Justice For Odessa: Ukrainian Embassy, London.
Picket by Bristol Ukraine Anti Fascist Solidarity
Join our picket at the BBC HQ in Bristol.
Who Is Really Fighting Whom In Syria?
On Saturday 6th February Bristol Ukraine Anti Fascist Solidarity took part in the South Bristol Workers’ Forum meeting: ‘Who Is Really Fighting Whom In Syria?’. Below is a statement released by the South Bristol Workers’ Forum following the meeting:
“Last Saturday South Bristol Workers Forum held a very lively meeting about Syria in Barton Hill Settlement. For once there was an anti-war meeting which didn’t go along with the West’s demonisation of President Bashar al-Assad. Instead, the speakers stood four-square with the Syrian nation’s steadfast defence of its sovereignty against the proxy war waged against it by imperialism. Sheila Coombes from Frome Stop Wars (NOT affiliated to the bourgeois pacifist Stop the War Coalition) gave a very thorough rundown of just how the West engineered the so-called “revolution” which has cost the Syrian people so much suffering. Giles Shorter from Bristol Ukraine Anti Fascist Solidarity drew a parallel between the need to support the Syrian Arab Army and the need to support the Donbas resistance against the fascist junta in Kiev. The ensuing discussion focused on the need to build an anti-war movement that stands on consistent anti-imperialist foundations. We need more meetings like this!”
Statement on Calais humanitarian mission
I have just returned from a journey to the Calais refugee camp. I travelled with the Bristol to Calais Refugee Solidarity convoy which took an amazing two huge lorries filled with supplies for the camp. Mostly, I spent the last two days working at a distribution centre, boxing food and clothes for the camp where about 6,000 people now live.
On Friday I joined a distribution team delivering parcels to the camp known as ‘The Jungle’. A giant line formed within seconds of us opening the truck door. Dozens of refugees, mostly young men, queued respectfully to receive food. Despite the desperate situation we were greeted with smiles and ‘thank you’ as we distributed our parcels. I found it deeply upsetting when we ran out of food and had to leave people still waiting in line.
Shame on the British Government for refusing to help those living in the Jungle. Shame on the French Government for spending money on giant barbed wire fences and fortified border controls, instead of on the hungry and the vulnerable.
Thousands of people have donated money and resources. First hand I have now seen how essential that support is in making the lives of refugees more bearable.
Solidarity with those living in the camp.
Maximum respect to those helping the refugees.
A Bristol Ukraine Anti Fascist Solidarity member.
Update regarding opposition to planned far right demonstration:
Statement on planned far right demonstration
Bristol Ukraine Anti Fascist Solidarity (BUAFS) strongly condemns the decision of the far right BNP to hold a demonstration in Bristol on Saturday 17th October.
The demonstration appears to have been called in coalition with a group called the ‘Bristol United Patriots’, whose Facebook page displays vile race hate views.
If the far right do show up on the 17th, BUAFS members will join other antifascists in the city to send them a clear message that they are not welcome in Bristol.
Free Grigory Petrenko and anti-oligarchy prisoners in Moldova! We call on the government of the Republic of Moldova to immediately release the seven left-wing political activists arrested at the Prosecutor General’s Office in Chisinau on Sunday, Sept. 6, 2015. They were detained during a peaceful protest of several hundred people, calling for the arrest of Moldovan oligarch and political kingmaker Vladimir Plahotniuc and the resignation of Prosecutor General Corneliu Gurin. Originally the activists were detained for 72 hours, during which time they reported being beaten. On Sept. 8, a Chisinau court extended their detention for 30 days. The seven arrested protesters include Grigory Petrenko, former parliamentary deputy and member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), and leader of the Red Bloc party (formerly called Our Home is Moldova); Pavel Grigorchuk and Mikhail Amerberg, who spent several months in jail earlier this year on false charges of conspiring to disrupt last November’s parliamentary elections; and Alexander Roshko, Oleg Buzni, Voya Jurat and Andrew Druz. This summer, the Red Bloc initiated nationwide protests against utility and fuel price hikes, forcing the Moldovan government to step back from some of its planned austerity measures. In July Petrenko personally led Liberty Township, a tent city protest outside the home of oligarch Plahotniuc, which was broken up by police and private security agencies with the General Prosecutor Gurin’s blessing. Petrenko’s party has stood firm against “Euro-integration,” which has resulted in selling off Moldova’s industry and resources and making its people a cheap labor pool for the European Union, devastating the livelihoods of workers and farmers. Red Bloc also opposes the government’s partnership with the far-right junta of neoliberals, oligarchs and fascists in neighboring Ukraine, Kiev’s threats against the independent republic of Transnistria, and the war against the Donbass people’s republics. It opposes plans to merge Moldova with NATO member Romania. Most threatening to the pro-Western rulers of Moldova, the Red Bloc seeks to unite people of all nationalities and language groups around an anti-oligarchic program of rolling back austerity and establishing peaceful relations and trade with Russia and the countries of the Customs Union. As a result, Petrenko and his party became the targets of slanderous attacks in the oligarch-controlled media, with some commentators openly calling for his arrest. On Sunday, Sept. 6, two major protests were held in the Moldovan capital. The first, an anti-corruption rally sponsored by the “Yes Platform,” was dominated by pro-Western parties excluded from the government. In response to this “Grand National Assembly,” Prime Minister Valeriu Strelet, representing the ruling Alliance for European Integration, pledged to negotiate with these protesters. In stark contrast, the second action, a Red Bloc-initiated march of several hundred people, met with violent repression. Riot police blocked marchers from entering the Prosecutor General’s Office, then attacked protesters when they attempted to erect a tent city outside the public building. Many people were injured, including a pensioner who was rushed to the hospital. Following the arrest of Grigory Petrenko and his comrades, masked security forces raided the offices of the Red Bloc party, Petrenko’s home, the home of his elderly in-laws, and the home of fellow prisoner Mikhail Amerberg. All of these searches were conducted illegally, without a court-issued search warrant or lawyers present. When Petrenko and other prisoners were brought before the judge on Sept. 8, they were surrounded by dozens of riot police wearing flak jackets and slinging automatic weapons. Today Moldova sits at a critical juncture. Austerity bites deep and the people’s future looks bleak. Moldova could tip toward the Ukrainian scenario of ultra-nationalism, fascism and war –the options that seems to be favored by Plahotniuc, the current regime and some of its erstwhile opponents. Or, by mobilizing popular forces against the spread of austerity and war, Moldova could blaze a trail of hope for people throughout eastern Europe and the world. If President Timofti, Prime Minister Strelet and pro-European forces inside and outside the regime are as dedicated to democracy as they claim, then Grigory Plahotniuc and his fellow protesters must be freed and their voices must be heard. Free Grigory Plahotniuc and the anti-oligarchy protesters! September 9, 2015 Initiated by: International Action Center (USA) Co-signers: SouthFront Victor Shapinov, Union Borotba (Ukraine/Donbass) Solidarity with Ukraine Antifascists Committee (USA) To co-sign this statement, email email@example.com
Refugees Welcome Here: Saturday 12th September 2015, Bristol. It was great to attend today’s ‘Refugees Welcome Here’ protest in Bristol, which saw several thousand people take to the streets. Assembling at 12pm in central Bristol, the crowds marched through one of the main shopping areas chanting ‘Refugees Welcome Here’ and distributing large numbers of leaflets. It’s fantastic that so many people reject the racist, anti refugee propaganda peddled by the right wing press/government and are willing to take to the streets to defend those in need. The current refugee ‘crisis’ is a consequence of Capitalism and imperialist wars. Those fleeing their homelands require maximum support and solidarity.Well done everyone who attended today’s action and a big thank you to the organisers.
Fair Play For Palestine: Sunday 6th September 2015, Cardiff, Wales. Today, Sunday 6th September, members of Bristol Ukraine Antifascist Solidarity travelled to Cardiff, Wales, to take part in a lively Palestine Solidarity Demonstration. The demonstration was organised in response to Israel being picked to play Wales in the UEFA qualifiers. Demonstrators raised awareness about Israeli Apartheid, called on Israel to be withdrawn from UEFA, and countered a small pro Zionist counter protest at the football stadium. Speakers and leaflets at the demonstration explained how Israeli aggression and apartheid has led to Palestinian footballers being barred from travelling abroad to play; Palestinian facilities and stadiums being bombed; and players imprisoned. We were also informed of the disgraceful decision of the FA that people displaying Palestinian flags during the game could face eviction and a match ban. Bristol Ukraine Antifascist Solidarity send solidarity to our comrades fighting against Israeli aggression and thank those who organised today’s action.
Ukraine, Donbass and the new cold war against Russia Please see below for an interesting article based on a speech by Gregg Buttfield at a Workers’ World Party Forum last July. Article Here
Bristol Ukraine Anti Fascist Solidarity (BUAFS) has had a very active year.
- There have been weekly pickets at the BBC.
- In September 2014 members of our group travelled to Newport for a demonstration against the NATO summit. We showed opposition to Petro Poroshenko, who was present at the summit and countered a group of around 30 Ukrainian nationalists who were urging NATO to attack Donbas and Russia.
- We held two public meetings in 2014 with rap artist Marcel Cartier who gave an fascinating account of his visits to Ukraine and Crimea.
- We took our banner on a variety of demonstrations in support of Palestine, the NHS, and the fight against austerity.
- On several occasions we travelled to London for meetings and demonstrations like the Remembering Odessa event at the Ukraine embassy.
- In March we gathered at the Spanish Civil War Memorial plaque in Bristol to show solidarity with imprisoned anti fascists in Spain.
- In July 2015 we marked a year of activity with a public meeting entitled ‘Rally For Donbas’.
Our Facebook page gives full details of all these activities.
Events in Ukraine are moving at a rapid pace.
For the latest news please visit the News page of the national campaign by clicking here –
or visit our Facebook page by clicking here –
BUAFS Join Palestine Demo
On Saturday 2nd August members of BUAFS joined a determined, well attended Free Palestine Demo in Bristol. Two thousand plus people marched for over 2 hours from the Shar Jalal Mosque in Easton to College Green in protest at the bombing of Gaza. BUAFS were proud to support the demo and stand in solidarity with the oppressed people of Palestine.
The Malaysian Airline Disaster –
Meanwhile it might be worth taking a look at this BBC report of the shooting down of an Iranian passenger plane by the USS Vincennes back in July 1988. Nearly 300 people were killed. How did the US respond?
President Reagan said the Vincennes had taken “a proper defensive action” and called the incident an “understandable accident”, although he said he regretted the loss of life.
New articles worth checking out –
KD Tait – Civil War and Class War in Ukraine – http://www.workerspower.co.uk/2014/07/support-donbass-antifascist-resistance-civil-war-and-class-war-in-ukraine/ Alex Lantier -US-backed regime retakes Slavyansk, threatens bloodbath in eastern Ukraine Greg Butterfield -Donetsk People’s Republic leaders reinforce defenses
BUAFS Joins J10 Protest
Today BUAFS members joined the Bristol J10 strike rally and march, with our banner. We distributed a large number of leaflets and collected money for the campaign, to which people gave generously. Overall a really good positive response.
BUAFS Pickets BBC Bristol
Bristol Ukraine Anti Fascist Solidarity, including comrades from the local Unite Community Branch, picketed BBC Bristol today (Thursday 3rd July) to protest against the corporation’s cover-up of the Kiev regime’s war crimes and its reliance on fascist stormtroopers. This is the first of what will be an ongoing series of similar protests. Help us to build solidarity with the anti-fascist struggle in Ukraine! To find out more, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
On the principles of the new state
By Alexey Albu, Union Borotba (Struggle)
July 1 – How many political forces and movements are fighting in Ukraine today? The range of military and political organizations varies greatly. And if all of them are now actually divided into two camps — for or against the junta — then within each there are various contradictions which will undoubtedly manifest after victory. For now, during the harsh confrontation, the contradictions within the camp of opponents of the junta (to which I belong) are on the backburner, and they are united around the main idea — the overthrow of the junta. Also evident is a split within the ruling elite of Ukraine, where Kolomoysky flatly refuses to execute the commands of Poroshenko, and where there are huge differences over the division of governorships and other lucrative prizes. Accordingly, every political current within the Ukrainian resistance movement has its own views and vision for the future of Ukraine. Some see a future Ukraine without the junta and Nazi executioners, some see it as part of Russia, some do not see it at all. But the Ukrainian left also has its views on the future shape of the country, and we believe that it is necessary to engage in education now. The process of creating a new Ukraine will start from the East, with the Union of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DNR and LC). Many glorious sons and daughters of the DNR and LC are fighting in the militias, and you talk about their courage for hours, but the DNR and LC did not have enough personnel to form the lever of power, their administrations. First, an administrative unit of the new government is necessary. Naturally I, as a supporter of the ideas of Marx, believe that any capitalist state must be dismantled by a workers’ state. What does this mean? First of all — exclusion of the oligarchs, their henchmen and corrupt officials from the political process. Secondly — the formation of the legislature of New Ukraine. It can be called whatever you like — the Supreme Soviet of the Union of People’s Republics (CHP), or the Parliament of Novorossia — the main thing here is the essence. And the essence of such a body is the legitimization of the acting power in the DNR and LC. Further, and in my opinion, most basic, is subordination of the executive branch to this new Soviet. Naturally, the leadership should be based on this principle of the formation of executive committees at the respective sessions of the Soviets. Second — the monetary system. There is an urgent need to abandon the hryvnia [Ukrainian currency]. First, it will be a powerful blow to the economy of Ukraine, and secondly, an opportunity to keep the economy of the young republics afloat. The currency naturally should be the same for the LC, DNR and other republics that will eventually join the new state. Banks operating in the territory of the DNR and the LC should immediately be nationalized. One central state bank must be created, subordinate only to the Supreme Soviet of the CHP, which will be able to issue money and control the money in circulation, engage in lending and issue payroll. Third — the nationalization of all key companies operating in the territory of the CHP and creation of large farms, owned by local rural communities and led by people working on them. This is the way out of the economic impasse to which the junta and the previous government of oligarchs brought the country. This will overcome the looming food crisis and ensure all citizens the required products. It will also create a real instrument for filling the state treasury, in addition to taxes, which will be very difficult to collect in these conditions, and fees for export and import. And the fourth is the creation of a unified army that will operate on a professional basis, and a systematic approach to education and training of young soldiers, with a system of mobilization, training of personnel, and logistics. There is an urgent need to streamline the disparate militia groups under a unified command, which should consist of the most influential people, proven in battle with the fascists. Of course, the new young state will face many disadvantages, because the process of its creation will be affected by various political forces. But the most important thing is that it implements principles such as state ownership of the basic means of production, removal of the oligarchs running the country, creation of collective farms, and nationalization of the banking sector. Already today there are all the prerequisites for the creation of a national state that would make the title “People’s Republic” not merely declarative, but real. Against the background of a complete collapse of the economy of Ukraine, the total plunder of the Ukrainian people, and war against civilians, a new way of life in the young Union of Republics can and should be an alternative to the old system. Today an historic opportunity falls to us to create a country based on the ideas of social justice, genuine democracy, equality, and mutual friendship among peoples. We have no right to miss this chance!
Democracy of the minority
By Victor Shapinov, Union Borotba (Struggle)
June 30 – Yesterday’s bloodthirsty rally on the Maidan, where thousands of people demanded the resumption of hostilities in the Donbass, shows the sad realities of the political system established after the victory of EuroMaidan. In this system, a radical nationalist minority can effectively impose its political will on the majority. It is obvious that by voting for Poroshenko, voters in Central and Western Ukraine cast their ballots for him as a moderate leader of the Maidan, hoping for a political settlement and peace. In contrast, support for nationalist politicians who advocate extreme methods — Oleg Lyashko, Oleg Tyagnybok, Dmitry Yarosh — was not great. Trying, apparently, to be moderate — and certainly he does not want to go down in history as Peter the Bloody — Poroshenko is held hostage by an extremist minority, well-organized and well-funded. He cannot conduct actual negotiations, as even a fake truce immediately causes an uproar from the nationalist crowd and open accusations of betrayal. All this makes the political system of the new Kiev regime extremely unstable. Small in relation to the multimillion population of Kiev, the crowd outside the Russian Embassy can impose its desire for a pogrom on ministers and deputies. Small in relation to the population that voted for Poroshenko, Maidan can put pressure on the president and push him to continue the insane war in the Donbass. Those who say of the Maidan, “this is democracy,” completely misunderstand the political reality. Iit’s not a democracy, not only because the regime suppressed its political opponents in the southeast with police and military methods. It’s not a democracy, because it deprives its own moderate supporters of a voice, making them hostages to the madness of the fascists. To paraphrase a famous quote, democracy is only for them – not the power of the people, and not even the notorious “democratic procedures.” Democracy for the Maidan is “unrestricted by any laws, it does not anguish over rules, the power of the Democrats rests directly on violence.” In fact, this political system is much more authoritarian compared to the rather bland Yanukovych regime, and even more so than those regimes that the West regards as dictatorial. The danger of such a hypertrophied right-wing minority influence over Kiev lies also in the fact that this minority is very easily manipulable. And not only by Kolomoiskiy or certain circles of Western imperialism, but, if you want, also by Russia. Don’t they provide excellent reasons for intervention by the Russian Federation by destroying diplomatic missions and the property of diplomats? Don’t they create an image the Kiev government would not like to have before international public opinion? But there is nowhere to go. Without this nationalist minority, Maidan would have failed to overthrow Yanukovych. The Kiev junta is not strong enough to arrange its own “Night of the Long Knives,” modeled on the one that Hitler gave his more radical “storm troopers.” Yes, Poroshenko simply has no armed force capable to resist armed right-wing pressure. The neo-Nazis are armed, and getting combat experience. And who does Poroshenko have? Demoralized police? A decaying army, which must be driven to the slaughter? The SBU, which in its best years was engaged mainly in the racketeering business? Probably some “moderate” politicians from Maidan believe that the most hard-bitten nationalists will fall in the fields of Donbass. But in fact, we see that many of them are not in a hurry to go to the front, preferring to monitor the political situation “in the rear.” And this is modern warfare — it’s still not World War II with its millions of victims. Most of the Nazis remain alive and will return, gaining combat experience, accustomed to death and violence. Overall, the prospects for the development of the political situation give little cause for optimism. The radical Nazi minority has felt its power and will use it, because in Kiev there is no force capable of resisting the Nazi troops. Those forces are in the Donbass, in the southeast. But for the inhabitants of these regions, the line between moderate “Maidan activists” and Nazi goons is erased. They will overthrow the post-Maidan government in general, making no distinction between Poroshenko and Yarosh. And the inhabitants of the southeast are right, because one would not exist without the other; their differences are all formal, they strengthen and reinforce each other.
Bristol Trades Council – Solidarity With Donbas Miners
Bristol Trades Council passed the following resolution earlier today (proposed by Bristol Unite Community Branch). The vote was 11 for, none against, 1 abstention:
SOLIDARITY WITH THE STRIKING MINERS OF THE DONBAS “Bristol Trades Union Council notes that: Miners in the Donbas coalfields of Ukraine have gone on indefinite strike and many thousands of them have marched through Donetsk, demanding that the artillery, fighter jets and attack helicopters sent in by the West-backed fascist junta in Kiev be withdrawn. Protesters raised the slogans “Fascism will not pass” and “Donbas will not forgive”; and The Kiev regime, acting on an austerity programme dictated by the International Monetary Fund, is committed to cutting subsidies to the state-owned mines by $230m, shutting many of them down and selling off the profitable ones at knock-down prices to the private sector, thereby threatening the livelihood of mining communities right across the industrialised east; Bristol Trades Union Council expresses its solidarity with the striking miners of the Donbas, denounces the West’s meddling in the affairs of the Ukraine and wishes the anti-fascist resistance struggle every success”.
Bristol Unite Community Branch Supports Donbas Resistance!
On 5th June the Bristol Unite Community Branch passed an important resolution supporting the strike of the Donbas miners against the Kiev regime, and supporting the anti-fascist resistance. Well done to all who argued for this principled stand: Resolution on Ukraine “Miners in the Donbas coalfields of Ukraine have gone on indefinite strike and many thousands of them have marched through Donetsk, demanding that the artillery, fighter jets and attack helicopters sent in by the West-backed fascist junta in Kiev be withdrawn. Protesters raised the slogans “Fascism will not pass” and “Donbas will not forgive”; and The Kiev regime, acting on an austerity programme dictated by the International Monetary Fund, is committed to cutting subsidies to the state-owned mines by $230m, shutting many of them down and selling off the profitable ones at knock-down prices to the private sector, thereby threatening the livelihood of mining communities right across the industrialised east; Bristol branch of Unite Community expresses its solidarity with the striking miners of the Donbas, denounces the West’s meddling in the affairs of the Ukraine and wishes the anti-fascist resistance struggle every success.”
Bristol Protest Against Fascism in Ukraine
Local anti-fascists gathered on Wednesday 4th June in the city centre to protest against the rise of fascism in Ukraine, the Western-backed Kiev junta, and the assault on the east of the country by Ukrainian troops and paramilitaries. Despite the torrential rain there was a lively demo followed by a good discussion and planning meeting at The Ark. It was unanimously decided at the meeting to continue to build solidarity with the besieged workers of east Ukraine and to take the struggle forward via further protests, meetings and interventions. Thanks to everyone who turned up to support the protest!
Packed meeting in London to launch the campaign in Solidarity with the Antifascist Resistance in Ukraine
Over 150 people packed the meeting room in London on June 2 to hear speakers and discuss the launching of the campaign in Solidarity with the Antifascist Resistance in Ukraine. The speakers were Richard Brenner from the campaign, Lindsey German from Counterfire, Boris Kagarlitsky from the (Institute for globalization studies and social movements (IGSO), Moscow) who joined via Skype as he had been unable to get a visa, Andrew Murray from the Communist Party of Britain, Alan Woods from Socialist Appeal and the International Marxist Tendency and Sergei Kirichuk from the socialist organisation Borotba in Ukraine who also spoke over a Skype call. The speakers explained different aspects involved in the crisis in Ukraine, the role of US and EU imperialism, the recruitment of fascist gangs into the National Guard, how the conflict is a social and class based one rather than one based on language or ethnicity, the support of the British government for the Ukrainian authorities, the presence of far right and openly fascist elements within the Kiev government, the participation of British troops in joint NATO exercises in Ukraine, the role of the oligarchs, the attacks against the Communist Party and other left wing organisations (having their offices burnt down and ransacked, their members persecuted, threats of banning), mutinies in the Ukraine army, etc. All speakers stressed that support for the anti-fascist resistance did not at all mean support for Putin. There was also time for discussion from the floor, including the interventions of two Ukrainians who supported the Kiev government, one who even argued that the rebels in Luhansk had bombed the administration building themselves. Perhaps the most significant intervention from the floor was that of Eddie Dempsey branch secretary of the RMT Paddington no.1 branch who, on behalf of his branch, called for a broad based, democratic campaign, rooted in the labour movement that his branch could affiliate to, and move an emergency resolution to RMT national AGM seeking national affiliation, in support of the antifascist movement in Ukraine and opposed to the EU/US/British backed fascist Kiev junta focused on the neutralisation of British involvement in NATO military operations in Ukraine, British political and financial support of the Kiev junta and to publicise accurate information on the situation in Ukraine to counter the western media whitewash of events and the rise of fascism in Ukraine Ben Gliniecki gave greetings from the Marxist Student Federation which had helped secure the venue for the meeting and committed the Federation’s support for the campaign. Amongst those presents there were people who had travelled from different parts of the country, including a representative of the fledging campaign in Bristol which has organised a picket on Wednesday, June 3. At the end of the meeting, the aims of the campaign were approved with an overwhelming vote:
- We are against the UK and Western governments’ backing for the far-right regime in Kiev.
- We oppose the planned NATO exercises in Ukraine.
- We demand that the killers of 42 people at the House of Trade Unions in Odessa on May 2nd be brought to justice.
- We are against attacks on democratic rights and the repression of left-wing organisations.
- We support the antifascist resistance in Ukraine.
(AUDIO and VIDEO will follow)