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For the other articles see > SPECIAL ARCHIVE UKRAINE

With the Fran­co-French debates over Ukraine tak­ing an unex­pect­ed turn an ex-ambas­sador to the Poles hav­ing lost her bear­ings, with help from the Le Monde Diplo­ma­tique wal­low­ing in camp­ism, I mod­i­fy the order of my ques­tions a bit.

What is this sud­den infat­u­a­tion with “peace now” ?

The whole thing feels like a third-rate Don Camil­lo movie. Espe­cial­ly at the sight of “com­mu­nists” demon­strat­ing with the extreme right in Prague, the same as with Ital­ian fas­cists, denounc­ing the “sanc­tions” and “the war”.

True, the moment is well cho­sen. While every­one in Europe is trem­bling in antic­i­pa­tion of a pos­si­ble lack of heat­ing this win­ter, wor­ry­ing over an infla­tion blamed on “the war in Ukraine”, in a hodge-podge over short­ages of mus­tard and of canola oil, an insid­i­ous pro­pa­gan­da for “war now” that would put an end to the “sac­ri­fices” is tak­ing hold in the media nooks and cran­nies and spread­ing left­ward. And even if, at the high­est lev­el, the leti­mo­tiv about “we must not humil­i­ate Rus­sia” is being played dif­fer­ent­ly now, every­thing is done to spread the notion there is only one camp of hawks fac­ing a camp of doves exchang­ing sal­lies, and that the war Putin nev­er declared would, in fact be fought by those defend­ing themselves.

The sov­er­eignists who went to war over Alsace and Lor­raine talk to us about “nec­es­sary con­ces­sions in Ukraine”, of “dan­gers for peace in Europe”, con­stant­ly using the term of “co-bel­liger­ents” and of “a pro­pa­gan­da war on both sides” in order order to sell us on a nth ver­sion of cold war anti-Amer­i­can­ism. And if, in pass­ing they can denounce the “pro­pa­gan­da media” while regret­ting Rus­sia Today, they lay it on even thicker.

The same ones, for exam­ple, who reg­u­lar­ly turn over their columns to a pseu­do his­to­ri­an who defines as an “eco­nom­ic mis­take” the great famine imposed by Stal­in in Ukraine (Holodomor — with mil­lions of deaths)  (at that rate, so was the Gulag) and who offers to “open our eyes” on “Ukrain­ian propaganda”.

This Russ­ian inva­sion and the war it spreads undoubt­ed­ly affects the Euro­pean cap­i­tal­ist econ­o­my et rais­es issues of eco­nom­ic choic­es and of ener­gy sup­plies aris­ing from “the hap­py globalization”.

Every time the dif­fer­ent loads of sanc­tions against the Russ­ian regime are exam­ined in detail, they under­line cap­i­tal­ist con­tra­dic­tions in which the EU is floun­der­ing and its pro­tec­tion of “maket rules and com­pe­ti­tion”, in terms of set­ting the prices on ener­gy, for example.

The pro-Putin ones then have an easy game of it, explain­ing cor­rect­ly that the EU is shoot­ing itself in the foot, since the sources of the super prof­its gen­er­at­ed by this same mar­ket are care­ful­ly hid­den, ben­e­fits also flow­ing to the regime in Rus­sia, in pass­ing. But using this as an oppor­tu­ni­ty to pull out of the moth­balls the argu­ment of the Great Plot by Uncle Sam… And, of course, all this being done “against the People”.

In denounc­ing cap­i­tal­isme, how can we reli­gious­ly spew Putin’s rhetoric denounc­ing the West and the Unit­ed States?

War is such bull­shit! Yes, of course. But, in pass­ing, Geor­gia, the annex­a­tion of Crimea, the Don­bass, were not already “spe­cial operations”?

The famous NATO stran­gle hold and Rus­sia sov­er­eign­ty under attack, as well the West­ern duplic­i­ty not hon­or­ing agree­ments from the 90s would be suf­fi­cient in the eyes of some to jus­ti­fy the inva­sion of Ukrain­ian ter­ri­to­ry, the exac­tions and mas­sacres tak­ing place there? Oh and no, sor­ry, they don’t exist, they are all pure pro­pa­gan­da, in order to push the West into war.

Recent­ly, in para­phras­ing a famous say­ing, some­one wrote “the anti-impe­ri­al­ism of imbe­ciles”. As a reminder the word “imbe­cile” in this instance is used in its first mean­ing, that of “the weak”. Camp­ing, to which I devot­ed an arti­cle in this series, will lead to polit­i­cal one-upman­ship among the pop­ulists, gan­gren­ing the left, now that it is easy to explain that the poor­er ones will be the ones who will lack ener­gy sup­plies and suf­fer the full force of infla­tion. It’s all Ukraine’s fault. This is the dis­course of every Euro­pean extreme right wing move­ment sup­port­ing Putin’s ide­ol­o­gy and its crit­i­cism of the “degen­er­ate West”. That frac­tions of the left, unit­ed in a wish for “peace” should join, in a spir­it a com­pe­ti­tion a ris­ing mobi­liza­tion, is noth­ing but the announce­ment of an upcom­ing catastrophe.

Peace in Ukraine” is mean­ing­less if it is not pre­ced­ed by the slo­gan ’No to Russ­ian impe­ri­al­ism, Putin’s troops, out of Ukraine” and if this is not accom­pa­nied by “Guar­an­tees of polit­i­cal self-deter­mi­na­tion for Ukrain­ian pop­u­la­tions” who can cer­tain­ly no longer be sus­pect­ed today of hid­den sym­pa­thies for the occu­pant. Con­crete sol­i­dar­i­ty, to dis­placed per­sons as well as to those suf­fer­ing over there, is a giv­en. But it is unthink­able to depend on paci­fism when fac­ing a war­ring blood­let­ter, manip­u­lat­ing the nuclear threat. “You wars, our dead”, born from a spe­cif­ic con­text, only makes sense in Rus­sia nowadays.

The only remain­ing path when fac­ing bes­tial force and mur­der­ous mil­i­tarism  is the use of right and of the force required for its appli­ca­tion. This peace will only come through the war against the invad­er, with the rever­al of the bal­ance of forces. Yes, I know, prin­ci­ples are sub­ject­ed to a drubbing.

These three slo­gans, no mat­ter how just they may be, hit a wall of pow­er­less­ness when faced with the war machine. But the worst polit­i­cal process at the moment would be to ride the nation­al­ist in-draw­ings in Europe to over­come this pow­er­less­ness by renew­ing with “pop­u­lar” demon­stra­tions, cur­rent encour­aged by iden­ti­tar­i­an sov­er­eignist forces. Hun­gary is the exam­ple of the polit­i­cal result obtained in this way. Per­haps soon fol­lowed by the Czechs and Italy?

So, fail­ing the pow­er to “mobi­lize” for a solu­tion, are we nonethe­less con­demned to the role of spec­ta­tor voic­ing crit­i­cism, or root­ing for John­ny-get-your gun?

This war, pre­cise­ly, reveals the func­tion­ing of cap­i­tal­ist sources of cri­sis, around “sanc­tions”,  the finan­cial sys­tem, “ener­gy”,  food options in a con­text of glob­al­iza­tion… Final­ly, it inter­venes dur­ing a grow­ing aware­ness, at last, of the the effects of cli­mac­tic change et direct­ly calls into ques­tion the cap­i­tal­ist orga­ni­za­tion, par­tic­u­lar­ly the Euro­pean one. This is some­thing Euro­pean pop­u­la­tions are aware of.

Would it then not be the right moment for denounc­ing this ali­bi of  the very real «war in Ukraine” used on the Euro­pean con­ti­nent as a cov­er-up for the cap­i­tal­ist mess and its con­se­quences, and to strike, both by doing what can be done to help the Ukrain­ian peo­ple in surv­ing, defend­ing itself, mod­i­fy­ing the bal­ance, while denounc­ing war prof­its, ques­tion­ing the mar­ket and the cost of ener­gy, pro­mot­ing choic­es of envi­ron­men­tal and polit­i­cal choices?

The paci­fist sov­er­eignist in-draw­ing around the preser­va­tion of pur­chas­ing pow­er should be replaced by ele­men­tary sol­i­dar­i­ty with an attacked Peo­ple, includ­ing with arms, while offer­ing pro­pos­als for “sanc­tion” against all prof­i­teers, nec­es­sary sanc­tions for an envi­ron­men­tal and social crossover.

And that can­not be expressed while stand­ing side by side with fas­cists, nor while com­pet­ing with them on the front of populism.

By the way, what if we asked Erdo­gan for his opinion? 

For the other articles see > SPECIAL ARCHIVE UKRAINE

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…