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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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For the other articles see > SPECIAL ARCHIVE UKRAINE

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