Discussion on the ‘Russia as imperialist’ thesis

Introduction by Roger Annis, Aug. 30, 2014

Enclosed below is my reply to a published comment by Australian socialist Chris Slee concerning my article of June 18, The Russia as ‘imperialist thesis is wrong and a barrier to solidarity with the Ukrainian and Russia peoples.

Thousands protest NATO in Newport, Wales Aug 30, 2014

Thousands protest NATO in Newport, Wales, Aug 30, 2014

Panicked threats by NATO countries have mounted in the past 48 hours due to significant reverses suffered by Kyiv’s military offensive against the people of eastern Ukraine. Those reverses are blamed on an alleged Russian “invasion” of Ukraine by troops and tanks.

This is the latest in a long string of claims that Russia has “invaded” or otherwise intervened in Ukraine. This time, Kyiv is using an invasion claim to appeal to NATO for deliveries of armaments. Some of Kyiv’s representatives, including in Canada, are asking for NATO soldiers to land in Ukraine and join Kyiv’s war in the east. This is another example of the surrender of Ukraine’s national sovereignty undertaken by this regime that came to power in Kyiv in February 2014. Already it has surrendered Ukraine’s economic sovereignty by virtue of the economic austerity and loan agreements it has signed with Europe. » Read more..

Safety Board final report on Lac Mégantic disaster is sharply critical of railway regulation, but federal gov’t unmoved

By Roger Annis, first published in the Vancouver Observer, Aug 29, 2014

Lac Mégantic disaster, image on TSB website

Lac Mégantic disaster, image on TSB website

Canada’s Transportation Safety Board issued a 181-page report on August 19 detailing the breakdown in application and enforcement of federal rail safety regulations that caused the deaths of 47 people in the oil train disaster in Lac Mégantic, Quebec on July 6, 2013. (Read the 12-page executive summary here.)

The TSB report identified 18 distinct causes and contributing factors in which safety procedures and regulations failed or were not applied. These pertain to the operations and equipment of » Read more..

Another CBC exercise in propaganda over Ukraine

The following letter was sent to the weekday, national newsmagazine program of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, The Current on Aug. 29, 2014

Shelling of residencesHello CBC/The Current,

I thought your story today on Ukraine was another exercise in providing a platform to propagandists instead of seriously exploring a complex story. None of your three guests breathed a word of the most important sets of information that listeners require to reach a balanced view of the war being waged in eastern Ukraine. These are:

1. The Ukraine government has been waging a bloody, ruthless war against the people of the east of the country using methods that amount to war crimes, namely, the use of heavy, indiscriminate shelling against civilians. Thousands have been killed and close to one million people have been made refugees.

» Read more..

The Kyiv/NATO war in eastern Ukraine and the urgent need for international solidarity

By Roger Annis, August 29, 2014

Market in Luhansk hit by shelling, Aug 2014

Market in Luhansk hit by shelling, Aug 2014

The following is an edited version of a talk by Roger Annis on August 22 that was delivered to a session of the Peoples Social Forum that took place in Ottawa from August 21 to 25. Approximately 75 people attended the session. The co-presenter to Roger Annis was David Mandel, a professor of political science in Montreal and expert in the history of the working class movements in Russia and Ukraine. You can read his talk published here in The Bullet. It is titled ‘Understanding the civil war in Ukraine’.

I want to thank the Peoples Social Forum and NoWar/Paix in Ottawa for hosting this event and organizing it. It’s so important that we discuss the war situation in eastern Ukraine and find ways to join with the people of Ukraine and Russia to put an end to Kyiv’s and NATO’s military offensive.

» Read more..

Ukraine Independence Day celebration in Toronto features appeals favouring war and fundraising for fascism

Federal minister of multiculturalism and Ontario premier join in event featuring fundraising for Ukraine ‘Right Sector’ fascists

By Roger Annis, August 27, 2014, published on the ‘Speakout’ feature of Truthout and on Rabble.ca

Right Sector fundraising booth in Toronto, August 23, 2014, CBC screenshot

Right Sector fundraising booth in Toronto, August 23, 2014, CBC screenshot

The infamous, fascist and paramilitary organization in Ukraine known as Right Sector has established a branch in Canada and was present and fundraising for military equipment at the annual, Ukraine Independence Day celebration in Toronto on August 23. The group’s efforts that day were featured in CBC and Radio Canada (French language CBC) national television news broadcasts. The two broadcasts are here: CBC and Radio Canada .

Present at the day’s event were federal Minister of Immigration and Citizenship Chris Alexander, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, Mayor Rob Ford, his city councilor brother Doug Ford and Toronto mayoral candidates John Tory and Olivia Chow.

» Read more..

Obama’s no-win war on ISIS

By Shamus Cooke, in Counterpunch, August 28, 2014

The newest crisis in the Middle East has sucked the U.S. into yet another insoluble military problem. Obama is again considering a bombing campaign in Syria after infamously not bombing the country last year. This time, however, he’s not targeting his enemy Bashar al-Assad, but his enemy’s enemy — ISIS — now referred to as the Islamic State.

» Read more..

Prospects for an antiwar/solidarity movement in Russia

By Roger Annis, first published in Truthout’s ‘Speakout‘ page, Aug 19, 2014

Russian humanitarian convoy heading to southeast Ukraine in mid-August

Russian humanitarian convoy heading to southeast Ukraine in mid-August

In an article published on Left-East on Aug. 10, the Russian writer Ilya Budraitskis laments “there is no antiwar movement in Russia”. His article is a rather bleak, despairing outlook on the prospects of organizing against “war” in the border regions between Ukraine and Russia. He titles his article ‘Hope in a hopeless place’.

Budraitskis describes the war being waged by the neo-conservative governing regime in Kyiv as an “interstate conflict”, meaning that Russia bears an equal, if not greater, responsibility for the conflict. This scenario is not only a gross misread of Russia’s position and role in the conflict, it also leads us nowhere in understanding what to do.

» Read more..

The People’s Republics in eastern Ukraine between militias and oligarchs

By Boris Kagarlitsky, Aug. 18, 2014, translation from the original Russian by Renfrey Clarke, first published on Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

Miners rally in Donetsk on June 18, 2014 against Kyiv's war. Sign reads 'NATO out!'

Miners rally in Donetsk on June 18, 2014 against Kyiv’s war. Sign reads ‘NATO out!’

The war between the Ukrainian government and the republics of Novorossiya [1] is gradually taking on the character of a positional stand-off. The resources of both sides are exhausted, and fighting reserves are at an end. But for the people’s republics, defending themselves against the many times larger military forces of the Kiev regime, this course of events can be considered a harbinger of victory. In this case, the well-known principle, “a government needs to win, but for an insurrection it is enough not to lose,” operates with full force. The deteriorating » Read more..

Oil by Rail news, July-Aug 2014

​By Roger Annis, Aug 17, 2014

Oil train stationed in Oregon, June 2014, photo by Rob Davis, The Oregonian

Oil train stationed in Oregon, June 2014, photo by Rob Davis, The Oregonian

On Tuesday, Aug. 19, Canada’s Transportation Safety Board (TSB) will release its final report on the oil train disaster that occurred at Lac Mégantic, Quebec on July 6, 2013. This website will provide full news coverage of that event and the background to the disaster.

Coincidentally, yesterday’s edition of the Toronto Star publishes on page one an investigative report on the culture of secrecy prevailing at Transport Canada that has prevented the public from learning much information about what happened and why at Lac Mégantic. The article is here: Transport Canada keeping secret details MM&A safety inspections, By Wendy Gillis, Toronto Star, Aug 16 2014.

» Read more..

Ukraine: The collapse of the liberal ‘left’

Guest article by Svetlana Tsiberganova. To read this article, please go to the ‘other authors’ section of this website: click here. Or you can read it at its original publication in ‘Speakout’ on Truthout, Aug. 18, 2014.