Kiev’s Repression of Anti-Fascism in Odessa

May 27, 2015 at 12:53 PM


There is a common misconception in the West that there is only one war in Ukraine: a war between the anti-Kiev rebels of the East, and the US-backed government in Kiev. While this conflict, with all its attendant geopolitical and strategic implications has stolen the majority of the headlines, there is another war raging in the country – a war to crush all dissent and opposition to the fascist-oligarch consensus. For while in the West many so called analysts and leftists debate whether there is really fascism in Ukraine or whether it’s all just “Russian propaganda,” a brutal war of political repression is taking place.

The authorities and their fascist thug auxiliaries have carried out everything from physical intimidation, to politically motivated arrests, kidnappings, torture, and targeted assassinations. All of this has been done under the auspices of “national unity,” the convenient pretext that every oppressive regime from time immemorial has used to justify its actions. Were one to read the Western narrative on Ukraine, one could be forgiven for believing that the country’s discontent and outrage is restricted solely to the area collectively known as Donbass – the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics as they have declared themselves. Indeed, there is good reason for the media to portray such a distorted picture; it legitimizes the false claim that all Ukraine’s problems are due to Russian meddling and covert militarization.

Instead, the reality is that anger and opposition to the US-backed oligarch-fascist coalition government in Kiev is deeply rooted and permeates much of Ukraine. In politically, economically, and culturally important cities such as Kharkov, Dnepropetrovsk, and Kherson, ghastly forms of political persecution are ongoing. However, nowhere is this repression more apparent than in the Black Sea port city of Odessa. And this is no accident.

Odessa: Center of Culture, Center of Resistance

For more than two centuries, Odessa has been the epicenter of multiculturalism in what is today called Ukraine, but what alternately was the Soviet Union and the Russian Empire. With its vibrant history of immigration and trade, Odessa has been the heart of internationalism and cultural, religious, and ethnic coexistence in the Russian-speaking world. Its significant populations of Russians, Jews, Ukrainians, Poles, Germans, Greeks, Tatars, Moldovans, Bulgarians and other ethnic and national identities made Odessa a truly international city, a cosmopolitan Black Sea port with French architecture, Ottoman influence, and rich Jewish and Russian/Soviet cultural history.

In many ways, Odessa was the quintessential Soviet city, one which, to a large extent, actually embodied the Soviet ideal enumerated in the state anthem – a city “united forever in friendship and labor.” And it is this spirit of multiculturalism and shared history which rejects the racist, chauvinist, fascist politics which now passes for standard political currency in “Democratic Ukraine.”

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The Politics of the Saudi War on Yemen

May 24, 2015 at 12:33 PM

Eric Draitser of appears on Al Etejah (May 23, 2015) to discuss the latest developments in the Saudi War on Yemen. Draitser provides his analysis of the Saudi strategy and the precariousness of their political situation. He discusses the regional and global geopolitical implications of the war and the interested parties. Draitser also examines the nature of the Yemeni alliance and what Saudi Arabia is trying to do to counter it.

Ramadi and America’s Fracturing of Iraq

May 23, 2015 at 4:54 PM

isis ramadi

The Western media has been consumed in recent days with the news that Islamic State militants have captured the strategically critical city of Ramadi in Iraq. The narrative is one of incompetence on the part of Iraqi military forces who, the corporate media tells us, are simply either ineffectual or hopelessly corrupt. Some analysts and pundits, especially those on the right who oppose Obama for various reasons, have used the fall of Ramadi to legitimize their claims that Obama’s “weakness” on the ISIS issue brought events to this point.

While there is truth to the assertion that Iraqi military forces are riddled with severe problems, from sectarianism in the command hierarchy, to poor training and, at times, organizational disarray, none of these issues is singularly responsible for the loss of Ramadi. Nor is it entirely accurate to say that Obama’s alleged weakness is really the cause.

Rather the primary reason, the one which the media carefully avoids including in their reportage, is the political and military sabotage of Iraq perpetrated by the United States in pursuit of its long-term agenda.

Indeed, while Washington waxes poetic about the need to more forcefully confront ISIS and destroy its military and terrorist infrastructure, the actual policies it has pursued are designed to achieve just the opposite. Instead of promoting unity of command and execution within the Iraqi armed forces, the Pentagon, Congress, and the White House have done everything to fracture Iraq’s political and military structures, fomenting rather than mollifying sectarian conflicts. Then the Washington Post can publish editorials blasting Iraqi fecklessness, and calling for a more robust US military presence. In this way, the US policy of promoting division and weakness within Iraq has directly led to the dire situation in Ramadi and throughout the country.

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On the US, China, and the Battle for Hegemony

May 23, 2015 at 1:27 PM

china navy

Eric Draitser of appears on CPR News with Don DeBar to discuss the growing conflict between the US and China in the South China Sea.  Draitser explains that the US is desperately seeking to maintain political hegemony in a region increasingly within the orbit of the rising superpower of China.  He notes that the potential for military conflict is quite real, and that there is historical precedent for global conflict when imperial systems are threatened with collapse and/or challenge from rising powers.  He adds that the challenge to US dominance is coming from a variety of directions: economic, political, and military.  Eric and Don discuss these issues and much more.

Counterpunch Radio – Ep. 4 (Yvette Carnell)

May 21, 2015 at 3:13 PM

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Click here to listen to Counterpunch Radio Ep. 4 – Yvette Carnell

In Episode 4 of CounterPunch Radio host Eric Draitser has an in depth conversation with analyst and commentator Yvette Carnell, founder of the popular website Yvette discusses her recent article in CounterPunch entitled “The White Terrorists: Lynching in America,” which attempts to pull back the curtain on some of the hidden history of lynching and its social, cultural, and economic underpinnings. Eric and Yvette discuss the “pathologizing” of blackness in America and the impact that it has had on both perceptions of Black people, and their own perceptions of themselves. Additionally, they attempt to draw out the connection between the lynchings of the past and the violence and police murders of today, with particular attention to the socio-cultural context within which these should be examined. All this and more on Ep. 4 of CouterPunch Radio. Intro and outtro music provided by the Dr. of the Blues, the man with a PhD in Boogie Woogie, David Vest.