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Meeting on Cartoons Controversy: Belfast Thursday 7pm

category antrim | anti-war / imperialism | opinion/analysis author Monday March 20, 2006 20:29author by Brian Kelly Report this post to the editors

Resposne to The Blanket's Decision to Aid Anti-Muslim Provocation

Announcement of Meeting on Danish Cartoons 'controversy' and steents form local activist and organizations condemning The Blanket's decision to republish the cartoons.

Anti Racist Meeting Thursday Night
Anti Racist Meeting Thursday Night

The Belfast Anti-Racist Network will hold a meeting on Thursday 23 March at 7pm in the Peter Frogatt Center at Queen's University to outline its opposition to The Blanket's decision to re-publish racist cartoons commissioned by the Danish right-wing newspaper Jyllands-Posten in its campaign to villify the Muslim immigrant community in Denmark. See attched poster. Three recently published statements on The Blanket's decision follow:

******************************

To Carrie Twomey and Anthony McIntyre:

As writers and activists who have contributed in the past to The Blanket
and who had hoped, for a time, that it might play a positive role in
pushing forward the coalescing of a principled, anti-sectarian Left in the
north of Ireland, we write to disassociate ourselves completely from the
journal, and to request that the editors immediately remove from The
Blanket archives any articles or letters submitted by us in the past. While
the quality and the political integrity of The Blanket have been visibly
deteriorating for some time, the recent decision of editors Carrie Twomey
and Anthony McIntyre to re-publish deliberately provocative, racist
anti-Muslim cartoons, commissioned originally by the right-wing Danish
newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, is a step too far. In our view, their
publication marks the end of any positive role that The Blanket might play
in a world saturated in anti-Muslim prejudice, a world being dragged from
one bloody war to the next in the name of superior 'western civilization.'
The Belfast Telegraph commented yesterday that The Blanket was "known for
its anti-establishment views," but this decision is just the latest
confirmation that it has instead been transformed into the cyber-darling of
an establishment now set on permanent war footing. We will not allow
ourselves to be associated with such an endeavor at a time when people are
being assaulted in the streets, subjected to harassment by governments
across Europe, hunted down by Iraqi 'death squads,' kidnapped and tortured
in far-flung concentration camps, subjected to aerial bombardment and
chemical warfare, and shot down in their homes under the guise of bringing
'civilization' to the Muslim world.

Brian Kelly (Belfast)
Eamonn McCann (Derry)
Barbara Muldoon (Belfast)

===

Dear Editor

In the Sunday Tribune of the 12th March (page two) Suzanne Breen reports
that the controversial anti-Islamic 'Danish cartoons' are to be published
yet again on the Net by one Anthony McIntyre. As spokesperson for the
Belfast Branch of the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign, of which to
date he is still a member, I wish to place on record that we utterly
repudiate his intended action. He took this decision without informing any
of his fellow activists, despite the fact that the insulting nature of the
cartoons might adversely affect our continuing dialogue with the people of
Palestine. We find his action frankly inexplicable but would like to make
the position of our organisation absolutely clear.

The Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign is a non-party,
non-denominational organisation. In principle we support freedom of speech
and are opposed to censorship. However, we are also opposed to racism in
all its forms and we regard these cartoons as racist. They conform with and
reinforce the racist stereotype of the Muslim (and by extension the Arab)
as terrorist. We reject as dishonest the claim that their publication
serves some progressive purpose. Given their offensive, provocative nature,
one wonders what on earth they were meant to achieve. It is doubtful
whether the Danish newspaper which first published them wished to initiate
a serious debate, any more than the 19th century Punch cartoonist, who
depicted Irish people as violent simians, wished to have a dialogue about
Irish freedom!

Years of self-serving , imperialist interference in Arab affairs have had
disastrous consequences for the peoples of the Middle East, consequences
most dramatically demonstrated in Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan. It is
hardly surprising, therefore, if the Muslim world views these cartoons as
adding insult to injury. The Irish people, with their long experience of
colonial oppression, should understand that.

Caitlin ni Chonaill
Spokesperson
Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign
c/o Centre for Global Education
9 University Street
Belfast
BT7 9FY.

===

Belfast Anti-Racist Network Statement on Blanket

On 12th March the online Belfast based magazine "The Blanket" became the
first publication in Ireland or Britain to republish the Dutch anti Muslim
cartoons that have sparked worldwide protests. The ARN together with
others, including the Islamic Centre and journalist Eamonn McCann had made
last minute appeals to the magazine's editor not to publish the cartoons.

ARN member Barbara Muldoon says "The cartoons are not just deeply offensive
to Muslims, they are deeply racist. One of the cartoons depicts the leader
of the Muslim faith with a bomb in his turban. This is clearly designed to
stereotype Muslims as terrorists. I am surprised that it is a magazine
that is concerned mainly with a discourse on Irish Republicanism that has
decided to republish these cartoons. Have people forgotten the racist anti
Irish cartoons that were published during the 1970s by newspapers such as
the daily Mail? These cartoons did nothing except stoke up racism against
Irish people and excuse the British government bringing in a whole raft of
repressive legislation against people here".

Ms Muldoon adds that those who say that this is a question of free speech
are missing the point. "Muslims all over the world are suffering dreadful
racism. Attacks on Muslims living in Ireland and Britain have shot up in
the wake of the publishing of these cartoons. We have seen the humiliation
of Muslim prisoners in Abu Ghraib and the force feeding of those who are
being held indefinitely in Guantanamo Bay. We have seen what is happening
in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine. A young Brazilian man was shot in London
for looking like a Muslim. The world leaders who are responsible for this
are promoting an idea that Muslims require "civilising" by the West. These
cartoons do nothing more than promote that notion"

So far The Blanket has published one of the cartoons. They say that their
intention is to publish all twelve, one per issue. Ms Muldoon says "even
at this late stage we would ask the magazine to review this decision".

The ARN will host a meeting on the controversy surrounding the cartoons on
Thursday 23rd March 2006 at 7 pm in the Peter Froggatt Centre at Queens
University.

author by jinks mctaggartpublication date Tue Mar 21, 2006 00:03Report this post to the editors

Well, well. Does Respect and the Brit SWP wield the big stick or what? Whatever about this issue McIntyre has shown more bottle over the last decade than all three of these critics, unfortunately including McCann. What a patronising, puke inducing letter 'we don't like your website anymore, take all our articles off.'

author by Mr. T.publication date Tue Mar 21, 2006 00:34Report this post to the editors

... Flock Together.

How suprised should anyone be that one terrorist covers the ass of another? There many debts owed and many debts collected amongst the terrorist fraternity. For decades the islamists of Libya, Lebanon, Iran, Iraq have flooded Ireland with weapons and explosives - keeping the blood flowing during the troubles in order to destabilise the West. Now the mullah's want some PR and a bit of brainwashing in return for their former largesse.

I suppose it's not all that difficult to sell out basic human rights like freedom of speech and throw support behind the islamofascist barbarians if you lack a moral compass in the first place. And of course debts have to be repaid...

author by sean d'olierpublication date Tue Mar 21, 2006 11:56Report this post to the editors

see for yourself

Related Link: http://lark.phoblacht.net/FOSindex.html
author by It can't bepublication date Tue Mar 21, 2006 12:09Report this post to the editors

ARN? whats happened 2 swp on platform signed by 3 swp. Malachi O'Doherty article is on link

author by Lpublication date Tue Mar 21, 2006 12:14Report this post to the editors

the link

Related Link: http://lark.phoblacht.net/MOD19030610g.html
author by Joe - WSM 1st of May (personal capacity)publication date Tue Mar 21, 2006 12:54Report this post to the editors

When I heard about the Blankets republication of the cartoons I had mixed feelings. This is because the cartoons were published as a racist provocation by Jyllands-Posten and it is hard to remove that context from their republication. (BTW while there is nothing automatically racist about insulting islam - it is a multi racial religion. But the Danish context was based on migration and aimed at dark skinned muslim migrants)

However this craven reaction from the SWP above got me to look at the Blanket and I really can not see how one can have a serious problem with the context in which they have published the cartoons. That context is the one of providing a voice to 'secular muslims' to critique the islamophilia of sections of the western left and to critique the reactionary role islam often plays in both so called islamic countries and migrant communities elsewhere.

The reality is that the context of these cartoons is not simply that of the racist right in Denmark for they were also published in several so called islamic countries. There their publication led to the jailing of editors and the shutting down of papers. Quite clearly in that context they were about free speech yet the islamophilic left has yet to speak up to defend those jailed or oppose the censorship of these papers.

The odd thing about all this is that the SWP actions just serve to promote the 'clash of cultures' ideology. They can only be based on a view of a homogenous muslim mass that is incapable of understanding context and who cannot take any sort of criticism of their religion. The only difference with the identical image projected by the right is that the SWP claims it supports muslims by taking that position!

The cartoons themselves and details of where they were republished are on wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jyllands-Posten_Muhammad_c...versy

author by Badmanpublication date Tue Mar 21, 2006 13:25Report this post to the editors

http://www.swp.org.uk/marxism/notjust.htm

Seeing is believing. The old bearded one must be turning in his grave (or falling off his heavenly cloud)

author by Jo - not Joepublication date Tue Mar 21, 2006 13:29author address BelfastReport this post to the editors

I think that people need to get a grip of themselves - why do you think this is such a big issue in the North that the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, ARN etc [none of which are organisations that anyone can say are SWP fronts] take the same position as the SWP? It's because i) we do not need to go too far back to remember the way imperialism used horrible images of Irish people, painting us all as a bunch of priest-ridden monkeys who had "terrorism" in our genes. So, we recognise when imperialism is again trying to do this. Of course islam is not a race, but it is the official religion in Iran and Iran is clearly in the neo-Cons sights for their next war....
ii) we have already had a lot of racist attacks in the North. We have seen the way racists conflate race and religion when that religion is islam.

It's worth having a look at Slugger O'Toole also on this as it has been having a debate on the issue from a Northern perspective and is a different debate to the Blanket one as it is a blog and also because people who will no longer post on the Blanket are posting there.

Related Link: http://www.sluggerotoole.com
author by Gay Georipublication date Tue Mar 21, 2006 13:38Report this post to the editors

There is much better coverage of the issue at annoy.com - it includes the cartoons and the offensive islamic cartoons (including the anne frank one) published in response, so you can get a full perspective.

Related Link: http://www.annoy.com/covers/doc.html?DocumentID=100773
author by Johnpublication date Tue Mar 21, 2006 14:14Report this post to the editors

I'd like to agree with the first comments, McIntyre has done more and taken more risks than the whole of the swp put together including McCann. McCann is yesterdays man I'm afraid, just a mouthpiece for the swp now. When it comes to bottle six county republicans don't forget McCann running off to London when the going got tough in the early 70's.
I wasn't too sure about the rights and wrongs of putting up the cartoons but McIntyre's arguments convinced me. Once the swp fools came out against the idea I knew McIntyre was right.
Agree or disagree (and I do disagree on some issues) with him at least he is consistent on free speech.

author by pat cpublication date Tue Mar 21, 2006 15:54Report this post to the editors

"Of course islam is not a race, but it is the official religion in Iran and Iran is clearly in the neo-Cons sights for their next war...."

yes and the form of islam that is enforced in iran is anti woman, antigay and anti democratic, unions are also banned by this islamofascist regime. how does the religion in iran matter? if it was catholicism would you be defending it?

oppose the invasion of iran, oppose imperialism by all means. i do.

but also oppose the islamofascist regime in iran which kills women for having sex outside of marriage. since 1979, 4,000 gays have been executed in iran. its time that this evil regime was overthrown from within. all socialists should support the iranian democratic opposition.

author by BKpublication date Tue Mar 21, 2006 16:24Report this post to the editors

Those of you who want to convince yourselves that the nagative reaction to _The Blanket_'s decision to re-publish a series of racist cartoons are welcome to your delusions. I can state categorically that not only has there been no communication whasoever (before, during, since) between the three individuals who signed the Open Letter and the British SWP, or Respect, but that there has been none in the days since between these three and the Irish SWP leadership. Someone has posted above with assertions about the relationship of these three, and the panelists for the ARN meeting, to the SWP. They are wrong on both counts, as was Anthony McIntyre in his vicious red-baiting atttempt on radio last Sunday, as is Malachi O'Doherty in his waffle on The Blanket, as is Mick Hall in his.

The only sensible post thus far on this thread (among many whose contenxt I would describe as racist) is from Jo, who suggests that maybe there is very good reason why activists well beyond the ranks of the SWP have reacted the way they have to The Blanket's decision. The facts in the case point to a calculated, eliberate provocation launched by Jyllands-Posten last September, a paper which, along with the partiesof the extrmeme right, has played a key role in shifting Denmark to the right by whipping up hostility to immigrants. The cartoons are flagranttly racist, and the Mainfeesto that McInrtyre has posted described the siutuation in the world at present as a confrotnation between 'theocrats and democrats.' Anyone who acepts that, I would argue, is not part of the Left.

author by Joe - WSM 1st of May (personal capacity)publication date Tue Mar 21, 2006 16:52Report this post to the editors

BK you could start with a bit of honesty, your obviously the speaker at this SWP advertised meeting so if your not actuallly a member you are very close to them.

That said you are not really engaging with the arguments being made here. The cartoons for instance are not flagranttly racist - there is an argument for saying they were first published in a racist context (as I have already outlined) - but there is nothing in the cartoons in themselves that is racist. Islam is a multi racial religion, Arabs are now a small minority within that religion so if anything it is your implicit identification of arabs with islam that is problematic.

Context is all important and the context of the Blanket publications is clearly to give secular muslims a voice. That you are other secular christian leftists want to silence such voices in the name or protecting muslims shows that you in fact are the ones who have swallowed the 'clash of civilisations' line hook line and sinker.

nomeet.jpg

author by Bemusedpublication date Tue Mar 21, 2006 16:58Report this post to the editors

Each and every day the SWP and their fellow travellers are becoming a parody of the Stalinists from twenty or so years ago who denounced writers and satirists who dared speak out against the Stalinist monolith that was the Soviet regime. They should catch themselves on. Will McCann stop writing for the capitalist newspapers?

author by BKpublication date Tue Mar 21, 2006 17:07Report this post to the editors

In case you haven't looked at the leaflet, I'm not speaking at the meeting. Not only that, but I'm not going to be in Belfast at the time.

Tell me, though, on the substantive and important points: do you not think that a cartoon that depicts Muhammad with a lit bomb in his turban at a time when the media is whipping up anit-Muslim sentiment to go into Iran is racist? Do you not believe that a cartoon that depicts Muhammad greeting suicide bombers with the explanation that he has run out of virgins for them is racist? If not, then we disagree, strongly.

Do you accept that we live a period whose main feature is a 'confrontation betwen 'theocrats and democrats,' which is what the so-called dissident 'Manifesto' argues? A Manifesto signed by, among others, people who support the Israeli wall, others who supported the jihadists in Afghanistan, the contra war in Nicaragua?

Get off the conspiratorial shite and the cowardly politics of smear and have a look at the big picture. Do you think the way to begin to break believing Muslims from religious ideas is to pokd them til they acquiesce to your 'superior,' secular culture? Or if that doesn't work, to bomb them into conformity?

author by tsk tskpublication date Tue Mar 21, 2006 17:34Report this post to the editors

Those of you who want to convince yourselves that the nagative reaction to _The Blanket_'s decision to re-publish a series of racist cartoons are welcome to your delusions.

But the three people who signed the letter against the Blanket are all prominent SWP supporters/members. So who is deluding who?

I can state categorically that not only has there been no communication whasoever (before, during, since) between the three individuals who signed the Open Letter and the British SWP, or Respect, but that there has been none in the days since between these three and the Irish SWP leadership. Someone has posted above with assertions about the relationship of these three, and the panelists for the ARN meeting, to the SWP. They are wrong on both counts, as was Anthony McIntyre in his vicious red-baiting atttempt on radio last Sunday, as is Malachi O'Doherty in his waffle on The Blanket, as is Mick Hall in his.

But all three of you are closely related to the SWP, so they are actually not wrong, and going by the logic you employ in the above sentence that makes you wrong.

In case you haven't looked at the leaflet, I'm not speaking at the meeting. Not only that, but I'm not going to be in Belfast at the time.

In case you didn't look at the image posted, he was referring to the poster of the Sept Socialist Worker talk you were the featured speaker of.

Get off the conspiratorial shite and the cowardly politics of smear and have a look at the big picture.

You first.

author by Joe - WSM 1st of May (personal capacity)publication date Tue Mar 21, 2006 17:50Report this post to the editors

Jesus BK you read some very, very weird stuff into what I've said. All the more weird when I have already clearly outlined my thoughts on some of this earlier in the thread. It would be a lot more interesting to see you deal with what I have said rather than with your own imaginations. But anyway

do you not think that a cartoon that depicts Muhammad with a lit bomb in his turban .. racist?

Muhammad is a historical figure, he is not a race (whatever that might be). A tiny fraction of his followers today are suicide bombers or support suicide bombers. They are not all from any single 'race' either. Pakistanis, Morrocans and Malysians cannot be lumped into a single race unless you are constructing a 'white' race and 'everyone else'.

Removed from their context (see my first post on this thread for the context) the cartoons are satires of a religion but more so just of a tiny minority of that religion.

Do you not believe that a cartoon that depicts Muhammad greeting suicide bombers with the explanation that he has run out of virgins for them is racist? If not, then we disagree, strongly.

I guess we disagree strongly, the joke is a very obvious religious one, it is without any explicit racial reference at all. As to the context I dealt with that in my first post.

I find the idea that the probably US bombing of Iran is racial in motivation as being remarkably misleading and frankly quite dangerous. Iran may be bombed because it is refusing to toe the US imposed line in the region. They bombed Serbia a few years back for the same reason, was this also racist? Racism explains almost nothing about US foreign policy, its only possible explanatory value is in understanding lack of US public opposition to such policy but even here Serbia would seem to demonstrate that it explains very little as a far higher percentage suppported the bombing of the 'white' Serbs than the 'Arab' Iraqis.

Do you accept that we live a period whose main feature is a 'confrontation betwen 'theocrats and democrats,'

As far as I can tell this is the logic of your position - it is just you side with the theocrats under the impression that all muslims are theocrats. Reality is a lot more complex, there are significant securalisation movements in many so called islamic countires and really only a couple (Saudi and Iran) where islamists pretty much have the final say.

It is quite clear that just as in 1970's and 1980's southern Ireland there was a sharp clash between secular and religous forces so a similar struggle is taking place in many so called islamic countries. My main point would be that that struggle is mostly internal to so called islamic countries and its settlement can only be internal. The idea that the west could or even wants to impose secularisation is a dangerous fantasy promoted by a handful of neocons, islamists and it seems a few useful idiots on the left.

The idea that western intervention is driven by opposition to islam is laughable - one of those two countries mentioned s the wests greatest ally while right now the other has been put into the position of its greatest enemy. Islam including the minority islamist factions has as often been promoted by the west as a counter weight to nationalism as it has been opposed by the west. There is a great big mosque just down the road from Dick Cheny in Washington DC, he doesn't need to go half way around the world to find muslims to bomb so this suggests he has other motivations. What the left gains out of mystifying this I don't see.

A Manifesto signed by, among others, people who support the Israeli wall, others who supported the jihadists in Afghanistan, the contra war in Nicaragua?

I'm not aware of having endorsed this manifesto and what you say may well be true. Secular forces in Ireland after all included or got support from beef barons. PD's and members of Fine Gael.

Get off the conspiratorial shite and the cowardly politics of smear and have a look at the big picture. Do you think the way to begin to break believing Muslims from religious ideas is to pokd them til they acquiesce to your 'superior,' secular culture? Or if that doesn't work, to bomb them into conformity?

Oh yes you have me bang to rights here - how perceptive of you. What was that you were saying about smears again?

author by Brian Kellypublication date Tue Mar 21, 2006 17:53Report this post to the editors

Joe-WSM:

I was, of course, responding to the asertion above, and thought you meant the Belfast ARN meeting on Thursday. I have explained my relationshi[p to the SWP as much as anyone needs it spelt out in a previous thread, during another smear session led by...oh, it doesn't matter. If you are really all that concerned about it, trawl around and you'll come up with it.

My basic point has been as follows: what does it matter whether I'm a member of the SWP or not so far as the 'arguments' go? So what if I was a member at the moment? What if I was the grand fucking poohba, or the mysterious string-puller who, according to some, programs all the drones as to how they should think? So friggin what? Deal with the argument, comrade, or join a fucking gossip circle somewhere. Honestly, the immaturity and navel-gazing of so many on the Left in Ireland astounds me.

Disappointment with The Blanket's decision to run these cartoons extends far beyond the ranks of the SWP in the activist Left in Belfast. You don't have to take my word for it, but come to the meeting on Thursday night if you can.

I think you are wrong in your assertion that the publication of the cartoons does not feed into anti-Muslim prejudice, and that the caretoons themselves ar enot racist. I've engaged you on this above, but no response. Anthony McIntyre said as much on BBC on Sunday, when he admitted that some would use the cartons controversy for racist ends. See the current letters page on The Blanket, or the debate on Slugger, to see what kind of bigotted cretins are coming out to show their support for the dip into the gutter.

I ask people only to look at the context in which the cartoons were comissioned, look at the paper behind it, and its editor; consider the shift to the right in Denmark and gauge for yourself how this camp[aign fits into it. Think about whether you want to show support for a Mainfesto which posits that the cental struggle facing humanity at this time is one between 'theocrats and democrats.' And remember that we are in Year Three of the brutal occupation of Iraq; that Israel continues to punish Palestine with impunity; that the hawks are re-grouping for an assault on Iran--and possibly one involving nuclear weapons. And then tell me whether a journal billing itself a center for 'protest and disssent' should be publishing this filth.

author by Bemusedpublication date Tue Mar 21, 2006 18:04Report this post to the editors

So far I have seen two cartoons on the Blanket. The first by a Somalian born 39 year old who suffered genital mutilation and fled from an arranged marriage who now declares herself a former Muslim. The second cartoon is by a 38 year old Ugandan born believing Muslim who is a lesbian and is deeply critical of her faith.
Now from what I can see nobody should object to cartoons from these people who have a right considering their backgrounds to pass comment on the religion they were born with.
What seems to be at issue is were the cartoons where published and like the Stalinists of the past the SWP are condemning without looking at the reasons as to why the cartoons were done. They are gulag setting the voices of dissent in the Muslim community.

author by Joepublication date Tue Mar 21, 2006 18:11Report this post to the editors

BK you want me to engage, well you keep asking me about the context yet the first words I posted on this thread were When I heard about the Blankets republication of the cartoons I had mixed feelings. This is because the cartoons were published as a racist provocation by Jyllands-Posten and it is hard to remove that context from their republication. (BTW while there is nothing automatically racist about insulting islam - it is a multi racial religion. But the Danish context was based on migration and aimed at dark skinned muslim migrants)

I dealt with the original context before you posted, I find your attempts to smear the Blanket republication as being in the same context as objectionable in the extreme. You may not agree with the republication (and in fact as is quite clear from my first post I have mixed feelings). But it is the politics of slander to lazely argue against that republication as being racist.

I think the reason others have made a big deal out of your SWP membership (and why not simply be honest about it) is because of the British SWP's record of rotton compromises on this issue in recent years which has included going along with the segregation of an anti-war meeting. Just as you find the background of some of those who signed this manifesto you are talking of relevant so others find the SWP membership of some/all of those who signed this article relevant. I respect the fact that many posters can't put their real name on indymedia posts but I do think it is important people are honest about their affiliations. You at least posted with an obvious set of initals for which you deserve credit.

BTW you haven't actually outlined why - removed from their context - the cartoons are in themselves racist so I'm not refusing to engage with that. AFAIK the Blanket does not support the bombing of iran nor does it want to restrict the migration of muslims into Denmark so if you want me to engage you need to explain why you think they are racist in the context of the Blanket publication. As I have already pointed out a number of publications in the so called islamic world published them, I'd presume you would not consider the Jordanian or Egyptian republications to be racist - or would you?

author by wthpublication date Tue Mar 21, 2006 18:58Report this post to the editors

BK'S last two 'engagements' on indymedia [only ones] has been to attempt to smear two well known activists and publications. he says that he can ' categorically' [as an non swp member] state that the British swp the swp leadership in Ireland and the 'other' signed swp members had no contact. what and they told you, an non swp member I think not. Smears. lies and avoiding the question, from bk swp

author by Cass Philipspublication date Tue Mar 21, 2006 19:05Report this post to the editors

Will BK and others get themselves into such a frenzy if Islamic extremists publish Holocaust denial material? No, cos their oppressed and that gives you all kinds of authority to do anything it would seem. BTW when Mccann worked for the anti-woman, right wing scandal sheet the Sunday World for over ten years when did the comrades ever get upset?

author by Jopublication date Tue Mar 21, 2006 19:45Report this post to the editors

I asked a lot earlier today: why do you think this is such a big issue in the North that the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, ARN etc [none of which are organisations that anyone can say are SWP fronts] take the same position as the SWP?

The only response was from Pat C who did not address the question of whether the cartoons serve the purposes of the imperialists who want to attack Iran. His points about the repressive nature of the Iranian regime are, of course, true. Women, gays, trade unionists and so on are jailed, tortured and killed by the regime. Will the invasion of the neo-cons improve the situation of women, gays or trade unionists? Just look at what's happened in Iraq for the answer.

Now, back to the point about the cartoons: opposing the whipping up of Islamophobia is NOT the same thing as supporting Islam, no more than opposing british imperialism/the unionist regime up here was the same thing as supporting the catholic church.

author by Lisa - non-allignedpublication date Tue Mar 21, 2006 19:58Report this post to the editors

Joe "Personal Capacity" WSM do you actually do much else other than writing predictable posts taking a swipe at the swp? No matter he issue if there is a member, supporter, sister brother, aunt uncle, cousin of an swp within 25 miles of an event you do your best to drag it into your debate. You an an obsessed individual- get over yo9ur fixation. Spend some time organising a proper meeting in your local area on the war or anti racism. You'll respond with the usual crap of "how dare I etc.." dont you know who I am and waht I organise and so on. But really GET OVER IT! Anyway I'm off to something a meeting- where people without any sectarian obessions will gather. To say that most are 'bored to death' with the "usual response" is an understatement.

author by pat cpublication date Tue Mar 21, 2006 20:04Report this post to the editors

"Will the invasion of the neo-cons improve the situation of women, gays or trade unionists?"

jo, stop trying to smear me by implication: i made it quite clear that i oppose any invasion of iran. what you didnt deal with is overthrowing the islamofascist iranian regime. Do you call for its overthrow? do you support the trade unionists, women, gays and the democratic oppostion or do you support the mullahs? which side are YOU on?

i think the cartoons in their original setting and context could have been viewed as racist, it was a rightwing paper and some used it to stir up any immigrant feelings. now the context has changed. mcintyre is a socialist and antiracist. he is publishing the cartoons in defence of press freedom and in defence of journalists who have had death sentences passed on them by mullahs. what about these trade union members? will nuj member eamon mccann not defend their right to life? or does the right of imams to censor the press supercede these workers rights and lives?

you should also remember that Iraqi and Iranian Women have opposed the Islamists who are behind this reactionary campaign.
This is what they say:

"The recent controversy over some caricatures of Mohammed gave the Islamists an opportunity to wage a hysterical protest internationally. In many cases, this took a violent form and was clearly aimed at silencing those who dared to even portray Mohammed.

It is vital for all decent people to be aware of the agenda behind these attacks on the rights to expression, and belief - the aim is to impose Islamic law all over the world. Political Islam is coordinating on an international level to gain momentum in a campaign against the achievements of progressive social movements who, after centuries of struggle, have won many advances for secularism. They now want to gain a privileged status under the umbrella of ‘multiculturalism’ to excuse their crimes against Muslims, people of other faiths as well as non-believers."

-Organisation of Women’s Freedom in Iraq-UK (OWFI)
-Organisation for Emancipation of Women Iran (OEWI)

Are these Women racist? Should they obey the mullahs? Who exactly do you think you are supporting in this campaign apart from the interests of the male mullahs?

If YOU think these Women are wrong then I challenge you to contact them and tell them just that. Heres a contact address:

Email: houzan73@yahoo.co.uk

Tel: 079 56 88 3001

Tel: 079 51 433386

Related Link: http://www.equalityiniraq.com/english.htm
author by Joe - WSM 1st of May (personal capacity)publication date Wed Mar 22, 2006 12:08Report this post to the editors

Lisa you may not have noticed but this thread is actually a result of two (or three?) SWP members taking steps to isolate a small republican left website for publishing material they didn't like. The SWP are indeed relevant to the discussion even if none of them are willing to post here as SWP members to defend their actions of leading members of their organisation.

Jo I've actaully addresses the issue of imperialism in my comments on events on Iran, Iraq and Serbia. I think your attempt to suggest an action against Iran would be based on racism as opposed to imperialism is a dangerous mystification. Your equation that 'slagging a religion' = 'racism' = 'support for imperialism' requires two logical jumps neither of which I agree with in the context of the Blanket republication. I don't think they have a secret invade iran agenda or a secret racist one.

The disturbing thing here is how quickly sections of the left are still willing to move to shutting down opposition voices even as here where those opposition voices are also on the left. Makes you wonder what they'd be like if they actually had power (but those of us who have studied history already knoow the answer to this).

One question - are any of the speakers at this meeting going to defend - even critically - the Blankets republication of the cartoons or is this simply going to be a show trial?

author by erpublication date Wed Mar 22, 2006 13:34Report this post to the editors

It looks like a SWP love-fest from the poster.

author by Bemusedpublication date Wed Mar 22, 2006 13:46Report this post to the editors

Just checked through the online editions of the SWP paper for this year. Plenty of stuff on stopping an attack on Iran. Nothing about attacks actually going on in Iran. These would be attacks by the state on bus workers and womens groups to name but two of several recent attacks. What's wrong don't these muslims count? Just like the bad old days of Stalinism these attacks shouldn't be mentioned in case they are used by the West. Try explain that to an oppressed person in Iran. No to an attack in Iran - No to human rights abused by the Iranian Islamic State.

author by kspublication date Wed Mar 22, 2006 14:54Report this post to the editors

"It looks like a SWP love-fest from the poster"
Why arent you aknowledging that so many other people/groups are taking this positon. Its so easy to red bait, and talk about the swp.

author by Emilypublication date Wed Mar 22, 2006 15:02Report this post to the editors

Why dont you put forward an argument against Anthony McIntyre instead of parroting the SWP line? A witch hunt has been started up against AM, the IPSC are attacking him for no apparent reason. The IPSC is supposed to be a single issue campaign - defence of the Palestinian People (who are Islamic, Christian and Atheist). I cannot see how this extends in some Stalinist way to attempting to control what the IPSC membership do outside that organistion.

The meeting itself is obviously a Stalinist Show Trial. All of the speakers are ooposed to AM and are there to bury him. But all of this SWP manipulation is only succeeding in bring both the IPSC and the ARN into disrepute.

author by kspublication date Wed Mar 22, 2006 15:05Report this post to the editors

why would holding a postion of oppostion to racist attacks on muslims bring the ARN or the IPSC into direpute. In fact quite the opposite.

author by kspublication date Wed Mar 22, 2006 15:07Report this post to the editors

"But all of this SWP manipulation is only succeeding in bring both the IPSC and the ARN into disrepute"
Could you give evidence of this supposed manipulation or are you just talking out your arse

author by erpublication date Wed Mar 22, 2006 15:16Report this post to the editors

because the swp in the guise of the arn is hosting this talk, the swp is pushing this campaign, it is swp members who signed the letter against the blanket, and tmk no one else is weighing in behind them. the ipsc had a letter to the tribune apart from the swp's campaign it is disingenuous to use it to claim that what the swp is doing has broad support when plainly it does not. it is the swp. this is not red baiting this is fact.

arn - mark hewitt = swp
arn - barbra muldoon = swp
brian kelly = swp
eamonn mccann = swp

phil scraton & eilish rooney are queen's which enable the swp/arn to use the facilities

jamal iweida is from the islamic centre, he is not swp but you need someone from the muslim faith on your panel to give it a little credibility.

do you have a problem with the swp being behind this campaign, that you want to obscure and hide the fact they are? why is that?

"But all of this SWP manipulation is only succeeding in bring both the IPSC and the ARN into disrepute"
Could you give evidence of this supposed manipulation or are you just talking out your arse


because the swp included the ipsc letter to the tribune as if it were part of brian kelly's/barbra muldoon's/eamonn mccann's letter when in fact it was not. it is been posted here to bolster the image of this being a widespread campaign when in fact it is not.

the question is why the swp has to hide the fact that it is doing this?

author by Emilypublication date Wed Mar 22, 2006 15:40Report this post to the editors

The IPSC are participating in a witch hunt against AM. Are you seriously suggesting that AM or the blanket are racist? AM is taking a stance against press censorship.

Why dont you or the SWP or the IPSC or the ARN condemn the Iranian government? This is a dictatorship which is anti Working Class as well as being anti Woman and anti Gay. Why not condemn the attacks which take place within Iran, attacks not ochrestrated by the US but carried out by the Iranian Theocracy.

author by erpublication date Wed Mar 22, 2006 15:45Report this post to the editors

eilish rooney is at jordanstown, point still stands

author by historianpublication date Wed Mar 22, 2006 16:05Report this post to the editors

An arch opportunist. Why anybody would expect him to do anything that was other than cynical and self-serving? He's made a nice little niche for himself as a tame leftie for the right-wing media and this only serves to boost his profile. Bet you any money there'll be a few Sunday articles and TV appearances on the back of this. All accompanied by another check for our very own Trotsky.

author by Jo - nonepublication date Wed Mar 22, 2006 18:57author address BelfastReport this post to the editors

Both Pat C and Joe WSM are either avoiding my point or else don't understand it. Just for the record: I am against the regime in Iran. I want to see its overthrow and replacement with a secular Iran where women, lesbians, gays, trade unionists, socialists, anarchists and everyone can live freely and in peace, love and harmony.

However, I see the Islamophobia which is being whipped up across the world as counterproductive to this goal - as do women's rights' activists and trade unionists within Iran. A quick search of the net will reveal that to anyone who wants to look. Similarly, the US/UK pressure on Iran is serving only to drive those who were open to more liberal ideas into the arms of the fundamentalists. This is something that people in the North understand - we had it ourselves where British repression pushed people who in any other country in the world would have been secular to come across as ultra-Catholics because they saw catholicism as a badge of anti-britishness. I am clear which side I am on - the side of women's rights in particular and that is the side of anti-imperialism and anti-Islamophobia.

It is NOT that I think that an attack on Iran would be done on the basis of race or religion, rather than imperialism. But look at what the imperialists said about 16th century Ireland, or 19th century Africa. They never said we are going to rape and plunder this country. They said, we are going to bring civilisation and freedom to these savages. In 2001, they were going to bring women's rights to Afghanistan. Did they? Like f**k they did. The Afghani women's organisation, RAWA, says things are worse there now than they were under the Taliban. It is imperialism that will be behind any attack on Iran, but the rhetoric will be about the fundamentalist nature of the regime. Meanwhile, far more fundamentalist and repressive regimes in Saudi Arabia or Kuwait are allowed to continue without a dickybird being said against them. And why is that? We know why - it's because they are on the side of the US in all this.

Whether all those who seem to think the SWP runs the left in the North - and anyone who thinks that the SWP run the ARN, or that Eilis Rooney is an SWP stooge doesn't know much (I don't know this Scraton guy) - would want to think again. I think that, while it looks like the SWP taking a lead on this, it's probably because they have written a lot and been very friendly with the people on the Blanket. Also, while people in the South don't seem to like Eamonn McCann much, people on the left up here - including anarchists and non-aligned people - do see him as one of the few champions of unpopular causes with access to media. He can always be relied on to stand up for gay rights, for abortion rights, for children's or migrants' rights - whoever is under attack basically. So I think his stance here is quite consistent

author by FYIpublication date Wed Mar 22, 2006 19:05Report this post to the editors

On completion of his undergraduate studies at the University of Liverpool Professor Scraton was a founder member of the Liverpool Traveller's Free School. His Masters research, 'Images of Deviance and the Politics of Assimilation', examined the consequences of institutionalised racism on the Irish Travelling community in Liverpool. His doctoral thesis, 'Unreasonable Force: Class, Marginality and the Political Autonomy of the Police', focused on the use and abuse of police powers in the context of the inner-city uprisings of the early 1980s and the 1984-5 coal dispute. Both theses reflected a commitment to in-depth qualitative research. This work extended into researching deaths in controversial circumstances, particularly custody, and the issues arising from their investigation through coroners' inquests and public inquiries. He is co-founder of INQUEST. In 2000 he was awarded a Nuffield grant to set up a disasters' research archive. This was followed by an ESRC Seminars award to examine the aftermath of disasters and other traumatising events. The seminars focused on official responses, legal processes and media coverage and involved the bereaved and survivors. He has also received commissions from local authorities, the Home Office and the HRCNI.

Professor Scraton's books include: Causes for Concern, Penguin, 1984 (ed. with Paul Gordon); The State of the Police, Pluto, 1985; In the Arms of the Law: Coroners' Inquests and Deaths in Custody, Pluto, 1987; Law, Order and the Authoritarian State: Readings in Critical Criminology, Open University Press, 1987 (ed); Prisons Under Protest, Open University Press, 1991 (with Joe Sim and Paula Skidmore); No Last Rights: The Denial of Justice and the Promotion of Myth in the Aftermath of the Hillsborough Disaster, Alden Press, 1995 (with Ann Jemphrey and Sheila Coleman); 'Childhood' in 'Crisis'?, UCL Press, 1997 (ed); Hillsborough: The Truth, Mainstream, 1999 (Revised 2000); Beyond September 11: An Anthology of Dissent, Pluto, 2002. He is co-author of Children's Rights in Northern Ireland (Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People) and The Hurt Inside: The Imprisonment of Women and Girls in Northern Ireland (Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, 2005). He has published widely in academic journals, edited collections, commissioned reports and academic encyclopaedias. He is a member of the Statewatch Editorial Collective, on the Editorial Board of Issues in Crime and Justice and a member of the European Group for the Study of Deviance and Social Control.

Related Link: http://www.qub.ac.uk
author by pat cpublication date Wed Mar 22, 2006 19:16Report this post to the editors

You are the one who is either missing or avoiding the point. I know things are worse in Afghanistan now, I have posted info about it here and I have been attacked for my troubles by the Islamophiles.

I AM OPPOSED TO AN INVASION OF IRAN. Do you finally understand that? What I dont understand is why you and the SWP will not call for the overthrow of the Iranian Theicracy. Theres no point in saying that you and Eamon McCann support gay and womens rights if you do nothing about it.

Why havent Socialist Worker carried articles about Human Rights abuses in Iran? Why no mention of the attack on trade unions, on gays, on women? Why no call for the overthrow of what is clearly an IslamoFascist regime?

You can oppose US Imperialism and also oppose the Iranian Theocracy. Remember the Malvinas/Falklands War? Argentina was ruled by a Fascistt Junta but the SWP still opposed British Imperialism and called for the defeat of the British Fleet? However they also called for the overthrow of the Argentian Junta: calling for the war to be turned into a Class War.

The Argentian population was mainly Catholic, this didnt cause the SWP to make any special pleadings for Catholics, they knew the Catholic Church was as evil as ever and the SWP continued to attack it.

During our own troubles the SWP consistently took an Anti-Imperialist position. This did not mean they kow towed to the Catholic church, far from it. The SWP continued to argue for Abortion, Divorce and seperation of Church and State. They fought to drive the Church out of Education. In the referendums they used slogans like: "Keep your rosaries off our ovaries"; "Let the bishops look after their own families: vote yes for divorce" and back in 1983 I remember Eamon McCann suggesting (jokingly I'm sure) that we kidnap Oliver Plunketts preserved head and threaten to feed it to pigs unless the Abortion Referendum was called off.

Now I'm sure that a lot of Catholics were hurt by those slogans. But so what?

And thats the attitude you should be taking towards the Islamists:
Oppose the invasion of Iran; call for the overthrow of the Iranian Theocracy and continue to attack Islam in the same manner in which you would Catholicism.

author by John Meehanpublication date Thu Mar 23, 2006 01:34Report this post to the editors

It's a pity Éamonn McCann, the Belfast IPSC, and others are criticising "The Blanket" in this way.

Anthony McIntyre shows poor editorial judgement by republishing the Danish cartoons, but that's about it.

In the context of the world wide web (anyone can see the cartoons, if they really want to) and Belfast (unfortunately a stronghold of religious bigotry in a part of the "UK" where a First Minister in-waiting, Ian Paisley, is an unreconstructed Christian fundamentalist and far-right super-bigot - see www.ianpaisley.org) more important matters deserve examination.

Maybe left wing activists could turn their attention to the sad reality of a pathetic end-game - "let's elect ian Paisley as First Minister "/"implement the Good Friday Agreement" / "support the peace process".

People can calm down, look and listen elsewhere on the Irish Indymedia site at Tariq Ali's recent talk in Dublin about the war in Iraq, the cartoons dispute, and many related issues.

Recover a sense of humour. Organise a last tango in Belfast.

Can we lampoon all religions? Who is "offended"? Can anyone improve the jokes below?

Religions of the World

Taoism : Shit Happens
Hare Krishna : Shit Happens Rama Rama Ding
Hinduism : This Shit Happened Before
Islam : If Shit Happens, Take a Hostage
Zen : What is the Sound of Shit Happening?
Buddhism : When Shit Happens, Is It Really Shit?
Confucianism : Confucius Says “Shit Happens”
Seventh Day Adventism : Shit Happens on Saturdays
Protestantism : Shit Won’t Happen If I Work Harder
Catholicism : If Shit Happens, I Deserve It
Jehovah’s Witness : Knock, Knock, “Shit Happens”
Unitarianism : What is This Shit?
Mormon : Shit Happens Again and Again and Again
Judaism : Why Does This Shit Always happen to Me?
Rastafarianism : Let’s Smoke This Shit

author by risiblepublication date Thu Mar 23, 2006 01:49Report this post to the editors

US Evangelicalism: Bomb the shit out of them
Capitalism: It's all my shit

author by Cynicpublication date Thu Mar 23, 2006 09:51Report this post to the editors

How about cancelling your meeting over the Blanket and doing some real solidarity work with the Polish people being persecuted by the PUP and its supporters down the road. Not sexy enough?

author by Jo - NONEpublication date Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:14author address BelfastReport this post to the editors

Cynic: if you knew anything about Belfast, you'd know that the ARN has been doing brilliant work taking on the racism that is on the increase here - and not just in loyalist areas. They can do all that and also have a meeting on the cartoons. The meeting is tonight, so that should be the end of this discussion. I cannot call it a debate as it seems people just keep repeating what they assume other people think rather than actually engaging with the arguments.

John Meehan: the argument that people on the left in the North are making is that this is not about offending religions, its about US/UK imperialism trying to whip up Islamophobia in the same way they whipped up anti-Irish prejudice in the past, the way they got people to see Africans as savages etc etc. They are doing this to get us ready for them attacking Iran. That's why we have to stand against what the Blanket is doing. It's nothing to do with free speech and everything to do with imperialism.

Pat C: I started my last post by calling for the overthrow of the Iranian regime. I will do it again now just to ensure you understand: I want the overthrow of the Iranian regime. The problem is that people in Iran who I believe are the only ones who can overthrow the regime are being pushed into its arms by US/UK imperialism and by the Islamophobia that the imperialists are whipping up in the West. You seem to have problems seeing what you do not expect to be there. The heading said imperialism is the problem so you assume that a) I'm SWP (I'm not) and b) that I will not call for the overthrow of Iranian regime. You're obviously a lot older than me, I don't know about the historical stuff you're on about but it seems to me that from what you say, the SWP are still saying the same thing as they used to. I have to say I completely agree with them on this whole issue but I also have to say that you trying to imply that because I do must mean that I am an apologist for them is close to McCarthyism. I agree with the anarchists about Kronstadt, but that does not make me an apologist for anarchism. By the way, there was an article in a recent issue of Socialist Worker about a bus strike in Iran, the jailing of strikers and the need for a secular, socialist Iran, so you're wrong on that too.

author by Joe - WSM 1st of May (personal capacity)publication date Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:20Report this post to the editors

Jo most of your last post I agree with - the key issue of difference is in the line
I see the Islamophobia which is being whipped up across the world as counterproductive to this goal

In the context of this discussion this would suggest you see the Blanket republication as somehow being part of a campaign to whip up islamophobia across the world as part of providing cover for attacking Iran!

Is that really what you think the motivations were here?

I suspect you don't. In which case the real debate is what is more likely to build a strong anti-war movement. One that refuses to engage with abuses in Iran and secular muslims or one that does engage with these things as part of showing that the US motivation has nothing to do with democratic rights. I don't get the left position that seems to think that either people are already unaware of the abuses or that we will somehow be more convincing by either denying them or refuseing to engage with them.

You mention RAWA favourably but RAWA came in for a lot of stick in advance of the Afghan war for criticising the taliban regime there from exactly the same logic as you now attack the Blanket.

Apart from anything else I also think it is quite possible to believe the publications are misguided but still defend the Blankets freedom to do so against the SWP led witch hunt. I'm genuinely quite shocked by the witchunt.

I was talking over this with some comrades last night and one pointed out the intensity of the witchunt may in part be due to the high level of violent racist attacks happening in Belfast. However he also pointed out these seem to be carried out by loyalists and that it is rather unlikely they would read, never mind be influenced by the Blanket!

author by pat cpublication date Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:20Report this post to the editors

the only mccarthyism taking place here is the attack on anthony. the swps politics are not the same. if they were then the swp would be opposing imperialism AND calling for the overthrow of the iranian regime. they would also be criticisng islam. just as they criticised catholicism in the malvinas and irish cases.

jo, i accept that you are not in the swp. but i would say to you: what about the iraqi and iranian women who take a different view from you to the cartoons? they are feminists, socialists, they are fighting the mullahs. now: do you side with them or do you side with the mullahs?

why dont you at least contact them? i have given you the details above.

author by TopCatpublication date Thu Mar 23, 2006 16:01author email tallchris99 at gmail dot comReport this post to the editors

This witch hunt against the blanket really shows the true colours of the SWP. The Blanket cartoons were not racist, were on the button with humour and hit the spot. Dismal showing from the SWP, watch your membership continue to fall suckers.

author by D'oh!publication date Thu Mar 23, 2006 18:49Report this post to the editors

This term "witch hunt" is used a lot on this thread and I'm not sure how this is supposed to be one. As I understand it, some of those who write on the Blanket disagreed with the publication of the cartoons and, because of this, asked for their articles to be removed from the website. The website refused to do this, so they wrote a letter to a couple of papers setting out their position and then agreed to speak about their position at a meeting organised by the Anti Racism Network. Where is the witch hunt? The only witch hunt I see here is against the SWP. There have been pretty horrible allegations, many of them untrue*, posted here against the SWP but nothing except a political argument made in relation to the Blanket. So, who are the witch-hunters?

* As a one-time member, only for a short time it's true, of the SWP I just did not believe some of these and went to check them out. So, for example, the allegation that an SWP full-timer had colluded in the segregation of an anti-war meeting just struck me as about as likely as Dubya suddenly starting to talk proper english. So, I googled SWP + segregation + anti-war meeting. I got a couple of articles from the Weekly Worker which, while slagging off a meeting on the war in a mosque said that the said SWP full-timer had intervened to stop the segregation. So, even the Weekly Worker seems to be admitting that the story wasn't true.

author by Billpublication date Thu Mar 23, 2006 18:51Report this post to the editors

Islam: Shiite Happens
(please, I'm only kidding, no need for : kidnappings, embassy burnings or death and destruction)

author by Tank Girlpublication date Thu Mar 23, 2006 18:59Report this post to the editors

You are looking for the witch hunt? Surely its here on this thread where SWP members and friends accuse Anthony McIntyre of publishing racist cartoons and of inciting racism. Thats a smear and a witch hunt and the meeting is the witch trial. All of the those who are sceduled to address it are handpicked by the SWP and already believe that the cartoons are racist. That is intellectually dishonest. No its worse, its Intellectual Terrorism.

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