Tendance Coatesy

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Posts Tagged ‘Racism

Lutfur Rahman, Tower Hamlets and Securalism.

with 34 comments

Directly Funds Religious Groups. 

This is not the place to discuss the full picture  of the Panorama report into Tower Hamlets Council and Lufter Rahman.

Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State for local government, is not the best person to criticise anybody, even the person who ties his shoelaces.

Counterfire has however  muddied the waters by repeating Rahman’s charges that the programme is ‘racist’ and ‘Islamophobic’.

Since they claim to speak for the left, they need a reply.

They claim,

Take away the constant reminders that Lutfur and many of supporters are Bengali(!!), and what were we left with? Firstly, the fact that he didn’t follow the advice of council bureaucrats as to who should get funding, and secondly that he didn’t submit himself to sufficient questioning by Tower Hamlets’ Labour-dominated council. As for the former, it is a hardly a political scandal that funding decisions should, ultimately, be taken by elected representatives rather than unaccountable bureaucrats. If a mayor is to be branded corrupt for not doing what his officials tell him, why bother having elections at all?

This avoids the issue of the nature of directly elected mayors with the kind of powers to override and ignore objections from critics that was illustrated in the documentary.

It is a curious position to take, considering the battles the left has had with other directly elected mayors, in Bristol, to cite but one example.

It would have more to the point to argue that Eric Pickles, the Minister responsible  for this system in the first place is biased by focusing on only one borough and one Mayor.

Counterfire then goes on to make sweeping claims.

The British establishment seem rather conflicted on what they want Muslims to do. On the one hand they aggressively lecture British Muslims on their responsibility to engage with democracy and domestic political institutions. On the other hand, they seem awfully frightened by the prospect that voting by Muslims could actually influence the outcome of elections, and that brown people might get to spend public money.

We shall ignore Counterfire’s own ‘lectures’ to British Muslims on Imperialism, and its strange silence on the backing some British Muslims  give  to the Syrian jihadists.

The main problem is that the article’s rhetoric ignores a central issue : Tower Hamlets policy of funding, directly, faith organisations.

As can be seen from the Tower Hamlets Council Statement after the Panorama programme.

These are the relevant items.

Faith buildings

Panorama suggested the Faith Building Scheme in Tower Hamlets was somehow divisive, whereas faith and social cohesion go hand in hand in Tower Hamlets. The borough has a strong tradition in this regard: for example, the Salvation Army was formed in Tower Hamlets and many faith-based organisations deliver community services accessible to all. Preserving these buildings to support the area’s heritage and its rich faith communities is seen as vital to the fabric of Tower Hamlets

Grants to mosques

Many of these organisations, Churches, Mosques and Synagogues deliver valuable community services. Some will also have buildings of historical and community interest. It is about heritage, but this includes supporting the fabric of what makes our community strong. The inspiration for the scheme came from the fate of Nelson Street Synagogue, to help them maintain their building – in their case it was about heritage, but for others they were doing good community work and needed a means of improving their buildings.

Cohesion?

Really?

The Docklands and East London Advertiser  21st February 2014.

A pitched battle broke out last night between Bangladeshi groups in a Whitechapel park, with women and children caught in the middle.

Hundreds had gathered in the park at midnight to place flowers at the Shaheed Minar (Martyr Monument) for the annual Bangladeshi Martyrs Day ceremony.

But flowers gave way to fists as the night turned violent after a war of words between rival groups over controversial war crimes trials in Bangladesh.

Tensions have been bubbling in the East End over the International Crimes Tribunal in Bangladesh, which is trying men accused of war crimes during the country’s 1971 liberation war.

Death threats have been received by activists in London and some have been attacked in the street.

These clashes were the direct result of a battle being fought between Bangladeshi secularists and Islamists.

What is the fundamental objection to financing religious groups?

It is not a matter of  ‘heritage’ that is being sponsored by the Tower Hamlets Council (a criterion, incidentally, that means the secular French government helps out with the preservation of religious buildings).

It could be that this takes sides in controversies, such as oppose two wings of Bangladeshi society.

But more importantly it is to give active finance for religious groups some of which have a political agenda and many of which have far from inclusive positions of women’s rights, LGBT issues, and a host of other topics. 

Does this happen elsewhere?

Certainly.

This is a problem: multiculturalism being used to shore up faith communities and traditional leaderships.

One could say that this is the opposite of the anti-racist secularism a diverse borough like Tower Hamlets needs.

Instead all we get is bluster from the Rahman camp: Mayor’s response to BBC Panorama.

Written by Andrew Coates

April 2, 2014 at 11:42 am

Undercover. The True Story of Britain’s Political Police. Rob Evans and Paul Lewis. Review.

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Andrew Coates:

Former Metropolitan police commissioner Lord Paul Condon has denied authorising undercover police officers to target the family of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence.

This book has become highly relevant.

http://i1.birminghammail.co.uk/incoming/article5166266.ece/BINARY/undercover.jpg

Undercover. The True Story of Britain’s Political Police. Rob Evans and Paul Lewis. Faber & Faber 2013.

Many of the reported 8,931 political campaigners on the “national data base of political extremists” took a keen interest in the publication of Undercover. Some police infiltrators had already been publicly unmasked. Mark Kennedy – “Stone” – has been fingered by Indymedia in 2010. ‘Progressive academic’ and advocate of a dialogue with Islamists, Bob Lambert, was confronted with his spy chief past at a conference to “celebrate diversity, defend multiculturalism, oppose Islamophobia and racism” in October 2011. Suddenly people on the left, and other campaigners, were reminded of the existence of intense police surveillance on our political activity.

Undercover has marked a new stage. The extracts in the Guardian, which contains fuller revelations about Kennedy and Lambert, and others’ including long-term relationships with activists, and the use of dead children’s birth certificates to procure undercover identities, did not just whet the appetite of a broader public. They raised serious issues about the involvement of what Evans and Lewis rightly call the “political police” in Britain.

One case continues to cause an uproar. On spy, Pete Black, began his work in the 1990s in anti-fascist groups, then the (what has become) Socialist Party’s Youth Against Racism in Europe (YRE). He moved on to spy on community-organised fights against legal injustices affecting the black community. Black finally began to recoil when asked to “smear” those involved in the Stephan Lawrence campaign and discover anything he could to discredit the key figure of Duwayne Brooks. (Page 156)

Provocations.

Questions about their role have extended to allegations about their use as agents provocateurs. It has been claimed that Lambert helped write the anti-MacDonald leaflet by London Greenpeace (an autonomous body) – the origin of the notorious libel action. It’s also said that Lambert “encouraged and even participated in an arson campaign that caused millions of pounds of damage. Lambert has firmly denied that he planted the incendiary device at the Harrow store, of Debenehams.”(Page 43) He strongly denies this, though claims credit for putting the animal rights activists involved in prison.

Nor is this a purely domestic matter. Kennedy has been cited in the French case, the Tarnac Affair, in which he allegedly witnessed bomb making. Briefly alluded to in Undercover (Page 265) this – dismissed – claim made headlines in Le Monde. They raised questions (details here) about Kennedy’s role in the prosecution of a group of libertarian leftists.

They Steal Identities, They Break the Law, They Sleep with the Enemy. Under these words on the book cover there is a lot more detail to ponder over in this excellent book. The causal deception the spies used to maintain their ‘cover’ deceived more than their comrades and friends. “There was no specific rule against having sexual partners. It was so commonplace they, he says, it was barely remarked on.”(Page 142) The heartbreaking stories of Charlotte, and Helen Steel, abandoned by their lying long-term partners, Lambert, the mother of Charlotte’s child, and John Dimes, whom Helen was “madly in love with”, are gut-wrenching. There are plenty of others; nine of the operatives identified in the book had “meaningful relationships” with the opposite sex. (Page 322) When the time came the agents simply slunk away

History of the Political Police.

These human tragedies had their origins in government and security decisions. Undercover traces the history of the British political police. The Special Demonstration Squad (SDS), founded in wake of 1968, put in place its agents throughout the left. Ideally they would be the “trusted confidant, a deputy who lingered in the background”(Page 23) It was disbanded in 2008. Another body, which with the increasing focus on civil resistance, the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU) – was founded in 1999, under Tony Blair, with 70 staff. What were (are) their targets? “Domestic extremists, police decided, were those who wanted to ‘prevent something from happening or to change legislation or domestic policy’, often doing so ‘outside of the normal democratic process.”(Page 202)

Initially they went for animal rights activists, including the less than appealing Animal Liberation Front, and “environmental extremists”.Then broadened their scope, “Domestic extremists now included campaigners against war, nuclear weapons, racism, genetically modified crops, globalisation, tax evasion, airport expansion and asylum laws, as well as those calling for reform of prisons and peace in the Middle East.”(Pages 203) Today we also have the National Domestic Extremism Team, all which are brought under the control and merged of the Association of Chief Police Officers.

There is little doubt that those who offer a violent threat, not just to “the demcoratic process” but the people at large – have to followed. But this is hardly the case for those of the above list.

Why these official bodies go to the lengths they do remains something of a mystery to many on the left. Why do they need infiltrators? Is it because we are all plotting something subversive – a wide term the previous paragraph suggests covers most of the activist left’s campaigning including large sections of the Labour Party – in secret?

It is true that some groups cultivate an aura of mystery. Ian Bone once wrote that if anarchists ran the train carrying Lenin to the Finland Station they would have no identity on the side except a Post Office Box Number. The Socialist Workers Party has fought a losing battle to keep its internal discussions secret.

But most of what we do is easy to follow. Blogs, Facebook and the rest, are full of details about we do. Some people – specifically the tradition the Tendance comes from – believe in being as open as possible about how we reach decisions – by democratic vote – and what we do. To the great interest, no doubt of all coppers well up on Leftist Trainspotting and the finer points of the history of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Internationals.

Others have a way of reaching conclusions, and a distinct political culture, which may be harder for the political police to follow. That is the ‘consensus method’ of some of the groups covered in the course ofUndercover; “activists used a strange-looking ritual known as ‘jazz hands’, in which they wriggled their fingers in the air to express support for speakers.” (Page 245) But if they want to do this, why not? Wiggle away, we say, far far away from, say any industrial action where we suspect consensus would never permit a strike in the first place.

In reality, the Web, as they say, shows just about everything these days. Which may or may not be a good guide. Indeed it well may not as we found with our own visit from the local rozzers after a malicious complaint by a local Islamic cult.

It will be interesting to follow the Net news on Bob Lambert if he does, as Evans and Lewis suggest, convert to Islam. (Page 331) Perhaps he will find peace – in a religion of order. Some would say that the version he is most familiar with, from his days in the Muslim Contact Unit, Political Islam, offers many possibilities for police surveillance and repression. Or, it might be that, following Kennedy, his personality is unravelling – as indeed Bob’s last television interview seemed to suggest.

Wounds Remain Unhealed.

An open wound remains. The legal action taken by 11 of the deceived women is proceeding at a snail’s pace. The latest news suggests that the women are profoundly dissatisfied with the procedure. Public knowledge of the activities of the political police has not changed things. Post-Kennedy recommendations to clean up the system have not been implemented. Further official inquiries, are, as the authors predicted early on, less than forthcoming. Operation Herne has trawled wide, but “has not yet made a single disclosure about any undercover operation.”(Pages 327 –80)

The last word should go to Steel and Morris, to Lambert – “Shame on you!”

Originally posted on Tendance Coatesy:

http://i1.birminghammail.co.uk/incoming/article5166266.ece/BINARY/undercover.jpg

Undercover. The True Story of Britain’s Political Police. Rob Evans and Paul Lewis. Faber & Faber 2013.

Many of the reported 8,931 political campaigners on the “national data base of political extremists” took a keen interest in the publication of Undercover. Some police infiltrators had already been publicly unmasked. Mark Kennedy – “Stone” – has been fingered by Indymedia in 2010. ‘Progressive academic’ and advocate of a dialogue with Islamists, Bob Lambert, was confronted with his spy chief past at a conference to “celebrate diversity, defend multiculturalism, oppose Islamophobia and racism” in October 2011. Suddenly people on the left, and other campaigners, were reminded of the existence of intense police surveillance on our political activity.

Undercover has marked a new stage. The extracts in the Guardian, which contains fuller revelations about Kennedy and Lambert, and others’ including long-term relationships with activists, and the use of dead children’s birth certificates…

View original 1,195 more words

Written by Andrew Coates

March 7, 2014 at 5:26 pm

Haitham Al-Haddad, Who Supports FGM, Speaks At SOAS University.

with 10 comments

Haitham al-Haddad

……only hates Jews who are descendants of apes and pigs.

In 2001, Haitham al-Haddad allegedly said “I will tell you the truth about the fight between us and Jews who are the enemies of God and the descendants of apes and pigs”.[8] He later said that “this is the translation of what has been attributed to me” and that it had been incorrectly translated from Arabic to English.[8]

A journalist for Radio Netherlands Worldwide wrote, “Strikingly, the cleric omits the definite article “the” before “Jews.” In the Arabic language, this omission could be taken to mean he was not speaking about Jews in general but only about those Jews who are enemies of God and descendants of apes and pigs.

Wikipedia.

Continues,

In a homophobic article called ‘Standing up against Homosexuality and LGBTs’, Haddad has written of “the scourge of homosexuality”, which he calls a “criminal act” [10]

His attitudes towards women are highlighted by a comment he made in which he declared that “a man should not be questioned why he hit his wife, because this is something between them”.[11]

In addition to this he has also claimed that “the most honourable and worthy role for a woman is striving to be a fine wife…this role does not only secure the best for a woman in the hereafter, but also fits perfectly with her natural disposition”[12]

The Huffington Post reports,

A London university’s student union has come under criticism for allowing a pro-female genital mutilation supporter to speak at a debate on campus.

Haitham al-Haddad spoke at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) on Monday, despite having previously publicly advocated his support for FGM.

In a video posted on YouTube, he lectures on the importance of knowing female circumcision in the UK is illegal and says there is a “proper” way of carrying out FGM.

“In some countries.. they do [circumcision] a way that cause harm for the female,” he says. “There are some statistics it can cause 25% death of females.. This is called the Pharaonic circumcision.. We are not talking about that. They cut extensively. That is harmful, definitely. But it is consensus of all the scholars that female circumcision is sunnah [proper].

students

His views on Homosexuality, “Standing up against Homosexuality and LGBTs.”

In order to combat the scourge of homosexuality Allah has ordained us to speak out, and that we should co-operate with others in righteousness and God-consciousness.

Written by Andrew Coates

February 19, 2014 at 4:57 pm

The ‘anti-Dieudonné’ Comedian Nicolas Bedos.

with 8 comments

Bedos

Bedos: the Anti-Dieudonné.

The French Comedian Nicolas has been satirising Dieudonné .

He appeared in one-man show with a Hitler moustache in a parody of the racist bigot.

Nicolas has stated that his intention is to “Not leave Dieudonné with the monopoly of subversion, and  to remember that we can be provocative on the most sensitive issues without being oneself plagued by racism, misogyny, homophobia, etc.”

“For the most part, the pro-Dieudonné fans  are fragile, culturally and intellectually, socially vulnerable and shocked by the fate of Palestinians, hence the fantasy of some sort of Israeli-Jewish-American political-media-financial conspiracy: Dieudonné continues to feed this frenzy.”

Why embody a character in Arabic accent?

I mostly played simply a complete tosser. I knew very well in writing the sketch that people would see some housing estate  scum. But I play somebody who is above all a cretin, rather than because he is an Arab (slang rebeu).

We have to stop the hypocrisy: you only have to look at the public for the  shows Dieudo puts on to see that  a large majority are young people of immigrant origin, wounded by their situation, contempt for society, and indifference  to  Palestinian suffering.

I understand their anger, but I absolutely hate to see Dieudonné and Soral taking advantage of their plight for their own  narcissistic and financial reasons.”

Bedos  is opposed to a public ban on the anti-Semite’s shows.

“We have to fight against the tendency to legislate on artistic matters.

Dieudonné  is no longer an artist, he is a proselyte for the extreme right. But we should not forbid him from performing, that in itself expands and solidifies  his audience.

Dieudonné’s public only dreams of being stifled and muzzled, and this keeps them together.

If we talk about banning, why not ban  Marine Le Pen and the Front National”

(Adapted from Le Monde.)

In the past Bedos has also been in trouble because he criticised Israeli policies, attacked Sarkozy (« VRP cocaïné ») and has been fined for insulting the Police – amongst other controversies. 

Now he has received death threats.

For this.

Those anti-Semites don’t like it up ‘em!

Written by Andrew Coates

January 22, 2014 at 12:03 pm

Dieudonné Backers Mock Jewish Martys of the Nazis and Islamic Murderer Mohamed Merah.

with 7 comments

Des partisans de l'humoriste Dieudonné M'bala M'bala font des "quenelles" devant le Théâtre de la Main d'or, le 28 décembre.

On 12 January 1944, the Gestapo occupying the French city of Bordeaux dispatched its Jews, who had been rounded up and imprisoned in their own majestic synagogue, to the death camps.

Fast-forward exactly 70 years and a photograph shows a group of youngsters standing outside the same synagogue, performing the now infamous quenelle gesture invented by the controversial French comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala in 2005 and exported to Britain by footballer Nicolas Anelka.

The backdrop of the picture is a large stone plaque engraved A Nos Martyrs (to our martyrs) and bearing the names of the 365 people deported from inside the synagogue. In all, 5,000 Bordeaux Jews – out of a community of 6,200 – perished at the hands of the Nazis.

The Obsevrer.

During the week Le Monde announced that the LICRA (Ligue Internationale Contre le Racisme et l’Antisémitisme) and SOS racisme were bringing a court action for this.

At the end of December a ‘quenelle’ was made outside of the Jewish school,  Ohr-Torah (ex-Ozar-Hatorah), where Islamist Mohamed Merah murdered three Jewish children and rabbi.

L'homme photographié devant le lycée collège Ohr Torah © DR

More in Libération.

There is a fine debate in the Observer today on the issues behind this.

Comrade Andrew Hussey, dean of the University of London Institute in Paris introduces this,

I suppose my starting point has to be that there is no doubt that Dieudonné is not so much a comedian but, rather, an attention-seeking racist and an antisemite. He certainly isn’t funny any more, if he ever was. He is, however, an expert in provocation, and that’s what his latest acts and statements, including the famous “quenelle”, are all about. More to the point, what he is really doing is testing the limits of French law – specifically the Loi Gayssot of 1990, the so-called loi anti-négationniste, which, among other things, effectively makes Holocaust denial (négationnisme in French) a crime. The belief system of Dieudonné and those of his followers is that the “French establishment” uses the memory of the Holocaust to exercise power over the marginalised populations of France and to reinforce Jewish interests. No one is trying to stop him believing this or expressing his views. The Loi Gayssot does, however, place limits on how far an individual can claim that crimes against humanity, as defined at the Nuremberg trials, did not happen – and that is the point of law that Dieudonné is challenging with his propaganda.

One may or may not agree with the Loi Gayssot – there is no such law in England – but from the Dreyfus affair, to the second world war, to the 2012 killings in Toulouse, there is hardly a more divisive, emotive, even lethal, issue in French society than antisemitism. That is why the Loi Gayssot exists, and why I sympathise with the exasperation of the French government, which is trying to act decently, if somewhat clumsily, in the face of the provocations of this rabble-rousing clown.

Padraig Reidy, senior writer at Index on Censorship continues

I’m glad neither of us is going to attempt to describe Dieudonné as anything other than what he is – a rabble-rousing bigot. Too often in discussions on free speech issues, people will attempt to downplay or deflect attention from the ugly facts, or attempt to rationalise other people’s bigotry. I hope I don’t fall into that trap.

See site for the rest of the article.

Dieudonné has responded, calling for the dissolution (loss of any legal status)  of the LICRA

This is his public petition, (147,000 signatures to date)

Pouvoirs publics: Dissoudre la LICRA (Ligue Contre le Racisme et l’Antisémitisme)

La LICRA, Ligue Internationale Contre le Racisme et l’Antisémitisme, au contraire de lutter contre ces idéologies fascistes qui portent atteinte à la notion même de la Nation, comme à celle d’Humanité, la LICRA, par ses actes est un trouble à l’ordre public perpétuel, perfide, et nocif au possible aux valeurs fondamentales garanties par les lois de la République, le venin despotique que ses dirigeants et membres veulent insuffler dans la veine démocratique, au profit de l’hégémonie esclavagiste américano-sioniste, imposée au peuple au niveau planétaire sous l’intitulé revendiqué « du nouvel ordre mondial »

The LICRA instead of fighting against fascist ideologies which harm the very essence of the Nation, indeed of Humanity itself, the LICRA by its acts has created public disturbances. It  is insidious, and a danger to the fundamental values of the Republic, guaranteed by law. The despotic venom of its leaders has brought poison into the veins of our democracy, to establish the hegemony of the slave-drivers of American-Zionism, imposed on the peoples of the Planet to maintain the “new world order.”

Hussey and Reidy note the importance of anti-Semitism in French history.

But one should add, our beloved martyr, Jean Jaurès fought anti-Semitism tooth-and-nail.

As this short summary of his life indicates,

French socialist leader. Entering parliament (1885), his campaign on behalf of Dreyfus and against anti‐Semitism strengthened socialist support in France. In 1905 he formed the United Socialist Party, which put pressure on the radical governments in order to achieve reforms for the working class. He opposed militarism, but tried to reconcile socialist internationalism and French patriotism. He was assassinated by a French nationalist in 1914.

I note that Mélenchon calls this present fight  a political and ideological  battle and not a legal one.

The NPA also states that simply banning the shows is not the answer.

There is extreme doubt about the wisdom of a ban on his performances.

But…making such gestures of hate outside a synagogue….

Written by Andrew Coates

January 12, 2014 at 5:16 pm