Archive for the ‘Gay Rights’ Category
Murdered Bangladeshi gay activist Xulhaz Mannan (From Paul C).
Homage to the Martyrs!
The Hindu reports,
Two people were hacked to death Monday at an apartment in the Bangladesh capital Dhaka, police said, with a local television channel identifying one of them as a leading gay rights activist.
“Unidentified attackers entered an apartment at Kalabagan and hacked two people to death. Another person was injured,” Dhaka Metropolitan Police spokesperson Maruf Hossain Sorder told AFP.
He did not identify the dead, but private television Channel 24 said one of them was the editor of Roopbaan, the country’s only magazine for the LGBT community.
The BBC continues.
A leading gay rights activist and editor at Bangladesh’s only LGBT magazine has been hacked to death, media reports and officials say.
Another person was also killed and one person injured when attackers entered an apartment in Dhaka, police said.
Julhas Mannan was an editor at LGBT magazine Roopbaan and previously worked at the US embassy, friends said.
The killing comes two days after a university teacher was hacked to death by suspected Islamist militants.
Since February last year suspected militants have killed several secular or atheist writers and members of religious minority groups.
BBC Bengali Service editor Sabir Mustafa said staff at Roopbaan, which had not been condemned by the government and received some support from foreign embassies, had been careful to protect their identities but had not believed their lives were at risk.
Suspected extremists in Bangladesh are gaining a sense of security that they can carry out killings with impunity, he says.
Meanwhile Bangladesh’s best known blogger said he had received a death threat on Sunday.
Imran Sarker, who led major protests by secular activists in 2013 against Islamist leaders, said he had received a phone call warning that he would be killed “very soon”.
Earlier this month, a Bangladeshi law student who had expressed secular views online died when he was hacked with machetes and then shot in Dhaka.
Last year, four prominent secular bloggers were also killed with machetes.
The four bloggers had all appeared on a list of 84 “atheist bloggers” drawn up by Islamic groups in 2013 and widely circulated.
There have also been attacks on members of religious minorities including Shia, Sufi and Ahmadi Muslims, Christians and Hindus.
Outside the Trial a Demonstration Against Homosexuality (4th April).
This story broke a few weeks ago.
A Moroccan court has convicted one man and is trying a second for homosexual acts, after a group of youths attacked and brutalized them on the night of March 9, 2016. The youths broke into the home of one of the men in the city of Beni Mellal, beat them, and dragged them naked onto the streets.
The case attracted international attention when a video clip appeared online on March 25, showing two men cowering naked, one of them covered in blood, being beaten, kicked, and dragged outside, while anti-gay slurs and “Call the authorities!” – apparently uttered by the assailants – can be heard on the soundtrack.
“Beaten, bloodied, and pushed naked into the street, and then sent to prison for your private life,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director. “This verdict will discourage victims from seeking justice and increase the likelihood of homophobic crimes.”
In March 15, the Beni Mellal Court of First Instance convicted one of the victims, A.B., for “acts of sexual deviancy with a person of the same sex,” under penal code article 489, and “public drunkenness.” The defendant, who according to his police statement had waived his right to legal counsel, was sentenced to four months in prison and a 500 dirham (US$52) fine and remains in prison. The same court that day convicted two of the attackers for assault and sentenced them to suspended two-month sentences.
Libération reports today that after spending 26 days in Prison the two victims have finally been released.
Homosexuality in Morocco is punished by six months to three years in gaol.
Two of the attackers have been discharged, two others who had been sentenced to two months suspended sentences have now been sent respectively to to four and six months. A fifth attacker, who is a minor, will be judged on the 20th of April.
The case drew international attention when a video appeared of the two men, their faces covered in blood, being dragged by their attackers along the street (La vidéo insoutenable de l’agression homophobe d’un couple homosexuel).
On Monday members of the group Femen appeared and attempted to demonstrate, with bare chests. “«Alors qu’une centaine de personnes manifestaient en défense des agresseurs homophobes, Femen est venu dénoncer l’homophobie d’Etat au Maroc», indique un communiqué des Femen qui réclame la libération des personnes «emprisonnées du fait de leur simple orientation sexuelle». While a hundred people have showed up to defend the homophobic attackers, Femen has come to denounced State homophobia in Morocco, they indicated in a communique, who demanded the people imprisoned for their sexuality be freed.
Femen protesters arrested.
Zionists to the Gulag: the “excellent Houria Bouteldja (Richard Seymour).
The left-wing political scientist, Thomas Guénolé, recently (18th March) rowed with the spokesperson of the Parti des Indigènes de la République, Houria Bouteldja on the French television (France 2) programme, “Ce soir (ou jamais !)” sur France 2 (Atlantico).
He took out a photo of her posing with the slogan, Zionists to the Gulag (note, which adds, Peace, mais gulag quand même, but Gulag even so).
“si une femme noire se fait violer par un homme noire, il est légitime qu’elle ne porte pas plainte pour protéger la communauté noire”.
If a black women is raped by a black man, it’s right that she does not go to the police in order to protect the black community.”
On gays, “comme chacun sait, la tarlouze n’est pas tout à fait un homme. l’arabe qui perd sa puissance virile n’est plus un homme”.
Everybody knows that a poof is not completely a man, the Arab who loses his potency is no longer a man”.
Her reply was to state that she couldn’t give a toss what Guénolé thought, and that his fundamental accusation against her was that she was not white.
Now is the time to return to a critical examination of the ideas of this person and her group.
Houria Bouteldja, the “excellent Houria Bouteldja” as Richard Seymour calls her (here), is the spokesperson for the Indigènes de la République. She is known to the American left from the reprinting of their statements by the International Socialist Organization, and a star article, with Malik Tahar Chaouch, translated by somebody who should have known better (The Unity Trap) in the oddly named Jacobin, which claims to be ‘reason in revolt”.
Her group, which opposes “race-mixing” and attacks the “philo-Semitism” of the French State, amongst many other criticisms of ‘Jews’ and ‘Zionists’ has also received a respectful audience in Britain, including a ‘Blog’ and billing at meetings of the Islamic ‘Human Rights’ Commission. Verso has published a book recently criticising French secularism by one of the Indigènes’ ‘white’ supporters, the former leftist and self-styled ‘feminist’ Christine Delphy..
Rumours that an English version of Les Blancs, les Juifs et nous is in preparation at Verso, with an introduction by Ian Donovan have been strongly denied.
This is not a translation of Segré’s tonic review of Bouteldja but a discussion of some key points. The article begins with a summary of the authoress’ views which will perhaps explain that the prospect of a full account of the text – after all a honest attempt to make intelligible a picture of the world that bears comparison with such landmark thinkers as David Icke – would be hard to accomplish. But we salute comrade Sergé for having waded through this singular oeuvre. This is just to make known to an English speaking audience some of his main points
Sergè provides an outline of the Bouteldja contribution to historical materialism. White imperialism since the key date of 1492 is structured by racial inequality. With this legacy imprinted across every ‘white’ society, legislation for equality puts ‘whites’ (blancs) first and relegates the “indigenes” (indigenous, that is, native American, African Blacks, Arabs from the Maghreb from 1830, and the peoples of Asia). As part of this process white women’s rights have been obtained through both their owns struggle and through the existence of imperialism.
The fault lines lie deep. The French declaration of Human Rights (first version, 1789) was inspired by the African Declaration of Independence of 1776, created on the basis of the massacre of the indigenous population. Indelibly marked by its murdering, enslaving colonial origins the bourgeoisie invented the category of the white race to divide, and to prevent any alliance with its indigenous slaves. For those in the Third World today even those of immigrant descent, including herself, are ‘white’ from the fact of living in (imperialist) Europe.
Amongst the many discoveries Bouteldja makes during her exploration of the history of ‘white’ imperialism is Sartre. He is the incarnation of the French left, even the revolutionary left. As such, in the allegory for the history of that left, he was botha fighter against French colonialism and a supporter of the creation of the state of Israel. The author of Réflexions sur la Question Juive, was a ‘Zionist’. That affiliation cannot be tolerated: “Fusillez Sartre !” (shoot Sartre!). The thought could be developed…..Sartre is an emblem, a symbol of the gauche Française. Should they also be shot?
It can be seen that Boutelja has a keen interest in the ‘Jewish Question’. For her, anti-Zionism is the crucial issue: confrontation between the indigènes and the ‘whites’, a clash over the State of Israel, is the site of a historic battle between “us” (her side) and “you” – well, you. She reveals the Jewish task, “they have been chosen by the West” for three cardinal missions: to settle the crisis of moral legitimacy for the white world – the result of the Nazi genocide – to sub-contract republican (that is, French) racism, and to be the armed wing of Western imperialism in the Arab world. (“élus, par l’Occident », et cela « pour trois missions cardinales » : « résoudre la crise de légitimité morale du monde blanc, conséquence du génocide nazi, sous-traiter le racisme républicain et enfin être le bras armé de l’impérialisme occidental dans le monde arabe » (p. 51).
From the – reasonable – point that the Shoah was an extension of colonial barbarity into Europe itself, the zoological view of history as a struggle for mastery between ‘races’ that would resort to extermination – to the other two ‘missions’ is not a leap, but a change of topic. Bouteldja considers that the “Arab essence” and ‘Arab land” is colonised by the Jews – Israel- as a result of a conscious ‘white’ decision, “they have offered Israel to you.”
It is without surprise that we learn that Bouteldja rejects “white rationality”.
This is the leading Indigène’s alternative: Allah Akbar! “In Islam divine transcendence induces humility and a continuous awareness of transience. The wishes, the projects of the faithful are marked by cries of ‘in cha Allah’. We begin one day and we will end one day. Only the all-powerful is eternal. Nobody can rise up against Him. Only the proud believe that they can. From this pathology of pride are born the blasphemous theories of the superiority of Whites over non-Whites, of the superiority of men over women, of the superiority of the human race over animals and nature. One does not need to be a believer to interpret this philosophy and apply it to the mundane. (*)
Followers of the Qu’ran have never been known to practice slavery and religious or racical superiority….
The Charnel House has published an excellent translation of earlier critique of this group: Toward a materialist approach to the question of race: A response to the Indigènes de la République.
* … Allahou akbar ! Et il ajoute : Il n’y a de Dieu que Dieu. En islam, la transcendance divine ordonne l’humilité et la conscience permanente de l’éphémère. Les vœux, les projets de ses fidèles ne sont-ils pas tous ponctués par ‘in cha Allah’ ? Nous commençons un jour et nous finissons un jour. Seul le Tout-Puissant est éternel. Personne ne peut lui disputer le pouvoir. Seuls les vaniteux le croient. De ce complexe de la vanité, sont nées les théories blasphématoires de la supériorité des Blancs sur les non-Blancs, de la supériorité des hommes sur les femmes, de la supériorité des hommes sur les animaux et la nature. Nul besoin d’être croyant pour interpréter cette philosophie d’un point de vue profane » (p. 132).
“I am free to experiment and then choose my sexual identity” – Bourgeois Human Rights says KKE.
This has been signaled on the Marxism List and is so extraordinary that it merits a wide readership particularity amongst those who consider the Greek Communist Party ‘progressive’ for its opposition to Syriza.
Kommounistiki Epitheorisi, the political-theoretical journal of the CC of KKE (Issue 1, 2016).
“On December 22, 2015 the bill “Cohabitation Agreement, exercising of rights, criminal and other provisions” was passed in parliament by the procedure of a roll call vote. In total, 193 MPs voted in favour and 56 against. The parliamentary groups of SYRIZA, PASOK, POTAMI and the Union of Centrists (Enosi Kentron) voted in favour of the law. Differing positions of MPs were observed in NEW DEMOCRACY and the Independent Greeks (ANEL).
This legislative initiative had been widely publicized throughout the previous period both through the electronic and print media and by various homosexual organizations as “a step forward for modern Greece”, “with the principle of equality as a starting point and with an eye on Europe ‘.
The institutional recognition of homosexual cohabitation is pursued in the name of human rights, with a focus on ensuring individual rights, including sexual. The legal recognition of cohabitation by individuals with homosexual orientation is viewed as safeguarding minority rights. It is an aspect of the bourgeois concept of individual rights, pluralism, and the right to diversity, to self-determination of the body. It is expressed slogan “I am free to experiment and then choose my sexual identity.”
Homosexual orientation or alternating between homosexual and heterosexual orientation is presented by sections of intellectuals and artists, especially to the youth as an unconventional, dissident, and radical form of behaviour, as a “way” to overcome outdated perceptions of women’s position in society, about sexuality, as a “form of conflict with authority, based on the male-dominated society.” It projects the concept that “sexual identity is something fluid”, socially and linguistically constructed. This is the philosophical current of postmodernism and postmodernity that ultimately denies the objectivity of biological sex which is the basis for a predominantly heterosexual sexual orientation. It argues that “gender is not what we are, but what we do.”
It ignores or conceals the class factors that led to the different positions of the two sexes and the ruling classes in the evolution of society, from the primitive community household in the first class society onwards. In the passage from one socioeconomic formation to another, surplus products appear, produced to meet community needs. Some products were produced in excess due to the development of the means of production and work implements, the cultivation of land, herds, which came under the ownership of men who appropriated the surplus, the surplus product. The owner of the surplus began to distance himself from the need to work for survival, exploiting the work of prisoners of war, slaves. The woman could not overcome the inherent biological differences she had with her husband that render her more vulnerable in nature. To protect the need for the reproduction of the species, she could not stray far from the community household that lost its social character with the onset of the first class division of society, with the exploitation of man by man. Moreover, the need for wealth to be inherited by the “legitimate” offspring of the man was established. In this way, the domination of the man over the woman was institutionalized at both an individual and social level.
By bypassing the social causes which imposed overwhelmingly different social behaviours between the sexes, these theories lead to the denial of the biological differences between men and women, ultimately denying the objectivity of biological gender identity.
The Communist Party from 2008 onwards had expressed reservations and concerns about the fact that the enactment of the CA for heterosexual couples was in essence a first step towards the enactment – through its expansion – of a corresponding agreement for same-sex couples. For this reason, KKE had voted “present.” In any case, if Greece had not enacted a CA for heterosexual couples, it would not have been accused of discrimination. There is the possibility, however, of Greece being accused of discrimination with the same logic because it makes no legal provision for marriage between same-sex couples with the respective rights and obligations arising from it (adoption etc.).
This is the key section:
The biological origin of humankind is the result of a male-female sexual relationship, which as such, is of interest to and is regulated by society. Objectively a child that is raised by a same-sex couple, from the first determinative years of its life, acquires a distorted perception of the biological relationship between the sexes. A correct perception of this relationship is an essential ingredient for its smooth psychosomatic and social development.
Which is not mitigated by this:
In summary, the KKE considers that sexual orientation is a private matter, like cohabitation. Sexual orientation, sexual relationships or sexual satisfaction does not produce social rights. The institutionalization of the cohabitation agreement for same-sex couples is essentially an extension of the family institution to these couples. Experience from other countries shows that when a cohabitation agreement or gay marriage was legislated, it paved the way for the adoption of children.
It is important to note that the KKE condemns and is absolutely opposed to any behaviour or practice that is targets people on the basis of their sexual orientation. It considers attacks unacceptable, but also any other related abuse. For this reason, in Parliament it voted in favour of an amendment that makes provisions for the severe punishment for any such behaviour.
Human Rights have no Exceptions.
The emails from the officer of the National Union of Students were unequivocal. Fran Cowling, the union’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) representative, said that she would not share a stage with a man whom she regarded as having been racist and “transphobic”.
That the man in question is Peter Tatchell – one of the country’s best-known gay rights campaigners, who next year celebrates his 50th year as an activist – is perhaps a mark of how fractured the debate on free speech and sexual politics has become.
In the emails, sent to the organisers of a talk at Canterbury Christ Church University on Monday on the topic of “re-radicalising queers”, Cowling refuses an invitation to speak unless Tatchell, who has also been invited, does not attend. In the emails she cites Tatchell’s signing of an open letter in the Observer last year in support of free speech and against the growing trend of universities to “no-platform” people, such as Germaine Greer, for holding views with which they disagree.
Cowling claims the letter supports the incitement of violence against transgender people. She also made an allegation against him of racism or of using racist language. Tatchell told the Observer that the incident was yet another example of “a witch-hunting, accusatory atmosphere” symptomatic of a decline in “open debate on some university campuses”.
Reports the Observer.
The Tendance has known and supported comrade Peter Tatchell for over 25 years.
We were fellow supporters of Labour Briefing (he was one of the early figures in the monthly), fellow members of the Socialist Society Steering Committee.
The Tendance backs his human rights campaigning to the hilt.
Comrade Tatchell has fought for gay rights, for human rights, in the face of great hostility.
He has been beaten up by Mugabe’s thugs and Russian Nazis.
He was so badly assaulted in 2007 that the long-terms effects of the injuries meant that was unable to stand as a candidate for the Green Party in the last General Election.
I’m not deterred one iota from coming back to protest in Moscow,” Peter Tatchell told PinkNews.co.uk from Moscow, just hours after he was attacked by suspected neo-Nazis and then arrested by the Russian riot police the OMON. “Gay Russians need overseas support to protect them against state and neo-Nazi violence.”
He was speaking after arrests and violent attacks marred today’s attempted Moscow Gay Pride march. The organizer of Moscow Pride, Nikolai Alekseev, is still being detained at Moscow’s Tverskoi district police station, together with two prominent members of Russia’s Radical and Free Radical parties, Nikolai Khramov and Sergei Konstantinov. Those who attacked Mr Tatchell are believed to be free, while Mr Alekseev, who took part in a peaceful protest remains in police custody
Mr Tatchell told PinkNews.co.uk: “I urge people to protest to the Russian Ambassador and to ask their local MP to send a letter of protest to the Russian embassy.”
He added: “We also need a strong statement of condemnation from the Foreign Office, who have so far been silent. I am a British citizen violently attacked when mounting a lawful protests whilst the Russian police allowed violence to be perpetrated against me.”
Comrade Tatchell says: human rights have no exceptions.
There is no “cultural” reason why any state, any political group, any religion, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism, should have special exemption from our common human framework.
Because comrade Tatchell has defended human rights against Islamism he has been attacked for ‘racism’.
The miserable and mad Bob Pitt even wrote this smear in 2012.
Islamists and their supporters, obviously still strong in the NUS, have not stopped this line of attack.
In the face of Islamist genocidal racism they accuse Tatchell of …racism.
Then there was this last year,
This is what he has had to put up with.
The gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has been “unable to sleep” and the Cambridge Classics professor Mary Beard was left “wanting to cry” after a letter they co-wrote supporting freedom of speech unleashed a torrent of abuse from supporters of transgender rights.
The falling out came after the pair signed a letter with 129 others, warning about “a worrying pattern of intimidation and silencing of individuals whose views are deemed ‘transphobic’”.
The signatories insist their only intention was to support freedom of speech in universities, which would allow the anti-transgender views that they both oppose to be defeated in debate.
Some critics, however, accused the pair of being “transphobic”, and claimed that their co-signatories included some feminists with anti-transgender motives. In the ensuing Twitter storm Professor Beard was branded “an unrepentant bigot”, and Mr Tatchell was told: “I would like to tweet your murder you fucking parasite.”
Mr Tatchell, 63, said: “I’ve received about 5,000 messages attacking me. The volume and vitriol of the attack has been almost unprecedented in 48 years of human rights campaigning. I’m shocked.
Comrade Tatchell is salt of the earth.
We breath more freely for his tireless courage.
His anti-democratic, anti human rights, opponents are beneath contempt.
Update: Peter has been Responding (Pabolite is the Tendance’s Twitter Account).
Germaine Greer’s Libertarian Zest at its Best.
The furore about banning Germain Greer from speaking at Cardiff University shows no signs of dying down.
This is the gist of what Greer said yesterday on Newsnight.
Australian-born academic and writer Germaine Greer has said that in her opinion, transgender women are “not women”.
Germaine Greer may be barred from giving a lecture on women’s rights at a leading British university after hundreds of its students signed a petition accusing her of holding “misogynistic views” about transgender people.
The petition calls on Cardiff University to cancel the event featuring the 76-year-old feminist author and academic, who has been invited to give a lecture entitled “Women & Power: The Lessons of the 20th Century” next month.
By late on 23 October almost 300 people had signed the petition, which was started by Cardiff Student’s Union Women’s Officer Rachael Melhuish. It claims hosting Greer would be “dangerous” due to her previously stated views on transgender people.
In a column written in 2009, the author of The Female Eunuch said the idea of being trans was a “delusion” and described trans women as “ghastly parodies”. Asked about the idea of transphobia at an event at Cambridge University earlier this year, she said she “didn’t know there was such a thing”, adding: “Arachnaphobia, yes. Transphobia, no.”
The petition reads: “Greer has demonstrated time and time again her misogynistic views towards trans women, including continually misgendering trans women and denying the existence of transphobia altogether.
“Trans-exclusionary views should have no place in feminism or society. Such attitudes contribute to the high levels of stigma, hatred and violence towards trans people – particularly trans women – both in the UK and across the world.”
Many young women during the 1970s were strongly influenced by Germain Greer’s book, the Female Eunuch (1970).
This summarises its message:
The main thesis of the book is that the “traditional” suburban, consumerist, nuclear family, represses women sexually, and that this devitalises them, rendering them eunuchs.
The Female Eunuch was a cry for freedom, and, whatever else you may think about it, helped instil a libertarian, joyful, strain into feminism.
Some of my close comrades, socialist feminist students at Westminster Further Education College in the mid-1970s spoke of how the book had given them the confidence to find their own voices.
Greer also wrote about the way men monopolise attention, their (our) desire for reassurance, right down to perceptive comments about how men who did the pleasanter domestic tasks, like preparing meals, always expected praise for their efforts.
I had a relationship with a woman who had been a member of Greer’s young women’s group in Leamington Spa.
I can vouch that I was reminded of the truth of these observations.
On Newsnight Greer stated that she felt that some transgender women seemed to also want to be centre of attention, even to “speak for” woman. She is known to have said that without a uterus you are not a “woman”.
But whatever anybody thinks about her views – and there’s a lot to dislike on her political ones she has, like her old mucker Tariq Ali, been a Liberal Democrat supporter to start with – the idea of banning her for being a contrarian feminist is absurd.
If not downright evil.
When the chips are down Greer is on the right side – as the evidence I have given indicates.
Counterpetitioning Cardiff University’s Hosting of Germaine Greer
This reactionary tactic of calling a woman a ‘transphobe’ is no different than calling someone a ‘commie’ in 1960’s America during the cold war. It’s a slur that contains no analysis, just an emotional response that is primarily used against women who talk about women’s biological realities, not gender identities.
Greer centers females/women in her work. I fail to see how anyone who centers women is encouraging violence against anyone.
Her position on gender doesn’t make anyone unsafe. The very marginalized group that Greer talks to and about is women. We are a protected class. Silencing her is silencing us.
Enough is enough. Stop no platforming women who only want to talk about women’s rights and women’s lives.
Comrade Peter Tatchell Speaks for our Left.
This article expresses the views of many of us on the democratic socialist left.
A Corbyn premiership would reverse damaging, cruel welfare cuts and the privatisation of vital public services. He’d tackle climate destruction, rocketing rents and house prices. Trident renewal, foreign wars and the sinister Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership would be nixed. His administration would bring rail and energy companies back into decentralised public ownership. All sensible, compassionate policies. Good for him.
In my book, he is head and shoulders above all the other Labour leadership candidates, both in terms of his past political record and his political agenda for the future. But the single most important over-arching reason for supporting Jeremy is that Britain needs to turn away from the flawed and failed policies of business as usual. He is shaking up the establishment and breaking with the cosy political consensus that has been shared by Labour, Conservatives, Lib Dems and UKIP. The mainstream, middle-of-the-road policies of the last decade are not the answer. All they offer is more of the same, which is what got us into the current mess.
Comrade Peter’s article is lengthy and merits a full read.
Those will long-memories will recall that Peter has been important contributor to Labour Briefing – a significant part of the Labour left backing Jeremy Corbyn. He has also been on the Socialist Society’s Steering Committee. He is well-known to “our” left.
That is apart from all the other campaigns and issues he has fought for so bravely.
Peter Tatchell is one of the most respected and genuine people many of us know.
After having given due weight to his merits, and the immense hope Jeremy Corbyn represents, he sums up our reservations.
Since Jeremy has his heart in the right place and is not an Islamist, Holocaust denier or anti-Semite, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. Nonetheless, he has been careless in not checking out who he shares platforms with and been too willing to associate uncritically with the Islamist far right.
While I’m certain that Jeremy doesn’t share their extremist views, he does need to explain in more detail why he has attended and spoken at meetings alongside some pretty unsavoury bigots who advocate human rights abuses – and especially why he did so without publicly criticising their totalitarian politics.
He also notes problems with the stand taken on Hamas, Hezbollah, Russia and Ukraine.
There is much to say on these issues, and others – but read the article.
I will concentrate on those who are crowing that Corbyn’s opposition to direct Western intervention in Syria is another reason why he is unfit to lead the Labour Party.
One of the more distasteful claims now being made is that full-throttled backing of the Syrian opposition would have stopped the present refugee crisis.
What exactly that mean became clear as the conflict escalated in 2012- 2013 and voices became louder and louder that there should have been armed intervention, helped by aerial bombardments.
Those leading the charges against Corbyn were amongst the forces putting pressure for the British government to support military action in Syria.
Parliament voted in August 2013 against this. “David Cameron said he would respect the defeat of a government motion by 285-272, ruling out joining US-led strikes.”
They, above the ‘Eustonites’ and the Labour right-wing, including Blogs such as Harry’s Place, have not forgiven Jeremy Corbyn for helping in the defeat of this move.
It is clearer nevertheless, by the day, that the “opposition” in Syria, that is armed groups, that would have been aided by these measures were the very Islamist genociders (in ‘moderate’ killer or ‘extremist’ killer guise) who now create mass misery.
The result would probably have been, as Phil states, the premises are skewed.
The injection of large numbers of US and UK troops might have brought about an Afghanistan/Iraq-style “solution” with all the anti-insurgency actions and casualties that would have entailed, but IS would have been locked out. However, as we know neither the public nor for that matter the political and military elites were taken with such a scenario. Perhaps timing could have made a difference. Had the bombs fallen on Damascus earlier today’s crisis might have been avoided. Possibly, but as the last foray into Libya showed early intervention is no guarantee of success. If the bombs had landed in support of the 2011 uprisings, what has befallen Tripoli, Benghazi, etc. could be a window into the road not taken in Syria. That, however, was never on the table.
This was, and remains, no democratic alternative to the Assad tyranny with the force to replace it.
What can we do?
Peter’s statement on the present state of the Syrian civil war is important.
On Syria, Jeremy seems to have no policies, apart from “Don’t bomb Syria”. I concur. We don’t want escalation and war. But surely 250,000 dead, 1.5 million wounded and 10 million refugees merits some action? Total inaction aids the survival of Assad and Isis (IS).
A good start might be a UN General Assembly-authorised no-fly zone, arms embargo, peacekeepers and civilian safe havens – plus cutting funding to the IS and Assad armies by a UN blockade of oil sales.
Such measures – enforced by non-Western states such as Argentina, India, Brazil, Nigeria and South Africa – would help de-escalate the conflict and reduce casualties. Jeremy’s wariness of intervention is understandable. I share it. But surely a UN mandate designed to limit war fighting is reasonable and legitimate for a left-wing candidate?
Peter also speaks on a subject dear to our heart: the Tendance has supported movements of solidarity with the Iranian people, such as Hands off the People of Iran * – which is both anti-Theocracy and for human rights in Iran, and against Western Military intervention.
Like Jeremy, I don’t want war with Iran. I opposed the indiscriminate, blanket Western sanctions that hurt ordinary Iranians. But I’ve struggled to find examples of where he has spoken out against Iran’s mass jailing and torture of trade unionists, students, journalists, lawyers, feminists, human rights defenders and sexual, religious and ethnic minorities (such as the Arabs, Kurds, Azeris and Baluchs). Why the silence? He often and loudly criticises Saudi Arabia. Why not Iran?
It is very distressing to see Jeremy appear on the Iranian regime’s propaganda channel Press TV, especially after it defamed peaceful protesters and covered up state violence at the time of the rigged presidential elections in 2009. Moreover, how can Jeremy (and George Galloway) appear on Press TV, despite it broadcasting forced confessions by democrats and human-rights defenders who’ve been tortured into admitting false charges, and who are later executed?
Based on these serious lapses, Jeremy’s critics say his foreign policies make him unfit to be Labour leader and prime minister. I understand some of their reservations, but they ignore all the international issues where Jeremy has a superb record, including support for serious action against global poverty and the arms trade, and his opposition to the Saudi Arabian and Bahraini dictatorships (two tyrannies that most other MPs ignore and which Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron have actively colluded with). Moreover, Jeremy’s been a long-time champion of the dispossessed Chagos Islanders, Kurds, Palestinians and Western Sahrawis. Few other MPs have shown similar concern about the fate of most of these peoples.
We are immensely glad that Peter has spoken out.
- The initiative for Hands Off the People of Iran came from a number of Iranian exile organisations in 2005. On March 16, 2006, Workers Left Unity – Iran wrote an open letter to the British anti-war movement, calling for genuine solidarity with the Iranian people. By 2007 HOPI was fully established, consisting predominantly of Iranian exiles who campaign for regime change in Iran but are against external military intervention, believing military occupation to be the worst condition under which liberation can be achieved. HOPI’s founding conference was held in December 2007. At the Founding Conference, a National Steering Committee was established consisting of seventeen members from a range of different political organisations and political traditions. These include members of the Green Party of England and Wales, Labour Representation Committee, Jewish Socialist Group, Permanent Revolution, Centre for the Study of Socialist Theory and Movements at the University of Glasgow, Communist Party of Great Britain (Provisional Central Committee), Workers Left Unity – Iran, Revolutionary Workers of Iran, Anarchist Federation (pc) and Women’s Campaign Against All Misogynist Laws in Iran. An Irish branch of HOPI, chaired by Anne McShane, organised a protest outside the Iranian Embassy in Dublin in June 2009