solidarity opposition

anonymous asked:

What's ur opinion on the Venezuela situation. And while we are on that why do no leftists here talk about it

I think people are quiet because it is better not to speak about things you haven’t read much about. This will be short for the same reason.

The situation is this: Venezuela has been subject to assault on its attempts to build socialism from the early days of Chavez, from attempted coups (you can watch “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” which is free on YouTube, for an understanding of the 2002 US-backed coup to depose democratically elected Chavez) to collusion between the US and its allies to lower the price of oil specifically to weaken the Venezuelan economy. The current economic crisis is the result of a multitude of factors, but the intentional lowering of oil prices by the US and its allies is one of the most important, as well as the failure of the Venezuelan government to diversify its exports such thst its entire economy wasn’t tied so strongly to the price of oil. The resulting economic crisis (resulting, again, not from -socialism- in the generic, but from specific attempts to undermine the Venezuelan government) has, of course, resulted in widening anti-government sentiment, especially among classes whose ability to consume has been limited.

That last part is important- many of the most impoverished in Venezuela still support the government because their ability to eat, to go to school, etc, has been directly provides by Chavista policy. In some papers this will be talked about as buying votes, or bribing those without privilege. In reality this is the relationship between a government not of bourgeois character and those among its people who most need help and empowering- that these people’s livelihoods have been so tied to the government is evidence of the good work being done by its government, not indicative of bribery.

This crisis has been worsened by hoarding and price fixing by Venezuelan companies which are privately owned. The Venezuelan government, contrary to what many people assume, does not control all production and distribution within its borders, and many private companies seem to be able to produce some products and not others, intentionally stirring up discontent. In a recent Telesur video (which is propaganda and should be seen as such, but this merely means that it is supposed to teach you something specific and not that everything or even anything it claims is false on its face) explained that there seemed to be a shortage of toilet paper, but no shortage of other paper products like paper towels, paper plates, etc, suggesting that the problem was in production and distribution rather than lack of demand for products (who does not want toilet paper?) or lack of access to raw materials. There have also been numerous claims of things from toys to food being hoarded by the wealthy.

In response to this crisis (again, one intentionally wrought upon the country), the government of Venezuela has made several moves which I do not support in and of themselves in an attempt to combat the opposition and maintain its power, including the potential dissolution of the one governing body in which the opposition has a meaningful voice, and crackdown on protesters using means of violence I consider overkill for the tactics being used in those particular moments. But leftists need to understand that we don’t pick sides based on good guys and bad guys- and, even if we did, the opposition has committed its own unseemly and unnecessary acts of horrific violence as well, including literally burning people- but based on the class character of the actors involved. That, and that alone, is the basis of solidarity. The “opposition” is first and foremost a euphemism and a misnomer because it includes a number of elements from social democrats to the most extreme elements of the far right, but its hodgepodge of demands includes austerity, increased privatization, etc- the class character of the opposition is decidedly bourgeois, and the class character of the Venezuelan government is decidedly not bourgeois, even if you don’t want to go so far as to call it proletarian in character. That alone ought to tell us who we maybe not support but eye with more suspicion, see as the greater threat, etc. The class character of the actors involved is very clear, and it is on this basis that, whether you “support” the Venezuelan government or not, you should certainly not “support” the bourgeois opposition. Solidarity is not about good feelings and liking who we work with and so on, but about defense against right wing antisocialist and anti proletarian policy, and advancement of the goals of socialism. I do not think that Venezuela ever achieved socialism. I do not think that Venezuela is a perfect or even very good model for future socialist projects.

To be very clear here, what is being attempted by the opposition is the 2002 coup by other means and by counterrevolution as opposed to outright military coup- the goal is to unseat a democratically elected leader and to impose the will of the bourgeois and right wing elements of Venezuelan society on the people of the country. Regardless of how I feel about the decisions made by the government in the fact of this crisis, of course I do not support a mishmash of right wing elements attempting to undo the work of building something like socialism. I am no Chavista, but “Viva Venezuela” ya es el té, and I do not take kindly to seeing support for right wing elements passed around like it means nothing.

Bloodroot 2017 09 – McDowell Nature Center and Preserve, Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation Department, Charlotte, North Carolina, March 17, 2017

Letting things be as they are–
because they are what they are–
even as we protest what they are,
and work to change what they are,
is the ground of mental health
and responsible response
to our environment
in a :
“This is the way things are,
and this is the way they should be,
and this is what I am doing
to make things more like they should be
than they are”
kind of way.
Don’t spend your life
bummed out by the way things are!
Live “under protest”!
Live in solid opposition–
in solidarity with the resistance!
Live at one with all of those
who know things could be better
than they are,
keeping the coals of opposition alive
so that the faint light
informs everyone who comes our way
of the truth
of what needs to be done
to transform the way things are done
into the way things
ought to be done.
Live symbolically in the way
of the Ought To Be!
Know the truth of the Ought To Be
that it might keep you
from succumbing
to the truth of How Things Are!
Resist! Oppose! Denounce! Decry!
“Acceptance” means
accepting that this is the way things are
and this is what needs to be done about it
and doing it
for as long as it takes
to generate the momentum
that results in the shift
that produces the transformation.
Do not submit!
Resist!

To all the new ruspolers/anyone even remotely interested in ruspol

I am so happy that you all are interested in this little niche fandom. It’s super weird and its real life (which I think is cool but it’s given many people an excuse to talk shit and call us horrible people). I am assuming that you have somewhat gotten past that, since you are cruising the ruspol tag. Anyways…

Most of y'all (myself included) got into ruspol initially because of the weird/interesting/horrible person that is Vladimir Putin. He is one of the world’s most powerful men, and he has one of the most interesting pasts and personalities to try and analyze and “figure out”. Of course, with Putin comes Medvedev, the most adorable bear in Russia. Of course, Putvedev is the ruspol OTP. Putvedev all the way. Anyway, there’s also Surkov, associated with Satan, sunflowers, Tupac, etc, etc. 

I know there are other figures people love (mostly within the Kremlin aka part of the ruling party of people) like Mikhail Abyzov, Nikolai Nikiforov, Sergei Ivanov, what have you. 

It’s important to know though (and it makes it even more interesting!) is that Russian politicians exist outside the ruling United Russia party. United Russia likes to degrade Opposition members by calling them middle class whiners who are useless and have no direction. While this may be true to some extent, this is a tactic used by the Kremlin to silence any opposing viewpoint. The Opposition is also not just one party, and it’s usually just used to refer to anyone outside of the United Russia party (which is still a super recent conglomerate party, but let’s not complicate this for the time being).

Anywayyyyy, what I’m getting at is that there are other figures to read about, enjoy, fawn over, or completely hate, depending. This includes but is by no means limited to:

Mikhail Khodorkovsky

most of you probably already know who Khodorkovsky is, but just in case, he used to be Russia’s richest man and an oligarch. For a while in the 90s he and the other oligarchs were pretty much running the country because Yeltsin was so sick. Then Putin locked him up in 2003 because he dared to expose corruption apparent in the Russian government. Khodorkovsky spent the next 10 years in jail, and was only released this past December as a gesture of “good will” by Putin, but it was most likely so Putin could patch up his shitty image before the Sochi olympics started. Also he’s super cute and super passionate about his country.

Boris Nemtsov

Nemtsov is currently a member of the Russian Opposition, but he used to be in higher offices back in the 90s. He started out as the governor of the Nizhny Novgorod region, and was even deputy prime minister of the Russian Federation for a hot second in 1998. Many thought Nemtsov was going to be picked as Yeltsin’s successor, but obviously Putin was eventually picked over Nemtsov. Since Putin took over, Nemtsov has been sequestered to an Opposition position, decrying Putin’s ways fromt he sidelines. Don’t get me wrong, Nemtsov is a HUGE asshole, always has been and always will be. But he’s also super hot, too, and has a bunch to say about the bullshit going on in Ukraine right now, so yeah, check him out. I post pics and other media of him fairly regularly.

Ilya Yashin

I don’t profess to know much about Yashin, other ruspolers do know more than I do. He is pretty damn young though (30) and a co-founder of the Solidarity Party, a Russian Opposition Party formed in 2008 with the help of Boris Nemtsov, Gerry Kasparov, and others. He dated Ksenia Sobchak (daughter of Anatoly Sobchak, former mayor of St. Petersburg back in the 90s, although Ksenia has currently made a name for herself in her own right) for a while and both of them got attention as the Opposition poster couple. Since then, however, they have broken up. 

Mikhail Prokhorov

I’m not sure what the rankings are now, but Prokhorov is definitely one of the richest men in modern day Russia. He owns an American basketball team among many other huge ass important companies in Russia. Prokhorov ran for the office of Prime Minister in 2012 on his own party’s ticket. Prokhorov often gets into trouble on account of the press-motivated idea that he is a womanizer. Back in like 2007 or so he got busted with a bunch of hookers at a ski lodge and he just didn’t give a fuck, because he’s rich as hell. There’s more than meets the eye to Prokhorov, though. He could just as easily take his billions and leave Russia forever, but he has decided to stay and help out his country, which is pretty damn admirable.

Alexei Navalny

Navalny is propably the most well-known Opposition member, at least the most well known one to come about in the past 15 years or so. A lawyer by profession (I’m pretty sure, correct me if im wrong), Navalny has been running an opposition blog for years now, where he digs up dirts on russian politicians and find the sources of their corruption. In 2013, Navalny attempted to run for mayor of Moscow, and he very nearly won. The ruling party, United Russia would never ever accept an opposition member as the mayor of the country’s capital, so in a “democratic election”, Navalny’s opponent (and United Russia candidate) Sergei Sobyanin, won. Last year as well, Navalny was sentenced with a bullshit charge of corruption (don’t get me started on the Russian judicial system) and was put on probabtion for 5 years from doing pretty much anything political. When this crisis in Ukraine fired up, Navalny was very vocally against it. Currently, I believe Navalny is in jail for doing exactly what he was told not to do. He’s a firecracker, albeit kind of a dumb firecracker.

Other figures who are interesting and deserve attention (but this post is super long so imma just post pics and descriptions now. You can google them or msg me if you have any questions!) are:

Dmitry Gudkov-Duma member and former member of A Just Russia Party (although idk how his Duma memberships is affected by him getting ousted):

Ilya Ponomarev-Also a former A Just Russia member, Duma member, and vocal opposer of Putin and his regime:

Anatoly Chubais- Once a huge mover and shaker in Russia in the 90s (he co-started Russia’s mass privatization after the Soviet Union collapse), Chubais is now the CEO of Rusnano, a government owned company specializing in nanotechnology. Chubais has no fucks to give at this point:

aaaand my personal favorite, 

Yevgeny Roizman- co-founder of an anti-drug foundation and former convict, now mayor of Russia’s 4th largest city, Yekaterinburg. Roizman is a historian by profession, and has shied away from outright deposing Putin’s policies. Just an all around badass:

Obvs there are more people, but I felt the need to make this summary post to show that the Kremlin is the hub of ruspol, there is no doubt about that, but it is by no means the whole of ruspol. There are many figures to keep an eye on, some who used to be big, some who may have not yet reached their peak political period, and some non-politicians who dabble in politics. It’s a fascinating medley.

Again, any questions you can msg me. I don’t know all the things, but I can sure as hell try!

This man, riddled with shrapnel injuries from illegal weapons used by Israel, is waiting with his little girl for treatment at Khan Younis hospital in southern Gaza (yesterday). As another Palestinian in Gaza said: “We are waiting here to see if we are meant to live or die. Every day is another day of fear & destruction. If you don’t die, someone you know is likely to be among the dead. This is no life a human being can accept.”

This is no life anyone of good will can accept for Palestinians. We will not stand silent or play stupid, shaking the naughty finger of phony impartiality at both Israeli genocide & Hamas self-defense.

Palestinians are re-teaching humanity the meaning & power of human solidarity. The right-wing who want to silence Palestinian justice are jumping up & down demanding we abandon Palestine & turn our attention to Syria–as if they gave a rat’s ass about injustice anywhere. They’re trying to play us for fools. A massive international movement of solidarity with Palestine will change everything, will undo decades of deals & maneuverings & phony peace plans meant to dispossess the Palestinians & install a police regime in Israel to maintain neoliberal control of the Middle East–19th century colonialism writ large. And that includes in Syria.

There is no competition between solidarity with Gaza & the struggles against tyranny anywhere. The Palestinian solidarity movement dwarfs international opposition to US-NATO wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, & elsewhere. Antiwar activists do not sit in meetings pouting resentfully & making invidious comparisons; they’re building the hell out of Palestinian solidarity because their vision is international & they could never stand aside from ethnic cleansing or pit one antiwar struggle against another. So when you hear that baloney faulting Palestinian supporters for not taking up the cause of Syria, politely (or even impolitely) tell them to stuff it in the appropriate place.
Mary Scully
(Photo by Bilal Telawi/AFP/Getty Images)

Israel has not ceased bombing or strafing Palestinians with illegal munitions like flechette shells & DIME weapons (which charcoal skin & sever limbs). But when this frantic binge of ethnic cleansing is halted by massive international opposition & revulsion at the savagery, Israel will stand more shamed & isolated than it has in its 66 years of ignominious existence. This is a historic moment signalling a historic reversal in the fate of Israel & Palestinians. Israel, reflecting political desperation & the dry rot of Zionism, went too far. And they did it after Palestinians organized an international economic & cultural boycott of Israel which exposed the truth of Israel & the justice of Palestinians behind the rancid Exodus myth created in film, song, & hasbara.

World politicians came late to the revolution but their actions are a sign worth noting: Sweden refused landing to the plane of Shimon Peres, the former paramilitary death squad leader now president of Israel; Chile has stopped trade with Israel; Ecuador recalled its ambassador to Israel; South Africa is attempting to expel the Israeli ambassador; the Brazilian ambassador to the UN & the “king” of Sweden & his wife appeared in public wearing the keffiyeh, the Palestinian scarf. To be frank, these gestures may be telling but they are wimpy & not the scale of solidarity these regimes are capable of mobilizing. What about public denunciations & explanations? What about embargoes on Israel? What about cutting off aid & military deals with Israel? What about telling the damn truth after decades of going along with the lies?

It is the tens of thousands of people around the world who almost spontaneously erupted in a massive expression of solidarity with Gaza who are creating this historic shift. Again it must be said, social transformation & Palestinian justice are a collective commitment, not a grandstanding operation. It isn’t some ambassador draping the keffiyeh around his neck that turned the tide, but the tens of thousands of men & women of good will who responded to the call of justice & in a thunderous international chorus demand “Stop the massacre of Gaza!”

We have not witnessed a phenomenon like this outpouring of international solidarity since opposition to the war in Vietnam. The media always gave itself too much credit for turning public opinion against the Vietnam War & misrepresented & failed to accurately report antiwar activity for the duration of the war & certainly never gave the Vietnamese their due. But the hundreds of photos flooding out of Gaza of unspeakable barbarisms do play a central role in undoing the Exodus narrative & affirming the historic claims of Palestinians. It is clear this is ethnic cleansing & not self-defense. No one can ever undo the damage of claiming Israelis are huddled terrified in bomb shelters when photojournalism shows them whooping it up over genocide on the hills of Sderot.

These women & children in Gaza City are fleeing from what they thought were safe buildings now being bombed by Israel. How do you undo this image? Even when media tries to temper the impact in their captions, they come out looking like jackasses covering for genocide.

Palestinian intifada has become international. Long live intifada! Join a rally, join the economic boycott of Israel (barcode beginning 729), support the cultural boycott of Israel.

And one last thing: to those who stand on the side in this struggle–shaking the naughty finger at both sides or chiding Palestinians for alleged terrorism–shame on you. Because in ethnic cleansing, there is only one side, the side of justice. And if you aren’t on it actively, you are in silent collusion. And that’s not too harsh a condemnation to make.
Mary Scully
(Photo by Carolyn Cole/LA Times)