Why are Nazi & Confederate flags on display in Kiev?
By Sara Flounders
March 5, 2014
When Kiev’s City Hall was seized with guns and Molotov cocktails, one
of the first acts of the Euromaidan street fighters was to unfurl a number of
flags and insignia. Prominent among the flags were swastikas, Iron Crosses,
Nazi SS lightning bolts, the Celtic cross used by the Ku Klux Klan, and the
Confederate “stars and bars” flag of slaveholders in the United
This is no accident. The flag of the U.S. Southern slaveholders and the Klan
cross are symbols understood around the world. They stand for racism, reaction,
lynchings and mass terror, for keeping oppressive institutions intact and for
beating down people of color and all those who struggle for a better world.
Racists from across Europe have traveled to Kiev. Wearing these symbols on
their helmets and jackets, these thugs roamed Kiev and defaced the homes of
Jews. They destroyed memorials to those who fought the Nazi invasion and
occupation of the Ukraine in World War II. Offices of the Communist Party of
the Ukraine were ransacked and destroyed, revolutionary books publicly burned
in bonfires. Twenty-five statues of Lenin have been destroyed, requiring heavy
equipment. (tinyurl.com/lfs734u) Amidst this offense of fascist vandalism,
progressive people have mobilized to protect progressive centers, monuments and
Symbols send a message. They are shorthand to millions of people for the
aspirations and goals of social and political movements.
Naming a street, boulevard, school or holiday for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther
King Jr. or Rosa Parks is recognition of the historic Civil Rights movement and
Black liberation movement in the U.S. It resonates with all who stand against
racism and oppression.
Certain symbols of revolution, resistance and liberation, such as the red
flag, the red and black flag, the red star and the rainbow flag, are recognized
around the world. The struggle to remove racist names of sports teams is well
understood, as is the struggle to remove memorials to racists, slave owners and
Confederates throughout the U.S. South.
Victoria Nuland, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for European and
Eurasian Affairs, publicly bragged that Washington has committed more than $5
billion to these “democratic forces” in the Ukraine.
Nuland, Sen. John McCain and other U.S. and German politicians have publicly
embraced known fascist thugs. Open U.S. support for the Ukrainian Fatherland
Party, the Svoboda party and Right Sector is hardly a mistake. It is sign of
how the U.S. and European Union plan to impose austerity, cutbacks and rule by
The display of hated racist and fascist symbols should serve as a dire
warning of what is at stake in the Ukraine today for all progressive people
fighting for change, liberation and human solidarity. All capitalism can offer
in its state of decay is more poverty, repression, fascism and war.