Tendance Coatesy

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Malia Bouattia: “Condemnation of Isis appears to have become a justification for war and blatant Islamophobia.”

with 25 comments

Anti-Jewish Riots and Killing in Constantine 1934.

Malia Bouattia, new President of the NUS,  stood on a radical grassroots platform and made headlines last year after opposing a motion to condemn Isis reports the Guardian.

The new president is a controversial figure among many students, coming to prominence in the national press after speaking against an NUS motion “to condemn the IS and support Kurdish forces fighting against it, while expressing no confidence or trust in the US military intervention”.

The motion failed to pass and Bouattia said she had objected to the wording, issuing her own statement expressing solidarity with the Kurds against Islamic State and condemning the group’s “brutal actions”.

“We recognise that condemnation of Isis appears to have become a justification for war and blatant Islamophobia,” she said at the time. “This rhetoric exacerbates the issue at hand and in essence is a further attack on those we aim to defend.”

Obviously this issue interests an audience on the left far wider than the student movement.

A particularly ridiculous response is offered by Lindsey German of Counterfire, who simply ignores the subject of the Kurdish fight and ISIS and states this,

Her most recent profile has been round a series of meetings opposing the government’s Prevent strategy. Her background as someone of Algerian descent gives her a first-hand knowledge of imperialism and racism. That means she understands the concerns of many of the students she will be representing.

The backlash against her has begun on day one. She will need all the support and solidarity that she can get. But today marks a victory for those who oppose war and racism. And a defeat for those who don’t.

Counterfire.

We note that anybody from an Algerian background, which saw a civil war in 1991 break out between the repressive Algiers state and violent Islamism (MIA, GIA, GSPC and the still active, AlQaïda au Maghreb islamique,  AQMI)  should express a position not just on imperialism and racism, and not only the blood-drenched Algerian military,  but on a very specific type of racism and persecution: that embodied in various forms of Islamism (Guerre civile algérienne).

This is what she says,

….describing how her family had been forced to flee civil war in Algeria when she was child .

“I know too well the price of terrorism, the consequences of racism and oppression,” said Ms Bouattia, a leading figure in the Students Not Suspects campaign against the Prevent anti-terrorism agenda.

“I saw a country ripped apart by terror and was forced into exile,” she explained, adding: “I know too well the damage done by racism and persecution.”

She explained how her university lecturer father was almost killed by a bomb and her school had been attacked by gun-wielding militia, causing her family to flee.

“I know many of you will have seen my name dragged through the mud by rightwing media, and might think I am a terrorist and my politics driven by hate,” she said, adding: “How wrong that is.”

THSS.

Bouattia comes from Constantine, Algeria. 

The city is also infamous for the French far-right Parti Social Français, PSF, and their successful efforts to incite Muslims against Algerian Jews that led to the antisemitic pogrom of 1936 (link gives another version of the causes) in which 25-34 Jews were killed and some 200 stores were pillaged. There is a long history of anti-Semitic activity in Algeria (by both pieds-noirs and Muslims) and the Vichy regime instituted official anti Jewish legislation.

In the present example 1941 around 18 to 20% of the City’s population were Jewish.

There have been no Jewish community in Constantine since the end of the Algerian war of Independence.

We would be interested to hear her views on this and more details about her – horrific – experiences in Algeria.

Indeed we would be curious  to know how the Algerian civil war was a creation of ‘imperialism’.

But it is about a contemporary Islamist movement, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria that the present controversy has erupted.

Here is the background: Report on that Motion (2014) by Daniel Lemberger Cooper

Two motions debated at NUS NEC

The meeting then turned to motions submitted by NEC members. Unfortunately this part of the meeting was no feast of reason. There are two motions I want to focus on: Iraqi solidarity and Israel/PalestineI urge you to read the motions before continuing.

The “Iraqi solidarity” motion had been worked on with Roza Salih, a Strathclyde university student of Kurdish descent (she submitted an almost identical motion to the Scottish equivalent of the executive, the Scottish Executive Council, which I will post later, which, incidentally, did pass! One must ask Scottish executive members why vote for a motion in Scotland, but not in England?!).

The motion was opposed by Malia Bouattia, the NUS Black Students’ Officer, for astonishing and bewildering reasons. Bouattia argued that the motion was “Islamophobic” and “pro USA intervention” – (see Aaron Kiely, a fellow NUS NEC member’s, tweet during the meeting as reflective of the position). The motion then fell as large numbers of NEC members either abstained or voted against (including the bulk of the political Left on NEC). I think this says a lot about the current state of the student movement.

(I must also put on record that after only a single round of speeches, Toni Pearce moved the debate on. This was wrong: there was no opportunity to respond to Bouattia’s allegations. I had my hand up to speak in response, but was not called.)

Let us look at Bouattia’s arguments: is the motion anti-Muslim or pro US intervention?

The motion was partly written by a Kurdish student activist, and presented by the International students’ officer, Shreya Paudel. I have looked again and again at the contents of the motion, yet I cannot track any Islamophobia or racism.

Pro-intervention?

The US occupation, and its aftermath, has been an utter disaster for the people of Iraq. Resulting governments, led by Nouri Al-Maliki, have been authoritarian and carried out virulent Shia sectarianism. A civil war in the mid 2000s killed 34,000 civilians. Today there are 1.6 million refugees.

The dynamics in 2014 are complex. ISIS, who have grown out of Al-Qaeda, have seized huge swathes of the country; there is a new, shaky, shia-sectarian government; and a Kurdish regional government, whose self determination I believe we should support.

The ultra-Islamist group ISIS is a threat to all the people of Iraq. It is repressing and persecuting minorities, including Christians, Yazidis, Kurds, and Sunni Muslim Arabs. On the 29th June it declared a “caliphate” (a religious dictatorship). It has carried out rape and other forms of sexual violence are being used as weapons against women in IS-occupied areas.

These developments have been exacerbated and driven by US policy deliberately fostering sectarianism.

The situation is desperate.

In this situation, it is fundamental that the political Left, trade union and student organisations, like NUS, show our solidarity with the Iraqi people, in particular the hard-pressed student, workers and women’s organisations, and those fighting for democracy and equality.

It is unclear whether Western forces (which congregated in Paris the day before the NEC meeting, on the 15th of September, to announce a “game plan” to defeat ISIS) will send boots onto the ground in Iraq. We know already that French aircrafts have begun reconnaissance flights over Iraq; and that US aid has assisted the Kurds and Yazidis. However it is unlikely they will want a re-run of a war that even they believe to have been a colossal failure. It may be more likely that the USA assists established forces from afar to defeat ISIS.

However, the motion cannot be clearer in saying that such forces cannot be relied upon to deliver democratic change in Iraq: “no confidence or trust in the US military intervention.” If one were to believe it is not sufficiently clear or that the motion is not worded strongly enough, fine: make an amendment to the motion; or seek to take parts to remove or strengthen a particular aspect. Instead, the whole motion – which calls for solidarity with oppressed forces in Iraq – was argued as wrong. This is a grave shame!

It is also true – and Left-wingers should think this over – that the Kurds and Yazidi’s thus far would not have been able to survive if it had not been for aid from the Americans. Calling simply for an end to this intervention is the same as calling for the defeat of the Peshmerga forces by ISIS. The policy is based on a negative criteria – opposing the US and UK – instead of positive criteria – solidarity with the oppressed.

Perhaps this is what Bouattia meant when saying that the motion is pro-intervention? Such a suggestion is arrived at only when one’s “analysis” becomes an issue of principle: that even within limited parameters, that to suggest that imperialism is not the only problem is somehow to “support” imperialism. This is the basis of “Stalinist” politics on international questions: that one considers forces that oppose the US as either progressive or, at worst, not the real issue -no matter how barbaric and reactionary and fascistic that force is. This is not a useful or effective way of looking at the world

The Alliance for Workers’ Liberty published a short time afterwards some important qualifications about this report: Fact and fiction about the Kurdistan row in NUS.

Daniel Cooper: I objected to Malia opposing the motion on Iraq proposed by me, Shreya Paudel and Clifford Fleming, and responded to her claims that it was Islamophobic and pro-imperialist. Some people have claimed I misrepresented Malia. The only justification I have heard for this is, firstly, that I did not state that Malia condemned ISIS. That is because it was so blindingly obvious: before the right-wing attacks on Malia, the idea that anyone on NUS NEC would not condemn ISIS had not even occurred to me. And, secondly, that I failed to report that Malia offered to support a different motion on Kurdistan at the next NEC if it fitted with her politics. Whether or not I should have reported this or not, it is hardly decisive! Does anyone seriously believe that if I had stated either of these things it would have prevented right wingers distorting and making use of what I wrote?

The AWL now comment,

The controversy surrounding Bouattia’s attitudes to Islamism and to anti-semitism over the last two weeks is not simply a matter of interpreting this or that comment at a meeting, or exchange on the internet. It has deeper political roots, which we are precisely attempting to sketch out here

Last year, Bouattia denounced a left-wing motion to NUS NEC in support of the Kurdish national liberation struggle as “racist” and “imperialist” and helped get it voted down. This sparked wide criticism from Kurdish and left-wing students, but when some right wingers including in the press noticed this and tried to whip up a storm against her by absurdly and shamefully portraying her as a supporter of Daesh, she responded by whipping up a storm against the proposer of the motion, Workers’ Liberty comrade Daniel Cooper.

We remind the movement of this because we believe that Bouattia behaved like a petty and unprincipled factionalist, putting her resentment at her bad luck, her prestige and the chance to attack a political grouping she doesn’t like above the massive issue of the Kurdish struggle. Although the NEC eventually, two months later, passed a motion about Kurdistan, NUS circles spent far more time and energy on the row than on supporting the Kurds. So much for anti-imperialism!

We have little confidence that an NUS led by Malia Bouattia would be more habitable for political minorities and dissenters, more democratic or more serious about political debate and discussion than one led by Megan Dunn.

There remain a host of other  issues about the new NUS President, not least the fact that some on this left backed her.

That is a matter for students.

The Gerry Downing-Socialist Fight  style  anti-imperialism of fools which led, and justified a rejection do support for the Kurdish people in their hour of need  signals a broader problem.

The central question for a wider activist public is: what is Bouattia’s stand on Islamism?

How does she qualify, judge and assess the different Islamist movements?

If she does not support the misguided state ‘Prevent’ strategy does she offer any other way of combatting and fighting these anti-working class, anti-liberal, anti-feminist, anti-left, and violent groups?

Written by Andrew Coates

April 21, 2016 at 12:04 pm

25 Responses

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  1. “If she does not support the misguided state ‘Prevent’ strategy does she offer any other way of committing [opposing?] these anti-working class, anti-liberal, anti-feminist, anti-left, and violent groups?” I think the answer is pretty clearly, “no”.

    Jim Denham

    April 21, 2016 at 1:56 pm

  2. I meant combating… I blame Zionist spell checks.

    Are you suggesting that her ‘anti-imperialism’. not to say obsession with ‘Zionism’ ‘Zionism’ and, er ‘Zionism’, means that she will do absolutely nothing against genocidal Islamist groups like Daesh?

    But she is not a…..racist……

    Andrew Coates

    April 21, 2016 at 4:16 pm

  3. bloody students! just wait until they get in the real world.
    Support Assad and the Syrian Baath Party, the legitimate government of Syria. Putin was right, the NUS should put a potion to support Assad.

    Dean

    April 21, 2016 at 7:13 pm

  4. being attacked by the AWL is not a bad thing in itself. gives Malia B a bit more cred. I guess Harry’s Place will have an article soon.

    Dean

    April 21, 2016 at 7:21 pm

  5. “Prevent” is certainly confusingly worded and ambiguous in defining “Extremism” – we are currently implementing it my institution and really struggling – but Jim’s question, “well, what would you do?”, is pertinent. I suspect the answer would be along the lines of abolish Israel, don’t say mean things about violent, totalitarian, terrorist groups, don’t expect “noble savage” muslims to adopt liberal values….and then there would be no problem!!

    Alex Ross

    April 21, 2016 at 7:47 pm

  6. Bouattia on Islamism (Imperialism with a capital I)

    “Student Rights don’t seem to give any solid definition of what does or doesn’t constitute ‘extremism’ or ‘extremist’ views beyond that which they term ‘Islamism-inspired’[35]. In their literature they have used ‘Islamist’ and ‘extremist’ interchangeably, often without distinction[36].
    This is despite ‘Islamism’ being a term highlighted by Muslims as problematic[37], [38] and as being used as a discursive construct uncritically to target, suppress and Other Muslims who engage in political activity – and true enough, Student Rights reports highlight as concerns ‘Islamist-inspired activism’[39], which can include for e.g. the ‘belief that the Ummah – a worldwide Muslim community – should unite as a political entity’[40].
    This repulsion towards any politicised expression of Islam forms a fundamental tenet of modern Islamophobia, contributing towards a criminalisation of Muslims’ activism and climate of fear towards Muslims[41] while being indicative of residual colonial fears of Islam, and a paternalistic policing of Muslims’ right to expression.”

    Does this include bin Ladenism and Khomeinism?

    Soote

    April 22, 2016 at 8:28 am

  7. With the election of Malia Bouattia as NUS President, we will see that organisation on a national level working with CAGE (who welcomed her election) against Prevent (and no doubt on other issues).

    The out-going “right-wing” President, Megan Dunn, opposed NUS working with them on the basis that it would not be compatible with the NUS’s policies on “anti-racism, anti-fascism and how we define anti-semitism”. (1)

    Ms Bouattia, along with many others on the NUS “Left” signed a letter attacking Ms Dunn and supporting CAGE.

    “While cutting ties with CAGE denies NUS a wealth of experience and information in tackling PREVENT, NUS’ insistence on reiterating baseless, Islamophobic smears against the organisation has much wider ramifications…” (2) 

    What are these so-called “smears”?

    Is this one?

    “Asim Qureshi [CAGE Leader] expressed personal support for the principle of death by stoning for adultery and other death penalties prescribed by Islamic law “as long as all due process elements are met” “(3)

    He is also on record supporting the Iraqi “resistance” and the Taliban.

    On the Left these days, a “smear” seems to be reporting what someone has said on record.

    Oh, before I forget, among those signing the pro-CAGE letter were leading People’s Momentum youth leaders (e.g. James Elliot and Shelly Asquith). Surprisingly, Beth Redmond of the AWL (who stood for NUS President last year) is also among the signatories. I admit to being taken aback at this.

    With this support among the leadership of Momentum (and Young Labour?), it’s only a matter of time before we see the politics Malia Bouattia and CAGE being promoted by them in an official capacity.

    (1) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-34415207

    (2) http://anticuts.com/2015/10/08/statement-on-nus-president-megan-dunns-announcement-on-cage-and-the-students-not-suspects-tour/

    (3) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CAGE_(organisation)#The_World_Tomorrow_controversy

    John R

    April 22, 2016 at 10:13 am

  8. I am particularly interested in her stand on racism.

    Does she accept that this is also a problem?

    Racism in the Arab world: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racism_in_the_Arab_world

    In this video (2015), two actors play out an attack by an Arab Algerian on a young black man in broad day-light.

    The passers by ignore the assault:

    http://oumma.com/221204/jeunes-algeriens-testent-racisme-anti-noir-chez-alger

    Andrew Coates

    April 22, 2016 at 10:18 am

  9. Shiraz Socialist:

    “NUS has campaigned against the government’s Prevent programme, but done so by promoting the thoroughly reactionary Islamist campaign Cage. It has helped promote a “left” politics where the idea that Germaine Greer (or indeed, following their rape scandal, the SWP) should be banned from speaking and/or organising on campus, is combined with a sympathetic attitude towards an organisation, Cage, whose central leaders admire the Taliban.”

    More here: NUS now led by a bizarre kind of “left”.

    https://shirazsocialist.wordpress.com/2016/04/21/nus-now-led-by-a-bizarre-kind-of-left/#respond

    Andrew Coates

    April 22, 2016 at 10:23 am

  10. Wonder is she sees section 32 of this doc as racist: http://www.refworld.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/rwmain?page=country&category=LEGAL&publisher=&type=LEGISLATION&coi=DZA&rid=&docid=3ae6b4d714&skip=0

    Especially placed in the context of there being around 140,000 Algerian Jews living in the country at the point of independence. Now very few…

    alex ross

    April 22, 2016 at 11:50 am

  11. Yes, that absurd statement on Islamism goes to the heart of the problem.

    Statements from AWL Students, in run up to election and just after
    http://www.workersliberty.org/node/26541
    http://www.workersliberty.org/node/26566

    On what John R says

    On Cage, there is indeed a major problem. NUS conference has never debated or specifically voted on working with it; it was passed last year when delegates voted straight up or down on a much wider motion on Prevent, with no speeches or chance for debate or amendment (because there was a procedural motion to ensure it didn’t fall off the agenda). This year the similar motion didn’t mention Cage. I suspect this is partly opportunism – they’ve already got it through so why fight – but also because AWL and others have caused a stink on the left about it, some people have changed their minds and supporters of working with Cage are embarrassed. We should push forward on that.

    Second, yes, Megan Dunn is right-wing in NUS terms – very broadly, a Blairite. No problem if the quote marks are meant to indicate she’s not actually a Tory.

    Thirdly, the letter cited came at the height of hysteria about all this. It was signed by some people who really should have known better, including Beth Redmond, who sadly is no longer a member of the AWL and was on her way out then. I suspect Beth, who elsewhere has opposed working with Cage, regrets signing it but I don’t know and can’t speak for her. In addition to great social pressure I also suspect some people signed a) out of general anger at Megan Dunn and b) because they hadn’t actually read it properly.

    Yes, this stuff needs to be fought, including in Momentum and Young Labour, and in the NCAFC, where there is a growing view that the dominant NUS left is wrong this.

    Sacha Ismail

    April 22, 2016 at 1:37 pm

  12. I’d add: the Momentum presence in eg the Young Labour leadership also includes people who have militantly fought working with Cage. So I think a struggle is possible and that we can win.

    Sacha Ismail

    April 22, 2016 at 1:46 pm

  13. The quote marks around “right wing” in reference to Megan Dunn were to do with her opposing working with CAGE (for very good reasons) as opposed to the “Left” candidate, Malia Bouattia who does support working with CAGE.

    I don’t have the time nor inclination to find out the nuances of Megan Dunn’s politics (Blairite?) but working and supporting CAGE is one litmus test for me. Ms Dunn called it right and should have been supported by all those opposed to CAGE, opposed to stoning adulterers and supporting the Taliban and all other forms of Jihad. The “Left” who support CAGE are deserving of no support at all and their judgement on this means their judgement on other issues must be called into question.

    As I indicated in my earlier post, the politics of the new NUS President are supported by leading youth leaders of Momentum. James Elliot was the Momentum candidate for Labour’s NEC and Shelly Asquith was the Youth organiser for the Corbyn campaign. They are not fringe elements on the Corbyn left; they are among its leaders.

    Sacha, you say you “think a struggle is possible and that we can win” in opposing the CAGE alliance. Well, as the AWL supported the pro-CAGE candidate for the NUS leadership and the pro-CAGE candidate for Labour’s NEC, I’m not sure it’s a battle that can be won by you. CAGE supporters are your allies against the “Blairites” who you see as more of an enemy than far-right Islamists.

    So, if Megan Dunn and all those who oppose (and support candidates who oppose) working with Islamist groups are to be called “Blairite” by the Corbyn left, then you can put me in that box too.

    John R

    April 22, 2016 at 2:44 pm

  14. “Her background as someone of Algerian descent gives her a first-hand knowledge of imperialism and racism.”

    Far, far more than Lindsey German and Bouattia and co would like to admit. Don’t mention the centuries of the Barbary States, or the ‘cleansing’ of Jews from Algeria post-Independence.

    Lamia

    April 22, 2016 at 3:05 pm

  15. The issue is that it is young Algerians who made the video above to protest against anti-black racism, and if there are too many articles about the subject to cite, there is now a campaign across the Maghreb on the issue.

    Ni esclave, ni nègre » : coup d’envoi de la première campagne transmaghrébine contre le racisme
    24 mars 2016.

    http://www.jeuneafrique.com/313144/politique/ni-esclave-ni-negre-coup-denvoi-de-la-premiere-campagne-transmaghrebine-contre-le-racisme/

    Oddly for people who always talk as Asas, I have yet to hear any speaker from this British political quarter cite these movements, which also involve North Africans in support of Sub-Saharan Africans.

    Andrew Coates

    April 22, 2016 at 4:46 pm

  16. We have worked to various extents with some leftists with bad or confused (they are not all exactly the same) views about Cage, therefore we think Islamists are less of a problem than Blairites? This is absurd.

    In reality, talk to anyone in NUS, they will not say: “Yes, the AWL are soft on Cage”. They are much likely to say “The AWL are the main people constantly making a fuss about this and similar issues” and maybe add “when even others who agree are scared to speak out”.

    Most of the oh-so-principled Labour right-wingers you idolise have not done a tenth of what we’ve done to fight on this issue. Many of them have remained silent. And Megan Dunn’s opposition to Cage has at least as much to do with being afraid of the right-wing press as any kind of principled criticism.

    Sacha Ismail

    April 22, 2016 at 11:29 pm

  17. You could also say that the left you are criticising backed candidates in NUS and Momentum who have militantly opposed Cage (which is also true) – and so… ?

    Sacha Ismail

    April 22, 2016 at 11:33 pm

  18. “On some issues we will find ourselves on the same side as the Islamists against imperialism and the state….Where the Islamists are in opposition, our rule should be, “with the Islamists sometimes, with the state never”.” – Chris Harman “The Prophet and the Proletariat”. (1)

    Going by what you’ve written above, Sacha, the AWL could maybe paraphrase Chris Harman’s quote above thus –

    “On some issues we will find ourselves in the same side as the pro-Islamist Left against the Labour Right…Where the pro-Islamist Left are in opposition (or even Leadership) our rule should be, “with the pro-Islamist Left sometimes, with the Labour Right never.”

    As for me idolising the Labour right, well everyone’s entitled to their opinion, I say. If any of them make a stand for secularism against Islamism, then yes they do deserve support.

    Maajid Nawaz is a Lib Dem. (2) I guess that would make him (to your mind) a “right winger” that I’d idolise. “Idolise” is not a word I’d use but I’d back him against the pro – Cage Left.

    None of this changes the fact that despite everything you write, you still give backing to the pro-Cage Left even though you know what Cage represents. Your protestations that the AWL oppose Cage again and again yet back the their sympathisers in NUS and Labour reminds me of the Game of Thrones quote, “That nothing someone says before the word but really counts.” (3)

    You also say that Megan Dunn’s opposition to Cage had “at least as much to do with being afraid of the right-wing press as any kind of principled criticism.”

    So what? Even if it where true (which I don’t know), she still opposed working with Cage for the right reasons.

    To paraphrase Chris Harman again – On some issues I will find myself on the same side as the Labour right against the pro – Islamist Left…Where the Labour right are in opposition to them, my rule is, “with the Labour right sometimes, with the pro-Islamist Left never”.

    (1) https://www.marxists.org/archive/harman/1994/xx/islam.htm#pt9

    (2) https://twitter.com/MaajidNawaz?lang=en-gb

    (3) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1wTgyWvQ38

    John R

    April 24, 2016 at 5:16 pm

  19. Malia Bouattia now writes that –

    “Specifically, on the claims that I refused to condemn Isis: two years ago I delayed a National Executive Council motion condemning Isis – but that was because of its wording, not because of its intent. Its language appeared to condemn all Muslims, not just the terror group. Once it was worded correctly I proposed and wholly supported the motion.” (1)

    If I were in the AWL, I’d be well cheesed off. They’re getting a bit of flak over supporting Ms Bouattia and now she’s saying that the motion their comrade, Daniel Cooper, put forward “appeared to condemn all Muslims”. Well, no lie like a big lie, I guess and no comments allowed on her column (surprise, surprise).

    Here is the original motion that Daniel Cooper put forward –

    “Iraqi/Kurdish solidarity

    Proposed: Daniel Cooper
    Seconded: Shreya Paudel, Clifford Fleming

    NUS NEC notes

    1. The ongoing humanitarian crisis and sectarian polarisation in Iraq – which has resulted in thousands of Yazidi Kurds being massacred.

    NUS NEC believes

    1. That the people of Iraq have suffered for years under the sectarian and brutally repressive dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, the US/UK invasion and occupation, the current sectarian regime linked to both the US and Iran, and now the barbaric repression of the “Islamic
    State” organisation.

    2. That rape and other forms of sexual violence are being used as weapons against women in IS-occupied areas, while
    minorities are being ethnically cleansed.

    NUS NEC resolves

    1. To work with the International Students’ Campaign to support Iraqi, Syrian and other international students in the UK affected by this situation.

    2. To campaign in solidarity with the Iraqi people and in particular support the hard-pressed student, workers’ and women’s organisations against all the competing nationalist and religious-right forces.

    3. To support Iraqis trying to bridge the Sunni-Shia divide to fight for equality and democracy, including defence of the rights of the Christian and Yazidi-Kurd minorities.

    4. To condemn the IS and support the Kurdish forces fighting against it, while expressing no confidence or trust in the US military intervention.

    5. Encourage students to boycott anyone found to be funding the IS or supplying them with goods, training, travel or soldiers.

    6. To make contact with Iraqi and Kurdish organisations, in Iraq and in the UK, in order to build solidarity and to support refugees.

    7. To issue a statement on the above basis.”

    (1) http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/apr/24/new-nus-president-not-antisemitic-isis-sympathiser

    (2) https://docs.google.com/document/d/1u02m-DH4Gbe5LeCL2GFrr59oIXEYexDsjx2EKB7DCSI/edit?pref=2&pli=1

    John R

    April 24, 2016 at 6:52 pm

  20. The NUS is concerned with more serious matters than genocide.

    “When Ms Bouattia was elected as president – the union’s first female black Muslim leader – her supporters were chided by the panel chair for clapping and cheering as this may cause distress to other delegates and trigger a trauma episode.

    Instead, delegates were asked by a sincere delegate not to whoop or holler, or clap at all, but use “jazz hands” to show appreciation (people were asked to wiggle their fingers) as the noise created was “ableist” and had indeed caused the delegate in question to have a panic attack on previous occasions.”

    https://www.timeshighereducation.com/blog/nus-right-discourage-clapping

    Andrew Coates

    April 25, 2016 at 12:20 pm

  21. This jazzhands stuff is not just BS but dangerous BS >

  22. Reblogged this on Socialist Fight and commented:
    What a vile reactionary Andrew Coates is to attack this courageous left-wing woman, an Algerian Muslim anti-racist and anti-Zionist fighter Malia Bouattia, new President of the National Union of Students in appalling post. She has faced attacks from the Tories, the Zionist lobby, the right wing in Labour and bogus ‘leftist’ like the pro-Zionists Andrew Coates whose attack on her in his Tendance Coatesy blog finishes, ‘The Gerry Downing-Socialist Fight  style  anti-imperialism of fools which led, and justified a rejection do support for the Kurdish people in their hour of need  signals a broader problem’. We confidently expect that both Malia and Socialist Fight will continue to supply all these vile reactionaries with even greater ‘problems’ in future.

    socialistfight

    April 25, 2016 at 7:11 pm

  23. On the day that Islamists murdered Xulhaz Mannan ‘Socialist Fight’ and all those that mollycoddle Islamists can fuck the fuck off.

  24. @ Sacha,

    “And Megan Dunn’s opposition to Cage has at least as much to do with being afraid of the right-wing press as any kind of principled criticism.”

    Typical theologising of the Corbynite left: when our opponents do the right thing, then they are doing it for the wrong reasons, so it doesn’t count. But when we do the wrong thing, at least we are doing it for the right reason, so really we are the ones in the right.

    Except that you are not. In the real world, you are just a bunch of pious hypocrites, directly or indirectly supporting people who stand vehemently against what used to be the core principles of the left. You are traitors to the Enlightenment, errand boys and girls for theocratic thugs who make the Tories look like liberal lefties.

    Lamia

    April 26, 2016 at 11:41 am

  25. Lamia, exactly. By that logic we wouldn’t let 3000 refugee kids in because a Tory gave a fantastic speech supporting it.


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