Beyond Putin, Beyond NATO: Grasping the War in Ukraine, Sunday, March 20, 2022

1:00 p.m. Eastern: Join us for a deep dive into the war in Ukraine. We’ll be joined by voices from Ukraine & Russia – co-hosted by Prof. Aviva Chomsky. Our panel includes Olena Lyubchenko (Ukrainian scholar-activist,, Suzi Weissman (Jacobin contributor), Jonathan Feldman (economist, U. Stockholm), Alisa LaSotnik (Ukrainian living in Spain), and Keti Chukhrov (Higher School of Economics, Moscow). (scroll down for additional Time Zone information)

Preceded by a dramatic and ultimately self-fulfilling escalation of wartime rhetoric, a barely-concealed “soft-power” media war, and on-the-ground deployments of lethal weapons and troops, the invasion of Ukraine nonetheless caught much of the world off-guard and quite disoriented. At the very moment when global cooperation is most urgently needed to combat catastrophic climate change, power politics over Ukraine brings to light the unreconstructed and undiminished Cold War orientation of the US military-industrial apparatus. As startlingly, just as Europe was to begin its own accounting and assignment of responsibility for its public health failures and dreadful pandemic toll, the resurrection of Cold War binaries and its heretofore unthinkable rearmament re-organized its political landscape.

Nothing in these observations can excuse the brutal invasion nor can they detract from the human tragedy as Ukrainians die in their homes and bury their dead. While the singular responsibility for these casualties lies with Russia’s rulers, it is also true that there is a collective responsibility to understand the context and history in order that the propensity for war may be successfully challenged.*

Guest Bios

Keti Chukhrov is an associate professor at the School of Philosophy & Сultural Studies at the Higher School of Economics (Moscow). Her latest book Practicing the Good. Desire and Boredom in Soviet Socialism (University of Minnesota Press, 2020) deals with the impact of socialist political economy on the epistemes of historical socialism. Her full-length books include: To Be—To Perform. ‘Theatre’ in Philosophic Critique of Art (European Un-ty, 2011), and Pound &£ (Logos, 1999), and a volume of dramatic writing: Merely Humans (2010). Her research interests and publications deal with 1. Philosophy of performativity, 2. Soviet Marxist philosophy and communist epistemologies 3. Art as the Institute of Global Contemporaneity.

Jonathan Michael Feldman specializes in research related to political economy, disarmament, green economics and studies related to democracy. Recent research focuses on reindustrialization via the mass transit sector in the United States, social change in Iran, and transnational networks related to state-building or development in Palestine. He writes periodically for Counterpunch and Portside. He is an associate professor at The Department of Economic History and International Relations at Stockholm University. He is also the convenor of and organized the first national green new deal conference in Sweden, televised by Swedish television, in 2009. Feldman has been interviewed by or published articles in leading Swedish newspapers.

Alisa LaSotnik was born in Lviv, Ukraine, in a Russian-Ukrainian-Jewish family and raised abroad. She made a mini-doc, Fayanka in Fragments, during the Orange Revolution in 2005 about the meaning of freedom for the divided country. Currently in Spain and part of a network of refugee support. Until 2016, Alisa was a coordinator of encuentro5 in Boston.

Olena Lyubchenko is a Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science, York University, Toronto. Her research interests include neoliberal restructuring, dispossession, and financialization of social reproduction as well as struggles around life-making. Olena’s dissertation draws on social reproduction feminism and traces the transformation of the gender contract and social citizenship model from the Soviet to the post-Soviet era in Russia.

Suzi Weissman is a Professor of Politics at Saint Mary’s College of California, is the author of Victor Serge: A Political Biography (Verso 2013), hosts the Jacobin Radio podcast and broadcasts the weekly “Beneath the Surface” on KPFK in Los Angeles. She sits on the editorial boards of Critique and Against the Current, and is co-producer of the forthcoming Lindy Laub documentary on Trotsky, “The Most Dangerous Man in the World.”


Aviva Chomsky is Professor of History and Coordinator of Latin American Studies at Salem State University in Massachusetts. Her many books include Central America’s Forgotten History: Revolution, Violence, and the Roots of Migration (2021) and Undocumented: How Immigration Became Illegal (2014). Her next book, “Is Science Enough? Forty Critical Questions about Climate Justice” is due out in 2022. She has also co-edited several anthologies including Organizing for Power: Building a Twenty-First Century Labor Movement in Boston (2021), and has been active in Latin America solidarity and immigrants’ rights movements for several decades

Joseph G. Ramsey is a scholar-activist and organizer, based in Dorchester, Massachusetts. He teaches English and American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston and is host and co-producer of the podcast Shelter & Solidarity: A Deep Dive with Artists and Activists. Joe has edited four book-length anthologies, including the Works & Days volume, Scholactivism: Reflections on Transforming Praxis, and is presently at work on a book-length study of the critical communism of Richard Wright. His writings have appeared in Black Agenda Report, Portside, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed, Jacobin Magazine, Slate, Red Wedge, Counterpunch, and Mediations, as well as Cultural Logic and Socialism and Democracy, where he is an Editorial Board member.

Time Zones

CENTRAL EUROPEAN TIME: 6:00 – 8:00 P.M./ 18:00 – 20:00 (VALENCIA, STOCKHOLM)
MOSCOW STANDARD TIME: 8:00 – 10:00 P.M./ 20:00 – 22:00

* This necessarily removes the conversation from the finger-pointing arenas of media spectacle and the literal war rooms of big power politics. The episode of Shelter and Solidarity starts with the immediate situation in Ukraine by exploring the situation of Ukrainians turned into refugees. But we also look more closely at that nation-state’s social structure and its incorporation into larger systems of global power. Similarly, we engage with Russian experiences and how it is that we may understand the current moment and Putin’s return to military means. But neither the Ukrainian nor Russian vortices may be understood without a global frame one that incorporates not just Eastward expansion of the NATO, but also the construction of “the European,” and rivalries with China. Coupled with serial US defeats in the Middle East, and the congealing of an energy and climate politics into a coercive renegotiation of the world order, the Eastern European tinderbox may well determine whether humanity as a whole may have a chance to survive its multiple existential crises.

If this conversation surfaces the aforementioned complexities, it will have succeeded. However, other serious questions will also have to be engaged even if, necessarily, they will be left without conclusion:  Where does the Russian invasion leave the global peace movement and the Left within the United States? How does the invasion figure into the tortuous relationship between the Left and the US Democratic Party, the elites of which are actively pursuing a militarized foreign policy all while depending on left and progressive forces to forestall domestic rightwing ascendence in the upcoming mid-term elections?