@NUTonline do you know who “Milo Samuels” is in UAF magazine? Heard it’s alleged rapist SWP’s Martin Smith. SWP/UAF haven’t cleared this up.
Archive for the ‘French Left’ Category
All So Last Year…..
Who Is Milo Samuels?
Asks Bob From Brockley.
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 Renton, Andrew Coates, Tony Greenstein, Pham 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”.
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,
“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.
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.
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.
“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. “
Oppose racism against Muslims.
Criticise Islam as a religion.
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.
Latest Charlie Hebdo: The Front National is no Longer Scarey.
“We’ve been thoroughly un-diabolised!”
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.
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)
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.
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……
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.
“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!”
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.