Ukraine: war as a means of social control

October 19, 2014

In Ukraine the tumultuous social movement of last winter has been overtaken, divided, and almost silenced, by military conflict. It is a sobering contrast to those times in history, for example at the end of the first and

The “anti militarist coalition” on the Moscow march on 21 September. (See "about photo", below.)

The “anti militarist coalition” on the Moscow march on 21 September. (See “about photo”, below.)

second world wars, when military conflict produced social revolts. This article attempts to consider the historical parallels and what they mean for socialists.

Expressions of discontent around social issues continued to spread across Ukraine – including in the eastern regions – after the overthrow of the government Viktor Yanukovich in Kyiv in February. Some of these protests fed into the so-called “anti Maidan” movement. that actually mirrored the Maidan movement in many ways. But on both sides, corrosive nationalism took its toll. In the Read the rest of this entry »


Ukraine: truce the least bad option, but it gave space to fascists on all sides

October 19, 2014

This guest post, outlining the current political situation in Ukraine, is by DENIS from the Autonomous Workers Union of Ukraine. It is based on a talk he gave at the Anarchist Book Fair in London on 18 October

In terms of class theory, the Maidan protests [that overthrew president Viktor Yanukovych in February] can be defined as a bourgeois democratic movement. aiming at restoring the liberal political and individual rights and Read the rest of this entry »


Social protest and repression in Donbass

October 19, 2014

News about social protests is coming out of Donbass, the region controlled by separatist forces in eastern Ukraine. The protesters have faced violent repression and threats from the separatist governments whose policies they are challenging.

On 4 October, local people in Sverdlovsk (in Luhansk region, in separatist-controlled territory) protested at the headquarters of the security service of Ukraine (SBU) about the shortage of wage payments and of food, the collapse of the banking system, and against plunder and robberies by the paramilitaries. That night, protesters’ houses were attacked with hand grenades. On 5 October, the protesters went out again, demanding the Read the rest of this entry »


Scotland: fight against austerity, against established politics

October 10, 2014

People in Scotland need to organise themselves on social issues and transcend the political status quo – not join the SNP – argues CATHERINE MILLIGAN, a socialist and community activist on the Castlemilk housing scheme in Glasgow.

Where do we go from here, after the Scottish independence referendum? The essence of the “Yes” campaign, for independence, was a drive against the

demo against bedroom tax

Demonstrating against the bedroom tax, Glasgow, September 2013

status quo, against established politics. It was a fight against unfairness, inequality and poverty.

It brought to light the very undemocratic way our country is run. It created a vehicle, via the referendum, for ideas on how to change it – ideas such as the nationalisation of the banks and oil industry; the promotion of renewable energy, with wealth redistributed by the creation of jobs, for example by reinvesting into the building of houses; support for the NHS; and fairer representation of our communities in the political arena. These were some of ideas that were being advocated.

After the referendum decided against independence, why step back and advocate for the Scottish National Party (SNP)? This is a downright travesty – a road to frustration and heartache.

Those advocating a vote for the SNP lack vision, and only serve to tie the working class further into the status quo. A vote for the SNP is no way Read the rest of this entry »


Scotland: ‘this movement is learning fast, growing arms and legs’

September 24, 2014

CATHERINE MILLIGAN, a socialist and community activist on the Castlemilk housing scheme in Glasgow, reflects on the aftermath of the Scottish independence referendum.

So Scotland said no to independence with a historic turnout of 84%. The margin was 383,937: this was so close. The “Yes” campaign galvanised 1.6 million voters to challenge and undermine the Westminster staus quo –

Solidarity: on the weekend after the referendum, campaigners decided to collect food for Glasgow's food banks, and put the word out on social media to bring donations to George Square

Solidarity: on the weekend after the referendum, campaigners decided to collect food for Glasgow’s food banks, and put the word out on social media to bring donations to George Square

despite the onslaught by the establishment, which threw its full weight behind a “No” vote. Every single tabloid and broadsheet newspaper, bar one, supported a “No” vote; banks and businesses threatened to withdraw from our economy; most trade union leaders  advocated a “No” vote. Firms sent personal letters telling workers that if they voted “No” they could lose their jobs. Pensioners were told their pensions would be undermined. Despite all this 1.6 million people voted “Yes”, against the Westminster elite and its austerity.

In the aftermath, as you can imagine, even those of us who expected that “No” would win marginally were a tad deflated. It didn’t help that George Square [Glasgow’s main square] was taken over on Friday [19 September] by a hundred or so right-wing “No” campaigners, mobilised by Britain First, singing Rule Britannia and spouting hatefulness and division. It was a complete contrast to the previous evenings, when the square was full of hope and unity, with thousands of people united against Westminster rule and their savage economic policies against the working class. On Friday, some of the Rule Britannia mob were seen wearing Read the rest of this entry »


Scotland: “yes” was for social justice, not narrow patriotism

September 22, 2014

A guest post by HILARY HORROCKS, a socialist activist who lives in Edinburgh

The day after the Scottish independence referendum on 18 September – in which 45% voted “yes” to independence and 55% voted “no” – someone chalked on the pavement of Glasgow’s George Square: “Glasgow said Yes”.

Its past tense was a poignant comment on the despair felt in the immediate aftermath by the “yes” campaign, which had latterly turned this area of the city into a mini-Tahrir Square.

In many respects the 45% support for independence was remarkable, given that its backers were subjected to what the Sunday Herald called “the

Catalan demonstrators at an Edinburgh city centre polling station

Catalan demonstrators at an Edinburgh city centre polling station

political equivalent of carpet bombing” in the last two weeks of the campaign, after a YouGov poll suggested for the first time that “yes” might carry the day. The “Better Together” campaign, complacent up till now, suddenly sent its big guns into Scotland, Labour leaders allying with Tories and LibDems to try to “save the Union”.

Prime Minister David Cameron flew in twice, but never met a single voter on the street: he was filmed for TV talking to carefully selected audiences. Even the reclusive ex-PM Gordon Brown was pressed into service to make impassioned pleas Read the rest of this entry »


Scotland: ‘the opportunity for real people power’

September 10, 2014

In this guest post, CATHERINE MILLIGAN, a socialist and community activist who lives in the Castlemilk housing scheme in Glasgow, explains how she has changed her view of the referendum on Scottish independence

I am voting Yes to Scottish independence, and I haven’t come to that decision easily – because I call myself a socialist, and believe I am a citizen of the world, and felt it was ill advised to break up the working class movement

Standing room only at one of the meetings in Castlemilk, Glasgow, to discuss the referendum

Standing room only at one of the meetings in Castlemilk, Glasgow, to discuss the referendum

in Britain. I also fear the rise of fascism, especially in England where Ukip have free range to expound their ideas via most established media outlets.

However the young people of Scotland have changed my point of view, in that they are very pro-Yes and their arguments for this are very sound in my eyes.

They are clearly saying that it is not about nationalism: it’s about having a voice that can be heard – which they do not have now. They state clearly that they hate the Tory and Lib Dem Read the rest of this entry »


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