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'No to the war in eastern Ukraine!' Declarations of the Yalta anti-war conference

Ukraine army in Kramatorsk. Photo Ukraine government.

Read more on the situation in Ukraine HERE.

July 16, 2014 -- Text from A Socialist in Canada, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission

Declaration of the assembly of citizens of Ukraine and representatives of international solidarity networks, issued in Yalta, Crimea, July 7, 2014

A major human rights and humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding in Ukraine. The government that took power in Kyiv in February 2014 is conducting a brutal military assault in the southeast of the country.

The European Union Association Agreement signed by the government on June 30 and its austerity program promise to sharply reduce living standards and effectively demolish industry, largely located in the southeast. The government includes ministers from far-right parties and one measure of its early extremism was a measure, soon withdrawn, to make Ukrainian the only official language, violating the language rights of millions of speakers of Russian, Hungarian and other languages.

This right-wing government was immediately recognised and given extensive financial, diplomatic and military support by the US, UK and EU governments. They aim to open Ukraine up to investment for international finance and capital. The US also aims to further its long-standing project of countering Russia’s power in the Eurasian region by its drawing neighbouring countries into the orbit of NATO. This can only further destabilise the region.

Protesters against the Kiev government have been arrested, imprisoned, attacked and driven into exile. One of the worst cases of violence was the killing and murders of at least 48 anti-fascist protesters in Odessa on May 2.

People in southeast of Ukraine have sought to protect themselves in the face of the violence of the Kiev government’s agenda. Their peaceful demonstrations against austerity and demands for autonomy were violently met by armed gangs, fascist paramilitaries, and the new National Guard, many of whose members are drawn from the parties of the far right. In a referendum in May, the people of the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk voted overwhelmingly for self-rule and declared autonomous people’s republics.

As the Kiev government seeks to regain these areas, it is engaged in killing its citizens and denying them access to food, water and medicines.

We, representatives of the people from south-east and central Ukraine and delegates from networks of international solidarity with the resistance to war in Ukraine, make this appeal for urgent worldwide action:

We call:

1. For an immediate end to the war by the Kiev government;

2. For direct talks between Kiev and the representatives of Donetsk and Lugansk republics;

3. For an immediate end to the Kiev government’s human rights violations;

4. For an international solidarity movement addressing the immediate and long-term needs of the people currently under attack, raising funds for humanitarian relief and support for their political struggle through non-violent means and exposing what is really happening in the region;

5. For an international inquiry headed by jurists and human rights advocates into the human rights violations and war crimes that have been committed in the course of this war;

6. For an end to present and planned austerity policies;

7. For an end to NATO, EU, US military support for the Kiev government;

8. For immediate cancellation of the NATO maneuvers in Ukraine and in central and Eastern Europe designed to give further material and moral support to the Kiev government and its civil war; and

9. For an international protest against the NATO summit in Wales in September.

Ukrainian organisations

Centre for Coordination and Support of Ukrainian Federation
Union of Ukrainian Citizens
Borot’ba political party
Slavic Guard (Zaporozh’e)
People’s Unity (Khar’kov)
Lugansk Guard
Initiative groups of Antifascist resistance from Sumy, Kijev, Dnepropetrovsk,
Zaporozh’e, Odessa

Signed
Alan Freeman (United Kingdom)
Radhika Desai (Canada)
Richard Brenner (United Kingdom)
Hermann Dworczak (Austrua)
Jeffrey Sommers (USA)
Roger Annis (Canada)
Tord Björk (Sweden)
Kai Ehlers (Germany)
Boris Kagarlitsky (Russia)
Vasiliy Koltashov (Russia)
Alla Glintchikova (Russia)
Vladimir Rogov (Ukraine)
Aleksei Anpilogov (Ukraine)
Aleksei Albu (Ukraine)
Yana Manuilova (Donetsk People’s Republic)
Anastsia Pyaterikova (Lugansk People’s Republic)

[Participants from Ukraine also issued a political manifesto on the future of Ukraine. The Russian original is here. You can read the translation into English here and below.

Manifesto of the People’s Front for the Liberation of Ukraine, Novorossiya and Transcarpathian Rus

[The following manifesto was issued by delegates from Ukraine participating in the antiwar conference that took place in Yalta, Crimea on July 6, 7, 2014. You can read the Russian language original of the manifesto here.]

What is the aim of our struggle?

The building, on the territory of Ukraine, of a just, socially oriented people’s republic without oligarchs or a corrupt bureaucracy.

Who are our enemies?

The liberal-fascist ruling elites – the criminal alliance of oligarchs, bureaucrats, military and security forces and straight-out criminals who serve the interests of foreign states. While officially declaring their support for European liberal values, these forces keep the country under their control, relying on bands of ultra-rightists, unleashing chauvinist hysteria and poisoning ethnic groups against one another.

Who are our allies?

All those people of goodwill, irrespective of their citizenship and ethnicity, who recognise the ideals of social justice and who are ready to fight for them, while refusing to accept the liberal-fascist state on the territory of Ukraine.

What is the socially oriented people’s republic for which we are fighting?

The socially oriented people’s republic is the political form of organisation of a society in which:

  • the interests of the people and of their rounded development – spiritual, intellectual, social and physical – represent the highest goals and tasks of the state;
  • all power lies with the people and is exercised by them through elected organs of direct representation;
  • every worker-citizen has the right to medical care, education, pension provisions and social security at the expense of the state;
  • liveable pensions are paid, and all citizens enjoy guarantees of adequate social security in case of loss of employment or temporary or permanent disability;
  • any private or collective initiative is permitted provided it benefits the people and their development;
  • usurious financial capitalism, that lives on loan interest, is prohibited. Money must be earned not through any kind of debt bondage, but through the realisation of successful projects;
  • the state, acting in the name of the people and controlled by the people’s representatives, is the largest holder of capital and controls the strategic sectors of the economy;
  • private property is permitted, but society places controls on large fortunes and on their investment in the economy and politics. No-one is allowed to parasitically exploit the people, to establish oligarchic empires or to dominate people through creating artificial monopolies.

What are our methods of struggle?

To achieve the above goal (the creation on the territory of Ukraine of a socially-oriented people’s republic), we are prepared to use forcible and non-forcible methods of struggle. We consider that citizens have the right to rise in revolt, and that only armed people are capable of defending their freedom. Violence, however, is a means for attaining political goals that we resort to only when it is forced upon us.

What is occurring on the territory of Ukraine?

On the territory of Ukraine, a popular liberation uprising is under way against a liberal-fascist regime that seeks, through terror and propaganda, to impose a criminal oligarchic and comprador capitalism in our country.

What is Ukraine?

Ukraine is the territory between the European Union and Russia, with strong Christian traditions (primarily Orthodox), with a population made up of various peoples (Ukrainians, Russians, Belarusians, Moldavians, Bulgarians, Hungarians, Romanians, Poles, Jews, Armenians, Greeks, Tatars, Rusins, Guzuls and others), and with traditions, forged over many centuries, of popular self-government and of engaging in political struggle for its freedom.

What is happening in south-eastern Ukraine (Novorossiya)?

In the south-east (Novorossiya), a popular political uprising is under way against the liberal-fascist regime installed in Kiev using the money and with the support of Western bosses. Members of all the ethnic groups of the region are taking part in this revolt – Ukrainians, Russians, Greeks, Armenians, Jews, Hungarians, Romanians and so forth.

Is there a war in the region between Russians and Ukrainians?

This is not a war between Russians and Ukrainians, as stated by the Kiev propaganda. It is an uprising by oppressed people against their common enemy – criminal oligarchic capitalism.

Russians and Ukrainians, along with people of other nationalities, are fighting on both sides.

On the side of the Kiev regime, mercenaries and punitive fighters who have been deceived by the propaganda are waging war for the interests of large oligarchic capital and for the criminal bureaucracy, while on the side of the south-east (Novorossiya) the militia members defend the interests of the people and their free, just and democratic future.

Do Russians and Ukrainians have different stakes in the events occurring in Ukraine?

Russians and Ukrainians are united by common social and political interests – in the liberation of Ukraine from the power of oligarchic capital, of a corrupt bureaucracy, of criminal forces of coercion, and simply of crime.

Why is the uprising in the south-east (Novorossiya) taking place under Russian slogans?

Because Russians and Russian-speakers in Ukraine have experienced a dual oppression – socio-economic (along with the Ukrainian-speaking population), and also cultural-political.

Socio-economic oppression – taking the form of corruption, tyranny, the power of criminals, the impossibility of conducting normal business or leading a normal life, paltry wages, and dependency on the people who own the country – represents the norm for every working inhabitant of Ukraine.

The denial of official status to the Russian language in regions where more than 90 per cent of the population speak and think in Russian (roughly half of Ukraine’s territory), together with bans on teaching in Russian in the schools; bans on advertisements and films in Russian; bans on the use of Russian in the courts and administration, and many other absurd segregationist demands and prohibitions amounts to additional humiliation of Ukraine’s Russian-speaking population.

Because of this, it was Russians and Russian-speakers who were the first to rise in revolt.

Now it is the turn of all the oppressed people of Ukraine!

Why is Russia helping south-eastern Ukraine (Novorossiya)?

A significant section of Russia’s elite is afraid of popular social and political protest. These people would be delighted to strike an agreement with the Kiev authorities and to end the war in the south-east (Novorossiya). But the fury of the popular uprising against oligarchic-bureaucratic liberal-fascist capitalism does not allow them to do this. The peoples of Russia support the just struggle of south-eastern Ukraine (Novorossiya), and this forces the entire Russian elite, in many ways contrary to its strategic interests, to support or pretend to support the revolt in south-eastern Ukraine.

Why do the US and the European Union help the Kiev regime?

The main goal of the US is to wage a struggle against Russia as a geopolitical rival. The US needs either to create an anti-Russian state on the territory of Ukraine, with NATO bases on Russia’s borders, or else to destabilise the region and see the country sunk in chaos.

The European Union needs additional markets for its products, and sources of cheap raw materials.

What aids the struggle of south-eastern Ukraine (Novorossiya)?

The resistance, whose strongpoint is south-eastern Ukraine (Novorossiya), is supported and strengthened by the unswerving desire of the peoples of Ukraine to free themselves from liberal-fascist domination and from the ruling elites. Also aiding it is the gradual recognition by the peoples of Ukraine of their common socio-political interests and of the shared goals of their struggle.

Does the struggle in the south-east (Novorossiya) amount to separatism?

No, the territory of the struggle is the entire territory of Ukraine. The insurgents in the south-east (Novorossiya) extend their hands to their brothers and sisters in all regions of Ukraine with the call: “Stand up against our common enemy!”

We shall establish a new, free, socially responsible people’s power on the whole territory of Ukraine and Novorossiya.

What will follow the victory of the people’s-liberation revolution and the collapse of the liberal-fascist regime?

A new state will be formed, in which power will belong to the people not in word but in reality.

Through holding a referendum (the highest form of popular power), the population of each province will itself determine the future of its region – whether it will remain within a single federative (confederative) state, or will receive full independence.

How will political power be constructed after the victory of the people’s democratic revolution?

Political power will be constructed in line with the principle of direct popular representation (people’s power) – from the bottom upward.

Organs of people’s power will be formed, beginning at the level of local Councils and extending upward to a Supreme Council, according to the principle of representation of delegates from territories, of delegates from labour collectives and from professional bodies and councils, and of delegates from political, religious and community organisations.

The basis of people’s democracy will be local councils. They will delegate representatives to regional councils.

The highest organ of popular representation, the Supreme Council, will consist of delegates from the regional councils.

The Supreme Council will choose the government, which will be responsible to the people as represented by the members of the Council.

We call for judges and the heads of local law enforcement organs to be chosen through elections.

What rights will the regions have after the victory of the people’s liberation revolution?

Each region will have the right to draw up its own Constitution or other founding document, guaranteeing basic political, economic, social, cultural and religious rights to the people living on its territory.

In addition to the overall state languages, each region will have the right to choose regional languages to be used in cultural, political, juridical or administrative matters.

Each region will have the right to draw up its own budget on the basis of taxes imposed on the activity of physical and juridical persons active on its territory.

What obligations will the regions have after the victory of the people’s liberation revolution?

Each region will be obliged to set aside part of its tax revenues for a general anti-crisis fund to be used in case of natural disasters and other catastrophes.

Each region will be obliged to contribute part of its tax revenues to meet the general needs of the state – for defence, for the maintaining of the central state apparatus, for the construction of objects of overall national importance, for scientific research, for maintaining health care and education, and for the development of infrastructure.

Each region will be obliged to observe the general state principles applying to the relations between labour and capital, and to civil and political freedoms.

Each region will be obliged to maintain law and order and to defend the rights and freedoms of citizens within the framework of established state principles.

These are the basic principles and goals of our struggle.

We believe that every honest citizen and patriot will approve and support them.

We count on the international solidarity and support of all those people who hold dear, not just in word but also in deed, the ideals of equality, democracy and social justice.

Together we shall win!

Approved by the Yalta resistance conference, July 7, 2014

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