Statement on the situation in Ukraine - Autonomous Workers Union

Statement on the situation in Ukraine - Autonomous Workers Union

Ukrainian anarchists give their take on developments in Ukraine as the uprising continues and the death toll rockets.

Civil war began in Ukraine yesterday. A less than peaceful demonstration clashed with state defense forces and divisions formed by the adherents of the current government near the Vekhovna Rada (Parliament). On February 18, police, together with the paramilitaries, arranged a bloodbath in the governmental quarters during which numerous demonstrators were killed. Butchers from the special divisions finished off arrestees. Deputies of the ruling Party of Regions and their bourgeois lackeys from the “Communist” Party of Ukraine fled from the Parliament through an underground tunnel. The vote for constitutional amendments, intended to limit presidential power, did not take place after all.

After their defeat in the governmental quarters, demonstrators retreated to the Maidan. At 6 P.M., the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Internal Security Bureau (SBU) declared an ultimatum to the protesters, demanding their dispersal. At 8:00 P.M., special police forces and paramilitaries, equipped with water cannons and armored vehicles, began their raid on the barricades. Police, the special divisions of SBU, as well as pro-governmental troopers made use of their firearms. However, the protesters managed to burn down one of the armored police vehicles, and it turned out that governmental forces were not the only ones in possession of guns.

According to the data released by the police (on February, 19, 4 p.m.), 24 people were killed: 14 protesters and 10 policemen. Thirty-one policemen received gunshot wounds. Even if their estimate of losses on the side of the police is accurate, the number of victims among the protesters was definitely diminished. Maidan’s medics cite at least 30 killed.

One gets an impression that President Yanukovich was certain that by morning the resistance would be crushed, and so arranged for the Opposition leaders to meet with him at 11 A.M. on February, 19. As the negotiations did not take place, we can conclude that the government’s plan had failed. During the unsuccessful operation to clear off the Maidan, the citizens of several western regions occupied administrative buildings and chased away the police. At the moment the police, as an institution, do not exist in L’viv. According to the SBU, protesters have captured 1500 firearms. In less than 24 hours, the central government lost control over a section of the country. Right now, the only solution may be the stepping down of the President, however, that would mean that he, his family, and their multiple acolytes and dependents, which form a rather large group in the ruling government, would lose their source of profit. It is likely that they will not accept this.

In the event of Yanukovich’s victory, he will become a ruler for life, and the rest will be doomed to a life in which they face poverty, corruption, and the abolition of their rights and freedoms. Rebellious regions are now experiencing massive restorations of “the constitutional order.” It is not improbable that the suppression of such “terroristic groups” in Galicia will have the character of ethnic cleansing. Mad Orthodox radicals from the Party of Regions have, for a long time, seen the conservative Greco-Catholics as the aids of “Eurosodom.” Such an “antiterrorist” operation would be carried out with the assistance of the army, as the Minister of Defense, Lebedev, has already announced.

Today, Ukraine experiences a tragedy, but the real horror will start when the government breaks down the opposition and “stabilizes” the situation. Signs of the preparation of a mass-cleansing operation became noticeable as far back as early February, when criminal cases were opened against the Maidan self-defense divisions as illegal military formations. According to Article 260 of the Criminal Codex, members of such divisions may face imprisonment for 2 to 15 years. This means that the government was planning to put more than 10 thousand citizens behind bars. In the regions, as well as in the capital, special “death divisions” are acting as a supplement to the usual police forces. For example, responsibility for burning alive a Maidan activist from Zaporozhye was claimed by such a “death division,” calling itself “Sebastopol Ghosts.” They announced that they are ready to subject Maidan participants in the East to similar treatment.

In the event of the Opposition’s victory life would be far from perfect as well. Although fascists form the minority of the protesters, they are quite active and are not the sharpest tools in the shed. A few days of truce in mid-February lead to conflicts between the rightist groups, resulting in several pointless and violent confrontations, as well as attacks on ideological ‘heretics.’ Besides the fascists, old and experienced Oppositionists will also attempt to seize power. Many of them already have some experience with working in government and they are no strangers to corruption, favoritism, and the use of budget funds for personal purposes.

The “concessions” that the Opposition is demanding in Parliament right now are pitiful. Even the Constitution of 2004, that they are trying to restore, gives too much power to the President (control over the riot police and special forces is one example), and the proportional electoral system, with closed listings, hands parliament over to the control of a group of dictator-like leaders, who can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Together with the President they will rule without obstructions.

Their second demand – the appointment of a Cabinet of Ministers composed of Opposition leaders – is altogether shameful. Are people risking their health, freedom, and life for the sake of someone becoming a prime-minister, and someone-else getting an opportunity to control the flow of corrupt-money? This is the logical outcome of preferring pathos-ridden conversations on “the nation,” and focusing on vertical structures tied to the same hated politicians, instead of developing ground-up organizations around financial and material interests. This is the main lesson that Maidan is yet to learn.

However, we will be able to apply this lesson in practice only if the current government loses the battle.
The Opposition inside and outside of the Parliament is broken into multiple hostile and competing factions. If it wins, the ensuing regime will be unstable and lacking in coherency. It will be as bourgeois and repressive as was the Party of Regions before their first show of force against the protesters in November.

The guilt for the spilled blood is partially on the EU which gladly receives money from the corrupt scumbags in Ukraine, Russia, and several African countries, while diligently neglecting to check the source of such “investments.” It is only after seeing the dead bodies of the victims of such “investors,” that it gets so very sentimental and full of humanitarian pathos.

This is not our war, but the victory of the government will mean the defeat of the workers. The victory of the Opposition also does not promise anything good. We cannot call the proletariat to sacrifice themselves for the sake of the Opposition and its interests. We think that the extent of participation in this conflict is a matter of personal choice. However, we encourage all to avoid being drafted to serve in the internal military forces controlled by Yanukovich, and to sabotage by all means available the actions of the government.

No gods, no masters, no nations, no borders!

Kiev organization AWU (Autonomous Workers Union)

Translated by S2W from http://avtonomia.net/2014/02/19/zayavlenie-ast-kiev-o-situatsii-v-ukraine/

Posted By

Steven.
Feb 21 2014 20:18

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  • This is not our war, but the victory of the government will mean the defeat of the workers. The victory of the Opposition also does not promise anything good.

    Autonomous Workers Union

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Comments

FatherXmas
Feb 24 2014 02:56
ririt4
Feb 24 2014 13:48

Please publicise this meeting widely:

Just back from Kiev, Gabriel Levy will be speaking about the 'revolution' in Ukraine

- this Saturday, March 1, 2.30pm at No.88, Fleet Street, London EC4Y 1DH

(entrance in St. Brides Avenue, nearest tube Blackfriars / Chancery Lane)

For articles by Gabriel Levy see http://peopleandnature.wordpress.com/

meerov21
Feb 25 2014 19:41

This group does not reperesent ukranian anarchists it represents only themselfes.

meerov21
Feb 25 2014 19:42

Ukrainian Maidan

I know that some left disseminate information about the Ukrainian Maidan as about "far right movemen". This is nothing more than a lie. Yes, on the Maidan you can find influential right-wing organizations (first of all the "Right Sector" and "Freedom"). But the absolute majority of the Maidan participants are not members any of the political group. Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians participate in decision-making and (some of them) in the formation of militias.

Here is the interview with the famous Ukrainian journalist Mustafa Naiem. This journalist of Pakistani origin is one of the most popular supporters of the Maidan. He demonstrates how is working a new power system at Ukraine, then the parties and parliament are very dependent from the direct popular democracy, " Veche", Maidan. And Maidan begins to shape the agenda.

Of course, this system is imperfect and does not cover the entire working population. In addition, there remain the property inequality - still no Maydan's at the factories. Real power belongs to the families of local oligarchs in many regions. However, the Maidan is the great experience of direct democracy. Simply, even if it fails, we must remember the important thing:

We have only the proletariat, which is. To come to self-organized classless society the modern proletariat will take many years and tens of new Maydan's. This one is only transition point.

http://rabies-rabbit.livejournal.com/

meerov21
Feb 26 2014 13:28

"Three months of protests of the opposition leaders pretty lost their ratings. Level of trust to them is extremely low. The one who will be elected after Yanukovych, whether Klitschko or Poroshenko [liberals - my note] , will come to power on a wave of some inflated expectations, as it was in 2004 with Yushchenko, but due to the discipline of a voter who wants to continue on the Maidan to the end. The new President will not «the Messiah». His «honeymoon» with the electorate will be very short, and the conditions in which he will have to work, be such that the failure of the new regime will be swift. Maybe a year, maybe a half. I personally expect the «Maidan-3» already under social slogans. Todeys «Maidan-2» is a huge school of protest that has been hundreds of thousands of people in different regions of the country. It changed Ukraine stronger than the first Maidan, which was simply a huge festival under the open sky. The current protest began as a show, but he went beyond the play, when the blood was shed. We saw the real victims, a real confrontation, real self-organisation and mutual aid of the mass of previously unknown to each other people. And experience they still come in handy to defend not only our right to live in a democratic country, but their basic social rights."
http://www.svpressa.ru/society/article/82636/
These words belong to Kyiv leftist political scientist Alexei Bluminov.

And this is from famous journalists of Ukraine, Mustafa Naiem (pakistanian-ucrainian):

"Maidan will stand at least until the elections.... Yulia Tymoshenko [one of the leaders of the liberal opposition. - my note] does not understand the possibilities of that Maidan. As for the other opposition politicians Maydan became the factor of fear. If she came to the Maidan, the day before her release, she would see the opposition leaders, who came to talk about they victory (the conclusion of an agreement with Yanukovych on early elections)... but instead Maidan made them to kneel, and forced them to look at the corpses and pray. On the Maidan now very skeptical attitude to the politicians and their rhetoric, because words can not outweigh the corpses of friends and all the emotions associated with this. Maidan became an independent political force... Requirements of Maidan were a step ahead of the political reality and in fact it was formed by Maidan. When politicians have agreed on the abolition of the laws of January 16, Maidan demanded a return to the Constitution of 2004. When we returned to it, Maidan already demanded the resignation of Yanukovych. Now it seems that the victory occurred, but people are not going anywhere, because they see that something is happening. Now anger, which was directed against Yanukovych, addresses already on the opposition... Have you seen the popular Assembly on Sundays? When politices come and offer some solutions, and Maidan takes the approving rumble or rejects... What Maidan is? Maidan is everyone who comes there. In a sense, each Kiev citizen or Ukrainian is part of the Maidan, because they can come there and Express their opinion, to say that "Yes" or "no". And so-called leaders are only a supporting function".

http://rabies-rabbit.livejournal.com/25177.html

catherinemaeB
Feb 27 2014 09:50

It was such a chaos now.

ocelot
Feb 27 2014 13:39
meerov21 wrote:
Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians participate in decision-making and (some of them) in the formation of militias.

This is a crucial question. That assertion is in direct contradition to the AWU interviewee who states:

Quote:
Vratislav: So, while for instance Indignados tended to exclude political parties from occupations, in case of the Maidan opposition parties are present in its very heart and Maidan´s self-reproduction is dependent on Batkivshchina, UDAR, Svoboda and their own structures and resources. Moreover, elsewhere you said that there are no assemblies taking place at the Maidan. During two months of being and struggling together at the Maidan participants have not produced their own separated moment of collective decision-making. Why is it so? Because decisions are in fact made by the opposition leaders and their hierarchies? In some other interview you also pointed out that there is a kind of dichotomy between “the crowd” and politicians. How does this dichotomy come into existence and expresses itself?
.
Denis: I think I’ve partly answered your question above. Yes, the opposition parties are not exactly popular among people at Maidan, they are considered to be opportunists pursuing their own interests and ready to betray the protest movement. But still they are indeed managing the infrastructure of Maidan and are the ones who make actual decisions. Indeed, there haven’t appeared any assemblies or other instruments of collective decision-making. Maybe in certain respect this paradoxical situation is a reflection of the society as a whole with its paternalistic attitudes and social passivity: it’s convenient to hate bosses but to let them do the things!

I see above you quote Mustafa Naiem in saying "have you seen the Sunday assemblies?" but from the sounds of it (e.g. the description of the crowd booing Klitschko's proposal of the "deal" with Yanukovych on Friday and someone snatching the mike and demanding Y's head) the format seems to be that the political representatives make speeches to the crowd and then take feedback from the cheering or booing that results - hardly the form that we would understand by assembly or direct democracy in the Playa del Sol or Gezi Park sense.

Further evidence of the presence or absence of actual participation in decision-making (horizontal or otherwise) would be appreciated, as the question of autonomy or dependence on the pre-existing external political structures, is pretty key, imo.

Mark.
Feb 27 2014 19:47

An update from the AWU:

Fifty shades of brown

Quote:

The overthrow of the authoritarian regime of Yanukovych by no means signifies for us the end of our fight. New dictators hasten to take the place of the Party of Regions. They will not hesitate to rely not only on considerably weakened security agencies, but on the far right militants as well. The regime of police and prosecutorial arbitrariness deserved its overthrow unconditionally, but now there may come a time for a new terror that will justify itself ideologically.

At the moment, the main power is concentrated in the hands of the opposition party “Batkivshchyna” (“Fatherland”) , which has managed to rally a substantial part of the ruling class. Its leader, recently released from prison Yulia Tymoshenko, has obvious presidential ambitions. It should be remembered though, that when Tymoshenko’s sentence was pronounced, the rally in her support in Kiev gathered no more than five thousand people, and all the mass demos of this party had to use paid-for extras. Batkivshchyna as well as the Party of Regions has virtually no serious grassroot support or activist base, but it has large enough material resources.

In order to stay in power, Yulia Tymoshenko’s team will have to appease the far rightists, the Right Sector in particular. Two such attempts have already been made – the fascists who had been imprisoned in cases not related to the Maidan were released after the enactment of the according law in the Parliament. New Interior Minister Arsen Avakov has promised to introduce representatives of the RS in his ministry. Now we’ll be able to call the cops “Nazis” with a good reason. But Batkivshchyna is clearly frightened of such a passionate and uncontrolled element in power. So they will try to get the far-right on the hook, not only by buying but also by tying them with blood. Right Sector dreams of settling old accounts with subcultural anti-fascists, so they were carefully supplied with the Security Service or police dossiers containing personal data. Probably in the near future the authorities will close their eyes to violence against the left or racist attacks, but will recall it a few months later, when they will need an excuse to reign in the uncomfortable allies.

Right Sector leads its own game, and has been doing so for long enough. Today its leader Dmitry Jarosh claims entry into power at a very high level, as a deputy prime minister for law enforcement agencies. At the same time, as reported by the journalist Mustafa Nayem, according to the records found in the Presidential Administration, Yarosh was communicating with Yanukovych or his representatives on February 20. Even before that, on January 28 the negotiations between the Right Sector and Security Service / Ministry of Internal Affairs  were officially announced. A day later representatives of the right let this fact slip,  declaring “the desire to join the negotiation process.” Probably such negotiations actually has been taking place since much earlier, especially when one considers the background of all the organizations that were a part of “Right Sector”: “Tryzub” (“Trident”) as well as SNA, and “Bely Molot” (“White Hammer”) have in various forms actively interacted with politicians from both system parties, and with the security forces  since the 90s – 2000s.

“Svoboda” (“Freedom”) Party is a competitor for both Batkivshchyna and RS equally. The latter will actively infringe on Svoboda electorate and by the time of the election  the standoff between these political forces will escalate. Now Svoboda has a chair in the prosecutor’s office. It is symbolic, because the cops and prosecutors always work closely and at the same time hate each other; their interests are very similar, but occasionally come into conflict. This is the type of relationship that exists between Svoboda and Right Sector.

Security Service is headed by Nalivaychenko who already held the post under President Yushchenko. Chief security officer of the country is famous not only for the posthumous prosecution of Joseph Stalin for the Holodomor (which looks like a particularly dark joke), but also the fight against “Kremlin-sponsored terrorist organization Antifa.” After losing his job, Nalivaychenko worked with the ultra-right (including future Svoboda activist Eugene Karas, known under the pseudonym “Vortex”), trying to create a movement “Otpor”, but this project was not successful.

At the same time, in the regions that have not yet submitted to the new government, but renounced Yanukovych, their own fascist sentiments are ripening. The Party of Regions representatives, who failed to join the parliamentary majority, establish blocks with pro-Russian far-rightists and Stalinists. Imperialists and Stalinists, Cossacks and Orthodox fanatics – all together fight against the often imaginary Banderovites, meanwhile cracking down on journalists and human rights activists. Brown center is confronted by at least as brown regions. The only difference is the historical tradition to which they appeal. All of them will focus on their “fight for traditional values”,  appealing to the social partnership and at the same time slashing social expenditures.

We take no side in the conflict between the Ukrainian and the Russian nationalists. But many protesters against the regime of Yanukovych will be dissatisfied  with both the rapacious policies of Batkivshchyna, which will hit the pocket of workers, and the “national revolution” of Right sector and Svoboda, which will try to take away the remnants of human rights and freedoms. It is these people who are indifferent to the ultra-right and critical of the system opposition, the “disgruntled members of the Maidan,” who can soon fill the ranks of the left and anarchists.

AWU-Kiev, 24.02.2014

Mark.
Feb 27 2014 20:02
ocelot wrote:
Further evidence of the presence or absence of actual participation in decision-making (horizontal or otherwise) would be appreciated, as the question of autonomy or dependence on the pre-existing external political structures, is pretty key, imo.

On a small positive note here's a google translation of a report on students occupying the Ministry of Education yesterday.

Quote:

In the building of the ministry are now students and colleagues, supporters of direct democracy and people, hundreds of combatants Maidana, comrades and relatives of some of the participants Hundreds of Heaven. Avtonom.org publishes a video interview with one of the capture.

"We demand the implementation of the principles of direct democracy in the educational process, to encourage creativity and free thinking in students; wage increase and strengthen social guarantees for employees of educational institutions, elimination of corruption.

Leaders of the educational system of Ukraine must uphold the principles of libertarian pedagogy: to be open to dialogue with workers and students gradually abolish the vertical of power in the universities and schools of all members of the educational process should have equal rights and freedoms, to give each other feedback and recommendations for improvement.

And while the methods are developed control reviews leadership positions and Minister of the public (students, workers, parents), no one will be admitted to the territory of the Ministry of Education and Science. "