Friday, 14 December 2018

Support the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain

Cross Post from Maryam Namazie & Sadia Hameed

We wanted to give you an update on the crucial work of Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain this past year, thank you for your support and ask for you to continue to help us, including by donating to our crucial work. Every bit helps and no amount is too small. If you are thinking of donating during the holiday period, CEMB is a great secular/non-religious option doing important work without religious conditions, dogma or proselytizing.

Since it is nearing the end of 2018, we would like to tell you some of the highlights of the year that couldn’t have been possible without the support of our donors:

In January, Maryam spoke at the third anniversary event marking the attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris and on the importance of mocking religion on French TV.

In February, Sadia went to Australia to speak at the first ever event of ex-Muslims speaking out publicly. She took part in a number of speeches and panel discussions in Sydney and Melbourne and also took part in media interviews. Here is one on Australian TV where she debates a Muslim woman apologist.

On World Hijab Day in February and in the women’s march in London in March, CEMB defended the movement in Iran against compulsory veiling.

In April, Maryam spoke at the 10th anniversary celebration of FEMEN in Paris. They are the topless activists that have worked closely with CEMB in support of apostasy, blasphemy and women’s rights.

On 18 May, CEMB has an “eat-in” in front of several embassies of countries that persecute people for eating during Ramadan. At the Saudi embassy, armed metropolitan police told us we were “offending” staff in the Saudi embassy, to which we exclaimed that their persecution offends us and is a lot more serious than hurt sentiments!

In the same month, Maryam spoke at a seminar at European Parliament on Fundamentalism & Neo-Liberalism in Europe: Their Collusion and Impact on Women’s Rights and Ethnic Minorities Rights. You can see a summary of her speech here.

Maryam also spoke at the Muslimish conference in NYC about ex-Muslims being a “community in protest” (as opposed to community in the regressive sense of identity politics). Here is Maryam’s speech at the conference and the Q&A that followed. Also see a shortened article in sister-hood explaining ex-Muslims as a community in protest.

With the rise of atheism in countries under Islamic rule, we are seeing many more cases of those being persecuted for blasphemy and apostasy. Here is a recent article we have published on the demand for atheism which calls for normalising #AtheismNotACrime. We developed a successful series of publicity materials for it, including for #BlasphemyNotACrime, #ApostasyNotACrime.

On 14 June, CEMB organised a panel discussion on LGBT rights and blasphemy in order to address the accusations of Islamophobia against CEMB at Pride last year. It was co-sponsored by Pride in London, which was important given that Pride was considering barring our presence in 2018. A video of the discussion, including with CEMB Spokespersons Sadia Hameed and Jimmy Bangash and chaired by Gita Sahgal, can be seen here.

In July, CEMB joined Pride in London for the second year (organised by Daniel Fitzgerald). It was a great success for us given that we were not sure if we would be allowed to march officially until a few months before the event. We received tremendous amounts of support. This year we had a much larger group joining us, including a Bangladeshi LGBT group, Boys Love World. A filmmaker Carl Russ-Mohl joined our march and produced a short film on CEMB and Spokespersons Jimmy Bangash. You can see the film here. Spokesperson Imad Iddine Habib explains why “Allah is Gay,” a placard he made first in 2017, which has now been picked up by ex-Muslims from Germany to Canada.

With the International Coalition of Ex-Muslims formed after our 2017 conference (the largest gathering of ex-Muslims in history), we read a poem written by Jimmy Bangash in defence of LGBT rights in countries under Islamic rule.

In July, Maryam worked with MEP Teresa Barbat Gimenez to suggest amendments to the European Parliament’s Committees of Foreign Affairs and Human Rights report regarding Freedom of religion and belief.

In August, CEMB organised a Vegetarian Heathen Eid. Bakra Eid is about slaughtering animals in the most brutal manner. Many CEMB members miss Eid and the time with family but don’t want to take part in a religious event or have anything to do with animal sacrifice so CEMB celebrated Eid the heathen way.

In September for International Blasphemy Day, CEMB members tore verses of the Quran that were anti-apostate and anti-women in a public protest action.

The International Ex-Muslim Coalition also did a video accusing “Ayatollah Facebook” of silencing blasphemers by constantly shutting down pages of ex-Muslims and freethinkers. Here is Maryam’s message.

CEMB sponsored Bullet Hole, a powerful production about FGM, at Park Theatre, for black history month. It is a story of hope, love and human rights played by an all-female cast.

In October, Spokespersons Sadia Hameed and Maryam Namazie conducted a training for 11 Malaysian government officials who are involved in the Islamic religious affairs department, including those implementing Sharia in the law, education and government. We showed them the film, Islam’s Non Believers, and had an extended discussion on apostasy and the right to atheism. They argued that atheists go against “their culture” and that the law must be respected. We argued that unjust laws must be challenged and culture is not homogenous. We stressed the importance of secularism and universal values. Discussions were sometimes heated but it was the first time they had met with ex-Muslims and it helped some of them to understand the awful treatment Malaysian atheists face and humanise ex-Muslims. We also linked it to the treatment of women, religious minorities and LGBT, amongst others.

In early November, at the Freedom from Religion Foundation Convention in San Francisco, Maryam awarded Ensaf Haidar, Raif Badawi’s wife (the Saudi freethinker sentenced to ten years in prison and 1000 lashes for “insulting Islam”) with the Henry Zumach Freedom From Religious Fundamentalism Award that she won last year.

On 25 November, CEMB sponsored an international Conference on Sharia, Segregation and Secularism, marking the 10th anniversary of our sister campaign One Law for All. The conference was a landmark event. (Organising Committee: Maryam Namazie, Sadia Hameed and Sina Ahadi Pour; MCs: Fariborz Pooya and Nahla Mahmoud).

Some of our events and actions have been covered by media. You can see media coverage here.

In April and October, we held "Coming Out" parties where ex-Muslims received their apostasy certificates. The parties are one way of seeing people's coming out as a cause for celebration rather than vilification and a source of shame.

We also started monthly support groups in addition to monthly meet-ups to allow ex-Muslims to share issues and empower each other. So far, the group has discussed issues like shunning, identity, post-apostasy trauma, family, drug and alcohol abuse, community, why we left Islam and relationships.

Our monthly meet-ups continue to go strong. It is a place where ex-Muslims and their friends can come to listen to a speaker, socialise, have a drink and let off some steam. The events bring speakers dealing with a range of issues including on the ex-Muslim experience through art and evenings with lawyer Ana González on apostasy and asylum, with Hassan Radwan on Islamic reform and Imad Iddine Habib on challenging racism and the far-Right.

In 2018, we also organised swimming lessons, picnics and movie nights and took ex-Muslims to Thorpe Park. You can see all our events and speaking engagements here.

In addition to all our public work, we continue to support around 300 ex-Muslims a month. Our publication, Political and Legal Status of Apostates from Islam, revised and updated last year has become an important document supporting apostasy cases across the globe. One such example is that it has become part of the documentation of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada.

We have done a huge amount of work for the right to apostasy and blasphemy (see also a timeline of our highlights from 2007-2018) but much more needs to be done. Particularly at a time when fascism, including religious fundamentalisms, is on the rise, we must keep going and defending universal rights for all, freedom of conscience, including for non-believers and secularism.

Go to:

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

On anti-Semitism and the far left again

Solidarity 489

First up is the newspaper of the Alliance for Workers Liberty (AWL), Solidarity. Of all the Trotskyist organisations they are the only one's that do more than pay lip service to fighting anti-Semitism, they actually do oppose it.

In the latest edition Omar Rail writes:

I used to think that conspiracy theorists were just silly. I must have made countless jokes about people who think the moon landings were faked, that Prince Philip ordered Diana’s death or that, despite NASA’s protestations, the Earth is in fact flat. But it’s become clear for some time now that conspiracy theories have reached a whole new level of influence. 9/11 was an inside job, Mossad created ISIS, George Soros is controlling the news — this kind of stuff is getting more and more mainstream. ...

So I went with interest to see ‘Conspiracy Theory: A Lizard’s Tale’, a one-man-show written and performed by Marlon Solomon, a Manchester-based actor and performer. Solomon has been performing across the country and at various CLPs and Labour Party events, and his show discusses the content and the appeal of conspiracy theories throughout history.

 Naturally the show focuses on the world’s oldest (and at various times, murderously consequential) conspiracy theory: antisemitism. Solomon makes the show very touching and personal, and discusses his own experiences as both a former conspiracy theorist and as a Jew in Britain who, while for a long time not particularly involved in politics, has recently taken a more active role in tackling antisemitism, including on the left and in the Labour Party. Much of the talk discussed the singly person most synonymous with modern conspiracy theories, David Icke (yes, the lizard guy). 

While I had previously regarded David Icke and his lizard theories as laughable nonsense, I was astounded to find out how much coverage he gets, including on some ostensibly “progressive” platforms, and the fact that he sells out thousand-seater stadiums for his talks. Most shocking of all was how blatant and explicit the antisemitic nature of his “theories” were. Icke’s speeches had simply unending talk of “Rothschild Zionists” controlling the world and fomenting wars.

This is in stark contrast to the view taken by the Labour Party Marxists a barely disguised front for the Communist Party of Great Britain (Weekly Worker).

Rather than join a protest against David Ike the LPM/CPGB explain:

Who would have thought that the mad ideas of David Icke would be the thing that forges unity between Jon Lansman’s Momentum, the rightwing Jewish Labour Movement and the ‘centrist’ Open Labour. Together they have attempted to organise joint protests outside the venues hosting Icke’s latest speaking tour. Labour First is supporting the protests too. Maybe Progress was busy when Lansman called.

Earlier this year Lansman, a self-confessed Zionist, raised eyebrows when he attended a conference organised by the JLM. But this joint campaign is clearly going a step further. The JLM is an openly Zionist grouping, affiliated to the World Zionist Organisation and the sister party of the Labor Party of Israel. Its leaders (among them Ella Rose, Louise Ellman, Mike Katz and, until recently, the disgraced Jeremy Newmark) are virulently anti-Corbyn and helped to organise the March 26 ‘Enough is enough’ demonstration outside parliament.

Any excuse to attack "Zionism" and oh look Lansmans Jewish and must be in League with them even though he isn't and is not popular at all in the Jewish community for his actions inhelping create Corbynism that has itself attracted the worst elements of the left including rabid anti-Semites.

It is the Communists who are a threat and their mad ideas of a capitalist conspiracy are also the refuge of fools. They have more in common with Ike than they would even begin to imagine.

Monday, 10 December 2018

Militants squabbling in PCS union continues unabated


Whilst the rest of the UK is either preparing for Christmas or has ended up bored silly of Brexit, the far-left inside the PCS civil Service Union continue to squabble about control of the union. The Socialist Party or Militant to us oldies has been firmly defeated in it's control of the Left Unity organisation, a front without which they cannot control PCS.

Whilst current Assistant General Secretary Chris Baugh has been painted the pantomime villain, it's really Mark Serwotka's political ambitions that are behind the current internecine warfare. Serwotka wants to orientate to Corbyn's Labour Party and bring PCS in a position to affiliate in the near future. The Socialist Party are a barrier.

Whether relations between the frankly useless Baugh and the over-bloated Serwotka were that bad after all these years is now an irrelevance. The inability of Janice Godrich to continue into the election has resulted in a demand that Chris be re-instated as AGS candidate.

The breakaway Socialist View group issued a statement yesterday:

The attention has understandably turned to what Left Unity will now do following Janice’s withdrawal.

The Socialist Party have unfortunately already demanded that Chris now be allowed to take the LU nomination for AGS.

While the LUNC will need to decide a way forward, Socialist View are clear that supporting a candidate whose methods and strategy have just been defeated, following a lengthy campaign and much debate, would create a significant problem for Left Unity and would be a huge error of judgement.

Chris has played his part in the history of both Left Unity and the union itself, and no one will wish to wipe that from the record, but he has become an increasingly divisive figure, and the policy and record on which he stood in this election has been overwhelmingly rejected by LU members.

It is equally true to say that many of those who supported Chris, adopting the same platform, have also been defeated in these elections. That cannot just be ignored or overlooked.

We urge the new LUNC (Left Unity National Committee) to write and ask Chris Baugh to step aside, in the interests of unifying and strengthening the left, not endorse his nomination as AGS candidate.

It may of course lead to a current Full Time Officer being offered the post. There's plenty of potential bag carriers for the General Secretary amongst that crowd. One leading LU member asks:

Would anyone be surprised if a candidate from the FTO staff were to emerge if Chris B were to stand aside? 

Err no. Meanwhile leading Socialist Party hack Kevin Greenaway makes the Socialist Party's demands quite clear:

There is only one option. Chris is the remaining nominee. The LUNC should accept that and move on. This is the most convoluted and contrived attempt at constructing a position to avoid the truth of the position imaginable. The continued vilification ofChris and others, presenting them as divisive is an irony that persistently evades SV. There is no way Chris should stand down. This is no attempt at creating unity it is the very opposite. SV needs to think again. Mind you, it took long enough to come up with this masterpiece. Then you had to wait until the end for the demand. Anybody would think SV was that embarrassed to put it out that we would barely notice. Reality is of course that the letters are almost certainly written already.

Martin Cavanagh, Socialist View replied in no uncertain terms:

There only ever was for you. You said Janice was wrong to stand originally, now having seen Chris and the strategy he proposed defeated - despite demanding votes be included that wouldn't be in any democratic election - you still say it should be Chris. Your assertion may be based on either genuine belief or out of party loyalty, that's not for me to say, but to pursue it means whoever reads it can take it with a pinch of salt.

And there we have it. The road to there being three candidates is becoming more a possibility by the moment.

Politics is Broken say half the British Public

Photo: By Jun OHWADA

There has never been a time in my living memory that this country has been so divided. Brexit and the rise of Corbynism destroyed it for me and I would imagine most other people. The political classes have never been so divorced from the electorate.

A sign of the times was yesterday's Brexit march organised by UKIP ans somewhat hi-jacked by Tommy Robinson due to the media attention the demo attracted. Plus of course hthe thought of trouble by so-called "anti-fascists" counter demonstrating.

Thing is I knew people on both sides of the barricades. I do not see UKIP as a"fascist" party of any description. The same applies to the For Britain outfit led by Anne Marie Waters. Yes there were a handful of boneheads floating around. They had their equivalents on the counter demonstration who wore mainly black and had masks.

The survey published in The Sunday Times (no link £) showed 48% beleive that politics has broken. Both party leaders get minus ratings May -28%, Corbyn -35%. Faith in the political mainstream is being lost on a major scale.

There has never been a time when new parties could stand a chance to being founded to change the current system. I would support a moderate/mainstream breakaway from the Labour Party but there is is a danger that the extremes could take advantage of the situation.

The far-left have virtual control of the Labour Party and moderate MP's are being targetted and will continue to be a target for the intolerant left. Even the Women's movement has been split by extremists from the Trans-community and those who want to defend women's spaces.

On the right UKIP  and For Britain could fill a gap but the actual fascist Neo-Nazi far-right are too small and isolated to make any gains. Some of them have already turned to terrorism and join the Islamists as being a direct threat to our physical safety.

Meanwhile until Brexit is settled half of us don't care much for the political parties in Parliament. Does anyone mention the Lib Dems any more?

Until a new party comes along there's a lot of disillusioned, disenfranchised and alienated people out there.

That includes me.

Saturday, 8 December 2018

Not for snowflakes: The Pogues - Fairytale Of New York

This song has been in the news of late. Some snowflake student got offended by the word faggot in this song. The idiot obviously doesn't realise it's an argument between two people. We all say things in the heat of the moment. So fuck him and the Irish DJ who wanted to censor the song too.

It's a great song and full of the party spirit we need in this winter season no matter what festival you celebrate at this time of year.

So while some twats need to get real let's sing along to one of the greatest Christmas singles of all time.

Friday, 7 December 2018

Militant weeps, comrades sneer and more Trots appear

The Socialist issue 1021

While some of the comrades are gearing up for Sundays ruck with the UKIP pro Brexit march in London on Sunday there's still some paper selling days before Christmas. First up is this weeks Socialist from the remnants of the Militant tendency which is getting smaller every time I dip into their affairs.

One of the most boring papers on the left (General Election Now! Nationalise the top 100 monopolies etc...) the only item of real interest is that they have seriously got the hump that their boy Chris Baugh lost the PCS Assistant General Secretary election especially since his opponent subsequently announced she was withdrawing  from the contest next year due to health problems.

The Socialist Party have lost their major base in the unions, the largest of the civil service unions, the PCS. It was inevitable after the winding up of the mainstream opposition group, 4themembers that splits would happen in the unions big tent. The defection of so many of their leading trade unionists to the Serwotka camp (organised around Socialist View) has devastated their ranks in the union.

The Socialist reports

There was a heated debate because initially the votes of three Left Unity geographical groups, who had all voted for Socialist Party member Chris Baugh in the assistant general secretary election, were going to be ruled outbecause of 'clerical errors'.

This caused a big number of complaints from Left Unity members, in those and other groups.

While conference accepted a proposal from the Left Unity secretary to include the votes of London and Fylde, plus nine of 13 ruled-out postal votes, the votes from the West Midlands - which while known and verified but not received - were still disallowed.

These votes would have meant that Socialist Party member Dave Semple would have retained his Left Unity editor's position.

Socialist Appeal - International Marxist Tendency

The smaller wing of Militant now known as Socialist Appeal put it another way:

Rather than accept the verdict graciously, Socialist Party supporters desperately tried to block the result at the Manchester conference. In a sometimes heated two-and-a-half hour debate, they demanded that all votes be included in the count, whether they had been received or not! The fault, they declared, was not theirs but privatised Royal Mail.

This was despite the fact that the scruitineers had made it clear that even if all the disputed votes had been included it would not have made any difference to the result.

This feeble attempt to get the results overturned was clearly in vain.

Solidarity 488

Meanwhile while the SP are obviously bitter their small but somewhat saner rivals the Alliance for Workers Liberty comment:

A Left Unity conference on 1 December agreed to include the extra votes, but Godrich still won, and Godrich supporters dominated the newly-elected Left Unity committee. Soon after, however, Godrich said that ill-health would prevent her from standing for AGS. 

As we go to press, we do not know whether Left Unity will now back Baugh, or try to nominate a third alternative. 

The political differences between Godrich and Baugh are murky. Mark Serwotka, who has been General Secretary of the PCS since 2000, is not a Socialist Party member, and was elected General Secretary without the support of the SP, but has worked closely with the SP since then: he has backed Godrich against Baugh. The SWP, a relatively small force in the union, has also backed Godrich. 

The AWL will be backing John Maloney from the PCS Independent Left.

Finally it has belatedly come to my attention that another and obviously quite minuscule group of Trotskyist group has entered the Labour Party not that anyone seems to have noticed. This group is the British Section of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency  (RCIT)(formerly known s the League for the Reconstruction of the Fourth International (LRCFI), (They love their long winded names these tiny self important groups).

Their supporters hide behind the name Red Liberation, not very well if you look at their mostly unreadable websites.  They don't like Jeremy Corbyn much though: A statement issued when they wandered into the Labour Party in 2016 is quite clear in their hostility to old Steptoe:

....the Labour leadership clearly shows they are ready to implement the government’s pro-austerity agenda. So much for Corbyn’s much vaunted anti-austerity program. Corbyn will continue to be a hostage of the Blairites until he breaks with them completely!

It is important that MOMENTUM, the campaign organization of left-wing Corbyn supporters, openly criticises the political adaption of the Corbyn leadership group to the Blairites. Furthermore, we demand that MOMENTUM operates in a transparent and democratic way. Hence it is important to have a national conference of MOMENTUMactivists in spring which democratically decides on the policy and elects a leadership.
and previously before they had their "turn":

Corbyn clearly wants to work with the Blairite section of the party now that he has been elected leader and chooses to ignore their pro-capitalist views. He is very close to the trade union bureaucracy and has a neo-Keynesian outlook.

The "International" or cult they belong to is led by Michael Pröbsting of their German Section. He is the International Secretary of the RCIT and appears to write all their books and pamphlets. They no longer seek to "rebuild the Fourth International but are working towards creating a Fifth International no less. Except there already is one organised by the Workers Power now called Red Flag and also buried inside the Labour Party.

Perhaps they should skip to the Sixth International!

If you have no paint to watch dry their websites are here and here.

Thursday, 6 December 2018

The March for Brexit, the Far-Left and Tommy Robinson.

This weekend might not be good for Christmas shopping as demonstrators gear up for action on the streets. The London Evening Standard reports:

Protesters are set to march through central London for a pro-Brexit march organised by Ukip and backed by former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson.

Several thousand people are expected to descend on the capital's streets on Sunday, December 9 to demand that there is no “betrayal” over Britain’s exit from the European Union.

The rally is taking place just three days before parliament’s crucial vote on Theresa May's deal.

Logo of UKIP.svg

Organised by UKIP and backed by Tommy Robinson the organisers say:

This is a cross-party People's Rally to show our MPs that the 17.4 million who voted Leave really meant what we said! We need as many people here as possible.

UKIP Leader Gerard Batten will be speaking on the political aspects of Brexit, and there will be prominent speakers from across society speaking on the various aspects of national life that will continue to be adversely affected by Theresa May's 'Withdrawal Agreement', from farming, fishing, immigration, the military, police, to criminal justice.

There will also be speakers from Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales explaining how the very Union of the United Kingdom is under threat.

This will be a democratic and peaceful demonstration expressing the strength of feeling amongst Leavers despite the torrent of anti-Brexit propaganda we have been exposed to for almost two and a half years.

Of course the Brexit issue has been the most divisive issue in British politics for years. The arguments have raged both before and after the referendum and has brought together both the far-right and the far-left in tandem against the EU.

Tommy Robinson at Speakers' Corner, Hyde Park.png

So theoretically UKIP and Tommy Robinsons supporters should be marching to defend Brexit along side the Communist Party of Britain, the Socialist Workers Party and the Socialist Party (Militant) to name only the larger of the sects.

Then there's Corbyn. He's been against the EU for years as has a great deal of the traditional Labour left. Unfortunately the youngsters in and around him and Momentum are pro-EU. So even the foot soldiers of the new left are divided.

Of course the two extremes would never march together.. The CPB, SP, Militant, Counterfire and the so-called Stop the War Campaign will be protesting behind their various "front" organisations such as Unite Against Fascism & Stand Up to Racism. I'm sure Hope Not Hate will be there too.

Logo of the Communist Party of Britain.svg

The far left will be counter-demonstrating Brexeteers against Brexiteers. Hordes of so-called "anti-fascists" or communists as I prefer to call them wil be shouting Nazi's at the Kippers and friends and a few boneheads will "seig heil" back.

UKIP is not a fascist party although under Gerard Batten are starting to veer further to the right. Tommy Robinson surprisingly joined up with the UKIP leader rather than Anne-Marie Waters For Britain Party. 

For Britain is anti-Islam and pro-Brexit and not fascist either despite the presence of a couple of ex BNP members like Eddy Butler and Jack Buckby. Butler was a campaign manager for Nick Griffin and Buckby was Griffin's protege who spread propaganda at his university about interracial marriage.

Most of the Brexit supporters are likely to be just ordinary folk outraged by what they see as the betrayal. Yes there'll be some hotheads from the real far-right present but the decision by the left to use street tactics against what is just an expression of the "white working class" who feel rightly or wrongly they have been left out is misguided.

In this age of identity politics and political correctness free speech has come under attack which has gone further than the genuine bigotry that exists in society. Everybody wants "their" rights sometimes at the expense of others which is particularly seen in the bullying antics of the trans-men activists against women trying to question and debate the trans agenda.

When Brexit is done and dusted, the sooner the better in this bloggers opinion society needs to start healing itself. I'm not talking mediation type bollocks but just a simple calming down the anger and hate seen in so much debate.

The "new, kinder politics" promised by Corbyn has turned into an uncontrollable monster as his supporters have become.

Everyone has the right to demonstrate. No one has the right to use violence. Whilst both sides have participants that are equally responsible, it is the far-left. the so-called anti-fascists and Anarchists who are the worst culprits. I've seen it myself on many a march ruined by these jerks.

Let's hope Sunday doesn't turn into a riot.