What is happening in Ukraine? According to the Western media, the conflict pits the West, with strong cultural ties to Poland, against the East of Russian language and culture. However, as Daniel Patrick Welch points out, the rift is a deeply political and ideological one, between the West which looks up to Nazism and the East which celebrates its defeat.
- Citizens of Odessa burnt alive at the Trade Unionist hall set on fire by Ukrainian ultra-Nazis on May 2, 2014.
As the fog of war descends, it is important to shout a few main points from the rooftops before they get lost in the details. A coup-appointed junta in Kiev, designed, engineered and controlled from Washington, has begun a massive armed assault on its citizens in the east. This supreme and original war crime, reinforced by the Nuremburg Tribunal, is no longer in doubt. Nor can there be any more doubt about who is pulling the strings. The illegitimate junta have pulled out all the stops, as their IMF masters demanded they do just the other day. Pointedly–and tellingly–the mafia enforcer organization of western capital issued a statement  saying that the crushing austerity agreement–already a death sentence in its own right–might have to be ‘revised’ if the chosen cabal could not control the rebellious and resource rich eastern regions, the grand prize in the whole ‘democracy’ charade. The junta, using a rump military and their fascist shock troops, has dutifully complied–a shameful and disgusting moment in world history. It is also, however, a moment that I think will be transformative in ways we can’t even yet understand.
For a moment, I was afraid that in a fully militarized phase the resistance would be less able to access its chief asset–the people. When war breaks out, soldiers are not forced to confront the humanity of their opponents, and we would no longer see scenes like cordons of ordinary people trying to stop tanks with their bare hands. (However such acts of self-sacrifice are still the case in Eastern Ukraine – watch e.g. the following video from Slavyansk dated May 2 where unarmed people tried to stop armoured vehicles of the Ukrainian army – OR).
And a giant middle finger to the “peace” community, the apologists of the war machine, and especially liberals and elements of the first world left who are always the last to see that their purist intellectual detachment is always —always— suspiciously close to empire’s agenda, who watch (and cheerlead!) while the US and its proxies slaughter innocents and thwart the will of the people from Afghanistan to Zaporozhye.
The League of Nations (let’s call a spade a spade) is dead. They have exposed themselves as an eager and unabashed tool of western supremacy and apologist for the crimes of empire. They will be discarded along with the other detritus of the old world. UNjust, UNequal, and UNwilling to break the yoke of the western paradigm, I think the organization is much worse than useless. (While lacking effective mechanisms to implement urgent measures in Ukraine due to the irresponsible politically motivated stance of the US and Washington-dominated SC, the UN is still the only international forum providing a platform for the reasonable Russian voice to be heard internationally. We can’t afford just ignore and dismiss this framework. – OR) I actually think this is the death knell for the UN, along with the IMF/EU/NATO and all the other western organizations who act in concert to try to force billions of people to believe that 2 + 2 = 5. They are the problem, and they have no solutions. As it should be–for as Eduardo Galleano gently reminded us, “it would be strange if the remedy should come from the United States, the same place which brings us the disease.”
Amid the fascist terror campaign now being unleashed by the Kiev junta at the insistence of the west, it is simply astounding that blinding russophobia (bigotry) still lets some people find time to bash Putin while the clear headed among us have our hands full fighting the beast. If you engaged in all that silly and smug smirking over Sochi, you should reflect on your role in this. Fomenting hatred against and demonizing Russia has been a key element of the sleight-of-hand strategy of the empire, softening up colonized minds for a major confrontation with Russia and distracting focus from the true goals and dangers of western adventurism in Ukraine. It’s an old trick, folks. There is blood on our hands. The Nazi thugs who set fire to the building in Odessa and then blocked the doors to make sure they burned alive were being paid a daily stipend, quite possibly from the $50 million Joe Biden promised a few days prior to shore up Ukraine security forces.
Amid the lies and distortions of a bought-and-sold press and a government propaganda machine, we can still cut through the bullshit and see the hustlers for what they are: pitchmen of a war machine hell bent on selling us more death and destruction. We all have it within us to refuse the pitch. Each of us has the ability to grasp a Michael Corleone moment, in that scene from The Godfather in Havana in 1959, when he knew instinctively that he was right and Hyman Roth was wrong. He was no fan of the revolution, but he saw that it was a bad investment when Castro’s revolutionaries would rather kill themselves than be captured.
The current crisis presents many such opportunities, not the least of which are those stories and images of people stopping tanks with their own bodies. One moment of particular clarity for me came in an absolutely stunning interview by Graham Phillips of a man on the street in Kramatorsk, who condensed what it’s all about in two and a half minutes for the people of East Ukraine. Eloquent, impassioned and clear, it still brings a lump to my throat.
“Furthermore, the Banderites who have now come here and want to impose their ideology on us have given us a precious gift because they have awakened for us in East Ukraine our patriotism, which had been dormant for many years.
“This happened because people had forgotten more or less who they used to be, who they had become. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 led to a kind of depression. People saw this event, the collapse of the Soviet Union, as a kind of natural disaster. The Soviet Union fell apart, and the rain came. People didn’t understand what had happened–they were demoralized, they used to believe in their leaders.
“Now people understand that it is not necessary to believe in leaders. We don’t need to believe in any Yanukovich, we don’t need to believe in a Party of Regions. We need to organize ourselves by ourselves–and to remember our own history, remember our own culture. That is our foundation.
“So thank you to all the Banderites who have come into Kiev, and who have made people remember who they are, who they are in the world, and above all why they are here on this earth.”
Filter this in among the ludicrous and increasingly obvious slanders about “pro Russian separatists,” “pro Russian Russians” and other ill fitting and deliberately vilifying terms to synch up with the ginned-up Russophobia now polluting virtually all western airwaves. One might consider the similarly bizarre yet more honest term “pro self selves,” or “pro self humans.” Or simply, “People who object to being killed.”
As the helicopters and missiles start flying, you can feel the desperation of a people under attack, as in this more pointed Farewell letter from East Ukraine , from those whose grandparents fought and died to defeat fascism:
“Each Banderite scum, each rat of the National Guard and other gangs must know this: you came to our land with weapons! You’ve come to kill us in our land! So don’t expect any mercy from us! You will find only grim death! Because you have not yet tasted Slavic-Russian anger! But it will overwhelm you in a severe, violent flame! Do you think we are afraid? We, Russians in the South-East afraid? You are very, very deeply mistaken. And not many of you will be able to understand, as few of you will get to return from the South-East.
“So ask your parents, wives, sisters, from the heart to prepare coffins for their husbands, sons and brothers. Or at least a place in the cemetery, as most of the bodies may be hard to find.
“We have nowhere to retreat and we are Russians, though for a while yet with Ukrainian passports. We are Russians, who never give up! We will defend ourselves to the last bullet, the last grenade, to our last breath! And if we die, we die for the glory of the Russian land! We will never be under the Banderite fascist scum!
Brothers, Slavs, Russians, if we perish, avenge us. Death to fascism!”
Date: May 1, 2014
Even more astonishing, beyond geography and cultural ties, an experiment in Western Ukraine is quite eye opening. Ukranian TV in the central western town of Zhytomir sent Maidan activists posing as armed south-eastern rebels to the town center asking for directions. They were apparently quite surprised that local residents willingly helped them – even giving details on how to avoid police checkpoints. Then they stood for a time–armed–by the local police station, and no one paid them any attention. In other words, the mask is off, and the junta is done.
Massive, suppressive violence is the only way for the western puppet junta to maintain power. They will kill a good number of people, but their deaths will be avenged, and the world will be transformed. It is an amazing moment.
I often dig into my repertoire of Irish Republican songs, a wellspring of sentiment that defines moments like these, encapsulating the often vulgar determination of a people with their backs to the wall:
Go on home, British soldiers, go on home
Have you got no fucking homes of your own?
For eight hundred years we have fought you without fear
And we’ll fight you for eight hundred more
A new world is arising right before our eyes, and those who still don’t see it will be consigned to the dustbin of history. Are you ready? Do you hear the people sing? The heroic people of Southeast Ukraine are taking a stand for us all, on behalf of the peoples of the world and against the sick and sorry world the Washington consensus wants to sell us. It is developing and unfolding now, and we can’t quite predict its course. We do, however, have the power to choose whether we want to be on the right side of history.