Over 150 people packed the meeting room in London on June 2 to hear speakers and discuss the launching of the campaign in Solidarity with the Antifascist Resistance in Ukraine.
The speakers were Richard Brenner from the campaign, Lindsey German from Counterfire, Boris Kagarlitsky from the (Institute for globalization studies and social movements (IGSO), Moscow) who joined via Skype as he had been unable to get a visa, Andrew Murray from the Communist Party of Britain, Alan Woods from Socialist Appeal and the International Marxist Tendency and Sergei Kirichuk from the socialist organisation Borotba in Ukraine who also spoke over a Skype call.
The speakers explained different aspects involved in the crisis in Ukraine, the role of US and EU imperialism, the recruitment of fascist gangs into the National Guard, how the conflict is a social and class based one rather than one based on language or ethnicity, the support of the British government for the Ukrainian authorities, the presence of far right and openly fascist elements within the Kiev government, the participation of British troops in joint NATO exercises in Ukraine, the role of the oligarchs, the attacks against the Communist Party and other left wing organisations (having their offices burnt down and ransacked, their members persecuted, threats of banning), mutinies in the Ukraine army, etc. All speakers stressed that support for the anti-fascist resistance did not at all mean support for Putin.
There was also time for discussion from the floor, including the interventions of two Ukrainians who supported the Kiev government, one who even argued that the rebels in Luhansk had bombed the administration building themselves.
Perhaps the most significant intervention from the floor was that of Eddie Dempsey branch secretary of the RMT Paddington no.1 branch who, on behalf of his branch, called for a broad based, democratic campaign, rooted in the labour movement that his branch could affiliate to, and move an emergency resolution to RMT national AGM seeking national affiliation, in support of the antifascist movement in Ukraine and opposed to the EU/US/British backed fascist Kiev junta focused on the neutralisation of British involvement in NATO military operations in Ukraine, British political and financial support of the Kiev junta and to publicise accurate information on the situation in Ukraine to counter the western media whitewash of events and the rise of fascism in Ukraine
Ben Gliniecki gave greetings from the Marxist Student Federation which had helped secure the venue for the meeting and committed the Federation’s support for the campaign.
Amongst those presents there were people who had travelled from different parts of the country, including a representative of the fledging campaign in Bristol which has organised a picket on Wednesday, June 3.
At the end of the meeting, the aims of the campaign were approved with an overwhelming vote:
- We are against the UK and Western governments’ backing for the far-right regime in Kiev.
- We oppose the planned NATO exercises in Ukraine.
- We demand that the killers of 42 people at the House of Trade Unions in Odessa on May 2nd be brought to justice.
- We are against attacks on democratic rights and the repression of left-wing organisations.
- We support the antifascist resistance in Ukraine.