Kharkov, Ukraine: Protest against the U.S.-backed fascist coup, March 5, 2014.
"In Kharkov three thousand rallied outside the state administration building. People blocked traffic on the street and challenged police cordons. People are chanting ‘Down with the oligarchs,’ ‘referendum,’ ‘Down with Balut’ (the new governor, a protege of the junta), and ‘Kharkiv.’
"The people want to decide the fate of their city, their region, their country. They are outraged that the police have failed to protect the Regional Assembly from the neo-Nazis of the Right Sector, which seamlessly took over the building, and now is trying to impose power from above on the people.
"In the thick of things — the activists of Borotba (Struggle). Our organization is well known; people say, ‘Borotba is against fascism,’ our newspapers fly like hotcakes.
"A major anti-fascist rally will be held March 8 at 12:00. And if today, on a weekday, several thousand came out, then on Saturday there may be more than March 1, the day of liberation of the State Administration building from neo-Nazi militants."
this never gets old
I met the creator of this a month ago and he said he got a lot of hate mail from dudebros who thought that he was a woman complaining about these problems.
Ukraine: 'If the left movements don’t unite, only the far right will benefit from social anger' | Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal
Maxime Benatouil: What root causes explain such large parts of the population joining the protests, on Maidan Square and elsewhere?
Volodymyr Ishchenko: First, let me tell you that the protests weren’t exclusively initiated by the students. It is a quite widespread misperception. The first protests were launched by various groups: journalists, civic activists, and students. All these groups share a common European dream, a very deep-rooted idea that Europe has the solution to Ukraine’s problems. To them, it means: more democracy, more justice, less corruption and a better welfare. This is a very old idea, well-anchored in Eastern European societies. Ever since the 19th century, there has been a will to catch up with Western Europe. Many Ukrainians still think that way.
I would say that it is a naive perception of what the EU could bring to the country. Most of the people have no idea of the harsh implications of a Free Trade Agreement for the Ukrainian economy and its potentially disastrous consequences on the industrial sector.
Is the so-called “language border” a relevant factor to explain the tendencies within the Ukrainian society either leaning towards the Maidan protest or rejecting it?
There are still many divides in Ukraine: the geographical divide, language divide, religion divide, etc. There is even a divide over memories, especially regarding the situation of the country during World War II. The divides correspond to different electoral attitudes. If the language factor is indeed dividing, one cannot say that all Russian speakers don’t support Maidan for example. But let me add that, in the Western part of the country and in Kiev, Yanukovych was never seen as a legitimate representative. There is a lot of social chauvinism: he was considered as a man from a little industrial area close to Russia.
The far-right party “Svoboda” and the neo-Nazi movement “Right Sector” played a central role in the revolution by protecting the protesters from police brutalities. In your opinion, can the prestige they gained be translated into political power?
Yes. Svoboda got concrete political positions in the new government. The deputy prime minister belongs to the party, so do the new minister of defence and minister of agriculture. And I could go on with the examples… The party was rewarded for organising the defence of Maidan.
Regarding the “Right Sector”, there were suggestions that it will get representatives in the new ministry of defence and the security service. It’s not clear yet. But three months ago, no one in Ukraine knew about its existence – apart from experts on radical right movements and small leftist groups countering them on the streets.
The “Right Sector” is a plural organisation gathering ultra-nationalists defending the legacy of [WWII Nazi collaborator] Bandera and even more radical neo-Nazis groups. Now, to the public opinion of Western Ukraine, its members are the heroes of the revolution. People show them a very deep respect. They are slowly discovering that the “Right Sector” is against parliamentary democracy, liberal principles and is promoting very conservative values. But still, they are generally excused because of their “heroic” actions on Maidan.
While western newspapers, radio and television news programmes have been full of events in Ukraine you have to search very hard for any coverage of protests in Bosnia-Herzegovina writes Geoff Ryan. Regional assemblies have been invaded, with their erstwhile occupants chased out to the accompanying chants of ‘thieves, thieves’. Regional governments have resigned. Yet virtually the only time Bosnia has had a mention has been in relation to the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo in 1914 and the outbreak of the first world war – usually in dreadful attempts to justify British participation in the war.
Perhaps the reason for the silence is that the protests in Bosnia, in contrast to Ukraine, have been largely led by the working class, have demanded an end to privatisation, have rejected nationalist arguments and have begun to develop forms of direct, participatory democracy. ‘Take to the streets. Death to Nationalism’ proclaim slogans on the walls of towns and cities in Bosnia. All of this is, of course, anathema to the capitalist class of the European Union and the United States who would be far from happy if workers elsewhere started to follow the Bosnian example. Hence the media silence.
It is no surprise that the Bosnian revolt began in Tuzla. Tuzla is an industrial city with a mixed population of Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks along with people of other nationalities not recognised as forming the population of Bosnia-Herzegovina. During the war launched against multi-national Bosnia by then Serb leader Slobodan Milosevic and his Bosnian Serb allies Tuzla remained a bastion of working class internationalist unity. Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks fought alongside one another in the militias organised by the Tuzla miners and other trade unions. It was this opposition by the Tuzla working class to the various nationalisms that were trying to tear Bosnia apart that in 1993 led International Workers Aid to Bosnia to concentrate on raising support for the Tuzla region.