Reconstruction and Justice in Post-War Ukraine [video]

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In times of war, Ukraine goes through tremendous destruction and upheaval. These events catalyze problems giving the “green light” to those reforms that would otherwise cause public resistance. The spiral of debt dependence, economic instability, and environmental challenges of an export-oriented economy, “optimization” of social expenditures, destruction and shortage of housing and infrastructure, reduction of labor rights – all these issues are intensifying under the barrage of war, economic decline, and forced displacements

Today, in the country and in the international arena, people talk about post-war reconstruction, which is not a technical issue but rather a political one. The vectors of further societal development depend on it, either in the former outlines of dependence on external influences and policies that support inequality or in the vague prospects of radical restructuring.

One of the global dimensions of the Russian invasion is another collapse of the world security system. Given the reality of global escalation and the potentiality of a world war, it is necessary to think beyond averting such a threat. It is urgent to construct an effective security system, stable and just, in which safeguards against further escalation spin around the security of weaker countries, not the interests of imperialist alliances.

Therefore, what should the new Ukraine be like? Is there a chance to build a society based on solidarity, justice, and sustainable development? What is there to do with the ruins of the global security system? What is the role of global progressive movements in its restoration?

We suggest discussing these issues within the framework of the international annual conference Feuerbach 11 held on October 21-23, 2022.

 

More about the events within the conference:


October 21. 12:00 (GMT+3). From Dependencies to Justice: How to Change the Trajectory of Socio-Economic Development

 

Socio-economic policy in Ukraine has always depended on many factors. It was influenced by the dynamics of the global market, the interests of the local elite, local crises, and now – the results of the war. For decades, Ukrainian society has been inscribed in such a model of economic development that defines socio-economic policy at the national level.

The debt dependence of the Ukrainian economy is one of the key mechanisms determining the development vector. External lending conditions affect both macroeconomics and social policy. In times of war, dependence on external influence only expands. Although it helps protect society from disaster during an invasion, it significantly narrows the choice of a model of long-term post-war development.

One of the instruments of soft influence on societal development is the global humanitarian policy, which role intensifies in the conditions of a long-term war. Humanitarian organizations and international donors both aid and influence the authorities and civil society.

What is the role of the interests of local and international capital in choosing the trajectory of reconstruction and development of Ukraine? Is it possible to overcome debt dependence? What should be the future fair humanitarian and social policy?

Moderator: Oksana Dutchak, Ph.D. in Sociology, co-editor of Commons, researcher (Berlin Institute for Integration and Migration Research)

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October 21. 15:00 (GMT+3). Labor Rights as a Guarantee of Sustainable Peace

 

A reliable guarantee of peace is the ability of people to earn enough money for a stable life. Conversely, the Russian army is using the tactics of mobilizing the poor and creating a humanitarian disaster. For this, the Russian military is blockading Ukrainian cities so that there is looting and a request for a “strong hand.”

In 1944, the General Conference of the International Labor Organization within the framework of the Philadelphia Declaration expressed the need for a course aimed to achieve decent material well-being for the citizens of all countries striving to end wars so that they will not depend on the will of totalitarian dictators anymore.

Just as the Ukrainian resistance is unimaginable without foreign weapons, the Russian offensive is unimaginable without the global supply of components: people are producing, assembling, and bringing them. Wars are organized by the hands of working people, and these very hands can put an end to wars.

Within the framework of our section, we will talk about our preparation for Ukraine's victory and Ukrainian workers' needs after it.

The discussion will be held with the participation of trade union activists from Ukraine and the world.

Moderator: Artem Tidva, researcher of the labor movement, trade union activist.

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October 22. 12:00 (GMT+3). Energy Crisis and Sustainability: Lessons of Russo-Ukrainian war

 

Today, the Russo-Ukrainian war once again proves the danger of capital’s power, gained at the expense of oil and gas. An economy based on fossil fuels, ignoring the consequences for the environment and people, is an outdated and destructive development model.

On the other hand, new “green solutions” in energy continue to prolong neo-colonial dependencies of the Global South. World leaders are limiting access to renewable energy technologies and setting unequal deals on green energy providers.

What place will post-war Ukraine occupy in this cycle? Will progressive forces propose a different approach ceasing the exploitation of resources and their subsequent inequitable distribution?

How to replace Russian energy resources, and what terms should be established with the European Union? How to secure an accelerated transition to renewable energy sources and lessen overall energy consumption in times of shortage?

Moderator: Oleksandr Kravchuk, Ph.D. in Economics, co-editor of Commons.

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October 22. 15:00 - 17:00 (GMT+3). Houses and for Whom to (Re)Build Them?

 

During the years of independence, the housing policy in Ukraine demonstrated its complete incapacity to provide shelter for at least part of the Ukrainians forced to flee from the Russian invasion. Although the housing policy in the EU is still socially oriented to a certain extent, Ukrainian refugees in the EU also face difficulties with access to housing. The housing problem for IDPs, refugees, and other social groups remains acute. State-provided housing programs continue to predominantly support developers, not people left homeless by Russian aggressors.

In this section, we will outline the causes of this injustice, possible approaches to housing issues, and demands on the various authorities regarding necessary actions. To do this, we invited experts and activists who advocate for the right of Ukrainians to quality and affordable housing.

Moderator: Alona Liasheva, sociologist, co-editor of Commons.

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October 23. 12:00 (GMT+3). Round Table. Resistance and Solidarity: The Ukrainian Left in the Russo-Ukrainian War

 

Eight years ago, the start of the war in Donbas was a surprising challenge for the Ukrainian leftists. Consequently, the “new left” movements experienced crises and declines. Despite this, when the full-scale Russian invasion began, the Ukrainian left was prepared much better than in 2014. Many leftist and anti-authoritarian activists went to fight as volunteers, and others joined volunteer activities. At the same time, the left launched an international campaign to attract the attention of the global left to the Ukrainian resistance movement.

At this round table, we will summarize the intermediate results of the participation of the left in opposing Russian aggression and fighting its consequences, as well as discuss the possible prospects of the left movement.

Serhiy Movchan, Anti-authoritarian volunteer network Kolektyvy Solidarnosti (Solidarity Collectives).

Moderator: Taras Fedirko, research Fellow at the University of St Andrews.

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October 23. 15:00 (GMT+3). The Crisis of Hegemony, Imperialism, and Challenges to World Security

 

The full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine took place against the background of intense contradictions between the American leadership model in international relations and China's increasingly prominent claims. By exploiting these contradictions, the Russian imperialist power threatens to destroy the remnants of international agreements on the sovereignty of states and the resolution of interstate conflicts, offering nothing in return but the idea of the right of the strong.

At this dangerous moment, the progressive forces were not only organizationally unprepared but also ideologically divided in their judgment of Russia's actions and strategies for overcoming the war. It seems urgent to carry out a historical analysis of the current crisis of international relations, understand the objective tendencies of imperialist contradictions, and develop a strategy of progressive forces for the medium-term perspective.

In this section, we will discuss such questions: what comparative-historical parallels can help to understand the dynamics of the Russian-Ukrainian war and its consequences? What should be the anti-imperialist position in such conditions? Does the left have anything to say about the security situation in the world in the medium term?

Moderator: Volodymyr Artiukh, co-editor of Commons, social anthropologist, University of Oxford.

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The conference is held with the support of Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung in Ukraine from the resources of the Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany.

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