Ukraine and Venezuela, a political twofer

Inbetween bouts of furious scribbling for my next novella I wandered out to find a few hundred Venezualan protestors shouting about Maduro and pushing my Spanish beyond it’s meagre limits. Which in true procrastinating style send me off on a flurry of Googling in search of some truth on what’s happening in Chavez’s old haunt but also in the Ukraine, where the media seems to be spinning out a similarly questionable narrative. Anyway, a few thoughts and some links I found interesting for those who’re trying to get themselves some learnin’ on both situations.

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Ironic really for a self avowed supporter of revolutionary activity but the enthusiasm for any and all protests from some people is getting to me. Maduro in Venezuela may be ineffectual (or not, I know too little to judge) but he is democratically elected for what that’s worth and the protestors are largely the same middle class conservatives who were against Chavez. They’re supported by the same external interests and their disdain for Socialism is the same. Just because they happen to be opposing the state it doesn’t grant them any inherent value or mandate to demand change. Nor is their use of violence any less objectionable than the state’s, especially given that from what I can see their motives are largely self serving and centred on the protection of their own interests. They have no plan or desire to deal with crime in poor areas or to alleviate the economic suffering of the Venezuelan working class, which are the core issues Maduro can be called out on.

Same with the Ukraine, EU and US cheer leading protestors whose dominant block is made up of far right nutters, such as Svoboda and declaring it a victory for democracy whilst ignoring the fact that the both the EU and US are solely in it to dick around with gas supplies and subordinate the Ukraine to their interests. Also conveniently forgotten is the fact that a huge swathe of the country is ethnically Russian and that whilst Putin is a bastard his desire to rule the Ukraine by proxy (for reasons of defence and gas pipelines) is more or less identical to the West’s. Feels all too similar to Syria with foreign interests making proxy power plays with blithely simplistic liberal rhetoric declaring that when ten or more people gather together to attack a regime they don’t like it must be the will of the people speaking. Protest stripped of complexity and reduced to a black and white narrative where choosing sides is as easy as picking the one Russia doesn’t like. And all the while Western protest movements, like Occupy prior to it’s bizarre descent into a monetized consultancy, are still advertised as reckless anarchists out to destroy civilization.

I still can’t say much about either situation internally (although I’m slowly reaching some small conclusions) but from the outside world’s response I think it’s fair enough to say there’s something deeply fucked up going on. We’re being dragged into conflicts which aren’t being adequately or honestly reported with propaganda which only the most hypocritical of states can use without feeling ashamed of itself and to ends which there are no reason to view as desirable. Genius of it is that there’s not even a firm position to protest from here, beyond shouting ‘shut up and let’s talk about what the hell’s going on’, which doesn’t really flow well on a banner.

Links of interest:

On Venezuela (sorry for the paucity, Ukraine took over my searching):

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/2002_Venezuelan_coup_d’%C3%A9tat_attempt

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/feb/18/venezuela-protests-us-support-regime-change-mistake

On Ukraine:

Anarchists could benefit from reading something printed after 1920 but interesting nonetheless, in a bombastic sort of way. http://libcom.org/news/statement-situation-ukraine-autonomous-workers-union-21022014

http://www.ibtimes.com/euromaidan-dark-shadows-far-right-ukraine-protests-1556654

Mostly from the East I think, with it’s large ethnic Russian population. http://m.thomhartmann.com/forum/2014/01/ukrainian-left-wing-activists-appeal-un-eu-and-usa-dont-back-civil-war-fascist-coup-uk

Somewhat simplistic in it’s assumptions about the left but… http://anton-shekhovtsov.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/the-ukrainian-protests-are-about.html

‘Glory to Heroes’ seems to have been accepted fairly unquestioningly as a slogan by portions of the mainstream media but it’s not a new one… http://www.nst.com.my/world/upa-controversial-partisans-who-inspire-ukraine-protesters-1.474365

Russia Today, so be skeptical. Worth noting Hague tweeting about IMF packages though, the death knell for any notion of ‘independence’ coming from EU allignment… http://rt.com/news/ukraine-opposition-yanukovich-coup-273/

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/wap/Item.aspx?type=0&item=177727

More on potential IMF bailouts. Suggests that Ukraine can be owned by Russia or the IMF. Rock and a hard place, never mind the rise of the right or the undoubted politicking the EU, US and Russia will indulge in when/if it comes to anything approaching a real election  http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/02/23/world/europe/with-presidents-departure-ukraine-looks-toward-a-murky-future.html?hpw&rref=world&_r=0&referrer=

She was heckled during her first speech, hardly the face of freedom despite what certain front pages may be saying. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-22351931

http://pando.com/2014/02/24/everything-you-know-about-ukraine-is-wrong/

And as I’m writing this there’s stuff coming out about Tymoshenko telling protestors not to leave the barricades and generally inciting them to keep on trucking. Which given the nationalist language that a fair few are using is sure to fill those more alligned with Russia, ethnically and economically, with a strong sense of unease given the history at play here. It’s hard to see any of this ending well, it’s also hard to see the Ukraine ending up in the EU but it’s relatively easy to see things escalating into something considerably worse. And even if they do end up joining it’ll only be the beginning given how reliant the East of the country especially is on Russian money, which you can guarantee would disappear overnight. Unless of course the talk of secession comes to something, in which case fuck knows how far things will go.

e2a: Will be updating this with new articles as and when they appear.

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