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The white-Left Part 1: The two meanings of white

Sunday, March 9, 2014

I apologize as Ukraine takes "Left" over the edge

first the Apology

The dominate trend in the US "Left" seems to see US manipulation behind every popular mass uprising that is directed against a government favored by Moscow. If you are familiar with my blog, you know that I have strongly criticized this "thief of agency" when it has been used to rob the Libyan and Syrian peoples of the primary role in making revolutionary "regime change" against their beloved dictators. Now, seeing so much of this "Left" coming to the same conclusions with regards to the popular revolution in Ukraine, I realize that I credited more of their attitude to white chauvinism than I should have. For this I apologize. I can see now that they are equal opportunity deniers when it comes to either the power or the concerns of the working class in these movements.

and now Ukraine

Russia bandits wearing masks
Everyone knows that the thousands of well armed and well supplied troops in the same Russian army uniforms minus insignia, but delivered by army trucks with Russian markings, are not some cobbled together Crimea self-defense force as Putin claims they are, but are, in fact, Russian troops. By posting them outside their bases without consultation, they are in violation of their basing agreement with Ukraine. By crossing the border into Crimea, setting up check points, barricading Ukrainian bases, violating Ukrainian air space, and firing "warning shots" on Ukrainian soil, Russia has already committed numerous acts of war against Ukraine.

Russia's stated reason for this invasion, to protect Russian bases and Russian nationals, is clearly bogus because neither have been harmed or threatened. These acts of war have taken place without even the threat of an attack by Ukraine on Russia and without even asking the UN for a mandate, so they are clearly illegal under international law.

Russian forces in Crimea have taken over all independent TV stations and other media in Crimea and replaced them with their own signals. They plan to annex this part of Ukraine via a hastily called and rigged referendum and they have made it clear that they reserve the right invade anywhere else in Ukraine if they hear the calling.

This Russian military invasion and annexation also violates the 1994 Budapest Memorandum and that could have very damaging and lasting effects on the prospects for world peace in the future. That is because the Budapest Memorandum is the agreement by the US, UK, France and Russia to guarantee Ukraine's territorial integrity in return for them giving up nuclear weapons. If this violation is allowed to stand, many more nations will see a need to keep or get their own nukes.

So, how does the non-interventionist "Left" respond to these gross violations of world peace?

The United National Antiwar* Coalition (UNAC) says in a statement, 6 March 2014:
It is clear that Russia will not passively sit by while the Western-backed coup, led by violent fascist forces and local billionaires, overthrows a democratically elected government and installs a puppet regime on its border.
Strange words from a voice that use to oppose foreign military intervention. Not only does UNAC not demand the immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukrainian territory, they try to justify the invasion by repeating Russian propaganda about what has been happening in Ukraine. This is a narrative that leaves the millions of Ukrainians, that took to the streets to demand change, out of it, or sees them as dupes of "Western-backed" "violent fascist forces and local billionaires." This narrative robs them of their proper role in making this history. This narrative robs them of their agency.

The recent revelations about Qaddafi's funding of Sarkozy's presidential campaign in France shows how widespread foreign attempts to affect various countries' internal politics are, but nobody claimed the French government was a Qaddafi puppet regime. There probably isn't a country on the globe that the US doesn't attempt to exercise it's influence on, but that doesn't put them in the driver's seat as these western chauvinists would have you believe.

Then they repeat Putin's justification for the invasion:
To protect its military base there and to protect the people in the Eastern and Southern parts of the country, where the coup is not supported, Russia has moved some troops to the Ukrainian border and into the Crimean peninsula.
Nevermind how easily these words could be adapted to justify the initially peaceful landing of US Marines in Vietnam to protect Da Nang Air Force Base, do they mean to imply that what they are calling a 'coup' 'led by violent fascist forces and local billionaires' was supported in the rest of the country? And BTW "into the Crimean peninsula" is already past "the Ukrainian border" unless you have already "gifted" Crimea to Russia.

You can describe a murder without ever calling it murder. You can describe a rape without ever naming it. This how a "peace" group describes the military invasion of a sovereign state without calling it an act of war. The only aggression they see is US aggression:
As long as the United States is committed to aggression, the whole world is endangered, just as Ukraine and Venezuela are. Libya fell, Syria is under attack, there is a "pivot to Asia", and Africom controls the military in almost every African nation.
Africom doesn't control the military in Libya, as UNAC predicted it would at the beginning of their revolution, which raises the question of exactly who Libya "fell" to. The answer is that it was lost by the Russian-backed Qaddafi dictatorship and it fell to the Libyan people, the people who made the revolution. It certainly didn't fall to the US; there can be no doubt about that after the Benghazi attack. Libya may be a mess now, but it is their mess. And who is Syria, by which UNAC means, the Assad regime, under attack by? It is being sustained big time by Russia and Iran, but those attacking it are overwhelmingly Syrian even if they are invisible to UNAC.

On Democracy Now*, Amy Goodman gives us Ray McGovern of Veterans for Peace, 3 March 2014, who sees a NATO plot against the Soviet Union that he thinks will fail:
The Soviet Union has all the cards. And so, somebody [inaudible] should say to the president, "Look, Mr. President, you know, however much we would like to have regime change according to our own wishes, there are strategic realities that we have to remind you of, Mr. President. And one of them is that Putin and no Soviet leader is going to abide NATO infringing on the Ukraine."
Clearly he is living in an alternate universe, one in which the USSR hasn't broken up yet, and he supports the Russian [in his universe, Soviet] invasion. He also denies any agency on the part of the Ukrainian masses:
If you look at Bahrain, you know, if you look at Syria—even Egypt, to an extent—these were initially popular uprisings. The question is: Who took them over? Who spurred them? Who provoked them even more for their own particular strategic interests? And it’s very clear what’s happened to the Ukraine. It used to be the CIA doing these things. I know that for a fact. OK, now it’s the National Endowment for Democracy, a hundred million bucks, 62 projects in the Ukraine
He thinks that is how millions were 'tricked' into protesting their corrupt government, and he replaces "America first" with "Russia first":
And people should realize that it is murky, but Russian interests are paramount here
On 7 March 2014, Amy gave us Jonathan Steele, formerly of the Guardian. I could call him a Putin apologist, instead I'll let his words speak for me:
I see no sense that this crisis has been created by Putin. He’s reacting to events, and one has to look at those events and not assume he’s on some forward march.
Bruce Gagnon, who I respect for his work with Space for Peace, also thinks:
The Russians are not going to idly sit by and watch US-NATO set up a right-wing fascist state right on their border.
He even goes so far as to repeat Russian chauvinist Pepe Escobar's racist attack on Crimea Tatars, in his piece on the San Diego Veterans for Peace website, 5 March 2014:
"[Russian intelligence] had already identified the wider mechanics of the CIA-style coup – including Turkish intelligence financing Tatars in Crimea… And what will the Tatars in Crimea do? Stage a jihad? Wait: the ‘West’ will surely try to FINANCE THIS JIHAD.”
The Crimea Tatars were once a majority on the peninsula. They were ethnically cleansed from their homeland in 1944 when Stalin killed a hundred thousand Tatars in their forced deportation to Siberia. Only since Ukraine became independent have they been free to return. They are understandably very concerned about Russia's annexation of Crimea and will not find jokes about jihad helpful.

The Party for Socialism and Liberation* also thinks what Putin is doing is right, 4 March 2014:
It is completely understandable that Russia would project a show of force in Crimea
And they want you to believe his lies:
Russia denies that the forces deployed in the Crimea are Russian special forces, suggesting that they are Russian-trained local defense forces.
The PSL also thinks the people in the streets have been duped by imperialist powers into carrying out their plan:
The U.S. government has engineered, financed and fully supported a classic coup d'état that overthrew a corrupt but democratically elected government in Ukraine. Joining in the destabilization of the Ukrainian government were Germany, France, Britain and other NATO powers.
Everybody, it would seem, but the Ukrainian people.

It just tickles me to hear so-called Marxists complain that it is wrong to overthrow "a corrupt but democratically elected government." This is exactly how the bourgeoisie thinks. They expect that all governments are corrupt and they expect that once they have talked, bribed or bullied their way into office through whatever passes for an "election" in their country, they are free to go back on all their promises, and do whatever they want, even establish a dictatorship, without the people "interfering" until and if there are new "elections." They call themselves "Marxists" but they show by talk like this that they don't really believe in revolution, which often necessitates the overthrowing of corrupt governments whether they have been "democratically elected" or not. Yes, he was democratically elected but he was sacked by popular demand.

This is just a small sampling of the blatantly pro-Russian, pro-war trash that is coming out of certain sections of the US "Left" that use to identify itself as "anti-imperilialist" and "non-interventionist", but not any more, their misguided support for the former Soviet Union has taken them over the edge. As I said before, when it comes to their opposition to war, * Some Exceptions Apply.

This is the third part of a trilogy on Ukraine. The other parts are:
The truth about the leaked Maidan sniper story
What is Russian Crimea's stand on the Right of Return?

Also an example for "Leftists" like these: Meltdown at RT over Ukraine/Russia coverage?


  1. I am getting the strong impression the reason were sacked from Daily Kos is because of your intermittent but persistent references to "whitey". You are a bit of a closet racist aren't you? If only you had anything of interest to say .. I would be inclined to ignore this reoccurring transgression. Still I found the best way to endure the ramblings of your mind whenever I find myself landing in your blog, is to treat it all as fiction. Which it most certainly is in any case.

  2. "...That is because the Budapest Memorandum is the agreement by the US, UK, France and Russia to guarantee Ukraine's territorial integrity in return for them giving up nuclear weapons..."

    This is only how the press paraphrased the terms of the agreement, Clay. The actual terms of the agreement were "...reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine... to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine..."

    At the time of the signing, the U.S. was particularly worried about *committing* to the use of military force to defend Ukraine - the obvious threat being directly from Russia. They had to get Russia to sign off, too. The agreement was crafted with weasel-wording about 'respect for' Ukraine's independence, sovereignty and borders. The exceptions were if someone used nuclear arms against Ukraine, and that would only have triggered a Security Council call for intervention.


    No doubt the Russians have clearly violated the terms of the Budapest agreement (among others). Unfortunately, there is nothing in that agreement to say that the signatories are bound to any kind of intervention if one of them violates the terms. This may appear to have been a particularly bad deal for Ukraine, but at the time it was an offer they could not refuse. They needed the economic aid more than the nukes.

    This has nothing to do with (my opinion) a clear moral obligation to back Ukraine now regardless of any treaties. Just pointing out that the Budapest Agreement itself did not make that guarantee, and that was quite intentional when it was crafted.

    1. Thanks for the clarification, although I don't think it changes the effect of ignoring it and allowing Ukraine to be dismembered. The world will see that such agreements mean little, weasel words and all.

    2. I agree.

      You have a great way of phrasing things, BTW. Another new favorite:

      "...It just tickles me to hear so-called Marxists complain that it is wrong to overthrow "a corrupt but democratically elected government." This is exactly how the bourgeoisie thinks..."

      Exactly. As a matter of fact, the democrats and republicans think like that too. Psychopaths rig the vote, rig the law and then convince everyone that democracy *really* means 'voting and obeying the law' rather than liberty and freedom.

      I don't particularly care for psychopaths, but you have to admit: it's a fiendishly clever catch-22.

  3. Agreed. We here in the USA should also be calling for the overthrow of our own "democratically elected government" of "systemically important" crony capitalist oligarchs!

    That's a statement here in the "World's Greatest Democracy" that can get you put away in the slammer for treason.