Sunday, August 17, 2014

Marxism and a Jewish "right of return" to Israel/Palestine

Do Jews from around the world have a "right of return" to Palestine/Israel?  Is such a right or demand "increasingly relevant as the world crisis of capitalism kindles Jew hatred as a reactionary bludgeon against fighting labor."? [cite]

Excerpts from the Pathfinder pamphlet How Can the Jews Survive?  A socialist answer to Zionism bring a Marxist approach to the contradictions alive in the phrase "right of return."


Below are some excerpts from the pamphlet that have appeared in the "Books of the Week" column of The Militant in recent years.


How Can the Jews Survive?  A socialist answer to Zionism can be purchased here.








Anti-Semitism rooted in capitalist crises, disorder 

(Books of the Month column)
Below is an excerpt from How Can the Jews Survive? A socialist answer to Zionism, one of Pathfinder’s books of the month for May. “The salvation of the Jewish people,” says author George Novack, “cannot come from reliance upon Zionist chauvinism, American imperialism, or Stalinist bureaucratism. Every expedient short of the struggle for socialism will end in calamity for the Jews.” Novack, the son of immigrant Jews from Eastern Europe, joined the communist movement in the United States in 1933. He was a member and leader of the Socialist Workers Party until his death in 1992. Copyright © 1969 by Pathfinder Press. Reprinted by permission.

BY GEORGE NOVACK  

The coming of capitalism eliminated the necessity and changed the possibilities and prospects for perpetuating Jewry as a people apart, since its special function became the general condition of the social economy. During the 19th century both liberals and Marxists held the view that the Jews would shed their distinctive traits and separate identity through gradual absorption into an enlightened bourgeois or a future socialist society. Progressive capitalism did institute a certain degree of assimilation in Western Europe and North America, although it failed to complete it there. The process of social and cultural homogenization was barely begun in Eastern Europe because of its backwardness.

The development of world capitalism in this century upset this perspective. Imperialistic, crisis-torn capitalism swung over to an exacerbated nationalism of its own. One of its most malignant manifestations was the resort to anti-Semitism, a ready-made means for diverting the wrath of despairing and deluded people away from the real authors of their misery by making the Jews a scapegoat for the crimes of a decaying capitalism. This relapse into barbarism was consummated in Germany, the most highly developed capitalist country of Europe, through the frenzied chauvinism of the Nazis capped by Hitler’s extermination of six million Jews.

The degeneration of capitalism coupled with the failure of the socialist movement to replace it in time gave the Jewish question an acuteness and urgency unanticipated by the first generations of Marxists. Hitlerism served to spur and fortify the feelings of national solidarity among the Jews which, for different reasons, had been fading in both East and West Europe. The harried Jews had to defend and define themselves anew in reaction to the menace to their very physical existence.

For the sake of self-preservation and national perpetuation, the survivors of East European Jewry who, especially among the workers, had been widely won over to the Marxist ideals of socialism, turned toward Zionism as the last hope of salvation. The project of seeking and securing refuge in a new Jewish state located in Palestine pushed aside the internationalist program and perspective… .

What is the way out? If the Israelis are not to be caught in a bloody trap of Zionist devising, they will have to abandon the exclusive and aggressive Jewish state and opt for a Middle East federation of the Arab and Jewish peoples. It is true that the Jewish bourgeois-chauvinists and their Anglo-American patrons, as well as demagogues and reactionaries among the Arabs, are equally opposed to such a solution. That is why this desirable political goal cannot be realized except through the joint struggle against imperialism and capitalism in that area under revolutionary socialist leadership.

By a circuitous route, lined by six million dead, which has led from Eastern Europe to Palestine, the Jewish masses today face the same alternative as their fathers and grandfathers: either alliance with the forces of socialist revolution or a bloody catastrophe.  

http://www.themilitant.com/2007/7121/712149.html



Capitalist rulers scapegoat Jews for economic crisis 

(Books of the Month column)
Below is an excerpt from How Can the Jews Survive? A Socialist Answer to Zionism by George Novack, one of Pathfinder’s Books of the Month for December. The pamphlet describes how the capitalist rulers in times of crisis resort to anti-Semitism to scapegoat Jews for the crimes of decaying capitalism. This piece comments on an essay by Isaac Deutscher titled “The Non-Jewish Jew.” Copyright © 1969 by Pathfinder Press. Reprinted by permission.

BY GEORGE NOVACK  

Marxism takes issue with the mystique of the chosen people in reference to the Jews or any other nationality. It gives a historical and materialist explanation for the exceptional endurance and peculiar characteristics of the Jews since their dispersion. The Jews have maintained existence and individuality as a nationality primarily because of the special role they played as a people-class in precapitalist society, where they were agents of the money economy among peoples living in a natural economy. Judaism and anti-Semitism had common roots in the distinctive functions which marked off the commercial Jew from the rest of the nations.

The coming of capitalism eliminated the necessity and changed the possibilities and prospects for perpetuating Jewry as a people apart, since its special function became the general condition of the social economy. During the 19th century both liberals and Marxists held the view that the Jews would shed their distinctive traits and separate identity through gradual absorption into an enlightened bourgeois or a future socialist society. Progressive capitalism did institute a certain degree of assimilation in Western Europe and North America, although it failed to complete it there. The process of social and cultural homogenization was barely begun in Eastern Europe because of its backwardness.

The development of world capitalism in this century upset this perspective. Imperialistic, crisis-torn capitalism swung over to an exacerbated nationalism of its own. One of its most malignant manifestations was the resort to anti-Semitism, a ready-made means for diverting the wrath of despairing and deluded people away from the real authors of their misery by making the Jews a scapegoat for the crimes of a decaying capitalism. This relapse into barbarism was consummated in Germany, the most highly developed capitalist country of Europe, through the frenzied chauvinism of the Nazis capped by Hitler’s extermination of six million Jews.

The degeneration of capitalism coupled with the failure of the socialist movement to replace it in time gave the Jewish question an acuteness and urgency unanticipated by the first generations of Marxists. Hitlerism served to spur and fortify the feelings of national solidarity among the Jews which, for different reasons, had been fading in both East and West Europe. The harried Jews had to defend and define themselves anew in reaction to the menace to their very physical existence.

For the sake of self-preservation and national perpetuation, the survivors of East European Jewry who, especially among the workers, had been widely won over to the Marxist ideals of socialism, turned toward Zionism as the last hope of salvation. The project of seeking and securing refuge in a new Jewish state located in Palestine pushed aside the internationalist program and perspective.

There were dreadful pitfalls in this forced decision. “The world has driven the Jew to seek safety in a nation-state in the middle of this century when the nation-state is falling into decay,” Deutscher pointed out. The Jewish people, which was denied the benefits of bourgeois nationalism in its best days, was compelled to embrace a bourgeois nationalism of its own and constitute a separate Jewish state at a time when the progressive potential of that form of political organization within the capitalist framework had been reduced to a minimum.

To heap up their ill fortune, the Zionists chose to build their state in a tiny, poor and unfavorable terrain already occupied by another people, slowly awakening to its own national consciousness, which they then displaced by economic and military pressures… .

During the 1930s Roosevelt’s liberal Democratic administration did not heed the cries of the victims of Nazism and refused to open the doors guarded by the Statue of Liberty to more than a handful of Jewish refugees who were lucky enough to find sponsors here… .

The American ruling class, whose agents dropped the first atom bombs on the Japanese, conduct genocidal warfare in Vietnam, stood ready to use the H-bomb in the Caribbean confrontation of 1962 and maltreat their minorities at home, has shown itself capable of monstrous crimes. In case the survival of its power and profits hangs in the balance, why should it consider the six million American Jews to be less expendable than the six million European Jews it let Hitler exterminate? Inconceivable? So assimilated German Jews of the 1920s thought, too… .

Every expedient short of the struggle for socialism, any substitute for that, will end in calamity for the Jews. They cannot achieve security for themselves or anyone else so long as the root causes of discrimination, racism and reactionary nationalism continue to exist. Indeed, the Zionists have dealt fatal blows to themselves by succumbing to these practices. These curses can be removed only by abolishing capitalism, as the East European Jewish workers formerly believed and the non-Jewish Jews of the Marxist school taught.

The Jews have to link themselves with those forces in their own country and on a world scale that are fighting to overthrow imperialism and striving to build the new society. The solution of the Jewish question is indissolubly bound up with the complete emancipation of humanity that can be brought about only along the road of international socialism.  
 http://www.themilitant.com/2010/7449/744949.html


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

"Letters to a Stalinist" [1953]



On 16 June 1953 workers in East Berlin started an uprising against rising productivity demands, rising food prices, and anti-democratic practices of party and trade union leaders. Early wild-cat strikes spread in East Germany as initial wages/hours demands were met.  Within days a hundred thousand workers were sitting down.

The workers organized themselves to defend their pickets.  For a time they even ran their own government in the town of Bitterfeld.

The repercussions of this struggle, eventually beaten down by Vopos, Soviet military units, and harsh judicial sentences, were felt around the world in the vanguard of the labor movement. After the Moscow "doctor's plot" and Stalin's death earlier in the year, it was a third shock to the Stalinist system.

The U.S. Socialist Workers Party approached the East German events on a variety of fronts.  They continued with articles by John G. Wright on the struggle in Moscow between Stalin's inheritors, principally Beria and Malenkov.  Art Preis covered the revolt itself.

Wright wrote this about the stakes of the East German events in the 20 July 1953 issue:


The Malenkov regime was caught by surprise and rocked to its heels by the East German events.  The regime is especially fearful of repercussions inside the USSR resulting from the massive reappearance of the German working class as an independent force on the political arena.  This is clearly shown by Pravda, chief mouthpiece of the post-Stalin regime. Within six days of the uprising of the East German working class, Moscow organized an All-Union propaganda campaign to hide the truth about East Germany from the Soviet workers, a campaign still going on by early July.


One of the most interesting columns, of which I have found only five, is a Page Two series by Murray Weiss called "Letters to a Stalinist."  In them Weiss writes to a friend names Phil, a thoughtful rank and file member of the CPUSA who has been rationalizing several decades of Stalinist betrayals and treachery against workers and their exploited allies at home and abroad.

The tone of Weiss's letters is calm, patient, and serious. They are letters comradely in tone, but also stern and sharp, as the moment demanded.  They are a model of recruitment in a period of confusion in the camp of one's political enemy.

One of the strengths of the columns is how they deal with Moscow's smear of the workers' revolt as being inspired by Washington and local fascists.  The same kind of smears are being used today against the workers of Ukraine in their own rebellion for political space and against 300 years of Great Russian chauvinism.



1.  20 July 1953:





2. 3 August 1953:





3.  24 August 1953:





4.  19 October 1953:





5.  28 December 1953:






http://www.marxists.org/history/etol/newspape/themilitant/1953/index.htm

Saturday, August 9, 2014

A self-criticism from the home of the "neocon" conspiracy.



Since I have been spending what little political time I have for the last eight months in exposing Workers World Party's rationalizations and obfuscations [to be kind about it] attacking Ukraine's independence struggle against 300 years of Great Russian Chauvinism [here, here], it would be churlish not to recognize an instance of the actual facts of the "global class war" having a positive [if perhaps transitory] impact upon their politics.

A break in the overcast of Democratic Party opportunism has emerged in the heat of Israel's assault on Gaza:

....Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and every other “liberal” Democrat in the U.S. Senate voted to back this slaughter.
....If you think politicians’ morals are being held hostage by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), think again. The backbone of bourgeois support for Israel’s heartless genocide against Palestinians is not the Zionist lobby. It’s the indispensable role Israel plays for U.S. imperialism in the Middle East.
....It was easy and felt good to be anti-war and anti-George W. Bush. He was a dopey conservative who couldn’t pronounce “nuclear” and lied about Iraq having weapons of mass destruction.
Yet while literate, liberal President Barack Obama says all the right things about some social liberal issues — and may even bemoan Palestinian casualties here and there — he is backing Israel’s genocide to the hilt.

http://www.workers.org/articles/2014/08/09/gaza-slaughter-exposes-democrats/


Other corrections await [here, here].

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Workers World Party silent on Sarcelles synagogue attack


Anti-Semitic demo outside Sarcelles synagogue

Readers of this blog know I have pretty strong thoughts on the dangers of anti-Semitism and Jew-hatred for the working class and its allies.  The "socialism of fools" is a deadly trap that threatens to demobilize the growth of independent working class political action.  I cannot put it better than a comrade on social media yesterday:

Antisemitism is a poison in our movements because it takes the fire off the capitalist class. It redirects the anger of the masses towards the brutality of capitalism instead towards the ghost of Jewish conspiracy. It disorients us, and can ultimately shatter the workers movement. That's why we take it seriously.

Another comrade added:

Jew hatred is not a conjunctural and passing phenom of the 19-20th centuries. It's in the DNA of capitalism.

When workers and farmers begin to resist the consequences of austerity and the grinding "recovery" touted by the big-business press, Jew-hatred is a ready go-to. 

One of the chief responsibilities of a communist party today is explaining the roots of anti-Semitism, its danger to class solidarity and class political independence.  Fortunately, the communist movement has produced a wealth of material to accomplish this important task [here and here].

A few incidents of anti-Semitic violence have occurred in the last few weeks, accompanying large and successful marches in solidarity with the embattled population of Gaza. These events have been covered in the bourgeois press, usually in the spirit of spreading demoralization and spiking public opposition to  Israel's bombing and invasion. In France the government used the incidents to attack democratic rights and freedom to march.

Jewish-owed business looted in Sarcelles


One of the best communist analyses of successful protests against Israel's war on Gaza, and accompanying anti-Semitic incidents, is "Palestinian Solidarity Strengthened, Hamas Influence Weakened" by James Robb.

In the article, Robb explains and celebrates political strengths of a large Gaza solidarity rally in Auckland, New Zealand.  March organizers built a serious and inclusive event, and explained at the outset that any expression of anti-Semitism was unacceptable.

The feeling of strengthening solidarity with the Palestinian people under attack was so powerful on the Auckland march, I was tempted to believe that a similar shift was taking place around the world – a similar loosening of the influence of the Hamas perspectives, a similar political strengthening.
Not so, apparently. Demonstrations against the Israeli assault on Gaza  in both France and Germany took an anti-Semitic turn. A synagogue and several Jewish-owned shops were damaged in Paris. This video of a demonstration in Berlin shows part of a crowd chanting “Jew, cowardly pig, come on out and fight.” The French government is trying to take advantage of the political confusion that these actions generate to ban all demonstrations in support of Palestine, while the right-wing forces push to scapegoat immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa. Let no one try to talk down the importance of these developments or explain away the anti-Semitic violence and threats that marred these demonstrations.

The violence this weekend in the Paris suburb of Sarcelles, where a demonstration of several hundred marched on a synagogue and looted Jewish-owned shops and restaurants, has been widely covered in the bourgeois press [here and here].  

However, the reality of these events, the important lessons they hold for the international workers movement, are being ignored by the U.S. middle class left.  

Workers World newspaper presents Sarcelles anti-Semitic demo as "youth rebellion"


Workers World newspaper, organ of Workers World Party in the United States, is a case in point.  In the last few days, this paper has carried several articles on Gaza solidarity marches [here, here, and here.]  It has even referred to the Paris suburb Sarcelles.  About the looting and synagogue march, not a word:

The French government took the extraordinary step of outlawing pro-Palestinian demonstrations. Despite threats of prison and fines, organizers estimate that up to 10,000 people attended a rally in central Paris. In the city’s northern suburb of Sarcelles, young demonstrators erupted in rebellion against the ban to show solidarity with Gaza. Police arrested 38 for their alleged participation in the protest. (RT, July 20)

Is looting Jewish-owned businesses, and marching on a synagogue, a show of solidarity with the people of Gaza?  A thousand times no!  This rationalization strengthens the claims of the Israeli government that its opponents are motivated by Jew-hatred.  Such actions set back Gaza solidarity.  They demoralize and discourage all those who, inspired by the demonstrations last week, might have come out for the first time next week.

When Workers World decided to mention the Sarcelles demonstrations, it was incumbent on them as self-professed revolutionary socialists to explain the truth: Jews and their synagogue had been targeted by some demonstrators, and this was unacceptable.  Instead, WW obscured the facts to shield their readers from a discussion of the social fact of anti-Semitism today.  

Why did they do this?  Because in the left activist movement in which they swim, any serious political discussion of the reality of Jew-hatred today it would be too scandalous to endure.  It would make WW a pariah in the  milieu they have themselves spent decades building.  It is a world where anti-Zionism is promoted, while "neoconservatives" [i.e. Jews] are presented as the root of all evil U.S. government actions [here, here, and here], events like those in Sarcelles become non-events. They just never happen.  

The U.S. middle class left, typified by Workers World, is unwilling, unequipped and incapable of facing up to this crucial question.

The left in the U.S. likes to refer to itself as the "lesser evil." But because of its role as a derailer of class clarity and independent working class political action, "greater evil" is a more appropriate sobriquet.

Jay 
07/24/2014

Monday, July 21, 2014

"The truth must not only be the truth; it must be told and acted upon"

I wanted to share this post from a comrade on Facebook.

While reading the comments and "explanations" for why Israel "had to" bomb the Al-Aqsa hospital in Deir al-Balah, Gaza, I'm reminded of Baruch Spinoza and the enduring value of the practical conclusions of this 17th-century worker-fighter for human progress: no matter what happens to one-self in life, one needs to understand beyond one-self to come to grips with life.
To do that today, one has to step back a bit and see what is happening with a longer-range sense of history, with the political approach of a citizen of the world, of a working-class internationalist. 
 The borders; the states; the national divisions and oppressive class relationships institutionalized by the competing (and sometimes "allied") "victors" coming out of the mass slaughters of World War I and World War II - that whole imperialist-imposed order is unraveling as we speak, from the battlefields of Iraq to the mines of Turkey, from a Kurdistan in becoming to the still-not-extinguished popular fight in Syria.

No matter what the ruling class of Israel - or any other ruling class or capitalist force in the broader region or on Earth - does today to close democratic and political space, working people will continue to meet each other, they will share experiences with each other and over time converge in life and political organization and thinking.

 
The truth must not only be the truth; it must be told and acted upon. We have to offer ourselves as working people a way forward; a political road in common that will transcend any border they put in our way. The fight for socialist revolution and a democratic and secular Palestine is not a matter of making an abstract "choice" among many others, it can not be postponed; it is a matter of offering ourselves the necessary conditions for freedom and life before un-ending horror and drawn-out death.
Leon Trotsky was right in 1940: the salvation of the Jewish people - AND the Palestinian people - lies in the victory of the world socialist revolution.
Israel is a PART of this changing world; that is a social fact there is no turning back from, and its ruling class will not escape the coming mass challenges to its power from "the inside", by workers and poor farmers who are Jewish, Arab, Russian, Eritrean; "native-born" or "immigrant". For that, there is NO wall that will ever "work".
Its not 1948, 1967 nor 1973 anymore; no Iron Dome nor "permanent military State" can change that. The world is getting smaller and the prospects for a politically independent (from any kind of exploiters) working-class course of action are broadening, propelled forward by the very workings and inevitable consequences of the capitalist world economy.
This massively imposed suffering for the people of Gaza is NOT about Hamas, Fatah nor any other - in historical terms, momentary - misleadership or political obstacles, whose bourgeois corruption and thugishness can not offer the Palestinian people (nor any other people) a unifying perspective nor peace, land and bread. 
Much more is at stake for the only class that produces all wealth and guards the common achievements of human culture, the international class whose collective labor and social transformation of nature offers a tomorrow, if that word is to have any future meaning at all.
No matter how many "targeted assassinations", invasions and bombs they rain down periodically upon the people of Gaza (or anywhere else); no matter how much suffering, hunger or misery they directly or indirectly inflict on the Palestinian people, the capitalist ruling class of Israel will not break the will to fight of the Palestinian people for land and dignity. That is also a fact, an inescapable historical, political and moral fact.
There is no "security" nor "peace" for the Jewish people (most of whom live outside of Israel) as long as the rule of Capital dominates the world; a historically outmoded system of economic and social (dis)organization that inevitably - if its not conquered in time by the united and conscious action of working people internationally - will once again unleash fascism on a mass scale as a means to survive, targeting the Jewish people once again...
The ruling class of Israel can not do otherwise than what they are doing today. They can not offer the working people of Israel (nor of Gaza and the West Bank) a real and livable future. They can not offer anything else than war and the mentality of the besieged. And what they "offer" the population of Gaza today is a glimpse of what they will offer anyone resisting their rule inside of Israel itself. 

https://www.facebook.com/ernesto.oleinik?hc_location=timeline

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Articles on Ukraine from The Militant newspaper 2004-2014

The Militant has been publishing reports on the class and national struggle in Ukraine for the last eight months.  They are unmatched in their accuracy and Marxist political clarity. Staff of The Militant have also made two trips to Ukraine for one-the-scene reports and interviews.

Pre­-2013 Ukraine articles from the Militant
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7trXEFcZimVTUIwY0JBVnBxZ3M/edit?usp=sharing


Ukraine articles 2013­2014 from the pages of The Militant newspaper
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7trXEFcZimVVnVsVkNCeF9hVFE/edit?usp=sharing

I collected the articles together for easy access.  

If anyone else finds them useful, please share them around.




Jay
07/20/14

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Workers World Party blames "neoconservative element" influence for downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17

Workers World Party today is blaming U.S. "neoconservative" puppet masters who pull Kiev's strings for the downing of the passenger plane over Ukraine.

"....We also believe that the popular resistance forces in southeast Ukraine do not control weapons capable of shooting down a plane flying at that altitude, nor do they have any interest in shooting down a civilian airliner from Malaysia. Only U.S. and EU imperialism can gain and are trying to gain by exploiting the incident and using it against Russia."

http://www.workers.org/articles/2014/07/19/malaysian-airline-crash-u-s-eu-blame/


For the truth about the "righteous and heroic, anti-fascist resistance" pro-Moscow forces in Ukraine, please read: http://themilitant.com/2014/7826/782603.html

Excerpt:


As infighting and desertions spread among armed separatist groups in eastern Ukraine, government troops have been retaking cities, including Kramatorsk, Druzhkivka, Artemivsk and Slovyansk — the headquarters of the separatists’ so-called Donetsk People’s Republic.
On July 2, supporters of Ukrainian sovereignty demonstrated in the southeastern city of Mariupol, where workers drove out separatists in May and again in June.
Anti-Ukraine forces are increasingly unpopular and losing their base of support in the east. Noting that “cases of kidnappings, thefts and armed attacks” targeting working people and industry have grown, Independent Trade Union of Miners of Ukraine chair Mikhailo Volynets called June 21 for workers to undertake “the creation of a labor guard, whose militants could protect not only their enterprises and workplaces, but also their lives and those of their families.”
Alexei, a local driver, told Associated Press by phone that he left his house in Slovyansk July 5 and saw that the armed gunmen had fled. There was some damage to previously occupied buildings, but most of the rest of the city was left untouched.
“Everything is different now. Tonight is the first night with no shelling,” Mikhail Martynenko, 58, a security guard at a market near Slovyansk, told Reuters July 7. “People are in a better mood and there are more people on the streets.”
As separatists vacated Slovyansk, Igor Strelkov, Russian military agent and “commander of the Donetsk People’s Republic,” posted a video online saying his men had “lost the will to fight.”
“They want to live in Russia,” he said. “But when they tried to assert this right, Russia doesn’t want to help.
“I do not claim that Russia does not help,” he quickly added. “But that which we desperately need, does not, at this time, arrive.
“Some believe that I am panicking, that I’m not ok,” he concluded. “Yes, I am not ok.”
Some separatists are regrouping in the city of Donetsk, capital of the eastern Donetsk province, where they still control government buildings but have otherwise done little to interfere with the day-to-day administration of the city government. Donetsk Mayor Alexander Lukyanchenko has maintained municipal services; city workers just finished installing bike lanes downtown.
But Lukyanchenko estimates that some 100,000 people have fled Donetsk in recent weeks as the city is beset with fighting among competing gangs of armed separatists and their thuggery against the population.
A separatist faction from nearby Horlivka led by Igor Bezler, another Russian intelligence officer who goes by the name “Demon,” was routed by rival separatists after he attempted to seize the Donetsk city police station for himself.
“There is an exchange of fire among the separatists,” Iryna Verigina, from the eastern city of Luhansk, told a Ukrainian television station July 8. “They are shooting at each other.”
“Since hundreds of rebels flooded into the city [Donetsk] at the weekend,” Reuters reported July 8, “armed men have been out on the streets, setting up new barricades and checkpoints and stopping pedestrians and motorists.”

Russia stands back
The capitalist government of Russian President Vladimir Putin has not acknowledged the paramilitaries’ calls for Russian military intervention. On the Fourth of July Putin sent a message to U.S. President Barack Obama calling for improvement in relations between the two governments.
A state-funded poll released July 7 showed two-thirds of Russians oppose the country sending troops into Ukraine. Most workers are weary of war following decades of Russian military interventions from Afghanistan to Chechnya and Georgia. They face falling wages, 7 percent inflation and seek greater political rights and space to organize. Russian bosses are foremost concerned about maximizing profits and political stability in Russia and the surrounding region.
Moscow also faces growing discontent among workers and farmers in Crimea, annexed and occupied by Russian troops since March. Prices have soared 20 to 50 percent. As Russia cut off trade with Ukraine, store shelves went bare. Tourism, the main industry, plummeted, cutting jobs and pay. Medication prices have soared beyond the reach of working people. Few Russian banks opened up to replace Ukrainian banks closed by the new regime.
Farmers report they expect a good harvest, but everything else — from irrigation to credits to export possibilities — has been disrupted. “On a scale of one to five, we are at negative three,” Sergei Tur, head of the Association of Farmers and Landowners of Crimea told the New York Times July 7.
Oppressive measures against the 300,000-strong Crimean Tatar population, who overwhelmingly oppose Russian rule, have grown. On July 7 Moscow banned Refat Chubarov, the leader of the Tatar ruling Mejlis assembly, from entering Crimea for five years. Mustafa Dzhemilev, the long-standing leader of the Tatars and leader of the Mejlis until last year, was slapped with a similar ban in April.
Support for the Crimean occupation among Russian working people is low. The government’s appeal to give up a day’s pay to help fund costs of the annexation got little traction. “In our department, not one of us made the donation,” hospital worker Tatyana told Reuters July 6.