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Are Jordan and Turkey Invading or about to Invade Syria?

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Erdogan: Neo-Ottoman Foreign Policy?

Are Jordan and Turkey Invading Syria?

Asks the Daily Beast.

Or are they just messaging to Obama that they’ve had enough with his non-policy?

Turkey announced plans to send 18,000 soldiers into Syria. That announcement was amplified by Jordan’s, which came out the next day in a Financial Times story that reported the Jordanian plan was “backed by key members of the international coalition against Isis.”

One key member of the coalition that definitely has not backed the plan is the U.S.

A State Department official, speaking the same day the story about Jordan’s planned buffer zone broke, downplayed the possibility to reporters, saying there was no “solid evidence” for it and citing “serious logistical challenges” in creating them.

Turkey and Jordan, on Syria’s northern and southern border respectively, have a common interest in erecting buffers zone. Both countries have absorbed large refugee populations fleeing the war and both are threatened by the growing presence of hostile actors on their doorsteps, be they jihadists are Kurdish nationalists. A buffer zone is an area controlled by military forces, either national armies or those of allied rebels inside Syria that would allow the Turks and Jordanians to exert more influence inside Syria and prevent people and materiel from passing over the border. But those are old concerns that have been expressed by Turkey and Jordan before. The resurgence of plans for intervention suggests that new developments—namely the Assad regime’s deterioration and the success of Kurdish forces fighting ISIS— may be changing the calculus in Ankara and Amman.

Turkey, which first announced plans for a buffer zone, is threatened by the growing power of Kurdish groups who have had a series of recent victories against ISIS forces in Syria.

“I am saying this to the whole world,” Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech last Friday, “We will never allow the establishment of a state on our southern border in the north of Syria.” He was referring to the increasing autonomy exhibited by the Democratic Union of Kurdistan (PYD), an armed and U.S.-backed Kurdish affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Turkey (and the U.S.) consider a terrorist organization. The PYD has made no mystery of its intention to establish “Rojava,” an independent statelet of Syrian Kurdistan tantamount to what the Kurds of northern Iraq have maintained for decades. Impressive military gains in Syria by the PYD’s paramilitary force, the YPG, have rattled Ankara more than ISIS has.

This follows the following report (28th June) in the pro-Kurdish site, Kurdish Question.

KQ News Desk

Turkish newspapers especially those allied with the Justice and Development Party (AKP) have for the past few days been headlining discussions that have allegedly taken place between Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, former government and current majority party AKP and the Turkish Armed Forces on a possible military operation into Rojava (West Kurdistan-North Syria).

The headlines began coming thick and fast after the President declared ‘I am talking to the whole world, regardless of the price we might have to pay we will not allow a Kurdish state in North Syria, to the south of Turkey.’ This declaration was made on 26th June, a day after ISIS gangs, crossing over from Turkey (North Kurdistan), massacred over 200 civilians in Kobanê.

It is also being speculated that there is no consensus between Erdogan, his de-facto party and the Armed Forces and that the latter are wary of any military operation due to the unknown results it may trigger. The Armed Forces are asking the President and AKP to get support and the go-ahead from the USA, Russia and Assad, commentators are claiming.

The Turkish state for a long time were calling for a no-fly and buffer zone in Rojava on the pretext of bolstering the fight against the Syrian regime and protecting refugees. This was rejected by the international community and only the training and arming of FSA elements was supported. With Erdogan’s latest speech it has become clear that his main concern is the autonomous cantons of Rojava.

 

An important article by Selahattin Demirtaş,   the leader of the Turkish, democratic socialist, feminist and pluralist  Party HDP which won 13% of the vote in the recent elections and now has 80 MPs,  which touches on the Kurdish issue appeared in le Monde yesterday: Le rêve d’une Nouvelle Turquie est possible.

One of the reasons for the HDP’s success, he notes, is that the Turkish government alienated the Kurdish electorate by Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his “neo-Ottoman” foreign policy. At the centre of this has been a claim that his government was the “self-proclaimed protector of all the peoples of the Middle East” (“autoproclamé protecteur de tous les peuples du Moyen-Orient.”)

He notes,

Pendant la résistance kurde à Kobané, ce discours s’est durci en des termes inacceptables pour les Kurdes. Alors que l’immense majorité du monde démocratique soutenait l’héroïque résistance des combattantes kurdes face aux assassins du Daech, ainsi que l’abnégation des femmes et des hommes venus de partout – qui, poussés par une conscience internationaliste, ont défendu Kobané, où a été perpétré l’un des crimes contre l’humanité du XXIe siècle – et qu’on pouvait entrevoir dans ces résistances l’espoir d’une paix au Moyen-Orient, « la chute de Kobané ne tient qu’à un fil », ne cessait d’ironiser M. Erdogan.

During the resistance in Kobane, this line hardened in a way that was unacceptable to the Kurds. The vast majority of the democratic world stood with the heroic resistance of the Kurdish fighters against the murderers of Daesh. The self-sacrifice of women and men who came from everywhere – driven by an internationalist conscience – defended Kobane, where one of the Crimes Against Humanity of the 21st century was  carried out. While one could see amongst this resistance hopes for peace in the Middle East, Erdogan could only mockingly comment, “The Fall of Kobane Hangs by a Thread”.

Update:  Syrian Kurdish group PYD warns Turkey not to intervene militarily.

Syria‘s main Kurdish party warned Turkey on Wednesday that any military intervention would threaten international peace and said the country’s main Kurdish militia is ready to face any “aggression.”

The statement by the Democratic Union Party, or PYD, comes as Turkish media is abuzz with talk of a long-debated military intervention to push the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) back from the Turkish border – a move that would also outflank any Kurdish attempt to create a state along Turkey’s southern frontier.

Kurdish fighters backed by US-led airstrikes have been on the offensive against ISIL in northern Syria for months, and now control a long stretch along the Syria-Turkey border. Turkey has viewed the advance with growing concern and has warned it will not tolerate the establishment of a Kurdish state in Syria.

Two weeks ago, the People’s Protection Units, or YPG, which is dominated by the PYD, captured the border town of Tal Abyad, denying ISIL a crucial nearby border crossing used to bring in supplies and foreign fighters.

The capture of Tal Abyad cleared the way for the Kurds to connect their stronghold in Syria’s northeast to the once badly isolated border town of Kobani – where they famously resisted a months-long ISIL siege – and possibly extend it to the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in Syria’s northwest.

“Any military intervention in Rojava will have local, regional and international repercussions and will contribute to complicating the political situation in Syria and the Middle East and threaten international security and peace,” the PYD statement warned. Rojava is a term that refers to Syria’s predominantly Kurdish region.

The PYD called on NATO members to prevent Turkey from carrying out any “reckless” intervention. It added that Syria’s Kurds want good relations with their neighbors and have no intention to set up an independent state.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan chaired a National Security Council meeting Monday which covered developments in Syria. Pro-government newspapers said proposals ranged from loosening the rules of engagement to give Turkish troops a freer hand to fire into Syria, to a tanks-and-troops invasion aimed at occupying a 110-kilometer (70-mile) long, 33-kilometer (20-mile) wide buffer zone.

Turkish officials fear the creation of a vast and contiguous zone of Kurdish control could stir up separatist sentiment among its own Kurdish minority. Ankara is also concerned over reports that Kurdish rebels are chasing other ethnic groups, such as Arabs and Turkmens, out of the areas under their control.

The PYD statement said YPG fighters “are ready to repel any aggression by any party.” It called on Turkish officials to “stop their provocative and reckless acts.”

Those in direct contact with Turkish and Middle Eastern politics would no doubt be able to comment further.

Erdogan appears to be moving on the home front as well: Erdogan and Turkey move toward once-unthinkable grand coalition.

French President Hollande: Greek PM, Tsipras’s proposals are “acceptable”

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Pétition - La France doit soutenir la Grèce

La France doit soutenir la Grèce!

As the Greek crisis develops some new,  just now from Libération (adapted)

Monday morning: receiving a delegation of political and community leaders supporting the Greek government, the Head of State said he was convinced that an agreement is “close.”

Will France stand alongside Greece? This is what President of the Republic assured a delegation of signatories for the appeal “The role of France is alongside the Greek people” launched last week at  the Elysée,   this morning.

In the Green Room of the Elysée, the Head of State reiterated his government’s  position on these policies to this delegation from the left,  “There has to be an agreement” , ” Agreement is near” and “Tsipras’s proposals are acceptable ” .

“He gave credit to Tsipras for standing up to the Troika demands” , insists Julien Bayou, the spokesperson  for French Green Party (EELV)  and a member of the delegation.

A note of caution:  “Acceptable does not mean accepted. This is a negotiation “

Anne Sabourin,  of the  Parti Communiste, spoke of how President Hollande sided with Tspiras’ negotiation stance.

“He’s grasped that it’s not Greece that’s being intransigent.” added  Eric Coquerel of the  Parti de gauche,  who was present with other members of the  Front de gauche.

Coquerel, however, noted, that one can always leave an audience with François  Hollande at the Elysée with the impression that the President is on your side.

Afterwards…..the real facts come into play.

The Economic Times reports,

PARIS: A comprehensive deal with Greece allowing it to remain in the euro zone and live with its debts must be found either at a euro zone summit on Monday or in coming days, French PresidentFrancois Hollande said.

“If we get a deal tonight, that would be better, but if not, we’ll need to set the foundation tonight so that a deal can be reached in coming days,” Hollande told reporters in Paris before he was due to travel to Brussels for the summit.

Latest from Chron.

French President Francois Hollande says “progress has been made in the negotiations” between Greece and its creditors, which include eurozone states like France.

Hollande is urging Greece to find an agreement at a Monday summit in Brussels between Greece and its creditors.

“We must do everything so that an agreement is found tonight,” Hollande said at an event in Paris before heading to Brussels.

If Monday’s talks are inconclusive, Hollande insists an agreement would need to be found “within the next days.”

“France and Germany are aware that Greece must remain in the eurozone,” he said.

 More at l’Humanité,

End Austerity Now Demonstration: a Personal Report from Ipswich.

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Protesters flood Parliament Square (Photo: John Stillwell/PA Wire)

Protesters flood Parliament Square (Photo: John Stillwell/PA Wire)

End Austerity Now Demonstration: a Personal Report.

Around 80,000 people (the Tendance’s estimate) marched in London on Saturday. They protested against the newly elected Conservative government’s plans to continue, and deepen, austerity.

It’s unnecessary to list the faults of these policies. It’s enough to see the people begging in the streets, a few hundred metres from the office of Ipswich Tory M.P. Benedict Gummer. Without the response of the People’s Assembly, the unions, the diverse groups and parties on the demonstration, and the wider public, Cameron and Osborne will have free rein to create a mean-spirited free-market Britain.

From Ipswich and Stowmarket 42 people piled in our coach – there were more travelling to London by train. Up to 70% were under the age of 40, with a large percentage in their teens and twenties. This was reflected amongst the marchers, with a strong presence of young people.

While assembling by the Bank of England we were addressed by various speakers. Those advertised included Kate Hudson (Chair, Left Unity, CND) and Diane Abbott (Labour MP and candidate to represent the party for the London Mayoral contest). They and others made good, rousing, contributions on the need to fight austerity.

Weyman Bennett (SWP/Unite Against Fascism) linked people being rude to women wearing the Islamic veil to the massacre at Charleston and the heart-rending plight of migrants drowned in the Mediterranean. Lee Jasper (Respect Party), the ‘controversial’ former Director for Policing and Equalities under Ken Livingstone’s Greater London Authority Assembly continued in this vein.

Someone (one can imagine who) compared his peroration  unfavourably to Ali G.(1)  One Suffolk comrade remarked that on what she called the “shouting”.

It was to be regretted that there was nobody from the National Shop Stewards Network – a group which, whatever one’s political differences, represents a lot more than the former two users of the demo microphone – was not invited to speak.

The route of the protest, which began next to the City, took us from Ludgate Circus, down the Strand, past Trafalgar Square. This was the venue of a – poorly attended- commercial beano, a pop radio concert. It symbolised the use of public space for corporate gain.

Local People’s assembly groups (like Suffolk People’s Assembly) unions, Left Unity, anti-cuts organisations, disabeld rights groups,the SWP, the Socialist Party, and other (even) smaller left parties, the Labour Assembly Against Austerity , the Green Party …to Class War, were present.

In Parliament Square there were more speeches. Again there were solid well-argued arguments against the Cabinet’s plans, from Steve Turner (UNITE and the People’s Assembly) onwards. John Rees included a reference to the rights of atheists in a call for to defend the freedoms of different beliefs. His claim that the demonstrators were from all ethnic backgrounds was perhaps not fully substantiated by a glance at the overwhelmingly  white crowd.

Charlotte Church made an exceptional contribution.

The Mirror called it an “incredible speech“.

The Conservatives’ intention was to create a society around their principles, of private profit and public loss.

Describing the idea that Britain needs austerity as “the big lie”, Charlotte said: “They will sell off our schools and our hospitals. When it’s done, it will he hard to reverse.

“One aspect of this that really gets under my skin is that it’s all wrapped up in a proud-to-be-British package.

“I’m proud to be British because of the NHS and David Bowie, not because of the Union Jack.

“Be proud for the right reasons. We need to win back these young minds and save ourselves from years of yuppie rule.

“If you are ashamed that you have to use a food bank, because this Government would rather see you starve than put a note in your pocket, walk tall. You have the moral high ground.

“We are not afraid of national debt and we will not let our public services be attacked.”

She added: “What this country needs is economic stimulation – most economists around the world would say the same. We need to get the blood pumping.”

Earlier, she said: “I’m here today in a show of solidarity with everyone here – it is a massive turnout – everybody who thinks that austerity isn’t the only way and thinks it is essentially unethical, unfair and unnecessary.”

It was hard not to be moved by Charlotte’s clear and heart-felt words.

Her call for positive alternatives and hope will resonate across the country.

For many present, Jeremy Corbyn, standing for the Labour Party leadership, made a decisive call to make sure there is a strong left, anti-austerity,  vote in this election.

End Austerity Now was a success.

Where we go from now is the subject of serious discussion.

One way forward can be seen in the multitude of protests against welfare reform: from the continued campaign against the Bedroom Tax, Benefit cuts, Workfare, to the – still not fully implemented – psychological treatment of some claimants.

It is to be regretted that some parties see groups like the People’s Assembly as a recruiting ground.

In Suffolk the Green Party does not appear to publicise this:

Suffolk’s best-known Green Party politician has pulled out of the battle to become Ipswich MP in next May’s general election – because he hasn’t “got the heart” to take on Tory Ben Gummer.

Mark Ereira-Guyer, leader of the Green and independent group on Suffolk County Council and an experienced election campaigner, was chosen earlier this year to fight for the Ipswich seat, but has now dropped out.

“Although I find Conservative policies odious and overly focused on free market fundamentalism, crass cost-cutting measures and ecological destitution, I am of the view that the current MP Ben Gummer is dedicated and hardworking.

“I respect his honest endeavours for the town. And, therefore, I can’t drum up sufficient energies to really take him on. I like my politics to work on a human level, and not in a tribalist way.

Ipswich Star.

The day was an achievement for the organisers.

It was, as they say, only a beginning.

(1) This is what Jasper said (Charlie Hebdo and Europe’s rampant racism. 17th of January) about the massacre at Charlie Hebdo  (he doesn’t even mention the anti-Semitic murder at the Hyper-Casher):

“JeSuisCharlie in this context is nothing more than appeal from right wings white’s to be allowed to be racist without opposition in the name of free speech.  It’s a sort of ‪#WhiteLivesMatter statement particularly when viewed in the context of the tragic violence and world silence about the Nigerian massacre by Boko Haram.

This privilege allows them to disregard the social environment and political context of such satire and its consequences.  Writing in this flawed tradition is the perogative  of white, middle class Libertarian anarchists. Charlie Hebdo is for me,  a silly magazine and quintessentially an exercise in white privilege and arrogance.

Danish Election Defeat: Consequences for the Left.

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http://www.danskfolkeparti.dk/pictures_ed//stor%20forside%20billede(1).jpg

Anti-European Party Makes Gains in Danish Election.

The BBC reports:

Denmark’s opposition parties have beaten the governing coalition after a close general election.

With all mainland votes counted, the centre-right group led by ex-PM Lars Lokke Rasmussen beat PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt’s centre-left coalition, although her party is the largest.

Ms Thorning-Schmidt has now stood down as Social Democratic Party leader.

The right-wing, anti-immigration Danish People’s Party will become the second-largest in parliament

These are the results in Parliamentary seats:

  • The Social Democrats (A) – 47
  • Radikale, the Danish Social Liberal party (B) – 8
  • Socialist People’s party (F) – 7
  • Red-Green Alliance (Ø) – 14
  • The Alternative (Å) –9

Blue bloc:

  • Venstre (V) – 34
  • Danish People’s party (O) – 37
  • The Liberal Alliance (I) – 13
  • The Conservative People’s party (C) – 6

From the Guardian.

Consequences.

Flemming Rose, the foreign editor of the right-wing Jyllands-Posten, comments on Politico.

The anti-immigration and anti-EU Danish People’s Party received its best result ever. It is now the second biggest party and almost doubled its support compared to 2011. This will resonate around Europe, where anti-immigration and anti-EU forces are gaining ground in several countries. The big question is whether the Danish People’s Party will join the new government. If that happens, the party’s chairman, Thulesen Dahl, may become the next minister of finance. It will depend on negotiations with Lars Løkke Rasmussen. “Am I awake, or am I asleep and dreaming?” the founder of the party and former chairman, Pia Kjærsgaard, told Danish TV.

The Danish People’s Party (Dansk Folkeparti) policy includes the following (Party site):

    • The aim of the Danish People’s Party is to assert Denmark’s independence, to guarantee the freedom of the Danish people in their own country, and to preserve and promote representative government and the monarchy.
    • Denmark’s constitutional monarchy must be preserved.
    • The Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church is the church of the Danish people.
    • Danish independence and freedom are the primary objectives of Danish foreign policy.The Danish People’s Party wishes friendly and dynamic cooperation with all the democratic and freedom-loving peoples of the world, but we will not allow Denmark to surrender its sovereignty.As a consequence, the Danish People’s Party opposes the European Union.
    • Denmark is not an immigrant-country and never has been. Thus we will not accept transformation to a multi-ethnic society.

The other electoral fact which will have a wider impact is that the ‘meat-free days’ Alternative Party (Alternativet)  got more seats than the left-wing Socialist People’s Party, (Socialistisk Folkeparti)  though fewer than the Red-Green Alliance (Enhedslisten – De Rød-Grønne).

They compare themselves to Podemos.

Wikipedia notes, “it refuses to position itself on the classical left-wing, right-wing political spectrum.The party states the aims of supporting sustainability and environmentalism, internationalism, social justice and entrepreneurship.

Their platform is grounded on the following:

The Alternative is based on six core values that characterise our internal and external working processes as well as specific political proposals.

The six core values are:
Courage. Courage to look problems in the eye. But also courage about the future we share.
Generosity. Everything which can be shared will be shared with anyone interested.
Transparency. Everybody should be able to look over our shoulders. On good days and on bad.
Humility. To the task. To those on whose shoulders we stand. And to those who will follow us.
Humour. Without humour there can be no creativity. Without creativity there can be no good ideas. Without good ideas there can be no creative power. Without creative power there can be no results.
Empathy. Putting yourself in other people’s shoes. Looking at the world from that point of view. And creating win-win solutions for everyone.

This is their ‘Manifesto':

There is always an alternative!

The Alternative is a political idea. About personal freedom, social dignity, and living, sustainable communities. A hope. A dream. A yearning. For meaning, sense and compassionate relationships. The Alternative is an answer to what is happening in the world today. All around us. With us.

The Alternative is a shout out. Against cynicism, lack of generosity and the ticking off which prevails in our society.

The Alternative is a positive countermeasure. The desire to bring real and serious answers to the environmental and resource crisis our planet is in the midst of. A crisis which every day worsens our own and our children’s and grandchildren’s opportunities for good, rich and meaningful lives.

The Alternative is curiosity. About developing our local societies, cities and nations. We want to take back ownership of the economy and of democratic decisions. At our workplaces and in the places where we live our lives. Without losing the global vision for the responsibility for finding mutual solutions with our neighbours – including those who live on the other side of the world.

The Alternative is collaboration. We know that private companies alone cannot solve these problems. Neither can the public sector, and neither can the NGO movement. So we need to invent completely new links and ways of working together where we use the best from the private, public and the NGO sectors.

The Alternative is openness. Towards trying out new ideas and creating solutions which work. The Alternative is also thoughtfulness. About understanding complex contexts and resisting the temptation of simplified arguments and pleasant illusions.

The Alternative is courage. To look problems in the eye. But also courage about the future we have to share together. The Alternative is also humour. Without humour there can be no creativity. Without creativity there can be no good ideas. Without good ideas there can be no creative power. Without creative power there can be no results.

The Alternative is already a reality. Around the world new types of institutions, businesses and social networks are being created. Whether in Copenhagen, Seoul, Durban or Rio. Individually they may not be that significant, but together they form a global wave of change full of vitality.

The Alternative is for you. Who can tell that something has been set in motion. Who can feel that something new is starting to replace something old. Another way of looking at democracy, growth, work, responsibility and quality of life. That is The Alternative.

Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias is  influenced  by ‘post-Marxist’ populist discourse theorist Ernesto Laclau (Understanding Podemos. New Left Review. May-June 2015).

This ‘manifesto’ sounds as if one of the influences (if in a diluted form) on the Alternative is the  ‘programme’ advocated by John Holloway in such books as  How to Change to World Without Taking Power, screams and shouts included.

The Alternative’s  success in winning seats on this ‘ programme’  after only two years of existence will not be universally welcomed on the European left.

By contrast we draw inspiration from the good result of the Danish Red-Green Alliance.

For more information  on their background see, Denmark: Fresh openings for Red-Green Alliance as it marks 25 years. And their site (English section)

But all of this is overshadowed by the boost given to anti-European, anti-Internationalist, and xenophobic Dansk Folkeparti.

Update: already the Independent (just on-line)  draws this conclusion: David Cameron could have a new ally for his EU reforms.

The right-wing populist Danish People’s Party is the undisputed winner of the elections. It took 21.4 per cent of the vote, up from 12.3 in 2011.

The eurosceptic group has struck a deal with his right-wing allies to support David Cameron’s plans for renegotiating EU rules about migration.

The PM wants to renegotiate rules around freedom of movement and social security payments, but has been stonewalled by a number of other European nations – he’ll welcome support from the new Danish government.

But…..

While Mr Cameron will see the result as a welcome boost, having Denmark on-side doesn’t necessarily make him any more likely to succeed.

In one sense, the prime minister is just standing still – he lost a close ally late last year in Sweden after the centre-left took power there. Denmark is really stepping in to fill the gap.

Despite its international reputation, Denmark is also a rather small country, with a population similar to that of Yorkshire.

The PM also needs to find agreement across Europe to actually effect any change. With so many countries actively set against his plans, this will still be difficult to achieve.

Guardian Publishes Rational Article on Supporters of Isis Genociders.

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The Kurdish International Brigades Fight Against Islamic State and Foreign Jihadis.

I was going to post about the sick feeling in my stomach I get every time I hear people try to explain away the reasons why people from the UK go to join the genociders of the Islamic State.

I was going to begin by looking at some making excuses for Actually Existing Islamism on the Left. That is by citing  Alisdair Crook’s writings, such as Resistance: The Essence of the Islamist Revolution (2009) and his writings in Red Pepper, (Red Shi’ism, Iran and the Islamist revolution) which influenced leftists like Caliphate John.

But the delusions of these people, who see in Islamism something potentially progressive beyond Western secular imperialist ‘rationalism’, have crumbled. Even they balk at Isis.

I was going to have a go at the psychological template, “Teenagers and young people who flee Britain to fight jihad are just depressed and lonely and should be allowed to return to the UK without being criminalised, a leading professor has said. Kamaldeep Bhui, Professor of Cultural Psychiatry and Epidemiology, at Queen Mary University of London, said that radicalisation should be treated as a health issue in the same way as drugs or alcohol abuse. ” (Telegraph October 2014.) I don’t care about why they murder, I care that they torture, rape and slaughter.

I was going to have a go at people who talk about a crisis of values, Islamic or Western  – as if acts are not the most important thing in this.

I was going to cite the following, “A London woman who travelled to Syria to marry an Islamist militant has said she wants to be the first female jihadist to kill a British or American captive.Glorying in the beheading of James Foley on Twitter, Khadijah Dare asked for links to footage of the brutal murder. Writing under the name of Muhajirah fi Sham, which means “immigrant in Syria”, she said: “Any links 4 da execution of da journalist plz. Allahu Akbar. UK must b shaking up ha ha. I wna b da 1st UK woman 2 kill a UK or US terorrist!(sic)”. Independent August 2014.

I was going to look at another template: the Islamic State’s open racist hate There is plenty of that out there, full of loathing for the ‘kafirs’ and unbridled sadism.

I was going to say, that taking sides is important:  that the left should support the Kurdish fighters and their International brigade in the armed struggle against the Islamic State.

I was going to say that I hoped that British supporters of Isis who travelled to Syria and Iraq to murder our comrades and all the ‘kafir’  ended up dead as soon as possible, and if not they should be brought to justice and spend the rest of their lives paying for their crimes.

But most of what I have to say has been said by in the Guardian today.

We are the dupes if we think no British citizen could be illiberal enough to be seduced by Isis’s fanaticism

It has now become a bitterly regular scenario: news of the disappearance of one or more British citizens, apparently to join Islamic State, or the announcement of the deaths of those who already did so. Distraught families in Bradford raised the alarm this week when three sisters and their nine children – aged between three and 15 – failed to return from a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia. On 9 June they are thought to have boarded a flight to Istanbul in Turkey – often used as the route into Syria – and nothing has been heard from them since. The brother of the women is already thought to be fighting with Isis.

……..

The observations frequently made following such news, from the media and devastated families alike, are that those involved have been “duped”, “fooled”, “groomed”, and “brainwashed” by radicals. The recruits are frequently described, no doubt accurately, in a domestic context, as pleasant and thoughtful family members and friends. It is natural that the British families of Isis recruits should wish to believe that their relatives have somehow been ideologically deceived into joining. Yet if we go along unquestioningly with that perception, we are also deceiving ourselves. Whatever other charges could be laid at the door of Isis, concealing its true nature is not one of them.

……

Isis doesn’t bother greatly with hypocrisy, however: that would imply a residual acknowledgement of liberal values in the first place. It openly defends the enslavement, sale and systematic rape of Yazidi women by Isis fighters. It posts pictures of Isis zealots throwing allegedly gay men off high buildings to their deaths. It shoots, decapitates, or immolates prisoners of war, and publicises its mass beheading of captured Coptic Christians because of their faith. It compels women to wear the full veil in public or be flogged. It glorifies violent death as martyrdom, despises other religions and cultures, and is happily intent upon erasing their most ancient history. Name a single liberal value, and Isis is in open opposition to it.

Written by Andrew Coates

June 17, 2015 at 11:20 am

Brutal Dispersal of Migrants in Paris: Left Protests Against “Unnecessary Force.”

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French Police Deal Brutally with Migrants.

The situation was tense in the day Monday for former refugees from the Chapel camp. Grouped in a camp in the 18th arrondissement,  for two days, they were brutally dispersed by riot police.

L’Humanité.

These events dominated the news on France-Inter this morning.

Several dozen migrants living in a makeshift camp in northern Paris were driven out Monday by French security forces, who used teargas to disperse activists and politicians who had come to support the migrants.

The undocumented migrants, who had been living in a camp outside the Vaclav-Havel library on rue Pajol in Paris’ 18th arrondissement, were driven out by French gendarmes and riot squads in an afternoon raid.

Officials herded migrants onto a bus, which left the working class neighbourhood in the north of Paris, shortly after 4pm, bound for an unknown destination. According to a police source quoted by AFP, 84 people were evacuated from the scene. Activists told FRANCE 24 that several migrants had been released by Monday evening.

About 40 activists and elected officials wearing scarves in the colour of the French flag were also at the scene to show their support for the refugees. The security forces used teargas to disperse the gathering, also arresting several activists.

The national secretary of the Communist Party, Pierre Laurent, said on Twitter that he was “revolted” by Prime Minister Manuel Valls’ choice to “send security forces against the refugees at Pajol”.

Lack of housing

Some migrants had been sleeping on rue Pajol at night, while others just came during the day to take advantage of food and clothes offered by several organisations who had set up shop there.

Most of the migrants said they had come to rue Pajol after police dismantled a camp near La Chapelle, in the same neighbourhood, on June 5. Almost 350 people, mostly Sudanese and Eritreans had been living there in squalid conditions, which FRANCE 24 witnessed when our journalist visited the camp before its closure to speak to migrants. The police were criticised for using unnecessary force during the evacuation.

Associations and numerous elected officials from the left criticised the lack of accommodation provided for the migrants expelled from La Chapelle, despite the fact that the authorities had pledged to find shelter for each of them, whether or not they are seeking asylum in France.

On Monday, Green party officials at the Paris Municipal Council “solemnly requested [Paris mayor] Anne Hidalgo to open a shelter for [the migrants] starting this evening.”

The La Chapelle evacuation and the one at Pajol on Monday are part of a series of police raids targeting undocumented migrants who have set up camp in northern Paris.

Last Friday, French forces also evacuated several dozen migrants camped outside the nearby Saint-Bernard Church. This church has played a recurrent role in France’s immigration history: in 1996, a group of undocumented migrants, including women and children, sought sanctuary in the church before being forcibly removed by French security forces. The dramatic event created a media storm and pushed the issue of undocumented migrants into the French public conscience.

France 24.

Protests today: here.

 

 

More Smears Against Charlie Hebdo.

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Eloge du blasphème

Partisans de la ligne de Charlie: mobilisez-vous!

The continuing attack on Charlie Hebdo

Patrick Murphy

Workers Liberty.

On Sunday 26 April I saw a Facebook posting which carried the pithy comment “anyone still Charlie”? The posting shared a story from “OurAfricaBlog” about an allegedly outrageous cartoon which, the blog claimed, appeared in the French satirical magazine whose leading staff members were brutally murdered by religious fascists earlier this year.

The cartoon dealt with the horrific drowning of migrants in the Mediterranean the previous week. It featured roughly-drawn black figures falling to the bottom of the ocean under the headline “Regroupement Familial En Mediterranee”. The blog translated this as “Family reunion in the Mediterranean”, described the cartoon as “Charlie Hebdo ridiculing the African migrants who drowned whilst on the way to Europe” and finished their commentary on the item as “speechless”.

This Facebook status was from an SWP member. After a bit of research it became obvious that this link was being shared widely on social media and that most people were responding with the full range of outrage, moralism and, most of all, demands that those who had shown solidarity with the French publication apologise, recant and accept the claim that CH is a racist publication.

There are two problems with this story. And they are the same problems that dogged all attempts to smear Charlie Hebdo immediately after the murders at their offices.

Problem number one: the story isn’t true.

Charlie Hebdo didn’t publish the cartoon. It was drawn by a cartoonist called Ali Dilem and published in an Algerian paper called Liberté. There is a link, in that Ali Dilem had recently been appointed to work for CH. (Note by Andrew Coates:  here is the cartoon, it is indeed by a more than well-known Algerian cartoonist).

Problem number two: the cartoon is an attack on a racist immigration policy introduced by the French government.

“Regroupement Familial” is a policy for non-EU residents in France being joined by other family members from abroad. This requires an 18 month initial stay (12 for Algerians) before they can come and be given formal status.

The point being made by the cartoonist is that this policy has contributed to the Mediterranean disaster and there is likely to be more such tragedies if the policy is not overturned. This, the satirist’s argument goes, is what “regroupement familial” really means. Whether people agree that satire and cartoons can properly deal with an issue of this gravity and misery, the purpose of this particular example was very plainly anti-racist and for more open borders.

Another aspect of this latest attempt to whip up a scandal was the lack of any attempt to examine the context, to investigate what the magazine’s attitude to the Mediterranean tragedy was.

It wouldn’t have taken much effort. Last week’s edition of Charlie Hebdo carried a full front page cartoon of a crowded boat called Titanic sinking with a female figurehead singing Celine Dion’s song from the movie of the same name. The figurehead looks very much to me like Marine Le Pen. The headline is “Une Titanic Par Semaine” (A Titanic Every Week). The message is that the racist attitudes toward refugees promoted by the likes of Le Pen will lead to more deaths at sea.

The determination of much of the British left to smear Charlie Hebdo, months after the murderous attack on their office can seem incomprehensible at times. The persistence and desperation has all the appearance of an especially odd obsession. We should resist that conclusion though. It is nothing of the sort.

The attack by religious fascists on journalists and cartoonists who dared publish material they find offensive really was an affront to humanity and to liberty.

Political questions don’t get any easier than “how should we respond to this”? Socialists, democrats, anyone with a shred of humanitarianism owed these victims a basic duty of solidarity. That didn’t have to mean enthusiasm for everything (or indeed anything) they published or necessarily declaring that “we are all Charlie”. But it did mean understanding that were clear sides here, there was a barricade, and there was only one side we could possibly be on.

Instead a far-too-large portion of the British left at best ducked the issue and at worst took the wrong side. Attempts to change the argument and portray Charlie Hebdo as racist before the victims were even buried were shameful and indefensible but they were also widespread. These attempts failed and discredited all those who took part in them.

But the persistence of the attack on the magazine is not an odd obsession and nor is it incomprehensible. Rather it is the inevitable product of a political and moral collapse on sections of the left. Until CH can be proven to be what its enemies say it is, until the smears can be made to stick, those that failed to show it any solidarity cannot recover the ground they lost after the attacks. They don’t deserve to.

A socialist politics that equivocates on issues like free speech and fascism is worthless and can play no role in the liberation of the working class.

Meanwhile Emmanuel Todd, whose most recent political incarnation (there are too many to count) was to support François Hollande, on the basis of a “hollandisme révolutionnaire” has decided the take up arms against Charlie Hebdo.

Emmanuel Todd : “Le 11 janvier a été une imposture.

His main charge is the demonstrations in support of Charlie were a sign of “false consciousness”. That Charlie has attacked the weakest people in society (les gens les plus faibles de la société), and, apparently, many of the marchers came from the “least republican regions of France”.

While he admits that anti-Semitism is a problem in the French banlieues, Todd considered that the actions of a few mentally ill individuals should not mean that the whole Muslim population should be shunned – as the Jews were in the 1930s.

That is indeed true.

But there is no reason to sneer at Charlie.

The reasons are simple: Charlie is anti-racist, anti-discrimination and against the very people who would tread underfoot any oppressed minority whatsoever.

This morning on France-Inter the gay feminist secularist Caroline Fourest defended, against Todd (and one assumes, the notorious “dégonflé(e)s” authors who protested against PEN’s decision to honour the beloved martyers of Charlie),  the ‘right to blaspheme’.

(Hear this on the radio station: Caroline Fourest : “Défions-nous de ceux qui utilisent l’islam pour diviser et asservir”)

She pointed out simply that (1) Charlie attacked the most powerful people in France, from the President to the Front National. (2) Islamists, from Boko Haram and Daesh onwards, were not the “weakest”, but oppressors of the powerless and frail.

As the marchers: it was a magnificent display of social solidarity – something a ‘republican’ like Todd should welcome.

On the wider issue of Charlie’s right to poke fun at religion Fourest has just published this: Eloge du blasphème.

More on her views: Caroline Fourest : Le combat pour la laïcité passe aussi par le droit au blasphème