Workers’ Liberty members attended the “Solidarity with the Antifascist Resistance in Ukraine” meeting on 4 June, organised by the SOAS Marxist Society (Socialist Appeal).
On the panel were Russian leftist Boris Kagarlitsky, Sergei Kirichuk from the Stalinist Borotba via Skype, Richard Brenner from Workers’ Power, Lindsey German from Counterfire, Andrew Murray from the Communist Party of Britain, and Alan Woods from Socialist Appeal. It was chaired by Joy McCready, a member of Left Unity.
As you say, you weren't at the meeting. I don't remember anyone trying too hard to stop the hecklers but maybe they did - fine, good on them. From where I was sitting, most of the hecklers seemed to be members of the British left and many of them were selling the Morning Star afterwards so I stand by my comment about the degenerate culture.
Most of the platform speakers emphasised the role of fascists in the Ukranian government but said nothing about the Eurasian Russian nationalist mysticism of many of the leading figures in the separatist movement (of more here) and when I pointed this out, I was denounced by members of the audience for believing the bourgeois press.
Apologies if I have misunderstood Workers Power's and the campaigns formal position but, from my memory and notes, the tone and content of the speeches at the meeting did not communicate a position along the lines of the one you have spelt out above. Given that there was such a one-sided emphasis on the character of the Kiev government, support for the annexation of the Crimea, much explaining away of the motives of the Russian government, and virtually nothing about the reactionary character of the leadership of the Donetsk and Luhansk movements, I think "useful idiots" is rather mild for a campaign that weeks to promote such a distorted view of events in Ukraine amongst the wider labour movement.
The article was a sketch of a meeting, not an exhaustive report, and not an elaboration of our programme. I agree that there is a lot to be said about the role of the US, the IMF reforms etc and that I should have said more but the article was seeking to counter-balance the narrative at the meeting so that is why the emphasis was elsewhere.
Good that there has been an emphasis on independent working-class action in conversations you've had but, again, that was not the focus of the meeting - in fact, it was barely mentioned. Let's see how it develops.
I think a large part of what the UK left can do is, first and foremost, try and find out what is actually going on and provide a source of reliable information for people trying to get to grips with the situation by translating and promoting the work of comrades in Ukraine; explain the situation to people in a way which propagates a socialist position on ideas of independent working-class action, imperialism and national self-determination; and raise money and support for the left in Ukraine trying to establish a "third pole" against the oligarchs on both sides.
This kind of initiative, organised by the Ukrainian Socialist Solidarity Campaign, seems like one of the ways forward. See here.