Archive for December 23rd, 2013

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A slow death for Євромайдан at the birth of Народне об’єднання Майдан?

December 23, 2013

With the exception of the Polish Solidarity movement of the early 1980’s that made a semi-successful transformation from broad civic movement to political movement – albeit briefly and not withstanding its trade union roots – there have been few successful civic movements that have managed to accomplish a transformation into a political movement in Europe.

The Serbian Otpor movement is a prime example of such a disastrous attempt.

And so it comes to pass that Євромайдан seems destined to morph into a more political platform named “National Association Maidan” or “Громадське об’єднання “Народне об’єднання Майдан” consisting of the opposition leaders and social movements.  (#HOM on twitter).

Its cross cutting cleavage appeal dwindles immediately with the exclusivity of the leadership of the opposition politically – though perhaps through little choice.

To be frank, the 47% of Party of Regions voters who favoured the signing of the Association Agreement according to the October public opinion surveys, whilst remaining Party of Regions voters, will no longer feel comfortable lending any form of support to an organisation led exclusively by opposition party leaders they still consider to be the worst of bad options – and to be entirely blunt, those opposition leaders are still as feckless and ineffective as they were prior to Євромайдан  beginning.  They didn’t even start the protests.

Further, there are those who would no doubt want a lead role through claims to be civil society leaders, such as Yuri Lutsenko.  Quite obviously the wrong man as he will further alienate those sympathetic to the cause within the Party of Regions voter base.  He is too closely associated with Yulia Tymoshenko and the Batkivshchyna Party to offer any  illusion of independence, tolerance or inclusiveness.  His judgement of late is also questionable.

His call for a national strike during Євромайдан  was exceptionally poor judgement – as I stated at the time.

By choosing to take this route, “Громадське об’єднання “Народне об’єднання Майдан” will probably quickly become nothing more than a collective name for opposition party supporters or framed as such by a lazy main stream media if it manages to retain its integrity.

In all probability, and in next to no time it will become a vehicle for the opposition to try and activate protests for their own ends – not necessarily for democratic and good governance ends.

Many current supports of  Євромайдан and the ideology/society it stands for will become disaffected through what is likely to be continued hapless opposition leadership and far too many – and inappropriate – calls to arms.

The positive from creating “Народне об’єднання Майдан” is a central command and control.  The negative – aside from singularly identifying with the opposition leaders both current and past – is once this has been accomplished – what to do with it?  What’s the plan?  Will it have impact as and when a plan is forthcoming?

Targeting the corrupt state institutions?  Monitoring every polling station at the next elections?  Attempts to gain further support from the wavering amongst Ukrainians?

It is not hard to imagine under opposition leadership, the 200,000 people who attended Maidan in Kyiv over the past month shrinking dramatically – through mismanagement and adding far to many peripheral, divisive  and party specific whistles and bells – to the 3000 or 4000 that turned up at the ill-conceived and ill-fated “Stand Up Ukraine” opposition “Spring Tour” of 2013.  An unmitigated political disaster if ever one was to be witnessed.

The power of any civic movement is its cross cutting cleavage throughout the entire national constituency.  Its power lays within the fact it does not respect political party lines.  It does not respect any “identity” issues other than its core cause.  Again to be blunt, Messrs Yatseniuk, Klitschko, Tyanhbok and Lutsenko are not the core cause.

Are the opposition smart enough to recognise that there will be a need to separate, quite clearly, what is opposition politics, posturing and rhetoric alien to many protesters and supporters, and what is the genuine drivers for the vast majority of those who have protested?  Can they avoid the temptation to try and mislabel the protesters for their own ends?

As I have written several times now, that simply because the opposition leaders chose to represent those at/attempt to hijack  Євромайдан, that does not equate to those at Євромайдан necessarily supporting the opposition leaders.  Lest we forget, when given the chance to deliver democracy, rule of law, reduced corruption etc – and on a wave of undeniable goodwill from the public – it spectacularly failed to do so between 2005 and 2010.

This morphing move, though perhaps logical and even perhaps necessary,  is fraught with danger both to the ideological message and also continued cross cutting cleavage support.

How brightly and for how long is the “Народне об’єднання Майдан” star likely to lighten the darkness around it?  A slow burning flame, or a spectacular flash and then nothing – leaving the perception of an even darker void?

The answer to that, I suspect, will come down to the ability – or not – of the social movement to keep the politicians (past and present) in their place.

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