Yuliya Yurchenko. Oksana Dutchak. Wonda Powell. Sasha Talaver. Frieda Afary. May 10, 2022
Since Russia’s full-scale imperialist invasion of Ukraine was launched by Vladimir Putin on February 24, Putin’s speeches, Russian state propaganda and the actual massacres and rapes committed by the Russian army have revealed the genocidal and misogynist character of this invasion. At the same time, the resistance of the Ukrainian people has been heroic. There have been many other expressions of opposition to this war as well, ranging from global protests to humanitarian aid convoys and initiatives by individuals and groups to help the resistance in Ukraine.
Ukrainian feminists have been an active part of the resistance both in actual combat and in various other invaluable capacities such as health care, child care, food production, communications and strategizing through social media as writers, leaders and spokeswomen. Among the more than five million Ukrainian refugees in Europe who are mostly women and children, many women are promoting valuable communication with the world.
The Russian Feminist Anti-War Resistance, though much smaller in comparison, has brought together forty different feminist groups inside Russia to oppose the invasion. They have also attempted to fight state disinformation by publicizing facts about the war through a Telegram channel. However, many of their members along with other opponents of the war within Russia have been arrested and silenced by the Russian police state and its campaign of disinformation.
Desperately needed is a coordinated global feminist solidarity effort to support the Ukrainian popular resistance and their struggle to maintain their country’s independence and democratic rights. This panel will argue that solidarity with Ukraine is critical for the present and future of women’s rights, anti-racism, labor rights, environmentalism, LGBTQ+ rights, and the right to truth and social justice seeking. The Ukrainian struggle is a determinant for the future of humanity. The speakers will also offer ideas on how feminists around the world can help the Ukrainian resistance, and in doing so, link the struggles against gender violence, misogyny, anti-Black racism, climate change and disinformation with each other and with the effort to develop an alternative to capitalism and imperialism.
Yuliya Yurchenko is the author of Ukraine and the Empire of Capital: From Marketization to Armed Conflict (Pluto Press, 2018). She is a Senior Lecturer in Political Economy at the Political Economy, Governance, Finance and Accountability Institute at the University of Greenwich, UK. She is also vice-chair of the Critical Political Economy Research Network.
Oksana Dutchak is a Ukrainian sociologist and co-editor of Commons: Journal of Social Criticism, a journal of the Ukrainian left. She is the deputy director of the Center for Social and Labor Research in Kyiv, where she has studied work and working conditions as well as gender inequalities. She is now a refugee.
Wonda Powell is Professor Emerita of History at Los Angeles Southwest College. She continues her work in Ethnic Studies.
Sasha Talaver is a Ph.D. candidate (Gender Studies, CEU, Vienna) and currently, she is a fellow at ZZF (Leibniz Center for contemporary History Potsdam). Sasha explores the role of the state-supported women’s organization in the Soviet Union, the Soviet Women’s Anti-Fascist Committee, in Soviet policy-making. Her previous research project was on the underground women’s movement in Soviet Leningrad, Sasha has co-edited the book Feminist Samizdat: 40 Years After (Moscow: commonplace, 2020).
Frieda Afary is an Iranian American librarian and translator in Los Angeles and author of the forthcoming book Socialist Feminism: A New Approach (Pluto Press).