August 14, 2014

Ukraine: The collapse of "Left" liberalism, By: Svetlana Tsiberganova 12.08.2014

from Borotba comrade Svetlana Tsiberganova

 Translation : Peter Mikhailenko

Source: Liva
http://liva.com.ua/liberalism-left.html


Many are surprised at how quickly Ukrainian society has come under the influence of aggressive chauvinistic propaganda and have began to live according to the principles of Orwellian dystopia "War – is peace! Freedom – is slavery! Democracy – is the limitation of all rights! Freedom of speech – is silence! The victims burned and killed themselves!"[1]

However, for some time to me, it seems that there is nothing surprising in this.

If we analyze the recent history of "left-wing movement" of Ukraine, it is clear that these cynical principles – are the very essence of Ukrainian nationalism. Even among those who, as it were, should not have succumbed to the chauvinist hysteria.

Why did the "left" liberals go to Maidan? Why did Ukrainian nationalists under the flags of the EU, screaming "Muscovites to the knives! Death to the enemies!", become for them “the people”, while the population of the South-East, singing "Arise, great country!"[2] became just "sovky"[3], "cattle" and "Colorado beetles"[4]?

Did the “leftists” not notice the anti-communist rhetoric that was heard everywhere at Maidan? Or the sincere promises to make anti-social reforms immediately after the victory of Maidan – being implemented today? And the aggression against all those who raised a social agenda? And calls to suppress all dissent? And clericalism with projecting women as a "helper of the man", according to the chivalrous ideals of the late Middle Ages Ukraine? Was it not obvious?

For a long time, I was not able to solve this riddle, until I found on my computer a photo from winter at Maidan Nezalezhnosti, where the crowd was wiping their feet on the red flag.

Everything became clear.

All of the liberals who today, actively defend the regime of the oligarchs and nationalists, for years insulted the left, and engaged in the uprooting and destroying the communist symbols, are no different in this from the "brown" Ukrainian nationalists. They supported the anti-communist rhetoric, demonizing the Soviet past to the extreme. And they have introduced anti-left stock phrases into education and historical sciences so that to ward the masses  and workers away from socialism – thus helping the expansion of the right.

Many times, on every May Day organizing committee, I had to defend the main symbol of the international communist and workers' movement – of the red flag with the hammer and sickle. There were those who called for its removal, so as not to scare off liberals and nationalists. Although they did not mind the fact that red and black flags of anarchists 100% of the people of Kiev associate with red-black flags of the ultra-nationalist Bandera movement, that dominates in the streets

Marginal "left" sectarians actively fought with "authoritarian Stalinism" (which does not exist for decades), cowardly ignoring the real threat in the coming to power of Ukrainian nationalism. And doing so they demonstrated stunning authoritarianism – at the level which was rarely seen even in the regional committees of the Communist Party of Ukraine.

The point is that the Ukrainian "anarchists" (I cannot write it without the quotes) and "libertarians", became the rump of Ukrainian Nationalism before “it was cool”. That is, long before the "Euromaidan".

It is not surprising that now, they do not want to see the thousands of wounded and murdered civilians in the South-East. After all, they are afraid to lose the support of European funds – in breaking their habit of not threatening the power structures – by even organizing a peaceful anti-war protest in the capital in order to stop the killing of some "sovky" [pro-soviet people]. They are scared by the possibility to be beaten by the rightwing, to face hysterical criticism in their office, to become outcasts in their native hipster hangouts ot to be branded as "agents of the Russian security service" (because the leaders of the Ukrainian regime recently ordered the bourgeoisie to call all the anti-war protests «the Kremlin-paid provocations»).

It is much easier to get a grant for a round table discussion "about the threat of war." Did you hear? We have a war! Do you want to talk about it for the money of European sponsors? At this time, every second (if not every) bus of refugees from Lugansk is being attacked by the Ukrainian army and right-wing militants at checkpoints i.e. by the same volunteer fighters for whom Kiev "libertarians” collect money for buying weapons and body armor.

Moreover, some so-called «anarchists» are openly fighting on the side of the punitive squads under the command of Nazis - in the battalions "Azov" and "Donbas", publicly boasting that they are trained by Swedish racists – those ones who are boasting with the murder of Ukrainians.

If that is not a crime, then do the posts in personal blogs – about the killing of innocent civilians, women, children, elderly pople and workers; that the war must be stopped – mean support for Putin or separatism? Indeed, in recent months, no one, none of my “left” liberal friends who brought  food for the far-right fighters at Maidan and commemorated the "Heavenly hundred”[5], have given a word or a glance, or even a hint of condemning the actions of the Ukrainian army, Ukrainian right-wing militants, and have not at all sympathized with the victims killed by them. One of the most popular excuses for war crimes: "The victims are to blame - they have not expelled the Donbas bandits, they provoked the war with their referendum!”. The point is this, what does this "left" have different from the average fanatic nationalist?

Let's be honest – nothing.

But the most vile part of the sentimental swamp of left liberalism - is related to their attitude to the Ukrainian political prisoners and refugees, among whom are many of our comrades. Thousands of illegally (and even mistakenly) arrested people have no support from the liberal “human rights” defenders who work for foreign funds’ grants. The principle of the Maidan activists: "everything – only for our people; for the others - the punishment by law!". People who justify again and again the massacres, kidnappings and beatings, committed again and again by the supporters of the regime, are trying to blame the others and their different ideological positions in the struggle against the war. If this is anarchism, then what is fascism?

Now I'm home - in the Donbas. Every day, and sometimes all night, we have shooting and shelling. Throughout the city: men with guns. But for the moment, I feel more or less calm, for the first time in many months of hard and heavy work. It’s for the first time since the storming of the offices of "Borotba",  after the mass arrests of ordinary people in Kharkiv (many of whom became my friends), after the attacks on my friends, persecution by police and intelligence services, after attempt to kidnap my comrade and boyfriend that happened in broad daylight in the center of the city.

We get solidarity from a large number of people, fighters for peace – often apolitical – from Ukrainians and people from different countries around the world. But to support the opposition to the current regime – is a too courageous act for a left liberal. None of them commented on the murder of a member of the Communist Party Vyacheslav Kovshun – made by neo-Nazis - probably because he was not a human being for them, but just a member of the "wrong bourgeois Communist Party," while the Nazis who killed him were – «progressive» Maidan activists. No one said a word about the kidnapping of our comrade, a communist from Volnovakha, or about the murder of Mariupol journalist S.Dolgov. And likewise they kept silent on the assassination of the opponents to the right regime in Kharkov, Odessa and in the Donbas.

I had a hope that the “left” would take part in antiwar protests, by supporting the wives and mothers in Western Ukraine, who protest against the forced conscription of their husbands and children. But what can you expect from those who do not have the heart to be called a communist. Those who consider themselves just "left" - amorphous and not claiming responsibility and consciousness liberals, obediently serve the interests of the Nazis and the oligarchs.

Now there is a hope only for humane and honest people. And I know that they are out there.

The events in recent days, the protests of mothers and wives of Ukrainian soldiers, have shown that the Ukrainian workers do not need a glamorous leftist fringe. Ukrainian workers need bold and ideological communists as they meet the word “leftist" with a kind of contemptuous sneer. The workers need those who are not afraid of the working class, and are ready to organize and educate. Those who don’t ask: "Oh, how do I start a conversation with a worker so that they do not tell me to go away?". Those who consider a worker a human being, but not a befouled by oligarch propaganda «quilted jacket»[6].

I know these people. Their numbers are growing. The future – belongs to them.

It is these people who will make Ukraine free and socialist.

Svetlana Tsiberganova

Notes:

[1] Referring to the explanation of Kiev supporters to the Odessa massacre of  May 2nd

[2] Mobilization song calling to fight against fascism popular during WWII period.

[3] Pejorative term for pro-USSR people used by modern day liberals. Literal meaning is “shovel”.

[4] Pejorative term for people wearing st.George ribbon (orange/black stripes) as symbol of WWII victory.

[5] Refers to the protesters that died fighting at Maidan. A “hundred” is a Ukrainian Cossack term for battalion.

[6] Derogatory term for Soviet soldiers in WWII who used to wear quilted jackets.

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