Weekly Worker

Unions and the IHRA

Submitted by SJW on 17 November, 2017 - 1:00 Author: A teacher

On 15 November Southwark NUT agreed a motion proposed by a member or sympathiser of the Weekly Worker grouplet. The motion (attached) passed with ten votes in favour, to my vote against, and a couple of abstentions. It will be submitted by Southwark NUT to our annual conference.

The WW leaders – notorious liars with malleable politics - are currently positioning themselves as the go-to people for ‘left’ antisemites, defending Livingstone - amongst others - against justifiable charges of antisemitism.

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Quoting Nazis to damn “the Zionists”

Submitted by Matthew on 8 November, 2017 - 9:24 Author: Dale Street

Had it not been distributed as a leaflet at this year’s Labour Party conference, Moshe Machover’s article “Anti-Zionism Does Not Equal Anti-Semitism” would have been just another turgid and distasteful article which had found a natural home for itself in the pages of the Weekly Worker.

A longer version of the same article – entitled “Don’t Apologise – Attack” – had been published in Weekly Worker four months earlier. According to that article:

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Statement on the expulsion of Moshé Machover from Labour

Submitted by AWL on 16 October, 2017 - 3:23

Moshe Machover, members of Labour Party Marxists, a front for the "CPGB" group, which publishes the Weekly Worker newspaper, have been expelled from the Labour Party.

Labour Party Marxists distributed a leaflet at the recent Labour Party conference, extensively quoting Reinhard Heydrich, the Nazi architect of the Holocaust, appearing to support the creation of a "Jewish state", to justify the outrageous claim that Nazism and Zionism share an essential ideological core.

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Introduction: A watershed for the left

Submitted by AWL on 27 October, 2016 - 2:00 Author: Sean Matgamna

Afghanistan’s “Great Saur Revolution”, in April 1978, and the Russian invasion of Afghanistan that flowed from it 20 months later, at Christmas 1979, were two of the most important events of the second half of the 20th century.

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Civilisation, backwardness and liberation

Submitted by AWL on 27 October, 2016 - 11:27 Author: Sean Matgamna

What is the attitude of Marxists to "backward" and "underdeveloped" countries and peoples who are being assaulted, occupied, or colonised by a more advanced but predatory civilisation?
No-one expressed it so clearly and so forcefully as Leon Trotsky:

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The Weekly Worker defends Socialist Party over domestic violence/sexism row and tells more lies about AWL

Submitted by AWL on 16 January, 2014 - 11:58

(The Weekly Worker has replied to this statement; we have replied to their reply here.)

The Weekly Worker, newspaper of the "CPGB", has published an article alleging a Workers' Liberty attempt to cover up incidents of sexual abuse by a student activist (not an AWL member).

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Reply to Yassamine Mather

Submitted by AWL on 18 November, 2013 - 4:04

Our 2006 introduction to Workers' Liberty 3/1, about Marxism and religion, has been much reviled on Facebook, but little criticised.


Submitted by martin on Wed, 20/11/2013 - 08:31

The article from WL 3-1 argued that political Islam, in addition to its straightforwardly backward-looking, reactionary dimension, also has a "reactionary anti-imperialist" dimension. It gains strength by being able to articulate, in a warped form, the anger against global inequalities of people in mostly-Muslim countries, which are generally among the world's poorer countries, often historically victims of colonial or semi-colonial oppression by European powers. That makes political Islam different from politicised Christianity (e.g. in the USA) which has no such addled anti-imperialist content.

Pat S's text, however, claims that the article "paints a picture of the world divided up into simple, backward societies such as the 'Islamic world', replete with poverty and deprivation, and modern, technologically advanced societies, such as the West", and that "wholly positive and negative attributes are designated" to those two blocks, presumably meaning that the article describes European and US societies as "wholly positive" and poorer countries as "wholly negative".

It would be very odd if we published an article depicting British capitalist society as "wholly positive"! (And with no-one noticing, for eight years, that it had done that!) In fact the article reserves its most vehement language for denunciation of social and cultural conditions in the richer countries of Europe and the USA.

Far from the article promoting a Fabian-type support for whatever is more economically advanced against whatever is more economically backward, it describes the war of "primitive" rural Afghanistan (i.e. more primitive than the "relatively advanced" though also-Muslim cities of Afghanistan) against the "advanced" Russian invaders as "a just war".

A simplistic division of the world into "North" and "South" is commonplace on the left. It would be unfair even to very confused kitsch-leftists to say they depict the poorer South as "wholly positive" and the richer North as "wholly negative", but they do describe the "South", more or less en bloc, favourably as "anti-imperialist", and the "North", more or less en bloc, as "imperialist".

Pat S's text suggests that the WL 3-1 article proposes an inverted version of that scheme (North good, South bad, rather than North bad, South good). This is not even quarter-plausible.

We have written many articles against the idea of a world of "blocs", to show the existence of combined and uneven development in the "South", and to highlight class divisions and class struggle across both "South" and "North". The article in WL 3-1 concludes by advocating, as the way to undercut the revival of religion and politicised religion, socialist class struggle - not a conquest of the "wholly negative" South by the "wholly positive" North, or a course of waiting for the South, through gradual economic development, to become as "wholly positive" as the North!

It makes no sense to imagine that Sean would write, and the rest of us would without comment typeset, lay out, read, promote, and circulate for eight years, an article saying the very opposite of what we generally say.

If there is a need for further discussion here, it should start with a discussion of our arguments and writings about imperialism...

Here is the "emergency motion"

Conference Notes:

1. In January 2006 Sean Matgamna wrote an article for the introduction to a pamphlet entitled “Marxism and Religion.”

2. On the 4th of October 2013 this article was republished under the title “Political Islam, Christian Fundamentalism, Marxism and the Left Today” and put on the front page of the website.

3. The article has been shared on Facebook nearly 500 times, in almost all cases criticised or denounced as racist.

4. The ensuing debate on the internal list raised a number of differences within the group with regards to racism, orientalism, and the existence of Islamophobia.

5. Since comrades raised criticism of the article it has been moved up the front page and several more problematic articles pertaining to Islam and Islamism have joined it.

6. The Executive Committee has taken the decision to produce a response and organise a meeting on the subject.

7. One member has already resigned over the incident.

Conference Believes:

1. The article, in attempting to account for the appeal of Islamic fundamentalism, paints a picture of the world divided up into simple, backward societies such as the "Islamic world", replete with poverty and deprivation, and modern, technologically advanced societies, such as the West.

2. The article goes on to claim that the proliferation of communications technology has led to the Islamic world learning of and subsequently envying the West's prosperity and riches. This, it is claimed, is the material basis for Islamic fundamentalist ideology which fulfils the desire to escape poverty and deprivation by relegating it to some later date in the afterlife.

3. In attempting to articulate the previous points the article uses Islamophobic language and imagery, with sentences such as “desert tribes of primitive Muslim simplicity and purity enviously eyeing a rich and decadent walled city and sharpening their knives”, “a peculiarly fleshly paradise, with the harems of virgins with which Allah rewards those who kill innocent people as well as themselves”, and “the Islam which failed outside the walls of Vienna over 300 years ago is now a force in the great cities of Europe.”

Conference Further Believes:

1. The “Islamic world” or the “Islamic countries” – taken here to mean North Africa, the Middle East, and parts of South Asia and South East Asia – are not one homogenous mass.

2. The “politics of envy” is explicitly predicated on the belief that the world is bifurcated into backward and modern societies, a position made clear by referring to the “Islamic countries” as being on the “fringe of a prosperous capitalist world” and drawing a direct comparison between “tribes of primitive Muslim simplicity” and today’s “Islamic World.”

3. That the division of the world into large, homogenous blocks – such as the Islamic world and the west – to which wholly positive and negative attributes are designated is chauvinist.

4. That if it is racist to claim that Islamism is a straight-forward reaction to or product of Imperialism, then it is surely racist to claim that it is the product of jealousy, covetousness, or self-righteousness.

5. Language does not exist in a vacuum. Words and phrases carry with them a history of oppressive use and take on different meanings depending on the context in which they’re used.

6. Islamophobia is a real phenomenon which describes bigotry towards a perceived or real Muslim identity.

7. Islamophobia has tropes and language associated with it; such as an Islamic conspiracy to take over the West or the portrayal of Muslims as suicide bombers or terrorists.

8. That the article is predicated on a chauvinist world view.

9. That the language used is Islamophobic.

Conference Resolves:

1. To apologise for the Islamophobia and chauvinism in the article as part of any response.

2. To remove the article from the website.

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A response to Patrick Smith's resignation

Submitted by AWL on 1 November, 2013 - 8:21

Instead of contributing to discussion and explaining his differences with the majority of the AWL on questions of Islamism, the definition of Islamophobia, and imperialism, Patrick Smith has decided to resign from the AWL, publishing a resignation letter on the website of the Weekly Worker group.

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Two and a half months' debate: socialism or vote-catching?

Submitted by AWL on 14 September, 2013 - 9:04

Over the next two and a half months, a fundamental debate will be run among some hundreds of left activists, most of them at present politically homeless and looking for a way forward.

At the founding conference on 30 November of the Left Unity group, the main debate will be between the "Left Party Platform" (LPP), proposed by Kate Hudson and others, and the "Socialist Platform" (SP), proposed by Nick Wrack, Soraya Lawrence, Will McMahon, Chris Strafford, Cat Rylance, and others.

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