Imperialism

A socialist case for Ukraine

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On the anniversary of the fall of Ukrainian President Yanukovych, which marked the onset of the current conflict, Rob Ferguson and Tomas Tengely-Evans interview Volodymyr Ishchenko in Kiev.

RF: Volodymyr, there is currently a crisis over the ceasefire in the east and the retreat from Debaltseve. What is your judgement of the crisis in the east of Ukraine?

Why does Capitalism lead to war?

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Death from the sky

The century since the slaughter in the First World War has been littered with endless more bloody wars. Sally Campbell argues the drive to war is not accidental but inherent in the logic of capitalism.

In the 20 years running up to the First World War there were approximately 100 binding agreements between the Great Powers promising peaceful coexistence. The Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague was set up in 1899 “with the object of seeking the most objective means of ensuring to all peoples the benefits of a real and lasting peace, and above all, of limiting the progressive development of existing armaments”. This was at the behest of the peace-loving Tsar Nicholas II of Russia (nickname: Bloody Nicholas).

Ukraine: a carnival of reaction looms?

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Imperialist rivalry between Russia, the US and EU threatens a carnival of reaction across Ukraine, that pits Ukrainian against Ukrainian, promoting reactionary forces on both sides.

The Geneva agreement signed by Russia, the US, EU and Ukraine, pledging to "de-escalate tensions", looked dead before the ink was dry. Shootings in the eastern town of Slavyansk left three pro-Russian protesters dead.

Ukraine: Torn apart by Imperialism

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Russia's annexation of Crimea, and the rising tensions between east and west, marks an era of heightened competition between rival imperial powers, argues Rob Ferguson.

Russia, the US and the European powers are facing their greatest clash since the Cold War. Following the overthrow of Ukrainian president Yanukovich, the new pro-Western government in Kiev turned to seal a partnership with the EU and Russia annexed Crimea, home to the Russian Black Sea fleet and its route to the Mediterranean.

Tensions are spreading to other "buffer" states on Russia's southern borders. Barack Obama has called on EU leaders to increase their military spending.

Lenin, Luxemburg and the War

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Lenin's critical response to Rosa Luxemburg's Junius pamphlet

Rosa Luxemburg's First World War Junius pamphlet, written in prison and so vividly described by Sally Campbell in February's Socialist Review, was arguably the greatest anti-war statement of the last century.

Its haunting theme, socialism or barbarism, prophetically cast its shadow over the 20th century and continues to do so now.

Why read...Imperialism and World Economy

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Lenin described Nikolai Bukharin's Imperialism and World Economy as essential to understanding not only the economic basis of imperialism, but also its political and social impact.

The book, which was published at the height of the First World War, set out to prove that the war was not a "descent into madness", or to halt "German militarism", but the consequence of the emergence of imperialism, itself a "higher stage" of capitalism.

Bukharin's work was a reply to the tendency at the time to reduce imperialism "to the level of a cuss-word".

Ukraine: divisions among the oligarchs

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The recent protests in Ukraine began on 21 November in the run up to the European Union (EU) summit in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius, at the end of November. They followed a government announcement that it was ending preparations for signing an association agreement with the EU.

The first protests in the capital Kiev's Independence Square, organised by the three main opposition parties in parliament (apart from the pro-Russian Communist Party), were only hundreds strong.

Cameron's Syria debacle

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The US attack on Syria is haunted by the ghost of Iraq.

"It's a bit like being present after a massive explosion. There is broken glass and dust is wafting around everywhere. It will take time for the dust to settle". This is how a senior Tory MP described the mood in the party in the wake of the defeat of the government's motion paving the way for military action on Syria.

Resisting intervention: imperialism and protest in Mali

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Leo Zeilig looks at the latest episode in a long and bloody history of Western imperialism in Africa, fuelled by the scramble for the continent's resources

When French troops entered Mali on 11 January the mainstream media and politicians heralded the intervention as a humanitarian exercise to flush out Islamic militants. The calculation was simple. West Africa was now awash with an array of Islamic terrorists, many aligned with Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and they presented the region and the world with the greatest threat to security. Apparently these militants had capitalised on "ungovernable spaces" in West Africa.

These bellicose declarations are mostly false and obscure what is really happening on the continent.

Their war and ours: the people and the Second World War

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The Second World War is usually portrayed as a "good war". But in a recent book Donny Gluckstein argues that the war was both an imperialist war and a people's war. Mark Kilian explores this fascinating new study

No war has been covered more in books and films than the Second World War. Yet Donny Gluckstein's A People's History of the Second World War is an original and comprehensive account which contains valuable lessons for the future.

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