Reft & Light is an independent Ukraine-based analytical project, monitoring authoritarian left-right alliances and the Ukrainian far right, launched under the auspices of Euromaidan Press. Opinions expressed in articles on this site are the authors’ own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Reft & Light editorial board or Euromaidan Press.
The New Querfront
Although the phenomenon of left-right coalitions (commonly called red-brown coalitions, or querfront) is hardly a new one, it obtained unprecedented proportions since the outbreak of the so-called “Ukrainian crisis”. The trend is clear: On the left as well as on the right you will find conservative and state-centered critique of the EU and progressive/liberal social values, calls to restore the strong nation-state and switch to the policies of “national capitalism”, and enthusiastic support of sub-imperialist regimes like that of Vladimir Putin. Critique of capitalism in this milieu is limited to the unfavourable view of “unproductive financial capital”, and anti-imperialism is substituted by the campist support of any presumably “anti-American” regime, however exploitative or blood-thirsty.
It’s a topsy-turvy world. While some left politicians complain about the lost national sovereignty or the influx of immigrants, far-rightists denounce the rule of banks, US imperialism, or even are bold enough to call themselves “antifascists”. What unites these forces is their anti-liberal stance and nationalist resentment. They are on the rise and gloat about supposed damage done to the “System” by such occurrences as annexation of the Crimea or Brexit.
We don’t think that such alliances are for any good. We want them to be destroyed and marginalized. And for sure we don’t want the leftist movement to be completely absorbed and poisoned by the new Querfront. In fact we are deeply upset by the developments which brought a significant part of the Western left on the side of the new Querfront. We are convinced that a leftist movement which deserves its name has no meaningful future as far as it is involved in the red-brown coalition.
Although we don’t want to overestimate the danger posed by the red-brown coalitions, we believe it should be taken seriously. To fight it properly, we have to observe it closely, to research and to analyze, to create a sufficient knowledge about the activities of the Querfront. The first task of Reft & Light is to contribute to this effort. Our primary interest will be focused on Europe and “Western” countries, but we are also very much interested in Querfront activities in other parts of the world, as well.
Ukrainian Far Right
Since the outbreak of Maidan, there have been continuous and heated discussions about the role of the Ukrainian far right in the protests and its influence in the post-Maidan Ukraine. The assessments ranged between a complete denial and claims that Ukraine is currently ruled by fascists. Unfortunately there is a lot of noise but not sufficient facts-based knowledge on this topic. So far, there are few sources specializing in the Ukrainian far right. In our view, this is a clear deficiency. Our second task is to contribute to the process of monitoring and observing the Ukrainian far right.
Why it is important for us? Of course, the story about “Ukrainian fascism” was one of the important plots of the grand narrative which seduced so many people from the left to join the Querfront camp. Learning more about the origins of the new red-brown coalitions would involve exploring the reality of Ukrainian far right, at least to certain extent. But it is not our major concern. We could understand how the Querfront functions even without any precise knowledge of the far right in Ukraine. And certainly the specific reaction to the “Ukrainian crisis” was not the single, or even maybe not the major contributor to the establishment of the Querfront.
Ukrainian far right is an important topic in itself. We don’t think that tolerating, diminishing or ignoring the influence of the far right will do Ukrainian society any good. Facing this problem in its full extent will take efforts and time. For sure it will be painful. But we don’t think that our society has any alternatives to launching this process. There already are some initiatives coming from different segments of Ukrainian society. It is highly important for us to contribute to this process.
Cooperation and donations
At present we are just a small group of people who can contribute to the project only on a part-time basis. We are open for cooperation. If you would like to write something on the subjects of our prime interest, please feel free to contact us. Material support is equally important: in the long-term perspective, our project cannot be supported on a purely voluntary basis. So, everyone is welcome to donate to our project!