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Defend Ukraine's right to self-determination

Russia’s occupation of Crimea and the threat to invade other parts of Ukraine on a trumped up pretext, is a reactionary response to a popular uprising for democracy in Kiev and a diversion from serious economic problems confronting the Putin regime.

As leaders East and West seek to blame one another, the key issue – Ukraine’s right to self-determination is being swept under the carpet. The excuse for the invasion of Crimea – that the Russian-speaking majority had to be saved from “fascists” – is part of a fake narrative dreamt up in Moscow and one used down the ages.

Moscow claims that the Maidan uprising in Kiev has been run and financed by Western reactionary forces and is aimed at suppressing Ukraine’s Russian speakers. Yet the Maidan movement which began in November 2013 was first and foremost a popular revolution, which included many elements in Ukrainian society, amongst them – but not led by – right wing nationalists against a corrupt, autocratic regime. 

Many Jews took part in the uprising, for example. An ex-Israeli special forces soldier led a Kiev fighting unit against the Yanukovych government. Volodymyr Groysman, a former mayor of the city of Vinnytsia and the newly appointed deputy prime minister for regional policy, is a Jew.  

A language law introduced last week by Kiev’s parliament to reverse a provocative act by ex-president Yanukovych was yesterday vetoed by Ukraine’s caretaker president Turchynov. He acknowledged it had been a mistake.

While Putin’s provocative actions are a blatant infringement of Ukrainian sovereignty, the Russian bear has found some allies in strange places. British media commentators including Jonathan Steele and former British ambassador Rodric Braithwaite are calling for NATO and John Kerry to “back off”. As Timothy Snyder writes in the New York Review of Books:

Interestingly, the message from authoritarian regimes in Moscow and Kiev was not so different from some of what was written during the uprising in the English-speaking world, especially in publications of the far left and the far right. From Lyndon LaRouche’s Executive Intelligence Review through Ron Paul’s newsletter through The Nation and The Guardian, the story was essentially the same: little of the factual history of the protests, but instead a play on the idea of a nationalist, fascist, or even Nazi coup d’état.

The first time Ukraine saw even a glimpse of nationhood in modern times was in 1919 when the Zluty unity agreement was signed and the Ukrainian People’s Republic came into existence. Areas of the country were, however, ceded to Poland.

Early Bolshevik policy strongly asserted the right of all nations to self-determination in the former Tsarist empire and elsewhere. During the 1920s, under Mykola Skrypnyk’s Ukrainization policy, the Soviet leadership encouraged a national renaissance in the Ukrainian language, literature and the arts.

Crimea became an autonomous part of Ukraine in 1954 after being gifted by Nikita Khrushchev. It was his effort to make up for Stalinist oppression, when 7.5 million people – mostly Ukrainians – died in the Holodomar, a terror-famine deliberately imposed by Stalin in the early 1930s. Since 2006, the Holodomor has been recognized by Ukraine and several other countries as an act of genocide.

The Stalinist policy of starvation and repression was followed up from 1944 by the forcible deportation of over 200,000 Crimean Tatars. Even Tatars fighting in the ranks of the Red Army were demobilised and sent to labour camps.  

Not too surprisingly, Stalinist repression had led some Ukrainians to welcome German forces after the invasion of the USSR in 1941. Nonetheless, the vast majority of Ukrainians fought with the Soviet Red Army and Moscow named Kiev as a hero city.

Ukraine’s longing for nationhood re-emerged as a powerful force encouraged by Mikhail Gorbachev’s glasnost policy and, finally, the 1991 break-up of the Soviet Union. It inspired the human chain of 300,000 Ukrainians which led to the independence of today’s Ukraine.
After Ukraine declared its state sovereignty in 1990 and its independence in August 1991, a dispute flared up over the status of the Crimea. It was settled by an agreement in 1992, by which Crimea was granted autonomous status within Ukraine.

But Vladimir Putin – following in Stalin’s footsteps, has never accepted Ukraine’s right to exist. In 2008, he said to George Bush that if Ukraine joined NATO, Russia would annex Crimea and eastern Ukraine: “Don’t you understand, George – Ukraine is not even a nation! What is Ukraine? Part of her territory is Eastern Europe, and part, a considerable part, was given by us!”

A succession of leaders representing either a Western-leaning bourgeois or oligarchs looking to Russia have failed to develop Ukraine and played one community off against another. Corruption became endemic with Tymoshenko and then Yanukovych enriching themselves. Now Ukraine is bankrupt. The European Union, for all its mouthing about democracy, has no intention of bailing out any leader in Kiev.

Underlying Putin’s aggressive nationalism is his deep fear of a people’s uprising within Russia itself. The superficial success of the Sochi games was accompanied by a contempt for the corrupt abuse of public funds, disdain for local people’s rights and ecological devastation.

Russia of course has huge natural and oil resources. But the recent growth of some sectors, which saw the enrichment of oligarchs and parts of the middle classes in the 1990s and noughties, is in crisis. Interest rates have shot up, the stock market fell 9% this morning and the rouble is at an all-time low. A massive capital flight has been under way for years. Much of it has ended up in luxury homes in Knightsbridge, laundered by Western banks or in the shape of football clubs.

All the people of Ukraine, whatever their mother tongue, have the right to decide their own future free of interference from outside forces

Putin has quickly reversed the pre-Sochi cosmetic release of opponents, like Pussy Riot. He closed down one of the few remaining television stations that criticised the monstrous Sochi Olympics. Protests by anti-invasion activists in St Petersburg and Moscow were quickly suppressed by riot police.  He remains what he has always been: an autocrat presiding over a corrupt capitalist oligarchy who brutally suppresses and kills his opponents.

It is indeed rich of Kerry, Hague and other Western leaders to mouth criticisms of Russia’s military intervention – bearing in mind the US-UK-NATO invasions of Afghanistan, Iraq and bombing of Libya along with remote killing by drones in Pakistan.

But opposing Putin’s act of aggression in no way implies support for NATO and the EU. They can no more represent the aspirations of Ukrainians than Yanukovych or Putin can, while the new government in Kiev has no solutions either. All the people of Ukraine, whatever their mother tongue, have the right to decide their own future free of interference from outside forces. That principle is an absolute.

A World to Win editors
3 March 2014

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Your Say

Phil Walden says:

I agree with the AWTW position to defend the self-determination of Ukraine. But you aren't calling on the workers of Ukraine to push on for a Socialist Republic of Ukraine. Why is that?

Penny Cole says:
Reply to Phil W:

Taking AWTW's blogs and comments on Ukraine as a whole gives a clear picture of where we stand.

On Feb 21 we wrote: "Ukraine’s economy has been badly affected by the global crisis, particularly since the middle of 2012. Borrowing heavily both from Russia and the International Monetary Fund has left the Yanukovych government caught in the middle. Russia wants Ukraine drawn into a customs union of its own while the European Union sees 50 million potential new consumers.
"Either way, the prospect for Ukraine’s workers is lower living standards either within an authoritarian, Russian sphere whose capitalist economy is badly affected by falling oil prices or an EU dominated by austerity and mass unemployment. Not so much an East-West tug-of-war as an East-West nightmare. Revolutionary solutions that rise above borders beckon."

We also republished the March 3 statement of the Socialist Left Opposition of Ukraine which is entitled "Only solidarity will save Ukraine," and concludes

Down with the bandit office holders who have become separatists!
Down with Russian imperialism!
Down with the Ukrainian chauvinists!
Long live the workers’ independent Ukraine!

And writing about the drive to impose fracking on Ukraine, with the same impacts it has had on people and environment in the US, we said: "Millions of Ukrainians are now set to join the economic and environmental struggles facing all of us on the planet – they are more than welcome!"
Phil replies:
I would like to thank Penny for replying in detail to my question about why AWTW aren't calling on workers in the Ukraine to push on for a Socialist Republic of Ukraine. Penny has convincingly made the case that AWTW see the need for any solution to go beyond national borders and that the movement must be led by the working class. Actually, I would like to criticise my own question because I now think the formulation "United Socialist Ukraine" is better than the one I used of "Socialist Republic of Ukraine" since the first formulation is clearer about the unacceptable nature of the annexation of Crimea by Russia. But I must still express some dissatisfaction with your coverage of this complex issue. To me it is problematic that you seem to be hesitant about calling on the Ukrainian working class to struggle for a socialist Ukraine. How else do you see the oligarchs being removed and a genuine democracy being won?

Paul Feldman says:

Cornelius, [see below] you make some good points but your main argument is deeply flawed because it is based on a conspiracy ‘theory’. The street movement against the extremely reactionary Yanukovych government began last year and was driven by a worsening economic crisis, endemic corruption and a sense of self-determination in a country less than 25 years old. Yanukovych’s regime was caught between Moscow’s entreaties (cash in hand) and those from Brussels (accession taking 5-10 years). In the emerging struggle, Ukrainian nationalists played a sizeable role. So did human rights activists, Russian-speakers, liberals and young people and not a few Jews.

There was no clear perspective – there still isn’t – as to where it should/would lead to. So the oligarchs around the discredited Tymoshenko have taken political power. It is a pro-Western bourgeois government as opposed to a pro-Moscow bourgeois government. But the state has been shaken to its core and is clearly not fit for purpose. Going beyond the capitalist state is a real possibility so long as there are people in the lead to direct it that way.

A conspiracy ‘theory’ is no substitute either for a principle (self-determination and the right to sovereignty which Russia has attacked) or for deepening our understanding of the social forces involved. You say it is “clear that ‘western’ sponsored elements introduced actions aimed at escalating the situation”. Actually, it’s not clear at all. Ukrainian nationalists hate the West as much as they hate Russia and they were at the forefront of the fighting. Putin, ofcourse, is not intervening to stop nationalism. He is one of the biggest nationalists of them all. Just ask the Chechens (50,000 were killed in the second Chechen war when Putin was in charge). There are people in the Russian parliament (Vladimir Zhirinovsky etc) who are close to fascism yet no one suggests that Russia is a fascist state.

The Arab spring failed to become a summer not because of Western intervention but because the old state system remained intact in Egypt and elsewhere. A revolutionary transformation that transfers power to the people in a direct sense is necessary. That’s not going to happen spontaneously in any country.

In the end Cornelius, you hold ordinary people responsible for not seeing how the conspirators, in your words, use taxpayers’ money to further their ends. This is a pretty hopeless self-blame game and one that inevitably leads to a political dead end. And one that has the ruling classes laughing all the way to the bank. They’re really quite weak and discredited but your approach gives them a sense of control and purpose they never knew they had while leaving us in their wake for all time.

Steve says:

I admit that I don't know exactly what is going on in the Ukraine or what the motivations and political orientation of many of the key players is. I spent February out of the country and dependent on the BBC World News (a truly awful TV channel that is as bad as CNN) for information about the Ukraine and therefore I have had little or no useful information about events there until I returned last week. However, when I read assertions about "Ukraine's longing for nationhood" I start to get suspicious. Appeals to nationalist sentiment (and to support somebody's "longing for nationhood") are almost invariably dubious.

I am no great fan of the homophobic authoritarian Vladimir Putin but I think I have some understanding of the way in which Russians regard "Western" (ie. NATO and the USA - and to some extent the EU) maneuvering and interference in Eastern Europe with deep, and understandable, suspicion.

At the end of the Cold War in 1991 a de-facto deal was done between the leadership of the collapsing USSR and the Western/NATO powers. That deal involved assurances being given that NATO would not seek to exploit the dissolution of the USSR by incorporating former Soviet allies and Soviet Republics into NATO (a US led anti communist, and to a large extent anti-Russian alliance). Since the demise of the USSR in December 1991 the Western powers have repeatedly breached that agreement and sought to extend their economic and military alliances to the very borders of the Russian Federation and this has included continuous meddling in the affairs of former Socialist countries and former Soviet Republics.

So when the USA and the EU started to give active political (and perhaps some material) support to the concerted attempts to topple the Ukraine's government it is perfectly understandable that Russia would see this as a direct assault on their own position. What happened in Kiev in February was clearly a Coup d'Etat (defined as an unconstitutional transfer of Executive Authority). The President may have been corrupt, incompetent and even brutal, but he was an elected Head of State deposed from office by forces whose political motives and sources of support were unclear. The demonstrations in Kiev were certainly not peaceful - if you seize the centre of a city and then hold it by force and barricades against attempts to clear the streets this is not peaceful protest - and there is little doubt that some fascist and ultra nationalists sought to take advantage of the situation. The fact that the coup was vociferously supported by Western governments (and by some politicians who I can remember defending the right of British soldiers to shoot at rioters holding Molotov cocktails in Northern Ireland a few years ago) and the new government was immediately recognised by the EU only served to increase Russian suspicions and convince them that this was part of a hostile US/NATO/EU advance to encircle Russia.

The Ukraine has not, historically, been an independent nation (the name itself means borderlands) and the encouragement of Ukrainian nationalism has generally been associated with fascism and vicious anti-semitism - most notably during WWII. The Crimea is not historically part of the Ukraine in any case, being a part of Southern Russia allocated to the Ukraine SSR in 1954. Those who blather on about Ukraine's "right to self determination" (a concept which needs to be critically analysed in any case) would presumably agree that logically this so-called "right" must extend to the population of the Crimea as well (and perhaps to areas of Eastern Ukraine as well). You see where this gets us..?

I do not advocate the dismembering of the Ukraine and nor am I in favour of Russian intervention in its neighbours, but I am equally opposed to the hypocrisy of our own government and the short sightedness of people who seem willing to back supposed protest movements despite having little idea what they actually stand for or who is really behind them.

Penny says:

AWTW's statement about Ukraine shows that it is right and possible to defend Ukranian peoples' right to self-determination, without having anything in common with any NATO or EU project.

My own view is that it is not a fascist regime in Kiev - but it is true that whilst the gangster president and his mafia family have been thrown out, the people have not yet been able to entirely overthrow the status quo of economic power and private property - and that gives them a lot in common with us, doesn't it? We are all working on it though!

How can anyone think it's OK to end up on the side of Putin, strangler of democracy, secret intelligence gangster, representative of the oligarchs, with his personal $70bn fortune hidden away? Really? We should support him against the Maidan? Unbelievable!

Ann Arky says:

I don't see the Ukraine as a people's uprising, it is various powerful factions fighting for power and control, with the West backing those who see their fortunes being enhanced by tying in with Western capitalism. While other rich and powerful factions see Russia as where their best interests are served. Russia is just doing overtly what the West is doing covertly, sadly it is the people's blood that always flows in these situations. Nationalism and/or religion seldom lead to democracy.

Corneilius Crowley says:

"All the people of Ukraine, whatever their mother tongue, have the right to decide their own future free of interference from outside forces"

Don't they also have both a right and a responsibility to ensure that happens without recourse to violence?

Do you see the pattern in all the various 'springs' since 2000, where peaceful protest has been infiltrated by violent forces who escalate the situations, leading to LESS democracy rather than more, leading to more violence rather than less? Who benefits? Cui Bono?

Can you not see that pattern emanating from Africa and South America in the post WWII period, where violence was en-cultured by the West on a variety of platforms to destabilise those States where genuine democracy movements were emerging?

Irrespective of Putin's actions thus far, we have a personal and collective responsibility in that only we can stop our Governments from their intrusive, invasive and covert actions.

We cannot stop Putin - that responsibility falls to the Russian peoples...

They will have a much better chance if we in the West take our responsibilities a bit more seriously.

Frank Hayes says:
Hi Corneilius,

I respectfully note the propositions of your comment on the AWTW post of March 3rd. They raise very big questions, in my view! May I discuss some aspects of its content with you where my agreement will be qualified, or must remain absent, if I correctly grasp your meaning?

When the contradictions of the motion of social history sharpen to the point of irreconcilable opposition, and the existent phenomena of its component parts begin to rupture, exceeding the limitations of their present form, the classical philosophical mode of Formal Thinking is simply not up to the job of grasping the confused, and often confusing, emergence of new content (with its own driving contradictions and partial motion). This emergence also, is not a linear process that follows the old conceptions of a developmental process which may very often be imposed upon it, from the reflective processes derived out of considering previous moments of historical development as absolute.

We must beware the ever present tendency for such contemplation to become drowned in the deep sea of subjective idealism, the predominant ideological outlook of this period, which surrounds us, dominates conventional thought, and insinuates its method surreptitiously, even into scientific considerations of the revolutionary process, in ever-new disguises. Clarification is important, not just in the case of the present Ukrainian ructions, but also in a general way, to grasp the whole global process of which the revolutionary upsurge in Ukraine is but one part. It must be taken as a whole.

While this real material social motion is subject to the dialectical laws of development of all matter, we must also consider how it moves towards a new moment – contains ‘the new’ly emerging difference from what ‘is’ or ‘has been’ (and thus, ‘it’ will ‘be’, no more). To reflect and grasp the truth of this Dialectical process (which is a prerequisite for any worthwhile or effective intervention), any lapse into Formal Logic will render an individual’s hard ideological work as inadequate, and wanting.

Your first point states that the people of Ukraine have both a right and a responsibility to ensure that the process of deciding their own future, free from the intervention of outside forces should happen without recourse to violence. But how could this be? Violence is a concept possessing more than one meaning. Viewed Formally, these aspects are separated, isolated, required to stand alone. Viewed dialectically and from a materialist point of view, all these nuances are related, interconnected, dynamic and in process.

In one sense of meaning violence can be understood as expressing the emotional content of energy. In other words, it reflects the objective activity of the motion of matter through a perceivable appearance. But this very objectivity places violence as a general category, outside the realm of the subjective ‘control’ of the individual. That is not to say that an individual, as an ‘individual’, cannot make a choice to use, or not, energy, e.g. to kick an opponent. However, the existence of the ‘opponent’ admits a material context where either individual can only exist as a person, in relation to the other. And this has consequences.

The same logic must apply to the generality of individuals (society, classes). So if one interested class or ‘part’ (let’s say, party B) chooses to act in a way that is against the interest of another (party A), do you insist that A must just roll over in the face of B’s energetic aggression? In my view party A has an inalienable right AND responsibility to defend its position – and with sufficient energy to dismiss that aggression, so the conflict of interest can be resolved in its favour.

‘The conflict of interest’ is also a material thing in the real world, and in my view, can also correctly and objectively describe ‘class interest’. So we are discussing the real class struggle.

When you correctly advance the appearance of common patterns in social and political convulsions since 2000CE, in my view you are identifying a natural dialectical process, which is objectively full of contradictions. As living, incomplete historic processes full of emergent contradictions, there will be many moments of apparently ‘less democracy’ or ‘more democracy’ as parts of this whole energetic living, conflicting, social motion goes forward. But these must be grasped as the moments of a struggle of opposites, their unity being the whole process of class conflict arising within the collapse of the capitalist mode of production, the globalised failure of the commodified money system, and the response of, if you like, ‘party B’, the bourgeoisie, as they are forced to impose Austerity Politics (which, in a contradictory way, expresses the terminal aspect of this moment of their crisis).

‘Democracy’ is both abstract and concrete. And it exists materially in a living and potentially infinite variety of forms. It must not be limited to the fraudulent ‘democracy’ of bourgeois representative parliamentary dictatorship, any more than it can be confined to its use in the title of the U.S. capitalist ‘Democratic’ Party. When I talk of democracy, I speak of its potential as being conditioned within a moment of revolutionary social motion.
The democracy I work for is certainly not a simplistic idea, nor is it the class weapon of Duma democracy, or its Westminster variant, nor the dictatorship of the Congress / House of Representatives confidence trick. It is a conscious material living process of engagement by working people in the determination of the operation of their society, which they appropriate under their rule, as its majority class. And it seeks to vanquish capitalist exploitation, in equality, corruption and brutality.

If violence is the formal part of energy, then its content is change, and conscious intervention in that process must accept the necessity to deal with the violence of the aggressing class. For me, this is not a matter of choice, and if a Fascist gang march up O’Connell St, bent on imposing their ‘most perfect form’ of capitalist exploitation on the society in which I live, I will stop them, and encourage others to use whatever energy is required to achieve that. The answer to Qui Bono is then, humanity as a species, benefits and nature as the presently threatened entity, of which it is a part.

Responding to your next point, I do see, with you, the tragic results in Africa, and South America, and for that matter, Asia, North America, Europe, in fact throughout human society as it presently exists. But these are the results of the real fact of existence of late capitalism as an era of ‘wars and revolutions’, and not the subjective choice of the combatants, which is the view of this period of historic development, accepted by the revolutionary political heritage to which I subscribe.

In my view, ‘genuine democracy movements’ are still ‘emerging’. But in a dialectical and contradictory way! They have both form and content! The principle contradiction, in my view, being the ideological limitations by which many of these movements, themselves, view the world, the quality and content of their own existence, the processes in which they participate, and the envisioning of the alternative to the present hegemony of the capitalist mode. In other words, their level of revolutionary political consciousness; and also (this being based on) the level of their philosophical education, consciousness, and approach.

A striving for a conscious grounding in the world view of Historical Materialism opens the possibility of moving ideologically beyond the limits of the Formal Thinking mode which has impoverished political discussion, conceptions, indeed, imagination, for the best part of a century.

The political abandonment of Materialist Dialectics, as the revolutionary guide to analysis, theoretical development, and political programmatic formation (strategy and tactics) has been the principle feature, in my view, of the failure to emancipate human society as the crisis of capitalism has expressed itself in such a variety of contradictions since the late 1920’s. But this is a material reality which I must accept. My challenge is to comprehend it truthfully!

The Materialist Dialectical method seeks to correctly identify the emerging moments of this revolutionary era in real time – as they emerge through the class conflict, but presented in an infinite variety of contradictory ways, processes and events.

Fully addressing the historic development and content of the real world means that we cannot consider anything ‘irrespective of Putin’s actions thus far’; these must be taken into respectful and relative consideration at all times, in my view. And to stop ‘our’ Governments from carrying out their class aggressions, intrusions, evasions, invasions, and covert actions, really means ‘we’ must put ‘them’, and the class they serve, out of power, and dismantle ‘their’ system. There is no other way!

To say that ‘We cannot stop Putin – that responsibility falls to the Russian peoples …’ is to deny the interconnectedness of capitalism as a world hegemonic system; to totally separate the struggles for revolutionary progress in the UK, Russia, Ireland, Bosnia, etc. from each other. This again, is the Formal Thinking method with its political limitations which have, in my view, theoretically and practically obstructed political understanding.

I agree completely with you that ‘they will have a much better chance if we in the West take our responsibilities a bit more seriously’. In my view, the first responsibility is to overcome the limits of Formal Thinking and Formal Logic; to embrace a thorough study of Historical Materialism, and the Materialist Dialectical method on which it is grounded, and to apply this method of analysis to the emergent crisis, and to the vital ideological education of all those thrown into this new bubbling cauldron of global revolutionary conflict.

If we can overcome the legacy of the retreat from dialectics which characterised the ideological deterioration of the Soviet Union – and which led to its material deterioration and death, then, maybe in this moment of crisis, we can begin to overcome the destructive energy of the capitalist system.

As more and more people are forced to the frontline of class struggle, these questions will be more and more faced, have to be discussed, have to be answered, and so, I maintain a revolutionary optimism. But there is hard work to be done, and perhaps the most challenging is to let go the Formal method which overtly and covertly poisons political discourse; and to study and learn about the dialectical view of the world, in its materialist conception, which alone, can guide and enable the shackles of capitalism to be effectively shaken off.

If we can energetically achieve this, there is indeed, a world to win.

Corneilius Crowley says:

Thank you for that long response, Frank...

I have to acknowledge my statement was short, and the comments within un-qualified.

To clarify,for me at least, this is about human relationships at every level. It is about the psychology of human beings living within systems of Power, where Power is held and exercised OVER others rather than shared.

When Power is used to RULE people, it has to undermine the people's potential for self governance in order to sustain itself. Therefore it has to mediate human relationships, through the medium of Compulsory Education or Religious or Ideological Indoctrination, both of which are systems of enforced compliance, in which normal relationships are reduced to questions of power. Capitalism is an expression of bullying. Socialism is not the answer to bullying. Stalin proved that quite clearly.

That the problems we face can find expression in the Capitalist/Socialist duality, or the haves/have-nots duality does not make Capitalism or 'having' while others 'lack' the problem - they are the cut of the fabric rather than the fabric itself.

It is this issue of enforced compliance, of bullying, and the 'normalisation' of bullying, that lies at the heart of what we are facing in the 21st Century. Most of us would care less for the KIND of system we inhabited if that element of bullying was dealt with, healed and made structurally impossible.

The recent call, by 'A WORLD TO WIN', for a deeper analysis, "OUR FUTURE BEYOND CAPITALISM" is a movement in that direction. To move beyond the treatment of symptom, to the examination of root cause.

My point in responding to Steve’s article was this : in Ukraine it is clear that ‘western’ sponsored elements introduced actions aimed at escalating the situation, aimed at a destabilisation of Ukraine Governance and a movement to the fore of violent paramilitary forces, a pattern that has persisted in other so called ‘springs’ – and the Russian Bear has stepped in and said – “NOT here, buddy!”

The Western forces that sponsor such escalation are within OUR domain because we fund them, through taxation, through consumer activity, through our desire to maximise our ‘investment’ in our homes (our mortgages lead to increase land prices, the search for profit through homes is driving the economies of the West…) and we in the west have massive leverage in the form of a potential mortgage strike. But we lack the psychological cohesion to commit to this degree of leverage – and therefore it is that lack of psychological cohesion amongst us the people that is OUR problem that we MUST resolve in the first instance.