Secularism

Listen to the secular!

Author: 

Martin Thomas

Pretty much all the left press other than Solidarity has denounced the election court decision against Lutfur Rahman, mayor of Tower Hamlets in East London, and most of the left has backed Rabina Khan, Rahman's ally, for the new mayoral election on 11 June.

Does the left press reckon that Rahman didn't do what the court disqualified him for doing? Or that he did do it, but it was all right? It's hard to tell. I don't know if the writers in the left press even read the judgement.

Pretty much all the left press has denounced the election court decision against Lutfur Rahman, mayor of Tower Hamlets in East London, and most of the left has backed his ally Rabina Khan in the new mayoral election.

Issues and Campaigns: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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Restore secular politics in Tower Hamlets

Author: 

Jean Lane

I don't like the idea that a privileged, conservative judge ousts Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman for alleged electoral malpractice, rather than a tribunal of the people he is supposed to serve.

I also don't know whether all the accusations against Rahman upheld by the judge are true or not. I am not going to take the judge's word for it. I am also not going to take the word of former councillors for George Galloway's Respect group that he is not.

The residents of Tower Hamlets, of which I am one, have plenty of reasons to want Rahman and his communalist politics out.

Residents of Tower Hamlets should be able to decide what they do or think without religious leaders guiding them.

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The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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Challenging fundamentalism: Workers' Liberty in further conversation with Marieme Helie-Lucas

Author: 

Marieme Helie-Lucas

In March 2015, Algerian sociologist and revolutionary socialist-feminist Marieme Helie Lucas spoke to Solidarity, the newspaper of Workers' Liberty, about the Muslim far-right, and the struggle for secularism, women's rights, and socialism (click here). Here, we continue the conversation.

A continuing discussion on religious fundamentalism, feminism, secularism, and socialism.

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Understanding the Muslim far-right in Algeria, and beyond

Author: 

Marieme Helie-Lucas

Marieme Helie Lucas is an Algerian sociologist. She participated in the national liberation from French colonialism and was close to the then-underground PCA (Parti Communist Algerien, Algerian Communist Party). She worked as a senior civil servant during the first three years after independence, before leaving to teach at Algiers University for 12 years.

Algerian sociologist and socialist-feminist activist and writer Marieme Helie Lucas argues that the Muslim fundamentalism must be understood as a populist, far-right political movement.

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After the attacks on Charlie Hebdo and the Hyper Cacher Jewish supermarket: thinking through the new and rethinking the old

Author: 

Pierre Rousset

Pierre Rousset is a long-standing member of the New Anti-capitalist Party (NPA), and its predecessor organisation the Revolutionary Communist League (Ligue Communiste Revolutionnaire, LCR) in France.

Veteran French Trotskyist Pierre Rousset discusses the political aftermath of the January 2015 Islamist attacks in Paris.

Around the world: 

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Free speech is a feminist issue

Author: 

Pragna Patel

Southall Black Sisters have always organised autonomously as an anti-communalist, anti-racist, and progressive organisation. We’ve been going since 1979, as both a service provider to black and minority women, and an anti-racist and feminist organisation.

Religious fundamentalism and the religious right are all to do with power and politics. The use of violence to suppress alternative ideas and any form of dissent from religious orthodoxies glorifies criminality and dresses it up as a fight for a just cause, even sometimes defence of human rights. It uses violence to destroy free, open democratic societies created out of struggles for accountability.

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After Copenhagen: fighting Islamism, the racist backlash and state repression

Author: 

Bjarke Friborg

We join the comrades of the Red-Green Alliance of Denmark in unequivocally condemning the attack on a meeting to debate free speech and a Jewish synagogue in Copenhagen on Saturday-Sunday 14-15 February.

Extreme Islamism seeks to replace one form of oppression (against some people of Muslim background) with many kinds of virulent oppression — of non-religious Muslims, Jews, people of other religions, women, LGBT people.

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Pragna Patel and Yemisi Ilesanmi speak on secularism, religious fundamentalism, feminism, and human rights

Pragna Patel, of Southall Black Sisters, and Yemisi Ilesanmi, Nigerian socialist and LGBT rights activist spoke at a Workers' Liberty London Forum on secularism and religious fundamentalism on Thursday 12 February.

Here are recordings of their speeches (unfortunately the recording of Yemisi's speech was cut short):

Speeches from the February 2014 Workers' Liberty London Forum.

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Charlie Hebdo and the politics of anti-imperialism

Author: 

Barry Finger

"Killing in response to insult, no matter how gross, must be unequivocally condemned. That is why what happened in Paris cannot be tolerated. But neither should we tolerate the kind of intolerance that provoked this violent reaction." (Bill Donohue, Catholic League)

"Now, I think there’s a critical difference between solidarity with the journalists who were attacked, refusing to concede anything to the idea that journalists are somehow “legitimate targets,” and solidarity with what is frankly a racist publication." (Richard Seymour, Lenin’s Tomb)

US socialist Barry Finger contributes to the debate around the Charlie Hebdo attacks and the left's attitude to political Islam.

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Irony knows no limits

Author: 

Vincent Jaques

Manchester University's Free Speech and Secular Society were prevented from displaying Charlie Hebdo at their stall during a societies fair on 27 January.

Irony knows no limits. A representative of the group said they wanted to print copies of the cover following the massacre in order to show support for the murdered journalists right to free expression. They also stated that they did not necessarily agree with all the content of Charlie Hebdo, but wanted to defend the principle of freedom of publication.

Manchester University's Free Speech and Secular Society were prevented from displaying Charlie Hebdo at their stall during a societies fair on 27 January.

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Trade Unions: 

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