November 2015        

Anti-fascist conference in Athens

Bill O’Brien

A conference on the rise of fascism in Ukraine took place on 10 and 11 October in Athens. Representatives from many countries took part in this large event: Estonia, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Spain, and Sweden. Also among the invited participants were the representatives of the Donetsk People’s Republic and non-governmental movements and other organisations from Bulgaria, Russia, Serbia, and Turkey. The conference was called by the International Anti-Fascist Committee.
     The foreign minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic, Svetlana Kochetova, gave a detailed report to the conference, pointing out that they were not trying to break from Ukraine but trying to maintain their national integrity after the fascist coup that took place in Kiev.
     She gave graphic details of the deaths and destruction taking place in the Donbass province. Since the beginning of the conflict 5,061 people have been killed, among them 72 children, and 306 more were wounded. Damage to infrastructure has been enormous, with 4,472 houses destroyed as well as fifty health service buildings, schools, bus stations, and the airport.
     Kochetova pointed out that misinformation given in the Western media is the biggest obstacle to truth. This conflict is portrayed as a clash between two rival powers: NATO and the EU on the one hand and Russia on the other. She accepted that they received support from Russia but pointed out that they are an independent people’s republic. She informed us that volunteers from other European countries, including Italy and Spain, as well as countries to the east of them, are fighting alongside them as volunteers. There is an international brigade operating there at the moment.
     Donbass has stopped fascism from spreading to the rest of Ukraine and to other countries in eastern Europe. It has allowed a breathing-space for proper analysis of what exactly is happening in this region. Kochetova pointed out that they are more aware about fascism than most Europeans, as the region took a lead in the struggle against fascism and suffered greatly during the Second World War.
     Ireland was represented at the conference by four delegates, some of whom are involved with solidarity work and others in collecting humanitarian aid that is sent to Donbass. All the Irish delegates gave detailed individual reports of their work, which was greatly appreciated by the conference.
     It was agreed to set up committees in our respective countries to publicise the position of the anti-fascists in Donbass and the danger of fascism spreading to the rest of Europe. A demonstration will be held at the US Air Force base on the Greek island of Crete on the 9th of May next year, and it is hoped to have another one in Shannon and one in Germany. The emphasis of these demonstrations will be on anti-fascism and the danger that is imminent.
     It was agreed that unity among anti-fascist forces was essential and that other ideological differences should be set aside in this struggle.
     The People’s Republic of Donetsk is a socialist republic, established by coalminers and lorry-drivers, with the help of other workers, and is very much under workers’ control. These people are putting up a tremendous fight, a fight that may spread to other countries before long.
     Solidarity must be absolute, and the need for a support group in Ireland is urgent.

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