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.

The episode’s current-events segment focuses on centrist Democratic proposals to save US democracy from Trumpism by placating swing voters. The co-hosts discuss recent proposals from William Galston & Elaine Kamarck and Stanley Greenberg as well as a piece by Dan Balz that summarizes their thinking.

Radio Free Humanity is a podcast covering news, politics and philosophy from a Marxist-Humanist perspective. It is co-hosted by Brendan Cooney and Andrew Kliman. We intend to release new episodes every two weeks. Radio Free Humanity is sponsored by MHI, but the views expressed by the co-hosts and guests of Radio Free Humanity are their own. They do not necessarily reflect the views and positions of MHI.

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March 25, 2022

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