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One can substantially agree with the thrust of the interview.  And then we
get to the nub of the problem I see again and again with respect to
understanding Ukraine:

Q: ..."So is this really a Ukrainian uprising?  Or are these just
playing with a pawn?"

"Obviously you cannot deny that both the U.S. and Russia?and the EU?try
to influence Ukrainian politics.  They would be stupid if they didn?t.
They are great powers, they have their imperialist interests, and that?s
what we can expect from them.

"But then you deny the grassroots nature of this protest.  People are
talking about real problems.  People are self-organizing, both in Maidan
in the Western Ukraine and in the Eastern Ukraine now.  And you cannot
just reduce it to this great power play."

But this artificial juxtaposition of uprising vs. superpowers is quite a
silly and completely unnecessary way of putting matters.  It is an absurd
way of framing a question that guarantees the absurd answer.  It is this
behavior that I find most puzzling.

The real answer is that it is *both*.  Louis has done valuable yeoman's
work in drawing a clear line against especially our most rabid political
opponents on what for the time being we must refer to as the "Left", on the
questions of the Arab Spring and Maidan. However that is not enough.  We
need to be able to present our own analysis of the motives and actions of
the outside powers.  In particular we need to present an analysis of the
actions of "our own" Great Power capitalist regimes, first of all because
that is where we interact with ordinary people on a daily basis.  And
second of all because these Great Power interventions are an objective
factor and condition for the uprising and for any self-organizing
movement.  Today Ukraine is clearly heading toward disintegration as a
result, not of Maidan, but of the actions of the outside Powers.  My own
analysis indicates that this result is *primarily*, but obviously not
solely due to the actions and attitude of the US government. It is hard to
imagine that a conservative like Putin would not want a status quo
settlement that would divide up the spoils.  But the US gambled for it
all.  And lost, as its policy predictably heads towards "fubar".

So far I've not seen this, perhaps out of a "scratch-gangrene" fear of
"resembling our opponents", or perhaps because one agrees with Slavoj Žižek
in his surprisingly good "Barbarism with a Human Face" article in LRB (I
confess that Žižek has come off too much as the "philosophical clown" for
my tastes in the past, but this is the acme of sobriety from him,
relatively speaking), when he ends by stating "Such geopolitical games are
of no interest whatever to authentic emancipatory politics".  Here Žižek
presents the above same artificial juxtaposition stood on its head as a

Of course Great Power geopolitical games have nothing to do, are utterly
alien, to authentic emancipatory politics.  They are the *conscious enemy*
of such a politics, that's why they exist!  And that is why, as against
Žižek, we MUST BE INTERESTED in the games they play against us, from ALL
sides, and especially from the side of the Great Power closest to you.
After all, a "new Cold War against Russia" is intended to whip up a
militarist mentality in the US, generating not only the economic waste of
yet another military buildup with directly negative consequences for our
working class, but intended to create a political environment hostile to
any "authentic emancipatory politics" in the US.  Just as exactly 100 years
ago, the machinations of the Great Powers provoked a World War with
devastating consequences for the prospects of authentic emancipatory
politics of the time, above all for the international working class
Socialist movement.  We clearly have a vital material interest in
preventing that from happening, and that means going against all the
idiotic "new Cold War" rhetoric coming out of Washington. With eyes wide

I don't know why the concept of "know thy enemy" is so difficult to grasp.
The failure to do so means defaulting to our opponents on the "Left". It is
not enough to know that "we" are not "them".  We have to defeat them. How
else do we expect to win?  Or are we content to simply be
"oppositionists"?  I don't know about you, but I fight to win.


PS: Thank god it appears the Ukrainian officer corps has no stomach for
shooting its own people.  Who knows, with Ukraine facing disintegration,
they might even move against the US-installed coup "government".  And good
news that a troop of torch-bearing Neo-Nazis just meet with real hostility
from the present Maidan encampment yesterday.  Unfortunately I had to glean
this latter from RT.com:
http.com//rt.com/news/155748-rally-kiev-massive-fight/   See what I mean?
Why do I have to critically scour "the other side" for information?
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