Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Stop the War Coalition, “War in Ukraine has swiftly become a proxy one between Russia and NATO”.

with 6 comments

Without the Strength to organise their own March Stop the War to Barge into TUC June Demo with their own Breakaway Bloc.

This is the agenda of the StWC. Not to Stand with Ukraine, but to end a conflict between Russia and the West. Or, as they put it, “The war in Ukraine has swiftly become a proxy one between Russia and NATO, and now the west is talking up the risk of nuclear conflict. Join leading figures from the anti-war movement at Hamilton House on Thurs 26 May to hear how we must respond.”

Perhaps words have changed their meaning but a proxy war signifies, “an armed conflict between two states or non state actors which act on the instigation or on behalf of other parties that are not directly involved in the hostilities.” Putin and his regime acts on their own behalf. Is the StWC suggesting that Ukraine is fighting at the behest of the West/Nato?

A key element of the StWC strategy, shared by the Socialist Workers Party, Counterfire, and no doubt Andrew Murry’s old friends in the Communist Party of Britain is to link the war against Ukraine to the cost of living crisis. They intended to muscle in on the TUC June demo with this, “Sat 18 June: Build and join the anti-war bloc on the TUC cost of living demonstration.”

It is distasteful that the STWC is going to use the TUC march (“A real pay rise for every worker – and a real living wage for all, Respect and security for all workers – ban zero hours contracts, ban fire and rehire, decent sick pay now, End racism at work, Tax energy profits to pay our bills, Raise universal credit, Boost union bargaining rights now”) to try to promote their agenda. Which is, as Counterfire puts it, “no more Warmongering” by ‘Nato’ – placed on a par with the Russian use of military force to invade and slaughter Ukrainians.

Who are the “leading anti-war” people addressing the Mandar Hall.

Chris Hazard is Sein Fein MP for South Down.

Ali, German, Hudson and Murray, are old troopers taking to the boards yet again, well known only to the limited circles of the left, describe further.

The final speaker, Yuri Sheliazhenko, is an interesting chap,

“In late April Yuri Sheliazhenko, Executive Secretary of the Ukrainian Pacifist Movement (UPM), was listed as a speaker at an online meeting organised by the Socialist Labour Network (SLN).” posted Shiraz at the time. “Ukranian pacifist movement: a two-men-but-no-dog ‘organisation’.

He gets around,

The three other speakers at the meeting were:

Tony Greenstein: A man whose mission in life has been to promote left antisemitism at every opportunity and in no matter how crude a form, including fully-baked conspiracy theories and Nazi-Zionist amalgams.

David Miller: Another left-antisemitic conspiracy-theory fantasist with a speciality in particularly convoluted forms of conspiratorialism (including, more recently, Nazi-Zionist collaboration in Ukraine) and apologetics for the Assad regime in Syria.

Chris Williamson: The former Labour MP who now resides at the red-brown-alliance end of the political spectrum. Promotes, in a particularly virulent form, left antisemitism, apologetics for the Assad regime, and now apologetics for Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Yuri Sheliazhenko, the UPM’s other member, churns out large amounts of tedious, verbose and meaningless (but relatively harmless) written material, not just for the UPM but also for the online journal The Truth Seeker.

Apart from re-posts, virtually all articles on UPM and Truth Seeker social media emanate from Sheliazhenko. All video clips on their social media feature Sheliazhenko, and Sheliazhenko alone. And (perhaps for good reason) the only UPM member ever to be interviewed is Sheliazhenko, not Kotsaba.

Insofar as Sheliazhenko’s writings have any substance other than platitudes (infinite variations of the formulation: War is bad, peace is good), that substance has no political credence, and often no factual credence.

A week before Putin’s invasion Sheliazhenko wrote: “Western media predict imminent war. Fail in predicting. [Presumably means: The predictions are wrong.] My friend David Swanson even put a counter to these lies about imminent Russian invasion at the website WorldBeyondWar.org.”

Sheliazhenko’s response to the invasion was to put an ‘equals’ sign between Putin and Zelensky: “Putin and Zelensky are killers if they do not immediately agree to a meeting for peace talks in the immediate future.”

In an interview conducted a week later Sheliazhenko appeared to put the blame on Zelensky for the failure to open peace talks: “He (Zelensky) pursues a military solution, and he fails to call Putin and ask him directly to stop the war.”

As if all that was needed to secure withdrawal of the Russian forces was a phone call. But in Sheliazhenko’s strange political universe, that’s actually all that is needed.

Sheliazhenko has also backed the suggestion of the Europe for Peace campaign for what amounts to a suicidal proposal for human shields (although he has failed to give a lead himself):

“European non-violent pacifists will issue an ultimatum to Putin and Zelensky: Stop the war immediately, or people will organize caravans of non-violent pacifists from all over Europe, using all possible means to travel to the conflict zones, unarmed, to act as peacekeepers among the combatants.”

Sheliazhenko defines Zelensky’s aims in the war as: “(Acceptance of) the Euro-Atlantic choice of Ukraine; her sovereignty over the Donbas and the Crimea; and the cessation of ties with Russia, following her punishment for imperialism and war crimes.”

He defines Putin’s aims as: “Multi-polarity; (recognition of) Russian security concerns in the post-Soviet region; demilitarisation and denazification of Ukraine, including non-alignment with military alliances; absence of nuclear weapons; recognition of Russian sovereignty over Crimea; independence of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics; non-discrimination of Russian people and culture in Ukraine; punishment of anti-Russian far-righters.”

There is clearly a gap, and a major contradiction, between these two sets of aims. But Sheliazhenko has the answer: “To assist the peace process I propose to create an independent public commission of experts for peaceful resolution of the crisis in and around Ukraine.”

Sheliazhenko’s attraction for STW (which turns a blind eye to his enthusiasm for Ukrainian membership of the EU) is his portrayal of the conflict in Ukraine as a conflict between two rival imperialisms, with NATO bearing rather more blame for the conflict than Russia:

Some feel the StWC is too soft on Nato and does not stand up for Russia and China enough.

Rumour reaches us that this lot are busy setting their own “multipolarity world” effectively pro-Russian ‘anti-war’ movement.

It is suggested that our old friends from Socialist Action are involved.

Written by Andrew Coates

May 21, 2022 at 4:01 pm

6 Responses

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  1. Off-thread, but has Socialist Resistance gone out of business? They haven’t updated their website for ten months.

    Sue r

    May 21, 2022 at 4:25 pm

  2. Notice how the StWC leaders are all in their sixties? The youngest must be mid 50s. A healthy organization nurtures and promotes young talent. This isn’t happening on the far left. Is it because it’s literally a job for them and they want to keep any income that comes into these organizations ? Or is it that there is precious little young talent to be promoted? What happened to the 100,000s of young people inspired by Corbyn 7 years ago.


    May 21, 2022 at 5:46 pm

  3. There’s an oddity in Steve Sweeney’s billing for the 25th May webinar. He’s down as speaking ‘in a personal capacity.’. Old hands know that as a cypher for the speaker preparing to say things his or her formal affiliated body might not approve of (mainly used by TU bureacrats of the left voicing sentiments their general secretary might find unpalatable were they be uttered in the name of the union). So given that Mr Sweeney seems to be employed solely by the MS, is there some subtle nuance here we have all missed ? As they say, just askin’.


    May 21, 2022 at 7:20 pm

    • Sweeney appears to be using his position as Morning Star foreign editor to launch a one-man foreign policy making enterprise, of an international range only paralleled by Tariq Ali.

      He also tweets some very ‘controversial’ (idiotic) things:

      Possibly not everyone, the CPB included, appreciates the new Foreign Secretary of MS’s one-man policy-making.

      Andrew Coates

      May 21, 2022 at 8:04 pm

    • Sweeney openly supports Putin’s invasion whereas his employers, the Morning Star formally and pretty half-heartedly, oppose it. Sweeney was recently advertised as a speaker (“in a personal capacity”) at a pro-Putin “Victory Day” event in London called by the Maoist “Workers Party” of Harpal Brar and George Galloway

      Jim Denham

      May 23, 2022 at 9:49 am

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