Young Master Smeet

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  • in reply to: Spycops #229521
    Young Master Smeet

    Well, they say the police entered 1000’s of organisations, so I think it is close to a certainty that at least one member has been a police infiltrator. I suspect they wouldn’t have put in much effort, but a passive member.

    I think it is probable that they have had access to our membership list.

    But, overall, our openness is our best defence against infiltrators.

    But, if there was a member who was very keen for about 4 years and then vanished altogether (and had a van)….

    in reply to: New theory on the origin of the state #229250
    Young Master Smeet

    This sounds precisely the sort of thing Graeber and Wengrow are having a pop at. They’d point out that the agricultural revolution took millennia, and a prerequisite for elites appropriating surplus would be restrictions on leaving the area, among other things. Also, they note ‘play agriculture’ wherein societies avoided being dependent upon a monocrop.

    in reply to: Russian Tensions #229223
    Young Master Smeet

    This is an interesting long article on RT:
    Ukraine is winning the battle on twitter.

    For a propaganda channel, it contains some interesting admissions of Russian failure:
    “Within the first week of the Russian operation getting underway, it was clear to most that many of the assumptions that had been made were flawed and/or misplaced. First and foremost, Moscow had opted not to employ its forces according to standard doctrine, opting instead to take a light approach, which appeared to be born from a concerted effort to minimize civilian casualties and harm to civilian infrastructure that itself was derived from a fundamental misunderstanding of the reality of the situation on the ground in Ukraine.[…]
    the statements by Russian leadership suggesting that the Ukrainian military might remain in its barracks and that civilian leadership would not interfere with Russia military operations suggest that these assumptions were made using intelligence provided by the 5th Department. That such assumptions, if indeed they were made, proved to be so fundamentally off target, when combined with the preparedness of the Ukrainian military to engage the initial columns of Russian forces, suggests that the work of the 5th Department had been disrupted by Ukrainian security services, who took control of Russian human networks and fed false reports back to the Russian leadership.”

    Ritter suggests that despite all that, the attack in the North on Kyiv was a feint, and substantially the military operation is on track, and that attrition might tell in the coming month.”Perception, when subjected to the harsh light of reality, is exposed as little more than wishful thinking. This is very much the case regarding the so-called “Battle for Kiev,” where the Ukrainian military was left holding territory which no longer served any useful purpose for the Russians. Russia was able to redeploy its forces to better support its prime objective, the seizure of Donbass, leaving the Ukrainian forces in Kiev frozen in place.”

    “This is the current situation with the Ukrainian military facing off against the Russians in Donbass today. The Ukrainians, lacking any meaningful artillery support of their own, are at the mercy of the Russian artillery and rocket launchers that pound their positions day in and day out, without respite. The Russian troops have taken a very deliberate approach to engaging with their Ukrainian opponents. Gone are the rapid advances by unprotected columns and convoys; now, the Russians isolate the Ukrainian defenders, pound them with artillery, and then carefully close in and destroy what remains with infantry supported by tanks and armored fighting vehicles. The casualty ratio in this fighting is unforgiving for Ukraine, with hundreds of soldiers lost each day in terms of killed, wounded and surrendered, while Russian casualties are measured in scores.”

    Now, this is still propaganda, but I think it is worth taking this as what Russia wants us to believe, and I think there is a grain of truth in it. After all, Ritter is admitting to a ‘turkey shoot’ and heavy losses.

    in reply to: Russian Tensions #229218
    Young Master Smeet

    Anyone who supported the communist party after 1956 when the tanks rolled in and crushed the Hungarian Uprising:


    in reply to: Russian Tensions #229069
    Young Master Smeet

    Russia dips into financial reserves

    I’m not sure about this, either it is a sign of economic sanctions hitting home, or Russia is bigging up its financial resilience:

    “Russia’s Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said on Wednesday that the National Wealth Fund (NWF), which accumulates revenue from oil exports, will be the main source of financing for a budget deficit expected to reach 1.6 trillion rubles ($21.6 billion) in 2022.” Calling it a ‘rainy day fund’ doesn’t help distract that they are going into choppy financial waters.

    We know they had stockpiled gold over recent years, and with the moves to actually cut off Poland and Bulgaria from gas, they clearly see the gas revenue as the way of funding the state in the near future: so the tug-of-war now is how long Europe can hold off from cutting down purchasing gas from Russia.

    Overall, I think this is a bad sign.

    in reply to: Russian Tensions #228913
    Young Master Smeet

    This is curious:
    2,000 militants, loyal to Kiev, still remain entrenched at the Azovstal steel plant in the city

    “President Vladimir Putin has called Shoigu’s plan of storming the area “inadvisable” and instead ordered him to “safely block” the area while extending to those inside another offer to lay down their arms. The last hold outs are cut off from supplies.” All the propaganda up till now was that the Ukrainian forces in the steelworks would be bombed out, it seems a longer term siege is the plan (maybe it would be too costly to dig them out)?

    in reply to: Russian Tensions #228907
    Young Master Smeet

    Statement of the Zapatistas

    A good statement from the Zapatistas:

    “Fifth: In short, our friends there, who raise the anarchist flag of freedom, stand firm: there are those in Donbas in Ukraine in resistance, and those who walk and work the streets and fields of Russia in rebellion. There are people in Russia who have been arrested and beaten up for protesting the war. There are people in Ukraine who have been murdered by the Russian army.

    This unites them amongst themselves as well as with us, not just in saying NO to war, but also in the refusal to “align themselves” with governments that oppress their own people.

    In the midst of the confusion and chaos on both sides, they remain firm in their convictions: their fight for freedom, their repudiation of borders and their Nation-States, and their respective oppressions that only differ in the color of their flags.

    Our duty is to support them to the best of our ability. A word, an image, a tune, a dance, a raised fist, or a hug that even from distant geographies provide support that will lift their hearts.”

    in reply to: Russian Tensions #228829
    Young Master Smeet

    From the sounds of it, there’s not going to be much of the Azovstal works left, considering it’s where the Azov Battalion are making their last stand.

    in reply to: Russian Tensions #228825
    Young Master Smeet

    Interview in New Left Review

    “It very soon became clear that not only was Zelensky’s party not a real party, that this populist leader never had a populist movement behind him, but that he didn’t even have a real team that was capable of proceeding with any consistent policies. His first government lasted for about half a year. He then fired his chief of staff and there was continual turnover in ministerial positions. The lack of a serious team meant that Zelensky quite quickly fell into the same trap as Poroshenko, prey to the most powerful agents in Ukrainian politics: the oligarchic clans, the radical-nationalists, liberal civil society and the Western governments, all pushing for their specific agendas, and the inflated mass expectations about radical changes after an ‘electoral Maidan’ that finally brought ‘new faces’ to the government. Within this trap, Zelensky was trying to build his own ‘vertical of power’, a typical informal ‘chain of command’ in post-Soviet politics. But he was not especially successful in that.”

    A Ukrainian sociologist talks in an interesting way about the back story to what has been going on, it’s well worth a read.

    in reply to: Russian Tensions #228812
    Young Master Smeet

    This video Is interesting. it proposes three Russian war aims:
    1: Secure water for Crimea (I hadn’t known Ukraine had cut off the water supply). This sounds plausible.
    2: Secure eastern gas fields (I think, actually, the whole of the natural resources in the East are the goal, and a partitioned Ukraine with only the agricultural area to the East still being ‘Ukraine’
    3: Grab all the Black Sea coast, landlocking Ukraine: I think this is plausible, it would weaken the state.

    I hadn’t heard about the water, but this does all paint the war in even grubbier colours…

    in reply to: Russian Tensions #228528
    Young Master Smeet

    I’ve only just run across this post by Alan on the Socialist Banner Blog

    “Mali troops and Russian mercenaries allegedly executed around 300 civilian men over five days during a military operation in a central town, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said. The killings took place between March 27 and 31 in Moura, a rural town of around 10,000 inhabitants in the Mopti region.”

    This brings starkly to light the doctrine of worthy versus unworthy victims: the horrors of Bucha are (justly) emblazoned over the world, but slaughter in Mali is not by an official enemy (nor within UK colonial spheres of influence) so it is quietly ignored: much as the recent murderous attack in Tigray.

    The UK press can bring a laser light focus to the doings of official enemies, and a studied silence over friends and neutrals. I’m almost surprised that the presence of Russian mercenaries hasn’t been used to make up a story of what bestial devils the Russians really are. Give it time.

    in reply to: Russian Tensions #228523
    Young Master Smeet

    Open Access Ukrainian Studies ebooks

    An academic publisher has made these available to help people interested in the broader background. (A lot seem like under used backlist they don’t mind making available, but there might be something of interest there for people).

    in reply to: Our 2022 local election campaign #228513
    Young Master Smeet

    Ee, the Greens failed to fill in their nomination papers properly, and presumably failed to have enough time to correct.

    in reply to: Russian Tensions #228493
    Young Master Smeet

    In the light of the Bucha atrocities the claim is arising that Russia has openly genocidal aims (note, Russia has been claiming a potential genocide against Russian Ukrainians, it seems to be a standard claim these days in which all actions are justified against the supreme crime.)

    People are pointing to an op-ed in a Russian state backed paper:
    Translation here : of course, in war, a jingo can always be found, and this could just be sabre rattling by the regime, depending on whether more sensible heads might prevail (certainly, I don’t think the programme presented is remotely realistic, it’s a recipe for perpetual guerrilla war – then again, I didn’t think invasion was realistic, so what do I know).

    “The duration of denazification can in no way be less than one generation, which must be born, grow up and reach maturity under the conditions of denazification. The nazification of Ukraine continued for more than 30 years, beginning at least in 1989, when Ukrainian nationalism received legal and legitimate forms of political expression and led the movement for “independence” towards Nazism.”

    “The name “Ukraine” apparently cannot be retained as the title of any fully denazified state entity in a territory liberated from the Nazi regime. The people’s republics newly created in the space free from Nazism should and will grow on the basis of economic self-government and social security, restoration and modernization of the life support systems of the population.”

    “— lustration, publication of the names of accomplices of the Nazi regime, involving them in forced labor to restore the destroyed infrastructure as punishment for Nazi activities (from among those who will not be subject to the death penalty or imprisonment);
    — adoption at the local level, under the supervision of Russia, of primary normative acts of denazification “from below”, a ban on all types and forms of the revival of Nazi ideology;
    — Establishment of memorials, commemorative signs, monuments to the victims of Ukrainian Nazism, perpetuating the memory of the heroes of the struggle against it;
    — the inclusion of a complex of anti-fascist and denazification norms in the constitutions of the new people’s republics;
    — creation of permanent denazification bodies for a period of 25 years.”

    in reply to: Russian Tensions #228469
    Young Master Smeet

    <ahref=””&gt; Russia pegging the Ruble to gold

    So, this is the economic front of the war:”By offering to buy gold from Russian banks at a fixed price of 5,000 rubles per gram, the Bank of Russia has both linked the ruble to gold and, since gold trades in US dollars, set a floor price for the ruble in terms of the US dollar.”

    “The fixed peg between the ruble and gold puts a floor on the RUB/USD rate but also a quasi-floor on the US dollar gold price. But beyond this, the linking of gold to energy payments is the main event. While increased demand for rubles should continue to strengthen the RUB/USD rate and show up as a higher gold price, due to the fixed ruble – gold linkage, if Russia begins to accept gold directly as a payment for oil, then this would be a new paradigm shift for the gold price as it would link the oil price directly to the gold price. ”

    We know Russia has been stockpiling gold for such a situation, so this move makes sense: of course, Russia will have to watch its balance of gold net transactions, but as an exporter country, that shouldn’t be a problem short term. Of course, also, appreciating gold values would mean domestic inflation.

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