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Ukraine's EU membership comes with severe strings attached | Editorial | The Morning Star

Kevin Lindemann and Cathy Campo
 



Editorial

Ukraine's EU membership comes with severe strings attached

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks during a joint press conference with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, left, in Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, June 11, 2022.

LAST WEEK’S decision by EU heads of government to grant EU candidate membership to Ukraine and Moldova was reported with uncritical acclaim by Britain’s main political parties and the mainstream media.

It was taken as read that fast-tracking Ukraine in particular into the EU will be good for all concerned, especially for the people of that beleaguered country.

All that is necessary now is for Ukraine and its government to demonstrate that they comply adequately with the much-vaunted democratic, economic and social “values” and perspectives of the EU by the end of this year.

If the answer is Yes, negotiations for formal accession will begin. In the past these have normally taken years, if not a decade or two. In Ukraine’s case, barring a catastrophic outcome from the war with Russia, the timescale is likely to be a lot shorter.

Then, we are led to understand, the alleged benefits of EU membership will be showered upon the Ukrainians.

Yet the small print of the EU documentation that accompanied last Thursday’s announcement indicates that this will not be a path strewn with roses.

Ukraine’s economy was already a basket case even before Russia’s brutal military assault.

Indeed, it has been so ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the capitalist counter-revolutions that gripped its former constituent republics.

As the EU Commission’s Opinion to the European Parliament and European Council confirmed on June 17, Ukraine’s GDP per head was less than one-third of the EU average last year.

Millions of Ukrainians work abroad, their remittances keeping domestic demand afloat. Investment is low and corrupt native oligarchs wield substantial economic, political and media influence.

The gender pay gap is such that female workers receive little more than three-quarters of the average male wage.

But the EU Commission is impressed by the Kiev government’s efforts to contain inflation and maintain control over public-sector deficits and debt in line with EU monetarist limits.

What is needed now is “large-scale privatisation” of state-owned enterprises and reforms to “enhance labour market flexibility,” say neoliberal capitalism’s unelected champions in Brussels. Plus unfettered access for outside (ie western European) capital to the Ukrainian economy.

These, the commission reckons, will help Ukraine fulfil two vital conditions for EU membership now applicable to all would-be entrants: first, to have a “functioning market economy” and second, to “adhere to the aims of political, economic and monetary union.”

The same stipulations were contained in the commission’s recommendations in the case of Moldova.

Of course, the overriding motives for Ukraine’s swift accession to the EU are now geopolitical more than economic. President Vladimir Putin’s invasion has had that unintended effect.

When the country’s Rada, or parliament, amended the constitution in February 2019, after the Maidan coup and the suppression of the Communist Party and its MPs, it was to incorporate membership of both the EU and Nato as strategic national aims.

But it is also clear what else may await the workers and peoples of Ukraine and Moldova: more privatisation, unemployment, emigration, deregulation, austerity and foreign control of what is left of their economy.

And to think there are still socialists and trade unionists in Britain and elsewhere who imagine that the EU is some bountiful project to promote the common interests of the workers and peoples of Europe.




Re: Abortion rights: Today we mourn, tomorrow we organize! – Communist Party USA

gilschaeffer82@...
 

I should have added that you can't escape these ideological issues by appealing to the Soviets as the new historical form of the dictatorship of the proletariat. They never worked as democratic political institutions. The issue of the democratic republic as the state form of the dictatorship of the proletariat hasn't been superseded.


Re: Counterpunch: Slavoj Zizek Does His Christopher Hitchens Impression

Marv Gandall
 

Ken mistakenly believes Trotsky’s second essay entitled "Independence of the Ukraine and Sectarian Muddleheads” is in contradiction to the first one he wrote several months earlier in 1939. entitled "The Problem of the Ukraine”. or that it, at least, undercuts my assertion that Trotsky's support for Ukrainian independence was conditional on the result being a Soviet Ukraine led by the socialist proletariat rather than a capitalist Ukraine led by the bourgeoisie. 
 
Ken will recall that the LSA, to which we both belonged, adopted and slightly modified the slogan in calling For An Independent Socialist Ukraine. We did so, following Trotsky, precisely to demarcate our position from that of the right-wing nationalists in the Ukrainian Canadian diaspora who were calling for an independent Ukraine purged of socialist influence.  
 
Trotsky’s second essay, on which Ken’s case rests, was written in response to Hugo Oehler, a dissident Trotskyist who objected to the slogan of an independent Soviet Ukraine. Oehler did so not because of the qualification that an independent Ukraine had to be “Soviet” but because he considered that the overthrow of the Stalinist leadership in the USSR would make the very question of Ukrainian independence redundant. Trotsky's essay indicted Oehler as a “sectarian” because he was "opposed to the slogan of an independent Soviet Ukraine.”
 
In addition to Trotsky's comments in his first essay, I also cited these comments drawn from his second essay equally underscoring Trotsky’s opposition to a capitalist Ukraine:
 
"The petty-bourgeois Ukrainian nationalists consider correct the slogan of an independent Ukraine. But they object to the correlation of this slogan with the proletarian revolution. They want an independent democratic Ukraine and not a Soviet Ukraine.”
 
"There is not the slightest basis for hoping that the comparatively impoverished and backward Ukraine will be able to establish and maintain a regime of democracy. Indeed the very independence of the Ukraine would not be long-lived in an imperialist environment.”
 
And
 
"The slogan of a democratic Ukraine is historically belated. The only thing it is good for is perhaps to console bourgeois intellectuals."
 
Ken has overlooked these comments, and I would urge he and other doubters to reread both essays. There is nothing in either which suggests that Trotsky was anything other than implacably hostile to the idea of an independent Ukraine led by the bourgeoisie, as it is constituted today. If there are formulations which contradict the above in either essay, it would be helpful if Ken could be more specific in identifying these.


Re: Counterpunch: Slavoj Zizek Does His Christopher Hitchens Impression

sartesian@...
 

Here are certain extracts from the article Ken cites that are of critical importance:

The slogan of an independent Soviet Ukraine is of paramount importance for mobilizing the masses and for educating them in the transitional period.

And then there's this:

the advanced workers of Great Russia must even now understand the causes for Ukrainian separatism, as well as the latent power and historical lawfulness behind it, and they must without any reservation declare to the Ukrainian people that they are ready to support with all their might the slogan of an independent Soviet Ukraine in a joint struggle against the autocratic bureaucracy and against imperialism.
 
The petty-bourgeois Ukrainian nationalists consider correct the slogan of an independent Ukraine. But they object to the correlation of this slogan with the proletarian revolution. They want an independent democratic Ukraine and not a Soviet Ukraine. It is unnecessary to enter here into a detailed analysis of this question because it touches not Ukraine alone but rather the general evaluation of our epoch, which we have analyzed many times. We shall outline only the most important aspects.
 
Democracy is degenerating and perishing even in its metropolitan centers. Only the wealthiest colonial empires or especially privileged bourgeois countries are still able to maintain nowadays a regime of democracy, and even there it is obviously on the downgrade. There is not the slightest basis for hoping that the comparatively impoverished and backward Ukraine will be able to establish and maintain a regime of democracy. Indeed the very independence of the Ukraine would not be long-lived in an imperialist environment. The example of Czechoslovakia is eloquent enough. As long as the laws of imperialism prevail, the fate of small and intermediate nations will remain unstable and unreliable. Imperialism can be overthrown only by the proletarian revolution.
 
The main section of the Ukrainian nation is represented by present-day Soviet Ukraine. A powerful and purely Ukrainian proletariat has been created there by the development of industry. It is they who are destined to be the leaders of the Ukrainian people in all their future struggles. The Ukrainian proletariat wishes to free itself from the clutches of the bureaucracy. The slogan of a democratic Ukraine is historically belated. The only thing it is good for is perhaps to console bourgeois intellectuals. It will not unite the masses. And without the masses, the emancipation and unification of the Ukraine is impossible.

__________
Trotsky's argument for independence does not abjure class struggle, when dealing with the Stalinist Soviet Union. The independence advocated is always linked to a soviet Ukraine, never is the class agent omitted.

The primacy and independence of the proletariat is the thread that links all of Trotsky's work and life, from 1905-1940.


Re: Abortion rights: Today we mourn, tomorrow we organize! – Communist Party USA

gilschaeffer82@...
 

Your replies are either truisms or historically inaccurate. 1) Of course, any "democracy" without force is no democracy at all. 2) Democracy isn't "abstracted" from class; democracy is class, i.e., the Chartists, Marx's and Engels' demand for democracy in The Principles of Communism, the Manifesto, and critiques of the Gotha and Erfurt programs. 3) As I said, the demand for a democratic republic as the political form of the dictatorship of the proletariat was not limited to Russia or backward landlord autocracies. It was the universal demand of the Second International parties, including the American Socialist Party. in any country that did not have universal and equal suffrage, which was all of them except Norway before WWI. 4) Nothing about the demand for a democratic political system precludes explaining how the exploitation of labor is enforced by an undemocratic political system run for the benefit of the bourgeoisie. You seem to forget Lenin's criticism of Economism. The class struggle can't be limited to the economic conditions of the working class but must include the political demand that the state be controlled by the vast majority in the interests of the vast majority.


Re: Abortion rights: Today we mourn, tomorrow we organize! – Communist Party USA

sartesian@...
 

On Sun, Jun 26, 2022 at 03:17 PM, <gilschaeffer82@...> wrote:
What's the cart and what's the horse? For more than thirty years, the ideological and political goal of the Russian Social-Democrats was to establish a democratic republic, the same goal as that of all the parties of the Second International. Then in 1918 the Bolsheviks shut down the Constituent Assembly. Whether that action was right or wrong given their conditions, it was the agitation for a Constituent Assembly over the previous thirty years that formed the ideological core of the revolution. Your formulation implies that since we now know that terror will be necessary, we can dispense with the demand for democracy. As Rosa Luxemburg said in her criticism of Lenin and Trotsky in "The Russian Revolution," we shouldn't make a virtue out of necessity. Our conditions are different than the Russian conditions of famine and war. I think your appeal to terror is a dead end and we should still demand democracy.
1. I'm not "appealing" to terror.  I'm pointing out unless your constituent assembly has the force behind it to break up the dominant economic relations, the property forms, the ancien regime will retake state power by use of terror. So, advocating for democracy, or a constitutional convention absent those organizations of class militancy is the dead end.  

2. The question has a couple subsets: can an appeal or "demand" or "program" for democracy that is abstracted from a class organization for power become a successful intermediary moment for the triumph of that class power?  does an appeal to democracy that does not identify the conditions of labor that require new organs of a new class power to "actualize" that democracy, while at the same time identifying the class relation supporting, upholding, requiring the existing, historical, and persistent institutions that suppress democracy, actually have any chance of even pushing through a reform?  In short can you advocate a constitutional convention without attacking the wage relation,  private  ownership of the MOP, and the current economy's need to drive down the cost of labor?  I think any effort that ignores those issues is going to wind up in the dead end.

3. Let's be a little bit clear about the Russian Revolution: the demand for a constituent assembly was attached to the reality that Russian empire was not a bourgeois constitutional order.  Thus the nature of the "telescoped" revolution brought that issue forward, and ever so briefly.  Trotsky always, and Lenin after the February revolution advocate, agitate, for "All Power to the Soviets."  That answers the question about horse and cart.  To represent the organizing principle of the Russian Revolution as the demand for the constituent assembly ignores what actually occurred.  There was no CA.  The organization of soviets posed the issue of class-based power; a constituent assembly tries to obscure that with the trappings of a formal democracy which leaves everything as it is.  The CA was an impossibility. Impossible for the Provisional Govt to organize because of the class struggle.  Impossible for the revolution to allow as the organ of state power, the soviets, had already made the CA obsolete before birth.

4. Now if we want to agitate around the USSC decision, then we have to link it to the conditions of labor, the need of the bourgeoisie to facilitate, bring into being, and ultimately rely on, the convergence of reactionary forces-- religious, police, military, anti-immigrant, voter suppressing, anti-labor legislating to maintain the domination of its order.  If you don't link the abortion issue to 1) women entering the labor force after WW2  2) the growth off single parent wome headed households  3) the higher poverty rates of those households 4) the benefit capitalism can obtain by driving women into lower paid jobs and even out of the labor force and into either a reserve army or back into domestic servitude where their labor is barely compensated.   


NYT: MAGA Voters Send a $50 Million G.O.P. Plan Off the Rails in Illinois

Bradley Mayer
 

Aka, Their Oligarchs and Ours or, How Lesser Evil Promotes Greater Evil.  In case the notion that the Democrats' current hopium is to run against Trumpists is somehow made up.  It ain't.  Excerpts:

"Mr. Bailey rose to prominence in Illinois politics by introducing legislation to kick Chicago out of the state. When the coronavirus pandemic began, he was removed from a state legislative session for refusing to wear a mask, and he sued Gov. J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat, over statewide virus mitigation efforts. Painted on the door of his campaign bus is the Bible verse Ephesians 6:10-19, which calls for followers to wear God’s armor in a battle against “evil rulers.”
 
"He is the favored candidate of the state’s anti-abortion groups, and on Friday he celebrated the Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade as a “historic and welcomed moment.”"
...
"Unprecedented", indeed: 

"Mr. Bailey has been aided by an unprecedented intervention from Mr. Pritzker and the Pritzker-funded Democratic Governors Association, which have spent nearly $35 million combined attacking Mr. Irvin while trying to lift Mr. Bailey. No candidate for any office is believed to have ever spent more to meddle in another party’s primary."
...
Looks like oligarch Pritzker, who funds an entire "Governors Association", has it in the bag for the Democrats:

"Public and private polling ahead of Tuesday’s primary shows Mr. Bailey with a lead of 15 percentage points over Mr. Irvin and four other candidates. His strength signals the broader shift in Republican politics across the country, away from urban power brokers and toward a rural base that demands fealty to a far-right agenda aligned with Mr. Trump.
...
Meanwhile, Mr. Bailey seems to believe that "land masses" have emotions, and can vote.  Given the structure of the US Federal institutions, Bailey can be excused for this belief:

"“The rest of the 90 percent of the land mass is not real happy about how 10 percent of the land mass is directing things,” Mr. Bailey said in an interview aboard his campaign bus outside a bar in Green Valley, a village of 700 people south of Peoria. “A large amount of people outside of that 10 percent don’t have a voice, and that’s a problem.”
...
"The onslaught of Democratic television advertising attacking Mr. Irvin and trying to elevate Mr. Bailey has frustrated the Aurora mayor, whose campaign was conceived of and funded by the same team of Republicans who helped elect social moderates like Mark Kirk to the Senate in 2010 and Bruce Rauner as governor in 2014. Their recipe: In strong Republican years, find moderate candidates who can win over voters in Chicago’s suburbs — and spend a ton of money.

The NYT blandly reports that it's a battle between two of "our" regional Illinois capitalist oligarchs.  Indeed the Trumpist-promoting Democrat oligarch, Pritzker, is more accurately described as an American "continental oligarch".    An oligarch not afraid to represent himself directly in office.  Think Ukrainian oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky, "President of Ukraine".  instead Kolomoisky is under US sanctions, no doubt imposed by the oligarch Pritzker's party!

"Kenneth Griffin, the Chicago billionaire hedge fund founder who is the chief benefactor for Illinois Republicans, gave $50 million to Mr. Irvin for the primary alone and pledged to spend more for him in the general election. Mr. Griffin, the state’s richest man, will not support any other Republican in the race against Mr. Pritzker, according to his spokesman, Zia Ahmed. Mr. Griffin announced last week that his hedge fund and trading firm would relocate to Miami.
 
"While Mr. Irvin, a longtime Republican who has nevertheless voted in a series of recent Democratic primaries in Illinois, expected an expensive dogfight in the general election, he is frustrated by the primary season intervention from Mr. Pritzker, a billionaire who is America’s richest elected official."
...
Enter oligarch Richard Uihlein, stage far right.  Uihlein's capital is pretty small potatoes, but he is an heir to the Schlitz brewing fortune:

"The primary race alone has drawn $100 million in TV advertising. Mr. Pritzker has spent more money on TV ads than anyone else running for any office in the country this year. Mr. Irvin ranks second, according to AdImpact, a media tracking firm.
 
"Far behind them is Mr. Bailey, whose primary financial benefactor is Richard Uihlein, the billionaire megadonor of far-right Republican candidates, who has donated $9 million of the $11.6 million Mr. Bailey has raised and sent another $8 million to a political action committee that has attacked Mr. Irvin as insufficiently conservative."
...
Indeed, oligarch Pritzker looks to match his continent-sized capital assets by stepping up into the continental game:

"Mr. Pritzker’s motivation to help Mr. Bailey in the primary may be informed not only by his desire for re-election but also by what many see as potential aspirations to seek the White House himself. Last weekend he addressed a gathering of Democrats in New Hampshire — a stop only those with national ambitions make in the middle of their own re-election campaigns."  No doubt followed by the Clinton playbook of promoting the most rightwing candidate on the Republican side, against whom the Democrat is "sure to win", just like in 2016! 
 
The Trumpsters, who appear from the NYT photos to be the party of chunky old rural white men, make clear that they've heard the call to go "RINO hunting":

"“Whether or not Darren and I win the general election, if we can at least get control within our own party, I think long term we have an opportunity to be successful,” Mr. DeVore said at their stop in Green Valley.
 
"And David Smith, the executive director of the Illinois Family Institute, an anti-abortion organization whose political arm endorsed Mr. Bailey, said the G.O.P. race was about excising the party’s moderate elements.
 
“This primary,” he said, “has got to purge the Republican Party of those who are self-serving snollygosters.”"

Snollygoster gee wiz, something ain't right here in River City!   Meanwhile Democrats tell progressives "don't get too radical!" while they materially aid the radical Right.  Democrats in risky high stakes gambles with our world's future!

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/26/us/politics/illinois-governor-bailey-irvin-pritzker.html


Re: Abortion rights: Today we mourn, tomorrow we organize! – Communist Party USA

gilschaeffer82@...
 

My point is primarily about our ideology and publicly stated goal, not particular tactics or the current state of political affairs. Everything we can say about how bad things are in this country right now or how bad they are likely to get could have been said about Russia in 1900 times ten or a hundred. Still, the first plank of the Program of the RSDLP was for a democratic constitution, a program that was not changed before the revolution.  Demanding a democratic constitution has nothing to do with following the procedures of the existing Constitution for amendments. The purpose is to explain that the Democratic Party's appeals to "defend our democracy" are hollow and disingenuous. That is the beginning of creating a truly independent ideology and organization capable of challenging the universal falsehood of our political system.


The Guardian on a New US Civil War

Farans Kalosar
 

Stephen Marche opines that the Rubicon has already been crossed, and that it's all over but the shooting.  Of course this Canadian is promoting his novel; still, it isn't far-fetched after the Neo-Nazi triumphs in the Supreme Court recently and the rollbacks they are certain to inflict ASAP on LGBTQ rights and civil rights in general.  Is this the deluge?  

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/jun/26/second-civil-war-us-abortion


Re: Abortion rights: Today we mourn, tomorrow we organize! – Communist Party USA

Farans Kalosar
 

On Sun, Jun 26, 2022 at 03:17 PM, <gilschaeffer82@...> wrote:
What's the cart and what's the horse? For more than thirty years, the ideological and political goal of the Russian Social-Democrats was to establish a democratic republic, the same goal as that of all the parties of the Second International. Then in 1918 the Bolsheviks shut down the Constituent Assembly. Whether that action was right or wrong given their conditions, it was the agitation for a Constituent Assembly over the previous thirty years that formed the ideological core of the revolution. Your formulation implies that since we now know that terror will be necessary, we can dispense with the demand for democracy. As Rosa Luxemburg said in her criticism of Lenin and Trotsky in "The Russian Revolution," we shouldn't make a virtue out of necessity. Our conditions are different than the Russian conditions of famine and war. I think your appeal to terror is a dead end and we should still demand democracy.
Going straight to a constitutional convention--if that were possible--might unleash all sorts of gimmick-crazed all-American Gee Whiz bullshit that would hand a victory to the forces of the right.

Some reforms that might be passed short of that: abolition of the Electoral College, federal supervision and authentication of the vote in all states, abolition of large political donations by wealthy individuals and corporate entities.  

There is no need for the so-called states to be anything but administrative divisions of the federal government with a degree of regional autonomy.  States' rights is a nonsense.

Much could be accomplished if agreement could be achieved on a few simple points like the above.

None of this is achievable, unfortunately, without the country's having to go through the probable neofascist triumph in the upcoming midterm elections.  If that is bad enough, the constitution (as a body of practice)  will fail completely, if hit hasn't done so already,  and we may be de facto in a state of civil war.  In any case, Clarence Thomas and his fellow Nazis on the Supine Court have announced their program, which they will carry out unless physically prevented from doing so.

Some have suggested a general strike, or series of general strikes.  This would be good. More so-called "mobilizations (i.e. big demonstrations) can't hurt, but they have to go beyond what we saw around the George Floyd murders and avoid the anarchist bs about occupations creating a revolution. The big demos of living memory all appealed to a constitutional body of practice that the current Supreme Court has now utterly destroyed.

I really feel that some form of armed resistance--as unlike the antifa/BlackBloc nonsense as possible--may be called for.  A fat lot anyone my age could contribute to that, alas--even with the assistance of Comrade Mossberg and his friends, supposing that one could actually fire the shotgun without breaking something. Still, there is no reason why this has to be an either/or.  A movement can defend itself against unofficial terrorism and state violence and still advance democratic demands, QED.  in effect, it appears that "we" now have little choice in the matter, as the die appears to have been cast and some form--probably a very weak form, but nonetheless immensely dangerous and destructive of neofascism appears to be all but unavoidable.


Re: Counterpunch: Slavoj Zizek Does His Christopher Hitchens Impression

Ken Hiebert
 

I realize that not everyone will be as interested as I am in what Trotsky said more than 80 years ago.  But for those who are interested, my remarks below.

Slavoj Zizek is  of secondary interest to me so I had not followed this thread until I saw a contribution from Marv. 
Starting with his objection to the remarks of Bradley Mayer, I can say that even while I tend to be on the same side as Bradley, his declaration of crossing a political Rubicon doesn’t do much to advance the discussion.  On a list like this it strikes me as an unnecessary rhetorical flourish.

On the substance of Marv’s remarks, I think he is wrong.  He says, "When Trotsky proclaimed his support for Ukrainian self-determination, it was was conditional on that struggle being led by the socialist proletariat.”  I don’t see any evidence for that.

I read two articles by Trotsky, first the one that Marv cited.  (For some reason the link in Marv’s article did not work for me.  Let’s see if the links below work any better.)

Secondly I read a follow up article written three months later.

Here are some extracts from the second article.

"And in order to achieve this, one must not shut one’s eyes to the growth of separatist tendencies in the Ukraine, but rather give them a correct political expression.

"The Thermidorian reaction, crowned by the Bonapartist bureaucracy, has thrown the toiling masses far back in the national sphere as well. The great masses of the Ukrainian people are dissatisfied with their national fate and wish to change it drastically. ii is this fact that the revolutionary politician must, in contrast to the bureaucrat and the sectarian, take as his point of departure.


"The Kremlin bureaucracy, tells the Soviet woman: Inasmuch as there is socialism our country, you must be happy and you must give up abortions (or suffer the penalty). To the Ukrainian they say: Inasmuch as the socialist revolution has solved the national question, it is your duty to be happy in the USSR and to renounce all thought of separation (or face the firing squad).
What does a revolutionist say to the woman? “You will decide yourself whether you want a child: I will defend your right to abortion against the Kremlin police.” To the Ukrainian people he says: “Of importance to me is your attitude toward your national destiny and not the ‘socialistic’ sophistries of the Kremlin police; I will support your struggle for independence with all my might!”


“"The barb of the slogan of an independent Ukraine is aimed directly against the Moscow bureaucracy and enables the proletarian vanguard to rally the peasant masses. On the other hand, the same slogan opens up for the proletarian party the opportunity of playing a leading role in the national Ukrainian movement in Poland, Rumania and Hungary. Both of these political processes will drive the revolutionary movement forward and increase the specific weight of the proletarian vanguard


"Piling one dire accusation indiscriminately on top of another, our critic declares that the slogan of an independent Ukraine serves the interests of the imperialists (!) and the Stalinists (!!) because it “completely negates the position of the defense of the Soviet Union.” It is impossible to understand just why, the “interests of the Stalinists” are dragged in. But let its confine ourselves to the question of the defense of the USSR. This defense could he menaced by an independent Ukraine only if the latter were hostile not only to the bureaucracy but also to the USSR. However, given such a premise (obviously false), how can a socialist demand that a hostile Ukraine be retained within the framework of the USSR? Or does the question involve only the period of the national revolution.


* * **

So, looking at the extracts above I see Trotsky saying " I will support your struggle for independence with all my might!”
I don’t see any conditions attached to this declaration.  And I don’t see any limit on what kind of independence he would be willing to support.

And further, he says,  "...how can a socialist demand that a hostile Ukraine be retained within the framework of the USSR? “  
I think his reference to a “hostile Ukraine” could include a Ukraine that is not governed by socialists.

Those who are interested can read the article for themselves.

ken h


Re: Counterpunch: Slavoj Zizek Does His Christopher Hitchens Impression

Marv Gandall
 

Me: The policy was predicated on the unshakeable conviction that capitalism would not recover from the war and that the FI was destined to lead the impending world revolution. As we know, that turned out to be a fever dream
Mark: So would it make sense to question the policy today given this change of historical conditions?
 
------------------------------------------------
 
It’s not only how far removed the working class is from power and how far removed socialism is from the working class that has rendered the policy utopian. The technology and tactics of war have also changed. Drones, missiles, and other long-range and unmanned weaponry have reduced the need for conscript armies and, where troops on the ground are required, US imperialism is able to project its military power by equipping and training foreign proxy forces, as presently in Ukraine.
 
Instead of cheering on US client states and their proxy armies, the socialist left in the US and in its subordinate allied countries should be educating their publics about US imperialism and its alliance system, which interests it defends, and how it goes about defending them.
 
With respect to Ukraine, and recognizing that you and others on the list generally accept the dominant narrative that the war is a consequence of Putin’s imperial ambitions, my starting point would be Mearsheimer's latest contribution - a factual debunking of that narrative which refocuses responsibility for this catastrophic and dangerous conflict where it properly belongs. That Mearsheimer belongs to the so-called “realist” school does not in itself invalidate his analysis.
 


Re: Abortion rights: Today we mourn, tomorrow we organize! – Communist Party USA

gilschaeffer82@...
 

What's the cart and what's the horse? For more than thirty years, the ideological and political goal of the Russian Social-Democrats was to establish a democratic republic, the same goal as that of all the parties of the Second International. Then in 1918 the Bolsheviks shut down the Constituent Assembly. Whether that action was right or wrong given their conditions, it was the agitation for a Constituent Assembly over the previous thirty years that formed the ideological core of the revolution. Your formulation implies that since we now know that terror will be necessary, we can dispense with the demand for democracy. As Rosa Luxemburg said in her criticism of Lenin and Trotsky in "The Russian Revolution," we shouldn't make a virtue out of necessity. Our conditions are different than the Russian conditions of famine and war. I think your appeal to terror is a dead end and we should still demand democracy.


Re: Counterpunch: Slavoj Zizek Does His Christopher Hitchens Impression

Les Schaffer
 

I'd caution against inferring "attitude ... on this list". (***)

I will grant you there is a vocal minority of subscribers (***), with Brad at one extreme with the treason thing, taking a tough stance against groups that are not sufficiently supportive of the Ukrainian working class. But as Anthony stated in the MODERATORS' STATEMENT last week, all are welcome. meaning -- among other things -- that the moderator(s) will not allow this kind of talk to dominate the forum as a kind of litmus test for participation.

my hope is that rather than fearing the list, you contribute to the discussion.

Les


*** i just did an analysis of all posts to Marxmail from Jan 1 through June 22, 2022. The vast majority of posts are submitted by less than 5% of the subscriber base. Specifically, about 5% of the subscriber base post more than five articles a month (on average). About 10% of the list posted ALL the emails in that period.


On 6/26/22 10:24 AM, Roger Kulp wrote:

Bradley Mayer wrote:

.... [les snipped] ... a red line of treason to leftism, socialism, anti-imperialism, the proletariat, Marxism, and social revolution, period, tout court. 
How's that?  ... [snipped again]

I mostly lurk on this list, but I have also been a member of the PSL for several years. Given the attitude towards the PSL on this list, I learned early on to keep my mouth shut about my membership.


Re: Counterpunch: Slavoj Zizek Does His Christopher Hitchens Impression

Mark Baugher
 

On Jun 25, 2022, at 8:27 PM, Marv Gandall <marvgand2@...> wrote:

You could advise them to join their respective militaries and work towards the overthrow of their officers and the ruling class, drawing on the model of revolutionary sgitation successfully conducted by Bolshevik organizers in the Czarist army and navy.
IIRC, this was an about-face from the WWI policy of the left wing of the Socialist Party of America.

In fact, this was the essence of the Proletarian Military Policy adopted by the SWP and other sections of the Fourth International during World War II.

https://www.marxists.org/history/etol/document/icl-spartacists/prs2-pmp/swp-pmp.html
Also during the Vietnam War, but only when induction was unavoidable: What good is a US antiwar activist in jail or in Canada? Might as well accept induction and agitate among GIs. Of course, the Leninist cadre might face the ethical conundrum of having to kill people fighting for their nation's independence or risk getting fragged by the cadre's own troops for endangering their lives.


The policy was predicated on the unshakeable conviction that capitalism would not recover from the war and that the FI was destined to lead the impending world revolution. As we know, that turned out to be as fever dream
So would it make sense to question the policy today given this change of historical conditions?


The pacifist line, whether we care to admit it or not, has had somewhat more success While antiwar activists have initially been subjected to ostracism, beatings, and jail for the reasons you suggest, war weariness often sets in at a certain stage and gains them a sympathetic hearing, including to some extent within the armed forces. We saw this in our lifetime in both Vietnam and Iraq.
I don't know about incidents in Iraq, during the second or the first invasion. Both were fought by a much different military than Vietnam or WW II: There were no draftees, far fewer US war casualties and far more civilian ones in the Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. This reality is an enormous problem for mobilizing against forever warfare. Conscription gives a population at least some control over the military.

I don't expect to see revolts in the Ukrainian military so long as homes and loved ones are directly threatened by Russian troops. Russians might, if the tide of war turns against them. They're fighting an unjust war, tolerable only while winning. Like the US in Vietnam. Also, after the Kyiv fiasco, the esteem for Russian generals is likely very low among Russian troops. That's my guess anyway.

Mark


Re: Abortion rights: Today we mourn, tomorrow we organize! – Communist Party USA

Andrew Stewart
 

Yes but the Russian Revolution of 1917 was borne of several unique matters that are absent our moment. First, the 1917 Revolution picked up from where the 1905 revolution left off by recreating the Soviets from 12 years before. Second, Tsarism was imploding in real time due to the combination of the autocracy reaching its pinnacle of calcification combined with a destructive war that had decimated the population. Third, the level of organization by the Russian Left within the military was substantial (by contrast, the American military has been substantially infiltrated for decades by the Evangelical Right, incubating a proto-fascist officers corps with tremendous power and influence over our national conversation). Finally, there were other motivations for the Revolution besides Marxism. Many Russians were looking to see Russia finally experience what America and France had with their 18th century revolutions, ushering in not so much a proletarian revolution as a liberal democratic Russified expansion of the Enlightenment. Many peasants were looking to see the final vestiges of serfdom to be sloughed away. And many minorities (Jews, Tartars, Ukrainians, et al) wished for the end of their oppression and the opportunity for self determination. In fact, it becomes quite clear in the second of Isaac Deutscher’s trilogy about Trotsky that these inclinations rapidly were deemed “counterrevolutionary” once the Civil War was over and, sad to say, even Trotsky was a willing participant in that business.

As for the strategy of using the courts, yes, this is true, though it bears mentioning why exactly this failed. The problem was specifically that liberals and a significant section of the Left fundamentally misunderstood that the Warren and Burger Courts were the exception rather than the rule for the Supreme Court. It was quite understandable that our side came to think that the Progressive narrative of historical advance applied to American institutions. In other words, the narrative line advanced by our mass media and the broad consensus of historians was that the US is moving forward towards a more perfect union and that the Judicial branch was going to maintain a centrist orientation that would prevent the Executive and Legislative branches from going too far to the left (case and point the SCOTUS decisions that invalidated portions of the New Deal) or the right (obviously the attempt to end the protection of abortion care). That has been manifestly disproved in the past few days and we need to understand why. One reason is that the Right successfully coopted organizing strategies of the New Left, using things like direct action and entryism to take over the entirety of the Republican Party, which at one point in recent memory had a sizable liberal wing that had been pro choice and Keynesian. Another is the absence of the Soviet Union, which influenced geopolitics in a progressive direction, something that is hinted at clearly in the Brown v Board decision and declassified documents showing concern by the federal government over the way that Jim Crow apartheid was providing a powerful propaganda tool to the Socialist Camp. Finally, the evisceration of the trade union movement and other progressive sources of countervailing power has allowed the Right to push the envelope so far beyond the previously respected boundaries of acceptable behavior. 

My ultimate argument is that trying to pinpoint the problem on a singular matter or strategy simply avoids the hard conversation about how this is the culmination of multiple failed tactics in a multitude of arenas.  


Labor Should Tell the Fed to Take a Hike | Branko Marcetic | Jacobin

Kevin Lindemann and Cathy Campo
 


Re: How to get involved in the mass mobilizations erupting after Roe overturned

Mark Lause
 

We got where we are by deferring to the Democratic officeholders.   The priority needs to be mass mobilizations, get the majority sentiment into the streets as much as we can.  As a corollary to that, we should be prepared to assist in the active resistance to more draconian efforts of the more idiotic state governments to go after women who seek abortions and those who assist them.



Re: Counterpunch: Slavoj Zizek Does His Christopher Hitchens Impression

Roger Kulp
 

Bradley Mayer wrote:

Beg to differ.  Without carring any brief for Zizek, it is clear that those of us who stand in solidarity with Ukraine have been, are, and will do precisely that!  Why?  Because, whether our opponents stand openly with the Putin regime as with the PSL, the Becker Bros., etc., or objectively (if not in their own minds) stand with the Putin regime by making demands that the Ukranians not accept weapons from NATO while being invaded, or stop fighting and negotiate "peace at any price" while under invasion and occupation, these all have crossed a political Rubicon, a red line of treason to leftism, socialism, anti-imperialism, the proletariat, Marxism, and social revolution, period, tout court. 
How's that?  Because these are subjectively, objectively or both, now in open league with the world-wide Far Right Putin fan club.  These are now junior partners in a world wide Brown "Populist" alliance. Whether they care to recognize it or not. It is just that some don't want to look too closely over their Right shoulder at their new Brown comrades, say in the shape of the CPRF-United Russia-The Duginist "Eurasianist" Russian Far Right, for just one prime example.  They are all on the same side! 

I mostly lurk on this list, but I have also been a member of the PSL for several years. Given the attitude towards the PSL on this list, I learned early on to keep my mouth shut about my membership. I have also followed Brian Beckers' podcasts, even before I joined the party. I can tell you for certain the brothers Becker are not Putin fans, or Putin apologists. I would sugest you listen to recent episodes of Brian's podcast "The Socialist Program", for clarification on his, and the party's, position. My own position on Ukraine is slightly to the left of the party's, and would greater support for the communist/socialist resistance in both Russia, and Ukraine. 


Re: Video: Oakland protest against Supreme Court ruling

Bobby MacVeety
 

I’m an abolitionist: abolish the Supreme Court, the Senate, and the electoral college. Then abolish the constitution. I could keep going.


On Jun 26, 2022, at 9:35 AM, John Reimann <1999wildcat@...> wrote:


Here is a video of the protest in Oakland against the Supreme Court's ruling.
The large turnout on only a few hours notice shows the huge potential for a new movement of youth and workers. In future articles, Oaklandsocialist will examine what immediate demands can be raised and where it can go from here. Among other things, we should consider demanding the impeachment of Barrett, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh for lying under oath – perjury. That demand does not mean accepting the undemocratic role of the US Supreme Court (and the entire federal judiciary); it means helping to expose its political nature.
https://oaklandsocialist.com/2022/06/26/video-oakland-protests-supreme-court-anti-abortion-ruling/

--
“Science and socialism go hand-in-hand.” Felicity Dowling
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