Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Left Unity, the Bermondsey Crisis, John Tummon Statement.

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From Bermondsey to the English Republic,  by way of the Caliphate…..

In the interests of international revolutionary unity we publish this dossier:

“In January 1649 England was declared a ‘Commonwealth’. It was destroyed by Cromwell’s counter-revolution. Yet it remains an historic marker for democratic revolution and an inspiration for today.”

The Republican Socialist General Election Campaign for Bermondsey and Old Southwark 2015.

Republican Socialist Stands for Bermondsey

The Republican Socialist Party (RSP) has chosen its first ever parliamentary candidate for the constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark, the seat currently held by Simon Hughes. Steve Freeman, who stood for the constituency as an independent in 2010, has agreed to stand.

Steve Freeman

Republican Socialist candidate for Bermondsey and Old Southwark.

This daring and principled initiative – a matter of ‘honour’ we hear – has not been universally welcomed.

The latest CPGB (Provisional) Party Notes states,

We note with some genuine concern that Left Unity member Steve Freeman (over the years a frequent contributor to the Weekly Worker) has announced that he will contest the May 7 general election in Bermondsey and Old Southwark under the banner of the “Republican Socialist Party” (which is made up of Steve and two mates). He is therefore opposing Kingsley Abrams, a candidate jointly backed by the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition and Left Unity. Politically, this amounts to sabotage.

 The leadership of the Communist Platform in Left Unity has issued a statement about his candidacy. Steve’s reply to Kate Hudson, which could seal his expulsion from Left Unity, is being discussed at length on Facebook and is also available in the Weekly Worker.

 We urge the comrade to behave in a responsible manner and immediately step down as a candidate. If he refuses then it is clear that the national council is duty-bound to initiate disciplinary proceedings against him under clause 18(a) of the constitution.

Communist Platform:

Communist Platform statement on the candidacy of Steve Freeman

1. Steve Freeman has announced that he is a parliamentary candidates in Bermondsey and Old Southwark for the May 7 general election. He is standing as a Republican Socialist. He is therefore opposing Kingsley Abrams, a candidate jointly backed by the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition and Left Unity. Politically this amounts to sabotage.

2. Comrade Abrams is a former local councillor and was the official Labour candidate in the 2001 general election. He lost to Simon Hughes, but got 30% of the vote. Comrade Abrams fell foul of the Labour Party machine after speaking out against austerity. He describes himself as old Labour and recently resigned from the party after 30 years of membership. Comrade Abrams then offered to stand under the banner of Tusc and LU – an offer that was eagerly accepted at both a local and national level. Southwark LU officially endorsed him on February 25.

3. Though comrade Abrams is not a member of LU, he is without doubt the right candidate to back. He is not only challenging Simon Hughes once again, but mainstream Labour hopeful Nick Coyle. His central slogan is ‘No to austerity’. 4. Comrade Freeman is a member of Left Unity. Till recently he was in charge of its constitutional commission and put himself forward for its national council in internal elections. His criticisms of old Labour and Tusc are well founded. The idea of a Labour Party mark II is illusory and doomed to fail. However, comrade Freeman’s ‘republican socialism’ amounts to little more than a leftwing version of English nationalism. 5. Even if he advocated a politically principled socialist programme comrade Freeman would be wrong to stand. The left in Britain is woefully weak and dividing of our forces in the general election can only but damage our cause. Political criticism is perfectly legitimate – indeed it is required. But when it comes to the May 7 general election our motto should be ‘Unity in action’. 6. We urge comrade Freeman to behave in a responsible manner and immediately step down as a candidate. If he refuses then it is clear that the national council is duty-bound to initiate disciplinary proceedings against him under clause 18(a) of the constitution.

John Tummon faction statement, March 26,

The Constitution section on Tendencies states that “Tendencies have a right to be heard, to organise meetings, to produce literature, to distribute materials at LU meetings and, in general, to try to influence and/or change party policy, but must not do so in the name of LU or any of its constituent bodies”. At the initial conference, it was made clear from the acting transitional leadership body, in response to either the CPGB or some other group, that this included the right to criticise LU from the outside. This surprised me, and many others, at the time

Since Steve’s candidature is aimed solely at bringing to the rest of the Left and the wider public the argument for incorporating socialist republican principles into policy and practice, his campaign is therefore one of critical support for the LU candidate.

The history of Left participation in elections shows that the chances of either candidate getting more than 1% of the vote are slim indeed, so in what way will LU be harmed by this? At this stage in LU’s growth, electoral participation is purely about raising the profile of socialist arguments against neoliberal orthodoxy (austerity, war, smashing the public sector, etc) and there is no reason whatsoever to imagine that Kingsley Abrams’ campaign will be harmed in respect of his or the LU branch’s ability to raise an anti-capitalist profile. Kate might argue that the electorate will be confused by both Steve and Kingsley standing as rivals, but the same is the case in all of the seats where LU / TUSC are standing as rivals to the Greens, which is why I voted against LU standing in Stockport (In the event the vote went against me [3 for standing, 2 against and 2 abstentions]. The reality is that confusing the electorate only matters when a party has a chance of making a political breakthrough, which is plainly not the case in Bermondsey.

Section 3d, as Kate has interpreted it, could be used against any LU member who, like me, reserves the right not to support an LU / TUSC candidate under the circumstances of a very split local vote.

I think she would have a hard time proving a breach of the LU constitution, because a) there is a contradiction between the section she wants to use and the section on Tendencies and b) because section 3d of the constitution has nothing to say on circumstances in which a candidate is standing for an electoral alliance that includes LU and an outside organisation; you would have to convince the Disputes and Appeals bodies that 3d was clearly meant to cover electoral alliances as well. Good luck with finding evidence for that!

The fact is that many LU members have felt uncomfortable about LU standing on a joint electoral platform with TUSC for a variety of reasons, including its dubious commitment to gender equality and its economism. Basically, you are asking the organisation to privilege LU’s relationship with an external organisation over its relationship with an internal tendency.

Now the CP says the RSA comes down to English Nationalism, backed up by the usual Trotskyist hack, John Penney This is the CP’s analytical conclusion after reading through a statement which makes several references to the need to bring the lessons of Scotland to England; i.e. the Scottish democratic revolution.

Which part of the dictionary did they use to reach this, I wonder?

As a member of Left Unity, the Republican Socialist Tendency and the Republican Socialist Alliance and who has argued for months that my local branch should not be standing against the Greens, I find myself in agreeing with the suggestion of Dave Church, who told the last RSA meeting that no organisation on the Left should stand candidates anywhere unless and until they know through polling that their local, grassroots work has built up at least 5% of the vote.

For months now I have been challenging Trotskyists within LU to show me the strategic political arguments for electoralism and the silence is deafening – there is clearly nothing but habit & hope (both misplaced) that this will miraculously ‘increase our profile’. It never does – you can count on one hand the number of times more than 1% has voted for a Left candidate. LU has degenerated into one not so big ball of internal wrangling around the leadership’s consistent attempts to expel people with whom it disagrees or whose actions it finds disagreeable. The 10,000 who signed up for a new party of the Left have, as Mark says, taken a look at LU and gone with the Greens. LU has missed the boat in recruiting the people who have been politicised in the course of this parliament; the project of left unity has instead become a paper exercise of a joint venture with the suddenly well heeled SP and SWP; crucially, it does not involve having made any sustainable inroads into the mass of people.

As John Pearson has shown on the Unoffical Left Unity Facebook page, the case against Steve is thin at best but, behind it, lies a much more important issue – the culture of puffed up leftist wrangling over things that will not matter within months and don’t matter at all to the people we need to be attracting to create a socialist movement. Electoral initiatives are mostly a diversion, anyway, and one that always takes the left back to square one. What irony if this turns out to be the issue that buries LU. For the umpteenth time, can anyone tell me the political theory behind the left participating in elections, how it fits into political strategy and the evidence that it does this.

Caliphate John and the Republican Socialists, what a combination!

Tummon seems to be arguing simultaneously that the left (that is, the non-Labour left)  should not stand against the Greens, that the left should not stand if they are likely to get less than 5% (which would mean nearly everywhere, if not everywhere), and that cde Freeman should stand because he is in “critical support” of the candidate he is opposing.

Oh and why should they present candidates in elections anyway…????

Poor old Steve Freeman…. Will he now face the full might of the “the principles and guidelines of behaviour set out in the safer spaces policy (appendix 1)”? Will he follow Kate’s well meaning advice?

“I urge you to withdraw your candidacy and support the ‘Left Unity – Trade Unionists and Socialists’ candidate, Kingsley Abrams, who has been endorsed by Southwark branch and Left Unity national council.”

Looks like expulsion….

Bo ho. VOTE LABOUR! Back the Socialist Campaign for a Labour Victory !

Jazz Hands Scandal Hits and Splits NUS.

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 Jazz Hands Avoid Anxiety.

The NUS Asked Its Student Delegates To Use Jazz Hands Instead Of Clapping To Avoid Triggering Anxiety.

The Huffington Post UK | Lucy Sherriff

The National Union of Students was the subject of ridicule on Tuesday after telling its delegates to use jazz hands instead of clapping in order to avoid triggering anxiety.

A spokesperson for the NUS justified the decision saying: “The request was made by some delegates attending the conference. We strive to make NUS events accessible and enjoyable for all, so each request is considered.”

However this didn’t stop numerous people from poking fun at the union, with some wondering whether the Twitter account was a spoof.

Nona Buckley-Irvine, general secretary at the London School of Economics Students’ Union, told Newsbeat: “Jazz hands are used  throughout NUS in place of clapping as a way to show appreciation of someone’s point without interrupting or causing disturbance, as it can create anxiety.

“I’m relatively new to this and it did feel odd at first, but once you’ve used jazz hands a couple of times it becomes a genuinely nice way to show solidarity with a point and it does add to creating a more inclusive atmosphere.”

This immediately caused a split.

@nuswomcam please can we ask people to stop clapping but do feminist jazz hands? it’s triggering some peoples’ anxiety. thank you!

Jazz Hands or Feminist Jazz Hands, that this is the major issue inside the NUS women’s conference.

Then there was this,

The tweets began receiving responses ridiculing the request.

@JLat55 tweeted: “Open palms can be triggering. Well, so can closed ones… you should just ban any outward expression of approval.”

@BookGeek_T tweeted: “@nuswomcam @Little_G2 hi, jazz hands can be triggering because of the quick movement of the hands. I vote blinking rapidly instead. Thanks”

Nona Buckley-Irvine, General Secretary at the London School of Economics Students’ Union, said: “Jazz hands are used throughout NUS in place of clapping as a way to show appreciation of someone’s point without interrupting or causing disturbance, as it can create anxiety.

“I’m relatively new to this and it did feel odd at first, but once you’ve used jazz hands a couple of times it becomes a genuinely nice way to show solidarity with a point and it does add to creating a more inclusive atmosphere.”

LSE SU women’s officer Gee Linford-Grayson added: “As someone who is new to the NUS conference culture it surprised me at first, but actually within a few rounds of jazz hands applause it began to make a lot of sense, as loud clapping and whooping can be intimidating and distracting when you’re speaking on stage.

“Plus who doesn’t like jazz hands?!”

The annual event decides the female issues for the NUS to campaign on, and elects the campaign’s representatives.

An NUS spokesperson said: “The request was made by some delegates attending the conference.

“We strive to make NUS events accessible and enjoyable for all, so each request is considered.”

Sentinel.
Follow us: @SentinelStaffs on Twitter | sentinelstaffs on Facebook.

More seriously there is this in the background of ‘Jazz Hands’.

These points by Yassamine Mather in the Weekly Worker last year are perhaps the most relevant: jazz hands are just part of a wider agenda.

Academic debates

Safe spaces or echo chambers? According to Wikipedia, an echo chamber in the media is “a situation in which information, ideas or beliefs are amplified or reinforced by transmission and repetition inside an ‘enclosed’ system, where different or competing views are censored or disallowed”. Others have described echo chambers as spaces where people repeat and agree with certain ideas, congratulating each other rather than discussing new, conflicting ideas.

In an echo chamber nobody learns anything new or expands their perspectives. Similarly if women, blacks or LGBTQ activists refuse to confront their opponents, ‘safe spaces’ risk becoming ‘echo chambers’. A 1998 study by Robert Boostrom questions the ‘safety’ aspect of ‘safe spaces’ in universities as counterposed to the mission of higher education to promote critical thinking. If critical thinking is desirable in higher education, it is essential in a political organisation of the left.

One of the most informative studies about ‘safe spaces’ in universities has been carried out by Betty J Barret, published in the Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. Under the title, ‘Is safety dangerous?’2, Barret points out a number of theoretical criticisms relating to the construction of educational communities as safe spaces for students, in support of her claim that they may indeed be counterproductive to student learning. She refers to an empirical study by Holley and Steiner (2005), which found that students overwhelmingly “placed the responsibility for the creation of safety on instructors, listing 387 instructor characteristics that defined safe space. Indeed, the number-one characteristic that students reported as defining a safe learning environment was that the instructor was perceived by students to be non-judgmental and/or unbiased.”

As you know, the BBC makes a very similar claim. In a class society faced with many contradictions, how will we identify these figures, so essential to the maintenance of safe spaces, these responsible adults who will remain “unbiased”? How can we guarantee against abuses of power by such figures themselves in the proposed ‘safe space’?

With Jazz hands the position worsens:  debate is reduced to a silent echo chamber.

 

FaceBook Jazz Hands…

Written by Andrew Coates

March 25, 2015 at 12:18 pm

International Russian Conservative Forum at St Petersburg: Far Right to ‘Unite’ Nationalist Forces.

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Parties represented at International Russian Conservative Forum.

ST. PETERSBURG — High-ranking members of some of Europe’s most controversial parties descended on St. Petersburg on Sunday to participate in the first International Russian Conservative Forum, an ultranationalist convention glorifying Russia as a refuge for the world’s most marginalized far-right political forces.

The forum’s speakers collectively ticked off all the boxes of intolerance and anti-Western sentiment, egged on by the enthusiasm of the audience filling a conference room at the St. Petersburg Holiday Inn. Through the course of the day, U.S. President Barack Obama was called a Nazi, white Christians were urged to reproduce, gays were referred to as perverts and murdered Russian opposition activists were said to be resting in hell.

Reports the Moscow Times (March 22nd).

United in their contempt for all things EU and their yearning for a socially conservative society, Russia and the extremes of the European political spectrum have forged a tacit alliance. Far-right leaders’ periodic visits to Moscow, combined with Russian banks’ magnanimity toward political entities that European creditors have shunned, have suggested that these parties’ gains in popularity could shift EU policy in Russia’s favor and undermine the union’s stance on the crisis in Ukraine.

Ties between Europe’s far-right and Russia became a little more concrete on Sunday, when radical right-wing party Rodina (“Motherland”), the organizer of the forum, adopted a resolution on the creation of a permanent committee to coordinate Russia’s and Europe’s conservative political forces.

The resolution was the culmination of a full day of 10-minute speeches by more than 30 ultranationalist commentators and the leaders of radical right-wing parties from seven European Union countries, including Greece, Italy, Germany and Britain. They blamed the United States for the Ukraine crisis, deplored the erosion of traditional values in the West and praised President Vladimir Putin’s peacemaking skills.

“The American way of life is not at the center of our politics, nor are gays and lesbians,” said Udo Voigt, a member of the European Parliament and the former head of Germany’s far-right National Democratic Party. “Our focus is on our families and our children.”

The parties rushed to sign the resolution after the Holiday Inn received a bomb threat some 20 minutes before the scheduled end of the speeches. Organizers, who announced the evacuation order, claimed that their “enemies” had called police to sabotage the event. The origin of the bomb threat remains unknown.

A police van stood idle in the hotel’s front parking lot throughout the course of the International Russian Conservative Forum. Security personnel and bodyguards with dangling earpieces scrutinized participants. A handful of Cossacks equipped with leather whips, members of a quasi-militant group presented as guardians of traditional values, secured the entrance to the conference room.

The event’s organizers — members of the St. Petersburg branch of far-right party Rodina, a party founded in the early 2000s by current Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin — claimed that it represented the “first forum of the national-oriented political forces of Europe and Russia in world history.”

Organizers were up-front about the objectives of the event, claiming it was meant to unite European and Russian conservative forces “in the context of European sanctions against Russia and the United States’ pressure on European countries and Russia.”

The Kremlin has neither formally endorsed the event, nor spoken out against it. In an apparent bid to draw parallels between their own views and those of the federal authorities, forum organizers included in their press kit and on their website an excerpt of Putin’s speech at the 2013 Valdai International Discussion Club.

“We can see how many of the Euro-Atlantic countries are actually rejecting their roots, including the Christian values that constitute the basis of Western civilization.” Putin said at the time. “I am convinced that this opens a direct path to degradation and primitivism, resulting in a profound demographic and moral crisis.”

There were no Russian lawmakers or high-ranking officials among the speakers, though State Duma Deputy Alexei Zhuravlyov, who also heads Rodina, was present. Russian Senator Igor Morozov did not speak, despite initially having been scheduled to do so.

The forum’s speakers echoed the Russian state narrative on the pervasiveness of an ill-defined “fascism” in Europe.

More on Moscow Times site.

Ex-BNP leader Nick Griffin tells right-wing conference Russia will save Europe

Undeterred by his waning power over the extremist right-wing in the UK, Nick Griffin has kept with his cause by declaring that Russia will save “Christendom”.

The former BNP leader was expelled from the organisation last year, after members accused him of attempting to “destabilise” it and of “harassing” its membership.

Griffin responded by accusing the party leadership of playing “plastic gangster games”.

At the International Russian Conservative Forum in St Petersbury over the weekend, which was organised by a pro-Kremlin ultranationalist party, Griffin warned the audience that Christendom would succumb to “a terrible civil war”, become and Islamist caliphate “or perhaps both”, BuzzFeed reported.

He added that “the survival of Christendom” is “absolutely impossible without the rise of the Third Rome: Moscow.”

Roberto Fiore of Italy’s Forza Nuova, mirrored Griffin’s comments at the event, and claimed that Moscow is currently the only nation guarding what he regards to be Western values in the way Rome once did.

“It’s not me saying this—it’s God saying it,” he said, the Wall Street Journal reported.

In an interview with the US newspaper, Griffin said Russia is “more free” than the West as a similar event would be banned in the US or the UK.

 

More: Independent.

International Russian Conservative  Forum.

We – community of political and public organizations, not indifferent to destiny of our Homeland – Russia, and all civilized mankind. We urge to unite for the sake of continuation of life on Earth, for the sake of conscientious and good-neighbourhood partnership between the nations of Europe. We decided to hold the first in world history Forum of the national focused political forces of Europe and Russia and to lay the foundation of sensible partnership in fight for preservation of traditional values of modern society: families, for spirituality and moral also we wait from each political and public organization of constructive proposals. We – Organizing committee of the International congress “International Russian Conservative Forum”:

“The Russian national cultural center – People’s House” – public organization which purpose is revival of traditional values and development of the Russian culture. “The Russian national cultural center – People’s House” combines efforts of people of all nationalities concerned by destiny of the Russian culture. It involves writers, musicians, artists, journalists, publishers, theater-goers, public figures in participation in business for return to the Russian culture of its worthy place in souls of people.

“People’s house” has to become a home for creators of the Russian culture. It helps all creators of the Russian World, irrespective of their ethnic, religious and civil origin. “… Our advance isn’t not impossible without spiritual, cultural, national self-determination, differently we will be able to resist to external and internal calls, we will be able to achieve success in conditions of the global competition” V. Putin’s performance at a meeting of the international debating club “Valdai”, the Novgorod region, 19.09.2013

Kurds and Islamists Clash in Wood Green.

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I publish this because I originally come from Wood Green.

My first political activity was giving out anti-apartheid leaflets on Spouter’s Corner, though I suppose my mum taking me and my sister as toddlers with her to a CND stall there counts as well.

Tendance Coatesy is  always interested in what’s happening in the old Heimat.

KURDISH ‘FIGHTERS’ KICK ISLAMISTS OFF LONDON STREET

In scenes reminiscent of the battle for Kobani, Kurds clashed with Islamists, including well known preacher Anjem Choudary, on the streets of Wood Green, London yesterday at about 5pm.

According to the Haringey Independent, the clashes occurred as a group of Kurds walked through Wood Green on their way to the Kurdish Community Centre where they were planning to celebrate Newroz, the traditional Iranian new year celebrations.

Also present on the High Street was an Islamic Roadshow Stall, part hosted by Anjem Choudary, where Islamists were promoting Sharia Law and urging Muslims not to vote.

Video footage shot by a group of young boys who appear to be on top of The Mall shopping centre at the time the riots broke out shows dozens of men swinging bats and throwing bricks at each other while police in high vis. jackets try to separate them.

Women are also present in the rioting crowds, at least one of whom was waving one of a number of purple flags, thought to belong to the Kurdish group. Most of the crowd can be heard chanting, although it is unclear what they are saying. Shoppers, including one young mum pushing a buggy, quickly disperse as shop windows are smashed.

Eventually a number of police back up vehicles arrive on the scene to drive the clashing hordes apart. But one of the young lads filming observes “No-one’s scared of the police”. Another notes “At least no Muslims died.”

Another video posted to YouTube shows the Islamic Roadshow before the rioting broke out. Muslim women in full veil hand out A4 sheets of paper with the answers to questions such as “What is Islam?” and “Who is Mohammed?” The stall was demolished by the fighting.

The Haringey Independent gives a more direct report than the conservative inflected Breitbart:

Police and demonstrators clashed after a “mini riot” broke out in a busy high street.

Members of the Kurdish community clashed with demonstrators at an Islamic Roadshow stall in High Road, Wood Green, yesterday at around 5pm.

Police were called to the town centre as arguments broke out between the two groups when the Kurdish people walked through Wood Green to the Kurdish Community Centre as part of Newroz – the traditional Iranian new year celebration.

Muslim activist Anjem Choudary, known for being an advocate of Sharia Law, was among groups hosting the Islamic Roadshow stall, who were heard promoting Sharia law and urging Muslims not to vote while handing out leaflets from their tent outside Boots.

Video footage, filmed by a boy who appears to have been above The Mall shopping centre at the time, shows police separating demonstrators, while racial slurs can be heard being shouted by people in the crowd.

Shoppers looked on as several police cars and a riot van arrived on scene, pushing the Kurdish community back down the high street away from The Mall, while men and women fled from the roadshow stand.

 Police have confirmed that no arrests were made during the incident and the Kurdish procession arrived at the community centre at 6.11pm.

Many shoppers took to social media to react to the “madness”.

@Debsoul67 said: “A crazy day in North London… I used to love going Shopping in Wood Green..So glad I don’t live in London anymore.”

@MissRjTiggz said: “Only now seeing the madness that happened in Wood Green yesterday.”

@xxx_kimbo_xxx said: “Shocked that this happened in Wood Green.”

From This is London.

More reaction from Anti-Fascist left.

War against ISIS/Daesh: Kurdish Newroz demo confronts the coward-fascist Anjem Choudary, who is forced off the streets – London (UK)

Yesterday, Kurdish people and their supporters confronted the street presence of Daesh-supporting Islamic-fascists at their protest stall outside a Boots chemist store in High Road, Wood Green in the late afternoon. The Islamists use the stall to promote Sharia Law and the Islamic State. Police came and protected the few fascists from the angry crowd, but quickly the Islamists packed up and left the area. The Kurdish people and their supporters made a procession to their community centre to celebrate their new year of Newroz. There were no arrests.

Anjem Choudary is about as reactionary and vile an Islamist as you can get.

Written by Andrew Coates

March 23, 2015 at 1:20 pm

British Politics Goes Mad: Tory Candidate Afzal Amin in Alleged Plot with English Defence League.

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Afzal Amin, left, has been accused of trying to choreograph a fake demonstration with former English Defence League leader, Tommy Robinson

Tory Candidate Afzal Amin with Mate.

As the British General Election gets nearer politics in this country is going stark raving mad.

Item:

A Conservative candidate at the general election has been suspended over allegations he schemed with the English Defence League to win votes.

The Mail on Sunday reported Afzal Amin plotted to persuade the EDL to announce a march against a new “mega-mosque” in the marginal seat of Dudley North.

The paper said Mr Amin planned for the march to be scrapped so he could take credit for defusing the situation.

Mr Amin told the paper the allegations were “completely untrue”.

He has not returned a call from the BBC.

But he told the Independent on Sunday that the MoS had provided “small snippets” of more than 57 hours of meetings he had held with members of the Muslim community, the EDL and its former leader Tommy Robinson.

He added he had been trying to “promote better community cohesion” to “serve as a model for further dispute resolution in other towns and cities”.

BBC.

Exposed: Star Tory candidate plotted with race thugs to stage fake EDL demo in cynical bid to win votes

  • Star Asian Tory candidate planned fake English Defence League demo 
  • Afzal Amin promised a salary to the EDL to win him up to 4,000 voters 
  • Scheme would have seen thugs plan phoney march against ‘mega-mosque’
  • EDL would then have called the rally off and Amin would have taken credit
  • Conservative Party in disarray in key seat just weeks before the Election

Mail.

Afzal Amin suspended: Tory election candidate for Dudley North suspended over alleged plot to stage fake EDL demonstration outside mosque

A Conservative election candidate was suspended tonight after being accused of trying to choreograph a fake demonstration outside a mosque with the help of former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson.

Afzal Amin, a former Army captain who served in Afghanistan, then planned to emerge as a community saviour by publicly stopping the protest, according to a secret taped conversations published by The Mail on Sunday.

The recordings relate to a meeting in an Indian restaurant in Birmingham on Monday night between Mr Amin and Mr Robinson, as well EDL chairman Steve Eddowes, and a subsequent phone call.

The newspaper’s transcripts allegedly record Mr Amin, who was standing for the Tories in Dudley North, a key marginal constituency at May’s general election, saying: “If you could announce it [the march] for May 2, which is the last Saturday before the election, maybe they’ll get really upset and worked up and then about two weeks before that we do a press conference and we say we’re not doing… well, YOU say you’re not doing the demonstration. Everyone is very, very happy. EDL have become reasonable… Afzal Amin to deliver the resolution.”

In another part of the transcript, he is recorded adding: “This is my fantasy. If I could demonstrate to the people in Dudley that I can be a positive voice for community cohesion, for development, for campaigning against the evils and the terrorism and the child grooming and all the rest of it, then that would help me a lot in the forthcoming election.” He is also accused of appealing to the EDL to help drum up support for his campaign, adding in the transcript: “I would love to arrive in Parliament and say, I won this seat because [of] you 3,000 white working class English voters that have never voted before… if you manage to pull this off and I arrive in.”

After an emergency meeting last night, Tory chairman Grant Shapps moved to suspend Mr Amin. A party spokesman said: “Following an emergency meeting, it has been decided to suspend him as a candidate with immediate effect. The Conservative Party views this as a matter of extremely serious concern.”

Independent.

Item:

Ukip faces crisis after suspensions and racism claims

Within 24 hours party suspends Janice Atkinson and Stephen Howd, while Jonathan Stanley stands down complaining of culture of bullying and racism.

The UK Independence party is facing a major crisis after the suspension of two parliamentary candidates within 24 hours and the resignation of a third who claimed there was “open racism and sanctimonious bullying” in the party.

Detectives are investigating an allegation of fraud after the suspension of Ukip MEP Janice Atkinson, its candidate in Folkestone and Hythe, over claims that a member of staff attempted to overcharge EU expenses.

The party has also suspended Stephen Howd, its candidate in Scunthorpe, while an investigation is carried out into an alleged incident at his workplace.

In a third development, Jonathan Stanley has stood down as parliamentary candidate for Westmorland and Lonsdale, complaining of a culture of bullying and racism.

Stanley, an Edinburgh-based doctor, said he quit because there was open bullying within the party.

Stanley told the Westmorland Gazette: “I have given my full resignation to the party because of issues happening in Scotland: open racism and sanctimonious bullying within the party.

“This sectarian racist filth in Scotland needs cleaning up. It is a great threat to the Eurosceptic cause and civil society.”

Stanley, a surgeon, has indicated that party turmoil in Scotland and Farage’s pledge to restrict migrants’ access to the NHS and schools are behind his reasons to leave the party.

In a resignation letter, he wrote: “Recent performances in the handling of issues in Scotland, in the banning of migrant children from state funded education, and in health care have left me unable to campaign for UKIP. This is a sad decision for me.”

Farage has recently said migrant children should not gain automatic access to the state-funded education system and that tourists, students and all those moving permanently except refugees would need medical cover before entering the country.

Guardian.

Item:

The Grant Shapps guide to making money

Some handy business tips from the MP and Conservative party chairman otherwise known as HowToCorp’s Michael Green

The real scandal with Grant Shapps is not that he lived a double life as an internet marketing salesman called Michael Greenwhile he was an MP, nor even that he seemingly lied about it repeatedly and sued an opponent who suggested otherwise, it’s what Michael Green did for a living. Shapps speaks with pride about how he “built up a business from scratch”, having founded HowToCorp in 2000 and (he says) handed it over to his wife Belinda in 2008. Jeremy Hunt seems to believe that he was helping to “create wealth”. So here’s a quick roundup of the methods that Shapps has apparently used, and advised others to use, in order to get noticed and make money. Guardian.

Then there’s this:

“A group of approximately 20 youths attacked a local synagogue in the London suburb of Stamford Hill over the weekend, yelling threats, beating worshipers and vandalizing property, according to Israel Hatzolah’s official twitter account.”

Meanwhile people on the Dole have every aspect of our lives under close surveillance under constant threat of losing thier pitiful benefits.

Nearly one in five (18.4%) jobseekers were affected by punitive benefit sanctions in 2013-14, new analysis suggests.

Analysis of official Government figures by Dr David Webster, a researcher from the University of Glasgow, shows that 568,430 of the 3,097,630 individuals who claimed Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) during 2013/14 were sanctioned – with some seeing their benefits stopped more than once.

Furthermore, 22.3% of the total 8,232,560 individuals who claimed JSA between 2009/10 to 2013/14 (inclusive) have seen their benefits removed. Equivalent to 1,833,035 people.

Welfare Weekly March 2005.

Update: Phil comments,  All That Is Solid….

When a movement decays, it becomes capable of idiotic and counter-productive things. Such is the lot of British Conservatism. As it slips away, it cannot but help inflict wounds upon itself. And that will forever remain the case until it does what needs to be done to reinvent itself as a moderate centre right party. There may well be one, two, many Afzal Amins rrady to trip up and hasten Tory decline. Of course, there is no evidence of collusion between the EDL and party higher ups, but it can only serve to toxify them further. Forgetvote Conservative, get UKIP, it’s now vote Tory, get EDL.

Written by Andrew Coates

March 22, 2015 at 12:34 pm

‘Martyrs are Immortal!” Kurds in Manchester Honour British Hero who Fought for the YPG.

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Kurds welcome dead marine

Salute the Glorious Dead!

Hundreds of Kurds have honoured an ex-Royal Marine killed fighting Islamic State in Syria at Manchester Airport.

Konstandinos Erik Scurfield, 25, from Barnsley, South Yorkshire, is thought to be the first British person killed fighting IS extremists. He is said to have gone to Syria because he was “horrified by the atrocities being carried out” there. His body was flown into the airport as the Kurdistan Democratic Union party (PYD), has a large base in the city. A large crowd gathered in scenes reminiscent of those at Royal Wootton Bassett in Wiltshire, where hundreds of people regularly greeted the coffins of British service personnel killed in Afghanistan and Iraq. They had a chance to pay their respects as a private ambulance with his coffin was driven slowly past. His coffin was handed over to his father and uncle in a ceremony involving hundreds of Syrian Kurds on Saturday. BBC

Konstandinos Erik Scurfield: Mother proud of son who fought IS.

In her speech at Parliament, Mrs Scurfield said her son Konstandinos Erik “Kosta” Scurfield had left the Royal Marines to join Kurdish fighters.

“Kosta was not a mercenary,” she said. “He wasn’t an out-of-work soldier looking for an adventure or something to do to pass the time.”

She added: “Kosta was determined to make a difference and although this is not a way that many of us would have had him choose, it was the way he considered the best for him and I am proud of him for finding the courage to do this.”

Mrs Scurfield said her son wanted to oppose IS militants to protect the “fundamental rights of every human being”.

“In other words he was a humanitarian who, in his own words, wanted to help,” she said.

BBC

Kurds welcome dead marine

Kurdish Tribute.

20 March 2015 KQ News Desk

Hundreds of people gathered today at Manchester Airport to welcome YPG fighter Konstandinos Erik Scurfield as his body arrived back in the UK.

Konstandinos Scurfield died in battle against ISIS gangs on March 2nd 2015 and became the first British People’s Protection Units (YPG) fighter to lose his life in Rojava-Western Kurdistan (Northern Syria).

People started gathering from 9am at Manchester Airport Cargo Terminal to wait for Konstandinos’ body as it arrived from Istanbul. Carrying photos of Mr. Scurfield and waving YPG, Kurdish and Abdullah Ocalan flags people shouted, “Who is the symbol of humanity, resistance and fraternity? – Kosta!”

Before the arrival of the coffin, the message of Konstandinos’ mother Vasiliki Scurfield was read out. The message said:

We are sorry that no-one from our family can be with you today when Kosta lands in Manchester. We feel that we need to regroup and take some time together as a family to focus on the coming preparations. We are grateful and honoured by the continued support of our friends from the Kurdish community both in the UK as well as Kurdistan and we will continue to keep you informed of funeral plans as they formed.

Konstandinos’ body arrived amongst the mourners at 11:30am as they swelled to over 300 people and was greeted with a shower of hundreds of flowers, flags and pictures of the fighter. There were scenes of unprecedented outpourings of grief and lament as people surged forward to show their feelings. Many people were crying as the Kurdish national anthem was sung followed by a minutes silence and then songs of resistance and revolution.

The van carrying Mr. Scurfield’s body was followed with cries of, “Martyrs are immortal.” It is expected that following an autopsy a funeral ceremony will be held in Nottingham the following week.

Kurdish Question.

Aligning with Islamists: Moroccan and French Warnings.

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Islamists Join with Right-Wing Against Gay Marriage in France.

This has been signaled to me (JM):

How can feminist and leftist organisations join with the reactionary Moroccan organisation, Muslim Participation and Spirituality (PSM)?

Translation.

Hassan Aglagal, Moroccan member of the NPA (Nouveau parti anti-capitaliste), is outraged to see Muslim Participation and Spirituality (Participation et Spiritualité musulmane), a reactionary religious movement of Moroccan origin, regularly participate in anti-racism initiatives alongside left formations. Following our position against holding a joint meeting with the UOIF [ 1 ] , he asked us to make public his outrage at this situation.

(1) L’Union des organisations islamiques de France. A Muslim Brotherhood grouping (The Qur’an is our Constitution!) with social and political views on most issues that would classify it on the reactionary right (see Pourquoi je n’irai pas au rassemblement contre l’islamophobie aux côtés de l’UOIF). Its British counterpart is represented in Unite Against Fascism (UAF)  by Mohammed Kozbar of the Muslim Association of Britain (1) 

(The Tendance covered the above Meeting – noting the presence of the homophobic ‘racial and spiritual struggle’ group,  Indigènes de la République. amongst other problems, earlier this month.)

Extracts from Europe Solidarité sans frontières,

Participation and Islamic Spirituality (PSM) is an association representing the movement Al Adl Wal Ihsan (Justice and Charity) in France. This is a movement of political Islam founded in 1973 in Morocco by the mystical Sufi Abdelassame Yassin (1928-2012) who it considers “an intellectual and spiritual father”. PSM essentially works in France to highlight, among a wider audience, the man he was and his “teachings”.

However, like the UOIF, PSM is not a purely religious based organisation and does not hesitate to get actively involved in the social debate, defending reactionary positions. It backed demonstrations on  March 24 and May 26, 2013 along with the right and the extreme right in the (so-called) Manif pour Tous,  and has undisguised  sympathy for the Alliance Vita, one of the major anti-abortion lobbies in France  PSM has also participated in  the anti-abortion body’s  summer school in 2013.

….

While the movement claims to renounce violence, two political murders have been attributed to Al Adl in Morocco. Yassine’s followers have been directly involved in the murder of two left wing  students active in UNEM (National Union of Students of Morocco) in November 1991 in Oujda Ait Mohamed Benaissa Ljid in March 1993 in Fez.

This reactionary and obscurantist movement, like all forms of political Islam, keeps repeating the hollow slogan “Islam is the solution” as a response to all social and political questions. It advocates a return to a pure and simpler past with the application of the “Sharia” and the laws of “true Islam”, that is those of the time of the Prophet! Their policy, advanced with similar bodies since the seizure of power by the Ayatollahs in Iran, took  advantage of the weakness of the left and the rise of the movements of this ideological-political affiliation, has enabled it to become the largest organised force in Morocco. Obviously, all the reactionary Islamist movements such as “Justice and Charity” reject secularism and the separation between religion and politics and oppose equal rights and freedom of expression. Members of PSM have no interest in revealing their political project, and have the ability to hide their true ideas by practicing  concealment based on the ” taqiya “. (Note: the pious practice of dissimulating one’s true beliefs in the service of Islamism).

It’s amazing to see organizations like the NPA, PCF, Togetherness, The antifa Capab present with  reactionary organisations of the mettle of  UOIF and PSM! Both associations can in no case be partners of leftist organisations.

If it is right to lead the battle against racism and against ALL oppression, we must work with partners who have credibility, not with reactionary and obscurantist organizations such as the UOIF and PSM!

(1) See recently (5th March),

Professor Reza Moradi interrupted a talk on immigration organized by the University and College Union (UCU) held at the London Metropolitan University, to criticize the decision to invite Mohammed Kozbar, vice president of the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), to take part in the discussion panel.

IB Times  “MAB is what is known as a ‘soft’ Islamist organization, normalizing and justifying terrorism, the Caliphate and sharia laws,” Moradi wrote on his Facebook page after the incident.  “I am outraged that my union would share a panel with an organisation, despite its links with the Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, its defense of death by stoning for adultery and support of the death penalty for apostates such as me.

“This is not standing with immigrants and refugees – many of whom have fled the brutality of Islamofascists in our own countries, including myself – and of course many Muslims.” “I don’t want my university to give legitimacy to any kind of political movement.

 

See also (from Confusionnisme Info) Maroc : A propos de l’islampolitique et la gauche radicale

 

 

SWP, Isis and the Kurdish Struggle: Two Weights, Two Measures.

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Demonstrators outside Holloway prison condemn charges against Ozcelik. Photo: ANF.

Demonstrators outside Holloway prison condemn charges against Shilan Ozcelik: No Backing from SWP.

Right whip up Islamophobia over Isis  reports the latest Socialist Worker (17th March).

by Annette Mackin

Detainee rights campaign group Cage and its director Moazzam Begg have been the target of more Islamophobic smears.

The Mail on Sunday newspaper claimed it had evidence that Moazzam visited the camp where Londoner Mohammed Emwazi allegedly trained as an Isis fighter.

It quotes unnamed “official sources” speculating over the identities of men wearing balaclavas in a photo from around 2012.

The paper had already attacked Cage and Moazzam for saying that it was Western imperialism and state terror that helped make Emwazi, known as “Jihadi John”, into an Isis fighter.

Mohammed Tasnime Akunjee, the solicitor for the students from east London who have allegedly travelled to Syria to join Isis, has also come under attack.

Andrew Gilligan in The Telegraph newspaper said that he is an “extremist” with links to “terror apologists” Cage. This was after the solicitor criticised police handling of the case.

The sisters of the students also now face “radicalisation” tests as the tide of Islamophobia grows higher around such cases.

This week three teenagers from Britain were arrested in Turkey on “suspicion of preparing terrorist attacks”. They were bailed pending further inquiries.

Is the SWP complaining that those who go to support Isis, a murderous reactionary group, are arrested?

That nobody should do anything to stop people – enthused at the idea of participating in their ethnic cleansing, and genocides – joining them?

This contrasts with the complete absence of any Socialist Worker coverage of the plight of Shilan Ozcelik (from the Kurdish news site Rudaw).

LONDON – Demonstrators converged outside London’s Holloway prison in support of Shilan Ozcelik, a British girl of Kurdish descent who is believed to be the first UK citizen to be arrested for trying to fight against the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL).

Saturday’s demonstration followed a statement signed by various Kurdish organizations, among them the Roj Women’s Association, the Kurdish Youth Assembly and the Kurdish People’s Assembly.

”The Kurdish community and supporters of the Kurdish struggle are incensed at the arrest and imprisonment of 18 year old Shilan (Silhan) Ozcelik, who is accused of wanting to join the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/ISIS),” the statement said.

”The UK government has been criminalising the Kurds for at least 13 years, yet not one Kurdish individual has been charged and convicted of being a PKK member, despite many raids, arrests and intimidations,” it added.

”The case of Shilan Ozcelik is the most recent chapter of this story and the Kurdish community are now concerned that the UK government will once again criminalise the community who have been the biggest supporters of the international fight against ISIS terror and fascism,” Friday’s statement declared.

The PKK, which is in peace negotiations with the Turkish government after a three-decade guerrilla war for greater rights for the country’s large Kurdish population, remains banned in Turkey and is regarded as a terrorist group by the European Union and United States.

However, calls have been growing for months for a reappraisal of the group, since its YPG affiliate in Syria has had a frontline role in fighting ISIS and has been backed with limited arms supplies and airstrikes by the US-led coalition.

Firat News, which is close to the PKK, has called the charge against Ozcelik a “scandalous decision.”

Ozcelik has been charged with a terrorist offence under the UK’s 2006 Terrorism Act.

The teenager from London was arrested earlier this year at Stansted airport. Her supporters say she travelled to Brussels in an attempt to try to join the YPG or its women’s YPJ wing. She was arrested on January 16 as she returned from Brussels.

Neither the YPJ or YPG are themselves banned in the UK.

Campaigners have condemned the charge against Ozcelik and launched a petition, writing to British Prime Minster David Cameron and Home Office Minister Theresa May to call for the immediate release of Ozcelik.

Several foreign fighters have traveled to Syria and neighboring Iraq to fight with Kurdish forces battling ISIS.

Last week, Ivana Hoffman, a native of South Africa with German citizenship, was killed fighting alongside Kurdish forces in Syria in the war against ISIS, according to agency reports.

Before that, a British man, Konstandinos Erik Scurfield, and an Australian Ase Johnson, were reported killed while battling ISIS.

Foreign fighters also have joined the Peshmerga forces of the Kurdistan Region in northern Iraq, which remains a staunch US and Western ally in the war against ISIS.

All the SWP has to say about ISIS (Ignoring completely the heroic struggle of those fighting them, above all the Kurds), is this: Isis – the real problem is Western imperialism.

There is no need to read any more.

Tunisia: Islamists Attack Parliament, Museum and Hold Tourist Hostages.

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‘Hostage situation’ in Tunis as parliament, museum come under attack

Published time: March 18, 2015 11:46

The Tunisian Parliament has come under attack, with lawmakers saying gunfire can be heard at the scene. Local reporters tweet militants entered the Bardo Museum through the parliament, taking several tourists hostage.

Militants dressed as soldiers are attacking the Tunisia Assembly, local journalists say. The parliament is located in Bardo Palace, which is also home to a national museum.

Several tourists have been taken hostage, according to Radio Mosaique FM.

Tunisian security forces have surrounded at least two militants believed to be holding hostages at a museum in the country’s parliament grounds.

Private radio station Radio Mosaique said that three men dressed in military-style clothing may have taken hostages inside the museum.

Latest news directly from Tunisia talks of around 20 Tourist hostages.

Un grand nombre de touristes ont été pris en otages par 3 ou 4 individus armés qui se sont présentés au musée en tenue militaire. 

D’après les premiers faits rapportés il y aurait un certain nombre de blessés, voir même de morts, enregistrés suite au coups de feu tirés sur les tourristes qui venaient de descendre du bus qui les transportait au musée.

D’après les déclarations faites par un guide touristiques au correspondant de mosaïque fm sur place une vingtaine de touristes dont retenus en otages , vu qu’une centaine d’entre eux ont pu être évacués d’urgence par la porte arrière du musée dès que les premiers coups de feu ont été tirés.

Direct Info (Tunsia).

Libération reports.

EN DIRECT

Des tirs ont été entendus au musée national, situé dans le même bâtiment que le Parlement ce mercredi.

More:

There were unverified reports that a foreign tourist or tourists may have been taken hostage at the Bardo museum.

Shortly before, exchanges of gunfire were heard at Tunisia‘s parliament building, the country’s state news agency reported.

Parliamentary committees suspended their meetings as MPs were ordered to assemble in the main chamber, Islamist MP Monia Brahim told AFP.

A witness near the parliament told Reuters a large police presence was moving to evacuate the building.

The Bardo museum chronicles Tunisia’s history and includes one of the world’s largest collections of Roman mosaics.

Tunisia has struggled with violence by Islamic extremists since overthrowing a dictator in 2011.

Telegraph.

This does not come out of the blue,

The Ministry of Interior announced on Monday the arrest of 22 militants working in four alleged terrorist cells recruiting young Tunisians to fight in Libya. The ministry also announced an additional 10 other militants were also arrested while attempting to cross into Libya to join militant groups.

The two successful operations were led by the National Unity of Investigation for Terrorist Crimes.

According to the Ministry of Interior, the four cells discovered operating in Kairouan were responsible for recruiting young Tunisians, with a focus on targeting students to join militants in Libya. “This terrorist network is collaborating with dangerous Tunisian terrorists active in Libya, and working to supervise training camps with their counterparts from different countries,” a statement by the Ministry of Interior said.

The Ministry of Interior also stated it seized around ten thousand dinars and 200 Euros in cash, iPads, memory cards as well as mobile phones.

Tunisia Live.

And,

Al Qaeda admit Tunisian terror attack

A known al Qaeda spokesman said in a voice recording broadcast today that the militant group was behind a deadly suicide attack at a Tunisian synagogue in April which killed 21 people, including 14 Germans.

It was the first direct claim of al Qaeda involvement in the blast near El Ghriba synagogue on the resort island of Djerba. German government ministers had earlier said there was evidence linking the blast to the militant network.

“This operation was carried out by al Qaeda network. A youth could not see his brothers in Palestine butchered and murdered…(while) he saw Jews cavorting in Djerba,” Sulaiman bu Ghaith said in the undated recording broadcast by Qatar-based al-Jazeera channel.

“So this spirit of jihad surged and he (the al Qaeda member) carried out this successful operation, may God accept it,” said bu Ghaith, who emerged as an al Qaeda spokesman after the September 11 attacks, which Washington blames on al Qaeda.

It was not clear when the tape was received or where bu Ghaith was speaking from. He has spoken about al Qaeda activities on Web sites and Middle Eastern news channels.

For many people in the world, including this Blog, Tunisia is a hero nation, and its people have shown their best side in recent years.

If we hear any Stop the War Coalition or SWP spokesperson opining on this unfolding tragedy – no doubt to say that Tunisia will be safe from Islamic killers if it stops invading the Middle East – we shall vomit.

Written by Andrew Coates

March 18, 2015 at 1:36 pm

Left Unity: ‘Caliphate’ John Tummon (NC, North-West) Standing for Leadership.

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Islamic State: John Tummon wanted Left Unity to “distance itself” from use of “intemperate, inaccurate and moralist language such as ‘terrorism’, ‘evil’, ‘fundamentalist’, ‘viciously reactionary’, ‘murderous’, genocidal’

One of the delights of Britain’s left is the ongoing squabbles. In the deepest recesses, or the bowels of the left, trying to emerge.

The Weekly Worker is rightly prized as significant hebdomadal (a quotidian word daily on Richard Seymour’s lips) reading in this respect.

On the elections for the leadership of Left Unity it is, we can safely say, without competitors.

The latest issue contains this ‘questionnaire’ to candidates.

Amongst them is this:

2. Do you oppose the idea of forming some kind of bloc within Left Unity that includes the social-imperialist Alliance for Workers’ Liberty? Should those who support the pro-Nato government of Petro Poroshenko, who refuse to condemn the 2003 invasion of Iraq or the possibility of an Israeli nuclear strike against Iran, be considered legitimate bloc partners?

Readers of the august journal might ask about the Weekly Worker/CPGB (Provisional Committee) and its own lengthy  unity negotiation with said ‘social-imperialist’ Alliance for Workers’ Liberty – an episode sadly neglected in the present pages of the paper.

This began around 2000 with the declaration, “The AWL is a small organisation of serious revolutionaries.” “what distinguishes the AWL from that which often falsely passes itself off as Trotskyism is its culture of comparative openness and a willingness to think.” (9.3.2000)

Such as this, on the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty’s annual weekend school, Ideas for Freedom (17.7.2002)

The school was an excellent event and CPGB comrades learned a great deal from participation in both its formal sessions and in more off-the-cuff exchanges. Given our common commitment to open educational events such as this and the forthcoming Communist University, we should explore more imaginatively the possibilities of further joint schools and forums. Mark Fischer.

The honeymoon did not last. A few weeks later we see this:

“In more recent times, we have been able to collaborate with the CPGB/WW on many issues in and around the Socialist Alliance. Lately problems have arisen in AWL-CPGB relations.” AWL  October 2002.

Future historians will no doubt unravel what happened in those fraught times, so crucial to the development of the international left.

But what interests the Tendance now is the bid by ‘Caliphate’ John Tummon for leadership of Left Unity.

John Tummon (NC, North-West) replies to two of the Weekly Worker’s exam questions as follows (Weekly Worker):

5. Do you disassociate yourself from those who resort to violence or threats of violence within the left? Will you insist that anyone found guilty of making such threats issue a public apology, no matter how belatedly?

6. Do you think Left Unity should draw a clear red line between the socialist politics of the working class and the petty bourgeois politics of the Green Party?

Answers:

5. No – some behaviour is so bad that it provokes violence either of the word or deed and everything must be assessed by its context. I am not for absolute rules and detest the concept of zero tolerance.

6. No – the Greens have very similar policies to LU; both are broad parties, but LU is far smaller. The Greens are progressive.

This is from Tummon’s (defeated) Caliphate motion, at Left Unity’s last year Conference.

To show solidarity with the people of the Middle  East by supporting the end of the  structure of the  divided nation states imposed by the Versailles  settlement and their replacement by a Caliphate type polity in which diversity and autonomy are protected and nurtured and the mass of people can effectively control executive authority’. Left Unity distances itself specifically from the use of intemperate, inaccurate and moralist language such as ‘terrorism’, ‘evil’, ‘fundamentalist’, ‘viciously reactionary’, ‘murderous’, genocidal’, etc in discussion about the Middle East; these terms are deployed by people and forces seeking not to understand or analyse, but to demonise in order to dominate, and they have no place within socialist discourse. ft Unity Resolution.

“We also distance ourselves  from the Eurocentric brand of secularism that  believes that the peoples of the Middle East must accept western terms of reference by consigning  their religious faith to a separate part of their  lives from their political aspirations, if they are to  develop progressive societies.”

They certainly ‘ave ‘em in Left Unity

This election will be by Single Transferable Vote – just like the do in god’s Caliphate.

Vatican Plea to Stop Atrocities Against Christians and other Minorities as Pakistani Christians Murdered.

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Stop the War Coalition has no Answer to their Desperate Plight.

Two bomb blasts have killed at least 14 people near two churches in a Christian neighbourhood of the Pakistani city of Lahore, local officials say.

More than 70 people were hurt in the explosions, which targeted worshippers attending Sunday mass at the churches in the Youhanabad area.

Violent protests erupted after the blasts, with a mob killing two men accused of involvement in the attacks.

Pakistan’s Christian community has often been targeted by militants.

An offshoot of the Pakistan Taliban, calling itself Jamatul Ahrar, has said it carried out the attack.

Witnesses say suicide bombers were responsible for the explosions but police have not confirmed this.

The bombers are said to have detonated their explosives near the gates of St John’s Catholic Church and Christ Church.

March 15th BBC.

The Vatican says force may be necessary to stop attacks on Christians and other Middle East minorities by Islamic State (IS) if no political solution is found.

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican’s top diplomat at the UN in Geneva, said jihadists were committing “genocide” and must be stopped.

The Vatican traditionally opposes military intervention in the region.

However, Pope Francis decried the beheading in February of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians by IS in Libya.

The militants have targeted minority religious groups in the parts of Syria and Iraq under their control. Thousands more people have been forced to flee their homes.

March 15th BBC.

Stop the War Coalition calling for support for 21st March anti-Racist Demonstration,

Anti-Muslim racism is spreading and intensifying. Islamophobic measures and rhetoric have ramped up as the ‘war on terror’ has dragged on and the situation in the Middle East deteriorated. To break this cycle it is essential not just to recognise these facts, but to stand up against Islamophobia and to step up the campaign against the disastrous foreign wars.

After the Charlie Hebdo massacres, Tim Sanders (Socialist Review, SWP),

I have a radical, non-satirical idea to prevent further atrocities like this: How about not invading other people’s countries?

What kind of answers are these to a problem obviously deeper-rooted than anything to do with Western Intervention?

Is Martin Smith (Comrade Delta) Back as Milo Samuels in Unite Against Fascism?

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Most of you will know why this is significant, but just in case here goes. Unite Against Fascism (UAF) is a front organisation for the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), and is mostly funded by trade union affiliations. I’ve covered it here and elsewhere.

One of its most prominent figures was Martin Smith, who was also national secretary of the SWP. (Others include vice-chair Azad Ali, also spokesperson of the far right Islamic Forum of Europe, and Weyman Bennett.) Smith was at the heart of the “Comrade Delta” controversy in the SWP, in which serious allegations of rape were covered up by the party, causing most of its members to leave. (For details on that see, e.g., Dave RentonAndrew CoatesTony GreensteinPham Bin or more from Jim Jepps.)

During his time at the forefront of the SWP’s alleged fight against fascism, he kept up a good friendship with fellow jazz musician Gilad Atzmon, who he helped get a political platform to spout his increasingly antisemitic views, as I’ve documented here. Former party member Dave Renton summarises:

In his capacity as head of LMHR [Love Music Hate Racism] Smith also embarrassed the party by forging a relationship between our organisation and the jazz musician Gilad Atzmon. Smith invited him to speak at Marxism in 2004, when Atzmon began spouting some of the anti-Semitic rubbish he now specialises in. Despite SWP members challenging Atzmon from the floor, Smith continued inviting him to SWP events, and to perform with him at concerts as late as 2007.

After Smith was finally forced to step out of the SWP leadership, for embarrassing the party rather than because of anything he was actually alleged to have done to female party members, he also stepped down from his UAF position.

Unsurprisingly, Atzmon defended Smith, although probably not in a way Smith would have liked to be defended:

“Between 2005-10 I worked closely with Martin and the SWP. At the time I was the SWP’s official Kletzmer. I toured with Martin, performed and spoke in quite a few of those Red gatherings. I met some very nice people in the SWP, but I also came across their many Jewish gate-keepers and tribal operators. But the one thing I never detected in any of those political gathering was a trace of libidinal enthusiasm let alone sexual desire. I assumed at the time that these militant young Marxists had decided to postpone having sex until after the revolution.

However, it didn’t take long to realise that Martin Smith was not being pursued because he is a ‘sex offender’ – he surely isn’t – no, our so-called ‘progressive’ tribals chase Smith because he is a Jazz lover and an enthusiastic fan of my music. They harass him because he gave me a platform in spite of the Jewish demand to ban me. They want to bring Martin Smith down simply because he didn’t obey his tribal masters. So If anything, it is Martin who is the rape victim in this saga – he is punished because he refused to bow down to the tribal junta.”

Presumably, Smith’s move out of full-time SWP/UAF work left him in need of income, so luckily for him a professor at Liverpool Hope University, Michael Lavalette (who happens to be a leading SWP member) got him a paid PhD studentship in, believe it or not, a Social Work department. He also started a blog called Dream Deferred which the SWP have promoted.

UAF have been less prominent since the Comrade Delta debacle, but they were the main component of the Newcastle Unites counterdemonstration against Pegida UK last month and are a major component of the forthcoming Stand Up to Racism and Fascism demo this coming Saturday. (George Galloway, another ally of Gilad Atzmon, a speaker at both events – a bit ironic for a supposedly anti-racist organisation.)

More recently, UAF has secured funding from the National Union of Teachers (NUT) political levy to publish a magazine called Unity. Someone with no other web presence named “Milo Samuels” has been appearing in it, billed as “a Love Music Hate Racism activist”.

For instance, in the most recent (Autumn 2014) issue, he interviews rock band Kasabian. (Kasabian played the Love Music Hate Racism festival in Stoke in 2004 – which Martin Smith organised.)

In the previous (Summer 2014) issue, he has an article on Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit”. (Coincidentally, Martin Smith used to show a documentary about the song at SWP meetings.)

More essential reading on Bob’s site.

 

 Martin Smith – under his own name –  has certainly not gone away.

This (on his site A Dream Deferred) is what he said about the Charlie Hebdo massacre (he wrote this on the 7th of January, just as the atrocity had taken place)

while we share revulsion at the killings, we disagree sharply with those who have responded by reproducing Charlie Hebdo covers “in solidarity” with the magazine or supporting its politics.”

Charlie Hebdo has a long record of producing deliberately offensive anti-Muslim cartoons and other material, loaded with racist stereotypes. ”

“Charlie Hebdo has gleefully helped to stoke this Islamophobia in France, attacking a vulnerable, discriminated-against minority under the guise of “free speech”.”

“At Dream Deferred, we did not support Charlie Hebdo’s nasty racism before the attack, and we do not support it now.”

“The brutality of the killings should not allow anyone to get swept into the idea that publishing offensive racist cartoons is positive or progressive. It is not.”

After having spat on the still warm bodies of our martyrs Smiffy also sagely noted  – regarding the big Je Suis Charlie demos – this,

Some dangers with the ‘Je suis Charlie’ movement

 “Sadly large sections of the French left do not have a good track record on opposing Islamophobia and support uncritically the concept of laïcité – the separation of church and state.”

We would certainly welcome clarification on the identity of Milo Samuels.

But Martin Smith seems perfectly capable of ploughing his own reactionary furrow – along with the SWP, Tariq Ali and other haters of democratic secular freedom.

Free Silhan Ozcelik! Stand with Kurdistan Fight for Freedom!

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Do Everything to Help this Comrade.

12th March 2015. Kurdish Question.

This afternoon I had a call from a PA journalist informing me of the imprisonment of a young Kurdish woman and asking me if this was the first case of a person being charged for wanting to go to Syria to fight ISIS.

I was confused, “Sorry, can you repeat that again, what has happened?” He then again, told me that a young Kurdish woman has been jailed in the UK for wanting to go to Syria to fight ISIS.

Sill I was confused and it took me minutes to come to the realisation of what seems to be unfolding.

I was literally speechless and fumbled for my words and am still in shock. It is seemingly becoming more clear that the UK Govt are attempting to criminalise anyone who wants to fight ISIS while doing nothing to support the Kurds fight against ISIS in Syria.

When you look more closely at the UK government’s track record on the fight against ISIS in Syria, it is shockingly shameful.

The UK Defence Committee recently produced a report on the ‘Fight Against ISIS in Syria and Iraq’, for example with not one mention of the YPG’s heroic battle against ISIS for the last three years culminating in the first defeat inflicted upon ISIS’s seemingly unstoppable advance over the Middle East. There was no mention despite top UK barrister Margaret Owen submitting a detailed report on the YPG/YPJ heroic resistance against ISIS.

Then there was the first UK international volunteer to die in battle against ISIS, Konstandinos Erik Scurfield, the UK Govt’s postiion on the repatriation of his body has been equally shameful, in my view.

And now this: The first jailing of a young Kurdish woman who wanted to help her people being massacred and beheaded by ISIS during the appalling mauradings of ISIS into Ezidi villages and attacks on Kobane.

I’m frankly still in shock. A report of the details of her jailing yesterday are to be found below, she is due to appear in the Old Bailey, no less on the 1st April. No joke. Kurds and people with the slightest shred of humanity and disgust at the spread of ISIS and frustration at the UK Govt lack of support for the Kurds successful fight against them should call for the immediate release of this young girl whose only crime was to act on what we all feel is needed, and stated policy of the US Government led coalition against ISIS.

Please read the report below:

An 18-year-old Kurdish woman has appeared in court charged with a terror offence after she allegedly tried to fight for a group which is engaged in a battle against Islamic State (IS).

Silhan Ozcelik, of Highbury Quadrant, Holloway, north London, was arrested at Stansted Airport after she arrived on a flight from Germany on January 16.

She is accused of travelling by Eurostar from St Pancras to Brussels on October 27 and then attempting to join the guerrilla army in the Kurdistan Workers’ Party – known as the PKK – which is fighting against IS in Syria.

The PKK is proscribed by UK authorities as a terrorist group.

Ozcelik faces one charge of engaging in conduct in preparation for giving effect to an intention to commit acts of terrorism, contrary to section 5 (1) (a) of the Terrorism Act 2006.

Wearing a black and cream coat, blue shirt and black trousers, she spoke only to confirm her name, age and address during the short hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

District Judge John Zani remanded her in custody to appear at the Old Bailey on April 1.

As she was led away from the dock she smiled and appeared to mouth “It’s okay” to her brother, who followed proceedings from the public gallery. 

 SIGN EMERGENCY PETITION TO THE UK HOME SECRETARY THERESA MAY TO FREE SHILAN OZCELIK IMMEDIATELY!

Silhan Ozcelik: ‘Disgusting’ trial for young woman who tried to fight against Isis. (Independent).

A teenager has appeared in court after allegedly trying to join Kurdish fighters battling Isis in Syria, in the first prosecution of its kind in Britain.

Campaigners condemned the prosecution of Silhan Ozcelik, 18, from London, as “disgraceful and disgusting”, however. Ms Ozcelik’s appearance at Westminster Magistrates’ Court followed her arrested at Stansted Airport in January after returning to Britain on a flight from Germany.

The teenager is accused of travelling to Brussels in October last year in a bid to join the guerrilla army in the Kurdistan Workers’ Party – known as the PKK. The organisation is on the Government’s list of banned terror groups.

Ms Ozcelik is charged with: “Engaging in conduct in preparation for giving effect to an intention to commit acts of terrorism contrary to section 5 (1) (a) of the Terrorism Act 2006.”

EMERGENCY PICKET CALLED BY KURDISH COMMUNITY GROUPS IN LONDON. 6pm TONIGHT outside Holloway Women’s Prison.

BBC: North Londoner Silhan Ozcelik remanded over terror plan

 

An 18-year-old woman has appeared in court accused under terrorism law, after she allegedly tried to join Kurdish militants in the Middle East.

Silhan Ozcelik was arrested at Stansted Airport on 16 January, when she arrived on a flight from Germany and was released on police bail the next day.

Ms Ozcelik, from north London, was remanded in custody after appearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

She is due to appear at the Old Bailey on 1 April.

Ms Ozcelik, of Highbury Quadrant, Holloway, has been charged with one count of engaging in conduct in preparation to commit acts of terrorism.

She is accused of travelling by Eurostar from St Pancras to Brussels on 27 October and then attempting to join the guerrilla army in the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, known as the PKK.

The party, which is proscribed as a terrorist group by UK authorities, is fighting against Islamic State in Syria.

 

 

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

March 13, 2015 at 1:52 pm

Ben Gummer, Tory Ipswich, Nudging and Edging.

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Kevin Algar: Ben Gummer’s Top Man.

The ‘Election Battle‘ for Ipswich is hotting up.

Ever so often Ben Gummer, Cabinet Minister for Ipswich, Editor Ipswich Star, Local Government Correspondent Ipswich Star, Mayor of Ipswich,  Shop-Steward (National Union of Private Debt  Managers, Canary Wharf), Producer, Channel Four News, Patron of Lady Lane Shrine, presents the Alternative View on Tendance Coatesy.

“As somebody who knows what it’s like to be denied media time, I’d like to thank Coatesy for the opportunity to ‘get the message’ out.

Your doing a great job chaps – and chappettes! –  even if you didn’t have my ‘privileged’ (dread word!) education in the Trivium and Quadrivium.

I care passionately about my town!

In my term of office I have:

  • Kept working class ‘council houses’ from polluting the beautiful meadows of Ravenswood – thanks Mr Pickles!
  • Constructed and funded scores of New Schools in Ipswich, and passed thousands of A levels and GCSE’s.
  • My betting and pound shop building programme has reduced Ipswich Unemployment by 50%.
  • Backed national ‘sanctioning’ ‘targets’ for so-called ‘claimants’ leading to a fourfold rise in their numbers.
  • With the Help of ATOS and (now) Maximus I have healed the lame and halt at the Shrine of Lady Lane.
  • Brought a halt to the restrictions of employee representation by supporting to an end to interfering union activity.
  • Dredged the Orwell and laid the foundation stone for a new Bridge between Ipswich and Harwich.

As East Anglia’s (and soon the Country’s?) Premier Blogger Kevin says,

“Hats off to Benjy! With you at the helm of Ipswich I’m proud to be standing as a Conservative Candidate in the May local elections!”

Loony Tunes Condemn Terror Laws for Creating ‘Witch-Hunt’ against Islam

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Muslim women who want to expose FEMEN for the Islamophobes/Imperialists that they are….

There are plenty of Loony Tunes who  back this, British Muslims condemn terror laws for creating ‘witch-hunt’ against Islam

Muslim community rejects the state’s criminalisation of Islam and condemns moves to silence legitimate critique and dissent. This joint statement expresses a position with respect to the ongoing demonisation of Muslims in Britain, their values as well as prominent scholars, speakers and organisations.

We, the undersigned imams, sheikhs, advocates, activists, community leaders, community organisations and student bodies of the Muslim community, make the following points in this regard.

So who are these people.

Some prominent cases.

The Muslim Action Forum (MAF).

“Google is world wide web Terrorist.”

Hizb ut-Tahrir : Caliphate only way for Stability in Middle East.

How right they are!

The ‘Islamic Human Rights Commission‘ who have just awarded the murdered staff of Charlie Hebodo ‘International Islamophobe of the year award’.

 People Mourn Murdered Charlie Staff: Same as Nazis Says Islamic ‘Human Rights’ Group. 

And, no doubt the jewel in the crown of the ‘prominent scholars’ we find this: “Sofia Ahmed, Muslim Women Against Femen.”

French Left: Parti de Gauche Refuses to Back Problematic Meeting against “Islamophobia”

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https://i2.wp.com/www.lejdc.fr/photoSRC/W1ZTJ1FdUTgIBhVOGwYSHgYNQDUVGFdfVV9FWkM-/un-meeting-contre-l-islamophobie-fait-salle-comble-a-saint-d_1979110.jpeg

Rally against Islamophobia divides the left.

On Friday at the Bourse du Travail Saint-Denis a rally “against Islamophobia” was held with the backing of some left organisations, notably the Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste and the French Communist Party.

Muslim and Islamist associations were prominent amongst its supporters. These included the Union des organisations islamiques de France (UOIF, close to the Muslim Brotherhood), le Parti des Indigènes de la République, (often described as the militant wing of post-colonial studies and associated with homophobia)  les Indivisibles, Présence musulmane (close to Islamist Tariq Ramadan) and  le Collectif enseignant pour l’abrogation de la loi de 2004 (CEAL) – that is the group which wants to abolish the secular rules on ostentatious religious signs in schools).

 Other groups, above all from the human rights and anti-racist movements, refused to take part.

 These were notably, the main French anti-racist body, the Mrap, la LDH (The League for the Rights of Man, France’s oldest anti-racist human rights group), SOS Racisme and  the Licra (The International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism).

The Left Party (Parti de Gauche) of Jean-Luc Mélenchon also  refused to join. Its general coordinator, Eric Coquerel said. “The term Islamophobia has posed a problem for us for several years. It makes it difficult to distinguish between  freedom to criticise religion and racism  The text also does not cite any other form of racism. In the present context – after the terrorist atrocities – it should have had a broader appeal”.  “At the same time”, he  continued “we have problems with those signing this document. They include communitarian groups and bodies that represent Political Islam. “

Inside the same bloc, the Front de Gauche, the grouping Ensemble backed the appeal and meeting, while the Parti Communist Français maintained its support for the declaration by sent nobody to the meeting.

At the rally itself Ismahane Chouder denounced the fact that people always ask Muslims to be irreproachable on ‘antisemitism’ ‘sexism’ and ‘homophobia”. She called this demand for anti-sexism, opposition to hatred of Jews and of gays,  “Islamophobic”.

Alexander Sulzer L’Express.

For a defence of this meeting see: Grand succès du meeting contre l’islamophobie et les dérives sécuritaires (Laurent Lévy.  Ensemble).

Laurent Lévy ignores the main point of the Parti de Gauche: the questionable term “Islamophobia”. Indeed he continues with the dangerous reactionary confusion between racism and dislike/criticism of a religion.

In Libération today the radical left atheist Michel Onfray comments favourably on the Parti de Gauche’s decision and clarifies this point,

What a joy it is, finally, on the left, and in particular on the anti-liberal (economics) left, my own political side, we have begun to fight this ‘amalgam”. That is, is to lump together criticism of religion with Islamophobia” when it’s a matter of Islam, Christianophobia,  when it’s Christianity, anti-Semitism when it concerns Judaism, to the point where atheism itself becomes blasphemous. “

The writer wishes that this approach will continue, and that it will clarify the debate about religion.

“It  would distinguish those who oppose religion in the name of reason, not racism (in my case, and that of many people who do not even adopt the ‘catechism’ of the left), and those who hide their racism and xenophobia behind the rejection of religion.  One could imagine that once this distinction in the realm of ideas is made, those who do not want religion to govern our law, will be able to clearly distinguish those who dislike the Muslim religion and those who dislike those who practice it. “

Exactly.

Oppose racism against Muslims.

Criticise Islam as a religion.

Islamic Human Rights Commission Dances on Murdered Charlie Hebdo Staff’s Graves.

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Same as Nazis Says Islamic ‘Human Rights’ Group. 

This came up on Facebook,

MURDERED CHARLIE HEBDO STAFF NAMED ‘INTERNATIONAL ISLAMOPHOBE OF THE YEAR’

We turn to the link on  and find, indeed this is the case:

IHRC’s Islamophobia awards.

There are also no prizes for guessing the winner of the “International” category.

The French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo which was the target of a murderous attack in January won the prize here for its continual stoking of Islamophobic sentiment by caricaturing Muslims as terrorists and ridiculing their beliefs.

Charlie Hebdo’s repeated mocking of Muslims is part of a culture of hate that is intended to marginalise, further alienate and further endanger a community that has effectively been “otherised” in much the same way that Jews were in Nazi Germany.

Apparently this is all part of a jolly jape

subverting the stereotype of Muslims as angry and fun-hating religious fanatics.

 

 

It is not known whether the victims of the Hyper-Cacher at the Porte de Vincennes  are included in this fun-loving jamboree’s list of Islamophobes.

Join the struggle for a good larf: Islamic Human Rights Commission.

Written by Andrew Coates

March 9, 2015 at 6:26 pm

Ivana Hoffman, Beloved Martyr in the Fight Against ISIS (Daesh).

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File Photo: Ivana Hoffman

Ivana Hoffman: Heroine of the Progressive Peoples of the World. 

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – A young German woman was killed fighting alongside Kurdish forces in Syria in the war against the Islamic State (ISIS),  agency reports and Syrian activists said.

She was identified as Ivana Hoffman, a native of South Africa with German citizenship. Agency reports quoted activists and Kurdish sources as saying she was killed Saturday while fighting alongside the Kurdish Peoples Protection Units (YPG).

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said Hoffman “is the third foreign fighter and the first female foreign fighter killed” in the war with ISIS.

YPG spokesman Nawaf Khalil said Monday that Hoffman was killed near the Syrian village of Tel Tamr. Hoffman was a member of the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party in Turkey.

Serdar Sitr, president of the Kurdish Solution Party in Iraq, also confirmed Hoffman’s slaying.#

Rudaw.

A female German fighter in YPG ranks killed in clashes in al- Hasakah

Al- Hasakah Province: Clashes took place between IS and YPG, backed by al- Sanadid Army, which belongs to the governor of al- Jazira District “Hamidi Daham al- Hadi”, near Brak Hill in the south of al- Qameshli, information reported casualties. Other clashes took place between IS and YPG, backed by al- Khabour Guards and the Syriac Military Council in the vicinity of Tal Tamer. Other clashes between the regime forces and IS took place near al- Melabiyyi area in tbhe south of the city of al- Hasakah.

A German female fighter in YPG ranks died in clashes between YPG and IS in the vicinity of the town of Tal Tamer yesterday morning. She is the third foreign fighter and the first female foreign fighter killed in clashes against IS militants, where in March 4, a British fighter in YPG died after he was wounded in clashes with IS in the area located between the two towns of Tal Hamis and Abo al- Hol in the countryside of Province. Another fighter of Australian national killed in February 25, during clashes with IS in the town of Tal Hamis.

 

Erste Deutsche stirbt im Kampf gegen den IS

 Sie war erst 19 Jahre alt und kämpfte nach eigener Aussage für Menschlichkeit und Freiheit.

She was 19 years old, and fought – according to a statement for humanity and freedom.

Stern.

Internationalist Ivana Hoffman dies in Til Temir—another MLKP fighter has given her life in the struggle for freedom and the struggle continues!

Harvest.

Internationalist fighter Ivana Hoffman, fighting alongside the People’s/Women’s Defense Forces (YPG/YPJ) against Daesh/ISIS in Rojava, was killed in Til Temir yesterday evening.

Ivana Hoffman (code name Avaşîn Tekoşîn Güneş) was a communist fighter with the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (MLKP). According to the MLKP’s announcement, Ivana lost her life in a 3 a.m. clash in the early morning hours of March 7, on the eve of World Women’s Day.

The statement said that for Ivana, standing up for the Rojava revolution meant standing up for the future. It noted that she had taken up frontline positions in the bloody battle to defend Assyrian and Syriac villages from Daesh’s genocidal attacks.

“After the Rojava revolution, her greatest dream was to take part in the struggle in Turkey and Northern Kurdistan. She was a seeker of freedom, with dreams of revolution,” said the statement. “Avaşîn Têkoşîn Güneş, with her gleeful laugh, was our source of joy. In Tel Temir, we saw her off to her final rest and her immortality. Our pain is great. Our rage is as high as the mountains.”

The internationalist fighter was born in Germany on September 1, 1995. She joined the communist youth movement at a young age and worked actively in her city. For the last six months, she had been fighting actively in the war in Rojava, taking up positions in several locations in Rojava’s Cizîre Canton. According to the statement, Avaşîn had been engaged in intense combat in the foremost positions in the defense of Tel Temir against Daesh attacks, ongoing over the last two days.

“Our comrade Avaşîn was a lover of freedom, determined to call everything to account, an internationalist communist who felt the pain of all peoples in her heart,” said the statement. “Her life philosophy of opposing fascist dictatorship and colonization led her to fight, and to take the side of the Kurdish and Turkish people in their pain, their joy and their war. She sang Kurdish songs with love and spoke both Kurdish and Turkish.

“As an internationalist communist, she heard the call of revolution. She headed for Kurdistan and she saw the Kurdish people’s freedom as her own,” the statement said.

In a related story, we must mention that Nuran Ağırnaslı, mother of the slain MLKP fighter Suphi Nejat Ağırnaslı, visited the city of Kobanê, for whose liberation her son gave his life. She planted a red flag on Miştenur Hill, where Suphi Nejat was martyred, as she had promised her son she would.

Suphi Nejat Ağırnaslı (whose code name Paramaz Kızılbaş honors Armenian and Alawite revolutionaries) was a member of the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party who joined the YPG/YPJ defense of the city of Kobanê last year. The sociology  MA student at Boğaziçi University was martyred in October in the Kobanê resistance. He was an outstanding internationalist, as was Ivana Hoffman.

Nuran said that she had long wanted to go to Kobanê to see the revolution there, but had not been able to go owing to health problems. “The first thing I saw was that the city was ruined, so much so that anyone can see it immediately,” she said. “Yes, there’s been great devastation in the city. But what’s more important than this is to see what people wanted and succeeded in achieving here. You can see the conviction in people’s faces. With conviction like this, I think anything can be solved.”

Nuran first joined a March 8 march led by Yekîtiya Star, the grassroots women’s organization in Rojava. She said that being among women, and especially YPJ fighters, was a moving experience for her. But more important to her was her visit Miştenur Hill, a site that has become the symbol of the Kobanê resistance. Suphi Nejat lost his life in the battle for the hill.

 

“They’re saying it’s not possible to retrieve his remains right now because Daesh planted explosives over the remains of the people they killed, and in the past people have been martyred trying to search for remains,” said Nuran. “But I did promise Nejat that we would plant a red flag on the hill for him.”

After planting the flag on the hill, Nuran, along with Suphi Nejat’s father, friends and comrades, remembered him by singing the revolutionary march “We Will Plant the Red Flag” and dedicated folk songs to him.

 

“I did what I promised him the way I wanted to,” said Nuran. “It’s a gratifying feeling, even if it stings. Unfortunately, beautiful things have a cost. We paid this cost all together, and heavily,” she said. She said, however, that what was present in Kobanê was a spirit of internationalist solidarity similar to that of the Spanish Civil War. She mentioned the young Australian who was recently martyred in the war. “They’ve left a beautiful heritage for humanity. In a culture that tends to forgetfulness, they’ve brought the culture of solidarity back to life,” she said.

 

Nuran said she has much to learn from the Kurdish women’s movement and the women’s revolution in Kobanê. “I see a women’s movement emerging from this place, where women are exchanged as brides, where men don’t shake women’s hands, where girls are forced to be married at a young age and aren’t educated, as a wonderful thing,” she said. “I’ve seen the extent of women’s role in the revolution, that glimmer in women’s eyes. Even if I don’t speak the same language as the YPJ women, there’s a closeness that comes from our hearts being one.”

 

Nuran also said that women in Turkey, where the rate of femicides has greatly increased in recent years, need to seriously advance their struggle. She greeted all women on March 8, International Working Women’s Day.

 

Written by Andrew Coates

March 9, 2015 at 1:25 pm

Muslim Manifesto: More Right-wing Identity Politics.

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 The New Identity Politics.

After UKIP we now have another “identity” political group in the UK. (Hat-Tip: JB)

On the launch of the Muslim Manifesto, right-wing Blogger, Guido Fawkes, notes,

Sayeeda Warsi and a host of Labour MPs attended the unveiling of a ‘Muslim Manifesto’ yesterday at an event on the parliamentary estate. Did they know it was organised by an ‘Islamic extremist’ who has praised Al-Qaeda?

That is, Azad Ali.

Ali, MEND ‘Head of Community Development’, is known to readers of this Blog as an enemy of free-speech and, specifically, of Charlie Hebdo.

He appeared at the notorious Je ne Suis pas Charlie jamboree at the misnamed ‘Unite against Fascism’ conference a few weeks ago.

Claiming that our much-loved Charlie incites hate,  this is Ali’s background,

Assad Ali,

We must not call Charlie Hebdo killers ‘terrorists’, says boss” (Here)

“AZAD ALI, Islamic Forum of Europe (undercover footage): Democracy, if it means that, you know, at the expense of not implementing the sharia, of course no one agrees with that.” “Mr Ali has also threatened journalists – not Parisian cartoonists, but an undercover colleague who secretly taped his “no one agrees with democracy” quote – though there is, of course, no suggestion that he has carried out the threat or any other act of violence.” (from Here).

This is from the draft of the Manifesto, drawn up by the Institute for Muslim Community Development.

Te start with there is one good point.

The document makes clear its opposition to “Muslim-hate” and “Anti-Semitism” – that is hatred against people, not religions – something  the confused term Islamophobia mixes up.

These points stand out for less honourable reasons:

  • Introduce more robust legislation to curb media hate campaigns against Muslims.
  • Guarantee the Muslim community the opportunity to evolve independently of government social engineering programmes.
  • Acknowledge that the holy scripture of Muslims (the Qur’an) does not endorse terrorism and the murder of innocents.
  • Acknowledge and celebrate Muslim contributions to knowledge and civilization including European civilisation.
  • Recognise Muslims have a distinct ‘way of life’ (deen) which opposes any understanding of religion or faith as separate from other aspects of life
  • Promote the positive shared Abrahamic history of Moorish, Christian and Jewish culture in Europe.

I think we can guess what ‘curbs’ on free speech Ali and his cronies have in mind.

Why on earth the state and ‘Britain’ have to ‘acknowledge’ the Islamic religion in such detail, including the plea for celebrating ‘Muslim contributions to knowledge and civilisation” is beyond most people.

This pompous demand seems an Islamic version of the reactionary ‘history’ of the wonders of Britain’s past – empire, slavery and massacres included.

Why we have to endorse their interpretation of the Qur’an is even more questionable.

One cannot but fail to notice that the statement only refers to the murder of “innocents” – what happens to the ‘guilty’ is left unsaid.

In all this draft document looks to many like a plea for separate religious rights for the ‘Muslim community’ – as this group cares to define it.

There is also this, “Encourage enquiry into the effects of oversexualisation of public spaces upon young people.”

Ho hum…

Apart from anything else this reads like it’s been taken from Mary Whitehouse and the Festival of Light circa 1969.

Most people will ignore the ‘Manifesto’.

Still the voice of the Iranian dictatorship, Press TV, seems keen on it.

Important update: US far-right Conspiratorialist site Veterans Today endorses Muslim Manifesto.

The Manifesto has only one main demand, ‘ethical politics for an ethical Britain’, a fact which may be impossible to deliver, when the Prime Minister of Britain has already declared he is a Zionist and ‘will be good for Israel’ and most MPs both Conservative and Labour are members of the lobbying group, Friends of Israel.

For Muslims the main concern is what impact will the Manifesto make against a background of powerful interest groups fuelling Islamophobia through government policies and media, repeating the same tune ‘ Not all Muslims are terrorists but all terrorists are Muslims’.

All this Islamic terrorism rhetoric has achieved nothing else but more wars and conflict, making the bankers and the elite richer, while the majority suffers poverty and austerity measures, with a loss of civil liberties heading to an existence of subjugation governed by Orwellian governments.

What is Veterans Today’s agenda?

myriad claims that there was a conspiracy behind 9/11 (Israel orchestrated it, in cahoots with the American government), that the American government is a puppet (of Israel), that the Holocaust never happened or was greatly exaggerated (Jews made it up to manipulate non-Jews), and, most recently, that Julian Assange, the man behind Wikileaks, is a pawn (of Israel).

Southern Poverty Law Center.

Anti-Semitism on the Streets of Britain.

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Anti-Semitism on streets of Britain.

 

The International Business Times reports,

A Jewish man was subjected to a string of anti-Semitic abuse on the streets of two major cities in Britain in shocking video footage.

In an echo of a similar experiment carried out in Paris in February, a man filmed himself walking in Manchester and Bradford while wearing a tradition Jewish hat to gauge the reaction of passers-by.

Journalist Jonathan Kalmus said he received abuse eight times more abuse in just a tenth of the time, in his experiment for the Daily Mail, compared to the Paris case.

A similar test carried out in the German capital, Berlin, passed without incident reported the Mail. “There was a shout of ‘you Jew’ at me as I crossed the road to Bradford City Park,” Kalmus reported.

“Minutes later a man turned his head and yelled ‘fight the Jewish scum’ just behind my back. Some time later, three youths shouted at me across a street repeatedly: ‘You’re a Jew, not a Muslim… Jew, Jew, Jew run!'”

Kalmus called the results “a horrible reality”. Meanwhile, responding to the camera evidence, the leader of Bradford Council claimed the social fabric was strong in the city.

Councillor David Green said: “There are generally very good community relations in our city. Like everywhere else, there are individuals who would discriminate against other people based on their religion, ethnic origin, gender or disability, but as a council we will always challenge this when it is brought to our attention.”

However, the experience was not completely negative. In a Bradford coffee shop, Kalmus was greeted by a Muslim stranger with open arms. “Whatever was the reason for this man’s gesture and insistence that I shake his hand, it was warm and hopeful,” he said.

The Algemeiner also reports the Mail’s videos,

“It took me just one minute. One minute of walking one single, busy major street in Manchester before abuse was flung at me,” said British journalist Jonathan Kalmus, who secretly filmed himself walking in both Manchester and Bradford while wearing the kippah.

During the 25 minutes that he walked on a single street in Longsight, Kalmus said he was spat at by one man and called “a Jew” repeatedly by those passing by, even by a young boy walking with his father. A youngster on a bike later rode up to him and shouted in his face, “You’re a Jew,” according to the Daily Mail.

The situation in the streets of Bradford was “more shameful,” he said.

“It took 13 minutes, during which I was stalked by a man who repeatedly took pictures of me. He followed me on foot for five minutes and 30 seconds according to my footage,” he said. “There was a shout of ‘you Jew’ at me as I crossed the road to Bradford City Park. Minutes later a man turned his head and yelled ‘fight the Jewish scum’ just behind my back.”

While in Bradford, three youths repeatedly yelled at Kalmus from across the street, “You’re a Jew, not a Muslim…Jew, Jew, Jew run!”

Kalmus was shocked by the anti-Jewish harassment he received while wearing a kippah. He said he expected to walk for hours without being bothered but instead “I was left speechless that antisemitism is so obvious.”

“No one could accuse me of targeting Muslim neighborhoods to provoke a reaction. This was the center of an ordinary English city and I was minding my own business,” he added. “No one could accuse me of wearing something provocative or political. A Jewish person or any peaceful person walking in a British street anywhere, let alone a city center, should be welcome.”

As he faced the antisemitic hate while merely walking in the street, Kalmus said many people were content to ignore it. They heard the discriminatory remarks being hurled at Kalmus and were caught on camera turning their backs to the abuse taking place in front of them. Kalmus noted, “When someone spat on my back no one stopped to intervene.”

One uplifting instance that stood out to Kalmus was his encounter with a Muslim man at Bradford City Park’s branch of Starbucks. Kalmus said as soon as he walked into the shop, the man, who was “sporting traditional Islamic dress and a heavy black beard, raised his eyes from his drink, looked at me with wide eyes, stood up, raised his hand and said ‘Shalom, Shalom.’”

The journalist behind the investigation, Jonathan Kalmus,  says,

Why did I pick Bradford? For a simple reason. Last summer during the height of another Gaza conflict between Israel and Palestinians, 5,000 people, predominantly young Muslim men, gathered for a mass rally in Bradford City Park. The city’s MP, George Galloway, spoke while flanked by two butch men wearing T-shirts emblazoned ‘Palestine’s army you are not alone’.

Mr Galloway has repeated on many, many occasions that his message and political struggle is with Israel and Israelis, not Jews. Despite that, statistics show that bringing the Middle East’s struggles onto the streets of Britain has a direct effect on how people treat Jews.

No one could accuse me of targeting Muslim neighbourhoods to provoke a reaction. This was the centre of an ordinary English city and I was minding my own business.

No one could accuse me of wearing something provocative or political. A Jewish person or any peaceful person walking in a British street anywhere, let alone a city centre, should be welcome.

Last year George Galloway, MP for Bradford West, declared,

“We have declared Bradford an Israel free zone,” he told party activists at the meeting in Leeds.

“We don’t want any Israeli goods. We don’t want any Israeli services. We don’t want any Israeli academics, coming to the university or the college. We don’t even want any Israeli tourists to come to Bradford if any of them had thought of doing so.

“We reject this illegal, barbarous, savage state that calls itself Israel. And you have to do the same.”

Full Mail story here.

Latest Chartist Magazine: Charlie Hebdo: the Joy of Liberty.

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Cabu – who spent his life caricaturing political figures –  says Merde! to Japanese Manga drawer, Hayao Miyazaki, who instructs them not to make fun of holy figures from other cultures and restrict themselves to their own politicians (from here)

Charlie Hebdo: the Joy of Liberty. Andrew Coates.

 From the latest Chartist magazine. (‘For Democratic Socialism’).

7th of January 2015, “I called my mother. For a moment, in tears, I was unable to speak. It was as if we’d lost members of our family.” (Le Monde 30.1.15) Millions in France, and across the world, shared the reactions to the slaughter at the office of Charlie Hebdo, expressed in images by the cartoonist Lisa Mandel. 11 people, from well-known artists to technical staff and police guards, had already lost their lives.

On the 8th of January a municipal policeman was killed at Montrouge. The following day the murderer, Amedy Coulibaly, left four hostages dead at the kosher supermarket, Hyper Cacher, Porte de Vinceness. He was shot by the security forces, as were the two Charlie attackers, tracked down by the police to Dammartin-en-goële.

The butchers, the two Kouchai brothers and Coulibaly, underlined the Islamist character of their ‘synchronised’ action. The first pair shouted, “We have avenged the Prophet Mohamed!” They claimed to spare woman, but murdered the Jewish psychoanalyst and Charlie columnist Elsa Cayat. Coulibaly could not have made his anti-Semitism clearer. He claimed affiliation to the Islamic State in the Levant and Syria (Isis). A more certain link to Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula emerged.

The reaction to the atrocities was overwhelming. An avalanche of Je suis Charlies circulated on social media. On the 11 of January millions demonstrated in France. In Paris the French political class – except the Front National – and foreign leaders, including representatives of countries not noted for tolerating freedom of expression stood in the march.

The crowds celebrated Charlie in the Place de la Bastille. Some criticised the appeal to ‘national unity’. The vast majority of the left, the Front de Gauche, the Parti Socialiste, joined in. There were flags of every description, Puerto Rican, Kurdish, and French. Far from endorsing a ‘union sacrée’ hundreds of thousands of people were there simply to share their common grief.

Appearing after these events Charlie Hebdo (14th of January) stated, “In a week, Charlie, an atheist paper, has achieved more miracles than all the saints and the prophets together …  Charlie has masses of new friends: people without a name, world celebrities, the lowest and the most privileged, sinners and religious dignitaries, the sincere and the Jesuitical, those who’ll be with us for life, and those who are only here for a short time.”

Charlie does not only have friends. Over the years there have been many attempts to silence the Weekly. Since its relaunch in 1992 legal challenges have mostly come from the extreme-right and Catholic fundamentalists. But in 2006 their publication of the Mohammed cartoons of Danish paper, Jyllands-Posten, led to a court action brought by Muslim organisations. The case failed. In November 2011 they announced the production of a special Charia Charlie (Sharia Charlie) with Mohammed as Editor, to ‘celebrate’ the victory in Tunisia of the right-wing Islamist party, Ennahdha. Their offices were burnt out.  The paper was still published.

In Britain some on the left also loathe Charlie. People who have seen no more than a few of its front pages have heaped ordure on the Weekly. Charlie wasn’t just printing a “‘depiction’ of the prophet, but repeated pornographic humiliation.” (Seumas Milne, Guardian. 15.1.15) Charlie, was “blatantly Islamophobic and increasingly Zionist.” (Tim Sanders. Socialist Review 2015)

For a wide range of critics the underlying cause of the massacre was Western intervention in Islamic countries and the Republic’s mistreatment of French Muslims. As Milne says, “So long as we allow this war to continue indefinitely, the threats will grow.”  Charlie had played a role in the battle. Its secularist humiliation of  these believers put it in the camp of the West.

Yet nobody could ignore that the weekly’s humour is informed by radical leftism. Charb, the Editor, backed the Front de gauche. His cartoons, like those of Wolinski, regularly appeared in the communist daily, l’Humanité. Cabu, one of the gentlest and most loved of all French cartoonists,  was a libertarian anti-militarist  green. Other Charlie authors are from the same stable. There views are as varied as any cross section of the left. Attempts to expell them from their own political family are not likely to succeed.

Charlie Hebdo defends secularism,  laïcité, as part of the left’s identity, along with feminism and human rights. It is accused of haughty disdain for religion. But few can ignore that radical Islamism – only one of their targets but the one that it at stake here targets – is against the left’s central values. Charlie does not make the arrogant assumption that any religion is a single ‘community’. It wants the public sphere to be open to all, free of any religious domination. They state, “All of those who claim to defend Muslims, and who accept a totalitarian religious discourse, defend in effect their own butchers. The first victims of Islamic fascism are Muslims.”

“The killers have failed,” observes Serge Halmi, “they have given eternal life to the Weekly they wanted to annihilate” (le Monde Diplomatique. February 2015) More than that, Charlie, is loved.

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Chartist Site.

George Galloway Says: Hello Ladies! Hello Libel Law Débâcle!

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 Hello Ladies!  Go on say it, you know you want to!

We recently heard about George Galloway when he mysteriously disappeared from Socialist Worker’s list of top MP outside “earners” – he was number 3.

Thanks to the prompt action of Tendance Coatesy the SWP’s accidental oversight was swiftly corrected.

Now we learn that he may need every penny he snaffles from Russia Today, Press TV (Iran’s pro-regime broadcaster), not to mention two appearances on the Edinburgh Fringe (Register of Members’ Interests).

The old todger is now in yet another row:

Complaints to solicitors’ regulator over libel demands from Galloway’s lawyers.

Complaints have been sent to the Solicitors Regulation Authority by Twitter users who have received £6,000 libel demands from solicitors working for the MP George Galloway.

The bitter legal dispute, which has erupted over accusations of antisemitism, has become more complex after Galloway’s office said the money would only be used to cover his law firm’s expenses and the Respect party leader would not “receive a penny”.

Reports the Guardian.

Ho ho!

It’s only losers that are prosecuted.

A less respectful (geddit) report than the Guardian’s says the following,

George Galloway’s high street firm faces rough ride as media law big guns back twitterati in libel row

Top media lawyers have implored the profession’s watchdog to investigate George Galloway’s law firm over its handling of the MP’s defamation claims against Twitter users.

The backlash against Bradford high street outfit Chambers Solicitors — which is best known for immigration work — began earlier this week after the emergence of a Twitter account called @SuedByGalloway, which implores:

“If you’re being sued by Galloway/Chambers Solicitors/ don’t worry — follow us so we can help you.”

Since then, several media law big guns have been working with the account to assist those threatened by Galloway. Legal Cheek can confirm that at least three well-known London libel lawyers are currently helping the tweeters fight the MP rather than pay demands for up to £5,000.

They include Mark Lewis, the leading media lawyer from the News of the World phone hacking saga, and defamation doyen Mark Stephens.

Lewis, of London law firm Seddons, told Legal Cheek that the costs figure “could never be justified” and that a complaint will be sent to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

The saga began when Chambers Solicitors — acting for the firebrand Respect Party MP for Bradford West — sent at least a dozen tweeters demands that they settle or face defamation proceedings.

Galloway — who was famously expelled from the Labour Party in 2003 following his vocal opposition to the second Iraq invasion before going on to appear on Celebrity Big Brother three years later — alleges that those receiving the claims labelled him anti-Semitic on the social media site.

Responding to the Bradford law firm’s tactics, Lewis told Legal Cheek:

“A lawyer’s duty is to stand up for people who cannot otherwise defend themselves from very threatening demands. Mr Galloway’s solicitors claimed £5,000 plus VAT for standard letters on top of damages. That is horrific and brings the solicitor’s profession into disrepute. Mr Galloway’s spokesman says that the letters weren’t shown to the client before they were sent. That is a matter of practise and the SRA must investigate.”

More on Legal Cheek.

Meanwhile the Huffington Post (Sarah C Nelson) looks at the previous story,

George Galloway ‘Anti- Semitism’ Lawyers To Be Reported To Regulator

A legal firm acting for Respect MP George Galloway will be reported to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), it has emerged.

The development comes as a number of people reported receiving letters written by Chambers Solicitors acting on behalf of Galloway, demanding up to £5,000 libel costs + VAT and requesting public apologies for allegedly calling him anti-semitic.

As the letters began to arrive, a Twitter account was set up to offer free legal advice for the recipients – which has since gained the backing of several high profile lawyers including solicitor and libel expert Mark Stephens and Mark Lewis.

Lewis, who was a leading figure in the News of the World hacking scandal confirmed to the Huffington Post UK that he would be making a complaint to the SRA on behalf of three clients on Wednesday.

Informing Legal Cheek the costs demanded in the letters “could never be justified”, he said: “A lawyer’s duty is to stand up for people who cannot otherwise defend themselves from very threatening demands. Mr Galloway’s solicitors claimed £5,000 plus VAT for standard letters on top of damages. That is horrific and brings the solicitor’s profession into disrepute.

“Mr Galloway’s spokesman says that the letters weren’t shown to the client before they were sent. This is a matter of practice and the SRA must investigate.”

In an earlier conversation with HuffPost UK, Lewis added: “By all means defend a reputation where it is proper to do so but do not go back to the days of chilling people from speaking out.”

As Galloway would no doubt reply, “I’m demanding that they be prosecuted. I’m begging them to be prosecuted for perjury.”

Communist Party of Britain Backs Former Ukraine President’s “anti-Austerity” policies.

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Donestk Anti-Austerity Activists Says Communist Party of Britain.

The People’s Assembly has launched a Manifesto Against Austerity.

“The manifesto makes a compelling and powerful case for an alternative to austerity based on the needs of ordinary people — “A people’s Britain, not a bankers’ Britain.” It calls for a the building of a sustained mass movement to bring that alternative about, rather than simply calling for general election votes.”

The Communist Party of Britain has taken upon itself to add these comments to this – admirable –  document (Communist Party. For Peace and Socialism. Date: 2nd of March).

Bill Greenshields, CP representative on national committee of the People’s Assembly, says,

Challenging the pro-austerity and pro-privatisation media and political consensus is a dangerous thing to do. That’s the increasingly strident message from big business and the bankers through their representatives in national governments, the EU and Washington.

British special services “advisers” have arrived in Ukraine to strengthen the armed forces and fascist paramilitaries of the Poroshenko government.

This is part of a war against those who resisted the Western-backed coup against President Yanukovych.

He had committed the crime of rejecting austerity economics and politics, therefore saying “No” to closer ties with the EU.

As EU and US sanctions are ratcheted up against Russia for daring to give political support to the antifascists, Britain says it will “not yet provide lethal equipment” to the “Euromaiden” coup leaders now in control of the Ukrainian state. For how long? The threat of escalating war and foreign intervention to consolidate their pro-EU austerity “reforms” becomes greater.

Brother Bill recommends to the People’s Assembly this wisdom,

The movement needs to reflect the democratic structures that have grown among the anti-austerity antifascists in Ukraine…

We hesitate to make a comment.

Or perhaps one is not needed.

(Initially discovered here)

Front National Goes UKIP as Mad, Racist and Nazi Candidates Flourish.

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La une de «Charlie Hebdo» du 4 mars.

Latest Charlie Hebdo: The Front National is no Longer Scarey. 

“We’ve been thoroughly un-diabolised!”

But……..

A nauseating anthology of Front National Local Government Candidates’ comments on social networks.

It seems that Britain’s UKIP is not alone.

French Front National candidates for the forthcoming French Departmental (regional) elections (22nd 29th March) have been  offering mad, racist and far-right opinions which often even outdo the British party.

L’Humanité.

These have an international echo,

French amateur singer affiliated with the far-right National Front party said his musical career is being blocked by Jews because he is not part of their clique. Here.

The remarks cited above go further, talking about the size of people’s noses (geddit?), praising Charles Martel ll (a sure sign of the ‘defence’ of the ‘Occident’), calling for Socialists, Communists and Muslims to commit suicide, and for a hunt against Arabs, not to mention a hatred of gays.

So far only those with overt Neo-Nazi and Fascist  views have been excluded from the Party.

That is, “Guillaume Jambard, en Gironde (« Travail, famille, patrie »), Alexandre Larionov, dans l’Aveyron (les « Juifs », une « race parasite » qui « merrite » (sic) une « mort cruelle ») et Thierry Brésolin, en Ardèche (« Marine, tu es la réincarnation d’Hitler. Toi, tu vas nettoyer la France »)”

Work, Family, Fatherland (Vichey), The Jews are a parasitical race, who meritt (sic) a cruel death, and one claiming that MArine Le Pen is a “reincarnation of Hitler who will cleanse France.”

The Front National’s leader, Marine Le Pen, has registered 29 – 33 % in the latest opinion polls for a Presidential candidate (le Monde).

For these regional elections polls have given the FN up to 30% – the highest score (le Parisien)

Charlie Hebdo: Religious Authority and Political Power. Chahla Chafiq.

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Nassreddin: The Laughter of the Good will bring Low the Power of Divine Authority. 

Religious Authority and Political Power. Chahla Chafiq (1) 

Charlie Hebdo. 25th February 2015 (Translated and adapted).

“One of the tales of Nasreddin Hodja, the hero and 13th century author of many works - extremely popular in the Persian, Turkish, Armenian and Arab worlds – touches on the relationship between earthly power and religious authorities.

“Nasreddin, whilst still young, had just been dignified with the title of Mullah. He was thus able to be a teacher at the Madrassa. One morning he wanted to take down a volume, high up in the bookcase. He climbed on a pile of Qur’ans. One of his colleagues was outraged. “By Allah, Nasreddin! You are impudent! Aren’t you frightened of dirtying the Sacred Scriptures?” “I used to be afraid of that.” Nasreddin replied, “But now I’m a Mollah, the Qur’an should be afraid of me.”

The message of  Nasreddin is that, in the name of the divine, humanity can take such a degree of authority that it would scare even all-powerful God.

Behind the ironical smile in the story a great fear is hidden. We have directly experienced this dread, during the murders of the 7th of January, the result of a plan to exterminate the staff of Charlie Hebdo. Half a century before, on the 14th of February 1989, Ayatollah Khomeini pronounced his Fatwa against Salman Rushdie. The ruling unleashed a Holy War against disobedient writers. The actions of this religious leader, a head of state, and the Jihadist enterprise of the Kouachis and Coulibaly, have both the same basis: the Islamist will to institute the Sacred Order on Earth.

In this project terror is an indispensable tool. The Inquisition, the persecution of heretics, the Wars of Religion, have taught us that no religion is immune from such a turn. It happens the moment religion become the source of law that dictates the rules of life, of governance, and political authority.

Today’s Islamists have not ceased making plain to the world the dire results of the fusion between religion and politics. Their transformation of the concepts of the Umma (the Community of all Believers), of Harem, Halal and Jihad into ideological codes, have allowed to them to treat any refusal to bow to their Diktat as hatred of God, and to consider this a Satanic deed to be fought.

From Fatwa to Massacre.

A few months after the Fatwa against Rushdie several thousand political prisoners in Iran were “liquidated” following the same kind of ruling. These crimes, which remain unregistered internationally, were justified inside Iran as a means to cleanse the body of the Umma of impure elements. The same logic is used to maintain the Islamist order: assigning women and homosexuals to inferiority, anti-Semitism, privileging one religion or doctrine over another, and forbidding freedoms. This world-view gives the agents of Islamism an unlimited and unconstrained power. Injustice and immortality have become “duties” in the name of “divine justice” and the “moral order”.

In this fashion Islamism has joined the same outlook of “identity” movements of Christianity, Judaism and those from other religions. All of them recycle old conservative ideas – bringing them close to the far right. The domination of the market, which erodes the sense of belonging, an economic crisis that has created a social, cultural and political vacuum, at a time when humanist ideas are in retreat, have created a context within which these movements offer an appealing sense of “meaning”. Rivals, these competing identity movements have nevertheless been allies in order to stem advances in human rights. This has happened in France, over gay marriage and equality education in schools. It can be seen internationally every time there are moves to promote gender equality, sexual rights, and freedom of belief, of expression and creation.

The present development of these identity movements is a political phenomenon that cannot be grasped without taking account the context and the actors involved. Looking into the processes that have led to the rise and expansion of Islamism one can see straight away the impact of dictatorships that call themselves Muslim, including those who accept modernisation, but refuse democratic values in the name of protecting their cultural and confessional (culturel – see note 2) identity.

In the same picture we can see that these dictatorships have received the backing, past and present, of the most powerful states in the world, acting out of their own interests. Only yesterday the Western powers helped the growth of Islamism with their strategy of encircling the Soviet Union with a “green” cordon. Today, in the Arab-Israeli conflict, the manipulation of religious figures, Islamist and Jewish fundamentalist, has benefited pro-War supporters on every side.

Yet, we cannot reduce society to these elements. Where are the other people on the scene? What role do those who do not share these ideologies and interests play? What, in their own fields, are they doing with their resources to reflect, to act and to create?

Democracy and Secularism.

We have to admit that faced with the offensive of political-religious identity movements, many of these actors are paralysed by a series of confusions: between the cultural and the confessional (culturel), between Islamism and Islam, between democracy and imperialism. These confusions, whatever the intentions of those they originate with, have strengthened the vision of the Neoconservative supporters of a “war of civilisations”.

To escape from this there is only one-way out: to demolish the fantasy of a “Muslim World” and the “West” and to return to the reality of social, cultural and political struggles. From there we can raise the problem of “religion and politics” in relation to democratic ideals.

Founded on the recognition of the autonomy of individuals, free and equal, creators and subjects of laws, democracy, far from being just an affair of the ballot box, is a political project whose deepening means freedom from all intangible sacred power. Now, more than ever, secularism (laïcité) is a vital stake in advancing human rights and liberty.”

(1) Chahla Chafiq-Beski is an Iranian left-wing exile, writer and novelist who lives in France. Her latest book is Islam, politique, sexe et genre. PUF.  2011. “L’écriture est devenue mon lieu d’existence, hors frontières, pour vivre la liberté.” Writing has become my home, beyond frontiers, to be able to  live in freedom.”

Portrait de Chahla Chafiq

(2) Culturel – from Cult, same word as English, but primarily retaining the original sense of religious practice, confession.

Stop the War Coalition’s John Rees Links Charlie Hebdo Slaughter to ‘Security Service Behaviour”.

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Qureshi, Rees and Bullivant at Cage Press Conference

National Stop the War Coalition Officer with Cage Campaign

John Rees was in pensive mood a few days ago.

As I chaired yesterday’s press conference about the revelation that ‘Jihadi John’ was Kuwaiti born West Londoner and college graduate Mohammed Emwasi, I found myself thinking that few other events could as effectively illustrate the gaping chasm between the establishment approach to the war on terror and the facts.

Counterfire.

Rees found himself thinking (if that’s the word) about a list of ‘facts': He was stopped from leaving the country to go and marry his fiancé in Kuwait, he was physically assaulted by police, MI5 tried to turn him into an informant, His fiancé was told by security officers not to marry him as he was a terror suspect, He was never charged and no evidence was ever given for these accusations.is attempts to use the press complaints process and the diplomatic services of the UK government to free himself from what he regarded as ‘imprisonment by the security services’ all ended in failure.

The great Thinker comments,

This case is probably the best documented study we have ever had of why a young, bright man becomes an Islamic State killer. The fact that our own security services and the insane assumptions of the ‘war on terror’ mindset played their part in this transition should be pause for thought.

Ample comments has been made about this, and other remarks from the so-called human rights group Cage, during his  contact with the human rights group CAGE between 2010 and 2012.

Yet this remains intriguing – or disgustingly foul:

Moreover, this is now an emerging pattern of security service behaviour: they tried to recruit the killer of Lee Rigby and both Charlie Hebdo killers and the perpetrator of the recent attacks in Denmark were known to the security services.

This should at least raise questions about whether the security services are contributing to the very terror they are supposed to be preventing.

So the deaths of our beloved martyrs at Charlie – no mention of the Hyper-Cacher – raise “questions” about the security services which may have been “contributing “ to them.

The very fact that the ‘security services’ were interested, or even there,  seems to be the “evidence”.

It would be interesting to know the source of Rees’s extremely serious allegation.

He does not give one.

It is the first I’ve heard of any parallel between the relations between the relations between the British security services and Mohammed Emwasi and the French security services Chérif and Saïd Kouachi – apart from the fact they were on the ‘radar’ of concern.

Time for Rees to put that Thinking Cap on again……

In the Memory of our Beloved Comrade Avijit Roy, Murdered by Islamists.

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Memorial Protest for a Beloved Fighter for Freedom.

Avijit Roy, who has been killed in an attack in Dhaka at the age of 42, was a Bangladeshi-American blogger, published author, and prominent defender of the free-thought movement in Bangladesh.

Mr Roy rose to prominence though his prolific writing on his self-founded site, Mukto-Mona – an internet gathering of mostly South Asia free-thinkers, ratio­nalists, sceptics and humanists founded in 2000.

He was a passionate atheist and an adherent of metaphys­ical naturalism – the school of thought that rejects the supernatural concepts and explanations that are part of many religions.

He was the author of numerous books, and had many articles published in magazines and journals.

In a conservative country like Bangladesh, his subject matter was often contentious, covering sensitive issues such as homosexuality – which he argued was inherent in nature – religious unbelief and cosmology.

Mr Roy’s followers argue that many of his secular ideas are in the tradition of the great Bengali writer Rabindranath Tagore, who died in 1941 and is often referred to as “Bengal’s Shakespeare”.

Some of the last books Mr Roy wrote, Obisshahser Dorshon (The Philosophy of Disbelief) and Biswasher Virus (The Virus of Faith), were critically well received around the world.

In the Virus of Faith he argues that “faith-based terrorism will wreak havoc on society in epidemic proportions”.

In one of his last published articles in the Free Inquiry magazine, Mr Roy wrote: “To me, religious extremism is like a highly contagious virus. My own recent experiences in this regard verify the horrific reality that such religious extremism is a virus of faith.”

He said in the article that a book he published last year “hit the cranial nerve of Islamic fundamentalists” and led to him being targeted by militant Islamists and terrorists.

It also led, he said, to a man openly issuing death threats against him on Facebook.

“Avijit Roy lives in America and so it is not possible to kill him right now,” Mr Roy quoted one threat against him as saying, “but he will be murdered when he gets back.”

BBC.

The Independent reports,

Avijit Roy and his wife were returning from a book fair at Dhaka University on Thursday evening when they were attacked.

Witnesses told local media their bicycle rickshaw was stopped by two men who dragged them on to the pavement but police chief Sirajul Islam said the couple were ambushed as they walked towards a roadside tea stall.

Both accounts said at least two men with machetes started hacking at the couple as they lay on the ground.

The attackers then ran away, disappearing into crowds.

Mr Roy, believed to be in his 40s, was pronounced dead during emergency surgery at the Dhaka Medical College hospital and his wife, Rafida Ahmed Banna, lost a finger and is being treated for serious injuries.

Police found her severed finger alongside two machetes and a bag possibly belonging to the attackers at the scene

In Commemoration: Avijit Roy.

News From Bangladesh:

BD News 24.

Avijit’s killing stirs world media Mohammad Abu Bakar Siddique

The brutal killing of writer, blogger Avijit Roy in hand of machete-wielding assailants has created a shockwave in the global media.

The leading news organisations from around the world including BBC, Reuters, the Guardian, The New York Times, NDTV etc condemned the barbarous killing, bringing out detail of the attack.

BBC placed the news on the attack that left the Bangladesh-born US citizen dead and his wife also a blogger Rafida Ahmed Bonna, critically injured, as its lead on the following day, with the headline suggesting “US-Bangladesh blogger Avijit Roy hacked to death.”

The contributions of Avijit, a naturalised US citizen, particularly his activism for scientific knowledge and secularism through online and publications, his receiving threats from militants groups, the attack by the widespread protest against the killing and for arrest of the attackers, and the country’s context were mentioned in the BBC’s report.

The killing of the son of the country’s one of the most prominent professors Ajay Roy was covered Reuters, as “American blogger killed in Bangladesh machete attack,” the New York Times reported “Avijit Roy, Bangladeshi-American Writer, Is Killed by Machete-Wielding Assailants,” besides several other versions with updates.

Roy came to Dhaka for publication of his new books in the book fair around mid-February with his wife, and on the evening they fell under the attack in the TSC area in Dhaka University on the way back from the fair.

Avijit wrote a number of books on mainly philosophy, rationalism and science, in line with his activism, also in online, for secularism and freedom of expression, for which he had been receiving death threats since long, including the recent one when social media fanatics openly declared to kill him on coming home, family told media.

The UK-based the Guardian reported “American atheist blogger hacked to death in Bangladesh” mentioning the previously happened similar attacks on the free thinkers.

“American-Bangladeshi atheist blogger Avijit Roy hacked to death by suspected Islamist extremists,” wrote the UK based the Independent.

The Telegraph wrote: “Atheist US blogger hacked to death in Bangladesh,” while The Times headlined “Atheist US blogger hacked to death in Bangladesh”

CNN titled “Prominent Bangladeshi-American blogger Avijit Roy killed” where it detailed with the facts related to the killing and the shocks emerged from it.

It reported on the very attack in two more stories with title “American writer hacked to death in Bangladesh spoke out against extremists”, and “Blogger’s brutal death for speaking his mind.”

From the murder to the UN condemnation, the media all around the world are coming up with the follow ups as well.

The attack was widely covered in the media of neighboring India and Pakistan.

India’s NDTV and Pakistan’s Dawn among the prominent news media covered the story, his contributions, threats were mentioned.

These news media are also following the developments in Bangladesh and the world, in response to the attack, protest and condemnation that began in Dhaka.

 

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Written by Andrew Coates

February 28, 2015 at 5:12 pm

TUC Welfare Conference: Fight for a Decent Benefit System!

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TUC: Welfare Conference, called by the TUC Consultative Committee for Unemployed Workers’ Centres.

Up to a hundred activists came to the Welfare Conference, held on Friday in Congress House. As the introductory speakers made plain the Liberal-Conservative Coalition, assisted by large sections of the media, have launched a frontal assault ion the basic principles of an equitable benefit system.  Instead of helping people in need they have attacked the most vulnerable.

Eleanor Firman (Disabled People Against Cuts, DPAC and UNITE) illustrated what this has meant on the ground. As a result of cuts in housing benefit and the bedroom tax their group in Waltham Forest had had to defend those facing eviction.

She talked of how the Work Capability Assessment targeted disabled people. Those not meeting the government’s criteria – enforced through a flawed system run by private companies (ATOS and now Maximus), could expect to be treated with “harshness”, to the point of being left destitute. This was only one example of how welfare ‘reform’ was making people’s lives a misery. The answer was to challenge the DWP with the help of bodies like UNITE Community and, where they still exist, Law Centres.

Workshops covering benefit sanctions, the basis of the benefit system, unpaid work, and equality were held.

In the one I attended, on Sanctions, participants concentrated less on particular stories of injustice than on the nature of the arbitrary regime. We tried to bring together a rejection of all sanctions with proposals for real social security for all.  Disabled needed to be assessed not by private companies and computerised questionnaires, a source of many sanctions, but by clinical criteria, – the work of GPs. The power of ‘work coaches’ to decide to withdraw benefits – whether they should eat or have a home – should be removed.

There were fruitful discussions throughout the day. Groups talked through proposals for a universal minimum income, others investigated the socialisation of basic needs, “universal goods in kind’, proposed by the Greek party, Syriza. A group of us looked into the use of Blogging, Twitter and other social media to spread an alternative message to the media hate campaigns.

Others planned activities on Monday the 2nd of March Day of Action against Maximus and the 19th of March Day of Action Against Benefit Sanctions. Further protests against benefit sanctions are planned to coincide with May Day.

Stop Sanctions: A Priority.

In the afternoon Richard Exell, the TUC’s senior Policy Officer on these issues, spoke. He cast aside his prepared notes. Instead he talked of how public opinion had been swayed behind the Coalition’s polices. Cautious about demanding an end to all sanctions Richard observed, however, that the way they had left hundreds of thousands destitute may help to alter popular attitudes. The children of claimants, through no ‘fault’ of their own, were left hungry and dependent on food banks and charity. Now they will affect those in low-paid work who received benefits. There was a need to develop alternatives to this and to Universal Credit.

Paula from DPAC stated that the introduction of the new system, with its new complicated ‘claimants’ commitment’ spelled ‘Armageddon’ for those reliant on benefits.

A set of principles and demands – drawing on the Centres’ Charter for the Unemployed is being drawn up. It will include demands for a decent level of benefits, an end to sanctions, and opposition to all forms of workfare – to make volunteering really ‘voluntary’ – a higher minimum wage, rent controls, and decent jobs for all.

These will be put into a coherent form at a further meeting on the 25th of March. The finished programme will be designed to take into union bodies and wider afield.

In a speech that touched on the way activists can change government and party (Labour) policy Lynne Groves drew on the way the Bedroom Tax had been challenged, and cuts in social services opposed. Activists and the wider public were urged to get involved in UNITE Community Branches, open to all.

At the end of the meeting Kevin Flynn noted the seriousness and richness of the debates that had taken placed. Amongst other points he welcomed the “historic formation of the National Union of Bloggers”.

The breadth and depth of the experiences of those attending this meeting – about 100 strong – were striking. The words ‘the labour movement’ really came to life. There was strong participation of the disabled, young people, women, and black people. Those attending came from a wide variety of work backgrounds: from heavy industry, clerical and service work, to the voluntary sector. Delegates attended from all over the country, from Newcastle, Liverpool to the West Country and even South London.

It was, as always, a real pleasure to hear Northern accents. The discussions were more than good-natured and creative. Everybody had something to contribute. It was, in short, bloody great!

 

The Anti-Semitic insults of Coulibaly to his victims in the Vincennes Kosher Supermarket.

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In case anybody is in any doubt about the racism of the attackers of Charlie Hebdo and the Vinceness supermarket this is only the latest news on their Anti-Semitism.

This is expressed very clearly in information released today concerning the latter slaughter.

“After signifying to his victims that he was attacking them because they were Jewish, the terrorist accused them of “financing” the killing of  women and children – according to a recording.

Friday, January 9, Amedy Coulibaly recorded his hostage-taking at the Hyper-Cacher, Vincennes, with GoPro, the content of which was revealed in the on-going legal proceedings. The Obs has published on its website  a partial transcript. In seven minutes, Coulibaly killed three people before asking the survivors: ” You have not understood, eh? What are your origins? “”Jewish.” “answers one of them.  Coulibaly replied:” Eh bah then you know why I’m here then! Allahu akbar!

Then, someone told him that his victims “had done nothing” He replied,You haven’t done anything? “Later he explained that he did not kill women, yet his victims did. “You kill women and children everywhere! And you think things are like that?  You know very well, stop making your … ” The rest of the recording is inaudible.

According to  Le Nouvel Observateur, the police also noted that Coulibaly was not a trained user of weapons, he  needed ten seconds to find the button to change the charger from the Kalashnikov.

Libération

In Le Monde an inquiry into the background of the other murderers, the Kouachi brothers was published on the 20th of February . For one member their family, “Ils étaient très racistes envers tous ceux qui n’étaient pas musulmans et arabes.” They were very racist towards anybody who was not a Muslim or an Arab.

Reproduced in Le Point

Written by Andrew Coates

February 26, 2015 at 12:51 pm

Galloway Number 3 in ‘House of Scroungers’ says Socialist Worker – er, Not.

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Socialist Worker says,

House of Scroungers

Tory MP Sir Malcolm Rifkind says it’s “quite unrealistic” to expect MPs to live on their salary of £67,000 a year.

They note that,

“Gordon Brown, the former prime minister, declared additional income of close to £1 million. Geoffrey Cox, the Conservative MP, declared earnings of £820,000—12 times the annual MP wage.”

And conclude:

As Jack Straw with great foresight said in 2010 “Their behaviour, prima facie, does indeed bring the Parliamentary Labour Party, as well as parliament, into disrepute, because it appears that former Cabinet ministers are more interested in making money than they are in properly representing their constituents.”

For an unaccountable reason George Galloway got left off Socialist Worker’s little list, so we have helpfully supplied the full one.

Charlie Hebdo is Back and Kicking! Rumour that British Left will be on Future ‘Une’.

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The Pack is on Charlie’s Heels Again!

More than a month after two gunmen attacked French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo’s offices in Paris, killing 12 people, the newspaper’s newest issue is due to be released on Wednesday as it resumes publication.

The paper rushed out a “survivors’ issue” the week after the shooting, which took place on January 7. Since then, however, Charlie Hebdo has been absent from newsstands.

“We needed a break, a rest… There were those who needed to work again straight away, like me, and those who wanted to take more time,” says Gérard Biard, the publication’s new chief editor. “So we reached a compromise, and agreed on February 25… to start off again on a weekly basis.”

If the cover of Charlie Hebdo’s next issue says anything, it’s that it will be business as usual at the publication. It features an illustration of a range of political and religious figures, including former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, a jihadist and the pope, as a pack of rabid dogs over the headline, “… Here we go again!”

France 24.

On France-Inter this morning the new editor of the trusty and much-liked weekly, Gérard Biard, expressed concern that their cartoons sparked more indignation today than in the past.

Phooey! We would like to see more outrage!

There is a rumour that the British Left will figure on a future Cover with the same theme as today’s issue.

Tariq Ali, clothed in a dead-sheep, will lead the charge against the lovable Charlie mutt.

Ten Afghan Arabi sheep were sacrificed to make this coat.

Behind him follows the SWP’s Alex Callinicos, in his Scarlet Pimpernel outfit,  and Unite Against Fascism’s leadership, dressed in altar girl and boy costumes.

SWP Leader Prepares to Rescue Dusky Maidens from Charlie’s Evil Grasp. 

Unite Against Fascism: ‘Shocked’ By Charlie’s Blasphemy.

Will Self, snorting cocaine, will be arm-in-arm with Assad Ali, Seumas Milne, George Galloway  and Salma Yaqoob.

Will Self: Heavyweight Critic of Charlie Hebdo. 

Talking of heavy-weights (former) in the background one can glimpse Sebastian Budgen with one of his family’s excellent Hampers – they kept him popular during his years at Greyfriars.

Budgen at Greyfriars.

“Jihadism” is it a form of fascism? Debate on French Left.

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“These remarks follow the text of Laurent Lévy on this site entitled “Islamo-fascism” or “jihadism”. This is not an answer but a few notes which aim to stimulate debate.

1 The term “jihadism” is probably the most suitable, it is in any case much better that “Islamo-fascist”, which does not in itself  exclude discussion on these two terms.

2 Has Jihadism nothing to do with Islam? Lawrence said we do not have to take the self-definitions of those principally involved. Some caution is indeed required. Not so long ago there were countries that defined themselves  as People’s Democracies – a term which was very questionable  in the least. Which leave us with the question – one that I do not find it so easy to solve – who is the judge in these matters?

The attacks in Paris were condemned by currents unlikely to be held to represent a “moderate Islam” – the Palestinian Hamas and the Lebanese Hezbollah, which called the murderers the worst enemies of the Prophet. It is not up to non-Muslims to contradict them, says Lawrence. The end of the sentence seems common sense: non-Muslims are not the best position to judge what is  Islam or what is not. The beginning of the same sentence is rather more questionable. We are not obliged, or to take as given, what Hamas or Hezbollah say,  on the grounds that they are not representatives of “moderate Islam.” After all, there are within Sunni Islam many currents that deny that the  Alevis or the Shias even  belong to Islam. Why should we believe them? On the grounds that we are not Muslims (which is true) and that they are not moderate (also true)? In a climate of hysteria and a climate of heightened national security we clearly have an interest in avoiding putting all Muslims in the same category. But, to return to the “people’s democracies”, could it be said so easily that they  had nothing to do with the communist movement?

3- On the question of fascism, I am to be relatively cautious, without being satisfied with the approach developed by Lawrence. For words to make sense we should not use them indiscriminately.  A military dictatorship, for example, does not need to be a fascist to be abominable and to be fought (and calling the French riot police, the  CRS the SS is probably not the acme of political analysis). We must therefore be wary of using ready-made categories that can easily become stale and fixed.

There is no doubt that the emergence of fascism in the interwar period in Europe was a way to break the working class. That class, influenced by the creation and the breath of the October Revolution had become a legitimate player in the conquest of political power. But if we limited fascism to this, the issue would not be restricted to  a debate for historians about the 1920s and the 1930s. Today the impact of  October (or the Chinese Revolution in Asia) is minimal, and instead of a rising working class, the labour movement, which we witness, is  in a poor state. Can we say that the issue of fascism no longer exists. The counter-revolutionary AND totalitarian dimensions of the  “jihadist” groups  is such that we cannot dismiss the term ‘fascism’ so easily. When Pierre Rousset speaks of “religious fascism” because these organisations occupy the same niches as fascism, there is no lack of argument. An article by Farooq Tariq, leader of the LPP (Pakistan) states: “The fanatical religious groups are being constituted as forms of fascism. ” ( ttp://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article33933 ).

These views can of course be criticised I do not think these can be dismissed out of hand.

In short this is an ongoing debate.”

A reply to  Islamo-fascism” or “jihadism” Laurent Lévy. 

Lévy  notes that the ‘syntagma’ (syntactic arrangement) Islamic-fascism has been used by the nominally ‘socialist’ Prime Minister, Manuel Valls (that is, be wary of the words!!!).

He asserts that is not up to the non-Muslims to decide on what is Islamic or not, and that most consider that the Islamic state is not Islamic.  Lévy  argues that in terms of class analysis one cannot talk of Islamic-Fascism. “..sectarian, violent and totalitarian movements claiming Islam does not fall within this analysis ” That they cannot be compared with movements helped by the “bourgeoisie to break the labour movement and to take over certain sectors of the capital to help solve its internal contradictions.” in the 1920s and 1930s.

But that, Jihadism, is the word that designates, “these currents that claim Islam in the attempt to impose by mass violence a totalitarian society.”

Comment.

It is interesting that the relation between Islamist ‘counter-revolution’ and classical European fascism is raised.

What would seem a better way to approach this is to look at one form of actually existing Islamism: the Islamic State, Daesh (1). Not just its international actions, but the structure of the state they have created in Syria and Iraq: a  racist, repressive, genocidal regime, based on slavery and the oppression of women, with a highly developed system of ‘law’ (the Sharia, as they see it).

Whether we call this Jihadism or fascism it is clear that it is a ‘totalitarian’ political entity.

A murderous one to boot.

(1) ‘Actually existing’ – an expression I take from the pro-Soviet left in the 1970s which talked of ‘actually existing socialism’.

‘Oscars’ for the Most Barking Mad Left Writing.

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The ‘Barking': Top Award for Left Writing.

The Oscars tonight will be overshadowed by the new ceremonies for the ‘Most Barking Left Writing’ (Hat-Tip: Dave Osland).

The principal coveted trophy, (pictured), will be awarded this evening in the Spring Road Allotment Shed – former Telephone Box.

The past year has seen some strong contenders for the prize.

We have had John Tummon, of Left Unity, and his ‘Calpihate motion

To show solidarity with the people of the Middle  East by supporting the end of the  structure of the  divided nation states imposed by the Versailles  settlement and their replacement by a Caliphate type polity in which diversity and autonomy are protected and nurtured and the mass of people can effectively control executive authority’. Left Unity distances itself specifically from the use of intemperate, inaccurate and moralist language such as ‘terrorism’, ‘evil’, ‘fundamentalist’, ‘viciously reactionary’, ‘murderous’, genocidal’, etc in discussion about the Middle East; these terms are deployed by people and forces seeking not to understand or analyse, but to demonise in order to dominate, and they have no place within socialist discourse.”

We have had Socialist Worker publishing Hassan Mahamdallie who compared the outsiders fighting for the genociders of the Islamic State (Da’esh) and the foreign  volunteers who backed Spanish democracy (“in the 1930s radicalised young men from the same mining communities illegally made their way into Spain to take up arms against general Franco’s fascist army”).

He added this sentence, “It has been disheartening to watch establishment Muslim leaders apologetically rushing out with condemnations. They have pointlessly distanced themselves from “John the Jihadi”—who is alleged to have killed Foley—and declared that Isis is “un-Islamic”.

The tonnes and tonnes of material written about the Ukraine has been ruled worthy of a special award – to follow.

The slaughter at Charlie Hebdo, and the Hyper-Cacher, has brought a fine crop in.

Tariq Ali set the bar high by announcing after the attack (this is a version from the 28th of January),

How serious is Islamophobia in France and other European countries?

France is the worst in Europe and tries to mask it by proclaiming its secular values (sound familiar?), but these values don’t apply to Islam. In fact, French secularism means anything but Islam. And when satirical magazines taunt them, they react. It’s as simple as that.

Only yesterday he tried to keep in the running by saying (Guardian), of Charlie.

In the 80s it had become a stale magazine, and people have told me that one reason for attacking the Muslims and reprinting the Danish cartoons was to boost circulation.” He argues that Je suis Charlie stickers express something other than support for freedom of expression and condemnation of those who murdered in the name of Islam – a loathing for Muslims.

Note: Charlie Hebdo stopped publication from 1981 t0 1992 except for a special issue in 1982.

The Socialist Workers Party Central Committee gave Tariq his angle on the 8th of January,

Racists and right wingers are trying to use Wednesday’s horrific killings in Paris to divide working people, justify imperialist intervention and whip up Islamophobia.

Almost everyone will recognise that the attacks are wrong and completely unacceptable. We must not let them be exploited to generate racism, justify more wars, or to give a boost to the far right.

The media present Charlie Hebdo as simply a “satirical magazine”. But it is not the French equivalent of Private Eye as some commentators have suggested. It may have been once, but it has become a specialist in presenting provocative and racist attacks on Islam. That does not justify the killings, but it is essential background.

Let’s unite against racism and Islamophobia.

The ever-reliable John Wight on Socialist Unity said this (8th January)  as the dead still lay unburied,

The free speech ‘merchants’, those who were so up in arms over matters related to the massacre at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, who use free speech as a sword rather than a shield, would like nothing more than to silence one of the only voices in the country’s national life who dares challenge the demonisation of Muslims and the Muslim community, establishment support for the apartheid state of Israel, and a political status of quo of military intervention overseas and social and economic injustice at home.

But it’s the Economic & Philosophic Science Review that stands out,

Fake-”left” line-up once more with imperialism to “condemn terror” over the Paris attacks, proving even further their craven capitulation to the warmongering demonisation being used to whip up World War Three. Attacking the Islamists as “reactionary” is opportunist sophistry, as is writing them off as “isolated individual terrorists” . Such pretend “Marxism” is just a cover for petty bourgeois moralising and “free speech and democracy” reformist humbug that solves nothing but helps feed the “kill them all” fascist revenge mentality stirred up by capitalist cynicism.

Further afield Ramzay Baroud‘s efforts post-Charlie in the Morning Star to pin the blame for hatred of Muslims and the crimes of Imperialism on the New Atheists merits an honourable mention.

Socialist Fight, Gerry Downing and Graham Durham of the Crickelwood People’s Republic (twinned with the Donbass),  is outstanding.

Ian Donovan is also one to to watch, “in his opinion, there is a Jewish “pan-national bourgeoisie”, which has constituted itself as ruling class “vanguard” in key imperialist countries, and it is this that accounts for US support for Israel.” (Weekly Worker).

Donovan’s recommendation, Support George Galloway MP for Bradford West, is surely in line with these views

The Weekly Worker’s Letter Page yields a rich harvest notably this which is clearly the front runner:

Sounds absurd?

Phil Kent has accused me of holding positions I never held in relation to Stalin, the issue of peak oil and reptilians (Letters, January 15). He also claims I am an elitist, because I believe in leadership.

Firstly, I never argued that Stalin’s victims “deserved to die” – I challenge Kent to prove otherwise. In passing, it’s interesting to note that following the demise of the Soviet Union, when Boris Yeltsin released the figures for individuals in Soviet prisons, these were lower than the USA. The capitalist media went silent.

Secondly, I never argued that rising oil prices would “soon” mean the end of capitalism. What I argued is that rising oil prices in the period of declining oil production, following the global peak, would lead to the collapse of capitalism, if no viable substitute for cheap oil was found. World oil production goes through three stages: rising production, peak and decline. We are still at the peak stage, when oil supply is at its maximum.

Thirdly, I never claimed that the future of humanity “may rest on the beneficence of extra-terrestrial reptiles”. I replied to Andrew Northall’s letter of December 18 and referred to the reptilian control theory, which argues that for thousands of years humanity has been controlled by a reptilian race, using their mixed reptile-human genetic bloodlines, who have oppressed and exploited humans, while claiming descent from the ‘gods’ and the divine right to rule by bloodline. Ancient and modern society is obsessed with reptilian, serpent and dragon themes, possibly due to this heritage. Even the flag of Wales has a dragon on it.

Most people have closed minds, depending on the issues. Mention the possibility of aliens secretly manipulating humanity behind the scenes and the shutters come down. Perhaps Kent should contemplate Einstein’s words: “If at first an idea does not sound absurd, there is no hope for it.

Tony Clark Weekly Worker.

As Unite Against Fascism Meets UN Makes War Crime Charges against Syrian Regime and *all* Islamist forces.

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CCTV of the three girls

London Girls Go to Join War Criminals.

“Three east London schoolgirls have flown to Turkey and there are fears they may cross the Syrian border and join the Islamic State terrorist group.”

BBC.

“In a report published on Friday, the Commission stressed that both the Syrian regime and the main Islamist militant groups active in Syria – Islamic State (IS) and al-Nusra Front – had committed atrocities, as well as other smaller factions.

The report warned that despite the Commission’s “long-standing position” not to name suspects, maintaining that policy would “reinforce the impunity” of alleged war criminals.

Speaking on Friday, investigators said that they had increasingly been sharing information with countries to enable them to prosecute their own citizens for crimes committed in Syria.

They revealed that four of the lists of names of alleged war criminals had been passed to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and a fifth would be handed over in March.

The five lists, compiled since the Commission began investigating in 2011, are understood to contain approximately 30 to 40 names each.”

BBC

The Guardian reports today,

A study released last month by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue found that women on the receiving end of that social media onslaught were captivated by the violence they saw. Examining the social media accounts of six European women who ultimately travelled to Syria and Iraq, they discovered that one described the brutal murder of the American aid worker Peter Kassig and 18 Syrian hostages as “gut-wrenchingly awesome”.

Another woman, who watched a different beheading video, wrote: “I was happy to see the beheading of that kaffir [non-believer], I just rewinded to the cutting part,” and called for “more beheadings please!”, according to the study.

“Umm Hussain”, alternately named in reports as mother-of-two Sally Jones from Kent, tweeted: “Know that we have armies in Iraq and an army in Sham [Syria] of angry lions whose drink is blood and play is carnage.”

The study concluded: “There is no doubt … that the women who migrate to the territory controlled by Isis revel in the gore and brutality of the organisation. They appear desensitised to the horrific nature of the violent acts being committed.”

Charlie Winter, of the Quilliam Foundation, said that although Isis propaganda sometimes suggested that women would have an active, and even armed role, the reality was that they were heavily controlled once they arrived.

Winter recently helped translate a long Isis communique that set out in great detail the designated role of women under the group’s version of sharia law. Circulated late last month and titled Women in the Islamic State: Manifesto and Case Study, the document railed against westernised notions of female liberation, damning fashion shops and beauty salons as the work of the devil.

“It is always preferable for a woman to remain hidden and veiled, to maintain society from behind this veil,” it said. It added that girls could marry at the age of nine, and “pure girls” should ideally settle with a husband by 17 and should not be “corrupted” by careers. It was also clear that women would not take up arms unless the survival of Isis depended on it.

Meanwhile ‘Unite Against Fascism’  is holding its conference.

You can follow it at  Live Blog: Unite against racism and fascism – UAF national conference 2015

It will be interesting to see if anybody there cares to comment on the BBC and Guardian reports.

Written by Andrew Coates

February 21, 2015 at 12:45 pm

Unite Against Fascism and the SWP’s ‘Scarlet Pimpernel’.

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SWP Leadership: One to Command and 921 to Obey.

Citizen Camembert: Charlie Hebdo Editor.

Paris, a surging, seething, murmuring crowd of beings that are human only in name, for to the eye and ear they seem naught but savage creatures, animated by vile passions,  Laïcité , Islamophobia, republicanism and by the lust of vengeance and of hate.

Some little time before sunset, and the place, the West Barricade, Charlie Hebdo Offices The wicked journal was about to be published – again! A hideously ugly crippled former shoe-maker, the Vieux Cordelier was putting the paper to bed.

The same hour, back in England, in the SWP Headquarters, Sir Sir Percy Callinicos and his valet Charlie Kimber were talking. The pleasant oak-raftered coffee-room of the building.

A beautiful dusky French mademoiselle entered the room.

“And to whom do I owe my saving from the clutches of the Charlie Hebdo?”

“The Scarlet Pimpernel, Mademoiselle Caroline” he said at last “is the name of a humble English wayside flower; but it is also the name chosen to hide the identity of the best and bravest man in all the world, so that he may better succeed in accomplishing the noble task he has set himself to do.”s.

His manservant interjected.

“Gad, mademoiselle, that Charlie Hebdo!”

“Gadzooks!” continued Sir Percy. “That blaggard Camembert, the big cheese, is behind it all. It’s one thing to make fun of the almighty between chaps like us: but Charlie’s for the brutes in the street!

She paused, this band of young and dashing Englishmen had, to her own knowledge, bearded the implacable and bloodthirsty tribunal of Charlie Hebdo, within the very walls of Paris itself, and had snatched away condemned victims, almost from the very foot of the Weekly’s guillotine.

As she prepared in her mind a speech at the Unite Against Fascism Conference Mademoiselle recalled her dramatic recuse. Sir Percy had explained it casually enough. “Yet, ’tis simple enough, m’dear,” he said with that funny, half-shy, half-inane laugh of his, “you see! when I found that that brute Charlie meant to stick to me like a leech, I thought the best thing I could do, as I could not shake him off, was to take him along with me.”

A charred copy of the rag still lay on the sumptuously carpeted floor.

With the help of the valet, Kimber, she  recommenced writing her Conference rallying-call against the vile Charlie Hebdo.

……

That Monday was held the brilliant wedding of Sir Richard Seymour with Mlle. Caroline de Tournay de Basserive.

Afterwards at the function at which H. R. H. the Prince of Wales and all the élite of fashionable society were present, the most beautiful woman there was unquestionably Lady Callinicos, whilst the clothes of Sir Percy Callinicos were the talk of the jeunesse dorée of London for many days.

They seek him here,

they seek him there,

Those Frenchies seek him everywhere,

Is he in heaven?

Is he in Hell?

That damned elusive Pimpernel!

Unite Against Fascism Unites Against French Anti-Racists’ Support for Charlie Hebdo.

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Racist Islamophobic Propaganda Says UAF.

This is how the leading French anti-racist, anti-fascist organisation, the MRAP (Mouvement contre le racisme et pour l’amitié entre les peuples  -Movement Against Racism and for Friendship between Peoples)  reacted to the slaughter at Charlie Hebdo and the Hyper Cacher at the Porte de Vincennes.

Restons Charlie : refusons le racisme et la haine 13th January.

We were on 11 January, millions who were “Charlie”: Stay “Charlie!”

Staying “Charlie” is to refuse racism and rejection of the Other. It is to reject scapegoating and to refuse to accept a ‘Patriot Act’ contrary to the values of the republic. The heinous crimes committed against the  kosher supermarket and  Charlie must be answered by the application of the law, but with even more urgency, more than “living together”, it needs solidarity. This requires us to ensure that the motto “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” are not mere words. This must become,  through our shared wills, the everyday  reality of life in our cities and in our neighbourhoods. Those who sow the seeds of racism,  considering one group as of lesser value, of exclusion,  sow the seeds of violence. We should adopt the words Zahia Ziouani, director of the Orchestra, “Divertimento”: “Obscurantism,  ignorance and intellectual poverty are the causes of the  tragedies we have just experienced. We have to overcome them through education and culture . “

Since 11 September 2001, the “war against terrorism” has only amplified chaos and led the world to a dangerous dead end. MRAP reiterates what it said 13 years ago: the war against terrorism cannot be won by individual action, it is the causes that must be addressed. We stand against the “war of civilizations” that has led the world to a catastrophic disaster. It is urgent to fight for a world of justice, peace and democracy!

And this is equally, if not more, important:

LES ASSOCIATIONS DE L’IMMIGRATION SOLIDAIRES AVEC CHARLIE HEBDO 11th January.

The Signatories of this appeal – Immigration associations – wish to denounce in the strongest possible terms these terrorist acts and salute the memory of the victims. We share the sorrow and grief of their families and relatives. We are in solidarity with the  whole team of “Charlie Hebdo”.

We take issue with wretched  attempts to trivialise or justify these crimes, and stand against conspiracy theories – already popping up on social networks-  and whose obvious motivation, a supposed defence of the sacred and efforts to deny the responsibility of the fanatics, is clearly based on a denial of the deadly reality.

We call for their total rejection and greater vigilance. Our condemnation  is clear and unambiguous We have complete solidarity with the families and relatives of the victims, and with the staff of “Charlie Hebdo”. We will not accept being lectured at, or being ordered around. We oppose any form of discrimination, lumping people and groups together, racism and Islamophobia.

Declaration of solidarity with Charlie Hebdo by:

Fédération des Tunisiens Citoyens des deux Rives – FTCR, Comité pour le Respect des Libertés et des Droits de l’Homme en Tunisie – CRLDHT,  Association des Tunisiens en France – ATF, Association des Travailleurs Maghrébins en France – ATMF, Association des Marocains en France – AMF,  Massira – Algérie,  Agir pour le Changement Démocratique en Algérie – ACDA, Association Citoyenne des Originaires de Turquie – ACORT, Association des Iraniens Républicains de Paris – AIRP, Comité Indépendant contre la Répression des Citoyens Iraniens – CIRCI, mmigration Développement Démocratie – IDD, Le Manifeste des Libertés, Forum de Solidarité Euro-Méditerranéen – FORSEM, Réseau Euro-Maghrébin Citoyenneté et Culture – REMCC, Union des Travailleurs Immigrés Tunisiens – UTIT, Mouvement Citoyen des Tunisiens en France – MCTF, Collectif 3 C, L’Association interculturelle de production, de diffusion, de documentation audiovisuelles – AIDDA, Association de défense  des Droits de l’Homme au Maroc – ASDHOM, Association Vérité et Justice pour Farhat Hached – AVJFH, Association Filigrane, Dynamique Citoyenne des Tunisiens à l’Etranger – DCTE,  Collectif des Femmes Tunisiennes – CTF, Arts et Cultures des Deux Rives – ACDR,  Union des Tunisiens pour une Action Citoyenne – UTAC, Association des Tunisiens du Nord de la France – ATNF , Association Na’oura ASBL – Belgique, SOS Migrants – Belgique, Comité de Vigilance pour la Démocratie en Tunisie – Bruxelles, Association des Tunisiens de Maine et Loire – Anger, Association des Tunisiens de la Sarthe – UTS, Association Tunisienne Culture et Solidarité, Association Démocratique des Tunisiens en France – ADTF, Centre Euromed Migration et Développement EMCEMO – Amsterdam, Association des Tunisiens en France  – ATF – Var, Plateforme Euro-Marocaine Migration et Développement Démocratie Citoyenneté, Association Zembra, Association des Tunisiens en France  –  ATF – Nord, Association Younga Solidaire, Association Appel Egalité, Droits Ici et Là-bas –DIEL, Association des Tunisiens en France – ATF – Bouches du Rhône, Coalition International des Sans Papiers et Migrants – CISPM, IMAGECOM, Afrique Survie Immigration – ASM, INTEGRATION 21 – Paris 19ème, Association des Tunisiens en France – ATF – 13, Union des Tunisiens de Suisse – UTS, Comitato Degli Immigrati Tunisini In Italia Italie, Plateforme Euro-Marocaine Migration développement démocratie et Citoyenneté, Réseau Maroc Euromed des ONGS Maroc, Association Culturelle Tunisienne pour l’Insertion et la Formation – ACTIF, Association Alif’s Bordeaux, Association Perspectives Nice, Association Tunisienne de Côte d’Or – ATCD, Association Ailes – femmes du Maroc, Association Tounssia Hourra, Institut de la Culture Arabe Moderne – ICAM

Texte à l’initiative du Forum des Associations des Luttes Démocratiques de l’Immigration – FALDI

By contrast we see this in Britain:

Unite Against Fascism (UAF):

NATIONAL CONFERENCE

Saturday 21 February Congress Centre, TUC, Great Russell Street, London.

Notably this:

2.00 – 3.30 Session: Je ne suis pas Charlie: incitement of hatred is not freedom of speech.

Chair: Alan Gibson NUJ; N’Della Paye (France); Azad Ali MEND; Jude Woodward UAF.

Alan Gibson, NUJ “the branch chair Alan Gibson, states: “Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons lampooning Islam, and particularly the depictions of the Prophet Mohammed, have been racist”. (More here) Gibson is a member of the Socialist Workers Party.

Jude Woodward, a member of the groupuscle Socialist Action, on Charlie Hebdo (Here) “Rather it is a populist right-wing libertarian rag, which delighted in producing the most offensive possible images to accompany its outpourings of spleen. Its targets were the marginalised, primarily Muslims but often it was sexist and homophobic too.” ” extensive version of the right to freedom of speech is limited by the other great liberal principle that individual freedom, including that of speech, can and must be curtailed by the prevention of harm to others.” “Rather than get pulled into defending Charlie Hebdo or others to publishing provocative, racist, sexist, homophobic and Islamophobic material, the correct response to the murderous assault in Paris is to come to the defence of the beleaguered Muslim community.“Je ne suis pas Charlie Hebdo, je suis Musulmane.”

Assad Ali,

We must not call Charlie Hebdo killers ‘terrorists’, says boss” (Here)

“AZAD ALI, Islamic Forum of Europe (undercover footage): Democracy, if it means that, you know, at the expense of not implementing the sharia, of course no one agrees with that.” “Mr Ali has also threatened journalists – not Parisian cartoonists, but an undercover colleague who secretly taped his “no one agrees with democracy” quote – though there is, of course, no suggestion that he has carried out the threat or any other act of violence.” (from Here).

N’della Diouf represents the very small group the Mamans Toutes égales (compare with list of immigrant associations above) who protest against educational establishments  that will not let veiled women accompany their children on school trips. We let others to judge her wisdom in being seen in this company.

I note however that she signed with members of les Indigènes de la République –   the  militant wing of post-colonial studies, who specialise in homophobic barracking of the gay writer Caroline Fourest – this appeal in 2011 after Charlie Hebdo was firebombed: Pour la défense de la liberté d’expression, contre le soutien à Charlie Hebdo !

More in this band of haters of French secularism in Medipart.

Straight to the point: Unite Against Fascism (UAF) has not a single representative of a mainstream and respected French anti-racist, anti-fascist organisation at its conference.

Instead it indulges those with a gripe against Charlie Hebdo, notably a member of the SWP, a notorious Islamist, and a representative of the groupuscule Socialist Action.

More anti-racist cartoons from Charlie  Avec Charlie, l’immigration autrement.

New Atheism Behind ‘War on Muslims’ – Morning Star

with 4 comments

Hate-Filled Philosophy Inspired Killer Craig Hicks.

The Morning Star today (Hat-tip Jim D).

The War on Muslims Reaches US Soil.

Somebody called Ramzay Baroud writes,

The murder of three US Muslims at a University of North Carolina condominium last week was no ordinary murder, nor is the criminal who killed them an ordinary thug.

The Daily explains,

Hicks, the terrorist who killed the three young Muslims, subscribes to a school of thought known as New Atheism — what (sic)  religious scholar Reza Aslan refers to as the school of “anti-theism.”

It is, in part, another hate-filled platform, and despite its supposed disdain for all religions, its malicious energy mostly targets Muslims.

New Atheists are of course different from the majority of atheists, who don’t use that designation to foment hate against a specific religious group.

The anti-theist idols include the likes of Richard Dawkins and US author Sam Harris, who, according to Aslan, respond “to religion with the same venomous ire with which religious fundamentalists respond to atheism.”

So,

Hicks too hated the three Muslim kids based on that same foolish, murderous logic.

But hating Muslims is not your everyday racism and prejudice, which has been “as American as apple pie and napalm” (a funny, sad line from the US comedy, M*A*S*H).

(Note: very funny, ha, ha.)

It is a readily available fodder for the ongoing war and future war in Muslim countries. It is the required amount of dehumanisation needed to wage war.

The ‘author’ then splurges in another direction,

Hicks is of the Fox News demographic, a gun-toting, unreasonably and immeasurably angry white US citizen. Self-proclaimed atheist or otherwise, it matters little (sic).

So Hicks, we are told, killed the students “execution-style” because of a dispute over parking spaces.

The same way that Chris Kyle — “the American Sniper” — made 164 confirmed “kills” in Iraq, targeting “savages” because that’s what national heroes do.

(Note ‘in the same way’….)

He concludes, spluttering,

It is time for Muslims to demand that Obama issue more than a statement but call the US government and hate-filled media to account. These outrageous double standards must end, before more innocent lives are taken.

And why not call the ‘New Atheists’ to account?

Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins beware: be afraid, be very afraid..

******

Further notes on Baroud’s politics (from here, January 8th 2015)

He thinks this: “Islam has set in motion a system to abolish slavery over 1,200 years before the slave trade reached its peak in the western world. ” (no Arab slave trade…..), “gender equality in Islam has been enshrined in the language of the Koran and the legacy of the Prophet Mohammed.”

I can’t be bothered with most of this history-as-fairy-story but I notice this in the same article

Baroud rails at the “the pornographic satire of Charlie Hebdo and its targeting of Prophet Mohammed…” and then remarks of those condemning the attack:

Did any of these “intellectuals” pause to think that maybe, just maybe, the violent responses to demeaning Islamic symbols reflect a real political sentiment, say for example, a collective feeling of humiliation, hurt, pain and racism that extend to every corner of the globe? 

Charlie had it coming to them…

As no doubt did the Jewish customers at the Porte de Vincennes Hyper Cacher.

Solidarity with our Coptic Brothers and Sisters!

with 4 comments

“The hatred of the Christian Copts in Egypt plays the same function that anti-Semitism played in Weimar Germany.”  Gilbert Achcar (International Viewpoint).

Islamic State Video Shows Beheadings of 21 Egyptian Christians

By Rukmini Callimachi and David D. Kirkpatrick- NYT

A video released Sunday by the Islamic State appears to show the mass beheading of a group of 21 Coptic Christians, who are made to kneel beside the sea in what is identified as the coast near Tripoli, Libya.

It is the first time that the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, has released an official video showing such a killing outside of the territory it controls in Syria and Iraq.

The footage begins with slow motion images of the Egyptian Christian hostages, who were kidnapped in Libya several weeks ago, walking single file along the sandy beach. The hostages are all wearing orange jumpsuits. Each one is led by a black-clad executioner who is grasping a knife. The only sound is that of the crashing waves. They are made to kneel, and then one by one they are beheaded.

The lead executioner, who wears a brown mask over his face, thrusts his dagger at the camera. “Oh people, recently you have seen us on the hills of as-Sham and Dabiq’s plain, chopping off the heads that have been carrying the cross for a long time,” he says in fluent English, using terms referring to localities in and around Syria. “And today, we are on the south of Rome, on the land of Islam, Libya, sending another message.”

The high-quality video, which bears the logo of Al Hayat, the official publishing arm of the Islamic State, is in stark contrast to the footage released in the past by affiliates of the group. The footage in those videos was shaky and grainy, suggesting an amateur production. By contrast, the five-minute clip released Sunday is professional and cinematic, and is filmed in the same style as previous Islamic State videos, including one that showed the mass beheading of captured Syrian soldiers last year.

The video suggests that at least some of the Islamic State’s franchises abroad are becoming ever more tightly linked with the central group. Stills of the Libya video appeared last week in Dabiq, the Islamic State’s official English-language magazine. And the footage released today was preceded by an announcement on the group’s official news media, which foreshadowed the release, saying: “A Message Signed with Blood to the Nation of the Cross.”

Coptic Solidarity.

Financial Times

The Egyptian military said it carried out dawn air strikes on Monday against groups in Libya affiliated with Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant after the extremists posted footage showing the beheading of a group of Egyptian workers in the central Libyan city of Sirte.

A spokesman for the Egyptian military said the air force hit training camps and weapons caches belonging to the extremists. State television showed footage of fighter jets taking off in Egypt. The military spokesman said all returned safely after accomplishing their mission “with accuracy”.

He said the raids were “to avenge and respond to the criminal acts by terrorist groups and elements inside and outside the country”.

See also L’Etat islamique signe par le sang sa présence en Libye (le Monde)

Written by Andrew Coates

February 16, 2015 at 12:29 pm

Freedom of Speech in Denmark, but…..

with 12 comments

Lars Vilks Muhammad drawings controversy.

The Krudttønden cafe in central Østerbro, Denmark,  was sprayed with bullets on Saturday afternoon. The attack came during a free-speech debate with controversial Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who had depicted the prophet Muhammad in cartoons.

From the recording of the meeting on the BBC site:

We hear: “Yes, it is freedom of speech but” “the turning point is but…” “Why do we still say but…”

Sounds of shots….

There have been plenty of “buts” recently. Above of from those enemies of free-speech and liberty who begin “I condemn the Charlie Hebdo killings, But.”

 Follow latest updates

Parts of Copenhagen were on lockdown Saturday night after deadly twin attacks on the Danish capital.

A café holding an event in support of freedom of speech was attacked by two gunmen early on Saturday, leaving one man dead and three police officers injured.

After searching for the gunman for hours, police reported another shooting near a synagogue in downtown Copenhagen after midnight. One man died from a gunshot wound to the head and two police officers wre left injured. The gunman fled on foot, and police warned people to be vigilant and follow the instructions of officers flooding the city centre.

The meeting was organised by Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who has faced several death threats for his controversial caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad.

The attack came just over a month after the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, in which Islamist terrorists killed 17 people.

The French ambassador to Denmark, Francois Zimeray, was one of the speakers at the event, which was described by Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the Danish prime minister as a “terrorist act”.

As many as 200 bullet holes ripped through the window of the Krudttoenden café and at least two people were taken away on stretchers, including a uniformed police officer.

From here.

Also already in Wikipedia.

Deaths: Finn Nørgaard, 55, a film director, Dan Uzan was killed while guarding the synagogue in Krystalgade during a bat mitzvah celebration.

Two police officers were also hit but their injuries were said not to be life-threatening.

Danish Red-Green Unity bloc (Enhedslistens, De Rød-Grønne) statement, We must stand together against terror and extremism

Enhedslistens political spokesperson Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen, said after the attack to a debate on Oesterbro :

- I think we are all deeply affected and shocked by what has just happened in Copenhagen. Everything indicates that there is a terrorist attack on a peaceful debate event. You can not condemn enough.  It is completely incomprehensible and mad that someone seems prepared to attack other people because of drawings or positions they disagree with. I hope the police quickly catch the person or the initiators behind the acts.

- The strongest response to such attacks is to show that we do not let ourselves be cowed. We must continue to think, write and draw exactly what we want.  And we must stand together and show that terrorists and extremists will not succeed to sow discord and hatred in our society.

To those about to launch statements about Lars Vilks and the Freedom of Speech seminar full of “buts“, (notably the figures present at this event, Islamophobia and the war on terror who seem to live in a world where Islamist Genociders do not exist except as a product of ‘imperialism’) we say this:

We are not prepared to engage in the dead-end of arguing about what is, or what is not, in the Qu’ran, or ‘Islam’.

But this is what one part of actually existing Islamism, Da’esh, Islamic State, right now.

Paraded in cages ‘to be burned alive’ like Jordanian pilot: ISIS releases video claiming to show 17 Kurdish fighters in humiliating procession through Iraqi city.

Each prisoner was accompanied by black clad and flag waving jihadis, some armed with AK-47s

Each prisoner was accompanied by black clad and flag waving jihadis, some armed with AK-47s

Coptic Christians Captured by Islamic State in Libya.

More on that story, International Business Times.

Written by Andrew Coates

February 15, 2015 at 11:44 am

Islamic State Targets Copts.

with one comment

copt

This story broke from Thursday onwards.

Egypt’s Foreign Ministry is investigating the authenticity of pictures purportedly showing the Egyptian abductees in Libya, the Ministry Spokesman Badr Abdel Atty said on Thursday.

Twenty-one Coptic Egyptians were abducted in the Libyan city of Sirte on two separate occasions, only one week apart. Seven were kidnapped on December 31, 2014, while the remaining 14 were captured on January 3.

Pictures allegedly belonging to the abductees went viral on social media websites after they were published by a magazine affiliated with the Islamic State fighters. Those featured in the pictures were clad in orange, a colour usually signalling the captives’ death sentence by the group.

Late on Thursday, Egypt commenced emergency procedures to evacuate all Egyptian nationals wishing to return from Libya, reported state television.

Egyptian Streets.

IS tells reasons of kidnapping Egyptian Copts in Libya, Cairo follows up

“This month, the soldiers of the Khilāfah in Wilāyat Tarābulus captured 21 Coptic crusaders, almost five years after the blessed operation against the Baghdad church executed in revenge for Kamilia Shehata, Wafa Constantine, and other sisters who were tortured and murdered by the Coptic Church of Egypt. The operation was planned by Hudhayfah al-Battāwī (rahimahullāh), wālī of Wilāyat Baghdad at the time, alongside the senior military commander, Abū Ibrāhīm az- Zaydī (rahimahullāh), both of whom played a crucial role – through their passion and zealousness – in preserving the morale of the Islamic State,” the report continued.

“And so, five years after the blessed operation in Iraq, Allah (ta’ālā) granted the Islamic State expansion to Libya, Sinai, and elsewhere, allowing it to easily capture the Coptic crusaders-  the followers of the dead Shenouda and the supporters of the tāghūt Sisi – as the Salaf said,” the report said.

Priest Stephanos Shehata of of Samalout Coptic Orthodox Diocese in Minya (Upper Egypt) told Dostor newspaper Friday that IS (a.k.a. ISIS or ISIL)militants have asked for the release and appearance of those two women and escorting them to to Minya in order to release the 21 kidnapped Copts.

See: Original article by the Islamic State (PdF).

“The article was concluded with this call to kill Copts: “Finally, it is important for Muslims everywhere to know that there is no doubt in the great reward to be found on Judgment Day for those who spill the blood of these Coptic crusaders wherever they may be found…”

 While showing the Coptic abductees in death dress, there was no explicit mention of whether they have already been executed.”

Coptic Solidarity.

The BBC reports,

Egypt has offered to evacuate its citizens from Libya after Islamic State (IS) released photos which it says show 21 Coptic Egyptians kidnapped there.

President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi said Egyptians would be airlifted out of Libya, state-run news agency Mena said.

It came as a relative of one of those kidnapped told the BBC the victim’s family had “collapsed emotionally”.

A number of Egyptian Coptic Christians were kidnapped in two raids in Sirte, Libya, in December and January.

The pictures released by IS were published in the latest online edition of the group’s magazine Dabiq.

A statement from the office of Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi said a special committee was closely following events in order to “clarify the situation and learn the truth”.

In Cairo, the families of the 21 hostages, who were working in Libya, have staged a protest accusing the president of not doing enough for them.

Speaking on Friday, an uncle of one of the kidnapped men said there was “an atmosphere of complete devastation” in his village following the publication of the pictures.

“We urge the president to exert his utmost efforts to bring our children back home,” said Bashir Zaki. “We elected him and love him, he shouldn’t neglect us.”

Written by Andrew Coates

February 14, 2015 at 12:36 pm

From the French Left, on Defending Charlie Hebdo, Pierre Rousset.

with 5 comments

Charlie Hebdo Rally: Generous and Open Republican Unity.

“Had the sect which was rising in Paris been a sect of mere scoffers, it is very improbable that it would have left traces of its existence in the institutions and manners of Europe.” “laughing at the Scriptures, shooting out the tongue at the sacraments, but ready to encounter principalities and powers in the cause of justice, mercy and toleration.”

Ranke’s History of the Popes. Thomas Babington Macauly. 1840

“An Englishman who professes really to like French realistic novels, really to be at home in a French modern theatre, really to experience no shock on first seeing the savage French caricatures, is making a mistake very dangerous for his own sincerity. He is admiring something he does not understand. He is reaping where he has not down, and taking up where he has not laid down; he is trying to taste the fruit when he has never toiled over the tree. He is trying to pluck the exquisite fruit of French cynicism when he has never tilled the rude but rich soil of French virtue.”

French and English. C.K.Chesterton. 1908.

In The Flying Inn (1914) G.K.Chesterton imagined a Britain in which Compulsory Temperance is introduced under Progressive Islam. A Muslim Preacher Misyra Ammon, the Prophet of the Moon, has appeared. He announces “English civilisation had been founded by the Turks; or perhaps by the Saracens after their victory in the Crusades.” Vegetarians, philanthropists, aristocratic Suffragettes, and Ethical Societies don fezzes, unite behind his Cause and the Imperial Commission for Liquor Control. Inns cannot serve alcohol without a sign. But all the signs have been abolished. Humphrey Pump and Captain Patrick Dalroy defy the order with an ambulant barrel of rum. Its location, shifts, “flies”.

Chesterton added that the League of the Red Rosette, “the formidable atheist and anarchist organisation” interrupts the new Prophet’s services. The novel approaches its end, when a “a coarse strip of red rag, possibly collected from a dust-bin” is “tied round the wooden sign-post by way of a red flag of revolution”. The ‘Turks’ are driven back.

The Flying Inn can be criticised in many respects –  not least of which is that I don’t find it very amusing. Its Edwardian racial and class stereotypes – and jokes – have not worn well. Recently another novel that imagines Islamic government in Europe has been published. I have not read Michael Houellebecq’s Soumission – a qualification that in British left terms gives me the right to talk about it for several paragraphs. It’s about a Muslim ruled France in 2022. President Ben Abbes, with the consent of his ‘centrist’ Prime Minister François Bayrou, introduces a through-going programme of Islamisation. The economy is run on “distributionist” lines, the (small) property-owning capitalism advocated by…C.K.Chesterton.

Whether the author of The Flying Inn would be charmed at this is less than certain. He would perhaps have felt more warmly towards this statement, “The real enemy of Muslims, what they loathe and fear above all, it’s Catholicism: it’s secularism, laïcité atheistic materialism.” (Soumission. Review. Christopher de Bellaigue. 7.2.15).

A Month After the Paris Murders.

Over the last month, after the slaughters at Charlie Hebdo and the kosher supermarket at the Porte de Vincennes, secularists and laïques have discovered friends, and many enemies. All are ‘appalled’ at the murders. But……laughing at the Scriptures, in this instance, by “savage caricatures”, has caused great offence. In Britain much – not all – of the left has been appalled by the “pornographic” representation of the Prophet. Many of them, as we have noted on this Blog, have become stern Instructors on the Noble Art of Satire, finding fault in the magazine’s ‘sadism’ and attacks on the apparently powerless institutions of the Mosque, the memory of the Church, and the faith of the marginalised and oppressed. Alain Badiou has even compared Charlie’s lapses of taste to Voltaire’s rudeness at the Mystery of the Charity of Joan of Arc.

The most persistent theme has been to call the paper racist. This is not confined to the English-speaking world, although this smear is frequent enough in certain circles here. Camille Emmanuelle, married to Charlie cartoonist, Luz, resumes the list of charges against the Weekly, “Charlie Hebdo «est devenu un journal raciste, homophobe, transphobe, sexiste et tout particulièrement islamophobe ». (Charlie Hebdo: être aimé par des cons, c’est dur, être haï par des amis, c’est pire). If it’s less common in France to say that Charlie ‘had it coming to them’ (a statement that immediately evokes…..and the people at Hyper-Cacher ?…) one can still sense that something of that spirit is there amongt the ‘leftists’ who rail against the Charlie ‘laïcards’ – god botherers.

In this context the intervention of Pierre Rousset, a veteran of the Trotskyist movement (Ligue communiste révolutionnaire, Fourth International) and the broader French left, in his article Après Charlie Hebdo et l’Hyper Cacher : penser le neuf, repenser l’ancien (11th February 2015) assumes its significance. Rousset begins his article by thanking those, (himself, and François Sabado included), who immediately expressed solidarity with Charlie. (1) He then passes to those who equally swiftly seized on the demonstrations of ‘national unity’ to fall back on their « routine » criticisms of the French state. Most importantly Rousset is concerned with those who attempt to « morally assassinate » the people who were « assassinated physically » the Charlie team.

Much of the piece is a response to another person associated with the Fourth International, Gilbert Achar, and his comments on the events. (What caused the killings? 3.2.15.) Achcar has claimed that French response was ‘what anybody would expect’ – although he adds that one should not exaggerate any parallels with the attack on the Twin Towers. Nevertheless a lot of police repression, and Islamophobia was aroused. The ‘core issue’ that emerged was the ‘condition of populations of immigrant origin inside France.’ The SOAS-based academic rejects out of hand any talk identifying Political Islam with Fascism. The responsibility for the emergence of violent jihadism lies with ‘the imperialist powers, and above all, the United States’.

While Achcar does not indulge in the ‘but…..’ analysis of the majority of Charlie’s enemies, he still lays into the weekly, “Charlie Hebdo is a blatant illustration of the left-wing arrogant secularism”.

For Rousset, on the contrary, the reaction in France was far from what “one would expect”. The great demonstration of January the 11th expressed a ‘non-exclusive solidarity’. They refused any amalgamation between Islam and terrorism. While there have been assaults on Muslims it was significant that this was decisively rejected by those saying Je Suis Charlie. Many immigrant and minority community  associations backed the post-‘attentats’ commemorations.

The Left’s Failure to Confront Fundamentalism.

The heart of Après Charlie Hebdo lies in the statement that the radical left is ill-equipped to deal with fundamentalism. In large part this is due to their own weak links with immigrant populations, or those (3rd generation) of migrant descent. But perhaps more significantly this left’s strategy is awry.

The far-left is, in Rousset’s eyes, fixated on the ‘main enemy ’ imperialism, and unable to see these political movements as forces that act in their own right. He notes that we are not dealing with unknown quantities, « Le rôle de l’islam politique au pouvoir (Egypte), puis des islamismes « radicaux » contre les révolutions populaires dans le monde arabe ont dans une large part clarifié le débat sur la nature progressiste ou non de ces courants politico-religieux. » The role of Political Islam in government (Egypt), and that of radical Islamists against the mass revolutions in the Arab world, has largely clarified the debate about their progressive nature of these political-religious currents.”

Political agents on the fringe of Islamism, the ‘sects’ that commit acts of terrorism, and the sectarian state of the Caliphate, have their own internal logic. They are the enemies of progressives – and the enemies of Muslims. The world, he notes, is not bounded by Chinese Walls: what happens ‘there’ affects us all ‘here’. We have to fight the Islamist reactionaries, and struggle against discrimination and racism, with Muslims, for a society of solidarity.

One group’s strategy is signaled out by Rousset, the British SWP. He notes their communiqué after the January massacres. It condemned the slaughter but found time to lay responsibility on Charlie Hebdo for its ‘ racist’ provocations.

This is what he has to say,

« On comprend que le SWP britannique réagit ainsi, car il lui faut effacer ses traces et faire oublier ses propres responsabilités. Il a été l’une des principales organisations de la gauche radicale à présenter la montée du fondamentalisme islamique comme l’expression d’un nouvel anti-impérialisme ; il a aussi rendu inaudible la parole des femmes qui, en Grande-Bretagne même, appelaient les milieux progressistes à les soutenir face à l’emprise fondamentaliste. »

It is understandable that the SWP reacts in this way: they had to cover their tracks, to hide their own responsibilities. The party has been one of the main organisations on the radical left to present the rise of fundamentalism as the expression of a new ‘anti-imperialism’. In this way the SWP has stifled the voices of women, who in the UK itself, have called on progressive groups to back them against the power of the fundamentalists

Defending Charlie, a Generous Republic and Secularism.

Rousset defends Charlie, without admiring every one of its cartoons, or contributors. He underlines their left-wing commitment, describing them as a slice of the left, not ‘one’ group. The accusation of racism is simply risible. The veteran Trotskyist notes that some of the cartoonists published in his own journal Rouge (Ligue Comministe Révolutionnaire). The victim, Charlie, is not ‘perfect’ he rightly says.

There are questions about who to satirise and who to not. It is right to be able to blaspheme, it’s the right of a free society based on laïcité. Whether it is worth giving such prominence to lampooning religious symbols so relentlessly remains an issue. One does not need to cede to Anglo-American cultural imperialism to become bored – even for this English admirer of French ‘savage satire’ – with 3rd Republic anti-clericalism. And yet…..there are indeed – all too visible – religious « principalities and powers » that need criticism in the name of justice.

The generous spirit of Rousset is displayed in the sorrow with which he considers the fate of those who fell in January, the individuals and their friends. There is not a shred of ‘arrogance’ in his writing. His optimism and humanity stands out in  Rousset’s endorsement of « unité républicaine » « une certaine idée généreuse de la République, d’une citoyenneté commune. » embracing those who lives in the margins, and for a fight against all the racisms (all the other forms of prejudice and discrimination, against the Rom onwards)  that exist in France, is profoundly stirring. We are far from harvesting the last crop from the  rich soil of French virtue.

(1) They observed of the 11th January demonstration, “Whatever the confusion in the minds of participants, their reaction and behaviour showed that the demonstrations were a tremendous expression of fraternal feeling. Participants chatted amongst themselves and helped one another move along amidst the crush of the masses of people who had gathered. Some scenes on the short-lived afternoons of the 10th and 11th brought back memories of the demonstrations of 1995 or even 1968, with solidarity as the dominant theme.”

“We are all Charlie” burst out as a cry of human solidarity against the murders. It captured a range of opinions. The idea of a “working-class Charlie” was even put forward – in order to link solidarity with the murdered journalists with the need to mobilize in defense of social rights. The formulation is open to debate, but the idea is a correct one in that it seeks to inject social and democratic content into the anger and sadness.

This is the groundswell from French society that has been expressed since January 7th and anti-capitalists should be part of it, engaging in dialogue with the millions of people who have been involved. These were not reactionary demonstrations. The dominant themes were not support for cross-party national unity or the law-and-order and anti-democratic measures announced by the government. Society went into action, spontaneously, and with a great deal of confusion, but in a progressive direction all the same. This is the starting point for our thinking and it’s in this framework that we must assess the problems that now confront us.”

I could not agree more – in my very bones!

Charlie Hebdo – And now what? The events, their impact and the issues at play. François Sabado, Pierre Rousset  23rd January. 2005.

Police across the Country Take a Keen Interest in Charlie Hebdo Readers.

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Subversive: Needs ‘Community Reassurance’.

This story hasn’t stopped developing:

Several British police forces have questioned newsagents in an attempt to monitor sales of a special edition of Charlie Hebdo magazine following the Paris attacks, the Guardian has learned.

Officers in Wiltshire, Wales and Cheshire have approached retailers of the magazine, it has emerged, as concerns grew about why police were attempting to trace UK-based readers of the French satirical magazine.

In at least two cases – in Wiltshire and in Presteigne, Wales – officers have requested that newsagents hand over the names of customers who bought the magazine.

“This is so ridiculous as to be almost laughable. And it would be funny if it didn’t reflect a more general worrying increase in abuse of police powers in invading privacy and stifling free speech in Britain,” said Jodie Ginsberg, chief executive of free expression campaign group Index on Censorship.

“Does possessing a legally published satirical magazine make people criminal suspects now? If so, I better confess that I too have a copy of Charlie Hebdo.”

….

Five million copies of the magazine – which has a usual print run of around 60,000 – were published in a special edition, with about 2,000 of them reportedly distributed in the UK.

If you are a newsagent or reader who has experienced police contact related to Charlie Hebdo, please get in contact using the form below. Reading on mobile? Click here to complete the form.

Note: I too have a copy!

Cde Sarah AB  asks,

Why are the police so interested in Charlie Hebdo readers?

…….

These incidents have not escaped the eagle-eyes of French newshounds,

La police anglaise voulait ficher les lecteurs de «Charlie Hebdo»

Libération asks, “Acheter Charlie Hebdo est-il devenu si subversif que cela mérite d’être fiché ?”

Has buying Charlie Hebdo become so subversive that it means ending up on Police Files?

This is the rozzers’ explanation (Dyfed-Powys),

“Visits were made to newsagents who were maybe distributing the Charlie Hebdo magazine to encourage the newsagent owners to be vigilant. We can confirm the visits were only made to enhance public safety and to provide community reassurance.

We can think of more than a few people on the oh-so-British left who’d probably agree with the Police.

Written by Andrew Coates

February 11, 2015 at 12:07 pm

New Left Review (Verso) ‘abridges’ Badiou on Anti-Semite Charlie Massacre.

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Abridged Version Available on Verso Blogs.

There is a debate about  a translation of Alain Badiou’s Le Rouge et le Tricolore on the Verso Blog (New Left Review).

Alain Badiou analyses the events of the Charlie Hebdo attack in their global and national contexts, making the case for the incompatibility of the red flag of communism with the Tricolore of French national identity.”

Badiou considered the attack on Charlie and the Kosher supermarket to be  fascist.

He made these observations to back up the assertion.

Le Monde version.

D’abord, il est ciblé, et non pas aveugle, parce que sa motivation est idéologique, de caractère fascisant, ce qui veut dire strictement identitaire : nationale, raciale, communautaire, coutumière, religieuse… En la circonstance, les tueurs sont antisémites. Souvent le crime fasciste vise des publicistes, des journalistes, des intellectuels ou des écrivains que les tueurs estiment représentatifs du bord opposé.

Verso (Dave Broder translation),

A fascist-type crime, in my view, has three characteristics.

Firstly, it is not blind, but targeted: its motivation is an ideological one, of a fascistic character, which means a narrowly identitarian one: national, racial, communal, folk, religious… In this case, the murderers visibly targeted three identities that classical fascism often attacked: journalists considered to represent the enemy camp, policemen defending the hated parliamentary order, and Jews…

Read rest on Verso site.

Tendance Coatesy’s gloss on this section of the article (from Alain Badiou on Charlie Hebdo, Le Rouge et le Tricolore. A Critical Appraisal.)  arguing why the slaughter was fascist, “It was first of all targeted, and not random, next the motivation was of a fascist nature, from an identity, in this case anti-Semitic.

Why is the word “anti-Semitic” (as in  les tueurs sont antisémites, the killers are antisemites)  left out?

Apparently, the translation is not of the Le Monde article linked at the end, but supposedly some earlier, longer version, which is for some reason not available online.”

This is the Mediapart version:

D’abord, il est ciblé, et non pas aveugle, parce que sa motivation est idéologique, de caractère fascisant, ce qui veut dire : stupidement identitaire, nationale, raciale, communautaire, coutumière, religieuse… En la circonstance, les assassins avaient visiblement comme cibles trois identités souvent visées par le fascisme classique : les publicistes considérés comme du bord opposé, les policiers défendant l’ordre parlementaire haï, et les Juifs.

Certainly it does not mention anti-Semitism.

But as this is close to the crux of Badiou’s rhetoric (I was going to say argument, but the whole article is more a sustained exercise in rhetorical fireworks than a calmly laid out set of reasons).

Badiou has himself been accused of anti-Semitism (for calling Sarkozy – mother’s father, Jewish –  ‘l’homme aux rats’).

It is therefore of more than causal importance.

Why, then, was the term absent in the Verso piece?

The audience for the Le Monde article is, on any definition, greater than that of Medipart’s.

So why not go for the stuff people have actually read in France?

Another comment, “It is interesting to note what the Le Monde chose to leave out”

To coin a phrase, if Le Monde ‘abridged’ then, here, in the case of this translation, we have Vice Verso.

Perhaps there is a wider background.

This is what New Left Review veteran Tariq Ali thought about the murders at Charlie (no mention of the Kosher supermarket at the Porte de Vinceness, or  anti-Semitism at all).

How serious is Islamophobia in France and other European countries?

France is the worst in Europe and tries to mask it by proclaiming its secular values (sound familiar?), but these values don’t apply to Islam. In fact, French secularism means anything but Islam. And when satirical magazines taunt them, they react. It’s as simple as that.

Outlook.

It may well this is the message which New Left Review and Verso intends to broadcast, above any other.

There is plenty of self-indulgent cack on the Verso site to endorse this judgement on their ‘angle’ about Charlie Hebdo.

Item: Frédéric Lordon writes on the commemoration demonstrations for all those killed in the Islamist massacres,

Sunday’s marches above all saw the educated bourgeoisie contemplating its own strength and giving in to its self-enchantment. It’s not certain, however, that this makes for a ‘country’ or even a ‘people’, as we may well soon have good reason to remind ourselves.

One can see Ali rubbing his hands at many of Badiou’s own comments on Charlie Hebdo’s humour, such as these,

It may be amusing for the comfortably-off, but it is an indulgent ‘Western’ provocation against not only vast popular masses in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, but also a very large section of the working population in France itself

These are all points where lurid cultural racism fuses with blind hostility, crass ignorance and the fear that the vast mass of Africans or banlieue residents – the wretched of the earth – inspires in the hearts of our self-satisfied petty-bourgeois.

But……

Badiou mentions ‘anti-Semitism’.

Well –  it’s not important? 

Protest Against Charlie Hebdo’s “uncivilised expressionists” as Police take “an interest” in those who buy our Weekly.

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The rally was organised by the Muslim Action Forum, which expressed 'deep regret' at the Paris terror attacks

“Insult Mum and I will Punch You” (Pope Francis…)

1000s of Muslims including Scholars and Spiritual Leaders shall protest outside Downing Street to denounce the uncivilised expressionists reprinting of the cartoon image of the Holy Prophet Muhammad peace be upon Him. MAF once again invites the world to the Declaration of Global Civility. The global Muslim community shall not be hijacked by coldblooded killers or uncivilised expressionists.

Muslim Action Forum. (MAF)

Hat-Tip JB.

Apparently this all part of a campaign for “global civility”.

Petition:

  • I believe that through mutual consideration and the revival of civility as a shared medium of dialogue we are better equipped to reconstructing a more enlightened society.
  •  I endorse emphatically the Declaration of Global Civility drafted by the campaigners of Global Civility
  • I call upon the British Parliament to table a debate in both Houses of Parliament to discuss the endorsement of the Declaration of Global Civility.
  •  I call upon all civilised people and institutions globally to disassociate themselves from any actions that are an affront to global civility. I denounce the actions of all those people who are connected with the production of the cartoons of the Holy Prophet Muhammad peace be upon Him and believe that these actions are an affront to the norms of civilised society.

Number of signatures: 106893

One of the key points on the Declaration of ‘global civility’ is a call to curb what people say, or ” Reckless and malicious expressions will lead to vilification and demonisation of each other and our communities. “

In other words, say something we don’t like, “an affront to the norms of civilised society”and…….

This is  one of  their ‘civil responses’ (from Facebook Page).

Be careful, be very careful, or…….

Some of Sunday’s marchers take inspiration from a (cinema advertisement) by the Prophet Alan Partridge.

Newspaper report on protest.

Thousands of British Muslims gathered near Downing Street to protest against cartoons showing the prophet Muhammad and voice opposition to “insulting” depictions.

A leaflet issued by the Muslim Action forum (MAF), who organised the rally, said recent republishing of cartoons, caricatures and depictions of Muhammad by satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and other publishers is a “stark reminder” that freedom of speech is “regularly utilised to insult personalities that others consider sacred”.

The group also expressed “deep regret” at the Paris terror attacks, which included a massacre at Charlie Hebdo, saying they were a “violation of Islamic law”.

The words “Charlie and the abuse factory” and “learn some manners” were written on signs held by demonstrators. A number of speakers addressed the crowd while there were communal prayers before a delegation took a petition signed by more than 100,000 British Muslims to 10 Downing Street.

It calls for “global civility” and says the production of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad are “an affront to the norms of civilised society”.

Shaykh Tauqir Ishaq, a senior spokesman for MAF, said: “Perpetual mistakes by extremists, either by cold-blooded killers or uncivilised expressionists, cannot be the way forward for a civilised society. The peace-loving majority of people must become vociferous in promoting global civility and responsible debate. At this time of heightened tension and emotion, it is crucial that both sides show restraint to prevent further incidents of this nature occurring.”

Shaykh Noor Siddiqi, another MAF representative, said: “The actions of the UK media in not publishing the cartoons is highly appreciated by British Muslims and we hope that this kind of self-restraint and mutual respect will ultimately lead to a harmonious society.”

Across the street on Whitehall a handful of counter demonstrators holding a Britain First banner gathered.

Scotland Yard said it was not aware of any arrests during the protest.

Guardian.

More reporting in the Telegraph.

The MAF site cites ‘blasphemy law’ as a restriction on free speech.

Blasphemy Laws – seeks to restrict hateful literature being published that is “reviling”, “scurrilous” or even “ludicrous matter” relating to Christian concepts. The specifically relate to the Christian God, Jesus Christ, the Christian Bible or the Christian Book of Common Prayer.

It fails to mention this: “On May 8, 2008, the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 abolished the common-law offences of blasphemy and blasphemous libel in England and Wales, with effect from 8 July 2008.”

We have further questions: 

It’s strange march for “civility” that includes people who cite the Pope’s notorious statement that nobody should be allowed to “insult” the faith of others.

Religions routinely  insult other people by their claim that only one set of believers are ‘saved’.

Hitting people for saying things, “a punch in the nose” – even about our mothers – is not normally called civilised.

Even if we believe that a religion is talking about real people.

But then the MAF carries images of people carrying placards saying, “We love the prophet Muhammed more than our lives.”

Some unkind people might call that blind fanaticism.….

And…….

It would be interesting to have a full list of the “scholars” and “spiritual leaders” on this threatening demonstration.

The MAF site states that it’s backed by the “major Muslim organisations in the UK” .

Which ones?

Meanwhile the Police in Wiltshire are doing their best to keep on eye on “uncivilised expressionists” by drawing up a list of people who buy Charlie Hebdo.

Your offer of commemorative badges in support of journalistic freedom highlighting “Je suis Charlie”, prompts me to suggest a degree of caution following my experience. Tongue in cheek, I asked my helpful newsagents to obtain a copy of the edition of Charlie Hebdo issued after the dreadful massacre in Paris, if indeed a copy was ever available in north Wiltshire. To my surprise, a copy arrived last Wednesday week and although the standard of content in no way matches that of the Guardian I will cherish it. However, two days later a member of Her Majesty’s police service visited said newsagent, requesting the names of the four customers who had purchased Charlie Hebdo. So beware, your badges may attract police interest in your customers.
Anne Keat
Corsham, Wiltshire

Guardian.

Update: Police Apology.

Wiltshire police issue apology for seeking details of Charlie Hebdo readers after Paris attacks. Full story soon.

Written by Andrew Coates

February 9, 2015 at 12:04 pm

The Very Political Nudity of Golshifteh Farahani.

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La comédienne a été chassée d'Iran en 2008.

The Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani, has posed nude in the irregularly published  French photography magazine, «Égoïste».

Libération has just published the picture.

This gives some background.

Exiled Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani has sent a message of defiance again to the ruling Ayatollahs in Tehran by appearing completely naked on the cover of French magazine Egoïste, French media reported on Thursday.

“France has liberated me,” the 31-year-old actress told the magazine, according to the daily 20 minutes daily newspaper.

Paris “is the only place in the world where women do not feel guilty. In the East, you are that [guilty] all the time. As soon as you feel your first sexual impulses,” she added.

The winner of Silver Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival and Best Narrative Feature at Tribeca Film Festival in 2009 was reportedly informed by Iranian authorities in 2012 that she was not welcome home anymore.

Days after the video was released an official of the supreme court of the Islamic Republic reportedly called her family in Tehran and shouted at her father, telling him, according to The Guardian, that she would be “punished, that her breasts would be cut off and presented to him on a plate.”

Her ban from returning to Iran came after she revealed her right breast in a black-and-white video with 30 other French cinema “young hopes” to promote the Césars, considered the “French Oscars.” Farahani had been nominated for her role in “Si Tu Meurs, Je Te Tue” (If You Die, I’ll Kill You). The Iranian actress has also posed nude for French magazine Madame Figaro.

“I was told by a Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guide official that Iran does not need any actors or artists. You may offer your artistic services somewhere else,” Farahani said, according UK daily The Telegraph.

Farahani is known for her role opposite American stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe in “Body of Lies” and is the first Iranian woman who starred in a major Hollywood movie since the country’s 1979 revolution.

Al Arbaiya News. 

In Libération, the Iranian sociologist Chahla Chafiq, author of Islam, politique, sexe et genre (PUF) is cited.

She states” The obligation to wear a veil symbolises sexualised boundaries. It confirms in this way the body of a woman as a place upon which the community places its honour, denying the freedom and autonomy of women. Golshifteh Farahan’s act has broken that wall. “…l’obligation du voile symbolise les frontières sexuées. Il confirme par cela la conception du corps de la femme comme un lieu où s’inscrit l’honneur communautaire, niant ainsi la liberté et l’autonomie des femmes. L’acte de Golshifteh Farahan vient casser ce mur).

More from Egoïste.

Wikipedia (English): Golshifteh Farahani.

Socialist Unity Defends Galloway and Attacks “Free Speech Merchants” who Defend Charlie Hebdo.

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Happier Times: Galloway with a Respectful Listener. 

This week’s Question Time included George Galloway on the panel.

Galloway did not appreciate his robust reception.

The Huffington Post reports,

After an bruising appearance on Question Time Thursday night, George Galloway is appealing to the public to complain to the BBC about his treatment.

Galloway posted a telephone number, instructing his 234,000 followers: “to call to register your complaints about the lynch-mob masquerading as @bbcquestiontime last night. Please do.”

….Upon leaving the show, Galloway tweeted that his car had been “kicked and thumped”, though footage later posted on YouTube shows the 60-year-old climbing into a car apparently unmolested as police officers stand by.

A small crowd can be heard shouting at Galloway asking him: “Why are you an anti-Semite?” but the car leaves without delay.

Twitter user BaggyBrett remarked: “It wasn’t an attack. It was a demo against him. He’s glorifying it for the sake of creating his agenda.”

The controversy has yet to die down.

To John Wight on Socialist Unity.

Someone tweeted last night after the show ‘Je Suis George Galloway’. It is hard to argue with that sentiment after the attempted political and public lynching of the Respect MP on Question Time.

In the same article he ventured this view,

The free speech ‘merchants’, those who were so up in arms over matters related to the massacre at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, who use free speech as a sword rather than a shield, would like nothing more than to silence one of the only voices in the country’s national life who dares challenge the demonisation of Muslims and the Muslim community, establishment support for the apartheid state of Israel, and a political status of quo of military intervention overseas and social and economic injustice at home.

While disagreeing with the poster Socialist Unity showed its dedication to free speech by letting this comment on Wight’s piece stand,

This show was A disgrace to democracy and stunk of being set up by The Jewish Lobby within the BBC, I demand A full investigation into the Production team and other involved.

More, from a very different angle, on the Galloway Show: here.

These are Galloway’s views on Charlie Hebdo,

Footage has emerged showing firebrand MP George Galloway condemning the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo for producing “pornographic, obscene insults” against the Prophet Muhammad.

….we condemn utterly the murder of 17 people in the events in Paris. But we will not allow this Charlie Hebdo magazine to be described as a king of loveable, anarchic, fun book of cartoons.

“These are not cartoons, these are not depictions of the Prophet, these are pornographic, obscene insults to the Prophet and by extension, 1.7billion human beings on this earth and there are limits.

“There are limits. There limits to free speech and free expression especially in France.”

Galloway described the newspaper’s purpose as “to further marginalize, further alienate and further endanger exactly those parts of the community who are already alienated, already endangered. It is a racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag.”

“Je ne suis pas Charlie Hebdo,” he declared.

Galloway has also offered to teach satirists how to do satire (a crowded field),

View image on Twitter

 

 

Update: this is brilliant and essential reading: Why Blasphemy law is unpardonable: a pre-emptive attack on IERA debate.

Written by Andrew Coates

February 7, 2015 at 11:54 am

After Kobane, Where Now for the Kurdish Liberation Movement?

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  Three YPG fighters in Kobane shortly after they liberated the city from ISIS militants in January. Photo: AFP

Three YPG fighters in Kobane shortly after they liberated the city from ISIS militants in January. Photo: AFP

Kurdish forces advance miles outside Kobane, retake 100 villages

 By Omar Kalo (Rudaw)

KOBANE—Kurdish forces continue to push Islamic State (ISIS) militants out of the Kobane area and have retaken more than 100 villages from the extremist group in the past two weeks.

Fighters of the Peoples Protection Units (YPG) have now reached the village of Karamox, 20 kilometers east of Kobane.

In their advance against ISIS, the YPG fighters are supported by Peshmerga artillery and coalition airstrikes.

Since they drove out ISIS militants from the city last month after 133 days of fighting, the Kurdish forces have advanced against the Islamist group in all directions and reclaimed many of the villages that fell to the group in September.

Last week, the YPG fighters took back the village of Kofi, 25 kilometers south of Kobane as well as the village of Rovi on the main road between Kobane and Aleppo.

On the western front, the Kurdish forces are now positioned 20 kilometers away at Karako village.

YPG commanders inside the city told Rudaw that 15 ISIS militants fled the Kurdish advance west of Kobane on Friday and crossed the border into Turkey.

Autonomy in Kurdistan  Matt Petersen & Joen Vedel

From the Kurdish Question.

After driving ISIS from Kobane, the Kurdish liberation movement considers their successes and looks forward toward the continuing struggle for autonomy.

Last week, we met with Hilmi Aydoğdu, Presidency Council member of the Democratic Society Congress (DTK)* at DTK offices in Amed, Kurdistan.

This was just days after the YPG (People’s Defense Units) won a months long battle with ISIS, liberating the city of Kobane. Since our interview, the YPG and other Kurdish fighters have continued to retake surrounding villages in the Kobane Canton, which is one of three autonomous communes in Rojava, the majority Kurdish area of northern Syria.

Earlier this fall, as images of the women warriors of the YPJ (Women’s Protection Units) circulated widely in Western news and social media, radical movements worldwide began to take a renewed interest in the Kurdish freedom movement. This led many to closely study the DTK’s July 2011 declaration of “democratic autonomy” within Turkey. We visited Amed (Diyarbakir), in southeastern Anatolia, which is the political capital of the Kurdish movement, and the headquarters of many of its political organizations, to meet with participants in the movement and learn more about the current Kurdish struggle.

We asked Hilmi what the recent liberation of Kobane meant for the Kurdish movement; about the implementation of democratic autonomy and confederalism within both Rojava and Turkey; and the role of the Kurdish movement as a secular force in the Middle East.

• • •

The main purpose of the Kurdish struggle is the freedom of Kurdish people in all of Kurdistan. What we understand by freedom includes self-rule and independence in terms of using our own economic and natural resources. This is what we call democratic autonomy.

In the Middle East there are many different ethnic communities, many religions and belief systems. It is possible that these people can live together and share their riches with each other, by abolishing the oppression and exploitation in the Middle East. What we call confederalism is the system that includes all these communities and peoples. And to achieve this, we first have to struggle for the democratic autonomy of Kurdistan, and then to spread it to the rest of the region.

This democratic autonomy entails a restructuring of society. We have a struggle that took 40 years, and within this process all the social values and norms in Kurdistan have been drastically transformed. The clearest sign of this social transformation is the women’s struggle. In Kurdistan women were experiencing a double slavery; they were slaves of the system and the slaves of men as well. Our struggle has contributed to the participation of women in all of social life. What we see in Kobane represents this transformation. We believe that a free society is not possible without the freedom and participation of women, demonstrated by the presence of women in every field of life and work.

Our 40 years of struggle revitalized an almost annihilated people. In this 40 year struggle the labor and creative power of women has played a key role. In Kobane, women were fighting shoulder to shoulder with men. The success of Kobane comes from this. The true power behind this success is the actualization of the highest level of creativity, power, and spirit of women. This is the only way for the liberation of our people. The role of women was decisive in Kobane.

The model of democratic autonomy has been realized in Rojava. The building of this model is experienced now in three cantons. Our people, together with other communities living in Rojava, have gained an initiative over their lives within the form of equal representation. Now these people together try to share social prosperity in an equal manner.

For the question of how Syria is going to be liberated, the replacement of Assad with another dictator is not a solution. Rojava proposes a solution to exploitative capitalist modernity in the Middle East. This proposition has disturbed both the reactionaries and imperial powers. They were afraid that Rojava could be an exemplary model, and so they organized ISIS and unleashed them to attack Rojava.

The cantons of Rojava are totally democratic. Whole religious sections are able to represent themselves thanks to the model of democratic autonomy in Rojava, and its spirit of social solidarity. The factor that expelled ISIS is this model of governance, because this model actualizes the dynamics, energy, and potential in people. When we totally expel ISIS, Rojava will achieve further political, economic, social and cultural improvements.

What we express as democratic autonomy/confederalism is a model against capitalist modernity. The primary dynamic of this model is the Kurdish freedom movement. The fascist military coup in 1980 totally crushed the revolutionary opposition in Turkey and it created an intimidated society. The Kurdish movement from the very beginning ceaselessly resisted this fascism. They organized vast resistance in the prisons and began armed struggle on August 15th, 1984. The ceaseless resistance of this movement relied on its power of organizing a philosophy of life, and acted solely by relying on its own power. This movement exposed a vital social power.

The paradigm of the Kurdish movement includes the transformation of not only the Kurds, but also all the oppressed sectors in Turkish society. Therefore the gains of the Kurdish movement have direct impact on the other social sectors in Turkey. However, the role that the Kurds play on the transformation of other oppressed sectors of Turkey could have been larger. The 1980 military coup waged a psychological war, especially through the media, which created a perception in the society that those in the Kurdish freedom movement were monsters. This is an ongoing process. Our struggle has damaged this perception to some extent, but it is still present in Turkish society. The damage of the military coup on the Turkish Left also restrains the impact of the Kurdish freedom movement on Turkish society. If the Turkish Left was not fragmented and dispersed as they are now, the opportunities that the Kurdish movement creates could have been better realized in Turkish society. This is an important disadvantage for the Kurdish struggle.

The Kurdish movement is the only movement that aims at creating a democratic social life in the Middle East. Moreover, the Kurdish movement is the only movement that sees the togetherness of different values of Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and other belief systems as a strength and opportunity for developing a social system. There is no other movement in the Middle East that pursues such a democratic social model. I wish there was. If so, they could fight together in solidarity.

The Kurdish movement, especially following the path of leadership, changed the color of the whole Middle East. The reforms that took place in Europe in 14th and 15th centuries have been rapidly experienced in Kurdish society in the last 40 years, such as liberation in culture, art, gender relations, a new democratic perspective, organization of all sections of society on the basis of politics, civil society, and gender. We saw the invincibility of an organized society in Rojava and in Kobane particular. The Kurdish freedom movement is an alternative for both Turkey and the Middle East because it has organized itself in all fields–military, cultural, and beliefs–as an alternative system that is adaptive to contemporary needs.

* Hilmi Aydoğdu was formerly chair of the DTP (Democratic Society Party), a Kurdish political party that was banned by the Turkish government in 2009. The DTP was succeeded by the BDP (Peace and Democracy Party), which last year merged with the HDP (People’s Democratic Party). The HDP plans to run in the June 2015 general elections as a broad alliance party, including both the Kurdish movement and the Turkish Left opposition, where it hopes to reach the 10% threshold to join Turkey’s Grand National Assembly

* The DTK (Democratic Society Congress) is an umbrella organization for the Kurdish movement founded in 2005, as a confederation of civil society organizations, political parties, and individual members of diverse ethnic, political, and religious groups.

Originally published in The New Inquiry (http://thenewinquiry.com/features/autonomy-in-kurdistan/)

Written by Andrew Coates

February 7, 2015 at 11:12 am

The SWP (Socialist Review) Instructs Charlie Hebdo on How to do Satire.

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Tim Sanders * in Socialist Review tells satirists how they should do satire….

“The savage killing of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists and journalists by terrorists in Paris is utterly contemptible, but not inexplicable.”

And,

There’s been a vocal campaign extolling the “western values” of free speech and the right to offend, claiming that satire should be free from constraints and able to offend indiscriminately. This is where I part company with the satirists of Charlie Hebdo. The point of satire is to attack the powerful, to expose their hypocrisy and absurdity, and of course to be funny. If satire is directed downwards it is not satire, it’s bullying.

And, on Charlie (which he suddenly on expert on),

Sadly Charlie Hebdo had been drifting away from its roots in the revolutionary events of France 1968 for some time. In the aftermath of 9/11 its output became blatantly Islamophobic and increasingly Zionist. They carried cartoons which were vile racist caricatures of the sort I haven’t seen since the National Front and BNP published such stuff in the 1970s and 1980s. Worse, some of the anti-Arab cartoons are so stereotypical that the addition of a Star of David would immediately turn them into the sort of anti-Semitic filth produced by the Nazi Third Reich. These are images designed to offend and humiliate a marginalised and persecuted minority. Yet they went largely unchallenged.

Ach…Zionist – what would racism be like without ‘Zionism’?

Not that there is any evidence of this, or the rest – gleaned no doubt from Sander’s quick Google of the Front Pages of (16 page long) Charlie Hebdo.

But there are rules of satire – which is seems have to be followed.

Expliquez-nous les règles cher Maître de conférences…..

“Satire should spear the powerful.”

 But printing nasty and bad taste cartoons, attacking religious authority,  is beyond the pale.

They get a magic card, if they are ‘Muslims’ (as if all people from an Islamic background remain ‘Muslims’ for ever) showing that they are not “rich and powerful”.

Many might indicate that the Islamists and other religious bigots have both of these qualities.

The Mosque’, like ‘The Church’ (all exceptions counted), has wealth, whatever the believers’ money.

Back to the “rules”:

Satire: Do not do anything that might help ‘the state’.

Satire: do not laugh at Muslims,

This is worse than bullying; it is satire in the ideological service of the state (and Charlie Hebdo receives a hefty subsidy from the French government). Islamophobia is not satire. Laughing at Muslims is like sharing a joke with the Nazis of the Front National. And I don’t think any cartoonist worth their salt would relish the idea of their deaths being mourned by the likes of Netanyahu, Hollande, Merkel and the other world leaders who headed up the march in Paris after the killings.

There are some things – religious figures (Charlie only attached gods, prophets, religious dignitaries, and fanatical activists, from Catholic ‘ultras’ to  Islamist ‘barbus’ ) – which are too sacred for SWP supporters to satirise….

Any laughter is…bullying – from a small circulation weekly which nobody is obliged to read.

Charlie is apparently proved guilty by the character of those who (officially) mourned the deaths….

Oh, and Charlie received money from the French state after the atrocity.

But Tim Sanders can’t be bothered to mention this fact.

The sight of these champions of free speech (the same ones who have banned Muslim women from wearing the veil and outlawed pro-Palestine demonstrations) marching in the name of free expression seems almost beyond parody. Fortunately many cartoonists and satirists have already proved this fear wrong with merciless exposure of these hypocrites. I have a radical, non-satirical idea to prevent further atrocities like this: How about not invading other people’s countries?

No mention of the Jewish victims in the Kosher supermarket: Yoav Hattab, 21, the son of the Chief Rabbi of Tunis, Philippe Braham, in his 40s, Yohan Cohen, 22 and Francois-Michel Saada, in his 60s.

Perhaps they were also “Zionists”.

One assumes that they should have stopped invading ‘other people’s countries’ as well.

In any case, Charlie was ridiculing a “a marginalised and persecuted minority” (what is the evidence for the persecution by the way – are Muslims as Muslims prevented from following their religion in France?).

The slaughter was not “inexplicable”.

For the SWP it is eminently explicable.

They had it coming to them.

*****

No doubt following this, and in line with the policy of “unconditional support for Muslim communities”, the SWP will back the prosecution of Charlie Hebdo for blasphemy in Ireland,

The sale of the Charlie Hebdo magazine published after the Paris atrocity is threatening to become the first major test of the Irish Republic’s blasphemy law, Muslim representatives and secularists have warned.

Ireland’s Islamic Cultural Centre has said the presence of a depiction of the prophet Muhammad on the front page of the satirical publication, on sale now in Irish shops, is a clear breach of the country’s blasphemy legislation.

The Irish Republic is the only nation in Europe to have introduced a blasphemy law in the 21st century. Secular and atheist groups in Ireland have been campaigning for its abolition since it came into being in 2010 – the last year of the Fianna Fáil-Green government.

The advocacy group Atheist Ireland is to meet the Irish prime minister, Enda Kenny, in Dublin next Tuesday, to urge the taoiseach to hold a referendum on abolishing the law before the general election in 2016.

Ahmed Hasain, the executive secretary of the Islamic Cultural Centre in Dublin, said: “In our view, the sale of this magazine is a breach in Irish law. It is blasphemous and it is illegal under the legislation. It’s against the law here in Ireland, that is quite clear.”

Hasain said that while the centre has not decided whether or not to lodge a complaint to the Irish authorities, individuals or groups have the right under Irish law to use the legislation to prosecute those distributing the magazine since last week.

He described the law introduced by the former Fianna Fáil justice minister, Dermot Ahern, as very helpful. “It’s good that the law is in place as it protects every faith,” he said.

Michael Nugent, writer and co-founder of Atheist Ireland, agreed with Hasain that technically speaking the sale of around 1,500 copies of the Charlie Hebdo edition in the state had breached the blasphemy law.
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He said: “The Charlie Hebdo cartoons seem to meet the first test of the Irish law, that is that it is ‘grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion’. The next test in the law is ‘thereby causing outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of that religion’.

“So if anyone wants to try to have a prosecution brought, [cases must be brought by the state ] what they would have to do is demonstrate that outrage has been caused. But it would be irresponsible to encourage or show outrage at a time like this. People who are offended should respond more proportionately than by showing outrage. That is a major flaw in the Irish law – it encourages outrage.”

Ahead of its meeting with the taoiseach, Atheist Ireland announced a new international campaign against blasphemy laws. The organisation has joined forces with secular groups from Britain, Canada, Iceland, the US and New Zealand. They are organising an online global petition against laws which they say “legitimise mob violence, vigilantism, and persecution of minorities”.

Prof Heiner Bielefeldt, the UN special rapporteur on freedom of religion, has advised Atheist Ireland to keep up the pressure in the republic to repeal the law.

“Of course you are right that the major damage done by this legislation is the international one,” he told the organisation. “I wouldn’t expect any harsh verdicts being handed down in Ireland, but those countries that continue to have an intimidating anti-blasphemy practice like to quote European countries to unmask western hypocrisy.”

Blasphemy in Ireland is a crime punishable with a fine of up to €25,000 (£19,000).

Guardian.

* Background:

Tim Sanders was born on 8 October 1957 in Castle Donnington, Leicestershire. He attended the King Edward VI School in Lichfield from 1970 to 1976, and studied at the Harrow School of Art from 1976 to 1979, specialising in illustration and leaving with “a perfect ability to draw fire extinguishers”.

Sanders draws pocket cartoons and political cartoons, using the signature “Tim”. He was cartoonist for the Socialist Worker, and in 1995 a collection of his cartoons was published as “In the Heat of the Scribble.” In 1999 Sanders began working as pocket cartoonist for the Independent, replacing Chris Priestley.

As well as working for The Independent and Independent on Sunday, Sanders has drawn cartoons and illustrations for a range of publications, including The Guardian, Observer, Daily Telegraph, Mail on Sunday You Magazine, Nursing Times, Broadcast, and Red Pepper. Sanders is also a Spanish speaker and a scholar of Hispanic art.

Sanders is not cited, I note, as a fluent French speaker.

“Disparition”, Yemeni photographer Bushra Almutawakel: Challenging

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Disparition (disappearance). Bushra Almutawake.

Global Voices comments (from Eloïse Lagrenée):

“Disparition” by Yemeni photographer Bushra Almutawakel, illustrating how women could vanish into darkness and invisibility, step by step, under fundamentalist pressure and the full niqab.”

Hat-Tip: SH.

From Slate: Bushra Almutawakel says,

“I want to be careful not to fuel the stereotypical, widespread negative images most commonly portrayed about the hijab/veil in the Western media. Especially the notion that most, or all women who wear the hijab/veil, are weak, oppressed, ignorant, and backwards,” Almutawakel explained. Her photographs question the place of gender in a more subtle, often playful, way by challenging people’s expectations.

Yet Almutawakel’s way of pushing boundaries doesn’t amuse everyone. “Some men—even some Western-educated men—could not find the humour in What If, ” Almutawakel said in an email. “Some of them asked me if I was supporting the idea that men wear the veil instead of women.”

Almutawakel’s latest project for the hijab series shows how men’s traditional clothing can be similar to women’s in the Middle East. Her pictures show a woman dressed in long, loose masculine outfits that include a head covering.

By offering different ways of looking at the hijab, Almutawakel conveys a bigger picture—a picture that is far from being just black and white.”

Slate Magazine.

About the Artist

Boushra Y. Almutawakel studied in the USA and Yemen and was a founding member of the Al-Halaqa in Sana’a, an artists’ group which created a space for discourse and exhibitions and forged links with international artists. Boushra has worked as a photographer for the United Nations, CARE International, the Royal Netherlands Embassy, the Social Organisation for Family Development, the National Institute for Health Education, The British Council, The French Embassy,and many others, while pursuing her own personal photographic projects. In 1999, she was honoured as the first Yemeni Woman Photographer, with a number of other Yemeni women pioneers by the Empirical Research and Women’s Studies Centre at Sana’a University.

In 2001 Boushra won a World Studio Foundation Scholarship toward her study for a Diploma in Advertising Photography at the Portfolio Centre, Atlanta, USA, completing the program in 2002.  As a photo student, she won Mac on Campus (1st place),Show South (gold), among others and her work was published in CMYK magazine (2001-2) and GraphisNew Talent Design Annual (2002).

Boushra worked as a consultant on cultural affairs for the Yemeni Embassy in Washington (2002-3) and organised a series of events in the DC area, as part of the  ‘Windows on the Cultural Heritage of Yemen”, a symposium at the Smithsonian, as well as exhibits, lectures, concerts and film screenings on Yemen. From 2005-2006 she worked at the Ministry of Human Rights in Sana’a, focusing on women’s issues, while also pursuing her photography.

Her work has been acquired by the British Museum in London, The Museum of Fine Arts of Boston, the Barjeel Foundation, as well as by other well known collectors. Boushra Almutawakel currently works and lives in Sana’a, with her husband and their four lovely daughters. “

Muslima.

In the images of ‘disparition’ (disappearing) it’s hard not to see the critique of enforced religious dress codes indicated on Global Voices.

Aesthetically one can say that this photo series has both ‘significant form’ and ‘significant content’ – indicating, through everyday images,  the political and gendered significance of a developing, ever more enveloping, Islamic dress codes.

Or, more simply: Disparition  is sharp and right to the point. 

Written by Andrew Coates

February 4, 2015 at 5:24 pm

Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste (NPA) rejects any Electoral Unity with the Front de Gauche (FdG).

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No Syriza Style Left Unity for NPA. 

At its weekend – 3rd – Congress the majority of the NPS has decided to “turn the page” on electoral discussions with the different groupings in the Front de gauche (FdG).

From Libération (adapted).

If the NPA will join alongside the FdG “in struggles” there is no longer any question of talks with them about electoral alliances.

For the coming departmental and regional elections of 2015, and for the 2017 Presidential elections, the NPA will not ally with the Front de gauche, said Ludovic Wolfgang, spokesperson for the new majority. We will not discuss with them the possibility or not of presenting a candidate.

He did not rule out an agreement with Lutte Ouvrière for the Presidential elections.

“This will send a very bad message to the outside world ” said Sandra Demarcq, of platform 1,  in the minority, who proposed a less inflexible stand towards the FdG.

This minority platform was signed by Olivier Besancenot, former Presidential candidate (2007 –  first round,  1.2 million votes, 4.25%).

At its formation in 2009 the NPA had over 9,000 members. After splits which have seen hundreds join the Front de Gauche (from the Gauche Unitaire, ‘Picquet Tendency’ to Convergences et Alternative the Gauche anticapitaliste, the latter two now part of Ensemble)  the  NPA has shrunk to 2,100 members.

AFP

The motion against national unity states, “Le mouvement ouvrier doit refuser de faire bloc autour du gouvernement dans une prétendue lutte commune pour la liberté d’expression, qu’il musèle, et contre le terrorisme, dont il favorise l’expansion.

The workers’ movement must refuse to rally behind the government and its claim to defend freedom of expression – which it muzzles, and its campaign against terrorism, which it had helped promote.  

Rejecting national unity is fine, it is not the left’s job to support a union sacrée.

But it is disappointing that the NPA appears bent on adopting an “anglo-saxon” (more exactly a ‘post-colonial’ and liberal ‘multicultural’)  stand on anti-racism, with the use of the word ‘Islamophobia” – which conflates political and social criticism of Islamism with hatred of Muslim individuals – creeping in. While the NPA has carried articles on hatred against Jewish people, the motion on this issue studiously marginalises Antisemitism – the motive for the attack and murders at the Kosher supermarket at the Porte de Vincennes. That is, while mentioning this hatred as a cause of this slaughter, it refuses to make the struggle against Antisemitism – unlike the issue of hostility to Muslims – part of the NPA’s campaign against national unity.

Furthermore in its motion of feminism (see comment by Julien Gousse) below) it defends sexist Islamic dress codes, ignoring the compulsion behind this religious rule forcing women to be ‘modest’.

The Blog de Julien Gouesse, says this (I have rendered some sentences more idiomatically English)  on the Congrès.

I participated to the third congress of the new anti-capitalist party as a delegate from Friday, January 30th to Sunday, February 1st, 2015 in Saint-Denis. It took place after local, elected, aggregates,  in which 1403 activists were involved amongst about 70% of those who paid their party dues. The texts were on various topics, the profile of the party for the future elections, climate, our feminist intervention, our antifascist action, our analysis of the French (the national unity following the attacks, the Macron law, …) and the international (Syriza, Podemos, Daesh, …) situation, our media system, our security service, our involvement in the unions, … You can find the motion « climate » here. I learned of the launch of the economic work group’s website too.

I’m satisfied with the conference on the whole despite some minor organisational problems. For example, several texts that should have been worked out in the parallel commissions with the agreement of  all participants were given a final form (far from the embarrassment of public scrutiny) in order to force the inclusion of some modifications unacceptable to some delegates.

That’s why I refused to vote for the anti-racist feminist motion that was distributed to us a few minutes before the vote and because of a paragraph that claims that the debate on this issue is resolved in the party whereas it is definitely not the case:. This is what was presented « The defence of women’s right to employment and education is particularly important against the pressure from all sides to put them back to home or unemployment. Wearing the scarf (le foulard – Muslim head covering) mustn’t be an obstacle on this plan« .

I’m mostly relieved that our party will not participate to the next elections with the Left-wing Front. This will not  prevent us from being together in mobilisations.

Finally, I am wholeheartedly with the Greek people and I hope that it will get a lot of social progress through Syriza but the range of possibilities within the institutions is limited, there will be no shortcut in the class struggle, the Greeks will have to remain mobilized and vigilant. Voting for parties totally independent from the social democracy is a good start but will it be enough to get rid of the austerity policies? After the appetiser  the main course remains. I admit that I’m more interested in the Catalonia integral cooperative than in Podemos.

More from the Nouveau Parti anticapitaliste on its Conference here.

The same weekend the ex-NPA current, Gauche anticapitaliste has just merged with the Alternatifs, the Fase, and the Communistes unitaires with other smaller groups) in Ensemble. This is now the ‘third major component of the Front de gauche.

Congrès d’Ensemble. L’unité, le Front de gauche et Syriza pour boussoles.