Political talk from outside of the UK
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By Samanfur
Membership Days Posts
#356229
Did anyone else see this the other day?

“Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance.”

That's a text message that thousands of Ukrainian protesters spontaneously received on their cell phones today, as a new law prohibiting public demonstrations went into effect. It was the regime's police force, sending protesters the perfectly dystopian text message to accompany the newly minted, perfectly dystopian legislation. In fact, it's downright Orwellian (and I hate that adjective, and only use it when absolutely necessary, I swear).
By new puritan
Membership Days Posts
#356231
I'm not under any illusions about Yanukovych but it seems the involvement of the far-right in these protests is being glossed over in most mainstream reporting. Here are a couple of decent pieces:

Kiev’s two-month-long “Euromaidan” protest turned violent on Sunday as people in masks, outraged over restrictive protest laws hurriedly passed last week, marched on parliament and ran into police cordons that they pelted with stones and Molotov cocktails. Police hurled gas canisters, stun grenades, and a water cannon and rubber bullets at them, setting off a wave of clashes previously unknown at the largely peaceful protest.

Spearheading the clashes with police was Right Sector, a group with ties to far-right parties including the Patriots of Ukraine and Trident, which BBC Ukraine reported is largely comprised of nationalist football fans. In a statement the next day, the group claimed credit for Sunday’s unrest and promised to continue fighting until President Viktor Yanukovich stepped down.

“Two months of unsuccessful tiptoeing about under the leadership of the opposition parties showed many demonstrators they need to follow not those who speak sweetly from the stage, but rather those who offer a real scenario for revolutionary changes in the country. For this reason, the protest masses followed the nationalists,” the statement read.

The surge in violence sparked by Right Sector has revealed how uncritical and undiscerning most of the media has been of the far-right parties and movements that have played a leading role in the “Euromaidan,” the huge protests for closer ties to Europe that flared up in November and have taken over Kiev’s Independence Square (“Maidan Nezalezhnosti”). Protest coverage focused on the call for European integration and the struggle against the Yanukovich regime has largely glossed over the rise in nationalist rhetoric, often chauvinist, that has led to violence not just against police, but also against left-wing activists.


http://www.thenation.com/article/178013 ... uromaidan#

There is little doubt that Viktor Yanukovych's rule is corrupt. It stands for the interests of the richest few in Ukraine's highly unequal society and is responsible for the brutal suppression of opposition. The majority of protesting Ukrainians hope for a just, fair and democratic society, even if naively connecting this hope to an idealised "Europe".

Yet Euromaidan, Ukraine's pro-EU protest movement, has still not become a point of conflict between the Ukrainian government and Ukrainian society as a whole. According to the polls, support for Euromaidan is heavily concentrated in the western and central regions, while Ukrainians living in the east and the south of the country overwhelmingly disapprove. After mass violent clashes with the police started on Sunday, in which a leading role was played by a far-right network of groups called Right Sector, there is no doubt that people in the eastern and southern regions would condemn the protests even more. This is unfortunate because the agenda of the protest has shifted from a desire to be associated with Europe to the struggle against the police state after parliament ripped up the constitution and rushed through laws restricting, among others, the freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of speech.


http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfre ... t-violence
By Big Rob
#356464
Kreuzberger wrote:Ahem. The "The" was dropped some twenty years ago. </pedant>


Fair point.

I wondered about that (I didn't know for sure myself) before I posted and I thought that no one could be that pedantic? Not even here? ;)
#357207
Baffling reporting from the Guardian.

Andriy Khoronets, an activist with the Svoboda party which represents more moderate protesters, tried to force members of the more militant Spilna Sprava group to vacate the agriculture ministry building as part of a compromise with the government.


http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/j ... protesters

We really are in trouble when even the liberal press attempts to paint an openly fascist party as in any way 'moderate'.
#357441
new puritan wrote:Baffling reporting from the Guardian.

Andriy Khoronets, an activist with the Svoboda party which represents more moderate protesters, tried to force members of the more militant Spilna Sprava group to vacate the agriculture ministry building as part of a compromise with the government.


http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/j ... protesters

We really are in trouble when even the liberal press attempts to paint an openly fascist party as in any way 'moderate'.

Compare and contrast with reporting of the Syrian opposition painting all rebels as Al Qaeda or fundies.
#358299
No great surprise to learn that the Americans have their fingerprints all over this, to be honest. Very funny to hear them complain about having their phone calls snooped on by somebody else though.

The White House pointed the finger at Moscow after leaked recordings of its top diplomats discussing Ukraine emerged on Thursday in an episode that threatens to embarrass Washington and inject fresh tension into already-strained relations with Russia.

In an audio clip posted on YouTube, voices resembling those of Victoria Nuland, a US assistant secretary of state, and Geoffrey Pyatt, ambassador to Ukraine, are heard talking by telephone about how to resolve the stand-off in Kiev after two months of anti-government protests.

In apparent frustration with the EU – which has failed to join the US in threatening sanctions against Ukraine’s leaders if they violently crush the protests – the voice resembling Ms Nuland at one point exclaims “F**k the EU”.

The two voices suggest Arseny Yatseniuk, an opposition leader and former foreign minister, should be in a new government in Kiev. But Vitali Klitschko, a former heavyweight boxer identified as “top dog” among opposition leaders, is described as inexperienced and needing to “do his political homework”.

The voice resembling Ms Nuland refers to the two men as “Yats” and “Klitsch”.


http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/367de268-8f41 ... z2saD73VqU
#360123
Lviv province - a stronghold of Svoboda, which polled almost 40% of the vote there in 2012 - has reportedly declared independence and thrown out its Yanukovych-friendly governor. Could quite easily tip over into civil war there now. Quick piece here from Peter Pomerantsev:

http://www.lrb.co.uk/blog/2014/02/19/pe ... theorists/

Also worth reading this interesting article on the prospects for a leftist opposition to Yanukovych:

One’s first moments on Maidan are like being in some kind of political Wonderland: there are street fighters doing battle with police, self-managed campgrounds, information centers, points of mutual aid, self-organized “emergency services,” and hot meals. It is a paradigmatic example of an infrastructure of urban uprising, each element of which breathes an authentic revolutionary consciousness, painted in some strange, unusual color – a kaleidoscope of propaganda from every possible ultra-right-wing party and sect, with countless “Celtic” symbols and runes on the walls. The incredibly sickening dissonance between the revolutionary content of the process and its reactionary form represents circumstances demanding not squeamish ethical evaluations, but action aimed at changing such an ugly equation.

Of course, nobody in this revolution reserved any space for leftists – that being, for those who could really come up with an alternative to the entire established order that gave birth to poverty, corruption, lack of transparency, and state brutality. In fact the order that gave birth to all of the factors, without exception, that led people to the streets and to begin their resistance. Today’s crisis in Ukraine is really a crisis of the society we want to change. Society is degraded, embittered, disintegrating. It experiences any optimism about itself only slightly, and rarely at that. The products of this society and its rare – and therefore crucial – optimism are the current revolutionary events. Nationalism (which at this point is still more civil than ethnic), a strange belief in the power of “European integration,” parliamentary institutions, the lack of resistance to chauvinism, and a desire to find and neutralize viruses in the healthy “national” body: all of these reflect Ukrainian society’s current consciousness, which in any case is not static or incapable of change. And despite the fact that initial conditions were far more favorable to the expansion of the ultra-right, the outcome for this battle for consciousness and a revolutionary program was never predetermined – and cannot be conclusively summed up even today.


http://www.criticatac.ro/lefteast/left- ... -possible/
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