A look at separatists & some relevant human drama. Separatism (the desire by an ethnic group for independence) comes from some kind of injustice. International politics can also play a role as in the Ukraine. There are separatists all over the globe. This informative post focuses on separatism in the U.S. & Europe; and then takes a look at the human side of things & suffering going on in the Ukraine. This post will tie in & build upon several previous topics: yesterday’s post on black American suffering, my previous posts on the Ukrainian crisis, and global desires for independence.
SEPARATISM IN THE U.S. I have personally known people from at least 5 separatist movements in the U.S.: AIM, and the Republics of Tex., Hawaii, Alaska, & Jefferson. Perhaps the Nation of Islam people who I have visited with might fall into that category also, because Elijah Muhammed, their leader, was demanding to have 3 or 4 states in the South be given to the Afro-Americans to create a sovereign black nation. Yest. I wrote about how the blacks had been kept down in a state of servitude until the ‘60’s Civil Rights Movement. The Civil Rights Act passed in 1964, but a number of states incl. Calif. passed laws to circumvent it. I mentioned yest. in the thread about the race riots of the ‘60’s. Malcolm X & the KKK negotiated a non-aggression pact. These black nationalists also worked w/ George Rockwell’s Amer. Nazi Party. The Amer. Nazi Party even sent a uniformed delegation to the Feb. 1962 Nation of Islam convention.
SOME ARE TAKEN OUT BY THE U.S. GOVT. W/ FORCE. One black nationalist group, the Republic of New Africa, had called for large amounts of land from the U.S.A. to start their own Afro-American nation. Finally, they took things into their own hands, and 150 members bought 20 acres of farmland in Mississippi, which they designated the new capital of the Republic of New Africa. They had a series of shootouts w/ the police & FBI and faded away. Reminds me of the Republic of Texas; surrounded by 300 plus police near Ft. Davies, TX, they ended up being shot & chased. AIM with some Lakota had a similar siege at Wounded Knee, SD in 1973, except the authorities knew they would create a larger firestorm if they weren’t cautious.
The Lakota Nation, in 1994, became a member of the Unrepresented Nations & People’s Organizations which is headquartered in the Hague. So if you represent an ethnic separatist group, you may want to get involved w/ this international organization that gives a place for Unrepresented Nations. Two trends are simultaneously in operation, small ethnic/national groups without a nation are obtaining some kind of independent status while the world’s nations are also all being unified into a single global state.
EUROPE’S BORDERS ARE STILL UNSETTLED. A historical study of Europe’s boundaries will show a constant state of flux w/ new nations popping up, such as Belgium in 1834, Germany in 1871, & the Ukraine in 1991. The desire for one’s own ethnic sovereignty is strong…for example, when Czechoslovakia got its freedom from being a satellite of the USSR, the Czechs & Slovaks each wanted their own republic. Likewise, but not w/out bloodshed, Yugoslavia broke up into Croatia, Bosnia, Slovenia, Macedonia, & Serbia. Kosovo fought to be independent too. There are still other ethnic groups in Europe that are dissatisfied. The Basques have had a very violent separatist movement. The Befreiungs Ausschuss Suedtirol was a violent Tirolian independence group. Another group most readers will recognize, the IRA & their political wing, the Provisional Sinn Fein (PSF), have also been violently active in northern Ireland for decades. In contrast, the Scottish National Party (founded in 1928) has been peaceful & in Oct. ’74 polled 30.4% of the total vote in Scotland. Actually only 25% of the Scots want independence. It appears most are appeased with some regional authority within the larger context of the U.K. The Shetland Islands, ethnically tied more to the Vikings of Norway, but politically connected to Scotland would like to see Scotland independent & out of the EU. In short, based on history and the fact that some ethnic groups exist still in Europe w/out sovereignty, one can expect more boundary changes, while a consolidation of EU power continues. The new Ukrainian pres. is in the process of signing an association agreement w/ the EU on June 27th.
An example of the EU’s power, which got coverage in European news is that the European Council in defiance of the EU rules & David Cameron’s protests will endorse the European Parliament’s choice of the “arch-federalist” Jean-Claude Juncker as the new president of the European Commission. When Mr. Cameron pointed out that under strict EU treaty rules, the MEPs have no right to nominate Commission presidents, which can only be done by the Council itself, he got ignored. The EU has a history of pretending to be democratic, & following protocol, & then acting the opposite.
HUMAN SUFFERING IN THE UKRAINE. The Eastern Ukraine separatist movement has triggered events in the Ukraine which are bringing a great deal of suffering in both West. & East. Ukraine. As I felt that this human suffering was not well covered in the news, it seemed that my post could contribute by helping readers understand the human drama better. 40% of the Ukrainians live in the country. It is tradition to have borsch (w/ beets & cabbage) or soup w/ one’s dinner. The borsch can be served w/ sour cream or rye bread. Yum. Different areas have different cuisines. Unfortunately, a full discussion of their food is beyond the scope of this post, except to say it’s getting rare unless you’re upper class. Many workers eat at company cafeterias. The employment situation & the economy have never been in good shape. Barter & the hidden off-the-books economy is as large as the official GDP. The Ukrainian elite have no love for their countrymen & ruthlessly plunder them, & to paraphrase them, they say, “If I don’t steal it, someone else will.” The Ukraine is one of the most corrupt countries in the world to do business. Foreign companies find it a nightmare, incl. complex tax laws & regulations. Meanwhile the local clans & mafias have their turf wars & contract killings, for instance the Basmachi & the Seleim gangs fought for control of the hotels in Ukraine’s Crimea. Speaking of separatism, the Crimea wanted free of the Ukraine, & recently got free by a Russian military invasion & then got annexed by Russia. While most Crimeans wanted this, now there is an ethnic group, the Crimean Tartars who want their independence from Crimea, as they did not want to be Russians. They have their own shadow govt.
THE SEPARATIST WARZONE. Intense fighting is taking place in Eastern Ukraine (areas west of the Dnieper River). Electricity has been out, & food shipments into the war zone stopped. You can imagine some civilians are starving. Buildings are getting destroyed. Some civilians are managing to escape. Vans driven by volunteers are shuttling loads of children out of harm’s way. But one full of orphans was seized by pro-Russian separatists & sent to Russia. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry is threatening Russia w/ lawsuit in the European Court of Human Rights over the orphans. On Fri. June 20th, the U.S. blacklisted 7 separatists. Hundreds of civilians & fighters have died, but reports are vague at how many. Ukrainians tell me it is more than the media are letting on. Some separatists, very hostile to the capitalist world, esp. America, have said they don’t care if their fighting blows up into WW 3. These separatists are an outgrowth of pro-Russian Ukrainian communist organizations like the Leninist Communist Party of Ukraine & the Progressive Socialist Party. (Yes! They still call themselves Leninist Communists!) They have slogans like “To Moscow”. They view the West’s capitalism as an enemy, so you can see why they are so upset w/ the Ukraine switching from communism to a free market. They feel that Ukrainian nationalism is “artificial”, & they would like to be part of Russia. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church is under the jurisdiction of the Patriarch in Moscow and this Ukrainian church denomination is extremely pro-Russian. The Ukrainian Autocephalous (meaning self-governing) Orthodox churches are not pro-Russian.
WESTERN UKRAINE. On June 16th, Russia shut off the Ukraine’s gas. I spoke with two Ukrainian Americans who speak w/ their people every day back in west. Ukraine. The shutoff of gas has stopped the economy. People are w/out work. They were just marginally making it before, now they are really desperately struggling. Western Ukrainian immigrants in Canada, the U.S. & other places worldwide are sending money to their people in western Ukraine. Bear in mind that west. & east. Ukraine have had different histories. Remember, I wrote about the UPA Ukrainian army fighting in western Ukraine for independence from 1943 to ’55. From ’44 to ’47, they had up to 90,000 armed rebels fighting the Soviets. After the Cold War began, MI6 & the CIA dropped some supplies to keep the Ukrainian independence struggle going. Then MI6’s Kim Philby betrayed the Ukrainians to the Soviets. Western Ukrainians see themselves as the frontier of Europe protecting it from Asia. It would be fascinating to get into their history & how Ukrainians & Russians have totally different versions of it.
PUTIN SAYS HE DOESN’T CARE ABOUT SANCTIONS. The EU & US have been putting sanctions on Russians, but Putin says these don’t bother him. Meanwhile a number of Russians are noting that foreign companies are getting leery of Russia, & investments are slowing down even when they are not being pressured by their western govts. to do so. Putin is obviously not concerned as Russian tanks & other powerful weapons are being turned over to the separatists. Readers may remember (on June 14th) a Ukrainian military plane was shot down w/ the loss of 49 lives w/ Russian weaponry. Russia definitely has all the power (military & economic) between them & the Ukraine. The separatist movement in Eastern Ukraine has been following a Russian military template for such things. This is an example of a separatist movement supplied and directed w/ outside help.
SUMMARY. Separatists around the globe were touched on, including some in the U.S. & Europe which have been peaceful & others which were very violent. This post talked about the Unrepresented Nations & People’s Organizations which is HQed in the Hague, Neth. to help groups that have not received formal international status. Finally, the human drama caused by separatist movement in Eastern Ukraine was described. Ukrainians are currently suffering from a dead economy whether in or out of the warzone. Western Ukrainians are receiving some help from the diaspora of Ukrainians worldwide, incl. such states as Michigan, Penn., Ill., Conn., Ohio, & cities like Chicago & Cleveland, which have large Ukrainian populations.