Over 150 people packed a meeting room in London on June 2 to hear speakers and discuss launching the campaign ‘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, Moscow, who joined via Skype (he was unable to obtain a visa to attend in person)
- Andrew Murray, from the Communist Party of Britain
- Alan Woods, from Socialist Appeal and the International Marxist Tendency
- Sergei Kirichuk, from the socialist organisation Borot’ba in Ukraine (via Skype)
Speakers explained different aspects of the crisis in Ukraine, including the role of US and EU imperialism and the recruitment of fascist gangs into the Ukraine National Guard. They argued the crisis is rooted in conflicting social and class interests, not not on language or ethnicity.
Other topics discussed were the British government’s support for Ukrainian authorities, the participation of British troops in forthcoming NATO exercises in Ukraine, the presence of far right and openly fascist elements within the Kiev government, the role of the wealthy Ukraine oligarchs, attacks against the Communist Party and other left wing organisations (offices ransacked and burned down, members persecuted, threats of legal proscription) and mutinies in the Ukraine army.
All speakers stressed that support for the anti-fascist resistance in Ukraine does not at all mean support for the government of Vladimir Putin in Russia.
There was a discussion period for audience participants. Two Ukrainians spoke in support of the Kiev government, including one who argued that the rebels in Luhansk had bombed the administration building themselves [on June 2].
Perhaps the most significant intervention from the floor was that of Eddie Dempsey, branch secretary of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT), Paddington Branch. On behalf of his branch, he called for a broad based, democratic campaign rooted in the labour movement to which his branch could affiliate. He wants his union to discuss an emergency resolution at its upcoming annual general meeting seeking national affiliation to the campaign. He urges his union to oppose the EU/US/Britain-backed fascist, Kiev junta, British involvement in NATO military operations in Ukraine and British political and financial support of the junta. The union should 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. He committed the Federation’s support for the campaign.
Among those present were people who had traveled from different parts of the country, including a representative of the fledgling campaign in Bristol UK. It is organising a solidarity 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.
In addition to London and Bristol, solidairty actions with the antifascist resistance in Ukraine have taken place in recent days in Dublin, Edinburgh and Brussels. Follow the news of the campaign on its website and its Facebook page.