Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Human Rights

Labour Election Results, The Eustonites Wail and Gnash their Teeth.

with 12 comments

Zombie Labour Catastrophe.: Say Today’s Euston Manifesto Supporters.

Younger readers of this Blog, not to mention anybody not up on the last decade of so’s history of the British left may not know what a ‘Eustonite‘ is.

The term comes from the Euston Manifesto of 2006.

There people were particularly associated with the statement, Norman Geras, Marxist scholar; Damian Counsell; Alan Johnson, editor of Democratiya; and Shalom Lappin. Other members include Nick Cohen of The Observer, who co-authored with Geras the first report on the manifesto in the mainstream press; Marc Cooper of The Nation; Francis Wheen, a journalist; and historian Marko Attila Hoare. (see complete list).

This declaration included many statements which, at first sight, the democratic socialist left would agree with.

Such as,

We defend liberal and pluralist democracies against all who make light of the differences between them and totalitarian and other tyrannical regimes. But these democracies have their own deficits and shortcomings. The battle for the development of more democratic institutions and procedures, for further empowering those without influence, without a voice or with few political resources, is a permanent part of the agenda of the Left.

The values and goals which properly make up that agenda — the values of democracy, human rights, the continuing battle against unjustified privilege and power, solidarity with peoples fighting against tyranny and oppression — are what most enduringly define the shape of any Left worth belonging to.

 As can be seen these general principles were vague enough, or more charitably, broad enough,  to embrace just about the whole of the liberal and democratic socialist left,.

But a great deal of fire was aimed at the supposed opposite, the “non-democratic left”, and more broadly the organised forces of  those who opposed US-led military adventures in the Middle East.

This was stated clearly in the Manifesto’s introduction,

We reach out, rather, beyond the socialist Left towards egalitarian liberals and others of unambiguous democratic commitment. Indeed, the reconfiguration of progressive opinion that we aim for involves drawing a line between the forces of the Left that remain true to its authentic values, and currents that have lately shown themselves rather too flexible about these values.

How could this line be drawn?

This was a sticky point,

The manifesto takes no position on the invasion of Iraq. However some of its most prominent contributors, including Nick Cohen and the proprietors of the left-wing blog Harry’s Place, supported the invasion. Of the manifesto’s principal authors, two were broadly against the war and two broadly in support. Of eight people advertised as attending a Euston Manifesto Group meeting at the 2006 Labour Party Conference, six supported the Iraq War. One of these, Gisela Stuart MP, declared during the 2004 American presidential election that a victory by challenger John Kerry victory would prompt “victory celebrations among those who want to destroy liberal democracies”.

In practice this meant making a distinction between those who actually did something to oppose the War and those, either who supported the invasion or whose reservations were too qualified for them to join with the morally “flexible” – read undemocratic, read ‘totalitarian’  – left.

On that left, comrade Paul Flewers stated at the time (Accommodating to the Status Quo. A Critique of the Euston Manifesto). (1)

There is plenty that is wrong with the far left. But these problems did not start with Respect’s dalliances with sundry dubious Islamic individuals and organisations. Over the decades sections of the far left have adapted to various anti-democratic and anti-working-class forces in an attempt to overcome isolation or to gain an ally against the ruling class. Left-wing groups have long engaged in all manner of squalid petty manoeuvres, and one need not dwell for long upon their internal regimes to recognise their manipulative and undemocratic nature. This is both demoralising, as it corrupts the fight for socialism, and self-defeating, as it has deterred many people from engaging with the left and demoralised many people who did get involved.

His conclusion is relevant today,

The Eustonites aim almost all their fire to their left, condemning what they see as the left’s dalliances with anti-democratic forces, and in so doing effectively lumping in everyone to their left in that basket. A lot of people on the left are in fact quite happy to oppose the ruling class without lining up with assorted mullahs, sundry nationalists and all sorts of other anti-working-class forces. There is plenty of scope for socialists to oppose imperialism without giving a carte blanche to Islamicism or other non-socialist outlooks, just as there was a space for genuine socialists 50 years ago to promote genuine freedom between the opposing millstones of imperialism and Stalinism.

There are real problems with the left’s traditions, not least in respect of the question of the relationship of socialism and democracy, and it is one of many issues that we must critically assess if we are to make any progress in proposing a positive alternative to capitalism. However, just like the Encounter socialists half a century ago, those behind the Euston Manifesto are not attempting to provide any meaningful alternative to capitalism. Quite the opposite: they are moving in an entirely different direction. Far from providing a positive course to challenge the status quo, the Euston Manifesto is outlining an approach for a broad ideological and institutional capitulation to it.

Those of us who hold to the strong ethical principles of socialism have little need to defend our record since that time: we have given active support for the democratic goals of the Arab Spring, backing for democratic and secular forces fighting Islamism, defence of Laïcité.

Sometimes we, the democratic socialists,  been on the same side as former or present Eustonites,  against those who have compromised with our Islamist enemies.

But we are socialists not liberals.

Democratic socialism is the base of the labour movement. It is not a set of ideas shared by the supporters of free-market liberalism, or Blair’s Third Way.

This offers no prospect of emancipation or the ambitious task of reforming and replacing the institutions of the British privatising state and promoting the basic goals of social equality and welfare.

It would be perhaps better to define the present shape of Euston thinking as social liberalism, not any form of socialism or social democracy. But in attempting to find  a balance between individual liberty and social justice, they offer absolutely no indication of what kind of social equity they support, what kind of egalitarian measures they would back, and why exactly the present Labour leadership has become such an important threat, even totalitarian menace, to those battling for freedom, here and internationally.

The attempt to draw a ‘line’ – of their own making – has reached a crescendo  over the last months with  today’s Eustonites’ obsessive fight against Jeremy Corbyn.

The Gerasites (doubtless claiming the legacy of the – despite disagreements one might have with his later views – fine Marxist thinker Norman Geras), look at last week’s election result.( Zombie Labour. Jake Wilde)

….the Labour Party as “the walking dead, aimlessly trundling on, a parody of political life” is as accurate as it is brutal. Like all good writing, it got me thinking. Firstly about the counterfactual: what if it had been a wipeout, a disaster, a game-changer? And secondly where does this zombie Labour Party stagger off to next.

The people keeping Corbyn in the leadership position are those who would view any attempt to move towards the electorate as a betrayal. They firmly believe that it is for the electorate to realise that the policies, the slogans and the general attitude and positioning they are being offered by Corbyn’s Labour Party are objectively correct. This is why there has been no attempt to gauge the views of the electorate during the run-up to 5 May. Indeed the only polling that has been undertaken is blowing the whole £300,000 budget on asking questions of non-voters.

..

But no heavy defeat occurred, simply the worst performance of any opposition party for three decades. Once the far left have control of something there is only one outcome – that thing dies. Whether it is a country or a city council, a newspaper or a political party, death is inevitable. It’s not always the put-it-in-a-box-and-bury-it-in-the-ground kind of dead though; sometimes it is Ian Dunt’s walking dead. So even before 5 May the Labour Party was already dead but, like so many zombies, it doesn’t know it yet.

…the results on 5 May mean that the Corbynistas were the ones who hung on and the Labour Party is now past the point of resurrection.

Harry’s Place thought so highly of this piece that they have reproduced it.

All we can say is: look at the picture above before you continue with these witless rants.

(1) See also Sparks, flashes and damp squibs. Andrew Coates reviews Nick Cohen’s What’s left? How liberals lost their way (Fourth Estate, 2007)

In fact many on the left have rejected those who wish to be aligned with islamism. Leftist websites and journals have ferociously criticised Respect’s communalist alliance with islamism, as well as mocking Galloway’s antics. Cohen cites Mike Marqusee’s widely circulated critique of the STWC, but ignores the fact that Mike continues to attack the American occupation. Many others have followed this dual track.

A central issue at the moment is to oppose potential American intervention in Iran, while supporting the opponents of the theocrats in Tehran. Another is the domestic cause of republican secularism – the best answer to religiously inspired political bigotry. None of which is helped by lumping ‘the left’ into a heap, or by standing aside, as does the Euston Manifesto (many of whose hands are less than clean with their implicit support for western militarism).

Morocco: Two Victims of Gay Hate Attack, Imprisoned, Freed.

with 10 comments

Outside the Trial a Demonstration Against Homosexuality (4th April).

This story broke a few weeks ago.

A Moroccan court has convicted one man and is trying a second for homosexual acts, after a group of youths attacked and brutalized them on the night of March 9, 2016. The youths broke into the home of one of the men in the city of Beni Mellal, beat them, and dragged them naked onto the streets.

The case attracted international attention when a video clip appeared online on March 25, showing two men cowering naked, one of them covered in blood, being beaten, kicked, and dragged outside, while anti-gay slurs and “Call the authorities!” – apparently uttered by the assailants – can be heard on the soundtrack.

“Beaten, bloodied, and pushed naked into the street, and then sent to prison for your private life,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director. “This verdict will discourage victims from seeking justice and increase the likelihood of homophobic crimes.”

In March 15, the Beni Mellal Court of First Instance convicted one of the victims, A.B., for “acts of sexual deviancy with a person of the same sex,” under penal code article 489, and “public drunkenness.” The defendant, who according to his police statement had waived his right to legal counsel, was sentenced to four months in prison and a 500 dirham (US$52) fine and remains in prison. The same court that day convicted two of the attackers for assault and sentenced them to suspended two-month sentences.

Libération reports today that after spending 26 days in Prison the two victims have finally been released.

Homosexuality in Morocco is punished by six months to three years in gaol.

Two of the attackers have been discharged, two others who had been sentenced to two months suspended sentences have now been sent respectively to to four and six months. A fifth attacker, who is a minor, will be judged on the 20th of April.

The case drew international attention when a video appeared of the two men, their faces covered in blood, being dragged by their attackers along the street (La vidéo insoutenable de l’agression homophobe d’un couple homosexuel).

On Monday members of the group Femen appeared and attempted to demonstrate, with bare chests. “«Alors qu’une centaine de personnes manifestaient en défense des agresseurs homophobes, Femen est venu dénoncer l’homophobie d’Etat au Maroc», indique un communiqué des Femen qui réclame la libération des personnes «emprisonnées du fait de leur simple orientation sexuelle». While a hundred people have showed up to defend the homophobic attackers, Femen has come to denounced State homophobia in Morocco, they indicated in a communique, who demanded the people imprisoned for their sexuality be freed.

 Femen protesters arrested.

FEMEN MAROC

Written by Andrew Coates

April 12, 2016 at 3:57 pm

Secular Critic of Islamism, Nazimuddin Samad, Hacked to Death in Bangladesh.

with 3 comments

Nazimuddin Samad, from his Facebook page

Nazimuddin Samad: Murdered for Criticising Islam. 

The Dhaka Tribune reports.

Student on hitlist killed by militants Mohammad Jamil Khan

Killers were chanting ‘Allahu Akbar’ while hacking the Gonojagoron Moncho activist

A masters student of Jagannath University was killed by suspected Islamist militants in Old Dhaka’s Sutrapur area last night.

Nazimuddin Samad, 28, was a student of the law department’s evening batch.

He was attacked at Ekrampur intersection around 8:30pm by three assailants while walking to his home in Gendaria with another youth after completing classes at the university near Bahadur Shah Park.

The youth accompanying the victim has remained traceless since the incident, police said.

Nazim is the son of Shamshul Haque from Bianibazar area of Sylhet. He was the information and research secretary of Sylhet district unit Bangabandhu Jatiya Jubo Parishad. He was also an activist of Gonojagoron Moncho’s Sylhet wing.

His friends said that Nazim used to campaign for secularism on Facebook and was critical of radical Islamists. A day before the murder, he expressed concerns over the country’s law and order in a Facebook post.

Police said that the killers who came on a motorcycle first intercepted them and then attacked Nazim with machetes. At one point, he fell on the street and then the attackers shot him to confirm death before leaving the place.

Businessmen of the area closed the shops immediately after hearing the gunshots.

During the murder, the killers were chanting “Allahu Akbar,” police said quoting locals.

Visiting the spot, the Dhaka Tribune reporter found the crime scene cordoned by the law enforcers and all the shops closed. Police recovered a bullet shell from the spot.

Nurul Amin, assistant commissioner of Sutrapur division, told the Dhaka Tribune that police went to the spot on information and found the body in a pool of blood. They were confirmed about his identity by the ID found in his pocket. Later, the police informed the university authorities and sent the body to hospital.

Doctors at Sir Salimullah Medical College Hospital declared him dead at 9pm.

AC Nurul further said that it is clear that the assailants kept an eye on Nazim’s activities for long and were aware of his way back home. “We are investigating the case sincerely to know the motive of the murder,” he added.

JnU Proctor Nur Mohammad said that Nazim got admitted to the university two months ago. “We have informed his family about the murder and are taking detail information about him,” he said.

Shamir Chandra Sutradhar, inspector (investigation) of Sutrapur police station, told the Dhaka Tribune: “Even though the spot was crowded at the time of the murder, they are not sharing any information with the police.

“However, we are trying to identify the assailants by talking to the shopkeepers and residents of the area.”

Comrade Samad’s background is described here:

Samad, a student of Jagannath University, used to write frequently against religious extremism. He had written “I have no religion” on his Facebook profile under religious views. In some of his recent posts, Samad had supported a petition to remove Islam as Bangladesh’s state religion, according to the New York Times.

“Evolution is a scientific truth. Religion and race are invention of the savage and uncivil people,” he reportedly wrote on Facebook. However, about a month back, Samad deactivated his Facebook account at the request of his family.

According to the Times, Samad’s Facebook page identified him as a member of the Shahbag movement, which seeks punishment for Bangladeshis who fought for Pakistan during the 1971 war for independence.

International Business Times. 

The International Humanist and Ethical Union has published these moving reflections,

Nazimuddin’s writing

Tributes and alarmed messages are flooding in on Nazimuddin’s personal Facebook page, where he regularly posted atheist and feminist criticism of Islam. He was critical both of the Islamist political parties, and against the failings of the current government. Shortly before he was killed, he wrote a post implying that the ruling Awami League party would fall if it did not make swift changes, writing (in Bengali): “The situation of the country, deterioration of law and order in the country, speak that maybe you cannot stay long in power.”

In earlier posts, Nazimuddin responded to a cleric’s violent speech against women which referenced the Quran, contrasting the speech with the claim that “Islam is the highest honor given to women!” He asked for justice for a girl known as Tonu, who had been raped and killed in the military area of ‘Cantoment’, Comilla.

Nazimuddin recently criticised Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s support for madrassa (Islamic schools), which are increasingly associated with Islamist radicalism and militancy in the country. Nazimuddin had also shared posts from Washiqur Rahman Babu who was killed last year in a similar attack, carried out by two madrassa students who claimed they were acting on orders from someone associated with their Islamic schools.

In another post, he proposed a satirical strategy to overcome the aggressive push toward Islamism in the country, writing: “Please let’s have Sharia Law for just five years in Bangladesh. Rule the country with Medina Law. I guarantee you, after this 5 years, no Muslim of Bangladesh will ask for Islamic law! The loss and damage we will have after five years, it will take 1400 years to restore us to a modern country.”

Nurul Amin, assistant commissioner of Sutrapur division police, is reported as saying that the assailants must have kept an eye on Nazim’s activities ahead of the attack, and were aware of his route home. “We are investigating the case sincerely to know the motive of the murder,” he said.

Reaction

President of the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), Andrew Copson, commented tonight:

“It is clear from Nazimuddin’s Facebook posts and protest activity that he was a politically and socially engaged young man. He offered criticisms of certain radical religious figures and doctrines, thoughts of a kind that many people, not just atheists and humanists but also many religious people, express all over the world, every day.

“Every time a thoughtful and honest person like Nazimuddin is hacked or gunned down, apparently for doing nothing more than speaking their minds on secularist, political and religious topics, we and others will make a point of finding out what he said, what he did, what he wrote about, and sharing it. It will be seen by more people than ever would have seen it before. And we will remember his name and the growing list of names of those who were singled out and killed, by small-minded, hateful extremists who appear to think that words can be killed. They cannot.”

We mourn deeply this death, and extend love to all Nazimuddin’s family and friends. 

Written by Andrew Coates

April 7, 2016 at 11:39 am

Pakistan Slaughter: Infinite Sadness.

with 2 comments

Child's funeral - 28 March

Dozens of Children were amongst the dead.

A Taliban splinter group says it carried out a suicide attack on a park in Lahore, Pakistan, which killed more than 70 people, including children.

Jamaat-ul-Ahrar said it had targeted Christians celebrating Easter, though police have said they are still investigating the claim.

There were scenes of carnage as parents searched for children amid the debris.

Pakistan’s president condemned the attack, and the regional government has announced three days of mourning.

At least 300 people were injured, with officials saying they expected the death toll to rise.

All major hospitals in the area were put on an emergency footing after the blast, early on Sunday evening.

BBC

A faction of the Pakistani Taliban, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, claimed responsibility for the explosion, saying it was targeted at Christians celebrating Easter. A spokesman for the group, Ehsanullah Ehsan, told the Guardian: “We have carried out this attack to target the Christians who were celebrating Easter. Also this is a message to the Pakistani prime minister that we have arrived in Punjab [the ruling party’s home province].”

Guardian.

2013.

Pakistan church bomb: Christians mourn 85 killed in Peshawar suicide attack

Pakistan’s worst-ever attack on beleaguered Christians prompts warning by bishop for future of minority in Muslim countries.

In Pakistan, 1.5% of the population are Christian. Pakistani law mandates that “blasphemies” of the Qur’an are to be met with punishment. At least a dozen Christians have been given death sentences,[198] and half a dozen murdered after being accused of violating blasphemy laws. In 2005, 80 Christians were behind bars due to these laws.[199]

Ayub Masih, a Christian, was convicted of blasphemy and sentenced to death in 1998. He was accused by a neighbor of stating that he supported British writer Salman Rushdie, author of The Satanic Verses. Lower appeals courts upheld the conviction. However, before the Pakistan Supreme Court, his lawyer was able to prove that the accuser had used the conviction to force Masih’s family off their land and then acquired control of the property. Masih has been released.[200]

In October 2001, gunmen on motorcycles opened fire on a Protestant congregation in the Punjab, killing 18 people. The identities of the gunmen are unknown. Officials think it might be a banned Islamic group.[201]

In March 2002, five people were killed in an attack on a church in Islamabad, including an American schoolgirl and her mother.[202]

In August 2002, masked gunmen stormed a Christian missionary school for foreigners in Islamabad; six people were killed and three injured. None of those killed were children of foreign missionaries.[203]

In August 2002, grenades were thrown at a church in the grounds of a Christian hospital in north-west Pakistan, near Islamabad, killing three nurses.[204]

On 25 September 2002, two terrorists entered the “Peace and Justice Institute”, Karachi, where they separated Muslims from the Christians, and then murdered seven Christians by shooting them in the head.[205][206] All of the victims were Pakistani Christians. Karachi police chief Tariq Jamil said the victims had their hands tied and their mouths had been covered with tape.

In December 2002, three young girls were killed when a hand grenade was thrown into a church near Lahore on Christmas Day.[207]

In November 2005, 3,000 militant Islamists attacked Christians in Sangla Hill in Pakistan and destroyed Roman Catholic, Salvation Army and United Presbyterian churches. The attack was over allegations of violation of blasphemy laws by a Pakistani Christian named Yousaf Masih. The attacks were widely condemned by some political parties in Pakistan.[208]

On 5 June 2006, a Pakistani Christian, Nasir Ashraf, was assaulted for the “sin” of using public drinking water facilities near Lahore.[209]

One year later, in August 2007, a Christian missionary couple, Rev. Arif and Kathleen Khan, were gunned down by militant Islamists in Islamabad. Pakistani police believed that the murders was committed by a member of Khan’s parish over alleged sexual harassment by Khan. This assertion is widely doubted by Khan’s family as well as by Pakistani Christians.[210][211]

In August 2009, six Christians, including four women and a child, were burnt alive by Muslim militants and a church set ablaze in Gojra, Pakistan when violence broke out after alleged desecration of a Qur’an in a wedding ceremony by Christians.[212][213]

On 8 November 2010, a Christian woman from Punjab Province, Asia Noreen Bibi, was sentenced to death by hanging for violating Pakistan’s blasphemy law. The accusation stemmed from a 2009 incident in which Bibi became involved in a religious argument after offering water to thirsty Muslim farm workers. The workers later claimed that she had blasphemed the Muhammed. As of 8 April 2011, Bibi is in solitary confinement. Her family has fled. No one in Pakistan convicted of blasphemy has ever been executed. A cleric has offered $5,800 to anyone who kills her.[214][215]

On 2 March 2011, the only Christian minister in the Pakistan government was shot dead. Shahbaz Bhatti, Minister for Minorities, was in his car along with his niece. Around 50 bullets struck the car. Over 10 bullets hit Bhatti. Before his death, he had publicly stated that he was not afraid of the Taliban’s threats and was willing to die for his faith and beliefs. He was targeted for opposing the anti-free speech “blasphemy” law, which punishes insulting Islam or its Prophet.[216] A fundamentalist Muslim group claimed responsibility.[217]

On 27 March 2016, a suicide bomber from a Pakistani Taliban faction killed at least 60 people and injured 300 others in an attack at Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park in Lahore, Pakistan, and the group claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it intentionally targeted Christians celebrating Easter Sunday.

Written by Andrew Coates

March 28, 2016 at 11:44 am

Greek Communist Party “Explains” Homosexuality and “Bourgeois Human Rights”.

with 15 comments

https://i0.wp.com/inter.kke.gr/export/system/modules/gr.kke.inter.v8.template/resources/images/banner/banner_en.jpg

“I am free to experiment and then choose my sexual identity” – Bourgeois Human Rights says KKE.

This has been signaled on the Marxism List and is so extraordinary that it merits a wide readership particularity amongst those who consider the Greek Communist Party ‘progressive’ for its opposition to Syriza.

On the Cohabitation agreement.

Kommounistiki Epitheorisi, the political-theoretical journal of the CC of KKE (Issue 1, 2016).

“On December 22, 2015 the bill “Cohabitation Agreement, exercising of rights, criminal and other provisions” was passed in parliament by the procedure of a roll call vote. In total, 193 MPs voted in favour and 56 against. The parliamentary groups of SYRIZA, PASOK, POTAMI and the Union of Centrists (Enosi Kentron) voted in favour of the law. Differing positions of MPs were observed in NEW DEMOCRACY and the Independent Greeks (ANEL).

This legislative initiative had been widely publicized throughout the previous period both through the electronic and print media and by various homosexual organizations as “a step forward for modern Greece”, “with the principle of equality as a starting point and with an eye on Europe ‘.

Theoretical background:

The institutional recognition of homosexual cohabitation is pursued in the name of human rights, with a focus on ensuring individual rights, including sexual. The legal recognition of cohabitation by individuals with homosexual orientation is viewed as safeguarding minority rights. It is an aspect of the bourgeois concept of individual rights, pluralism, and the right to diversity, to self-determination of the body. It is expressed slogan “I am free to experiment and then choose my sexual identity.”

Homosexual orientation or alternating between homosexual and heterosexual orientation is presented by sections of intellectuals and artists, especially to the youth as an unconventional, dissident, and radical form of behaviour, as a “way” to overcome outdated perceptions of women’s position in society, about sexuality, as a “form of conflict with authority, based on the male-dominated society.” It projects the concept that “sexual identity is something fluid”, socially and linguistically constructed. This is the philosophical current of postmodernism and postmodernity that ultimately denies the objectivity of biological sex which is the basis for a predominantly heterosexual sexual orientation. It argues that “gender is not what we are, but what we do.”

It ignores or conceals the class factors that led to the different positions of the two sexes and the ruling classes in the evolution of society, from the primitive community household in the first class society onwards. In the passage from one socioeconomic formation to another, surplus products appear, produced to meet community needs. Some products were produced in excess due to the development of the means of production and work implements, the cultivation of land, herds, which came under the ownership of men who appropriated the surplus, the surplus product. The owner of the surplus began to distance himself from the need to work for survival, exploiting the work of prisoners of war, slaves. The woman could not overcome the inherent biological differences she had with her husband that render her more vulnerable in nature. To protect the need for the reproduction of the species, she could not stray far from the community household that lost its social character with the onset of the first class division of society, with the exploitation of man by man. Moreover, the need for wealth to be inherited by the “legitimate” offspring of the man was established. In this way, the domination of the man over the woman was institutionalized at both an individual and social level.

By bypassing the social causes which imposed overwhelmingly different social behaviours between the sexes, these theories lead to the denial of the biological differences between men and women, ultimately denying the objectivity of biological gender identity.

The Communist Party from 2008 onwards had expressed reservations and concerns about the fact that the enactment of the CA for heterosexual couples was in essence a first step towards the enactment – through its expansion – of a corresponding agreement for same-sex couples. For this reason, KKE had voted “present.” In any case, if Greece had not enacted a CA for heterosexual couples, it would not have been accused of discrimination. There is the possibility, however, of Greece being accused of discrimination with the same logic because it makes no legal provision for marriage between same-sex couples with the respective rights and obligations arising from it (adoption etc.).

This is the key section:

The biological origin of humankind is the result of a male-female sexual relationship, which as such, is of interest to and is regulated by society. Objectively a child that is raised by a same-sex couple, from the first determinative years of its life, acquires a distorted perception of the biological relationship between the sexes. A correct perception of this relationship is an essential ingredient for its smooth psychosomatic and social development.

Which is not mitigated by this:

In summary, the KKE considers that sexual orientation is a private matter, like cohabitation. Sexual orientation, sexual relationships or sexual satisfaction does not produce social rights. The institutionalization of the cohabitation agreement for same-sex couples is essentially an extension of the family institution to these couples. Experience from other countries shows that when a cohabitation agreement or gay marriage was legislated, it paved the way for the adoption of children.

It is important to note that the KKE condemns and is absolutely opposed to any behaviour or practice that is targets people on the basis of their sexual orientation. It considers attacks unacceptable, but also any other related abuse. For this reason, in Parliament it voted in favour of an amendment that makes provisions for the severe punishment for any such behaviour.

Written by Andrew Coates

March 7, 2016 at 6:33 pm

Zaman Newspaper, Turkey: Erdoğan Takes Control of Critical Media.

with 3 comments

Police fired tear gas at protesters outside Zaman's offices on Friday night (4 March)

Saturday Protests at Erdoğan’s Islamist Government’s Takeover of Zaman.

Turkish police have raided the offices of Zaman, the country’s biggest newspaper, hours after a court ruling placed it under state control.

Police entered the building in Istanbul late on Friday, firing tear gas at protesters who had gathered outside.

Zaman is closely linked to the Hizmet movement of influential US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.

Turkey says Hizmet is a “terrorist” group aiming to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government.

Mr Gulen was once an ally of Mr Erdogan but the two fell out.

Many Hizmet supporters have been arrested.

The government in Ankara has come under increasing international criticism over its treatment of journalists.

The court ruled on Friday that Zaman, that has a circulation of some 650,000, should now be run by administrators. No explanation was given.

Later, hundreds of Zaman supporters gathered outside the newspaper’s offices to protest at the state takeover. One held a placard saying, “We will fight for a free press.”

Police used water cannon and tear gas to disperse the protesters.

BBC

Police using tear gas and water cannon raided the headquarters of Turkey’s largest-circulation newspaper, hours after a court placed it under the management of trustees.

Police set up barricades on Saturday to keep out Zaman readers arriving at the building in a show of support.

The English-language Today’s Zaman Saturday edition, published before the forced take-over, printed its entire front page in black with the headline: “Shameful day for free press in Turkey.”

Prosecutors accused Zaman and its affiliates of praising and helping what they called a “terrorist organisation”.

“It has been a habit for the last three, four years, that anyone who is speaking against government policies is facing either court cases or prison, or such control by the government,” said Abdulhamit Bilici, editor-in-chief of Zaman.

“This is a dark period for our country, our democracy.”

Al Jazeera.

Before this seizure Zaman’s English language site published this:

Reactions have mounted in Turkey against a government-orchestrated move to seize the nation’s best-selling newspaper Zaman and its affiliate publications including Today’s Zaman as part of a crackdown on critical and independent media.

Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Murat Emir spoke on Friday morning when the takeover of Zaman was still a rumor circulating on social media. Emir said that he saw the move as the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) trying to silence free and independent media.

Expressing that the media in Turkey faces new attacks every day, Emir said that the majority of these assaults were being done under the guise of the law. “We [CHP] condemn all attempts to subdue the free media. We are against all attacks [against the media] and believe these attacks must come to an end.”

Speaking to Zaman daily on Friday morning, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputy Ümit Özdağ, who recently resigned from his position as deputy chairman of the MHP said he cannot believe the government is going to take over the Zaman daily and its subsidiaries.

CHP deputy Akif Ekici said of the takeover that he believes the current government in Turkey has the potential to take over newspapers, appoint trustees to media organizations, and file people into jails. “I don’t know where this oppression will end though,” he said.

Several staunchly pro-government journalists have claimed that two critical journalists who were recently released from prison will be re-arrested and that the government will silence a major critical media outlet, while a Twitter whistleblower claimed that trustees had already been appointed to take over the media group.

Dündar and Gül were arrested on Nov. 26, 2015 on charges of membership in a terrorist organization, espionage and revealing confidential documents. The charges stem from a terrorism investigation launched after Cumhuriyet published photos in May 2015 of weapons it said were being transferred to Syria in trucks operated by the National Intelligence Organization (MİT).

Columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak from the pro-government Yeni Akit daily argued in a column on Thursday that Cumhuriyet journalists Can Dündar and Erdem Gül may be re-arrested at any time.

“The release of Can [Dündar] and his colleague from prison may be the start of a new series of unfortunate things for them. At least, they may be arrested again. They may face graver accusations with new information and documents,” Dilipak wrote.

Star Daily columnist Cem Küçük, who is known for his open threats against media moguls and journalists critical of the government, also voiced similar claims on Tuesday, arguing that “Dündar will face new and more solid indictments.”

Cumhuriyet’s Dündar and Gül were freed after a Constitutional Court ruling on Feb. 25, which said their imprisonment amounted to a violation of their rights.

Küçük also said, “according to information he obtained,” Feza Media Group, which also includes Today’s Zaman, will be seized by the government. He argued that trustees will be appointed to the group soon.

Also on Thursday, Twitter whistleblower Fuat Avni claimed that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who “has no tolerance for any media group that would criticize his plans for a presidential switch,” ordered the seizure of Zaman daily, the main newspaper under the Feza Media Group.”

“He told off those who told him that there is no legal infrastructure to seize Zaman,” Avni claimed.

“He is taking the revenge for the Constitutional Court’s decision favoring the release of Can Dündar and Erdem Gül. The order [to seize Zaman] has been sent to [his] men at the judiciary,” he further claimed.

“They arranged Prosecutor Fuzuli Aydoğdu and the 6th Penal Court of Peace. They made the court to appoint trustees to the Zaman daily,” Avni wrote on Twitter. Avni also argued that any resistance to the seizure of Zaman Media Group will be brutally supressed by the police.

President Erdoğan openly said on Sunday he does not obey or respect the decision by the Constitutional Court that declared that the imprisonment of the journalists amounted to a violation of their rights.

“The Constitutional Court may have reached such a verdict. I will remain silent. I am not in a position to accept it,” Erdoğan told reporters before departing for a visit to some West African countries. “I do not obey it nor do I respect it.”

Dündar and Gül were arrested on charges of espionage and aiding a terrorist organization in November after the publication of video footage purporting to show Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) helping to send weapons to Syria when they were intercepted in 2014 by gendarmerie forces. The arrest drew international condemnation and revived concern about media freedom in Turkey.

Erdoğan, who had described the interception of the MİT trucks as an act of espionage aimed at undermining Turkey internationally, vowed that Dündar and the newspaper would pay a “heavy price” for reporting on the incident. “I will not let him go [unpunished],” he said back in November.

Commenting on claims on more pressure on the critical media, Zaman daily Editor-in-Chief Abdülhamit Bilici said it does not befit a country ruled by democracy and the law to discuss such attempts in 2016. “Such demands and illegal attempts [to silence critical media] are not allowed in countries where democracy and the laws are functioning. We regret to see such comments and claims,” he added.

Bilici further said on Twitter that he hopes these claims are not true. “If these disgusting claims are true, I am calling on all democrats to stand by press freedom,” he said.

This is the second time the Zaman daily has become the target of government-orchestrated raids, as on Dec. 14 along police raided the İstanbul headquarters of the daily detaining total of 31 suspects, including Zaman’s former Editor-in-Chief Ekrem Dumanlı as part of a crackdown on dissenting media by the AK Party.

The Index on Censorship has launched a petition calling on an İstanbul court to reverse its decision to appoint trustees to Turkey’s largest daily, also urging President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to stop crackdown on free media.

Petition calls on court to reverse decision on Zaman, urges Erdoğan to end crackdown on free press

“Join Index on Censorship, writers, journalists and artists from around the world to condemn the shocking seizure of Turkish independent media group, Zaman,” the change.orgpetition said.

“Today Turkey seized one of the country’s leading newspapers. In so doing, Turkey has confirmed that it is no longer committed to a free press, which is the bedrock of any democratic society. We, the undersigned, ask the court to reverse its decision to seize Zaman and urge the international community to speak out against Turkey’s repeated attempts to stifle a free and independent media,” it added.

Sign the Petition here: Petitioning President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan: End Turkey’s crackdown on press freedom.

This crack down on critical media comes as the Erdoğan government wages war on the Kurds.

https://i0.wp.com/supportkurds.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/2016-March-6-Break-the-Silence-demo.png

Written by Andrew Coates

March 5, 2016 at 12:01 pm

Comrade Peter Tatchell, ‘Racist’ and ‘Transphobic’, according to National Union of Students.

with 21 comments

Human Rights have no Exceptions.

The emails from the officer of the National Union of Students were unequivocal. Fran Cowling, the union’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) representative, said that she would not share a stage with a man whom she regarded as having been racist and “transphobic”.

That the man in question is Peter Tatchell – one of the country’s best-known gay rights campaigners, who next year celebrates his 50th year as an activist – is perhaps a mark of how fractured the debate on free speech and sexual politics has become.

In the emails, sent to the organisers of a talk at Canterbury Christ Church University on Monday on the topic of “re-radicalising queers”, Cowling refuses an invitation to speak unless Tatchell, who has also been invited, does not attend. In the emails she cites Tatchell’s signing of an open letter in the Observer last year in support of free speech and against the growing trend of universities to “no-platform” people, such as Germaine Greer, for holding views with which they disagree.

Cowling claims the letter supports the incitement of violence against transgender people. She also made an allegation against him of racism or of using racist language. Tatchell told the Observer that the incident was yet another example of “a witch-hunting, accusatory atmosphere” symptomatic of a decline in “open debate on some university campuses”.

Reports the Observer.

The Tendance has known and supported comrade Peter Tatchell for over 25 years.

We were fellow supporters of Labour Briefing (he was one of the early figures in the monthly), fellow members of the Socialist Society Steering Committee.

The Tendance backs his human rights campaigning to the hilt.

Comrade Tatchell has fought for gay rights, for human rights, in the face of great hostility.

He has been beaten up by Mugabe’s thugs and Russian Nazis.

He was so badly assaulted in 2007 that the long-terms effects of the injuries meant that was unable to stand as a candidate for the Green Party in the last General Election.

I’m not deterred one iota from coming back to protest in Moscow,” Peter Tatchell told PinkNews.co.uk from Moscow, just hours after he was attacked by suspected neo-Nazis and then arrested by the Russian riot police the OMON. “Gay Russians need overseas support to protect them against state and neo-Nazi violence.”

He was speaking after arrests and violent attacks marred today’s attempted Moscow Gay Pride march. The organizer of Moscow Pride, Nikolai Alekseev, is still being detained at Moscow’s Tverskoi district police station, together with two prominent members of Russia’s Radical and Free Radical parties, Nikolai Khramov and Sergei Konstantinov. Those who attacked Mr Tatchell are believed to be free, while Mr Alekseev, who took part in a peaceful protest remains in police custody

Mr Tatchell told PinkNews.co.uk: “I urge people to protest to the Russian Ambassador and to ask their local MP to send a letter of protest to the Russian embassy.”

He added: “We also need a strong statement of condemnation from the Foreign Office, who have so far been silent. I am a British citizen violently attacked when mounting a lawful protests whilst the Russian police allowed violence to be perpetrated against me.”

Pink News. 

Comrade Tatchell says: human rights have no exceptions.

There is no “cultural” reason why any state, any political group, any  religion, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism, should have special exemption from our  common human framework.

Because comrade Tatchell has defended human rights against Islamism he has been attacked for ‘racism’.

The miserable and mad Bob Pitt even wrote this smear in 2012.

Peter Tatchell not only encourages Islamophobia – he defends the right of homophobes to incite hatred against the LGBT community

Islamists and their supporters, obviously still strong in the NUS, have not stopped this line of attack.

In the face of Islamist genocidal  racism they accuse Tatchell of …racism.

Then there was this last year,

Peter Tatchell criticised for signing letter warning of trans ‘censorship’

This is what he has had to put up with.

The gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has been “unable to sleep” and the Cambridge Classics professor Mary Beard was left “wanting to cry” after a letter they co-wrote supporting freedom of speech unleashed a torrent of abuse from supporters of transgender rights.

The falling out came after the pair signed a letter with 129 others, warning about “a worrying pattern of intimidation and silencing of individuals whose views are deemed ‘transphobic’”.

The signatories insist their only intention was to support freedom of speech in universities, which would allow the anti-transgender views that they both oppose to be defeated in debate.

Some critics, however, accused the pair of being “transphobic”, and claimed that their co-signatories included some feminists with anti-transgender motives. In the ensuing Twitter storm Professor Beard was branded “an unrepentant bigot”, and Mr Tatchell was told: “I would like to tweet your murder you fucking parasite.”

Mr Tatchell, 63, said: “I’ve received about 5,000 messages attacking me. The volume and vitriol of the attack has been almost unprecedented in 48 years of human rights campaigning. I’m shocked.

Independent.

Comrade Tatchell is salt of the earth.

We breath more freely for his tireless courage.

His anti-democratic, anti human rights, opponents are beneath contempt.

 

Update: Peter has been Responding (Pabolite is the Tendance’s Twitter Account).

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

February 14, 2016 at 12:02 pm