Archive for the ‘Gay Rights’ Category
One can only praise the authors of this critique of “confusionnisme politique”, the translator’s excellent work, and the Charnel House for publishing this important work. There is a very disingenuous reply full of the tropes of cl assical Europen rhetoric, and little substance (‘essentially’ repeating, it’s an Indigenes thing, you wouldn’t understand), here: http://indigenes-republique.fr/vacarme-critique-les-indigenes-la-faillite-du-materialisme-abstrait-2/
Originally posted on The Charnel-House:
The Charnel-House introduction
A few months ago, I wrote up a critique of the “decolonial dead end” arrived at by groups like the Indigènes de la République. Despite being welcomed in some quarters of the Left, wearied by the controversy stirred up after the Charlie Hebdo massacre, it was not well received by others. Last month, however, a French comrade alerted me to the publication of a similar, but much more detailed and carefully argued, piece criticizing Bouteldja & co. in Vacarne. I even asked a friend to translate it for the new left communist publication Ritual. But before he could complete it, someone describing himself as “a long-time reader/appreciator of The Charnel-House” contacted me to let me know he’d just finished rendering it into English.
The authors of the original piece — Malika Amaouche, Yasmine Kateb, and Léa Nicolas-Teboul — all belong to the French…
View original 6,318 more words
Tim Farron: New Populist Front – but don’t invite Gays!
Older left-wingers will remember the group, the Democratic Left.
It was the official heir of the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) and grew out of the magazine Marxism Today.
One of the principal criticisms of the current that became the Democratic Left, was its its willingness to dissolve any form of class politics into a very nebulous form of “democratic alliance”. In the case of Stuart Hall this took the shape of looking for “new constituencies for change” to win over a hegemonic majority opposed to the ‘National Popular” configuration that cemented the electoral the base of Margaret Thatcher’s ‘authoritarian populism”.
The idea that there is an alternative, progressive, type of populism, is not new. The present rise in the intellectual popularity of “populism” on the British left, articulated in a “democratic” left-inflected way, woes something to another influence on the Democratic Left, the “post Marxism” of Ernesto Laclau, and, to a lesser extent Chantal Mouffe (she has since adopted a form of left republicanism or “agonistic pluralism” *).
Laclau developed the idea out of his studies of Latin America, including Peronism, and a critique of the Althussarian and Poulantzian position on the class grounds of ideology. Ideology is something which only take a class alignment in specific configurations of discourse. This leaves open the possibility of “democratic” as well as reactionary forms of populism. That is ” the basis of populism in the creation of “empty signifiers”: words and ideas that constitute and express an “equivalential chain”. This “equivalential chain” is made possible only when a list of unfulfilled political demands create a ‘logic of equivalence” between them. ” To translate: populism can become ‘popular’ when the frustrated masses fuse their demands (through what mechanism?) together.
Like Castoriadis’ concept of the “social imaginary” this appears to encourage a great deal of political creativity. Unfortunately it also allows politicians to ‘creatively ‘ make alliances and launch campaigns around demand with whoever seems to advance their cause. It is also suggested that it lets political parties and activists lose sight of the need to give a voice to clear interests – like class – and to make “socialism” such a flexible ‘democratic’ signifier that it loses all specific meaning.
We hear that Laclau has had an impact of Podemos and (we are surprised at this) the more seriously left-wing Syriza (Why Ernesto Laclau is the intellectual figurehead for Syriza and Podemos In the Spanish case it appears to mean appealing to the “masses” against the “elites”, the “political caste” (la casta), and claims to have gone “beyond” the “old” divisions between left and right.
In a British left-wing version, advanced by, amongst others, Owen Jones, left populism appears to mean pandering to anti-European fears. It can, in fact, mean just about anything that is “popular”
This is the end result of the (soon to dissolve) Democratic Left:
The Democratic Left stated a belief in a pluralist and socialist society “incompatible with the structures and values of capitalism.” Beginning as a political party, it decided not to stand candidates but instead to support tactical against the Conservatives at the 1992 General election and soon become a non-party campaigning organisation. DL campaigned on modernising unions, including Unions21; anti-racism and cultural diversity; democratising Britain, including Make Votes Count; social exclusion and poverty, including the Social Exclusion Network; focussing on coalition building, and operating in effect as a ‘socialist anti-Conservative front’.
Hard-line critics of this approach dismissed it as an end to class politics, without any solid basis in society, and (for Trotksyists) a renewed “popular frontism”, without specific socialist politics.
The Democratic Left withered away during the early Blair years, though we hear that some of them are still around in the New Politics Network (always something ‘new’…) and the journal Soundings.
We were reminded of these ideas when we read Red Pepper in June.
Many of the SNP candidates in the last election were chosen from or influenced by this movement, even though the movement is autonomous from the SNP. They have come to Westminster not with a nationalist but an anti‑austerity and pro-democracy agenda. As George Kerevan, now MP for East Lothian, said in the last issue of Red Pepper: ‘Watch out for SNP campaigners south of the border. If there are anti-austerity demonstrations in London, I will be there.’
He’s not alone. And although with Cameron in office there is probably little that he and his fellow SNP activists can achieve through sitting in Westminster and sticking to conventional procedure, there is much that a progressive anti-austerity alliance of MPs, including from Plaid Cymru, the Labour left and the victorious Green Caroline Lucas, can contribute to amplify the voices and demands of the movement across the country.
Hilary was once a critic of the Democratic Left and Marxism Today…..
It will be interesting to see this ‘populist’ left reacts to this generous offer:
Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrat leader, began his first day in office by calling for progressive groups on the left to come together to forge a joint agenda on key constitutional issues such as electoral and Lords reform. He also revealed that defence of civil liberties, more social housing, climate change and continued UK membership of the European Union will be the primary issues on which he first intends to define his leadership.
This seems one of the – many – stumbling blocks to this new alliance (Guardian).
The new Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron, on Friday night repeatedly avoided answering whether he regarded gay sex as a sin during a live television interview.
Just one day into his role as party leader, in an interview with Cathy Newman on Channel 4 News, Farron was asked whether he personally believed, as a Christian, that homosexual sex was a sin.
After replying that as liberals it was not “our views on personal morality that matter”, Farron said that to “understand Christianity is to understand that we are all sinners”.
* See the readable On the Political. Chantal Mouffe. 2005 and the, less readable, Agonistics: Thinking The World Politically. Chantal Mouffe. 2013.
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.
Shahid Akmal, “white women have the least amount of morals.”
The Birmingham Mail has just revealed another scandal behind the ‘Trojan Horse’ allegations,
Undercover report reveals Birmingham school chief claimed women are ’emotionally weaker’ and that British people have ‘colonial blood’.
By Nick Sommerlad
One of the ringleaders of the Islamist plot to take over British schools is exposed today as a sexist, racist bigot.
School chief Shahid Akmal told an undercover reporter from Birmingham Mail sister paper the Mirror, that “white women have the least amount of morals”, white children were “lazy” and that British people have “colonial blood”.
Akmal claimed that women were “emotionally weaker” than men and that their role was to look after children and the home.
He defended jailing or exiling gays and adulterers under Sharia Law as a “moral position to hold”.
Until he was removed last week, Akmal was the chairman of governors at Nansen Primary School in Birmingham, where music was banned and inspectors found pupils were not sufficiently protected from radicalisation.
The hardliner revealed he has plans to set up a series of after-school tuition centres to instil “our morals and our values and our principles” in impressionable youngsters.
Over a series of meetings, Akmal made a string of extraordinary statements and defended Britons fighting in Syria and Iraq as “freedom fighters”.
In a defiant attack, Akmal claimed the Government wanted to keep Muslims “suppressed” so they are easier to control.
Asked if white children were lazy he said: “Exactly. Thank you very much. And they don’t want to accept that.” He insisted: “I tell you, our women are much, much better consciously in the heart than any white women.
“White women have the least amount of morals.”
He argued that girls should be taught skills like cooking and sewing while boys should be taught trades like construction and mechanics.
Akmal attacked women who became “high flying” politicians: “She has to sacrifice her family, she has to sacrifice her children, she has to sacrifice her husband, all in the name of equality. And there are so many marriages that have broken up because of this.”
He appeared to defend British Muslims joining rebels in Syria and Iraq, despite official warnings of a terrorism threat when they return to the UK.
He said: “The fact that he has gone there to fight, they say that he is supporting terrorists. Because they don’t believe in the freedom fight.”
The alleged Trojan Horse plotters had been attacked for “wanting the best for our children”, claimed Akmal. He said: “They basically don’t want the children to do any better because they will demand education, they will demand better qualifications, they will want to go to Oxford and Cambridge and that’s a white only place. Very few non-whites go there.
“They want to keep us suppressed. It’s easier to control. If you get education you get a mind. When you get a mind, you ask questions. They don’t like that.
This comes as the Clarke report into Birmingham schools was formally presented.
Amongst its findings ITN highlights this,
Teachers at schools involved in the ‘Trojan Horse’ investigation allegedly claimed the murder of Lee Rigby was “some kind of staged event or hoax”, according to a government report.
The report’s author, retired counter-terrorism officer Peter Clarke, analysed the contents of a social media discussion between teachers at Park View School who called themselves ‘The Park View Brotherhood’.
The teachers allegedly joked about Lee Rigby’s death on the WhatsApp messaging service. Credit: Daniel Reinhardt/DPA/Press Association Images
Clarke’s report says the group of teachers exchanged “highly offensive comments about British service personnel” on the WhatsApp messaging service.
He also described the general contents of the teachers’ discussions as “grossly intolerant of beliefs and practices other than their own”.
School chiefs and parents ‘involved in promoting Islam’
Last updated Tue 22 Jul 2014
Governors, deputy and acting headteachers, trustees and parents were involved in a pattern of behaviour “moving between schools” in Birmingham, an inquiry into alleged ‘Trojan Horse’ schools has found.
In a 151-page report for Birmingham City Council, Ian Kershaw concluded: “The evidence shows individuals have been seeking to promote and encourage Islamic principles in the schools with which they are involved, by seeking to introduce Islamic collective worship, or raising objections to elements of the school curriculum that are viewed as anti-Islamic.”
Mr Kershaw’s report said the problems had been allowed to run “unchecked” due to what he branded “weaknesses in the system and poor oversight of governance” mainly by the city council, but also by Ofsted, the Education Funding Agency and the DfE.
In his report, Mr Clarke, who served as head of the Metropolitan Police’s counter-terrorism unit, said he “neither specifically looked for, nor found, evidence of terrorism, radicalisation or violent extremism in the schools of concern in Birmingham”.
But he went on to say: “I found clear evidence that there are a number of people, associated with each other and in positions of influence in schools and governing bodies, who espouse, sympathise with or fail to challenge extremist views.”
The inquiry concluded: “There has been co-ordinated, deliberate and sustained action, carried out by a number of associated individuals, to introduce an intolerant and aggressive Islamic ethos into a few schools in Birmingham.
It said witnesses had expressed three key concerns about the impact of the situation on pupils:
- The first was that teachers feared that children are learning to be intolerant of difference and diversity.
- Secondly, that although good academic results can be achieved by narrowing the curriculum, this means young people are not getting a broad education, and instead their horizons are narrowed.
- Thirdly, that the evidence of young people being encouraged to “adopt an unquestioning attitude to a particular hardline strand of Sunni Islam” raises real concerns about their vulnerability to radicalisation in the future.
Criticising the role of Birmingham city council, the report concluded the authority was “aware of the practices and behaviours that were subsequently outlined in the ‘Trojan Horse’ letter long before the letter surfaced”.
It goes on to say that the council has not supported headteachers faced with “aggressive and inappropriate behaviour”.
Mr Clarke also warned that the DfE had allowed Park View Educational Trust (PVET) – the trust at the centre of the allegations – to move from running a single school to being responsible for three too quickly, without systems in place for holding the new academies to account.
” There has been no evidence of direct radicalisation or violent extremism,” she said. “But there is a clear account in the report of people in positions of influence in these schools, with a restricted and narrow interpretation of their faith, who have not promoted fundamental British values and who have failed to challenge the extremist views of others.
“Individuals associated with PVET in particular have destabilised headteachers, sometimes leading to their resignation or removal. Particularly shocking is the evidence of the social media discussion of the Park View Brotherhood group whose actions betray a collective mind-set that can fairly be described as an intolerant Islamist approach which denies the validity of alternative beliefs.”
She said that it was “upsetting” that efforts to encourage more British Muslims to become school governors had been “damaged by the actions of a few” and urged parents to continue to come forward to serve on governing bodies.
A new education commissioner is to be appointed at Birmingham City Council to oversee action to address the criticisms of the authority in the Clarke and Kershaw reports.”
Shiraz Socialist commented a few days ago,
So we now have a situation in which the two reports commissioned into ‘Trojan Horse’ have both concluded that there was a real issue of organised, ultra-reactionary Islamist influence in some Birmingham schools. The newspaper at the forefront of the campaign of denial that followed the allegations has now relented and faced reality. The leader of Birmingham City Council has acknowledged what happened and apologised. But will those on the left (in particular, but not only, the SWP), who took the Guardian ‘line’ now admit their mistake? More importantly, will the NUT leadership, instead of prevaricating on the issue, now take a clear stand in support of secular education?
One solution: secular education!
Boot Religious Authority out of Schools!
Conservative Home asks,
“Is it Conservative to believe that “the Islamic state is the greatest contribution to humanity”?
They report on events in Newham, ,
” in which local Conservatives have issued a leaflet aimed at what it describes as “the Muslim community” which has been translated into Urdu, Gujurati and Bengali.
The fourth of the leaflet’s ten pledges is “respect for religious beliefs and needs when making planning decisions, while point eight is “opposition to any further betting shops in Newham”.
At least one of the Tory candidates running in the council elections will endorse this view wholeheartedly. He is Mufti Shah Sadruddin, who has called for a Muslim political identity.
“We have to create a revolution for our rights,” he is recorded as saying. “The gays can get their rights…but when Islam is being abused we can’t even save it. We have 50 million Muslims in Europe, we are good for nothing. The Jewish community, they have their anti-Semitism, they have this Holocaust. The gays got these gay rights but any Tom, Dick, Harry can make a movie, Satanic Verses…but we are 1.5 billion Muslims but we are not politically powerful. Block the roads of Newham just like Tahrir Square.”
Other statements by Sadruddin reportedly include the following: “Even Britain has a blasphemy law. We are sleeping, brothers…The greatest threat to Islam is through the removal of Islamic politics. The Islamic state is the greatest contribution to humanity. Only politics can unite the Muslim Ummah [brotherhood]. Politics is the tool which can unite the Muslims and the Ummah.” Shah reportedly organised and was certainly present at a rally for George Galloway last year. Two other Conservative council candidates in Newham are former candidates for Respect.
The Express adds,
An ISLAMIST leader of the campaign to build a “mega mosque” near Britain’s Olympic Stadium is standing as a Tory in this month’s council elections
Mufti Shah Sadruddin, who believes in the notion of Islamic states, has no known previous links to the Tories, and has been an enthusiastic supporter of Respect MP George Galloway.
The Conservative party in the east London borough has also selected two other candidates who have previously stood for socialist Respect..