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Report from Bristol Ukraine Anti Fascist Solidarity meeting

Last Saturday, June 18th, Bristol Ukraine Anti-Fascist Solidarity (BUAFS), held a public meeting to give an update on the current situation in Ukraine and fascist activity in Europe.

Alex Kempshall spoke from on behalf of BUAFS warning about the rise of fascism in Europe with fascist parties or surrogate parties in Slovakia, Hungary, Ukraine, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland and Sweden winning MPs in their respective parliaments or the European parliament.

Alex reported that in March 2016 more than 200,000 Slovakians cast ballots for the neo-Nazi People’s Party Our Slovakia including 23 per cent of first-time voters winning 8 per cent of the national vote. Also that at the end of May 2016 Norbert Hofer, of the far right racist populist Austrian Freedom Party, thankfully lost the race to become Austria’s next President but it was only by the narrowest of margins – just 31,000 votes – he got 49.7% of the total vote.

Alex concluded his opening by emphasising that fascist and racist organisations need to be opposed at all levels – politicly, ideologically and organisationally. The threat of fascism is real and the task is urgent.
It’s been shown time and time again that fascist and far right parties are able to grow when they are not systematically opposed.

Joti Brar, also speaking on behalf of BUAFS, highlighted the negative impact that the European Union has had on Eastern Europe and particularly on Ukraine.

Joti explained that the EU has done a lovely job colonising eastern Europe where their peoples’ are being driven into servitude and used as a cheap source of labour for the rest of Europe.

She observed that the EU had done a lovely job of exporting violence and that it was ironic for Gordon Brown, in a recent promotional video, to argue that the EU had abolished war when in fact that during the war against Yugoslavia more bombs had been dropped on that country by the EU and it’s allies than during the whole of World War II.

Joti warned that Britain’s worker class are being targeted with a sustained propaganda campaign of racism and xenophobia in an attempt to divide it’s unit and that the Brexit campaign had demonstrated that it was full of racists.

She argued that the main goal of the EU was privatisation and that their new tool to accelerate this programme will be TTIP in conjunction with trampling on workers’ right. She said that workers’ rights are not enshrined in EU law but are won and defended in struggle.

Theo reported that in April the United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) had suspended its visit to Ukraine after being denied access to places in several parts of the country where it suspects people are being deprived of their liberty by the Security Service of Ukraine, the SBU.

Theo Russell brought greetings from SARU and congratulated BUAFS for all the hard work that it had done in solidarity with the the anti fascist resistance in Ukraine. Theo especially highlighted the pickets of the BBC which sustained on a weekly basis for almost two years.

Theo pointed out that the solidarity work was having an impact in that it forced the Ukrainian regime to mount elaborate protection of the recent Gay Pride march in Kiev. This had been threatened by fascists warning that “rivers of blood” would run through the streets.

Theo then went on to give a short potted history of what led to the coup in Ukraine which was about turning the country against it’s Russian neighbour and alienating large swathes of it’s own population.

Theo explained that the Kiev regime had enacted laws to glorify those who supposedly fought for independence but in fact fought with the Nazis during World War II, carrying out many despicable crimes in the process.

Theo warned that although in the recent change of government fasciist parties were no longer part of the government, the state contains fascists at every level, the various fascist paramilitary militias have been incorporated en bloc into the Ukrainian army, and fascists continue to terrorise the people of eastern Ukraine, and anyone opposing the government or the war in the east thoughout Ukraine.

He emphasised the British link with this process where they’ve financed the so callled “Peace Building School” financed by the British Embassy in Kiev, a school run by far-rightists linked to releasing the names and details of 4,000 journalists from around the world now labelled “terrorist collaborators”. In effect the school glorified fascists both present and from the past.

He called for pressure to be kept up on the British government to ensure that no lethal weapons are supplied to the Kiev regime.

Theo gave details of numerous journalists and left activists who have been assassinated or disappeared as recently as April, how the judge in one recent case was forced to release a far-right suspect after receiving threats, and rumours of a network of secret prisons operated by the Security Service of Ukraine.

He explained that this was against a backdrop where any progressive activity has been forced underground or into exile. Theo illustrated that even under these difficulties the fight back continues, and a large crowd came together in Odessa, despite fascist attacks, to celebrate the victory over fascism in the Great Patriotic War.

Theo reported that in April the United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) had suspended its visit to Ukraine after being denied access to places in several parts of the country where it suspects people are being deprived of their liberty by the Security Service of Ukraine.

He concluded that Britain, the EU and the United States are quite happy to use fascism and fascists as their proxies in Ukraine to divide Europe and working people and prevent a peace agreement in Ukraine, and that Britain especially is helping to sanitise WWII Ukrainian fascist leaders.

Theo urged all to step up solidarity with the Ukrainian anti fascist resistance, and to support a picket at the Ministry of Defence in Whitehall on Thursday 28th July protesting against British aid to the illegal Kiev government.

A lively discussion ensued with reports of activities from Frome and Birmingham, and suggestions on how solidarity could be extended into new areas.

Alex Kempshall, BUAFS

Report and photos from Bristol Ukraine Anti Fascist Solidarity meeting

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