Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Day of Action and Bristol Protest to Defend David Miller.

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Another Bristol Protest.

A coalition of Labour Left organisations has called a lobby to ‘Defend academic freedom and free speech’ for tomorrow March 31 in Bristol. 

Bristol University is currently investigating Professor David Miller, teacher of political sociology, for alleged antisemitism. “Nothing could be further from the truth”, says the Labour Campaign for Free Speech. “Professor Miller is a highly regarded academic who has spoken out against Zionism. That is why he has come under fire. Professor David Miller’s job at Bristol University is at stake, because he dared to speak out on Zionism. This is an important test case – should he be sacked, this will result in even more attacks on academic freedom.”

Organisations in support of the March 31 action include Labour Campaign for Free Speech, Labour Left Alliance, Labour in Exile Network, Support David Miller Campaign, Labour Representation Committee, Labour International Left Alliance, Bristol and West Labour Left Alliance and a number of local left groups.

They will assemble at 2pm outside the Wills Memorial Building of Bristol’s University to express “solidarity and support for Professor Miller”.

Labour Campaign for Free Speech.

The claim that Miller is a “highly regarded academic” is not widely shared, nor that the controversy around him is primarily about free speech. However he clearly has the right to his views, however odd and unacademic. This is an interesting claim by these groups:

The proposed policing bill would make it illegal to cause “serious annoyance” – with punishment of up to 10 years in jail. Worse than that, the law is to be applied even if “somebody is put at risk” of so-called “serious harm” (like ‘annoying’ somebody) – ie, if no action has taken place. The bill would make it an offence if just one person complains about feeling “serious distress…annoyance…[or even] inconvenience”.

We hope these principled free speech defenders will stand up for the Batley Teacher in this row.

Yorkshire Live.

Batley Grammar School students are said to have been left “wordless and distraught” following the news a teacher accused of showing pupils a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad is “fearing for his life”.

Yesterday (Monday), the suspended teacher’s father spoke out for the first time since protestors swarmed to the school’s gates calling for his son to be sacked.

Socialist Worker, which does not seem to be involved in the David Miller considers that no issues of freedom of expression are involved. Protests after teacher shows racist cartoon to Muslim pupils.

Bigots and Islamophobes want to defend the ‘right’ of a teacher to show pupils an offensive image of the Prophet Muhammad. But parents are right to be angry.

They cite an individual with a “colourful past” an authority on the affair.,

Mohammed Shafiq from the Ramadhan Foundation denied ­violence at the peaceful protests.

He instead feared the incident “will be hijacked by those who have an interest in perpetuating an image of Muslims”. It is alarming that the Department for Education chose to amplify those divisions by attacking the parents and pupils,” he added…..

The cartoons in Charlie Hebdo are intended to humiliate people who bear the brunt of institutional and state racism. The Tories use their version of free speech as an excuse to offend and scapegoat minorities.

Stand Up To Racism said, “In educating students we must be clear—insulting the Prophet Mohammed is not freedom of speech, it is racist abuse.”

Here’s the background of the friend of the SWP and new expert on the Batley affair ;

In January 2014 Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate Maajid Nawaz, a secular Muslim, posted a “Jesus and Mo” image on his Twitter account.[25] The image depicts Jesus saying “Hey” and Mohammed saying “How ya doin'”.[26][27] Shafiq then posted on Twitter “We will notify all muslim organisations in the UK of his despicable behaviour and also notify Islamic countries.”[28][29] Shafiq further Tweeted “Ghustaki Rasool Quilliam,” so linking Nawaz’s anti-extremist think tank with an Urdu term which means “defamer of the prophet”,[30] which under Islamic law is a crime that carries a death penalty.[31] Maajid Nawaz has since received a number of death threats.[25][29][32] Shafiq also reportedly organized an on-line petition to Nick Clegg to have Nawaz removed as a Liberal Democrat candidate,[30] though when the organizers of the petition, named as SA et al., were contacted by the press they distanced themselves from Shafiq.

Written by Andrew Coates

March 30, 2021 at 3:56 pm

One Response

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  1. Andrew Coates

    March 31, 2021 at 7:47 pm


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