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For the other articles see > SPECIAL ARCHIVE UKRAINE

I end­ed my first col­umn con­cern­ing Ukraine by refer­ring back to an enlight­en­ing pub­li­ca­tion that appeared pri­or to the Russ­ian inva­sion and orig­i­nat­ing from mil­i­tants in Ukraine, cov­er­ing exchanges about the past ten years in that country.

Among oth­ers, that pub­li­ca­tion wrings the neck on Putin’s argu­ment about the “neo-nazis” of which he pur­ports to “rid Ukraine”. The high-pres­sure blast­ing machine 1 returns to Kiev.

This argu­ment hav­ing unfor­tu­nate­ly seen unlim­it­ed use in the old-style Euro­pean Left, and main­ly in France, in order to defend the inde­fen­si­ble, I will say two words about it here.

In state­ments aimed at the Russ­ian peo­ple, Putin uses it in ref­er­ence to his­to­ry. Were he to delve a few decades fur­ther back in Ukraine’s his­to­ry, he would also find the way in which Stal­in­ist USSR sen­tenced this peas­ant region to famine, as a means of “straight­en­ing it out” ide­o­log­i­cal­ly speak­ing. The anar­chist move­ment also knows a thing or two about this.

But let’s come back to real­i­ty in 2014 and the Ukrain­ian social upris­ings in which these neo-nazi labels orig­i­nat­ed, espe­cial­ly in the chau­vin­is­tic fringe of the Left that has yet to emerge  have devel­oped a “camp­ist” vision of things.

Briefly stat­ed, “camp­ism” is an ide­o­log­i­cal pos­ture which the­o­rizes inter­na­tion­al rela­tions in a bina­ry fash­ion. It appeared on the left dur­ing the Cold War, and always served to des­ig­nate the main ene­my as Amer­i­can impe­ri­al­ism, based on fair and con­firmed facts, but will­ful­ly omit­ting to men­tion the so-called “social­ist camp” it thus exon­er­at­ed in all sit­u­a­tions that called for crit­i­cal reappraisals.

It is now an ide­o­log­i­cal and polit­i­cal atti­tude preva­lent on the left, one that con­stant­ly tar­gets Amer­i­can impe­ri­al­ism pri­mar­i­ly, and exon­er­ates from analy­sis this or that oth­er Par­ty, using the  time-worn argu­ment that “the ene­my of my ene­my is my friend”. It oper­ates when deal­ing with Pales­tine, for exam­ple, where Hamas is pre­sent­ed essen­tial­ly as a vic­tim, with­out ana­lyz­ing what it is tru­ly in the face-off with the prin­ci­pal and indis­putable ene­mies, Israel and the USA.

The left­ist camp­ist dis­course con­cern­ing Putin presents him as the vic­tim of Amer­i­can impe­ri­al­ism, based on true and indis­putable facts (NATO) but with a  line of rea­son­ing that leads to the agres­sor becom­ing the actor of a legit­i­mate defense.

Thus, Putin rests his argu­ment on a real­i­ty he con­tributed in cre­at­ing. If neo-nazis in Ukraine con­sti­tut­ed active groups which were then inte­grat­ed into cer­tain sec­tors, it was both with the aid of Rus­sia via the pres­ence of Wag­n­er — of whom we now are aware — and, at the same time, through Amer­i­can instru­men­tal­iza­tion. This irrup­tion of neo-nazis in social move­ments was vis­i­ble, it was real and it was aid­ed. We can affirm that, as for the Arab rev­o­lu­tions, the same ones were maneu­ver­ing to lead them astray and deprive the peo­ple of their ener­gy — in this instance, the Ukraini­ans. There is some­thing ludi­crous in Putin’s pre­tence to purge Ukraine of the ultra-nation­al­ists to whose devel­op­ment he con­tributed, the very ones he found most use­ful in depriv­ing the sep­a­ratist ten­den­cies in Don­bass of tru­ly inde­pen­dent Russ­ian representatives.

But we are no longer in 2014 and, over a gen­er­a­tion, what the Ukrain­ian peo­ple did not obtain then became inte­grat­ed in their minds. In elec­toral terms, the Ukrain­ian extreme right rep­re­sents totals France would love to have, since their pop­ulist and iden­ti­tar­i­an extreme right is ten times less than in France. Putin, come to our rescue!

As with a num­ber of oth­er gov­ern­ments that emerged out of the polit­i­cal cir­con­vo­lu­tions that fol­lowed the col­lapse of Walls, the Ukrain­ian one is not free of cor­rup­tion and of oli­garchs either. But in this, it is like oth­er “democ­ra­cies” with­in the EU.

Yet, I have the impres­sion that were Hun­gary under attack, we would con­sid­er, as always, that a peo­ple is what we are called on to sup­port and to defend.

So why in this case are such efforts deployed to drag the Ukrain­ian peo­ple through the mud, while State sol­i­dar­i­ties come into play in order to jus­ti­fy an old-fash­ioned Left­ist chau­vin­ism drap­ing itself in the robes of a Jau­rès?

When Poland or Czechia fil­ter migrants based on the murky and heav­i­ly racist debates found on all-news relays, why do some insist, in the midst of a full war, on blam­ing this all on Ukrain­ian deci­sions? Ukraini­ans = racists = nazis. Is that the sub­lim­i­nal dis­course of a Left that has been exon­er­at­ing Putin for  far too long already, under the pre­text of point­ing out NATO as the “main ene­my” — which is to say Amer­i­can imperialism?

For whom should a social Left be work­ing? For peo­ples or for ide­o­log­i­cal camps?  It is odd to see how pop­ulists make light of peo­ples, while con­stant­ly using the word.

Rather odd also to dis­cov­er that all these left­ists are Sta­tists, as well as elec­toral­ists and oppor­tunists. This war in Ukraine is act­ing like a pow­er­ful searchlight.

I set aside polemics so as not to give the impres­sion that these same lefts are in abeyance, out­side mobi­liza­tions of sup­port, which is a fac­tu­al falsehood.
That left is play­ing the game of “at the same time”.

It con­demns an agres­sion but points NATO as its cat­a­lyst, almost trans­form­ing a legit­i­mate defense against a bla­tant vio­la­tion  of a people’s legit­i­mate right, one for­got­ten  in the equa­tion; a peo­ple to whom, in the name of world peace, would be denied its right to self-defense. I also note that, when the Ukrain­ian peo­ple them­selves turn toward the EU, as a mat­ter of choice, it is denied the right to com­mit a mis­take and de fac­to thrown back into the lap of ex-USSR. A peo­ple who would not yet be mature enough in its deci­sions? Still too close to its awak­en­ing? Such West­ern paternalism!

Despite all one can crit­i­cize in the Euro­pean cap­i­tal­ist con­struc­tion, one can legit­i­mate­ly under­stand that its  inte­ri­or “mar­ket” has nonethe­less remained peace­ful, and that wish­ing to join the peace with­in it, rather than the paci­fist ges­tic­u­la­tions of an “anti nazi” Pep­pone 2 remains a sov­er­eign decision.

In no way does this amount to sup­port­ing a the­sis of an “indis­pens­able NATO umbrel­la”, nor of an “unavoid­able Euro­pean mod­ern­iza­tion of Ukraine”. But wish­ing a future to these pop­u­la­tions begins by help­ing them remove Russ­ian troops from their ter­ri­to­ries, in order to guar­an­tee a life capa­ble of mak­ing choic­es. They resist and con­tribute in help­ing this resis­tance, rang­ing from a plain pave­ment on which one march­es in protes, to pro­vid­ed required weapons; a full range of options are avail­able, quite luckily.

Of course, Euro­pean States have their agen­da, just as the Unit­ed States do. All of them also have inter­ests in weapon­ry, among oth­er things… Just as the “coali­tion” did in Syr­ia, after leav­ing Irak. What rev­o­lu­tion­ary purism would have called on depriv­ing Kurds, Assyr­i­ans or Arabs in Syr­ia of mil­i­tary aid? All in the name of West­ern cal­cu­la­tions, while wav­ing the flag of peace? Who would have pre­ferred a Russ­ian vic­to­ry against ISIS, with­out Rojava?

Who would jus­ti­fy today Erdoğan’s dis­course on his “his­tor­i­cal zone of influ­ence” and the nec­es­sary pro­tec­tion of its fron­tiers against “the Kur­dish threat”?

Yes, but it’s not the same thing! All right, so explain the dif­fer­ence to me…

Were the inter­na­tion­al­ist vol­un­teers who went to fight in Roja­va war-lovers? Did they pile “war on to war” along with and at the same time as the inter­est­ed aid pro­vid­ed by the coali­tion?  I still recall voic­es that attempt­ed to exon­er­ate a Bachar, in the name of the bal­ance of peace in 2011.

What func­tions as my key to under­stand­ing, is that of the inter­ests of peo­ples, their right to choose their des­tiny freely, to put in place their self-gov­er­nance and thus… to call on those who are big­ger than them when they are resist­ing against tyrants, with­out becom­ing lack­eys to their aid. These peo­ple did not choose war, they were plunged into it. Watch­ing them die so that they may live in peace is not a solu­tion, oth­er than step­ping back into the com­fort of cap­i­tal­ist con­sumerism, inside our own mar­ket, in peace, in our jobs. Which doesn’t keep us from protest­ing, of course not! But spare us their Mid­dle Ages and the refugees they generate.

Before sign­ing off on this sec­ond While Wait­ing for the Bomb, I would like to say a thing or two on anoth­er species, one that feasts on wars, espe­cial­ly when they have media cov­er­age. Here again is a species that flour­ished around the siege of Sara­je­vo. Those who spright­ly lit­tle war­mon­gers who know they will be seen. This species that appears like a mold affix­ing itself on the sol­i­dar­i­ties expressed for a Peo­ple, the bet­ter to feed their own self and their vis­i­bil­i­ty in the media, intent on set­tling per­son­al accounts. There they are, back in the Repub­lic along with the spring daf­fodils,   boost­ed and fed by all the polit­i­cal rot in social democ­ra­cy. Those who want war in order to serve as media gen­er­als. Accru­ing the elec­toral ben­e­fits that follow.

Between 1993 and 1996, they act­ed as phago­cytes on the autonomous move­ment of sup­port around Bosnia. Lat­er, some of them sup­port­ed the idea of invad­ing Irak, and of course dou­bled down on Libya. The same ones made films about the Kurds, car­i­ca­tures of the strug­gle, in the name of Islam­o­pho­bia in France. You sure­ly have rec­og­nized that bunch, those who wish to appear as lone snipers on TV programs.

Voilà, there won’t be enough space here for every­body; mak­ing this wait­ing peri­od even more con­fused and confusing.

I hope I can broach the top­ic of the future a bit, mat­ters per­tain­ing to the archi­tec­ture of peace in Europe, the rede­f­i­n­i­tion by new people’s con­fer­ences, the dis­ap­pear­ance of NATO and world dis­ar­ma­ment required by this war where there is talk of “nuclear dis­sua­sion”. And that this war may cease!

I’m far from finished.

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Translation from French by Renée Lucie Bourges
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Let­tres mod­ernes à l’Université de Tours. Gros mots poli­tiques… Coups d’oeil politiques…