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Volume 51 Number 23, October 23, 2021 ARCHIVE HOME JBCENTRE SUBSCRIBE

COP26 UN Climate Conference:

People Need to Rely on Themselves to
Confront the Crisis of Climate Change

Workers' Weekly Internet Edition: Article Index : ShareThis

COP26 UN Climate Conference:
People Need to Rely on Themselves to Confront the Crisis of Climate Change

United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow:
Tens of Thousands March through Streets of Brussels in Climate Protest

Nazis and their Ukrainian collaborators in their campaign against the Soviet Union during World War II:
80th Anniversary of Nazi Atrocities Committed at Babi Yar

COP26 UN Climate Conference:

People Need to Rely on Themselves to Confront the Crisis of Climate Change

The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, commonly known as COP26 [1], is to be held from October 31 to November 12 at the SEC Centre, Glasgow, having been postponed for a year due to the Covid pandemic. The conference will be presided over by Cabinet Office Minister and former Business Secretary Alok Sharma MP.

COP26 is happening at a time that the destruction of the natural and social environment the havoc that is been created are becoming ever more obvious, and the demand for solutions is growing. People's general interests lie with bringing about a situation where the natural and social environments are in harmony with each other, which means that both are humanised, both the social and natural environments are fit for human beings.

The very being of humanity requires this, at all times; it is both an individual and collective right, a matter of necessity. The demand for the right to a decent environment that caters for human beings and all forms of life on the planet is being expressed in the increasingly vociferous movement, particularly amongst the youth. But in the present more than ever, human productive forces have themselves become a force of nature, crying out to be brought under conscious control. It is precisely this control that is lacking, and the natural environment is suffering the consequences. The colossal productive forces and the world economy of interconnected socialised economies are divided into privately owned competing parts, especially now under the domination of global monopolies and oligopolies that operate outside of states as a law unto themselves.

The actions of these monopolies and oligopolies are fundamentally destructive to the natural and social environment. Under the current state of affairs, the environment and a socialised economy directed to serving competing private interests stand in contradiction, with the environment, both natural and social, there to be plundered to fulfil their aim of maximising profit. The natural and social environment cannot live in harmony without resisting the oligopolies' destruction of the environment and economy.

People require a system of production that works in their favour, to fulfil their cultural and material needs, without resulting in destruction. Humanising and harmonising the natural and social environment requires a complete change in the direction of the economy with this as its aim. As things stand, there is every manner of destruction disrupting the economy as a permanent feature. Most recently, sudden sharp gas price rises are causing serious problems for day to day life and all social programmes such as schools, health and social care.

The problems of the environment cannot be solved without dealing with the question of who decides the direction of, who controls, the economy. This includes its aim, the motive of production. It means bringing control over the productive forces so that the productive forces are not out of control, ending the state of perpetual chaos. It means curtailing the assumed rights of the monopolies and oligopolies, putting bounds on their activities through an effective public authority directed by an empowered population.

Instead, the neo-liberal mantra coming particularly from Britain, the US and other big powers is that people should have no such determining role. Rather, markets are all - markets, which are under the domination of those very oligopolies. The solutions presented are carbon taxes and the creation of carbon markets. In essence, it is to let big business decide.

Protestors outside Scotlands's most polluting power station owned by a COP26 sponsor.

Other solutions promoted are variations on the theme of "Green New Deal" and "Green Revolution". These solutions are geared to solving the ongoing capitalist economic crisis in a manner that provides the oligarchs with new opportunities. A deal is a deal; it is pragmatic economics, a commercial transaction, not a principled plan based upon science, while the scientific and technical revolution is directed to competition.

One commodity that has received much attention is the lithium battery. Scratch the surface, and the ulterior motives are exposed. US imperialism in particular is concerned about gaining a monopoly over the military use of lithium batteries [2]. War and war production have an especially detrimental impact on the natural and social environment, including the economy. The necessity is for an anti-war government that ends the militarisation of the economy, producing only for those aims that serve the interests of the natural and social environment.

US imperialism has its own aims in the present world, stemming from its obsession with reversing its decline so as to continue being the world's "indispensable" power. However, in the present it is the oligopolies rather than nation states that strive for global supremacy, and US imperialism exists in that context, as a vehicle for it, part of which is the integration of the Americas and even Britain into the US war machine. The US is spearheading the notion of a "rules-based international order", as the power that makes and enforces the rules, in place of international law. The US and its partner Britain are attempting to position COP26 in opposition to China and Russia, an attempt to bring into that order or exclude under high ideals. This is the significance of their heads of state not attending the conference. It could be pointed out that China has a nation-building project and a plan, for example, in contrast to US imperialism. For US imperialism, all is destruction. It is the simple imposition of monopoly right. The imperialist countries led by the US are destroying the productive forces: this is what is at the heart of things. Their interest does not lie with developing national economies, but with marauding. If the oligopolies can siphon off wealth through trading in carbon or a Green New Deal, then they will. Otherwise, such schemes will be ditched as worthless.

The bottom line is to reject the imperialist agenda of further plunder under the banner of high ideals. The working class created the huge productive forces and it is they who can bring them under control in favour of nature, society and humanity. People need to rely on themselves to bring human-centred solutions to the problem of climate change.

1. COP26 stands for the 26th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
2. "Canadians Can Only Rely on Themselves to Sort Out Climate Crisis", Renewal Update, September 24, 2021

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United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow

Tens of Thousands March through Streets of Brussels in Climate Protest

Climate protest in Brussels

The streets of Belgium's capital city have echoed with the voices of thousands of people demonstrating for action on climate change. The protest action comes ahead of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow later this month.

The streets of Brussels were crammed with protesters marching for change and carrying placards and chanting slogans. Some of those who attended the march had come dressed as endangered animal species. Dozens of organisations mobilised ahead of the march in the expectation that it would be the largest protest since coronavirus restrictions curbed public gatherings.

Xavier De Wannemaeker, a protestor with Extinction Rebellion, said the time for action was now and that the problem was in plain sight. "After you've seen all the disasters we have seen this summer, it's really crucial that we move now. Because everybody knows what the problem is."

Another climate activist, Lucien Dewanaga said there was no backup plan when it came to earth's destruction. "What do we do when we destroy the planet? We have nothing else. Human beings have to live in this world. And there is only one world," Dewanaga said.

Climate activists on the streets of Brussels were concerned that there will be nothing but more hot air from world leaders attending the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, which begins on October 31. This state of affairs underlines that the people themselves must have decision-making power to bring about change and resist the despoliation and destruction caused by the oligopolies and the governments who do nothing to challenge the domination of private interests in all spheres of life and culture.

(DW, 10.10.21)

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Nazis and their Ukrainian collaborators in their campaign against the Soviet Union during World War II

80th Anniversary of Nazi Atrocities Committed at Babi Yar

September 29-30, 1941 - November 6, 1943

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Monuments at Babi Yar, left to right: to Jews; to Soviet citizens and POWS; to Roma; to children.

This year marks the 80th anniversary of the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed at Babi Yar by the
Monument to a World Crippled and Destroyed by Nazism
Nazis and their Ukrainian collaborators in their campaign against the Soviet Union during World War II. They are said to be the worst committed up to that time, surpassed by even greater crimes committed by the Nazis after that.

Babi Yar is a ravine in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. The Nazis carried out massacres in that ravine from September 29, 1941 to November 6, 1943, when Soviet forces liberated Kiev. The first and best documented of these massacres took place on September 29-30,1941 when 33,771 Jews were massacred there. Only 29 were said to have survived. Overall 100,000-150,000 Jews, Soviet prisoners of war, communists, Roma and disabled persons were massacred at Babi Yar. The Nazis even massacred the Ukrainian collaborators who helped them carry the massacres out.

The 80th anniversary is an occasion to mourn the lives lost, come to terms with the untold suffering of the victims and salute the bravery and heroism of those who fought to bring an end to the Nazi war machine and criminal aim of world domination no matter what the cost. It is also necessary at this time to oppose the rewriting of history on the part of forces with what can only be despicable aims to pass off Ukrainian collaborators of the Nazis as freedom fighters, heroes, liberators and victims of the Soviet Union.

Below is an account which gives the example of how history is being rewritten by those who are preparing to plunge the world once again into the abyss of war in order to achieve aims which do not accord with the demands of humanity for peace, freedom and democracy which favours humankind.

Making the Perpetrators Look Like Victims

by Christelle Néant

Monument to Soviet citizens and POWs at the ravine at Babi Yar.

During his visit to Ukraine to inaugurate a memorial dedicated to the victims of the Babi Yar massacre, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier literally rewrote the history of the massacre of tens of thousands of Jews, and made Ukrainian collaborators of the Nazis look like victims.

On 6 October 2021, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier visited Ukraine to inaugurate a memorial dedicated to the victims of the Babi Yar massacre. And the least one can say is that this speech, which was revolting from the point of view of historical truth, shocked those who know history.

But let us briefly recall the history of the massacres that took place in the Babi Yar ravine in Kiev during the Second World War.

A few days after the arrival of the Wehrmacht in Kiev on 19 September 1941, the NKVD (Soviet secret police), which had anticipated that the German occupiers would move into the Soviet administrative buildings, detonated charges placed in advance in these buildings. These explosions and the fires that followed killed several thousand German soldiers.

The Germans decided to use these explosions as a justification for massacring the Jews of Kiev, and an order was issued asking the city's Jews to assemble on 29 September at 8 a.m. at the corner of Melnikova and Dokterivskaya streets, not far from the Babi Yar ravine.

On hand to kill the Jews were not only SS, German Sonderkommando policemen and members of the Waffen SS, but also the 201st Schutzmannschaft Battalion, a battalion of Ukrainian Nazi collaborators from Stepan Bandera's OUN-B, which is referred to in some sources as the "Ukrainian auxiliary police". Roman Shukhevich, a member of the OUN-B, was captain of the first company of this battalion.

Together, German Nazis and Ukrainian collaborators shot and killed more than 33,771 Jews (the figure is not exact because children under 3 were not counted) in two days, on 29 and 30 September 1941. Some of the members of the 201st Schutzmannschaft Battalion later formed the UPA, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army.

The massacres continued in Babi Yar after these two bloody days in September 1941. In two years, nearly 140,000 people were shot or buried alive in the ravine: Jews, Poles, Gypsies, prisoners of war, mentally ill people and opponents of the Nazis. In 1942, 621 members of the OUN (the Ukrainian nationalist organisation that collaborated with the Nazis and took part in the Holocaust) were killed by the Nazis at Babi Yar (yes they should not have made an alliance with the devil).

Now that the history of the massacres committed at Babi Yar during the Second World War is clearly summarised, let us return to Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his speech.

"Here in Babi Yar, in the last days of September 1941, German troops murdered nearly 34,000 Jews. It was the Germans who perpetrated these atrocities. Words fail us in the face of their absolute cruelty and brutality. This act - it was not an act of retaliation. The mass murder of the Jews of Kiev was a meticulously planned crime - planned and executed by members of the SS, the security police and the Wehrmacht. They were all involved," said Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

In 1944, the advancing Red Army uncovers the mass graves at Babi Yar as the Nazis flee.

Except that, as we have seen above, it was not only the Germans who planned and carried out the massacre. Ukrainian collaborators were actively involved. By omitting to mention the latter, Steinmeier 'clears' them somehow for the Babi Yar massacre, since according to him, only the Germans were responsible. Moreover, the expression "Ukrainian collaborators" does not appear once in the German President's speech, even though they played a more than active part in the Holocaust!

But where his speech was most shocking was when he later equated the Roma, Sinti, prisoners of war, and disabled people massacred at Babi Yar, with members of the Ukrainian Liberation Army.

"Here, too, in Babi Yar, after the massacre of the Jews of Kiev, the killing continued: until 1943, until the retreat of the Germans. Tens of thousands of Sinti and Roma, members of the Ukrainian Liberation Army, disabled people and prisoners of war lost their lives in this ravine," he added.

The Ukrainian Liberation Army is a term that actually covers all Ukrainian units that fought on the side of the Nazis, including those that massacred Jews, Gypsies, disabled people and prisoners of war! To put them in the same sentence as their victims, as if these Ukrainian collaborators were as much to be mourned as those they helped to massacre, is absolutely despicable.

This speech was so shocking that Eduard Dolinsky, director of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, who was present at the inauguration of the Babi Yar memorial, almost fell off his chair when he heard Frank-Walter Steinmeier's speech.

"Yesterday, at the magnificent ceremony at Babi Yar, I almost fell off my chair when German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that at Babi Yar 'thousands of fighters of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army [OUN; the Ukrainian translation of the speech says insurgent army instead of liberation army - translator's note] were exterminated.'

"Who did the German President mean?

"Bagazia, a member of the OUN, the mayor of Kiev, an accomplice in the theft and extermination of the Jews of Kiev, who was later shot by the Germans?

"Or perhaps the OUN member, the editor of the newspaper Ukrainskoe slovo, Ivan Rogach, who in his newspaper called on the people of Kiev to expel and kill the Jews? He too was later executed by the Germans. Or the OUN member, Ukrainian police commander Yakov Shevchenko, the direct perpetrator of the murder of the Jews of the Fastov district? He too was later killed by the Nazis!

"There is a memorial to all these people in Babi Yar set up right on the bones of their victims.

"In addition, the streets adjacent to the mass grave are named after other murderers and accomplices to murder - Oleg Olzhich, a member of the OUN, organiser of the Kiev auxiliary police, the head of the OUN Bandera and their puppet Olena Teliga.

"As I understand it, the embassy staff in Kiev helped write the German president's speech. It was only from them that information could come out presenting murderers and looters as 'innocent victims of Nazism.'

"After the German embassy wanted to erect a memorial sign in honour of Nazi mayor Bagazia and this presidential speech, German diplomats should think seriously about who prepares such documents and which sources they use," Dolinsky wrote on his Facebook wall.

If Eduard Dolinsky is surprised that the rewriting of history, which has become a national sport in Ukraine, also affects Germany, I am not. When you regularly see German officials calling on Moscow to apply the Minsk agreements, even though Germany was one of the four countries that drew up this text, which does not mention Russia once as a party to the conflict (see my complete translation of the Minsk 2 agreements), you quickly understand that the rewriting of history is as widespread in the West as it is in Ukraine!

By erasing the role of Ukrainian collaborators in the massacre of Jews at Babi Yar, and by placing the death of the executioners on the same level as that of their victims, Frank-Walter Steinmeier has indeed engaged in a sordid rewriting of history. A rewriting that allows Ukrainian neo-Nazis to whitewash their ideological ancestors such as Stepan Bandera or Roman Shukhevich, and thus to present themselves as simple nationalists, and not as neo-Nazis.

It is by rewriting history that neo-Nazism is allowed to develop, among others in Ukraine. And Frank-Walter Steinmeier's speech is part of this rewriting of history, making him an accomplice in the development of neo-Nazism in Ukraine.

(Donbass Insider, October 9, 2021. Christelle Néant is a journalist and founder of Donbass Insider)

See performance of Symphony No.13 (Babi Yar) by Shostakovich:

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