Solidarity 114, 28 June 2007

Solidarity 3/114 is outmartinThu, 28/06/2007 - 01:13

Download the pages, as pdfs, here (click on "read more"), or read it on this website by clicking here.

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Questions and answers on Iraq — why AWL is mistakenAnonFri, 20/07/2007 - 14:47

By Daniel Randall

Throughout the course of the debate leading up to AWL's 2007 AGM, and the debate at the AGM itself, it became obvious that many AWL members did not have a clear understanding of what those of us who held a minority position on Iraq were really advocating.

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“To Teach the Claims of Labour” — The Life of Tom Mann, Pioneer Socialist, part 2. AnonWed, 18/07/2007 - 00:27

Cathy Nugent continues a series on the life and times of Tom Mann

When Tom Mann joined the Social Democratic Federation in May 1885 he was nearly thirty years old. That would have been an advanced age to be converted to socialism by the standards of later, more revolutionary times. But then these were not yet revolutionary times, and socialist ideas had been quite thin on the ground in Britain up to the beginning of the 1880s.

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The Mind of Political Islam and the New Al Qaeda Threat of Mass Murder:

Submitted by sm on 17 July, 2007 - 12:59

By John O'Mahony
The Al Qaeda leader, Ayman al-Zawahri has (July 10th) threatened Prime Minister Gordon Brown with mass murder in Britain, in retaliation for the award of a knighthood to Salman Rushdie. The knighthood, al-Zawahri said, was an "insult" to Muslims. This once more expresses, and in its most brutish and blood-thirsty form, the paradoid intolerance that governs political Islam.

We analysed the "moderate" version of this mindset, in this comment on the outcry that immediately greeted the award of the knighthood.

Comments

Submitted by Daniel_Randall on Tue, 26/06/2007 - 16:08

"I'm inclined to congratulate those, whoever they are, who decided to give [the knighthood] to him, despite the predictable outcry from the bigots who would rather see him dead than "honoured"."

Why?

Do you think they knighted Rushdie to strike a blow for secularism against religious bigotry? That the scurrying bureaucratic staff of the Queen - "the defender of the faith" - are making their own protest against the forwards march of organised religion?

Of course not. You may recall that Iqbal "homosexuality is a disease" Sacranie (ex-leader of the MCB) is also a "Sir". You don't have to line up behind the institution of knighthood to be clear about what's going on here. In fact, doing so somewhat muddies the waters.

Submitted by lost tango on Fri, 29/06/2007 - 15:03

...it quite obvious that Rushdie is being honoured for being a successful and acclaimed writer - as with Sir Arnold Wesker, Sir Arthur C Clarke, Sir Michael Holroyd and others.

Religion doesn't really enter into the decision to grant him a knighthood. However, as Sean says, this insane outcry was predictable, and in this respect we should certainly support those who were prepared to risk it.

Honours of this sort don't I think come from the Palace but from the PM's office and while Blair (with his love of faith schools including Islamic ones) is hardly anti-religious, the decision to defy the clamour of religious bigots IS clearly a stand in favour of secularism. I think Sean gets it exactly right.

Incidentally, it's a long time since I read The Satanic Verses, but I'm not convinced it does attack Mohammed. As I recall it suggests that certain verses were excluded from the Koran because they were considered unsuitably feministic. It's probably less blasphemous than The Da Vinci Code or The Last Temptation of Christ.

Submitted by lost tango on Tue, 03/07/2007 - 16:02

...the idea that freedom of speech and democracy are "western" values is not the property of the AWL, or even of "the West". You will find that the Islamists share this view, and in fact appear to have come up with it first. You should read their actual writings before making cosy assumptions about what they represent.

Liberal democracy and the AWL's kind of socialism have in common that at some level they hold that the will of the people is the highest law. Islamism holds that the word of God (as expressed in the Koran) is the highest law. (And since God is not available to submit to, people are required to submit to the Islamists).

To the extent that Marxism is a western system of thought, Marxists certainly do unashamedly privilege "western" ideas, but then the test of the validity of an idea is hardly its geographical provenance.

I have no idea who this "frantz" is, but if s/he was ever a marxist or a socialist s/he clearly ain't any more. But then fuzzy multiculturalism and/or sloganising anti-'westernism' is so much more sexy these days...

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What is Wrong with “One Solution, Revolution!”?AnonMon, 16/07/2007 - 11:52

by Albert Glotzer
Many of the core activists of today’s left had their thinking shaped by the dramatic struggles of 1979-84, or of the late 1960s and early 70s — times when capitalism seemed to be in intractable crisis, and mass working-class action to change society was a prospect near at hand.

Adjusting to the huge expansion of capitalism since the 1980s, and the ebb of labour movements (a temporary ebb, but a long temporary ebb) is difficult.

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The postal workers’ battle: Public service or maximum profit?martinThu, 12/07/2007 - 11:06

By Pete Keenlyside (CWU Executive, personal capacity)

As a member of the executive of the Communication Workers Union I want to appeal to the broad labour and trade union movement to rally to the postal workers in our dispute with Royal Mail.

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Women: the case for a single equality lawAnonThu, 12/07/2007 - 00:47

By Maria Exall

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Marxists and the green challengeAnonTue, 10/07/2007 - 12:23

Paul Hampton reviews 2006, Marxism and Ecological Economics by Paul Burkett (Amsterdam: Brill)

The conventional wisdom among Greens is that, so far as environmental struggles go, the organised labour movement is only occasionally an ally and often an opponent. Most ecologists dismiss Marxism as having little to offer today’s environmental concerns such as climate change.

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The French Communist Party - Rise of the Stalinist behemothAnonMon, 09/07/2007 - 11:55

By David Broder

At a recent conference in France I spoke to a young man who was a member of the Parti Communiste Français (PCF, French Communist Party). When I asked him why any young activist would join an ossified party now in terminal decline, he replied that “I intervene in the PCF because I am a Luxemburgist. I can see the difference between the leadership of an organisation and its membership.”

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The Palestine Civil War

Submitted by Anon on 8 July, 2007 - 11:04

Editorial, Solidarity 3/114
The rulers of Israel are frequently accused, and justly so according to the evidence, of wanting a “settlement” with the Palestinians in which a “Palestinian state” is really a series of “Palestinistans”, what in South Africa were called bantustans.

Now the Palestinians are doing it for themselves. After a short civil war, “Palestine” has been split into two, Gaza ruled by Hamas and the West Bank (or, rather, pockets within the West Bank) ruled by Fatah. Thus the seemingly endless tragedy of the Palestinian people has taken a new turn.

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