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For the other articles see > SPECIAL ARCHIVE UKRAINE

In the pre­ced­ing thread of this col­umn, I placed Roja­va and the Ukrain­ian peo­ple side by side around the notion of resis­tance. And I addressed myself with a “yes, but that’s not the same”, ask­ing for an expla­na­tion of the dif­fer­ence, if there was one.

Expla­na­tions con­cern­ing Ukraine reached me from the “left”, these last few days. After sum­ma­riz­ing them, I’ll express my own views.

We should not pro­vide aid to Ukraini­ans’ “resis­tance” so as not to “add war to war”, the argu­ment goes with a  proud drap­ing of one’s self in Jau­rès’ shroud. With no need to go search­ing in any depth, I find this very expres­sion in the mouth of a cer­tain François Mit­terand, who served as men­tor to the one spew­ing it today. Mit­terand was talk­ing about Sara­je­vo then, and adamant­ly opposed a lift­ing of the embar­go on weapons direct­ed to the Bosni­ac resis­tance. He even went so far as to pro­nounce these words on the tar­mac of that town’s air­port, when he announced he was not against the send­ing of ambulances.

Four years lat­er into the siege, Bosnia was tal­ly­ing its dead, and found itself dis­man­tled under the guise of a shared admin­is­tra­tion; this same Mit­terand had then accept­ed the evi­dence of a reuni­fi­ca­tion in Germany.

Since then, the trace dis­ap­peared of those who, dur­ing this war, had con­sol­i­dat­ed a civil­ian orga­ni­za­tion of  pop­u­la­tions  in Sara­je­vo, Bihać, Goražde, an orga­ni­za­tion devoid of eth­nic divi­sions. This absence of mas­sive sup­port led to the tri­umph of nation­alisms and Sta­tism in the exit from war, against the embry­on­ic orga­ni­za­tions born for the survial of the pop­u­lar option of liv­ing togeth­er. An achieve­ment even bet­ter than Stalin’s stand­by when faced with the destruc­tion of the resis­tance  against nazism of Warsaw’s people.

If I return yet again to this recent his­to­ry, it is not only because I expe­ri­enced it, but because it revealed to me that a war of resis­tance could give rise to unex­pect­ed pop­u­lar resilience, and even, to an eman­ci­pa­tion, as long as there exist­ed in the pop­u­la­tion a polit­i­cal will to sup­port it.

In 2011, who would have thought that the part of Kur­dis­tan in Syr­ia, while in the midst of war, would give birth to the eman­ci­pa­tion project of Roja­va? The var­i­ous left­ists at the time main­ly cried out about the Amer­i­can instru­men­tal­iza­tion of the Arab Springs, always in the same camp­ist posi­tion I men­tioned in my pre­ced­ing col­umn. And how did these some ones come to dis­play sup­port for the “Kur­dish Peo­ple” fol­low­ing  about-turns so hur­ried­ly forgotten?

Why was it that active sup­port for Roja­va, the pop­u­lar­iza­tion of the com­mu­nal­ist polit­i­cal project came from the “anar­chist spec­trum” with its  well-known lim­it­ed polit­i­cal forces, rather than from the left­ists who make loud protests dur­ing march­es, only to adopt a clien­telist approach to the Kur­dish cause?

I am not say­ing that left­ist mil­i­tants are not sin­cere in their sup­port nor that many of them, when faced with real­i­ty, did not under­stand the impor­tance of the “demo­c­ra­t­ic con­fed­er­al­ism” project. I’m talk­ing of the fact that this very project is incom­pat­i­ble with the Sta­tism claimed by these same left wing move­ments, which leads them to vary and waver in posi­tions where chau­vin­ism often dom­i­nates when  camp­ism does not take the lead, all of it result­ing in sup­port for regimes labor­ing against their own peo­ples,  and all in the name of “anti impe­ri­al­ism”.

This is why I am told that the Kur­dish strug­gle (while omit­ting their allies, in pass­ing) would be imbued with a kind of trans­paren­cy and puri­ty on the ques­tion of the  “peo­ples’ right to self-deter­mi­na­tion”, a puri­ty not shared by the Ukrain­ian pop­u­la­tions. The lat­ter would be  ugly Atlantists, aspir­ing to the EU and its lib­er­al world and infil­trat­ed by neo-nazism. Here again, I find a vari­a­tion on the dis­course of  social democ­rats and for­mer Stal­in­ists, fash­ion­able at the time of the explo­sion of ex-Yugoslavia, who were then talk­ing in terms of eth­nic and reli­gious wars.

Oth­ers use Jau­rès’ shroud  as a poster board for non-aligned pacifism. 

Once again I repeat that the deceased Jau­rès did not use his oppo­si­tion to war  as a self­ish and chau­vin­is­tic paci­fist, but rather that he denounced the unavoid­able con­flict between world-rul­ing Empires who had found noth­ing fur­ther to split among them­selves than the world itself. All par­ties to the con­flict had its own war ambi­tion at the time. For that Left, there was no main ene­my, no the friend of my friend. And Jau­rès’ posi­tion was not a moral one. Thus, there is noth­ing but grand­stand­ing involved in appeal­ing to a deceased in order to jus­ti­fy one’s own basic reac­tions. The man deserves to rest in peace.

If some were attempt­ing to increase the con­fu­sion around “non-align­ment”, they wouldn’t man­age a bet­ter job of it. Such a prin­ci­ple is most cor­rect, but this prin­ci­ple is also used by those who would like to arm peo­ples in sec­ondary impe­ri­alisms. This prin­ci­ple accom­pa­nied the fact France acquired the nuclear weapon. A Euro­pean defence? A dou­bling of mil­i­tary bud­gets? This deserves anoth­er article.

And who is talk­ing of push­ing Euro­pean States to war? Who is ask­ing for the mil­i­tary inter­ven­tion of pow­ers, some of which have nuclear capa­bil­i­ties? Did not NATO announce from the onset that it would  remain an observ­er, after hav­ing pro­vid­ed its own fuel to the fire?

This mil­i­tary sys­tem can­not be exon­er­at­ed from its inten­tions. But there again,  the issues shouldn’t be sim­pli­fied in a bina­ry fashion.

It is pre­cise­ly because Putin knew that NATO could not budge that he put into motion his war of annex­a­tion. And this polit­i­cal project, begun in Geor­gia, Mol­davia, reach­ing its com­ple­tion in Belarus, not to for­get the mar­tyr­dom of Chech­nya, this pol­i­cy of exter­nal inter­ven­tions is not legit­i­mate­ly defen­si­ble as that of fac­ing up to a “threat”; it is clear­ly inspired by an ambi­tion to forcibly re-intro­duce itself into the club of impe­ri­al­ist powers.

Unless we con­sid­er human his­to­ry as a mat­ter of suc­ceed­ing impe­ri­al­ist plots to which  peo­ples  are sub­ject­ed with­out achiev­ing true exis­tence, we must stop trans­form­ing the way the world turns into a car­i­ca­ture, and stand on the side of attacked peo­ples, break­ing with reflex­es of chau­vin­is­tic with­draw­al. That might lead to a left­ist voice that mat­ters, when deal­ing with what cap­i­tal­ist States are finag­gling between themselves.

This requires avoid­ing the crush­ing of people’s will, and as a min­i­mum pro­vid­ing them with the means to resist, means that may range from plain expres­sions of sol­i­dar­i­ty to the des­ig­na­tion and con­dem­na­tions of the aggres­sor with­out a “yes, but” tacked on to it, all the way to con­crete aids includ­ing weapons.

How can this Left have an audi­ble voice on the mat­ter of refugees, for exam­ple? How can this Left which feeds into  “the fear of war” and of its con­se­quences,  how could it res­onate in denounc­ing the selec­tion of migrants, tol­er­at­ed and orga­nized on the doors of Ukraine?

While the French pop­u­la­tion is sub­ject­ed to racism, and the instru­men­tal­iza­tion of the fear of migrants essen­tial­ized as Mus­lims, while pure­ly moral­is­tic dis­cours­es dom­i­nate in the debates against the the­o­ries of the “great replace­ment”, con­fu­sion nour­ished by a trans-Par­ty repub­li­can spring, and by the left also, even if invol­un­tar­i­ly, by its very posi­tion­ing, seems to lay the blame on “Europeist” Ukraini­ans for the racist sort­ing hap­pen­ing at the bor­ders. But isn’t the EU the one orga­niz­ing it as it has been doing for decades? And what about Putin and his Belaru­sian ally’s prac­tices in the matter?

Who, of the EU, of Putin and of his Bieloru­sian and Turk­ish momen­tary allies has also led to the death of men, women and chil­dren on the bor­ders?

One can see where an unteth­ered dis­course about “peace” vs the instru­men­tal­iza­tion of legit­i­mate fears over “war” can lead: to being inaudi­ble on the issue of the imper­a­tive of uncon­di­tion­al wel­com­ing of migrants at the EU’s bor­ders and, as pow­er­less observers, to sow­ing the last seeds of con­fu­sion no one needs in this cap­i­tal­ism under cri­sis, when there is need for the most ele­men­tary of solidarities.

Since “Godot” hasn’t fall­en yet, nor Ukraine, I will car­ry on  with this col­umn, while still wait­ing for what the title mentions.

To be continued…

For the other articles see > SPECIAL ARCHIVE UKRAINE

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…