Episode 65: Rohini Hensman on Ukraine’s Protracted Struggle for National Liberation
Brendan and Andrew interview Rohini Hensman, the noted Marxist-feminist author who comes from Sri Lanka and is based in India. They discuss her March 11 article, “Ukraine’s Protracted Struggle for National Liberation,” as well as the “pseudo-anti-imperialism” within the left that she discussed in her book Indefensible: Democracy, Counter-Revolution, and the Rhetoric of Anti-Imperialism.
Hensman details the relation between Ukraine and Russia under Tsarist rule, the changes that occurred right after the Bolshevik revolution in light of Lenin’s support for the right of national self-determination, and Stalin’s murderous recolonization of Ukraine. She and the co-hosts then discuss the situation since the USSR collapsed–the widespread support throughout Ukraine for independence from Russia, why US President George H. W. Bush opposed this, why the Putin regime has invaded Ukraine, what it aims to achieve, and why attempts to appease it are futile.
The discussion of pseudo-anti-imperialism takes up the one-sided stances of Noam Chomsky and his followers. Hensman refers to the response from Artem Chapeye, Chomsky’s Ukrainian translator, to what he has and hasn’t said about Putin’s invasion. MHI’s editorial, “Ukraine Fights for National Self-Determination Against Russian Imperialism,” and Raya Dunayevskaya’s 1958 book, Marxism and Freedom, are also referred to in this segment.
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