[Marxism] UKRAINE: Excuse Me Mister: How Far Is It From Simferopol To Grozny? | Tahrir-ICN

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon May 19 10:23:54 MDT 2014

There is an interesting split in perception, on the “Left,” when it 
comes to imperialism. It seems fair to say we all agree on the need to 
oppose US imperialism. However, as soon as the picture is complemented 
by a second state with imperial aspirations, many—especially 
Western—“leftists” equivocate, and seem willing to choose the perceived 
lesser of two evils. This dualistic approach has its roots in the Cold 
War; it is the useless remnant of a period when to be pro-Soviet might 
have implied being anti-capitalist.

It was wrong then, it is wrong now, and it is time to get rid of it.

The latest example of this difficulty in renouncing the false choice 
between evils has come with the crisis in Ukraine. Commentators around 
the world are drumming up evidence to support the hype that a new Cold 
War is at hand. Publicly, tensions between the US and Russia appear to 
be rising; however behind the curtain nothing is all that new. The US, 
the EU and NATO have always been trying to push their scope of influence 
eastwards; Russia has never been willing to cede political influence, 
control over pipelines, or access to resources in its former Soviet 

More importantly, however, and refuting the vision of a new Cold War at 
our doorstep, is the fact that the US has been handing out “aid” to 
Russia since 1992, attached to conditions demanding deregulation imposed 
by the victory march of Bretton Woods (and later Troika) institutions.

We are used to hypocritical US foreign policy; its stance towards Russia 
serves just as another example. We keep hearing calls out of the White 
House urging Russia to respect dissent and the opposition. Along with 
the US’s own draconian attitude toward dissent and opposition, this 
continuous backdoor support of Putinʼs regime reduces such calls to so 
much hot air.⁵ Nevertheless, Obama and his Western colleagues stay 
plenty busy reaffirming themselves with ridiculous sanctions which have 
no impact whatsoever on Putinʼs or his pet oligarchs’ greed.⁶

At any rate, the previously mentioned US vs. Russia narrative continues 
to fill the airwaves, and of course the US is not the only one making 
noise. From an anti-authoritarian standpoint, it is frustrating as well 
as saddening to see the Kremlin’s propaganda make its merry way around 
the world wide web. Indeed, Russian mainstream media has much in common 
with that of the US and EU—each points the finger at the “other side.” 
“Leftists” and anarchists should, however, be able to see through this 
game and reject both claims. The “West” does not have a monopoly on 
imperialism, and it is not by opposing only Western imperialism that we 
show our solidarity with ethnic minorities, marginalized groups, radical 
Left opposition or the working class—all of whom will be the main 
victims of continued aggression.

In fact, to do so has dire human and political consequences; it enables 
the continued oppression and killing of ethnic minorities and weakens 
those few voices that do manage to get heard from within the opposition 
movements in Russia and Ukraine. Further, this reckless attitude results 
in a direct conflict among “leftists.” Many are unwilling to condemn 
Russian aggression for what it is, fearing this would imply support for 
their own imperialists, similar to those “leftists” that tried to defend 
first Qaddafi, later Assad, and now Putin.⁷ ⁸ Two wrongs don’t make a right.


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