Toxic bedfellows. Lessons from Ukraine, Syria, Egypt and oh, so many other places

27.02.2014 - Silvia Swinden

This post is also available in: Spanish, French

Toxic bedfellows. Lessons from Ukraine, Syria, Egypt and oh, so many other places
(Image by A long history: the 1918 January uprising (Bolsheviks) in Ukraine. Wikipedia image)

“The situation in Ukraine is evolving by the hour.  Right wing ultranationalists and their “liberal” collaborators have taken control of the Rada (Ukrainian parliament) and deposed the democratically elected, though utterly corrupt and incompetent, President Yanukovich. Former Prime Minister, and convicted criminal, Yulia Tymoshenko has been freed, and is now making common cause with Neo-Nazi Right Sector, Svoboda, and other fascist elements, while the opposition’s nominal leaders such as Arseny Yatsenyuk and Vitali Klitschko begin to fade into the background.”…”In exchange for European “aid”, Ukraine will be forced to accept the driving down of wages, significant cuts to the public sector and social services, in addition to a rise in taxes on the working class and slashing of pensions.  Moreover, the country will be compelled to accede to a liberalization program that will allow Europe to dump goods into the Ukrainian market, deregulation and the further opening up the country’s financial sector to predatory speculation and privatization.” Ukraine’s Sickness and Europe’s Cure: Neo-Liberalism and Neo-Fascism Join Hands By Eric Draitser for Global Research.

Independently from what action Russia may or may not implement to preserve ethnic Russians inhabited Crimea, the inclusion of far right elements in the uprising can only spell trouble as such groups thrive on violence, intolerance and making sure peaceful negotiation becomes impossible. But very often these elements are included because of a false construct: consistency v calculation. This creates a contradiction between feeling: distaste for the inclusion of extremists, and intellect: “we need them to make the numbers, and they are forceful after all, and we’ll deal with them after we have obtained the desired revolutionary results.”

When external powers are collaborating with (or even being the main promoters of) the process of change the composition of the rebel force is not a matter of great importance, results, fast and cheap are.

We only need to look at the experience in Syria where radical islamists rapidly became a strong partner in the struggle to depose Assad’s government, and whatever happens in the end, whether the government falls or remains, whether Syria breaks up or stays together, the radical elements will not disappear (see Iraq, Libya, etc); in a way they are the real winners of the chaos created by the determined strategy of regime change to both take control of the oil and establish sectarian supremacy in the Middle East by leaving Iran unprotected.

Egypt repeated the pattern: the young, loosely social-network linked revolutionaries saw their numbers swelled by the more organised Muslim Brotherhood, which must have felt like a positive step, in terms of the calculation, but when the Brotherhood made its own calculation decided that they needed the more radical islamist partners to be able to obtain an absolute majority in the country, shift that ultimately led to the collapse of the whole process.

Whatever process begins with a contradiction as a condition of origin is doomed to dragging it throughout whether it “succeeds” or “fails” as it cannot deliver the most important objective, human yearning, root of the force that drives the search for a different situation: a meaningful life, which can only be a coherent life, free from contradiction.

As the progressive destructuring in slow motion of the triumphant neoliberal financial empire continues unabated its search for new markets to flood and cheap labour to exploit will lead to more and more examples of “popular” revolutions supported by the wounded beast, and in such conditions it cannot be too choosy. Taking sides between violent factions is also a false construct, it is vital to support the methodology of nonviolence in any process of change, as it is the only one that can open the future, a meaningful future, for all parties involved.

Categories: Europe, International, Nonviolence, Opinions, Politics
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