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More on the crisis in the Ukraine

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“Volatile” does not even come close to describing the current political landscape in the Ukraine. As of the day this post is published, President Viktor Yanukovych has taken a “sick leave” and talks have stalled; prime minister Mykola Azarov resigned on the 27th of January and the parliament voted to repeal the anti-protest laws— though the laws won’t officially be repealed until the president signs off on them.

Now again, we feature work from our comrades in the Ukraine, this time in an interview with nihilist.li: “This interview with a comrade from the Autonomous Workers’ Union in Kiev was done on January 28, 2014. It sheds some light on the events around the Maidan: the array of reasons behind the protests, their focus on the hated president, the differences to the “orange revolution”, the role of the right, the weakness of social struggles and possible scenarios.

Here, they discuss the involvement of ultra-nationalist and neo-nazi groups in the protests:

Q: Right-wing parties and fascist groups play a role in the protests. How important are they actually? Do they get much support? How do other protesters relate to them?

A: Far right party Svoboda is the most organized of the three large political forces trying to control the protest. They are the only party which has real active cells in various regions, actual activist base. So, as the most organized and the most ideological of the three, they are gaining the most. Apart from Svoboda, there is an umbrella coalition of neo-nazi militant groups. It is called Right Sector. They were formed in the beginning of the protests, and by now they’ve succeeded to gain enormous prominence and conquer sympathies from apolitical and liberal people. They are mostly famous by their demonstrative militancy and aggression, and the public doesn’t see anything wrong with these cute young patriots. Lately, the same pattern repeats in other regions, where neo-nazi football hooligans turned out to be the main assault force fighting the police and pro-government thugs.

The fascist hegemony was indisputable until January 19th, when the protests were joined by lots of other people – random apolitical citizens, liberals and even the left. That happened because the agenda of the protests shifted to repealing the “dictatorship laws” passed on January 16. Since then they had to step back a bit but nevertheless it’s obvious that in the long run these protests will enormously benefit the far right, whoever wins. In the case of the victory of the opposition, they will surely get themselves the police forces, special services etc. If Yanukovych wins, this means that half of the country will become firm supporters of the far-right as supposedly the only patriotic radical force able to confront the dictator.

Meanwhile, most left activists also joined the protests after January 19 because those laws will severely damage them as well. They found their niche in infrastructural activities, such as vigils in emergency hospitals: they stay there in order to prevent police and thugs kidnap the wounded. Other area of left activity is the above mentioned attempt at igniting the political strike.

Read the entire interview here.

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The situation in the Ukraine

The situation in the Ukraine is complex and poorly reported in the west, with most stories framing it as a conflict between pro-Putin forces opposed to EU integration and liberal moderates who want to be a part of the EU. Completely omitted from these narratives are the details concerning Ukranian neo-nazis and Russian imperialists. For a far better account of what’s happening in the Ukraine, let’s turn towards people who are actually on the ground and in the streets.

Our comrades in the Ukraine have crafted these two brilliant analyses. First, this from nihilist.li:

The events in Kyiv’s Independence Square have been planned in advance by the current opposition in Ukraine, with their political masters from Berlin and Brussels. They were publicly announced in March 2013 by the Svoboda leader in an interview for a local paper. In actuality, there is no revolution taking place in Ukraine, but rather a political coup for regime-change – clearing the way for fascist opposition parties and the EU to tighten their hold.

We have seen large demonstrations, cries for (and of) revolution, riot police brutality and an apparent conflict between Russia and the EU, dramatized as a power grab over Ukraine or as a fight for democracy. (1) The people are legitimately fed up with rich, abusive and oppressive oligarchs; but are nowhere near ridding the country of them. A sustained effort to push power towards a coalition made up of conservative, far-right, and ultra-nationalist fascists is being marketed as “European”, “democratic” and liberal. (2)

Kiev’s Autonomous Worker Union has issued a stern condemnation of the neo-nazi seizure of the protests.

Meanwhile, we see that the situation at Euromaidan is fully controlled by the far-right. Ultra-nationalist rhetoric has securely crowded out all other topics there; the only slogan known to the protesters is “Hail to the nation, death to the enemies.” Most of the Neo-Nazi militants are controlled by the Svoboda party, but there are also other groups: UNSO, Tryzub, Social-Nationalist Assembly, etc. They are completely tolerated by the so-called “national democratic” opposition. One of the leaders of the Euromaidan, Yuriy Lutsenko, himself used to lead the Interior Ministry for four years, during which time he did nothing to stop police brutality or disband Berkut and other special forces. Instead, he promised to disperse protesting crowds with tear gas and became notorious for racial profiling of individuals of “Non-Slavic” nationalities and for his phrase: “You can call me a racist if you want.” Now at Euromaidan he publicly expressed his concern about the fate of “40 million educated white Christians.” Other opposition leaders also don’t have anything against the far-right. There are not only rallies towards physical violence but also poetry about “Yids” heard from the stage.

Here’s to a better 2014!

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