Friday, June 20, 2014

The Other Ukraine: Union Borotba (Struggle) Rejects Kiev's Authority Over the Country 
Alexei Albu of the Union Borotba (Struggle) in Ukraine.
By Alexei Albu, Union Borotba (Struggle)

The problems that existed in Ukraine before the neo-Nazi coup were primarily an empty treasury, the highest level of official corruption, and frequent violations of certain civil rights and liberties. Under the noble goal of smashing the old oligarchic system, rightist and liberal politicians knocked out a huge part of people. The problem of selecting the external policy of the country depended on who (Europe or Russia) agreed to close the hole in the budget. After much cajoling and trading, Yanukovych launched the country towards Russia. But today, despite refusing to cooperate with the Russian Federation and making a special declaration at his inauguration for a course toward Europe, Poroshenko has not solved the problem of the empty treasury.

Most of the industrial giants are in the east of the country. The Donetsk region is the largest in terms of population -- 4.4 million people. The Donetsk region accounted for 12.12% of the gross regional product of Ukraine in 2012. Donetsk provided 20% of the total industrial production of the country for 2013. Forty-two percent of the population lives in the East, providing 66% of industrial production and 57% of Ukraine's exports. Thus, Donetsk out of pocket subsidizes the Kiev authorities, and they in turn use these funds to finance the Right Sector and other National Guard elements. Collapse of the economy is obvious now; in a few months it will not be hidden in the figures.

Ukraine is divided between oligarchs who rule it using nationalist slogans. The Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) and Lugansk People’s Republic (LC) must challenge the oligarchic system of government. Novorossia (New Russia) should become a territory of social justice. Social stratification, the gap between rich and poor, should be kept to a minimum. Novorossia can create a new synthesis of all successful socialist ideas of the twentieth century and set an example of self-organization of the population.

Many leftists today criticize the young republics because they are not correct from the standpoint of Marx and other leftist classics. Yes, indeed. But where were you, clever non-participants in the protests against the junta?  I want to ask them this question. The young republics cannot be left without leftist leaders, leaders who can clearly and lucidly explain the advantages of the ideas of internationalism over nationalism, of secular ideas over clerical, of collective forms of ownership and management over private property and the free market.

To criticize people for not thinking like us is the easiest thing. But over whose mill do you pour such critical water?  The left of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions (not all, of course) deserve merciless criticism, for instead of leading, they treated the protests as something that was not for them, and they holed up at a crucial moment. We hold the strongest criticism for ourselves -- we were not able to create a strong structure of Union Borotba in these areas. And unlike Odessa or Kharkov, where we generally managed to include our principles (the advantages of collective ownership over private ownership and a ban on the exploitation of the labor of others) in the declaration of independence, in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions the left agenda was rather blurred.

Is this a reason for leftist criticism? Yes. Of themselves. And the reason for a revitalization. The reason for increasing their presence in all sectors of the struggle.

The old country was burned in the Odessa House of Trade Unions, bombed in Slavyansk and raped by neo-Nazis on the Maidan. Today, out of the ashes and ruins, something new is emerging -- with two aspects.

On the one hand, under the authority of the Kiev junta, an ugly fascist offspring appears, which kills those who disagree with the policies of the junta, disappear opposition leaders and dissidents, bomb civilians and even shoot children.

On the other hand, in the harshest conditions, under constant mortar fire and airstrikes, emerges a new Ukraine -- a Ukraine in which power belongs to the people, in which the property stolen by the oligarchs will return to the people. I do not believe that the People's Republic is limited only to the Donetsk and Lugansk regions. As I do not believe that the rest of Ukraine will become a fascist Galicia. But I do know that the junta is a temporary phenomenon.

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