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Affaire Mila: Ten People to Stand Trial For Threatening Young Woman For Her Views on Islam.

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Affaire Milla: 16 Year Old Gay Lycéenne Faces Death Threats for Criticising  Islam, Minister of Justice says, “Insulting Religion” is an “Attack on  Freedom of Conscience”. | Tendance Coatesy

Anti-Gay Hate Against 16 Year Old Who Criticised Islam.

Mila case: ten people to be tried in June for harassment and death threats against the teenager

Le Monde has just reported.

Five additional people are sent to the Paris Criminal Court for attacking the adolescent from Isère after the publication, in November, of a new controversial video on Islam.

On Monday, six people, aged 18 to 35, had been placed in police custody in Paris, Seine-et-Marne, Gironde, Isère, Bouches-du-Rhône and Bas-Rhin , in the framework of the investigations carried out by the ‘ pôle national de lutte contre la haine en ligne (national Pole against online hate,’ recently created at the Paris prosecutor’s office. On Tuesday, the custody of a man was lifted without prosecution at this stage and a minor was taken into police custody in Val-de-Marne. The latter was released “the same day for further investigation,” said the prosecution.

Two people already convicted

Five other people, aged 18 to 29 and arrested on February 9 in Loire-Atlantique, Moselle and Calvados, will also appear on June 3 for “online moral harassment”, and, for two of them, “ death threats “.

The story goes back to a young gay woman publishing a statement on social media, calling Islam a variety of colourful names. She attacked the religion, not Muslims.

Among her original remarks, she described Islam as a “religion of hate”.

“She never made any racist comments, just used teenage words that were a bit vulgar,” the lawyer said.

The BBC has had a report this year,

Five people have been detained on suspicion of making death threats to a French teenager who posted videos critical of Islam, prosecutors say.

Mila, 17, had to change schools last year after an Instagram video for her friends in which she criticised Islam was widely shared on social media.

She then posted another video on social media site TikTok last November which prompted a new wave of online threats.

This underlines just how serious thing had got,

She was getting about 30 hate messages a minute at one point, her lawyer said.

France’s online hate crimes task force took over the case.

Mila, who is known in France only by her first name, is originally from the eastern Isère region. Her story has revived debate in the country on freedom of speech as well as protection for schoolchildren from online bullying.

A schoolteacher was murdered last October close to his school near Paris, days after showing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad to a class discussing freedom of expression.

Mila had published in November on the social network TikTok a new video in which she sharply attacked her detractors. The teenager had shared on Twitter screenshots of the death threats received, some referring to the assassination of Professor Samuel Paty in October 2020 in the Yvelines. The prosecutor’s office in Vienne (Isère), which opened an investigation in mid-November, gave up at the beginning of December in favour of the National Pole against online hatred. Read also Delphine Horvilleur: “The Mila affair questions: what God would be upset to be so mistreated? “

A high school student in Villefontaine (Isère), Mila was forced to leave her school after having published in January 2020 a first video that went viral in which she was vehemently critical of Islam. Two people have already been sentenced in 2020 to prison terms for death threats against the girl. Others are indicted in the investigation into the death threats of January 2020 and the dissemination of his contact details.

Written by Andrew Coates

March 25, 2021 at 11:37 am

Open Letter to Jacobin and Monthly Review: Stop Racist and Misogynist Attacks on the Emergent Indigenous, Eco-Feminist Left in Latin America, and Address the Crisis in Today’s Ecuador.

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Members of Indigenous communities and supporters of Ecuador's presidential candidate Yaku Perez march in Quito on February 23 [Santiago Arcos/Reuters]

Members of Indigenous communities and supporters of Ecuador’s presidential candidate Yaku Perez march in Quito on February 23 [Santiago Arcos/Reuters]

This is an important statement with wide implications. As the letter states, “We are concerned that a significant number of today’s left-wing actors, across the Americas and the world, align themselves with extractivism, agrobusiness, authoritarian statism, [10] and stand against Indigenous, anti-racist, and anti-patriarchal movements, ideas, and leaders. We worry that the former is acting to eject the latter from the conversation by labelling them as right-wingers and allies of imperialism. We should not be distracted from the wave of violent, ultra-racist “populism,” and military and parliamentary coups that have swept the region in the past years.”

In other words, this is not just about North American left wingers’ positions on central or southern America, or about Ecuador in particular. It is about a widespread confusion about the new forms of neoliberalism and national populisms now taking shape,. It raises issues about emerging social movements, that support green politics. It hardly needs underlining that left populism, the Bolivarian Revolution, has spectacularly failed.

Signalled on the Marx Mail list, and  (via DM) on Twitter, it is an important correction to the reports about Ecuador, in a wider range of left wing journals, and other places, such as the Morning Star. It is also a reminder that the left has not yet done with populism, a sign perhaps of special importance to signers such as Éric Fassin. (Populisme : le grand ressentiment. 2017).  Jacobin is widely read in the USA and has long identified with forms of populism, often pushing support for figures in Europe such as Jean-Luc Mélenchon. The longstanding Monthly Review is a much more respected left wing journal with in-depth articles in the broad Marxist tradition.

Stop Racist and Misogynist Attacks on the Emergent Indigenous, Eco-Feminist Left in Latin America, and Address the Crisis in Today’s Ecuador

We, the signatories of this letter, have to come together to demand the retraction or clarification of two recent articles that smear political movements and leaders in Ecuador. The gains of Yaku Pérez and the coalition around the Pachakutik party in the 7 February 2021 elections represent an exciting and emergent new left comprised of Indigenous organizations, eco-socialist politics, feminist and LGBTQ+ activists, anti-racist movements, and anti-extractivist causes. On 24 February 2021, these movements came together in the streets of Ecuador, to demand that every vote be counted. Silencing and discrediting Ecuadoran voices as well as new popular movements—while demanding fealty to state capitalist leaders associated with the extractivist “left” in Ecuador and across the region—must end. Ben Norton’s “How Ecuador’s US-backed, coup-supporting ‘ecosocialist’ candidate Yaku Pérez aids the right-wing,” (republished by the Monthly Review on 8 February 2021) [1] and Denis Rogatyuk’s “Ecuador’s Election Was a Massive Repudiation of Neoliberalism” (published in Jacobin Magazine on 18 February)[2] do not reflect the traditions of Monthly Review—the “longest continuously published socialist magazine in the United States.” [3] Both articles contradict Jacobin’s founders goal to develop a “product of a younger generation not quite as tied to the Cold War paradigms that sustained the old leftist intellectual milieu.” [4] The editors’ openness to new generations is at odds with the sustained offensive against a new Indigenous eco-socialist and feminist political left in Latin America.

Rogatyuk’s article in Jacobin condemns the eco-socialist candidate Pérez and his partner, Manuela Picq, pointing out they “have for years attempted to portray Correa as an anti-Indigenous, anti-environment leader that pursues an ‘extractivist’ model of development.” Yes, they have, as have most independent social scientists who have looked at the wreckage of the Correa legacy. [5] There is a vibrant, Indigenous, and youth-led coalition of leftists who have critiqued Correa’s misuse of “el buen vivir” principles in his policies. These policies nourished new extractive industries. Under Correa, the state criminalized Indigenous groups,[6] LGBTQ+ populations, and exploited new mining resources and areas such as Yasuní.[7] Rogatyuk mocks the new left in Ecuador as a “ragbag” and “surreal” group who “absurdly” make claims about the partiality of electoral commissions. Rogatyuk overlooks the extensive and historic struggles of Indigenous identity, genocide and sovereignty, as well as the multiple battles against extractivism and ecological devastation, gendered injustices, political/social misogyny, [8] and homophobia. The article wilfully ignores the organizational and social momentum and innovation that fuelled Pérez’s electoral success. It ignores these movements’ critiques of extractivist statism and monolithic personalism. Rogatyuk suggested that “Pérez’s political record suggests he is a Trojan horse for the left’s most bitter enemies.”

Similarly, Norton’s Monthly Review article disdainfully dismisses environmentalists, whose critiques of extractivism or racist policies of the statist left he portrayed as “opening up space for the right.” The author singles out “Extinction Rebellion” as a right-wing tool. He rages against the language of “decoloniality” and the eco-socialist left’s critique of statist leaders’ complicity with whiteness and colonial-economic and social legacies. In a typically authoritarian thrust, the article demonizes anyone who allies themselves with NGOs, branding them as supporters of imperialism.

Norton’s widely circulated Monthly Review article aimed at fracturing the left and eroding social movement support for Pérez as an alternative. The piece was published at a crucial moment in the Ecuadorian presidential election. Conventional media outlets have used it to discredit and damage a candidate of the eco-socialist/Indigenous/feminist left. Norton’s article wove together a series of Pérez’s tweets critiquing the statist and extractivist left. Of course, many members of the progressive left, including some of us writing this letter, disagreed with these proclamations as well as Pérez’s support of neoliberal candidates as a strategy to defeat authoritarian elements. But we contextualize these positions.

The Monthly Review article spotlights Manuela Picq, Pérez’s partner, in a misogynist and homophobic diatribe that mocks and attacks her feminist, queer studies, and eco-social politics. Generating absurd conspiracy narratives, this article designates her body as evidence of Pérez’s imperialist complicity. It stinks of rumor-mongering, noting that she took classes at Princeton in a building named after Ronald Reagan, as if this would prove that she was a stooge of the Reagan administration. At age 25, Picq was part of a civil society dialogue in the FTAA negotiation process where she organized critics of the FTAA. Instead of mentioning this history of radical praxis, she is accused of being a “CIA cutout” and an agent of “billionaire George Soros,” a familiar anti-Semitic accusation. She is also incriminated for teaching classes in queer studies and feminist theory. The author claims that because Picq teaches “Latinx Studies” and “Queering Notions of Modernity,” she is an enemy of global class struggle and complicit with imperialism. Norton does not acknowledge the long list of Picq’s other publications on queer theory, international relations, social movement struggles, or resistance to authoritarianism. Most tellingly, the author does not mention that Picq was arrested and deported from Ecuador by the Correa government for having participated in united Indigenous, feminist, and anti-extractivist protests.[9]

These two articles do not explore in detail the context of Pérez’s political momentum in the organization and revitalization of CONAIE—the Indigenous confederation that led the largest set of protests in Ecuadorian history in October 2019, uniting Indigenous groups, feminists, students, and workers movements to fight back against the imposition of a wrenching IMF accord and to demand the end to ecocidal plunder and land dispossession. This moment consolidated the leadership of a younger generation. CONAIE’s legacy, of uniting movements in October 2019, lent popular and movement support to Pérez’s candidacy and might bring him perhaps to second place in the polling. The article does not mention the historic October 2019 uprising or CONAIE and Pérez’s roles in it.

We are concerned that a significant number of today’s left-wing actors, across the Americas and the world, align themselves with extractivism, agrobusiness, authoritarian statism, [10] and stand against Indigenous, anti-racist, and anti-patriarchal movements, ideas, and leaders. We worry that the former is acting to eject the latter from the conversation by labelling them as right-wingers and allies of imperialism. We should not be distracted from the wave of violent, ultra-racist “populism,” and military and parliamentary coups that have swept the region in the past years. It is exactly these authoritarian developments that make it irresponsible and dangerous to brand those who critique the extractivist left as allies of Yankee imperialists or sympathetic to Bolsonaro-type populists who are encouraging genocide, femicide, racial exterminations, and homophobic assassinations. We stand against authoritarian statism focusing on individual male populist figures and armed, militarized “machocratic” patriarchy. Against this model, a new progressive alternative for the left has been emerging—led by Indigenous, Black, and feminist as well as class and worker-identified justice movements—to advocate redistribution of wealth, land, and autonomies to forge new modes of collective, bodily, and eco-social participation and rights.

After Ecuador’s 7 February 2021 election, civil society groups across Ecuador raised concerns that an effort was underway to “find votes” needed to bring Lasso’s totals above Pérez’s. This would serve both sides of what Chilean writer Andrés Kogan Valderrama has labelled the “binary” political equation [11] of extractivist left and neoliberal right. Both sides saw Pérez as the most threatening opponent, for he might win and, more than that, dismantle the binary political equation that has been making true redistribution and eco-social justice unimaginable. The Ecosocialist Feminist Network stated, “We reject the role that ‘Correismo’ [Rafael Correa’s regime] has played in this moment, exacerbating racism and delegitimizing social struggle through media campaigns…We know that the struggle continues and what will be the mobilization and unity of the popular field will permit us to sustain the gains accumulated in October [2019] and resistance against this system of death.” [12] We deplore the demonization of both Pérez and movements that brought him so close to the run-off election. A left-wing global community deserves better, and we call on the editors of Monthly Review and Jacobin to reject these simplistic and dangerous analyses which feed right wing structures of hate in Latin America.

Signed,

Paul Amar, Professor, Director of Orfalea Center, University of California, Santa Barbara
Sonia Correa, Co-Chair, Sexuality Policy Watch
Ghaitai Paul Males Castañeda, Comunidad Indígena de Compañía, Líder Espiritual Cristiano-Andino de Jóvenes
Macarena Gómez-Barris, Professor, Pratt Institute
Mara Viveros Vigoya, Profesora Titular, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, LASA President (2019-2020)
Lisa Duggan, Professor, New York University
Cristina Yépez Arroyo, McGill University
J. Kehaulani Kauanui, Professor, Wesleyan University
William C. Smith, Professor Emeritus, University of Miami
Rita Laura Segato, Professor, Universidad Nacional de San Martín, Argentina
Pamela Martin, Professor, Coastal Carolina University
Mario Pecheny, Professor, University of Buenos Aires
Cruz Caridad Bueno, Assistant Professor of Black Studies, SUNY-New Paltz
Javiera Barandiaran, Associate Professor, University of California, Santa Barbara
Michelle Artieda, Florida International University
Mieke Verloo, Professor, Radboud University, The Netherlands
Lena Lavinas, Professor, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
Sherene R Seikaly, Associate Professor, University of California, Santa Barbara
Gita Sen, DAWN (Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era), Fiji
Gloria Careaga, Facultad de Psicología, UNAM, Mexico
Rosalind Petchesky, Distinguished Professor Emerita, Hunter College &The Graduate Center, CUNY
Rina Pakari Marcillo, Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador
Steve Stein, Senior Professor, University of Miami
Markus Thiel, Associate Professor, Florida International University
Dominique Chiriboga, Activista Feminista y LGBT, Ecuador
Flavio Carrera V., Project Coordinator, Universidad San Francisco de Quito
Daniela Cabascango, Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO), Ecuador
Kiran Asher, UMass, Amherst
Carolina Benalcázar, Concordia University
Fernando Luz Brancoli, Associate Professor, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
Diana Coryat, Universidad Andina Simon Bolivar, Ecuador
Bila Sorj, Professor, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro
Pablo Ospina Peralta, Docente de la Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar, Quito, Ecuador
Antonia Carcelen-Estrada, Profesora investigadora, Universidad San Francisco de Quito/Northumbria University
Jennyfer Masaquiza, Universidad San Francisco de Quito
Claudia Sofía Garriga-López, California State University, Chico
David Paternotte, Université Libre de Bruxelles
Carlos de la Torre, Director, Center for Latin American Studies, University of Florida
Miriam Lang, Professor, Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar, Ecuador
Carmen Diana Deere, Distinguished Professor Emerita, University of Florida; LASA President (1992-1994)
Arturo Escobar, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Guilherme Leite Gonçalves, Professor, Rio de Janeiro State University
Johannes Waldmüller, Research Professor, Universidad de Las Américas, EPN
Sylvia Cifuentes, University of California, Santa Barbara
Larry Lohmann, The Corner House (Environmental and Social Justice), UK
Gareth Dale, Brunel University, UK
Alvaro Jarrin, Associate Professor, College of the Holy Cross
Alberto J. Olvera, Profesor Titular, Instituto de Investigaciones Histórico-Sociales, U Veracruzana, Mexico
Benjamin Arditi, Professor of Politics, UNAM, Mexico
Margarita López Maya, CENDES-UCV, Venezuela
Les Levidow, Senior Research Fellow, Open University, UK
Javier Corrales, Professor, Amherst College
Patrick Bond, Professor, University of the Western Cape, South Africa
Joan Martinez-Alier, ICTA, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Catalonia (Spain)
Zillah Eisenstein, writer, Prof. Emerita, Ithaca College
Iokiñe Rodriguez, Seniour Lecturer, University of East Anglia, UK
Rehad Desai, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Cristina Vega, Profesora Investigadora, FLACSO Ecuador
Muhammad Reza Sahib, KRuHA – people’s coalition for the right to water, Indonesia
Monroe Edwin Jeffrey, International Tribal Association, United States
Francesco Martone, Senatore della Repubblica, Italia
Barry Gills, University of Helsinki, Finland
Pedro Gutiérrez Guevara, Researcher, Kaleidos Center of Interdisciplinary Ethnography, Ecuador
Rosemary E. Galli, independent researcher, Observatório das Nacionalidades, UK
Elisa Van Waeyenberge, SOAS University of London, UK
Markus Kröger, Associate Professor, University of Helsinki, Finland
Gabriel Roldos, ROLPRO SAS Publishing House, Ecuador
Tom Kucharz, Ecologistas en Acción, Spain
Lisa Rofel, Professor Emeritus and Research Professor, Co-Director, Center for Emerging Worlds, UC Santa Cruz
Marcelo Coelho, Journalist, Folha de São Paulo, Brasil
Alejandro Bendaña, Activist, Nicaragua
John Francis Foran, Professor, University of California, Santa Barbara
Melissa Weiner, Associate Professor, College of the Holy Cross
Ashish Kothari, Global Tapestry of Alternatives, India
Elisabeth de Souza Lobo, Psychologue, Université Paris 7, France
Noah Zweig, Investigador Independiente, Ecuador
Devin Beaulieu, University of California, San Diego
Bárbara Sepúlveda Hales, Asociación de Abogadas Feministas, Chile
Eng-Beng Lim, Director of Dartmouth Consortium of Studies in Race, Migration, and Sexuality; Assoc Professor WGSS, Dartmouth College
Pallav Das, Editor, Radical Ecological Democracy
Roxana Erazo, University of Toronto
Santiago Acosta, Lecturer of Spanish, University of California, Davis
Andrea Sempértegui, Lafayette College, USA
Najwa Mayer, Postdoctoral Fellow, Dartmouth
Judith Butler, Professor, University of California, Berkeley
Marisol de la Cadena, Professor, University of California-Davis
Benjamin Arditi, Professor of Politics, UNAM, Mexico
Rosa Jijón Co-founder, A4C Arts for the Commons, Italy
Donald E.Pease, Professor, Dartmouth College, USA
Grace Delgado, Data Analyst, Dagan Inc., Estados Unidos
Tamra L. Gilbertson, Professor, University of Tennessee and Indigenous Environmental Network
Danid Barkin, Distinguished Professor, Metropolitan Autonomous University, Mexico
Jai Sen, Researcher and listserve curator
Catherine Szpunt, Occupational Therapist, BOE, USA
Fabio Luis Barbosa dos Santos, Professor, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, Brasil
Hugo Ceron-Anaya, Associate Professor, Lehigh University, United States
Salvador Schavelzon, Professor, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, Brasil
André Luiz de Oliveira Domingues, farm worker, DSA IC Americas, USA
Mia Yee, alumni, College of the Holy Cross
Juan Wahren, Investigador y Profesor, Universidad de Buenos Aires/ CONICET
Pablo Solón, Fundación Solón, Bolivia
Gina Vargas, Feminista, Peru
Sandra Macedo, Sociologa e artista visual, Brasil
Eduardo Erazo Acosta, Professor, University Nariño, Colombia
Judith Dellheim, Researcher, Zukunftskonvent Germany, Deutschland
Silvia Spitta, Dartmouth College, USA
Carolyn D’Cruz, La Trobe University, Australia
Dr MK Dorsey, Club of Rome, Spain
Didice Godinho Delgado, Activist, Germany
S A Hamed Hosseini, Alternative Futures Research Network, Common Alternatives, U Newcastle, Australia
Céline Veríssimo, Associate Professor, Federal University of Latin American Integration, Brazil
Nina Isabella Moeller, Associate Professor, Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience, Coventry University, England, UK
Kevin Bruyneel, Professor, Babson College, United States
JM Pedersen, Honorary Research Fellow, Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience, Coventry University
Julien-François Gerber, researcher & teacher, Institute of Social Studies, The Netherlands
Mirella Pretell Gomero, Syracuse University
Pamela Calla, Profesor, New York University
A. Naomi Paik, Associate Professor, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Carla Rodrigues, UFRJ, Brasil
Gayatri Gopinath, Professor, New York University
Teresa Armijos Burneo, Lecturer, University of East Anglia, UK
Trevor Hirsche, Instructor, Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar, Bolivia
Josefina Saldaña-Portillo, Professor, New York University
Stefania Barca, Zennström Professor of Climate Change Leadership, Uppsala Universitet, Sweden
Éric Fassin, Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies, Paris 8 University (Vincennes – Saint-Denis)
Suzana Sawyer, Associate Professor, University of California, Davis
Cristina Rojas, Professor, Carleton University, Canada
Nadine Lefaucheur, CNRS Retraitée, Martinique France
Helena Hirata, Directrice de Recherche Emérito, CNRS, France
Angela Freitas, Coletivo Feminista 4D, Brasil
Dennis Altman Professor, LaTrobe University, Australia
Isabelle Stengers, Prof. emerita, Université Libre de Bruxelles
Emmanuelle Picard, Assistant Professor, Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, France
Valentine Olivera, Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne
Picard Elodie, OpenEdition, France
Daniel Fischer, Food Not Bombs, USA
Margaret Wiener, Associate Professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Ana María Goldani, Brazil LAB, Princeton University
Paola Minoia, University Lecturer, University of Helsinki, Finland
Lucas Savino, Associate Professor, Western University, Past-Chair of Ethnicity, Race and Indigenous Peoples Section (LASA)
Marco Aurelio Maximo Prado, Professor, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil
Breno Bringel, Professor, State University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Tristan Partridge, Research Fellow, University of California, Santa Barbara
Geoff Goodwin, London School of Economics, UK
Aida Matilde Marcillo Perugachi, Concejala del Canton Otavalo, Ecuador
Stalin Herrera, Instituto de Estudios Ecuatorianos, Ecuador
George Yudice, Professor, University of Miami
Malvika Gupta, University of Oxford, UK
Aida Luz Lopez, Universidad Autónoma de la Ciudad de Mexico
Enrique Leff, Senior Researcher/Professor, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Giorgos Kallis, Professor, ICTA-UAB, Spain
Mariana Walter, Phd. Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Spain
Angus McNelly, Queen Mary University of London, UK
Dalena Tran, Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambientals (ICTA-UAB), Spain
Isabelle Darmon, Lecturer in Sociology and Sustainable Development, University of Edinburgh
Bárbara Sepúlveda Hales, Asociación de Abogadas Feministas, Chile
John Cavanagh, Director, Institute for Policy Studies, USA
Anna Storti, Dartmouth College, USA
Robin Broad, Professor, American University, USA
Alberto Acosta, Expresidente de la Asamblea Constituyente (2007-2008), Ecuador
Marinalva de Sousa Conserva/ Profa. Dra., Universidade Federal da Paraíba, Brasil
Maria aparecida Ramos, Assembleia Legislativa da Paraíba, Brasil
Bryan Winston, Dartmouth College, USA

Notes

[1] https://mronline.org/2021/02/10/how-ecuadors-u-s-backed-coup-supporting-ecosocialist-candidate-yaku-perez-aids-the-right-wing/
[2] https://jacobinmag.com/2021/02/ecuador-election-arauz-hervas-perez-neoliberalism
[3]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monthly_Review#:~:text=The%20Monthly%20Review%2C%20established%20in,magazine%20in%20the%20United%20States.
[4] https://web.archive.org/web/20190711101435/
http://idiommag.com/2011/03/no-short-cuts-interview-with-the-jacobin/
[5]There is extensive literature that examines how the period of Rafael Correa’s government as a time of impunity and human rights violations. See: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1467-8675.12117
[6] In 2017, CONAIE fought to get amnesty for all activists of the indigenous movement who had been prosecuted and sentenced for protesting Correa’s government and Chinese mining companies, and defending water resources. The government misused anti-terrorism laws dating from the 1970s military dictatorship to incarcerate indigenous leaders protesting extractivism. At that time, 98 individuals faced criminal prosecutions for resistance to authority, terrorism, sabotage, etc. See: https://www.planv.com.ec/historias/politica/conaie-la-lucha-la-amnistia
and https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-22656374
[7] See: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/andes-to-the-amazon/2013/oct/15/ecuador-president-misleading-yasuni
[8] Correa’s sabatinas, weekly speeches televised in different locations around the country on Saturdays, were spaces which could last up to three hours. There he presented his visions and proposals, and attacked citizens, journalists, human rights activists, academics, and environmentalists. The Media Observatory of Ecuador (OME) has counted 95 grievances against women and for sexist language in the 152 Correa’s weekly speeches between 2013 and 2016.
See: https://elpais.com/elpais/2017/05/23/planeta_futuro/1495560980_079621.html
On Saturday December 28, 2013, one of the last during Correa’s first administration, the former president criticized “gender ideology.” On the same occasion, Correa affirmed “defending the traditional family” and declared opposition to abortion “has nothing to do with the left or the right,” but are simple “moral issues.” See full video here: https://youtu.be/ODXFdqtGsyo?t=6341
[9] See: https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/case-history-manuela-picq
[10] In 2013, Rafael Correa issued Executive Decree No. 16 to control NGOs and establish limitations on the independent and autonomous functioning of unions and social organizations. The decree was harshly criticized by local and international organizations. https://sobrevivientes.planv.com.ec/decreto-16-y-las-amenazas-a-las-ong/
Correa arbitrarily punished journalists who did not agree with him and actively attacked indigenous environmental activists who opposed oil and gas extraction or open-pit mining on their lands. https://rsf.org/en/news/what-future-free-speech-ecuador-after-presidential-election
https://amazonwatch.org/news/2018/0418-new-report-shines-light-on-dark-days-for-amazon-earth-defenders-in-ecuador
[11] https://oplas.org/sitio/2021/02/14/andres-kogan-valderrama-yaku-perez-y-el-fin-de-los-binarismos/
[12] https://internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article7033

 

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

March 1, 2021 at 5:25 pm

The Madness of Crowds. Gender, Race and Identity. Douglas Murray. Culture Wars seen from the Right.

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Image result for The Madness of Crowds. Gender, Race and Identity. Douglas Murray.

 

The Madness of Crowds. Gender, Race and Identity. Douglas Murray. Bloomsbury Continuum. 2019.

Last week on Question Time  “Rachel Boyle, a woman of colour, audience member and academic, said: “Let’s be really clear about what this is, let’s call it by its name, it’s racism.” Fox responded that discussions of racism in Britain were “really starting to get boring now,” and accused Boyle of reverse racism for pointing out that he is a “white, privileged male”. Since then, the actor has been busy making an apparent campaign to become the new poster boy for the populist right.”(Independent)  For Douglas Murray the other, largely critical, reaction has shown the face of the ” new totalitarians. ” “ox, again perfectly reasonably, pointed out that he has had no more say than anyone else in choosing the colour of his skin and that in such circumstances the person who imagined she was being anti-racist was in fact being perfectly racist herself.” It was the “identitarians” who were at fault in this “terrifying parable” (The terrifying parable of Laurence Fox’s Question Time appearance)

There is a serious critical debate on identity politics or ‘identitarianism”. On the left responses began in the late 1980s in the pages of Race and Class with articles by Ambalavaner Sivanandan channelling the idea that leaders of pre-formed ‘communities’ should be represented and integrated into the state through Community Relations Councils. In No Logo (1999) Naomi Klein observed the emergence in North American student circles of what is now called ‘intersectional’ cultural battles, at the expense of fights about the increasing domination of globalised corporate power over everyday life. (1)

In the 1990s and the first decade of the new millennium Kenan Malik attacked responses to Islam and the rise of people identifying themselves in “narrower ethnic terms”. He wrote, liberal indulgence, “helped build a culture of grievance, in which ebbing offended is a badge of identity, cleared a space for radical Islamists to flourish and made secular and progressive arguments less sayable, particularly within Muslim communities.” In 2010 Rumy Hasan observed that “A profound consequence of silence in regard to oppressive practices within religious-ethnic minority communities has been the abandonment, or the downplaying of key universalist egalitarian principles.” Chief amongst those, he stated, was secularism. (2)

In France Nedjib Sidi Moussa has taken apart the “ethnodiffértialisme” the “racialisation of the social question” primarily through Muslim identity – and the pretension to engage in “race struggle” by anti-Semitic ‘anti-white’ groups like the Indigènes de la République. From an Algerian family he does not shrink from addressing the failure of the radical left to address Islamist violence and the hatred of Jews La Fabrique du Musulman (2017) suggests that the so-called radical supporters of identity politics have a lot in common with right-wing identitarians like Alain Soral. Yves Coleman of Ni Patrie Ni Frontières and Nadia Meziane provide essential critical commentary on these issues in French. (3)

Douglas Murray’s The Madness of Crowds avoids developing the views on the threat of migration. The idea that “the mass movement of peoples into Europe” is happening as Europe has “lost faith in its beliefs, traditions and legitimacy.” (The Strange Death of Europe. 2017). An authority on this, Yves Camus, and his theory of the Great Replacement, cited in that work, does not pop up in the present volume. It is not the suicide of a Continent that preoccupies The Madness, but ‘“a great crowd derangement”. This new Tulip Mania is ‘Identity politics’. “It atomises society into different interest groups according to sex (or gender), race, sexual preferences and more.” (Page 3) These “rights issues have moved from being a product of a system to being the foundations of a new one.” (Page 7). These “destabilising foundation of liberalism” lead to “ugliness” to “believe things that are unbelievable”. This “crowd madness” needs, like a minefield, to be “cleared”.

One could be forgiven for thinking that Murray was a contributor to Spiked, and an acolyte of Frank Furedi. Yet the former Revolutionary Communist Party guru is absent from his pages; his warnings about the post-68 left’s turn to a “bitter conflict between competing lifestyles – symbolic struggles”, the “culture wars”, are unmentioned. (4)

Post-Marxism.

Murray does however have a smattering of knowledge about the left and ‘post-modernism’. Citing Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe’s Hegemony and Socialist Strategy (1985) and an article on the same theme in Marxism Today, he outlines a shift from class polities to “new political subjects’, “women, students, young people, racial and regional minorities, as well as the various anti-institutional and ecological struggles” (Page 57). Skirting clear of these “post Marxists” fascination with the left potentials of populism, he observes that their “ideological children in identity politics and intersectionality seem to be content to inhabit an ideological space littered with contradiction, absurdity and hypocrisy.” (Page 58)

These new classes of “exploited” persons are explored, we learn, in the hard to read prose of Judith Butler, and produce “social justice theories”. The gobbledegook around social constructs and gender and race offers the gently e amusement of the “conceptual Penis as a Social Construct” and doubtless more opportunities for spoofs than Murray could cut and paste into his book.

The Madness of Crowds is determined to expose these absurdities. There is something deeply distasteful in the way that the Associate Editor of the Spectator rummages through the Web to find them. Gay demonstration, apparently, (Murray is openly gay himself) include fetishists with their leathers, sadomasochists flogging each other in the street….”(Page 39) Murray is fascinated with women singers’ wiggling bums, which is perhaps understandable, though the demand that they should be “sexy but not sexualised” will have passed most people by. Misandry – a new one on my spell checker – “Man are trash”, is a rubbish example of when put alongside this jumble of terms, “concepts like ‘male privilege’, ‘the patriarchy; ‘mansplaining or “toxic masculinity”. “ (Page 103) Is Murray suggesting that patriarchal structures do not exist, that women are often not oppressed by men, or that the unpleasant, violent, side of masculinity is something even a gentleman scrivener has never seen?

Unfamiliar with American campus politics one is still unable to take on trust Murray’s description of racial incidents and university slanging matches about people’s rival experiences. It would strike many people that in a country that elected Donald Trump, and which has a substantial, networked, far right, that racialism remains an issue beyond verbal jousts. Black Lives matter, most seem to agree, is a call that reflects a justified angry response to an unpleasant reality.

Tansexuality.

Murray reaches his lowest moment is the chapter on Transexuals. He insinuates that many trans people may be largely motivated by being “sexually around by the idea of presenting as, or actually becoming a woman” (J. Michael Bailey). This casts doubt on whether that “tans is a hardware issue”, that is against the claim that “trans are born this way. (Page 199) Digging deeper into the pit of controversy around transexuality The Madness of Crowds cites the hostility to those who assert that surgery cannot “make you a woman”. Greatly respected feminists who have taken this, or a more moderate critical view, and have been violently hounded for their opinions. “Transphobic”, Murray is not familiar enough with the subject to talk of the details of the rows about ‘TERFs’, feminists do have a legitimate point of view. So do transsexuals. But this book, with its prurient interest, casts little light on this “unbelievable unclear issue”.

Attempting a weighty conclusion The Madness of Crowds reminds us that in 73 countries it is illegal to be gay, and 8 in which being gay is punishable with death. Women are denied basic rights in countries in the Middle East and East Africa. Inter-racial violence happens across the world. “But there is a paradox here: that the countries which are the most advanced in all” in promoting laws and a culture of rights “are the ones now presented as among the worst”. (Page 232) He has no doubt that the agenda, “the last part of a Marxist subculture” is to “policies absolutely everything and turn people against the society they were brought up in. That the left believes that, “when intersectionality has done is job and he matrix of competing hierarchies has finally been nixed, then an era of universal brotherhood will ensue.” (Page 252)

Hidden from this present book are the countless Middle Eastern, Maghrebin, African, Asian Iranian gay and feminist activists. It is their “religion of social justice”, which many on the left support. Are we “using” their fight too? It is one very far from identical to what Mark Lilla calls North American “liberal identity politics”. It involves political action, and politics means joining people together, not separating them. The courage to join together for human, universal rights is our struggle. Feminist, gay and other movements are part – one part – of this, all over the world. This is a more substantial than limiting our “source of meaning” amongst our kith and kin, important as the “love of people and places” is. Or wallowing in snippets about the wilder side of American and British cultural politics. Or boosting an opposing right wing identity politics.

To top it Murray,”….has been described by French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy as “one of the most important public intellectuals today”.[8]

  1. Communities of Resistance. Writings on Black Struggles for Socialism. by A. Sivanandan Verso 1990.
  2. P 210. From Fatwa to Jihad. The Rushdie Affair and its Legacy. Kenan Malik. Atlantic Books. 2009. Page 224. Rumy Hasan, Multiculturalism, Some Inconvenient Truths. Politico’s. 2010
  3. La Fabrique du Musulman. Nedjib Sidi Moussa Libertalia. 2017.
  4. First World War. Still no End in Sight. Frank Furedi. Bloomsbury 2014.
  5. The Once and Future Liberal. After Identity Politics. Mark Lilla. Hurst and Company. 2018.