Ukrainian “oligarchs”, much less that schism making possible the popular uprising. It seems the gangster capitalist classes change allegiance on a dime, playing the game of picking a winner in a horse race (reacting to events at Maidan, not leading them). Sure, Yanukovych seems to have lost but only his political position then fleeing the country with, apparently, billions from the treasury — if you call that losing. But all others of his ilk? Havent heard of any infighting or negative change in their standing…

    Comment by seaspan — March 12, 2014 @ 11:22 pm

  55. The schism is between those who look to the East and those who look to the West. Yanukovytch put the leader of the latter in jail. You might have noticed it.

    Not sure why anybody thinks we need to understate the fascism of the fascists that participated in the popular uprising. Like the Islamofascists who initially participated in the Arab Spring and who in Syria then went on to launch their own land grab in the liberated territories they will at some point present a mortal danger to the revolution.

    Comment by davidellis987 — March 13, 2014 @ 9:35 am

  56. re Proyect #51

    The Doumergue government took power after mass rioting in Paris, led by fascist gangs, which the PCF and Socialists stupidly encouraged workers to join.
    It represented a convergence between the parliamentary and extra-parliamentary right. Amongst its cabinet members were several fascist leaing politicians and future collaborators with the Nazi occupation.

    That it was subsequently brought down by the the Popular Front and the wave of mass strikes accompanying it, shows that fascism had not yet won. The politics of the Popular Front ensured socialism didn’t either.

    The Ukrainian interim government doesn’t have a “fervent-following”.
    It’s not fully in control of the state machinery and is vulnerable to being overthrown. It will have trouble organising elections in May without banning several of its poltical rivals.

    Which is why Parubiy, who founded the neo-“Nazi Social-National Party” of Ukraine in 1991 has been made Head of Security, with Yarosh, head of the Right Sector, as his deputy. They are busy organising the new state militia.

    It’s obvious which way they’ll jump if there is a wave of workers strikes.
    How else will the EU and IMF be able to push through mass austerity, privatisation and job losses?

    Obama, Ashton, Nuland and all the other smiley-faces of capitalist democracy understand all this. Such people have always been prepared to work with fascists and religious fundamentalists to do the dirty work of regime change.

    What they want and what they’ll get aren’t necessarily the same thing.

    Comment by prianikoff — March 13, 2014 @ 12:23 pm

  57. It’s obvious which way they’ll jump if there is a wave of workers strikes.
    How else will the EU and IMF be able to push through mass austerity, privatisation and job losses?

    A glimmer of hope. Prianikoff finally admits that the ultraright in Ukraine is more to be feared by the Ukrainians than by Putin.

    Comment by louisproyect — March 13, 2014 @ 12:31 pm

  58. #57 Now that the fascists in the Interim Ukrainian government are organising its new militia, you’re actually admitting they’re a threat.

    So far all I’ve heard from various people is:-
    They’re just a minority,
    They’re not really fascists,
    Maybe they are, maybe they’re not,
    The real fascists are with the Russians,
    They need to be understood, given Stalinist oppression,
    Nebboch….

    “Workers Liberty” even reproduced some Shachtmanite tract from the late 40’s that attempted to prove that OUN were a national liberation movement, fighting for a Socialist Ukraine.
    That’s really happening isn’t it!
    Is it surprising that Shachtman ended up supporting the Vietnam War?

    Comment by prianikoff — March 13, 2014 @ 6:16 pm

  59. Prianikoff, who gives a shit what you think of me. The day when I take the opinion of a typical Socialist Unity/Counterfire/George Galloway fan seriously will be a cold day in hell. In terms of Workers Liberty, I don’t have any interest in reading them. I leave that up to Leftist Transpotting types like you. My main reading fare is scholarly material such as he kind that I have referred to on this blog.

    Comment by louisproyect — March 13, 2014 @ 6:27 pm

  60. To davidellis987: Tolerating all the gratuitous overuse of “fascists” we can at the very least avoid the ugly neo-con “Islamofascists” portmanteau which owes its existence for the never ending war against the third world

    Comment by Michael T — March 13, 2014 @ 7:42 pm

  61. An aside to my comment #53, as I think there may be some chess-lovers here. The Svoboda ideologue, People’s Deputy Yuri Mikhalchishin, has a quite well-known father, Adriyan. A leading trainer, he was a second to Karpov 1980-6, which includes his marathon against Kasparov & his eventual defeat.

    Seen no evidence that Yuri has been disowned.

    http://en.chessbase.com/post/adrian-mikhalchishin-grandmaster-author-and-che-trainer

    Comment by Jara Handala — March 14, 2014 @ 8:54 am

  62. Re Priankoff and the Shachtmanites’ journal running an article on the OUN. There was a group of people who broke from the Ukrainian nationalist milieu in the mid-1940s and who moved considerably to the left, forming the Ukrainian Revolutionary Democratic Party, which had two wings, one with a mainstream social-democratic position and one with a much more radical position close to that of the Shachtman group at that time. They linked up with the veteran Ukrainian left-winger Ivan Maistrenko. Hopefully, the history of this group will get to an English-speaking audience. To view the Shachtmanites’ publishing material by this group as having anything to do with Shachtman’s later cold-war orientation is quite unfounded.

    Comment by Dr Paul — March 16, 2014 @ 4:45 pm

  63. #54. I havent seen a schism between the Ukrainian “oligarchs”, much less that schism making possible the popular uprising. It seems the gangster capitalist classes change allegiance on a dime..

    #55 The schism is between those who look to the East and those who look to the West. Yanukovytch put the leader of the latter in jail. You might have noticed it.

    Not sure why anybody thinks we need to understate the fascism of the fascists that participated in the popular uprising.

    The Ukrainian oligarchs made their billions through arbitrage trade between the east and the west. I see no evidence of oligarchs being exclusively focused on east or west, since looking both ways was highly profitable. In the extreme case you mention, those 2 are personally involved in the politics of the country — backing winners as they see it. Obviously 2 political rivals of such calibre (and corruption), once Yanukovych was in power he combed the books and exacted revenge. It wasnt an east/west thing. And to emphasise this point: Yanukovych himself completely reversed direction between east and west — so “changing allegiances on a dime” is driven by their need to protect their wealth, and not something that is so rigid it creates “east west” schisms between oligarchs inside Ukraine.

    And you failed to comment on the prime point of my post: that this so called schism between oligarchs “made possible a popular democratic movement against it”. Not my words, but those I was disagreeing with. So there was 2 points I questioned, 1) about the so called schism and, 2) about “it” making possible the uprising. I disagree with both lines of thought..

    Your second above line about my supposed underestimating the ultra right in the Kiev govt or in the uprisings is not even relevant to my post. And Islamofascism? Are you baiting me to say something about all that? Try asking next time…

    Comment by seaspan — March 19, 2014 @ 9:11 am


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