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POI Articles about Ukraine

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Subject: UKRAINE: "Their Values and Ours" and "'Revolution' or Dismantlement of the Country?" -- two articles from Issue No. 290 (Feb. 26, 2014) of Informations Ouvrières , the weekly newspaper of the Independent Workers Party (POI) of France


Two articles from Issue No. 290 (Feb. 26, 2014) of Informations Ouvrières, the weekly newspaper of the Independent Workers Party (POI) of France

1) Their Values and Ours -- Editorial

2) "Revolution" or Dismantlement of the Country? -- by Dominique Ferré

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1) Editorial Issue No. 290 of Informations Ouvrières, the weekly newspaper of the Independent Workers Party (POI) of France

Their Values and Ours

What "began in Kiev heralds 'the hour of Europe'", trumpeted London's Financial Times. "The Ukrainian crises give the European Union the opportunity to restore meaning to its project and pride to its citizens", argues Les Echos. However, finance capital's daily newspaper wonders what will happen on 25 May, the date of the early elections in Ukraine and the elections to the European Parliament in the countries of the European Union: "Can it be that (Š) the Ukrainians will vote in favour of Europe's values at the very moment when the Union's citizens will express their defiance in relation to the European project, either through their votes or their abstention?"

So the events in Ukraine are supposed to restore meaning to the "values" of the European Union? What values? On 23 February, the Rada (the Ukrainian parliament) dismissed Yanukovich, whom it had itself appointed and supported to the hilt. Then it passed emergency laws: Law 4176 repealed the article of the Penal Code that punished anyone who denied the crimes of Hitlerism; a second law calls into question the recognition as a national language (besides Ukrainian) of all the languages spoken in a province of Ukraine by a minority (which made Russian the second national language, but also Moldavian and Hungarian, recognised languages in various regions). At the same time, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde is ordering Ukraine to go ahead with major "structural reforms" as soon as possible, if it wants to be "bailed out".

What "values" are they talking about? The breaking-up of Ukraine, the wish to blow the nation apart and make it relive the darkest hours of its history, the attempt to establish in the very heart of Europe a focal point of disintegration and supposedly ethnic conflicts, while the IMF and capitalists all over the world organise the pillaging of the country: these "values"? (1)

At the same time, in Bosnia, a workers' uprising has brought together workers of Serbian, Croat and Bosnian origin, all completely united against the government's policy of privatisation and pillage.

On one side, disintegration, confrontation, the march to war. On the other side, unity between workers and peoples against the plans of the IMF and the European Union.

The "values" of the leaders of the European Union, in favour of which, according to Les Echos, we should "indeed vote on 25 May", are those of disintegration, of decline, of barbarism. They are producing a growing sense of rejection from one end of the continent to the other.

The true values that produce unity between the workers and peoples of Europe will be expressed on 1 and 2 March in Paris, at a European Workers' Conference convened precisely in order to contrast the necessary free union of the free nations and peoples of the whole of Europe with the anti-democratic and anti-grass roots institutions of the European Union, institutions of war and pillage. Nations and peoples free from the restraints which the IMF, the World Bank, the European Union, its Parliament and its treaties want to impose on them.

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(1) Don't talk to us about ethics, morals or democracy! Almost right up to the moment of his departure, Yanukovich had been treated as a valuable player by the big capitalist powers. Today those same powers are pretending to discover that he is what he has always been: a mafia figure, currently being replaced by other mafia figures said to be highly regarded . . . because they are declaring allegiance to the flags of Europe and the United States.

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"Revolution" or Dismantlement of the Country?

By Dominique Ferré

The media are saying over and over again that a "revolution" in Kiev has ousted President Yanukovych and his "corrupt regime." Is this factually correct?

A revolution is a movement from the grassroots that radically modifies the established social order. Is it possible to overlook the fact that 12 days before the February 18 armed demonstration, led by the Svoboda far-right party, which four days later resulted in the flight of President Yanukovych, Victoria Nuland, the U.S. Deputy Secretary of State (foreign affairs ministry), and the U.S. ambassador in Kiev were calmly discussing over the phone (1) the composition of the "new" government of the Ukraine?

Is it possible to overlook the fact that on December 13, the same Nuland attended a conference in Washington during which the U.S. government reported that US$5 billion had been invested in funding the "democratic opposition" in the Ukraine?

Can one overlook the fact that Nuland, who served as a U.S. diplomat during Democratic as well as Republican administrations, met with the leaders of Svoboda on February 13, a few days before they attacked the Parliament building? As for the new Parliament (the Rada), which was to appoint a "national consensus government" on Tuesday, February 25, can the fact be overlooked that -- with one or two exceptions -- it comprises the very same members as the assembly which only a week ago gave full confidence to Yanukovych, who now is a wanted "criminal"?

And we are expected to think that this is, indeed, a revolution?

But can demonstrations by hundreds of thousands of people be reduced to this interference of the United States and the European Union?

It is certain that honest citizens have been drawn into the demonstrations that have taken place in Kiev for the past three months. This includes workers who have had enough of the corrupt Mafioso politicians who for more than 20 years since the collapse of the Soviet Union have plundered and privatized in the name of the IMF. But the political forces that have been controlling this movement since it began in mid-November 2013 with the aim of pressuring the Yanukovych regime into signing a "partnership agreement with the European Union" and the program of "painful structural reforms" that goes along with it, could care less about the people of Ukraine. This is true of the recently released "opponent" Yulia Timochenko, the former prime minister (in 2005 and 2007), who is just as corrupt as Yanukovych; or the party of boxer Klitshko (founded and financed by the Conrad Adenauer Foundation of the CDU, the party of Angela Merkel); or the Nazi Svoboda party, whose program promotes joining the European Union and NATO.

As our correspondents told us: when the trade unions called workers to demonstrate with "EuroMaidan," the outcome was quick: Acting on the orders of the dais, fascist gangs of thugs assaulted the trade union activists. Today, our correspondents say: "A tide of white terrorism" is sweeping across Ukraine: political party and union offices are being laid waste and torched, statues of Lenin are being pulled down. . . .

French President François Hollande, the European Union and the United States ceaselessly repeat that "the territorial integrity of the Ukraine" must be guaranteed. Is the country threatened with dismantlement?

Unfortunately, things have gone beyond mere "threats"; the breaking up has started. The hypocrites and liars from Brussels, Paris, and Washington who claim they oppose the "splitting" of Ukraine are the very same ones who are organizing it. On February 23, the "new" Parliament voted some 20 bills, each one more reactionary than the other. Among them was one which repeals the July 2012 Kolesnichenko law on official languages. This law provided that in each region or department comprising over 10% of a linguistic minority, the language of this minority was recognized as an official language, alongside Ukrainian. This was a democratic right in a country where half the population of Ukraine speaks Russian, not to mention the Hungarian-speaking or Moldavian (Romanian)-speaking minorities.

By cancelling the official recognition of Russian in more than half the country, the "new" Parliament and its "sponsors" in Brussels and Washington are artificially contriving what the media tomorrow will present as an "ethnic conflict."

Even before the overthrow of Yanukovych, the government offices in the major cities of the West of the country were stormed by Svoboda's armed militias, which wield full powers. Not so long ago, that party, whose name means Liberty (sic!), used to be name the "National-Socialist Party of Ukraine." It claims the heritage of Stepan Bandera and of the organization of the Nationalists of Ukraine -- the Insurrectionist Army of Ukraine, i.e., those who collaborated with the Nazis when the USSR was invaded in June 1941.

According to the anti-Yanukovych paper Ukrainskaia Pravda, the interim interior minister, Avakov, announced that the fighting group "Pravyi sektor" (which occupies the municipal building of Kiev under swastika-sporting banners) is due to become part of the future police forces. . . . It is worth remembering that the Soviet people paid for their liberation from fascism with 20 million deaths. Is this not the way to drive other regions in the east, or Crimea -- mostly peopled with Russian speakers with a strong minority of Turkish-speaking Tatars -- to secession?

But is Russia not intervening too?

Putin and his regime -- which fundamentally is no different from the regime of Yanukovych -- remember that the latest expansion to the "east" of the European Union (2004-2005) resulted in encircling Russia on its Western borders with military NATO sites. Putin and his regime obviously are not opposed to capitalism, whose "reforms" they try to implement in Russia despite the working class' resistance. But Putin and his regime, sitting on the world's largest reserves of oil, gas, and mineral wealth . . . are well aware that their future according to the U.S. agenda will not be more comfortable than the one that is designed for Yanukovych. They seek to preserve their very existence. Zbignew Brzezinsky, who was President Carter's former counsellor, writes in the Financial Times (February 24) that "later rather than sooner, Russia will follow unless it isolates itself and becomes a semi-stagnant imperialist relic." The same Brzezinsky, in strategic notes for the U.S. government, openly made plans for Russia splitting into three parts, the better to "exploit its natural wealth" in the framework of the "market economy." (2)

And now what? A US$35 billion aid package for Ukraine is talked about. . . .

This is what the leaders of the opposition asked from Catherine Ashton, representative of the European Union (and a member of British Labour Party) when she visited Kiev. The country, they say, has practically defaulted and is nearly bankrupt. Which raises two questions: who is going to pay? And what will be the cost for the people of Ukraine?

The idea of turning to the European Union, the IMF or even . . . Russia, has been floated! The cost will run high. According to the U.S. Treasury Secretary, "reforms will have to be undertaken . . . measures [will be needed] to restore the economy." The IMF and the European Union say the same. As early as 2010 Viktor Pynzenyk, the former finance minister who has turned opponent, suggested to the U.S. ambassador a few emergency measures to be taken, including "pushing back retirement age, tripling gas prices for households, and doing away with all State subsidies, such as benefits for childbirth, free meals, school books, among others" (3).

The Ukrainian working class has, however, not said its last word. Despite the tornado of propaganda circulated by the French media, on this February 25 morning, France Info. [a radio program -- T.N] quotes Oleg, a mine worker who gathered with his comrades to guard the statue of Lenin in Kharkov night and day: "I mine for coal from morning till night. But when I am 45, I'll retire when you, in the European Union, have to work till you are 60 and over."

(reprinted from Informations Ouvrières, the POI's weekly newspaper, February 26, 2014)

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(1) A discussion over the phone on February 6, probably recorded and circulated by the Russian secret services.

(2) Foreign Affairs, September-October 1997

(3) A diplomatic internal communication made public by Wikileaks


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