Secularism

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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France’s Front National tries to exploit Charlie Hebdo attack

Author: 

Bill Holmes

The far right in France appear to see recent terrorist attacks as political currency to attack both the government and the EU on immigration.

The Front National has said the attacks on Charlie Hebdo magazine and an assault on a Jewish supermarket are the final proof that open borders and poor efforts to tackle immigration in France have led to an “enemy within”.

The far right in France see the recent terrorist attacks as an opportunity to attack both the government and the EU on immigration.

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A reply on Charlie Hebdo

Author: 

Omar Raii

This was written as a reply to a piece by Moses Trod, replying to my 8 January article about Charlie Hebdo: you can find both here. However it has much wider relevance to the British left.

Much of the criticism of the article like many modern accusations of being liberal or not sufficiently left-wing basically boils down to not decrying Western imperialism or the racist French bourgeois state enough for creating the problems of Islamism, as well as the neo-fascist far-right.

A reply to Moses Trod on Charlie Hebdo.

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Paris, and other atrocities

Author: 

Omar Raii
After the murder of 12 people at the offices of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, we are once again having to deal with questions of free speech, of Islamism, and reprisal attacks by the neo-fascist far-right.

After the murder of twelve people at the offices of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, we are once again having to deal with questions of free speech, of Islamism, and reprisal attacks by the neo-fascist far-right.

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A cheap shot from Ofsted

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A Tower Hamlets teacher

Ofsted has put seven schools in Tower Hamlets into special measures, saying that they have “not put in place steps to ensure that students, staff and governors understand the risks posed by extremism”.

Six of them are Islamic private schools, and one is a Church of England secondary foundation school.

The left should not defend the private faith schools which have been found to teach a very narrow curriculum, excluding the arts, and fail to challenge prejudiced attitudes towards women and people of different sexualities. Such schools should be abolished.

Ofsted has put seven schools in Tower Hamlets into special measures, saying that they have “not put in place steps to ensure that students, staff and governors understand the risks posed by extremism”.

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