Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Spain imprisons Catalan "Gandhis", Catalonia walks out in protest

Yesterday morning the Spanish Inquisition (Audiencia Nacional, its conceptual heir) jailed Jordi Sánchez (Catalan National Assembly) and Jordi Cuixart (Omnium Cultural), leaders of two of the most important social movements that have been pushing ahead with Catalan patriotic mobilization and the process of self-determination.

Freedom Jordi Sánchez and Jordi Cuixart. We want them at home!

Protests have been massive across the country. Another sign of Catalan independence being absolutely impossible to repress:


Barcelona (1)

Barcelona (2)



 



Palma de Mallorca (Balears)


Ripoll


Sitges





Vilanova i la Geltrú

There have been also some protests in Madrid, the Basque Country, etc.

(Credit for most pictures: CjSand).

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

General strike today in Catalonia

1917: sickle and hammer.

2017: tractor and computer.




"Muy Bastas" explain:
Viva the Farmers!!
  1. The Farmers said they would cut the French border with the tractors.
  2. Hundreds of national police agents have gone there to impede it.
  3. It was a trick. When the cops arrived they found nobody there.
  4. The tractors then blocked the highway and roads further south, so the cops can't go back.
They won't be able to do anything against an organized People.

Today a General Strike for freedom was called in Catalonia by several minor labor unions including COS, CGT and CNT and backed by the CUP (socialist independentist party). This call was made several days ago, even before the brutal repression of this Sunday.

In order not to be displaced by a call they did not control but that was going to be followed anyhow by most Catalans, the "moderate" camp has called for a day of "National Halt", which has been seconded by other unions, parties and even capitalists. It is unclear how exactly such a thing as a "National Halt" happens but it somewhat overshadows the fact that there is a political general strike called by the most combative unions and the CUP.

In any case the General Strike has been a massive success: Catalonia is nearly stopped, except for multitudes protesting nearly everywhere. Romanian homeless activist Lagarder Danciu, who forged a name for himself by staging one-man protests against corruption in his adoptive homeland, among other activities, offers us an example of how massive this is:




Another visual example of how a true General Strike is made is offered by this photo shared by one of my favorite bloggers, Borroka Garaia Da! (It's Time of Struggle!):



If you follow the link, you will find the Spanish-language version of the communication of Endavant (Forward), the more radical (i.e. more coherent and serious) half of the CUP.  They argue that the referendum was a success in spite of all the repression and that it was an overwhelming victory for the "yes" to independence. 

Therefore they say that a Catalan Republic must be proclaimed this very week, rejecting any call for "pacts" or "dialogue", which would be attempts to invalidate the referendum. 

They call for the General Strike, they denounce the brutal repression against the Catalan people and they argue that the forces that oppose Catalan independence are the same ones that are attacking the rights of the working class. They conclude that:

The General Strike must be the starting point for the Popular Movement to move ahead, to change everything, to guarantee the conquest of social and labor rights and for the implementation of the right to self-determination. 

Visca Catalunya lliure! Viva the struggle of the Peoples!

Monday, October 2, 2017

Catalonia defeated Spain by sheer will of freedom

Yesterday it was a most important day. You all surely know by now about the brutal repression by the Spanish police forces against the Catalan independence referendum and, most importantly, about the brave popular resistance by millions of self-organized citizens in each and every electoral center. 

2.262.424 Catalans managed to vote and had their vote counted. Electoral centers including other 700 thousand electors were closed by the repressive forces. The electoral census is 5.3 million. Among the votes issued and counted the results were: 2.020.144 (90,09%) "yes", 176.566 (7,8%) "no", 45.586 (2%) "blank" and 20.129 (0,89%) "null votes".

One could get lost arguing on the validity of the vote under such quite obviously exceptional and most difficult circumstances, what really matters is the civic pride and nonviolent power demonstrated by the Catalan People, and, on the opposite side, the blind brutality shown by the Spanish state, determined to defend the francoist concept of "indissoluble unity" of the state no matter what. 

What really matters is that, maybe more than ever before, the State of Spain has been shown to be morally bankrupt, a true failed state in the making. Hopefully the socio-political crisis will extend to the rest of the lands occupied by the residual empire. Some signs of it happened yesterday, with thousands protesting in Madrid and Seville, among other Spanish cities (and also in places like London, and earlier in Bilbao and Amsterdam, etc.) in solidarity with Catalonia and its right to self-determination.

Tomorrow there is a General Strike called in Catalonia in support for this right to choose but, quite obviously, marked also by the rejection to repression and authoritarianism. Even if the unions calling for the strike are relatively small (nationalist union COS and libertarian unions CGT and CNT), the strike is backed by the major civic force in all this Catalan uprising: the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and its right-wing ally Omnium Cultural, as well as by key political forces like the Popular Unity List (CUP), so it is predictable that it will be a massive walk out. 

However this is only one step and one restricted to Catalonia. In my opinion, what will be critical now is whether Spaniards themselves will begin mobilizing, not just or mainly in solidarity with Catalonia, but on their own platforms such as the demolition of the mafioso authoritarian regime consecrated by the controversial constitution of 1978, which was agreed behind closed doors and backed mostly because anything was better than the Fascist dictatorship. 

The constitution is nearly impossible to reform (needs a wide agreement of all-Spain parties because of a horrible electoral system that massively favors rural Castile and hence conservative forces), so only forcing the hand of the twin party system PP-PSOE will work. It's even reasonable to consider that only a true revolution, a constituent process from below, will do the job. 

Sadly enough, the big political hope of Spain, the novel party Podemos (We Can) has so far limited itself to posturing. They basically seem to restrict themselves to try to form a coalition with the PSOE (center-left?) and only very slowly advance on the path of reforms. Clearly insufficient. Also they are clearly renouncing to resort to mass mobilization, which is happening on its own, and they have growing internal quarrels.

So it is unclear how the situation will evolve. Yet it is clear that it is evolving and very fast. 

Once again my applause and respects to the brave People of Catalonia for daring to defend their freedoms in what is clearly an example for the rest of Europe and the World. Visca Catalunya lliure! Viva the struggle of the Free Peoples!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Barcelona is Tahrir Square 2017

The mobilization in Catalunya is very impressive, massive, total, truly revolutionary, a true constituent moment in the making.

Barcelona, yesterday night.


Against that what can the Spanish state, with a corrupt government with minority backing in Parliament, representing more than ever before the (barely reformed) Fascist nature of the state? Well, they are throwing in everything they have, which is brute force. Thousands of police agents have been moved to Barcelona and hosted in three cruise vessels... like this one:


Total failure, right?

It's "Brand Spain", also known as "ACME". And this is the most likely result:



It's not just a "marketing" failure, it's not just surrealism at its best (or worst), it is that with every single repressive move more and more people join the rebels. People who were not in favor of the referendum now favor it, people who were not in favor of independence now say they will vote for it, even in Spain proper the mobilizations in favor of Catalonia are much larger than those against it, which so far have not gathered more than a handful or two of fascists. 

The dock workers have rejected to serve the three police ships, Catalan unions have called for a general strike beginning on October 3rd (the referendum will be on Oct. 1st), in Madrid a demonstration aiming to "surround Congress" has been called for Oct. 5th, these days we have seen thousands of people demonstrating in solidarity with Catalonia all around the rest of the Spanish state, plus also very large protests against local issues (Murcia) or general most serious affairs (Linares). If Madrid keeps the repression against Catalonia they are going to see how the Catalan fire expands to all the peninsula, there's no way around that, particularly because there is no end to the Catalan "Procès" other than independence (or its defeat via referendum, most unlikely at this point). And they just do not have enough cops...

Remember that moment in the Tunisian Revolution of 2011 when the protesters realized that they were many many more than the cops, pushed back and won?

Remember that moment in the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 when the police van shooting water cannons against the demonstrators run out of water and had to retreat, allowing the People to take Tahrir Square again?

That moment will happen, somehow, at some point, also in Catalonia and maybe even in Madrid soon, the rage is just too big and the regime too stagnated, corrupt and discredited. The #MAMBO has just begun. Pay attention because this is most important not just for Catalonia, not even for Spain, but for all Europe.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Catalonia: Spain escalates repression, shoots itself on the foot.

Military police car taken over by protesters
Telegraphically: This morning the Spanish state has assaulted the Catalan Government (Generalitat) and arrested 12 people, including many high officers of the elect government. Last minute info indicates that masked police forces have surrounded the offices of the radical left independentist party Popular Unity Lists (CUP). Several separatist parties have abandoned the Spanish Congress as result. The center of Barcelona is full of people in spontaneous demonstration. Protests are being held in other places as well, including here in Bilbao (Basque Country). The only de facto all-Spain opposition party Podemos has called for a conference of mayors and other elect officers tomorrow in Zaragoza (the Spanish nationalist right-wing parties PP and Ciudadanos have not been invited, the Spanish nationalist center-left PSOE has rejected to go but all other forces are going). While we can't say the situation is "revolutionary", it is certainly most anomalous and in many sense "pre-revolutionary", particularly because the Spanish state cannot effectively fight against the peoples, much less with the extremely low level of legitimacy it has after so much corruption, austericide and repression. We cannot exclude at this point that a general strike of political nature could be called, even if the main unions are quite sheeply and definitely unionist.

The situation is definitely critical in any case. Some relevant Twitter hashtags: #ReferèndumCat, #MAMBO.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

USA moves against Germany with an anti-Russian pretext - the EU is doomed

Remember what I said months ago about Europe being bound to become a US colony or worse? Well, it is happening right now. All that blah-blah about Trump siding with Russia was of course just a smokescreen: Trump has managed instead to lead a massive consensus in US politics for new Cuba-style sanctions against Russia. Why? Because that is the perfect opportunity to start a trade war against Germany and shatter the EU into pieces.

I won't cry for the EU but we will all cry for the conflicts that this IMPANSIONISM of the US Empire is about to trigger. 

Germany and its close ally Austria are clearly angry but I am not at all so sure as they claim to be about the EU standing united against the US intentions. Certainly Britain is out for good but also Bankster-President Macron of France has been actively and shamelessly courting Donald Trump, with greater success than Angela Merkel, no doubt, but unclear consequences as of now. 

Actively anti-Russian regimes in the EU are also Poland, Sweden and the three small Baltic states. Norway is probably also siding with the USA and the rest is all indecision. 

Anyway, what can Germany do? Well, first of all expel all US and other "ally" bases from its territory, a legacy of a long occupation that was formally ended in the 1990s. They could also choose to exit NATO's integrated military command, as De Gaulle (France) did in the 1950s, and they could once again demand from the USA the return of their gold reserves stored in Fort Knox (which the USA already declined to do a few years ago). But of course they'd be much more effective if they could rally the EU around them in a proper trade war against the USA, in which there is no clear winner other than China. The problem is that Germany's austericidal policies have already alienated any hope of internal solidarity within the EU. Basically Merkel's Germany has wasted its chance at leading the bloc in a way that is good for all, and not just for Germany, and now nobody will care too much if Germany suffers a bit or two. 

That does not mean I'm declaring Germany's position lost, just that it's much much weaker than they imagine (wishful thinking never solved anything). In any case Germany and whoever rallies around it is bound to clash with Washington: the interest they have in the Nord Stream pipeline is way too serious and they are already pissed off by the US and allies' troublemaking in Ukraine, including the first round of anti-Russian sanctions. Worse, the issues come from older times: anti-Iran sanctions also harmed Germany's economy and the intervention in Libya was shunned by Germany and Italy. To a large extent Germany is in the same difficult position as Russia was put into, just that, while Russia has a much larger degree of sovereignty, not just because of its huge and very effective military but also because of its extension and natural resources, Germany is much smaller in size, has a relatively weak military (and no nukes!) and, above all, it is extremely dependent on the EU trading bloc, which it has used and abused to further their own interests. 

What does the USA want? Forcing Germany to accept an even more marked subservient position, to reduce their exports (something that Trump has been outspoken about but would mean the collapse of the German economy) and in general establish a truly imperial rule on Europe by Washington. 

I can't say how this new major conflict will evolve but my best hunch is one of conflict inside Europe, the quite possible collapse of the EU as we know it, maybe of NATO too (the remnants would be recycled into a satellite US "province" with unmistakable US dominance) and I would definitely not discard wars and military coups. But what I do think is very clear is that Germany cannot afford the luxury to budge once again at Washington's demands, no matter how extended is the anti-Russian consensus which is used as a pretext, because it is transparent that the target is not so much Russia but Germany. 

I'm sure I will have to write more on this soon, because it is clear that this conflict is bound to become the epicenter of European and even global politics in the next months and years. Serious stuff, really!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Behind Qatar's crisis: Israel's plan to annex Gaza and expel all its inhabitants

I have been as puzzled as anyone about what on Earth was going on behind the sudden blockade and blackmail by Saudi Arabia, Egypt and a couple of lesser players (UAE and Bahrain) against Qatar. But today suddenly the puzzle begins to take shape with the addition of two new pieces:

1. Egypt's Parliament voted to cede two strategic islands to Saudi Arabia. The islands of Tiran and Sanafir are located at the mouth of the Gulf of Aqaba, making that strait Egyptian territorial waters. This cession was done against Egyptian national interest and historical pride and without Saudi Arabia having ever staked any claim on those islands. Actually the cession is not about Egypt nor Saudi Arabia but about Israel, because by giving away those strategic islands, the Zionist Colony gains free access to the Red Sea via what will suddenly become international (and not anymore Egyptian) waters. 

Tiran and Sanafir Islands
Tiran and Sanafir islands (source: The Real News)


2. Prince Khalid Bin Farhan al-Saud, who lives outside the rigors of the Saudi courtly plots in Germany, has revealed that the conditions imposed by the USA to the current Crown Prince (heir) and effective strongman of Saudi Arabia, Mohamed Bin Salman, in order to allow his raise to the throne before his (demented) father's death are that Saudi Arabia accepts the genocide in Gaza and finances the resettlement of Palestinians in Sinai, and also the internationalization of the waters of the Gulf of Aqaba.

The alleged conditions include “absolute obedience to the US and Israel and carrying out whatever they ask him to do.” Three other conditions, claimed Khalid, are stated in return for helping Bin Salman take the throne before the death of his father: “Working to settle all Gaza residents in north Sinai as an alternative homeland and Saudi Arabia along with the UAE will afford the needed funds; getting rid of Hamas and whoever supports it; and getting Sanafir Island from Egypt.”

Bin Farhan said that the last condition would make the Gulf of Aqaba international waters instead of Egyptian territorial waters, which would facilitate Israeli shipping to and from the port of Eilat. It would also help Israel to carry out a project planned to operate in parallel to the Suez Canal. A retainer of around $500 million is also involved, he claimed.

Sinai Peninsula, Gaza Strip and Gulf of Aqaba (credit: Graphic Lab (ru))

For the last many years Gaza has been ruled by Hamas, originally a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, against whose elected government arose the current military strongman and President of Egypt. Both moderate islamist organizations are the main pretext for the Saudi-Egyptian aggression against Qatar. 

It is worth reminding that Turkey, whose autocratic President Erdogan seems to have been falling apart with the USA and even flirting with Russia and Iran, has rushed to protect Qatar from any possible Saudi invasion and can be perceived as a historical mild ally of the Muslim Brotherhood and even Hamas (remember the Mavi Marmara). However Turkey remains part of NATO and provides a key air base (Inçirlik, near the Syrian border) to the USA and its European vassals ("allies").

It would seem that when Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu expressed his happiness about Trump's election, he knew well what was going on behind the obvious political and geostrategical clumsiness of the White House's buffoon (so-called "President"). Only someone of the low stock as Trump would allow for such a blatant a genocide to take place before our noses.

The plan is quite apparently already ongoing, the cession of the islands is a clear sign, so we should expect that in few weeks, months at most, the plan to invade Gaza and expel all its inhabitants, more than one million people, most of them refugees from what is now Israel, will begin.

Let's not be mere spectators, let us make everything possible to prevent this new genocide.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Macron and May agree to destroy Internet freedom of speech

They agreed to force Internet companies to bar nonviolent "extremism". The meeting at Paris got almost no news coverage in the West and I must rely on RT's Dan Glazebrook op-ed (the only other medium to report on it was Al Jazeera).
Specifically, what was announced was that both countries would be introducing heavy fines for internet companies that failed to remove what they, very loosely, defined as “extremist content.” (...)
It was former PM David Cameron who originally came up with the idea that “nonviolent extremism” should be criminalized alongside violent extremism. Intriguingly, as an example of what he meant, he included the idea that the “West is bad,” as well as elsewhere arguing that the promotion of “wild conspiracy theories” would also qualify.

This is exactly what Macron and May, both managers for the Bankster Mafia, to attempt to destroy freedom of speech in NATOland. The idea is not so much to clamp down on terrorist propaganda outlets (many of which are actually backed and actively protected by the British and French states) but to impede any form of dissident expression within the Western Empire or at least its European province. 

Their problem is as follows:
For example, an RT interview I did about British collusion with terrorism shortly before the election got over one and half million views on Facebook – higher than the daily readership of the Daily Mail. Jonathan Pie’s fantastic piece tearing apart the Tory’s ‘strong and stable’ nonsense, got 11 million views. That is two and half million more than the combined circulation of the Daily Mail, Daily Express, Guardian, Sun, Daily Star, Times, Telegraph, Evening Standard, and the Mirror and Metro – the country’s ten leading newspapers.  And hilariously, when I had just watched one of Theresa May’s speeches on YouTube during the campaign, immediately afterwards, YouTube automatically played Liar Liar, the anti-May anthem that reached number four in the UK pop charts last week. And I suspect YouTube auto played that video after anyone watched anything about Theresa May due to the algorithms that they employ.
All this is pretty much like book (and witch/heretic) burning in the early Modern Ages, when the oligarchs felt threatened by the new invention: print! Just like then, but multiplied times a thousand at least, the new media and its power-democratization capability feels threatening to those who try to retain their dinosaur power heavily reliant on mass-media, which, the more they get manipulated, the less they are watched/read (because there are alternatives, reasonably good, critical and diverse ones). 

Probably not even Goebbels (on whom the likes of May and Macron base their ideas) would be able to survive something like that,  Berlusconi didn't, his Serbian precursor Milosevic didn't either, the declared admirer of Hitler, Turkish President Erdogan, is struggling all the time against the likes of YouTube and Twitter: he bans them once and again but it's never enough, more so with people in the more totalitarian countries getting quickly used to skip censorship via TOR. Not even a giant like China can control it, because it's like the first law of chaos: you just cannot have absolute power, nor absolute control, the more repressive you get, the less you can actually control in the mid run.

It does not surprise me the least with dinosaurs like May or Trump, they are just too old to know, they belong to a long gone era, but Macron is young and supposedly quite smart, how can he also fall for that megalomaniac fallacy? Well, he's probably too "viejuno" or "viejoven", as they say in Spain, i.e. "old-like" or "old-young" (just look at his haircut and his clothes, he seems taken from an old Hitchcock movie), and not at all as smart as the oligarchs sell him: one thing is smart-lackey (which does not really need true intelligence only operational smarts) and another thing is smart-brilliant (which is automatically critical and scientific, even if sometimes not too practical). That's the difference between Thatcher (brilliant even if truly evil) and Reagan (a mere sockpuppet with performance skills), Macron seems to be rather in the latter category (and so is May of course, a quite gray woman).

Glaezbrook's conclusions:
So that’s what this new crackdown on the internet is really about; it’s about regaining control of that narrative. It’s about turning the CEOs of YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Google into the Rupert Murdochs of the 21st century – the political allies and mouthpieces of the British state and the capitalist class, and doing this by forging a new relationship that explicitly punishes them if they refuse to play ball.
(...)
The Open Rights Group has warned that “to push on with these extreme proposals for internet clampdowns would appear to be a distraction from the current political situation and from effective measures against terror."

“The government already has extensive surveillance powers. Conservative proposals for automated censorship of the internet would see decisions about what British citizens can see online being placed in the hands of computer algorithms, with judgments ultimately made by private companies rather than courts. Home Office plans to force companies to weaken the security of their communications products could put all of us at a greater risk of crime.”

Those who are worried about extremism should be calling for an end to the British intelligence services’ collaboration and facilitation of terrorism and the extradition of those who have carried out or facilitated attacks abroad, as well as an international investigation and prosecutions of all those involved.

Theresa May’s new proposals do nothing to end the impunity of her own government in the grooming and facilitation of terrorism. Rather, they serve to extend this impunity. They must be resisted.
Hopefully they will fail (again) but let us be most vigilant and ready to fight against this kind of pseudo-democratic fascism. It is extremely dangerous and we must indeed resist it: we need more freedom of speech, not less.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Neither Le Pen nor Macron

Neither fatherland nor boss, neither banker nor racist, neither Le Pen nor Macron. Under such banners lots of French are demonstrating as I write this in the streets of Paris and other towns. 

The runoff of the presidential election is leaving way too many without options: should one vote for a pseudo-democrat bankster in order to stop an outspokenly fascist and racist but farcical "social" führeress? I don't think so, I wouldn't in any case. Sure: Le Pen is scary but Macron is not a bit less scary, it's a lot like the Trump vs Clinton false dichotomy: both are evil ultra-capitalist warmongers and should not be supported by the Left in any case.

We must step out of the bourgeois infighting and demand our socialist and radical-democratic program every single day and in any circumstance. There are no lesser evils, only the greater good is really worth our effort.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Lenin's April Theses 100 years later

On April 17th, one century ago, Lenin announced what can be understood as the manifesto for the Russian Revolution, known to history as the April Theses. 

Sputnik News has a very cool and detailed infographic on them, go take a look.

The full name of the text is actually The Tasks of the Proletariat in the Present Revolution, it is freely available at Marxists.org.

Context: after the February Revolution, there was a provisional government led by liberal (i.e. center-right) Georgy Lvov and dominated by the Kadet party (also liberal in the classical sense of strongly capitalist). While other "socialist" factions had minor representation in this provisional government, the Bolsheviks did not partake of it. There was however a parallel government in the form of a loose network of local soviets (worker councils), dominated by the Soviet of Petrograd.

On April 16th Lenin arrived from Zürich in the famed train episode and thus the following day he spoke in Petrograd. What he exposed in two successive discourses became known as the April Theses.

A synthesis of the theses may be:
  1. No to the imperialist war, democratic and not violent peace. A revolutionary war may be acceptable but only if: 
    1. The power is in the hand of the working classes (proletariat and landless farmers)
    2. Nothing is annexed
    3. There is radical break with the interests of Capitalism
  2.  Russia is in the first stage of the Revolution, which gave power to the bourgeoisie, but there must be a second stage in which the power passes to the working class. This first stage caused class consciousness to extend to the masses and this newly born consciousness must now serve real emancipation.
  3. No support for the Provisional Government, which he dubs deceitful and confronted to the real interest of the Russian masses.
  4. Acknowledging that the Bolsheviks were in the minority in many soviets, which were controlled by the social-reformists (Social Revolutionary or agrarian populist party and the left wing of the Kadet or liberal party). However the soviets are the only possible form of popular revolutionary government and the Bolshevik task in them must be to expose the treason of the Provisional Government.
  5. No support for a parliamentary republic (a backward step) but for a republic of the soviets. Abolition of the police, army (to be replaced by arming of the whole People) and bureaucracy. Limitation of salaries of all officers, who are to be replaceable at any moment, by that of a qualified worker.
  6. Agrarian programme: confiscation of all landed estates, nationalization of all lands (to be managed by the soviets), creation of "model farms" in all expropriated latifundia.
  7. Fussion of all banks into a single national bank under soviet control.
  8. Bolsheviks should focus on bringing all the economy into the hands of the soviets. 
  9. Call for an immediate Congress of the Bolshevik Party, renaming of the party (would be Communist Party, following Marx' preferences), modification of the party program, mainly on the issues of imperialism and war, on the preference for a "commune state" and on the predicted calendar.
  10. Forging of a new International against the "social-chauvinists" (would be "social-democrats" by our modern terminology). 
Hardly anything to object to Lenin in this moment: I can perfectly embrace his program in full. Daring he may be but daring we must be if we are to succeed. So far so good but history doesn't stop.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Erdogan rigs his way to a dictatorship, people walk out against him

What can you expect from someone who declares himself an admirer of Adolf Hitler, really? Let's not forget that, while it's often said that Hitler was elected democratically, the historical reality is that he rigged the elections with illegalizations and terror but, even then, he could not win an outright majority and had to rely on his "moderate" right-wing allies.

It's not the first time that the Islamo-Fascists rig elections in Turkey, so it should not surprise anyone, really.

As always with ongoing events, the best place to gather a plural information is probably Twitter, in this case the hashtag #TurkeySaidNo.

For example:


I must say that there is much more activity in Turkish than in English, for example under the hash #HileliSonucaHayır. Sadly I can't read any Turkish, so I have to rely on English language sources.

Anyway, for what I can gather it's been two days of massive protests already and looking good: another 2013? There's a long summer ahead and this year is definitely going to be quite hot. 

My best wishes to the brave Turkish and Kurdish peoples fighting for their freedom. They definitely deserve better than Erdogan. It's one world and one struggle: their fight is the same as ours.


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

March 8 1917-2017

Happy and combatant Working Women's Day. 

Today, one hundred years ago, began the Russian Revolution. Its first phase to be precise, the so called "February Revolution" (the Julian calendar in use in Russia back then was 13 days off relative to the Gregorian one). It was the beginning of a revolutionary cycle that affected not just Russia but much of Europe. 

The situation was dire in Russia, the war had been lingering for years already and the masses were utterly exhausted by the ever-growing demands of the totalitarian regime and the war effort. Let's not forget that most of those killed in World War I were subjects of the Russian Empire. 

Since March 3rd, strikes had been popping around like mushrooms, the most famous one being the one at the huge Putilov factory. On March 7th, in spite of the unrest, the Tsar left for the front. On March 8th worker women marched in large numbers demanding something as basic as "bread", their striking male comrades joined them. It was a general strike at the capital of the most backward and reactionary state of Europe.


On March 9th the protesters gathered hundred of thousands and they already demanded the head of the autocrat. By March 10th, in spite of the prohibition, the marches broke all records, not a single industry was active in the city. Four people were killed but the uprising did not stop at all. 

On March 11th an inexperienced commander, General Khabalov, was ordered to put down the protests at any cost. On March 12th the city was besieged by his garrison. However soon troops began quarreling among them and one company was the first to mutiny, opening fire against the police.

That very same day the Petrograd Soviet was formed, while the (very conservative and not really democratic) Duma had been rendered ineffective by an imperial edict.

Before the day was over, four regimients mutinied and even the usually loyal cossacks hesitated. Officers were killed or had to flee for their lives.

The next day, Tsar Nicholas attempted to go back to Petrograd but could not reach it. His guards either deserted or declared "neutrality": the fake Emperor's clothes were gone. On request of the Duma, the Tsar abdicated. Few days later a provisional government under Octobrist (conservative) Rodzianko was formed.

In five days or so, Russia had gone from totalitarian empire to unstable provisional republic(?) That's how revolutions happen: they may only throw down rotten structures but when they do, they are fast and merciless.

In the following months the two opposing powers: the soviets (popular councils) and the Duma will go on a crash course. It may sound "unreal" but this is true history: this actually happened... and will happen again with whatever variations, because the real issues have never been solved but rather just aggravated.

As La Polla Records sang:
This story that was maybe true
seems a lie, we're going to tell it anyhow.
In the Russia of the beloved Tsar
lived a peasant named Ivan,
toiling the land without rest,
always hungry, no time to think.
Sowing, sowing and sowing yet again,
and Count Borrowich gets all the harvest,
the petty priest asks for resignation,
invites himself to Ivan's home
and he eats all the best. 
Ivan was there... (chorus, thrice)
A good day he worked with the hoe,
came some men, they told him: Comrade,
There are no more masters to whom obey,
you are a free man, we've taken power!
Thinking, thinking and thinking yet again,
Ivan gradually gets used to the idea:
the nobility has been deposed,
there will be no more jerks living at his expense.
Ivan was there...
Jumping around one-legged
the sickle and the hammer in the red banner,
with effort and some attention
what extreme flips reality makes!
Hurray!

Original song in Castilian (Spanish):



Monday, March 6, 2017

North Korean slaves in Poland

Poland is the shithole of Europe in way too many aspects but here there is one that was not exposed yet: for decades and still today Poland uses North Korean slave labor while everybody, in Warsaw as in Brussels pretends not to know.



I recall that when our unionized shipyard was closed by the occupant regime of Spain, under guidance of NATO-EU back in the 80s, it was said that it could not compete with Polish and Korean shipyards. It was obvious the barely camouflaged intent of subsidizing Walesa's yellow Christian-Fundamentalist "union" as part of the Reaganist plot against the Soviet bloc but I never really got the "Korean" part, after all South Korean unions were as hardy as ours, if not even more combatant.

Now I understand: what they had in mind all the time was not South Korea but North Korean slave labor in Poland.

Today, with the Communist Party forbidden and with Poland totally becoming an ultra-capitalist Fascist regime, the situation remains the same. Where are those "unions" defending the rights of North Korean workers? Nowhere: they were always a fake, a sockpuppet of the worst and most criminal Capitalism the World has known in many many decades!

Shame on you: Europe!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

DAESH is finished, what next?

The so-called Islamic State (DAESH by its Arab acronym) will be finished in a matter of weeks: Mosul is being liberated without almost any resistance, Kurdo-Arab forces have cut off Raqqa from Deir-el-Zor, Turkey marches on Al Bab along with their Al-Qaeda "moderate opposition" militias, while Syria is also force-marching to cut the Turkish advance on their sovereign territory, as well as against Palmyra. On top of that the USA has been mass-bombing Raqqa itself (and nope, nobody has cried about the "humanitarian situation" this time). There is no coalition but a general recognition that DAESH is the legitimate target, which each one is using for their own purposes. 

Military situation in Syria around February 12 per Wikimedia Commons (author: Ermanarich)

The expected end-game situation will be a partition of Syria in three areas: the main one under the legitimate Baath government, a very sizable chunk in the Northeast (plus a Kurdish enclave in the Northwest) under independent Kurdo-Arab control (Syrian Democratic Forces) and a strip of the rural Northwest under Turkish control and that of their allied militias who until recently flew the banner of Al Qaeda. 

DAESH will be then limited to dormant cells and a few guerrilla enclaves in Africa and Yemen, which may well turn their allegiance towards Al Qaeda/Turkey/Saudia/USA again or suffer the consequences. 

My big question is what next for Syria. I'm uncertain that Damascus and the YPG can get along once the common enemy has been smashed, although it will remain in the form of the FSA (Al Qaeda) and Turkey, they may both feel powerless to fight against the Turkish regional power and their NATO fallback line. Surely that won't dissuade the Kurds, who are in open war against Turkey (not by whim but because Erdogan imposed it) but I'm quite uncertain that Syria, which has not fought for the Golan Heights in many decades, was pushed out of Lebanon and has been struggling to win the "civil war" without support (Russian intervention proved decisive, no doubt) is ready to fight against the much stronger Islamo-Fascist Turkey of Erdogan. 

So my guess is that it will settle in some sort of unstable status quo, with Damascus demanding the pull back of Turkey with words rather than action, Turkey demanding "dialogue" (i.e. concesions to Islamo-Fascism and Turkmen tiny minorities) just to delay any retreat, Kurds growingly confronted with Turkey as leftover weapons and hardened warriors flow into the North of the country under Ankara's occupation, Turkey pressuring Syria to do something about it, Syria rebuilding while it looks at both sides between amused and concerned, etc. It's possible even that the Syrian Army and the SDF join forces to finally expel both "moderate" Islamo-Fascists and Turkish troops from Syrian territory but there will be no doubt a lot of distrust. 

Unless NATO collapses in the meantime (that would be very nice indeed but most unlikely), the Baghdad Railroad line (Turco-Syrian border) is a red line that Syrian forces will never cross, nor will Russian air forces if involved, only Kurds will because for them that border does not exist, just as they do not seem to exist as nation for the rest of the world. 

In any case the murderer, torturer, rapists and slavers DAESH will be gone for good. And that is indeed good. I can just hope that they arrest them as they flow back into Europe and other places, instead of letting them in as their Western protectors usually do, with the obvious intention of using them as pretext to implement every day more extremist dictatorial measures such as the permanent state of emergency in effect in France and to prop up the extremist Christo-Fascists and outright Nazis that seem to be groomed to replace the current constitutional regimes, once these are exhausted, as has happened in the USA with Trump, in Poland with Duda, etc.

Sadly enough hope alone won't do much.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Trump uses the Army to repress peaceful citizens in Dakota

A few days ago I was called the attention to a DHS (US Gestapo) leaked draft document that authorized the use of the National Guard (Army reserves) to enforce Trump's "final solution" to the issue of illegal immigration. I was at first a bit dismissive of the credibility of such claims, after all it is very apparent that a large segment of the US Oligarcy, led by the likes of Soros, Clinton, McCain, etc. are actively opposed to Trump, but they seem to be very real.

The evidence is on how the protest camp against the pipeline at Standing Rock was brutally evicted yesterday, with use of military forces and equipment. And journalists have been the first victims of the fascist repression. The information is therefore not fully clear but it is apparent that some protesters have been injured and many more arrested, often on absolutely no grounds.

In this no-words video report you can appreciate some of the magnitude of the militarization of repression:




Here a raw report from inside Oceti Camp as it was being raided:




I can only imagine this are "testing grounds" for a brutal escalation in repression and militarization inside the USA (and therefore in all its imperial area of influence). They are primarily targeting "minorities" because that is how you boil the frog alive: by only slowly increasing the temperature. You know: "first they came for the communists and I did not speak out..." But this affects every single person inside the borders of the USA and also outside (as the practices are being extended, in various ways, to every single country in NATO-plus).

This is the true ugly face of Capitalism, a psychopathic abuser that sometimes pretends to be "nice" but only to deceive you and then shows its true face: brutal repression and exploitation. On the good side, it is a symptom of its final crisis, on the bad side, unless we wake up and take back what is ours, is only going to get much worse before people wake up and do what we must.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

How to commemorate the centenary of the Russian Revolution?

I've been chewing on this now and then for some months but really, had not come to any conclusion before seeing the curious concept promoted by RT of #1917Live, a Twitter dramatization of sorts (although subject to all kind of adherences and even trolling, as usually happens in Twitterspace).



So I'm thinking that indeed the best way to cover it is maybe to now and then (weekly?, on special occasion days?, both?) to mention what was happening in Russia (and for context maybe elsewhere). I'm not any expert on Russian Revolutionary history but I'll try to get my facts as straight as possible. Also it will probably be useful to discuss more in depth some characters, factions, episodes...

For example I stumbled today with this History on Trial video on Vladimir Lenin, which is probably about the fairer trial he may get in Western media (yeah, TED is quite Westernist most of the time but still they do a good job here):




So what was happening in February 1917? Well, not yet the February Revolution, which actually happened in early March (blame the Julian calendar for the offset) but certainly the mood was getting quite hot: the war (World War I) was raging and Russia was faring quite poorly, with six million Russians dead for a cause that was not even clear, and famine becoming way too prevalent in the midst of the freezing Russian winter. The Tsar, Nicholas II Romanov, had even rejected to form a constitutional government, alienating much of his own entourage, who hoped for some reforms.

So the Tsar figuratively tweets his worry about treason and deceit all around him... but who is to blame? Is it once again the Russian People (and various oppressed nations such as Poles, Finns, Uzbeks or Georgians) going to die in troves for the Tsar for no obvious good reason? Not this time: the Revolution has not yet begun but decades of worker struggle precede this fated year of 1917. Even a failed revolution has happened 12 years earlier, also after a catastrophic war (against Japan), which was bathed in blood by the autocrat. This time it will be different but the people living it do not yet know.

It is in this period of the 1905 Revolution in which the genial filmmaker Einsestein placed his famous movie Battleship Potemkin:





A bit of background

Before I close this introduction it may be worth mentioning some of the factions that will show up. It wouldn't be Marxist enough if we did not consider class structure first of all: there was a growing but still minor urban working class or "classical proletariat" (of which 82% worked in companies larger than 100 workers and 40% in mega-industries with more than 1000 workers) but the vast majority (80%) of the Empire's population were still rural farmers. Most had been slaves (serfs) until a generation ago but formal emancipation had not ended their troubles at all, lacking as they were of land to farm. In some areas, particularly towards the West (formerly part of Poland or Sweden), there were yeoman farmers, but otherwise the land was property of large aristocratic landowners and to lesser extent communal property of villages.

After 1905, the Tsar agreed to create a parliament called the Duma, however it was soon to be reformed in a reactionary way, making the electoral system very favorable to the aristocrats and anyhow with the autocrat always able to bypass it. It is in this period when the two main "liberal" (bourgeois, capitalist) parties emerged: the more left-leaning Kadets and the very reactionary Octobrists. Socialists of all types boycotted the Duma (although a few individuals were elected to its early version) but they were growing strong at the sidelines of the regime. 

These Socialists had initially two parties: the Socialist Revolutionary Party or Narodniki (Populists) had an agrarian base, was rather bourgeois-leaning and definitely not Marxist, the Socialist Democratic Party had an urban base and was part of the wider Socialist International, then still dominated by Marxist ideology. However in 1904 the Russian SDP split in two: one faction, led by Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov "Lenin", more radical and claiming to be the The Majority (Bolshevik in Russian) and another one, more moderate or reformist, called The Minority (Menshevik in Russian), led by Julius Martov. Both claimed to be the real Socialist Democratic Party of Russia, so they were distinguished by these labels. They reunified in 1906, with the Mensheviks becoming the majority, rather counter-intuitively, but split again in 1912, this time for good. 

One of the main differences was that the Mensheviks were skeptical of the chances for a socialist revolution in underdeveloped Russia, while the Bolsheviks thought there was no harm in trying. The Mensheviks also sought their allies among the liberal-bourgeois, while the Bolsheviks strongly preferred the peasantry instead. This same story would repeat later in China, albeit without a formal split of the Communist Party, as Stalin's Komintern and the official PCC leadership did not believe in the chances of a socialist revolution there either, preferring to cooperate with the Kuomintang "nationalists", but Mao and his rather unorthodox faction did and actually succeeded in due time. 

Another Socialist faction we just cannot ignore were the Anarchists or Libertarian Socialists/Communists (naming conventions have changed through time and tendency). A venerable figure was still alive when the Russian Revolution unfolded, Piotr Kropotkin, but he had been exiled in Western Europe since 1876. He returned to Russia in 1917 and live there until his death in 1921, being openly critical of the Bolshevik takeover, as he was strongly against authoritarian socialism, which he had predicted a failure ultimately. His funeral would be the last tolerated anti-Bolshevik demonstration in many decades. 

But there were others much more active in these troubled times. In 1881 they even managed to kill Tsar Alexander II, and, a few years alter, in 1887, they failed in a similar attempt against his heir Alexander III. Lenin's older brother Aleksander was the leading conspirator and was therefore executed. A little star shines in his memory (no kidding: asteroid 2112 Ulyanov is named in his honor). Anarchist agitation and armed struggle became very important around 1905 but Tsarist repression was brutal and they were pretty much annihilated by 1909. However they will resurface in 1917, being an important faction in the Soviet movement, in an uneasy alliance with the Bolsheviks, who also nominally supported the soviets (councils), so it is important in all this historical review to ponder what do we mean when we say "soviet": do we mean the autocracy implemented by Lenin's Bolshevik Party by usurping the power of the soviets or do we mean the original grassroots assemblies that represented the working classes?

Anarchists would also become very important after the retreat of the German occupation force in 1918 in Eastern Ukraine (now again shattered by rebellion and struggle against tyranny) under the leadership of Nestor Makhno, and traces of their ideals (all the power to the soviets, a demand usurped by Lenin to his authoritarian convenience) were also present in the Krondstadt uprising, made by Bolshevik Party member soldiers to a large extent.

Back to the Bolsheviks, three characters are particularly important and will come once and again as History unfolds: Lenin, Stalin and Trotsky. Who were these guys? 

I have already outlined the role of Lenin in the formation of the Bolshevik Party, of which he was unquestionable leader all the time. He was also a very notable intellectual, whose work is very much worth reading regardless of what we may think of him. He was imprisoned in Siberia at the end of the 19th century and soon after he founded the newspaper Iskra (Spark). In 1902 he published his most famous work, What Is To Be Done?, in which he argued that class consciousness was only achievable by activism and agitation outside of the industries, that worker spontaneous self-organization can only lead to limited and limiting trade-unionism and not to revolution. There is a point to make from the perspective that only time can give that he may have been right for the Fordist period (formal subsumption of work into capital in Marx' terminology) but that since the arrival of Toyotism (REAL subsumption) and its political branch Thatcherism/Reaganism, unions are pretty much done and the only real sphere remaining for the workers' struggle is certainly outside the companies, where repression is simply brutal and organization tends to zero way too rapidly. An open debate of course. 

Another seminal work of Lenin is Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism, which comes very handy today as well, as the term "imperialism" is used often and many geopolitical situations resemble very much the inter-imperialist struggle between the great powers of the early 20th century, at least to some extent. In this work he opposed the views of Kautsky (one of the founding fathers of Social-Democracy as we know it today), who argued for the unavoidable cooperation of all capitalist powers in the exploitation of the global periphery (colonies and semi-colonies, the Third World in modern terminology). Lenin correctly argued that imperialist tendencies would instead cause conflict among the various capitalist powers, increasing the contradictions. One could argue that Lenin "cheated" because he wrote that in 1917, after WWI was well advanced, while Kautsky had published his work in 1914 instead. But, "cheat" or not, he was clearly correct and we can see the same happening today with tensions rising between the various capitalist powers: US-China rivalry on top of all but also the US siege of Russia, the, barely hidden, growing tensions between Germany and the Anglosaxon power ring, etc. He also transferred the focus of revolution to the periphery and, at least for the 20th century, he was again right, even if there is much to debate about whether those revolutions are genuinely socialist or rather sui generis versions of Capitalism, a Capitalism without bourgeoisie, which otherwise would be just subservient to the core powers ("comprador bourgeoisie") and hardly a national development force.

One of the early critics of Lenin was Lev Davidovich Bronstein, an Ukranian better known as Leon Trotsky, who was confronted with the Bolshevik leader at the split of the SDP in 1904. However he soon became an "independent" because the Mensheviks were clearly aligning themselves with the liberal bourgeois parties. He worked to reconcile the two factions to no avail and in 1917 he finally joined the Bolshevik Party, where many looked at him with distrust. His main theoretical work is the theory of Permanent Revolution (later partly adopted by the Maoists). The term was originally coined by Marx in several passages, so Trotsky is mostly extending on these early approaches of the genius of Trier. However, much as Lenin, Trotsky has a peripheral focus and thus he argued (correctly) that in Russia the bourgeoisie cannot make a successful progressive revolution but that only the proletariat can do it. This part of the theory, very innovative, was partly adopted by Lenin (April Theses) and was initially rejected even within the Bolshevik Party, however it would later become mainstream. But Trotsky also sustained that the revolution in a single country would unavoidably fail, unless it was quickly followed up by revolutions in other states, a concept never fully debated by the Bolsheviks and clearly opposed by Stalin. The key idea of Permanent Revolution in any case seems to be that the global working class (Humankind by another name) cannot falter until socialist goals have been thoroughly achieved, at risk of success of bourgeois reaction. 

Finally we won't forget the fierce Georgian activist who would eventually become sorta-Tsar himself, Ioseb Besarionis dze Jughashvili, who eventually adopted the alias of Stalin: Steel Man. He would be described today as a "terrorist" no doubt, leading part of the Bolshevik party into acts of robbery, extortion and assassination with terrible clarity and outstanding leadership. While he did write some articles and is co-author of the post-revolutionary concept of "Socialism in one country" (opposed to Trotsky's frantic Internationalism), Stalin was mostly a man of action and doubtlessly a most clever conspirator, whose power grew at the shadow of Lenin, within the Party's activist class preluding the kind of state he would eventually rule and largely shape.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Naval Empire, no functional Navy?

A few days ago I read that all of Britain's Trident class nuclear submarines are out of order (except one that is on trial). Granted that the info comes from The Sun but these days it's even possible that such a tabloid has better info than Prime Minister May. 

Alright, Britain has been decaying for a century or so, guess that it is a bit shocking but more or less within expectations. But today I read that more than half of US Navy aircraft and almost two thirds of the class F/A 18, which provide striking power to the famed or infamous US aircraft carriers, which allow the US Empire to extend its power projection to about all the planet, are out of service.

In this case the source is not a sensationalist newspaper but Defense News, a medium oriented to military personnel and contractors primarily. While it is normal that around 1/4 or even up to 1/3 of the aricraft are routinely undergoing maintenance at any moment, these figures are twice the normal and could severely hamper the operating capabilities of the feared US Navy. 

And this is what we get to know. How real is the power projection of the USA and its NATO-plus makeshift empire? Is The Empire a giant with feet of clay? 

Let's not forget that the power of the US dollar depends on its Navy and vice-versa: that the power of the US Armed Forces depend on the primacy of the green buck over all other currencies, because that's how they manage to export inflation and borrow infinitely from nowhere. This is no trivial matter at all.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Explosion at nuclear plant in Normandy (France) and other nuclear news

A explosion (described as massive or huge by some media) rocked the nuclear power plant of Flammanville (near Cherbourg, Upper Normandy) today around 10:00 CET. The information as of now is still fragmentary but the authorities have been quick in allegedly dispelling any fears of "nuclear accident", claiming it happened in the control room of a non-operative new reactor. 

Several workers have been affected by smoke inhalation and a fire is still burning at the site.  

If the accident would be a true nuclear accident, dominant winds should send the radiation to NW France, South England and the Rhine basin, the very core of European economy. Hopefully it is nothing too serious but that doesn't solve the problem of France being the most likely home to a new Fukushima, if not on Earth at least in Europe. 

I estimate that the next major nuclear accident should statistically happen around 2023, then around 2029, 2032 and since then about one per year or so. This is because nuclear facilities are every day older: they should be decommissioned but that is costly (and where do you put all that radioactive trash?) so they are just seeing their lives extended once and again. 


Green light for Garoña in Spain

The nuclear power plant of Garoña, near the Basque Country, which has a Fukushima-like design (but with a single reactor) and has long passed its expiration date, was given green light by the Spanish Nuclear Security Council yesterday, on condition of heavy investment to upgrade the facility to post-Fukushima new standards. The last word is now on the corporation Nuclenor, who will have to consider if the investment required is worth it, and the Spanish Government. 

All Basque institutions, parties and the popular movement have protested the decision. Absolutely nobody supports the persistence of a nuclear power plant built under fascism that should have been dismantled decades ago. 


Fukushima 2 radiation levels beat all records, big hole in the basement

In the last days it was also known that the devastated Fukushima nuclear power plant, reactor 2, was emitting peak radiation levels, worse even than the original disaster week, above Chernobyl even. Of course the news was pretty much ignored by the "free media" (propaganda outlets of the oligarchy), Trumptweeting seems more important somehow. 

Also a robot discovered the obvious: that the nuclear fuel has penetrated deep in the ground inside a hole of unknown depth. This is what was classically described as the "Syndrome of China", on the fallacious argument that nothing would stop the ever-melting corium from going all the way through Earth until reappearing on the opposite side of Earth, which was not China but nevermind. Actually gravity would stop the sinking at the center of Earth but anyhow the problem is similarly complicated, because it will penetrate slowly but without any possible stop, all the crust of Earth and cause some sort of most serious issues as it goes through layers of water and magma (radioactive volcano anyone?, that's my bet).

So happy Nuclear Catastrophe Week. Enjoy... while you can.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Poroshenko's regime attacked Donbass, breaching Minsk agreement, with no success

The neofascist dictatorship in Kiev launched an attack on January 29th against Avdeeka, a few kilometers north of Donetsk. This attack breaches the Minsk truce so Poroshenko's regime has resorted to put the blame on Novorossiya, accusing them of unspecific "provocations". Seriously? Nazi Germany also did that to "justify" their invasion of Poland but at least they had fake photos with fake "Polish guards", what does Poroshenko have? Nothing at all but words. 



According to the Basque Country-Donbass Solidarity Committee, the attack has been successfully repealed in spite of "severe" initial losses (because of surprise). According to Kiev, Ukraine lost 11 soldiers (4 dead and 7 injured), while the People's Republic of Donbass acknowledges one defender dead and another one injured. The internationalist committee thinks that the figures by both sides are totally unrealistic and that many more people died in the combats. Colonel Cassad (Novorossiya) argues, following the US Department of State, that the Ukranians lost dozens of combatants and he also says that surely the figure is quite high in the side of Donbass. 

The exact short-term goal of the attack is disputed: a water treatment plant just behind the PRD lines is one of the possibilities, or also a coke power plant under threat of closure. However Cassad ponders, on unspecified sources, that maybe the real trigger is an internal dispute among the oligarchs in power in Kiev, trying to retake the former properties of Rinat Ajmetov in the area (after all, what's an oligarch without his property?)

There have also been maneuvering near Mariupol, Volinaja, Donetsk and Popasnaya, but Cassad considers that some of these could be a distraction from actual objectives, as they are too apparent.

What is clear, and Cassad also acknowledges this, is that Kiev is somehow trying to improve their position for the foreseeable scenario of abandonment by the Western, US-led, bloc upon Trump's ascension to power. By triggering war and bloodshed Kiev is using their very limited means to put obstacles between Washington and Moscow. As Cassad says: what matters is bloodshed, not so much whose blood is it. 

Ukranian soldiers: turn around and march on Kiev. It's about time! But it's also about your lives, and your hopes as nation.