Eddie Dempsey’s account of the London Ukraine events of 9 July 2014 supplemented by Gerry Downing

20/07/2015 by socialistfight

Eddie Dempsey, branch Secretary of Paddington No. 1 branch RMT made the following report of the Picket of the EU Commission on 9 July at 6pm and the intervention of supporters of the Solidarity with Antifascist Resistance in Ukraine in the House of Commons meeting at 7pm. I have added in names he did not know and expanded at the end as he had to leave early and missed some of the meeting.

Eddie’s report:

Following our successful protest outside the EU building in Smith Square (between 50 and 60 in attendance – GD) some of our party made our way over to parliament to attend the Socialist Solidarity with Ukraine’s meeting hosted by John McDonnell MP advertised as a discussion forum on ‘Ukraine – the alternative road ahead’. 30 of us arrived shortly after the meeting had started during a talk by Kirill Buketov of the Praxis Centre Moscow and the global labour institute. I didn’t hear enough of his speech to give a full appraisal though he did seem to be reaching the end of an argument that the euro-Maidan movement did not support IMF restructuring of the Ukrainian economy or austerity. He was also speaking about the Kiev government in terms of ‘the democratic will of the Ukrainian people’. Once he had finished John McDonnell opened up questions to the floor, I addressed John McDonnell directly, introducing myself as RMT Paddington No. 1 branch Secretary, saying: “You chair our (RMT) parliamentary group and should be aware our union is affiliated nationally to the SARU campaign following an AGM decision yet you are here with this campaign who are supportive of the euro-Maidan movement and the Kiev junta who have openly fascist MPs, have no democratic mandate, have banned the Communist Party, are responsible for the massacre at Odessa and are carrying out atrocities in a military campaign against a civilian population in the South and East of the country.”

He responded angrily by asking me to produce a single statement he had made in support of the Kiev Government and stated that the RMT had brought Kirill Buketov to the UK and that he is to address our political school. I have checked at Unity House and can confirm Mr. Bukatov has not been invited to speak at any RMT political education events nor has the RMT any involvement with him whatsoever. Another member of socialist solidarity with Ukraine spoke to say they do not support the Kiev government.

Gerry Downing then spoke to say that on founding statement of the socialist solidarity with Ukraine expressed support for the Kiev regime, he was shouted down and again was told that the campaign did not support the Kiev regime, Chris Ford read the aims of the campaign to the meeting and again asserted that the campaign does not support the Kiev regime. Gerry was adamant that the statement read out was not the one he had read on the internet, he made a further point about the campaign referring to the military onslaught on the South and East as an “anti-terrorist operation” one of our group, a woman from Donbas also took offence at the terminology. The statement Gerry was referring, which is in fact a report from their founding meeting can be accessed here: http://www.ukrainesolidarity.co.uk/#!about_us/cjg9 I believe the specific passages that give this impression are: “Participants noted that, while much attention has been focussed on the Anti-Terrorist Operation of the Kyiv Government and the the separatist movement in the eastern oblasts…” And “Protests will also be organised at the Russian Embassy and the offices of the European Union to demand cancellation of the Ukrainian government’s debt…”

A woman who I took to be Ukrainian then stood and asked our group “how many of us were Ukrainian?” to which a number of our group raised their hands. A member of our group then stood and announced he was from a new country, neither Ukraine nor Russia – but “Novorossiya” which seemed to cause a stir. The woman left soon afterwards. Another of their group from Lambeth left unity spoke (this was Stuart King – GD) to say the number of things our campaigns agree on outnumber those we don’t, and that perhaps we should agree a joint statement. They then went back to Kirill to answer some of the points where he sort of made a focus of Russian interference and that they were not supportive of the IMF or the proposed austerity measures. Kevin O’Hanrahan then made the point that “they should stop banging on about Russia, Russia are effectively out of it, they got what they want and now they aren’t the problem, we should be focusing on the fascists in power”

Another speaker (this was Chris Ford – GD) who said he’d been writing about Ukraine for a number of years made a lengthy speech on Russia’s interference in Ukraine and the presence of Pavel Gubarov a Neo Nazi he said was in the leadership of the Lughansk people’s republic. One of our Ukrainian women began to answer back and there was some to and fro and I left at that point.

Eddie’s account ends here.

On the ‘anti-terrorist operation’ now the clarity emerges. The first three paragraphs ARE the Founding Statement and the rest, the stuff where they revealed their political prejudices, is just an account of the meeting, an addendum to the statement and not the statement itself. No one signed up to this account but no one distanced themselves from it either until I brought it up in the Brent and Harrow LRC where Pete Firmin made the scholastic distinction, (scholastic thought is also known for rigorous conceptual analysis and the careful drawing of distinctions, how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?) which I did not understand because I never imagined anyone would stoop to such chicanery. So the words complained of were there before the people reading out the statement but they chose to ignore them. And they ARE supporters of both the Maidan and the Kiev government because it is not just words but deeds that tell the tale. As Richard Brenner’s letter to John McDonnell MP demands:

As you have affirmed the USSC’s opposition to the Kiev government, we would now ask that you undertake some action in pursuit of these goals, namely that that you publicly denounce, without qualification, the Ukrainian army and National Guard’s offensive in Donestk and Lugansk, demand that the Right Sector paramilitary officers responsible for the Odessa murders be brought to justice, oppose the NATO manoeuvres in Ukraine this summer, and call on the British government and the EU to end its support for the Kiev regime.

We can be confident that there will be no favourable response to this challenge. Moreover strong support was expressed at the meeting for the Maidan movement itself, although its “contradictions” were acknowledged. In fact the government is not fascist, it is a US puppet junta which contains fascist minister but is to the left of the Maidan, which has now become an outright fascist movement. It demonstrated to end the ceasefire when the Southeast demonstrated for peace. It sends its forcers to commit White Terror atrocities against civilians and the left in the Southeast. They murdered the 48 anti-fascists in the trade union house in Odessa on 2 May. They are fascists.

Eddie’s ends his account where the most disgraceful incidents of the night began. The Ukrainian woman he referred to complained about the fighters in the Southeast being called terrorists, and another woman later spoke of the actions of the Kiev junta, they had banned the Russian language (not true, the pro-Maidan hecklers shouted at her, in fact the parliament had banned it but the President vetoed the law, no doubt on US instructions; the intention was clear), they were banning the use of Russian names and they were changing all the history books in the schools to reflect their bigotry (more heckling and derision). When the hecklers shouted at her that Gubarev, People’s Governor of the Donetsk Region, was a fascist she explained that he was fighting for the people there and she had to support him. This drew more hoots of derision for the pro-Maidan mob. In particular both Bridget Dunne and I were outraged at the derision that Simon Pirani was pouring on these courageous women and we let him know it – we had all been members of the WRP under Gerry Healy but he was one of the central leaders and we were rank and filers – “the working class have the shit on the outside but the middle class have it inside” Bridget remarked at his actions.

It is well known that Gubarev was once a neo-Nazi and he has recently become involved with the LaRouchies but we would question if he or they are fascists. Fascism is not simply a far right reactionary movement, it is an organisation dedicated to smashing the organised working class to restore the rate of profit of Imperialism. He is presenting himself now as an anti-fascist and in a certain sense he is; he does not pull down statues of Lenin, nor outlaw red flags or communist parties, as the Maidan fascists do, let alone seek to smash trade unions. He is forced to fight Imperialism with almost no assistance from Russia. One interview with him in the bourgeois press says his office is plastered with posters of Guevara and Hugo Chavez. That would be highly unusual for a fascist.

The derision of the pro-Maidan crew amounted to a demand that the population in the Southeast expel their leaders and surrender. In fact it is always the case that those whom US imperialism want to attack and murder must first be demonised by the capitalist mass media and by the chauvinist apologists for Imperialism within the workers movement, Saddam, Gaddafi, Assad, Al-Maliki are just the recent examples. With no shortage of former leftists to parrot their propaganda and hail their bogus “revolutions”.

Bridget Dunne spoke just after Eddie left: Bombs dropping tonight in Palestine and Ukraine, both courtesy of US Imperialism which hasn’t been mentioned once here. Yet McCain and Nuland were in Maidan and Joe Biden sat in the Ukrainian President’s seat after the coup – what would the outrage be if Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was to be seen in say Mexico or Canada? Fascists have been used by US Imperialism in the same way they use Whabhi jihadist forces in other parts of the world they want to control. Why doesn’t the left call another Maidan but this time to stop the slaughter of their brothers and sisters and the children in the South and East?

Nina Potarskaya of the “Left Opposition” spoke via Skype in a very boring and uninspiring way. Duncan Chapel outlined some of her points in the Socialist Resistance website:

“Nina observed that social tensions are only increasing. In the confrontations, she explained, things have escalated into patriotic hysteria in both sides. This benefits only the oligarchs and the far right forces who have unprecedented support in society. She explained how the revolutionaries oppose the drawing of neo-Nazis into the Ukrainian government forces and also call on the citizens of Luhgansk to bring down the Russian ultra-nationalists.”

This is an accurate account of the politics of the group which must be very careful not to take sides lest they offend their hosts, the Euro-Maidan fascists and the Kiev junta. This was further clarified when Gerry Downing quoted from the Left Opposition statement on the Odessa massacre which said: “We are unable at the present time to name the people responsible for these murders, their organisations or groups. However, we can see the political consequences of the Odessa massacre and we cannot but see that left wing political organisations are among those that carry political responsibility for it.” And he then asked if Nina had discovered by now who was responsible for the murder of 48 anti-fascists in the Trade Union House in Odessa? She took about five minutes to say no. Simon Pirani intervened to take even longer also to proclaim that the identity of the murderers was unknown. You can see from the extract that the Left Opposition is speculating that the anti-fascists may have killed themselves, presumably to make the Kiev government look bad.

Of course the Left Opposition cannot say that the Maidan fascists carried out the massacre, even though the fascists themselves openly boast about it online, because it is a legal party in Kiev precisely because of its pro-Maidan stance and its defence of the Kiev government whom it wants to transform into a socialist government by “de-Nazifying” it. This act of political alchemy is deemed possible so they can still appear as leftist but also get permission from the Maidan to stand their candidates in Kiev. The fascists would allow no genuine leftists to stand in any elections; they attacked the Communist party in the parliament itself and are intent on banning it. And what candidates the Left Opposition have: Pavlo Vezdenetsky, Zakhar Popovych, Mykola Vlasov and Nina Potarska

Bridget Dunne comment on them:

As you may already know Nina Potarska’s ‘comrades’ in the LO include Zakhar Popovych, a well known fraudster and Pavlo Vezdenetsky. Pavlo (unlike the USSC) doesn’t bother to hide his US Imperialist motivations (a point I made when I spoke) nor his reactionary Nationalism on his FB page: [1] Note not only the icon (US-Ukrainian flag) – the first post today – “I’m going to Carpathians to learn experience of the Banderites” [2] The post of 5 July “Avakov [interior minister] and Filatov state that they didn’t eliminated the column of Slavyansk militia of Girkin and let it come out from Slavyansk because there were 200 women and children in the column. So, does it mean that a column with women and children can freely come towards Kiev?” – complains the ‘left candidate’ about the fact that column of refugees was not eliminated.

The “left” cover for the USSC is the Left Opposition, a gang of fraudsters who alibi the Maidan and Kiev fascists whilst hypocritically proposing to “de-Nazify” them. The SARU supports the leftist Borotba who are heroically fighting the fascists. We have no problem supporting these genuine leftist anti-fascists against these fraudsters of the Left Opposition.

Notes

[1] Pasha Vezdenetsky, https://www.facebook.com/pasha.vezdenetsky?fref=ufi

[2] Who Was Stepan Bandera?, by Norman J.W. Goda: “On January 22, 2010 Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko honoured Stepan Bandera by posthumously bestowing on him the state honour, “Hero of Ukraine… (President Viktor Yanukovych annulled the decree in January 2011 after a long legal and political struggle—GD)… Bandera, his deputies, and the Nazis shared a key obsession, namely the notion that the Jews in Ukraine were behind Communism and Stalinist imperialism and must be destroyed.  “The Jews of the Soviet Union,” read a Banderist statement, “are the most loyal supporters of the Bolshevik Regime and the vanguard of Muscovite imperialism in the Ukraine.”  When the Germans invaded the USSR in June 1941 and captured the East Galician capital of Lvov, Bandera’s lieutenants issued a declaration of independence in his name.  They further promised to work closely with Hitler, then helped to launch a pogrom that killed four thousand Lvov Jews in a few days, using weapons ranging from guns to metal poles.  “We will lay your heads at Hitler’s feet,” a Banderist pamphlet proclaimed to Ukrainian Jews. But whatever their disappointment with the Germans, the Banderists never disagreed with their Jewish policy in Ukraine, which eventually killed over 1.5 million Ukrainian Jews.” http://hnn.us/article/122778

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