On September 16, 2023, in Bologna, Italy, the Ya Basta organization held a public event “Ukraine: Voices from the Field” with the participation of Yosh, head of the FM, and Valeriya Zubatenko, coordinator of the project “The TAIGA – Transformational Leadership Program for women in arts and culture and CSO project (text and graphic design)”.
During the event, the Italian colleagues talked about their visits to Ukraine and the experience of cooperation with left-wing activists, and Yosh and Valeria shared their current observations about the war and processes in civil society.
Antonella, Ya Basta’s activist:
«Since the beginning of full scale invasion, the idea that Ukraine is being colonized spread from activists-and-scholar niches to the whole Ukrainian society. Individuals, collectives and organizations in Ukraine are resisting to an invasion that they clearly define as imperialist and colonialist. They are well aware that, if this invasion succeeded, it would jeopardize the possibility of building an alternative, putting ethnic, cultural, and queer minorities under attack. This invasion is NOT WANTED in ANY TERRITORY. Not even in those that were historically related to Russia»
Yosh highlighted how Ukrainians combine fighting against aggression and tacking with internal problems in society:
«We went through so much tragedies, both on personal and all county level, that it’s not possible to forget and forgive. It’s not only people killed or left the country. Cities, industries and nature were destroyed, transport infrastructure was disrupted. We say that this war is genocidal, because we literary can see from our windows that Russians aim is to illuminate us, and especially those who have significantly different culture, language, values (feminist, queer including). So there is no way back in our fight, we will not give up.
One of the problems that arises with such huge scale tragedies is that society could react in conservative and primitive way. For example, what do we do with the lack of human resources? The conservative answer is to make women give a birth for more children. Or what do we do with demolished buildings or industrial structures. The question of reconstruction is very important. How it will be organized? When Kakhovka dam was exploded and we had huge flooding, our ecologist started to rise the question what do we do with the dam: do we rebuild the same or will we do something more modern and more energy efficient?».
Valeria Zubatenko told about perspectives to unite with comrades from left movements in peaceful Europe. For years our common struggle was against conservative and neoliberal politics, we advocated for social justice for women and workers. And now we have to create new common agenda, given the war situation.
“It is a big mistake to think that neoliberalism for us is the same evil as putin’s regime. We do not have the privilege to fight capitalism firstly when there are shoutings, rockets and genocide is taking place in general. Criticism of neoliberal reforms is also important, but it is not the same as physical extermination. Moreover, putin and his supporters are not an alternative to the capitalist West, as the russian propaganda aimed at the left says. It is the same neoliberal force in the struggle for the distribution of resources.” – Valeria have said.
Author — Yosh