Calm down dear. It’s only another crisis!

There’s a lot of hype about Russia invading Ukraine and even scare stories from David Icke and others about the start of World War III. Let’s keep things in perspective shall we?

For a start Russia hasn’t invaded anywhere. There was a referendum in Crimea, which contains a Russian naval  base and which was part of Russia till 1954. The referendum voted to rejoin the Russian federation following a fascist coup in Kiev.

Other regions in the Eastern Ukraine with large Russian speaking populations also wish for closer ties with Russia following the fascist coup in Kiev.

However Russian troops have not so far crossed the border, and even if they did to protect the local Russian population, would it really be the start of World War III?

Let’s look at recent history. When the Soviet Union existed the coloquial name used in the West was ‘Russia’ meaning all 15 Soviet republics, including Ukraine and the Baltic States.

Even when the Soviet Union invaded Hungary in 1956, Czechoslovakia in 1968 and Afghanistan in 1980, it was not the start of World War III.

USA, on the other hand, has invaded many countries in the past few decades, and World War III hasn’t started.

There is a crisis in Ukraine, it needs to be resolved. There is a grave danger of civil war. This happened in the former Yugoslavia, but again it didn’t lead to World War III.

Let’s not exaggerate a serious situation. A federal solution within the Ukraine which would guarantee the rights of all ethnic groups would be the best solution, but at the moment there is no democratic government in Ukraine, and a strong suspicion that the crisis has been manufactured to divert attention from things going on elsewhere, such as Syria.

On past experience I expect the Ukraine crisis to be solved one way or another with out involving a clash between USA and Russia. However the expansion of NATO ever Eastwards into what was formerly the Soviet sphere of influence and even what was the Soviet Union itself has raised tensions. It is a great pity that NATO was not disbanded along with the Warsaw Pact in the 1989-1991 period.

We do not need military blocs like this. They threaten countries like Russia, which should have been offered a Western hand of friendship when the USSR collapsed. Why has it been left out in the cold and threatened with NATO expansion?

As for Ukraine, partition is not inevitable. A democratic election followed by a Constitution which protects the rights of all ethnic groups would solve the present crisis.

World Citizen

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I have traveled quite a bit, mainly with my life-partner George before he transited to Spirit in 1991. I’ve re-visited several countries since, and added Tunisia and the continent of Africa to my list of places visited. I do not count Croatia as I had been there more than once when it was part of Yugoslavia.

There was a thing on Facebook about which country you should have been born in. One of those silly Q. and A. things which always come up with the wrong answer as the Q. and A. are inappropriate. Mine came up with Brazil, a country/continent I’ve never visited, though I do have an Internet friend there.

This got me thinking which countries would I like to have been born in or lived in. I consider myself an EU citizen rather than a British citizen or an English one, and would register as an EU citizen now if it were possible.

As to which counties I would have liked to have lived in, this is a very difficult thing to choose as there are so many. Advantages and disadvantages with many of them.

The USA is appealing, especially the cities of New York and Chicago, though the Deep South such as New Orleans has its attractions. The downside of USA, of course, is its lack of a free National Health Service, and its aggressive capitalist and world domination policies. Having said that, the people of all countries I have no quarrel with, it is the governments and their policies which I am often critical of, not least the British government.

For a Marxist, of course, there are few places left. Venezuela possibly, or Cuba. North Korea is a no-no as it is a monarchy in all but name, a Stalinist one. It does, however, have some advantages: no rents, no taxes, and a very green policy. The famous satellite photo of South Korea and China ablaze with light, and North Korea in almost total darkness at night is a great boost for Green ecology policies. North Korea is saving energy by not lighting its streets at night, though this is now slowly changing. It also has few cars, like former Stalinist Albania under Enver Hoxha. So his Albania was also cutting down on carbon monoxide pollution from cars.

Former Yugoslavia was the most successful Socialist country, with its market Socialism based mainly on cooperatives. This is the economic system which appeals to me most of all, plus it was a very beautiful country. Alas it is no more, torn apart by tragic ethnic wars and genocide, and Tito’s unique brand of Socialism dumped. Hopefully it will  be revived in future somewhere in the world, as it is, I feel, the future model for a successful Socialist system.

Former East Germany (the German Democratic Republic) always had a strong attraction for me, and even today former GDR citizens often have a strong nostalgia (Ostalgie) for the former Socialist republic. I loved the drama of Berlin where the Socialist East was juxtaposed with the capitalist enclave of West Berlin. On two visits to the GDR I found it a modern country, in fact one of the leading industrial nations in the world. It’s downside, of course, was the lack of freedom to travel to the West (unless you were a government official or a pensioner) and in common with the other Marxist-Leninist countries, no opportunity to vote out a corrupt government even within the Socialist Constitution.

The modern day countries of France and a united Germany I also find very attractive. I love Paris, and never had any problems with the French people. I am sure I would pick up the language quickly, and already know a tiny bit. I was starting to pick up more on two visits to Tunisia.

I’ve never had any problems with the German people either, and admire their efficiency. They were the ones who made Soviet-style Socialism work best (though Yugoslavia adopted a more efficient system).  The united Germany is also attractive. I love the language, and there are some very beautiful places especially in the South of the country. Austria too is a beautiful country, again with the wonderful German language.

Barcelona with its fantastic Gaudi architecture has a strong appeal. So Catalonia (Spain) has to be added to the list.

Of course as a Marxist the old Soviet Union had a strong appeal. Moscow was a favorite city of mine with its Stalinist skyscrapers and marvelous Metro, also owing much to the former Soviet dictator. Leningrad, as it was known on my two visits, was a more historic place, with buildings painted in different pastel colors according to the century they were built. A vast federation, you surely would have plenty of variety if you were allowed to travel around the old USSR.

Australia is another country we visited and fell in love with, or at least the Southeast corner when we visited Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney, staying most of the time in the latter.

A complete no-no is Cyprus or Greece. My father was Greek-Cypriot, but despite the rumors about Greeks in the past, both are extremely homophobic, and of course the same applies to the modern Russian Federation. Much of this homophobia is due to the Orthodox Church in these countries, and Cyprus until recently had a system of arranged marriages, with gays forced to marry or go abroad. Despite the Greek-Cypriot part being part of the EU, it seems homophobia is far from being wiped out and racism abounds. The Greek-Cypriots hate the Turkish-Cypriots and vice versa because of their bloody history. My sympathies are all with the downtrodden Turkish-Cypriots, and I have several times visited their unrecognized Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. I cannot say, however, that either Cypriot republic really appeals to me, nor the Turkish mainland, though there are some very interesting places there which I have visited.

So, to sum up, I guess I would be happy to be an EU citizen in a federal United States of Europe, able to travel thruout the EU without restriction, and proud to stand up for the EU anthem Ode to Joy and respect the blue and gold EU flag. I feel an affinity with all Europeans, and never want war to break out on our continent again. Yes, it is a capitalist EU at the moment, but many member countries have strong Socialist/Communist traditions, and with the European Left Party, which I am affiliated to through Left Unity Party in Britain, I have high hopes of a Socialist EU or breakaway European Socialist Union in the distant future.

Better still to be a world citizen under a confederal world government and proud to salute the UN flag. That, however, is even further away than the prospect of a federal European Union.

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Left Unity

There is an argument that, under our undemocratic first-past-the-post electoral system, the new leftwing party, Left Unity, could split the Labour vote and let the Tories in again. This is what happened in the early 1980s when the SDP broke away from Labour, split the vote and let Maggie Thatcher in again.

If this happens it is a reflection of our unfair electoral system, which only favors the main political parties, and in effect, only gives voters in marginal seats any power at all to change the government of the day.

This is no reason to keep voting for the three main political parties whose policies now are almost identical. All follow a policy of cutting public spending, selling of council housing, cutting benefits and continuing the privatization of industries and services in order to fleece the public.

If anything is going to change we need to build a mass political party of the Left with links to Europe, because that is where the future lies. Left Unity is affiliated to the European Left party, which is fighting for a new Socialist EU.

Rome was not built in a day, and until our electoral system can be changed to Proportional Representation then it will be difficult for smaller political parties to get any seats at all in Parliament.

However without a new party of the Left, nothing will ever change. The party is too small at present to have much effect on the Labour vote anyway, and most constituencies will probably not even have a Left Unity candidate at the next election.

However if the Left Unity party gets bigger, puts up more candidates, and poses a real threat to Labour in marginal constituencies, then hopefully it might push Labour to the Left. lt might also encourage Socialists in the Labour Party to leave and join Left Unity.

Big oak trees from little acorns grow, but if you don’t plant the acorn nothing will happen.

Sadly Labour has been irretrievably lost to the trade union movement and the working-classes. It abandoned all links with Socialism some time ago.

It is high time Britain again had a real Socialist political party, instead of a load of tiny, quarreling splinter groups.

Time for all the Leftwing Trotskyist, Maoist and Communist groupings, and for Socialists and Marxists in the Labour Party, to join Left Unity and join the struggle for a Socialist Britain and a Socialist European Union!