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Chris Williamson and Political Confusionism.

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After Reinstatement Williamson Supporters in Labour Against the Witch-hunt have “Handy list of saboteurs” to Remove from Labour Party.

This story comes today:

Jon Lansman says MP has not shown ‘one iota of contrition’ over antisemitism row

Man of integrity George Galloway was not slow to respond:

Background:

Why was Chris Williamson readmitted to Labour?

Patrick Maguire New Statesman.

In the month leading up to the withdrawal of the whip from Williamson at the end of February, he had, among other things: accused of Labour of being “too apologetic” about accusations of anti-Semitism in the party’s ranks, attacked critics of an activist suspended for anti-Semitism, and planned a parliamentary screening of a documentary championing the cause of Jackie Walker, another suspended Labour activist.

Incidents such as these – of which there are, frankly, too many to list – have long been a source of consternation not just for Williamson’s colleagues in the PLP but for some allies of Jeremy Corbyn too. But his often provocative behaviour when it came to Britain’s Jews was for a long time indulged by the leader’s office for the simple reason that he was, politically speaking, closer to Corbyn than almost any other Labour backbencher.

The incidents can still be listed:

Here is another one:

It is hard to say just how much many of us on the left loathe him for promoting Assad apologist Beely.

This was the story in the Huffington Post last year.

Labour’s Chris Williamson Praises Vanessa Beeley, Blogger Who Called Jo Cox A ‘Warmongering Blairite’

Bob continues,

Then there is this (December 2018)

Labour MP apologises for backing ‘antisemitic’ jazz musician

Chris Williamson promoted petition in support of Gilad Atzmon, who denounced ‘Holocaust religion’.

Bob from Brockley has a number of important posts on this background: here and here.

Patrick Maguire continues,

…The decision to overrule a recommendation by party staff that the case be referred to the National Constitutional Committee, Labour’s supreme disciplinary body, has been blamed on Williamson’s colleague Keith Vaz, who is said to have argued and voted for Williamson’s readmission on the grounds that he represents a marginal seat. He was joined by Huda Elmi, elected as part of the #JC9 slate of Corbyn-supporting membership representatives last summer, while George Howarth, who represents the PLP on the NEC, voted against his readmission.

The central issue is whether his actions have brought Labour into disrepute. 

The problem is wider than Labour’s internal difficulties.

Williamson, as his admiration for an Assad apologist who slandered Joe Cox, who promotes conspiracy theories (see Libcom Tweets above), his string of ambiguous statements on ‘Zionism’, his flip flop politics (once a supporter of PFI Blair style local government, now Corbyn’s would-be friend), is a political confusionist. That is he mixes ideas such as anti-imperialism, socialism and anti-Zionism, in a way that leads him to make dubious associations. This is not some random tweeter, it is a Labour MP who claims to be on the left. The pro-Baathist Beeley is, to put it mildly, the enemy  of the left.

“Often based on a conspiracy view of the world, political confusionism is also fostered by the development of conspiracy theories, while at the same time helping to relay them. “

Qu’est-ce que le confusionnisme politique ?

Williamson is very far from being alone in the field. But somebody whose politics are by definition unclear, clearly does not merit much respect.

Here is a more developed form:

 

 

 

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Written by Andrew Coates

June 28, 2019 at 12:37 pm

Brexit and Trump are “two sides of the same coin” which no protest can ignore.

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Protest Against Trump’s Vision of a Brexit Britain.

 

Viewers of Channel Four last night know that apart from the free entry of US  business chancers into the NHS Trump is also demanding that this should be in the supermarkets.

   

The Truth About Chlorinated Chicken review – an instant appetite-ruiner

Just in time for Trump’s UK visit, Channel 4’s Dispatches looked at the food standard implications of a post-Brexit trade deal with the US. It wasn’t a pretty sight

Chlorine washing may prevent the detection of contaminants through ordinary testing, because it partially masks the problem. Quilton had no trouble finding a Texas restaurant owner who will swear there is nothing wrong with American chicken – “Not a thing. Superior quality and flavour”. But the numbers speak for themselves: US rates of campylobacter infection are 10 times higher than in the UK. The US records hundreds of salmonella deaths a year; the UK has in recent years recorded none.

Central to the programme was footage shot inside a giant processing plant by an undercover employee. Looking at it, a former EU meat inspector was able to identify several flagrant violations of good hygiene practice and even the plant’s own policies, but there was more sickening stuff on display: a supervisor is overheard talking about “a trend of adulterated product”, by which she means glass in the chicken, and also making reference to a recent “amputation”. To me, the word amputation brings to mind an operation performed by a professional for the good of a patient, and not, as in this instance, some poultry worker losing three fingers in a machine.

One study found 95 such “amputations” over a single year in American poultry processing, making it one of the most dangerous occupations in the US. Debbie Berkowitz, a former chief of staff at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), who now campaigns for employment rights, maintains that the industry is also exploitative: employees, her office found, were routinely denied basic rights, including toilet breaks. “Workers did not want to have to soil themselves,” she said. “So they wore diapers (nappies)  on the line.

Who we are: Stop Trump Coalition.

 

We will make it clear to the British government that it’s not OK to normalise Trump’s agenda and the hate and fear it has sparked.

Trumpism directly threatens steps towards tackling:
Inequality
Peace and disarmament
Climate change
Fighting discrimination, particularly against already marginalised groups like migrants and Muslims
Corporate greed
Antisemitism

And – this is not mentioned – Brexit!

It was not mentioned, at least I did not hear it, in the interviews with the Stop Trump demo on the telly this morning.

Yet this is the core of Trump’s agenda, as his support for Farage and Boris Johnson and present touting of “trade deals”  makes clear.

One can only imagine the squirming that’s going on amongst the Brexit  left who cannot bring themselves to admit that there is a link, a tight bond, between the carnival of reaction that is the Brexit Party and the Tory No Deal Right and Trump’s agenda.

Will they see that the demand for a Sovereign nation battling it out with Trade Deals with Trump, and  – who knows since he’s iffy about it, the WTO, would be a burden for a  left government.

Will they continue to indulge that section of the left, as yet only a section,  that by its talk of the “real” people who back Brexit, and loathing of “rootless cosmopolitans”  has become the the fellow travellers of National Populism?

Like this chap, who’s something of hero o the red-brown front?

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Another Europe certainly does not think so.

Even the Liberals are getting in on the act.

 

Trump’s response so far.

 

 

 

 

Mr Brexit Comes to London to decide on future UK PM, backs Farage, and has already insulted Meghan Markle.

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Nigel Farage Donald Trump

 

Mr Brexit Comes to London.

Trump is coming to visit Britain to Back Brexit.

He has already insulted one of the most liked people in Britain.

Trump calls Duchess of Sussex ‘nasty’

Guardian.

During the state visit, the president, his wife Melania, and his four adult children are expected to meet Prince Harry as well as Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, and his wife, Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge. Meghan is expected to stay home with Archie.

Trump referred to the American-born Duchess of Sussex as “nasty” over comments she made in 2016 threatening to move to Canada if Trump won the presidency.

“I didn’t know that she was nasty,” he said when informed of her criticism. The former Meghan Markle married Prince Harry in 2018 and gave birth to their first child, Archie, in May.

He has decided on who will be the next P.M.

In 2016 he said this.

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Now there is this:

 

It may seem odd that some of pro-Brexit left are hostile to this radical critic of members of the Royal Family, who backs the “Fuck Business” Boris, and who is doing all he can to make Brexit happen.

But internationalists are clear: Piss off Trump!

 

Here

Socialist Labour Party Wins Over Hartlepool Councillors.

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Proud and Patriotic Socialist Labour Party on ‘Brexit Day’.

The Socialist Labour Party, founder Arthur Scargill, still exists (thanks to Steve and for more information, John).

In the news today,

SLP Welcomes Hartlepool Councillors

We are delighted to announce that Hartlepool borough councillors, Allan Barclay and Sandra Belcher, have joined Socialist Labour. On behalf of the SLP they will contest the local elections on 2nd May

With many years of service to the people of the town, Councillor Belcher who represents Jesmond Ward and Councillor Barclay who represents Manor House ward will carry the flag for Socialist Labour in Hartlepool

All our members, supporters and voters we feel sure will join us in congratulating our councillors who have declared their support for our policies. We wish them every success on 2nd May

STOP PRESS Since the local elections FOUR more Hartlepool councillors have quit Labour and joined the SLP.

The Hartlepool Mail reported on Thursday.

The leader of Hartlepool Council Christopher Akers-Belcher has tonight resigned from the Labour Party, as have Marjorie James and Ann Marshall.

Councillor Akers-Belcher told the Mail his decision came on the back of what he says has been a lack of action by the party over complaints about “ongoing bullying, harassment, racism and anti-Semitism” which he submitted in August and then again in October.

He said he had told senior officers within the party he did not intend to lead for another term, but that conflict between them continued, and that his predicted fall in support for the party across the Tees Valley has been realised because of the issues.

The resignations by Coun Akers-Belcher and Coun Marshall, who both represent the Foggy Furze wards, and Coun James, who is a ward member for Manor House, follow in the footsteps of others, who have left to join the Socialist Labour Party.

They include Coun Stephen Akers-Belcher, who was initially suspended from Labour before he resigned and is Coun Christopher Akers-Belcher’s husband, Allan Barclay, who lost his seat in last week’s local election after standing for the Socialist Labour Party, and Coun Sandra Belcher, Coun Stephen Akers-Belcher’s mother.

On Brexit they  they have published this, (April).

The British people and Socialists voted to leave this bastion of Capitalism which is based on a Customs Union, a Single Market and Free Movement of Workers and Capital.

So far Britain’s membership of the EU has cost British workers jobs, an annual deficit in trade with the EU of over £85 billion, an annual membership fee of £25 billion plus being ruled be
unelected bureaucrats in Brussels.

In the name of all those who fought for freedom, I call for a ‘No Deal’ exit from the evil European Union.

Arthur Scargill Leader, Socialist Labour Party 3rd April 2019

Here is their call for a Boycott of the European Elections.

PRESS RELEASE
Boycott EU Elections Says Scargill

The Socialist Labour Party has repeatedly made clear it will not stand any candidates in the European elections or support any party, organisation or individual standing in these elections.

Participation in these elections is in breach of the democratic vote of the British people in 2016. The SLP’s position was clear long before that of the Communist Party of Britain and/or the Morning Star, or any other body or individual still confused.

The SLP also urges that as many Party members as possible should stand in local authority elections, thereby conveying our message on not only a local but national and international basis to voters within those boundaries.

We will never have a fair, democratic electoral system in the United Kingdom until we introduce a system based on proportional representation: a principle which was a cornerstone of the Labour Representation Committee in 1900. The French government has just conceded it will introduce democratic proportional representation for all elections, and the UK must be  pressured to do the same.

Arthur Scargill Leader, Socialist Labour Party 26th of April.

 

A World to Win. The Life and Works of Karl Marx. Sven-Eric Liedman. A Marxist Review.

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A World to Win. The Life and Works of Karl Marx. Sven-Eric Liedman. Verso. 2018. Translated by Jeffrey N. Skinner. (This appears in the latest Chartist magazine).

“I have attempted to explain not only who Marx was in his time” announces Sven-Eric Liedman, “but why he remains a vital source of inspiration today.” This major biography, published in Swedish in 2015, aims to offer a “portrait of Marx unobscured by what happened after his death.”

The book is also, the Preface to this English edition explains, a counterweight to Gareth Stedman Jones’ Karl Marx Greatness and Illusion, which appeared (2016) after the present work’s original publication. Jones, he asserts, tends to overshadow Marx’s own writings through his detailed portraits of the inspiration of his thought, and the early socialist and workers’ movement. Jones saw Marx’s crowning achievement in the years when the International Working Men’s Association, the First International, began to flourish, from 1864 to 1869. In that study this was the period when the author of Capital deployed “a language with which politically aware working men at the time could identify”.

Stedman Jones is known for an interest in the way language forms class. But he also stated that Marx was buoyed up by the belief that, “the process of a transition from the capitalist mode of production towards the society of associated producers had already begun.” It was this that propelled him to reach out to the activists in trade unions and the co-operative movement, associations that could change the course of history. It is from these origins that ‘Marxism’ took political shape.

Liedman, by contrast, is inspired by the approach of the largely German New Marx Reading (neue Marx-Lektüre) of figures such as Hans Georg Backhaus. This aims to show Marx’s ideas, not the Marxism that developed inside these movements. A large part of A World to Win is taken up with the conceptual analysis of Marx’s categories, from the method announced in the 1859 Introduction to the Grundrisse, that work itself, and the “unfinished Masterpiece” of Capital.

Marx nevertheless stood out as more politically active “than any other political thinker in the nineteenth century”. “In his own time”, Liedman states, “Marx was almost exclusively known as a politician.” He was “allied with the working class” acting for their liberation, the pivot of “the liberation of all humanity.” Liedman’s account of Marx’s involvement in radical German ‘young Hegelian politics’ is largely philosophical. But he soon brings the issue of industrialisation, the Industrial Revolution to the fore. The account of the 1848 Revolutions, above all in France, lacking Jones’ familiarity with  (largely French)  utopian socialism and communism, Christian social thinking, and early social democratic politics, portrays the bond between social and political revolution.

The International.

In the late 1860s Marx made a significant contribution to the International. While advancing his views on the “abolition of the wages system”, this involved “compromising” with a variety of socialist, anarchist and trade union forces. Spreading the word of “solidarity” between workers’ struggles (the body’s prime aim), to the “duty of the working classes to conquer political power” allowed for leeway between opposing viewpoints. But the months of the Paris Commune in 1871 saw Marx convinced again that “bloody conflicts as part of social development that would be hard to avoid.”

Liedman is less informative than Stedman Jones on why many of the British trade unionists recoiled from the Commune. It was not just that they considered it “rash” and “hopeless”. Their lack of sympathy extended to its plans for federal self-government faced with what was already the foundation, under initial Orléanist, constitutional Monarchist, and constitutional republican leadership, of the French Third Republic. Marx’s social democratic and republican rival, Louis Blanc, the veteran of the 2nd Republic, who would go on to serve in that Republic’s National Assembly, enjoyed great influence over the British radical movement. (2)

A World to Win gives substance to the ideas that Marx developed. This ranges from a discussion of Method, from the 1959 Introduction to the Grundrisse, the traps of the ‘metaphors’ of base and superstructure, the category of the “totality”, dialectics, form and content. There is a more accessible account of Marx’s studies of technology, machinery, and the industrial revolution, its downside for the working classes, and, Liedman’s forte, science. In this the book deploys with a welcome freshness greater textual resources than other recent biographies.

Was Marx, in this context, a pioneering thinker of globalisation? Liedman’s claims (he is far from the first)  about his “prophetic” insights are not wholly convincing. Joseph Addison talked in the Essay on the Royal Exchange (1711, Spectator No 69) of merchants who “knit mankind together in mutual intercourse”, and Ricardo, of free commerce creating a “universal society of nations”. Marx highlighted the planet-wide development, and, while not thinking it through, did not regard colonisation as a straightforward boon. In this respect, an observation that deserves underlining for critics of globalisation is Marx’s view, which he cites,  that, “free trade expedited the classless society”.

Benefits of the Doubt.

A World to Win, as a biography must, traces out a life. Liedman gives Marx the benefit of some weighty doubts on his behaviour towards his servant Helene “Lenchen” Demuth, his personal feuds (notably with Bakunin), and the abusive, often racist, vocabulary of his correspondence with Engels, described as “roguishly nonchalant”.

A World to Win often cites one of Marx’s favourite authors, Honoré de Balzac. For Liedman one tale, Melmoth Reconciled (1835), is a “picture of capitalism” in which the capitalists “live their lives at the Stock Exchange in a pact with the Devil.” (Page 462) Others recall that the hero Castanier got for his soul an eye into “men’s thought’s. I see the future, and I know the past. I am here, and I can be elsewhere also.” After peeling away Marxism from Marx, to reveal Marx’s original picture of the “mechanism and the scheme of the world.” Liedman has many pages on the thoughts of theorists who have attempted to do the same. Little of this is accessible to those not already familiar with the terrain. Despite the great strengths of the biography, many may come away feeling, like Balzac’s Cashier in the short story, that such painstaking knowledge of thinker’s insights into the whole of creation is too much to absorb.

******

  1. Pages 465 – 466. Karl Marx. Greatness and Illusion. Gareth Stedman Jones. Allen Lane 2016.
  2. Page 510. Karl Marx. Greatness and Illusion. Gareth Stedman Jones. Allen Lane 2016.

Written by Andrew Coates

May 8, 2019 at 9:31 am

Brendan O’Neill defends National Populism, but will he stand up for Claire Fox and the RCP’s Line on Ireland?

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A Populist Hero Is Something to Be.

(From here)

The dangers of anti-populism

Spiked. Brendan O’Neill.

It isn’t populists who threaten life, liberty and democracy in Europe – it’s anti-populists.

I always (note Only always?)  find it perplexing when people claim that the new national populism is a threat to life, liberty and democracy in Europe.

Because there is indeed a threat to life, liberty and democracy (note to ed: add, pursuit of happiness…?) in Europe today.

But it isn’t coming from populists. It’s coming from anti-populists. (note to ed, please  underline emphasis)

And so it goes…

The real danger in Europe today, in political terms, isn’t populism – it’s anti-populism. The real danger is the shrill, often violent backlash of the technocratic elites (note: nifty turn of phrase) against the rise of national populist sentiment.

..

why do the political and cultural elites, most notably in the UK, seem willing to trash democracy itself in order to crush (note, isn’t that a bit mildly put) populist sentiment?

‘Trashing’ democracy is definitely bad.

So in the spirit of populist reason and the legacy of European civilisation, like Notre Dame itself, as transmitted by the voice of this blog we ask O’Neill to explain himself to his mates in the Brexit Party.

It’s an affair  whose flames are consuming more than wood and stone; they are consuming tradition, the past itself, the legacy of the Revolutionary Communist Party, O’Neill’s spiritual birthplace.

It’s something which has has led nationalist populist sentiment to take a merry turn against his lot in Spiked:

IRA row: Warrington Brexit MEP candidate quits

BBC.

A Brexit Party candidate for Warrington has quit at the failure of another would-be MEP to apologise for comments about the IRA bombing of the town.

European elections candidate Sally Bate said she had resigned because Claire Fox refused to condemn the attack.

Fox was a leading member of the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) which defended the 1993 bombing.

Ms Bate said Nigel Farage should remove her from the party list and “stand together with victims of the atrocity”.

Tim Parry, 12, and Johnathan Ball, three, were killed in the IRA attack on 20 March which left 56 others injured.

An RCP newsletter at the time of the bomb stated that the party defended “the right of the Irish people to take whatever measures necessary in their struggle for freedom”.

Tim’s father Colin Parry has urged voters in the North West to reject Ms Foxbecause she did not offer any apology for her former views.

In a statement, Ms Fox said: “Terrible things happened – mercifully, a peaceful resolution has emerged following the Good Friday Agreement.”

She added: “I do not condone the use of violence.”

Ms Fox is top of the list of Brexit Party candidates for the North West, meaning she would be the first to claim any European Parliament seat which the group wins in elections on 23 May.

Ms Bate was listed seventh.

Announcing her resignation from the Brexit Party, Ms Bate said: “I am unhappy with Claire’s statement since she has not categorically condemned the violence inflicted by the IRA.

“I stand by Colin Parry and his family and all victims of the Warrington bomb and in view of Claire’s ambiguous position on the issue I cannot continue to stand beside her as a Brexit candidate…”

Cde Rogan has today tweeted this thread which Brendan is welcome to follow: 

There is plenty more and there is this, recommended, article:

Shamima Begum: accused of responsibilities to face up to, she has rights.

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Was Begum a member of the  Isis all-female Al-Khansaa Brigade, who enforced women’s dress rules?

This has caught the headlines.

Shamima Begum: IS bride ‘given legal aid’ for citizenship fight

BBC.

Legal aid has been granted for Shamima Begum – who joined the Islamic State group aged 15 – to fight the decision to revoke her UK citizenship.

The 19-year-old, who left east London in 2015, was stripped of her citizenship in February, after she was found in a Syrian refugee camp.

Her family has previously said it planned to challenge the decision.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the Legal Aid Agency’s decision to assist Ms Begum made him “very uncomfortable”.

Legal aid is financial assistance provided by the taxpayer to those unable to afford legal representation themselves, whether they are accused of a crime or a victim who seeks the help of a lawyer through the court process.

It is means-tested and availability has been cut back significantly in recent years.

This Blog agrees with this statement:

The I’ . Florence Sneed reports, nevertheless has also reported on  this:

Shamima Begum: Isis bride ‘was discipline enforcer for group’s morality police’

Shamima Begum, who left London aged 15 to join Isis, served in the terror group’s “morality police” to help enforce strict rules among female members, according to reports.

Ms Begum is said to have been allowed to carry a Kalashnikov rifle and earned a reputation for being a strict “enforcer” on issues such as women’s clothing.

The teenager, who is now 19, previously said she was “just a housewife” after being tracked down to a Syrian refugee camp earlier this year.

But sources have said she had a paid role as an enforcer of discipline in which she likely ordered the imprisonment and lashing of women in Raqqa, according to the Sunday Telegraph.

It reported that Ms Begum is also thought to have been actively trying to recruit other women across Europe during her time in city.

Other reports suggest the teenager – who has since been stripped of her British citizenship – went as far as preparing suicide vests and sewing them on to would-be bombers.

The Independent added this detail,

One activist quoted by the newspaper said Begum had been seen holding an automatic weapon and shouting at Syrian women in the city of Raqqa for wearing brightly coloured shoes.

“Members of our group from Raqqa knew her well,” said Aghiad al-Kheder, an activist from Deir ez-Zor who founded an anti-Isis collective that published information about Isis crimes from sources on the ground.

This leads to the following report, (Independent)

Isis: British women led by Aqsa Mahmood ‘running sharia police unit for Islamic State in Syria’

The ICSR says it monitors 25 British female jihadists who have left their lives in the UK to support Isis.

The brigade’s women are reportedly paid a monthly salary of 25,000 Syrian Pounds (roughly £100), says TRAC, for duties that are not involved with acts of terror – instead insurgency operations.

They are not the only all-female brigade, either, with another – Umm Al-Rayan – also created around the same time.

Security services believe that it is likely that the women will know the true identity of ‘Jihadi John’, the Isis fighter believed to be the person responsible for the beheading of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff.

According to Syria Deeply, the al-Khansaa brigade has also been tasked with cracking down on civilian women who fail to abide by the ultra-strict brand of sharia law implemented by Isis, including that women be fully covered in public and be chaperoned by a male.

An Isis official in Raqqa reportedly said: “We have established the brigade to raise awareness of our religion among women, and to punish women who do not abide by the law.

“There are only women in this brigade, and we have given them their own facilities to prevent the mixture of men and women.”

These are serious charges which Begum must face up to.

It will be interesting to hear the response from this quarter.

Shamima Begum said that at the time she had accepted Isis’s line that the Manchester bombing was justified as form of retaliation. But she went on to say that it wasn’t “fair” on the women and children killed in Mancheser.

And she suggested there was an equivalence between the Manchester bombing and the mass murder by the West in the Middle East.

Certainly it is utterly hypocritical to hear denunciations of violence from those who backed mass slaughter in Iraq and Afghanistan, urged on the devastation of Libya and support the bombing and starving of Yemen.

The West is responsible for the horrors of Isis. Had it not been for its imperialist wars in the Middle East, there would have been no Isis for Shamima Begum and her school friends to join.

Many liberals fall into the trap of seeing a division between “good” and “bad Muslims”—such as Shamima Begum who deserve to feel the full force of the law. But any Muslim that dares to question British foreign policy is considered to be a “bad Muslim” by the British state.

Socialist Worker. 20th of February 2019.

Begum, if the case against her is proved, was an active participant in genocide.

There is no doubt whatsoever about the nature of the mass killings carried our by Daesh.

Only the politically confused can try to excuse the genociders of ISIS and aided by the Islamic Morality Police by pointing to the crimes of Western powers.

Only hypocrites and liars can throw responsibility for their crimes onto ‘the West’. 

Written by Andrew Coates

April 15, 2019 at 12:05 pm