[Marxism] Left liberals under attack in Ukraine

Ken Hiebert knhiebert at shaw.ca
Wed Apr 1 16:46:58 MDT 2015

Roger Annis said:
Left Opposition member Vitaliy Dudin was attacked on March 31 late in the evening near a metro stop in Kyiv by a right-wing mob of some ten people. The attackers justified their brutal violence by stating that Dudin and his comrades are supporters of the Donetsk Peoples Republic. The Left Opposition, of course, is a harsh critic and opponent of the DPR. A news report is here (use Google Translate): http://socportal.info/2015/04/01/u-kiyevi-stavsya-chergovij-napad-na-profspilkovogo-aktivista.html.

This is only the latest such attack on the left-liberal opponents of the autonomy movement in eastern Ukraine. Other attacks include:
* Some days ago – Oleh Vernik of the small trade union group 'Zakhyst Pratsi' was attacked and severely beaten in Kyiv region. 
* The pro-Maidan union activist Eugeniy Derkach was beaten in Dnipropetrovsk. 
*( Before that, the left liberals Denis Pilas (Left Opposition) and V.Cherepanin (liberal NGO activist) were beaten by far-right. 
* Denis Denisov (Left Opposition) reports about constant threats in an interview to Russian media. 

All these cases, including a photo of the beaten Vitaliy Dudin, are reported here on the Alterra group on the social network Vkontakte: http://vk.com/alter_tiera?w=wall-77412543_1403.

On March 17 in Odessa, a small protest against rising transit tariffs staged by 'Zakhyst Pratsi' was attacked and broken up. The attackers, again, accused the activists of supporting 'seperatism' in eastern Ukraine and were told to get to work for Ukraine instead of breaking it up. http://ukrainesolidaritycampaign.org/2015/03/20/appeal-for-solidarity-peaceful-protest-of-trade-unionists-and-community-repressed-in-odessa/

The severity of these attacks actually pale compared to those that have taken place against the Ukrainian Communist Party and against several Marxist groups, including Borotba. They have suffered killings (Odessa Massacre of May 2, 2014), beatings, offices arson-attacked and otherwise closed down by threats, and kidnappings. Not to mention arrests and illegal detentions of hundreds of left-wing activists by official authorities. Many Ukrainian leftists have been forced to take refuge in Russia and Crimea, or further abroad.

As a Ukrainian colleague has explained to me, "We warned those guys that as Borotba and the Communist Party were being attacked, the right wing will eventually turn on them."

Ken Hiebert replies:
Roger quotes a Ukrainian colleague, "We warned those guys that as Borotba and the Communist Party were being attacked, the right wing will eventually turn on them."
What action should supporters of the Left Opposition have taken in response to such warnings?  Left the country?  Ceased political activity?   Changed their political views?

In any case, the Left Opposition and other left and anarchist groups were quite aware of attacks from the far right.  In fact they have been the source of reports on far right violence.
For example this report from September of 2013.
Stop far right violence in Ukraine!

See also
Only the workers’ movement can stop flaring up of war in Ukraine
"The main failures were because of lack of coordination. For example, t the same time as Borotba activist Denis Levin was beaten by neo-Nazis on Maidan there were two other Leftist events there – 300 metere away from the point in the very center of Maidan 30 students from the union “Direct action” – were making the presentation about students’ self-organization. Five hundred metres away other leftists and anti-fascists had a demo of 200 activists against police violence. No surprise that neo-Nazis attacked Denis Levin who was virtually alone with his trade-union leaflets. His Borotba organization did not support him. And when we joined him it was too late."

We also saw reports that they were attacked when they tried to take their politics to the large encampment in the Maidan.

Lastly, I take note that Roger refers to supporters of the Left Opposition and to others as well as "left liberals."

For my part I wish to express my solidarity with these comrades and to salute their courage.

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