Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

How Not to Analyse Ukraine: the Sad Case of Socialist Resistance.

with 8 comments

There once was a Fourth International.

Liam Mac Uaid , who is a respected comrade, has roused an unusual unanimously hostile reaction on the left for this article.

Ukraine – the Russians are the aggressors

We can agree or disagree with the Fourth International’s analysis: whether there is a ‘side’ worth taking, or not.

But these sentences have become notorious. 

Putin’s strategy is to gouge out chunks of Ukrainian territory. He started with Crimea. That is roughly analogous to the north of Ireland. The British state has used the presence of a Protestant population which is opposed to a united Ireland to claim sovereignty over Irish territory.

Another analogy is the Israeli state. There, a settler population displaced the original inhabitants and denied them the right to a Palestinian state. Stalin’s tactics in Crimea were not too different from those of the Israeli state’s founders. He deported almost 200 000 Crimean Tatars and filled the gap with ethnic Russians.

Putin is planning to use the presence of Russian speakers in other parts of Ukrainian territory to annex them. This has even worried Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko. According to The Moscow Times  he criticised Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea as setting a “bad precedent.” Even Putin’s friends in the region are twitchy now.

Northern Ireland, Israel, plenty more about Stalin.

A confused phrase stating that, “A defeat for Russian imperialism in Ukraine is both a victory for that mass movement and the Russian working class. ”

This article, with the central analogies cited above, has caused great offence on the left, including some of my close comrades.

Mind you some individuals  seem to think that Stalinism=Israel=Northern Ireland=Putin.

The magic of dialectical thinking at work no doubt.

Written by Andrew Coates

March 27, 2014 at 5:33 pm

8 Responses

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  1. It might be a good idea to explain who has the hostile reaction and why they have it.


    March 27, 2014 at 6:40 pm

  2. Reblogged this on .


    March 27, 2014 at 9:30 pm

  3. Argument by analogy = no argument. It’s that simple.


    March 27, 2014 at 11:32 pm

  4. That was my point Francis.

    The word in this case which could also be applied is an “amalgam”.

    Andrew Coates

    March 28, 2014 at 11:23 am

  5. Argument by analogy is a problem to which Trotskyist politics seems particularly prone. It probably stems from the urge to have an immediate “correct” and “principled” line on everything. Studying the complexities of situations is difficult and time-consuming. It is so much easier to find a superficially comparable case on which a “principled” line already exists, and then mechanically transpose that case and line onto other situations.


    March 28, 2014 at 11:59 am

  6. Weekly Worker today, after an attack on the AWL,

    “Not that Socialist Resistance is much better. Ridiculously, the comrades inform us that “socialist participants” in the anti- Yanukovych/Maidan demonstrations – such as Ilya Budraitksis of Vpered (Forward), Russian section of the Fourth International – saw the mass movement as “containing the germs of a revolutionary process” . More fool them – worshipping spontaneity always leads to a fall. We are then stupidly told that Crimea is “roughly analogous” to the north of Ireland – ie, has a settler population that displaced the original inhabitants and denied them the right to a state. Thus, Putin is using the ethnic Russian population in Crimea in the same sort of way as the British state has “used the presence of a Protestant population which is opposed to a united Ireland to claim sovereignty over Irish territory”. In other words, the Russian population of Crimea have no right to self-determination, as presumably they are an ‘oppressor’ people.

    Woefully, SR goes on to argue that Russia “stage-managed a flagrantly ridiculous referendum” and “used the result to seize Crimea” – which makes Russia “the aggressor”, as it “violated Ukraine’s national sovereignty”.1 It is interesting, isn’t it, that these two groups – both of them involved in Left Unity, as it happens – repeat so closely the phrases of the imperialists?”


    Andrew Coates

    March 28, 2014 at 1:09 pm

  7. Chartist has just published an analysis which is highly critical of the Kiev regime and its Western supporters, including those on the ‘left, while not endorsing Russia. : REFLECTIONS ON THE REVOLUTION IN UKRAINE – PART II BY FRANK LEE.


    Andrew Coates

    March 28, 2014 at 1:27 pm

  8. I’s say SR have reached broadly the correct conclusion, but for some very wrong reasons, and using some entirely inappropriate analogies …

    Jim Denham

    March 30, 2014 at 9:08 am

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