Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Christchurch Massacre, Some Bad Responses from the Left.

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Incredibly moving: New Zealand mosque shooting: Children perform impromptu haka in tribute to murdered classmates

Would that we could say the same about the response from some on the British left.

“It seems beyond doubt that what did motivate the killer”, writes Lindsey German, the Convener of the Stop the War Coalition, “and his potential accomplices was precisely the ideology of fascism and far right ideas, which have at their centre the scapegoating of minorities of various sorts, but also the destruction of any kind of left political presence, the eradication of the trade unions, and the promotion of ‘white culture’ as superior to any other.”

We get no further than these recycled truisms,  in describing the ideas behind this murder’s attack in Socialist Worker, “He declared himself an “eco-fascist” most inspired by Oswald Mosley, leader of the British Union of Fascists in the 1930s.” Tomáš Tengely-Evans

While the SWP blames a “climate of Islamophobia” German puts the origins in capitalism, which apparently, always has a “pre-eminent form of racism”. Without explaining how private ownership and the free market, or neo-liberalism,  selected this form, the Counterfire leader  continues, ” the mainstream politicians and media who have spent the last decade and more attacking Muslims on a regular basis, decrying their dress and eating habits, declaring them subscribers to a uniquely violent and pro-terrorist religion, and using the horrific grooming cases to attribute blame to Muslim men in general.” The conclusion, “Islamophobia is encouraged and sometimes orchestrated by states, governments, police forces, and in this sense is the major racism in Europe and North America.”  (Capitalism always has a pre-eminent form of racism; it’s our task to identify, locate and defeat it, argues Lindsey German.)

The massacre in Christchurch is, to German,  the product of Islamophobia. – fear of Islam, a religion.

Apparently this  is “no accident”.

Are we surprised when all this happens that some of the filth becomes a motivator for those who are willing to use physical violence to kill Muslims, and to justify it in the name of the ‘clash of civilisations’ or ‘preserving western culture’? Are we surprised also when, having waged war on Muslim countries for close on two decades, western societies have to demonise the people whose countries they have invaded and occupied?

One of the best known faces of the Stop the War Coalition  therefore dispenses with the need to look at the ideology of Brenton Tarrant, he is just the vehicle of greater forces. The Great Replacement, the ‘anti-imperialist’ Red-Brown Identitarian ideas of the killer (very far from reducible to concern about Islam), are, ignored. For the SWP,  his ideas, after being related to Oswald Mosley by the SWP, are, equally reduced to the “climate” of hostility, not just to people, but to a religion.

While it the way they underlined ideology seemed a step forward to see ideas being taken seriously, as a material force, two steps backwards for German and it’s all down to capitalism.

But how exactly does capitalism generate hatred of Muslims?

The revolutionary socialist will doubtless reply that Islamophobia is a product of Western military interventions, which are, it goes without saying, led by capitalist countries. Few would even begin to account for prejudices, or organised hatred,, such as anti-Semitism, in such terms.

Above all can the present clashes in the Middle East be understood through the classical ‘anti-imperialist’ angle?

Let’s take the most recent case: is the Assad regime and the civil war in Syria a product of the ‘West’?

Rohini Hensman suggests that the attempt to overthrow Assad by democratically inspired revolt, is key:

 …neo-Stalinist anti-imperialists and their followers refused to treat the Syrian revolution on par with the Egyptian revolution, although both were part of the wave of Arab uprisings. Instead, they assimilated it to the model of ‘regime change’ employed by the US in Iraq! This is a position that reeks of racism: Apparently Syrians are backward savages incapable of wanting to throw off a brutal regime that was looting and oppressing them, and therefore the uprising must have been orchestrated by Obama using ISIS, which he sponsored. This was the story peddled by Assad’s and Putin’s media and repeated by Trump, and, in a watered-down version by the likes of Seumas Milne, who, I recently discovered, was part of a hardcore Stalinist faction in the CPGB which welcomed Soviet tanks in Czechoslovakia. The same media are behind the demonisation of the White Helmets, the rescue workers digging survivors out of the rubble after bombing raids by Syrian and Russian warplanes.

Inconsistent Anti-Imperialism, Selective Solidarity

German’s Stop the War Coalition (StWC) dutifully reflected the Seumas Milne Line.

If that’s not enough to morally disqualify them,  German completely ignores the independent agency of the Kurds, who, without any other help, have called on US aid, to defeat the Islamist genociders of the Islamic State.

A little bit of modesty would lead her, and her comrades, to reflect on the victims of these people, perhaps the Yazidis.

The book  Long Shot: My Life As a Sniper in the Fight Against ISIS (2019) by  Azad Cudi is a heartbreaking, account of resistance to the Jihadist murderers by the Kurdish fighters, from the embattled heroism of the defenders of Kobanî to the present day fight in what is now the  Syrian Democratic Forces SDF.

This lonely fight continues, under the immediate threat of Turkish and now Syrian army attack.

German might have a sliver of credibility if she took account of the autonomous struggle of such heroic people against the Islamist genociders.

Would she even dare..

All we have got to hear the same old line, already churned out so many times in the past it’s easy to know it.

This what German said about the London and Manchester Jihadist murders in 2017.

This climate of racism here in the UK, and elsewhere in Europe, is only helping to create a vicious circle where Islamophobia leads to a growth in extremism and terrorism, which in turn leads to more Islamophobia. It is a circle which can only be broken by a concerted campaign against both war and Islamophobia.

War, Terrorism & Islamophobia: Breaking The Vicious Circle. Lindsey German

In other words, it’s not the fault of the terrorist murderers, but of Islamophobia and Western interventions.

We have to campaign against “war” – including the Kurdish resistance? – and hostility to a religion.

Nothing about the need for building solidarity amongst the peoples of the world, nothing about being against all racism, including that of the Islamist genociders.

The following looks a better way to begin to look at some of these issues,.

In discussing Rohini Hensman’s book Ralph Leonard says,

In her final section, Rohini offers some suggestions as to how to fight back against the scourge of neo-Stalinism and neo-fascism and form an alternative, independent and more consistent democratic and internationalist politics: by pursuing and telling the truth; bringing morality and humanity back into politics; reasserting the value of the global struggle for democracy; placing internationalism center stage and pressuring global institutions like the UN to promote human rights and democracy.

I agree with all of this. My only minor criticism would be that we should not rely on international institutions like the EU and the UN to be agents of social and political change. These institutions, as they currently exist, are not fit for purpose and need to be radically changed, or replaced with alternative institutions born of popular struggles. Nevertheless, I very much agree with Hensman, particularly about the importance of internationalism. In this second age of globalization, capitalism is a well and truly global phenomenon and the economies of nations are more integrated than ever before. This means that any potential progressive anti-capitalist movement would also have to be a global movement, especially since an international working class now truly exists, far more so than in the days of Marx and Engels.

Book Review: “Indefensible” by Rohini Hensman – The Left and “pseudo anti-imperialism”

 

 

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10 Responses

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  1. As for the Utrecht shooting suspect [alcohol drinking] Gokmen [correct spelling] Tanis: people say he was acting because of a relationship breakdown, not because of any ‘religious’ motive. A witness who was in the tramway with him says he aimed at one particular woman and started shooting at others when they tried to help that woman:

    https://nos.nl/liveblog/2276579-drie-doden-in-utrecht-dreigingsniveau-5-nog-tot-22-00-uur.html

    petrel41

    March 18, 2019 at 6:15 pm

  2. I removed the tweet because of news about that, thanks.

    But I am sure that German will say something about a blowback to Western intervention when there’s any Islamist killings in Europe.

    Andrew Coates

    March 18, 2019 at 6:22 pm

  3. Suspect Gökmen Tanis has now been arrested.

    The public prosecutor says he does not know yet what the motive is.

    petrel41

    March 18, 2019 at 7:00 pm

  4. The latest according to BBC News:

    “Three dead as Dutch police hunt tram gunman

    Five others are injured in Utrecht in what police say was an apparent terrorist attack.”

    Auntie Beeb

    March 18, 2019 at 8:14 pm

  5. If that is really the BBC latest news, then they are far behind the Dutch latest news.

    https://nos.nl/artikel/2276586-hoofdverdachte-aanslag-utrecht-opgepakt-motief-nog-onduidelijk.html

    Right-wing Prime Minister Rutte has said that nothing is yet known about the motive for the attack.

    People who know the suspect say he had psychic problems and a feud with his in-laws.

    petrel41

    March 18, 2019 at 8:32 pm

  6. Just the media up the their usual tricks. Family feud?! That just sounds stupid. Same with same he was a rape accused and he killed his alleged victim. He would probably be remanded in custody unless he was a prominent politician. They don’t want to frighten the horses or whatever. The police have stated it was a terrorist attack. Time to bring out Occam and his razor: the simplest solution is the most likely. Family feud?! Give over!

    Anne

    March 18, 2019 at 8:50 pm

  7. Just the media up to their usual tricks. Family feud?! That just sounds stupid. Same with he was a rape accused and he killed his alleged victim. In those circumstances he would probably be remanded in custody, at least in the UK, unless he was a prominent politician. They don’t want to frighten the horses or whatever. The police have stated it was a terrorist attack. Time to bring out Occam and his razor: the simplest solution is the most likely. Family feud?! Give over!

    Anne

    March 18, 2019 at 8:52 pm

  8. Apparenly, according to believers in the neofascist theory of the Big Islamic World Conspracy Which Explains Everything, like the Big Conspiracy of the Elders of Zion also Explains Everything, family feuds never happen.

    Go see a psychiatrist,

    petrel41

    March 18, 2019 at 9:58 pm

  9. All irrelevant points, though somebody with an obsession about the ethnic identity of the Utrecht killer wins the prize for this, about a post concerned with the limits of StWC anti-imperialism.

    Andrew Coates

    March 19, 2019 at 11:05 am

  10. Andrew Coates

    March 22, 2019 at 4:53 pm


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