A Ukrainian socialist speaks

1 Mar

Stop the War demo, London, January 25, 2023. More pictures here.

Two short pieces appeared today, both about Ukraine. The first is by a Ukrainian, Max Goldarb, chair of his country’s Union of Left Forces. His title is simple, his six-point analysis spot on. 1

Stop the War

Like many millions of Ukrainians, a year ago I woke up to the sound of explosions in Kyiv. I tried my best to drive away the idea of the possibility of war, based on all the benefits and disadvantages for its participants, but what happened happened.

The following is short:

This year has completely exposed the aspirations, desires, reasons, roles, tasks, motives of each of those involved.

    1. The United States of America, with the help of the burning Ukraine, is dealing with Russia, partly with China, is driving Europe into the role of a submissive satellite, 2 and is trying to regain the position of world hegemon.
    2. Europe, no matter how it resisted, was drawn into the conflict up to its chest (for now). In the end it will be one of the main victims, some part of its elite amd leaders understands this and is trying to fight off the US desire to sacrifice its ally (nothing personal, just business). 3
    3. Russia opposes the West, trying to create another pole of world influence,  drawing China into the ranks of its outspoken allies 4 and uniting Asia and Africa and other countries around itself, which are tired of Western hegemony and diktat.
    4. China skillfully waits, carefully studying the situation and the actions of the others, while not forgetting to stock up as much as possible on Russian resources that have become cheaper as a result of all events. He will slowly come into play and is definitely not on the side of the United States – the number of options for it decreases over time.
    5. I won’t talk about Poland, the Baltic states and other obvious American satellites – they will do what Americans say them to do. Although they have their own, historical views of Ukrainian resources.
    6. Ukraine… in the eyes and minds of all the participants, it no longer exists, no matter which one of them officially declares: “we will join, we will take, we will give, investments, we will help, to the end, we are with you, you are with us” and so on.

This became clear immediately after the United States thwarted attempts at peace talks, and an incredible amount of gasoline began to be added to the fire. If someone thinks that in order to put out a burning house, he needs to be doused with gasoline, then he is just an idiot. Or a liar. Our country needs to solve all of the above points. It was chosen as a victim long before 2022: the official beginning of the sacrifice is the “victory” of the American protege Yushchenko in the presidential elections of 2004-2005.

What is the country’s leadership, which actually loves and protects it, and does not portray such love for a video picture of world TV channels, obliged to do? Everything to immediately stop the war, sit down at the negotiating table. All these hoarse exclamations, cries of an early victory and the seizure and return of territories in today’s realities are only to force their people to fight further. Until the last…

I believe in the foreign figures for Ukrainian casualties: von der Leyen’s reported 200,000, the US media’s 350,000. This was a few months before the New Year. Further – there will be more in progression. This is evidenced by the unfulfilled, not completed points 1-5 of this article.

I understand that now paid propagandists, experts, “opinion leaders” will turn on and ostracize me once again: “this is unpatriotic, this is against the president’s policy” and so on.

But for me, patriotism is the desire and actions aimed at preserving and developing one’s country and its people. And not at all a blind, or (even worse) a consciously paid desire to lead the country and people, first of all, ordinary people, the working class, to the slaughter.


The second is by Caitlin Johnstone. After the low turnout (five or six thousand, tops) for the anti war protest in London on Saturday I’ve been somewhat depressed. Given what is at stake – never in my 70 years have we been closer to nuclear war – a mere 6,000 prepared to march in the capital of one of the key belligerent states is dispiriting.

Like me, Caitlin targets our systemically corrupt media. This absolutely includes our “quality” media, of which I wrote back in January:

What distinguishes upmarket corporate media from down, other than tone and sophistication of language, is the former’s willingness to explore matters of undeniable importance. Abortion, say, or systemic racism. What unites them is the abandoning of truth on matters vital to power. None more so than the waging of war on those states in the way of empire designs.

Which last points to a lie greater still, albeit one of omission. I mean the silence of all media on the existence – let alone the rapacity – of the US empire. 5 Now over to Caitlin:

It Is The Mass Media’s Job To Help Suppress Anti-War Movements

In a new article titled “European antiwar protests gain strength as NATO’s Ukraine proxy war escalates” The Grayzone’s Stavroula Pabst and Max Blumenthal document the many large demonstrations that have been occurring in France, the UK, Germany, Greece, Spain, the Czech Republic, Austria, Belgium and elsewhere opposing the western empire’s brinkmanship with Russia and proxy warfare in Ukraine.

Pabst and Blumenthal conclude their report with a denouncement of the way the western media have either been ignoring or sneering at these protests while actively cheerleading smaller demonstrations in support of arming Ukraine.

Counter demo, London, January 25, 2023. More pictures here.

“When Western media has not ignored Europe’s antiwar protest wave altogether, its coverage has alternated between dismissive and contemptuous,” they write. “German state broadcaster Deutsche Welle sneeringly characterized the February 25 demonstration in Berlin as ‘naive’ while providing glowing coverage to smaller shows of support for the war by the Ukrainian diaspora. The New York Times, for its part, mentioned the European protests in just a single generic line buried in an article on minuscule anti-Putin protests held by Russian emigres.”

This bias is of course blatantly propagandistic, which won’t surprise anyone who understands that the mainstream western media exist first and foremost to administer propaganda on behalf of the US-centralized empire. And chief among their propaganda duties is to suppress the emergence of a genuine peace movement.

As we’ve discussed previously, it has never in human history been more urgent to have a massive, forceful protest movement in opposition to the empire’s rapidly accelerating trajectory toward a global conflict against Russia and China. Other peace movements have arisen in the past in response to horrific wars which would go on to claim millions of lives, but a world war in the Atomic Age could easily wind up killing billions, and must never be allowed to happen.

And yet the public is not treating this unparalleled threat with the urgency it deserves. A few protests here and there is great, but it’s not nearly enough. And the reason the people have not answered the call is because the mass media have been successfully propagandizing them into accepting the continuous escalations toward world war that we’ve been seeing.

People aren’t going to protest what their government is doing if they believe that what their government is doing is appropriate, and the only reason so many people believe what their government is doing with regard to Russia and China is appropriate is because they have been propagandized into thinking so.

Media are not telling of the many well-documented western provocations which led to the war in Ukraine and sabotaged peace at every turn; they’re just telling everyone that Putin invaded because he’s an evil Hitler sequel who loves killing and hates freedom. The mass media are not telling the public about the way the US empire has been encircling China with war machinery in ways it would never permit itself to be encircled while deliberately staging incendiary provocations in Taiwan; they’re just telling everyone that China is run by evil warmongering tyrants. The mass media are not reminding the public that after the fall of the Soviet Union the US empire espoused a doctrine asserting that the rise of any foreign superpower must be prevented at all cost; they’re letting that agenda fade into the memory hole.

Because people believe Russia and China are the sole aggressors and the US and its allies are only responding defensively to those unprovoked aggressions, they don’t see the need for a mass protest movement against their own governments. If you tell the average coastal American liberal that you’re holding a protest about the war in Ukraine, they’re going to assume you mean you’re protesting against Putin, and they’ll look at you strangely if you tell them you’re actually protesting your own government’s aggressions.

The narrative that Russia and China are acting with unprovoked aggression actually prevents peace, because if your government isn’t doing anything to make things worse, then there’s nothing it can change about its own behavior to make things better. But of course there is a massive, massive amount that the western power alliance can change about its own behavior with regard to Russia and China that would greatly improve matters. Instead of working to subordinate the entire planet to the will of Washington and its drivers, they can work toward de-escalation, diplomacy and detente.

We’re not going to get de-escalation, diplomacy and detente unless the people use the power of their numbers to demand those things, and the people are not going to use the power of their numbers to demand those things as long as they are successfully propagandized not to. This means propaganda is the ultimate problem that needs to be addressed. Ordinary people can only address it by waking the public up to the fact that the political/media class are lying to them about what’s happening with Russia and China, using whatever means we have access to.

So that’s what we need to do. We need to fight the imperial disinformation campaign using information. Tell people the truth using every medium available to us to sow distrust in the imperial propaganda machine, because propaganda only works if you don’t know it’s happening to you.

Our rulers are always babbling about how they’re fighting an “information war” against enemy nations, but in reality they’re fighting an information war against normal westerners like us. So we must fight back. We need to cripple public trust in the propaganda machine and begin awakening one another from our propaganda-induced sleep, so that we can begin organizing against the horrific end they are driving us toward.


Stop the War demo, London, January 25, 2023. More pictures here.

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  1. Max Goldarb’s six point assessment is entirely consistent with my own, as expressed in many posts, in particular Ukraine take 1 and Ukraine take 2.
  2. That Washington “is driving Europe into the role of a submissive satellite”  is one of the most obscured aspects of what is happening. I refer to the cutting off of EU trade with Eurasia, binding Europe more tightly to America’s imperial orbit. Also to the weakening, as Europe’s energy-starved businesses go to the wall or relocate in the USA, of its trans-atlantic rival. These things are addressed in other posts, such as this.
  3. “.. nothing personal, just business ..”  In a footnote to a post a fortnight ago, The hazard of Oz: Canberra’s US nukes, I wrote: “just as psychopaths don’t have friends, simply people more or less useful to them, the US Empire doesn’t – and for exactly the same reason – have allies in any meaningful sense of the word. Here’s a useful overview.
  4. “Russia opposes the West, trying to create another pole of world influence, drawing China into the ranks of its outspoken allies … ”  While this is not how I would frame the war, I have no fundamental quarrel with it. It’s a far cry from the “plague on both their houses” stance taken by much of the West’s far left – a false equivalence premised on a “Russian imperialism” thesis I reject in Ukraine Take 2.
  5. The mechanisms of media deception are explored in two key posts – Britain decides! and Monolithic control at the Guardian?

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