Volodymyr Ishchenko & Ilya Budraitskis: The Left and the Conflict in Ukraine

The stakes of the conflict in Ukraine extend way beyond its national boundaries, revealing the potential for devastating ways of "resolving" the current crisis of capital by resorting to the escalation of war and aggressive nationalism, stirring dark memories of the first half of the 20th century. The rise of inter-imperialist rivalries has arguably entrenched the position of elites, both within the sphere of the Euro-American liberal hegemony, and in Russia. The conflict, presented as a clash of two irreconcilable "civilizations", and the rise of the "New Cold War" rhetoric has led to an ideological deadlock. The rise of ultra-conservative narratives, be that Timothy Snyder's liberal militarism, or Aleksandr Dugin reviving classical imperialist geopolitical rhetoric, has stalled the very possibility of a position alternative to the unrepentant apologies of war.
This public debate aimed at countering the aforementioned stalemate. Ilya Budraytskis (Moscow) and Volodymyr Ishchenko (Kiev) are among the most prominent critics of warring nationalism which solely furthers the social and economic disaster. They discussed the potentiality of the left to escape the trap of the current political and ideological dead end.

Volodymyr Ishchenko is a sociologist studying social protests in Ukraine. He is the Deputy Director of the the Center for Social and Labor Research (Kiev), an editor of Commons: Journal for Social Criticism, and a lecturer at the Department of Sociology in the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy.

Ilya Budraitskis (1981) is a historian, journalist and activist. He is a member of the editorial boards of Moscow Art Magazine, OpenLeftand LeftEast.

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Sofija, Bulgaria
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Social Centre XASPEL, 09 May 2015